Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Whither Nepal?

Organizational Decay in the UCPN(Maoist)?

Posted: March 21, 2011 by Rowland Túpac Keshena

Thanks to the excellent Canadian Maoist blog The Workers Dreadnought for this.

There have been two recent articles that have been published in the bourgeois press that suggest some form of organizational decay in the organizations that surround the UCPN(Maoist), most notably till date has been the fragmentation of the ANTUF(R). However, there are other signs that of decay in the Party. These include the people’s communes which have been such inspirational examples of revolutionary self-organization and production; and the production of Janadisha Daily which has been the Maoist-run daily newspaper which many tens of thousands of Nepali’s rely on for their daily news of current events. The fact that the communes on the verge of collapse (although I do think that the article overstates the case as it mentions for example that a commune member said that a Party leader had not come to the commune since the Maoists had entered into mainstream politics, whilst at the same time they quote Santosh Budhamagar who is a Party leader and member of the legislative assembly and has repeatedly gone to the people’s commune in Thabang, thus we can fairly assume – as we always should when citing the bourgeois press – that they are also trying to be sensationalist to make the case and to undermine the revolution) and that the party has halted the publication of the newspaper demonstrates that the services and revolutionary infrastructure around the Party have been neglected, both politically and economically (this is a story that has been repeated numerous times by Party members in the countryside). This is a very disturbing development and I personally feels demonstrates the flaw with the parliamentary procedures that the Party has focused on in the last few years as the entire focus has been concentrated on the top seats in Kathmandu, rather than building the necessary revolutionary infrastructure for the production of a new Nepal. There have been numerous elements in the top leadership of the Party who have been aware of this tendency for many years and as part of the two-line struggle have been emphasizing the need for renewed social programming. Unfortunately, because of the emphasis on the question of people’s revolt in the two-line struggle this important aspect of the Nepalese revolution has been consistently overlooked.

However, in recent days the Maoists have recognized, at least in part, some of these problems and the near-collapse of the social programming that has helped make the Maoist Party the powerful organization that it is and has attempted to remedy this through the organization of the People’s Volunteers. The People’s Volunteers, according to Maoist firebrand Netra Bikram Chand or “Biplab”, are not intended to focus on the question of people’s revolt but rather are meant to rebuild urban infrastructure etc. This new organization seems to be an attempt to a) remedy the errors of the last few years in which the mass line relationship has deteriorated and b) to revive the social programming that the Maoists used to carry out, and is thus a very positive development in the Party. It demonstrates a Party that is rectifying its style of work and is trying to fix its own errors. I think the question remains how far will his renewed emphasis on social programming go? Will the Party address a host of other issues including the building of necessary support structures for martyrs’ families? Will the Party restart the Maoist daily newspaper and radio station? Will the Party develop a rural development plan as well as an urban development plan? What about the issues of land reform and land collectivization?

The people’s revolt is an important step in the revolution, however, we must remember that the revolution is something that people build up to in their daily lives. If the Party continues to dismantle or neglect the social structures that they have worked s hard to build in the first place, then rebuilding them in the future will become even more difficult as the population will not trust them to maintain them this second time around. Otherwise, the Nepalese Party will increasingly see the development of a cynical, disinterested and possibly even a reactionary population that does not believe that the Maoists will be able to actually deliver the change that they have promised.

Maoist communes on verge of collapse (Kiran Pun)

RACHIBANG, Rolpa, March 9: With the party continuing to “drift” from its ideals and paying little attention to the communes developed during the conflict period, the families living there are fast losing faith in the revolution and have started returning home.

“The party has not come up with any concrete plan for giving continuity to the communes,” said Rabikiran Roka “Yojana”, a member of Ajammari People´s Commune at Rachibang in Thabang, Rolpa district. “The leaders have not come here since the party joined mainstream politics, nor have they paid any attention to the communes.”

The Maoists had developed four communes during the insurgency as part of their campaign to reject “capitalist individualism”. Initially, the communes were developed as shelters for those who lost family members during the conflict. Juni Commune, the first one, was developed in Jurka and Nipane villages of Jajarkot in 2002 for the families of 14 people killed by security forces during the insurgency.

Meetings were held at the communes every evening to plan the work to be done the next day and distribute responsibilities, said Sumanti Roka Magar. In addition, each commune held a review meeting on the second day of every month, besides holding discussions with other communes.

But things begin to change after April 2006, following Janaandolan II.

The Maoist leaders went off to Kathmandu; the party joined the government; it took part in the historic Constituent Assembly election, and after the election results it led the government as the largest part.

As the party got immersed in the cut and thrust of open politics and the party´s leaders gravitated increasingly toward an urban, individualistic life style, getting gradually sucked into lust for wealth, the communes were happily forgotten. Neglected, perhaps even abandoned, the commune dwellers also began to gradually desert the communes.

There were 32 families at Ajammari People´s Commune during the conflict but only about 22 families live there now. “Some had left the commune during the conflict while others left after the party joined mainstream politics,” said Kitab Jhakri ´Shahas´, another commune member.

Jaljala Commune in Jelbang in the same district fares no better. Commune members are now planning to turn it into a cooperative. “Though no formal decision has been taken, we working to convert it into a cooperative,” said Dhan Bahadur Gharti Magar, commune in-charge, adding that they desperately need party support to retain the commune membership.

Santosh Budhamagar, who is also a member of Ajammari People´s Commune, said the individualistic and profligate lifestyle of the Maoist leaders in the cities and even at the district headquarters has eroded people´s faith in commune life.

In addition, the long-running conflict between top party leaders — Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Mohan Baidya and Dr Baburam Bhattarai — has also affected the morale of commune dwellers.

Sumanti informed that one family, increasingly frustrated over the growing rivalry among top party leaders, left the commune after Dahal, Baidya and Bhattarai floated three conflicting tactical lines at the Palungtar plenum.

Budhamagar added that the commune could be retained if there is a complete revolution or if the party is moving in that direction. The revolution, however, remained far from complete.

“So, it is very difficult to save and maintain the communes. They can now be saved only if party central committee members hand over their property to the party,” he added.

Almost all members of the communes have lost family members during the conflict.

“We have not lost just family members but our hopes and dreams as well,” said Sumanti, whose husband was killed just 20 days after they got married.

Maoists halt Janadisha publication

KATHMANDU, March 16: The Maoists have halted publication of their mouthpiece Janadisha daily from Tuesday due to financial crisis.

“We had to halt the publication of the newspaper due to lack of financial resources,” said Assistant Editor of the newspaper Lekhanath Neupane. The newspaper´s journalists did not go to the workplace on Tuesday.

“The newspaper will not hit the newsstand from tomorrow [Wednesday],” Neupane added.The Maoists launched the newspaper at the latter phase of the insurgency.

Slain journalist Krishna Sen was the editor of the newspaper.

According to sources, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal stopped pumping money into the publication house for some “unknown reasons.” Journalists have not received their salaries for the last three months.


Maoist standing committee member Netra Bikram Chand is known as a “radical leader” and heads the recently formed youth organization Youth Volunteers. Chand talked to Republica´s Kiran Pun and Post B Basnet, Wednesday afternoon. Excerpts:
Why did you form the People´s Volunteers when the party already has the YCL?We have called the formation of the organization a new dimension in our organizational setup — a new brick in the party structure. It doesn´t matter if there are other such party wings. It is purely a new concept propagated by the Maoists for organizational development. And we took the move for two obvious reasons: one is the current political transition and another is the feeling that we should contribute to the country.
Your party has formulated the policy to ´revolt´? Does formation of the People´s Volunteers have anything to do with the ´revolt´?No. The new organization has more of a service-oriented than political character. The said rebellion is a political affair. There may be a need to launch a revolt, but there is already an agency to lead and mobilize the people. It can be the party itself or its auxiliaries or, in a way, the People´s Liberation Army (PLA). The Maoists have put forward the option to revolt if the constitution drafting falls prey to conspiracy. But the volunteers are for the service of the people. There is no direct relation between the party´s policy to revolt and formation of the People´s Volunteers.

Can there be link between them if such a revolt is launched?

The volunteers are not for political purposes. But it doesn´t mean that they would not remain satisfied as spectators. However, the party is not using the organization as a means to consolidate power for a revolt.

You have stated that the volunteers will work toward improving security and take action against criminals. Doesn´t that infringe on the jurisdiction of the state?

No. There are two sides: the formal security arrangement by the state and the inalienable right of every citizen to self-protection. The Nepali law also has the provision that guarantees the right to self-protection; we have only tried to institutionalize it a bit. There are places where the state has not been able to provide security to the people. So giving security to such people would only be supplementary to state function.What are the other areas of your service?

There are three sectors: production, (re)construction and people´s security. The physical infrastructure destroyed during the people´s war or other calamities would be reconstructed. This would be done joining hands with the state and donor agencies. In the production sector, we are mulling formation of cooperatives.

What is the strength of your organization?

There would be a few thousand whole-timers and tens of thousands of part-timers. While constructing a road in Rolpa, we had once mobilized 500,000 youths, and 700,000 at another time. There is no limit; the organization would go on expanding.

Given the current political development, the constitution is not likely to be drafted by May 28. How will your party launch a revolt?

Let´s not assume that the constitution will not be drafted; saying such things will make people restless. Now all of us should focus on this task. There can be only two reasons for the failure to draft a constitution: if the progression is resisted and if the past agreements are violated.Shouldn´t your party then revolt?

(Laughing) Let´s look for an answer in May. We have been saying that we will launch a revolt if the conspiracy against constitution drafting prevails. Perhaps this is the answer you have been expecting from me. But it would be too early to say so, and this would not comfort the people, either. It is not a big thing to draft a constitution, but what really matters is whether the state would go for a forward-looking restructuring.

You are termed a “radical” inside and outside the party. Are you comfortable with the word?

It depends on how you construe the meaning of the term “radical”. I don´t have anything to say if they say so on the basis of my ideals, conviction, ideology, thoughts and goals, and also because I have called for debates on these issues. I emphatically say we communists have consciously become communists; we have our own norms and values. I don´t say anything even if they launch a publicity campaign to fulfill their vested interests. I only say that such a thing is the outcome of a defeated mentality. There is nothing like radical or non-radical in Marxism; you are either true or false, either correct or incorrect.

Why did you not join the government despite the request of Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal?

After the party decided to join the government, it is quite natural to have debates on who will join the government. We concluded that there is no need for me to join the government. We did not think that we would be in a position to do what we want by joining the government. A team joined the government and another stayed out.

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