The following is an excerpted version of a private letter that the Central Committee of Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) wrote to the Central Committee of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in November 2006. This letter was written at the time when CPNM entered into a Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the ruling parties in Nepal. Since then, the CPNM has deeply followed the direction that this letter sounded concern and alarms about. At this time, the CC of CPI (MLM) feels it necessary to release the main content of the letter to the public—especially to the rank and file of the CPNM.
This letter has been edited for public release.
Dear comrades -- red salutes.
We think it is very important to make an assessment of the class interests embodied in the recently signed Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)…. You can imagine our extreme dislike of this Agreement. The reason is not our dislike of your “flexible tactics”. The reason is that this plan objectively (regardless of your intentions and tactical aims) is a strategic plan to restructure the Nepali state as a comprador – feudal Republic. Why you have signed it, is a different matter that we do not want to discuss here. Because we are familiar with your arguments, saying: “the process of revolution needs to take retrogressive as well as progressive measures”. OK! you have taken this retrogressive measure as a “tactic” but let us define its class character clearly and emphasize that if this is in your “tactical” interests, it is in “strategic” interest of the OTHER side—ie, the enemy. The OTHER side looks at this as a “strategy”. The OTHER side is a class--a class alliance consisting of a section of the comprador- feudals of Nepal (minus the Monarch) and national bourgeoisie of different types. And it has the backing of India and the US (the US is playing the role of opposing this Agreement--the role of the bad guy-- in order to give this plan a progressive face).
The effect of your present tactic is that it is giving a new vigor to the comprador-feudal ruling classes of Nepal. It is helping them to restructure their old state and make it a viable and functioning reactionary state. Never forget that one of the main reasons that the People’s War in Nepal could develop so rapidly was because of the shaky and incoherent conditions of the old state. The enemy is trying to use your tactic to re-emerge out of this crisis. The reactionary anti-people class alliances that they had forged since 1990 in the form of parliamentary democracy could not be consolidated due to its inherent contradictions, and most of all, because the glorious People’s War did not allow them to consolidate.(1) Now they want to finish this consolidation process by getting rid of the King and the People’s War --both at the same time. The result (if they succeed) will be a comprador-feudal Republic. This process might take a lot of pull and push and go through some twists and turns. Because they have to convince the King and the RNA (Royal Nepal Army) of this plan; they should satisfy or push aside UML types etc. But for them the main thing is to bring the Maoists to agree with this plan and help it out.
We think, whatever your aim is, this CPA plan (and ensuing interim government) has an objective class character that must be analyzed and its nature not hidden from the eyes of the masses and the international proletariat.
What is a tactic for you is a strategic plan for the enemy. CPA is a plan to oust the King and to destroy the revolutionary people’s government which was formed during 10 years of People’s War and restructure the old state as a comprador-feudal Republic around the axis of the Congress party and the Maoists who --as they think-- would have been transformed from a revolutionary war party to a political party of the status quo. Is it impossible for them to get rid of Monarchy and forge a comprador Republic dependent on imperialism? No! The king and the section of comprador-feudal class which is his base and the army generals might resist. But even in the case of Iran in 1979, the US generals convinced Iranian army generals to change sides from the Shah to Khomeini. So in the case of Nepal too, the reactionary classes and their imperialist masters can convince the army generals of RNA to change sides from the King to the Congress Party. Is it impossible for the ruling classes to co-opt the Maoists into the new Republican structure of the dictatorship of the bourgeois? At least the Indians and a section of Nepali comprador-feudal classes represented by the Congress party, think there is a good chance to do this successfully. They have a reason to think so. The Indian ruling classes have done this in India before. They understand very well the magic power of incorporating ex-communists into their state structure and in this way give a new lease on life to the old state. The Indian ruling classes have been able to restructure and renew their state system through the incorporation of ex-communists and movements of the oppressed into their state structure. By doing this, they have made their reactionary rule over the masses more efficient. The suffocating role of the various “communist” parties in India in terms of leashing the rebellious impulses of the masses is equal to the influence of religion and other ideological leashes of the reactionary classes in India and may be even worse. The Indian comprador-feudal classes are old hands in transforming the communists from enemies to reactionary partners. So in the case of Nepal too they want to try this policy. Their strategic plan has two tactical wings which can make it fly: one is to make this comprador-feudal interim government a permanent one after the election of the Constitutional Assembly. And second, to de-link the Maoists from the revolutionaries in India and the world (by changing the revolutionary nature and aims of the Maoists).
Using this kind of strategy by the reactionary ruling classes is not new. Lenin called it a Constitutional way of solving the legitimacy crisis of the old state. In Iran they stopped and overturned the 1979 revolution through a kind of restructuring and solved the crisis of the old state for a while. They could not solve the root causes of the crisis, which were socio-economic and class rule. But they solved the crisis through what Lenin called constitutional measures. ….
Never forget the fact that in Nepali revolution, your most important and most successful and most inspiring tactic has been to masterfully turn your strategic strength (being a revolutionary party representing the deep and long-term interests of the oppressed masses in Nepal and India and the world) into a tactical advantage for yourself; and to turn the strategic weakness of the old state (being the state of the reactionary classes who are a minority united with India and imperialists) into a tactical disadvantage for it. Now the enemy wants to deal with this problem. They want to de-link you from the revolutionary social upheaval and organized revolutionary masses and use your partnership to disunite the organized revolutionary masses and paint the refurbished state structure as progressive.
This is their strategy. Using this strategy does not exclude bloody conspiracies from their agenda. But if it works, it is more effective than bloody suppressions. When the enemies see that they can not tame a rebellion or defeat a revolution, they think about the option of incorporating a layer of revolutionaries. Even in old times, the feudal classes occasionally utilized this strategy. That is why, for example, when Mao wanted to warn some of the leaders of Communist Party of China that they should not stop revolution halfway, he reminded them of the fatal deviation of “Sun Chiangism”. (Sun Chiang led a heroic peasant war in China and after defeating the King, he accepted the ruling class’ call to join the royal government or even replace the King).
The reactionary classes have used this policy in the era of imperialism as well. One of the most dramatic examples is the Weimar Republic in Germany after the First World War, when the bourgeoisie incorporated the Social Democrats (leaders of the Second Communist International) into the Capitalist imperialist system. The Social Democrats in Germany, Austria and Hungary suppressed or dismantled the Workers and Soldiers Soviets one after another.
Or look at Irish history, how the British imperialists split the Irish movement by incorporating revolutionaries into the restructured old state and caused splits in the Irish movement and sad episodes in which new Irish functionaries arrested and executed their ex-comrades, revolutionaries who did not want to surrender to the old state.
By citing these examples, we are not intending to say that this is what you want to become or that this is your strategy. No, you do not want this. But this is the logical outcome of this interim government. Lenin said: even the road to hell is paved with good intentions and emphasized that political line has its own logic despite one’s intentions. …
The whole greatness of Lenin was that he did not allow the old Russian state to revitalize itself through the interim bourgeois government. Instead, he led proletarians to replace the old rotten state at one stroke with a revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. That made Lenin a hero for the proletariat and peoples of the world and sent Marxism to the remotest corners of the world. After that, millions of masses around the world turned to Marxism-Leninism, because he had opened a fresh new chapter in the history of humanity. The freshness of the new state was awaking peoples of the world even in the most backward corners, in a magical way. When Mao said the canons of October brought Marxism to China, he was not being poetic. He was telling a truth in a beautiful and simple way.
Please pay attention: Our main point is not that the ruling classes try to corrupt the revolutionaries. They always try to do that! Our main point is that a section of the ruling classes and the big powers (imperialists and regional powers) also feel the need to revitalize their system and some times they even resort to utilizing the revolutionaries to revitalize and restructure their state. In this way they achieve two aims: one is that they stop the revolution halfway and “democratically” persuade revolutionaries to eat their own children, step by step. (We ironically call this a “democratic” and bloodless counter-revolutionary coup). And two, overall they make their system and old state more viable by removing some non-functional parts of it (such as the Monarchy) that have become an obstacle to the needs of the development of the comprador-feudal state in the country and region. By doing this they make the old state more efficient and at the same time they tell the masses: “Look, we changed things! This is the change you wanted.” And they do this with the help of ex-revolutionary leaders. Every time they have been able to victoriously carry out this strategy they have been able to hinder revolutions for decades.
This Comprehensive Peace Agreement is an “Indian” style attempt to carry out the above said strategy. But the US imperialists do not oppose such restructuring when their interests are better safeguarded. Especially, the approach of a section of the policy makers of the US imperialist ruling classes towards restructuring of non-functional states around the world has been to emphasize the generation of new layers of the comprador-feudal class from amongst the “dissidents” rather than resorting only to force. Of course, this has never been easy for them to do in third world countries because of acute class contradictions. But they have achieved certain things. For example, in this way, they achieved what they consider success in South Africa, Palestine and Iraqi Kurdistan. ….
… With this plan the enemy is coming at you in order to take away big chunks of you. You should not think that these kinds of tactics can only be used by you. There are certain tactics that are pragmatic and do not have a proletarian class character. So the bourgeoisie can use them very well. But there are certain tactics that they can never use. They can never use the tactic of granting democracy (that is, the power to overthrow the old state) to the masses. That is why in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement they want to make you dismantle the People's Power: the revolutionary army and the revolutionary state.
The CPA is the road to restructuring the state along comprador-feudal Republican lines. There are lots of conspiracies going on against revolution -- of the sort that you are aware of. But this is the biggest conspiracy against revolution in Nepal ever. We hope this conspiracy will fail. But you should make it fail. It will not fail automatically.
This CPA is very anti-democratic in nature. Its anti-democratic aspects should be brought to light and the masses made conscious of them so that they can understand their rights more deeply.
The oppressed masses have the right to rebel against their conditions of oppression. This CPA makes this right unlawful. Not recognizing this right is not even a bourgeois-democratic line, let alone a proletarian democratic line.
The Agreement is anti-democratic because it is calling for dismantling of the Peoples state, courts and autonomous governments and gives power to the political functionaries at the centre. It calls for the dismantling of the direct democratic rule of the masses and the establishment of dealings among state bureaucrats. Is this 21st century democracy?
CPA is anti-democratic because it calls for the abolition of the rights of the people to land and recognizes the right of dismantled feudal land owners to their land ownership.
CPA calls for the humiliating confinement of the PLA but gives all sorts of responsibilities to the Nepali Army: it gives the authority to the Nepal Army to guard the borders, the banks, the ministries, etc., while these should be targets of insurrectionary takeover.
CPA recognizes the dictatorship of the Nepali Army. Dictatorship is always the extra power (military and economic and political) that one class exercises over another class. In this case, the dictatorship of the Nepali Army is recognized because it gives the right to this army to hold more arms (it will lock up as many arms as PLA and keep the rest.) It will be deployed to carry out many tasks such as guarding the border and banks and the PLA will be confined to camps. Who is the victim of a coup here?
CPA is anti-democratic because it says that any violation of this agreement is punishable by law: which law? Whose law? How can one speak of suppression even before the election of the CA? Is this 21st-century democracy?
All of these counter-revolutionary measures of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement are justified by vague promises for “scientific land reform”, which is just a high sounding but empty phrase. The rights of the people (class, gender, nationality, caste…) in this Agreement are so vague that any comprador state can agree to them…..What kind of negotiation is this that the wining side should dissolve itself into the structure of the other side? …The interim government will prepare the conditions the old Nepal to eat up the new one.
Concrete analysis of concrete situations
We agree with your emphasis on the importance of making concrete analysis of concrete conditions in order to be able to advance our strategic aims. We know (theoretically and practically) that without having tactics, one can not make the strategy fly. …
The point we want to get at here is this: beware of making wrong concrete analyses and beware of following wrong tactics. As Mao said, some words can bring progress and other words can bring disaster.
Here we want to familiarize you with our own historical experience. Our original organization--the then Union of Communists of Iran (UCI) -- always emphasized two things as part of its theory and practice: concrete analysis of the concrete situations, and importance of having tactics. But UCI was very wrong in its concrete analysis of the concrete situation and in tactical policies during the 1979 revolution in Iran-- a revolution whose rise and fall is still reverberating in the Middle East. …
It is well known that in the Iranian revolution of 1979, the Monarchy was overthrown. But the most noteworthy aspect of that revolution is that, it did not go far enough in order to destroy the old state and give birth to a new state. So the counter-revolution succeeded and gave birth to a restructured comprador-feudal theocratic state under the name of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
UCI and other communist forces had deviation in terms of the Central Task (Mao said the central task is to settle the question of power through violent seizure of power). This deviation helped bring about the defeat of revolution and rise to power of the Islamic forces. To make a long story short, UCI rationalized its deviation under the signboard of “concrete analysis”. Indeed, concrete analysis was necessary. But because we had given up the general theories of MLM (we had become centrist on the universal theories of Maoism), our concrete analysis did not have an underlying MLM foundations. As Marxists we know that concrete and universal is unity of opposites. Our “concrete” had the “opposition” but not “unity” with the universals of MLM. Our deviation came in the form of “tactics” but was related to being centrist and eclectic on the strategy of revolutionary seizure of political power.
UCI’s “concrete analysis” was that the new Islamic regime had a dual character: on the one hand it was reactionary because the old army still had not been dissolved and democratic transformations (especially uprooting feudalism through land revolution) were not happening; on the other hand it had a “progressive” aspect (which did not!) because it was “anti imperialist” (which was not!) and consisted of petit bourgeois and national bourgeois parties. On the basis of this eclectic and wrong “concrete analysis” we concluded, the task of revolution was to make the “progressive aspects” to grow and push out the reactionary aspects; the task was to pressure the regime “from below” (by mass movements and revolutionary armed struggle in Kurdistan) to radicalize and make it “shed” its skin (like a snake which drops off its old skin and renews itself). This was a classic form of non revolutionary, eclectic right deviationist line. Shortly after formation of Islamic Republic of Iran, pro-Khomeini students seized the US embassy in Tehran. This event strengthened the right deviationist tendency within UCI. The irony was that the old state was shedding its old skin, but not in favor of revolution. It was renewing itself to be a more efficient and viable reactionary comprador-feudal state and we were losing an historical opportunity to put an end to the life of this wretched state.
UCI’s second disastrous “concrete analysis” and corresponding tactics was when the Iran-Iraq war broke out. It made the “concrete analysis” that this was a patriotic war and if the communists took part in it, this would strengthen the communist movement. UCI falsely compared this policy to Mao's war against Japan --which of course were not comparable.
UCI’s centrist line on the question of seizure of power was accompanied by many other wrong theories. For example, UCI had formulated a “third road” theory for accomplishing the Democratic Revolution. This was formulated by a section of our leadership in a book called On the Socio- Economic Character of Iran. The book said: democratic transformations can be achieved through three roads: one, from the top (what Lenin called the Prussian road). Two, by revolutionary violence under the leadership of the proletariat from below, which we called a People's Democratic Republic. Three, by national bourgeois road-- which would be a national bourgeois state but under constant pressure from below (the revolutionary masses)
UCI also believed that the road to revolution in Iran was mainly the October Road, while combined with armed struggles such as those which were going on in Kurdistan. This view of October Road was also very reformist which was a dominant understanding of the October Road in Iranian communist movement. The understanding of the October Road was that it fundamentally was a general strike with some scattered armed actions. And no attention was paid to the fact that October was just a first shot in a long civil war. We took a very specific element in the Russian situation at that time and made it into a general theory: we said the alignment of the forces should get to the point that, as Lenin said, the Czar’s chariot on the verge of an abyss would fall with a toe nudge!
The reason we are recounting this history is not to say that your party is just like ours at the time of 1979 revolution. But to say that we made serious errors, and point out what seem like similar errors in your present line in a number of aspects. Some trends of thinking we see in your party seem similar to how we thought in some periods. It is true that our party was not firm on Maoism. But being firm on our universal understanding is not something that is guaranteed once and for all. At different times a communist party can lose its grip on fundamentals. One of those times is when that party is quickly passing from one stage to a new stage. These are the times when our universal line and outlook cry out to be re-affirmed and developed. One great opportunity that you have is that RIM exists, with a clear-cut universal line and developing scientific knowledge. …We want to speak FRANKLY: We in our history used the same Maoist and Leninist concepts such as Mass Line and Concrete Analysis and United Front to justify incorrect lines. …
Take a hard look at whether or not the underlying basis of your particular line corresponds with universal line of MLM. Universal and particular are unity of opposites. The universal must be the guiding compass for the particular; strategy must be the guiding compass for tactics. If you drop this compass it would be like losing your way on the dangerous peaks of the Mount Everest. People don’t make revisionist mistakes because they were originally revisionist. Mao said a lot of comrades who made errors during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution were communist fighters during the Long March. He said the reason they committed errors is because they could not see, through the fog, the road to advance towards the peaks...
Comrades: we have tried to make clear the nature of this “transitional regime”, and we think you should also be clear about its nature: it is anti-revolution; it is anti-masses and anti-national independence.
We are certain that for revolution to advance, this agreement should be broken. We are sure the OTHER side will violate it and will provide ample reasons to that effect. But what are your preparations for that?
Once again we urge you to safeguard the revolution in Nepal. Not only the future of the Nepali workers, peasants, women and oppressed nationalities depends on you doing this; but the revolution in 21st century will be marked by whether you safeguard this revolution or not. Stakes are high!
Our hearts are pounding in anxiety for revolution in Nepal.
the CC of the CPI (MLM)
22 November 2006
1-What replaced the Panchyat system was a fractured and crisis-ridden state structure which was not able to dissolve feudalism even a little bit so as to alleviate the class contradictions. The People’s War did dissolve feudalism to great extent. Dissolving certain aspects of feudalism was a kind of necessary reform (necessary for preventing New Democratic Revolution and necessary for penetration of imperialist capital) that the seven-party alliance and the King were completely incapable of carrying out, even with the aid coming from outside. So now they can benefit from some aspects of the dissolution of feudalism achieved by the CPN(M). Imperialist -sponsored systems always can arrange to benefit from lukewarm anti-feudal transformations. In Iran, the Shah and the imperialists themselves carried out the White Revolution in order to dissolve the excessive parts of feudalism which stood in the way of preventing peasant uprisings as well as obstacles to the penetration of capital to the remote areas of the country. And in 1979, the G7 imperialist countries arranged for the removal of monarchy in Iran. The famous Guadaloupe G7 conference did this.