This is a comment on a speech from an earlier blog.
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has pulled of a great victory in their people’s war campaign. They started the armed uprising about 10 years ago. At first, many people on the left were skeptical about them and didn’t take them seriously.
Then an agreement was reached, the war ended and the CPN(M) won an election, becoming the largest political party in their parliament. CPN(M)’s leader, Prachanda, प्रचण्ड, (or Pushpa Kamal Dahal) became the prime minister.
Now there is scepticism once again as the party has suffered several setbacks. The first was an inability to fire military leaders that CPN(M) felt threatened the elected government with a possible coup. Prachanda resigned. The other political parties then formed a new coalition government. The CPN(M) has now been squeezed out. They are backed into a corner.
Now the party gets a lot of advice from Maoist Parties all over the world. Some have criticized their commitment to a multi-party system. CPN(M) party officials have insisted all along they would develop a multiparty government with opposition political parties. They have insisted that the single party dictatorship of the last century was a mistake and a reason so many of the so called “communist countries” failed.
In one part of Prachanda’s speech he said:
“Either it will go ahead in a very creative and a very scientific way, or it will deviate from (inaudible) fundamental theory and fundamental ideology. I am very clear in my mind that we will not deviate because we are trying our best to apply this theory according the conditions of 21st century.
We understand the whole dynamics of 21st century, and we in Nepal, together have leading a very special, very specific type of revolution. Although there are so many ups and downs, and twists and turns in the process necessarily, but ultimately we are trying to lead this revolution according to the changed condition.”
He is right that the 21st century is a new era and we Marxists and Maoists can’t afford to stay stuck in theories developed and put in practice according to conditions of the last century.
On the other hand, the Communist Party of India – Maoist has correctly pointed out that the CPN(M) should have not disarmed any of its military wing, nor dismantle the rural bases they had established during the war. They left themselves at the mercy of the reactionary Nepal military and proper control of the military is essential in any revolution. Despite all the setbacks of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, in 1979, there was never a problem or concern that the military would turn on the civilian government. The old military had been abolished and that left the other parties free to struggle politically in a peaceful manor (with the exception of the contra guerrillas).
Another point Prachanda made:
“We understand the whole dynamics of 21st century, and we in Nepal, together have leading a very special, very specific type of revolution. Although there are so many ups and downs, and twists and turns in the process necessarily, but ultimately we are trying to lead this revolution according to the changed condition.
And we derived, I think when we were in the war, (inaudible) just after 5 years of the initiation of people’s war, we tried to understand the whole lesson of 20th century, all the revolution and counter-revolution, all the positive and negative lesson of the revolution. And we came to a new understanding. We came to a new conclusion that, we had to develop some new strategy and tactics we cannot copy the insurrectionist strategy of Lenin, and mechanically we cannot copy the whole theory of protracted people’s war according to our conditions.”
Again, the stress is that new strategies are needed to re-invent communist revolution. He is right that we must try new things and simply using force alone to bring about social justice is not the answer. These are difficult times and there are no guarantees that the CPN(M) will prevail. There are Maoist insurgencies in India, the Philippines and Bhutan. There may be more insurgencies, as time goes on, in such places as Afghanistan or Iran. There is still a Maoist insurgency in Peru.
Also, there are experiments in Italy by some Maoist groups who are trying to form “revolutionary Blocks.” There has never been a communist revolution in a Western European country, so this is all new forms of political struggle.
Today it would seem that the US will be one of the last countries to embrace any kind of socialist revolution. The health care debates have shown that paranoia against any government intervention into the private sector is labelled “socialists” by the politically unenlightened. Also many middle class Americans act as if socialism is the work of Satan himself. With such strong religious and political indoctrination, it would seem almost unthinkable for the US to rebel against capitalism. But as other countries make successful changes, this could all change. There’s little doubt that the US will eventually have a new health care system and the two-party system will eventually die out. As more diverse ideas are exposed to the US public, it is possible to eventually break the corporate ideology that strangleholds the US. By then, there may be some successful examples of socialist revolution that Americans can learn from.