Revolution in South Asia

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Nepal: Superbly Organized Against Weak Government

Posted by n3wday on May 19, 2010

This article was posted on MRZine. Thanks to J for pointing it out.

An Account of the General Strike in Nepal

by Suvrat Raju

While the world media was focused on a boring battle between the Tories and their New Labour cousins in Britain, a historic struggle was underway in Nepal.  Nine months after the victory of the Maoists in the 2008 constituent assembly (CA) elections, bourgeois forces, with support from the Indian government, succeeded in forcing them out of power.  They were replaced by a 22-party coalition, dominated by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) (UML), that has unsuccessfully tried to govern the country since May 2009.  A constitutional crisis looms, since the interim constitution will expire on May 28; the new constitution is far from written and the CA cannot be extended without a deal between the Maoists and the ruling coalition or the declaration of an emergency.  It was in this context that the Maoists called for an indefinite countrywide general strike demanding the resignation of the incumbent Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and the formation of a national unity government.1

It is difficult to describe the scale and character of the general strike.  In terms of sheer numbers, the strike was impressive; various estimates suggest that, on May Day and the first few days of the strike (which lasted from May 2-7), the Maoists succeeded in mobilizing several hundred thousand activists in Kathmandu alone.  However, it is two distinctive features, which on the surface appear dichotomous, that combined to make this mass mobilization unique.

The first is that the Maoist activists were not only superbly organized with clear chains of command and impressive discipline — they were also bound together by a unity of purpose driven by high levels of political awareness.  While this might suggest a forbidding paramilitary gathering, the reality of the Maoist gathering in Kathmandu was just the opposite.  Much of the day and significant parts of political rallies were spent in cultural activities; street intersections became sites for hours of singing and dancing.  The women and men who were part of this were very curious about outsiders but also remarkably open, honest and friendly.

These two features were reflected in the character of the strike.  Since a hundred thousand disciplined activists make for a veritable army, the strike was extraordinarily successful.  For six days, material forces bowed to political will as the wheels of the economy across Nepal ground to a halt.  In Kathmandu, almost all shops (except for chemists) were closed although the markets were allowed to open each day between 6-8 p.m.  What is striking is that it was achieved with almost no violence.2 While businesses were shut, the atmosphere on the streets was remarkably relaxed.  People walked about freely and in the early days of the strike a superficial observer would have concluded that the country was on vacation!

The response of the government was very curious; it did nothing at all.  The state simply melted away in the face of the Maoist mobilization.  Although small groups of the “Armed Police Force” stood guard at a few crucial spots, most policemen vanished from the streets.  Even the tiny flow of traffic (comprising ambulances, diplomatic vehicles and human rights observers) was regulated by the Maoist cadre.  Credible information suggests that the Prime Minister was unable to travel the few kilometers from his official residence to his office and ended up operating from home!

On May Day, the UN representative in Nepal explained that “rights to peaceful assembly . . . were exemplified,” but this misses the point.  The state cannot cede control so completely to another political force without tremendous loss of legitimacy.  What is more, strength on the streets is absolutely critical for politicians.  Politicians build capital by helping their constituents in times of need.  Who would vote for a party whose grip on the levers of the system was so weak that it was unable to resist the Maoists effectively even in a single neighborhood?  How would such a party ever push the interests of its constituents?

The fact that the ruling coalition had no problem acknowledging its helplessness is very revealing.  The obvious conclusion is that the NC-UML combine is not even interested in maintaining a popular base.  The government survived not because of its popular appeal but because of support from the domestic elite, the Indian government and the security establishment.

Paradoxically, the strike was a victim of its own success.  The complete economic shutdown had a deleterious impact on daily wage earners and small shopkeepers.  Second, once the Maoists had succeeded in demonstrating the impotence of the state, popular resentment started to be directed not at the government but at the Maoist establishment.  Eventually, faced with an intransigent government that evaporated from the streets but refused to relinquish power, the Maoists were forced to end their strike.

While the withdrawal of the strike might appear to be a setback, its effectiveness completely de-legitimized the NC-UML coalition.  While the strike did result in resentment against the Maoists, almost none of this translated into increased support for the government.  If anything, their formidable show of strength might well lead many of those who opposed the strike to vote for the Maoists in the next election.

However, the strike had another important consequence that has not attracted much attention: the formation of a fresh counter-revolutionary force.  On the morning of May 7, big business, small traders and sections of the ruling coalition organized a “peace rally” to oppose the strike.  Text messages were crucial in getting people to the event.  A typical SMS that did the rounds was the following: “FNCCI [Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry], Nepal Chamber of Commerce, PAPAD [Professional Alliance for Peace and Democracy] & other non political organizations are going to organize a peace rally to oppose the Bandh [strike]. . . .  Please join the rally with your family to show the strength & solidarity” (emphasis added).  This rally ended up being much bigger than either the organizers or the Maoists expected; between thirty to fifty thousand people showed up.

The rally later overflowed into a march that ran into a small settlement of Maoists and proceeded to deliberately provoke a clash.  The possibility that such clashes might recur and spiral out of control worried the Maoists and probably played a part in their decision to end the bandh.

The unifying cry at the “peace rally” was that “politics is bad.”  Two popular comedians Madan Krishna Shrestha and Hari Bansha Acharya regaled the crowd by making fun of the entire political establishment, i.e. both the Maoists and the ruling coalition.  While the claim that all politicians and, by extension, politics itself are bad is superficially attractive, it is, in fact, representative of a deeply conservative viewpoint.  The notion that political movements should step back and allow the economy to run unhindered is a recipe for maintaining the status quo.  Whether or not these implications were clear to the majority of attendees and cultural activists at the rally, they were undoubtedly clear to its organizers.

While the Maoists leadership has attacked “government infiltrators” in the march for provoking a confrontation, it has been soft on the central de-politicizing message of the rally itself.  This is problematic because there is a very real danger that, in a few years, this “peace rally” coalition will turn into the dominant counter-revolutionary force in Nepal.  The Nepali elite probably recognizes that it cannot, any longer, defend the status quo through the current huddle of demoralized bourgeois political parties; its only option is to attack the process of change.  However, this metamorphosis will take time and, even if the NC-UML coalition collapses (as might happen soon), several more immediate battles loom in the coming weeks.

To summarize, the general strike marked a watershed in the Nepali revolution because it demonstrated the extent of the mass base that the Maoists have developed.  In this new phase of mass politics, international solidarity will be important.  While the Nepali revolution has not received the same degree of support from the international left (especially the “new left”) that Latin American revolutions have received, it represents a possibility that is different but just as exciting.  We should not lose sight of a central fact: after more than a generation, the movement in Nepal presents the first real opportunity for radical change in Asia.  So, we should do all we can to defend its gains and advance its objectives.

1 The key disagreements between the Maoists and the bourgeois parties that have held up the peace process are on the integration of Maoist fighters into the regular security forces and the form that the Nepali republic should take; this includes questions of federalism and whether the government should be presidential or parliamentary.

2 Of course, at points, the strike was imposed using an implicit threat of violence but this is very similar to the way the state imposes its laws.

19 Responses to “Nepal: Superbly Organized Against Weak Government”

  1. NSPF said

    What a piece of therapeutic rubbish masquerading as political analysis.

  2. Dirgha Raj Prasai said

    It was a great mistake of Maoists to join the hands with the culprit leaders-Girija prasad, the nonsence person- Krishna Sitoula, power-hunger Madhab nepal, Bamdev and Jhalanath. They are all traitors.
    Now, the Maoists are in trap. Then What the Maoists can do ? Protests? strikes ? killing ? Whom and why the Maoists stopped the strike in Nepal?
    I think, if the Maoist want their safe-landing, the Maoists must join the hands with the monarchy as well as monarcists. The agreement 24 April 2006 with the King has already failed. So, there should revive the King’s proclamation 20 Apr.2006, according to the 1990 constitution and form all party cabinet including the foreigners who want peace and democracy in Nepal. From that a path should be searched with Everyone’s agreement to save the nation. Without monarchy who has been been fighting against the foreigners, Nepal can’t save. So, I request- the Maoists including the entire democratic forces should think positively, how to save Nepal, peace & democracy?
    Thank you.
    All the best.
    Dirgha Raj Prasai Email:

  3. CPSA said

    Being preoccupied with goings-on in India, I’m rather behind on developments in Nepal beyond the very basics. But your prescription, Dirgha, is rather surreal. W/o the Maoists, the monarchy would still exist. The war might never have gotten as bad as it did if not for Gyanendra, and much of the RNA leadership (the most powerful institution in Nepal nowadays) remains quite sympathetic to the institution of the monarchy. Given all that, why on Earth would it make sense for the UCPN(M) to go back to understandings that haven’t existed in Nepal since at least 2002 or 2003? Your suggestion is to take an action that is the exact opposite of what the Maoists stand for.

  4. Alastair Reith said

    DRP is a monarchist and apparently used to be an MP. Probably best just to ignore him…

  5. NSPF said

    “Nepal: Superbly Organized Against Weak Government”

    The choice of the title by Kasama is very telling. it is obvious that this article is being promoted. Especially since no one has bothered to make any critical remarks.

  6. nando said

    the great machinery of Kasama made a calculated decision to promote this article?

    In fact, just to be clear: Such an article is posted by someone on our moderating team. the moderator picks a headline. Generally the articles are not read by others before they are posted.

    Is this headline “very telling”? How? It contains a verdict on the ORGANIZATION of the May First events in Nepal, not on the article that follows.Do you dispute that the movement of over half a million people into Kathmandu was an act of SUPERB organization?)

    Then you complain that we have not all rushed to denounce this article.

    Well, I haven’t read it. I haven’t made comments one way or another. But (to be clear) I don’t feel obligate to rush in to read and judge every post. Do you? Does it make you nervous to have an article online without some official verdict? Without some stamp of approval or disapproval?

    On one level, NSPF is reading wa-a-a-a-a-y to much into a headline and a sparse thread.

    The Real Point: Does Every Idea Need an Official Label?

    There is actually matter of line involved:

    There is a history among some communists of not presenting ideas for discussion without clear labels. In some communist organizations nothing is offered or published without some official verdict attached. Some party organs (especially among small propaganda groups) ONLY publish things that have been centrally vetted and which embody (on one level or another) an analysis that the group endorses and promotes.

    Just to be clear: Kasama does not work like that. And don’t intend to work like that.

    This is very confusing for some people.

    The mechanical logic goes something like this: If you posted it, you are promoting it, so you must agree with it. Since many different articles have very different stands and outlooks, this must mean (some think) that Kasama’s theory must be “eclectic” and somehow opportunist. And so on.

    Just to be clear: People participating in Kasama often have (as individuals) quite NON-eclectic theoretical and political views. But Kasama (as a network, and as a group of moderators) really does not have a developed and collective view, other than the important themes that we have stated very clearly (i.e. that we support communist revolution, that we stand for regroupment on the basis of reconception, and that we believe it is important to step out in an internationalist way in support of important revolutionary movements around the world.)

    Meanwhile: Kasama posts many articles that no one on our staff agree with. We often post articles from the bourgeois press. We post essays written by reformists (and by people from a middle ground between revolution and reformism). We often post articles that include interesting information, but which have analysis that we don’t intend to promote. We have posted articles that too extremely opposed views of Obama’s emergence. And we post the attacks made on the revolutionary movements of India and Nepal — because we think our readers should know what “the other side” is saying.

    We intend to do a lot of this kind of posting: We intend to post thoughtful Trotskyist analysis — to enable our readership to learn and debate. We intend to post more articles critical of the revolutions in India and Nepal. We intend to post bourgeois attacks on communism that we think our readers can learn from.

    And (as in the case of this Monthly Review piece) articles are posted without much collective discussion — often because someone writes to us to say that the piece is substantive and interesting.

    I have great respect for Monthly Review — but don’t assume that I (or we) agree with their articles.

    Now, some people think this is a bad thing. They think that ideas should (like medicine bottles) come with clear labels: “this is correct,” “this is incorrect,” “this is a dangerous idea,” and so on. They think that we (i.e. the moderators) should have a verdict on whatever we post, and we should make that verdict clear.

    We don’t think so. Let’s explain why:

    1) We think our readers can sort out the ideas and fact for themselves. People do not need or want our moderators to give a pre-chewed verdict on each piece.
    2) This is not the 19th century: the posts on a website are not like articles in a newspaper. Every reader can comment on the posts, point out their weaknesses and strengths. This means that the THREAD is the place where the correctness of ideas comes out, NOT in our moderator introductions to those posts.
    3) the whole approach of “reconception” assumes that it is not possible or positive for a moderator group to have a quick and accurate verdict on every piece of writing that crosses our desks. The very idea of such pre-digestion assumes that communist theory is in place and that the work facing us is simply to apply it.

    NSPF: you are free to “read” our intentions (as a group) into a headline, or the fact that we didn’t all rush to read and denounce some article. But in fact, you misunderstand how our sites work, and what our purpose is.

    Put another ways:

    NSPF wrote about this article “What a piece of therapeutic rubbish masquerading as political analysis.”
    This is exactly the approach that Kasama does NOT take toward ideas — including ideas we don’t agree with. Angry dismissal of serious people, without substance or argumentation, is a big mistake. It assumes that the truth on any issue is obvious — and the fact that someone doesn’t agree with you is just a sign they are somehow venal and reactionary. Everything about this is mistaken, and misunderstands how the world work, and misunderstands where we (as a communist movement) stand.

    There are sections of the communist movement who think they have (in their hands) answers to the key questions. they think they can sit in small circles and make verdicts on everything that comes up (including on the tactic and strategies developed by revolutionaries around the world).

    By contrast, we think pepole need SUBSTANTIVE discussion — that don’t START with a pre-disgested verdict. We need critical thinking and we think such discussion trains people in critical thinking.

    We need to approach things with a comradely openness to learning — not rush to dismiss opposing analyses as mere “rubbish” etc. And, on that basis of a process of debate and reconception, we need to collectively draw some clear conclusions and sharp new lines of demarcation.

  7. nando said

    Ok, I’ve now read the piece that you thought was such “rubbish,” NSPF. Honestly, I have no idea what provoked you so much. Wanna break it down for us all?

  8. NSPF said

    Lets start with a look at the introduction part of the article where the author providing context for the “historic struggle” analysed. Maoists came to power after their victory in Constituent Assembly elections and were forced out of power nine months later and replaced by a 22-party coalition that has “unsuccessfully tried to govern.” A constitutional crisis looms and unless there is a DEAL with the Maoists a state of emergency will be declared. “It was in this context that the Maoists called for an indefinite countrywide general strike demanding the resignation of the incumbent Prime Minister”, we are told. Leaving the inaccuracy of timeline/duration of the Maoist-let coalition government, there are two important points to be made about this contextualisation. The first one is where the Maoists are said to have been IN POWER and the present coalition not being able to GOVERN. I will not dwell on these words too long suffice to say that since MR is a leftist magazine and the author uses parlance like “bourgeois forces”, one would be justified to assume the choice of different words are not accidental at all. The question I want to ask is this: were the Maoists really in power? Has not the mode of governing in the past year typical of the past two decades? Isn’t this the reason everyone is talking of transition and the need for change? There is a lot to be explained about these points and the role of the PW, but I’ll leave it at that for now.
    The second point is that the immediate cause of the tactical move of the Maoists is described as the context. What is most important here is that although the goal of the action is correctly identified, albeit in passing, as that of reaching a deal on another coalition government with the Maoists in the lead, it is not mentioned at all that people were led to believe they were taking part in the “final push” with all the political meaning of those two words in Maoist parlance. Instead of stating this clearly and raising questions as to why the Party deceived and misled the cadre (and hence the present resentment among them) and the people into believing this? even while secretly assuring India, U.S., EU, UN, and the government and other parties that this would be a carnival of peaceful pressure under control? Why not ask why was the dance of the peacock presented as the roar of the tiger? and try to explain that? All these diversionary tactics in the contextualisation of the article has one aim. To condition us for swallowing the placebo to come in the main body of the text. It does not matter if the author is conscious of this or not the effect is the same.
    In contrast, if the context is taken as a revolutionary process, and revolutionary expectations, then it becomes hard to sell a setback as great victory.

  9. NSPF said

    so it is said “two distinctive features…. Make this mobilisation unique.” first one is that “the Maoist activist were …superbly organised with clear chains of command and impressive discipline…” and the second one is described as that of the activists being “non paramilitary“, “engaged in cultural activities“, “open and friendly“. “a veritable army of hundred thousand engaged in hours of singing and dancing.” the author wants us to forget that for a full month we were bombarded with propaganda to expect a “final push for power” and what is of much more importance, that the “veritable army” of activists and supporters estimated anything up to a million were clearly mobilised with that promise and not for a carnival. Everyone was led by the leadership to believe that. If some of those activists are reported to be angry and resentful, it is certainly not because the dance troupes’ performances were not up to standards of say Rio de Janero or London’s Notting Hill Carnivals. Any attempt to prettify a setback, retreat or defeat, whatever one prefers to call it, as a great victory should be seen as what it is: Deception.
    Let us examine the “uniqueness” thesis a bit further and from another, perhaps more important angle. Why on earth does the author think what happened/happening in Nepal so unique even as described in the article? What is so unique in our movement about what might arguably be described as Sun Chiangism? Let me briefly describe a part of our history that is not known much about in the ICM. 1941 Iran. Population roughly 15 million. Communist Party formed 1921. Liberated areas and popular government in alliance with petty bourgeoisi. Decimated and defeated due to wrong policies and compromises between Russia and Britain, sold out partly by Roteshtine. Replaced by Tudeh Party in 1941. Within 5 years the strongest and most influential organisation with a depth and breadth of reach unparalleled until 79. Unionised half a million workers under the leadership of some of the most experience workers who had been long-time members of the previous communist party who had spent years in prison. Overwhelming majority of academics, writers, poets, etc full members and partly in the leadership. A secret organisation of army, navy and airforce officers numbering around 600, under the leadership of Colonel Siamak and Captain Rouzbeh, two of the most resolute and experience communist in the history of that country. Cultural proliferation to the point where it was the most solemn and popular to swear by Stalin’s mostascheo. Mullas reduced to the ridiculous position of being laughed at for their Friday Sermons where they would interpret/”translate” komonist as komo Nist (god does not exist). Strong Parlimentary fraction. In summer 1946 there was a strike in Abadan, the hub of oil industry in the region under the control of Britain and thus the chokehold of British Imperialism. The oil workers’ strike spread like a wildfire to other parts of the province and without any Banda-like enforcement, it was so total that the organisers soon realised that they had to send teams to persuade workers and others involved in essential services like bakeries and hospitals that it was not scabbing to go back to work in those cases. Even a good chunk of Indian workers and foremen who were brought by the British laid down tool and joined the strike. What was the result? Big-shots of the leadership had been promised three ministerial portfolios in the coalition government. They came to persuade the workers to go back to work. The British also sent a team to “investigate” and “report” by the firebrand Michael Foot. All of these were huge international news at the time. To cut a long story short, everyone knows what happened in august 1953 with the one million dollar coup. The moral of the story is that the movement is NOT everything, and the ideological and political line of the leadership is key to everything. That is where any serious analysis has to concentrate.

  10. NSPF said

    will write more about it later today or tomorrow.

  11. nando said

    NSPF: I want to thank you for digging into your views on this. And (when I have a moment sometime this weekend) I hope to answer this point by point.

    Let’s actually use this moment as a chance to get deeply into this. And I also urge others to step in (perhaps before either NSPF or I comment further.)

  12. NSPF said

    After describing how jolly and relaxed the atmosphere on the street was, and how even “the Prime Minister was unable to travel the few kilometres from his official residence to his office and ended up OPERATING from home!”,the author advances a few of her most important assertions:

    That “the response of the government was very curious; it DID NOTHING at all.”

    That “THE STATE simply MELTED AWAY in the face of the Maoist mobilization.”

    That “the STATE cannot cede control so completely to another political force without tremendous LOSS OF LEGITIMACY. “

    And the proof stated for these assertions?
    Traffic was controlled by the Maoists!!
    The superficiality and the shallowness of such “analysis” is mind bugling.

    And then it goes on to say that “the UN representative in Nepal explained that ‘rights to peaceful assembly . . . were exemplified,’ but this MISSES THE POINT.” !!!

    Is this just political spin hoping to get into the Guinness Book of Records? Or is it designed with placebo effect in mind? Or perhaps both?
    But lets be as naive as the author wants us to be and believe these fantastic claims for a moment; just for a moment.
    The author is spinning so fast and getting so dizzy in the process that does not realise that even as naive as it’s thought we are, the next question we would ask in that case is “if the STATE ceded control so COMPLETELY and MELTED AWAY, why then did the Maoist Party who had promised a FINAL showdown, in effect said “thanks; but no thanks, we don’t want it”? Who is missing the point here? The UN representative or the author and Monthly Review?

    The author and monthly review are apparently so oblivious to the fact that the state had lost any semblace of legitimacy long, long time ago (a fact acknowledged by nearly everyone except a few delusional people) and all the scrambling, by all the Think-Tanks and the so called international stakeholders, for facilitating the CPA was precisely because they wanted to restructure and re-legitimise the state.

    More to come later.

  13. NSPF said

    The article goes on to state “what is more, strength on the streets is absolutely critical for politicians. Politicians build capital by helping their constituents in times of need. Who would vote for a party whose grip on the levers of the system was so weak that it was unable to resist the Maoists effectively even in a single neighborhood?
    How would such a party ever push the interests of its constituents?”

    so THIS is what it’s all about in the author’s estimate. Electoral politics!!! So this is what is meant by “Nepali revolution” and “prospects of “radical change” and the need for “international solidarity” in the last paragraph of this article. Now we know what is meant by “creative application of Marxism.”

    what a complicated way of saying this very simple thing.
    All because they know no-one will buy it if it’s simply and directly stated.

    one more part to come.

  14. tony said

    so is there or is there not a revolution in Nepal?

  15. tony said

    anyway, even if it is a reformist demand, i believe that it should be supported in the same way that we support Chavez. Chavez has done a lot, although it is not revolutionary as such, but it is pretty good. and i’m a trotskyist…

  16. NSPF said

    “The fact that the ruling coalition had no problem acknowledging its helplessness is very revealing. The obvious conclusion is that the NC-UML combine is not even interested in maintaining a popular base. The government survived not because of its popular appeal but because of support from the domestic elite, the Indian government and the security establishment.”

    I will just restrict myself to pointing out a great discovery by the author that while the state melted away, the government survived!!! This must be a new discovery in political science. Perhaps Monthly Review can patent it.

    Towards the end, the author presents a list of gains and losses that were all due to the paradoxical nature of the strike’s success. What is so striking in the whole article is that there are no other actors, besides the Maoists in the field of author’s political vision. The author must have surely noticed the flurry of diplomatic activity in the days and weeks prior to May first; and the calmness with which they treated the event and even went on to praise it as partly mentioned by the author. Just the other day in a meeting with several Ambasadors, Prachanda asked “for how long can we stand being humiliated?”
    Does anyone ask why he feels they are being humiliated? By whom? To what end? These are not the words of a victorious leader in ascendancy.

    But lets not get carried away with “unrealistic” demands for explanation of “trivial” events, for the author is on a mission. All the contextualisation and aggrandisement of the strike is for a reason. We are coached to believe that although the “Maoists were forced to end the strike”, they nevertheless achieved a great victory. Because “their formidable show of strength might well lead many of those who opposed the strike to vote for the Maoists in the next election.”
    This is the central point and the purpose of the article. That victory will be achieved in the next election. There we have it; another discovery: revolution through ballot box. Is it any wonder that the international left in the west is encouraged to view the events in Nepal in the same category as those of the (electoral) revolutions in Latin America? Do I smell the scent of CPI(M) here? You bet I do.
    But the most reactionary part of the article is left to the last and after trying to convince everyone of patience till the next election. Only then it is revealed that “the strike had another important CONSEQUENCE”. so the peace rally organised by the business community is said to be a consequence of the strike and not the continuation of a strategic move initiated long before the strike was even planned.
    We are warned that “there is a very real danger that, in a few years, this “peace rally” coalition will turn into the dominant counter-revolutionary force in Nepal.”
    On the one hand it is said if the Maoists stick to electoral politics many of the potential counterrevolutionaries will vote for them in the next election; and if they misbehave again they will reap the consequences.

    PS: And I have to say this in all seriousness. Throughout the past two years I have noticed a tremendous amount of fascination and obsession with size on this and Kasama site. Everything and everyone is measured with that yardstick. “You are too small you don’t count.” “They are big, they know where they are going.” “They are gynormous, how can you reject them.”
    What is this obsession with size that penetrates even into politics? Where does it come from? Why is it so prevalent among men, though not exclusive to them. Is it really justified?
    I don’t think so. And I can assure everyone that I’m not a spring chicken.
    Through looooong years of experience and study, I have concluded that:
    Yes, size matters but it’s not everything. It’s what you do with it that really counts and the ultimate pleasure of a bright future is guaranteed thus.
    Just something to think about.

  17. NSPF said

    This should be taken as a postscript to my comment #9:

    Nando is right about one thing. It was a mistake to call it rubbish. It is not just rubbish; it is reactionary rubbish.
    You will notice when I wrote “… the ‘veritable army‘ of activists and supporters estimated anything up to a million …”, I was troubled by the author calling the mass mobilisation for a “non paramilitary” demo engaged in singing and dancing as a “veritable army” while there was not even once a mention of PLA, hence the inverted commas. It took me a second read of the article to fully understand why the author is calling this type of mobilisation as a veritable army.

    Given the whole thrust of the article, it became clear to me that the purpose is not simply veneration of mass mobilisation with some fanciful title; but to subtly and gently and gradually and without being noticed, wean us off from looking at the PLA as THE true veritable army, and thus prepare us for its dismantling, without resistance. This is how it goes: they (the Maoists) are indoctrinated with a need for an army; we want to destroy their army; they will not accept; so lets associate the word Army with something else; whilst they see this as their army, we’ll start dismantling the real one.
    subtle and clever.

  18. trace hunter said

    Okay, NSPF opposes the Maoists. Got it.

    I am in Nepal. Many people were angry the strike was called off. Quite a few thought it was wise, including many participants. The Maoists emerged yet stronger, demonstrating their ability to marshal hundreds of thousands of people without acting like bullies.

    Your comments seem to reflect some common ground with the RCP, USA position – – there is only one way they can go about making revolution. That they have not simply shot their opponents, shut down the bourgeois newspapers and rejected all foreign aid seems to be a bout the gist of it.

    I may be reading this wrong, but such arguments seem to ignore that the entire Nepali party is quite firmly united on strategic grounds for a new democratic revolution and socialism. The means by which that happens is constantly debated and a (obviously) a work in progress.

    I have read all the communist criticism of the only communist revolution in the world that is actively contending for power. With the exception of the thoughtful, comradely criticisms by the Communist Party of India (Maoist), most of it strikes me as decidedly amateurish.

    I am particularly skeptical of prescription from a handful of American dogmatists who couldn’t organize a dinner party, let alone a revolution, yet seem to think they know best how these things are done.

    For years, Avakianites (and those who might as well be) have continued to pronounce verdicts on events that haven’t actually happened.

    Contrary to their claims: The PLA is on alert, armed and in shape – despite what some choose to believe. They have access to their weapons whenever they want them. The YCL just organized the largest mobilization of people in Nepal’s history. And the only actual party standing is the UCPNM.

    While they navigate (truly) complex and contradictory moments, why work in a forum like this to oppose solidarity with their revolution in Nepal?

    It reminds me of trotskyism, frankly: This demand for “pure” revolutions that follow neat, tidy scripts which sound all well and good… but never seem to go anywhere. Why disparage everyone who engages in actual politics?

    The Nepali Maoists actually understand the difference between revolution and a putsch, between politics and doctrine and between communism and revisionism. So despairing, so unable to find their own footing or lead anyone anywhere — they simply dump on the world for not fitting in their hand.

    In the meantime, revolution is truly breaking out across South Asia, and it is here where the communist movement is involved in a number of different tactics and strategies — which we as proletarian internationalists may be best served to observe.

    Meanwhile some people only hear what fits their doctrine. They seem only see what their ideology demands. Nothing real makes sense, so they retreat to impotent certainties and rail against those who don’t follow along.

    My mother taught me to respect those who do, not those who say what can’t be done. Cheers to her, it’s advice that would serve all well.

  19. Rajesh said

    What will happen to PLA? They will be strengthened, merged with the army of the old state or demobilized? What will happen to YCL? They will be strengthened or civilianized? What will happen to the property seized by the revolutionary peasantry or other oppressed people? They will continue to hold or that would be returned? These are a few questions, which will decide the nature of the UCPN (M) leadership. Now, there is a fight going on between the forces of the old state and the Unified Maoists. The outcome of this fight will have great impact on the Nepalese revolution, its speed, course and outcomes.

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