by Theo Russell
A member of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) politburo, Indra Mohan Sigdel or ‘Basanta’, addressed a meeting in London last week, organised by Second Wave Publications, about the “line struggle” taking place in the party, following a series of setbacks to the cause of advancing to a national democratic revolution. Since the end of the war led by the UCPN (M) – formerly the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) - and the abolition of the monarchy in 2008, splits have appeared in the party over the implementation of peace agreements and Comrade Prachanda’s leadership of the UCPN (M).
In his talk Indra Mohan Sigdel made these points:
“Mao said that with a correct political line, you will have everything: you will have an army, and you will have state power, you will have all of these. But without the correct political line, you will lose all of them.
“Today we see that whatever we had, we have lost. In this case Mao has been proved correct.
“When we started our struggle we didn’t have a single rifle which worked. We had four rifles which didn’t work. But we were able to seize power in the countryside, organise mass support in the towns and cities, and get rid of the monarchy.
“Our army has been dissolved in the name of integration, but this is in fact a surrender. Our fighters were about to defeat the Nepalese Army. But the revolutionary cause ten years of struggle has not been given up. The whole party has not surrendered. The whole party has not become revisionist.
“Now the situation is very difficult, but there is still the possibility that the political struggle will continue until victory. It may take a few years, but the struggle will continue uninterrupted.
“In 2008 our tactics were successful when the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly abolished the monarchy, and we got a democratic republic. But after this advance the leadership never thought of developing the national democratic revolution. What we have achieved is still a reactionary system.
“At the Kharipati Convention held on November 2008 there were very sharp divisions in the party. Prachanda proposed a ‘people’s federal democratic republic’, but the leadership never tried to implement this in practice, and the struggle started again. We developed our plan and had to develop new tactics to achieve the people’s democratic revolution.
“At a three month-long CC meeting in mid-2009 Prachanda finally agreed that a people’s insurrection is a must to establish the people’s federal republic. Will this be peaceful? No, it can never be peaceful, it has to be armed insurrection. The theory that armed struggle is necessary is still valid.
“At the Sukute standing committee last April 3 Bhattarai (now the UCPN(M) prime minister of Nepal) said we can’t make a revolution now, we need to stop and prepare the ground, to integrate the army and write the best possible constitution and then move ahead.
“Prachanda accused him of ‘right deviation’ and being a ‘national capitalist’, and pretended to be revolutionary. But history shows us that no party which has entered into bourgeois government has gone on to create a revolution.
“Later Prachanda, Bhattarai and the other leaders agreed a four point programme: a constitution based on a ‘democratic republic’; an extradition treaty with India; an Indian military and air force presence in Nepal, to protect Indian projects; and ‘relief’ measures, which meant that land seized by the peasants was to be returned to the former landowners, with compensation.
“The call was issued to resist and take the land back. So far land is being seized and seized back again with no violence, but when they commit to implementing the line, the police and army will be deployed.
“We had built up a strong military force which was an inspiration to the people does not exist, actually it has been eliminated.
“Under the agreement our fighters going into the army will have to undergo a ‘bridge’ course run by the army, and those who are unsuccessful will be sent home without a penny.
“This shows that with a correct political line we gained so much, when we took the wrong political line, we lost everything.
“From this point two lines of struggle and two opposed positions have emerged in the party. Now we are in a situation where the people can see the contradictions, and those comrades taking a revolutionary line are gaining support, which is a good thing.
“This will take a long time, but the objective conditions still exist for the revolution. We are now taking our political programme and political education to cadres across the entire country.
“To ensure power, we have to create another PLA, and that PLA has to seize power. The question is how we can sustain our revolution. We are being encircled by imperialist powers, and there are no revolutionary countries nearby.
“We agree with Lenin that it is possible to make a revolution in one country, but the question is can we sustain the revolution.
“Armed insurrection is definitely the most important factor, but the question is how to bring this about. Overall conditions are increasingly favourable because the contradictions and class struggle are sharpening in the capitalist countries, but the question is how to deal with this situation.
“If we eventually achieve the revolution, then definitely the state will be led by the proletariat, but until that time power will be held by all the people, as Mao said.
“But the situation is very very difficult and very sensitive. This line struggle is going deep into class struggle, it will produce a result and show the way forward.
In an article last September, Basanta provided further detail on the ideological struggle taking place in the UCPN(M).
“The ideological struggle in our party has now been manifested in two lines, Marxism or reformism, and it has centred on ideological, political and organisational lines.
“The Party did not have any tactics through a period of almost a year after the democratic republic of Nepal was declared. In the situation when the old tactics were over and the new ones was not taken up it was obvious the party had no plan to go forward, except cycling around the parliamentary exercise.
“Finally, elucidating that Nepal was still a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country and the federal democratic republic was a reactionary political system, the party adopted a new tactic, a people’s federal republic, to accomplish the new democratic revolution. This tactic is still valid and is awaiting its execution.
“On May 1st 2010, the party declared from the stadium at Tundikhel, Kathmandu that an indefinite strike would be continued until it culminated in a people’s insurrection, through which Nepalese people become the masters of state power.
“This brought about unprecedented enthusiasm among the broad masses. But strangely, after less than two weeks; the strike was suddenly brought to a stop, which did nothing other than bring about complete demoralisation among the people.
“The ideological struggle that had started from Kharipati reached its climax after the indefinite strike was stopped. Everyone from our leaders to cadres, as well the Nepalese masses, is aware of the height of the Palungtar debate held in November 2010.
“The two-line struggle being waged after Kharipati took a different turn after the standing committee meeting held at Sukute. Essentially, the contradiction between reform in essence and revolution in form that existed in our party leadership was resolved at Sukute.
“It is clear that the new democratic revolution in Nepal is now on the threshold of counter-revolution. It is being manifested in the danger of surrendering the PLA in the name of army integration, and in writing document of compromise with the comprador, bureaucratic capitalists and feudalists, in the name of building consensus.
“If army integration is carried out in a capitulationist way and if a document of compromise is adopted in the name of writing a constitution, it will be an outright counter-revolution.”