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.
THE NATURE, TARGET AND MOTIVATING FORCE OF ARMED STRUGGLE IN NEPAL
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.
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.
THE PROBLEM OF STRATEGY AND TACTICS OF ARMED STRUGGLE IN NEPAL
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.
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
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
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
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.
SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS REGARDING INITIATION OF ARMED STRUGGLE
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
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.