8th International Conference
Notes on Current Political Situation and Maoist Problem of Nepal
-Nepal Communist Party (Unity Centre-Mashal)
In this country report I shall mainly concentrate on providing a brief description of the current political situation of Nepal, the role of Maoists and the party unification that took place before about two years. But before that I would like to provide a cursory introduction of Nepal.
Nepal, with an Area of 147181sq. km. and population of 22.3 millions (1999) is pre-dominantly an agricultural country. It is a land-locked country surrounded by Tibet region of China in the North and by India in the North, West, South and East. It is mainly a hill country with high mountains in the North, lesser hills in middle and plain in the South. Nepal ranks among the poorest countries of the world.
To have a clear view of the political situation of Nepal, we should be acquainted with at least a short history of the modern Nepal. The history of modern Nepal begins after Prithivi Narayan Shah laid down the foundation of kingdom of Nepal. However, the process of expansion of territory of the country was checked after the treaty of 1815 with the British, which is called the Sugauli treaty. According to it, Nepal had to surrender to the British many of the parts which it conquered. Since then the process of colonisation started in Nepal. In 1846 an autocratic and hereditary rule of Ranas as prime minister was established in the country making the Shah Kings captives in the palace. The political change of 1951 overthrew the Rana rule and established parliamentary system in the country the King as constitutional head of the government. In 1959 general election was held and the Nepali congress formed the government with gaining absolute majority. But in 1960 the King established his dictatorial rule, which he gave the name of Panchayat democracy,dissolving the parliament and cabinet, banning all political parties and all class, mass or social organisations. Thousands of political leaders and workers were arrested in the country and put to jail for longer time. After a prolonged struggle of three decades and the historical united democratic movement of 1990, the so-called Panchayat system was abolished and the parliamentary system was again established in the country with the King as the constitutional head again. The elections for parliament were held in 1991, 1994 and 1999. But on October 4, 2002 the King took all executive power in his hands dissolving the parliament and cabinet. Since then an united movement of five parties to defeat the regression of the King, restore and defend the democratic achievements of 1990 is going on in the country.
Nepal is a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country, the new democratic revolution being the historical necessity of the country. It has been ruled by the absolute monarchy for many centuries and at present even the minimum fundamental rights are curtailed in the country. People and political parties have been fighting for democracy in Nepal for last 7 decades. They have been able to establish parliamentary system twice in the history of Nepal by making King as constitutional head of the government. But the king has been able to maintain the sovereignty and army in his hands which makes the conception of constitutional monarchy meaningless in real sense. Benefiting from such a situation, namely sovereignty and army in his hands, the King has been able to establish his dictatorial rule again and again. So the question of the transfer of sovereignty and army from the hand of the King has been a matter of fundamental importance even to fulfil the minimum necessity of constitutional monarchy. Taking lessons from the experience of the history, 18-points programme of the united movement of five parties, of whom besides the UML, Nepali Congress etc.the People’s Front Nepal, supported by NCP(Unity Centre-Mashal) also is included, has included the demands of transfer of sovereignty and army to the people or the elected government.But it is worth mention in this regard that our party has giving emphasis on this issue since many decades.
After the King took all power into his hands on October 4, 2004, series of country-wide movements have taken place in the country. The present movement which started on April 1, 2004 with protest demonstration of more than one hundred thousands people in the capital is still continuing for more than a month with almost daily demonstration or confrontation with the police in the street. In course of such a movement thousands of people are arrested, hundreds of them been harshly beaten or seriously wounded. Some of the leaders have been sent to jail under security act although due to pressure of the mass movement, the government is compelled to release them soon after. The new phenomena of the present movement is that even the many other political parties, social or professional organisations or sections of the people have joined the anti-regression movement. For last two or three months the students also have played very important role in the movement. The press reporters also have come in forefront in the movement. NCP (Unity centre-Mashal), besides providing active support to the united movement, has formed Central United Action Committee (CUAC) consisting of representatives of Party, People´s Front, Nepal and many other class and mass organisations to support the united movement, to organise in the movement on its own initiative and to expose the participants of the united movement in case they betray the movement. The CUAC besides conducting demonstration in the capital has been organising the movement throughout the country. The King is trying to strengthen his retrogression position mainly on the basis of, on the one hand, support of American imperialism and Indian expansionism and,on the other hand,using army, throughout the country in the guise of fighting Maoists. But these means would not enable him to suppress the people and movement for a long time. Besides it, the contradictions among the USA and EU on the question of supporting the dictatorial rule of the King, double role of India and increasing exposure of the King is making the position of the King more and more weak.
To understand this subject matter in correct perspective, we should analyse correctly the inter-relationship or contradiction existing between the objective of solving the bourgeoisie democratic revolution, i.e., the new democratic revolution, and the present united movement having limited demands within the semi-feudal and semi-colonial structure itself. It is because of inability of adopting Marxist-Leninist approach on dialectical relation on these two aspects that either rightiest or sectarian tendencies appear in the leftist movement. There is no any doubt on the question that the basic problems of bourgeoisie democratic movement can not be solved even if the present united movement succeeds, the achievements of 1990 movement are released and sovereignty or army are transferred to people. Based upon such correct conclusions, a wrong tendency is often seen in the leftist movement to negate at all the movements for immediate bourgeoisie democratic rights claiming that, firstly, it will not establish real democracy in the country and, secondly, it will not solve the
problems of the people. Such conclusions are correct or even revolutionary when considered upon those seperately. But when we consider upon those in context of the concrete situation of the country, such a view is reactionary in essence. At a time when the King is trying to establish his dictatorial rule snatching the limited achievements of the movement of 1990, to negate or even oppose the movement directed to foil the retrogressive attempt of the King is certainly a sectarian view. The rightist view intends to limit the movement to the immediate demands only and overlooks the necessity to work to raise the consciousness of people and level of struggle to higher level. In many cases they show the tendency of compromising with the King giving up the demands not only transfer of sovereignty or army to the elected government, but also forming the government leaving the executive power in the hands of the King which again is certain to make conception of constitutional monarchy meaningless as before. It is only by exposing both of these faulty trends that, on the one hand, we can build a strong movement against the King and defeat his retrogression and, on the other hand, lead the people to higher revolutionary movement. The sectarian elements are unable to comprehend that even the limited rights that the present united movement would succeed to achieve will pave the way to develop the movement for the higher revolutionary demands. So Inspite of the limited nature of the 18 points programme, its inter-relationship with the further or higher development of the movement is self-evident which the sectarians are unable to grasp.
To apprehend the democratic or anti-regression movement in proper perspective, we should have a correct appraisal of the role of Maoists and their so-called people’s war. First of all, because of their anarchist and non-Marxist-Leninist view, they are unable to comprehend the importance that struggle for bourgeoisie democratic rights, although of limited types, occupies in the revolutionary movement. Marxist Leninists always have been fighting to achieve or defend even bourgeoisie rights when those are endangered on threatened by the absolute monarchy or fascism of one or another kind. But it is well known fact in the history of world communist movement that anarchists claming themselves in favour of higher revolutionary objectives have been opposing the movement directed to bourgeoisie democratic rights or system. Such an anarchist tendency is well manifested in the thinking or activities of Maoists of Nepal. First of all what has been established from their own action that their armed struggle is an ultra-leftists trend and does not conform with the objective and subjective situation of the country and as a result of it they are heading towards rightiest opportunism which is becoming more and more evident. From the unprincipled or opportunist modification they are making in their policies. From the very beginning they have been expressing the view that both the absolute monarchy and constitutional monarchy or parliamentary system are equally reactionary and it is revisionism to make any difference between them. Such a view is, needless to mention, is purely anarchist one. In this context, the famous quotation of Lenin is worth mention where he says that the constitution monarchy is progressive in comparison to absolute monarchy, whereas even the bourgeois republic is progressive in comparison to later one (constitutional monarchy) Such an anarchist view of Maoists in the beginning led them to attack both the monarchy and parliamentary system equally. This led them to murder hundreds of workers of Nepali Congress and UML. But their such tactics soon took a turn with their “undeclared” unity-in-action with the King (their own authentic confession) . Their unity-in-action with the King developed with their countrywide unity with royalists and army- the army remaining inactive even when Maoists made attack upon the police posts nearby military barrack. The example of Dolpa district is well known in this respect. The King even declined to accept the demand of the government to use army against the Maoists. Such a policy of the King was only as a calculated part of his strategy to utilise the armed struggle of the Maoists to abolish the democratic achievements of 1990. They were so much influenced by such policy of the King that they went even to the extent of praising whole of the Kings of Shah dynasty from Prithvi Narayan to King Birendra as patriatic ones to be exatted by Nepalese people for ages to come. Soon they came with the slogan that the parliament and cabinet should be dissolved and the constitution be suspended. The royalists also were organising country-wide demonstration and signature campaign putting forth the same demands. When Maoists entered into dialogue with the government under Sher Bahadur, they formally had presented these demands as main political proposals.(The Human Rights year Book 2002, published from Kathmandu has published the full text of their proposals) Thus on these question of attacking upon the parliament the King, the royalists and the Maoists were on the same line and this was the political ground on which the unity-in-action between the Maoists and the King took place although in undeclared way.
Ultimately the King fulfilled their demands of Maoists dissolving the parliament and cabinet and taking all executive powers into his hands, as mentioned before, on Oct 4, 2004. Political parties supporting the movement of 1990 have started their movement to restore and defend the achievements of 1990. When the anti-regression movement developed in the country, the King again sent his messenger to bring the Maoists to the peace talk assuring that he will let them form the government. But the Maoists were unable to understand that it was only a trick of the King to weaken the movement against the retrogression. The Maoists organised country-wide public meetings attacking the anti-regression united movement. They went to the extent of condemning that (the united movement) as a conspiracy to foil the peace talk and they even challenged to all political parties to take side either of them (Maoists) or the King denying any existence of them(political parties) outsides the Maoist and King. They put forward the policy of forming government collaborating with all political forces consisting of even most reactionary or royalties ones led by the King. They interpreted it as democratic system of new model which was to replace the new democratic system. Needless to mention, this was manifestation of their naked petty bourgeoisie character and ideological bankruptcy. It was because of their such character that the King has again and again been able to utilise them for his vested interests. At that time they (Maoists) thought that the formation of their government was only a matter of a few days. So they started to talk as if they were in power. They even took initiative to get support of the ambassdars imperialists countries, USA and countries of EU, to form the government. They repeatedly requested to ambassadors of western countries to let them meet which were turned down. To plead them and to get their favour to form the government they even made statements that they were preparing to support the market economy (Their statements in the meeting of Chambers of Commerce). After they became disappointed from western powers, they modified their policies so as to get support of the Indian government and for this they have given up the policy of opposing expansionist policy of India for last two years.
Such a tendency to go to the side of from one or another domestic or foreign reactionary power- from King to American imperialism or EU and Indian expansionism- even modifying their policy is naked pragmatism. Such a character of theirs was directed by their petty bourgeoisie motive of quick victory or to fulfil their careerist ambition by any means.
It is because of their such character that they from the very begining have been unable to take correct stand on the question of struggle for democratic movement or correct attitude towards the political parties fighting against the King. Their action of violent attack upon the workers of political parties also indicates their hostile attitude toward the democratic movement. Uptill now hundreds of workers of UML or Nepali Congress have been killed and dozens of workers of our party have been kidnapped and made captives from months by the Maoists. They, giving up the principle of class struggle which always gives emphasis on the struggle against class enemies and protection of the exploited and labouring people, have been looting, harassing , kidnapping or even murdering in barbaric way people belonging to exploited and poor classes in large number. There are numerous examples of hundreds of women and students being kidnapped, civilian buses being burst by bombs, people being burnt alive in the houses etc. What has worsen the situation in later years is, mainly guided by the possibility of earning money terrorising or looting people, many wrong, anti-social or criminal elements have entered into their organisation the number of genuine revolutionary workers of lower ranks being decreasing or being put to secondary position . Such a development is turning their organisation more and more into an organisation of lumpen proletariat. Because of increase of such elements in to their organisation, inability of the leadership to provide ideological training to the lower level cadres, loose type of discipline, anarchist nature of organisation and careerist leadership in the centre guided by pragmatism the Maoist group is being turned day by day into force which is damaging the cause of resolution, democratic movement and people. Inspite of it, considering upon their character in totality, we regard the Maoist group as a friendly force and our party has been repeatedly trying to form unity-in-action with them on the basis of mutually agreed common policies although in the same time continuing ideological struggle against their wrong policies and activities.
In the last we would like to describe about the party unification that took place between the the former NCP(Mashal) and NCP(Unitycentre) about two years before. The unification have taken place after a long dialog of about four and half years. This was not an easy task as there were many differences among us on the questions concerning political line, organisational matters and international communist movement making the task of party unity very difficult and complicated. By the mutual dialogue and consultation we succeeded to solve many of the differences, but not all. However, inspite of many of such differences, we agreed for unification of the party conducting open discussion till the next Congress on the question on which we differed.
But our party unity would have not been succeeded without struggling hard against the attempt of the Maoists to foil the process of our party unity. They openly appealed that the former Unity Centre in place of making unity with the former Mashal should make party unity with them. Even after our party unity they have been conspiring in a planned way to cause split in party. They have issued many public statements to in this regards.
The experiment of unification of our party has many valuable experiences. We have made party unity among the differences of serious type existing between two organisations. From our own experiences we have realised that it is not an easy task to make party unity in such a condition. But in the same time we are also aware with the fact that we have to face such differences within own party also which we try to solve on the basis of two line struggle and democratic centralism although at some times such differences lead to split in the party. Taking lessons from al such experiences we are trying our best to strengthen the party unity conducting two-line struggle have on principled, discipline or friendly way.
Hereby, we would like to throw light on our organisational aspect. Our party, with the name of Nepal Communist Party was founded on 22 April 1949. NCP (Unity centre-Mashal) is a continuation of that. At present the organisation set up of the party is kept underground, although two comrades as spokesmen for public relation and propaganda are open. We participate in election or legal activities through the legal front. Beside countrywide organisation of the legal front, we have many class and mass such as such workers, peasants, youth, women, students, ethnic people, scheduled castes etc having countrywide organisational activities and mass movement. In India also we have mass organisations having organisation in all India level composed of Nepalese living there. We have even started the task of organising Nepalese living in other foreign countries also. After the unification of the party, all these class or mass organisation also have been unified both in central and local level. Our party has always been giving much emphasis on fraternal and friendly relation on the basis of proletarian internationlism. We shall do our best to expand or strengthen such relation in future too.