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ISSUES & ANALYSIS
  Imminent split in UCPN (Maoist)  
 

JAINENDRA JEEVAN

The UCPN (Maoist)’s break-up is now a question of when, not whether. The underneath differences between Pushpa Kamal Dahal-Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Baidya camps over ideological comprehension and political course of the party first surfaced during the Chunwang plenum in 2003. Amidst Baidya faction’s serious reservations, the plenum adopted Bhattarai’s political line, also endorsed by Chairman Dahal, of “co-working with political parties that believe in multi-party democracy”.

Baidya and his followers were not happy either with any of the subsequent agreements on peace including the landmark 12-point accord brokered by the Indians and signed between the Maoists and the seven ‘mainstream’ parties. However, they didn’t dare to go against the tide. But divergence between the two groups – one that stands for peace-building and constitution making and the other that prefers rebellion – have only widened over the years; Palungtar plenum of last year witnessed a new height in the divide. For all practical purpose, now Baidya faction is just like a party within the party with parallel structures, actions and policies of its own.

Thanks to the maneuverings of a shrewd party chairman who managed to keep the two sides together by changing his affiliation turn by turn with each (that he did so to serve his own political ambitions more than to keep the party intact is a different thing). The party is de jure one so far. But the relationship took a nasty turn when, to become the prime minister, Bhattarai again joined hands with Chairman Dahal abruptly ending his two-month old alliance with Baidya known as Dhobighat Alliance.

Recent developments that range from signing of a power-sharing deal with Madeshi parties to signing of the peace deal with three other forces by the establishment faction on one hand and accusing Dahal and Bhattarai as traitors, Indian stooge and agents of RAW by leaders of Baidya faction, on the other, speak volumes.

It appears that both factions have already made up their mind to part ways despite their claim to the contrary. The public denial is simply because no side wants to shoulder the blame for separation. Since sometime, both sides have been organizing separate training camps across the nation to explain cadres of one’s own faction about the split and to persuade the undecided ones to join them.

In communist parties, important decisions on issues that are disputed by the hardliners often turn as decisive events that split the party. Endorsement of Mahakali treaty (with India) by 2/3rd majority of the parliament some 14 years before was used by party hardliners as ploy to split the CPN-UML. In case of UCPN (Maoists), implementation of the November 1 peace deal or promulgation of the forthcoming constitution may be used as pretext.

If Baidya faction refrained from splitting the party despite its allegation that the November 1 deal was anti-national and anti-revolution, it was because they discovered that majority of party cadres and PLA combatants were in support of the deal. They seem to have decided to separate around the time of integration, so that the disgruntled combatants who cannot be integrated into Nepal Army and instead have to choose other options can be wooed, and, if possible, can even be recruited for another ‘people’s war’.
Democracy, which paradoxically they hate, has offered Baidya, Thapa and their followers the choice to dissent, divide and defect freely and fearlessly. The only expectation people have from them is that they refrain from playing havoc by clashing violently in the streets with their erstwhile fellow comrades in the aftermath of the split.

Unlike in bourgeois parties, differences within communist parties that operate within democratic order are primarily ideological. Of course, there are personal and factional conflicts as well, which communists deny having, but it is the chronic ideological and political disputes that lead to the break-up.

Their problem is that they seek solutions for their problems in textbooks authored by Lenin, which may be extensive on operational modes and strategic and organizational aspects of communist parties within a one-party communist state, but which provides no clue for communist parties that has to operate within a multi-party democratic framework. The result: The teachings do not work as freedom to express and to separate cannot be substituted by applications like Democratic Centralism, Two-line Conflicts and Unity of Opposites.

With or without Leninist schooling, experience has proved that engagement in pluralistic and democratic politics and exposure to reality gradually turns the more sensible and better educated among the ‘revolutionaries’ into moderates and pragmatists. Bhattarai and Dahal belong to this category. The radical ones such as Baidya, Ram Bahadur Thapa, C P Gajurel, Dev Gurung and Netra Bikram Chand who cannot reconcile to the new development take the change in their colleagues’ mindset as revisionism—a crime in communist jargon.

Baidya, Thapa and their likes believe that one-party communist rule is still possible and that power can be seized only through violent revolt. Their enthusiasm and confidence is based on certain misconceptions and misinterpretations of facts. “If we reached to power ‘on the strength of our people’s war’, why can’t we attain our goal of ‘dictatorship of proletariat’ applying the same methods?”

This is how they think. They never ponder that their gains are not necessarily the result of their guns; rather they are the bonus of the greed and foolishness of their adversaries that include successive monarchs and late Girija Koirala, the miscalculations of the Indian establishment and absence of political consensus for the army offensive.

Besides, people’s discontent toward political parties and conditions that breed poverty, hardships, unemployment, lack of education, oppression and social exclusion (now most of which have reduced in scale and intensity) too helped them succeed. Their newfound charm in certain urbanites and traditional rural strongholds has also vanished owing to their own greed, in fights and disappointing performances of last four years.

And last but not the least, they are no longer the unknown guerilla leaders of an underground and secretive organization. Neither Rukum/Rolpa nor Delhi/Lucknow can be safe havens for them anymore. All this will severely impede their ability to launch and sustain an armed rebellion. These adversities are not lost to Dahal and Bhattarai—both know that there is zero domestic and external support for such a revolt. Besides, the leaders at their mid- or late-fifties who aspire to rule the country for the rest of their lives have been used to the comforts of power.

Therefore, they have no appetite for any revolution. They are past that age and stage, something Baidya and his colleagues do not, or pretend not to, understand. With such a gap in understanding, approach, ideology and lifestyle, it is almost impossible to remain together.

After all, communists politicking in freer societies and democratic regimes of today have choices that were never available to their predecessors anywhere in the world. Khrushchev would never have suppressed his hatred of Stalin and worked subserviently under him for so long had the choice to part ways without fear and/or restriction been available to him.

Democracy, which paradoxically they hate, has offered Baidya, Thapa and their followers the choice to dissent, divide and defect freely and fearlessly. The only expectation people have from them is that they refrain from playing havoc by clashing violently in the streets with their erstwhile fellow comrades in the aftermath of the split.

jeevan1952@hotmail.com
 
Published on 2011-11-10 01:10:07
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Imminent Split In UCPN (Maoist)
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Thank you Mr. Jainendra Jeevan for the rational explanation of the Maoist politics .I appreciate your opinion. Nepalese are sure to see the True Face of the Maoist leaders/workers in the near future.They will not be successful to deceive common people for a long period. Their followers have to repent sooner or later for their support to the Maoist Party. [more]
  - Rameshwar Koirala,New York
Dear Writer Good piece of write up.

1. According line of Lenin just have a kind look at the REALITY of Russia, China and so on. Nepal has been landlocked and cut off from international news no self respecting utopian socialist will reintroduce Albania or Rumania to a country which is her or his own and therefore destroy it.

2. maobadi has been instrumental Prachandra as well as Bhattarai have only been chosen for the sake of instrumental again let them serve the country [more]
  - sunakothi
Dear Jeevan jee,
I congratulate for being continuously successful in getting your writing published in the Myrepublica. Despite few articles, most of them, I find, are unsubstantiated, pompous, absurd, and imbalanced. This piece is no exception.
I wonder whether you are a fortune-teller or a journalist/author. The simple difference between them is that fortune teller need not to have clear evidence/arguments to support his claims but the latter should have some plausible and robus [more]
  - Ramesh Pariyar
"The only expectation people have from them is that they refrain from playing havoc by clashing violently in the streets with their erstwhile fellow comrades in the aftermath of the split." Is this the expectationof the general people or that of the author as well?



[more]
  - Purna Man
It is true that there is regular oppositional debates going on Maoist party. I wonder why the write is so much skeptic about oppositional voices. Total absence of critical oppositional voices exist only on autocracy. Such critical view has helped Maoist party to be more transparent and accountable. The writer even has misconception regarding that the Baidhya faction still want to go for revolution. I feel it is obvious for oppositional voices to talk about revolution as it is the identity of co [more]
  - Nabin Giri
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