[From The Worker, #5, October 1999.]
DOCUMENT OF THE FOURTH EXPANDED MEETING
EXPERIENCES OF THE PEOPLE'S WAR
AND SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
Although the main ideological political and military line has been proved correct, the process of People's War in the past two and half years has given rise to several important new questions. It is necessary to answer them on the basis of the experiences of the People's War. In this regard it is Important to pay serious attention and to be clear on the following points:
1. First of all the development of People's War begs even more theoretical clarity regarding guerrilla zone and base area. We should be clear that the concept of base area is a strategic concept within the protracted People's War. The question of base area is indissolubly linked with protracted People's War. Hence this is a theoretical question. Without a base area, there cannot be any protracted People's War of surrounding the city by the countryside. However guerrilla zone is not related with any strategic or theoretical question of the protracted People's War. Actually guerrilla zone is a tactical and transitional question which arises in the process of building a base area. If guerrilla zone are understood to be as strategically important as base area then it can lead to serious danger of reformism within the military field.
In the International Communist Movement there has been a wrong tendency of assuming guerrilla zone as a strategic and theoretical concept instead of taking it as a tactical and transitional concept. This kind of tendency represents reformism within the military field. In the name of tactics if guerrilla zone is given a protracted form then it will become a strategy. This kind of thinking weakens the role of conscious effort required in building base areas and ignores the necessity of developing guerrilla warfare into mobile and regular positional warfare. In fact such thinking regards guerrilla warfare as "roving rebel guerrillaism" and denies the importance of qualitative leap in the war. That is why this tendency is a reformist thinking in the military field. We must concentrate our attention towards the question of preparing base areas while fighting against such a tendency. It is clear that the process of guerrilla zone is essentially the process of building a base area.
Even though theoretically it was clear, however, such expressions in the past plans as "Preparation of base for guerrilla zone", "Concentrating all efforts to develop guerrilla zone", "Establishing guerrilla zone", have given impression of understanding the question of guerrilla zone in a strategic sense. It is Important to be clear that such expressions were made in the context of immediate tactics and practice. Base area is the only principal strategic question in the protracted People's War.
It will also be a serious mistake to assume that base area will be or should be stable and permanent at once. Comrade Mao has explained different stages of development of base areas in terms of temporary, stable and relatively stable. It is not improbable that once a base area has been established that it can be reverted back into a guerrilla zone or the enemy's territory due to intense suppression by the enemy. In China, many old base areas were lost, recovered and new bases formed and it is by going through this long process that the People's War was victorious.
Along with this it should be clear that not necessarily the base area is or should be built through only one technique throughout the world. Even in China there have been different methods of establishing base areas by either capturing base areas at once by regular red army or through development of guerrilla squads among the masses and by ushering rebellion on the enemy's army units. The question of technique to be applied in a particular place for establishing base areas will depend upon the situation.
In general Com. Mao has given emphasis on having a strong mass base, a strong Party, appropriate terrain for military actions and a people's army for establishing base areas. Even if this is theoretically correct it should not be copied mechanically.
Actually, one of the important questions in differentiating the guerrilla zone and base area is the question relating to the exercise of people's political power. In reality people's political power cannot be maintained in a guerrilla zone. In such places there is a contention for new political power by the guerrillas. Against this, people's political power will be established in the base area and the enemy would be deploying a big force to capture it. From the above analysis one can make a correct opinion about guerrilla zone and base area.
Now it is necessary to discuss whether or not we have arrived at an agenda regarding the question of building base area based on the experience of two and a half years of People's War in Nepal, and what are the concrete conditions regarding building base areas in Nepal. It has already been made clear in the previous analysis of People's War that different levels of development of embryonic people's power have been seen in areas under the three regional commands. Amongst them there is extensive exercise of democratic people's power taking place in the main area of Western region. Such kind of situation has developed because of strong mass base, strong Party, favourable terrain, mass movement throughout the country and elimination of social class enemies by the guerrilla squads and to contain extent defeat of local military strength of the reactionary state. In keeping with the uneven development, main areas of the Central and Eastern regions are also developing systematically towards the same direction.
It is thus clear that the question of building base areas in Nepal has been brought as an agenda after observing the practical situation created by the development of the People's War. However it is not enough to think only this much.
Today, politically the People's War has become established as a parallel force against the reactionary state; however, militarily it is very weak. The present People's War which is forging ahead by giving birth to three types of areas, i.e., main, secondary and propaganda zones, has taken a country-wide form. Taking advantage of deep instability gripping the present reactionary state, the main zone and the overall People's War have been able to get big support from different forms of mass movements and mass mobilisations. Today the enemy is pursuing suppression campaigns throughout the country, while concentrating in the main zones, to nip in the bud of newly formed political power. In future if there is bigger repression than the present one, is there any possibility of building or maintaining base area in Nepal or not? If it is, then on what basic condition is it possible? We should be clear in this regard. Not only in the general theoretical sense but also through the practical experience of the People's War it has shown that it is possible to have base areas in different parts of the country. However this is possible only after fulfilling following conditions in the context of Nepal:
(a) The Party should continuously provide centralised leadership based on a correct policy in a bold manner.
(b) The guerrilla activities must be pursued uninterrupted throughout the country.
(c) Guerrilla zone must be developed around the main zone.
(d) The process of building a strong people's army must be intensified.
(e) Various forms of mass movements must be continuously developed at central and local level.
(f) Constant efforts must be made to create public opinion in favour of People's War in India as well as around the world.
In the process of fulfilling the above principal conditions that base areas in Nepal can take birth, develop and be sustained. Henceforth the Party must pay attention and concentrate its force towards this direction.
2. Based on above analysis related to the base area and guerrilla zone it is necessary to redefine the sub- stages of development of People's War as undertaken by our Party's Third historic extended meeting. These four sub-stages. including final preparation, initiation and continuation, guerrilla zone and base area, have been discussed. From the point of view of theory and policy there is no mistake in the categorization of these sub-stages. However there is scope for confusion, when seen in the light of development and experiences of People's War, that the placing of guerrilla zone and base area in the same level of sub-stages may mean that both zones have equal importance in terms of strategy and theory. This we have clarified above. The four sub-stages mentioned then were based with the aim of solving the practical problem of our development; hence it will be wrong to understand this mechanically.
Today the development of People's War has shown that it has reached the great stage of building base areas. The ensuing plan would be mainly the plan of building base areas. From the point of view of strategic stages this plan will also fall within the plan of strategic defense. We should be very clear about this.
This means we are entering the fourth sub-stage of "base area" and making a plan under it, after passing through "initiation" and simultaneously crossing over the second and third sub-stage of "continuation of initiation" and "guerrilla zone''. While the last Central Committee meeting had designated the Third Plan as the transitional Plan of entering into the third sub-stage from the second sub-stage, it was in fact the Plan of transition from the third to the fourth sub-stage. The reason why we were not able to define this way last time was because we lacked clarity in understanding guerrilla zone and base area.
This analysis will help in qualitatively developing the Party, the united front and the army, keeping in view of preparing base areas. This doesn't mean that there is no necessity for guerrilla zone. The conversion of main zone into base area cannot take place without converting secondary zone into guerrilla zone and without developing guerrilla actions and people's movement throughout the country in a planned way. The matter of fact today is that only by putting the preparation of building base areas in the front can we take necessary initiative to raise People's War to a new height. It can give new impetus to the process of revolutionary transformation of all spheres encompassing ideology, organisation and struggle. This new process of building base areas is going to be a long process involving many plans and campaigns.
3. It has become clear that our main problem today is the problem of development of people's military capability. The experience of People's War and the current campaign of reactionary military operation has pointedly shown that people without military power will have nothing for their own. Now it has become all the more clear that it is only on the basis of military power that the initiative of the people can be increased in future. That is why it has become necessary for the Party to concentrate principal attention on the question of building the army.
In this regard the Party should first of all pay attention to the structure of military organisation. In the past there has been attempts to build military organisation in the form of guerrilla squad, local defense squad and volunteer squad. Based on new demands of development it has now become imperative to have qualitative improvement in this structure. For this it has become necessary to develop people's military power in the form of three categories of main force, secondary force and basic force. The main force will be built of regular guerrillas and that force will be directly under the Regional Bureau. For the time being this force should be maintained at the platoon level keeping the aim of raising it to company level under all the three regional commands. It should be mandatory to have a member of the Regional Bureau as commissar of these platoons. For now, depending upon the mass base, technical capability, geographic area and favourable condition, one more platoon can be made.
By the secondary force, it should be understood as regular guerrilla squads currently functioning under the District Party or to be developed accordingly. This kind of secondary force organisation will also gradually develop ahead through platoon and onwards. Depending upon the level of development of the particular districts, formation of platoon level may be built in a flexible manner. Even then they will remain as supporting force under the leadership of the District Party.
When we say basic force we mean people's militia organised so far in the form of local defense squads. From now on these squads shall be developed as people's militia. The main force should be given priority in terms of weapons, training and technology so as to make it adequately powerful. Every effort should be made so that main force assists secondary and basic force. While for the time being preference will be given to type of actions, guerrilla, the main force will also be practicing mobile warfare. The main zone would be the main area of action for the main force as it is directly related to the requirements of building base areas. But depending upon the needs of the situation this force can be used in any action in any part of the Region. We should be clear that building up of such a force will play a qualitative role in actions against the enemy, in ending localism and guerrillaism, and building the people's army. Hence all Regions, Districts and the over all Party should take special initiative and help in developing this kind of main force.
Among the three forms of forces mentioned above, the main and the secondary force will constitute as part of regular army, where as the basic force will be a militia connected with the daily production work. Depending upon the state of the war and its requirements, different type of coordination between all the three forces must be maintained. Such coordination will be made for any work like propaganda, organisation, production, attack, defense, etc.
Volunteer squads can be constituted for mass actions as according to requirements. However, they are not going to be any permanent type of military formation. Hence it is not necessary to talk about them in terms of permanent formations.
In propaganda zones, particularly within the Vally Region, one or more guerrilla squads must be formed. Right now there will not be any formation at the level of platoon. The existing squads active in those zones will constitute the main force there. Similarly the squads working under the leadership of the District Party would be the secondary force and the defense squads will be the basic force. Even among the emigrants, military formations should be built depending upon the specific situation and a mechanism should be developed so that they can be sent for military actions inside the country.
The above concept relating to main force, secondary force and basic force represents an important leap in the development of the military strength. Only by successfully implementing it ideologically and strategically that we will be able to guarantee the defense and development of the People's War.
4. It has been clarified above that the question of building and operating the democratic people's power is another important question brought about by the experience of two and a half years of People's War. Right now various embryonic forms of local people's power at various level of development are seen to be sprouting in different localities under all the three regional commands. The enemy is exercising extreme fascism to eliminate these embryos of the new state.
Looking at the overall situation two important questions have been raised before the Party regarding the people's power and the revolutionary united front. The first question is related to the defense and consolidation of the local people's power and the second question is how to express in terms of political power and the united front the force of the People's War that is facing centrally the central power of the enemy in the specific situation of Nepal.
If seen in depth it is clear that in Nepal these two questions are closely inter-related with each other. If centrally one is not able to face against the enemy's state by taking appropriate measures of propaganda, organisation and struggle in a relentless manner then it will be nearly impossible to maintain local people's power and similarly, without the foundation of local people's power the central initiative cannot take a revolutionary course. These things have been made clear by the past experiences.
For defending and consolidating local people's power it is important to give serious considerations to the following points:
First Point: Without defeating enemy's military offense through the development of appropriately powerful military force, neither local people's power can be protected nor can it be consolidated. Hence, the first condition for defending local people's power and its consolidation is the development of people's military power.
Second Point: It is important to make sure that different classes, nationalities and sections of people, who are anti-feudal and anti-imperialist, should be encouraged to participate in the new state power through a democratic process. In this regard, everybody should not be coerced to be Maoists. Instead, a serious and responsible initiative should be under taken to involve various political and social organisations, which are against feudal, bureaucratic and comprador bourgeoisie classes in the new state.
Third Point: The process of building a new state should be based on complete democratic system and it should be made clear that, if need be, the people should have right to call back their elected representatives. Here the main point to be noted is to guarantee people's participation in the process of total control. decision-making and running of the new state.
Fourth Point: Attempt should be made to develop the structure of local people's power along Village, area and entire Base Area level, and while doing so the principle of democratic centralism should be followed.
Fifth Point: In areas where people's power is being run or is going to be run the entire masses must be organised under one or the other form of organisation. It is important to take seriously the saying that organised mass is the only "iron fort".
Sixth Point: New state power should make efforts in fulfilling people's daily needs of economic, social and cultural life and to bring continuous improvement in them. And so on.
Because of the economic, political and geographic specificity of Nepal it is not possible to retain such local people's power and base areas, to co-ordinate them, to resist against the enemy's central state and to mobilise support of people all over the country, without a central level initiative. If centrally one is unable to resist the reactionary state by developing people's broad revolutionary united front and if one doesn't play direct role in co-ordinating, assisting the local people's power, then there is clear danger of the local people's power being reduced into a weak and helpless lot.
Today the People's War is no more a local subject. For both the people and the enemy People's War has become a central subject. The enemy is making all efforts from the central level to eliminate the People's War. Not only this, the imperialists and expansionists are also openly coming forward to eliminate it, as Nepal's People's War is not only playing a national but also an international role. Along with this, the revolutionary masses at international level are also coming forward to support the People's War. The enemy has put forward the slogan of the so-called national consensus in order to defend it's reactionary state against the People's War. It has resorted to a strategy of eliminating the People's War through vicious suppression and to isolate it by declaring People's War as enemy of democratic election and by making all the reactionary, reformist and opportunist political groups participate in the coming parliamentary election. Judging from all these conditions it becomes clear why the Party has to take concrete initiations centrally against the enemy's similar strategies.
From this point of view special efforts should be made to organise the central revolutionary united front in the form of the Central Organising Committee of the People's Republic of Nepal and in the same capacity to organise and mobilize for agitation various left, progressive, patriotic and democratic forces of the country against the conspiracy of the reactionary state. Such a central formation will principally work as a means of struggle for the time being and will work secondarily as a means of power. It will primarily emphasize on co-ordinating, refining, defending and developing the local people's power. It will represent the unity of anti- feudal and anti-imperialist masses of the people against the conspiracy at national consensus of the reactionary state. It will propagate the question of new state or old state in the form of a national debate and it will take initiative to continuously bring forward the revolutionary mass movements as an integral part of the People's War. At the same time it will put forward the economic, political and cultural policies of the new state in concrete form while exposing the anti-national and anti-democratic character of the revolutionary state.
5. With the clarity about the main questions mentioned above, a new chain of new improvements and actions in all aspects of organisation including the Party, the Front, the army, the mass front, the forum and departments will be unfolded. It will be discussed concretely in the future Plan.
(Extract from the resolution adopted at the Fourth Expanded Meeting of the Central Committee of the Party, in August 1998.)
The building up of an armed force is the key to establishing a base area: if there is no armed force or if the armed force is weak, nothing can be done. This constitutes the first condition. The second indispensable condition for establishing a base area is that the armed forces should be used in co-ordination with the people to defeat the enemy. The third indispensable condition for establishing a base is the use of all our strength, including our armed forces, to arouse the masses for struggle against Japan.
- Mao Tse-tung ("Problems of Strategy in Guerrilla War against Japan")
Whether originating in the desire for an easy life or in overestimating of the enemy's strength, conservatism can only bring losses on the War of Resistance and is harmful to guerrilla warfare and to base areas themselves.
- Mao Tse-tung ("Problems of Strategy in Guerrilla War against Japan")
The longer the scale of the guerrilla fighting the more important the position of the base areas, and the greater the threat to the enemy's strategic centers and vital communication lines, the fiercer will be the enemy's attacks. Therefore, the fiercer the enemy's attacks on a guerrilla area, the greater the indication that the guerrilla warfare there is successful and is being effectively co- ordinated with the regular fighting.
- Mao Tse-tung ("Problems of Strategy in Guerrilla War against Japan")
History knows many peasant wars of the 'roving rebel' type, but none of them ever succeeded.
- Mao Tse-tung ("Problems of Strategy in Guerrilla War against Japan")