The radical faction of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has recently threatened to form its own political command aimed at relaunching the people’s war, a 10 year long countryside-based insurrection which ended in 2006 after the Maoists joined a coalition government with other mainstream parties to oust the country’s centuries-old monarchy.
The radical faction, led by party Vice-Chairman Mohan Baidya (also known as Kiran), has threatened to create “another Maoist party” if specific measures are not taken to write a constitution which gives basic assurance to the country’s masses and the sanctioned reversals of past social gains are not halted. Those amongst the radical faction have accused party leaders of selling out the goals of the revolution for their own private interest, acting against party policy, making unilateral decisions and capitulating to Indian expansionism and capitalism. (1)
Lekhnath Neupane, the former leader of the Maoist-aligned All Nepal National Independent Student Union, announced he plans on quitting the UCPN. During a press conference on December 19th, he said the parities stating its leadership has fallen back from their communist ideals and become a tool for imperialism, “The UCPN (Maoist) is on the path of ruin due to foreign agents in the party and I am quitting the party soon due to this reason.”
He also warned, “preparations are underway to form another People’s Liberation Army by constituting another communist party…” Both factions of the UCPN have recently held secret meetings in which the other faction was not invited. (2) (3)
A December 24th meeting of the Central Committee of the UCPN led to a stalemate. Party Chairman and long-time political chief of the Maoists, Pushpa Dahal (also known as Prachanda), put forward a plan of party unity and stressed the need to continue the constitution writing process, saying the UCPN would come to full power through election. This proposal was rejected by the faction led by Baidya, which later assembled their own separate road map for “people’s revolt.” (5) Baidya’s faction says Dahal has lost political legitimacy. The two factions run parallel organizations inside the UCPN and each seems to be contending for supremacy within the party, though a formal split has yet to occur. (6)
Other parties have blamed the rift in the Maoist party, the largest in the ruling coalition, for delaying the writing of a new constitution. Such parties include the Nepali Congress(NC), which is aligned with the Indian ruling class and part of which supports the establishment of a ‘constitutional monarchy,’ and the rightist Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist). (8)
Other leading members of the radical faction of the UCPN (Maoist) include Dev Gurung, CP Gajurel and Ram Bahadur Thapa (also known as Badal). The radical faction is said to have the support of much of the People’s Liberation Army. Previous splits from the UCPN have been led by Matrika Yadav and Mani Thupa and resulted in the formation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Revolutionary Communist Party (Nepal), respectively. (9)
One of the reasons Dahal claims he gave up on the idea of seizing power through armed revolt is because the international situation would not permit it: that India, China and the United States were ready to intervene. The question must be asked, when has the international situation ever been right for revolution in a single country, or generally? While the Nepali revolution did not occur during a time of World War, such as the Russian and Chinese revolutions, there are plenty of other examples of revolutions occurring outside instances of global ruling-class conflicts. Even if the Nepali Maoists made a correct assessment that the international situation was not particularly favorable for national revolution, their own bourgeois-nationalist-style capitulation on the issue can only help to maintain such an unfavorable international situation. Instead, within a few short years since 2006, the international situation may well have improved. India has yet to defeat the Naxalite movement and is hardly poised to intervene to halt a major insurrection in a neighboring country. The same could be said of China, which has recently seen a dramatic increase in “civil disturbances,” including the open revolt in Wukan. As for the US, though it’s military and covert capabilities should not be underestimated, it should also be understood that it is dangerously overextended politically, economically and militarily. Rather than preventing imperialist intervention in Nepal, the conciliatory Prachanda leadership of the UCPN has engendered itself as the best ally imperialism has inside Nepal. Prachanda has helped defeat the Nepali revolution, and hence set back socialism globally, from within the leadership of the UCPN.
In politics unity is often shattered by changing circumstances and differing interpretations. Given the recent increase in public denouncements between factions, it is unlikely that political issues will be resolved and the UCPN will be able to move forward. Either the faction led by Dahal will, with the support of right-wing parties such as Nepali Congress, move to suppress the activities of the radicals and Mohan Baidya within the party, or the radical faction will lead a take-over of, or breakaway from the UCPN and suppress the more mainstream Maoists who, if left in control of the UCPN, will transform it into another ruling-comprador party.
The best thing for the UCPN would be unity, but not under the line and direction of Dahal. The most important thing is seizing power to implement and maintain social reforms and an anti-imperialist foreign policy, not to make concession with Indian expansionism and Western capital. A People’s Republic, or socialism, is the way forward for all countries which are home to a mass base of oppressed and exploited people. A Nepali Federal Republic and the bureaucratic class it will spawn, even with some leading members of the UCPN in positions of authority, will only become a permanent tool of regional and international imperialism.
-Nick Brown is a writer and social justice organizer living in Denver, Colorado.