2006 - On the 'Comprehensive Peace Agreement' in Nepal
Published in Economic and Political Weekly, December 16, 2006
On November 5 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN (M)] had entered into an agreement with the government of Nepal which stipulated that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would deposit its arms in seven designated cantonments while the government’s armed forces too would deposit an equal number of arms. These would be placed under the supervision of a United Nations (UN) monitoring team while the keys of the lockers of PLA arms would be with the Maoist party. It was also agreed by both sides to dissolve the present parliament and form a new interim parliament with a share of the seats for the Maoists, to form an interim government with some portfolios for the Maoists, and to elect a constituent assembly by next summer, which is supposed to decide the fate of the monarchy and the future of Nepal. The agreement received the final official stamp when prime minister, G P Koirala and the chairman of CPN (M), comrade Prachanda signed the agreement and declared it publicly. The Central Committee (CC), Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (Maoist)], has been perturbed by this agreement concluded by the fraternal Maoist party in Nepal with the government of the seven-party alliance (SPA) led by the Indian protégé, Koirala. The agreement to deposit the arms of the people’s army in designated cantonments is fraught with dangerous implications. This act could lead to the disarming of the oppressed masses of Nepal and to a reversal of the gains made by the people of Nepal in the decade-long people’s war at the cost of immense sacrifices. The clause in the agreement to deposit an equal number of arms by both sides will obviously work in favour of the Koirala-led government as the latter will have the option to use the huge stock of arms still at the disposal of the army anytime and to further strengthen the reactionary army of the government. The decision taken by CPN(Maoist) on arms management, even if it thinks it is a tactical step to achieve its immediate goal of setting up a constituent assembly, is harmful to the interests of the revolution. Revolutionary experiences the world over had demonstrated time and again that without the people’s army it is impossible for the people to exercise their power. Nothing is more dreadful to imperialism and the reactionaries than armed masses and hence they would gladly enter into any agreement to disarm them. In fact, disarming the masses has been the constant refrain of all the reactionary ruling classes ever since the emergence of class-divided society. Unarmed masses are easy prey for the reactionary classes and imperialists who even enact massacres as proved by history. The CC, CPI (Maoist), as one of the detachments of the world proletariat, warns the CPN (Maoist) and the people of Nepal of the grave danger inherent in the agreement to deposit the arms and calls upon them to reconsider their tactics in the light of bitter historical experiences. The agreement by the Maoists to become part of the interim government in Nepal cannot transform the reactionary character of the state machinery that serves the exploiting ruling classes and imperialists. The state can be an instrument in the hands of either the exploiting classes or the proletariat but it cannot serve the interests of both these bitterlycontending classes. It is a fundamental tenet of Marxism that no basic change in the social system can be brought about without smashing the state machine. Reforms from above cannot bring any qualitative change in the exploitative social system, however democratic the new constitution might seem to be, and even if the Maoists become an important component of the government. It is sheer illusion to think that a new Nepal can be built without smashing the existing state. Another illusion that the agreement creates is regarding the so-called impartial or neutral role of the UN. The UN is in reality an instrument in the hands of the imperialists, particularly US imperialists, to dominate, bully and interfere in the affairs of the third world countries for the benefit of the imperialists. It is used as a guise to provide legitimacy to the brazen acts of the imperialists to oppress and suppress the people of the third world. Afghanistan and Iraq are the most recent instances of the UN’s direct role in legitimizing imperialist aggression and occupation of these countries. It is the duty of revolutionaries to expose, oppose and fight this imperialist role of the UN. Giving it a role in arms management, election supervision, and the peace process in Nepal would only mean inviting imperialist interference, in particular, that of US imperialism. Another disturbing factor is the illusion harbored by the Maoists in Nepal regarding the role of the Indian expansionists. The Indian ruling classes are the biggest threat to the people of the entire subcontinent and it is the duty of the people of the various countries of south Asia to unitedly fight Indian expansionism. The Indian state, with the backing of US imperialism, has been continuously interfering in the internal affairs of Nepal; it had backed the monarchy while encouraging its stooges among the parliamentary forces in the name of two-pillar theory; trained and extended all forms of aid to the Royal Nepal Army in their military offensive against the Maoists; has secret deals with the Nepali Congress led by Koirala and with other reactionary parties; and is bent upon disarming the PLA and the masses of Nepal and isolating the Maoists. Its aim is to grab the natural wealth of Nepal, particularly its huge hydel potential, and to make it a safe haven for the imperialists and Indian comprador capitalists. Comrade Prachanda’s repeated praise for India’s role in bringing about the agreement between the Maoists and the SPA in Nepal creates illusions among the masses about India rather than preparing them for fighting the Indian expansionists who are keen on Sikkimising Nepal in the future. Even more surprising is the assertion by the CPN(Maoist) that their current “tactics” in Nepal would be an example to other Maoist parties in south Asia. Comrade Prachanda had also given a call to other Maoist parties to reconsider their revolutionary strategies and to practice multiparty democracy in the name of 21st century democracy. Our CC makes it crystal clear to CPN(M) and the people at large that there can be no genuine democracy in any country without the capture of state power by the proletariat and that the so- called multiparty democracy cannot bring any basic change in the lives of the people. It calls upon the Maoist parties and people of south Asia to persist in the path of protracted people’s war as shown by comrade Mao. We also appeal to the CPN (Maoist) once again to rethink their current tactics, which are actually changing the very strategic direction of the revolution in Nepal, and to withdraw from their agreement with the government of Nepal on depositing the arms of the PLA as this would make the people defenseless in face of attacks by the reactionaries.