Monday, November 30, 2009

Koirala Assured Prachanda of Nepal Government Fall: Gajurel

Chandra Prakash Gajurel, the Unified Maoists’ Party Secretary addressing a press-meet in Itahari, Sunsari district, November 29, 2009, has revealed that “indeed talks were held between Maoists’ Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress Party President Girija Prasad Koirala in Singapore to dislodge the current government under the command of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal”.

M. Gajurel nevertheless, accepted that it was a blunder made by his party to hold talks with Koirala considering that he still holds the key to Nepali politics.

“Yes, Koirala during the talks had said that if need be, the government should be dislodged”, he continued.

He continues, “It is in this light Prachanda after his return home had said that the government will fall in a day or two.”

He adds, “After Koirala returned home, the frail Koirala was not allowed to make any moves by his party leaders”.

“Political and Constitutional crisis is round the corner”, he said adding that “In order to foil avert the impending crisis we have declared the third round of protest.”

Gajurel threatened, “If political consensus was not reached after the Third round of protests, the party will declare fourth round of protest which will paralyze the entire country.”

“We will establish Peoples’ Republic through yet another Peoples’ Revolt”, he also said.

In the course of his interaction with journalists Mr. Gajurel also revealed that the foreign power that had elevated Madhav Nepal as the prime minister of the country is now planning to sideline him.

Blog Guide: A discussion of blog features and primary topic content may be found at the initial entry. The first few entries give a good idea of how best to use the blog, especially for the tagging and social bookmarking at my external Delicious site, and for instructions regarding the Stefandav TV widget.

Subscribe to Stefandav: Atom 1.0 RSS 2.0
Read more!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Interview with Bhattarai: Fusing People’s War & Insurrection in Nepal

WPRM: Thank you for meeting with us today. In your article in The Worker #4 ‘The Political Economy of the People’s War’ you write that “the transformation of one social system into another, or the destruction of the old by the new, always involves force and a revolutionary leap. The People’s War is such a means of eliminating the old by a new force and of taking a leap towards a new and higher social system.” Why then did the Maoist party enter the peace process and attempt to change society through Constituent Assembly elections?

Baburam Bhattarai: This is a very important question related to the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM). The basic motive force of history is the contradiction between the existing level of productive forces and the production relations within society. At a certain stage this contradiction sharpens and there is a break with the old relationship and a leap to the new one. We call this social revolution. That leap necessarily confronts a certain force, because every set of productive relations is backed by a state, and the state means basically the organised force of the army. To break with the old mode of production and leap into a new one, you have to break all the relations within the state backed by the army. And that inevitably requires the use of force. This is a law of history and a basic principle of MLM which nobody can revise. If you revise or abandon it then you are no longer a Marxist. There is no question of our party ever ending this basic principle.

By adhering to this basic principle we waged armed Protracted People’s War (PPW) from 1996 to 2006. But after 2006 we made a certain departure in our tactical line. Some people are confused about this and think we have abandoned PPW forever and adopted a peaceful path of social development. This confusion needs to be cleared. What we are saying is that People’s War is a multifaceted war where both the armed and political form of struggle needs to be combined.

Protracted People’s War (PPW) is a military strategy to be adopted in a semi-feudal, semi-colonial context, and, in the different context of imperialism, could be applied in a modified form even in imperialist countries. But basically the theory of PPW as developed by Mao was to be applied in semi-feudal, semi-colonial countries. That’s why the military line adopted in the case of Nepal was basically a line of Protracted People’s War, which we developed through the course of our struggle, applying it very creatively in Nepal for ten years. And we were successful in developing this war from the stage of strategic defensive to the stage of strategic equilibrium and on to the stage of strategic offensive. We basically established the strategic offensive, which means the final stage of capturing state power and which must be meticulously calculated and applied. If you don’t take note of the existing balance of forces, both politically and militarily in the country and outside, firstly it will be difficult to capture state power and secondly even after capturing state power it will be difficult to sustain it. That’s why we introduced certain new features.

People know only the negative part, but what they forget, or what we have been unable to propagate well since the beginning of the PPW, is the new context of world imperialism and the specific geopolitical context of Nepal. In this context, our party decided that we need to adopt some of the features of general insurrection within the strategy of PPW. Therefore the basic strategy will be PPW, but some of the features of general insurrection, which relies on people’s movement in the urban areas and leads to the final insurrection in the city, the tactics of the general insurrection, should also be incorporated within that strategy. This has been the basic question within our party, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [UCPN(M)]. This idea we first introduced in our national unity congress in 1991 and after that when we had our 2nd national conference in 2001. At that time we developed the theory of fusion of PPW and general insurrection to a new level, so that in the specific context of Nepal, while adhering to the basic path of PPW, the tactic of general insurrection should be fused within that strategy. That’s why at that conference we put emphasis on this aspect. But we thought that when we developed this new political line, developed through the course of the People’s War in Nepal, that it needed to be assessed more thoroughly in the international community of Maoists.

We called this one of the features of Prachanda Path, which we regarded as a new development in the theory of MLM. After 2001 we still adhered to the People’s War but we resorted to some of the tactics of general insurrection, that’s why when we were in the People’s War we always talked of political negotiations and we actually had two rounds of political negotiations. During that time we raised the issues of Constituent Assembly, abolition of the monarchy and establishment of a bourgeois democratic republic. These were the tactics we followed while we were in the PPW. Why we did that was because in the specific conditions of Nepal, though we are in the stage of transition from feudalism to capitalism, in our case the feudal system had been basically led by an autocratic monarchy for thousands of years. In most third world countries autocratic monarchy has already been abolished, and in those countries though the basic foundation of society is still semi-feudal, semi-colonial, the political superstructure was led by bourgeois democrats. But in our case even the political superstructure was dominated by the autocratic feudal monarchy, the national bourgeoisie was very weak and they could not carry forward the bourgeois democratic revolution. It was the proletarian party which had to take the lead to abolish the autocratic monarchy and introduce a bourgeois democracy, which could be again transformed through struggle into New Democracy, a proletarian democratic system.

Therefore we adopted these tactics, and after 2001 we followed these tactics and by 2005 we had reached the stage of strategic offensive in the PPW. Then we thought it was time to focus our activity, to shift our activities to the urban areas. By that time we had liberated most of the countryside, where the poor peasantry lives, and under 25% of our population lives in urban areas. There the petty bourgeoisie class and other classes needed to be mobilised if we were to complete the stage of strategic offensive and capture the state in a revolutionary manner. After 2005 we decided to shift our activity to the urban areas, because without mobilising the masses in urban areas we couldn’t complete our strategic offensive, capturing the state. With these tactics in mind we entered into the negotiation process with certain parliamentary parties who were all struggling with the monarchy but which were too weak, their class nature was too weak, they couldn’t struggle with the monarchy and complete the bourgeois democratic revolution. When the autocratic monarchy centralised all state power in a coup, it was easier for us to have an alliance with those bourgeois democratic parties and we made the 12-point understanding. On the basis of that 12-point understanding we launched a mass movement which we called the 2nd mass movement. After the 2nd mass movement there was a huge upsurge of the people and the autocratic monarchy was forced to accept the Constituent Assembly and to step down. After that we made the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, in which we had to make certain compromises. Those compromises were made to abolish the monarchy, hold the Constituent Assembly elections and then move ahead to complete the bourgeois democratic revolution in the country.

There are some ambiguous features in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Our understanding, the revolutionary party’s understanding, was that after abolishing the monarchy and establishing a bourgeois democratic republic, the proletarian party would take the initiative and launch forward the struggle towards New Democratic Revolution. We knew the bourgeois forces, after the abolition of the monarchy, would try to resist, and our main contradiction then would be with the bourgeois democratic parties. This we had foreseen. So we have not said that after the abolition of the monarchy we’ll stop there. We never said that. What we have said is that we would align with the bourgeois democratic parties to abolish the monarchy, and after the abolition of the monarchy then the contention would be between the bourgeois forces and the proletarian forces. A new field of struggle would start. That was clearly stated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the subsequent interim constitution and other documents we passed.

After the Constituent Assembly elections, when our party emerged as the largest force and we abolished the monarchy, there was a lot of enthusiasm among the masses of the people. Our party’s tactical line had been correctly implemented. That gave a tremendous force to the basic masses of the people and our support greatly increased. For the time being we cooperated with the interim government also, because by participating in that coalition government we thought we could work within the bureaucracy, within the army, within the police and within the judiciary, in order to build our support base through those state structures, which would help us for future revolutionary activities. With that in mind we participated in the coalition government. After the abolition of the monarchy, when the main contradiction would start with the bourgeois democratic forces, then our struggle took a new turn.

After April 2009 [when Prachanda resigned from government], that phase of the Constituent Assembly and implementation of the bourgeois democratic republic was more or less complete. Our understanding is to now carry on the struggle forwards to complete the New Democratic Revolution. So again we made a tactical shift, showing that from now on our major fight would be with the bourgeois democrat parties who are backed by imperialism and the expansionist forces. With this thinking our party left the government and now we are focusing on the mass movement, so that now we could really practice what we have been preaching. That means the fusion of the strategy of PPW and the tactic of general insurrection. What we have been doing since 2005 is the path of preparation for general insurrection through our work in the urban areas and our participation in the coalition government.

But what one should not forget was that we had never ever surrendered the gains of the PPW, what we had gained during the ten years of struggle. We had formulated the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), we had our base areas, we had a lot of mass support, and all this we have been able to preserve. But we have not been able to convey to our comrades outside the country that the gains of the People’s War were never surrendered. The PLA is still with us, and the arms we collected during that war are still with us within the single-key system, monitored by the United Nations team, but basically the key is with us and the army is with us and we have never surrendered. This shows we have not abandoned the path of PPW. What we have done is suspended that part of the activity for some time and focused more on the urban activities so that we could make a correct balance between the military and political aspects of struggle. After some time we will be able to combine both aspects of PPW and general insurrection to mount a final insurrection to capture state power. We would like to stress that we are still continuing in the path of revolution, but the main features we tried to introduce were to make a fusion between the theory of PPW and the tactic of general insurrection. After coming to the peaceful phase I think whatever confusion there was has been mitigated and people realise we are still on the revolutionary path.

Now we are preparing for the final stage of the completion of the New Democratic Revolution. In a few months when the contradiction will sharpen between the proletarian and bourgeois forces, maybe there will be some intervention from the imperialist and expansionist forces. During that time we may again be forced to have another round of armed clashes. Our party is already aware of that and we have decided to again focus on the basic masses of the people both in urban and rural areas. To strengthen those mass bases we have formed the United National People’s Movement, which will be preparing for both struggle in the urban areas and to strengthen our mass base in the countryside. In the decisive stage of confrontation with the reactionary forces we could again combine our bases in the rural areas and our support in the urban areas for a final assault against the enemy to complete the revolution.

I would like to say we have never abandoned PPW, the only thing is that there has been a tactical shift within the strategy. This is one point. The other point is that being a Maoist we believe in continuous revolution. Revolution never stops. Even when one stage is completed, immediately the new stage should be continued. Only that way can we reach socialism and communism. That is a basic tenet of Maoism. Being a Maoist, this reasoning of continuous revolution can never be abandoned. We are still in the course of PPW, though the tactics have shifted according to the nature of the time. But there is a confusion in the international community of proletarian forces, and we would like to clarify this, but I think this thing can be better done in practice than in words. Anyhow we are confident we can convince our comrades who have some doubts about our activities that we are still pursuing the path of revolution. We will complete the revolution in a new way and we have to show that revolution is possible even in the 21st century. And Nepal can be a model of revolution in the 21st century.

WPRM: Can you explain how the UCPN(M) understands the nature of the state in this transitional period? Can the New Democratic Revolution be completed through the holding of an election?

Baburam Bhattarai: The key question in any revolution is the question of the state. The state is simply an instrument of dictatorship of a certain class. Right now in Nepal the existing state is a dictatorship of the feudal, comprador and bureaucratic capitalist classes. So the task of the revolution is to smash this state and replace it with a New Democratic one. This is the basic objective of the revolution. But in the special case of Nepal, the semi-feudal, semi-colonial state was presided over by an autocratic monarchy and it was being backed by foreign imperialist and expansionist forces. Our party, the UCPN(M), therefore thought it more prudent first to do away with the autocratic monarchy and establish a bourgeois democratic republic and then immediately go towards New Democratic Revolution. Those were the tactics adopted by us. We took the initiative to abolish the monarchy under the leadership of the proletariat which was a tremendous boost for the proletarian forces within our country. It also marginalised the bourgeois democratic forces because they had not taken the lead in that phase of the revolution. After the implementation of these tactics and the abolition of the monarchy, we have established a bourgeois democratic republic in this country, which basically still is a dictatorship of the feudal landlord, comprador and bureaucratic capitalist classes. But politically, since the proletarian forces took the initiative to establish this transitional state, there is contention between the reactionary classes and the progressive classes. A sort of flux has been created, it has not been stabilised. Within this nature of the state, which is in flux, we think it will be easier for the revolutionary forces to intervene and further destabilise the state, putting pressure on it from outside the state which can be smashed to make a New Democratic state.

The nature of the transitional state is, to put it very concisely, in principle a dictatorship of the reactionary forces. But in practice, since the proletarian forces played a leading and decisive role in dismantling the autocratic monarchy and creating this transitional state, the political authority of the progressive, patriotic and proletarian forces is high. So this interim state won’t be very stable and if we can correctly mobilise the masses of people it can easily be overthrown and replaced by a New Democratic state. We think this is a new experiment being carried out in Nepal, it has not happened like in China where they directly implemented the revolutionary policies of the party and overthrew the old state replacing it with a new one. But in our case it has meant cutting up the state part by part, in fact we are devouring it part by part. Ultimately we will be able to smash it and then replace it with a new state. This does not mean we are trying to reform the whole state, indeed the whole state has to be totally displaced by a new state. There is no confusion on our part on this question. But the method of destroying the whole state is partly new in our case because it was presided over by an autocratic monarchy not by bourgeois democratic parties as seen in other third world countries. Because of this specificity of Nepal, this transitional state has been a new thing not seen elsewhere. But our party is very clear on the question that the state needs to be totally destroyed and replaced by the new state. We are working on that line and our party feels that after the formulation of the strategy of People’s War and general insurrection we will be able to finally mobilise the masses of the people in a mass upsurge and insurrection to abolish this state and replace it with a New Democratic one.

WPRM: After the resignation of Chairman Prachanda from the government and the coup by President Yadav over the affair of General Katuwal, the main revisionist party, the CPN-UML, is now leading the government and you are heading the recently formed United National People’s Movement (UNPM). Can you tell us the plan of the party in leading People’s Movement-3 and carrying out insurrection in this situation?

Baburam Bhattarai: As I told you, the basic orientation of our party is to complete the New Democratic Revolution in a new way in Nepal. By firmly sticking to that line we are practicing different tactical shifts. Accordingly, after we completed this task of elections of the Constituent Assembly and the establishment of democratic republic, now our next task is to organise a people’s movement and develop it into an insurrectionary upsurge and complete the New Democratic Revolution. Now we have entered that phase. During this phase we will focus more on organising and mobilising the masses and leading them towards a revolutionary upsurge. That means certain changes in the policy as had been practiced during the People’s War. During that time our focus was on the peasant masses, which was slightly different than the struggle in the urban areas which consists of basically the working class.

To lead this phase of the movement we have set up the new UNPM, which is basically a revolutionary united front of the patriotic, democratic and left forces led by the Communist Party. We have put forward a list of 25 demands related to nationalism, democracy and people’s livelihood. With these demands we have mobilised the masses of people. At a certain stage the contradiction with the bourgeois democratic forces and the imperialist expansionist forces will reach a higher stage. At that time there will be a decisive clash between the reactionary and revolutionary forces. That will be the insurrectionary upsurge. This is the view of the people. So with this in mind we have been organising plans and struggles, mass struggles which we will be carrying out in subsequent months. As Marx and Lenin correctly pointed out, you must believe firmly in the tactics of insurrection. If you have to organise insurrection you have to make a decisive action and take it to the final conclusion. If you can’t do that you will be defeated. To prepare for that decisive struggle you have to move through different stages, that’s why after leaving the government we are now focusing more on the issue of civilian supremacy so we can isolate the militarist section of the reactionaries. Secondly we are focusing on the question of nationalism so we can organise the broad masses of patriotic forces against imperialist and expansionist intervention. Thirdly we are raising the issue of land reform and the basic question of livelihood among the general masses of the people, so that the poor masses of the people and the petty bourgeoisie classes can be organised.

With this in mind we are carrying on a plan in the coming few months, there will be a broad unity of patriotic, democratic and revolutionary forces, which can mount a final struggle against the reactionary forces, the bourgeois democratic forces backed by the foreign imperialist forces. We think this will lead to a proper movement and a final insurrectionary upsurge of the masses of the people. If we are able to play the contradiction between the reactionary forces within the country and the imperialist and expansionist forces outside, then at an opportune moment we can organise an insurrectionary upsurge and be victorious. Therefore we have established the UNPM and put forward protest programs. In the next few months when the contradiction will sharpen among the reactionary forces while making the new constitution, during that time this new movement will arise when the people will finally come to revolt and complete the New Democratic Revolution. This is all I want to say on this for now.

WPRM: In the past you have written of the need to confiscate the land of feudals and the capital of comprador and bureaucrat capitalists, and the party has carried this out to some extent. Is this still the plan of the UCPN(M)?

Baburam Bhattarai: To complete the New Democratic Revolution you have to smash the feudal production relations and culture, that means we have to confiscate the property of the feudal landlords and distribute it to the peasants on the principle of ‘land to the tiller’. This was the basic policy of our party during the People’s War, which we practiced in the rural areas. Nepal is geographically divided between the hilly regions and the plains areas and most of the land is in the plains. But in the plains it was difficult to carry out guerilla warfare, so we just entered there and implemented some land reform policies. Since the plains border India and there is a danger of foreign intervention there, we have never been able to completely practice land reform in those areas. This will only be implemented after the final victory of the revolution. During the People’s War this policy, the principle of ‘land to the tiller’, was practiced more clearly in the hilly areas and partly in the plains areas bordering India. But we subscribe to the policy of abolishing feudal landowners because without making the real tillers of the land, the peasants, the owners of the land, we can’t bring about the land revolution and can’t complete the New Democratic Revolution. So our basic policy remains abolishing the feudal property relations and introducing a socialist-oriented national bourgeois democratic revolution. That is our policy on the question of land.

On the question of capital, for countries like ours, a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country, capital is basically dominated by imperialist capital. In our case Indian expansionist capital in particular. The nature of capital in Nepal at the moment is comprador and bureaucratic. This means it is dependent, you cannot have national independence in the country. That’s why we want to do away with this bureaucratic and comprador capital and convert it into national industrial capital which can subsequently be organised in a socialistic manner. With this policy in mind, we intend after the completion of the revolution to confiscate all this bureaucratic and comprador capital and convert it into national capital which can be reorganised into a socialist mode of production. This is our policy to do away with all the remnants of feudal landlordism, abolition of bureaucratic and comprador capital, and reorganisation of the economy, firstly under a New Democratic line and then in transition towards socialism.

WPRM: The UCPN(M) has brought forward ideas around elections in a New Democratic and socialist state. In your article on ‘The Question of Building a New Type of State’ in The Worker #9, you particularly discuss the need for greater democracy among the people. How will the holding of elections solve the problems generated by the weaknesses of the experience of socialism in the 20th century?

Baburam Bhattarai: This question of democracy and dictatorship is also very important for the communist movement. In principle every state is a dictatorship of a certain class, so-called democracy is also a form of bourgeois dictatorship. This is a basic tenet of MLM and nobody can deny that. But what was practiced in the 20th century in different people’s democracies and socialist countries was, though in theory correct, in practice the real democratic institutions and processes were minimised. Democracy is a class concept, and bourgeois democracy has its own rules, but proletarian democracy also needs to be developed. What happened in the Soviet Union was that the Soviet, a democratic institution, and the working class became very functional, especially during Comrade Stalin’s time. In reality the Soviets couldn’t be very functional and they gradually turned into a bureaucratic state apparatus. After the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union, Comrade Mao Zedong drew certain lessons and he wanted to expand the scope of proletarian democracy. That’s what he practiced during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. There were certain new institutions of people’s committees and Red Guards to expand people’s democracy. But this experience was very short and after Comrade Mao died, the counter-revolution in China took place.

Now it is up to the revolutionaries of the 21st century to learn from those lessons of the 20th century and develop a new concept of proletarian democracy. Our party discussed this thoroughly and made a review of the positive and negative aspects of revolution in the 20th century. We came to the conclusion that though the basic concept of MLM on state and democracy remains valid, because the Soviet apparatus was no longer functional, when the Soviet state turned into a bureaucratic state, and with the lesson of Mao’s experiment of Cultural Revolution against that negative experience of the Soviet Union, we have to develop the concept of proletarian democracy further. Our conclusion was that basically we need more room for the masses of the people to supervise and intervene in the state. If that will not happen then after the revolution the initiative of the masses will be diminished, and only the few of the bureaucratic elite will rule over the state in the name of the proletariat and the revolution would not be carried further.

To check this we have to create certain mechanisms whereby the constant mobilising of the masses and the constant vigilance and intervention of the masses is ensured so the state doesn’t turn into a bureaucratic state. To create such an institution one of the ideas is to provide democracy as was practiced during the Paris Commune days, or to again go towards the Soviet model of democracy, or draw lessons from the Cultural Revolution. We want to take lessons from all these three experiences, so our party’s conclusion was that within a socialist framework, within the framework of the dictatorship of the proletariat, competition should be organised among the masses of the people, so the masses will be constantly energised and it will prevent only a few people having a monopoly over the state.

This concept of competition within the framework of socialism, of proletarian dictatorship, we have developed this basic concept. But this is only a general concept, the actual mode of that competition we have still to work out. Our general feeling is still under discussion, we haven’t reached any final conclusion. But we have proposed multi-party competition within the socialist framework. Why do we need many parties? Though the proletarian class is one class, the proletarian consciousness is different, there is uneven consciousness. If there is competition among them then the most revolutionary section will be in a position to lead this process through democratic means. All the masses of the working class can be mobilised, and in such mode of constantly mobilising the masses of people we will limit the chance of degeneration of this democracy into a bureaucratic set-up. That’s why we are thinking one of the options is to allow multi-party competition among the proletarian and progressive classes within the framework of the leadership of the proletariat and a socialist constitutional framework.

This is one of the options that we have proposed but it just a proposal, we haven’t reached any conclusion. This is what I discussed in that article, it is a preliminary article, we have proposed this but I think it needs to be discussed in the international proletarian movement and developed further. Otherwise we will not be able to draw lessons from the failures of the teachings of socialism and proletarian revolution in the 20th century and lead revolution forward into the 21st century. The basic point of departure is still from the Cultural Revolution, where Mao went beyond the traditional framework of the state system and gave more power to the masses of the people to rebel against the bureaucratic system within the party and within the state. That is the general orientation. But the right institutions have not been developed yet. The job of the revolutionaries in the 21st century will be to develop that concept further and to develop certain institutions and procedures whereby the proletarian class gets mobilised to carry forward the revolution. With this is mind, we are putting forward this concept of competition within the New Democratic and socialist state framework.

WPRM: Elections in imperialist countries generally serve not as a way to mobilise the masses but as a formal ritual that people carry out in a very bureaucratic way. Only very seldom does the election actually mobilise people and that is in very specific circumstances, like to some extent the election of Obama in the USA, because people were so opposed to the crimes of the Bush regime. How can you make elections at all for mobilising people and helping people develop their understanding of the class nature of society and the need to push towards socialism when our general experience of elections in imperialist and oppressed countries is that they are a tool for deceiving the masses?

Baburam Bhattarai: The practice of democracy in imperialist counties is a form of bourgeois democracy, a ritual that deceives the masses of people and perpetuates the rule of their class state. But what we are talking about is not organising elections within the bourgeois state, we are talking about after the revolution in a New Democratic or socialistic framework, where there will be certain constitutional provisions whereby the reactionaries, imperialists and criminal forces will not be allowed to participate. Only the progressive forces, the democratic forces and people will be allowed to compete. That is the competition within the New Democratic or socialist framework we are talking about. This is a basic difference. After the revolution, the first thing we will do will be redistribution of property. There will no longer be rich and poor, a big gap between the haves and the have-nots. That way when we organise competition there will be an equal chance for people to compete. But in the given framework of the imperialist and bourgeois democratic system there is a huge gap between the propertied and property-less working class. The competition is so uneven that the property-less working class can never compete with the propertied, the bourgeois and imperialist class. That way, only after carrying out this redistribution of property in a socialistic and New Democratic manner can you organise political competition where there will be a fair chance of everyone to compete on an equal footing. Our idea of competition in a New Democratic and socialist framework is therefore fundamentally different from the formal competition and practice in a bourgeois democratic and imperialist state. The difference in the class nature of the state should be appreciated.

WPRM: You’ve already discussed some aspects of the Cultural Revolution but I would like to go into that in more detail. The Cultural Revolution was the pinnacle of revolution in the 20th century, so what lessons do you and the UCPN(M) take from this?

Baburam Bhattarai: Yes we think the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was the pinnacle of revolution not only in the 20th century but in the whole history of the liberation of mankind. It is the pinnacle of the development of revolutionary ideas. So all the revolutionaries must make the Cultural Revolution their point of departure and develop the revolutionary idea and plan further.

The basic question of the Cultural Revolution was to continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. That was the basic idea. So first you need a dictatorship of the proletarian class, and for that you have to smash the whole state and complete the revolution, that is the first thing we have to do. After the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the working class needs to be constantly mobilised in a continuous revolution. Only then can we prevent the state degenerating into a bureaucratic apparatus. That is the basic idea. That’s why after the negative experiences of the Soviet Union and the initial negative experiences in China, Mao developed this concept of Cultural Revolution, giving the masses the right to rebel. He asked all the oppressed classes and people to rebel against the authority in power and he introduced Red Guards, people’s committees, all-round dictatorship of the proletariat in every field, in politics, economics and society, in cultural space, exercising all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie to continue the revolution. This is the fundamental aspect of the Cultural Revolution and this needs to be upheld and developed further.

But in our case since our class has not completed any revolution in the 21st century and there is no revolutionary socialist state in the world, we have to draw lessons from the Cultural Revolution and try to practice them within the revolutionary parties and within the mass organisations, and then after we complete the revolution then we can practice the basic tenets of the Cultural Revolution in the state. This is the basic lesson to be drawn. And what we would like to stress is that without taking the Cultural Revolution as the point of departure we cannot complete the revolution in any country in the present day world and we will not be able to reach socialism and communism if we don’t have this idea of continuous revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. This idea of continuous revolution needs to be grasped very firmly. People generally think that once state power has been captured, the revolution is complete. But thinking like this means the initiative of the revolutionary masses will be diminished. That has been a flaw of earlier revolutions. What we need to practice now is the idea that the revolution never stops until all the classes are abolished, the state is abolished, the property system is abolished and we enter a classless and stateless society, or a commune of the masses of people is created. Until that stage is reached revolution never stops. This idea of Cultural Revolution needs to be firmly grasped and we are very serious on this issue.

WPRM: How do you practice Cultural Revolution within the party now?

Baburam Bhattarai: Within the party we allow broad and great democracy. The principle of the Communist Party is democratic centralism. We need centralism to guide the revolution, we need strong leadership, but if that leadership and centralism is not created on the broad foundation of democracy, that is not acceptable. Otherwise that leadership could degenerate into bureaucratic centralism. Right now within our party there are broad divisions on any issue, but the central leadership will mobilise the cadres and masses of people to discuss these issues and only then will the decision be taken. Once the decision is taken it will have to be carried out. But before taking the decision any issue must be broadly discussed so that the great exercise of democracy should be done first and on the basis of that the centralism will be created. Only that kind of centralism will be truly democratic centralism. This is what our party is trying to practice.

WPRM: What about the practice of two-line struggle within the party?

Baburam Bhattarai: Two-line struggle is also related to this question. Two-line struggle is the life of any party because everything is a unity of opposites in this world. Even the party is a unity of opposites. The policy of ‘one divides into two’ also applies to the party. So although there is a contention between proletarian and non-proletarian tendencies within any communist party, so there has to be a proper mechanism to organise a struggle of different tendencies within the party. Therefore two-line struggle needs to be promoted. The only thing is we have to be very careful in handling the two-line struggle. On this issue there are different tendencies within the International Communist Movement. One is very sectarian, once you enter into two-line struggle you always end up with a split. This is a sectarian or ultra-left tendency. The other is a right-revisionist tendency, which is to struggle and always compromise so that the party gets turned into a reformist group.

The correct MLM formulation is unity-struggle-transformation. We should struggle with the aim of achieving a higher level of unity. That’s the aim of the correct handling of two-line struggle in a revolutionary party. And our party has been very successfully conducting this method of two-line struggle with the aim of unity-struggle-transformation. We are interested in mainly transformation. If the aim is not transformation then it is not reaching a higher level of unity and then the two-line struggle always leads to a split. And a split of the proletarian party weakens our class and our ability to carry forward revolution. This lesson needs to be firmly grasped, especially among Maoist revolutionaries in the world today. In the name of carrying out two-line struggle they forget the aspect of reaching a higher level of unity and transformation. In that way the revolutionary parties remain as very small groups and collections and are not able to carry out revolution. I think these lessons, especially from Lenin and Mao, need to be drawn and practiced.

WPRM: As a way of concluding this interview, in the situation of continued pressure and the possibility of intervention from US imperialism and Indian expansionism in particular, do you think that socialism in one country can be developed in Nepal?

Baburam Bhattarai: This question of socialism in one country is a theoretical question to be debated. This is the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Imperialism always consists of uneven and unequal development, so revolution within a country is not only a possibility, it is a must, because revolution won’t break out all over the world at the same time. That’s impossible as long as imperialism remains and uneven development is there. This is a basic tenet of Leninism which still holds true and we should grasp it. But in the specific case of a small country like Nepal, sandwiched between the big countries of India and China and being dictated over by US imperialism all over the world, if you don’t have support, international support, or there is no strong revolutionary movement, it will be very difficult to sustain the revolution. It may be possible to carry out the revolution to capture state power, but to sustain the state power and develop in the direction of socialism and communism we will need support from the international proletarian movement. That way the level of international support and international proletarian solidarity is important. After the growing influence of so-called globalisation, imperialist globalisation, the reaches of the imperialist power have gone to every corner of the world. If there is no strong international proletarian organisation to fight against imperialist intervention and domination, it will be difficult to sustain the revolution in one small country.

Keeping this in mind, we must however make revolution in our country, this is a must. But to sustain it and develop it further we need the backing of the international proletarian forces. For that we have to give more importance to internet work and the international community. This need is more important in the case of small countries like Nepal. In fact, in recent months we have been discussing this issue. To complete the revolution in Nepal and sustain it and develop it further, at least in the South Asian context, we need to have strong revolutionary solidarity and we need the backing from the international proletarian movement. We feel the events of the international proletarian movement worldwide and some of the institutions that are being developed are all important, like the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties in South Asia (CCOMPOSA) and the World People’s Resistance Movement (WPRM). These type of organisations are very important for the success of the revolution and to gather support at the international level for the success of our revolution.

WPRM: Thank you for your time.

Baburam Bhattarai: Thank you and lal salam!

Blog Guide: A discussion of blog features and primary topic content may be found at the initial entry. The first few entries give a good idea of how best to use the blog, especially for the tagging and social bookmarking at my external Delicious site, and for instructions regarding the Stefandav TV widget.

Subscribe to Stefandav: Atom 1.0 RSS 2.0

Read more!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Basanta Interview: Possible Victory or Collapse in Nepal’s Revolution

This interview was copied from the website Revolution in South Asia. It was conducted by World Peoples Resistance Movement.

WPRM: Can you explain the current situation in Nepal since the resignation of Prachanda from the government?

Basanta: First of all I would like to say something about the situation in which we had to enter into this process. When Gyanendra usurped the whole political power, the contradiction of the Nepalese people with monarchy became the principal political contradiction. It created a situation in which all the political forces that had a certain level of contradiction with the king could come tactically together to fight absolute rule of the monarchy. It was in the Chunwang meeting held in 2005 that we adopted a new tactic of democratic republic, which became a basis for 12-point understanding between our party and other 7 parliamentarian parties. Everyone in the world knows the result, the unprecedented mass uprising in April 2006. After that the king, relinquished his absolute power and reinstated the parliament. In the Constituent Assembly election, we emerged as the largest party and the king was removed and the country was declared Federal Democratic Republic from the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly. In fact, it was basically the end of the tactics adopted from the Chunwang meeting.

We were in the Constituent Assembly and at the same time, we were the largest party, so we had a responsibility to form government. The reactionaries the world over were expecting our party to disappear in the so-called political main stream. It was logical because in the history any party that had participated in the government before completing the revolution had never returned to revolution again. But we were consciously utilising this political tactic to make our revolution go forward. That was our understanding when we were in the government where we struggled to the extent possible in favour of revolution.

It had been a long-running practice in our history that whichever party comes into the government takes to the dictates of Indian expansionism and at the same time the US imperialism. The reactionaries expected the Maoists to act on this same basis, but we didn’t, we have a goal of making revolution and we cannot deviate from this. However, we have to follow a different course as the new contradictions emerge in the society.

When we were in the government, we tried to implement some political programs but did not follow dictates mainly from the Indian expansionism. The reactionaries clearly understood that Maoists were not abandoning revolution but familiarizing their programmes within the masses. They decided to topple the government. We had either to follow expansionist dictates or we had to go with the masses. We chose the later because we could not exchange government with revolution. The resignation has become a very big political attack upon the imperialist and expansionists. They wanted us to surrender, but we didn’t. Rather we exposed the conspiracy on how they were trying to make us surrender and how they are forcing us to cede our sovereignty. When we exposed this among the masses, it has influenced a large section of the masses in favour of our party and revolution. Now a situation has come where section of compradors, which are basically pro-India and pro-America and act as puppets, are getting united against our party but a broad masses are rallying around us.

Now the sovereignty is in a real danger. We, after resigning from the government, are taking up this issue. Also, the class oppression is still unresolved, because no revolution has been accomplished. The whole country is now going towards a new polarisation, the reactionaries, mainly comprador-bourgeoisie, bureaucrats and feudal and their allies is trying to take the country in their direction, but we are trying to take the country in our own direction. Without complete polarisation amongst the masses, no revolution can take place. That’s how the country is going towards a new polarisation after our resignation from the government.

WPRM: After the recent party conference what are the strategy and tactics of the UCPN(M)?

Basanta: As a communist our overall strategy is socialism and communism, but if we analyse the strategy then we can find that we have a maximum strategy and the minimum strategy. Because ours is a country that is semi-feudal and semi-colonial, and therefore the basic contradiction is the outcomes of this socio-economic condition. The contradictions we have in this country such as class contradiction, which is principal, and the gender, national, regional and many other contradictions, all these contradictions are the outcome of the semi-feudal and semi-colonial socio-economic condition. Our immediate strategy is to resolve this basic contradiction. That’s why our immediate strategy is to abolish feudalism and imperialist domination from our country and in so doing accomplish new democratic revolution.

In fact, it is the New Democratic Revolution that resolves the basic contradictions arisen out of semi-colonial and semi-feudal socio-economic condition. That’s why our immediate strategy is to move to New Democratic Revolution against semi-feudalism and semi-colonialism. But our overall strategy is socialism and communism. This is one thing. But to reach strategy we have to take up various tactics. That was why previously; we used the tactics of democratic republic, which we decided at the Chunwang Meeting. This tactic is now over because the monarchy has been abolished from Nepal. Now we have taken up a new tactic to reach our immediate strategic goal. The new tactic is the People’s Federal Democratic National Republic or People’s Republic in short. Now we will fight for a People’s Republic which will resolve the problems related with class, national, regional and gender oppression.

Now comes the question of civilian supremacy. This is a bourgeois question, no doubt. But never in the history has there been civilian supremacy in our country. In the past the military was never kept under civilian control it was under the control of king all the time. That’s why every time they have taken up their advantage and seized the government, as a coup, by sacking the government and dissolving the parliament. Twice in the history it happened so. First, it was in 1961, king Mahendra staged a political coup with the help of Nepali army and sacked the government and the parliament both. In the same manner in 2002 Gyanendra did the same. Therefore, to keep army under civilian control has been the minimum condition to protect the achievements of people’s war and the mass movement. That’s why to establish civilian supremacy has become an important issue among the masses.

Nepalese people want a new setup, a new society. People want peace and prosperity. It is people’s constitution that can lead Nepal to peace and prosperity by doing away with all kinds of oppression. The new constitution must be written in such a way that it brings feudalism to an end, does away with imperialist and expansionist oppression, brings about peace and prosperity, and defends national sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is the content of the People’s Republic, which will lead to the completion of new democratic revolution.

WPRM: We understand there are a number of tendencies within the party could you explain to us how these struggles are taking place?

In class society the class struggle continues. As long as there are classes and class struggle in the society there exists two line struggle in the party of the proletariat. That’s why in the party there are always different kinds of ideas coming up from different leaders, because the leaders also come from the same society. They make up their ideas from the society and the class struggles. Their way of thinking is different and therefore different kinds of ideas penetrate in the party through different leaders. That’s why different kinds of trends and tendencies come within the party. And there is always struggle among these trends.

That’s why it is very obvious that in any party there is always line struggle between different trends, but the question is how we handle the line struggle in the party. In the communist movement we have seen two wrong tendencies. One is that in the name of maintaining unity in ideology, the organisation keeps on splitting and splitting, just like an amoeba. It is a purist thinking and does not grasp the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist understanding that party is a unity of opposites. It has very much weakened our communist movement. It is one wrong trend. There is another trend that encourages, in the name of maintaining unity, to go for a compromise all the time. This also is very much wrong because compromise with wrong trends will not help one reach to a correct line. And that party which is based on compromise cannot lead any revolution. That’s why in dealing with different wrong trends and tendencies in the party, we have to refrain from these two wrong trends: in the name of maintaining purity to go into split again and again and, in the name of maintaining unity to make a compromise.

WPRM: Can you tell us more about the two line struggle between Comrade Prachanda and Comrade Kiran?

First of all I would like to say it was not a struggle between two individual leaders. Comrade Prachanda is our Chairman; he has been leading our party and revolution for a long time. Comrade Kiran is a senior leader, even senior to Comrade Prachanda. Sometimes in the outside world it is said that it is a struggle between Prachanda and Kiran, but this is a wrong way of looking at. Definitely lines come from certain comrades and in our case comrade Prachanda and comrade Kiran are such leaders who have stood as unity and struggle of opposites i.e. they have dialectical relationship.

The way this has been reported in the external media is wrong and is aimed at dividing our party. They projected that Comrade Prachanda was a soft-liner and Comrade Kiran was a hard-liner. This kind of projection was always there because the reactionaries do not want our party to remain united. They want to destroy it. The reality is that the principal aspect between them is unity. If they did not have unity how could they lead our party together for so long years? But because they are the products of our society they have different ways of thinking so the differences in certain issues arise.

WPRM: Can you explain the various aspects of this particular Line Struggle?

The tactics we adopted from the Chunwang Central Committee meeting was Democratic Republic. When this Democratic Republic was established from the Constituent Assembly this tactic was over. Now the previous tactic we adopted was over and we had to adopt a new tactic. It demanded to have a thorough analysis of democratic republic, its class nature etc. We had to analysis class contradictions that existed in the society. We had to look at class relations to develop a united front. In that situation comrades did have different ways of thinking but not diagonally opposite. But once we had our sharp discussion we reached to the conclusion that the Democratic Republic in place is a bourgeois republic. The whole organs of the state power including the army is in the control of the reactionaries. To comprehend this system we had to have a deeper discussion, which demanded open and sharp debate in the central committee. Debate had occurred all through the party and many different opinions were expressed. We wanted to understand the current situation deeply, and we found that the common concern of every comrade was how to develop a revolutionary line and preserve party unity. Now we have developed a correct political line tactic and achieved unity, which is conditional and time-bound. Unity is always relative while struggle is absolute. Having unity now does not mean we will have unity forever.

WPRM: Now the UCPN(M) is in the Constituent Assembly, how is the party carrying out the mass line?

Now we are in the Constituent Assembly, we have to make a constitution to resolve the problems of the country and people. Basically we have two problems: We are still a semi-colonial, semi-feudal country. We have to destroy feudalism and imperialism and establish New Democratic Republic to facilitate national capital to flourish. At the same time we have to defend our sovereignty. These are the basic things we are fighting for in the Constituent Assembly. But this is not like the parliament which we had in Nepal before, nor is it like any parliament in any country of the world. It works to draft a new constitution and open the way to resolve the contradictions of the country. That’s why CA members are fighting in the Constituent Assembly for the rights of all people and the whole party is mobilising masses in support of the people’s constitution, whether it be urban or rural areas, plains or hilly regions everywhere. We are mobilising not only the CA members but the whole people to make them write people’s constitution.

We are in the Constituent Assembly; we are raising the issues of the whole country, the whole masses of the people. It may seem that as we are in the Constituent Assembly we don’t have a relationship with the masses, but it is wrong. What we are raising in the Constituent Assembly are the issues from society. Our party is present all across the country, in every district, every village, we have party committees. In every Village Development Committee we have party committees, and those members are among the masses. They are raising the issues of the masses and they are leading the masses. It is true that a section of the leadership is working in the constituent assembly and they don’t have time to regularly visit the masses, but the whole party structure is working throughout the countryside and the cities, the Terai and the Himalayas.

For example in the Terai, the class aspect is the principal aspect because we are making new democratic revolution of which the axis is land to the tiller. But along with this there are other aspects for example nationality question for the Madhesi peoples. No doubt they there are oppressed classes in Madhesh, but the whole Madhesi people are also an oppressed nation. They have been devoid of their national identity, and we have to let them establish themselves as a nation. They want them to establish their own identity but they have been isolated from the central power. That’s why our party in Madhesh addresses their issues. Likewise, we raise gender issues and oppressed region issues apart from the class issues all across the country.

Now we are in a transitional period and we need to go for New Democratic Revolution. We have not reached New Democratic Revolution yet. We have a bourgeois democracy now, but we think we are very close to new democratic revolution. The objective situation is ripe for New Democratic Revolution. There is a wide polarisation among the people; and the people and the whole country is basically united for the cause of revolution. People know that if they want anything done it has to be done by the Maoists. Certainly, we have weaknesses and limitations, that is one thing; but people understand that there is no other force except the UCPN (Maoist) in this country that can take things forward for revolution.

The future is very bright but at the same time the challenges are very serious. For, imperialism, mainly the US imperialism does not want any communist power in the world to emerge. The way we traverse cannot be straight forward as we wish. Communists never find a straight road they have to go through twists and turns, and take different kinds of tactics before the completion of revolution.

WPRM: What role do India and the US play in Nepali politics at this time?

The US and India want a state in Nepal that is favourable to them. But the people who are oppressed are supporting our revolution and our cause. Now the reactionaries are trying to unite their own sections and establish a puppet government in Nepal to suppress the revolutionaries. At the same time the working class and oppressed peoples want this revolution to go ahead. Both these ideas are contending in our country.

First of all, what should one understand is that Indian expansionism and the US imperialism are doing all they can to sabotage the revolution in Nepal. As regards the new democratic revolution in Nepal under the leadership of the proletariat they have unity, which is the principal aspect. But in their strategic interest they have some differences too. India wants to control the entire natural resources and market to fulfil their expansionist ambition. They want to expand their border up to Himalayas so that they can exploit resources in an unhindered way. However, the US wants to establish a base in Nepal so that it can control the entire South Asia and encircle China, the contending economic super power in the 21st century.

WPRM: How does the UCPN(M) view the CPN(UML) and Nepali Congress at the present time?

We have to say that Nepali Congress principally represents the comprador bourgeoisie and secondarily feudalism in Nepal. They are a status quo party; they do not want revolution. Rather they want to maintain the status quo. The present state is a reactionary state. They do not want to go ahead of this, so they are reactionaries. UML is basically the same, there is no basic difference. But they call themselves communist, so they still have some influence among the revolutionary masses. But their line cannot lead the country to revolution because they basically represent the comprador bourgeoisie and feudalism. Also, as a class, the UML mainly represents the petit bourgeoisie. Both these parties are against the revolution.

But within the UML there is a section, the petit bourgeois, which is oppressed but cannot lead revolution on its own. This section has a tendency towards radicalism. UML is therefore basically divided. One section represents the comprador bourgeoisie, and one section the petit bourgeoisie. One section fully supports whatever the US and India dictates them to do. It is crystal clear that one of their leaders, Madhav Kumar Nepal, has become the Prime Minister of Nepal with the blessing of the US and India. At the same time the other section opposes to some extent the US and India as they have some patriotic aspirations.

In short Nepali Congress and UML are reactionary parties. Nepali Congress represents the comprador bourgeoisie and UML the petit bourgeoisie. UML is divided, that is why we cannot go forward with the whole party to make a New Democratic Revolution. They will obstruct this. But within these parties, mainly UML, there are revolutionary minded people, primarily in the lower strata, and some democratic people even in the upper strata. So in the days to come, there can be a kind of frontal unity with a section of the UML, but not with the party as a whole.

WPRM: We understand there have recently been defections from the UML to the Maoists, is this part of a wider trend?

There is not yet any organisational defection. I just talked about the two trends in the UML, and now there is no political party in Nepal which is not divided in the present political issues. One trend is in support of the status quo and supports US imperialism and Indian expansionism and the other trend fights for independence and national sovereignty. Some months ago there was a vertical split in ‘Forum’ (a Terai party). The issue was the same, to surrender to US and Indian interests or take an independent stand. One section, the comprador bourgeoisie, supported US imperialism and Indian expansionism, the other section fought for patriotic issues and wanted to be closer to us. Some people have consequently quit their party and come to ours. In every party this kind of polarisation is going on. Also there is a continuous process of people with a revolutionary mind and democratic tendency leaving UML to join our party.

WPRM: Given the world-wide debate on the importance of the Nepali revolution, what message do you have for comrades around the world?

Ever since the initiation of the People’s War there has been widespread propaganda about our revolution all across the world. As the People’s War developed, its influence spread all over the world. Now the whole world knows about Nepal and many people are concerned over the future of our revolution. These days there has been some sort of confusion and some misinterpretation about our revolution and also we have been unable to make the world people understand we are in now. That has been a shortcoming on our part. We have been mainly involved in the Nepali revolution, and have been lacking in spreading the world over what we are doing now. And different trends are interpreting it in their own ways. Some say the Maoists are taking a revisionist position.

The reactionaries are also interpreting our party this way. They say our party is divided between hardliners and soft-liners, between comrades Kiran and Prachanda. They have the intention to create confusion among the masses all over the world and divide the revolutionaries in the international level too. We should admit our weakness in propagating the reality of what is happening in Nepal. We could not publish our information bulletin or bring out The Worker regularly. We could not clear the confusion about our party and our line. But we are confident that we are moving ahead towards revolution.

Recently in our Central Committee meeting we concluded that we are at a serious crossroads of revolution and counterrevolution. Before us there is a big opportunity, but serious challenges also. If we take the correct steps there is a big possibility that we can accomplish New Democratic revolution. But if we make a mistake then the whole revolution can collapse. If we can apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in the concrete conditions of Nepal and lead the whole nation and international working class, then we have a huge opportunity. People all over the whole world expect a new world to emerge from Nepal.

We are happy that you took an initiative to come to Nepal and try to clear the doubts. We are very happy to have the chance to speak to comrades from other part of the world. Some people think we have abandoned the revolution and will not go forward from this to New Democracy. No, this is absolutely wrong. We utilised Democratic Republic as a tactic. Whether that tactic was correct or wrong we can debate, and we can reach some conclusion, maybe after several years. We don’t claim everything we did or do is correct. We are also human beings and we can make mistakes. But we are establishing a strong base among the masses for a revolutionary change. In this Central Committee meeting we are confident we have developed the correct ideological-political line, and this line will lead the whole people in our country to make revolution.

But in the present globalised world we alone are not sufficient to sustain revolution in our country. We can make revolution in our country, but it will be very difficult to sustain if there is no outside international support. There are a few aspects to this. Comrade Lenin said that the first aspect is to give internationalist support to the revolution. The second aspect is to initiate People’s War or revolutionary struggles in those countries to support the revolutionaries. As you are here in support of our revolution, we want to extend this kind of message all over the world. And we want people all over the world to study Nepal and understand by themselves why we had to have different twists and turns in the course of revolution. What we did all was for the sake of making revolution a success. Now the world situation is getting favourable to make revolution. So we have to build international support for our revolution, we have to energise our comrades working all over the world. We have to launch activities against US imperialist and Indian expansionist intervention in Nepal, because we are approaching the successful conclusion of the revolution.

But for that we need a stronger level of solidarity of people to our revolution, a stronger solidarity of the working class people from Indian, US, UK and all over the world. If there is strong support from outside Nepal for our revolution we are confident we can make revolution in our country. The contradictions are sharpening, we think that within a few months some result has to come. All these contradictions are concentrated in the writing of the constitution. But it is a difficult challenge. We cannot write our constitution, the reactionaries will not support us. And the revolutionary class will not support a bourgeois and reactionaries constitution. This is the contradiction.

The constitution can only be written if there is major compromise. If the proletariat makes a compromise with the bourgeoisie what does it mean? It means the end of the revolution. We can be flexible in tactics but not with the interests of the party and revolution. If we compromise in the Constituent Assembly, that will mean the end of the revolution for a long time to come in Nepal. So the days coming in the next nine months will see a very tough contention on an issue of people’s constitution. This is the reflection of the overall class struggle. In this crucial situation we want revolutionary internationalist help from people all around the world.

The reactionaries the world over understand this contradiction. They want our party not to place people’s constitution in the constituent assembly and initiate debate because they understand that our constitution will polarise the entire oppressed section of the people around our party and isolate them. They cannot exclude our party from the task of writing constitution. But at the same time they don’t want us to be there. Therefore the reactionary conspiracy is heightening to dissolve the constituent assembly, impose presidential rule and initiate war against our party and the revolutionary masses in Nepal. The unconstitutional move of the president and their sticking to military supremacy is nothing other than a rehearsal towards that direction. So the days ahead are challenging. But we are confident that the correct grasp of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the unity of the party based on it will be able to shatter the entire challenges imposed upon us and make the new democratic revolution in Nepal victorious in the beginning of the twenty first century.

Blog Guide: A discussion of blog features and primary topic content may be found at the initial entry. The first few entries give a good idea of how best to use the blog, especially for the tagging and social bookmarking at my external Delicious site, and for instructions regarding the Stefandav TV widget.

Subscribe to Stefandav: Atom 1.0 RSS 2.0

Read more!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Democracy Now: Savoj Zizek October 15, 2009

Dubbed by the National Review as “the most dangerous political philosopher in the West”, and the New York Times as “the Elvis of cultural theory”, Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual Slavoj Zizek has written over fifty books on philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history, and political theory. In his latest book, “First as Tragedy, Then As Farce”, Zizek analyzes how the United States has moved from the tragedy of 9/11 to what he calls the farce of the financial meltdown.

We continue on the subject of the financial crisis with a man the National Review calls the most dangerous political philosopher in the West. The New York Times calls him the Elvis of cultural theory. Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual Slavoj Zizek has written over fifty books on philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history, and political theory. His latest, just out from Verso is called “First as Tragedy, Then As Farce.” It analyzes how the United States has moved from the tragedy of 9/11 to the farce of the financial meltdown.

Zizek’s latest offering also excerpted in the October issue of Harper"s magazine opens with the words: “The only truly surprising thing about the 2008 financial meltdown is how easily the idea was accepted that its happening was unpredictable.” He goes on to recall how the demonstrations against the IMF and the World Bank over the past decade all protested the ways in which banks were playing with money and warned of an impending crash. They were met with tear-gas and mass arrests.

The message, he writes, was “loud and clear, and the police were used to literally stifle the truth.”

Well, Slavoj Zizek addressed a full house at Cooper Union here in New York city Wednesday night and he joins us now in the firehouse studio.

Blog Guide: A discussion of blog features and primary topic content may be found at the initial entry. The first few entries give a good idea of how best to use the blog, especially for the tagging and social bookmarking at my external Delicious site, and for instructions regarding the Stefandav TV widget.

Subscribe to Stefandav: Atom 1.0 RSS 2.0
Read more!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nepal: Comrade Gaurav speaks on Democracy and Cultural Revolution

Chandra Prakash Gajurel, aka C.P. Gajurel or Gaurav, indicates in the article imported from Kasama below, the real final hurdle. It is not unlikely that a third peoples uprising in the streets will reinstate Maoist led government and a coalition of oppressed classes in a form of democratic centralism exercising what could be viewed as a dictatorship over the oppressor classes represented by such parties as the National Congress and over opportunistic and revisionist tendencies such as exemplified by the UML. My interview with Gaurav is found here (the photo is one of several taken at that time).

Lead to Entry at Kasama:

This article was published on the WPRM Britain website.

Question: Do you envision a role for Nepali Congress and CPN (United Marxist-Leninists) after the New Democratic Revolution?

Answer: If they don’t change their ideological-political line, we don’t envision that they will be able to take part in those elections. The New Democratic system will not allow this if they don’t change their ideological-political line and behaviour.

* * * * * **
Nepal: Comrade Gaurav speaks on Democracy and Cultural Revolution

Gaurav has recently been made one of the secretaries in the new Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN[M]) leadership structure. Activists with the World Peoples Resistance Movement met him at the party office in Paris Dand, Kathmandu, where we tried to get deeper into the issue of democracy, specifically the UCPN(M) concept of 21st century democracy, of holding elections under New Democracy, and how this relates to the theory and practice of Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China.

WPRM: In the current situation when the UCPN(M) has its sights set on New Democratic Revolution, it seems more important than ever to understand the party’s idea of 21st century democracy, competitive elections under New Democracy and socialism, can you explain this concept to us?

Comrade Gaurav: Yes we are now in the stage of completing the New Democratic Revolution.The New Democratic system is not a socialist system. It is a bourgeois democratic system. The difference is that the revolution is made under the leadership of the proletariat.

The old type of bourgeois democratic revolution took place under the leadership of the bourgeoisie, but the New Democratic Revolution will take place under the leadership of the proletariat. When it is led by the proletariat it will lead towards socialism and communism. On the other hand, if the bourgeois democratic revolution is being led by the capitalist class, it will either consolidate capitalism or, if it develops at all, it will develop towards imperialism. That is the difference. So New Democratic Revolution in this sense is not a socialist revolution, it is a bourgeois democratic revolution but it is led by the proletariat. And, when the proletariat leads this revolution and the revolution is completed, then immediately it will move towards socialism. It will not consolidate bourgeois democracy, it will move towards socialism.

This debate was seriously carried out during 1956 in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). People like Deng Xiaoping said that since it is a bourgeois democratic revolution, it is the time to consolidate capitalism. But, Mao said that it should not be consolidated, it should go forward to socialism. This is the basic division between New Democracy and socialism. And, the question of which class is leading is the fundamental question.

So far as elections are concerned, under a New Democratic system there will be a broad anti-feudal and anti-imperialist alliance. This will be the class character of New Democratic Revolution. It is certainly true that not all anti-feudal and anti-imperialist forces are communists.

But there should be a broad alliance of the UCPN(M) with different political forces who are anti-feudal and anti-imperialist. We have to recognise the existence of these other political forces, because they are the ally of the proletariat during New Democratic Revolution. Therefore, we have to guarantee their political freedom, and the political freedom of those parties has already been carried out in China also.

In China, except for the CCP there were nine other political parties, all of which were anti-feudal and anti-imperialist. They competed and participated in elections with the CCP and some of them became ministers in the government. In our case also we have to recognise those forces. They are not communists but they are the allies of anti-feudal and anti-imperialist forces, and they should be guaranteed political freedom.

When our party talks about multiparty competition or democracy, we are talking about our concept of ‘21st Century Democracy’.

The difference here however is that in China there was a condition, all anti-feudal and anti-imperialist forces had to cooperate with the CCP. This was the precondition. But now our party is talking about allowing those political parties to compete even with the UCPN(M).

In China there was a precondition, they were not allowed to compete but had to cooperate. In elections they made some sort of compromise or negotiation and they fixed candidates by consensus. In some constituencies the other parties put forward their candidate and the CCP did not. And in most other seats they did not have a candidate but supported the candidate of the CCP.

But here in Nepal today we are talking about competition. All those political parties will be allowed to compete with the UCPN(M). We can have direct elections with those parties and the Maoists. That is the difference. We are formulating this kind of thing because the imperialists and the capitalists, who are the enemies of socialism and communism, accuse communist parties of not allowing other parties to compete. They say there is no competition, there is no democracy. And in fact, in the old way there was scope for those political parties to confuse the masses. For example, there is an election but there is only one candidate, and if everybody has to vote for the same candidate what is the meaning of this? It is something like selection. But we will make it clear that people can vote for their own candidates and that there will be more than two candidates for people to choose between.

Furthermore, we should give the people the right of recall. If the candidate elected by them is not competent, or is taking an anti-people road, the people’s right of recall will be assured.

This is the type of thing we have to introduce in an electoral system. Only then can we assure the masses that they can vote for the candidate they like and it is a real election where there are many candidates. The election will have a definite meaning. If there is only one candidate then voting is meaningless.

This is what we mean by ‘21st Century Democracy’.

WPRM: How will this democracy and use of elections develop as New Democratic Revolution develops into the stage of socialism. Will there be more than one communist party at this time?

Comrade Gaurav: We don’t envision more than one Communist Party because every political party has a class character. The proletariat should have their own party.

In the long run, ultimately, there will not be different political parties. When we achieve socialism in that case, we think there will be no necessity for other political parties, because the society will have undergone a big change. There will be no other classes at that time.

WPRM: Do you envision a role for Nepali Congress and CPN (United Marxist-Leninists) after the New Democratic Revolution?

Comrade Gaurav: If they don’t change their ideological-political line, we don’t envision that they will be able to take part in those elections. The New Democratic system will not allow this if they don’t change their ideological-political line and behaviour.

WPRM: Comrade Basanta in Worker #12 has recently written that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China is the pinnacle of application so far in practice of dialectical materialism, the science of revolution. Can you sum up for us the lessons of the Cultural Revolution as formulated by the UCPN(M)?

Comrade Gaurav: We think the Cultural Revolution is the pinnacle of the development of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

Because Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is a science in the process of development, it is not something static. It is in the process of development and this development is interlinked with revolutionary practice. From this practice comes our ideology. And from revolutionary practice, the experiences of the Russian and Chinese revolutions, and from the examples of counter-revolution in those countries, Mao synthesised the whole thing and developed the theory of Cultural Revolution.

What Mao developed in his life, was more than that which Lenin did in his time, because for Lenin it was not possible to carry out Cultural Revolution or theorise Cultural Revolution. During his life, in the period of revolution and after that he was trying to develop the whole revolution. He formulated so many ideas and theories regarding revolution. But in the case of Mao, during that time China was not a capitalist country, it was a semi-feudal semi-colonial country.

So the responsibility of the CCP was to carry on to accomplish the bourgeois democratic revolution and also to carry on the socialist revolution. It was a historical necessity for the CCP to carry out both these tasks. The CCP, under the capable leadership of Comrade Mao, led these two revolutions and in the process of developing socialism, learned the lessons that Mao took from the capitalist restoration in the USSR and many attempts to reverse the revolution within China itself. These were the materials for Comrade Mao Zedong to develop Cultural Revolution. With all these materials Mao developed our ideology to a qualitatively higher level. And we think the Cultural Revolution is the pinnacle, it solves the problem of revolution in that it can prevent counter-revolution. Many people say that the Cultural Revolution was a Chinese phenomenon,

it was done in China, whether right or wrong, so it is a Chinese question.

But we think it is not a Chinese question, it is a question of theory and it is a question of ideology. So it is a universal theory. And we uphold Cultural Revolution as the universal theory of communism. It holds good for China, and it holds good for Nepal also.

WPRM: Indeed, Mao said the bourgeoisie is not just outside the party but right within it. How will elections help to uncover the bourgeoisie within the party?

Comrade Gaurav: Elections will not help with this. Through elections you cannot root out the bourgeoisie within the party.

To root out the bourgeoisie within the party you have to carry out Cultural Revolution, to find out who are the capitalist roaders within the party. The process of elections will not determine all these things. The process of elections relates to the time when there are other political parties who are the allies of the proletariat.

We will compete with those parties only, not with the puppets of feudalism and imperialism. There is no point competing with reactionaries. Competition means to compete with allies, friendly competition only. So dictatorship will still be applied against reactionary political parties, pro-feudal and pro-imperialist parties.

So far as capitalist roaders within the Communist Party are concerned, this question will not be resolved through elections. That is different. Elections are concerned with forming the government and some matters of state.

But the party of the proletariat should resolve the contradictions within the party in a different manner. In that case we have to apply Cultural Revolution. Cultural Revolution means the party should be interlinked with the masses. The masses will be given full rights to expose the leaders of the Communist Party. If they are really capitalist-roaders, they have to be exposed. This is the mass line as formulated by Mao. He made the slogan ‘bombard the headquarters’. Headquarters means your own headquarters, not the headquarters of other parties, but the headquarters of the Communist Party. Because in the headquarters there are many capitalist roaders, so people have every right to bombard that headquarters. People should be mobilised to expose the capitalist roaders. Only through Cultural Revolution can we root out capitalist-roaders.

WPRM: The Cultural Revolution involved many examples of the practice of democracy, such as the right to bombard the headquarters, the four great freedoms, big-character posters, the formation of Red Guards, the 3-in-1 committees, and even the Shanghai commune, not to mention the reorientation of health care, education and development towards rural areas. Why do you think elections under New Democracy can best provide democracy to the people?

Comrade Gaurav: Democracy as defined by the capitalists or imperialists is, according to their own definition, only political freedom, or competing in elections.

But for us this is not the only characteristic of democracy. Democracy means the rights of the people for food, healthcare, education, all the economic requirements. These are fundamental things for our democracy. So we prefer a different definition of democracy.

What Mao put forward in the Cultural Revolution, these are definitely things of democracy. We uphold all these things. But despite all of these requirements, we think elections are also necessary. In the nature of electing the representatives we prefer competition, but only during the stage of New Democracy. When the society changes totally to socialism, then elections will maybe not be necessary. We are talking about New Democracy. When the society has been changed to socialism, the situation will be different.

We cannot claim now that the same method of elections will be applied during socialism. When there are various different political parties during the stage of New Democracy then there is competition between the political parties. But in socialism the class character of society will have changed, fundamentally changed. In that case there will be no need for various different political parties. And clearly the existence of political parties will be actually not necessary. They will not exist. In that case elections will not be needed.

WPRM: How will the practice of Cultural Revolution and the holding of elections prevent capitalist restoration? Which will be decisive?

Comrade Gaurav: As I have said, we cannot predict the form of elections under socialism. But the method of elections will definitely not be decisive to prevent capitalist restoration. Only Cultural Revolution can do that.

WPRM: According to Mao, not one but many Cultural Revolutions will be needed during the stage of socialism, which will last for many generations.

Comrade Gaurav: Yes, we very much agree with this principle that the Cultural Revolution should continue.

When the Cultural Revolution was terminated in China, the result was capitalist restoration.

This history is there for everyone to see. After the death of Mao, the revisionists said the Cultural Revolution was not necessary. They called those ten years a decade of catastrophe, the revisionists, that was their summation. But during the time of Mao the Cultural Revolution was not always directly carried out. Mao was almost bedridden, and immediately after his death it was reversed. If the Cultural Revolution had been carried out further, definitely it would have prevented the restoration of capitalism. So from the practice of China, we can realise that to prevent capitalist restoration we have to continue the Cultural Revolution. In China, the Cultural Revolution was carried out for ten years, but that was not enough. It was only enough for that period. We must directly carry out a continuous process of Cultural Revolution.

WPRM: Elections in imperialist countries at present are a bureaucratic procedure that hide the dictatorial nature of capitalist society. How will elections under New Democracy provide a mechanism for the continuous revolutionisation of the masses as well as mobilisation against the danger of capitalist restoration?

Comrade Gaurav: We think that on the issue of what type of election and how the election will be carried out, there is one fundamental question: who is leading the state? Which class is leading the state?

Now the election to the Constituent Assembly was only possible because the state was in some sort of transition. But we are not always in the period of transition. It is a temporary period.

In this period the state is not so powerful. It was possible for our party to take advantage of this because of the revolutionary intervention of the masses, during the People’s War and the 2006 People’s Movement. It was possible for our party to win, to be victorious in the elections. But the same situation will not continue for a long time. The state will consolidate itself and its own class character. In that case it cannot be in transition. So it all depends on which class is in power. That is the fundamental question.

This will be defined by the constitution, so now our struggle is concentrated on the question of constitution. What type of constitution will there be? Basically there are two positions: whether it will be a People’s Federal Republic, in short a People’s Republic like that in China but taking into account some particularities of Nepal, or a bourgeois republic, a capitalist republic.

Our struggle is concentrated on this point, the major point of struggle in our country at this time. Our party is for a People’s Republic, the other parties are for a bourgeois republic. If a People’s Republic wins, then that means the proletariat will have won, they will be in power and they will hold their elections under those conditions. And since they will already be in power there will be freedom for the people to vote according to their choice. But if the proletariat is defeated, if there is a bourgeois republic in power, then the capitalist class will have won, and definitely they will use the same method that the capitalists of the world use during elections. We are in the transitional period and the constitution will define what type of system there will be in Nepal and which class will be in power. The type of electoral system will also depend on the outcome of this fight or struggle for a new constitution.

WPRM: Now that there is increasing talk of the third People’s Movement and the coming insurrection, can you explain how the UCPN(M) envisions the New Democratic Revolution taking place? Is it possible to do this through elections?

Comrade Gaurav: When we talk about Jana Andolan (People’s Movement) 3 we are talking about mobilising the masses. In the mobilisation of the masses, there are a few things that we have to take into account.

In the revolution in Nepal at this present moment, talking about a People’s Republic is not an illegal matter, an illegal political question for accomplishing the revolution. It is a legitimate question. The other political parties can fight for their republic, why can the Maoist party not fight for a People’s Republic?

We have every right to fight for the achievement of the people’s revolution.

People’s Republic means New Democracy, because when New Democratic Revolution was accomplished in China the state was called a New Democratic Republic. New Democratic Revolution and People’s Republic are the same. There is a chance that through the constitution-making process we can write a new constitution of People’s Republic. But that cannot be achieved without mass upsurge.

This is because in the given situation, the Maoist party is in favour of a People’s Republic, but we do not have enough support in the Constituent Assembly to write our type of new constitution. On the other hand, all the other political parties except for the Maoists also don’t have enough support to write their type of republic into the constitution.

In this specific situation in Nepal, only Jana Andolan 3 can resolve the problem of writing a constitution. The new constitution cannot be written only in the Constituent Assembly. This is neither possible for us nor for them.

When we have to write the new constitution, only Jana Andolan, a people’s upsurge, can put pressure on and create the situation whereby all the other forces excluding the reactionary forces would support the Maoist proposal. There is thus some possibility of a People’s Republic. But in all cases only the people’s upsurge, or people’s movement, will complete the revolution. And our party is in favour of Jana Andolan 3.

Now we call it people’s insurrection, or people’s revolt. But only a people’s revolution can play the decisive role in making New Democratic Revolution.

WPRM: What role do you think Maoists and anti-imperialists around the world can play on these questions of democracy and the construction of socialism, and the successful completion of New Democratic Revolution in Nepal? How can we raise the debate on these questions in the international arena to a higher level ?

Comrade Gaurav: At the present stage we are not going to carry out socialist construction. The present task of the revolution is to accomplish New Democratic Revolution. Only then can we carry out socialist transformation. Now we are in the stage of New Democratic Revolution.

And the international proletariat should support the Maoist movement in Nepal to accomplish the New Democratic Revolution. We think that a revolution cannot be replicated, only developed. It cannot be a photocopy of other revolutions. It will not be a stereotype of revolution. The Nepali revolution is based on certain fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, but it will have its specific character.

In the case of China, Mao called this the ‘Sinification of Marxism’. We have to accomplish the revolution, based not on exactly what has happened with any other revolution of the world, which took place in history under the leadership of a Communist Party. Although the basic and fundamental guiding principles remain the same, there are many different aspects, including the security of that country, the international situation and other developments in the last decades.

Our party thinks that in the given situation the present line of the party can lead to the completion of New Democratic Revolution. So our class internationally should support the forms put forward by our party to accomplish the revolution. They can make suggestions. But we are formulating tactics on how to achieve the revolution and this does not exactly correspond to other revolutions. Our comrades are in different countries. They read the newspapers and the documents and all the other things, and they find the weaknesses and start to say that we are no longer communists, that we are revisionists.

From outside analysis they will find differences. But what is the reality? The reality of the situation is quite different. And in the present reality we have to accomplish the revolution. That is the major task of the UCPN(M).

We have formulated our line based on the concrete reality of Nepal, the present national and international situation. We think other comrades can make suggestions, because there is danger. When we are in a new experience there is also risk, there is also danger, of deviating towards the right.

Our comrades should give their sincere suggestions, which we will accept. But they should not condemn the revolution. If this revolution will be condemned or will not be cooperated with by our class internationally, it is hard for us to succeed. And we feel that communists will not help on these questions by doing that.

In fact we expect from our comrades internationally that they should give suggestions, they should express their political concerns about whether the party or line has been deviated. But it is their responsibility to always support us. Condemning the revolution as a whole, or not making any positive contribution to the revolution, that is not a good thing. That is not proletarian internationalism.

And if we succeed then communists around the world should welcome our revolution, and our comrades should celebrate. But more important is to think of what is your own contribution? Making revolution, that is your contribution. Communists have to continue accomplishing their own revolution. And we very humbly request this from the comrades of the world.

We are doing our duty to accomplish the revolution in Nepal. We have no other objectives than to accomplish the revolution. We are struggling for that, and we believe we will be successful in making revolution in Nepal. We are confident.

Blog Guide: A discussion of blog features and primary topic content may be found at the initial entry. The first few entries give a good idea of how best to use the blog, especially for the tagging and social bookmarking at my external Delicious site, and for instructions regarding the Stefandav TV widget.

Subscribe to Stefandav: Atom 1.0 RSS 2.0

Read more!