Monday, September 29, 2008
Sarbedaran - Iranian Communists critique the "Nepalese Revolution"
Nepal Revolution: Great Victory or Great Danger!
Haghighat #40 — May 30, 2008
Thanks to Mike Ely oof Kasama for making this critique available. The original article is available on the right hand side links friends and comrades under Iranian Marxist Leninist Maoists.
Recent victory of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in the Constituent Assembly election and announcement of the ending of the 240 year old Monarchy and the beginning of the “Federal Republic of Nepal”, in its first Constituent Assembly sitting (May 28th 2008), once again have turned eyes to developments in this country. Euphoria has taken over many revolutionaries and progressive forces of the world and many Left parties from around the world have sent messages of congratulations to the CPNM for this electoral victory.
At first glance, this euphoria is understandable. Many are happy that the name communism has been brought up once again in the new century as a power. They feel this victory of Maoists in Nepal, has once again, brought to minds Communism as an alternative. But the question is, how justified this euphoria is and what is its objective basis? And whether the future of the revolution in Nepal on this path, can be said to be bright?
Of course the fall of Monarchy in Nepal and its abolition as the seat of Hinduism through the struggle of the workers and peasants of Nepal under leadership of Maoists, is a victory and a happy event. But Nepal’s becoming a “Republic” does not resolve the fundamental class contradictions that the peoples war had aimed to resolve.
Our party has not declared joy over this electoral success. This approach has raised a lot of questions in the minds of people, given the fact that our party, along with the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and all its participating parties and organisations, has been a strong supporter of the people’s war in Nepal. This is so especially because in the aftermath of the great April movement in Nepal (2006) and development in the strength of peoples war, going from the countryside to the cities, the editorial of Haghighat (No 30—Oct 2006) predicted eventual victory of Nepal’s revolution and prospect of establishment of a socialist state there. Although that issue of Haghighat correctly pointed to the objective problems that were in the way of this revolution and existence of some confusion in the strategic thinking of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) concerning features of the dictatorship of proletariat – considering the positive and negative lessons of two great experiences of the 20th century in China and Russia – the editorial (and its title in particular) promoted the illusion that Nepalese Maoists were going to seize country wide power soon. The course of events exposed this to be a premature and one-sided prediction. In practice, the Nepalese revolution faced very severe and complex problems and the process of seizure of state power came to a halt.
It has to be emphasized that the revolution in Nepal belongs to proletarians and peoples of the world. The International communist movement, particularly the Maoist Parties are obliged to, while learning from that revolution and taking joy in its victories, open their eyes and see dangerous political and ideological bends in its road and play their due role in this regard. Our party has done its share of this task up to now and will do more. Any sort of indifference and lack of getting into it under leftist cover (but with deep rightist nature) like calling for “another revolution” or by wishful thinking and naively emphasize the “Communist Party of Nepal’s tactical expertise in making concrete analysis of concrete conditions” is equal to deserting one’s internationalist tasks, taking an irresponsible attitude toward defending the achievements of the most important revolution at the beginning of 21st century, and an inability to face the real problems that the proletarian revolutions of our time are facing.
* * * * *
It is obvious that the victory of Maoists in the Constituent Assembly and their turning into the ruling party in the government is not equal to their seizing of political power. Entrance of the Nepalese Communists in the regime is not birth of a new revolutionary state. Their entrance into a feudal comprador state does not turn that state into a revolutionary state under the leadership of proletariat. The difference between state and government is one of the most basic elements of the theory of State and Revolution in revolutionary science of Marxism. State is an instrument of political, economical and social domination of one class over the other. Government is a form that any state can take in the context of different historical political conditions. For example, the governments of the bourgeois ruling class can take the forms such as bourgeois republic, monarchy, or fascistic theocratic regimes (like in Iran.) Proletarian states also can take the forms of People’s Democratic Republic or Soviet Socialist Republic or Federal forms. Changing the form of a regime from one to the other does not means change of the state system. Historically we have seen numerous times when regimes (or governments) have changed without the class character of the state changing at all. In Iran’s 1979 revolution the Shah’s regime fell without destruction of the rule of capitalist and big land owning classes. Shah’s regime was overthrown without a state of the working class in alliance with all other oppressed and toilers, being established. Only by having this kind of state was it possible to reorganize the society on a completely new economic, social and cultural foundation. The state system that the Shah’s regime had relied on (concretely the Army, Security system and its organs, prisons, justice, international relations, etc.) not only was not destroyed, but was only reorganized as part of the process of consolidating a reactionary theocracy regime. The new regime not only was not a New political power, but in fact, having its religious label, it became even more reactionary and was more efficient than before in suppressing the majority of the oppressed peoples of Iran and women in particular. Not only the economic-social foundation of the state was left untouched, but also due to people’s hopes about “revolution”, it was save from their angry attacks and in this way gained time to reconstruct and consolidate itself. Its deep dependency to imperialist capitalism that had shaped the Iranian state not only remained intact but was hidden from the eyes of the masses with a cover of “independence”. The reason of our emphasizing on that experience is to point out that changing of a government should not be mistaken with the change of nature and character of the states. That is why the communists have always defined victory of a revolution with “complete smashing of the state”. In Nepal, a new revolutionary state has not yet been born out of smashing the old state.
In 2006 the Communist Party of Nepal signed an agreement called “Comprehensive Peace Agreement” with parliamentarian parties of that country. The aim of this agreement was establishment of peace and beginning of a peaceful process of establishing the Constituent Assembly and forming a bourgeois republic based one multi party elections including among them the Maoist party. Maoists declared that people’s war had ended and People’s Liberation Army was put into camps under the observation of the United Nations.
At the time, the Central Committee of our party wrote a private letter to CPNM seriously criticizing and warning against this policy while pointing out the truths which has been born out of bitter and bloody experiences of the struggles of the proletariat and people’s of the world, including the experience of the 1979 revolution in Iran. (2) In opposition to the tactics of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) based on “Comprehensive Peace Agreement” our leadership warned about the danger that:
“… this tactic of your party can give a new life to the enemies of the revolution and help them to come up with a clever strategy for building a viable and efficient state. Don’t forget that one of the main reasons the people’s war was able to spread very quickly was due to this state’s instability and incoherence.”
“…the anti people and reactionary class alliances that had taken place in Nepal since 1990 in the form of parliamentarian democracy, could not consolidate the state due to inherent contradictions of those alliance and more so due to people’s war. Now, they are trying to carry out this consolidation process through, on the one hand, pushing out the King and pushing out the people’s war, on the other hand. And if they achieve this the result will be a feudal comprador republic state. his process could go through a lot of ups and downs, since they have to convince the king and; should satisfy trends such as the UML (the revisionist party that is in the regime) or, kick it out.etc. But, the main thing in making the whole deal successful is to pull the Maoists into this and enlist their help in implementing it.” (2)
That letter also warned about the aims that the ruling parties in Nepal and India are seeking through signing this Agreement:
“Their aim is to push out both the King and the revolutionary people’s power which has been formed through 10 years of people’s war in the base areas; and reorganize the old state as a comprador-feudal Republic around the axis of the Congress Party (pro-India ruling party) and the Maoists—of course if the Maoists transform from a party waging people’s war into a political party within the system.””(2)
The Central Committee’s letter asks the CPNM’s leadership:
“Is it impossible for them (for the ruling classes of Nepal and India and US imperialism) to achieve this? No! Of course it is possible that the king and a part of the feudal compradors who are the base of the King as well as the Nepali military generals might resist this plan. But, even in the example of Iran in 1979 we saw that the American generals convinced the Iranian Army generals to let the Shah go and take the side of Khomeini. In Nepal also it is possible that the Nepalese generals might let the King go and take the side of the Congress Party.” (2)
Then the letter brings out another question:
“Is it impossible for them to allow the Maoists into a new state structure which has a form of Republic but the content of dictatorship of the comprador bourgeois class?”
“We are aware that the Indian state and part of the feudal comprador class of Nepal represented by the Congress Party think that there is a good chance for this. We know that the ruling classes of India has done this before in India and are aware of magical force of co-opting the ex communists in the state structure and by doing so they can give a new life to the old state. Through the history of their rule, the ruling classes of India have been able to reorganize and renew their state through co-opting the ex communists and part of representatives of the movements of the oppressed into their existing state. And by doing so, they have managed to turn from an inefficient and unstable dictatorship into a more efficient reactionary dictatorship against the masses. The suffocating role of various “communist” parties in India in mitigating the rebellious impulse of the masses has been no less than destructive role of religion and other ideological elements of the reactionary classes. Reactionary classes of India are old hands in turning communists from old foes into present partners. And right now they are trying to do the same in Nepal.”
The Letter, after analyzing the strategic plan of enemy in signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the Maoists, says:
“This strategic plan is dependent on the working of two tactical wings. First, turn this provisional feudal comprador regime into a permanent one after the Constituent Assembly elections. Second, detach the Maoists of Nepal from revolutionaries in India and around the world.”
The Letter clearly states that, “Use of such strategy by the reactionary ruling classes is nothing new. Lenin had named it ‘Constitutional Solution’ by the old state to solve its dead ends and crisis of legitimacy.” (2)
Participation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in the interim government of Nepal does not change the feudal comprador class nature of that state. With legal abolition of the Royal regime and declaration of republic, the class nature of that state will not change. A change in the form of government is not same as smashing the state of the feudal comprador classes and breaking away from imperialist domination. This is a fact that normally the leadership of Maoist Party should know and it has to inform the rank and file of party and revolutionary and oppressed masses of Nepal of this fact.
Even if the Constituent Assembly passes some political, social and economical “rights” for the workers, peasants, women and oppressed nationalities and designated them as masters of society, up until the heart of the reactionary state – i.e. reactionary army – has remained intact, the real meaning of these laws will be to spread illusion among the masses and take away the real rights that they have gained through the people’s war. As long as the army is in the hands of the exploiting classes and the main means of production under their ownership and control, Constitutional promises about safeguarding people’s interest is unfounded. The role of Constitution in bourgeois republics is exactly to guarantee and serve the foundations of economic exploitation. Even in most democratic bourgeois republics the people’s rights are confined in this frame. If the rights which are promised to people come into contradiction with this basic aim they would easily be trampled upon.
Clearly, the communists of Nepal launched the people’s war with the task that is universal to all proletarian revolutions i.e. “smashing the machinery of the state” and seizing power. And they applied this line for 10 years. But today, considering the difficulties that have come up on the way, they think they can pursue the aim of establishing a revolutionary state through a peaceful road. But this is impossible! No class in history has seized political power peacefully. This much of power also have been gained in the course of 10 years of people’s war waged by the workers and peasants of Nepal under the leadership of Maoists. This much of power is not expressed through the seats gained in the Constituent Assembly but basically through the revolutionary political and economical transformations which was achieved in the course of ten years of armed struggle. But this power, without taking over the whole country, is unstable and in danger of being lost for ever. The central question is, whether participating in the state and trying to change it from within will strengthen the political and economical power of the workers and peasants of Nepal, or will it lead to its complete annihilation? Will ten years of people’s war be used to perfect the reactionary state or for its destruction? If the outcome is establishment of a bourgeois republic, then the sacrifices of the masses will serve the perfection and modernization of the means of oppressing the masses, not the establishment of a new society with new political power, new economy, new social relations and new culture.
If the comrades of Nepal continue on the path they have taken up, that much of political and economic power gained by the workers and peasants of Nepal will not only not be consolidated but will be lost. And instead there will be a feudal bourgeois republic dependent on India, China or both of them.
* * * * *
To prove this, it will suffice to Point to the dominant balance of forces. The Royal army has remained basically intact and enjoys the support of India, the US and big ruling parties. The people’s war came to a halt before smashing the backbone of the old state. If we look at the economic situation of the country, how this small country is in the fangs of Indian state and international economic centers, then the real dimensions of this unfavorable balance of forces will come to. Is it possible to cut off these fangs just by being in the government, and without a proletarian state?
What is political power and the state of dictatorship/democracy of the proletariat necessary for? It is necessary for destroying feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism and dependence to imperialism, and transforming Nepal into a proletarian revolutionary red base area in the world. That’s why destruction of the existing state machinery can not be limited to and reduced to overthrowing the monarchy. The target of New Democratic Revolution is the whole bureaucrat– comprador and feudal classes and their foreign and imperialist supporters, not just the Monarchial part of it. The slogan of abolition of Monarch was and is correct but this has to be done as a part of a New Democratic Revolution and establishment of a New State.
One can not reduce feudalism in Nepal to the institution of Monarchy. Feudalism is the land ownership relations and the pre-capitalistic mode of exploitation. For the peasants to be emancipated, this ownership relations ought to be definitely destroyed. Simultaneously the politico-economic domination of the Indian state on Nepal which is in behalf of world capitalism must be ended. It is impossible to carry out this process without relying on the broad masses and their conscious and organized struggle.
In the imperialist era it is not possible to uproot feudalism without simultaneous expropriation of the bureaucrat capitalism. This capitalism also ought to be confiscated; its nature be altered and turned into the interest of development of a self sufficient economy that has the goal of meeting the needs of the masses.
Which class and with what economic plan will take hold of bank holdings and other wealth of the country? Will the World Bank and IMF, wielding strings of “financial aid” and “foreign investment” continue running the Nepal economy? If these financial institutions call the shots and India continue to keep hands on the throat of the country, then even feudalism cannot be abolished, because, in the era of imperialism, feudalism does not have a life independent and separate from workings of capitalism. The bureaucrat capitalism (dependent on the world capitalist system) and the capitalist system overall (be it through Indian or Chinese capitals or, through “aid” from the World Bank) have transformed and subsumed feudal mode of exploitation in its service. Whatever is left of feudal mode of exploitation (including its social relations) is turned to serve profitability of bureaucrat capitalism. Today, uprooting of feudalism in Nepal requires revolutionary distribution of land in Terai (the area which is a main source for Nepalese people’s nutrition.) People’s War has done whatever possible in the mountains and hills. But to prevent feudalism’s resurrection in reformed shapes or capitalist exploitation taking place of the pre capitalist exploitation, the power should be in the hands of the state of proletarian dictatorship/ democracy in order to carry out a movement of socialist ownership in areas where the land revolution has occurred.
No coalition government with participation of parts of the bourgeoisie (or participation of part of remnants of the previous regime) will implement such a plan, because private property plays a central role in capitalist system and the bourgeoisie of a country like Nepal has deep links with land ownership. Moreover, the exploiting classes, due to their general fear of the poor of the countryside, will never support a revolutionary land reform. It is true that revolutionary land reform program is still within limits of bourgeois democracy. But its implementation in a revolutionary manner is only possible by the proletariat. Only in this way can the small working class of Nepal lay the basis for independent and rapid development of the country. Only land revolution can become the basis for rapid development, voluntary cooperation and collectivization, which has a central role in uplifting the stage of revolution to that of socialist stage.
If there is to be a victory, one can not short circuit this program or invent a “transitional period” for implementing it. It is not possible to make “transition” to New Democratic Revolution by relying on bourgeois republic. As the letter of our leadership to CPNM puts it:
“What you will achieve by restructuring of the state through this “provisional” step will not even be a bourgeois republic. It will be a feudal comprador republic. This republic will weaken the new Nepal that has been born out of old Nepal by the force of revolutionary violence but has not yet been able to completely destroy the old one. The provisional government will open the way for the new Nepal being swallowed by the old Nepal.”(2)
Establishment of a “transitional” bourgeois republic is not a tactic that can serve to propel the strategy of New Democratic Revolution. But it is a tactic that serves the strategy of reforming feudal comprador state. This tactic is very fatal and destructive and could destroy all the hopes and achievements of the Nepalese people. Confining the People’s Army and calling for a single new army through integration of the two is the most damaging aspects of this tactic. (3).
* * * * * *
Congratulations and compliments sent by the communist parties, Left and progressive organizations and individuals to CPNM for this electoral victory only covers up the above mentioned fundamental issues. Without deep and all around understanding of the objective obstacles in the way of the revolution in Nepal, one can not help the comrades of Nepal.
Making revolution in a poor, small, and economically backward country such as Nepal which is sandwiched by two big powers such as China and India, and is in danger of invasion by India at any moment, has a lot of complexities. Moreover, the revolution in Nepal is alone in the world and the balance of the forces internationally is not favorable to it. The combination of these factors has placed numerous constraints on its advance and developments. (4) In any revolution, different lines raise their heads when revolutions faces difficulties and complexities and in response to those. What is most disturbing for communist forces internationally is the line that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has adopted regarding how to advance the revolution in that country. Historical experience has shown that revolutions can be defeated even if the revolutionaries did not make mistakes. In this case the cause of their failure would be unfavorable balance of forces. But when the party which is leading the revolution commits errors and errs in distinguishing the friends and foes, then the revolution will definitely fail. This is the main danger! Wrong political line and policy will enforce the unfavorable factors even more and will make the balance of forces even more unfavorable. Strategic orientation influences the balance of forces positively or negatively, because sooner or later it becomes a material force. When a strategic orientation and its corresponding tactics are wrong, not only it sets into motion the downward spiral of a revolutionary process but in the long run this regression influences the communists negatively—if sows seeds of confusion and enforces revisionism among them.
Revolution in Nepal is in great danger. It is internationalist duty of all communists of the world to pay attention to this. Struggling to face the dangers threatening the revolution in Nepal from inside and outside, undoubtedly will raise the understanding of all communists in the world of the complexities and difficulties of making revolution in today’s world.
But the end of the revolution in Nepal has not been written yet. This revolution has gone through many twists and turns and without wanting to predict its future, by looking at the bigger picture, i.e. changes in the world situation which provides the context for Nepal revolution– we can still see a storm building up. This revolution can, and must continue.
The bourgeois parties in Nepal have accepted to let Maoists to take over the helms of their regime at a time when scarcity and hunger due to workings of capitalist system is on the way. Nepalese reactionaries have organized fascist paramilitaries to carry out the plan of assassinating revolutionary Maoists. The Indian state has stopped export of rice to Nepal under the guise of preventing hunger in India. They, along with the Us Imperialists would like to shift the burden of social problems to the Maoists and channel the anger of the masses towards CPNM. Simultaneously, by ways of conspiracies they try to use existing divisions among the people (such as division among nationalities) in order to fan flames of discord among them and through different ways and means enforce insecurity and instability in the country. It is possible that such crises could change the “peaceful evolution of revolution” into a “non peaceful” one. Hard realities of class struggle may help the CPNM to rupture from the present path as soon as possible. To rectify a trajectory always requires waging a conscious and all around ideological and political struggle.
In Nepal and among the ranks of CPNM it is not a secret that there are differences and line struggles among the Maoists of the world over the trajectory that the CPNM have taken up. The leaders and spokespersons of CPNM have pointed to these differences in their open publications several times. For example Prachanda (the chairman of CPNM) made an interview in 2007 and talked about opposition of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and Communist Party of India (Maoist) with the current line of CPNM. Or another Maoist leader in Nepal, in an interview with Red Star said:
“For us criticisms by Bob Avakian (Chair of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA) and Ghanapaty (Chair of the Communist Party of India – Maoist) is more pleasant and productive than the compliments coming from George Bush and the Indian Government.”
It is noteworthy that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has usually revealed the line struggles within the international communist movement and among the party leaders, for the party supporters, and has been a good example in this regard. But informing and sharing matters with the masses is one thing and launching and spreading a serious theoretical debate and discussions among them around these line differences which have life and death importance for the ICM, is another thing.
Today, the main duty of the international communist movement regarding the revolution in Nepal is not praising partial and temporary victories. Even when the masses (and leaders of revolution) become fascinated by such “victories” and close their eyes to the long term interests, one must draw attention to fundamental truths and the laws governing class struggle. Especially because this “victor” is a poisonous honey that can have disastrous consequences for this revolution and naturally for the whole international proletariat. As it was said in the A World to Win News Service article titled: “On 12th Anniversary of the People’s War in Nepal and its Unknown Result” (February 11-2008):
“At any time, there is no guarantee for victory of revolution in Nepal or any other country. But it could be said that however difficult and horrible the road to complete victory of the revolution may be, still, that is the only real and possible way for changing Nepal. It is necessary for the communists persevere on this orientation and lead the masses in materializing it.”
Haghighat 40- CPIMLM- May 30th 2008
1 – It is interesting to note that most of the congratulating parties had not supported the 10 years of people’s war under the leadership of the Maoists in Nepal as much. Some of them have happily praised this electoral victory so much that had never done a fraction of it for past victories of Maoists in Nepal! Are these kind of parties happy that one can be simultaneously a “communist” and join the typical bourgeois political games? That one can dream of bringing about a radically new society but at the same time put a limit on the long and arduous class struggle? One can see dangerous illusions in these congratulatory messages (especially in those issued by the Communist parties): the illusion that as though struggle for revolutionary change of the society can go through participation in mainstream bourgeois politicking. And even worse, as if the goal of revolutionary struggle is to get accepted into the circles of mainstream politics and get recognition from the system. But these roads have been tested many times before in history and have proved to be failure. This same road was taken by the Communist Party of Indonesia. As a result the Indonesian party experienced such a tremendous defeat that it could not raise its head again. Moreover, the impact of that disastrous defeat did not stay within the confines of Indonesia but was grave for the whole communist movement in the world and even was a big blow to socialist China. A victory in Indonesia could positively influence the balance of forces in favor of the communists but its defeat turn the situation around and made a plus for the imperialists.
2 – This letter was sent from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran (MLM) to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in November 2006. Its full text will be published when the time is right.
3 – One of the articles of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006 was to confine the People’s Liberation Army and have their weapons under the surveillance of the United Nations. This more than anything gave legitimacy to the army of enemy. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) also wanted to dissolve both armies and form a single one. But this was not do-able and did not happen. In January 2008 the chief of the reactionary Military Forces openly opposed this suggestion. This shows that reactionaries never get confused about what is their most pivotal means of exercising power.
4 – For further discussions on this question you can refer to previous articles in Haghighat:
- Different articles in Haghighat No. 30 – October-2006
- Nepal Revolution: complex problems; facile answers! Haghighat 31
- Complexities of a revolution becomes a justification to attack the Maoists. Haghighat 32
- 12th anniversary of the people’s war in Nepal and its unsettled outcome; 11 February 2008. A World to Win News Service.
- Nepal, the People’s Expectation Horizon Getting Wider. April 14th 2008, A World to Win News
There is a link to Iranian Marxist Leninist Maoists - Sarbedaran on the right hand side of this page.
Posted by nickglais on 9/29/2008 06:58:00 AM