Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

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Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda)
Vice-chairperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha & Post Bahadur Bogati
Founded 1994
Headquarters Kathmandu
Student wing All Nepal National Independent Students' Union (Revolutionary)
Youth wing Young Communist League
Ideology Communism
Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Prachanda Path
Political position Far-left
International affiliation Revolutionary Internationalist Movement,
Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia
Constituent Assembly
80 / 601
Election symbol
Cpnm-electionsymbol2064.PNG
Website
http://ucpnmaoist.org
Politics of Nepal
Political parties
Elections

The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (Nepali: एकीकृत नेपाल कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी (माओवादी), or UCPN(M), is a Nepalese political party. It was founded in 1994 and is currently led by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal (more commonly known as Prachanda).

Following massive popular demonstrations and a prolonged civil war against the monarchy, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) became the ruling party during the Nepalese Constituent Assembly election, 2008. The CPN(M) led a coalition government until May 4, 2009 when Prachanda resigned over a conflict with the Nepalese President, Ram Baran Yadav, regarding Prachanda's decision to sack the head of the Nepalese Army, Rookmangud Katawal.[1]

The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) was previously known as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). It formally unified with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre-Masal) in January 2009, resulting in its full, current name.[2]

In the most recent elections, the UCPN(M) emerged as the third largest party in the Constituent Assembly winning 80 out of 575 seats.[citation needed]

Overview[edit]

The CPN(M) was formed following a split in the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre), and used the name CPN (Unity Centre) until 1995. On February 13, 1996 the party launched the "Nepalese People's War", and it gained control of some rural areas throughout Nepal before a ceasefire agreement was reached.

A family in a Maoist-controlled valley

In 2001, the civil war escalated as the Maoists attacked the Nepalese Army for the first time. Although there were intermittent ceasefires, fighting was roughly continuous through 2005. In 2005, the CPN(M) sought a different strategy of seeking permanent peace accords while forming a pro-democratic alliance with several other mainstream political parties in opposition to the monarchical dictatorship of King Gyanendra.[3] Following massive popular uprisings and protests (some involving over a million people each), a prolonged general strike in 2006, and several violent clashes between protesters and the Nepalese Army, the monarchy finally capitulated.[3] The CPN(M) gained international legitimacy as they agreed to lay down arms and participate in the new electoral process. In the aftermath of the conflict, several western European powers removed the CPN(M) from their government's terrorist lists,[citation needed]. In 2012, the US State Department followed suit and delisted the CPN(M) as a "terrorist organization", citing the party's "...credible commitment to pursuing peace and reconciliation...".[4]

In early 2008, the CPN(M) won the largest voting bloc in the Nepalese Constituent Assembly. International observers, like the Carter Center, said that the election was held in a "peaceful, orderly" manner and were "satisfying"[5] Other major political parties in Nepal such as the democratic Nepali Congress Party and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), however, accused the Maoists of using force and fraud to win the election.

'Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Prachanda Path'. Mural in Kathmandu made by the Madhesi Rashtriya Mukti Morcha

Now the UCPN Maoist is fighting for 240 seats on CA Election 2013, held on 19th November 2013.

Objectives[edit]

The Maoists announced a ‘People's War’ on February 13, 1996, under the slogan: "Let us march ahead on the path of struggle towards establishing the people's rule by wreaking the reactionary ruling system of state." Maoists strongly believe in the philosophy of Mao Zedong who proclaimed, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." Maoists also draw inspiration from the ‘Revolutionary Internationalist Movement’, Peru's left wing guerrilla movement—the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), and from radical communist parties in different parts of the world.

The Maoists' aims in the ‘People's War’ were to establish a ‘People's Democracy’ in Nepal. The Maoists view it as an "historical revolt against feudalism, imperialism and reformists." The catalyst for declaring the ‘People's War’ was the failure of the Nepalese government to respond to a memorandum presented by its representatives to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on February 4, 1996. The memorandum listed 40 demands related to "nationalism, democracy and livelihood". These included the abolition of royal privileges, the promulgation of a new constitution, and the abrogation of the Mahakali Treaty with India which regulated the distribution of water and electricity as well as the delineation of the border between the two countries.

Organisational structure of the CPN-Maoist[edit]

Party People's Liberation Army United Front
Politburo Standing Committee Central Military Commission United People's District Committees
Politburo Regional Military Commissions United People's Area Committee
Central Committee Sub-regional Military Commissions United People's Village Committees
Regional Bureaus (5) District Military Commissions United People's Ward Committees
Sub-regional Bureaus Temporary battalion
District Committees Companies
Area Committees Platoons
Cell Committee Squads

Party in the House of Representatives[edit]

An election for the Nepalese Constituent Assembly was held in Nepal on April 10, 2008, after having been postponed from earlier dates of June 20, 2007 and November 22, 2007. This assembly will draft a new constitution. Hence, this will decide, amongst other things, on federalism. The number of eligible voters was around 17.5 million. The Constituent Assembly has a term of two years. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN (M)) placed first in the election with 220 out of 575 elected seats, and it became the largest party in the Constituent Assembly. After months of power-sharing discussions and deliberations, CPN (M) Chairman Prachanda was elected as Prime Minister in August 2008. Today the party stands as the largest party of Nepal having owned 239 seats in the Constituent Assembly. The new constitution cannot be drafted without the active participation of the UCPN(M). Thus, the party holds an absolute power in the way to draft a new constitution for the state.

People's Power[edit]

A considerable number of retired Gurkha soldiers of the British and the Indian Army inhabit many of the areas previously controlled by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) during the Nepalese Civil War and Nepalese security agencies have suspected that these former soldiers along with those retired and deserters from the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) were involved in training the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) insurgents. Government estimates provided in early 2003 on the CPN(M) strength indicated that there were approximately 31,500 combatants, 48,000 militia, 150,500 active cadres and 100,000 sympathizers. The main fighting and support forces consisted of ethnic groups like the Magars, Tharus, Limbus, Tamangs, Dalits, Brahmins and Chhetris, the last two also providing the political and military leadership). These communities are also an important vote-bank for the CPN(M) Among the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) fighters – about 60 per cent – were deployed in the mid-west and west in their strongholds. Another 10 per cent were in the far west with around 10 percent in Gorkha, and the rest were located in Kathmandu valley and east of it.

Having become the largest party of Nepal in the Nepalese Constituent Assembly, the UCP(M) has a large number of active members and a large back up of general people. After the Prachanda led government chose to leave government over a dispute concerning the sacking of an Army General, the party led a year long peaceful movement raising the voice for the people's superiority, National collective government and nation's integrity. However, this could not produce a conclusive result. The party's youth organization Young Communist League, Nepal (YCL) plays an active role in mobilizing people for the movements held by the party. It was believed that almost 200,000 people entered the state's capital on May 1 on the occasion of Labor Day. But, despite this May movement repeatedly being claimed by the Maoists as a 'final push' to be continued until the government was forced out, the mass mobilization was kept on hold considering the worsened situation of the people in the Capital city and within days peasants began drifting back to the villages to get on with the important tasks of planting crops along with the party's decision to hold talks with the opposing parties. The conclusion to stay away from the on-going strike came so as to end up the disastrous situation resulting from the government intervention in the peaceful agitation.

People's Liberation Army, Nepal[edit]

People's Liberation Army, Nepal is the armed wing of the party. The PLA was founded in 2001, in the midst of the Nepal Civil War initiated by the Maoists in 1996. The chief commander of the PLA during the war was Prachanda (Pushpa Kamal Dahal). On September 12, 2008, Nanda Kishor Pun was appointed new chief commander of the PLA, as Prachanda had become Prime Minister of Nepal. This move was in line with a pledge issued by the CPN(M), issued prior to the 2008 Constituent Assembly election, that their members elected to the Assembly would leave their PLA positions.[1][2]

Following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the PLA soldiers stay in seven major and 21 satellite cantonments that are spread throughout the country.[6] The party stands by the agreement whereby it states that PLA and the Royal Nepal Army should be integrated. Integration of the two armies is a one of the issue that is lagging behind with the downfall of the Prachanda government. The government claims the PLA to be under its supervision and chain of command. On the other hand, the party claims that the PLA is still under the party's chain of command and are ready to work for the party when it faces hard times.

Senior Maoist and PLA leaders say they are following the agreements of the peace process, and that the former combatants remain within the confines of these cantonments. Inside these camps, members of the PLA train every morning, discuss national politics, and say that if their demands are not met, they won't hesitate to pick up arms again.[7]

Prachanda Path, a new doctrine[edit]

In second conference of the CPN (Maoist), a post for chairman was created for the Maoist chief Prachanda. Until then, the chief of the organization had been its general secretary. A report titled “The great leap forward: An inevitable need of history” was presented by Prachanda. This report was in serious discussion in the central committee and the top leaders of the party. Based on this report, the CPN (Maoist) adopted Prachanda Path as its ideology. After five years of armed struggle, the party realized that none of the proletarian revolutions of the past could be carried out on Nepal’s context. So having analyzed the serious challenges and growing changes in the global arena, and moving further ahead than Marxism, Leninism and Maoism, the party determined its own ideology, Prachanda Path.

Prachanda Path in essence is a different kind of uprising, which can be described as the fusion of a protracted people’s war strategy which was adopted by Mao in China and the Russian model of armed revolution. Professor Lok Raj Baral, in his writing about Prachanda Path says that this doctrine doesn’t apparently make an ideological break with Marxism and Leninism but finds that these doctrines' strategies aren’t able to be replicated in Nepal as it was done in the past. Most of the Maoist leaders think that the adoption of Prachanda Path after the second national conference is what nudged the party into moving ahead with a clear vision ahead after five years of ‘people’s war’.

Senior Maoist leader Mohan Vaidya alias Kiran says, ‘Just as Marxism was born in Germany, Leninism in Russia and Maoism in China, Prachanda Path is Nepal’s identity of revolution. Just as Marxism has three facets- philosophy, political economy and scientific socialism, Prachanda Path is a combination of all three totally in Nepal’s political context.’ The adoption of Prachanda Path was inspired truly from the Shining Path. In fact, the bringing up of new doctrine worked out with the concept of giving a new identity to Nepal’s revolution. Talking about the party’s philosophy, Maoist chairman Prachanda says, ‘The party considers Prachanda path as an enrichment of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism.’ After the party brought forward its new doctrine, the government was trying to comprehend the new ideology, Prachanda Path. Meanwhile CPN Maoist intensified their armed operations against the security forces.

Women in the party[edit]

Women have been prominent in the recruiting profile. Available reports indicate that one-fifth to one-third of the cadre and the combatants during the Nepalese Civil War may be women. Reportedly, every village under Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) control had a revolutionary women’s organization. According to a Jane’s Intelligence Review report of October 2001, there were usually two women in each unit of 35-40 men, and they were used to gather intelligence and act as couriers. Baburam Bhattarai was quoted as saying in Spacetime on April 18, 2003, that fifty percent of cadres at the lower level, thirty percent of soldiers and ten percent of members of central committee of the outfit were women. Durgha Pokhrel, then Chairman of National Women’s Commission, who visited more than 25 Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) controlled districts, stated on July 3, 2003, during a talk delivered at the Nepal Council of World Affairs that percentage of women cadres could be as high as forty. A women’s group, the All Nepal Women's Association (Revolutionary), is alleged to be a front outfit of the CPN-M.

Children in the party[edit]

During the Nepalese Civil War, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) resorted to mass under-age recruitment, particularly of young students, usually between 12 and 16 years old. At the conclusion of the war, an estimated 12,000 Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) soldiers were below 18 years of age, and Human Rights Watch estimates that the majority of the current militia joined as minors. The United Nation Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has verified that there were nine thousand child soldiers in Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) cantonment training camps.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) used children as soldiers, messengers, cooks, porters and suppliers. Regardless of role, all children received rudimentary military training concerning explosives, so they would be able to recognize and avoid land mines. The current Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), however, continues to deny that any of its soldiers during the war were less than 18 years of age. They also claim that they have cared for orphans of adult soldiers killed in the war, and that these children were not placed in danger.[8] However, not all of these children were forced into the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist); thousands joined up themselves. Large numbers of girls and boys tried to rejoin after their release because they thought that their standard of living was better for them under the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

Areas of operation[edit]

During the Nepalese Civil War the guerrillas of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) operated to varying degrees in 68 of the 75 districts that comprise Nepal. Their influence varied between moderate to very strong in these districts. In the districts of Rolpa, Rukum, Jajarkot, Salyan, Pyuthan and Kalikot in mid-western Nepal, The Governments presence was limited to the district headquarters with the rest of each district under Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) control. The Nepalese Home Ministry had designated these districts as 'sensitive class A'. Nine districts, namely Dolakha, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Kavrepalanchowk, Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha, Dang, Surkhet and Achham, had been classified as 'Sensitive Class B', while 17 'Sensitive Class C' districts where Khotang, Okhaldhunga, Udaypur, Makwanpur, Lalitpur, Nuwakot, Dhading, Tanahu, Lamjung, Parbat, Baglung, Gulmi, Arghakhachi, Bardiya, Dailekh, Jumla and Dolpa. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) insurgency initially commenced in the three districts of Rolpa, Rukum and Jajarkot and eventually spread throughout Nepal. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) had very strong bases in Western and mid-Western region and partially in the Eastern region.

End to the Civil War[edit]

After waging the Civil War for ten years, the CPN (Maoist) sat down for peace talks after the success of the People’s Movement in 2002/03. The Twelve-Point Agreement reached between the then seven-party alliance and the Maoist rebels in Delhi created a path for peaceful agitation against the direct rule of the king and to end autocracy in Nepal. The civil war conducted by the CPN(M) created the foundation for the establishment of a republic in Nepal. It also created political consciousness among the people at the grassroots level and, to some extent, awareness of the need for national socio-economic transformation.

After the declaration of the king to reinstate the parliament, the CPN(M) insisted that the declaration was a betrayal to the people. Instead the king should bring down his institution for his deeds. But there was no hearing from the other parties in the alliance. Maoist chairman Prachanda appeared at the prime minister’s residence, Baluwatar for the peace talk and said that he was there to establish a new kind of democracy in Nepal, but he didn’t reveal details.

After the peace talks held between the CPN(M) and the Government of Nepal, the Maoist rebels were ready to put an end to the ten-year-long Civil War. Signing the Comprehensive Peace Accord, Maoist chairman Prachanda said that the Civil War had come to an end and a new revolution was to be waged by the reinstated parliament. The peace accord was signed on September 21, 2006 ending the Maoist revolution. However, Prachanda was able to provide legacy to the 19,000-member People’s Liberation Army that was kept in the cantonment under the supervision of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).

The interim constitution of Nepal 2063, gave a constitutional position to these Maoist cadres. There was a provision for providing monthly allowance for the Maoist armies staying at the cantonment. The Maoist leaders believe that the revolution has not ended here but only the form of struggle was changed.[citation needed]

The Kharipati meeting[edit]

The national conclave of the Maoist cadres held recently in Bhaktapur, Kharipati has ended up happily. Opposing chairman Prachanda's document, another senior leader Kiran produced a document contrary to it. The conclave ended up when a consensus was made to incorporate the spirit of both the documents and produce a new one. The cadres were split up into groups and then discussions were held about the documents produced. Majority groups including senior leaders C.P.Gajurel, Hari Bhakta Kandel, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Netra Bikram Chand supported Senior Leader Kiran's document. While Chairman Prachanda and his supporters as Baburam Bhattarai, Barsaman Pun got shocked seeing the majority in favour of Leader Kiran. Leader Kiran presented a document which claimed that a suitable time has come for popular uprising and setting up a people's republic contrary to Chairman Prachanda who produced a document stating that the party should move ahead creating a new statute in the favour of people and a tactical slogan for people's republic.

The conclave held several level of discussion where some disputes regarding the team leader had arisen. The team who supported Kiran's document had a leader who favoured Prachanda's document and vice-versa. The meeting ended up compromising both documents which will again be presented in the National Convention. The groups supporting Kiran's document blamed Prachanda's group for betraying the spirit of the civil war and being more into luxury after holding the power. Chairman Prachanda is also blamed for sidelining the revolutionary leaders from important positions of the party and filing them up with those who support his steps. The conclave is most awaited after the Chunbang meeting which decided the party's slogan of 'Federal democratic republic'.

Linkage with fraternal parties[edit]

According to available information, the Maoists of Nepal have well-established linkages with Indian revolutionary communist organizations, primarily with the Communist Party of India (Maoist), currently leading a protracted "people's war" throughout the subcontinent. The first signs of contacts were reportedly registered during 1989-1990, when the two groups started collaborating in order to expand their influence. According to Indian government analysis, they began the process of laying a corridor, which is now widely referred to as the Revolutionary Corridor (RC) extending from Nepal to across six Indian States, including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh. This entire area has been identified in Maoist literature as the Compact Revolutionary Zone (CRZ). The CRZ was organized by the Nepal and Indian members of the Naxalite movement, in a meeting at Siliguri in the Indian State of West Bengal during August 2001. Indian Maoists are known as Naxalites (or Naxals) in reference to a popular uprising that began decades ago centered in the village of Naxalbari.

Nepalese Maoists had sent their delegates to the March 2001 Congress of PWG held at Abuz Marh in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. The establishment of CRZ gave a wider space and platform for all the proscribed Nepal and Indian Naxalite organizations to strengthen their bases in both the countries.

The CPN(M) is a participating organization of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), a global association of revolutionary communist parties. In July 2001, ten regional Maoist groups formed the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organization of South Asia (CCOMPOSA), in which the Nepalese Maoists, PWG, MCC, Purbo Banglar Sarbahara Party (Bangladesh), Communist Party of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and other Indian communist parties became members. The appearance of graffiti in remote villages in Naxalite-strongholds, in Rayakal and Mallapur mandals (administrative unit) of Karimnagar district in Andhra Pradesh, hailing CCOMPOSA points the spread of the idea of a common front of revolutionary communist groups in South Asia. Moreover, the Central Committee of the Maoists, in late-January 2002, passed a resolution stating that it would work together with the PWG and the MCC in fighting the ban imposed on the latter two organisations in India, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002. A year earlier, in 2001, the Maoists had sent a senior leader named Gaurav as a fraternal delegate to attend the 9th Congress of the PWG. Reports indicate that the Maoists and the PWG have also formed the Indo-Nepal Border Region Committee to coordinate their activities in North Bihar and along the India-Nepal border.

During the civil war, the Maoists also gathered a lot of support from organizations in South Asia, which was very important in carrying out the struggle with certain pace. Having visited several districts in India, Maoist chairman Prachanda studied the challenges of launching an armed struggle. Chairman Prachanda drafted war policies and tactics staying in India. Chairman Prachanda says, “First and foremost, there was the RIM Committee. There were important ideological and political exchanges. From the RIM committee we got the experience of the Communist Party of Peru, the two line struggle there, and also the experience in Turkey, the experience in Iran and the experience in the Philippines.” The CPN Maoist also participated in a South Asian Conference where they held discussions with the civil war group and Maoist communist Centre groups. The party believes in achieving a lot from this meet about conducting a civil war.

Having realized the necessity of spreading the party’s message to the world, the party came up with a decision to host a website which was to spread the knowledge about Nepalese revolution. Thus, www.cpnm.org was hosted with the help of some of the fraternal Maoist organization in Europe. The CPN Maoist currently after the jump into the ‘mainstream’ politics played an initiative role in introducing a Maoist Communist Party in Bhutan as well. The new party in Bhutan is said to have greatly inspired from the Nepalese Civil War and want to have a same practice there.

Split of groups[edit]

JTMM[edit]

In 2004, a small group split from the CPN(M) to form Janatantric Terai Mukti Morcha. This group has subsequently split up into more than five groups and said to have no specific ideological destiny. The group accused the CPN(M) of not guaranteeing the autonomy of the Terai region[2]. The name is in Nepalese which means "Terai Peoples Liberation Front"[3] in English. The Jwala Singh faction of the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM-J) was formed by Nagendra Kumar Paswan a.k.a. Jwala Singh in August 2006 after he broke away from the Jaya Krishna Goit led JTMM. Jwala Singh is a former CPN-Maoist cadre and had joined Goit when he floated the JTMM. Later, he developed differences with Goit over the strategies to be adopted for the liberation of the Terai and establishment of an independent Terai state.

CPNM[edit]

In 2009, a faction under Matrika Yadav split from UCPN(M) to reorganise the previous Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) i.e. CPN(M).

In June 2012 party suffered a vertical split. The hardliner faction formed a new party named Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M).[9]

Recent activities[edit]

Communism in Nepal
South Asian Communist Banner.svg
  • February 2011 - 7-month stalement period of non-effective government ends with the election of premier Jhalnath Khanal.
  • May 2011 - Failure to meet deadline to draw up new constitution by Constituent Assembly.
  • August 2011 - PM Jhalnath Khanal resigns after compromise with opposition on new constitution is unmet and fate of former Maoist fighters remain unresolved.

The Maoist party's Baburam Bhattari is elected as prime minister by parliament, vowing to forge broad, multi-party consensus over the new constitution and the PLA fighters' status.

  • May 2012 - Parliament is dissolved by PM Bhattari after final deadline to reach agreement on a new constitution is unmet. Mr Bhattari calls for elections in November while remaining head of an interim government.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pokharel, Tilak (4 May 2009). "Nepal’s Premier Resigns After Power Struggle Over Army Chief". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2009. 
  2. ^ http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/6573327.html
  3. ^ a b New Left Review - Achin Vanaik: The New Himalayan Republic
  4. ^ "Delisting of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)", http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/09/197411.htm, www.state.gov, retrieved 20 September 2012
  5. ^ Nepalnews.com Mercantile Communications Pvt. Ltd
  6. ^ "Mao in the mountains". The Washington Post. July 6, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Maoists in Limbo". Foreign Policy. August 26, 2010. 
  8. ^ http://nepaldocumentary.com/Whyisthisimportant.aspx
  9. ^ (Xinhua)
  10. ^ "Nepal profile: Timeline", http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12499391, www.bbc.co.uk, retrieved 23 September 2012

External links[edit]