On May 19, 2016, a notable political event occurred in the Communist Movement of Nepal. Under the leadership of Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’, a group of Central Committee Members of the Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Maoist) merged with the UCPN (Maoist) led by Prachanda. Along with them, the CPN (Maoist) led by Matrika, RCP, Nepal led by Mani Thapa, a splinter group of CPN Maoist led by Tilak Pariyar, some dissidents from New force led by Baburam Bhattarai and a few independent individuals, who were a part of the Maoist Movement of Nepal, in the past, have also joined this process. The party so formed has been named as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre).
Subsequent to this event, the neo-revisionist leaders and their apologists have propagated that this incident represents a timely unification of the Maoist Movement in Nepal. On the contrary, the Maoist revolutionaries all over the world do not regard this event as the unification of Maoist Movement. But they think that it is one, the desertion of Badal group from the CPN (Revolutionary Maoist) and two, the reunion of Badal group with UCPN (Maoist). In other words, this process involves two things: desertion from the revolutionary camp and polarization into the neo-revisionist one. This article will focus on these two issues and the ideological and political lines involved in it.
Theoretical concept of unity and split
The Communist party is an entity in motion. It is a dialectical unity of two opposites: unity and struggle. The unity is conditional, time-bound and relative, whereas the struggle is absolute. All sorts of ideological trends that exist in the class society get reflected in the communist parties. The struggle between correct and wrong ideological and political lines that goes on incessantly in a communist party is called two-line struggle. It is the life and also motive force of the communist party. A communist party with no two-line struggle ceases to exist. In the communist party, the more positive the transformation through absolute struggle in the party the higher is the level of relative unity in it. Right for this reason, Mao had talked of unity-struggle-transformation and new unity on the new basis.
The transformation does not take place towards only one direction, but towards two directions, right and wrong. New struggle begins when the old basis of unity breaks out and the transformation that follows leads to higher level of unity or disunity (or even split) depending upon its direction and level. The desertion of some leaders from the CPN (Revolutionary Maoist) and their merge with the UCPN (Maoist) is also unity-struggle-transformation and new unity on the new basis. But, this transformation took place, not to the revolutionary direction but to the neo-revisionist one. As a result, it has become a split in the revolutionary camp and unity in the neo-revisionist one.
The unity between revolutionaries is necessary for the success of revolution. It is known to all. On the contrary, sometimes split too is necessary to get rid of the obstacles that obstruct the defence, application and development of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and its revolutionary line. Thus, it is not correct to mean that split is always wrong and unity is always correct. They are conditional, time-bound and relative. But the recent split that Badal led is not for revolution but against it. In fact it is to escape from revolution.
Attempts of unity and polarization
Formation of the communist party, polarization among revolutionaries and party unity are necessary conditions to propel the proletarian revolution forward. Ever since the CPN-Maoist was constituted under the leadership of comrade Kiran, our party has been striving to achieve principled unity and polarisation among the Maoist revolutionaries. In this process, in order to push the informal dialogue forward our party had sorted out six minimum theoretical bases aimed at attaining unity with the Maoist groupings almost two years back. They were: one, that the Maoist group adopts MLM as its the guiding principle, two, that it regards new democratic revolution as the present stage of proletarian revolution in Nepal, three, that it upholds violence as the mandatory means of revolution, four, that it stands against parliamentarianism, five, that it accepts democratic centralism as its organisational principle and six, that it is prepared to undergo a thoroughgoing objective review of the past weaknesses and mistakes. Party decided that it can enter into informal discussions targeting for party unity on the basis of these minimum theoretical positions. Along with some other small groups, discussion took place with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified) led by comrade Pari Thapa.
The second CA, in which the UCPN (Maoist) was one of the main architects in drafting the constitution, brought out a reactionary constitution. Obviously any kind of unity talk informal or formal could not take place with those political forces that do not consider the constitution as reactionary. In this situation, in addition to the aforesaid six theoretical bases required to take the agenda in hand, party brought out a new basis in which it said that the party in question should at least appraise the new constitution and state power it has restructured as reactionary. Thus, the theoretical bases to initiate informal talks for party unity numbered seven.
Eruption of two-line struggle in the party
Two-line struggle incessantly goes on in a communist party. But, it is not of the same intensity all the time; it is sometimes like ebb and sometimes like flow. In general, the two-line struggle is sharp during the period of party congress and conference in which debates are centred on the ideological and political line questions. But this time, the two-line struggle erupted in our party in a different context. Mainly three questions were posed as the basis of two-line struggle. First, split from the UCPN (Maoist) could not be justified, second, given the recurrent splits Maoist movement has been weak so unity with the UCPN (Maoist) has become urgent for the victory of revolution in Nepal and, third, our party should seek out a meeting point in the ideological and political line to attain unity with the UCPN (Maoist).
Not only this, a number of responsible central committee leaders of the party started factionalism, showed apathy towards implementing party plan, did not cooperate the leadership and maintained relation with UCPN (Maoist) in an unusual way. And, on the other, they inflicted pressure upon the leadership to go for unconditional unity with the UCPN (Maoist). In this uncommon situation, party decided to organise its CC meeting to identify the theoretical bases of unity among the Maoist groupings and requested comrade chairman to prepare its draft.
Soon after the discussion on the document, the theoretical basis for party unity drafted by comrade Kiran, started in the main team of the leadership, serious differences unfolded. Badal placed his dissension that new democracy should be replaced by other political programme in the document presented by Kiran, because the UCPN (Maoist) will not agree to unite with us till we stick at this terminology. By so saying, he stood against the political programme adopted by party in the Seventh National Congress. The two-line struggle sharpened further after Badal said that he would prepare a separate document in case chairman does not agree to change the political programme signified by that term. Badal prepared his document, but chairman too did not agree with that. Badal decided to come up with a separate document to place in the CC. In this manner, along with the dissenting document from Badal, the CC meeting had two different documents to discuss and take position on them. In the meantime, the UCPN (Maoist) forwarded a 3-point short note to our party as their basis of unity to which Badal faction hailed that it was close to party position. But in fact it was sneaky, ambiguous and eclectic.
The Central Advisory Committee meeting was by this time called on to provide suggestions to the Central Committee. In the meantime, two documents were already prepared. The documents that were written for the CC meeting were placed before the Advisory Committee meeting to collect suggestions. Extensive discussion took place over them. A huge majority of the Central Advisory Committee advised that the document presented by comrade chairman was correct, though it needed enrichment. Not only that, they even opined that the document presented by Badal was politically wrong and favoured factionalism, so it was worthy of withdrawal.
The Central Committee meeting began on March 25, 2016. In contrast to everyone’s assumption, Badal said that his document was not his dissension against but suggestion for and complimentary to chairman’s document. But, he also called on the CC members to comment on his suggestion. The debate on the theoretical questions could not be as sharp as needed rather centred more on the sentimental issues in the CC meeting. Anyway, the CC members carried on their deliberation centring on the issues raised by two documents. In addition to this, the CC members were provided with a note on party unity, the UCPN (Maoist) had sent to our party. The CC debate was hot and it continued for ten days. However, the whole thrust of the debate was: one, the leaders must work hard to forge strong internal unity, which is principal, two, they should come up with a single document, and three, the party should strive for external unity but it must be principled. In view of these suggestions, comrade Chairman in consultation with Badal adjourned the CC meeting for a month to find ways if the two-line struggle could be transformed into a higher level of unity on the new basis.
Rise in schismatic activities
Based on the suggestions provided by CC meeting, comrade Chairman prepared an 11-point theoretical basis that put forward the basic ideological and political questions needed to forge party unity among the Maoist forces. No sooner had Badal got to read it than he disappeared from the scene with a copy in hand. With no comment on it and without any notice to chairman, he prepared a 14-point basis of unity of his own and handed over it to the chairman. Also he explained that the 14-point basis of unity he put forward was brought in to replace his main document placed before the CC. Then he circulated it to the CC members to put sign on it. On the one hand, he collected signature from some of the CCMs and on the other, held schismatic gatherings in which he asked them to create pressure for unity with UCPN (Maoist) under the leadership of comrade Kiran. In the name of unity, Badal is prepared for unconditional merger, which can clearly be seen in his CC meeting document entitled ‘New theoretical, political and organisational bases of party unity and victory‘. Badal writes, “It seems to be realistic to get the entire revolutionaries united honestly and responsibly as soon as possible by jointly preparing new theoretical, political and organisational bases”.
Badal’s schismatic activities did not stop right here. With no notice to chairman, he met Prachanda to sort out plan on how the whole party can be brought into unconditional unity. In addition to this, even the standing committee decision of the UCPN (Maoist) to offer second chairman to Badal, the third in their party chain of command, has been publicised. All this that he did was to create pressure for unconditional unity upon the revolutionaries. He held several meetings with other small groups and individuals with whom he prepared an outer ring to encircle the revolutionaries mainly comrade Kiran. All that he did was in the name of broader Maoist unity and victory of revolution in Nepal.
In spite of all this anti-party schismatic activities on the part of Badal, comrade Chairman lost no patience to handle the antagonistically developing two-line struggle in a comradely manner. But what Badal did in the meantime did not help it happen rather deteriorated the situation further. In this situation, chairman had two options: one, call on the adjourned CC meeting to face the unwanted consequences including split or two, postpone the meeting again and try to find ways to maintain party unity. He chose the second option and postponed the meeting again for a month and said that it can be brought earlier if necessary. After chairman issued a circular about it, one, Badal demanded in writing not to postpone the meeting again, two, he called on the CC meeting for May 10, 2016, three, he said that he was ready to withdraw the 14-point basis of unity and signature put on it and four, take in its place the 11-point basis prepared by comrade Chairman to approve from the CC. Taking Badal’s approach as positive and in consultation with him, Chairman called on the CC meeting to be convened on May 14, 2016.
However, the situation changed dramatically when Badal faction held their meeting on May 10, 2016. They decided to discuss with comrade Kiran as their last attempt. Badal and Gurung met comrade Chairman and handed over a 12-point note entitled ‘The points of common consensus for party unity’ with no signature on it. They added that the note, which is based on 11-point basis of unity you have prepared, was jointly adopted by the political task force made up of Prachanda, Narayan Kaji, Badal and Gurung and so it is now you to decide whether or not you join the process of unity based on this note. If you agree we will jointly decide to unite with UCPNM from the upcoming CC meeting, if not we will do in our own. It was in fact a declaration of party split before the Chairman.
The 12-point note, which was prepared on the neo-revisionist ideological and political footing, was not possible to become basis of unity with UCPN (Maoist). Obviously, chairman replied in no. Badal held their faction meeting on May 14, 2016, declared him chairman of their faction and decided to join the UCPN (Maoist). On the much awaited date, May 19, 2016, the Maoist groupings including Badal faction got mergeded into the UCPN (Maoist). In order to bring the Maoist movement to an end from Nepal, Prachanda, in the best interest of imperialist and expansionist forces, has become a key player in this phenomenon and Badal has acted as his confidant to help penetrate the neo-revisionist agenda into our Party and ultimately split it.
Atypical two-line struggle
Rarely, in the history of the world communist movement had the two-line struggle centred on whether to finalise the ideological and political question first and then go for organisational unity or finalise the unity first and then settle the ideological and political questions latter. In appearance it happened in our party now. The revolutionaries under the leadership of Kiran were essentially for the former whereas Badal faction seemed for the latter in form. But, in essence the debate was centred on whether to unite on the basis of MLM or on the basis of neo-revisionism. Badal faction did not want this struggle to centre on the fundamental ideological and political questions. He switched on his struggle from his dissension to new democracy, but agreed to drop it in case comrade Kiran was ready for unconditional unity with UCPN (Maoist). So, he placed the question of unity at the forefront. Right for this reason, the document that Badal had presented as dissension in the advisory committee meeting changed into suggestion in the CC meeting, his 14-point basis of unity negated that suggestion and ultimately the 12-point basis of unity prepared by Prachanda and Badal diluted that to neo-revisionism. It was nothing other than the result of Badal’s ideological unity with the neo-revisionists. This very ideological unity has made his faction’s organisational unity possible with the neo-revisionists. The document he presented has shed light on this reality.
Ideological aspect of Badal’s document
Badal has in his document attempted to review the past experiences of the international communist movement. He has expressed his opinion on the ideological and political reasons behind the counter-revolutions in the socialist and new democratic countries in the 20th century. In this respect, he writes, “The dogmatism/deviation emerged in the socialist/new democratic line, consequence: dissolution of both of the people’s powers”. In his opinion, the dogmatism on the part of revolutionaries is the reason behind counter-revolution. To put concretely, those who are responsible for counter-revolution in the countries including Russia and China are not right revisionists but the revolutionaries.
If this conclusion were true, the main actors of counter-revolution are not the revisionist leaders like Bernstein and Kautsky to Khrushchev and Ch’en Tu-hsiu and Liu Shaochi to Teng Hsiao Ping, but the international proletarian leaders like Lenin, Stalin and Mao, who developed the revolutionary lines, challenged imperialist, accomplished revolutions, practiced new democracy and socialism and developed them further. Besides, it is not the right revisionism of Manmohan, Raymajhi, Tulshilal, Madan Bhandari and Prachanda that is responsible for the failure of revolution in Nepal but it is the dogmatism of the entire revolutionary leaders and mainly comrade Kiran, who is responsible for it. Is this the reality? No, it is the right revisionism that is responsible to counter-revolution in Nepal and all over the world as well.
Again, his document writes that the reason of counter-revolution is deviation along with dogmatism. But what kind of deviation was that? He has nowhere mentioned about when and how it had appeared and who was involved in it. Without touching the right revisionists, he has attacked upon the revolutionaries. It is the manifestation of right revisionist deviation.
Badal has raised serious questions in relation to fundamental aspects of scientific socialism. Like for example, one, “the ‘left’ thinking that attempts to establish and consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat by means of the very old socialist strategy” is another reason of counter-revolution, according to Badal. The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist concept that the dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary all through the transitional period from capitalism to communism and it should be consolidated by means of continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat is ‘left’ thinking in his opinion. Not only this, he has also suggested ways to stop counter-revolution. He writes, “The proletarian leadership should be ratified by creative and competitive means, not in mechanical and bureaucratic way.” In this manner, he has not only stood against the dictatorship of the proletariat but has proposed creative political competition and peaceful transition, as a means to ‘strengthen’ proletarian leadership. In fact, it is not new but very stale logic put forward on 1956 by Khrushchev, the father of modern revisionism.
Two, raising the context of counter-revolution in the socialist camp, Badal has also put forward new propositions on the political line of bourgeois democratic and socialist revolutions in the under-developed and developed capitalist countries in turn. He writes, “The socialist/bourgeois democratic revolution is not now possible from the old line. … In the underdeveloped capitalist countries, of which the socio-economic condition is in the transitional phase, the socialist strategy should be incorporated to a certain level into the main strategy of bourgeois democratic revolution. That is, implementing mainly national bourgeois and partly socialist programme, the socialism-oriented national democracy should be established in these countries.” Here, the new democracy in itself is an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution and it is the preparatory stage of socialism. If this is the case, why this programme should be changed? Has the stage of revolution been different in our country? In so saying, there seems no any other reason than tallying with the programme the UCPN (Maoist) had adopted in Hetauda Congress. On the other, the concept of national democracy was first put forward by Khrushchev, in the international arena. The Communist Party of Nepal had adopted this very programme in the Third Congress, under the leadership of Tulshilal.
Three, he has proposed ideological and political line for the future socialist revolutions. He writes, “In the developed capitalist countries, the strategy of national bourgeois revolution should be incorporated to a certain extent under the main strategy of socialism. That is, implementing mainly socialist and partly national bourgeois programme, the National Socialism should be established.” Following the success of socialist revolution in Russia, in an answer to the question – what will be the character of revolution in the under-developed countries of the East – Lenin said it is not me but the comrades of the East who should find answer to this question. Surprisingly, Badal declared that the line of socialist revolution for the imperialist countries is National Socialism. What a strange, Badal seemed genius than Lenin. However, he is silent on where does he differ from National Socialism, the totalitarian movement of Nazi Party, Germany.
Four, on the parliamentary system, he writes, “The parliamentary system is a brokering mechanism of reactionary forces. …the parliamentary system should be adeptly used as an important front of struggle when necessary because the inter-imperialist contradictions are expressed in the parliamentary system.” It gives a sense that the use of parliament should be strategic not merely tactical. It is parliamentarianism.
Five, in order to accomplish socialism-oriented National Democratic Revolution, he has proposed the line of struggle too. He writes, “The whole preparation of revolution should be carried out by intervening upon the existing state/system tactically from the street, parliament and government and the international fronts”. From the standpoint of front of struggle, all of the three, namely street, parliament and government cannot be of equal importance. Of them, always the street is principal, parliament can be used in a tactical sense and the government can be used in the special situation. It is eclecticism to present all of them in an equal footing. In the name of preparation of revolution, it is parliamentarianism to unconditionally use parliament and Millerandism to cyclically participate in the government. It is parliamentarian cyclicalism.
Six, when Badal was presenting his document before the CC meeting, he confidently announced that the Millerandism of the past can be revolutionary Marxism today. In fact, it clearly shows their concept on how they regard the participation in government.
Seven, Badal’s document has not spelled a single word about proletarian internationalism.
Badal has claimed that what he says in his document is the creative application and development of Marxism. But, it is not a new logic. Those, who stressed on creative application and development of MLM more but did not lay emphasis in the past to apply it in practice, ultimately turned revisionists. It was equally true for Khrushchev, Teng Hsiao Ping and Prachanda as well. Now, it is Badal who has joined this queue in the name of creative application and development of Marxism. In this sense, the latest attraction of Badal faction towards the UCPN (Maoist) is the result of their common position towards revisionism. Therefore, the recent reunion of Badal and Prachanda in the name of party unity is a new dimension of the neo-revisionist polarisation in Nepal.
May 19, 2016