Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Maobadi Bookmarks


1. The single article introductions below are the latest postings of this month's bookmarks for news items or opinion pieces on the Maoist revolution in Nepal. To see all this months bookmarks to date, use the "Read More" link following the currently displayed articles.

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Maoist Secretariat Asks Govt to Take Action Against Army Chief

April 30 - Unified CPN (Maoist) has decided to go ahead with the plan to take action against army chief Rookmangud Katawal. Maoist leaders suggested the government to take action against Katawal after a marathon meeting of the party's central secretariat Thursday. Talking to reporters after the meeting held at Prime Minister and party chairman Prachand's Baluwatar residence, Maoist spokesperson Dina Nath Sharma said the government has been advised to show 'maximum flexibility' while taking action against the army chief. He added that 'maximum flexibility' would mean an understanding with ruling ally CPN (UML) and the main opposition Nepali Congress on the action against Katawal. Sharma, however, didn't explain the nature of the action, but hinted at the sacking of the army chief as the meeting upheld the party's earlier position on the issue. ... go to complete original article

Nepal’s Maoist Government Arrests Ethnic Leaders

Mr. Laxman Tharu, the president of Tharu United Struggle Alliance and Rabindra Thing, a member of the Tamsaling Struggle Alliance, were both arrested in charges of disrupting the law and order situation in the country Interestingly, when the Maoists party cadres were organizing a whole day long capital centric rally disrupting the traffic and the public life pressurizing the government to sack the Nepal Army Chief Katawal Tharu United Struggle Alliance and Tamsaling Struggle Alliance have demanded immediate release of both of their leaders. ..statement issued by both groups have threatened that the government will be solely responsible for any undesirable consequences that may emerge after the arrests of the two ethnic leaders. “Now the Maoists party has begun interfering in the inherent rights of the people to protest in addition to their mal-intent to politicize the Army and interfere in the judiciary”, said a Tharu scholar talking to the Telegraph Nepal on condition of anonymity. ... go to complete original article

Nepal Will Not Listen to India: FM Bhattarai

.. Bhattarai, the Finance Minister and Senior Maoist leader who was present in the meeting later told the reporters that “Ambassador Sood during the meeting presented his views, we also forwarded our points, and finally, it is us who will take the final decision.” “He (Sood) said what he had to, we will do what we have to immaterial of what others say”, Bhattarai said adding, “We will sack Katawal, we will not listen to any one as such”. This is the first time that a Nepal Minister has told straight that Nepali affairs will be handled with care by the Nepalese themselves. Similarly, Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Mr. Janardan Sharma Prabhakar talking to reporters made clear that CoAS Katawal need to be sacked to restore peoples’ supremacy in the country. “The Prime Minister is undeterred, the government will sack Katawal”, concluded Mr. Sharma. In the afternoon, Prime Minister Dahal told point blank President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav that “I will sack Katwal come what may”. ... go to complete original article

Nepal: Deepening Crisis

.. Seventhly, the situation though appears calm outwardly, the chances of a coup d’etat of any model remains intact. Eighthly, for example, if the President is excessively forced or say pressed hard to provide legal sanction to Katwal’s sacking then what is also for sure is that the President deserved the legal rights to suspend this government and declare an emergency. Thus the population is in between fear and fire. The panic is there. The proxy war is on. Just guess which country is extending its support to the Maoists and which were against the Maoists? This will provide the required answers. However, what is for sure is that if the Maoists sack the Nepal Army Chief Katwal, the Indian establishment will instantly retaliate. But in what form perhaps former King Gyanendra knows it better. [Indians withdraw sanction of the 12 Point Agreement which re-opens lgitimacy of the monarchy] ... go to complete original article

Prachanda Urges UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal to Support Sacking of Katawal

PM Prachanda asked Khanal to make a decision through standing committee to support the government’s decision to sack the army chief. Defense minister Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ was also present at the meeting between Khanal and PM Dahal. The UML’s standing committee meeting on Sunday had decided the government should not take action against the army chief without a political consensus. UML has proposed making the third-in-line of the army Chhatra Man Singh Gurung the new army chief and have defense minister Ram Bahadur Thapa resign from his post., it is learnt. NC is expected to support this plan and coax the incumbent CoAS Katawal to resign if it works out. Khanal will meet with NC president Girija Prasad Koirala later today with the same agenda. ... go to complete original article

Maoist Secretariat Speaks of Soft Coup

A Maoist leader said the party will, now, not back off even though coalition partner may or may not respond positively. The Maoist Secretariat has, however, decided to attempt for consensus till the end. Emerging from the meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence in Baluwatar, Maoist spokesperson Dinanath Sharma said, “We have decided to move ahead with consensus to maintain civil supremacy.” The source claimed that the meeting concluded to face any situation that may arise after action is taken against CoAS Katawal. Maoist Secretariat member Lilamani Pokharel said that they are aware of the possibility of “soft coup” after the termination. “The news reports about coup were true. We were informed before,” he claimed ... go to complete original article

UML Demands Sacking of Defense Minister Badal

To add, earlier the UML Steering Committee meeting had advised the government to take all parties into confidence prior to sacking the Chief of the Army Staff Mr. Rukmangad Katawal. “The UML is not bound to abide by a decision unilaterally taken by any party, be it a minister or even the prime minister”, said Mr. Ishwar Pokharel the UML general secretary talking to reporters after the meeting. The UML steering committee also decided to forward a proposal to the government stating that if Katawal is to be sacked, Minister for Defense Mr. Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal and the Nepal Army Deputy in-command Mr. Kul Bahadur Khadka must also be sacked. ... go to complete original article

PM Dahal: I am Determined to Sack Katawal

Bhattarai has threatened to quit the government if the government failed to penalize Katawal for his misadventure for having challenged the government time and again. “Our party has taken the stand to penalize Katawal to guarantee peoples’ supremacy in a democracy”, said Dr. Bhattarai Speaking at a press meet in Kathmandu, Maoists Central Secretariat member Barsa Man Pun alias Ananata also told the journalists that the Maoists party was ready to quit government if it remained unsuccessful in taming the Chief of the Army Staff. “We will re-establish peoples’ supremacy in the country else we will resign”, said Ananta. Katawal has conspired against the peoples’ elected government, he was trying to rule the country by imposing a coup d’etat, however, the Maoists party is ready to face the adversaries from any quarters, we will tame Katawal at any cost”, Mr. Ananta added. ... go to complete original article

Maoist Secretariat Asks Government to Seek Consensus on Katawal Sacking

The central secretariat of Unified CPN (Maoist) has suggested the government to reach consensus with ruling partners, most importantly the CPN (UML), before taking further decision on the Nepal Army chief Rookmangud Katawal. Speaking to reporters after secretariat meeting, Maoist leader Lilamani Pokharel said that the meeting concluded that the government decision to seek clarification from Katawal for challenging the civilian supremacy was justifiable and that the "foreign intervention" following the clarification episode is a matter of worry. He said the government has been advised to reach an understanding before taking decision on the army chief. Foreign intervention in Nepal's internal matter is totally uncalled for, the Maoist leader said, adding that news reports of a coup planned by the army chief were not entirely false. ... go to complete original article

Dr Ram Baran Yadav Denies He Asked Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal To Not Sack Katawal

In yet another interesting twist to the high-voltage drama, President Dr Ram Baran Yadav has denied that he asked Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal not to sack Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Rookmangud Katawal, claiming that there was nothing regarding the Army chief in his Tuesday's letter to the PM. India was also dragged into the plot. New Delhi, according to the reports, "played a crucial role to establish the link between the army and the president (Dr Ram Baran Yadav)," apparently with the aim of establishing presidential rule. "By Monday... Katawal seemed enthused by a renewed confidence (as) he had received strong backing from India and felt emboldened," the reports said. ... go to complete original article

Maoist Affiliated Union Leaders Say They Are Ready to Capture Army Headquarters

April 22 - The Maoists’ leaders addressing the rallies also demanded immediate resignation from Katwal for his role in murdering the Maoists’ cadres during the revolt and at time of the Peoples’ Uprising-II. Yuba Raj Chaulagai, the vice president of the Maoists’ affiliated Students’ union told the mass that the Maoists are all prepared to capture Nepal Army headquarters if needed to remove Katawal. “We know how to fire bullets, if the Prime Minster orders we will begin fighting instantly”, he added. “Katawal represents the remnants of the former past, to wipe him out we are ready to capture the Army Headquarters even”, Ganesh Regmi General Secretary of the Maoists’ affiliate Trade Union said. Similarly, in the district of Dolpa, on Wednesday, Maoists cadres took to the streets in support of the Maoists’ government to seek clarification from CoAS Katawal. “Down with the royalists….down with the reactionaries…, Katawal resign immediately”, the Maoists cadres were chanting. ... go to complete original article

Oli of UML: Maoists Bought Arms

The United Marxist Leninist influential leader Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli has said that the Maoists’ with the intent to exacerbate the already deteriorating situation in the country were inviting further bloodshed. “I have the information that the Maoists have already in a clandestine manner brought in arms and ammunitions in the country, they are preparing for yet another war”, alleged Mr. Oli. “The Maoists in the government instead of guaranteeing peace and tranquility is preparing for further bloodshed”, said Oli at a press-meet organized at the UML headquarters in Balkhu, Kathmandu, April 21, 2009. Mr. Oli was also of the opinion that the Maoists now see the Nepal Army and Judiciary as the main obstacle to capture the State, thus the unabated attack.” “I appeal the Maoists not to carry on with this dangerous agenda”. “The Maoists’ fresh attack on institution of the Nepal Army is nothing but their inner intent to capture the State.” ... go to complete original article

Nepal President: Government Decision is Unconstitutional

Nepal’s first President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav has expressed his dissatisfaction over the government’s decision to seek clarification from the chief of the Nepal Army Staff Mr. Rookmangad Katawal. As per the Interim Constitution 2063, Nepal’s president is the supreme commander of the Nepal Army. The President on April 21, 2009, in a formal letter sent to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat had expressed his dissatisfaction to seek clarification from Mr. Katawal with the sole intention to release him from the office. “The decision is unconstitutional, illegal and against the peace process”, President’s message reads. “I urge the Prime Minister not to take the decision as it hinders the ongoing peace process and politics of consensus.” ... go to complete original article

Top Maoists in Crucial Meeting

In the wake of mounting international pressure against the possible shacking of Chief of Army Staffs (COAS) Rookmanud Katawal, the Unified CPN (Maoist) leaders are an emergency meeting. Senior leaders of the party Ram Bahadur Thapa, Babu Ram Bhattarai, party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, among others, are participating in the crucial meeting Tuesday evening. Kathmandu-based key foreign missions including that of India, US and UK are learnt to have put pressure on the Maoist-led government not to oust Katawal, cautioning difficult situation ahead if the decision was taken. It is learnt that Maoists are likely to call for an emergency meeting of the council of ministers this evening to take formal decision on assumption that international pressure would increase from tomorrow. Earlier today, the central secretariat meeting of the Maoist had directed government to take decision to strengthen supremacy of civilian government.
... go to complete original article

Dr Bhattarai: We Will Sack Army Chief

“Katawal engaged in activities of challenging even the Peoples’ Supremacy, we had to sack him anyway”, Dr. Bhattarai told the journalists. “However, we are also of the opinion that the entire institution of Nepal Army can not be taken as an evil due to the presence of some rotten eggs”, Dr. Bhattarai added. The Maoist led government had in the morning asked CoAS Katawal to provide his clarification within 24 hours for having ignored the government’s decision. Nevertheless, Nepal’s Minister for Home Affairs Mr. Bam Dev Gautam told the journalists that the decision to seek explanation from CoAS Katawal was not made by the Cabinet. “I am completely unaware of this development” told a completely taken aback Minister Gautam talking to journalist holding a press-conference at the Home Ministry premises today. During the day, Prime Minister Dahal had met with President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav to keep him abreast with the unfolding events in the country more so as regards the national Army. ... go to complete original article

Oli-Koirala Meet on Changing Government

..Oli has stressed the need for the formation of a National Level Government with Nepali Congress also partnering the new government set up.. told this to media after meeting.. Koirala “A national government can only draft the constitution, it is likely that the country will see a political polarization that is dangerous for the country if the National government is not constituted at the earliest”, told Oli to the media. Repots say that both the leaders during the meeting heavily criticized the Maoists’ led government and discussed the possibility of changing the structure of the government. Oli’s meet with Koirala becomes significant as the meeting took place a day after the UML president Mr. Jhala Nath Khanal has left for a weeklong trip to the land of late Chairman Mao. Mr. Jhal Nath Khanal is in favor of continuing with the Maoists led government but Oli and his close colleagues in the UML have been favoring that the new government leadership must come into the UML fold. ... go to complete original article

Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum Requires Federalism

Jay Prakash Prasad Gupta, the Minister for Agriculture and Cooperative has said that his party, the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum will not accept the new constitution without federalism being adopted. Mr. Gupta revealed that the proposed draft of the New Constitution forward by the Nepali Congress, Maoist and the UML parties do not present the basis for the Federal Structure. “Those parties who were in favor of federalism in the past have now taken the opposite stance, foreign and local forces are conspiring to foil the prospect of federalism”, said Minister Gupta. He also outlined the need to sort-out Madhesi issues through a referendum. “The Kathmandu regime has no right to sort out the issues concerning Madhesh and the Madhesi people”, Gupta pointed out. “Some political parties want to divide Madhesh…escalation of the Tharuhat issue is to sideline the genuine concerns of the Madhesis”, concluded Minister Gupta. ... go to complete original article

Matrika Prasad Yadav : No Need for Army Integration

Matrika Prasad Yadav, the leader of the restructured Maoist party has claimed that the new constitution will never be drafted or even if it is drafted, it will not be a pro-people one. “I quit the Maoists party led by Prachanda mainly because Prachanda could no longer carry on with the revolutionary ideologies and principles”, said Matrika adding, Prachanda has turned into a terrified Cat, he keeps on doing meow-meow and visits either Girija Prasad Koirala, the Indian ambassador and Madhav Kumar Nepal.. .. comment on Koirala’s allegation that the Maoists’ party has turned totalitarian, Matrika said “The party that does not have internal democracy has not right or whatsoever to pass such comments”. “I think that there is no need to integrate the Maoists’ Peoples’ Liberation Army into the Nepal Army”, said Matrika “The revolution is yet to conclude, in such a situation, the integration of PLA into the Nepal Army-that is primarily the protector of the reactionary forces ... go to complete original article

Nepal Maoists Favor Federal Democratic Republican Constitution

Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the leader of the United Maoist Party has charged that the politics of consensus was broken time and again by the Nepali Congress and the United Marxist Leninist Party “The UML and the Nepali Congress disfavoring the integration of the Maoists’ PLA and the Nepal Army have broken the politics of consensus”, said Mr. Shrestha Mr. Shreshta made it clear that the United Maoist Party was not in favor of the traditional Parliamentary System of Democracy, rather he said, “Our struggle will continue until we guarantee peoples’ oriented National Federal Republic from the Consistent Assembly.” He also claimed that foreign and local reactionary forces were trying to impede Nepal from having a unique and sovereign constitution.. Mr. Krishna Bahadur Mahara- minister for information and communications and a Maoist Leader claimed that the foreign power centers were trying to establish the bourgeois system of parliamentary democracy similar to the 1990 Constitution. ... go to complete original article

Approaching Crises for Nepal

Thus the meet of the Army men in Kathmandu though has been described as a routine one but high placed sources say that the Army men converged in Kathmandu under the instructions of some powerful centers, both within and without, the aim of which is at least to send signals to the Maoist quarters that should the situation so demanded the Nepal Army too could jump into the national politics. Analysts advise the Army men to keep restraint for obvious reasons. .. will the domestic and the international forces recognize such an adventure of the Nepal Army? This is a big question indeed.recognition must come from the Indian quarters and then the US. Since India is engaged currently in polls and thus the Indian recognition to such an adventure from the Army will take some time. And the US will not recognize this army move unless it receives proper sanction from India. Thus to conclude that the US looks into Nepal affairs through the Indian eyes will not be an exaggeration. This is a fact. ... go to complete original article

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Restive Nepal Army Top-Hats Engaged in Serious Meeting

April 13 - “Neither defense Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal nor the Defense secretary have been invited”, sources disclose.

“Traditionally, such a meeting would have seen the presence of Defense Minister and the Defense secretary”, source adds. The meeting prior to its conclusion on April 13, 2009 will discuss fresh attacks on the institution of army coming as it does from various political quarters including that of the government itself.

First, all six commanders will present their opinion on the present geo-political situation of the country followed by their views on fresh attacks on the institution of Nepal Army, later the Headquarter will sum up their views to devise immediate strategies for the Nepal Army”, the report adds. “The serious issue of concern will be to analyze the attack on Nepal Army by the government and to tell the government that the Nepal Army is a State organ not the enemy of the government”, report concludes. The source, however, remained tight lipped when asked as to where the final conclusion compiled by the National Army will be submitted? ... go to complete original article

Nepal FM Bhattarai Challenges Supreme Court to Put Him Behind Bars

April 12 -Nepal’s Minister for Finance Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai in a threat loaded statement made against the Supreme Court of Nepal has challenged the apex-court to put him behind the bars if it has the courage. An enraged Dr. Bhattarai was criticizing the Supreme Court for seeking written explanation in the case of Contempt Of Court filed against six Maoists leaders. “We are ready to fight with anyone who dare go against our government”, declared Bhattarai. “If we can not criticize the system of judiciary then it is no democracy at all” Bhattarai said adding, “the judges must also be selected by the people.” Criticizing the UML said Dr. Bhattarai we are currently witnessing abnormal situation, those who are in the government are also trying their best to derail the government”. ... go to complete original article

Nepal Maoists’ and Matrika Faction Direct Guns at Each Other

April 9 - Nepal Maoists’ and Matrika faction direct guns at each other The cadres of the restructured Maoists’ Party led by Matrika Yadav and the United Maoist Party led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal exchanged fires in the district of Morang Wednesday April 8, 2009, injuring more than twenty people in the near to a fierce battle event. This created panic in Biratnagar. “the United Maoist Party cadres who came in a Car had threatened a by-election candidate of Maoist Party (Matrika faction), the Maoist cadres in retaliation set ablaze the vehicle used by the other faction”. around mid-night the United Maoist party cadres came in a group and thus the situation got uncontrolled…both sides exchanged fires”, reports quoting local police source say. Bijay Kamat the by-election candidate of Maoist Party (Matrika faction), organizing a press-meet declared that 3 cadres were seriously injured and 15 other incurred minor bullet injuries. ... go to complete original article

Growing Anarchy Due to Nepal Home Minister’s Inability: Gajurel

Chandra Prakash Gajurel- a senior Maoist party leader- has summarily blamed the incumbent Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam to have failed to provide adequate security which had resulted in the increasing anarchy in the country of late. “The confusion that prevails at the moment in the country is due to his sheer inability to arrest the growing anarchy in the country”, Gajurel stated. Minister Gautam represents the United Marxists-Leninists party in the government and perhaps it is for the first time that some high ranking Maoist leader has taken him to task. Except for Minister Gautam, the rest of his colleagues in the party-the UML-have made it a point to deride at the Maoists day in day out. Generally speaking, analysts presume, Minister Gautam’s political allegiance remains divided: the first half goes to the party he represents and the other half to the government which has elevated Mr. Gautam to present day rank. ... go to complete original article

PM Prachanda Vows to Take Peace Process to Logical Conclusion

April 6, 2009 PM Prachanda vows to take peace process to 'logical conclusion, intensifies parleys to find consensus Prime Minister Prachanda on Monday renewed his commitment to take the constitution drafting and the peace process into a "logical conclusion" under any circumstances, adding that for this integration and rehabilitation of the former Maoist combatants is a main pre-requisite. Prime Minister and Maoist chairman Prachanda waves to supporters at ... Addressing a mass meet organised by the Unified CPN (Maoist) at the Open Air Theatre of the capital city to commemorate the popular movement of 1990, PM Prachanda, who is also its chairman, said that those who oppose army integration are not "true democrats". Main opposition Nepali Congress and top coalition leaders argue that the integration of Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army will not be in the best interest of the country, even warning that it will lead to civil strife. ... go to complete original article

UML Utility in Nepal Maoist Government Over

".. we began criticizing the government though we are also in the government”, Mr. Khanal added while addressing a gathering in Kathmandu, Saturday April 4, 2009. Khanal opined that lasting peace can only be reached after the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoists’ Peoples’ Liberation Army. Yet another UML leader, K.P. Oli says the continuing erratic behaviors of the Maoists is forcing his party whether or not to quit the government structure. Mr. Oli is considered to be a very sharp critique of the Maoists. Similarly, Bidya Bhandari of the UML too concludes that the utility of the UML being in the Maoist government has come to an end and thus the party should pull out its ministers at the earliest. However, the UML President, Mr. Khanal is playing double, say analysts, as he is with his party men when they cry against the Maoists and can’t leave the Maoists in the mid ocean as he managed his victory for the post of the UML Presidency through the kind courtesy of the Maoists. ... go to complete original article

Nepal’s Sovereign Citizens Can Criticize State Organs: Badal

“In the current transitional period, reactionaries, status-quoists, anarchists and those who want to see Nepal become a failed state have become very active”. These are the words of Defense Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa alias Badal a Maoists’ central Committee member while talking to journalists at a program organized by the Revolutionary Journalist Organization, Birtamod of Jhapa District, Friday April 3, 2009. “Nepal is currently undergoing a Republican transitional period, we will overcome this difficult period and institutionalize the newly found republican order”, he told the journalists. Mr. Thapa added, “Nepali people have their inherent right to criticize, no matter whether it is judiciary or legislative or even the executive, no one can stop them from criticizing any decision that is not in their favor”. “The sovereign citizens of this country are above Judiciary, Legislative and Executive, they are even higher than the Constitution”, said Mr. Badal ... go to complete original article

Army Integration Will Complete Within Stipulated Time: Defense Minister

Speaking to reporters at Biratnagar airport, Thapa said the AISC is doing homework to ensure that the integration process completes within the stipulated time (three months). The Defence Minister's comment contradicts the views of the members of the technical committee, which works under the AISC, that completing army integration in three months would not be possible. Meanwhile, Defence Minister Thapa, who was at the centre of controversy after he refused to extend the terms of eight Nepal Army Brigadier Generals, has defended his decision. He said in Biratnagar that the decision to give retirement to the Generals was within the legal parameter and that he was optimistic that the "court will uphold the authority of the ministry". ... go to complete original article

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Revolution Reports from Nepal - 3

On left is Ganesh Man Pun who signs as "Convener of YCL". He was Commander of the 4th Division of the PLA until about three years ago the Party decided he should lead the YCL. On the right is Raju Khadka, Vice-Convener YCL.

(Continued from Revolution Reports from Nepal - 2) While I was spending time with Comrade Regmi of the All Nepal Federation Of Trade Unions, Puspa left after having been unable to reach me by cell. So ensued another slog across the sea of creatures and mechanical beasts to my hotel room - surviving these smog fests, now I have a reliable face mask replete with little intake valves. I would rest up and find out about the YCL rally or else begin to write about todays activites and interview with Ganesh Regmi. for the second report. Later I wouild cover anything that happened at the YCL rally.

The YCL Rally and Meeting with Ganesh Man Pun

I had just enough time for a pit stop and washing the grime from my hands and face before Puspa was at the door saying hurry up. The Maobadi YCL rally march was on its way down the streets. When we reached the street, the head of the procession was a hundred meters ahead of where we entered the solid stream of marchers. I could see back over the people that the tail of the stream was about a kilometer long and moving at a brisk pace. The red flags with hammer and sickle, larger ones at the front and smaller though out the column were being raised and waved. Every 50 meters or so was a leader chanting slogans repeated by the surrounding crowd, so you could hear several different groups doing something different at the same time - but then of a sudden the entire procession would combine in a rousing cheer.

Ganesh Man Pun and Raju Khadka (just left and behide the rickshaw) lead the long procession into Durbar Square

Having worked our way to the front of the procession we found the YCL leaders and others who I would see speaking before the crowd later. Clearing the way ahead and stopping cross traffic was a contingent of about 20 Nepal Police. I noticed that the officer directing the police activity was on friendly terms with the people leading the rally. The procession entered Durbar Square, filling it and the steep tiered temple steps in the center of the square. Soon the MC was exhorting the crowd over raised loudspeakers. Speakers went in turn. Ganesh Man Pun, Convener Nepal YCL spoke first. A woman gave a very powerful presentation. The final speech was by Raju Khadka, Vice-Convener of Nepal YCL. The crowd roared with approval at given points. I didn't know what was said.

I was "backstage" so to speak and was able to meet a number of people there including Comrade Pun. So in the mist of several people greeting him etc. some introductory talk occurred. This talk continued intermittently and impromptu as the rally broke up. Puspa invited the YCL leaders to a restaurant in walking distance. My talk with Comrade Pun continued on the street while dodging motor cycles. More continued during pizza in the hot and raucous restaurant. We were also accompanied by Raju Khadka, second to Pun in the YCL. Comrade Khadka has little English so Puspa was translating now and again main points, while he just listened - conveying something now and then in Nepali to Comrade Pun.

Now it should be realized that this whole dialog was stop and go, punctuated by Nepali conversations between Puspa and Pun on what I was saying, and my conversations with Puspa in English about what Pun was saying. This stage of secondary conversations would follow pauses in English discussion between Pun and me - which were accompanied by diagrams or mind-maps on paper. We understood more than we could say, then we'd clarify in the secondary dialogs. Then also Comrade Khadki was informed in sketch and he would comment (but that was all in Nepali only).

And so it continued. There were some issues of business between Puspa and Pun so we three left and went through competition to get at taxi and negotiations of a reasonable price - the streets were a mess: packed motorcycles mixed with pedestrians and taxi cabs. Talk continued in the cab and over a final pot of tea at my hotel (not helped by a bad rock band from the nearby club), after which Puspa and Pun left on their business.

I think what I am providing is an eyewitness account. It's not a recorded interview but its good enough in court provided I am a credible witness. It's clear from the account above that the situation and method of communication would hardly lend itself to functional recorded information. I mean the conditions for recording as well as the complexities of the language barrier. The best I can do is tell what we spoke of, why I spoke of it and what I understood from Comrade Pun. I can quote something accurately from memory, not much. I can remember the conceptual organization of his ideas and generally how he presented them in some paraphrasing, but mostly I can write narrative about the conversation:

1. Comrade Pun told me his basic story over the course of our talk. His relationship to the YCL spans twenty years and before it was affiliated as an organ of the Maobadi. He was an active member of the YCL for 2-3 years and because of his work was recognized as a District Political Leader in the province of Rukum which is part of the Mid-Western Region that became the seat of the Maobadi revolution. When the Peoples War broke out his "team" executed successful attacks, armed mainly with clubs at first, on the district police, which is how they got weapons. In time Comrade Pun was captured however. He spent four years incarcerated, escaped during transport for medical treatment, and went totally underground were he continued to gain greater responsibility fighting in the PLA. About three years ago the Party decided he would begin to lead the YCL. At the time he was still Commander of the PLA 4th Division. At this point he is no longer officially part of the PLA, but of course he has close ties.

2. I brought into discussion my understanding of the theory and practice in the Maobadi line. In particular, that a new state of "democratic centralism" as defined by Mao was the objective. It would be made up of the multiplicity of oppressed masses. It would be an interim state withering away to communism as this state effectively exercised dictatorship over oppressor classes until a classless society existed. I found with discussion that I was basically on the same page with Comrade Pun. The most significant exchange was:

SDM: One main question for me is whether the masses involved are not only concerned with their regional, cultural or other unique requirements but also aware and committed to the communist hypothesis we have been discussing - that they fully understand it.

GMP: We can't copy what was done by others before, by Lenin or Mao, but we can learn from mistakes made then and in more recent revolutionary movements. Our YCL people understand and I would say 60% of the people creating the New Nepal government fully understand.

3. We both accept as axiomatic for revolution the need for removal of any power in the hands of reactionaries and to put an end to their standing army. I inquired about the problematic in his view. Comrade Pun made some very interesting comments (I continue to paraphrase using the terminology and argument structure as accurately as possible):

SDM: Lately there has been the obvious possibility of a military coup. One wonders about the capacity of the people to resist takeover by the reactionaries. The PLA will need the help of the armed masses, particularly the YCL and the Union members and others. But are they ready?

GMP: Because we have been in government and in the majority the situation has given us greater access to the internal conditions of the NA.

SDM: Yes, this has been characterized by the reactionaries as trying to destroy the morale of the NA with lies about the "soft coup" and other politicization of the issues.

GMP: There are actually two factions in the NA and two levels at which this split is evident (he drew a diagram in my notepad). We see there is already a morale problem in the rank and file of the NA because of the existing class divisions.

SDM: You mean there are a significant number of lower ranked soldiers who feel oppressed by the traditions of the officer corps?

GMP: Yes, that, but also more. Among the officers, led by some generals is a faction counter to the royalist mindset. Among the reactionaries are those who I would call "progressive". They are very nationalistic.

SDM: Do you mean to say you think there is an inclination in the NA to cooperate with the Maobadi led government, to be more in compliance?

GMP: We believe that a political solution is still possible because of this division within the NA itself.

Blog Guide: A discussion of blog features and primary topic content may be found at the initial entry. The first few entries give a good idea of how best to use the blog, especially for the tagging and social bookmarking at my external Delicious site, and for instructions regarding the Stefandav TV widget.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Revolution Reports from Nepal - 2

With All Nepal Trade Union Federation General Secretary Ganesh Regmi (That's my gas mask hanging on my neck)

I want to say from the outset what kind of writing I am doing. This is essentially relationship building experiences being recounted in the manner of a first person witness. Things here are moving quickly all the time. I don't know much in advance who or under what circumstances I have an opportunity to talk to an important involved party. I write what happens in these conversations. Probably it has "color" value as a story, but more importantly it can lead to ongoing relationships. In time, deeper analysis of issues and proper recorded interviews preceded by careful research and questions preparation will be possible. Maybe my accounts are not on par with that level and type of reporting, but I think they are nonetheless interesting and give some insight into things as they happen on the ground. This action is by nature chaotic, quickly planned and executed. For example:

I had expressed to Puspa that if possible I would like to get his introduction to the YCL in addition to continuing to explore the situation and role of the unions. At best I have a very basic grasp of a number, not too extensive a number, of the many elements at play in this situation. I am not yet deeply grounded in what the unions and the YCL elements have been, are and may be to the revolution. To some extent I am sharing the learning process taking place on the stage itself. I had a couple of important new contacts on Thursday 23rd.

Having got the first post out in the early morning hours while the net traffic was low, I didn't check in with Puspa till about 10. Ben Peterson had called to say he was trying to set up a meet at 1:00 with a common Facebook friend who works in the Communications Ministry, Narendra Jung Pitar. Ben and I are going piggy-back on each others contacts and sharing what we are learning as we go. Puspa said a blood drive was occurring at the Union Federation offices and I could go with him there around noon. It would be a variety of leaders making appearances there no doubt including folks from the YCL. By the time I got things sorted out with Ben, delaying my meet with him and Pitar I missed my ride with Puspa.

Fighting a faulty cell phone connection (most often I could hear, he couldn't.. connections are spotty all the time at best) and a couple of lost taxi drivers, I made it across mid-day traffic madness to the blood-drive. It was held at the headquarters of the All Nepal Trade Union Federation.

Headquarters All Nepal Trade Union Federation

The blood drive at the ANTUF in front of offices of 30 Maobadi affiliated unions

I met several of my new friends here again after locating Puspa who was in line with his donor's blood pouch. I said I would not be able to contribute blood. When I was in the Vietnam war, I had contracted a form of hepatitis that precludes my being a blood donor. I spoke again briefly with CCM Prakash Shrestha who was there, and let him know to check my website as I had posted a description of our meeting a couple of days earlier. I sought out whether any YCL leaders were in attendance. I found out this way that there was a meeting of the YCL going on elsewhere but that there would be a demonstration march and rally later that afternoon where I might be able to meet YCL leader Ganesh Man Pun.

I approached security at the ANFTU to inquire if CCM Badri Prasad Bajgai was available. It may be recalled I met with him briefly at the Vaishali Hotel a couple of days ago. He is Vice-President of ANTUF Central Committee. As an aside, I have been trying to sort out the various designations such as Central, District and Area Committee Member. There is simply Party Member, PM; then in ascending responsibility DCM, ACM and CCM. This is a chain of command structure. The relationship between the Unions and the UCPN (M) is one of close affiliation rather than explicit control by the latter. The PM to CCM range is a Party structure but it is also a Union Organization structure - but it is not a mirror image.

For example, Puspa is a PM of UCPN (M) who has progressed through DCM to ACM responsibility. In the All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union however, he is at CCM level. This gets confusing because given individuals in the Unions may have membership designations lower than their Party designation or not even have official membership in the Party. I think it can be said that higher level Union designations are likely to be paired with some actual Party membership at a lower level.

Though Comrade Bajgai was unavailable I was nonetheless ushered upstairs and put in a chair. I was famished and was suggesting I could go find some food and come back when Ganesh Regmi, General Secretary of ANFTU arrived and promptly ordered I be served some soup. Here is a headline article published the same day with a provocative quote from Comrade Regmi:

Nepal: "We are ready to capture Nepal Army HQ" « Revolution in South Asia

"Katawal represents the remnants of the former past, to wipe him out we are ready to capture the Army Headquarters even", Ganesh Regmi General Secretary of the Maoists' affiliate Trade Union said.

My talk with Comrade Regmi began on a different note with a question of me by Ganesh Regmi:

GR: What is your religion?

SDM: I am an atheist which I say is profoundly spiritual.. how about you?

GR: I am a Brahmin.

SDM: You are of the Brahmin caste, a feature of Hindu society, but in what way religious? In my understanding the basic distinctions are non-duelist, qualified non-duelist and dualistic.

I actually used the Sanskrit for these concepts which lead to some smiles of surprise. A little conversation followed in which I explained that many in my generation during the late 60s and early 70s had either became politically radical hippies or they went deeply into Eastern spiritual traditions (I was of the later case, but now I have come full circle). I expressed the idea that revolution is a spiritual endeavor. About that time my soup arrived.

Comrade Regmi was of course busy. I asked about seeing him again when we could have a prepared interview. There was some discussion about my position and affiliations and I gave him the sketch of my mission with which a reader of these accounts should already be familiar. After the bit where I posit the opinion that the Maoists line follows that of Mao's concept of Democratic Centralism we had some clarifications of that briefly, during which I was unable to capture his words directly. The comrade is open to further discussion but he needed to leave. One last question:

SDM: Obviously the Unions present a militant stance in their close affiliation with the Maobadi. There could be a showdown with the NA. It is generally known the NA is better equipped and more powerful than the PLA, so this means union members and other non-PLA peoples would be involved in military resistance. It is axiomatic in revolutionary theory that the people need to be armed. Recently UMLs Oli has claimed to have evidence the Maobadi have secured arms with intention of a new uprising to take state power. I am asking: "Are the people in your unions ready to fight if necessary?"

R: It is our opinion that the people are ready.

This was all the time I had with Comrade Regmi. I think of it as a good beginning and a personal connection has been made. Its also all the time for this blog posting. Next time I will relate what happened at the YCL rally and with my meeting the YCL leadership.

Blog Guide: A discussion of blog features and primary topic content may be found at the initial entry. The first few entries give a good idea of how best to use the blog, especially for the tagging and social bookmarking at my external Delicious site, and for instructions regarding the Stefandav TV widget.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Revolution Reports from Nepal - 1

Puspa's ID card shows he is a Central Committee Member for the union. His position in the UCPN (M) is that of Area Committee Member

I was finally on the airplane from Beijing April 17. At this point I was getting a little jittery. I had made a few contacts in Kathmandu but as far as I knew there was no solid access established for me to the United Communist Party of Nepal Maoist or UCPN (M), popularly known as the Maobadi. I had a few avenues of approach, but today I will restrict the story to what happened with the first person I had been introduced to. Nick Glais of the blog Democracy and Class Struggle had put me in touch with a friend of a friend (Harry Powell) who had been helped by a young man named Puspa during a recent visit to Nepal. I got an email address. This turned out to be a fortuitous contact as you will see. Ironically, Puspa is the front office supervisor for the Vaishali Hotel where I had stayed during my last visit to Nepal in 2006. Our correspondence revealed he had relationships with the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union and the YCL, the Youth Communist League of the UCPN (M). Later I was to find out what these relationships really meant.

Puspa met me at the airport with two of his lieutenants. A vibrant young man attired in camouflage, with a buffed physique and direct but respectful demeanor, Puspa soon proved to be more than I had hoped. First I had to be accepted. The next three hours consisted in questioning, more from Puspa than me, while we got through a wild ride through the motorcycle packed chaos of the narrow lanes of Kathmandu. The city is a jigsaw puzzle. Later there was a small group meeting in the lobby of the Vaishali. I'll tell you what they found out first. They wanted to know why I was here exactly. Also they were quite adamant about finding out about me personally. I recounted my previous visit. Then, I had come to investigate the child soldier issue; I suggested how this had been related to my background in veteran issues as far back as my own experience in the Vietnam War as a member of the American imperialist army. Not long before that previous visit to Nepal, I added, I had become interested in communism and as a result of that I had been studying the Maobadi and certain lines of communist theory. I told them that essentially I came to Nepal because I had reached a belief in the line of the Maobadi revolutionary struggle and that I had become involved in discussing theoretical issues with other international communists deeply interested in the Nepal revolution. I had come to find out what was really happening here on the ground and to see if my own thinking was accurate or not. This is my mission here.

My story had the desired effect. My explanation of my mission and my avowed support for the Maobadi made me a comrade. Now I would be given the information and help I needed. This warmth was very welcome I assure you, as I had had some trepidation I was going to find myself just another tourist on the roof of the world. As I could see, these hotel and restaurant workers were clearly a militant bunch. Puspa was definitely in command. These were his fellow hotel workers gathered off-duty, but the feeling was more like talking to a group of militants. Puspa was not just supervisor of the work in the hotel; he was also the leader of the All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union for this area of Kathmandu where most of the hotels are located. For reasons I learned to understand, Puspa is also the Area Committee Member, ACM, for the Maobadi. The background for his getting to this position is instructive. He is 29 years old and has been working at the Vaishali 13 years. Obviously he is quite intelligent and his spoken English is good. He also speaks some Japanese and is studying for his Masters Degree in Sociology. He has had the experience of travel to Mexico and Cuba as a martial arts competitor. As I can see, he is busy 24/7 for the party and the union. Recently, Puspa has been elevated beyond his ACM duties and is now a Central Committee Member, CCM, for this district.

Four years ago when the negotiations of the Maobadi and the Constitutional Monarchy had temporarily improved the situation such that the Maobadi could become more active in Kathmandu, an important tactic was for them to establish a base of power among the unions and university students. Puspa says that the union pre-dates this development in a relationship with the National Congress. The NC political support, however, had little or nothing to do with benefits for the workers. Then, these workers were underpaid even in accord to the low pay mandated by government regulations and they were subject to dismissal or demotion at the whims of management. According to Puspa the NC had its own strong-arm resources and what they did mainly was collect money from the hotel owners. Puspa welcomed the Maobadi offer to support him in developing the union and has worked tirelessly since. Now as a CCM he is part of a select group of only a few hundred leaders from which are selected the Party Politburo.

Hotel Vaishali - Small Union Office at left where the workers check in and out every day

Before I had fully unraveled his relationship to the Party, my questions to Puspa were about how this union work actually corresponded to the communist revolution and its theoretical and revolutionary practice. What I was getting at was the idea that the workers had obviously been oppressed and would be attracted to the socialist benefits from changes occurring, the benefits of unionism; but were they in fact aware of the Party line and the more profound significance of the revolution. I was assured that I would have ample opportunity to find out. It was soon clear from our conversation that Puspa himself had developed his understanding of communist theory and practice and was a dedicated revolutionary. I shared with him some of the ideas I have been pursuing and found we had grounds for considerably more discussion. I would have the opportunity to see things for myself. We made plans to explore his work and relationships with the Maobadi as he is willing and interested in helping me with my mission here.

The next morning Puspa was on duty at the hotel very early. I had many tasks such as getting a SIM, card, getting an internet card for my computer and so on. Throughout the early part of day I was able to continue have short discussions with Puspa and he arranged for one of his security people, Buddi Man Khadka, to help me around the city and with product negotiations. Meanwhile I was noticing that Puspa, though busy with a lot of trekking groups checking in, was also taking care of union business. There were people coming and going after brief conversations with him. I was informed we would meet with someone important around noon and that there would be a meeting of his area's union members that afternoon when he was off duty.

As soon as I returned from some shopping, Puspa ushered me into a small office behind the front desk an introduced me to a waiting Badri Prasad Bajgai, Central Committee Member and Vice-President of All Nepal Federation of Trade Unions. I didn't have my camera. We had some talk but there was trouble with the language. Puspa was coming in and out from work at the front desk and essentially interpreted my ideas and purpose. I didn't learn too much new except that he reports directly to Politburo member Hitaman Shakkya (Suman) PBM. There may be a possibility of an interview with Suman at some point. Puspa is also in this line of command. Earlier I had been shown a photograph of Suman. Contact information was exchanged with CCM Bajgai and we will continue our conversation again at another time. I had introduced to him some assessment of theoretical lines I am evaluating - with Puspa's help. I will speak of this later. The conversation with CCM Bajgai is as yet inconclusive.

At about 2:30 I left the hotel with Puspa to go to the district union meeting. Several other union members working at the hotel went with us. As we walked the streets we were joined by workers from other hotels and by the time we reached the district union office were others were waiting the number of participants were about 20. There was perhaps one or two over 30 years old, about a third looked to be 18-22 and most of the rest about 25. Several were well conditioned physically.

District Union Meeting - Puspa is directly to my left

The meeting was in Nepali language but some observations of the character of the meeting are illustrative. First of all, the meeting began with one-minute of silence in honor of the revolution's martyrs. I believe the five young men not at the table and to my right were new union members. When they were introduced they gave a little speech - as with all speakers at the meeting they opened with a raised right fist and "Kantkari!".. "Revolution!". The speakers were sometimes a little shy but more often aggressive - and in any case what was said was said with feeling and seriousness well beyond what would characterize a "business meeting". Puspa gave a little talk about me in Nepali then he got up, as apparently we were leaving the meeting. I showed the fist and shouted "Solidarity!" and got some chuckles. We left.

Puspa and Nawaraj Khatiwada, DCM, UCPN (M)

After leaving the district union meeting we went to a restaurant where we were joined by three District Committee Members that are part of Puspa's Area Committee Member command. DCM Khatiwada, pictured, represents the district that Puspa originated from. To reiterate, All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Union (NHRU) members are aligned with the UCPN (M) and all officers are Maobadi, beginning with DCM, then as ACM and then as CCM (Central Committee Member). At this point Puspa and the VP of All Nepal Federation of Trade Unions CCM Bajgai are the only CCM I have had a chance to explore my investigation with, and the latter only with interpretation by Puspa. Puspa is pretty familiar with what I am doing and facilitated the present meeting of his Area's DCMs in orienting them to my reasons for being here. I will outline that encapsulation for future reference:

1. I am here to observe and collect information and gain insight directly from the Maobadi as to the accuracy or needed modification of my understanding of their theoretical line and practice. The primary issues of practice I want to know about most are the problematic of the Armies integration, and the formation of a new kind of state in the writing of the constitution - as well as particular specific issues such as land reform, federalism, and others.

2. Personally I have been supporting the Maobadi against some attacks on their theory and practice by Western communists, particularly the RCPUSA. At the same time I am not a member of any communist party myself. My understanding of communism has come through the study of philosophy and psychoanalysis - most specifically I am aligned with the communist philosophy of Alain Badiou. I think this philosophy supports an interpretation of the Maobadi's 21st Century Communism.

3. My belief is in the possible confirmation that the Maobadi's tactical and strategic objectives in the formulation of the new constitution are the following sequence:

a. The Maobadi adhere to the necessity of smashing the state along with ending the reactionary standing army. This may or may not be accomplished by peaceful integration of the NA and PLA. In any event the Maobadi are intent on arming the people and eventually having local militias representing different masses of the oppressed population rather than maintaining a standing army.

b. The multiplicity of masses comprised of the oppressed classes represents the proletariat. This proletariat is to form a new government comprised of a plurality of oppressed groups in multiparty negotiations of all unresolved issues between them. The Maobadi may or may not retain majority in the new government which is to decide matters of what is to be New Nepal. The reason for this is either the withdrawal of or the exclusion of parties representing reactionaries.

c. The Maobadi will continue to be the vanguard party of the revolution. Essentially this means leading the proletariat in a dictatorship over oppressor classes. This also means they will protect the government of the New Nepal from the rise of any revisionist actions deigned to foster capitalist exploitation. The new government will be an interim government; it will be a "democratic centralist" government in the sense defined by Mao. It is to wither away leaving a communist society.

It is to Puspa alone that I have probably conveyed the general outline above. He understands me quite perfectly I find. Without going into much detail he did share something of my general views in support of the Maobadi in the meeting with his area DCMs. This was done in Nepali. I don't find that the general English level is sufficient for in-depth conversation with many. Anyway the outline I have provided above gives a point of reference to the discussions I am to have - in fact for the very next discussion which occurred at a meeting at the Area Maobadi headquarters.

Photos at the Maobadi Area offices - Photographs are of photographs of Puspa with Prachanda and Babaram Bhattarai.

As I mentioned earlier, at one point the Maobadi began exercising a policy of integration with existing and new unions as well as student unions and the Youth Communist League, YCL which is not limited to university students. Interesting for readers may be to learn that YCL sounds like "Why-Shell" when pronounced in Nepali. I found out when I asked "who is this ‘Waishel' group you have mentioned?" More chuckles at the funny gringo. They also liked the joke regarding the banner of photos from Marx to Mao as "The History of Shaving" - I heard it from Ben Peterson, a fellow comrade also in country. I guess by now its making the rounds in Nepali. At the area headquarters I had the opportunity to meet and discuss in some detail with CCM Prakash Shresha theoretical issues and particular aspects of practice, especially regarding the Army integration issue which is the focus of the current making of history in Nepal. His English is quite good. He is perhaps in his later 30s or early 40s, a seasoned Maoist combatant and one of those Maobadi who came into the city and began organizing Maobadi assumption of labor union and youth groups. In an earlier life he had worked for a 5-Star hotel, now he works for one red star. Naturally he is senior CCM for the All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union. Under his and Puspa's leadership the union has become a militant organization.

Prakash Shrestha , Senior CCM

CCM Shrestha was very interested in hearing about international communist's views on the Maobadi. We had a little Q&A conducted by him during which I began to outline what is above. On his part, the line emphasized was quite congruent with Bhattarai's presentation of 21St Century communism on which I base my own views regarding the enactment of Mao's concepts of democratic centralism. Prakash Shrestha eloquently defended the Maobadi in its conscious attempt to understand and avoid the mistakes of 20th century communist revolutions while recovering and reenacting the positive strategies of the Paris Commune, Lenin's Soviets and Mao's Cultural Revolution. I introduced him to the Kasama project as a source of novel communist thinking - that it originated from among many members of the RCPUSA who had become disaffected with what a growing number of communists believe is too dogmatic a line for the 21st Century communism. I explained that at Kasama has been a concerted effort to refute the RCPUSA polemic against the Maobadi. I also introduced to him that there was a development among continental communist philosophers which is also supporting the idea that a novel form of communism needs to emerge.

Prakash Shrestha responded regarding the RCPUSA attacks (to paraphrase): "We carefully read their ideas, about 23 pages of their ideas. We feel Comrade Bob is a very smart man and should understand our position, so we prepared a detailed response".

I said something like: "Yes, many of us have read that response and understood and support your answers and clarifications and attempt to have the RCP understand and agree with the Maobadi line - but it seems they continued to send more instructions to the Maobadi on the errors of your way, which I notice have not been answered."

PS: "We will complete our revolution and this will be evidence that Comrade Bob is wrong."

I did not record the conversation but I am absolutely certain of the content of the closing parts of this discussion which I will continue to paraphrase:

SDM: OK, for the purposes of this discussion we assume there is no question but that the NA's standing army cannot continue. We are aware of the growing possibility of a showdown. Should the NA stage a military coup or a coup in support of reactionary parties, isn't that a serious threat to the revolution and it would therefore be a mistake to continue to provoke the NA such as with the dismissal of the generals and the call for resignation of Katawal?

PS: We don't think the NA would dare to do this. They are well aware of the people's support for the Maobadi and such a move would lead to a mass insurrection.

SDM: But isn't it true that the NA is a more powerful force than the PLA? The people may protest but they are not an army - plus wouldn't widespread insurrection simply lead to chaos and the possibility of intervention from India?

Puspa: If the Indians intervened directly what do you think the Chinese would do?

PS: There are reasons to say the Indians would not directly intervene. For one thing they have a problem within their own Army because a good percentage are of Ghurka ethnicity and loyal to Nepal. Then not only the Chinese, but also what may happen with Northern India's Naxalite Maoists. It is not just the PLA that would fight. There is the numbers of the union cadre, the YCL and others who would fight.

SDM: I understand that the goal would be to arm the people, but what about now. Are you saying the people have weapons now? Is there some supply of weapons for the people already?

Note: These answers have been deleted as some readers felt the information to be too sensitive for public consumption.


That conversation ended by the time I had been in Kathmandu only 36 hours. Another 36 hours has almost past. I immediately got sick from breathing the air in Kathmandu, not heeding the many wearing masks. It's also been a pain getting a working SIM and internet card for my laptop - buying defective goods nonetheless sold by the shops etc. . Because of power outages and heavy user traffic it is only efficient to surf in the night. It's a lot harder to keep track of the news even though I am here. On the other hand I can get direct verifications of things as above - such as for:
Nepal Maoist Bought Arms, Preparing for Battle: Oli

The United Marxist Leninist influential leader Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli has said that the Maoists' with the intent to exacerbate the already deteriorating situation in the country were inviting further bloodshed. "I have the information that the Maoists have already in a clandestine manner brought in arms and ammunitions in the country, they are preparing for yet another war", alleged Mr. Oli. "The Maoists in the government instead of guaranteeing peace and tranquility is preparing for further bloodshed", said Oli at a press-meet organized at the UML headquarters in Balkhu, Kathmandu, April 21, 2009. Mr. Oli was also of the opinion that the Maoists now see the Nepal Army and Judiciary as the main obstacle to capture the State, thus the unabated attack." "I appeal the Maoists not to carry on with this dangerous agenda". "The Maoists' fresh attack on institution of the Nepal Army is nothing but their inner intent to capture the State."

No shit, Oli!

Blog Guide: A discussion of blog features and primary topic content may be found at the initial entry. The first few entries give a good idea of how best to use the blog, especially for the tagging and social bookmarking at my external Delicious site, and for instructions regarding the Stefandav TV widget.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ferment in Nepal: Dynamic Vortex of Revolutionary Change

In continuing to read and share material for a comprehensive orientation to the situation in Nepal prior to my arrival on April 17, I am posting the following article originally published by Links – International Journal of Socialist Renewal. The analysis is comprehensive of the many aspects at issue: social, economic and political. The statistical and reference documentation is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the revolution of the Maobadi whatever our theoretical positions may be. Please go to the original article to get all the hyperlinks from Bill Templer's notes.

Ferment in Nepal: A Dynamic Vortex of Revolutionary Change

By Bill Templer

January 3, 2009 -- One remarkable laboratory that discussion in much of the world’s progressive press tends to neglect is the dynamic vortex of revolutionary change in Nepal. Since spring, Nepal has something that may be making genuine history: a Maoist people’s movement, that, led by the CPN (Maoist), and the struggle of the People’s Liberation Army over a decade, has come to state power through the ballot box. As Tufts University historian Gary Leupp wrote last April: “It ought to be the ballot heard 'round the world. It ought to be front page news. […] This moment may in the not distant future be seen as another 1917, another 1949.”[1]

Leupp has been one of the very few in the left media in the geopolitical North to call attention to this momentous change, and its current developments, albeit with little echo. Editors of some well-known journals refuse to consider an article that mentions Maoism, however contemporary, in a favourable light. Washington-based trade union organiser David Hoskins has been one of the few on the Marxist left in the US to stress the world-historical significance of the struggle in Nepal: “The state of the revolutionary movement in Asia takes on new significance in light of the recent advances made in Nepal and the rising global capitalist crisis. […] It is our responsibility as US revolutionaries to offer our unconditional support to the Nepalese revolution.”[2]

That solidarity was also voiced by the Party for Socialism and Liberation in the United States:

“The election of Prachanda is an achievement that deserves the support of revolutionaries around the world. A struggle over Nepal’s new constitution is bound to pit conflicting class interests against each other in the months to come. International solidarity will play a key role in facilitating the victory of Nepal’s workers and peasants.”[3]

The present article assumes one can be critical of certain historical aspects of socialism under Mao while still keeping an open mind about the Maoist-led social and political transformation now going on in Nepal, with all the internal upheaval and debate it is generating -- and perhaps learning from its actual tactics and internal controversy. Whether you agree with CPN (M) analyses and strategies or not., blocking out any sustained focus on the Nepali revolution, labelling change there as ``Stalinist’’, ``bolshevik’’ or ``authoritarian’’, can only preclude analysis and critique. This is all the more pertinent at this extraordinary juncture in the planetary capitalist economic collapse, where conditions worldwide are changing the minds of many. Fred Goldstein notes: “Globalization, capitalist restructuring, the hardships of low-wage capitalism, and growing racism and national oppression are creating the material basis for a new era of rebellion and class unity.”[4]

Convergence in diversity

The recent mass anti-repression insurrection in Greece is one point of working-class upsurge, what really fuelled Barack Obama’s presidential victory from below is another. And the April 2008 election victory of the CPN (M)in Nepal is still another. These nodes of people’s ferment reflect that “convergence in diversity” of the oppressed and exploited from all walks and continents united in opposition to the neo-reactionary order which economist Samir Amin sees as the nucleus for a new stage in the revolutionary project today, “recognizing the diversity, not only of movements which are fragmented but of political forces which are operating with them, of ideologies and even visions of the future of those political forces.” In his projected scenario for grounded socialist change, he sees the Left finding a critical mass and “moving into the masses to defend, not in rhetoric but in fact in action and through action, their real economic and social interests”.[5] That is at the core of the struggle in the street and inside the government in Nepal today.

Emergent dynamic agendas for struggle like Prachanda Path -- and the very vigorous internal party debate on how to move forward without sacrificing revolutionary vision -- belong more centrally on our own horizons of discussion. The revolution in Nepal faces what can threaten to become a quagmire of compromise, reformism and defeat. Internally, this is a struggle between hostile class enemies for control over the Nepalese state. It also is confronted with sustained efforts by political elites in Washington, Delhi and other quarters, and by opponents like the bourgeois Nepali Congress on its home turf (second-largest party), to undermine the revolutionary process. The other major Marxist party in the coalition, with some 15% of the National Assembly, the CPN-UML (United Marxist-Leninist) remains highly critical of the Maoist leadership, a long-standing rival, and could, in fierce rivalry, seek to topple the present government.[6] The Madeshi civil rights movement in the southern plain remains a powerful divisive force struggling for ethnic rights and greater autonomy, and members of the Madeshi People’s Rights Forum were involved in heavy clashes with the CPN (M) in March 2007. Demands for more autonomy in the Terai/Madesh south continue.[7] The Asian Human Rights Commission has issued The State of Human Rights in Nepal, which paints a complex picture in a highly diverse country with legacies of multiple ethnic oppression.[8] Yet nowhere else in the world has a movement oriented to Marxism and contemporary Maoist thought achieved the effective reins of democratic power, projecting its visions of “21st century socialism”.

This article suggests some sources for looking more openly from afar at what's happening in Nepal, in a spirit of critical solidarity, getting better informed to enable grounded judgement. All footnotes are hyperlinks to relevant reports, largely in the Nepalese media.

Revolution in a ‘least developed country’

Nepal is a prime landlocked ``least developed country’’ of 29.5 million, with some 80% of Nepalis labouring as poor agriculturalists. Literally sandwiched between Asia’s two giants, the famous dictum by Prithvi Narayan Shah, founder of the Shah monarchy in the 18th century recently abolished, was that "Nepal is a yam between two stones". Much of the country is barely accessible by road, remoteness takes on an almost surreal quality in the hills and mountains north of the narrow southern plain of the Terai (Madesh). Space there is a largely vertical topography where a hundred languages flourish, where villages in one valley are totally cut off from settlements in the next. The top 5 per cent of landholders own 27 per cent of agricultural land, the bottom 44 per cent occupy only 14 per cent of the land. Land reform is crucial for the Nepali masses to dismantle the multiple structures of the feudal system that now still dominate the country.[9]

The literacy NGO Room to Read is active in building village libraries: “A child growing up in Nepal faces some of the worst living conditions in the world. Roughly 50% of Nepalese live in poverty -- on less than US$1 a day. Of every 100 children in Nepal, 84 live in villages, 47 are malnourished, and 40 belong to extremely poor families […] While 35% of males are illiterate, 57% of females cannot read or write.”[10]

A steady torrent of migrant workers continues to pour into India to the south, with nearly 70% finding menial labour as porters, security guards and restaurant help. A recent study of trafficked Nepalese girls, most in their early teens, working in debt bondage and near slavery in Indian cities pointed up the desperate plight of young Nepalese women seeking to survive, and often disowned by their families back in the impoverished villages they were raised in.[11] Estimates are that some 200,000 Nepalese girls are working as prostitutes in virtual bondage in Indian cities, nearly a quarter under the age of 16.[12]

Production for profit or for use?

Some fanciful neoliberal development speculation sees Nepal as the future entrepreneurial link between China and India, with trans-Himalayan highways, IT parks, vast investment in fibre optics, arguing that “The rising middle classes -- close to a billion -- in the two countries can be a bonanza for Nepal” -- at the same time turning the country into a huge Himalayan mega-resort, an illusory capitalist pipe dream.[13] Revolutionaries in the CPN (M) are guided by alternative visions of economy, society and workers’ democracy. But whether they can move forward to a major break with the capitalist cash nexus and, beyond subsistence agriculture, an array of forms of production for use, not profit, remains to be seen. After decades of disdevelopment, for example, Nepal faces the worst national electricity crisis in Asia, with power cuts lasting up to 10 hours daily, with load shedding up to 16 hours a day projected by early spring 2009.[14] That shortfall is also impacting on tourism, especially in towns like Pokhara. Some lateral socialist brainstorming is needed on practicable schemes for solar, hydro and geothermal energy. Transformation and people’s power are needed literally from the ground up. Experimentation with LETS (Local Economic Transfer System) in rural areas may be one avenue for cooperative change, building community support networks and mutual aid.[15]

Below I touch on some of the contemporary discussion inside the CPN (M) and suggest online material and web sites to explore the dynamic changes in Nepal, largely through indigenous voices in the struggle, refracted in part through the lens of socialist theorist Samir Amin, a chief architect of the 2006 Bamako Appeal[16], and in basic solidarity with revolutionary developments on the ground in Nepal.

Prachanda on the CPN (M) path

As a point of departure, instructive is the interview with CPN (M) chairperson Pushpal Kamal Dahal (aka ``Prachanda’’), conducted earlier in 2008 by people from the IPS in Washington, visiting in Kathmandu, on video as Part 1 [17] and Part 2.[18] Candid and concise, Dahal lays out the vision of the movement in the early weeks of its ascendance to state power. This is lived experience over a long struggle, with a powerful legacy of liberation that is distinctive to Nepal but applicable far beyond: “As the CPN-Maoist has already declared its decision to write a 21st century Communist Manifesto, it has also started a debate and discussion in the Communist spirit, not only in the country, but also in the world.”[19] This can be supplemented by Chairman Dahal’s address, “A Maoist Vision for a New Nepal,” given at the New School University on September 26, 2008, followed by an extended question and answer period, along with the text of his earlier address that same day to the UN General Assembly. Likewise of interest is the historic interview with Prachanda by the US left journalist Li Onesto at the height of the People’s War in the spring of 1999.[20]

`All the bases belong to the old class power’

Yet the compromises that now entails has deepened debate and divisions within the party on future anti-capitalist strategy in transforming Nepal and concrete tactics as the major formation in power, repeatedly frustrated by the actions and rhetoric of the Nepali Congress Party. Part of that discussion is on the dangers of succumbing to the pull of reformism. Netra Bikram Chand, aka ``Biplap’’, a member of the party’s central committee, provides critical analysis on “The differences of opinion within our party” in the biweekly English paper of the CPN (M), The Red Star.[21] Biplap discusses the tactics necessary to destroy the existing “bases and the bodies of the comprador capitalist power and shatter them.” In his view:

The class character of the democratic republic is of a bourgeois class character. After the constituent assembly, the monarchy has been abolished and the republic has been established, however, there is no change in its class character. The party has reached up to the super structure of the state power, the constituent assembly government; but all of the bases belong to the old class power.

He differs with the party's leader on the shape of a road forward, and fears that if the CPN (M) follows the program proposed by Prachanda, “our party will be drowned into the swamp of reformism up over its head”.

`On the brink of the change of an age’

The debate on the future path forward in Nepal came to a head in a national convention of the CPN (M) in November 2008, where, after pretty heated discussion, some solid basis of unity was achieved. The core issues are outlined by Indra Mohan Sigdel (aka ``Basanta’’).[22] A decision was reached to move toward a “people’s federal democratic national republic” as the longer-term goal, and that among the “three fronts of struggle” – the constituent assembly, the government and the street – “the street struggle would be the principal one”.[23] The street struggle also means involving the masses at the grassroots in the dynamic of discussion, experiment and change. Kumar Dahal has warned of possible counter-revolution, and likewise stresses the need for struggle “in the street”: “The workers should advance ahead to guarantee and establish the working class as the decisive force in the state. Workers should advance ahead to take the major responsibilities in the policy-making place.”[24]

Part of that struggle in the streets and villages is being carried forward by the CPN (M)’s Young Communist League, with nearly half a million members. It is organising neighborhood cleanup campaigns, programs to counter youth unemployment, communal development initiatives in agriculture, initiatives against corruption and crime.[25] They remain controversial because accused of violence, and are often in a critical spotlight, but their mobilisation of the Nepalese young and hands-on contribution to social betterment cannot be denied. Agitating on campuses, the All Nepal National Independent Students Union (Revolutionary) is the student wing of the CPN (M), struggling to democratise education at all levels.[26] It has also been involved in strike action against conservative university administrations on a number of campuses, and in clashes with other student organisations.

In early November 2008, Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai announced the government’s intention to put an end to private primary and secondary schools in Nepal in the near future, because of the privilege that breeds. This is perhaps the only principled statement in any country to enact policy to eliminate privatisation and commercialisation of education in the name of educational equity. About a third of Nepal’s schools are now private, catering largely, though not exclusively, to children from families with higher incomes. Bhattarai also outlined the government’s intention to issue some kind of academic certificate to men and women who fought in the people’s liberation forces and sacrificed their schooling.[27]

Through all this, the CPN (M) is determined to stick to its principles. Stressing the unwillingness of the party to participate in a coalition government that frustrates the basic promises of radical change made to the Nepalese people, Prime Minister Dahal threatened in December 2008 that his party might leave the government by mid-January to struggle in opposition rather than compromise its program: "Steps of struggle still remain to fulfill what we want. We are on the brink of the change of an age.”[28] D. Bastola notes: “As long as the rooted feudalism and comprador bureaucrat capitalism is not abolished, the Nepalese people cannot be free, and the national economy cannot be built up.”[29]

`Plain living, hard struggle’

In December 2008, the party prepared a battery of new “codes for simple living” for all Constituent Assembly members, with guidelines for type of vehicle (battery-driven Chinese bicycle preferred), simple clothing, use mainly of public transport, and a limit of two cell phones. The codes are in response to “criticisms that Maoist leaders were starting to lead opulent lifestyles opposed to their proletarian philosophy”.[30]

A new democratic space

Writing that “Nepalese society is committed to fulfil the dream of a new Nepal through an epoch making ideological, political, economic, and cultural transformation, raising the banner of mass insurrection against semi-feudal and semi-colonial conditions in the country”, the new minister of culture and state restructuring, Gopal Kirati, issued a concept paper in late 2008 for public discussion detailing new ideas for a radical transformation of local and regional organisation, and ethnic autonomous structures, including an “Autonomous Sherpa State”. In this revolutionary design, 800 districts are proposed. Outlining a new concept of ethnic pluralism and national consciousness, Kirati notes: “By abandoning the renegade definition of Nepal as a ``yam between two rocks’’, the Peoples of the Republic of Nepal will establish a strong definition of nationality. This definition will be a ‘dynamite’ between the two rocks in 21st century rather than a yam,” grounded on “proletarian internationalism.”[31]

A new international?

Flanking a spectrum of debate and self-criticism inside the party, Roshan Kissoon and Chandra have a new two-part interview with Samir Amin, “We need a new international”[32] and “Maoism is needed everywhere in the world”,[33] first published in The Red Star. Samir Amin is current chair of the World Forum for Alternatives.[34] The interview also echoes arguments from his new book The World We Wish to See.[35]

In fundamental solidarity with the CPN (M), he stresses that:

the Nepalese have, at least, succeeded at the first chapter of basing their struggle in peasant revolt and then making, becoming, a force able to overthrow the regime, the King and his comprador servants; and then coming in to negotiation, agreement, with other possible partners in the building of a national, popular, democratic, hegemonic alternative block; alternative to the comprador ruling class submitting to imperialism and neo-liberalism.[36]

He develops a strong argument for the need for the left in the West to look carefully at what is happening on the ground and inside the revolutionary echelon in Nepal. His book The Future of Maoism (Monthly Review, 1981) can now be read in the light of recent events.

The Cultural Revolution revisited

Bastola stresses that the November 2008 national convention of the CNP(M) was an exercise in the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”, bringing the masses back into the dynamic of transformation. Changing perspectives on the legacy of Mao’s vision of transformation for China, and the actual reality of the Cultural Revolution, ``counter-narratives’’ to the usual take on that era, are being re-explored in the West. A December 2008 symposium on "Rediscovering China's Cultural Revolution: Art and Politics, Lived Experience, Legacies of Liberation,"[37] was organised at NYU in Manhattan by Revolution Books, an affiliate of the Revolutionary Communist Party[38], and Set the Record Straight project, with input from Monthly Review and others. Typical of the widespread blockout on any renewed exploration of the Cultural Revolution in the progressive media of the global North, that symposium received scant coverage. Among its speakers, historian Dongping Han introduced his new book The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village (Monthly Review, 2008), that deals with his own experience as manager of a collective village factory during the Cultural Revolution, and his views on Mao’s thought and its vital relevance to struggles today worldwide.[39]

Dongping provides an insider’s view of how farmers in China were empowered through education during the Cultural Revolution, and the special structures of communal democracy that were created: “Chinese farmers had a strong sense that they controlled their own destiny at the time. […] most Chinese, not just farmers and workers, but professors and artists, were sincerely convinced they were building a better society for themselves, and not just for the working class. They had a new life.” Based on his research and personal experience, Dongping is certain that “despite the efforts of the last 30 years to bury the Cultural Revolution, this era will stand out for people in China, in other Third World countries, and in Europe and in US and the rest of the developed world as well. […] Mao's Cultural Revolution should be the most important event in human empowerment in humanity's 2000-year history.”

Revised views of the Cultural Revolution also emerge from the volume edited by X. Zhong, W. Zheng and Bai Di, Some of Us: Chinese Women Growing Up in the Mao Era (Rutgers UP, 2001), here reviewed in depth by a Maoist-Third Worldist.[40] ``Prarie Fire’’ stresses:

The Cultural Revolution, whether intentional or not, was the greatest instance of youth liberation in history. […] Authority at almost every level could find itself challenged by youth. This did not just affect the public realm, but also the private realm of the family. In the Manifesto Marx wrote, “Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.” The early Cultural Revolution, more than any other period, realized the communist goal of youth liberation. […] Some of Us, despite its own bourgeois outlook, challenges typical, one-sided bourgeois narratives.

Bai Di is director of Chinese and Asian Studies at Drew University, and also spoke at the December 2008 symposium on the Cultural Revolution at NYU. Another speaker was Li Onesto, whose book Dispatches from the People’s War in Nepal (Pluto Press, 2004) was the first account by a foreign journalist of the Maoist insurgency from the inside, as she travelled deep into the liberated guerrilla zones. [41] Perhaps an aspect of the Eurocentrism endemic in some quarters of the Northern left is the refusal to even engage with these voices and dissident perspectives. Why?

Staying better informed

Progressives interested in keeping informed about developments in Nepal can regularly read the biweekly The Red Star.[42] A daily more ‘mainstream’ bourgeois political and economic news on Nepal is[43]

The website Revolution in South Asia provides a solidarity window onto the rapidly unfolding events in Nepal and the broader South Asian region.[44] An Indian Maoist insurgency is spreading in Orissa and Chhattisgarh states, largely unreported outside India.[45] Policy analyst Sean Deblieck, in a bourgeois analysis of how to cope with and neutralise Maoist insurgencies in South Asia, gives an overview of Naxalite movements in India and the CPM (N) in Nepal. He concludes:

The reason that Maoism was able to take root in India and Nepal stems largely from the failings of politicians and their political systems. It is clear that the lowest castes and classes in these two countries have been largely ignored by their representatives, and development has passed them by. The Maoists on the other hand are the only party that seems willing to venture into remote areas and to work with the poor. Chairman Mao was unique in recognising the latent potential of such rural peasants, and left behind powerful tactics and a vague ideology that continue to be of use to this day.[46]

The activity of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), of which the CPN (M)is a part, is a broader frame in South Asia.[47] Yet some currents of ``Third-World Maoists’’ remain fundamentally critical of the RIM, the North American Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), its chairperson Bob Avakian, and RCP solidarity with the CPN (M) strategy to abandon the armed struggle at this juncture and form a coalition government.[48] This argument will rage on, part of a vibrant debate.

Press freedom and social democracy

One recurrent flashpoint of controversy within Nepal is press freedom, especially the role of the bourgeois press in its criticism of the CPN (M). United We Blog! For a Democratic Nepal, established in 2004 by Nepalese journalists during a period of great repression, continues to be a site for broad discussion of issues and developments.[49] Nepal Press Freedom is reporting on intimidation of journalists and fighting to protect and promote “free, fair, and vibrant journalism”.[50] In late December 2008, cadre from the CPN (M) attacked the offices of Himalmedia, which publishes three magazines, after an article appeared critical of the Young Communist League. The Revolutionary Journalists’ Association Nepal and CPN (M) activists condemned the violence, which left many Himalmedia staff injured.[51] Naturally, such conflict, involving the independent media, draws particular media attention. The FES-Nepal (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung), reflecting a longstanding German cultural presence in Nepal,[52] offers a more social democratic view on the path forward and the current situation.[53] So there is a rich heteroglossia of voices and opinions in a dynamic public sphere, as reflected in analytical commentary by political scientist Dev Raj Dahal (head of FES-Nepal) on the “multiple transition” the country is now facing.[54] Beyond the current clash of diverse camps, an alchemy of radical democratic synergy may emerge.

Working-class protest

In any event, the level of militant popular protest by the people is remarkable. On January 2, 2009, in an unprecedented protest action, local people in the town of Kirtipur outside Kathmandu, the home of Tribhuvan University, the oldest campus in the country, shut down the town and university over demands for compensation for land appropriated from their families to build the university 50 years ago and giving locals more employment opportunities on campus. They vandalised the Tribhuvan University central offices the day before.[55] That came amidst widespread labour protests by workers in various sectors across the nation, in part due to the severe power crisis.

People are learning the power of acting collectively, to address critical grievances. Speaking to workers, Prime Minister Dahal stated that “pretty soon, the government will make an important announcement, which will help usher the nation in a new era”, stressing that the feudalistic mindset of political leaders had affected the performance of the Maoist-led government. He noted that previous political misrule was to blame for the prevailing power crisis: “During [their] 15-year-long rule, dishonest leaders never thought about the looming power crisis. People are suffering now because of their inaction.”[56]

Progressive Nepali Forum in the Americas

The newly formed PNEFA aims to “support activities intended to do away with unjust social, economic and political discriminations and exploitations upon the historically marginalized, working-class Nepalis”.[57] centering in particular on eliminating caste-based discrimination against some 4.5-5.5 million Hindu Dalits (Untouchables) in the new Nepal.[58] Their plight is extreme, and they may make up nearly 20% of the total population.[59] They voted heavily for the CPN (M) in the April 2008 poll.

Other social hegemonies

However remote geographically, Nepal is one of the major laboratories for social and political transformation, and socialist discussion anywhere in the geopolitical South. The ferment of discourse and praxis developing there are relevant far beyond that country’s borders, wherever you may stand on the socialist left. Amin is optimistic about a coming upsurge in the tide of counter-globalisation:

conditions are ripe for the emergence of other social hegemonies that make possible a revival of development conceived as it should be: the indissociable combination of social progress, democratic advancement, and the affirmation of national independence within a negotiated multipolar globalisation. The possibility of these new social hegemonies is already visible on the horizon.[60]

Nepal’s transformation may yet augur those emergent “new social hegemonies” at the very top of the world. In India, a segment of the comprador class may harbour growing fears that Nepal, with a huge impoverished rural agricultural population similar to India’s, could provide a radical example on the nation’s very doorstep for “revolutionary change in the countryside and self-determination for the great majority” (ibid.), as the global crisis in imperial hegemony deepens and a Maoist-led alliance to the north consolidates its position. [61]

[Bill Templer is a linguist based in Asia. He worked a number of years in Nepal, connected with the Nepal Research Centre and Tribhuvan University.]

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