Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nepal- Back to Business for the Elite, for Revolutionaries its Back on the Street.

Photos of Recent Events to come.

Now that the Maoists have been removed from power- the elites of Nepal have collectively let out a sigh of relief. As they see it, they had a nasty scare, but now those pesky revolutionaries have been dealt with. Out of government- out of sight- out of mind. The elite feel they can go back to 'the good old days' of bureaucracy, corruption and petty political infighting and factional horsetrading in Nepal's power structures.

These conclusions however are somewhat premature. While the Maoists government has fallen, the Maoists power was not, is not and never will be based in a parliament or in governmental posts. The Maobadis (as they are locally known) are a movement of people, based in and coming from the popular classes in Nepal in response to the crushing poverty that plagues this tiny nation. The Maoists come from and represent those in Nepal who have historically been excluded from society on the basis of race, region, religion, caste or gender. Paradoxically this is the vast majority of the population.

The people of Nepal are now looking at the current "mainstream" political situation with a growing sense of disbelief and amazement. The new Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal and the new Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala were both beaten in the elections to the Constituent Assembly not once- but twice- in separate constituencies. These politicians come from the grand old parties of Nepal, the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) and the Nepali Congress party.

Almost a month after this new government was created, it is still let to fill all the ministries. Coalition partners have already left, and all parties to the new government, especially the fourth biggest party the Madheshi Peoples Rights Forum, are sharply divided of have had splits.

While the old order is discrediting itself within the assembly with petty infighting, the Maoists are taking the opportunity to focus all their energies on the grassroots networks and organisation.

The Maoists and their front organisations have launched a series of strikes or 'Bandas' across the country through their front organisations to make sure that their demands for a New Federal State are not ignored, and so that the unconstitutional coup by the president, and the loss of civilian supremacy over the military is not forgotten.

It is clearly evident the strength of the Maoists grassroots support and organisation. On June 14th the Maoist youth organisation the Young Communist league called a Banda for the following day in the capitol Kathmandu in response to the murder of one of their leaders, allegedly by the rival "Youth Force" of the CPN(UML). Within just 12 hours, without the support of any of the media, the Maoists were able to completely shut down the capital. Contrary to media reports, the YCL are highly disciplined, and there was next to no violence against political opponents, the media, or essential services that were exempt from the banda.

This reflects the overwhelming support that the Maoists have. While the Maoists are in the communities working amongst the people, all the other parties are increasingly seen as unprincipled. Where as the Maoists formed government with clear political programs and plans, and then left when it became apparent that they could not complete them, the UML/NC government has no common platform, and especially after a month of ongoing political infighting- is perceived to be just a continuation of the old corrupt politics that Nepal had supposedly seen the end of due to the Peoples War and the Massive Peoples Movement in 2006.

At any rate the situation remains unsustainable. The rift between peoples aspirations and the reality of the current government, is enormous, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that no government is sustainable without the Maoists, the party that won the elections.. But the whole process is proving to the people of Nepal something else- the need for radical change. The Failure of peoples aspirations to be respected in a peaceful process of change is making it increasingly obvious to the people of Nepal that the entrenched oligarchic elites of Nepal will not simply give up their comfortable lifestyles in Kathmandu, but rather will fight tooth and nail to defend them, even going as far as to override the Constitution.

While the political elite has returned to their preferred way of doing things- the political situation as a whole has not returned to a state of "normalcy". The process in Nepal is ongoing, and while recent moves have added a hurdle to popular demands, they have not derailed them yet.


Sukla Sen said...

Here is an update:


Maoist politburo meeting kicks off; Dahal stresses on building 'greater consensus' with political parties

The powerful politburo meeting of Unified CPN (Maoist) kicked off in the capital Tuesday afternoon with party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' presenting his political dossier.

In the 13-page long report presented after the joint statement of the 45-politiburo members, Dahal has chiefly stressed on the need to build greater consensus with the political forces in the country as the important task of concluding the peace process and drafting the new constitution within the stipulated time remains to be accomplished. He is however learnt to have insisted that President's 'unconstitutional' move on the issue of the Army chief needs to be corrected first.

The evaluation of the previous Maoist government, the political developments since the signing of the peace treaty including the future strategy of the party also featured highly during the meeting, it has been learnt.

Senior Maoist leader Mohan Baidya 'Kiran', who leads the hard line group inside the party, has reportedly presented his own report also in which he has stressed that the party needs to be more forceful and assertive in dealing with other political parties from now on since it has been pushed to the corner.

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