Friday, October 24, 2008

The Internal Struggle of the Maoists in the Lead up to the National Cadre conference

Anyone watching Nepal would probably have read that at the moment there is a very intense internal struggle is playing out within the CPN(M). From what ive read this is my take on the internal struggle. That being said it is hard to find good information, and especially only having access to the english speaking press...

In any healthy revolutionary organisation there is nessiarily a strong culture of debate and discussion. But also any healthy party organisation has to have a firm commitment to democratic centralism. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is no exception to this rule.

In the corporate press there is all sorts of talk about deep and even ireconcilable differences within he Maoist camp as to the direction of the party in the new post CA election context. Any rumours of bidding splits, I belive are false. The CPN(M) has gone through some very momentus and incredibly intense ideological struggles and challenges over its life. The creation of the idea of "Prachanda Path" was not a simple process, but involved a simmilar intense debate and struggle within the Maoist party. Internal struggles have even got to the point where Baburam Bhattarai the defacto number 2 of the CPN(M) was even breifly expelled from the CPN(M) in 2005. Importantly while the CPN(M) has had very intense internal politics, even since before the peoples war began, the intensity of the internal struggles have been matched by a passionate commitment to the party and democratic socialism, and all factions have been able to come behind the party line when all is said and done.

The current debate and disscussion needs to be understood in the context of the situation in Nepal. The CPN(M) finds itself in a very precarious position at present. While they have form and control government it would be false to say that the Maoists have completely captured state power at this stage. The Maoists have found themselves leading what is left of a feudal/bourgeois state. Nepal is a country with 2 armies, the Nepalese Army, which despite dropping Royal from its name is very much still a bastion of the old state, and and the Peoples Liberation Army of the Maoists. Nepal is still crippled by underdevelopment, which simply must be allieviated. Due to a lack of resources and capital any development will have to be tied to foriegn investment, which with the lack of any "soviet bloc" means that this new (potentially) socialist government could need to be open and relatively cooperative with forces such as the IMF or the World Bank. It is this context that the debate within the Maoist Party is happening. The current strategy of the Maoists goes back to when they were still in the jungles during the Peoples war. The peoples war, the co-operation with the other parties and the truly massive Peoples movement of 2006 have brought this strategy to its logical conclusion. The monarchy has been defeated, the constituent assembly is sitting and the Maoists lead the government. Their stragegy was the right one, and they have the success to prove it, and so now they are in the middle of forging the new blueprint for the next stage of the struggle.

Within the party their has emerged two lines and factions within this debate. The first which i will term the "Orthodox" faction from my understanding hold a more traditional Maoist viewpoint and are lead by Mohan Baidya, CP Gajurel, Ram Bahdur Thapa and Matrika Yadav. The second, the "21st Maoists" are more flexible and have been more open to creating a new and dynamic party line, is lead by Babburam Bhattarai and his wife Hasila Yami (and Prachanda has recently shown inclinations to this side of debate).

The Orthodox faction is calling for a "Peoples Republic" in the more tradishional sense. They are calling for the immeadiate controll of the economy and political life. They think that the revolutionary events of the 2006 peoples movement are in danger unless there is an immeadiate and intense puch forward for socialism. They would like to imeadiately try and build a state simmilar to a Cuba or (apparently) North Korea and do away with the constituent assembley (ala Bolsheviks in 1917). Interestingly both sides of the debate maintain that they are for multi party democracy, however the orthodox faction would only allow other parties to function within the political space allocated by the state. The "21st centurary Maoists" are less ambitious but just as revolutionary. This faction recognises that Nepal is impoverished and needs to be able to interact with the rest of the capitalist world in order to obtain capital to develope the country. They are for creating a "people oriented constituion" through the constiuent assembly (simmilar to a Venezeula) and consolidating their own control and the gains of the 2006 peoples movement, before trying to push to a more obviously socialist system. They are for a multi party democracy, but want to change the context of that democracy. (eg they argue that in a capitalist context, the political parties all advcated the same ruling class ideology just different means to that end, but in the context of a socialist revolution, the parties would all be for socialist revolution, but with different means to that end ect). I

n my honest and humble opinion, both these lines have some serious strengths and weaknesses. The 'Orthodox' faction will always be correct in saying that the quickest road to socialism is the best road to socialism, I mean if a socialist party isnt striving for socialism, then it isnt a socialist party is it? But to put your party, and now the nation of Nepal on such a public crash course with the might of international imperialism, especially while the country is so underdeveloped, international solidarity still in its infancy, and your trading partners so limited seems risky, if not suicidal. While it would be nice to have a south asia Cuba, there is no USSR to take the heat off while the New Nepal is being born, and whats more Cuba is struggling under a blockade that makes it difficult for socialism to breathe there, Nepal being landlocked, at this stage could easily be smothered by India closing the border.

That being said the "21st Centuray Maoists" can be cutting a fine line in the race to develop the countryside. They only need to look across the border to West Bengal to see that a "communist" government means shit if they are just communist in name, and not in actions. Particually the bending over backwards to get money off the WTO and the IMF can naturally lead to the seeping in of some less than revolutionary ideas. However if you can keep the outside corrupting influences out and develope the country, then the working classes of Nepal will be in an infinately better posistion to spread the revolution as time goes on. T

hese two lines are currently being debated out, allong with many other issues, in the lead up to a National Cadre Conference in November, to decide on Maoist stratgy going forward. There are two important things to remember more than anything else however. For one, which ever line gets up and what ever happens at the conference, the fundamental thing about the revolution in Nepal will not change, and that is there are millions of oppressed peoples who are actively involved in the changes of that country, who know the power of their class and are already far better off for the relativly small changes so far. The monarchy -gone, the caste system, largely gone, developement- seriously being challenged, sexism- seriously being challenged, feudal land relations- seriously being challenged or already gone. On top of this the Young Communist League with half a million members is not going to be any less active against corruption, the revolutionary women are not going to stop uplifting women. At this stage the machine has enough juice to keep it ticking over.

Secondly, nothing i can say is of any consequence, and i would like to stress that this are my own ramblings from my analysis with only a few limited contacts in Nepal and then jsut what i read on a few email lists and websites. Take note that this party is a party that since its creation has consistently read the political lay of the land and found the best way to go forward with truly amazing results. If anyone is going to find the best possible way to enhance the revolution in Nepal and spread it to the world, the CPN(M) are the people to do it. At every twist and turn they have made the most of every situation based on the very best concrete analysis of the concrete situation. There is no reason to start doubting them now, and im sure that the exciting developements in Nepal are going to continue for the forseable future.

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