Interview with Comrade Dev Gurung of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
Democracy and Class Struggle is pleased to make available this interview of Dev Gurung has it brings clarity to the two line struggle in Nepal. Please circulate this interview widely.
1. Would you please mention in brief the present political situation of Nepalese revolution?
Nepalese revolution at present is at a serious crossroads of revolution and counter-revolution. Nepal is in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial condition. Feudalism had developed since 250 years before and semi-colonial oppression has been carried on upon Nepal ever since the signing of Sugauli Treaty with East India Company in 1816. Monarchy had provided traditional leadership to feudalism and the monopoly, comprador and bureaucratic bourgeoisie, protected by Indian expansionism, has been leading the semi-colonial condition.
As a result of 10 years' long Maoist people's war and other anti monarchical mass movements, monarchy had been brought to an end in 2008. It resulted in the weakening of political power of feudalism to a certain extent. But on the other, the monopoly and bureaucratic-comprador bourgeoisie and their representatives, protected by Indian expansionism, strengthened further. After the Indian expansionist forces strengthened their monopoly in the state power, Nepal has been swiftly leading towards neo-colonisation politically and economically. In such a situation the question of National independence has become serious.
Paying attention to this very situation, the political resolution adopted in the expanded meeting held one year before of our party concluded that the end of monarchy and the establishment of republic had brought about a change in the principal contradiction that existed between monarchy and Nepalese people before. It was agreed that the contradiction between monopoly capitalists and the agents of Indian expansionism on the one hand and Nepalese people on the other was the principal contradiction. In such a situation, the expanded meeting adopted the policy of building united front among those forces which are prepared to go against the comprador and bureaucratic bourgeoisie protected by Indian expansionism. The line of armed people's insurrection was adopted as the main form of struggle but tactically a policy was taken up to use struggle in the street, legislature and the government by making first one to be principal.
But, some of our comrades went against this in practice. In fact they abandoned the tactic of People's Federal Republic but stuck in democratic republic in practice. They adopted a policy of keeping the patriotic and revolutionary forces aside but bringing in pro-Indian expansionist forces in the united front. As a result of this, our party is not moving towards establishing People's Federal Republic but is being trapped in status quo and reformist line of bourgeois democracy. Today, parliamentarian, status quo and the national capitulationist forces have been dominant in the Nepalese state power. The leftist, patriotic and revolutionary forces are becoming defensive. Leftists have about two-third majority in the Constituent Assembly in which Maoists have more than a half. Even then, the patriotic and revolutionary forces are in defensive condition. In every party, national capitulationist forces are in a dominant position, so the national sovereignty of Nepal is in a serious threat. The struggle for national sovereignty is taking a principal form.
2. What do you say about the recent handing over of the containers' key of the PLA? Has the danger of disarming the PLA increased?
It is a suicidal step for the Nepalese communist movement. Because, handing over of the keys is a step to disarm the PLA. Not only had our party never taken a decision to disarm the PLA, it had not even imagined.
The comprehensive peace agreement and the interim constitution have stated about army integration, but never and nowhere has been the disarmament of PLA talked of. The agreement which was reached between CPN (Maoist) and the Government of Nepal in 2006 was an agreement reached between two sides both of which were in win-win position. In other words, the agreement was not reached as to disarm, demobilize, decamp and rehabilitate (DDDR) to the defeated force. Though the term was not used, it is clear that the agreement was reached with a concept of security sector restructure (SSR).
In the interim constitution it is said that Nepali army will be of democratic structure, national character and inclusiveness. So, it is presumed that the army integration will be carried out between two forces in the unit-wise basis and combatant form. However, against such constitutional provision, party leadership and the Prime Minister, by secretly gathering some commanders from the cantonments unilaterally instructed to handover containers' keys. Even the government special committee has not taken any decision to hand over or receive keys. But, when the commanders sought to handover keys, government officials in the cantonments receipted them.
From all this, it seems that the leadership is working to disarm the PLA by surrendering arms and then dissolve the PLA. Even now, the leadership is emphasizing to unilaterally surrender arms, dissolve PLA by disarming them and recruit them as civilians under Nepal army's chain of command as non-combatant force.
Party leadership and the Prime Minister seem prepared to regroup (separate those to be integrated and rehabilitated) the PLA, handover the entire arms to the special committee and protect those arms by Nepal army or Armed Police. And also home work is going on to keep the separated groups of the PLA under the protection of Nepal Police and make senior PLA commanders retire voluntarily.
This kind of thinking is not class reconciliation and reformism only but it is class capitulationism. In the situation when the main form of struggle has become national liberation movement, disarmament and dissolution of the PLA, which is trained with patriotic and revolutionary ideology, is to follow the path of national capitulation. Even some bourgeoisie are patriots. But, it seems to be the culmination of national capitulation from the leaders of the communist movement who have even lagged behind the national feeling of the bourgeoisie.
3. How do you evaluate these few days of Baburam Bhattarai as a Prime Minister?
Although time has not yet matured to evaluate the government led by Baburam Bhattarai but when one looks at the content of 4-point agreement reached with the Madheshi Democratic Front at the time of forming the government it seems that Nepali national sovereignty has been jeopardized. Right after its formation the government has declared a respite package. In that package one of the points, among others, was that the government instructed local administrations to immediately return the unreturned public and private properties captured during armed conflict. The problem is not with the local administration, the problem is of the class struggle between the landlord and the landless tillers. Instead of ensuring tiller's right upon the land the government is working to repress the struggle with the force of administration. From this it is clear that the present government instead of siding with landless and poor peasants has openly sided with the landlords.
In the context when 10 thousands new recruitment was demanded to establish Madheshi community's identity in the Nepal army, at other place of respite package, it is said that recruitment from Madheshi community will start from certain numbers. It is the policy of our party since before to make the Nepali Army proportionate and inclusive of all oppressed communities including Madhesi in accordance with the social speciality and diversity. We don't oppose the decisions that are taken according to the concept of proportional representation and inclusiveness. However, the fact that the number is fixed only for Madhesis and the 10 thousands will remain as a unit in the Nepali army has raised many questions. There are many oppressed communities including Madhesi in Nepal, but why the number has been fixed only for them. Is it to incite communal fight among various oppressed communities by replacing other communities' rights? A question may arise. Furthermore what is the theoretical basis of 10 thousands? If it is to make inclusive, there is a new Subaj Battalion in Nepal army which consists of 7 thousands Madhesis only. 10 thousands does not make inclusive. Rather, it does not agree with the principle of numbers which is required to make army proportionate.
When proportionate principle is established the recruitment will be done in proportion to the population of Madhesi people. The proposal of maintaining new Madhesi army, which is not a rebel force, in unit-wise groups but recruiting only 7 thousands PLA that has a UN verified number of 19,602 and that fought for 10 years to establish republic in an individual basis is contradictory. Why such a contradictory proposal has been put forward? Is not it guided by the objective of preventing group-wise integration of the PLA but recruiting various armed groups, which are carrying out violent activities all across Terai under the protection of Indian expansionism? A question may arise. If it is so, it is very deadly from the standpoint of national sovereignty.
Likewise, in the respite package it is said that the citizenship certificate will be distributed with no difficulty. In general, it is not wrong. But, this question is always raised mainly in Terai. There is open border between and Nepal and there is no restriction for both the nationals to purchase and sale property according to the 1950 treaty. From the viewpoint of population Nepal is like a pond and India is like a sea. When there is no boundary between sea and pond, the population aggression is bound to make the migrants in majority and the inhabitant Nepalese in minority. The pressure of migrants is seen especially in Terai. In such a situation, there is no any step to control border. On the one hand there is open border and no control to the flow of migrants and on the other it is promised to make the citizenship certificate easily available, this situation promotes population aggression.
Likewise, the transfer of home secretary, who was a patriot, also has raised question on the loyalty of the government towards national independence.
In the later part of time, the defence minister of this government has openly threatened to segregate 22 districts of Madhesh from Nepal. The government has not taken any action on this. In the context of aforesaid negative decisions and activities is not this government, which is supposed to defend national independence, going to be entrapped in national capitulationism? The government's countdown has started towards this direction.
4. What will you do if you could not transform Prachanda and Baburam from the coming CC meeting? Which direction will your forthcoming CC meeting take?
The future line of party is dependent upon the two-line struggle. Which line will be dominant, revolutionary or reformist, future will speak. The revolution is inevitable; there is no alternative to revolution. Only the difference is time, sooner or later. Our effort to transform them is on. Let us not talk about the hypothetical question of the future. It will be decided by the then political situation.
Moist movement is a movement of revolutionary ideology. This ideology of the proletariat is an invincible weapon. One cannot deny the ups and downs that appear in the complex junctures of the class struggle. The travellers of revolution can change, but the voyage of revolution does not stop, it continues. Revolution continues till it is not completed. It is an eternal law of the development of society and class struggle.
5. What is the difference between democratic republic put forward by Baburam Bhattarai and People's Federal Republic?
There is a fundamental and qualitative difference. Democratic republic is bourgeois republic. It is a multiparty system. It accepts dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. People's Federal Republic is people's democracy in which the democratic dictatorship of the peasants, workers, oppressed nations and communities is established. The formation of the party of the anti-feudal and anti-imperialist forces and competition among them is accepted in this new democratic system. Baburam Bhattarai argues that the present democratic republic can be transformed into new democratic system by way of institutionalising it. He has abandoned the fundamental programme of new democracy which fights to bring to an end the semi-colonial oppression by imperialism, mainly Indian expansionism in our case. In his documents there are no words that oppose imperialism and expansionism, calls for an end to semi-colonial condition and proposes to wage national independence movement. What is clear from this is that he has abandoned the strategies programme of new democracy by making the democratic republic a strategy.
6. In the context of Nepal what kind of revisionism is dominant?
In accordance with time and situation, the forms of revisionism also change. At this time in Nepal, the pseudo-revisionism is dominant than the revisionism which advocates open reforms. A sophist characteristic of saying one and doing another has been dominant on the part of leadership. Its theoretical basis is eclecticism and in politics it appears in the form of centrist opportunism.
7. Some of the people say that you don't have any programme. What do you say on it? What is the programme of democratic revolution?
Programme is the sum total of ideology, politics, line and plan. If we did not have that there would be no two-line struggle. Two-line struggle takes place around this set. How much it is expressed in actions depends upon level and form of inner party struggle.
So far as the programme of democratic revolution is concerned we are clear on it. There is no other way than building a national independent economy by replacing feudalism, monopoly and bureaucratic capitalism from Nepal. Although the monarchy, which was a traditional political representative of feudalism, has ended, its economic and cultural roots still exist. On the other, the semi-colonial oppression by imperialism and mainly Indian expansionism exists as before. Monopoly and bureaucratic capitalism has been more dominant than before. In such a situation the principal contradiction of the Nepalese people has centred against monopoly and bureaucratic capitalism. The movement for national independence has become principal. Although the peaceful struggle plays a background role, there is no other alternative than the path of violent revolution that MLM has taught. For that there is no other way than adopting a line of armed people's insurrection based on people's war. It was the spirit of the political resolution adopted by the expanded meeting held in the last year. The problem has come up after chairman comrade Prachanda and vice chairman comrade Baburam backtracked from this position.
8.The world communist movement at present is weak, what is the reason behind this? And what will be the future line of world communist movement?
As Lenin said it is the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. The main characteristic of this era is the class struggle between proletariat and imperialism. Defining it concretely, Mao further said that the contradiction between world imperialism and oppressed nations is the principal contradiction of the world today. In the present situation the movement of national independence of the oppressed nations is the main form of proletarian movement against imperialism. Identifying this very concrete condition of class contradictions the proletarian movement should have gone forward. As Lenin said it was necessary to raise to a new height the proletarian internationalist movement with an objective of world revolution. After revolution was accomplished in a country, efforts should have been made to accomplish revolution in other countries by making former a base of the revolution. However, after the socialist revolution in Soviet Union and new democratic revolution in China, they could not go ahead with that height. In order to defend the revolutionary red base, emphasis should have been given to continue and expand revolution along with internal consolidation. Consolidation was emphasized but it could not expand and consequently the movement became defensive. The defensive step could not protect the red power also. In other words, after revolution the height to which it was necessary to develop internationalist proletarian movement could not happen. As a result of this, the imperialists acquired opportunity to encircle revolution from close.
The second reason, the proletariat should have been able to bring all kinds of anti-imperialist forces in the united front, that too could not be effective and the imperialist succeeded to confuse broad section of the middle strata people.
The third reason, after the second world war the imperialist forces developed new strategies against the communist movement. Like for example, the imperialist powers expanded worldwide united front based on the slogan of privatisation, liberalisation, globalisation, open competitive market economy, multiparty competition and human rights. The proletariat should have repudiated that strongly but could not happen as needed.
The fourth reason, a leading team of revolutionary successors could not develop in the party of the proletariat. After the death of the main leadership the movement has suffered a setback. The proletarian leadership, which should have emphasized on the collective system of leadership, became individual centred as in the bourgeois party.
As a result, the crisis of leadership emerged in the communist movement. In the aforesaid situation, right revisionist trend got place in the communist movement. From this the communist movement went on drowning in the right opportunist deviation and revolutionary communist movement liquidated. As a consequence of this the communist movement has now reached in to a defensive phase.
Learning lessons from the past weaknesses, the world communist movement can again be elevated to a new height by reorganising it. Possibility of revolution is strong. Although the imperialist forces have been dominant temporarily the revolution is inevitable.
There is no other alternative except revolution to resolve the existing crisis in the world. For that revolutionary communists must take conscious initiative. The world communist movement must be consolidated from a new axis ideologically, politically and organisationally. In the past, although fraternal forums including RIM and CCOMPOSA were established they are unable to provide leadership to meet the objective need of today's class struggle. Therefore, such forums must be developed in an effective way. The revolutionary movement develops from the class struggle. At present, the main key of the class struggle is the national independence movement against world imperialism. The future of the world communist movement depends upon how forcefully and effectively we can wage such kinds of movements in different countries. In the past, RIM could not develop effectively because of limitations in waging class struggles and the theoretical debates and discussions could not take qualitative pace. The correct revolutionary theory and ideology should be connected with active life of class struggle. If not connected, our debate centres on mere theories.
Learning lessons from these limitations of the past and concretely analysing the concrete condition of the given country all of the components of the movements must make their programmes dynamic.
Standing Committee Member
Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
October 11, 2011