A WORLD TO WIN    #24   (1998)


On the Expulsion of the Nepal Communist Party (Mashal)
from RIM

The following article by the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (CoRIM) proposed the expulsion of one of RIM’s participant organisations, the Nepal Communist Party (Mashal) [NCP (Mashal)]. The proposal was adopted by RIM in the winter of 1998. – AWTW

“On December 26, 1993, on the occasion of the Mao Tse-tung Centenary, the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement took the historic step of adopting Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its ideology. This decision was taken after a long, vigorous debate within RIM, which had gone on over a number of years. In the course of this discussion, the Nepal Communist Party (Mashal) has repeatedly and vociferously argued against this position of our Movement.” [CoRIM Letter to NCP (Mashal), 1996] “At the time of the adoption of the document Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! (LLMLM!), the problem of the continuing participation of the NCP (Mashal) in RIM was discussed. Having been assured that your party would review its position and discuss the position adopted by the Movement, it was decided to allow ample time for this review of position and further discussion to take place.” [ibid.] More than three years had gone by since the adoption of MLM, years of vital importance for the communist movement in Nepal. A struggle that came to a head in December 1993 started to bear fruit in the form of the initiation of the People’s War by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN (Maoist)]. The NCP (Mashal), however, have persisted in their refusal to regard Maoism as the third and highest stage of development of our science, and opposed the People’s War. The differences of our Movement with the NCP (Mashal) are not, however, reducible to their opposition to the People’s War; rather, their opposition is a symptom and the inevitable result of the opportunist trajectory they have been on for some time. In the context of today, where the People’s War is helping clarify the political landscape in Nepal, it is important that this period of struggle between our Movement and the NCP (Mashal) comes to a conclusion.

On the Era

A key argument the NCP (Mashal) raises against Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM) is that Leninism is the Marxism of the era of imperialism and that, since the era has not changed, speaking of MLM as a new and higher stage of our science means negating Leninism. As they say, “All political parties supporting the misleading concept of Maoism admit that the present era is an era of imperialism and socialist revolution. But none of them touches the sensitive issue of the Lenin era”. Also: “their concept of a third stage of Maoism clearly presupposes that Leninism... has been replaced or substituted by Maoism.” [On “Maoism”, Resolution of the NCP (Mashal) COC, 09/92].

The NCP (Mashal) confuses the issues of the era of social development and the stages of development of our science. MLM is the science of revolution, a living and developing science. In the process of wielding it, communists learn more and more about society and classes and their dynamics; and if they care to stay at the forefront of revolutionary struggle, they have to develop their theory to correspond to new understanding acquired through practice. Moreover, situations change and new contradictions arise that previous leaders could not know about, and thus were unable to develop methods for handling. Any attempt to negate the need for continuous advance in the science (which, as any development, goes through leaps and bounds) will reduce it from a sharp weapon into a dogma that is useless or even a hindrance in dealing with the complexities of the class struggle.

To maintain that Leninism covers all the contradictions of the era of imperialism and the building of socialism is to ignore reality and replace it with some preconceived idea in one’s brain. It proceeds from formal definitions, not material developments, and as a result earth-shaking events are treated as trivial and not requiring major efforts to develop our understanding. This is subjective idealism, not Leninism.

As Mao put it in On Practice: “In feudal society it was impossible to know the laws of capitalist society in advance because capitalism had not yet emerged, the relevant practice was lacking. Marxism could be the product only of capitalist society. Marx, in the era of laissez-faire capitalism, could not concretely know certain laws peculiar to the era of imperialism beforehand, because imperialism, the last stage of capitalism, had not yet emerged and the relevant practice was lacking; only Lenin and Stalin could undertake this task. Leaving aside their genius, the reason why Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin could work out their theories was mainly that they personally took part in the practice of the class struggle and the scientific experimentation of their time; lacking this condition, no genius could have succeeded.” Since the death of Lenin, the world has seen many historic events, including the New Democratic Revolution and the People’s War in China, decades of socialist construction in the USSR and China, the restoration of capitalism in the USSR, the battle to prevent it in China, the Cultural Revolution, and finally the restoration of capitalism in China too. All of these posed new problems and unleashed unprecedented battles in theory and practice. And all of these provided fertile ground for the development of our ideology to a qualitatively higher stage, which was MLM. It also raised the revolutionaries’ ability to fight for a world without imperialism and oppression to a qualitatively higher level. Maoism represents the highest level of understanding on all these fronts. Without Maoism, the era of imperialism would be here to stay.

The NCP (Mashal) claims that Maoism is the negation of Leninism. But by negating the dialectical relationship between being and knowing, by looking at the world from the prism of subjective idealism, the NCP (Mashal) adopts a philosophy different not only to that of Mao, but also Lenin and Marx.

The differences between our Movement and the NCP (Mashal) over this question of terminology thus reflect important differences in the overall approach to the science of revolution. They also reflect opposing views on the content of Mao’s contributions to the body of revolutionary knowledge and practice.

Two Views On Mao’s Contributions

In the context of the ideological debate with the NCP (Mashal), in 1993 CoRIM prepared a Letter addressing an upcoming Mashal Congress. This Letter, referring to the previously cited NCP(Mashal) document On “Maoism”, states, “You say that Mao made great contributions in the fields of philosophy, political economy, and scientific socialism of historic importance and in a few paragraphs you list some of these contributions. In every case this list is followed by statements of how this was already accomplished by Lenin, or Stalin had done it better. Your document says Lenin was the basis for Mao’s theory on New democratic revolution. Taking your document as a whole, you mainly give lip service to Mao’s contributions, downgrading them and rationalising how they are only the consequence of Marx, Lenin and mainly Stalin before him... Your arguments are based on ... wrong pernicious concepts that Mao added nothing qualitatively new to what had already been worked out by Lenin... [and] Mao’s contributions are equal to those of Stalin.” Let’s look at some of the major points of this debate.

New Democratic Revolution and the Seizure of Political Power

In the NCP (Mashal) document On “Maoism”, under a section headed New Democratic Revolution, while giving lip service to the “extraordinary contribution of Mao”, the NCP (Mashal) downgrade this by extensively quoting Lenin, Stalin and the Comintern and saying, “Lenin’s Report [to the Congress of the 3rd International] bears a great theoretical significance and eventually became the fundamental basis of Mao’s New Democratic Revolution”. As our aforementioned Letter to the NCP (Mashal) Congress points out, “the road Lenin established for imperialist Russia could not be a model for countries such as China.... Stalin firmly grasped that the revolution in China could not go directly to socialism but rather had to first go through a stage where national and democratic tasks were primary. Yet as Stalin himself later acknowledged, Mao had to oppose some errors in Stalin’s thinking in order to lead the Chinese revolution to victory. What Mao achieved with the theory of New democratic revolution and the practice of the Chinese revolution had never been done.” One of Mao’s greatest contributions during the course of the Chinese revolution was “developing the theory and practice of people’s war, giving the proletariat, for the very first time, its own complete military doctrine, superior to that of any other class.” [CoRIM Letter to NCP (Mashal) Congress]

This point is completely missed by the NCP (Mashal), who in the process of sharpening line struggle and especially with the initiation of the People’s War in Nepal, develop some of their thinking on revolutionary war: “The Marxist-Leninist philosophy demands that we always analyse the situation correctly and concretely and examine historically, whenever we are determining policy, program or forms of struggle”, and “anarchism considers the idea of taking into account the situation or circumstance as ‘anti-revolutionary’ and lays emphasis on the need to pursue revolutionary [struggle] in every situation. The ML method stresses the need whether to make revolutionary preparation or advance revolutionary struggle. Accordingly, the Marxist-Leninists pursue various forms of struggle such as legal or illegal, peaceful or armed, parliamentarian or non-parliamentarian, use or boycott of election, while evaluating the subjective and objective situation. But anarchism rules out such Marxist-Leninist method and stresses the need to follow the policy of revolutionary struggle at every situation....” [“On RIM’s Support to the So-called ‘People’s War’ of the Maoists,” by NCP (Mashal) leader M.B. Singh]. Of course Maoists analyse concrete situations, and their initiation and support of people’s war is also based on understanding the objective situation. But Maoists analyse the situation with the understanding that without state power all is illusion, and “the seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution” [Quotations from Mao Tse-tung, “On War and Peace”]. It is those in the NCP (Mashal) leadership who eclectically mix up all forms of struggle and do away with the revolutionaries’ unswerving focus on the need for the armed overthrow of the reactionary state. They fail to sum up the experience of the struggle against the Nepalese state itself, including its repeated repression of the people’s struggle, and the Mashal leadership today finds itself in the pathetic situation of adding its voice to the anti-People’s War chorus.

Negating the “omnipotence of war” and reducing people’s war to a tactic in the oppressed countries that can be used “depending on conditions” is the logical conclusion of refusing to adopt Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the highest stage of the science of revolution achieved so far. This effectively makes the new democratic revolution irrelevant, as it cannot be achieved through the peaceful means the NCP (Mashal) has undertaken. The NCP (Mashal) is on the fast track to pure opportunism, if not already at the finish line.

Recently, a Right Opportunist Line (ROL) broke out from the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) calling for an end to the People’s War there. This ROL has been condemned and rejected by the PCP. In one of their first and basic documents, known as Asumir, the ROL equates different forms of struggle, asserting that war is only one form of struggle and can be used depending on the situation. Asumir says, “The class struggle is a great and constant class war directed by political leaders. It has two forms: bloodless... and bloody. Both are forms of the great political war”; “politics is war without bloodshed, just as war is politics with bloodshed”; “war is initiated and develops according to concrete conditions, and as these change, the forms of struggle must change”. Doesn’t the logic of Asumir strongly resemble that of the NCP (Mashal), with its “legal or illegal, peaceful or armed, parliamentarian or non-parliamentarian, use or boycott of election”?! Both negate Mao’s teaching that war is the highest form of struggle and that seizing power through revolutionary violence is the central task of communists everywhere.

In denying the universality of Mao’s theory of people’s war and reducing it to a mere tactic among a myriad of other peaceful and electoral options, the NCP (Mashal), once again, tries to hypocritically wrap itself in Leninism: “Leninism views the question of armed struggle in relation to the objective and subjective conditions and the revolutionary situation and accepts that armed struggle too is an art.... But the anarchist thinking regards all these Leninist principles of armed struggle as non-revolutionary. The anarchist thinking assumes that the ripening of the objective and subjective conditions is not necessary for the armed struggle... the ultra-leftists the world over have been harboring such conceptions. The same conceptions are found to be harboured by most of the parties supporting ‘Maoism’.” [Foreword to “Critique of the Ultra-Leftist Thought”, by NCP (Mashal) leader M.B. Singh] Also: “Lenin has said that armed insurrection is a grave question and one should never play with it. But the UC [referring to the NCP Unity Center, which later became the CPN(Maoist)] has made the question of armed struggle just a matter of toys”. [ibid.]

There is a two-fold problem here. First of all, the application of people’s war in semi-feudal countries dominated by imperialism and its application in imperialist countries (with armed insurrection followed by revolutionary civil war) are different processes. Lenin’s approach to this question is based on the dynamics of the latter, where revolutionary situations do not exist generally, and on those rare opportunities when they come seizing them is a matter of life and death. In the oppressed countries like Nepal, on the other hand, as the RIM Declaration correctly states, “a continuous revolutionary situation generally exists”, and a people’s war can usually be initiated as soon as the subjective forces are in a position to launch it. Secondly, and very importantly, Lenin’s outlook was not that of avoiding revolutionary violence, quite the contrary. He actively led the Bolshevik Party to leap to the fore of the 1905 (armed) revolution, even though he could see the possibility of victory was bleak. And in October 1917 it was Lenin who fearlessly charged forward in the face of all sorts of opportunist and vacillating elements who wanted to wait for the Soviet to vote on whether or not to go over to insurrection. He led the party and the proletariat to launch the insurrection that changed the face of earth for decades to come. Lenin pointed out that in such situations there is no guarantee of success, and indeed that waiting for such a guarantee would in fact doom the revolution to failure. As RIM says in Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!: “Lenin raised the theory and practice of proletarian revolution to a whole new level as he led the proletariat in seizing and consolidating its political power, its revolutionary dictatorship, for the first time with the victory of the October Revolution in formerly Tsarist Russia in 1917.”

The NCP (Mashal) is objectively acting to discourage people from going over to armed revolution, and shamelessly trying to implicate Comrade Lenin, who worked all his life for just such a revolution, in this treachery. Isn’t Lenin’s approach completely clear, when he defiantly proclaimed the 1905 revolution “a dress-rehearsal” for the coming armed revolution? And what about Mao, who called on revolutionaries to plunge boldly ahead and “learn warfare through warfare”? Revolutionary war is an art we will never master while only practicing other forms of struggle.

It is important to note that the opposition of the NCP (Mashal) to revolutionary war (under the pretext of concrete conditions”) is based in part on parliamentary pretensions. In a press statement “On the Parliamentary Elections” they say, “NCP (Mashal) has decided to utilise the forthcoming parliamentary elections through ANNPF.... In this connection our party wants to express its disillusionment for the problem in electoral seat adjustments resulting from the policies of the United Nepal Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) [UML] in particular — but our party will with due honesty make all efforts to make a success of the [electoral] adjustments, wherever and however possible with any of the parties” [Mashal Vol. 37]. And: “In spite of the anti-communist and compromising character of the UML, it is still a patriotic and democratic and an allied force... (our party) has decided to continue with the previously announced policy of supporting the UML government” [April 1995 press statement of the CC of NCP (Mashal)].

The NCP (Mashal) has ceaselessly attacked the Maoists, labeling us “ultra-left” and “anarchist”. Yet at the same time, it supports the revisionists of the so-called United Marxist-Leninists who have even led the very state responsible for sucking the blood of the Nepalese masses and who since the start of the People’s War have had a hand in massacring the revolutionaries. Mashal’s denigration of People’s War goes hand in hand with their quibbling over the rules of parliaments “with due honesty”. But the line the revolutionary party takes on elections is important not only in the imperialist countries, but also in the oppressed countries, where the revolutionaries cannot lose from sight the overall goal of overthrowing the entire imperialist-dominated semi-feudal set-up, at the heart of which is the reactionary state. It must never be forgotten that whether this state is a constitutional monarchy, a one-person or one-party dictatorship, or a Western-style parliamentary democracy, these are all ultimately different forms of the same reactionary dictatorship.

In sharply defining the approach of communists to the seizure of power, Mao said, “Before the outbreak of war all organisation and struggle are in preparation for the war.... After war breaks out, all organisation and struggle are coordinated with the war either directly or indirectly....” [“Problems of War and Strategy”]

Very clearly, the NCP (Mashal) is not preparing for war to overthrow imperialism and feudalism; their approach to war, as well as to parliamentary elections, at best reflects illusions about the nature of the state. In the absence of a better line, this could have been likened to the situation in Indonesia where the cooperation of communists with the bourgeoisie and their failure to organise for people’s war led to the massacre of many hundreds of thousands. But with the sharpening of the two-line struggle in the Nepalese movement and the emergence of the CPN (Maoist), who have embarked on the glorious path of people’s war, this has led the NCP (Mashal) into outright opposition to revolution. Attempts to cover this with Leninism are in vain. The NCP (Mashal) are hypocritically accusing our Movement of degrading Lenin, but it is they who will never succeed in turning Lenin, whose writings ceaselessly train the revolutionaries in the need for violent revolution, into a commonplace reformist. It is the leaders of Mashal who are refusing to lead the masses in advancing towards the armed overthrow of the old reactionary system and who are standing to the side decrying the bravery and courage of the comrades and masses who have taken to arms.

The Struggle against Modern Revisionism and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

“Beginning immediately after the coup d’état of Khrushchev, Mao Tse-tung and the Marxist-Leninists in the Chinese Communist Party began to analyse the developments in the Soviet Union and in the international communist movement and to struggle against modern revisionism. In 1963 the publication of A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement (the 25-point letter) was an all-round and public condemnation of revisionism and a call to the genuine Marxist-Leninists of all countries.” [RIM Declaration] Amidst the confusion caused by the rise of revisionism to power in the Soviet Union, this salvo by the Chinese comrades represented such a breakthrough that, as RIM’s Declaration continues: “The contemporary Marxist-Leninist movement has as its origin this historic appeal and the polemics that accompanied it.”

But with characteristic contempt for Mao, the NCP (Mashal) not only undercuts the importance of these polemics by reducing them to simply extensions of Lenin’s understanding; they continue: “We should not overlook the mistake Mao has made during the course of struggle against opportunism. He was keen enough to take a correct stand against right opportunism, but was unable to understand properly the importance of the struggle against centrist opportunism upon which Lenin has sufficiently thrown light in his theoretical as well as practical works. The mistake made by Chairman Mao on the question of centrism has definitely caused no less damage to the socialist system in China.” [On “Maoism”].

In this utterly irresponsible and opportunist manner, the NCP (Mashal) thus accuses one of the great leaders of the international proletariat of centrism, and holds him responsible for damage to the socialist system in China without even bothering to elaborate. Furthermore, in the context here of dealing with Khrushchev revisionism, just who exactly are the NCP (Mashal) comparing Mao to when they say he caused “no less damage” to the socialist system? This outrageous and arrogant attitude towards a great communist leader who guided humanity to heights never achieved before, and coming from people who are so willing to support revisionists like the UML, clearly does not stem from a desire to deepen our understanding for future advance. More­over, this unexplained — and wrong — criticism echoes the unfounded criticism leveled at Mao by Albania’s Enver Hoxha, who tried to vilify the great significance of Mao Tse-tung’s battle against revisionism on the international level. These charges against Mao appearing in the 1992 NCP (Mashal) document, and in the context of the struggle and debate in our Movement over how to evaluate Mao’s contributions, reflected a real step backward by the NCP (Mashal) at the very time the Movement was preparing to take an important leap forward.

As the CoRIM Letter to the Mashal Congress continues: “the history of the international communist movement is replete with organisations who took very wrong turns when their leaders did not deeply grasp the principles and contributions, the actual content of Mao’s teachings and the struggle against modern revisionism.” The struggle over important ideological questions such as this has helped genuine revolutionaries in Nepal to make the advances necessary to be able to lead a real revolution. The NCP (Mashal) leadership, on the other hand, have chosen to slide down into the swamp of revisionism.

Comrade Mao’s qualitative contribution to Marxism-Leninism is devalued by the NCP (Mashal) on the basisthat Lenin had already struggled against revisionism. This, once again, shows Mashal’s lack of understanding of the Marxist theory of knowledge and the law of dialectics. The struggle with the bourgeoisie is a protracted one, constantly bringing new elements to the fore, and capitalism itself brings about changes in the world. All this gives rise to new contradictions, including new forms of revisionism, which in turn require new analysis. Marx’s struggle against Proudhon or Bakunin no more negates the importance of Lenin’s struggle against Kautsky than does Lenin’s struggle against revisionism negate Mao’s fight against modern revisionism. It is also important to note that phenomena develop through struggle; and as the RIM Declaration puts it, “History has shown that real creative developments of Marxism (and not phoney revisionist distortions) have always been inseparably linked with a fierce struggle to defend and uphold basic principles of Marxism-Leninism. Lenin’s two-fold struggle against the open revisionists and against those, like Kautsky, who opposed revolution under the guise of ‘Marxist orthodoxy’ and Mao Tse-tung’s great battle to oppose the modern revisionists and their negation of the experience of building socialism in the USSR under Lenin and Stalin while carrying out a thorough and scientific criticism of the roots of revisionism are evidence of this.”

Mao’s struggle against modern revisionism was a prelude to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR). The NCP (Mashal) says, “The question of continuing class struggle or revolution in the socialist period under the dictatorship of proletariat is a fundamental principle of Marxism-Leninism. Mao, in the form of the GPCR, has further developed it to a new height. At the same time, we should not forget that the GPCR is a continuation of this principle propounded by Marx, developed by Lenin, and practiced by Stalin.” [On “Maoism”] First of all, Mao’s summation was based on experience previous leaders simply did not have. Marx had no experience building socialism, and Lenin’s own experience was very short-lived. How could they have possibly understood and drawn out the laws and contradictions of socialist society? The idealism at the heart of this claim is anti-Marxist. Secondly, the core of the GPCR cannot be reduced to just continuing the class struggle, but involves the nature of this struggle, including especially who the bourgeoisie in socialist society are, their roots, the locus of their power, and how to fight and uproot them. Understanding all this required not only the historical experience of the USSR and China, but also Mao’s dialectical materialist analysis of this. And third, for anybody really determined to bring about a classless society, a good look at socialism in the USSR and China would clearly reveal stark differences. The way the class struggle was continued in China in the GPCR involved the development of forms of struggle involving the masses in every sphere in a way that simply did not happen in Soviet society under Lenin and Stalin. This itself reflected the great leap in understanding achieved by Mao and the Chinese revolutionaries.

The NCP (Mashal) tries to devalue the GPCR by saying it was a continuation of what was practiced by Stalin. Of course it was a continuation, in that China too was building socialism; but it was not merely a continuation, it was also a rupture. Mao not only built on Stalin’s achievements, he also had to criticise and refute a lot of what had been done in the Soviet Union.

As the RIM Declaration says, “While waging a fierce struggle against the old exploiting classes, Stalin denied in theory the emergence of a new bourgeoisie from within the socialist society itself, reflected and concentrated by the revisionists within the ruling communist party, hence his erroneous claim that ‘antagonistic class contradictions’ had been eliminated in the Soviet Union as a result of the basic establishment of socialist ownership in industry and agriculture. Similarly, a failure to thoroughly apply dialectics to the analysis of socialist society led the Soviet leadership to conclude that there was no longer a contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production under socialism.

“This incorrect understanding of the nature of socialist society also contributed to Stalin’s failure to adequately distinguish the contradictions between the people and the enemy and the contradictions among the people themselves. This in turn contributed to a marked tendency to resort to bureaucratic methods of handling these contradictions and gave more openings to the enemy.”

These are great lessons without which it is impossible to keep on the path of socialism and march towards communism. And even though Mao was at a historical advantage, theoretical and political errors on Stalin’s part hampered him in analysing the contradictions and solving them. The RIM Declaration aptly quotes Mao, “Stalin had a fair amount of metaphysics in him and he taught many people to follow metaphysics....” However, as presented in On “Maoism”: “The NCP (Mashal) fundamentally differs from a criticism made against Stalin by Chairman Mao.... The Declaration has not put forward any convincing argument in this connection.”

Despite their claim to uphold the RIM Declaration and their accusations that our Movement has deviated from the Declaration by adopting Maoism, by rejecting Mao’s advances over Stalin and insisting on upholding Stalin’s mistakes, the NCP (Mashal) ultimately winds up even rejecting Stalin’s correct side, which was principal. Moreover, by devaluing the significance of the GPCR, and therefore of Maoism, the NCP (Mashal) goes against a fundamental point of unity of our Movement that separates us from all sorts of revisionists.

Particularities of Nepal

As we said before, the NCP (Mashal) ties the possibility of armed struggle to “concrete conditions”. A brief examination of the objective situation in Nepal in the light of Mao’s teachings will help clarify the debate.

Nepal is a semi-feudal country long dominated by imperialism. As is said in The Worker no. 1, the organ of the CPN (Maoist), “The present Nepalese state was created about two hundred years ago and is presided over by a small clique of moribund feudal and comprador and bureaucratic capitalist classes. These exploiting classes have made life hell on earth for the masses of peasants and workers and have driven the country to the verge of collapse. Nepal is now the second poorest country in the world after Ethiopia; there is economic inequality, the richest 10% gobbling up 46.5% of the national income while 71% of the population is forced to live below the absolute poverty line. 90% of the population lives in rural areas in primitive conditions and 81% of the work-force is engaged in backward agriculture....” A backward economy and localised agriculture implies the existence of a peasantry crushed under the yoke of semi-feudal relations and burning with the desire for land. This is one of the conditions for the emergence and survival of red political power in the oppressed countries. This element is of course only visible to revolutionaries who believe that the masses are the makers of history. In the equations of revisionists and opportunists, the masses never count except as a bargaining chip in their dealings with reaction.

Furthermore, the ruling classes, being the bloodsucking tyrants they are, cannot count on the strategic and long-term support of most of the population of Nepal, and on top of that they are mired in contradictions amongst themselves. An example of this was their inability to decide what to do in the face of the initiation of the People’s War. The objective situation in Nepal is not fundamentally different from that in other oppressed countries, and it is on this basis that the RIM Declaration [which the NCP (Mashal) demagogically claims to uphold!] says, “In the oppressed countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America a continuous revolutionary situation generally exists.”

The NCP (Mashal) saw only the difficulties facing the revolutionaries there, and not the favourable aspects. Thus their leadership considered that it was impossible for a people’s war to be successfully conducted in Nepal unless one were to break out in India first. They saw Nepal’s land-locked situation (with the Himalayas/China in the north and India surrounding the rest of the country) as another impediment to the possibility of carrying a people’s war to victory. This approach was indicative of whether the NCP (Mashal) was trying to apply revolutionary theory in order to hasten preparations for revolution, or instead inventing and distorting the “objective situation” in order to justify not applying MLM.

Mao taught that everything divides into two, and in any situation, however bad, a good aspect exists too. But when one has given up on making revolution, even positive aspects will come to seem negative. The infrastructure of Nepal is very underdeveloped, and most of the country’s population is only accessible by foot. The Himalayas, where the masses of Nepal know the ground like the palm of their hand and foreign (Indian) soldiers can hardly breathe in the thin air, can be very favourable ground for waging a people’s war. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been fighting a guerrilla war for many years in Sri Lanka in geographical conditions less favourable than those of Nepal. (It is true that the fact that the LTTE is a nationalist force creates some advantages for them, because of their ability to unite larger forces to start with, but their bourgeois politics has turned that into its opposite as they are not able to fully unleash the masses.) Just how much being landlocked influences the continuity of the People’s War in Nepal remains to be seen, but it is obvious that what has sustained the LTTE is not the ability of their fighters to swim!

India is a big country with a strong army. An Indian invasion would cost a lot of lives to the revolution. But the strength of the Indian army is relative. And by looking a little harder, we can see that it has major and strategic weaknesses, for India is a country wracked by contradictions. As Comrade Bhattarai, a Nepalese revolutionary leader, has remarked, “The majority of the population in India suffers from hunger, illiteracy and deprivation, and the ethnic and national issues have remained unresolved or rather aggravated over the years”; and, “the factors that compel poor peasants and tribals in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh to revolt under the banner of Naxalism or compel various nationalities like Punjab, Kashmir, Assami, Naga and others to fight for their national rights” are those that unite them with the masses of Nepal and against the Indian state. India cannot even clean its own house. If India attacks Nepal to help crush the revolution, the revolutionaries can rely on many elements to turn this into its opposite. Sentiments against Indian domination are so strong in Nepal that such an invasion would inevitably unite even a lot of middle forces against it and against any reactionaries who support it. This dynamic can be used to forge a strong united front and wage a true war of liberation. A correct policy towards the Indian nationality peoples in the Terai region will also unite them against India, if they are awakened to their class interests and are mobilised to fight against the common oppressors of the labouring masses of Nepal. The masses of India also have sharp contradictions with the Indian state and will not go along with such an invasion. Indeed, the reality that people in Nepal have risen up to take their destiny into their hands will come to inspire the masses in India, thus weakening the Indian state. Since the arrival of the British in Asia, India has always determined the fate of Nepal; this time let it be the masses of Nepal who help ignite the fires of liberation throughout South Asia.

Moreover, imperialist intervention does not come only through neigbouring countries or in the form of direct military intervention. The experience of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP), where its Chairman and a large part of its leading members were arrested through a CIA-backed intelligence operation, is testimony to that. We are living in an increasingly internationalised world. A revolution in any part of the globe affects the rule not only of that particular state but also of world imperialism – and is viewed accordingly. It is with the knowledge of these dangers that the comrades of the CPN (Maoist) set forth on the glorious path of People’s War.

In addition to the general criteria for the start of the people’s war, the present, particularly sharp, contradictions among the ruling classes and the fact that Nepal has been in a state of tremendous turmoil since 1990 created an especially favourable situation for the launching of the revolutionary war. M.B. Singh’s allegations that the Maoists consider the concrete conditions irrelevant and are thus “anarchists”, etc., call to mind the Peruvian United Left attacks against the PCP at the initial stages of the People’s War there. They called the PCP comrades “roaming bands” with no connection to the masses and accused them of not taking the objective situation into account. (Indeed, here Mashal’s false support for the People’s War in Peru must be exposed. The PCP have long upheld Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and are thus in Mashal’s eyes inevitably guilty of “anarchism”, etc. But because of the popularity of the Peruvian People’s War the NCP (Mashal) prefer not to make a direct attack.)

The objective reality of Nepal shows that the initiation of the People’s War had long been overdue and the only reason it had not started, as in most countries, was the opportunism dominating its left movement. From the time of Vim Dutta Panmtha in the early 1950s, to the Naxalbari-inspired struggles in the 1970s and down until recent years, the main impediment to launching a people’s war had been the dominant lines that paid lip-service to the need for people’s war but in actuality reconciled themselves to peaceful forms of struggle in practice. [For a more detailed account of this history, see AWTW 1996/22] As the leadership of the CPN (Maoist) summed up: “There are specific weaknesses in the understanding of communists in Nepal. Mostly we have been influenced by gradualism. This means mass struggle, and that some time in the distant future the mass struggle will itself transition to armed struggle. This is wrong and goes against Marxist dialectics....

“Basically we see that philosophy and ideology and organisation are crucial to initiating people’s war to break out of the vicious circle of reformism — the school of revolution in words and reformism in deeds that marked the old NCP (Mashal). There needed to be radical rupture in thinking, deeds, and style of organisation. Otherwise we cannot initiate people’s war.” [AWTW 1996/22]

In an article entitled “On Ultra-left deviation in Nepalese Communist Movement”, NCP (Mashal) supporters say, “The Marxist-Leninists have the experience of the present NCP(UML) which went to the other extreme from the ultra-‘left’ line adopted by the Marxist-Leninist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The ultra-left line put forward by the present NCP[sic](Maoist) is only a means to pave its way for scoring success in rightist politics”. [from Red Star, October 1996]. Isn’t there consistency in the way the NCP (Mashal) reduces the people’s war to a mere question of tactics, engages the party and the masses in reformist politics, defends the reactionary UML-led government, and warns that the initiators of the People’s War will become rightist? We don’t have to wait for some imaginary future, we can see who is setting their sights on “scoring success in rightist politics” right now!

The comrades of the CPN (Maoist) have fought against revisionism and courageously picked up the gun and pledged to bring imperialism and reaction down in Nepal. By doing this, they have brought hope not only to the masses of Nepal but to the oppressed all over the world, including our comrades in Peru who have rejoiced in the initiation of the People’s War in Nepal. As was said in El Diario, the revolutionary underground newspaper in Lima, in June 1996, “We salute proletarian internationalism and the launching of the People’s War in Nepal by the CPN (Maoist), brandishing the invincible ideology of MLM. 13 Feb 1996 ripped through the black night of oppression and set forth amidst tumultuous people’s war... The organised violence of the oppressed in Nepal exposes the revisionism of UML who practice parliamentary cretinism and demand respect for the legal and constitutional road.” The NCP (Mashal) tries to separate line from action by defending the People’s War in Peru but directly attacking PCP’s ideology. This is idealism. In fact, Mashal’s own experience is testimony to how ideology bears on practice; their opposition to people’s war and their gradualist politics has everything to do with their abandoning of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the third and highest stage of our science.

The NCP (Mashal) also demagogically muddles the difference between the necessary situation for starting a people’s war and the conditions of victory. As said before, the objective situation is generally ripe for the initiation of people’s war in the oppressed countries. This does not, however, mean that a people’s war is automatically going to be victorious, or that victory will come within any given time. The advance of revolution is not a straightforward process and will go through twists and turns. It is always possible that the reactionaries can drown a revolution in blood, but the oppressed will always rise up against reaction. MLM is the only guarantee that these uprisings will lead to the demise of imperialism. When talking about the initiation of the People’s War in Peru, the PCP said it was like throwing oneself into the void, and Lenin said that if you waited for a guarantee of victory, you’d never start an insurrection.

Instead of being elated by the initiation of the People’s War, the NCP (Mashal) has shown nothing but contempt for the masses who have risen up in arms. The NCP (Mashal) has prophesied the defeat of this People’s War as if wishing for its defeat. This People’s War will indeed go through twists and turns, but Mashal’s prophecy of its failure is its own straight-line plunge into the quagmire of revisionism.

Support the People’s War in Nepal!

As was said at the beginning of this article, after the struggles leading to the adoption of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, it was decided that there would be a period of struggle with the NCP (Mashal). A Letter was submitted to the NCP (Mashal) Congress developing CoRIM’s views on some of the questions involved. In the meantime, however, not a single document, not even a page, has been sent by the NCP (Mashal) attempting to engage in constructive, principled struggle over these crucial differences. Instead, their representatives have made public statements and interviews attacking our Movement as “ultra-left extremism”.

“Although for many Marxist-Leninists of the world the difference between Mao Tse-tung Thought and ‘Maoism’ seems that of terminology, only in the context of RIM ‘Maoism’ represents an opportunist trend to drag the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement as a whole to the path of opportunism and Trotskyism. The Committee is doing its best pulling down Leninism from the position of leading ideology of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution and distorting Mao...” [Resolution of the NCP (Mashal) CC of 1996]. As we say in our Letter of August 1996 and we attempt to show here, “The dispute between RIM and the NCP (Mashal) is by no means limited to a question of terminology. The debate concentrates a whole series of political and ideological questions.” These questions include important teachings of Mao Tse-tung on the question of the path of protracted people’s war in the oppressed countries, Mao’s summation of the experience of building socialism in the Soviet Union and China, the lessons of the GPCR, and more. Despite their hypocritical assertion that they are, as opposed to RIM, the true upholders of Leninism, the recent struggle also shows that by discarding Mao the NCP (Mashal) are also discarding Lenin, including very importantly on the question of political power and the state.

Mashal’s opposition to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism has resulted in the untenable situation where one of the participating parties of RIM has publicly, fixedly and repeatedly rejected the very foundation of our Movement itself.

In its August 1996 Letter, CoRIM demanded that, “If your party continues to maintain its opposition to the ideological foundation of RIM the correct and principled response on your part would be your voluntary resignation from our Movement.” In response, the above-mentioned NCP (Mashal) CC Resolution calls this a threat to expel it from RIM, and continues: “However, CC unanimously decided to continue its position on Mao Tse-tung Thought or ‘Maoism’, not to render resignation from RIM and continues to defend Marxist- Leninist ideology against ‘leftist’, opportunist, sectarian, splittist, despotic, illegitimate and arbitrary, left opportunist unprincipled policies and style of work of CoRIM.”

They continue: “The consequence of the Maoist People’s War has proved the policies of both Maoists and RIM wrong.” [“On RIM’s Support”] The opposite is indeed the case: the initiation of the People’s War was a great development in the class struggle in Nepal, and a great material force helping polarise and clarify the political field in Nepal and further exposing the seriously wrong nature of the NCP (Mashal) line, and opportunism more generally. On the other hand, it has also proved the strength and vitality of Maoism. To reiterate, RIM’s decision on the NCP (Mashal) is not simply based on its opposition to the People’s War; rather, the opposition by the NCP (Mashal) to the People’s War is a symptom and the inevitable result of the opportunist trajectory it has been on for many years.

Furthermore, in relation to their divergence from RIM the NCP (Mashal) leadership says: “What is needed to be clear about is the fact that RIM is not an authoritative organisation to issue certificates of revolution, instead, it is merely an international forum of Marxist-Leninist parties and organisations for exchanging ideas and experiences.” And any party has the “right to enjoy a view different and free from that of RIM”. “Moreover at a time when RIM is itself deviating from ML principles and/or thoughts of Mao there is no doubt that CoRIM cannot play any guiding or leading role in the communist Movements... Nevertheless, we cannot rule out its utility for exchanging the ideas and the experiences of the parties and organisations in various countries of the world, but RIM encroaches the border or circle. Its utility is more likely negative.”

Here the NCP (Mashal) is reducing the role of our Movement to that of an international forum or a debating society. RIM’s tasks, however, are defined quite differently in the RIM Declaration the NCP (Mashal) so hypocritically pretends to uphold: “At the present juncture of world history, the international proletariat has to take up the challenge of forming its own organisation, an International of a new type.” “The function of such a new International will be to continue and deepen the summation of experiences, develop the general line on which it is founded, and serve as an overall guiding political centre.” It is in the spirit of moving towards such an organisation to lead our international fight for communism that the RIM Founding Conference called for setting up “An interim committee – an embryonic political centre” to further the ideological, political and organisational unity of the communists.... a task that is being successfully and proudly carried out, as is reflected in the document Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! and the leap it represents. Any attempt to reduce our Movement to a debating society will rob the proletariat of our fighting unity and our international centre and inevitably hinder the worldwide march to ­communism.

Another task conferred on the Committee by RIM is as follows: “helping the formation of new MLM parties and the strengthening of existing ones is the common task of the international communist movement.”

After seriously evaluating the situation in Nepal, the RIM Committee has come to the conclusion that the continued participation of the NCP (Mashal) in our Movement no longer helps the advance of the vanguard in Nepal. Rather, allowing RIM’s prestige to be used by a party that has chosen to depart from the ideological foundations of our Movement and the cause of communism would be creating confusion among the masses. It harms the revolutionary cause, and lowers the combativity of our Movement as a whole. Therefore, in accordance with the organisational principles of our Movement and the duties and authority conferred on it, the Committee has come to the grave decision to propose to the participating parties and organisations the expulsion of the NCP (Mashal) from the ranks of our Movement.

The initiation of the People’s War has changed the political landscape in Nepal. The masses of Nepal have embarked on a glorious path that will inevitably be tortuous, but it is the only path that will lead to true liberation. It is vital that all the revolutionary and progressive forces support this cause and defend it against the ever-mounting attacks of reaction. The ideological stand of the NCP (Mashal) makes it impossible for them to be in RIM, but to support the just war of the Nepalese masses against imperialism and feudalism one need not be a Maoist. We call on the rank-and-file of the NCP (Mashal) to dissociate themselves from M.B. Singh’s attacks against the revolution and join the proud ranks of the People’s War in Nepal in the advancing battle for a world free of exploitation and oppression.