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Friday, May 14, 2010

Revolution in Nepal or Stagnation?

Since the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won a major election, after 10 years of armed struggle, it seemed as if Nepal was on the road to a revolutionary government. But since that time, prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (पुष्पकमल दाहाल), better known as Prachanda (प्रचण्ड) resigned when he was unable to sack a reactionary military leader.
On top of that, the country has been locked in a polarised stale mate. The UCPM clearly has the majority of people behind it. It continues to rule in certain parts of the country. But Katmandu is still run by a coalition of the reactionary parties that failed to win through elections. One thing the reactionary parties have on their side is the old military, probably the most powerful political force in the country. The military is the UCPNM’s main obsticle from launching an all out people’s revolution.
For Maoist around the world, this has been seen in the past as a major victory for the left. But today it is still a stagnating stalemate, of people’s power against the reactionary military and its political allies. The May Day rallies were impressive but called off after just a few days. So is the UCPNM still close to a victory, or is it just floundering around searching for a solution that will work?
-សតិវ អតុ
Here are two views from the Kasama project:

Nepal’s First Days of May: General Strike & Provocation
by Jed Brandt
Kathmandu, May 11 — The largest mobilization of human beings in Nepal’s history brought hundreds of thousands of villagers into the capital Kathmandu for May First protests – and the entire country to a standstill.
May Day!
On May First, this city belonged to the Maoists.
From Kalinki to the Old Bus Park, packed buses poured into the city. Their every seat and aisle was filled. Young men perched on the roofs. Bags of rice, lentils and vegetables were stockpiled in the schools, wedding halls and construction sites that served as makeshift camps for the protesters.
Since I arrived in Kathmandu, it has been a remarkable thing to see the hammer and sickle waved so proudly across the city. But on May First, seeing thousands of union workers walk across the shuttered city to greet villagers, many of whom were seeing a city for the first time – all that put flesh and blood to the old communist symbol. Hammer for the workers, sickle for the peasants.
Business as usual was completely stopped. Cars and motorcycles were called off the roads and so, for the first time in a month, crisp blue skies opened up as the veil of smog lifted.
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Nepal on the Precipice of Revolution
from The Economist
Nor do the ruling parties have strong democratic credentials themselves. The prime minister and one of his deputies lost elections in their constituencies and got into parliament only because there are special seats which the parties fill through nomination. Rumour links ministers from several coalition parties to criminal groups that perpetrate most of Nepal’s violence, as well as to the opium-poppy farming which has recently spread in the increasingly lawless south.
Himalayan precipice: Time is running out for attempts to settle the country’s confrontation
NEPAL’S Maoists can put on an impressive display. For the past week they have endured torrential rain and outbreaks of diarrhoea to bring the capital, Kathmandu, and the rest of the country, to a halt. Then, on May 4th, tens of thousands formed a human chain around both sides of the 27km (17-mile) ring road, surrounding and cutting off the capital. In a country where politics is marked by incompetence and cynicism, no other force can match the former rebels for commitment or organisation—which is only one reason why everyone else finds them so frightening.
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