Red Flag Express №4

Nepal: Revolution at a Turning Point

Abridged from an article published in Le Drapeau Rouge newspaper, No. 63, April 2007.

Developments over the last year in Nepal, after more than 10 years of armed struggle that shook the foundations of the old regime and won admiration from millions of exploited people and proletarians around the world, did not go without generating debates within the international communist movement—and within forces supporting revolution in that country. Many wonder about the decisions made by the leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN[M)]) and the future of their revolution. Important Maoist parties like the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and Communist Party of the Philippines publicly expressed their dissent with the Nepali comrades. [1]

Other parties or organizations, whose actual existence is slight of outside the Internet, [2] profited from hardships occurring in the normal course of a revolutionary process, like the one going on in Nepal, to launch a wild campaign against the leadership of the CPN(M), and even against other parties and organizations (notably the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement) who would not follow their appeal to publicly condemn what they call “Prachanda revisionism” (from the name of the main leader of the Nepali party).

We have clearly set ourselves apart from this childish position, a position which shows a total misunderstanding of the complexity of a revolutionary struggle which is taking place outside of some webmaster’s cozy apartment. In many places there are individuals and collectives of all kinds who have no revolutionary experience, or even the slightest idea of its strategic requirements, but who nonetheless aspire to confused revolutionary ideals. Such groups or individuals will sometimes be attracted to a certain revolutionary symbol. Some will, however, never go beyond this stage.

Many romanticized the revolution in Nepal, seeing images of armed fighters and acts of open rebellion, and praised the CPN(M). But the recent tactics applied by the Maoist party and the appearance of new images, such as Prachanda no longer a charismatic mysterious revolutionary leader but shaking hands with Prime Minister Koirala, have disappointed them. Their narrow militaristic and romanticized vision of revolution prevents them from understanding that both kinds of activity are part of the same process, and that this process in and of itself always remains essentially political.

That being said, developments from the last year are raising serious issues, some of which are actually linked to important principles.

At this point, as a Maoist organization that has supported the revolutionary process in Nepal since its beginning, and acting as a detachment of the international communist movement, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) submits the following considerations:

1. The revolution in Nepal constitutes the most advanced revolutionary experience of the last 10 years for the international proletariat. The application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the conditions of Nepal by the CPN(M) allowed the country’s revolutionary masses to rapidly progress and win one victory after another. The revolutionary process in Nepal also brought forward the whole international communist movement. It confirmed the accuracy of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and of the strategic path of protracted People’s War. Revolution in Nepal demonstrates the Maoist thesis, according to which the people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history; it once again proves the necessity of a solid revolutionary leadership embodied by a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist vanguard party linked to the international communist movement.

2. Tactical decisions made by the CPN(M) over the last 18 months are in continuity with the orientation developed by this party, which allowed the revolution to progress up until now. Our first impression is that these decisions are not surprising; the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is following the plan it adopted when it first declared the People’s War. From the outset, the CPN(M) clearly indicated that, within the class composition of Nepal, the main enemy of the Nepali people was made up of feudal landowners and of comprador bourgeoisie and their imperialist allies in the US and India; and that to ensure their domination, these reactionary classes relied, politically, on a monarchist type of state which supports the entire structure of oppressive relations in Nepali society. On the basis of concentrating all revolutionary forces to attack one enemy at a time, the CPN(M) decided to target feudal monarchy, and demanded the formation of a constituent assembly that would create a democratic republic. It fought to initiate a united front with the forces opposed to monarchy—including some hesitant forces that it carefully brought into the camp of revolution (even if only temporarily).

3. These tactical decisions and this step in the revolutionary process has, however, raised a number of questions that should be mainly answered by the CPN(M). One of them is about the important military issue which will determine what force will become dominant at the end of this political process. The peace accord of November 2006 did not force the People’s Liberation Army to give up their arms, as some claim, but simply put them in warehouse. During a conference in New Delhi on February 3rd, 2007, Comrade Gaurav, finally freed after more than three years in prison, and now assuming leadership of international relations for the CPN(M), explained that the People’s Liberation Army would need only an hour to fully mobilize itself (eKanpitur.com, 2007/02/03). The question of how the national army will be disbanded if the Maoists win the elections in the constituent assembly still remains open. Party leader Baburam Bhattarai recently raised the idea that the national army could be “substantially reduced” and replaced by a people’s militia (eKantipur.com, 2007/02/09).

However, until elections are held and the Maoists can proceed with building a new country, the conditions of the peace accord, even if they have not neutralized the armed capacity of the People’s Liberation Army, have still placed the forces of the enemy in an advantageous position, since only part of their troops, weapons and supplies, equivalent to that of the PLA, were set down in the same way. The national army currently possesses enough surplus strength, in strict military terms, to intervene in the electoral process and perhaps even stage a coup d’état. If they did so, however, it would go against the spirit and word of the peace accord, and the legitimacy of the revolutionary forces would be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt; then, the PLA would be in a far better position to pick up arms to defend the integrity of the free democratic process.

More generally, the transitional process, which the CPN(M) hopes will abolish the monarchist state once and for all and lead to a democratic republic as a step towards New Democracy and socialism, remains scattered with obstacles. The path towards revolution in any given country never follows a straight and predictable line. It can not be claimed that each step must follow another with a kind of historic determinism. The key is for the revolutionary proletariat, embodied in its vanguard party, to lead the process, to accumulate its strength and at each step act according with the reality of the situation, forging and breaking class alliances, advancing and withdrawing, and realizing the tasks necessary for the next step. It is the greatest hardship any revolutionary party will confront.

As a supporter of the CPN(M) told us not too long ago, the closer the party gets towards seizing power, the more it progresses in transforming society through revolution, and the more its margins of error narrows. When the People’s War was initiated in 1996, the party could afford to make mistakes (relatively, of course). A single defeat, or a single failure, could not lead to the consequences that it can now, as millions of people have put their hopes in the revolution.

4. Nothing is settled; everything is still possible. We are of the opinion that nothing is final, nothing has been set in stone, for the revolution in Nepal. We clearly reject the point of view of those pretending that a bourgeois line has triumphed within the party and that the revolution has been defeated. The revolutionary movement in Nepal is more alive than ever! The masses are involved by the millions, in one way or another, in the revolutionary process. They benefit from the contribution of a trained and combat-proven vanguard party which has proven its mastery at military and political tactics; each compromise made during the course of the People’s War, and each cease-fire, allowed it to accumulate its forces, isolate the enemy and put the revolutionary camp in a better position. This, however, does not give any guarantee about the future. The party (as well as elsewhere), as the leading center of the revolution, is obviously where the bourgeois line is going to redevelop.

In 1957, eight years after the triumph of Chinese Revolution, three years of New Democracy and four years of socialist construction, Mao Zedong wrote: “Class struggle is by no means over. The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the class struggle between the various political forces, and the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the ideological field will still be protracted and torturous and at times even very sharp. The proletariat seeks to transform the world according to its world outlook, and so does the bourgeoisie. In this respect, the question of which will win out, socialism or capitalism, is not really settled yet.” (On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People) We believe that in Nepal, the matter of knowing who will win is not yet resolved.

5. The challenges for revolution in Nepal are shedding light on a certain number of difficulties and weaknesses within the revolutionary forces and the world proletariat. From the beginning, the CPN(M) was always very aware of the dialectical link which unites revolution in Nepal and world revolution. It also grasped the importance of relating the revolution in Nepal with the world revolution, even if it involves mainly internal factors specific to Nepal. This relation begins with revolution in South Asia, particularly in India, which constitutes the most immediate and dominant foreign influence in Nepal. The CPN(M) has spent a lot of effort unifying Maoist revolutionary forces in the region. It put forward the strategic idea of a Federation of Soviet Republics of South Asia as a means of establishing and consolidating socialism in each of the region’s countries. At the international level, the CPN(M) participates with the efforts of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (the RIM) to develop the world revolution and people’s resistance, and build Marxist-Leninist-Maoist vanguard parties and organizations everywhere in the world, as well as a global revolutionary leading center.

In the short run, because of the current international context characterized by imperialist war and the USA’s hegemonic imperialist offensive (since the fall of Soviet social-imperialism, and in particular since the September 11, 2001 attacks), proclaiming, establishing and maintaining a Communist-led revolutionary regime represents a gigantic challenge that can never be overcome alone by Communists in a single country. This challenge belongs to Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, to revolutionary and anti-imperialist forces all over the globe.

6. In this context, solidarity with revolution in Nepal is more necessary than ever. We must continue to support Nepal’s revolutionary masses; in fact, our solidarity with them must strengthen. This does not exclude debate and discussion on the orientations of the CPN(M). Not in the least bit. Comrades from Nepal openly participate within the international communist movement, so that the worldwide revolution can be strengthened by their experience, and vice-versa—not in a literal way, but in a very real and concrete manner. And if there is a single concrete revolutionary movement in the world, it is in Nepal. This revolution belongs to us all: it is the revolution of the world’s oppressed people.

The Maoist conception of revolution excludes any unconditional submission to some “father party.” Thanks to the revisionists, this deviation, which has always plagued the international communist movement, has brought disastrous results in the past. It has been vigorously fought against by Mao and the Chinese Communists, and today is rejected by the CPN(M) and genuine Marxist-Leninist-Maoist forces. What revolutionaries in Nepal need, what they are righteously asking from us, is that we take the revolution’s issues at heart; that we defeat our fears and our monotonous inaction and lack of resolve, which has become the characterization of far too wide a portion of the international communist movement. They ask that we openly debate with them, in the spirit proletarian internationalism. They ask that we go forward, decisively, on the road to revolution.

We must not underestimate the impact these advances will have on revolution in Nepal, including on the possibility for revolutionaries there to proceed to the next step towards socialism. Let’s be clear that for our part, our commitment is firm and our solidarity remains indestructible for our comrades in Nepal.


1) The Communist Party of India (Maoist) published an elaborate critical text, in the form of an interview made with one of its main leaders, comrade Azad. This interview was published in the June-July 2006 edition of the People’s March magazine, available at peoplesmarch.googlepages.com.

2) We refer here to a small group called “Parti communiste marxiste-léniniste-maoïste” of France.

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