Sunday, November 23, 2008
Cadres' convention continues to debate two reports
The debate over two political documents has continued at the ongoing National Convention of Cadres of the Maoists.
As the debate is not reaching any conclusion, some leaders are saying that the issue could drag till the general convention of the party.
The group wise discussion over two reports – one by party chairman and prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and another by senior leader Mohan Baidya 'Kiran' – have completed by Sunday evening.
The group leaders would now present their views before the party leadership on Monday.
"They can air their views as they like," said party spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara.
The party is also expected to hold central committee meeting on Monday.
Posted by nickglais on 11/23/2008 01:14:00 PM
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An Essential Philosophical Thesis: "It Is Right to Rebel against the Reactionaries" - Alain Badiou
The first set of key concepts (I am providing excerpts from the article) proposed by Badiou concern the interpenetration of Marxist theory and practice, which I think go to the heart of the matter in the current debate within the school of Nepal’s Maoists:
“.. This phrase [Mao: ‘It is Right to Rebel against the Reactionaries’], which appears so simple, is at the same time rather mysterious: how is it conceivable that Marx's enormous theoretical enterprise, with its ceaselessly and scrupulously reworked and recast analyses, can be concentrated in a single maxim.. And what is this maxim? Are we dealing with an observation, summarizing the Marxist analysis of objective contradictions, the ineluctable confrontation of revolution and counterrevolution? Is it a directive oriented toward the subjective mobilization of revolutionary forces? Is Marxist truth the following: one rebels, one is right? Or is it rather: one must rebel? The two, perhaps, and even more the spiraling movement from the one to the other, real rebellion (objective force) being enriched and returning on itself in the consciousness of its rightness or reason (subjective force).. every Marxist statement is—in a single, dividing movement—observation and directive. As a concentrate of real practice, it equals its movement in order to return to it. Since all that is draws its being only from its becoming, equally, theory as knowledge of what is has being only by moving toward that of which it is the theory.. Mao Zedong's sentence clearly situates rebellion as the originary place of correct ideas, and reactionaries as those whose destruction is legitimated by theory. Mao's sentence situates Marxist truth within the unity of theory and practice.."
For the Maoist factions in Nepal, what is essentially at stake is the question of whether the line of “Prachanda Path” as it has come to be known is indeed an “objective force” interpenetrated with a novel theoretical development, a “subjective force” – or is the current course of action by the new government, as alleged by its internal critics, a revisionist or reformist infidelity to Maoist thought. Let’s continue with Badiou on the Marxist theory of knowledge in its historical development:
“.. There is hardly a truer and more profound statement in Hegel than the following: ‘The absolute Idea has turned out to be the identity of the theoretical Idea and the practical Idea. Each of these by itself is still one-sided’ It is the uninterrupted and divided process of being and the act. Lenin salutes this enthusiastically: ‘The unity of the theoretical idea (of knowledge) and of practice.. and this unity precisely in the theory of knowledge, for the resulting sum is the "absolute idea’ .. knowledge, as theory, is (dialectically) opposed to practice.. the inner nature of the process of knowledge is constituted by the theory/practice contradiction.. Consider Mao, ‘Where Do Correct Ideas Come From? Often, correct knowledge can be arrived at only after many repetitions of the process . . . leading from practice to knowledge and then back to practice. Such is the Marxist theory of knowledge, the dialectical materialist theory of knowledge’ ..To stabilize our vocabulary, and remain within the tradition, we will call ‘theory’ the term in the theory/practice contradiction whose overall movement will be the process of ‘knowledge’.."
Again, I am trying to apply Badiou’s thesis "It Is Right to Rebel against the Reactionaries" in examining what the theoretical debate in Nepal means. It must at least mean a process of determining whether or not the path of Prachanda is a revisionist or reformist deviation. Likewise it is a question of whether or not the critics of what they call the Prachanda-Bhattarai clique have the right to rebel. The situation suggested by the current internal Marxist debate in Nepal, if my analysis is to be accepted, is that those who are rebellious have already jumped to the conclusion that they have the right to rebel. I am asking, wouldn’t it be better to continue vigilance at this point about whether the path being proposed by Prachanda and Bhattarai is merely a quantitative accumulation based on the collaboration with existing parliamentary power or whether it engenders a qualitative leap in its application of Marxist theory. To understand what this suggestion means I conclude on Badiou:
“On this basis [Badiou’s definition of “theory” as the movement of theory/practice contradiction as a process of knowledge] we may expose the reactionary illusion entertained by those who imagine they can circumvent the strategic thesis of the primacy of practice. It is clear that whoever is not within the real revolutionary movement, whoever is not practically internal to the rebellion against the reactionaries, knows nothing, even if he theorizes.. Mao Zedong did indeed affirm that in the theory/practice contradiction—that is, in a phase of the real process—theory could temporarily play the main role: ‘The creation and advocacy of revolutionary theory plays the principal and decisive role in those times of which Lenin said, 'Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement' ‘ . Does this mean that, at that moment, theory amounts to an intrinsic revolutionary possibility, that pure "Marxist theoreticians" can and must emerge? Absolutely not. It means that, in the theory/practice contradiction that constitutes the process of knowledge, theory is the principal aspect of the contradiction; that the systematization of practical revolutionary experiences is what allows one to advance; that it is useless to continue quantitatively to accumulate these experiences, to repeat them, because what is on the agenda is the qualitative leap, the rational synthesis immediately followed by its application, that is, its verification..“
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