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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The situation in Nepal- the stalemate part 1

by the MLM Revolutionary Study Group, April 4, 2010   (

The central question facing the Unified Communist Party of Nepal(Maoist) (UCPNM) is whether it can develop the political line, strategy and tactics to conquer state power and wield it in the service of the vast majority of the people of Nepal and the world.
This question has become the subject of discussion and debate throughout the world, ever since the Maoists in Nepal signed an agreement in 2006 to end their 10-year old people’s war. Over the years of the people’s war, the revolutionary forces had inspired people the world over, winning wave upon wave of victories and building both guerrilla zones and liberated areas which were beginning the work of a new society. The Peoples War in Nepal, it must be said, rekindled the spirit and hopes of revolution around the world. Their successes, winning nearly 80% of the territory of Nepal, had drawn such attention and acclaim that ending of the people’s war with the peace agreements of 2006 came as a great surprise and shock to many.
The course which has been followed since has been discussed and debated–and denounced or embraced–by various forces, because the Maoists had achieved so much prior to the 2006 agreement, and had seemed to be approaching nationwide victory. Why this change of course? Was this a departure from a new democratic revolutionary strategy, or was this a sophisticated move toward successfully winning the revolutionary struggle for power?
To answer this question, it must be determined whether Prachanda and the majority of the UCPNM leadership are leading the party and the masses of Nepal to complete the new democratic revolution and build socialism, or they are implementing a disorienting strategy— leading to a political “package deal” in the next few months–that will result in a major setback for the Nepali people’s revolutionary struggle.
I. Moving Towards a Package Deal in May 2010
After signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in November 2006, Prachanda and his allies in the party leadership argued that winning a majority or a large plurality of the seats in the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections would allow them to start restructuring the state by peaceful means—by parliamentary politicking backed up by periodic street demonstrations called by the party.
The UCPNM won 40% of the seats in the elections, and this led to the formation of a joint UCPNM–UML (United Marxist-Leninist Party) government with Prachanda as Prime Minister in August 2008. (1) It didn’t last long. This government spent several months spinning its wheels, with Prachanda traveling to the US to meet with Bush and asking to be removed from the US terrorist list. Prachanda also gave a memorable interview in which he envisioned Nepal becoming the “Switzerland of Asia” and somehow achieving parity with this mountainous imperialist banking center and tourist destination in 20 years.1 Finance Minister Bhattarai drew up ambitious budgets and investment plans that could not be implemented due to obstruction by reactionary business owners and landlords backed by India and the US.(2)
In May 2009, Prachanda made an ambitious move to assert his control over the state apparatus when he tried to remove Gen. Rookmangud Katawal as commander of the Nepal Army. The generals, with India and the U.S. standing firmly behind them, simply refused to follow Prachanda’s orders. The UML threw its support behind the Army, causing the government to collapse.
Protest Campaigns to Apply Pressure on the Nepali Congress and UML
After that fiasco, Prachanda and the UCPN(Maoist) called five stages of protest, focusing first on civilian supremacy, then on rhetorically declaring more than a dozen autonomous ethnically- based states (when they lacked the power to do so in actual terms), and finally on asserting national independence against India. The latter campaign consisted mainly of small demonstrations at the border and against the construction of an Indian hydropower plant, a sit-in at the Indian embassy , and the symbolic burning of unequal treaties with India.
What is most revealing about this campaign to assert national independence is how it was used to aim the masses’ anger and struggle against India and the Indian Army, which is mainly a future threat, rather than the Nepal Army, which is a very real and present threat to the heart of the revolution.
Prachanda said on March 8, 2010 that the several thousand People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers who are slated to join the reactionary Nepal Army will create a situation in which “the Nepal Army and police are going to be our real strength now, and we are going to introduce at least 10,000 of our combatants into the security outfits soon.” (3) While Prachanda exhorted them to “be ready to capture state power,” in reality these revolutionary soldiers will soon be in the most difficult position they have ever been in since they were sent into the cantonments 3 1⁄2 years ago. They will be trying to survive in the barrack-lairs of the enemy.
In the course of these successive rounds of protest, the UCPNM gave the green light to thousands of landless peasants who were more than ready to seize lands from local feudals and absentee landlords. These land seizures reached their height in December 2009 (4), only to vanish (along with the street protests in Kathmandu) when Prachanda entered intensive political negotiations with the top leaders of the Nepali Congress Party and UML.
The leaders of the three major parties—with the US and India backing two of them—are working on a deadline of May 28 to produce a new constitution. The UCPNM is insisting that this new constitution be agreed to as part of a package deal that includes the integration of some of the PLA into the Nepal Army, and the formation of a new UCPNM-led government with Prachanda as Prime Minister, their primary goal.

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