Sunday, July 05, 2009

Principles Of Contradiction

The refrain is getter wackier by the moment. Senior Maoist leaders warn us with ever-increasing stridency of a “soft coup”. In the same breath, they insist on the inevitability of a Maoist-led government sooner rather than later. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Baidya, in particular, are relishing taking turns explaining this contradiction.
“We have credible information that attempts are being made to dissolve the assembly, sack Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and impose presidential rule with the backing of the army,” Dr. Bhattarai said the other day at a function in Tanahun district. The qualifier “credible” has underpinned almost every creepy Maoist accusation of the past, only to succumb the fastest to the next bizarreness.
Toward the fag end of their rule and immediately after stepping down, Maoist leaders warned of a restoration of the monarchy in some form. Not that the government hasn’t been giving them some ground by, for instance, relocating the proposed Republic Monument from the former palace premises to Ratna Park.
Yet the former rebels have largely desisted from personal attacks on the former king. Instead, they have chosen to zero in on the presidential-rule bogey. At the same time, the Maoists have been predicting their return to power as the logical conclusion of a peace process supposedly being subverted.
The universality, absoluteness, particularity and relativity of contradiction, as well as the distinction between the principal contradiction and the non-principal ones, are part of the core teachings Dr. Bhattarai and his associates have been raised on. The distinction between the principal and non-principal aspects of a contradiction may have long ceased to spin the heads of our former people’s warriors. The Great Helmsman’s celebrated essay on the subject perhaps remains required reading in certain circles. But in the average mind, questions keep swirling.
Is this rhetorical rigmarole a Maoist bargaining chip? Or a sinister ploy to delay the constitution to the point where their terms reign supreme? Or perhaps part of a nefarious design to precipitate a political “accident” and thereby position themselves to consummate their revolution without undermining the permanence of the struggle? Just as the country began staring those questions in the face, the Maoists clinched the support of the royalist wing of the Kollywood celebrity circle. Is a real Cultural Revolution in the offing or has a united front between communists and nationalists inched closer to fruition?
For now, Dr. Bhattarai claims Prime Minister Nepal and senior Unified Marxist-Leninist leader Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli are working on instructions from foreign elements to reverse the peace process. In other words, the prime minister is complicit in his own putative overthrow.
The former finance minister urged the people to be ready for another mass movement – which he christened a “people’s revolt” – to foil such designs. Yet he wondered in the same speech why the Maoists were still being criticized for not renouncing violence even after they signed the peace accord.
Of course, Dr. Bhattarai has the additional burden of assuaging his one-time Indian soulmates, who denounced the Nepali revolutionaries for having betrayed the revolution. So when the Maoists accuse other political forces of trying to push them back to war, they are addressing multiple audiences. Anyone want to try sifting through the principal and non-principal contradictions?