What kind of party is the CPN (Revolutionary Maoist) going to build after the latest split in it?
Marxism has taught us that the human society, with the exception of primitive communism, has been divided into two classes, the oppressor and oppressed. Hence, the history of humanity from slave-owning society to date is the history of class struggle. In course of that very class struggle, the class builds a party of its own to organize and mobilise its force, to defend its class interest, to seize and consolidate its power for this cause and in due course to impose class dictatorship upon the class opposed to it. It is equally true for both the classes, the oppressor and oppressed. Hence, a political party is the outcome of class struggle and a political means to carry out class struggle in accordance with its interest. Hence, no political party can simultaneously represent the class interests of both the classes.
The Communist party is a vanguard of the proletariat that struggles against all sorts of oppression in the class society. The proletariat takes up a great goal of establishing world communism in which the state power and political parties wither away with the liberation of humanity from all sorts of suppression and oppression including the class exploitation. Our party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Maoist), is a vanguard of the Nepalese proletariat. Its strategic goal has been to reach the classless society, communism, through new democracy, socialism and proletarian cultural revolutions. In the history, the revolutionaries in Nepal had attempted time and again to form this type of party and as well had acquired relative success in it. When the erstwhile CPN (Maoist) leader Prachanda took on the neo-revisionist line, the revolutionaries led by comrade Kiran rebelled against it and attempted to establish the foundation of a new party. In the face of internal challenges it was not possible to meet the anticipated result. We have again taken up the task of building a genuine communist party when the Badal-Gurung clique deserted from our party and dissolved it in the neo-revisionist group led by Prachanda. We believe we will succeed to attain the mission.
Would you please mention about the organizational principle your party has been exercising?
The organizational principal our party practices is democratic centralism, as other communist parties do in the world. It is also known as Leninist organizational principle. This principle is based upon the dialectical relation between two diametrically opposite categories: the democracy and centralism. The centralism develops upon the foundation of wide-ranging democracy in the committee and the society as a whole. It acts as a guarantee to apply committee decision within the entire party rank and again help practice democracy in the party committee and the masses as well. The democracy without centralism leads to anarchy and the centralism without democracy turns to be bureaucratic suppression. Both of them are wrong.
Extensive discussion among the entire party members of all committees, creative, comradely but sharp criticism of the mistakes and weaknesses on the part of leadership, election of leading organs at all levels of the party is the process of democracy. The leadership synthesises the entire questions raised in the discussion. This synthesis in turn builds strong centralism because the opinion of the entire cadres and even masses is embodied in it. In so doing, the authority centralised at the main leader of the committee represents the ideas of entire party cadres and even the masses. In this situation, it is not difficult for an individual to be under organisation, minority to be under majority, lower committee to be under upper committee, whole party to be under central committee and the central committee to be under the congress; rather it becomes a question of voluntary discipline. If someone has dissent in a certain question, it must not be put aside but should be preserved and allowed to undergo discussion until a conclusion is drawn on it. The more the cadres are enthused to put forward new ideas and practice democracy in the meetings or conferences the stronger the centralism it brings about. However, the expected result can be achieved through sharp but well-planned debate that takes place in the active and animated committees.
An opinion is floating that the Leninist organisational principle too has got some lapses in the given situation, so an alternative should be sought on it. What is your say on this?
It is correct that no principle is a dogma. It is equally trues for the Leninist organisational principle too. So, it is necessary to go through timely enrichment to some of the concepts of democratic centralism. It is self-evident. In spite of this, the way how the question has been raised to hunt for an alternative to democratic centralism is utterly wrong. The democracy and centralism are two opposite categories. The relation between them is the relation of dialectical unity. The concept that says to seek a substitute for the dialectical unity between two opposites is a pluralist concept. The reformists and neo-revisionists, who want to change the communist party into a pluralist one and thereby open the door of parliamentarianism, have been forcefully raising this issue in the name of development of organisational principle. We the revolutionary communists must forcefully oppose and defeat this concept.
How can the organisational practice during people’s war and the peace process be summed up?
Our party has not yet summed up party’s organisational practice during people’s war and the peace process. It is clear that party organisationally had undergone serious problems in the later part of people’s war and the peace process as well. Those organisational problems had further fostered the ideological and political deviation that emerged in the party. Its total summation is not possible here. We will do it in the course of forthcoming national conference.
How can the organisational problems of the Maoist movement of Nepal be dissected?
Though it had ups and down, the handling of organisational problems and the practice of democratic centralism is basically correct in the history of communist movement of Nepal. After the initiation of people’s war some problems started to surface. During the latter part of people’s war and mainly after the party entered into peace process, the organisational activities in general and democratic centralism in particular were practiced in a wrong way. The main leadership, at the most, used to strive for consensus while taking decisions in the central committee. The main reason behind this was, in my opinion, the metaphysical concept of fusion inherent in main leadership’s thinking. Yang Hsien Chen’s metaphysical concept of “two combine into one” against Mao’s dialectical concept of “one divides into” prevailed in the party for long. In fact, party did not remain unity of opposites. As a result, the dialectical process of unity-struggle-transformation and new unity on the new basis did not happen. The two-line struggle could not be continued to the extent of transformation. As a consequence, it ended either in compromise or split. Party failed to break the circle of unity-struggle-compromise or that of unity-struggle-split. Democracy was limited to formality and centralism became bureaucratic discipline.
Party organisation and party’s organisational system both got destroyed after entering into the peace process. Party committees became so huge and clumsy that it was hardly possible to keep record of who attended the meeting and who did not and how many members make up the given committee, forget about the comprehensive discussion in it. The comrades, who joined party in the later part of time, did not even know about what the self-criticism and criticism mean. The collectivity collapsed and factionalism took its place. In order to realise faction’s interest, Mao “three dos” started to become “three donts” and vice versa. Party meetings became like religious ceremonies in which Gurus deliver their Vedic sermons. It destroyed democracy and the party leaders started to be regarded as omniscient pundits and fortune-makers of people, cadres and the country. All this acted as a base in the party to grow hatred and fideism both towards the main leadership. Apart from the ideological deviations, the organisational chaos that encased the party caused a serious setback to revolution which is before us. We will have a thorough summation of this problem in the forthcoming national conference.
Two-line struggle is known as the motive force of a communist party. But, in the history of the Maoist movement of Nepal, we have seen that emergence of two-line struggle has led to immediate split in the party. Party becomes stagnant when two-line struggle is not waged, the chain of splits does not stop once the two-line struggle is on, if the struggle is compromised that too becomes a base for reformism, how should this contradiction be understood? What will be its way out?
It is a very important question. The communist party is a unity and struggle of opposites. There is ceaseless struggle between correct and wrong lines in it. We say it two-line struggle. The correct ideas prevail in the party only after the defeat of wrong ones. The truth is invented through facts in this process. The revolutionaries defeat wrong ideas through the process of two-line struggle and thereby defend and develop party’s revolutionary line. Hence, two-line struggle is party’s motive force that makes the party revolutionary and develops the revolutionary line further. A revolutionary must grasp it firmly and should show up actively in the two-line struggle in the party with explicit partisanship.
In course of two-line struggle, sometimes a wrong line prevails in the party and it changes party’s colour. In this situation, it is not in the interest of revolution for the revolutionaries to continue in the same party. On the other, some opportunist leaders, who did well in favour of revolution at one time but changed their colour later, desert the party and join another. In terms of party arithmetic both of these events are regarded as splits. However, both of them are in four of revolution and they make the unity among revolutionaries stronger than before. A communist must not conceive these events as splits in the revolutionary party.
On the other hand, when no one has changed its colour but an intense two-line struggle is on among different wrong trends within the revolutionary rank, a revolutionary communist must lay emphasis on unity-struggle-transformation and new unity on the new basis. Split in the name of purity and consensus in the name of avoiding split are wrong. The ideological root of this wrong notion rests in understanding party as a monolithic unity, not as the unity and struggle of opposites. This is metaphysics, not Marxism. The Maoist movement of Nepal is not free from this disease till now. This conception must be defeated thoroughly in course of party building.
The concept that party should strive for unanimity or consensus has worked to some extent behind the unnecessary split or compromise in the party. Its result is either unity after compromise or unanimity after split of those who opine in same manner. There is no third option. The crux of democratic centralism lies not in unity of opinion but in implementation of decision. If a comrade does not see any possibility that his line, which is in minority, will not be discussed anymore depriving of his line to prevail in the party again then he thinks that another party is a must to propel the revolution forward based on his correct line. In this situation wrong organisational steps can be encouraged while forming the party. Based on the fact that minority also can represent a correct line, if the party can develop a system and create a suitable milieu in which debate can be properly carried out in the party then any comrade does not think necessary to build a separate party in accordance with his line. Once this concept is established in the movement then party can be protected from unnecessary splits and there is no need to go through compromise to maintain unity. In fact, this is the way that helps develop ideology in the party, truly makes party the unity of opposites and protects it from compromise in the name of unity and split in the name of purity. It must be deeply grasped and seriously applied in practice in the party of the proletariat.
Don’t you think that the mistakes in the organisational practice of the past are responsible for the deviations in the Maoist movement and finally the counter-revolution in Nepal?
Correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything. This excerpt by Mao is unequivocally correct even today. The main reason behind the prevalence of counter-revolution in Nepal is the wrong ideology and the right opportunist line. Nevertheless, the working style also seriously influences party’s ideological and political line. Error in organisational practice of the Maoist movement, in the past, is responsible to some extent for the predominance of counter-revolution in Nepal; there is no doubt in it.
If you want to add something more?
I would like to thank you, your paper and its entire family for your effort to help establish the Leninist organisational principle in the communist movement of Nepal by bringing this debate forward through your paper. And finally, I wish its success to advance the cause of world communism by helping unite the revolutionaries on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and proletarian internationalism. Thanks.
August 6, 2016