Basic Questions for Inner-Party Discussions

The basic questions on which the top leadership of our great and glorious Party, the CPN (Maoist), have had a debate and relative agreement but recurring dispute in one form or other for a long time, can be categorised as (i). ideological/philosophical questions (ii). politico-military questions (iii). organisational questions, and (iv) cultural questions. It is imperative to have a wide inner-Party debate on these questions and arrive at correct revolutionary conclusions.

I. Ideological/Philosophical Questions

1. The Question of Grasping, Practice and Development of M-L-M and Prachanda Path

Is ‘Prachanda Path’ (PP) a specific set of ideas developed through the practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (M-L-M) in the Nepalese soil, or a universal science?

—Some responsible comrades, and particularly those who claim themselves as being closer to Com. Prachanda, have been repeatedly saying in a direct or indirect manner that PP has already attained universal character and it should be accorded the expression of ‘Prachanda Thought’. How does one view when Com. Prachanda himself does not contradict this in any effective manner?

Is the development of proletarian science (of revolution) measured through the success of only some particular military or non-military actions, or for that a total, objective and logic system of ideas is needed and which has to be proved through the process of a long practice?

—After the success of any particular military or non-military action such expressions as “PP has made a new leap” keep cropping up within the Party. How correct & reasonable is this?

Is it consistent with M-L-M if communist revolutionaries of each and every country claim the invention of their own ‘Thought’ or ’Ism’s? What would be the fate of proletarian internationalism if the Parties of all countries start doing the same?

Is PP a centralised expression of collectivity, or the sole contribution of single individual Com. Prachanda? The historic Second National Conference of the Party (held in 2001) has defined PP as a ‘centralised expression of collectivity’ and affirmed principal role of Com. Prachanda but also appropriate roles of the masses, the martyrs, the cadres and other leaders as well in this. Despite this, if responsible persons keep on presenting PP as synonymous with the person of Com. Prachanda, what would be its essence and relevance?

Is it correct and prudent to put the photograph of Chairman Com. Prachanda alongside those of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao? How should one view when Com. Prachanda himself does not oppose the placing of photographs in such a manner in different Party publications and the dias of Party programmes?

2. The Question of Understanding and Grasping of Idealist Monism, Dualism/Pluralism and Materialist Monism.

There have been overt or covert differences among the top Party leadership for long on the question of understanding & grasping of the fundamental philosophical and scientific propositions on the origin and development of the material world and the society. Its direct impact is seen in the course of grasping and resolving the contradictions within the society and Party organisations. In this context problems are faced in the understanding and practice of particularly idealist monism, dualism and materialist monism. Philosophically, the communists do, and should do, uphold not dualism but monism. However, the revolutionary communists do uphold not idealist monism, whose ideological and cultural expression is monotheism and political expression is monolithism, but materialist monism, whose ideological-political expression is dialectical materialism (or unity of opposites). Nevertheless, some responsible persons within our Party leadership have been knowingly or unknowingly upholding idealist monism in place of materialist monism and attempting to denigrate the followers of materialist monism as dualists (whose political expression is pluralist) and trying to cover up their own wrong monolithic thinking and ideas. Particularly, this tendency of discarding or minimising the basic law of materialist dialectics, namely the unity of opposites or one divides into two, has been generating great problems in the context of grasping and resolving contradictions within and outside the Party. It is imperative to solve this problem through open and clear ideological struggle. Since the philosophical root of the burgeoning tendency of personality cult within the Party is in idealist monism, it is important to diagnose and eradicate it in time. It is also equally important to grasp that the relevance of opposition to or an alternative to idealist monism, which is the philosophical basis of feudalism or bureaucratic capitalism, is not to uphold bourgeois pluralism but to uphold proletarian materialist monism.

3. The Question of Understanding the Realm of Necessity (or Compulsion) and Freedom (or Liberation)

The principal goal of the communist revolution is to reach the realm of freedom from the realm of necessity. The ‘realm of necessity’ is a world filled with limitations and compulsions of a class-divided society and the ‘realm of freedom’ is a classless, stateless world of total liberation. The main characteristic feature of revisionists and opportunists in the history of international communist movement has been to exaggerate or idealize the immediate necessity and to minimize or negate the journey towards the realm of freedom or a communist world. For instance, Bernstein used to say: “The movement is everything, the goal is nothing,” and, Kautsky had said: “Science has only to do with the knowledge of necessity”. There is a tendency among some of our Party leaders, too, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to exaggerate the world of ‘necessity’ and to vulgerise or minimise the world of ‘freedom’. Amidst the cadres the definition of ‘necessity’ and ‘freedom’ itself is presented in a distorted form. Consequently a dangerous tendency is flourishing which tends to cover up one’s own weaknesses and deviations under the cloak of ‘necessity’ and castigates or sidelines the glorious and long journey towards the realm of ‘freedom’ or ‘liberation’ as ‘anarchism’. Hence it is imperative to have a serious debate within the Party to establish a correct and scientific definition and understanding of ‘necessity’ and ‘freedom’.

The principal characteristics and duty of communist revolutionaries is to correctly understand and change the prevailing world of ‘necessity’ and to pave the path towards the world of ‘freedom’. As the revisionists and opportunists had pursed the policy of sticking to the world of necessity, Mao further refined and expanded the quotation of Engels, viz. ‘freedom is the understanding of necessity,’ and said, “Freedom is the understanding of necessity and the transformation of necessity.” However, within our Party there is a tendency even now to distort the main spirit of Mao’s quotation and saying and to place one-sided emphasis on ‘necessity.’ The top leadership is not seen to contradict it when Mao’s quotation is presented incomplete or in a distorted form in the banners put up during the official meetings and conferences of the Party. A serious debate on this is warranted within the Party, because it is not a subject of an abstract academic debate but a very important ideological question which determines the strategy and tactics of the Party and working style as well.

4. On Empiricism, Dogmatism and Eclecticism

Rather than correctly grasping and practicing the theory of two leaps on the question of knowledge (i.e. from practice to knowledge and again to revolutionary practice from knowledge), a dangerous tendency is growing within our Party which tends to swing from empiricism to dogmatism according to one’s interests and does not care for correct fusion of theory and practice. In reality both these one-sided and metaphysical tendencies are complimentary and associated to each other. Moreover, eclecticism made up from a mixture of these two is all the more fatal and dangerous. Hence it is necessary to have a serious ideological struggle on this question. Particularly a tendency of minimising the importance of theoretical knowledge and idealising ignorance poses a real danger of gravely harming the Party and the revolutionary movement.

II. Politico-Military Question

5. The Question of Fusion of Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Continuous Revolution

In the aftermath of the Chinese Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) and the demise of Com. Mao, the most important and vexed political question in the international communist movement has been the question of correct fusion of dictatorship of the proletariat and continuous revolution. As the Khruschevite rightist revisionists who abandon the very concept of dictatorship of the proletariat belong to an altogether different camp, we are right now not concerned with the struggle against them. Within the revolutionary camp the main problem is the Hoxaite dogmato-revisionist tendency, which tends to harp one-sidedly only on the immediate necessity of dictatorship of the proletariat and tends to neglect or downgrade the question of continuous revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat or to cling to the old model (or form) of the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This question is also related to the question of grasping the essence of and moving forward from the GPCR. Ultimately the question of defense, practice and development of M-L-M is deeply interlinked with this very question and it is imperative to have a serious debate on this within the Party.

The question of proletarian dictatorship and continuous revolution is closely linked with the inter-relations between the Party, the army and the state. Keeping this in mind, our Party had raised this question in the historic Second National Conference in general and in the resolution on “The Development of Democracy in the 21st Century” in particular, and had made some far-reaching decisions related to both the ideology and methodology. Particularly, with the view to continuously proletarianise the Party, to exercise proletarian dictatorship in an effective manner by ensuring supervision, intervention and control of the masses over the Party, the army and the state and to pave the path to communism through the means of continuous revolution, some ideas and methods were developed including that of not jumbling up of the Party, the army and the state as in the past models of socialism. The recent Central Committee meeting (held in August 2004) has however tended to go against those decisions. Hence it is necessary to have a thorough debate within the Party on this crucial question.

6. The Question of Correct Fusion of Strategy and Tactics

Our Party has successfully led the revolutionary People’s War so far by maintaining a correct fusion of the democratic and national question and by a correct handling of the class and political contradictions inside and outside the country in pursuance of the policy of strategic firmness and tactical flexibility. However, there have been certain problems in working out steps of strategy and tactics due to the mistaken ideas among certain responsible leaders in the understanding of the relationship between feudalism (mainly monarchy in our context) and imperialism/expansionism in the present-day imperialist world and due to the vacillations seen in the main leadership (on the question). As a result wrong ideas are seen as in the Panchyat (i.e. autocratic monarchy) days on the question of assessment of the monarchy and the parliamentary forces and their foreign benefactors. Particularly there have been problems on the question of assessment of the comprador and the fake monarchy put up after the palace massacre. As the parliamentary forces have no separate armed forces of their own and the foreign enemy forces, particularly Indian expansionism, have not as yet made direct military intervention, the principal contradiction of the revolutionaries would be with the monarchy surviving on the strength of the royal army and the support of the imperialist and expansionist forces. This is a straight-forward and crystal clear question. It is quite worrisome when there is occasional unclarity and vacillation on this issue. It cannot be proper and correct to be seen confused on the question of sub-stage of the democratic revolution born in our own specific revolutionary context and the tactics of the democratic republic and to be seen looking towards the monarchy with hopeful eyes. Hence it is imperative to have inner-Party debate on the question of the current stage of the new democratic revolution and the correct fusion of strategy and tactics in the Nepalese specificity.

7. The Question of Fusion of Political and Military Line

The main characteristic feature of our Party and revolution since the formation of the unified Party has been the correct fusion of political and military line, or the fusion of ideology and gun, or the fusion of mass line and war. However, at times it is seen that the balance between political and military line has been tilted and there has been a tendency to downplay one aspect or the other by deviating towards the ‘left’ or the right. Instead of developing an integrated politico-military thinking an one-sided reformist or militarist thinking appears to be dominant and one side seems to attempt to negate or undermine the other. A healthy inner-struggle is essential to establish a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist-Maoist thinking and practice on this question.

There have been problems within the Party on the question of application of revolutionary mass line, in general, and on the issue of revolutionary activisation of various mass and class organisations and fronts acting as transmission belts between the Party and the masses, in particular. It is imperative to have principled and objective debate on this question as well.

III. Organizational Question

8. The Question of Correct Practice of Democratic Centralism

There has been serious problem within the Party in not being able to practice Lenin’s well-known saying, “Freedom of discussion/criticism, and unity in action,” and Mao’s formulation, “centralism on the basis of democracy and democracy under the guidance of centralism.” Consequently, it has been a near general tendency to become anarchist while out of the leadership and to become bureaucratic once in the leadership. In particular, an environment is being created in which the persons in different layers of leadership do castigate anybody who dare to criticise them in the slightest, as ‘anarchist’ and there is rampant hypocrisy, servility and general anarchy within the Party in place of proletarian discipline and ‘voluntary centralism’ (Lenin). It is self-evident how fatal this would be for a Party like ours, which is fighting a life and death war. Hence a healthy inner-struggle within the Party is necessary to develop new proletarian organisational principles by linking the broken chains of correct democratic centralism after Lenin and by advancing further from the new principles developed by the Chinese GPCR.

9. The Question of Centralization of Leadership

A type of ‘cold war’ has been going in our Party for long on the question of centralization of leadership, which is a concrete expression of democratic centralism in the Party and proletarian dictatorship in the state. In essence, what should be the system of true proletarian leadership? Does centralization of leadership mean, as Mao said, unity of thought, understanding, policy, plan command and action, or centralization of power as the reactionaries do? Is proletarian leadership a centralize expression of collectivity, or is it a person centered? Does the principal law of dialectics, viz. one divides into two, apply to the main leadership or not? How does the system of a single person occupying the top Party, army and the state posts, and that too for life, solve the question of generating revolutionary successors and of continuous revolution? What lessons should the revolutionaries of the world draw from the past incidences of counter-revolution in the immediate aftermath of the demise of the main leadership and from the latest experience of Peru? It is axiomatic that these varied questions demand a serious debate within the Party.

10. The Question of Evaluation of Party History

The historic Second National Conference had reviewed the past split, unity and polarisation of the Party and evaluated that the CPN (Maoist) is not a developed or refined form of a particular past group but the highest synthesis of all the revolutionary currents and sub-currents since 1949 and that this process is still continuing. But in concrete practice what prevails even to this day is that whenever a particular question is raised within the Party a polarisation takes place on the basis of the old groups or sub-groups rather than on the basis of ideology and politics or based on truth and facts. This does not at all indicate that it is a new type of Party. Moreover, some try to conceal their mistakes by shielding behind the old factions or to bargain for posts and privileges, and so on. Also there are shameful attempts to shape the new leaders and cadres in the mould of the old factions so as to consolidate their own factions. Similarly, one can clearly spot arrogance among those belonging to the larger factions and inferiority complex and insecurity among those belonging to the smaller factions. If this situation is allowed to continue the Party is bound to head towards destruction than towards progress. A serious debate and inner-struggle is essential within the Party to end this affair of state and to build a unified and centralized Party.

11. The Question of Handling two-line Struggle

Though, in principle, the two-line struggle is said to be conducted in a healthy manner on the basis of “Three Dos and Three Don’ts” (i.e.“Practice Marxism, not revisionism; unite, don’t split; be open and above board, don’t conspire”), in practice, the inner-struggle within the Party is being conducted in a very unhealthy, wrong and opportunistic manner. An outright non-proletarian method is prevalent that is marked by: centering on person and faction rather than on ideology and politics; pursuing clandestine, conspiratorial, back-biting method instead of that of direct and open struggle; either aiming at “from unity to unity” or “from struggle to split” in place of unity-struggle-transformation; playing of class struggle and inner struggle against each other by negating interrelationship and relative autonomy between them, etc. This wrong method is prevalent the more one moves higher up in the Party. It is imperative to practice the correct method of handling of two-line struggle to do away with this.

IV. The Cultural Question

12. Conservatism, Vulgarism and the Question of Proletarian Morality

A hodgepodge of feudal and imperialist culture, values, morality and working style is prevalent in our society. It is not unnatural to have its reflection in our Party. Particularly, the feudal conservative and the imperialist vulgar culture is more noticeable in the society and the Party. However, since there is a domination of petty-bourgeois class base and feudal culture in society, conservatism has been the main problem. But there is no uniformity in the understanding of this among the Party leadership, and at times there appears a wrong thinking which regards feudalism more progressive than capitalism. In particular, there appears a serious weakness in the Party leadership on the question of family, sex-love, marriage and women. Hence it is necessary to have a meaningful debate within the Party on this question.

13. The Question of Cultural Transformation or Proletarianization

Though there have been general discussions and certain decisions on the question of necessity and correct process of cultural transformation and proletarianzation in the Party since the outset, no concrete plan has been implemented effectively so far. Some feasible conscious efforts, too, have not been undertaken due to a mechanical thinking that class struggle automatically leads to (cultural) transformation. The most serious aspect is that there appears a gap between the words and deeds of the main leadership and there is lack of will to set personal example. Until and unless so happens, the talk of cultural transformation and proletarianization is bound to be a mere phrase-mongering. Hence, it is imperative to conduct correct inner-struggle on this question as well.

These are broad points only. Detailed explanations and one’s own clear opinion on all these and other related questions will be put forward as and when necessary.

Member of the Standing Committee of the Politbureau
CPN (Maoist).
November 30, 2004.

Note: Apart from these points, there is complete unity among top Party leadership on other major questions of class struggle and People’s War, viz. the plans and programmes of strategic offensive, etc.

These points are meant for internal circulation and discussion only.