Nepali Times
Untied workers

What does the dissolution of the three parallel Maoist trade unions mean? It means that the situation had become untenable in the eyes of the public, even if the absurdity of three separate unions belonging to the one mother party was simply a reflection of the seemingly irreconcilable three-way split in the highest echelons of the not quite United Communist Party of Nepal, Maoist.

Whoever is now chosen to lead a reformed, united trade union, it will not settle the larger question of whether the largest party in the country can keep itself from falling apart. Whatever the driving forces Ė external and internal manipulation, ideological schisms, egoism, media sensationalism Ė even the most diehard Maoist supporter is compelled to concede that the Maoist party has a serious internal problem on its hands. Indeed, most such diehard supporters, the cadre, have already chosen sides. Those whose maintain that every communist party's revolutionary spirit derives from the ferment of debate, and that UCPN (Maoist) is no different, is either lying or blinkered to the realities of revolutionary communism. It is as much wishful thinking as that indulged in by of those who do wish to see the Maoists split.

It's hardly a surprise either. After all, parties from the full range of Nepal's political spectrum have and will continue to endure splits based purely on a lust for power and paisa. The Maoists have the added complication of ideology to deal with. You can't sit on the sharp fence of revolution for very long without being accused of being an extremist or a reactionary.

But we should worry about the consequences. Many will rub their hands in glee at the prospect of a Maoists split even if they only continue to stumble along in strife, for there is no doubt that they are not doing themselves or their support base a favour. The rest of the political establishment and India are obvious candidates for schadenfreude, but a fair section of the media, the business community, and the rest of the Kathmandu elite would like no better than to see the fragmentation of the Maoist party fragmented.

But is Nepal better off with a monolithic Maoist party that is reluctant to reform, but which at least makes some effort to engage with the rest of the establishment, and which still represents one half of a peace process that it has not quite abandoned? Or do we want a split that, let no one be in any doubt, would be far more significant than previous splinters, and which could leave us with two or three still large and powerful parties? At least one of these parties will then resort to unbridled radicalism to claim the revolutionary mantle.

In the short term, the aforementioned stakeholders will probably fancy their chances with a Maoist split, in as much as the Maoist party will be weakened. In the medium term, a split would do nothing for the peace process and the constitution. In the long term, a split, and the inevitable exclusion of the radicals, could fuel the basis for yet another damaging conflict. Be careful what you wish for.

1. K. K. Sharma

Need for peace came only when the Maoist came to be. Hypothetically speaking, if there were no Maoists, peace would be there. So if the Maoists fragment into pieces, Peace has a greater chance.

As for the possibility of another faction becoming radical and resorting to insurgency, well, that would depend upon India sheltering them, supporting them and weakening those opposed to them. Otherwise there cannot be insurgencies, or people's movement in an India locked country like Nepal.

2. jange

The Maoists will not split. It is a Mafia organisation, not a political party.

And Mafia organisations do not split.

3. kamal kishor

Whether you wish or not, the Maoists will split; it is inevitable not because I wish but because of the nature of that party: a party of extremism at the core converted to pluralism to adjust to present day sustainability; a party representing the poor peasants and workers not the middle class and a leadership which is feudalistic\ autocratic in nature and character. The party preaches for inclusiveness but the leadership is controlled by bahuns and chetris. The inheritent contradiction in its frame and content is so high that it is not tenable to suppose that it will be resolved at trade union levels.

A fight against hypocrisy and vulgarism will not end until and unless the leadership understands and accepts the necessity to relinquish its authoritarian nature and transforms itself into a democratic party. 

4. Rob
The sooner they break up, the better it is. Politics is ruining Nepal.

5. John M. Kelleher

>> "But is Nepal better off with a monolithic Maoist party that is reluctant to reform, but which at least makes some effort to engage with the rest of the establishment, and which still represents one half of a peace process that it has not quite abandoned?"

The author of this article accuses both the Maoists' ardent apologists and their most inveterate detractors of "wishful thinking."  Yet this statement is surely wishful thinking par excellence.  The Maoists cannot "abandon" a putative peace process which they have never for a moment sincerely embraced to begin with.  The guarantees which the Maoists gave in New Delhi in 2005 were no more than a tactical feint to neutralize Nepal's legitimate Army and to garner a strategic foothold in Kathmandu itself - which they were fatuously given.

Since then the Maoists have never used the "peace process" as anything other than a smokescreen for their own demands against the state.  If the Naya Nepal enthusiasts at the helm of the Nepali Times wish to label everyone else as dabblers in "wishful thinking," they may need to add their own names to that roster for presuming for even a moment that the Maobadis have ever been or will ever be credible partners in constitution drafting or a bilateral peace process, united or not. 

The "peace process" has never been anything more than a mirage, and no one who's been paying attention seriously believes that the current CA will ever produce a constitution, irrespective of how many illegal extensions it may choose to grant itself.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)