Revolution #245, September 11, 2011
Baburam Bhattarai – Chosen Gravedigger of the Nepal Revolution
On August 28, 2011 Baburam Bhattarai, one of the main leaders of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), was elected Prime Minister of Nepal. His first major act was to symbolically hand over the keys to the weapons of the Maoist-led People's Liberation Army which had waged a 10-year-long liberation war, to a governmental supervisory committee including representatives of the political parties and classes which had been the bitter and bloody opponents of the People's War. UCPNM Chairman Prachanda also participated, in what many in Nepal and elsewhere are seeing as an abject ceremony of capitulation before the reactionary forces and an utter betrayal of the interests of the people in Nepal and around the world.
There were reports of torchlight marches and demonstrations the next day by opposition forces from UCPNM who were repulsed by Bhattarai and Prachanda's action, with reports of 25 arrests and some injured by police baton charges.
The new Prime Minister's principal mandate is to finish, in a few months' time, the stalled task of writing a new constitution for Nepal and to finish the task of demobilizing the PLA in which a small percentage are to be integrated into Nepal's reactionary army and others are to be found jobs, given training programs or just be sent back to their villages with some money. This is supposed to put a final end to the process that began in 1996 when an insurgency started in Nepal which quickly spread throughout the country, igniting the hopes of the people of Nepal of being able to forge a new type of society that would go in the direction of ending exploitation and class divisions as part of the world revolutionary process. The powers-that-be in Nepal and their international mentors feel that the hopes of the people for genuine revolutionary change need to be finally and definitively erased and the inspiring example that revolution in Nepal had served for people around the world before 2006 be turned into a different kind of lesson—a bitter but false view that no real revolutionary change is possible. They want the "revolutionaries" to join the scramble for positions in government; they want the oppressed to give up their hopes for a fundamental change in their situation.
Ever since the People's War was suspended and the Maoist party, CPN(M), which had led it entered into a process to establish a state based on the Comprehensive Peace Accords (CPA), there have been growing divisions within that Party over the direction of the revolution, but at least until the present all sides have argued that their differences were over which is the best way to carry forward the revolution in the concrete conditions of the Nepali situation. Throughout this whole period the People's Liberation Army was confined to cantonments, with the keys to their weapons being held by the UCPN(M). Meanwhile, in reality a program of demobilization, delegitimization and demoralization of the revolutionary forces was being carried out by the bourgeois forces who were building up and strengthening the Nepali Army as the only legitimate armed force in that society.
From a distance it is difficult to sort out the facts of the agreement or violation of agreement to turn over the keys. But what is clear is that this is a culmination of a long chain of retreats, compromises and betrayals that have been in process from the time of entering into the Comprehensive Peace Accords. The slow death of the revolution in Nepal has to do with questions of fundamental line, confounding the need to carry forward the revolution to end the domination of the bourgeois and feudal class forces with the goal of and in favor of establishing a more modern form of (bourgeois) government while leaving the basic exploitation and oppression of the people untouched, and to guarantee Nepal's place in the "international community" (to use the term that the imperialists and reactionaries use to describe the spider web of imperialist relations that keep whole nations and countries oppressed).
These questions of the fundamental direction of the revolution have been the focus of internal struggle inside the UCPN(M) for the last several years, but the underlying issues of the direction of the revolution date back to the decision made in 2005 by the Party leadership at that time to adopt a line that eclectically converged with the line articulated by Bhattarai in his article "The Question of Building a New Type of State." Letters and articles by the RCP,USA criticizing the lines that were dragging the revolution down the wrong road were published in 2009 giving a very thorough analysis of the issues at the heart of the line struggle in the UCPN(M), and we encourage readers to study these materials in light of the juncture that is sharply focused up by these latest developments in Nepal. We will have further coverage of this in the future.
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