Thursday, February 12, 2009

Matrika Yadav Splits From United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

It seems that there has been a split in the Maoist Party in Nepal. While splits are not necessarily a bad thing or a major obstacle, this does seem to be a major split. Matrika Yadav has left the party to "reconstitute the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)". For more info see:

This split is obviously significant because Matrika Yadav is a major fish in the Maoist party (and government). Yadav was originally the minister for land reform, but resigned from that post last year after a controversy around the redistribution of land. It is very important also because Matrika Yadav is the foremost Madhesi spokesperson in the UCPN(M). To have the major Madehsi leader very publically split from the party is of immense importance, especially with the problems in the Terai ongoing. It will make it increasingly difficult for the UCPN(M) to gain the trust of the Madheshi people.

The reasons for the split given by Yadav were:
a) The leadership of the UCPN(M) is now dominated by corrupt and power hungry individuals who have forgotten their revolutionary convictions.
b) The UCPN(M)'s position on the Madheshi/Terai questions is unsatisfactory and not in line with the aspirations of the Madhesi peoples.

In regards to a) I find it hard to believe, at least at this stage. From all I have read I haven’t as yet seen any reason to believe that this is the case. If anything the evidence of what I have read has been to the contrary, that the leadership is actively trying to prevent the bureaucratization of the party, as they brought in limits of what their party members in the assembly can own use ect, just a few month ago. Furth if this sell out has occurred, when did it occur? I can’t see any defining point where the party "changed" and the leadership changed from a revolutionary one to a corrupt one. Nor have I seen any major changes of policy which would suggest this change occurred within the current leadership. I can’t say beyond doubt that this is the case. I am starting to hear complaints of nepotism by some members of the party, but the majority of what I have heard come my way does not seem to back up Mr. Yadavs claims.

Point b) also seems strange. Personally I am satisfied with the UCPN(M)'s position in the Terai, and across Nepal, is that all national minorities and oppressed groups will have regional autonomy and the New Nepal will have a federal structure. The UCPN(M) however does not support the slogan of "One Madhes- One Province" where the entire Terai would become one autonomous province, because the Terai is not one homogenous mass, there are various ethnicities and the region needs to be administered accordingly.

This brings us to the real causes of this split. Firstly, it is the success of the "Madhesi movement" in splitting the revolutionary forces. The Madhesi movement is based on the legitimate demands of the Madhesi people, who have for years been oppressed by the central government in Kathmandu. However the "Madheshi movement" did not start with the strikes and protests in 2007, and its leadership did not start with the Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum and the Madhesh/Terai Democratic Party. The Madhesi Movement comes out of the Communist Party of Nepal(Maoist), the people’s war they started and the 2006 Peoples Movement, which was led in large part by the CPN(M).

The Madhesi Movement from 2007 onwards was the usurpation of this struggle from the people who made it possible to a new conservative leadership. This new leadership has taken legitimate demands for self determination and replaced it with a counterproductive Madhesi chauvinism. Furthermore it has sidelined the most important thing that will change the lives of the Madhesi people, that being land reform. This usurpation of the Madhesi movement was actively pursued by international imperialist forces, and has been amazingly successful in splitting revolutionary classes and forces, which adds pressure to the Maoist lead government. This pressure is even more so on the Madhesi members of this party and this has apparently caused Matrika Yadav has chosen to split.

The second and larger issue behind this split is that to this point the Maoist government has not been able to bring about much in the way of real change. This is due to mainly due to the hesitance and resistance to change brought by opposition forces. The Nepali Congress represent these forces first and foremost, but the forces hostile to the new government and to any progress it may bring. The old army fears the Maoists government as its ideological opposite and as a threat to its position in society, the CPN(UML) and the Madhesi parties fear their bureaucratic positions are threatened and their support base amongst the people will be threatened, and the state bureaucracy is feeling the heat as the government tries to crack down on corruption.

The combination of these forces means that to this point the UCPN(M) has by and large not been able to implement the budget, and provide small but significant relief to the poorest in society. Moves are being made and the Maoists now appear allot closer to being able to implement their promises. Further after a sharp criticism from the rank and file of the party, the UCPN(M) has renewed its efforts to mobilize the people and its cadre, which will counter allot of the pressure by the reactionaries. However despite this, as long as the budget goes unimplemented, the Maoists will lose influence and support as in the eyes of the people they look more and more like the previous political elite and lose their credibility as they fail to follow up on their promises.

Most important of the promised changes is the need to implement a meaningful land reform. At this point there has been no redistribution of land, and the land question is of fundamental importance. 80% of the population is agrarian based, and a land reform policy will bring an instant and meaningful change to the people, which would sure up beyond doubt the support of the mass of the peasantry. This is especially important because the area likely to be most affected by any meaningful land reform is the Terai and for the Madhesi people. A land reform would bring the Madhesi back under the revolutionary political leadership, and open the road to develop the revolution further.

This (in my honest and humble opinion) is the real cause of this split, the justifiable complaint that the government despite being led by revolutionaries has made little headway in implementing the promised change.

It is too early to come to a conclusion on the affects this split will have. It will undoubtedly make it difficult for the Maoists to reach into the Madhesi areas, but the Maoists will easily do so with one sweep if they implement a land reform. Such a move will sure up unparalleled support for the Maoists and, to use a worn out phrase, sweep Matrika Yadav into the dustbin of history.

However, if conditions with the UCPN(M) has deteriorated so much already, then Matrika may just be saving some revolutionary cadre to struggle for another day, of which revolutionaries everywhere would be thankful.

In all this episode just shows that the revolution in Nepal is perched at an important make-or-break moment. Either it will push on through all the resistance to deepen the revolution, or the Revolution will stagnate, fail and the struggle will wait to be taken up another day.


Ganesh said...

Very good analysis. Readable. Very close to reality.

Stuart Munckton said...

This is a fascinating, in-depth and useful account of the situation.

The only bit that I have some questions about are the conclusion:

"However, if conditions with the UCPN(M) has deteriorated so much already, then Matrika may just be saving some revolutionary cadre to struggle for another day, of which revolutionaries everywhere would be thankful.

"In all this episode just shows that the revolution in Nepal is perched at an important make-or-break moment. Either it will push on through all the resistance to deepen the revolution, or the Revolution will stagnate, fail and the struggle will wait to be taken up another day."

This isn't so much to do with the specifics of Nepal, which I am not in a position to judge, but a more general comment about revolutionary organisation and also the dynamic of revolutionary situations.

I am not sure what is meant by "saving" revolutionary cadre to "struggle for another day". The question of revolutionary organisation is one that is entirely practical: what is the best form that can advance the struggle to build the socialist movement?

There is no organisational form that could "save" cadre, assuming it would even be a useful thing to view organisation in such a way. Organisation is not a shield to protect people from opportunist infection, it just isn't possible to resolve a political problem in such an organsiation way.

Assuming the accusations are correct (which of course you don't and your arguments ring true to me) then the question for Matrika and those who support him would be what is the most effective way to organise in order to counter this, what organisational forms advance the struggle to win, what is after all, a *mass* movement to a perspective for revolutionary advance?

The question of a split (again this is based on Matrika's premise of extreme degeneration) would need to placed in that context - to break with the UCPN-M and its mass base and support is significant, and it would need to be justified according to whether it was possible to get a better sharing by choosing to organise outside its structures. The question of "saving" cadre isn't really relevant.

This ties into the concluding lines of thee post: "Either it will push on through all the resistance to deepen the revolution, or the Revolution will stagnate, fail and the struggle will wait to be taken up another day."

this strikes me as too black and white and bending the stick too far in the direction of the "party" in the "party-mass" dialectic.

There are things that exist regardless of whether or not the leadership has seriously degenerated. It wasn't the actions of *simply* Maoist cadre and Prachanda that has achieved these changes.

It was also the masses of the poor - existing in relationship with the role of the Maoists. And the poor mass have been highly mobilised and have had their expectations raised significantly.

Therefore, the question of the Nepalese revolution does not simply end with the question of the UCPN-M leadership. It could degenerate along the lines of the accusations made by Matrika without that ending the revolutionary opening in the way the post suggests.

Because you still have the intervention of the masses onto the political stage. (This being one of Trotsky's measurements of a revolution - the intervention of the masses, usually passive observers, into political life).

This creates a pressure from below for advances on an even corrupted leadership. This is also why the potential for advances exists, even with a corrupted leadership that works to limit those gains.

Because even a corrupted UCPN-M at the moment still leans on the poor mass for its support.

To break with that necessity of leaning on the poor for support (and therefore coming under pressure for gains in the interests of the poor) would require a more drawn-out period of cooption and lowering of hopes, or else a turn towards repression.

Probably a combination of both would be required, which would still play out over a period of time.

Obviously, the degeneration of the leadership and cadre would have a big impact, but potential for advance and gains would still exist, even if more limited unless a new leadership can be developed.

So I think the concluding lines present an unnecessary "circling of the wagons" *IF* the accusations of degeneration were true.

Of course, as the post doesn't accept the accusations, for reasons that seem perfectly sound (it is a bit far-fetched for such a *total* degeneration to have occurred in such a short space of time) so it is all a bit abstract, but has some value in trying to understand the complicated nature of revolutionary situations and openings.

Take Venezuela. There are plenty of accusations that have come out from various figures and forces as extreme about the Chavista movement and its leadership, and, probably like in Nepal, there is at least some element of truth behind it.

Venezuela exists in a difficult situation, where despite massive internal problems, the revolution managed not just to survive but even advance, with difficulty and dangerously slowly and with contradictions that threaten to destroy it.

The question of a revolutionary cadre capable of leading the broader mass remains open-ended - gains yes but often limited. The gains are getting greater through the PSUV, but even the PSUV is contested territory. Obviously, Venezuela has a million differences including the oil wealth that has buffeted the process.

The point is, revolutions can exist in situations of flux where the direction is not resolved because of the impact on a country of the intervention of mass. So, even if the accusations were true, it would still not be true to present it as needing some sort of retreat to "save" cadre and prepare for some future fight.

For things to get that desperate would require much more significant defeats imposed on the mass movement.

But, those is minor points in what was a great, and very informative post.


Ben Peterson said...


I did rush the conclusions of this post a little and I probably should have gone into more detail, so firstly my apologies.

"However, if conditions with the UCPN(M) has deteriorated so much already, then Matrika may just be saving some revolutionary cadre to struggle for another day, of which revolutionaries everywhere would be thankful.”

More the point I was trying to make was that history, and not me would prove Matrika right or wrong. I have serious doubts to comrade Yadavs wisdom, as I explained, but I am also starting to hear ramblings of discontent about the party, and therefore just trying to hedge my bets a little I spose. The point is Matrika Yadav has chosen to organize outside of the UCPN(M) because according to him, that party will no longer progress the socialist cause. I disagree, but we will see how these events play out in the political scene in the coming months. The point isn’t saving cadre, my apologies, but publicly splitting with the UCPN(M) to go after its mass support, maybe in the longer run this will be successful, because the support for the UCPN(M) is starting to slip slightly due to them being bogged down in an ineffective government.

“this strikes me as too black and white and bending the stick too far in the direction of the "party" in the "party-mass" dialectic.”

In the specific case of Nepal at the current time I don’t agree with you. The masses as you correctly point out are the decisive factor in any revolution. It is also beyond doubt that the revolution in Nepal thus far has enormously raised the consciousness, expectations and militancy of the broad masses of Nepal. But the masses of Nepal are also divided. Namely, the usurpation of the Madhesi movement under the foreign backed conservative leadership splits the revolutionary forces and allows bureaucrats in the Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum and the Terai/Madhesi Democratic Party to effectively railroad public support out of the revolutionary camp and into the camp of the status quo.

And this division of the revolutionary classes is proven within the UCPN(M). Several months ago now they had an extended meeting which involved more than 1200 cadre, and naturally people allot closer to the grassroots. It was this grassroots pressure which now has the party talking about a third peoples movement and to bring change through revolt. But it is also grassroots pressures that are causing these Madhesi splits. Matrika Yadav is not the first, but actually the third case of central Madhesi leaders leaving the party claiming that the UCPN(M) is not taking the Madhesi issues seriously. (Comrades Goit and Jwala left well before). The reasons essentially behind these splits (as i see it) is also grassroots pressure, spreading from the division in the movement.

Therefore for the revolution to progress, this needs to be overcome. The only way of doing this, would be land reform. This would sure up the support of the peasants, which is the vast majority of the population, especially in the Terai/Madhesh areas. If this doesn’t happen, then I think the revolution will stagnate. This would be a drawn out process, as you point out, but I think that while reactionary forces have divided the broad masses, this will only continue if the UCPN(M) does not challenge the reactionary forces while it can. At the moment, the UCPN(M) has broad respect and can rally the people to their banner, but the longer they are in government and that government is not effective at all at providing any sort of change then this revolutionary credit built up over years of hard work will disappear.

Not sure if this helps clarify anything.

Stuart Munckton said...

Thanks, that is very interesting and level of detail that helps understand situation a lot better.

My comments were very general, and the general always has to play out in specific.

Your points about land reform, especially in relation to the Madheshi, seem to get to the heart of the issue. Similar issues have tended to face revolutionary processes along these lines, going back to Russia - under their own particular set of circumstances.