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|Volume 11 |Issue 45| November 16, 2012 ||
Cool it, Comrades
Kamal Dev Bhattarai
When the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) split from the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) on June 18, its top leaders blamed the mother party for being “neo-reformist” and failing to give clear cut direction to the party and country. It has been six months since the CPN-Maoist went its own way, and now its leadership is being accused of the same thing by its cadres and leaders.
The party has been telling its cadres to fight to ensure a “people's constitution” through a “people's revolt”, a frequently used but not properly defined term. The CPN-Maoist is yet to carve out its path and policy to achieve a “people's constitution”, and the party leaders and cadres have been disillusioned by this delay. The party's central committee (CC) meeting that took place from October 29 to November 5 endorsed a political document presented by party chairman Mohan Baidya. The meeting, however, failed to draw a clear political course for the party besides the nature of its leadership.
There is a debate going on within the party whether to go for collective leadership or centralised leadership. During the 10-year conflict, the Maoists adopted centralised leadership. When they joined peaceful politics, they embraced collective leadership. The new party CPN-Maoist is still undecided on which kind of leadership will be beneficial. Some leaders are arguing for centralised leadership while others have rejected the idea stating that it would produce another Prachanda in the party.
The document that will be finally put at the party's general convention which begins on Jan 9, 2012, contains nothing new about the party's ideology and type of leadership. The CPN-Maoist is struggling to vindicate the relevance of its split. The CC reached an understanding to hold internal debates to fix the policy and the party's path as soon as possibleBaidya has used the same political terms in his document that the UCPN (Maoist) used during the 10-year insurgency such as roundtable conference, national independence, fusion of class and caste politics, formation of parallel government and establishing the rights of workers and marginalised communities. His main approach seems to be projecting the UCPN (Maoist) as being “revisionist, corrupt and self-serving” to attract more cadres into their fold and raise issues related with India to evoke anti-Indian sentiments.
Another agenda the party has adopted is a campaign for independence (“swdhintako abhiyan”) that calls for symbolic protests against India and condemns the different treaties and agreements signed with the southern neighbour. The party has submitted a 70-point charter of demands to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai which is similar to the 40-point demand the Maoist party submitted to the government in 1996. Leaders said this slogan would help garner support from many people, including former royalists.
In 2008, following his resignation as prime minister, UCPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had also launched a campaign for "independence". Dahal, including the present Prime Minister Bhattarai, later concluded that the movement against India had been counterproductive for their party. The issue of “swdhintako abhiyan” is a short-lived agenda of the CPN-Maoist that will not substantially boost its image.
The other issues Baidya has pointed out in his document are scientific land reform, ensuring the rights of marginalised communities and peasants and so forth, the same old issues. On the one hand, the party leadership has failed to provide new issues and agenda for their cadres; and on the other, they lack a clear model of revolution that the party dreams of launching to achieve a “people's constitution”.
The party has an official position that it will launch a “people's revolt” based on a “people's war”, but it has failed to provide a clear blueprint of the revolution. The party has decided to form its military entity, but there has been no substantial progress on this front. Some leaders say an armed struggle is indispensable to achieve their goal of a people's republic, maintaining that they would not adopt a model the then Maoist party had followed during the decade-long insurgency.
The CPN-Maoist has also said that it will not copy the model of revolution adopted in China and Russia. Though the leaders say they will develop an indigenous model of revolution, they seem to be confused about its nature. The leadership is also unsure about the path to achieve the party's goal — continuing the ongoing process or opting for an armed insurgency. While the major parties are preparing to go for fresh polls, the CPN-Maoist is undecided about taking part in the election.
If the party leadership does not come up with a concrete policy and path, frustration among its cadres will rise further. After the Maoists split, hardcore leaders and cadres joined the CPN-Maoist expecting that team Baidya would stick to communist ideals and the revolution. They dream of establishing a one-party communist system through an armed insurgency.
Baidya and company succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of the hardcore cadres convincing them that they would remain faithful to the ideals of the insurgency. However, one thing is clear — another round of fighting is not possible, and the party has no alternative but to embrace the ongoing peaceful path. It cannot justify the necessity for an armed insurgency as the country has achieved tremendous political gains compared to the situation in 1996. Nepal has become a republic, it has been changed into a secular country, the rights of marginalised communities are gradually being achieved and the country is in the process of social and economic transformation. These achievements will be institutionalised once a new constitution is promulgated.
The party leadership should courageously tell its cadres that an armed insurgency is not possible now, and that they should join the ongoing process and embrace the democratic and competitive political system. As the people have become tired of the inability of the political parties to deliver despite the huge political upheaval, they will not support any party's revolution or movement. The Baidya party has no alternative but to join peaceful politics and tell its cadres frankly that establishing a one-party communist rule is only a pipe dream and not realistic. The longer the leadership keeps its hardcore cadres in the dark, the weaker and more directionless the party will become.
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