Ed. Note: Here on The Prison Gates Are Open… this blog has taken on a specific, one-sided view of reporting on Nepal’s internal events, particularly that of the breakaway Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) and their campaign of “people’s revolt”. As according to the CPN-M, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M) have since abandoned socialism in the country, due to their abandoning the path of New Democracy, as laid out by the late Chairman Mao Zedong. The UCPN-M don’t hide the fact that they’ve abandoned New Democracy, but remain adamant that they’re continuing a path which leads to socialism in Nepal.
As a result, as editor of this blog, I feel that it’s important in covering both sides of the Maoist political spectrum taking place in the country. On one side, you have a group declaring New Democracy as their means of reaching socialism via a militant revolution. On the other, you have a group declaring capitalist social-democracy as their means of reaching socialism via a more peaceful revolution. Whichever side is correct, both appear to be dedicated in their correlating goals: to achieve socialism-communism! Which is why The Prison Gates Are Open… will start, from here on out, reporting on both sides’ activities in the country.
The following article below was originally published by Daily News & Analysis India:
By Shirish B. Pradhan
February 1, 2013
In a major policy shift, Nepal’s ruling Maoists will adopt a new path to socialism through capitalism and may also give up their anti-India stance at the upcoming national convention of the party.
Some 2,500 delegates of the ruling UCPN-Maoist will attend the six-day general convention, to take place after a gap of over 20 years, starting on Saturday in central Nepal’s Hetauda Municipality in an attempt to revamp the guerrilla group-turned-mainstream political party.
“We will follow ‘the path of capitalism’ to achieve communism instead of pursuing ‘New Democracy’ as propounded by chairman Mao Zedong,” said Narayan Kaji Shrestha, vice-chairman of UCPN-Maoist and deputy prime minister.
“Opposition to India cannot be a basis of national politics,” Shrestha said, hinting at a change of the Maoists’ anti-India stance of the past.
“Good relations with our neighbours India and China could be maintained without compromising national independence and securing our authority to decide our fate by ourselves”, he said.
The Maoists took up arms in 1996 to fulfill their 40-point demands. Their demands included scrapping of the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 and banning Indian vehicles and Hindi cinema in Nepal.
Shrestha underlined the need to reorient the ideological course of achieving “socialism through new-democracy” as propounded by Mao in China to achieving “socialism through capitalism”.
“We have come to the conclusion that it was not possible to achieve socialism via the model of new democracy in the current global political context,” Shrestha said.
As the society has preferred capitalism the party has decided to change its ideological course, he said.
“To achieve this national policy and programmes should be framed and implemented as per the social democratic way while maintaining the spirit of communism,” Shrestha said.
“We need to maintain the communist spirit, but programmes should be social-democratic so that we can achieve socialism through capitalism,” the Maoist vice-chairman said.
January 31, 2013
Making public its protest program Wednesday to exert pressure for a roundtable assembly to break the political deadlock, the CPN-Maoist has threatened to launch a people’s revolt.
A meeting of the party’s central committee concluded that the ruling alliance led by the UCPN (Maoist) and the opposition alliance led by the Nepali Congress were focused only on power, leaving out the people’s agenda.
“We would have no alternative but to go for a people’s movement if we cannot find a solution through a roundtable assembly,” said Mohan Baidya at a press meet at his party’s head office.
He claimed that the ruling UCPN (Maoist) was involved in anti-national activities, referring to the Baburam Bhattarai government´s signing of the BIPPA agreement with India and also its turning over of security at the national and international airports to India. The opposition parties were just demanding leadership of the government without any agenda, he said.
“We will move ahead criticizing both sides – the ruling parties’ anti-national activities and opposition parties just demanding leadership of the government,” said Baidya, claiming that neither camp had a solution to the political and constitutional deadlock.
Baidya said that the roundtable assembly could find a solution through fresh elections or a revival of the constituent assembly. The Maoists’ immediate program was to hold a roundtable assembly while a people’s revolt on the foundation of people’s war was the party’s political line, he said.
The Maoist party has scheduled a program of struggle against the ‘anti-national’ activities of the government and for national sovereignty and people’s livelihood, from February 12.
Demanding the scrapping of all unequal treaties with India, dismissal of cases dating back to the insurgency period, and a roll back of price hikes, the CPN-Maoist has said that it is to launch a people’s movement.
Maoist party has made public a program of interactions, gatherings, sit-in protests and mass rallies in the cities.
The party also decided to hold extensive dialogue among the federalists, republicans and nationalists, to form a joint front.
Earlier, the Maoists had formed a joint front under the leadership of Vice-chairman CP Gajurel. Eleven fringe leftist parties were involved in the front.
The joint front is one of the “magical weapons” of the revolution. The revolutionary communist party, the revolutionary army and joint fronts are supposed to be the magical weapons.
The party also decided to uphold a policy of one person one post for party leaders and cadres.
Similarly, the party decided to dissolve its non-geographical state committees, but non-geographical braches would be formed in the main cities.
The CPN-Maoist has a total 14 state committees, including geographical and non-geographical ones.
By Kiran Pun
January 29, 2013
After adopting “people’s revolt on the foundation of people’s war” as its political line through its general convention, Mohan Baidya’s CPN-Maoist is planning to revive the insurgency-era organizational structure in the party.
At the central committee meeting of the party which is under way at the party’s head office in Buddha Nagar, leaders are holding discussion to change the existing bureau system into command system. Under the system, power will be centralized in the commands, which will be headed by top leaders.
The meeting which started on January 20 is still continuing with gaps.
“Discussion is underway to set up command system,” Santosh Budha Magar, a central committee member, told Republica. Now there are eight bureaus including six geographical and two non-geographical and these are headed by politburo members.
The Eastern, Central, Western, Madhes, Far-Western and International bureaus were headed by Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma, Hitaman Shakya, Indra Mohan Sigdel, Kul Prasad KC and Dharmendra Banstola, respectively. Likewise, the non-geographical bureaus — publications and publicity, sister wings and fronts — were headed by Pampha Bhusal and Narayan Prasad Sharma, respectively.
Under the bureau system, the state committees are more powerful than the bureaus. There are 14 state committees including geographical and non-geographical state committees. Once command system is implemented the bureaus will be dissolved but state committees will be retained, according to a top leader.
“Discussion is under way to form between three and four commands,” said another central committee member. During the insurgency period, the then CPN (Maoist) had formed various commands, sometimes three, sometimes four and sometimes five in number. The party had formed Eastern, Central and Western Commands with top leaders as heads of the commands. The party had also formed a Valley Command and a Prabas Command [for Nepalis domiciled abroad].
The following article below was originally published by News Junkie Post:
By Dustin Lewis
January 25, 2013
Around 1,000 leading cadre of the regrouped Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) agreed to pursue a strategy of “people’s revolt” against the coalition government that includes their former allies, during their seventh general convention on January 9-14. The event was the first of its kind since a radical faction of the United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN) split last June and retook the CPN-Maoist name that the party held during its decade-long insurgency that resulted in the ousting of the Nepali monarchy in 2007.
In a document released to the press following the convention, CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya described the current coalition-led Nepali government as “puppets.” The document called for scrapping the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) and other economic treaties with India. Critics inside and out of CPN-Maoist say such agreements go against the interests of the Nepali people and relinquish the country’s political and economic sovereignty to imperialism. Convention declarations of CPN-Maoist also included harsh words for UCPN Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-Chair and Nepali Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, describing them as “stooges of foreign powers” and criticizing them for betraying the revolution.
CPN-Maoist leaders say a strategy of people’s revolt will be pursued on the foundations of the previous “people’s war.” The goal, CPN-Maoist cadre say, is a “new democratic revolution.” According to documents released by the Maoists, plans for a revolt in the Himalayan country will be carried out in secret. Immediately after the convention, Baidya publicly warned that his party will take up arms if the “rights of the people” are not ensured by the present government.
UCPN Chair Dahal simultaneously assured Western monitors of his party’s desire to improve the country’s strained political and economic conditions. Mr. Dahal recently proposed an ideological shift away from the goal of a “new democratic revolution” and towards a “Nepali revolution.” According to his comrades-turn-critics in CPN-Maoist, Dahal’s recasting of the revolution’s aim is a ploy to deceive the Nepali people.
Background on Nepal’s Maoists
The roots of CPN-Maoist go back to 1991, when the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre) held its first convention and pledged to pursue a strategy of “protracted armed struggle on the route to new democratic revolution.” In practice, the party continued along the route of parliamentary struggle. Three years later a militant faction broke away and named itself the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
In 1996, the new Maoist party launched its guerrilla “people’s war,” kicking off a decade-long armed civil conflict. This conflict escalated after a 2001 attack by the Maoist guerrillas on Nepalese Army forces. The People’s Liberation Army, the CPN-Maoist’s armed-wing, controlled a majority of Nepal’s rural territory by 2005. That same year the Maoists, under the leadership of Dahal, changed their strategy and opted for permanent peace accords while seeking a multi-party alliance against the monarchy. In 2006, following a general strike and waves of popular demonstrations in Kathmandu, King Gyanendra stepped down and a 240 year-old dynasty was annulled.
In a bid to gain legitimacy, later in 2006 the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Accords, which promised that the insurgents would lay down their arms in return for a seat in a U.N.-sponsored political process. In 2009, the CPN-Maoist merged with another communist party and renamed itself the United Communist Party of Nepal. Since laying down its arms in 2006, the UCPN has achieved what many would describe as worthy goals. Both its Chairman Dahal and Vice-Chairman Bhattarai have served as the country’s Prime Minister. During the 2008 constituent assembly election, the UCPN came out ahead of all other parties and garnered 229 out of 601 seats. In 2012 UCPN was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.
CPN-Maoist cadre contend that these achievements do not outweigh drawbacks that include a failure to implement revolutionary changes in Nepali society. For example, the failure of the constituent assembly to write a new constitution led to its dissolution in May 2012. Now that members of CPN-Maoist have accomplished a vertical split, it is unlikely that the UCPN will repeat its electoral success during the next constituent assembly election in 2013.
Maoist International Relations
A 2009 open letter from CPI-Maoist questioned the strategic turn taken by the UCPN, describing it as “right-deviationist” and “Euro-communist.” The CPI-Maoist letter also partly blamed the UCPN for causing the collapse of two international Maoist organizations: the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations in South Asia. Security analysts worry that the reconstitution of CPN-Maoist may once again lead to cross-border operations and relations between armed Maoist groups from both countries. The CPI-Maoist is the largest party in India behind the Naxalite insurgency: an ongoing civil conflict rarely reported in Western media.
Maoist parties are also currently engaged in armed conflicts with state forces in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Turkey, the Philippines, and Peru.
One of the controversies dividing CPN-Maoist from UCPN is the relationship between Nepal’s revolutionary movement and the neighboring states of India and China. While in power the UCPN has fostered close ties with the Indian state, a move that CPN-Maoist and CPI-Maoist cadre disapprove of.
The UCPN, on the other hand, accuses the leadership of the CPN-Maoist of secretly meeting with Chinese state officials, a taboo within international Maoism. Maoist parties have ideologically and practically distanced themselves from the Chinese state and Communist Party since the early 1980s because, according the historical narrative followed by most Maoists outside of the People’s Republic of China, Maoist ideology was abandoned by the ruling Chinese Communist Party after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and a subsequent coup led by supporters of Deng Xiaoping against the Gang of Four.
Though China and Nepal are neighbors, they are economically and politically cut off from each other by the mountainous terrain between them. CPN-Maoist supporters contend that any meeting between the Nepali Maoists and Chinese officials would serve to create the distance from India necessary to carry forward the revolution in Nepal. CPN-Maoist supporters argue that, since India is a key regional ally of the U.S., moves by the UCPN to further tie Nepal to India strengthen U.S. imperialism regionally and globally.
Dustin Lewis is an independent writer and political analyst in the United States. He can be contacted directly at dustin.reads.much[at]gmail[dot]com.
January 21, 2013
The CPN-Maoist has said that its general convention has stirred a new wave both within and outside the country.
At the first meeting of the party’s newly elected central committee, held on Sunday at the party head office Buddhanagar, Chairman Mohan Baidya briefed that the party has now come to the attention of the international community.
The general conventional that was held in Kathmandu from January 9 to15 concluded that the party’s political line is people’s revolt based on the foundation of a decade long people’s war. A central committee member Maheshwar Dahal said that chairman Baidya had said in the meeting that the impact of the general convention was felt by the national and international communities.
“American interest in us has increased. The US government representatives came to meet us directly,” a central committee member quoted Chairman Mohan Baidya as saying. “They expressed concerns over our political line of people’s revolt. They wanted to know whether it would be an armed revolt,” another central committee member quoted Baidya as saying.
The party agendas were also floated in the meeting. The central committee members plan to bring concrete programs of struggle for discussions. General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa asked the leaders to give concrete shape to the struggle programs. The party plans to launch people’s movement nationwide.
“It is possible to form separate joint fronts — nationalist and federalist. But bringing them in one place will be a very big challenge,” said a CC member quoting Hitman Shakya, a politburo member.
Out of the total 51 seats in the party’s central committee, eight are still vacant.
The leaders said the CC meeting will continue to give full shape to the committee and bring programs of struggle for national sovereignty.
January 17, 2013
The CPN-Maoist on Wednesday warned that the party will take up arms if the state power cannot assure the rights of the people.
Speaking at a press meet organized here by the party following the conclusion Tuesday of its seventh general convention, the CPN-Maoist also informed that the time for the revolt will be determined by the political situation.
“Give rights to the people. It the people get their rights, who will take up arms? Nobody. Why is the state conspiring instead of assuring people their rights in accordance with previous agreements and assurances. If rights are not given to people, it is sure that arms will be taken up,” answered Mohan Baidya, newly elected chairman of the CPN-Maoist, when asked about the reason for people’s revolt.
“As far as the date for launching a revolt is concerned, it is not a matter to be announced at present. It will rather be determined by the circumstances. Asked when they would launch their revolt, Baidya said, “We will launch the people’s revolt or people’s war as and when circumstances compel us because no one takes up arms just on the basis of the whim or interests of certain leaders”. “Arms will be taken up by any other force also when the situation so demands, even if we ourselves drop the idea.”
The general convention endorsed the launching of a people’s revolt on the foundation of the decade-long people’s war as the party’s political line. The foundation of the people’s war is people’s government, people’s court and people’s liberation army, according to the party line.
The experience of war and the experience of running people’s government and people’s courts during the insurgency will be the Maoists’ foundation for people’s revolt, Baidya said when asked if the party was going to revive them.
Armed struggle was notthing new, he argued, pointing out that the USA, which claims to be the proponent of human rights, also took up arms. The NC and UML had also taken up arms in the past. According to him, they forgot that once they attained power. Then they started to criticize the issue of arms.
Similarly, the general convention has endorsed an immediate program for bringing in a people’s federal republic, a people’s constitution and a national joint government.
Talking to media persons, he termed the current government a puppet government, arguing that it signed the BIPPA agreement with India and allowed India to undertake security responsibilities at 15 airports, claiming that these are anti-nationalist activities. In the past, the UCPN(Maoist) had termed the Madhav Nepal government a puppet government.
Baidya accused the political parties including the UCPN (Maoist) of abandoning the entire agenda of the people and not following up on previous agreements. He said a new agreement should be worked out in accordance with the changing situation, as the earlier agreements had failed.
“The 12-point deal and the comprehensive peace accord have all failed. We should work out a new agreement in accordance with the changed situation,” said Baidya.
He also made it clear that his party would not join the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML protests. According to him, they can go together only in demanding that the Bhattarai government step down.
“But we can keep up debates with them,” he said.
Baidya urged media to strike a balance over coverage of the killing of journalist Dekendra Thapa, informing that journalist Krishna Sen was also killed during the insurgency, by state forces.
“You [media] are projecting cases unilaterally. Raise the issue of journalist Krishna Sen also,” added Baidya.
January 15, 2013
Seventh national convention of the CPN-Maoist concluded by forming a 51-member central committee today. The CC will be led by Mohan Baidhya to steer the people’s revolt on the foundation formed by the people’s war.
The convention decided to elect existing 43 out of 46-strong central committee in the new 51-member committee, as three refused to take up the responsibility citing differences in the new party line adopted by the convention. The closed session was disrupted for around two days after the leadership failed to take decision on the structure and the strength of the central committee. The next central committee meeting will select remaining eight central members.
Three popular central committee members refusing to remain in the central committee are Krishna Dhoj Khadka, former chairman of the party’s student wing, his wife and popular women leader of the party Rekha Sharma and Kumar Dahal.
Khadka said the three leaders have been discussing with the top leaders regarding their differences and will make their views public within a few days if necessary. The convention also decided to continue with the existing office bearers and spokesperson and the invited central committee members Mousam Limbu and Laxman Panta are now full-fledged central members.
Addressing the closing session of the convention Chairman Mohan Baidhya said the unity convention of all the proletariats has become victorious in its fight against the revisionism. On behalf of the martyrs’ families Takma KC said the party has again resurrected the revolution, and has also warned the leaders not to let the people down.
Chairman of the advisors board Krishna Das Shrestha said Marxists and revisionism cannot remain at one place and therefore split was inevitable and has praised the leaders for adopting a revolutionary party line.
Representative of the Marxist and Leninist Communist Party of Turkey, Lena congratulated the leaders of CPN-M during the concluding ceremony and had wished success to the party’s new revolutionary line.
By Kiran Pun
January 14, 2013
The ongoing general convention of the CPN-Maoist has unanimously endorsed the political line of launching ‘people’s revolt’ by stepping on the foundation laid by the decade long ‘people’s war’ as proposed by party chairman Mohan Baidya, on Sunday.
The political line endorsed by the general convention holds significance because the UCPN (Maoist) party was split over the dispute on whether or not to adopt people’s revolt as party line. While Baidya-led group insisted on the line of revolt, factions led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai lobbied for ‘peace and constitution’ as party line.
“The party will put all its efforts to launch people’s revolt in the country,” central committee member Om Prakash Pun, told Republica while informing that political document of Chairman Baidya and party’s statute presented by secretary Dev Gurung were endorsed unanimously.
After reporting by team leaders of various 21 groups, party office bearers had addressed the floor on Sunday. Chairman Baidya summarized the reports and suggestions before his political document was endorsed unanimously.
While stating that the circumstance in the given situation will decide whether to go for armed struggle or not, the convention has decided to take two-pronged policy of armed and unarmed struggle to realize the party’s goals. Maoist leaders said people’s revolt will be built on the foundation of the people’s war through armed struggle to complete the new democratic revolution in Nepal.
The leaders of all the teams had demanded a clear roadmap for revolution. Party cadres during their group discussions and also during their reporting had asked the party leadership to make them clear whether the party’s main policy was “people’s war” or “people’s revolt”. While some cadres argued that people´s war should be their main policy, the others stood for “people’s revolt”.
The floor also concluded that the party would try to launch “people’s revolt” as the reactionary forces including UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are facing crisis during this transition period. “We will try to launch people’s revolt as the reactionary forces are in serious crisis now,” said a leader.
According to leaders, time now is ripe for launching people’s revolt as the parliamentary parties due to their failure to hold CA election or promulgate a new constitution are facing serious crisis. “Once the reactionary forces bring out a new constitution, we will reject the constitution and go for people’s war,” said a leader.
People’s government, people’s court and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are the foundations of the people’s war. The ‘panel proposal’ of the new central committee will be presented on Monday.
The CPN-Maoist general convention termed UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-Chairman Baburam Bhattarai as ‘stooges of foreign powers’ and ‘renegades.’ The CPN-Maoist said the two were involved in anti-national activities outdoing the reactionaries including the Nepali Congress and the UML.
CPN-Maoist also blames the two leaders for betraying the revolution.
Similarly, Baidya’s document has also termed Nepali Congress and CPN-UML as representatives of ‘status-quoist’ forces, capitalists and beuraucrats.
By Kiran Pun
January 12, 2013
Expressing agreement with the main thrust of the political document presented by party Chairman Mohan Baidya, representatives to the CPN-Maoist General Convention on Friday asked for clarity whether the roadmap is for ‘people’s war’ or ‘people’s revolt’. The representatives discussed what to make the main goal: ‘revolt’ or ‘people’s war.’
Baidya’s political document is for completing the ‘people’s revolt’ on the foundation of the ‘people’s war.’
The party formed 21 groups on Thursday for discussing the political document and the party statute presented by Secretary Dev Gurung. The group leaders will present their groups’ comments on the document and the party statue from tomorrow.
“The main discussion is based on what should be the main issue, people’s war or people’s revolt,” said a Magarat state committee member. The arguments on both sides were presented forcefully.
Those cadres for people’s war argued that there was no foundation now for a people’s war. The PLA, the people’s government and people’s courts were already dissolved.
“The main issue is people’s war but how to make it unique for Nepal and different from the previous people’s war? The document is unclear about people’s revolt, just like Prachand [Pushpa Kamal Dahal ] was,” said a participant quoting another participant.
They argued that only after the formation of the PLA and people’s courts and government could they launch an armed revolt.
Referring to Nepal’s situation, they said that the then USSR was not the right model for armed revolt as Nepal is still semi-feudal and semi-colonial. They argued that Nepal is not neo-colonial as stated by the party but semi-colonial and that “people’s war is the character of Nepal’s revolution.” The party has concluded that Nepal is semi-feudal and neo-colonial.
“The people’s war should be launched after deciding where we are right now. We fell from the peak of Everest and do not know how far we have fallen. We should first find that out and start anew from there, not from zero,” a participant quoted someone as saying at the discussions.
Those who argued for people’s revolt said that there was no going back to people’s war. So, the party should form the party organization and its army for a revolt.
“But the bases for this should be clear,” a participant was quoted as saying at the discussions.
The representatives also said that the document’s analysis of people’s war and people’s revolt was just eclecticism.
The participants further argued that the party should guarantee that there would not be any betrayal of the revolution and that the leadership would not morph into another Dahal or Baburam Bhattarai.
For this, they argued that the party leaders should change their livestyles and make public their property and its sources. And all property of at lest those from the central committee level up should be handed over to the party.
The cadres from Rolpa, the cradle of the decade-long Maoist people’s war, argued that the people’s war should now start from the cities.
“We can win. We should not abandon our agenda. We should start where we left off in the people’s war. The general convention must make clear the stage we are at now,” a participant quoted a Rolpali cadre as saying.