On 13 March 2007, Comrade Gaurav, one of the senior leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN(M)], spoke to a gathering of students and progressives at the School of Oriental and African Studies. During this speech, he explained his party’s position on the ongoing struggle in Nepal to overthrow the monarchy and establish a people’s democratic republic.
Comrade Gaurav thanked the organisers of the meeting (SOAS South Asian Society) and expressed his happiness to be in London to explain his party’s viewpoint. We reproduce below a summarised version of this important speech.
Nepal was hitherto known for two things: as being home to the Himalayas and as a supplier of Ghurkhas to the British army. Now it is a country of revolution and exciting political developments. Within ten years of the demise of the bloc of erstwhile European socialist countries, after which so many reactionary pronouncements were made, the Nepalese have led a country-wide revolution.
The CPN(M) has made an alliance with the seven parliamentary parties of Nepal and is playing a decisive role in this alliance. This was despite the fact that we had no support from any socialist country. The question is: what got us to begin a people’s war in Nepal? The answer is first, our belief in the invincibility of the science of Marxism Leninism Maoism and second, our self-reliance on, and faith in, the masses. We have strictly followed the military tactics formulated by Comrade Mao Zedong, namely, strategic defensive, followed by strategic equilibrium and strategic offensive.
In our view, there were two deviations that led to the collapse of the eastern bloc of socialist countries: first, the abandonment of Marxism Leninism and the triumph of the rightist deviation, and second, a mechanical and dogmatic understanding of Marxism Leninism. After Mao’s death, many parties went through a period of degeneration. After the arrest of Comrade Gonzalo, the Peruvian revolution suffered a setback. We analysed the reasons for the failure of others, and concluded that one of the main reasons was their failure to understand Marxism Leninism and departures from it with theories such as the peaceful road to socialism. We also realised that there was a failure in many places to connect the armed struggle and the mass movement, a failure to realise that people’s war is a war of the masses. Once a people’s war becomes a war of the masses, no army, no matter how powerful, can defeat it.
Situation in Nepal
The monarchy in Nepal has a history of 238 years. The aim of the Nepalese revolution is to overthrow the autocracy and establish a people’s democratic republic. The CPN(M) has been mobilising wide sections of Nepalese society, ranging from national minorities to women and the oppressed masses.
Our struggle to liberate the masses from feudal oppression, national and sex discrimination has brought in mass support for us; 30 percent of our liberation army is composed of women. As a result, our people’s war has become a real war of the Nepalese masses. That is why our enemies could not defeat us. We achieved great successes in a period of just ten years. The result is that 80 percent of the Nepalese countryside is liberated and the strength of our People’s Army stands at 38,000.
People ask us: Why did we make an alliance with the parliamentary parties? Our reasons are as follows.
After the royal massacre, masterminded by the present King Gyanendra, the latter came to be thoroughly hated by the masses, who wanted to get rid of the monarchy. Sensing the mood of the people, the CPN(M) called upon the parliamentary parties to join with it in the task of getting rid of the monarchy. In 2005, Gyanendra staged a coup, dismissed the government, banned political parties and arrested their leadership. This not only forced the political parties in Nepal to rethink and revise their position but also forced India temporarily to suspend the sale of arms to Nepal.
India’s position regarding Nepal has rested on the theory of ‘two pillars’: first, the constitutional monarchy and second, the parliamentary system of government. But when the King staged a coup and started buying arms from China, India decided to increase the pressure on the Nepalese government to change its tack. In this situation, the political parties – a spent force – were forced to come to us. Kicked in the teeth by the King, these parties had no choice but to accept the hand extended by us.
The alliance was doing very well and came very close to getting rid of the monarchy in April of last year. However, under pressure from India and the European Union, the parliamentary parties suspended the April Movement, which would certainly have succeeded in overthrowing the monarchy had it been continued for just two more days.
Our country is at the crossroads. People want to get rid of the monarchy. Ten years of people’s war and 15 days of the mass movement have created conditions for getting rid of the autocracy through the ballot box and by peaceful means. But there are conspiracies afoot. The monarchy in Nepal will not retire from the political stage voluntarily. Only recently, a general of the Nepalese Army condemned the role of the political parties in a 15-page statement. And, on 13 February this year, the King justified his 2005 coup, egged on by the US imperialists and by the Hindu fundamentalists in India, who want to create chaos and sabotage the forthcoming election process. This is because they know that the elections will succeed in getting rid of the monarchy.
Our party is countering these designs by appealing to the parliamentary parties to declare a democratic republic, and to back it up by the mobilisation of the masses in favour of the declaration of a democratic republic. If the parliamentary parties do not agree with us, we are pledged to lead the revolution forward alone.
Following the above speech, there was a lively question and answer session during which Comrade Gaurav made some further important points. He stated that the alliance with the seven parties was an insurance against foreign intervention. At this point, he said, some powerful countries will not tolerate a government in Nepal composed of the Maoists alone. The alliance with other parties insures the democratic revolution against foreign intervention.
He also explained that in the present, temporary, parliament, the CPN(M) controls 83 out of the 330 seats (73 directly from the CPN(M) and 10 representatives nominated by the party). This parliament will last up to the forthcoming election. The entire leadership of the CPN(M) will not be in the government because it feels that a section of the party must stay outside of the government in order to protect the interests of the masses. If the entire leadership were to be in the government, the instinct of the party would be blindly to support the government. And if such a government were doing things that caused the masses to be dissatisfied with it, the party’s blind support for such a government would lead to the discrediting of the party. So, the CPN(M) plans to be in power, but also to be in the opposition.
As to the policies to be pursued by the CPN(M), Comrade Gaurav said that it was currently working to establish a mixed – not a purely socialist – economy. It would institute land reform, confiscating big estates from the feudal landowners and redistributing land among the peasantry. The CPN(M) was not in favour of confiscating the property of the national bourgeoisie at this time, but only that of the feudal landlords, the royal family and the comprador bourgeoisie.
All in all, it was a very useful meeting and attended by lively discussion.