Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Nepal: Does Article of Bhattarai Indicates a Trotskyist Turn in Nepal?

-Rajesh Tyagi/ 21 October 2009

The summer issue of ‘The Red Spark’(Rato Jhilko), official organ of the Communist Party of Nepal has published an article by Baburam Bhattarai, stating that, “Trotskyism has become more relevant than Stalinism to advance the cause of the proletariat”.
Here is what the article says : “Today, the globalization of imperialist capitalism has increased manifold as compared to the period of the October Revolution. The development of information technology has converted the world into a global village. However, due to the unequal and extreme development inherent in capitalist imperialism this has created inequality between different nations. In this context, there is still (some) possibility of revolution in a single country similar to the October revolution; however, in order to sustain the revolution, we definitely need a global or at least a regional wave of revolution in a couple of countries. In this context, Marxist revolutionaries should recognize the fact that in the current context, Trotskyism has become more relevant than Stalinism to advance the cause of the proletariat”. (The Red Spark, July 2009, Issue 1, Page-10).

Bhattarai, 55, is a politburo member of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and is considered to be its theoretician. He remained Minister of Finance, during the participation of Maoists in the coalition government in 2008, and from which they got a disgusting exit and since then remain in a situation of political lull.

Notwithstanding its limitations to understand the perspective of Trotsky and to dwell upon the essence of the actual political disputes which Trotsky raised against Stalin and Mao, the article of Bhattarai, demonstrates a definite turn, at least by a section of the Maoist Party, away from its hitherto legacy. Though Bhattarai has stopped short of saying that in words, but the fact is that Maoist caricature of revolutionary Marxism is solely responsible for debacle suffered by the revolutionary advance in Nepal. The most trumpeted ‘Prachanda Path’ of 21st century socialism, has led directly to establishment of a bourgeois regime in Nepal.

The ‘Prachanda Path’ of Maoists in Nepal was through and through a bourgeois program, with very limited political perspective, which could have led only to establishment of the rule of capitalists and landlords and this is where it led to. However, the establishment of the rule of capitalists and landlords in Nepal and consequent decimation of workers and peasants, has shattered the bogus dreams of Prachanda & Co. for ‘proliferation of bourgeois democracy’ disguised under the deceptive slogans of ‘new democracy’ and ‘peoples’ democracy’ and has opened the eyes of more young activists to the flawed program of Stalinists and Maoists. In the wake of this disillusionment of the rank and file, the workers and peasants, the Maoist leadership is forced to take a volte-face.

It is though not clear as to how and in what manner the hitherto Maoist leaders appreciate Trotsky’s ‘permanent revolution’ which is an anti-thesis not only of Stalinism, but also of Maoism and the so-called ‘Chinese path’. It is but sure that without a decisive break from Maoism and consequent abandonment of the bogus ‘Prachanda Path’, no route can be found to the road of ‘permanent revolution’.

One cannot reconcile Stalinism-Maoism with Leninism-Trotskyism, as they are two starkly opposite and hostile tendencies; former nationalist-conservative, the latter revolutionary-internationalist. It would be illusionary to think that without a departure from the former, one may take to the latter. The two tendencies have come to head-on clash inside Soviet Union, the Russian Communist Party and Comintern. The two had stood face to face and clashed on all significant issues of world politics, again and again, over the last more than one century. There remained hardly anything in common between the two.

Trotsky had brought forward the disputes over the question of revolutionary re-orientation of Comintern and Soviet Union, towards the goal of a world socialist revolution. The significance of his theory of ‘permanent revolution’ lies in the fact that it leads directly against the theory of ‘two stage revolution’ and ‘socialism in one country’ propounded by Stalin and followed by Mao. Trotsky challenged this distortion of Marxist practice. He continued to forcefully argue, till his murder by Stalinist agent in 1940, against the proposition of stagism and national-socialism. Trotsky argued that there cannot be a capitalist road to socialism, i.e. there cannot be a democratic revolution preceding a socialist one, in backward countries, unlike Europe.

Concrete historical experience in Nepal, as elsewhere, has revealed the bankruptcy of Stalinism-Maoism and has vindicated the ideas of Leon Trotsky, particularly his theory of ‘permanent revolution’.


  1. I think it's important here to parse this out as an affirmation of the role of Trotsky rather than any adherence on the part of Baburam Bhattarai to Trotskyism.

    Baburam Bhattarai certainly, or at least in many respects, to the *right* of Nepali Maoism. He's an advocate of participation in the Nepali gov't and is, in his own way, a big purveyor of the most right-wing interpretation of the two-stage revolution, not a rejection of it but adaptation too it. In this regards he stands opposite of Permanent Revolution.

    D. Walters

  2. The significance of this is not at all that Bhattarai if influenced by
    Trotski. Thats been a pretty open secret for years. Anyone whos read
    Bhattarai would've noticed that he references Trotski quite often.

    What is significant is for him to not only mention OPEN and PUBLICLY in
    party literature that he is a historical fan of Trotski, but the say that
    the T-man is more significant then Stalin. THATS something big, and frankly,
    surprising. That simply would not have been possible for ANYONE in that
    party to do ten years ago, and is guaranteed to rub some of the more
    dogmatic within the party the wrong way.
    -Ben Peterson

  3. I don't disagree Ben in this regard. In fact it is *likely* the Nepalese Maoists will now supress this, but we'll see.

  4. In this context, Marxist revolutionaries should recognize the fact that in the current context, Trotskyism has become more relevant than Stalinism to advance the cause of the proletariat”

    I AGREE in total, Trotsky. ... yje one & only solution