Saturday, 1 November 2008

The Prachanda Path and the Question of Power in Nepal

-Rajesh Tyagi

Statements made by Prachanda, Bhattarai and other Maoist leaders, have made it more and more clear that Maoists intend to take power in Nepal in direct and open collaboration with capitalists, and not in their opposition. The theory and practice of Maoism on the soil of Nepal, has exposed to the hilt, the essence of the programme bundled under the slogan of ‘New Democracy’, as the bare blueprint for a Capitalist democracy.

The recent article by Laxman Pant, the Chief of foreign Affairs of CPN (Maoist), appearing on September 21, under the title-‘Fall of Koirala Dynasty’ is yet another curtain raiser of the Maoist platform in Nepal and precipitates the essence of the deceptive cocktail of ‘New Democracy’.

The article states in no ambiguous terms that the present political regime in Nepal is the dictatorship of two classes- ‘Bourgeois and Proletariat’. This programme of collaboration between the hostile classes, which is being advanced under the banner of ‘New Democracy’ in Nepal, is through and through reactionary and is open betrayal of the aspiration of the people. On the pretext of national peculiarities of Nepal, a roadmap for unbridled capitalist development has been prepared in the name of the ‘Prachanda Path’, with express approval of local and world capitalists. The Maoist party is revealing itself before the eyes of all as the agency of these capitalist interests, equipped with an agenda of class conciliation to ensure development of Nepal on capitalistic path.

The misfortune for Maoists is that they are too late in history to have stakes upon the national bourgeois, which is nothing but a national agency of world capitalist system. The national revolution in Nepal, being unfolded in the world scenario of 21st century, cannot step further, even an inch in conjunction with the bourgeois; instead, can advance only in direct opposition to it. The bogus and unrealizable slogan of combined dictatorship of ‘bourgeois and proletariat’, is nothing but the proclamation of domination of bourgeois, the outright betrayal of the revolution.

The Bourgeois in Nepal, sandwiched between Imperialism on the one side and local reaction on the other, finds itself in a position which does not permit it to move against any of them. In this condition of political paralysis, which had continued for more than half century, the Nepali bourgeois cannot but aspire to take the power at the most as an agency of world capitalism, while adapting to local reaction at the same time. After it surrendered the struggle-the armed struggle- it had taken up under the leadership of Nepali Congress, more than half a century before, this bourgeois has no alternative left before it. More and more integration of Nepal into the world capitalism and its total and complete dependence upon it for its existence and survival, has weakened the national bourgeois to the core.

As the history shows, the greatest ‘achievements’ of local bourgeois, the fruits of its half-hearted struggles- the introduction of a Constitution and a Parliament- remained of no real importance, as were soon put to eternal subjugation under the yoke of the Monarchy, which retained the real power at its disposal- the Royal Nepal Army. Nepali bourgeois continued as mere parliamentary opposition to the regime of Monarchy, imbued with the historic task to hold back the people from rising against the now constitutional regime of Monarchy. The Parliament remained a ‘talking shop’, hanging at the mercy of Monarch.

During this entire epoch, passing through more than half a century, Stalinist parties, ever since the days of united communist party, continued their strive to constitute themselves into the democratic left wing of this bourgeois democracy. Failing to make a headway, through parliamentary means, they resorted to arms in the name of Maoist path, only to return to take their positions in Bourgeois democracy a decade later.

The history, especially on world arena, however continued to take forward. The economy of Nepal, as a whole had become predominantly capitalist long before, being well integrated into the world market. The pre-capitalist forms of production which though still remained widespread especially in rural Nepal, were subordinated by the Capitalist economy. The adaptation between capitalism and the regime of Monarchy was perfected during decades, net result of which was the monopoly of Royal Families over all significant capitalist enterprise in Nepal. The political regime however, day by day, was becoming obsolete, incompatible and outmode in context of world scenario, in which modern Nepal existed. However, in the perception of our Maoists, Nepal remained a feudal economy, where Monarchy could be fought against in collaboration with National bourgeois, and the only way out for them- the ‘Prachanda Path’- was the way to ‘New Democracy’- i.e. combined dictatorship of ‘proletariat and capitalists’! For Maoists, bourgeois in Nepal is the revolutionary force, while working class is a non-entity!

Bourgeois not in a position to dislodge Monarchy, the task to carry out the democratic revolution essentially fell to the working class, very small in numbers and concentrated mainly in and around Kathmandu. But the deceptive existence of Stalinist and Maoist parties, deriving their false legitimacy form Russian and Chinese power, played a significant role in preventing the working class from realizing the need to form a Party of its own, with a socialist orientation towards the proletarian revolution. Such party was the desperate need of the time to politically consolidate the small working class, get it to the leadership of democratic revolution through mustering the support of huge poor peasantry, lead it against both the Monarchy and Bourgeois, and cross over to socialist tasks. Stalinists prevented the organization of such a party on the false pretext that the proletariat in Nepal is not capable to impose its hegemony upon the democratic revolution and take power as its leader, being very small in numbers. They falsely assumed that the agrarian revolution as the core of democratic overturn in Nepal, cannot be led by proletariat. The communists of all shades and banners in Nepal, either Stalinists or Maoists, thus never oriented themselves towards working class. Like Narodniks, they remained oriented towards the rural peasantry and the communist parties in Nepal had naturally emerged out from rural peasantry having a peasant perspective.

However, the decisive failure of the bourgeois to carry out a successful revolutionary struggle, proved to be a boon in disguise for the Stalinist and Maoist parties in Nepal. Given the absence of a party of working class, they could successfully occupy the political spectrum, vacated by the bourgeois for its impotence, as its left democratic wing. These Communist parties secured an opportunity to successfully present them as the harbinger of popular aspirations, chiefly that of peasantry. They took to themselves to accomplish the project of bourgeois democracy in Nepal. In the name of ‘Prachanda Path’ they evolved a programme for taking Nepal to Capitalist road- what they termed as ‘new democracy’. As all recent developments show, this programme is nothing but the platform for the regime of capitalism in Nepal. This platform is political manifestation of collaboration with class enemies of working class.

Prachanda Path has its peculiarity in the fact that its practice has laid bare the bogus doctrines advanced by Stalin and Mao based upon combined dictatorship of several classes. Though history has more than once repudiated these doctrines and has shown that the ‘dictatorship’ can be asserted by only one class- either bourgeois or the proletariat, that too against each other and not in unison, while the intermediary classes are doomed to follow this or that class. But Stalinists and later Maoists, have used this historically repudiated formula of combined dictatorship of several classes as an apology to sit in the lap of their national bourgeois and their parties. This Menshevik formula, of collaboration with the liberal bourgeois in democratic revolution, thrown to the trash of history by the revolutionary events of first quarter of 20th century, was later redressed by Mao in the name of ‘New Democracy’. Lenin, severely rebuked the old Bolsheviks- Bukharin, Kamenev & Co., who in the name of two class dictatorship rendered support to the provisional government and through his famous ‘April Thesis’ called upon the Bolsheviks to take power in opposition to bourgeois and establish the dictatorship of proletariat. Lenin clearly abandoned the old slogan of two class dictatorship- the ‘democratic dictatorship of Proletariat and Peasantry’. As we all know, the October Revolution in Russia, a predominantly peasant country- had won, but only as the dictatorship of proletariat. It was Stalin, who after the demise of Lenin once again picked up this formula, not from archives, but from the dustbin of history and applied it to China, Spain and elsewhere. Defeat of proletarian revolution of 1925-27 in China and victory of Franco in Spain, were the offshoots of this bogus formula. Mao further diluted this alliance, and made the Chinese bourgeois partner in the ‘bloc of four classes’. The rule of this ‘bloc of four classes’ proved to be the regime of bourgeois in disguise and within no time grew over into local agency of Imperialism, protected by the ruthless regime of red bureaucracy. The Maoist bureaucracy which took power in 1949 under the red banner, revealed itself in no time as the defender of this bourgeois regime. Neither the ‘Great Leap Forward’ nor the ‘Great Cultural Revolution’ could afford a respite and ultimately the massacre at ‘Tiennanmen’ was the final and clear answer of this bureaucracy to the people.

The Stalinist-Maoist parties had thereafter remained in universal collaboration with bourgeois classes. If Stalin disbanded the Comintern to appease the Imperialists and Mao entered into friendly agreement with Nixon at the peak of Vietnam War, the parties who followed their path have gone down in history everywhere as tutelage of bourgeois.

Prachanda Path in Nepal is the replica of Chinese Path, where the forced capitulation of working class to Chinese bourgeois in Kuomintang, led into total crushing of proletariat in 1927, and a resultant victory for the bureaucracy in 1949. In Nepal, Prachanda & Co. has risen to power in collaboration with bourgeois through peaceful means on the back of the April 2006 uprising. Maoists, who eventually held the peasantry under their control as illegitimate bearer of Proletarian red flag, as there existed no party of working class, held back the peasantry from coming to the aid of proletariat and aiding it to take the power through assault on Palace during April 2006 uprising. The April uprising had rendered the Monarchy completely powerless and the perplexed King restored the Parliament and the bourgeois order. Betraying the April uprising of 2006, and on the back of it, the Maoists struck a separate deal of their own with the Koirala Government on 16th June, and entered into the interim government. The upheaval, thus failed to overturn Monarchy and overthrow the bourgeois, only because the working class did not have a party of its own and thus could not muster the force of peasantry behind it. Peasantry remained under the control of Maoists who deliberately held it back from aiding the revolutionary assault, only to take power later on through parliamentary means in collaboration with bourgeois. Electoral victory of Prachanda in April 2008, which Laxman Pant terms as historic, is but only a meek echo of the thunderous upheaval of April 2006.

The Article of Laxman Pant is not a deviation from, but confirmation of the well orchestrated adaptation between the red bureaucracy and National bourgeois in the name of Prachanda Path. Peculiarities of Nepal, as distinct from other countries, are for them the justification for this collaboration, a universal argument of Stalinists-Maoists to justify their deviation from revolution and to oppose the slogan of dictatorship of Proletariat. Nepal is not mature for the dictatorship of proletariat, say the Maoists, therefore join hands with bourgeois! Same was the rhetoric of Mensheviks, who said that Russia was not mature for a proletarian dictatorship and thus bourgeois was to take power. Russian Mensheviks ended taking power in conjunction with bourgeois in provisional government and Maoists ended taking to power in partnership with bourgeois in Nepal. This is exactly what Laxman Pant terms as the ‘joint dictatorship of bourgeois and proletariat’.

As we now know, through clear historic experience, there cannot be a dictatorship which is not based upon a single and definite class. There cannot be a political power, which is not a class dictatorship in essence, though it may assume different and varied forms. Then what is the real essence of power in Nepal? This power, which pretends to be a revolutionary power based upon collaboration of hostile classes, in fact is the bourgeois power in black and white, consolidating itself inside the shell of deceptive ‘Joint dictatorship’. If the bourgeois and proletariat are to constitute a joint dictatorship in Nepal, then against whom this dictatorship has to be asserted? In fantasy of our Maoists-against feudalism and Imperialism. Here the Maoists forget that their national bourgeois is inseparable from these two. The bourgeois power in Nepal continued to assert it through Monarchy, supported by world capitalism. Nepali Bourgeois has long back adapted itself to the forces of old society and modern Imperialism. The feudal economy of Nepal is not self-sustaining, but is highly dependent upon monetary aid of world bank etc. Thus, neither the bourgeois is independent from, nor stands in opposition to Imperialism or local reaction. This Bourgeois is ‘national’ only in the sense that it forms local agency of world capitalism in Nepal. If anything has prevented it form taking power exclusively against the workers and peasants in Nepal, it is the backwardness of Nepal in general and its own historic impotence in particular. The Maoist party has thus come forward as its reliable ally to hold the power for it, under the red banner.

Maoists in Nepal are now making out a clear case for – a democratic republic i.e. a bourgeois democracy and from the roof-top are proclaiming a capitalist heaven in Nepal, based upon co-existence of all social classes in harmony. This is what they call Prachanda Path and the way of New Democracy. The rhetoric against intangible Imperialism, becomes a real fiction, in the background of their cherished alliance with its local agency- the national bourgeois in Nepal. As far as local reaction goes, the new mantra is to keep the hands off. Is legal proclamation of end of Monarchy not sufficient? Crown is sent to archives and Narayanhiti is vacated, Nepal is proclaimed to be republic! What else is required?

But the problem of Maoists is -how to sell the new agenda to the masses- the workers and the peasants? How to prevent them from advancing onto the road to revolution and for that from encroaching upon the bourgeois rights? To do this, Maoists will have to stand between the workers and bourgeois property to guard it against the advance of working class. In reply to a question in a meeting organized by Chamber of Commerce and Industry on his visit to India, Prachanda has already made his intentions clear. He was asked as to the guarantee for security of investment in Nepal against the possible onslaught of rebel mass, to which Prachanda had replied, without hesitation, that his Government itself would stand surety to foreign capitalist investment in Nepal. Look how the guerilla rebels of yesterday have taken somersault into a ‘Party of Order’! Normalcy is to be restored at all costs- ‘New-Democracy’ is to be consolidated, and for that revolution stands deleted from the agenda, i.e. the path of Prachanda.

Nepal remains in the peculiar state of political animation where Maoists are though the single largest party in the Constituent Assembly, but without sufficient majority to act on their own, while the real power continues to be vested in the old power centres, prime among them- the Army. This is what Laxman Pant tells us the unprecedented historic victory of Prachanda Path, in Nepal!

Revolutionary advance aside, petty reforms are slipping out of agenda of Maoists. Peaceful economic growth, i.e. the capitalist advance of economy is becoming the only objective. They are striving to attract the investments of world capital in Nepal and are assuring that they are not those old Marxists to worry about, but the pragmatic Marxists of 21st Century. Maoists are issuing cynical warnings against any attempt to thwart this national progress, which according to them is the common agenda of all classes in Nepal. What more bourgeois may relish? Bourgeois is interested in political power to advance its class interests, to suppress the working people, to prevent the working class from riding to power, and ultimately in its use as an instrument to protect and reassert its economic power. If all this can be done through red bureaucracy, specifically in the period when bourgeois finds itself unable to woo the masses or incapable to subjugate them, what else is required? What, if masses have become disillusioned with bourgeois parties, Stalinists-Maoists are there with red flags in their hands! If Stalinist-Maoist parties can be pressed to this political service, the bourgeois cannot crave for anything more! However, the misfortune of our Maoists is that they are placing reliance upon the national bourgeois in Nepal when the bourgeois has no national tasks on its agenda, when the world capitalism as a whole has no national tasks before it and has completely burnt out its revolutionary energy, long before in history. Maoists, thus would share nothing, but only the crisis in which bourgeois finds itself engulfed in all countries, today. Their alliance with bourgeois is too belated in the history of Nepal, to be able to embark upon the path of peaceful capitalist development. Democratic revolution in Nepal of today can be successful only under hegemony of proletariat converting itself into proletarian dictatorship and can be realized only as a direct prelude to socialist revolution. The fancy of Maoists in artificially compartmentalizing the history in ‘two stage revolution’, while consolidating the bourgeois-democratic, instead of forthwith crossing over to socialist tasks, would lead directly to perpetuation of the bourgeois rule in Nepal.

Anyway, Maoist Party in Nepal is not ready to cross over the bourgeois interests, rather is doubly assuring the world capitalism that it stands a guarantor to the bourgeois investments and property in Nepal. Guarantor against whom? Against Proletariat! By its selfsame logic, the Maoist power would stand between the poor toiling mass and the bourgeois property. It would hold back the working people from taking the revolution further, using deception of red flag, as far as possible, and would take to guns as soon as people become disillusioned from its ‘joint dictatorship’.


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