Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On Multi-party Competition by Dhruv Jain

Dear Comrades,

One of the most controversial aspects of the current Nepali party line has been their advocacy of "multi-party competition", which often as been conflated with "multi-party democracy". Today I had the privelege of spending a little time with Comrade Basanta of the International Division, and he clarified some points of the proposal.

Marxism-Leninism, and subsequently Maoism, has demonstrated that when properly applied is an appropriate theory for the capture of State power, however, time and again revolutionary forces have been unable to sustain the revolution and have been unable to defeat the counter-revolution. Tthere are clear and apparent limitations to the currently existing MLM theory on the question of how to sustain the revolution, furthermore, arguments that there needs to be a undoing of the division of manual and mental labor are correct but this takes time and the problem remains in the short-run. Thus, the Nepali Maoists advocate a form of 'multi-party competition' under the dictatorship/democracy of the proletariat as a possible of way of dealing with the problem. However, it must be noted that within the Party there still remains a lot of debate about the proposal and its application, and it definitely is not being advocated as 1) the only answer to the problem of how to sustain communism and 2) as a universally-applicable theory.

Comrade Basanta put this question into a historical context by explaining that Comrade Lenin himself acknowledged that the capture of state power was easy, as compared to the building and sustainability of socialism. Comrade Stalin weakened the focus on continuing the revolution after state-capture as he believed that the class struggle within the USSR had ceased, and that the only enemies were external ones. This of course proved erroneous as revisionism is not an external threat, but develops internally (jn the case of Russia it was Stalin's own right-hand man Khruschev). Comrade Mao Zedong recognized and theorized the problem and launched the GPCR, but was unable to adequately to articulate how to methodologically deal with the problem, and this is the theoretical/practical juncture at which the communist movement is left at.

Comrade Basanta argued that after the capture of State power there will remain national and international contradictions, and that one political revolution cannot wipe away all of the remnants of class-based or feudal society, and their cultural/social articulations. Furthermore, international contradictions caused due to imperialism will also continue. And, thus the Maoists propose that a United Front under the leadership of the Communist Party be formed between those forces that have an anti-feudal and anti-imperialist character, effectively an alliance of workers, peasants and the nationalist bourgeoisie. Within the parties of this alliance there can be competition, whilst having a dictatorship over the ruling class parties, and this would be ensured through the constitutional framework. Comrade Basanta noted that even in China there was an alliance of parties with the CPC, however, they were forced to play a subsidiary role and there was no competition between them. The Nepali Maoists believe that the class unity and centralism against reactionary elements will only be strengthened through multi-party competition. Furthermore, they believe that this will ensure that the masses remain galvinized in the post-state capture situation.

Marxist revolutionaries around the world must take up the question of how to sustain the revolution after state-capture seriously and debate how to do so? The Nepali Maoists have provided one possible solution and that too must be vigorously debated and considered. Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend!

Lal salaam!

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