Revolution in South Asia

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Archive for January 6th, 2010

Refuting the Lie that the Maoists Banned Strikes in Nepal

Posted by Ka Frank on January 6, 2010

In various corners, a lie has been passed around:  That the Maoists moved to ban strikes when they headed the government in Nepal.  The Libcom site ran an article entitled, “Nepalese Maoists restate intention to ban strikes and other news.”  In some other corners the soundbite was even more crude. One report simply claimed  “Maoist Leadership in Nepal Bans Strikes.”  Alastair Reith has decided to deliver these charges a kill shot.  He wrote the following piece on his blog under the title: “Did the Maobadi Ban Strikes?”

By Alastair Reith

Nepal’s Maoists are often accused of being anti-worker, Stalinist, bourgeois nationalist and so on by many on the Western ‘left’, particularly anarchists and Trotskyists. As ‘evidence’ towards this, it is often claimed that while in government earlier this year, they banned strikes.

Let’s set the record straight. The Maoists never banned strikes.

All the militant, class struggle fighting unions are Maoist unions, and since their change in tactics in 2006 and the shift of the struggle to the urban areas the Maoists have essentially taken over the trade union movement in Nepal, as well as the bulk of the student unions. They regularly lead strikes for both political issues and bread and butter issues like pay and conditions. They have strongholds amongst the teachers, hotel workers, petrol workers, workers in many SEZs and industrial zones, and more. They never stopped leading strikes – they just called a three day general strike across Nepal!

The Maoists briefly put forward a proposal to temporarily ban strikes in certain key sectors. This was at a time when the country had no electricity for most of the day, there was a food shortage and strikes and bandhs called by reactionary parties were causing chaos and undermining the Maoist-led government. Read the rest of this entry »

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Maoists Endorse Prachanda for Prime Minister

Posted by Ka Frank on January 6, 2010

The following two articles, in which Prachanda and Bhattarai send out conflicting signals about the goal of a people’s revolt, were published in the Himalayan Times on January 5, 2010.

Maoist leaders present united face

KATHMANDU:  The Unified CPN-Maoist today formally endorsed chairman Prachanda as the Prime Minister if a new government is formed.

The decision follows Prachanda’s address to party workers yesterday outlining in clear terms the party’s policy of carrying out a people’s revolt and his differences with Dr Baburam Bhattarai.

Addressing a press conference after the emergency central committee meeting today, Prachanda refuted media reports and said Maoist leaders were united and had no ideological differences. Dr Baburam Bhattarai said the media reports were provocative and were tantamount to character assassination.

According to the audio tape made public by media today, the party meeting had re-established that the street, parliament and the government fronts were to be used to prepare for people’s revolt and capture state power. “Our party meeting made it clear that the main thing, whether we make it to the government or not, is to prepare and capture the state through people’s revolt,” Prachanda says in the audio recording of his speech yesterday at Khanna garment building in Lalitpur. The audio was posted in Nagariknews website.

“There is confusion in some quarters whether it is the party line to draft the constitution, go for election, get a two-thirds majority and carry out a revolt,” he says. “That cannot become the party’s line now. At present, our party’s line is to make preparations for a decisive revolt by using the fronts of the street, parliament and the government.”

Prachanda also says the party had decided to form a government under his leadership if the opportunity came in order to dispel confusion in the party and to prevent India from “playing” with internal differences.

 He says the question of leadership had generated confusion in the party after the government was defined as one of the fronts for preparing for a final revolt. He had earlier told the central committee that he would not become the Prime Minister. He says India began to play on internal differences and began to support Dr Baburam Bhattarai as PM. “We decided that if a government was formed, the party president would become PM.”

The UCPN-M also unveiled the schedule for the fourth phase of movement that includes interaction, campaigns, exposing anti-nationalist, criminal and corrupt elements, besides demonstrations, mass meetings and border vigils. The campaign runs from December 25 to January 24. The CC decided today that Prachanda would lead march to Mahakali on January 11, instead of Kalapani.

Bhattarai defends Dahal’s statement

KATHMANDU: Talking to THT on Tuesday, Dr Baburam Bhattarai said such cheap publicity, whether it was from within the party or outside, was aimed at character assassination. “Such cheap political practices should end,” he commented, adding that he had rejected power several times for the sake of the country and the people. He said he deserved the top post, but could not please any power centre.

Defending Prachanda’s statement at the party’s internal function in Lalitpur, Dr Bhattarai said all political parties did politics to attain power. “It’s not capturing power as Prachanda said, but attaining power in a democratic way and not through any sort of conspiracy. We should not interpret it otherwise,” he said.

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