"A moment's sanity for consensus..."
Maoist vice-president Baburam Bhattarai, the most likely consensus prime ministerial candidate spoke to Nepali Times on Thursday about the formation of a national unity government and progress on the peace process. Excerpts:
Nepali Times: Who will be the consensus candidate as the PM is all set to resign on 13 August? Baburam Bhattarai: It is up to the parties to decide. As the largest party in the CA, naturally the UCPN (Maoist) has been claiming leadership in national unity government. Our party has unanimously nominated me as prime ministerial candidate, but who would lead the government will be decided after consultation with other parties.
The parties all seem to have their own candidate for the prime minister. How is consensus possible? The experiences of the past three years have shown, majority governments failed to move the peace and constitution writing process forward. We made a mistake by forcing majoritarian politics over the politics of consensus. It has been my consistent position that there is no alternative to consensus to bring Nepali politics back on track. This time I hope everyone agrees. It's the only way peace and constitution writing process can be moved forward.
Are two days enough to forge a consensus? (The prime minister) was supposed to resign even if there is no consensus as a part of the five-point deal. You can fight for infinity, but you need one moment of sanity for consensus. The selection of the prime minister becomes a protracted process in Nepal. It took almost seven months for a new government to come in place after the resignation of Madhav Kumar Nepal last time. We should learn from our past mistakes. It will be stupid if we keep repeating them. We need to form a national unity government and form it quick.
How long will it take to reach a consensus since the major issues of PLA integration has not been resolved? There is more or less consensus on the number to be integrated. Now we have to finalise the modality of integration, its norms, rank harmonisation and package deal for rehabilitation. Based on these, the process of regrouping will be started. But this should not obstruct the formation of a national unity government. On the contrary, it is this unity government which will implement the agreement and move the peace process forward.
With 20 days left for the CA deadline, is it possible to complete all these tasks? As I said earlier, we only need a moment of rational thinking to forge a consensus. Political parties should first agree on these issues in principle, we have enough time in hand for an agreement. If there is an agreement, the national consensus government will kick-start the process that has been stalled for so long. Yes it will take time to implement all the deals, for which we need extension of the CA but then at least we would have a basis for one.
Why should people believe that political parties are serious about it this time? Three years of going around in circles has proved that there is no alternative to consensus. Making majority governments and sticking to party positions will take us nowhere. I know it sounds ironic, but all political parties have realised this fact.
How will the new government be formed? There are three tasks ahead: integration, constitution and national unity government. All three should be dealt with in a package. You cannot insist on any one. It is not important which party took which stand in the past. It is time to look ahead and find a common ground to get there. Once that is sought, a national unity government comprising of the Maoists, NC, UML and Madhesi parties will be formed to take the peace and constitution writing to its logical end.
Who will take the responsibility if and when this deal is reached? When one party is in the government and the rest oppose, there is no deal. That is why we need a national unity government so that everybody takes a collective responsibility.
1. who cares
saying only unity govt. will solve our problem is a joke.
did not girija have unity govt. and what happened? maoist attacked everyone, killed a few, looted during that unity govt. and during CA election, maoist were able to register 19+k pla and on and on.
the only formula yet to be tested is military backed solution.
and i guarantee- 99.99%, it will work if followed with my way.
12 AUG 2011 | 3:12 PM NST
2. Pradeep Adhikari
It looks Nepali media are obsessed with Dr. Bhattarai. And it is unfair to portray him as THE SUPERMAN to rescue Nepal from its current mess. Even if he heads the unity government, people from his own party ask for his blood within no time. So think about other options as well.
12 AUG 2011 | 12:26 AM NST
3. Vija Srestha
1.The thought is good,even if the majority of ministers are maoist party cadres,but there is gone be voting among the parties and it is impossible that own party members will vote for other party member as ministers are not given portfolios on the basis of their professional ability ,but on the basis of which party they belong to.I like to see how Mr.Bhattarai it is gone be done by you, but I hope you are wiser and will do the same what Khanal did.You must change the ministers as soon as you take up the position of the PM and would advise you to choose not politicians, but professionals for each field.
2.Again Mr.Bhattarai ,don't get confused with concensus ,ability to change,it is still about politics,but you need to look at the job in the Government as the job of professional and you are the leader of professionals not politicians in the government.Can you do that.I would give my support to you as well ,but I like to see first your actions and influence on Dahal and where he is gone turn his head .And is the PLA in a position of pawns in Dahal's and his friend's game of chess.
3.Madav Kumar Nepal had a sense of sanity when he gave up the position of the PM as he saw the uselessness of the politics when he understood that there is someone else behind the chess board . I hope your belief is stronger than your dream and certainly much more stronger than the physical strength of kings and queens with their army or courtiers on the chess board.
4.Mr.Bhattarai you are saying it is the concensus government that will implement the decisions of integration and rehabilitation.There exists a package for those who will be rehabilitated,in other words they will be givine some amount of money ,to keep them at bay for time being .I agree that for people of Nepal there would be a hope that these soldiers will not blindly follow the ideas presented by Dahal and you ,that is in the end good for the PLA soldiers as well and I hope all of them would take only this choice,however there ar those who have taken a much harder way,to fight for their place in the army due to their abilities and knowledge if you will ,however you must understand that you forced them on to the people, as to integrate them takes millions of RS from the government of Nepal,from people of Nepal without even considering does the Nepal Army need that many soldiers.Where is the money for integration and rehabilatation coming from, or does Dahal has a rich uncle behind his back or did Mr.Khanal receive assurance after productive meeting with high level politician .I see it as hiring cheap labour,extra staff in case redundancy will occur and plan B might be in need.That's why Mr.Bhattarai says it is the Unity Government that will implement the decisions because now all the conditions are in place for implementing ,packages on certain amount of PLA soldiers and decision must come about those capable ones.So ,everything is moving as planned,Mr.Bhattarai?
5.How will people know.People long ago have abandoned the parties and it is a pitty and politicians know that and are building their plans knowing people anyway don't think or do not pay attention anymore,they need to live their life ,the government is not taking care .
6.Let's pay special attention to these words.
'There are three tasks ahead: integration, constitution and national unity government'
It's already clear what and why and see how the statements are changing from one extention to the other.
Rehabilitation will not present anymore problems as certain amount will be paid in cash and will not present practical responsibility and problem.
So left are three tasks.Integration,which by the way Bhattarai knows is gone be quite hard ,but is possible as long as other parties participate,secondly constitution and Unity Government.
All of these tasks ideally should go hand in hand ,but will not as people need to build on trust and this is what Maoists have not been able to give during these more than 10 years of wriggling and further more,did ever Nepali politicians hear ?So if you plan to lead the Government Mr.Bhattarai ,that is your first responsibility as a suppose to be PM ,to integrate PLA without conditions or hopes of having ranks or guns in the hands of PLA,only peaceful tools to rebuild the infrastructure of Nepal.Only and only after succesful integration we will come to conclusion and final draft of Constitution and only and only after that the Unity Government will be in place,without political agendas ,but with working schedules and plans for restructuring,rebuilding ,developing new infrastructures for the country with leading specialists and professonals in the field and only then you can count yourself worthy.I feel you are on the right track Mr.Bhattarai ,but I feel you don't know your own cadres and you need to judge people by their actions not by their words.
7.Doesn't this sound familliar? Seriously,this answer made me laugh and brought me back to the example of 7point deal.
Who will take the responsibility if and when this deal is reached? When one party is in the government and the rest oppose, there is no deal.
Here is your answer Mr.Bhattarai.At last you came out with recognition of unlawfullness by your party cadres .Right from the start you took the unlawful deal signed by Khanal and Dahal as non existent ,it was just a piece of paper having no any serious intentions ,just a draft of actions for your party and the whole Nepali society went after it and wasted time on something your party one sidedly decided to do,while others went on fighting ,telling ,that it is not a deal ,it can not be a deal,however you kept quiet,however your actions still tell ,that you haven't understood one thing.
Actions and trust go hand in hand,not integration ,constitution writing and thereafter Unity Government. This is not a place to bargain Mr.Bhattarai,it is not a market.All these tasks do not depend from succesful implementation of the other .All these tasks must be finished not looking over the shoulder .Only that way ,do not use it as a bargain again.Enough is enough.
We do realize we have been presented with the obstacle by Maoist Party .We have agreed to help solve the problem of all our people caught in the Maoist web,however it is a separate problem and do not dare tell us that it has to go hand in hand with constitution writing or formation of Unity Government as people involved in completing these processes have totally different specifics of the jobs to be done as content of the problems requires professionals and specialists in the fields concerned.So leave the job to professionals and do not think that they need a master who would overlook everything .Your job as the supposedly to be leader, is to see that professionals do their job.
That is why we need a national unity government with Ministers ,professionals for all the fields in the Government without politicians and their doctrines,it is the policies we will make ,the plans we will decide to implement ,it is the iniciatives we will hear out and decide on the usefulness ,possibilites and neccessity ,so that everybody gets involved in the process,not the collective responsibility,it is individual and personal responsibility that builds the society with responsibility and morales Mr.Bhattarai.
12 AUG 2011 | 2:13 AM NST
The consensus mantra is intriguing. What are they looking for a consensus on? The evil monarchy that tried to hold elections to end political bickering is gone, Hinduism, that most evil of religions, responsible for western slave trade, famine and strife in Somalia, poverty in South Asia, genocide in Sudan and elsewhere, and poverty across the world is progressively being sidelined for the greater good of humanity, federalism has been accepted in principle.
Political parties have voted for every single proposition unanimously, so what is this new type of consensus trying to deliver?
I understand that it is about peace and the constitution, following which Nepal would be a first world country and the same set of politicians would be the paragons of liberal-democratic order, who agree about everything.
But if you were to ignore all the details only then would you arrive at a conclusion that all it requires is "common sense" to agree on the idea that a national government of all parties, which would agree on everything, is needed.
13 AUG 2011 | 10:42 AM NST
The liberal-democratic order is all of the wordl capitalism, the contrary of social and economic justice. The government of professionals should only lead to a ordinary capitalism in Nepal, again under cotrol of a capitalist class with the assistance of reactionare ideology of hinduism an as a puppet-state of the US-Imperialism and his allies. The fighters of the PLA should not have guns in the hands but the army of the cirminal royal regime in the surpressing war against the people should have all the weapons for new crimes against the people, so dreams the rectionary class in Nepal in order to prepare their privilegs. But I hope that the forces of revolution in Nepal are not so silly.
14 AUG 2011 | 5:51 PM NST
@ #5- There are no true 'revolutionary forces' in Nepal; the Maoists only seek to impose a variant of capitalism by their political ascendancy. Anyone who reads their official economic programme can verify that; Chinese-style SEZs which restrict workers' rights and intensify exploitation, encouraging foreign investment from the major 'imperialist powers' they pretend to oppose etc. The only conflict with other parties is that the Maoists prefer to dispense with the parliamentary route to power if allowed to - but India will prevent this as Indian diplomacy and political control operates via the parliamentary arena.
It should also be clear by now that any popular mandate the Maoists had or still have is for reform rather than revolution - otherwise 'the masses' would have long ago been led to attempt a revolution. The Maoists' firepower is a fading myth - that's why the intense and tortuous political parliamentary conflicts are the real focus of struggle now.
14 AUG 2011 | 3:46 AM NST
We as a Nepali should be more concerned with the fact that our growing neighbor India has played down our right for democracy and our love for monarchy. It is the only e-force that has brought our country to our knees. Its influence in our politics and politicians are never ending. And as it grows we are being stepped on.
It might be inappropriate to write this but the Nepalese Congress are the evil and a puppet of the Indian Government. Like Sikkim lost its independence in the 1975, we Nepali are prone to a similar faith if the Nepalese give the power to the dogs of India.
Our land (Unmarked Southern Borders) are being merged to the India land and No-one in the politics has ever raised this issue.
All I pray for is a new generation of leader to come out and forge for the independence of Nepal from India. And to establish a good neighbor policy with its other neighbor such as China.
We as a Nepali each and everyone from the North of the Himalaya to the South of Terrai should remember that we are loosing our Identity as we are.
Its time to cut the crap of consensus !!
15 AUG 2011 | 4:14 PM NST
8. Arthur Deep #6, both you and #5 share the same misunderstanding. Capitalism in Nepal requires a revolution, not just "reform". Nepal is still semi-feudal. Capitalism would be a huge advance. You might as well join #5 in condemning the British, French and American revolutions as mere "reforms" because they were bourgeois revolutions.
There is an obvious contradiction between your claims that the Maoists prefer to dispense with parliament and that intense parliamentary conflicts are the focus now. This confirms that they have successfully combined armed struggle and parliamentary struggle in exercising communist leadership in the new democratic revolution.
15 AUG 2011 | 5:22 PM NST
Why expend the uprising of a maoist PLA in India ? Because of the restrict workers` and common peoples`rights and the intensify of exploitation in this country. The parlamentary route is the great fraud. In India rules a capitalist class. The Newspaper, broadcasts and televisionstation belong to more as 90 % very rich persons, in the parliament in New Dehli over 240 are billionars ! The social gap between rich and poor is very bigger as in China. Extrem poverty, malnutrition is in China by far less as in India. China is the most successfull country in the world in the last 30 years ! The path of development in China has improve the livingstandard of the people more as in other developing states e.g. India. All the anticommunist propaganda against China and the maoists in Nepal comes from the ruling class in such states of capitalism as India and the fear of the loss of privilegs e.g. the exploitation of workers. India have support the criminal regime of the king in Nepal and his war against the people and want a continuous hegemony about Nepal whereas China doesn`t interfere in Nepals internal affairs. This is the real true, but this Newspaper is one of the upper class, this shows the other comments.
15 AUG 2011 | 5:26 PM NST
Dear all, Should we not be analyzing the situation instead of being a very critic.Thanks to all being analytical of the political turmoil of Nepal. We all who regard ourselves as a very think-tank ,does it not become our responsibility to advocate an independent ,most likely a success track ideology without being a bigot.
Just think about it, if anyone has a fail safe idea of getting success without being affected by foreign politics; be a leader. However , very sad , there is not such a thing.
I think we all are missing the meaning of " politics "
15 AUG 2011 | 8:04 PM NST
@ Arthur #8; it's your misunderstanding (fed by western pro-Maoist mythology and clumsy Nepali leftist analysis) that Nepal is a "semi-feudal" economy. It is a relatively weak and industrially undeveloped capitalism, but capitalism nevertheless. Most of the countryside is, and has long been, populated by smallholders alongside some larger estates - not by landless serfs bearing any resemblance to medieval Euro-peasants! Millions of young Nepalis are also integrated into global capitalism as migrant workers who send back remittance - savings that help fuel the real estate boom. There is also a well developed international tourist industry. So it is the global capitalist economy that is economically revolutioning Nepal, not empty rhetoric about abolishing non-existent "feudalism".
It is your miscomprehension, not any contradiction, in my saying that Maoists would prefer to dispense with parliamentary procedure but that India will not allow it - hence the present focus on parliamentary intrigues.
Your argument amounts to - the Maoists, as surrogate (or actual?) bourgeoisie, must intensify the exploitation of the working classes (eg, via SEZs!) - to build 'communism'! Poor Karl would weep at the bastardisation that goes on in his name...
16 AUG 2011 | 5:32 AM NST
12. Arthur Deep #11, semi-feudalism is not the same as feudalism. The capitalism that does exist in Nepal is relatively weak and industrially undeveloped as you say. That is because of the semi-feudalism.
The global capitalist economy is certainly a factor in economically revolutionizing Nepal and will continue to be under Maoist leadership. Should they instead act like the Rana regime in preserving feudal backwardness by maintaining isolation from the rest of the world?
India is far more capitalist than Nepal but also has a lot of semi-feudalism. Its influence in Nepal reflects the weakness of Nepal's semi-feudal parties rather than any strength of India. Democratic politics, whether bourgeois or proletarian, cannot depend on a foreign power.
Karl certainly did agree that the workers class were more exploited under capitalism where they produced a substantial surplus accumulated by capitalists than under feudalism where only a miserable surplus was produced and wasted by feudal rulers instead of being accumulated. Nepal is so miserably backward that instead of exploiting workers and accumulating the semi-feudal elite lives of foreign aid that was intended to develop some capitalism.
Karl also agreed that the naked exploitation of "free trade" had revolutionary implications by speeding up constant change, while the conservative "protectionism" (like the license Raj in India and Nepal) aimed at preserving things as they are.
Anti-capitalist rhetoric is a rather pathetic excuse for siding with the openly anti-revolutionary parties against the revolutionary party that you claim is not anti-capitalist enough for you.
16 AUG 2011 | 10:31 PM NST
13. John Kelleher
>> "You can fight for infinity, but you need one moment of sanity for consensus." --Lal Dhoj
A deliciously ironic quip from a man who waged war against the nation and people of Nepal for 10 years, and whose bad-tempered yapping against the Army and Courts helped steer the Dahal Cabinet into a premature grave.
Here's to the republic's next prime minister: may he get all that he deserves, and may I live to see it!
18 AUG 2011 | 5:19 AM NST
14. Vija Srestha
Exactly,ironicly chosen ,without understanding its real meaning and ironicly used to rectify,justify oneself. But as they say,what goes around ,comes around.People try to bottle up themselves for years,for some it takes a whole life ,then in one moment of sanity it flows out and we have an example ,a tragedy of an individual in front of our eyes.However,I wish Mr.Bhattarai would read and realize and we would accept his appology if it was sincere,but then again,he has no power to stand up for himself and Dahal only needs his brain as Dahal believes in muscles and he is got thenm under the name PLA .
18 AUG 2011 | 12:18 PM NST
15. gorkha babu
for the logically end of peace process,the consensus goverment is only one means to solve the all the peace related issue.But the question arriges who should lead the govement. there is still douth about the maoist motives behind the peace and domocratic constituation. they have no any credibility about their voice and aggrement .Till now there are so many aggrement had been done but never in working process. Maoist have understood that without controlling the Nepal army they could not hold the power so they are always attacking against the army .The major party must think about that motives behind maoist .i always support the maoist to lead the goverment but they must change their mind and must understand the system army running there ranking system.
18 AUG 2011 | 7:51 PM NST
16. Deep @ Arthur #12; So whoever criticises Maoists is "siding with the openly anti-revolutionary parties"?! That is feeble - and a typical totalitarian mentality. Nepali Maoism is pseudo-revolutionary because it aims to develop capitalism - ie, intensified exploitation of the poor - under the mystified terminology of marxist categories. There is no historical period of "semi-feudalism". Maoists point to structural remnants of feudalism to pretend so - to create the illusion that they are ushering in a new progressive historical era. But, eg, the UK retains a monarchy, a House of Lords and folk dancing - that does not make the UK semi-feudal! What you call the "semi-feudal" parties in Nepal have largely been advocating a capitalist parliamentary democracy since the 1950s! That they have been largely incompetent in developing an effective national industrial base doesn't make them any less capitalist. As previously explained, the Nepali economy is not at all based on class relationships of lords and serfs - nor on semi-lords and semi-serfs! It is merely a weaker component in global capitalism, but increasingly integrated via tourism, migrant workers, foreign aid etc.
Most revealingly, you don't even deny that the Maoist capitalist-building program and goals, if achieved, will necessarily mean the intensified exploitation of the poor. No, the Maoists aren't "anti-capitalist" at all - quite the opposite, as their own program indisputably shows. Any illusions that Maoist bosses would be better than any others would soon be dissolved by workers' experience. The Maoists want to sell the Nepali working class as ultra-cheap labour to foreign ('imperialist') investors in their proposed SEZs.
19 AUG 2011 | 6:10 AM NST
1.Today the major parties are negotiating with each other for the consensus government. There were three government had already failure to solve the major problem of peace, stability and democratic constitution. It is 100 percent sure that, with out the involvement of major parties in the same government could not able to full fill major goal of peace. Dr Baburam, he is one of the intellectual person of the country. Every body believes that if he would lead the government, he could do some thing for the country, for the people and for the long term peace. But the question comes whether the master mind of Maoist insurgency, Mr prachanda could support till last moment in order to achieve his goal?. Mr kiran, follower of the 19 century mentality and following the world dissolve principle, I,e communism will support him for peace and stability? Mr kiran , he is failure person in the party leadership but always behind fighting with Mr prachanda in order to make the prachanda failure in party leadership and also "wants to catch the fish in dirty water". As a student of political science, I strongly support Mr baburam to lead the government with concrete solution of peace and stability. I request you to come up with your plan for peace and stability in country so that every one convince your proposal and support you for the consensus government.
2.Regarding the PLA integration and rehabilitation you must give your view and must study the system army running. If you try to do like prachanda 100 percent sure you must be failure in your leadership. A person killing the innocent people, fighting with national army in the name of so called people,s right and roming in jungle and collecting illegal tax could be the national army?. As you supreme already declared that you have only 6 to 7 thousand fighters, then how you demand for other who are staying inside the camp in the name of PLA?. Question come about your credibility and your vision whether Maoist are really the wants to make new Nepal or always fighting against the parties to hold the center power. There are so many issue regarding the ranking system of PlA is coming.
3. As I study in the Army wave side there are so many ranking system in Nepal army , a soldier will be promoted up to sergeant after 12 to 16 years of service and during his service he had completed so many training. similarly Jamdar and Subdhar after 16 to 20 year sevice and he/she must passed SLC but I want to asked question Maoist master mind Prachanda, how your fighter will manage the ranking system?.If you talk about the officer rank a person who is far from politic can be illegible for the Army. but a cader who is politically indoctrinated could be possible to join in army?. If study about the system of rank a leutinenant will be promoted up to Lt Col after 20 year of service and he must passed the Staff college . Then think above post whether it is possible ?If we study about the pass rate of staff college in the world India 13%,UK 15%, USA 15 to 17% ,Nepal 17% and so on. So I want to ask question to the most intellectual person of Nepal Mr Baburam, future PM how can you say that you cadre should be integrated in higher rank? I request all the political leader to study thoroughly about the system of Army in the world, positive and negative impact of the politically indoctrinated cadre integration. Please go through the African integration problem and time again military Coe after integration. Maoist are behind the South African Integration system but must study the scenario of Nepal and SA. Finally I wish Mr Baburam for the success to achieve the goal.
19 AUG 2011 | 8:33 AM NST
18. Arthur Deep #16, "But, eg, the UK retains a monarchy, a House of Lords and folk dancing - that does not make the UK semi-feudal! "
Sorry, but I really cannot be bothered arguing at this level.
21 AUG 2011 | 10:04 PM NST
19. Deep @ Arthur #18; why stop now? That's the level of 'logic' you've been using so far... (Convenient way of avoiding all my other points too.)
22 AUG 2011 | 6:07 AM NST
Considering the official history of Maoism, it's also ironic that Kamred Arthur argues the necessity for the Maoists to develop capitalism - when Mao and the Gang of Four are still revered by naive western pro-Maoists as being the defenders of 'communism' against the deviations of the "capitalist roaders" who diverted China away from its supposedly revolutionary path. But it's always been a fundamental characteristic of Maoism that history is opportunistically airbrushed, whitewashed and rewritten according to the immediate needs of the Party and its 'line'.
01 SEPT 2011 | 5:57 AM NST
21. Arthur Deep #20. Still fuming a week later?!?
It is pointless complaining that Maoists oppose restoring capitalism in a socialist country at the same time as they support (initially) developing capitalism in a semi-feudal country.
Also advocates that people should avoid being exploited by capitalism by remaining peasants or unemployed are not generally called "Communist" or any kind of "leftist". A neutral term would be "reactionary", though "idiot" is perhaps more common.
If you want to debate, pick a current article next week.
But please make up your mind whether you wish to pretend to be opposing Maoists from the "left" or openly attacking from the right.
01 SEPT 2011 | 4:56 PM NST
Unlike yours, my mind is not limited to the pretences of left or right wing versions of capitalism as the only choice. Therefore I don't advocate that the poor accept exploitation in class society- whether by Maoist bosses or any other capitalist bosses. Whereas you do advocate that - ironically, as a (pseudo)socialist/communist measure!! Now that's "reactionary", if not "idiotic".
Consequently, I don't agree that the bureaucratic state capitalism of Maoist China was socialist. Strange that so many of the most loyal veteran Party leaders, often praised by Mao as his closest comrades, were then revealed during the various purges by he and his faction after 20-30 years to have always been secret 'capitalist roaders' all along! Strange that they had all survived at the heart of the (pseudo)communist party for so long, all through the construction of so-called socialism!
02 SEPT 2011 | 11:20 PM NST
Deep #22, there is nothing strange about the fact that people who joined together to overthrow feudalism and imperialism in China divided between those who only wanted to build capitalism and those who wanted to keep going to socialism and communism.
Your mind is so "not limited" that you join the chorus against even getting rid of semifeudalism. While your "mind" opposes exploitation under capitalsm you join the chorus of semifeudals wanting to keep the poor "less exploited" on less than $2 per day (which leaves hardly any surplus for their exploiters) instead of "more exploited" on $20 per hour (which would leave the very small minority of big exploiters far more both absolutely and relatively).
Now that is "strange". Your hostility to any consensus for moving Nepal out of its cesspit fits far better with those who don't bother pretending they side with the poor against "bosses".
03 SEPT 2011 | 7:17 AM NST
Arthur#23; "...those who wanted to keep going to socialism and communism." Make your mind up. You had already said above (#21) Chinese Maoists were opposing"restoring capitalism in a socialist country" - ie, it was already a socialist country - now you say it was only 'on its way' to socialism. Regardless, a 'socialist' regime with so many of its leading members, long praised as loyal communists, as Mao's closest allies - then after 30 years suddenly they're exposed as always having been 'capitalist roaders'? Laughable and ridiculous, and only explained by factional power battles within the Party elite.
We are asked to believe that when post-maoist China develops capitalism it is counter-revolution, but when Nepali Maoists do it - it's revolutionary. How confusing for the poor workers - the different ways of justifying their exploitation are quite bewildering...
None of what you say - inevitably - disputes that you support one set of capitalist bosses (who call themselves Maoist) over other rival bosses. The "consensus" you support is a capitalist one of a coalition govt comprised of Maoists in alliance with other capitalist parties. Such irony; you constantly amalgamate anyone who criticises Maoism for its capitalist program with - duh, other capitalist parties. This reveals your blind spot - you are misdirected, you think because the name is different, the programme is. But the Maoist party is as capitalist as the rest. Its enthusiasm for SEZs alone proves that. Your real resentment is that I point out that glaring contradiction in your politics.
I already disputed the claims of "semi-feudalism"; capitalist Nepal is underdeveloped and certain improvements in social conditions for the poor (eg, health) are already being made - this occurs in most developing countries eventually regardless of Maoist presence. But working class emancipation is self-emancipation - it doesn't come via exploitation by capitalists or their concessions (welcome as they may be when wrestled from bosses and state) - or from capitalist parties claiming to represent it while exploiting it within class society. The Maoist rank'n'file have long been complaining about the accumulated riches of the Party leaders - the abolition of class exploitation means the abolition of class society; the wealthy political elite of the Maoists are as much an obstacle to that as any other elite. The self activity and struggles of the Nepali poor will necessarily conflict with the capitalist programme of the Maoists - that is inevitable.
The conditions in, eg, Chinese and Bangladeshi SEZs are often horrific. Your figure of $20 an hour for SEZ wages is a pure fantasy; in Bangladesh SEZs the actual minimum wage is $40 a month! (See here; http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4020) The unions advocate setting it at $72 a month - none remotely close to your invention - and even the $72 is no great improvement on the less than $2 a day you quote as the Nepali average. Yet this is what you support as supposedly helping build socialism!!! (If that's all 'socialism' can offer many might prefer almost any other available choices.)
According to 'socialist' Arthur's logic if there are strikes in the proposed SEZs he should oppose them and support their repression; as the bosses, by their exploitation, are helping build communism - and striking workers, by resisting their own exploitation, would be hindering it! Will they be sent to the Nepali Gulag for 'opposing socialist construction', as occurred in other pseudo-socialist regimes no doubt defended by the likes of Kamred Arthur? If there is ever a revolution of the poor in Nepal it would have to be against the Maoists as much as other parties - and quickly extend beyond narrow national boundaries. The assumption (shared by all elites) that the poor masses of Asia are incapable of organising their collectives lives to their collective benefit is patronising, most of all when claimed by 'socialists'.
03 SEPT 2011 | 6:17 PM NST
25. Arthur Deep #24, you have not taken up my suggestion to debate in a current article (where others might read and join in) so I will only respond very briefly:
1. History does not come to an end. People who overthrow the old do not always go further. But others pick up the struggle and revolution is permanent. There is no such thing as a "final" utopia. What you find "laughable and ridiculous" is in fact the history of every great social change. Your cynicism is the cynicism of slavishly accepting the impossibility of revolutionary change.
2. Obviously the present coalition with the Madheshi parties and the intended wider national unity government including Congress and UMLs is not a coalition for socialism but only a coalition for capitalism - more specifically for "peace and constitution". Nobody could pretend otherwise so there is nothing "left" about you pointing out the obvious.
3. Equally obviously such a national unity government is a necessary step forward. Nepal does actually need "peace and constitution". Opposing that necessary step forward by claiming you want to take a bigger step forward leaves you stuck together with those who simply don't want to move forward at all.
4. Yes, working class emancipation is self-emancipation and must include struggle against capitalists pretending to be Maoists. Remaining stuck in the present cesspit is not conducive to self=emancipation.
5. I mentioned that wages of $20 per hour (in developed capitalist countries) leave a surplus for exploiters many times that (say $40 per hour) so obviously there is greater exploitation than can be obtained from landless peasants on less than $2 per day (from whom it would be difficult to exploit even $1 per day). Neverthelss workers prefer this greater exploitation than living in a cesspit on $2 per day. If you still cannot understand that I cannot explain it to you.
6. Even SEZ's where conditions will be much worse than in developed capitalist countries will still attract landless peasants because the conditions are a vast improvement on living in a cesspit.
7. But they will of course also result in intense struggle against exploitation, including revolution against any parties that try to suppress the struggle.
8. Whether the Maoist party remains revolutionary or degenerates as other revolutionary parties have done is a matter for future struggle. Your rejection of any ACTUAL progress is a matter already established in the present where you side with those trying to keep Nepalis in the cesspit by opposing "peace and constitution".
04 SEPT 2011 | 9:05 AM NST
Arthur#25; "you side with those trying to keep Nepalis in the cesspit by opposing "peace and constitution".
No, it's you who side with the capitalist parties, now governmentally led by Maoists, who seek to intensify the exploitation of the poor - the present agreed framework for that is the "peace and constitution" you seek. So you are a reformist under a more 'radical' label; you confuse reforms that develop capitalism and may throw some crumbs to the exploited as somehow 'radical'/'revolutionary'. You, like the Maoist party, inhabit the left wing of the bourgeois democratic process; I reject mistaking "the actual progress" of this bourgeois Party as an advance for the Nepali poor - any real gains made by the poor will be won by their own struggles against their workplace bosses and their state bosses. Whoever administers the capitalist mode of production, it can only function as a mode of exploitation - of one class by another. The Maoists are now administrators.
Your narrow misconceptions offer only two options for the poor; capitalism under a Maoist-led flag or under some other. But those are not the only possible choices, no matter how much you try to Stalinisticly amalgamate all opposing and widely differing views.
As for generalising about peasant and Nepali conditions as "cesspits" - I suggest you take a look at the slums conditions of SEZ workers in Bangladesh;
This is what you advocate as "progress" and part of 'building socialism'!!
04 SEPT 2011 | 5:32 PM NST
Deep #26, thank you for the links. I watched both videos. The first especially shows workers, learning to struggle against their enemies. Even you should that is progress. The second, from PLAN has more of a "poor victims" approach which you might prefer.
Both videos confirm that it really matters what kind of party administers capitalism in countries like Bangladesh and Nepal. Any party will be constrained by the material realities of supplying cheap labor to the capitalist world market. But the semifeudal parties ruling Bangladesh will obviously repress the workers struggles more viciously and force them to put up with worse conditions.
Certainly the real gains will be made by the workers own struggle but it is well established that those who seek to confine it to purely economic struggles against bosses are leaving the political power of the bosses to "administer" untouched.
Refusing to become administrators means leaving the present administrators in charge. They hate Maoists for not just letting them continue to rule and you hate Maoists for EXACTLY the same reason.
04 SEPT 2011 | 8:54 PM NST
"I watched both videos. The first especially shows workers, learning to struggle against their enemies. Even you should that is progress." One might just as well argue that giving people a disease is 'progressive' as it helps them learn how to struggle against it! Despite your pseudo-socialism, you have no concept of the possibility of any society beyond capitalism, as a result of working class self-emancipation. You just prefer Maoist bosses rather than their rivals.
"The second, from PLAN has more of a "poor victims" approach which you might prefer." It's yourself who has massively over-generalised in a patronising way about Nepalis living in "cesspits".
"... those who seek to confine it to purely economic struggles against bosses are leaving the political power of the bosses to "administer" untouched." Correct - and that is why the Nepali poor will eventually be compelled to struggle against their Maoist bosses.
As a Nepali elsewhere on this site said;
9. Man Tamang For a person like me, it does not matter who becomes the PM, be it from NC, UML, Maoists or from any other fringe parties. They will appoint their own lot to look after their interest only. My lot will continue to be neglected and marginalised until a time comes when we are compelled to choose the same path that Prachanda and Baburam took about a decade and a half ago. No efforts have been made by successive governments to integrate our lot into the mainstream. We lost so many lives and time in the Maoists bloody revolution and now it looks like all was for their own lot only. Not for us.
The above has all the clarity you lack; the political elite disagree about political strategy and rivalry - but all collectively defend the economic fruits and riches of their hierarchical power, derived from their ruling position in class society.
All you can prescribe - as progressive socialism!! - is the misery of slums and horrific factory conditions, while the Maoist politicians get fatter and richer. Yet SEZs and the legislation aiding their implementation were planned and enacted by the Nepali ruling class long before the Maoists were ever in govt. - so they are only following the general programme of the wider bourgeois ruling class; of which they are now clearly a part.
All the blood of the guerrilla "martyrs" has achieved nothing but the enrichment and career advancement of the Maoist Party elite.
"They hate Maoists for not just letting them continue to rule and you hate Maoists for EXACTLY the same reason." Anyone who bothers to read what I've actually said can see how absurd your fantasy claim above is; this only shows 1) your very limited comprehension - or 2) you're reduced to such feeble attempts at distortion in the absence of any more credible response. Or both... As I've repeatedly showed, it is the views of YOU and your Maoist idols - not I - who share the capitalist program of the rest of your comrades in the ruling class.
04 SEPT 2011 | 2:14 AM NST
29. Arthur Deep #28, your "anti-capitalist" sneering is quite transparent. If you were more leftist than the Maoists as you claim, then you would be joining together with other leftists proposing some specific program.
Since Nepal is politically polarised at present around an agenda set by the Maoists, you would have to take a stand on that agenda (eg like Matrika Yadav, claiming to be more true to that agenda). You could not end up on the same side as the anti-Maoist parties, so you would have to end up in at least a tacit and "critical" alliance with the Maoists.
But you are nothing like Matrika Yadav or any other genuine (even if mistaken) leftist. Your attack on the Maoists is in EXACTLY the same terms as the typical "mandaale" ranting about "gangsters, looters etc" - just a sneer that they will prove no better than the present rulers. There is nothing anti-capitalist about your cynicism. It fits perfectly into the Nepali Times milieu.
05 SEPT 2011 | 12:01 AM NST
30. Deep Arthur#29; "Your attack on the Maoists is in EXACTLY the same terms as the typical "mandaale" ranting about "gangsters, looters etc" - just a sneer that they will prove no better than the present rulers." I've never mentioned here the 'gangsterism' or 'looting' of Maoists or other parties, though they've all indulged in it. I have pointed out that the Maoists share essentially the same economic development program as the rest of the Nepali ruling class, ie SEZs - as stated in the Maoists' original election manifesto - with the same exploitative consequences for the working class. Being a loyal Maoist devotee, you - LIKE THE NEPALI RULING CLASS - support that same programme.
Your repetitive response, to just pretend that all who criticise Maoists really share the same conservative views, only exposes the weakness of your own position and your inability to provide any concrete reply to my arguments. Any sane person reading my comments above - and comparing them with others you try to amalgamate them with - can see how desperate your attempted distortion is.
All the parliamentary participants are capitalist party rackets; just because you can't see the possibility of historical change and (despite your pseudo-marxism) of class struggle occurring outside, beyond, independently of and against such an arena, doesn't mean that many historical examples don't disprove such narrow-mindedness. There is widespread disillusionment in Nepal about the selfishness and greed of politicans across the spectrum, from left to right - eventually they will deservedly reap what they've sown.
Even within the tiny minority that make up naive western pro-maoists, poor Arthur is now a minority; most of them are now increasingly disillusioned with the Party's present policy of disarmament, seeing it as a right turn away from the supposedly 'glorious armed revolution'. Your pseudo-radical fantasies are crumbling and all you're left with to support from the sidelines is what at present increasingly begins to look like a parody of a 1960s-70s parliamentary leftish social-democratic or Euro-'communist' party.
09 SEPT 2011 | 4:31 AM NST
Deep #29 "There is widespread disillusionment in Nepal about the selfishness and greed of politicans across the spectrum, from left to right - eventually they will deservedly reap what they've sown."
You seem content to share exactly the same "widespread disillusionment" as the rest of the Nepali Times milieu.
You are NOT engaged in any actual "anti-capitalist" struggle in Nepal but simply echoing EXACTLY the same cynicism as the rest.
Nepali Times expresses this world outlook of yours, not because they wish to skip past capitalism but because simple cynical disillusionment helps preserve the status quo. The selfish and greedy will reap what they have sown in Nepal because others are NOT just disillusioned and cynical like you.
If I believed that Nepal could leap to a post-capitalist society without passing through a period of capitalist development I would be suffering from what you call "pseudo-radical fantasies".
Nothing you have said suggests you actually believe it would be possible either. You have no such "pseudo-radical fantasies" yourself, but simply shout about capitalism as a convenient excuse for doing nothing against the present rulers.
You prefer Nepal to go through its period of capitalist development with its present rulers still holding it back, but would like to think of yourself as somehow a leftist rather than just like any other Nepali Times cynic.
It is of course possible that the Maoists could become just another "1960s-70s parliamentary leftish social-democratic or Euro-'communist'. party."
Or they could even become just another semi-feudal party like the UMLs and Kangresis, or a social fascist party as in China.
Only future struggles will decide the outcome.
Failure to actually carry out initial capitalist development, including foreign direct investment and SEZs replacing "aid" would certainly mean they had not even risen to the level of the social-democrats and Eurocommunists but had remained just as dependent on donors as the "socialist" Kangresis and "Marxist-Leninist" UMLs.
If I found myself in agreement with the "naive western pro-maoists" I would be worried, since they evidently understand nothing about either Nepal or revolution.
I find it comforting that you are in agreement with them. But since you know that they understand nothing at all, I would have thought you would be little less smug about that.
10 SEPT 2011 | 5:31 PM NST
Arthur #31 "You ... simply shout about capitalism as a convenient excuse for doing nothing against the present rulers.
You prefer Nepal to go through its period of capitalist development with its present rulers still holding it back, but would like to think of yourself as somehow a leftist rather than just like any other Nepali Times cynic."
I have some news for you, Arthur; "the present rulers" of Nepal are (as much as anyone) the Maoists ï¿½ they head the government. And it is you who is supporting them and their capitalism - and so "doing nothing" against them.
As for the rest, you only repeat the same absurd claims that all who oppose the Maoists do so for the same reasons.
And you're wrong again; as should be obvious from all I've said I don't agree with your "naivewestern pro-maoists" pals ï¿½ as I am against state capitalist ideologies like Maoism. But again you desperately pretend that all who disagree with your pro-capitalism do so for the same reasons. What an obviously weak response that continues to be.
As for claiming a supposed 'necessity' for capitalist development in Nepal; if history shows anything, it is that national 'revolutions' (and the Maoists in Nepal haven't even achieved an actual successful revolution of any kind) are only developments in successive forms of exploitation as the forms of class domination evolve. But 'the workers have no homeland' ï¿½ as someone claiming to be a 'Marxist' should know ï¿½ and their revolution would necessarily be international, having to confront an international oppressor class unified by challenges to its rule. The fate of the proletariat within one national border is ultimately inextricably linked to the fate of all others in any true anti-capitalist struggles; there will be no sustainable overthrow of capital within the confines of capital's national borders. So anti-capitalism in our era would not be the development or seizure of national states/economies, but necessarily an evolving global social transformation against the hierarchical power and separations of the ruling class, including its states and borders. (Of course these kind of comments are typical of what Nepali Times commenters here usually say against the Maoists, right?!)
The role of the Maoists in Nepal ï¿½ their incorporation into the ruling class and their happy administration of capitalist exploitation - are only further evidence of the futility of seeing anything 'anti-capitalist' in such strategies. Unfortunately, you apparently don't have the ability to grasp that pretending you're expressing anti-capitalist solidarity with Nepali workers by supporting Maoist-promoted SEZs is really a sick and crazy counter-revolutionary delusion.
11 SEPT 2011 | 5:36 AM NST
1. Heading government is not same as being present rulers. Maoists are still not in power.
2. It is obvious that you agree with "naive Western pro-Maoists" that Maoists "at present increasingly begins to look like a parody of a 1960s-70s parliamentary leftish social-democratic or Euro-'communist' party".
3. "... there will be no sustainable overthrow of capital within the confines of capital's national borders. So anti-capitalism in our era would not be the development or seizure of national states/economies, but necessarily an evolving global social transformation against the hierarchical power and separations of the ruling class, including its states and borders. (Of course these kind of comments are typical of what Nepali Times commenters here usually say against the Maoists, right?!) "
No, although you have hinted at your trotskyism before, previously you have only made it obvious that you do not actually believe it is possible for Nepal to skip a capitalist stage of development at the same time that you denounce Maoists for openly saying so. Your rant above makes it clear that your excuse for standing actively on the same side as other Nepali Times commentators in opposition to the Maoists is that you, unlike them, are supposed to have some mystical believe in "an evolving global social transformation". Frankly I find those who proclaim their mystical beliefs in Hinduism more sincere.
4. I think you have been given an adequate opportunity to expose the absurdity of your beliefs and am unlikely to respond to further illustrations of that absurdity in this thread.
12 SEPT 2011 | 5:45 AM NST
Arthur #33; "1. Heading government is not same as being present rulers. Maoists are still not in power." So heading the government is not ruling in any way?! Arthur's dictionary is rewitten every day, re-adapted to every new argument. However you define it, the "power" and "rule" the Maoists have now is as much as they're ever likely to be allowed to get.
"No, although you have hinted at your trotskyism before, previously you have only made it obvious that you do not actually believe it is possible for Nepal to skip a capitalist stage of development at the same time that you denounce Maoists for openly saying so. ï¿½you ï¿½ have some mystical believe in "an evolving global social transformation"."
Your awareness of the diversity of radical critique is clearly ver narow. But if I was anything remotely resembling a Trotskyist I would've been explicit that I was. My arguments are clearly too subtle and complex for you to grasp. I expressed no "belief" in "an evolving global social transformation", but stated it was what was necessary for any future sustained anti-capitalist achievement. But thanks for making it explicit that your brand of 'socialism' is nationalist (regardless of any token lip service paid to internationalism).
If you'd read what I said previously, you'd see drom the start I've been clear that Nepal is already in "a capitalist stage of development", rather than the mythical "semi-feudalism" claimed by Maoists.
The real mysticism is your belief that building capitalism - ie, extending the exploitation of the poor - is building communism!!
"I ï¿½am unlikely to respond ï¿½further ï¿½ in this thread."
Good idea - instead why not buy some shares in a Nepali SEZ business (probably with some child labour) and pretend you're 'investing in socialism'?! Or, as a real act of worker solidarity, invest in some landlord real estate for the slum housing those SEZ workers will need?! Or, like your Maoist heroes, just become a 'communist' capitalist to hurry up the supposedly 'inevitable' and 'necessary' historical process!!!