Abhiyan: Has there been any change in your party's economic policy now that you are in parliamentary politics?
Baburam Bhattarai: First of all your vocabulary is all wrong. We haven't joined parliamentary politics, we are in a transition phase through an interim parliament. Our destination is a transformation of the state through the constituent assembly election. And just like we are in an interim government, we are also in an interim economy.
What is your party's view on foreign direct investment?
Our economy needs to be oriented towards self-sufficiency, self-respect, and industrial capitalism. For this we need to lay the foundation by mobilising national capital and using local labour and markets. We are not against FDI, it could complement our efforts. But FDI needs to be in the national interest. We don't think Nepal's economy can grow unless we can completely uproot feudalism and imperialism and replace it with national industrial capitalism.
You have put forward a populist land reform program but, instead of trying to get it through parliament, you are forcibly taking over private property.
These are lies propagated by a class of well-heeled, feudal, servile middlemen. If you look at world history a new foundation has never been possible without forcibly demolishing the old state structure. You can't make minor repairs on a tottering old house and convert it into a skyscraper. Similarly, you can't build a new economy without destroying an old one. We have been destroying for the past ten years, and done the right thing. But we aren't finished yet. We are now protecting our achievements of the past through a peaceful campaign.
Hasn't the violent enforcement of bandas, hartals and other disruptions by organisations affiliated with your party ruined the economy?
It's a mistake to say these measures are ruining the economy. Annual economic growth in the past 50 years has barely been more than two percent. You forget about the past 50 years and to hide that non-performance blame our movement?
What do you say about complaints from businesses that the YCL is creating a negative business climate?
That's completely wrong. The well-to-do who are being discarded by the people are spreading this disinformation to hide the real truth. The YCL is a political grouping that is doing some important work trying to help development and social service.
The YCL widened the Kalanki road, it demolished illegal construction on the Ring Road, it cleaned up the streets. It has caught smugglers. Isn't this development work? The corrupt are panicking and blaming the YCL for high-handedness.
How about the YCL setting fire to government buildings, destroying government property, and beating up civil servants?
If you don't see the hundred good things we do and only highlight one weakness, I have nothing to say...
How are you managing your costs? How much are Maoist leaders paid and where do you get the money from?
We have a regular levy, we do farming, we work. We have collectivised our personal property and we also request sympathetic businessmen to make political contributions.
Shouldn't you be transparent about how these monies are raised and how they are spent?
We don't see the need to. If our main leaders have not kept any personal property and they live lives at the same level as the people, this issue of misuse doesn't arise.
Apparently you haven't yet accounted for money you got for cantonment management.
That is disinformation propagated by corrupt people of the likes of Ram Sharan Mahat and those who remain in power by being middlemen for foreign forces. We have kept all the accounts and we will make them public when the time comes.
Foreign investment has dried up and everyone is in wait-and-see mode. They say they have to pay taxes not just to the government but also to the Maoists.
It is wrong to blame us for the lack of foreign investment. These are accusations made by a feudal smuggling class that doesn't want domestic industrial capitalism to thrive.
You say you have to resolve politics before the economy can be mended. But what if it takes years?
We are the only party that is convinced that there will be no political, economic, and social change without ending the 250 year-old feudal monarchy and bringing in a people's republic. The monarchy hasn't ended yet and palace forces still control the economy. It is 50 years too late to end the monarchy. But once that happens we can launch this country into long-term development and in the next 15-20 years we can transform this country into, I wouldn't say Switzerland, but at least the most-developed in South Asia.
Even West Bengal has given up on communism and is welcoming foreign investment. Isn't there a lesson there?
West Bengal is a part of a larger capitalist entity that is India. That is why West Bengal's communists weren't able to transform the state. There will never be peace or development until there is an end to feudalism and imperialism in the world. That is why the world needs to move towards socialism.