By Basanta, The Worker #11, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), July 2007, pp. pp. 15-24.
“We do not regard Marx’s theory as something completed and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that it has only laid the foundation stone of the science which socialists must develop in all directions if they wish to keep pace with life. We think that an independent elaboration of Marx’s theory is especially essential for Russian socialists; for this theory provides only general guiding principles, which, in particular, are applied in England differently than in France, in France differently than in Germany, and in Germany differently than in Russia.” V. I. Lenin [a]
Under the adept leadership of chairman comrade Prachanda, our party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), has been leading powerful people’s war since February 13, 1996. This revolution, irrigated by the blood of more than 13,000 best sons and daughters of Nepalese people, is now clashing at close with the enemies to give birth to a new Nepal, free from feudal and imperialist exploitation. Ever since the loss of proletarian power by our class in China, it is the only revolution that has attained this height. It is not that communist parties are not engaged in revolutionary struggles all through the period following it. Also, it is not to speak ill of others, but it is a living fact that it is the only people’s revolution, which has reached this level in the contemporary communist movement. Naturally, this great accomplishment has on the one hand become pupil of eyes for the proletariat and oppressed classes the world over and dust in eyes for imperialism and all sorts of reactions, on the other. It shows the great opportunities and grave challenges before our party and the revolution it has been leading.
Today, the New Democratic Revolution in Nepal is at a crucial juncture of great victory and severe setback. It is true for any revolution when it reaches at the threshold of seizing central power. In such a situation, only a correct political tactic can lead to great accomplishment while a wrong one is bound to result into disastrous consequence. We have witnessed triumphant revolutions in Russia and China. We have also witnessed serious setbacks of proletarian revolution in other parts of the world. We have sufficient treasury of experiences, positive and negative in the international communist movement. Success or failure of any revolution is dependent on whether or not the party of the proletariat can draw correct lesson from those experiences, both negative and positive, and apply the positive ones creatively in agreement with the specificity of the given country.
The revolution in Peru that had built up strong base areas and a strong People’s Liberation Army and that had entered into the stage of strategic offensive has suffered a serious setback. Also the armed struggles in Burma, Malaysia and Nicaragua that had made considerable advances in their specificity failed to fight back enemy onslaught at a certain juncture of history. The result is before us. Apart from this, there are some armed struggles that are being waged uninterruptedly under the leadership of communist parties since sixties and seventies but they have neither been able to develop a people’s army nor have they been able to establish base areas till date. We firmly believe that without learning from these unpleasant lessons and without developing an ideological and political line to evade from reactionary ambush that the imperialism has planted since Vietnam War no revolutionary party can lead revolution to victory in the present world situation.
The fact that has been objectively proved is that the people’s war waged under the leadership of our party had been making qualitative leaps one after another in the past and has now reached at the threshold of seizing central power. But, the present process of negotiations to clear the way for restructuring the state power through constituent assembly election has created confusion within the contemporary communist movement. Some of our comrades have even termed this process as a deviation from the basics principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Not only at this time, there were confusions over some of the political steps our party had adopted in the past too. For instance, some of our fraternal parties had disagreement when we had united with known right revisionists, the Fourth Congress group led by Nirmal Lama, and when we had partially used parliamentary election, in the beginning of nineties. Apart from this when we had entered into peace negotiations in the past some parties thought that CPN (M) would not keep on with people’s war and take up the revolutionary agenda again. It was a surprise for our fraternal comrades, for the end result did not come out as they speculated but gave rise to a qualitative leap of people’s war after each negotiation. What we firmly believe is that the present process of negotiations too will be a surprise for our comrades, who have doubt on our line, because it is not a deviation from the fundamentals of MLM but a mandatory course that the Nepalese revolution has to go through to seize central power in the present world situation.
Undoubtedly, the concern our fraternal comrades have shown is positive. We have high regard to their sincere criticism. But, why do such confusions arise at the particular junctures of revolutionary process, mainly during the period of political offensive? Why our fraternal comrades have failed to understand the dynamism of revolution we are leading? We think that this gap is the result of differences we have in grasping the historical and dialectical materialism, the Marxist philosophy.
More precisely, this gap exists mainly because our comrades take a look at our people’s war from pragmatic and militarist angle and draw conclusion based on dogmatic grasp of our ideology, the MLM. A brief study of how our party, the CPN (Maoist), grasped MLM correctly and applied it creatively in our concrete condition in the past and how we have been linking that with present practice to seize power can help understand us in a correct way. This article will try to focus on some such points.
If one looks at the history of the international communist movement nobody will find any party sailing smooth. None does so. Every party passes through a tortuous road, so many ups and downs, twists and turns and victories and defeats in its course. Ours was such a party that had gone basically along the right revisionist track for a long period of more than 40 years since its formation. Only in the later part of 80s we came to realize that the way we understood MLM and applied it in our revolutionary life was wrong. It was definitely a strenuous task and a big challenge before the revolutionaries to bring it back along the correct MLM track. Without having a decisive rupture from the wrong legacy of the past it was quite impossible for us to transform. Only the correct grasp of materialist dialectics on the part of our party and its creative application in two-line struggle helped us move forward along the revolutionary path.
Everyone knows that our party, the CPN (Maoist), was formed by organizationally splitting from the party led by MB School of thought. We had profound revolutionary will-power and firm faith on MLM. But, revolutionary will-power alone could never be enough to make revolution nor could sincerity alone to MLM be. Unless we could grasp the MLM correctly and make a decisive rupture from the reformist legacy of the past — MB’s vulgar evolutionary thinking on the development of an object and his eclectic understanding mainly on the contribution of Mao — it was quite impossible for us to lead a revolutionary process. It was not an easy task but a strenuous one to transform the entire rank and file of the party capable to lead revolution. The need of the day was to become a true Marxist-Leninist-Maoist capable to apply historical materialist dialectics in each and every steps of revolutionary practice. We had to go through an intense process of sharp ideological struggle against various shades of revisionism and the eclectic and metaphysical legacy within us to revolutionize our own way of thinking. For this, we focused ideological struggle mainly upon the vulgar evolutionary concept on the development of an object and the eclectic projection of Mao thought from revisionist and semi-Hoxaite angles.
Firstly, the main challenge before our party and Nepalese revolution was to completely reverse the evolutionary way of thinking within us. On this, comrade Prachanda, struggling against this concept on the development of an object, played a key role in the transformation of the whole rank and file of the party and revolutionary masses as well. Laying emphasis on this he writes, “The dialectics of development of the process of each entity and event that, being related with each other, are in a dynamic flow of incessant change is such that as Lenin said is not in a straight line, but spiral. That development does not take place gradually and unknowingly in a spontaneous way. But it takes place in the form of a rupture from continuity, in the form of a leap, catastrophe and revolution and in the form of transformation of quantity into quality. It is the scientific essence of Marxist dialectics on development.” [b] In fact, this correct grasp of materialist dialectics on the part of leadership and its application in two-line struggle inside party helped bring the entire rank and file into a revolutionary track.
Secondly, like in the contemporary international communist movement, there was a varying degree of grasp of Mao’s contributions within the Nepalese communist movement too. On the one hand, various shades of opportunists and revisionists were paying lip service to Mao Tsetung thought to fulfill their vested interest and on the other revolutionaries too were trying to grasp this as a universal principle. In this situation, without a scientific and proper terminology to express its weight and without correct grasp of it, neither ideological struggle against various shades of revisionism could be focused on correctly nor could the revolutionaries be united under a correct ideological and political line to develop class struggles. Clarifying this, the document on Maoism writes, “Presently, the terminology of ‘Mao Tse-tung Thought’ has been used, on the one hand, by the reformists in the sense of a hypothesis according to the actual weight of the word ‘thought’ and on the other, by the communist revolutionaries in the sense of a universal principle. In this context, to continue with the usage of misleading terminology “thought” despite having the scientific terminology of “ism” with the weight of expressing a universal principle is nothing but to provide loopholes for right revisionism. Hence it is essential for communist revolutionaries who have already been grasping Mao Tsetung Thought as today’s Marxism-Leninism to use the terminology ‘Maoism’ readily and firmly. In the light of rightist attacks on Mao’s contributions after the counter revolution in China many of the former revolutionaries, too, have been attempting to use the terminology ‘thought’ in the sense of downgrading Mao’s contributions, and not accepting it as the third stage of development of Marxism and as a universal principle. Here lies the crux of the problem.” [c]
In the history of Nepalese communist movement, the period mainly between the second half of 80s to the first half of 90s remains such an important period during which our party had to struggle hard to grasp materialist dialectics correctly. In fact, we waged vigorous ideological and political struggle against right revisionism, nationally and internationally, right liquidationism mainly within the party, the remnants of semi-Hoxaite dogmato-sectarianism, our own legacy of the past, and other various shades of revisionism and opportunism existing within the entire communist movement, including ourselves. This as a whole prepared our party ideologically to make an initiator of the great people’s war in the last decade of 20th century to accomplish New Democratic Revolution in Nepal, as part of the World Proletarian Revolution.
Development of politico-military line:
In general, it is not that difficult to formulate a general politico-military line in a country oppressed by imperialism and feudalism. Comrade Mao has on the whole solved this problem; just for example, new democratic revolution, protracted people’s war, encirclement of cities by countryside, land to the tiller, etc. etc. etc. Nevertheless, there are several particular factors in the given country, specificity of the national and international situation, and space and time that one cannot find in Mao’s volumes but are required to emphasise on and focus into while one needs to develop a comprehensive ideological and political line. This is what is meant by ‘concrete analysis of the concrete condition’ to paraphrase Lenin. Unless one does so, no one can develop people’s war to the level of seizing power even if one initiates and carries it on.
Comrade Mao has taught us that ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’. It is a general truth for any revolution and a revolutionary party. In due course, gun is decisive to make a revolution victorious. But it is possible only when the party of the proletariat fights ideolgically and politically in all fronts and crushes all the strategies that the imperialism and domestic reaction enforce to prevent revolution in the given country. In the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, the enemy strategy has been to make use of various measures that can prevent the development of revolutionary consciousness among the masses. To abort revolution in its embryo, the measures that the imperialist system has been making use of are psychological warfare, cultural war, enemy infiltration to carry out destructive activities in the party of the proletariat, economic and political reforms to confuse the revolutionary masses, network of NGOs and INGOs to entrap petty bourgeois circle in the reformist mirage, foreign employment, religious superstition etc. Armed suppression and genocide is its final resort after the revolution is born. In short, the enemy fights a total war. Unless one can revolutionise masses by waging ideological war to crush such measures, no people’s war, even if initiated, can attain its goal. With this in mind, our party paid sufficient attention to develop a counterstrategy, based on tit for tat, the total war.
Apart from this, every country has its own particularity that guides the development of armed struggle for the seizure of power. As a preparation to step in the armed struggle, our party analysed deeply the specific objective condition of our country, which is excerpted below, to formulate strategy and tactic of Nepalese people’s war.
- Nepal is a landlocked country which is surrounded from three sides by the expansionist India and in the north surrounded by the reformist China. Although it is small in terms of area, however except for 17% of the Terai plain lands, the rest of the country is geographically replete with remote hills and Himalayan Mountains with different climate, ethnic groups, cultures and languages.
- In Nepal for a long period, a centralised reactionary state equipped with a modern and powerful permanent army and a bureaucracy has been in existence. This is specially centralised in the cities. The enemies of Nepalese people are not only within the country but also present outside of it in the form of imperialists, especially Indian expansionists.
- The economic and political development of Nepal has been uneven. Nepal is predominantly rural and the exploited peasants who represent 90% of total people are spread in these villages. The process of urbanisation is on the rise; however, we must say it is still small.
- The Nepalese peasants and other sections of the masses have passed through a process of different forms of struggle both local and countrywide for a long time. There is a widespread attraction towards communists among the people. However, here the influence of reformism and right revisionism is also strong. In Nepal there has been virtually no direct experience of armed struggle under the leadership of Communist Party.
- The reactionary ruling class of the semi-feudal and semi-colonial Nepal, where the medieval monarchical system exists, is undergoing intense crisis and this crisis has started manifestating politically as well in a serious manner.
- A big section of the Nepalese people is spread in different countries for employment, mainly in India for army and other kinds of works.” [d]
Keeping in view with the general line to be adopted in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country, as taught by Mao, it is through aforesaid particularities that our party concretised the strategy and tactics of the Nepalese armed struggle. On this, the same document writes, “From the first specificity it can be seen that for waging war in Nepal it has neither large area, nor any possibility of using any sea; neither there is wide forest — nor there is any possibility of direct help or support from any other neighbouring country. However, geographical situation is most favourable for waging guerrilla war with direct link with the people. … The second specificity shows that there is no situation of direct military clash between the enemy forces for political power, so that the armed forces of the people could take advantage of seizing a definite area … at the beginning. … When the first and the second specificities are viewed together is found possible to establish and survive independently in certain specific area just as in China’s Ching-Kang Shan [Mao’s original base area] and to be able to expand from these onwards. The third specificity shows the possibility of starting guerrilla wars in different parts of the country and developing them by taking peasant revolution as the backbone… The fourth specificity clearly shows that people’s support will go on increasing if the right revisionists are thoroughly exposed and the tactics of armed struggle is pursued vigilantly. The fifth specificity indicates that the pace of development of armed struggle to establish people’s alternative revolutionary power would be faster and inspires to undertake bold tactics to achieve it. And the sixth specificity demonstrates the necessity of mobilising the Nepalese people working in foreign countries — mainly those Nepalese working in India — by conducting political work amongst them and using the area for supplying of various necessities for the success of armed struggle in Nepal.” [e]
The document further writes, “In Our situation — give priority to the rural work, but do not leave urban work; give priority to illegal struggle, but do not leave legal struggle too; give priority to specific strategic areas, but do not leave work related to mass movement too; give priority to class struggle in villages, but do not leave countrywide struggle too; give priority to guerrilla actions, but do not leave political exposure & propaganda too; give priority to propaganda work within the country but do not leave worldwide propaganda too; give priority to build army organisation, but do not leave to build front organisations too; give priority to rely on one’s own organisation and force, but do not miss to forge unity in action, to take support of and help from international arena too; it is only by applying these policies carefully that the armed struggle can be initiated, preserved and developed.” [f]
In fact, this orientation of our party was a decisive rupture from the reformist and revisionist legacy of the Nepalese communist movement but not an evolutionary development from the past. This historical third expanded meeting that chalked out a comprehensive orientation of strategy and tactic, based on the concrete objective situation, of the new democratic revolution, represents a major landmark in the history of Nepalese communist movement. All of the policies, plans, campaigns and particular actions at the time of initiation of people’s war and its continuation till now have been basically guided by this orientation. The qualitative leaps of people’s war one after another validate the correctness of this ideological orientation on the development of political strategy and tactic of our party.
Creative application: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is a science, which is an ideological leader of proletarian revolution. But it must be applied creatively in consistence with the particularities of the given concrete situation, national and international. This was why Lenin used to very often emphasise on ‘concrete analysis of the concrete condition’. In agreement with concrete objective situation of Nepal, out party, since before the initiation of people’s war has been creatively applying some specific tactic to advance revolution. Some of them have been discussed below.
Political and military offensive: Armed struggle is an inevitable means to bring the political goal of the proletariat to fruition. Hence the first is subordinate to the second, although their principal position changes at times. However, there have always been problems in discerning the interrelation between these two in the international communist movement. We find mainly two trends in this respect. The first trend that does not consider the armed struggle as an inevitable part of political struggle for power but one-sidedly emphasises on the political offensive or relegates preparation of people’s war in various pretexts is outright reformism and right revisionism. While the second one that emphasises more on military offensive but ignores the political one or equates war with politics represents militarism. Right revisionism is the principal danger but militarism too has not harmed less in the political struggle for power in the contemporary communist movement. Only the correct handling of the relation between war and politics can propel the revolution forward.
Ever since the preparation of people’s war to now, we have been trying to maintain a proper sequence between political and military offensive, i.e. politics and war. Before the initiation of people’s war we carried out political offensive from the streets based on various pro-people issues and finally with 40-points demand, a general outline of new democratic program. Not only this, we did not miss opportunity even for a brief period to carry out political offensive against the futility of the parliamentary system right from the rostrum of the parliament itself. In fact, we prepared people’s war from all fronts, namely the class struggle in rural areas, mass struggle in the cities including the capital and parliamentary struggle as well. Of course, our main thrust was on the first.
This political offensive was a part of people’s war to create a favourable objective situation in which our next offensive, i.e. military offensive could be justified among the wider section of oppressed masses. At a juncture when the enemy by launching ‘Romeo operation’ created an obstacle to go ahead politically we initiated people’s war. The initiation played an instrumental role to attract more people towards our party because it was politically justified. Had not we been with the masses and raised their necessities in the form of political demands to heighten their revolutionary consciousness no wider support towards people’s war could have been garnered. In fact, the political struggle that we carried out before the initiation of people’s war helped create an objective base from which we could make an armed offensive.
Also, it is not that we waged mass struggle in the peace time only. But, a proper sequence between political and military offensive has been the specificity of Nepalese people’s war ever since its preparation. In our case, every political offensive has been carried out to create such a political situation in which the subsequent military offensive is justified. In the same manner, every military offensive has been carried out to remove the obstacle on its way so that we can further consolidate people’s power in the liberated areas, develop fighting capacity qualitatively and intervene in the central politics from a newer height. What we think is that the proper handling of the interrelation between war and politics has been one of the main reasons behind the speedy development of people’s revolution in Nepal.
Initiation of people’s war: The initiation of people’s war in our country does not go along the way our class did in other countries. It resembles neither with Russia nor with China and Peru. It should be noted that our initiation was a kind of rebellion from every nook and corner of the country with more than 5,000 big or small militant actions. It was not our subjective wish to make the initiation rebellious but the objective situation, as quoted before, that demanded to prepare the plan of initiation in that way. In fact, this plan of initiation resembles more with the line of insurrection than with that of protracted people’s war. Only after successful implementation of rebellious plan of initiation the second plan that was introduced with a slogan of ‘develop guerrilla war in a planned way’ followed the basic course of protracted people’s war. Initiation in a rebellious form but continuation in a protracted way is the specificity of the Nepalese people’s war. It is, of course, a creative application of the line of people’s war in our particular condition.
Question of model: Ever since the preparation of people’s war, the way we have been applying MLM in our context does not fully correspond to the practice of the contemporary communist movement. Nor does it agree fully with the practice of our class in the past. We don’t think it is wrong. For, no revolution can be a mechanical replica of others. A certain model cannot be subjectively fitted in a different objective situation; on the contrary, a different objective situation demands a different kind of model for revolution. For this reason, October Revolution could not be a replica of Paris Commune, nor could the Chinese Revolution be a replica of October Revolution. Rather the fact was that Lenin, synthesising the entire experiences of working class movement including the Paris commune, creatively developed scientific strategy and tactic for the socialist revolution in Russia. In the same manner, Mao developed strategy and tactic of the protracted people’s war to accomplish new democratic revolution in China.
The imperialist system is not an inert entity but a dynamic one. This is the dynamism that makes it survive and develop. Imperialist economic policy of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation has substantially changed the class relations both in the imperialist and oppressed countries. Growth of metropolitan cities, development of bureaucrat capitalism, information technology, transportation network etc are the noticeable changes that one can easily see in the third world countries. These changes necessarily have an effect on the strategy and tactic of revolution. It was in this respect that the strategy and tactic we developed before the initiation of people’s war does not fully correspond to the one Mao had developed in the Chinese context. In fact, it is a creative development from what Mao did.
Ever since the preparation and initiation of people’s war to now the strategy and tactic we have been adopting does not fully correspond neither to the model of protracted people’s war, nor that of insurrection. It has been developed by incorporating some tactics of insurrectionary strategy into those of protracted people’s war. We call it fusion. This fusion does not mean to mechanically mix up two strategic and tactical lines together but to apply either one that fits in the given concrete objective condition irrespective of which model it came from. The main thing it means is that one should not remain ideologically restrained within the framework of certain modality because it holds down one’s hand to jump into a suitable tactic when the objective situation demands.
Democracy and patriotism: New Democratic Revolution is anti-feudal and anti-imperialist revolution. In the present era, imperialism spreads its tentacles of exploitation through their agents, the feudal and bureaucratic comprador bourgeois class, in the oppressed countries. Yet, in order to grab bigger share in power, the feudal class raises, in general, the issue of patriotism and vie with comprador bourgeois where as the later with the tool of democracy does so with feudal. In fact, both of these classes serve their common master, the imperialism and enjoy with the crumb of exploitation they extract from the masses. Strategically unity is principal between them but tactically they remain divided for their bigger share in power and the crumbs of imperialist exploitation. The ruling class, in Nepal, has for long been able to confuse and divide the masses with this deceitful stratagem. Not only the masses, but also the communist movement in Nepal has had this confusion for long in the past. It is a bitter truth that a section of the movement had trailed behind feudal monarchy in the name of patriotism and other behind the parties representing comprador bourgeoisies in the name of democracy. Indeed, they use their respective political tools to exercise class dictatorship over the broad masses and serve their imperialist master and so both are class enemies of New Democratic Revolution. Nevertheless, there remains a possibility to tactically play in this contradiction to advance the revolution in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country.
In fact, democracy and patriotism are the two faces of the same coin, the New Democratic Revolution. But, one becomes principal at a certain juncture of history. In our case, for the initial five years, when Nepali Congress, the representatives of comprador bourgeois class, was at the forefront to exploit and oppress the masses, we independently waged class struggle against them with the banner of patriotism. Later, when the feudal gangster, Gyanendra Shahi, usurped absolute power by means of dissolution of the parliament, followed by the palace massacre, we intensified class struggle with the banner of democracy. This tactic has helped us keep them divided, though tactically, despite all efforts of the US imperialism and the Indian expansionism to unite, against our party and the revolution we are leading. The tactical alliance between parliamentarian parties and ours, which took its shape through the 12-point understanding, was possible because of this contradiction.
It was with this divide and hit tactic that we were able to expose the deceitful stratagem of both of the feudal and comprador bourgeois classes that divided masses under their fake words of patriotism and democracy. In the past, the consequence has been positive. This tactic, by exposing the reactionary ploy against the people, has helped strengthen the unity of the vast section of masses and rally around the real banner of true patriotism and true democracy, our party has upheld. However, given the development of revolution and mainly after the April uprising, the last year, alliance between these two classes in our country is tightening because both of them know that the force of revolution is going to prevail over them all together. True democracy and true nationalism comes up to fruition only when both of the classes, the feudal and comprador bourgeoisie, are overthrown from power by the force of revolution and new democratic revolution has been accomplished.
Incorporation of women, nationality and Dalit movements with the class struggle: Though small in geography, our country Nepal, which is inhabited by various castes and nationalities, is a big one in terms of its diversified cultural heritages, traditions and religions. But, the centralised state power, not only has treated them as second class citizen of the country, but has done everything to suppress this section of the population under high caste chauvinist ideology, the Hinduism, ever since the unification of Nepal about 250 years before. Naturally, this section of the masses was down weighed by two fold oppressions. It was, firstly, the class oppression and secondly, the patriarchal, national and caste oppression based upon high caste Hindu chauvinism. In face value, the second type of oppression appears to be non-class. But, in fact, it is essentially a part of class contradiction because it rests upon the reactionary ideology that the ruling class and their state power uphold.
With this correct ideological grasp, our party, from the beginning, tried hard to develop specific policies, plans and programs to mobilise this section of the masses in the forefront of class struggle. They came forward extensively in support of the people’s war, when our party put forward, apart from class program, a policy of equal right to women in all aspects of social activity, including property, mobilised various nationalities under the programme of autonomy, including their right to self-determination and placed the agenda of Dalits to put an end to all sorts of social discriminations, including ‘untouchability’. What we think is that, it was another form of applying mass line under the policy of ‘unite those who can be united with to isolate the one’. If our party did not have concrete policies, plans and programs to mobilise women, nationalities and Dalits against specific oppression upon them, simply the class line and conventional form of protracted people’s war could not have mobilised this section of the oppressed masses so intensively and extensively to develop people’s war.
Negotiations: In general, the terminology, negotiation or compromise, is a bitter word to hear at. It is so, because, there is not a common point, in a strategic sense, between the diametrically opposite class interests of two classes, the oppressor and oppressed. If negotiations are made to relinquish the class interest it is really bitter, intolerable and utterly wrong. But, in a tactical sense, sometimes negotiations are necessary. Brest-Litovsk treaty with Germany to which Lenin himself had once termed as a regressive one and Chunking Negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek in which Mao agreed to reduce a big number of PLA and abandon some bases areas were both imposed by the situation and were necessary to take up. No one in the international communist movement has yet dared to say that they were wrong. Therefore, it is relative to why it is done.
In the history of our class struggles, there have been negotiations at times. Firstly, our partial participation in the parliamentary election in 1991 was a kind of political compromise, a tactic. But our party did not entrap oneself in parliamentarism but utilised that participation to prepare for people’s war. Was that wrong? Secondly, we had a negotiation with the enemy in 2001. During that period we mobilised millions of masses in the support of people’s war, developed strength of our People’s Liberation Army that enabled us to launch a biggest ever military attack at Dang. Was that too wrong? Thirdly, we had another negotiation in 2002. During that period of negotiation too we mobilised masses more extensively than before, developed our PLA further and consolidated our base areas in the remote countryside. But, after the breaking of ceasefire, we launched urban guerrilla warfare all over the country and pushed the enemy in a defensive situation even in the capital itself. Can one say this too was wrong? Fourthly, our party is now in the process of negotiation and through this is preparing for the seizure of central power. Then why is it wrong? So far as the question of danger is concerned there cannot be a single revolution that has no danger at all. But this danger is accompanied by great opportunity. It is a historical fact that the parties that are scared of facing danger have never been able to seize opportunity.
In the course of 11 years of people’s war in Nepal, what has been proved in practice is that when the armed struggle reaches at a certain point it cannot keep on developing in a qualitatively higher form. To make a qualitative leap a higher level of preparation is required. Concretely speaking, had not we gone through the process of negotiation in 2001 and 2002 to comeback with a higher level of preparation the subsequent leaps in people’s war could not have been expected. Likewise, if we had not gone to negotiate with seven-party alliance through 12-point understanding no April uprising could have been imagined too. In our case, every negotiation so far has been used to accumulate energy to raise our revolution to a qualitatively newer height. But a strange [thing], our comrades raise their temperature when we enter into the process of negotiation to accumulate energy but get cooled down when they come to see a qualitatively higher leap in the revolutionary process. We are confident that if we could use parliament in the past to prepare for the initiation of people’s war why cannot we use the present legislature and even the interim government too to make a final offensive for the seizure of countrywide power? It is also a question of correctly applying strategic firmness and tactical flexibility.
On negotiations Mao has taught us, “How to give ‘tit for tat’ depends on the situation. Sometimes, not going to negotiations is tit-for-tat; and sometimes, going to negotiations is also tit-for-tat. We were right not to go before, and also right to go this time; in both cases we have given tit for tat. We did well to go this time, for we exploded the rumour spread by the Kuomintang that the Communist Party did not want peace and unity.” [g] However, in our situation, we have applied negotiation not only as a tit-for-tat tactic but as an important part of the ideological and political line to develop people’s war qualitatively.
Diplomacy: Revolution in Nepal is being accomplished in a different world situation than that was at the time of Socialist Revolution in Russia and New Democratic Revolution in China. The specificity of the present international situation that the collapse of socialist base after the counterrevolution in Russia and mainly China, end of the cold war, emergence of the US imperialism in the form of a globalised state, development of global military plan in the name of war against terror, augmenting hold of imperialist finance capital in the third world countries as a result of globalisation etc. must be taken into account while developing a comprehensive strategy and tactic of revolution in the twenty-first century. Certainly, the inter-imperialist contradiction is intensifying, imperialism mainly the US is getting isolated from the world opinion, which is developing a favourable situation for proletarian revolution in a strategic sense. But the revolutionary force is still weak internationally to take advantage of this.
It is a fact that old methods cannot resolve new problems created by the new situation. Not by hitting at in all directions but by diplomatically neutralising a big section of enemy camp can a revolutionary party divide the enemy to the extent possible internationally. Based upon this ideological understanding what our party thinks is that diplomacy also should be made a part of the tactic to propel the movement forward particularly at the time when the revolution is at the doorstep of seizing central power. It is not that diplomacy is necessary to make the revolution victorious only but it is so mainly to sustain and develop revolution in the present world situation.
Development of revolution and the revolutionary theory:
Every practice is guided by theory. So the revolutionary practice is guided by a revolutionary theory, the Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Practice develops from simple to complex, so does the theory. With the development of revolutionary practice the revolutionary theory develops which in turn helps develop the practice to a higher level. This goes on in a spiral way. This was how Marxism developed to Marxism-Leninism and Marxism-Leninism to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is nothing other than the dialectical relationship between theory and practice that develops both in a spiral way.
Development of revolution is related with how correctly and creatively the revolutionary theory, the MLM, has been applied in practice. One can apply theory creatively only when it is grasped scientifically. However, when we are involved in revolutionary practice it comes with newer problems, which cannot be resolved with the theory we already have. New experiences come up in the course of applying MLM to resolve newer problems. It does not mean that social practice automatically and spontaneously develops to theory. It needs to be developed through a correct process of synthesis. For this very reason, the development of any revolution is linked with correct grasp, creative application and development of ideology, the MLM. Without development, it cannot keep up its living character as a science of revolution.
In our case, the application in practice of the ideological and political line on the one hand justified its correctness by making qualitative leaps one after another and on the other started generating newer ideas to advance revolution further. After five years of initiation of people’s war, we re-examined the entire experiences of the line struggle and class struggle under the leadership of our party, the experiences of the 20th century revolutions and those of contemporary ICM as well. In this arduous process we reached at a conclusion that a set of new ideas have transpired while creatively applying MLM in the particularity of Nepal. In the second national conference, 2001, we synthesised those set of ideas in the form of Prachanda path, which we believe has enriched the theoretical armoury of MLM.
Noteworthy to mention here is that following this synthesis, the pace of people’s war developed intensively and extensively for it helped resolve the ideological and political problems that the revolution in Nepal was then confronting. Within a short span of time this revolution became an international issue giving rise to great opportunities and severe challenges. The latest expression of the strength of Prachanda Path that was culminated in the height of April uprising, 2006, is not hidden from anyone. In fact, this uprising, never seen in the past, was a result of correct grasp and creative application of the relationship between people’s war and mass movement, in the Nepalese revolution. The CC meeting, following this uprising, further concretised the whole set of strategy and tactic that is necessary for the New Democratic Revolution in Nepal to succeed. On this, the CC document writes, “… it is indispensable to have a proper coordination and balance of armed people’s war, powerful mass movement, negotiations and diplomatic manoeuvring for the success of Nepalese people’s revolution.”[h] It has in fact developed strategy and tactic of Nepalese revolution to a newer height. We believe this synthesis of ours can contribute to developing people’s war in other countries too in the present world situation.
On the other, the ideological synthesis, we have put forward, has initiated ideological debate and criticism within the international communist movement. It is not bad but good. It should go further. However, the way how some of the parties in the ICM are raising arguments to criticise PP [Prachanda Path] does not focus on the crux of the issue but oppose in different manner. We find two opposing trends in this respect.
One of the trends argues that what we have to do now is to mainly apply MLM in practice, not to engage in developing theory. It says we are far behind in practice from what Mao did in his lifetime. Criticising Prachanda Path, comrades say that it is not our generation, but the future one, if finds it was a development in MLM, will synthesise accordingly. It is of course a wrong way to deal with the matter. Whether or not it is an appropriate time to engage in synthesising ideology must not be the main thrust of the question. But, the correct way to focus the debate on is whether or not the line, when applied in practice, has developed newer set of ideas to advance revolution in Nepal. The way how comrades are arguing things is in fact not merely an opposition to Prachanda Path but is so to the question of ideological synthesis itself. In our opinion, this trend on the one hand does not grasp the dialectical relationship between theory and practice and on the other plays down the role of ideology in the development of revolutionary practice. As a consequence, this way of thinking cannot develop practice itself. For, the theory developed in one context cannot resolve the problems emerged in another context. So, it is entirely wrong and represents metaphysics and pragmatism.
The second trend argues that the science of revolution, the MLM, which we already have, is not sufficient enough to address the newer contradictions in the present day world. And, therefore, in order to make it able to address them the MLM should be developed beforehand without which no revolution can advance. As a result, this argument makes development of MLM the first task and revolutionary struggle the task to be taken up later so that the theory is sufficient enough to resolve the newer contradictions of revolution in the twenty-first century. Keeping practice aside parties with this trend advise other revolutionaries too to engage in academic exercise and play dogmatically with words to ‘develop’ MLM. In fact, it goes against the theory of knowledge that Mao has put forward. He writes, “The dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge places practice in the primary position, holding that human knowledge can in no way be separated from practice…”i In this way, this trend represents metaphysics and enjoys in eulogising the past successful revolutions. It leads to dogmatism and sectarianism.
Ever since the preparation of people’s war to now, the way how our party has been applying MLM in the particularity of the Nepalese society does not agree with any model we find in the history of communist movement. What we firmly believe is that no revolution can be a replica of the past, nor can the line of any party be developed based on someone’s subjective wish or prototype application of any model but it demands creative application of MLM in agreement with the objective condition. This is the creative application of MLM that has made people’s war develop in leaps one after another. And, the development of revolution in Nepal is an obvious result of development in ideology. In fact, a new model of proletarian revolution and the theory it leads is getting developed from Nepal in the beginning of the twenty-first century. This is the crux of the matter where some of our fraternal comrades cannot reach at.
According to our synthesis, Prachanda Path is a set of new ideas developed in all the spheres of ideology, politics, political economy, culture and military science while applying MLM in our context. In fact, MLM and Prachanda Path has been a torch-bearer of Nepalese New Democratic Revolution, in the present context of the world situation. Also, we believe it has strength to serve world proletarian revolution, but we don’t claim that it has already attained universality. It is through healthy ideological struggles within the international communist movement against wrong trends and creative application of MLM in one’s particular context that can advance revolution and develop revolutionary theory leading it precisely because no revolution can be replicated but developed.
[a] V.I. Lenin “Our Programme” Vol. 4 page 211
[b] Prachanda, Problems of theoretical deviation in Nepalese people’s revolution, page 17.
[c] On Maoism, adopted in the Congress of CPN (Unity Centre)
[d] [All 6 points are quoted from:] Strategy and tactic of armed struggle in Nepal, Third Plenum of the CC of CPN (Maoist), March 1995
[g] Mao Tsetung, On Chunking Negotiations October 17, 1945 This report was made by Comrade Mao Tse-tung to a meeting of cadres in Yenan after his return from Chungking.
[h] CPN (Maoist), CC meeting, Kamidanda
[i] Mao, On Practice, page 297