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Nepalese Communist Movements and the Question of Armed Struggle

In the development of class struggle in the Nepalese society the establishment of the Communist Party in the year 1949 represents an important historic achievement for the proletarian class of Nepal. Even though the Party was not able to grasp the essence & importance of armed struggle, it was able to take clear political stand to fight for New Democratic revolution against feudalism & imperialism. Thus with all the qualities of Its childhood (immaturity), It waged propaganda & agitation from the Communist point of view on the question of nationality, democracy and people's livelihood and it attempted to arouse the masses mainly in the rural areas against feudalism. Because of this process, within a short period people from different parts of country got attracted towards Communist politics, and peasant's struggle started spreading in different places. Amongst them the peasant's movement in Terai has special importance. Because of the development of peasant's struggle the question of correct political line in concrete terms arose in the Party. But the then Party leadership not only completely failed to lead the struggle in a revolutionary direction but also in the year 1955 it decided to limit itself to peaceful propaganda activities for socialism under the feudal monarchy. From this point onwards the Nepalese Communist movement got openly dominated by right revisionist line. After this for a long run the Party is found to be completely submerged into peaceful, parliamentary & reformist activities.

Even when in the year 1960 the king imposed autocratic rule in the country by banning all the political parties, the leadership of the Party which had been submerged into reformism limited itself to various types of parliamentary slogans resembling those of other reactionary parties instead of advancing revolutionary political slogans and forms of struggle. At this very juncture the great debate between China and Russia and the development of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution under the leadership of Com. Mao initiated a debate in its own way about the necessity of armed struggle and the importance of fighting against revisionism. One section of the Party nakedly followed Russian revisionism and it began to get exposed thoroughly amongst the people. The larger part of the old generation of Party leadership supported Com. Mao & China and the path of New Democratic Revolution against the Russian revisionism. Pushpa Lal in his document in the Gorakhpur Conference even wrote, "It is impossible to establish this kind of system without waging protracted armed revolution." (Moolbato, P. 66)

However, even then, the leadership of the old generation of that period were not able to evolve even from tactical point of view concrete political line of revolution and failed completely to determine revolutionary forms of struggle to achieve them. In this regard the leadership of the Fourth Congress demonstrated extreme haziness about the basic path of the revolution by bringing in even more illusive and clearly reformist political slogan and by talking of "armed peasant rebellion." In essence in terms of political line, this section talked of some revolution, however in practice it assumed a reformist character and moved along pseudo-reformist direction.

In this regard after the Naxalbari armed peasant struggle began under the leadership of Com. Charu Majumdar in India after rebelling against the reformist CPI-M, it's clear influence was seen among the revolutionary youths of Jhapa In the eastern part of Nepal. Similarly even here some enthusiastic and revolutionary youths of the Eastern region went ahead with armed actions declaring armed struggle under the protracted people's war strategy by rebelling against revisionism that had taken deep root in the Party. Despite serious shortcomings due to petty-bourgeois mechanistic thought and left adventurism - the armed action was an historic rebellion which created flutter amongst the revisionists in the Nepalese Communist movements and the feudal state structure of the king. At least the question of armed struggle became a topic of great debate in the Communist movement. The Jhapa Party struggle played an important role in intensifying inner struggle between the revolutionaries and the newly emerging opportunists within the pseudo-reformist groups following a reformist line. The debate on whether to accept the line of armed struggle or not started taking place in their own ways within the Fourth Congress, Pushpa Lal, Manmohan, Rohit and rest of the groups.

Most of the reformist leaders of these groups provided illusions to a large section of the revolutionary left forces by accepting the necessity of armed struggle in abstract terms and for future but they kept on mounting antagonistic attack against the present spark of revolution kindled by the armed actions. In this question, the Fourth Congress group headed by Mohan Bikram was in the forefront to attack it viciously. The revisionist essence of Mohan Bikram, known for mounting destructive attack on the leftist revolutionaries the Jhapa struggle and giving preference to make Manmohan Adhikari, the pro-king renegade, as the chairman of the Central Nucleus, is unchanged and well reflected even today in his analysis of UML as a friendly force even when it has degenerated into reaction and in his antagonism in practice towards our Party.

Because of intense repression by the reactionary forces, vicious attack by the known pseudo-reformists and mainly due to the leadership petty-bourgeois, mechanistic and 'left' adventurist thoughts the Jhapa rebellion could not develop into a people's war. As a result of the infiltration of incompatible forces from different groups, together with the slow degeneration of the leadership of the Jhapa rebellion into right revisionism, today they have even gone to the extent of sitting in the reactionary ministry of the king. However, the process of building a revolutionary trend by rectifying past mistakes is still on. Some leaders of that period are even today raising the banner of rebellion against reformism & reaction despite long jail terms, torture & enticement.

Because of contemporary national & international situation and the influence of Jhapa struggle, the debate & inter-struggle within the Fourth Congress increased in regards to the question of political slogan and the line of armed struggle. Despite theoretical & political unclarity relating to armed struggle, immortal martyr Com. Azad also played a role in this debate. Ultimately, after a long and complex struggle the genuine revolutionary forces within the Party managed to save it from the representatives of pseudo-reformism, Mohan Bikram & Nirmal Lama by advancing revolutionary slogan for political power & the inevitability of protracted people's war for achieving it. Today it has became successful in forging revolutionary alternative in the country by assimilating all the past revolutionary activities (including the Jhapa struggle) of the Nepalese Communist movement. The Unity Congress of the Party has developed a clear outlook on this issue. In this hour of history we must admit in unequivocal terms that we have yet to materialise in practice what we have correctly formulated in theory regarding the general political slogan and the path to be followed. The reason behind this is, besides the complexities of the situation & the inter-struggle, the Party is yet to be cured of the petty- bourgeois disease of revolution in words but opportunism in practice. It is necessary to make a concrete plan of going ahead with the task of armed struggle by doing this kind of self-criticism.


According to the theoretical directives of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (M-L-M) and the general specificities of the Nepalese society our Party has formulated a political strategy of completing New Democratic revolution with a people's democratic dictatorship under the leadership of proletariat based on the unity of workers & peasants against feudalism & imperialism. The long term aim of the Party is to move towards socialist revolution after the successful completion of New Democratic revolution as an integral part of the world proletarian socialist revolution and to achieve communism by waging cultural revolutions based upon the theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of proletariat. It is clear that the nature & orientation of the Nepalese armed struggle will be directed by and committed to the aim of this political strategy. Accordingly the nature & orientation of the Nepalese armed struggle has been clearly specified by the National Unity Congress of the Party as, "The line of protracted people's war based upon the strategy of surrounding the city from the countryside".

The Target of Armed Struggle

The aim of the armed struggle is to solve the basic contradictions between feudalism and the Nepalese people, imperialism - mainly the Indian expansionism - and the Nepalese people, comprador & bureaucratic capitalism & the Nepalese people, and in the immediate term the contradiction between domestic reaction which is made up of a combination of feudal and comprador & bureaucratic capitalist classes & backed by Indian expansionism and the Nepalese people. This way it is clear, the target of armed struggle will be confiscating the lands of feudals and landlords & distributing them amongst the landless & poor peasants on the basis of land-to-the-tiller theory and to attack them for the purpose, and in order to cut the roots of imperialist exploitation the projects such as industries, banks etc. in the hands of comprador and bureaucratic capitalists and projects run by government & non-government organisations and to attack them for the same.

This way it is clear that the target of armed struggle will be against feudals, landlords, comprador & bureaucratic capitalists.

Motivating Force

  1. The Proletariat: It is the fundamental motivating force of New Democratic revolution. Although the numerical strength of proletarian workers in modern industries & factories of Nepal is small, it is, however, increasing. Even though the number is small this class, which is completely alienated from the modern production processes & productive forces, is the most revolutionary class of the society. For the success of New Democratic revolution, this class has the historical responsibility of identifying and giving leadership to other allied classes.

  2. The farm workers, bonded labourers, landless peasants, porters, and poor peasants, and in our case in the cities the cart pullers, rickshaw pullers, drivers of tempos, taxis, and transport & hotel workers, etc., are the most reliable, consisting a big section of the population, and the main motivating force for the Nepalese New Democratic revolution. (Here by, 'poor peasants' is generally meant those peasants who can't make livelihood with their land alone).

  3. Middle peasants: Those who live with difficulty even after working hard on their land throughout the year and who also take some land on contract or on share-cropping basis. In the hilly regions of Nepal these peasants outnumber other classes. For the New Democratic Revolution this class is an important motivating force.

  4. Rich peasants: Those who can have good livelihood through their land; they are able to employ one or two labourers in their work despite their own participation in their farm work and are able to accumulate part of their income through exploitation. This class is a vacillating ally for the New Democratic revolution.

  5. Petty - bourgeois Class: In this class are included the teachers of schools & colleges, students, doctors, engineers, lawyers, junior office workers, petty traders of towns, retail traders, craftsmen, etc. Because of the nature and conditions of its production process this class remains vacillating. Despite this class can play an important auxiliary role for the New Democratic revolution. Today the imperialists and the reactionary forces are focusing their attention to keep the intellectuals of this class away from the revolution.

  6. National bourgeoisie: In Nepal although it (i.e. the national bourgeoisie) doesn't have independent role it is slowly taking form. These kind of capitalists who are involved in small handicraft and modern industries and trade are at one end dreaming of amassing the wealth by exploiting the workers, and
    at the other end they are being run over by the monopolist comprador and bureaucratic capitalists. Hence they naturally show contradictory character towards the revolution. Used to changing its character according to the situation, this class will remain a vacillating ally of the revolution.

It is obvious that the Nepalese armed struggle should formulate its strategy and factors by taking into consideration the above general condition and character of the enemy and the motivating forces of the New Democratic revolution.


In the present era of imperialism & proletarian revolution, the enemy class is practicing various forms of conspiratorial strategies to stop revolution in countries like ours. Amongst them we must focus our attention on the following because we can't arrive at a correct strategy without understanding the strategy of the enemy.

  1. Because of its monopolistic hold over the communication over the whole world at this time, the enemy is launching a disinformation campaign with deliberate propaganda of 'terrorism', 'fall of socialism' and the superiority and success of capitalism and attempting to lower the morale of people through the strategy of psychological warfare.

  2. It is unleashing vicious cultural war through the flooding of vulgar culture and literature in order to distort the minds & souls of the people.

  3. All the imperialist forces and the reactionary ruling classes of each country are campaigning strategically by spreading the network of well trained and technically equipped spies and attempting to infiltrate into the revolutionary party in order to collect information, to create illusions inside the party, to do destructive activities and to arrest or kill the genuine revolutionary leaders or activists of the Party.

  4. They are inventing new forms of reforms & democracy in order to confuse the people politically.

  5. Under the strategy of preventing revolution in a country like ours the network of NGOs and INGOs have been spread in order to engage some educated middle class people, to prevent them from falling below the middle class and to entrap the people in the petty reformist mirage.

  6. They are encouraging unemployed youths to get scattered all over the world and to wander in India in the name of employment. The youths are being used as mercenary soldiers in foreign armies.

  7. The imperialists are polluting the minds of the people through propagation of religion and other means after entering into rural areas with attractive slogans.

  8. If despite all these and other Innumerable traps the revolutionary movement rises up then they start a campaign of heinous genocide through their powerful permanent army. In short In the present era, the strategy of the enemy of the people is that of a total war.

In such a situation the strategy of a revolutionary party that wants to go ahead with armed struggle to make a revolution should also be clearly based on total war. It is necessary for us to adopt the strategy & tactics of tit for tat against the imperialist & reactionary forces by uniting with the people in all spheres of national & international life. The ideological weapon of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (M-L-M) which has been proved successful to destroy the enemy is an invincible
weapon of the proletarian class. In this light it is necessary to determine the strategy & tactics of Nepalese armed struggle by focusing on the overall state of the enemies together with the basic specificities of Nepal and the Nepalese society.

  1. Nepal is a landlocked country, which is surrounded from three sides by the expansionist India and in the north surrounded by
    the reformist China. Although it is small in terms of area, however except for 17% of the Terai plain lands, the rest of the country is geographically replete with remote hills and Himalayan mountains with different climate, ethnic groups, cultures & languages.

  2. In Nepal for a long period, a centralised reactionary state equipped with a modern and powerful permanent army and a bureaucracy has been in existence. This is specially centralised in the cities. The enemies of Nepalese people are not only within the country but also present outside of it in the form of imperialists, specially Indian expansionists.

  3. The economic & political development of Nepal have been uneven. Nepal is predominantly rural and the exploited peasants who represent 90% of total people are spread in these villages. The process of urbanisation is on the rise, however, me must say it is still small.

  4. The Nepalese peasants and other sections of the masses have passed through a process of different forms of struggle both local and countrywide for a long time. There is a widespread attraction towards communists among the people. However, here the influence of reformism and right revisionism is also strong. In Nepal there has been virtually no direct experience of armed struggle under the leadership of Communist Party.

  5. The reactionary ruling class of the semi-feudal & semi-colonial Nepal, where the medieval monarchy system exists, is undergoing intense crisis and this crisis has started manifesting politically as well in a serious manner.

  6. A big section of the Nepalese people are spread in different countries for employment, mainly in India for army and other kinds of works.

It is through above specificities that the orientation and politics and tactics of the Nepalese armed struggle can be discerned. From the first specificity it can be seen that for waging war in Nepal it has neither large area, nor any possibility of using any sea; neither there is wide forest - nor there is any possibility of direct help or support
from any other neighbouring country. However, geographical situation is most favourable for waging guerrilla war with direct link with the people.

And because of struggle against the national oppression on the majority of nationalities this will also provide good mass base for guerrilla war. The second specificity shows that there is no situation of direct military clash between the enemy forces for political power, so that the armed forces of the people could take advantage of to seize a definite area. This clearly proves that the Nepalese armed struggle cannot take the form of direct or positional warfare against the enemy at the beginning. It is necessary to expand the people's armed strength by attacking enemy's weak spots in piecemeal and by weakening it through attacks in guerrilla style in favourable areas for the people. When the first & the second specificities are viewed together it is found possible to establish and survive independently in certain specific area just as in China's Ching - Kang Shan and to be able to expand from these onwards. The third specificity shows the possibility of starting guerrilla wars in different parts of the country and developing them by taking peasant, revolution as the backbone by centralizing in the rural areas and by relying on and by uniting with the peasants. The fourth specificity clearly shows that people's support will go on increasing if the right revisionists are thoroughly exposed and the tactics of armed struggle is pursued vigilantly. The fifth specificity indicates that the pace of development of armed struggle to establish people's alternative revolutionary power would be faster and inspires to undertake bold tactics to achieve it. And the sixth specificity demonstrates the necessity of mobilising the Nepalese people working in foreign countries - mainly those Nepalese working In India - by conducting political work amongst them and using the area for supplying of various necessities for the success of armed struggle in Nepal.

The synthesis of all the specificities shows clearly that it is impossible for the armed struggle in Nepal to make a quick leap into an insurrection and defeat the enemy. However, it is fully possible to finally crush the enemy through systematic development of the Nepalese armed struggle. It can be derived clearly from this that the Nepalese armed struggle must necessarily adopt a protracted people's war strategy of surrounding the city from the countryside. It is also clear that that path can be treaded only after paying attention to our own specificities of the country.

The fundamental principles of this path are: to grasp firmly the fact that the people's war is the war of the masses, that if can be developed only by relying on the masses and principally on the peasants and that the masses are the creators of history; to acknowledge the need and importance of the stages of strategic defence, stalemate and offense of the people's war and to make plans accordingly by accepting the
strategic role of guerrilla war as it is the principal form of war in the initial stage of strategic defense; to grasp the importance of developing guerrilla warfare into positional warfare and of establishing base areas to capture central power; and above all, in the ideological directives of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (M-L-M) to establish leadership of the party over the army and not to permit at any cost to arise a situation where the gun would control the party. It is by practicing the main strategic principles of protracted people's war and by refraining from committing mistakes that one can unfold the laws of Nepalese people's war. It is important to note the truth that the laws of war can only be learnt by participating in war. The overall strategic and tactical aim of war is to preserve one's force and to destroy enemy's force. That is why it is important to be clear right in the beginning about the policies needed to develop Nepalese people's war by understanding the overall national & International situation and specificities mentioned above.

In our situation - give priority to the rural work, but do not leave urban work; give priority to illegal struggle, but do not leave legal struggle too; give priority to specific strategic areas, but do not leave work related to mass movement too; give priority to class struggle in villages, but do not leave countrywide struggle too; give priority to guerrilla actions, but do not leave political exposure & propaganda too; give priority to propaganda work within the country but do not leave worldwide propaganda too; give priority to build army organisation, but do not leave to build front organisations too; give priority to rely on one's own organisation and force, but do not miss to forge unity in action, to take support & help from international arena; it is only by applying these policies carefully that the armed struggle can be initiated, presented and developed. Neither by being one-sided, nor by giving equal emphasis on all work can in the present context the people's war be initiated, preserved and developed. From this point of view the people's war will go ahead as a total war.

The successful development of Nepalese people's war will be determined by decentralising actions based on central policy, by launching actions at different isolated spots of the enemy and by applying large force against small forces in order to get quick victory, by adopting hit & run tactics, by going ahead with guerrilla actions under the centralised plan from different parts of the country but by giving special attention to specific strategic areas, and as Mao has said, by organising and mobilising as many people as possible and as fast as possible and as good as possible by placing the question of capturing political power at the centre.


How to transform a party like ours which has been for a long period used to the reformist & parliamentary activities despite a clear political line, favourable material condition, appropriate and increasing mass base, into a party for armed struggle? Is it possible to transform gradually through study, training, reformist struggle, and small scale resistance struggle ? Or for that any leap, a rupture with the past a decisive step or any big push is necessary ? Will our Party be able to enter into armed struggle smoothly, without causing any damage to the fundamental class organisational structure ? After the start of the guerrilla war what will be it's consequence and the process of it's development ? Regarding this, what do Marxist dialectlcs, experience of International Communist Movement and our own experience show ? Without being clear about these questions we can't start guerrilla war.

Marxism is a philosophy of struggle. The law of development according to Marxist dialectics is that each process of development in nature, society and human thought takes place through struggle of opposites and its obvious result will take the form of a leap. Any thought that sees any kind of development process as an ordinary addition subtraction schema and as gradual evolution would be exposed as
bourgeois evolutionism by the Marxists. It is clear that transformation from one process to another process does not take place gradually, but through leap, through qualitative change, through revolution.

In this regard Lenin says - development as the struggle of opposites; there are basically two outlooks regarding development - the development in the form of increase & decrease and the development as unity of opposites. Mao has given the name of vulgar evolutionism to the thought which looks at development as increase & decrease or as repetition, and said instead that the inevitable result of unity and struggle of opposites is a qualitative change - or the leap. This he formulated as unity - struggle - transformation.

As regards to the theory of knowledge, Mao developed the theory of two leaps, i.e. from perceptive knowledge to rational knowledge, and from rational knowledge to revolutionary practice. Among these Mao has termed the phenomenon of leap from rational knowledge to revolutionary practice as 'extremely important'. On this Mao says: 'Only this leap - the first leap of acquiring knowledge, or the thoughts, theories, policies, plans, plans and means crystalised as reflection of objective external world, verifies the right from the wrong. Not only this - the only intention of the proletariat to know the world is to change it.'

Thus Mao has emphasised on the need and importance of leap in the process of transformation of thought into practice. Leap, qualitative change and revolution is not gradual evolution but a state of rupture, or a state of transformation of the opposites into each other. As Mao, while talking of revolution as not being polite, restrained etc., had mentioned about the qualitative change, its process etc.

From this it is clear that the essence of Marxist dialectics on this issue is, to transform thought into practice the conscious side has to make a plan of not the gradual evolution but that of a leap. After having formed an opinion about the character of the Nepalese revolution, ways of achieving it on the basis of understanding the material condition of development of class struggle in the Nepalese society and the international situation, it would not be revolutionary Marxism and will be mere vulgar evolutionism or petty bourgeois reformism if we continue to repeat in practice the ways of gradual evolution or of reform. It is impossible to transform from one process to another in a gradual manner for that it is necessary to have a qualitative leap. Hence it is only through the process of push, leap and qualitative change that our Party, which has not taken to armed struggle even after developing a thought about it, will be transformed into a Party capable of leading armed struggle. This matches with the past and the present experiences of the International Communist Movement.

Besides this we must also be clear that this leap will bring a big change in the structure of a party like ours which has a predominance of representatives of petty bourgeois class and which has been used to reformist work style. That is also not going to be smooth and easy; there will be a big change in the overall class structure of the Party because of the process of coming & going of it's members. This process will unfold amidst big losses and achievements. In this process, many mistakes, weaknesses, inadequacies of the Party will have to be paid for by blood.

After the guerrilla war has started, it will go ahead with the process of rise & fall, victory & defeat as according to the law of war. But it is important to pay attention to the fact that once one has raised the banner of rebellion one should be determined not to lower it till the end, and if done without such a determination it will mean sinning against the people and it will be against the theory of Marxism-Leninism- Maoism (M-L-M).

After having a Communist Party with an ideological weapon, political line and means of achieving it, the remaining problem is actually the problem of starting people's war. Lacking clarity on this question, it is not possible to get liberated from reformism. It has been verified by history that the people will judge positively all the historical deeds done for the sake of the people and when done with a profound belief in the principle of "masses are the creators of history.





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