Friday, October 4, 2013

Haunted by a Red Spectre - Dark Forces threaten Nepal by Peter Tobin

“That is why a visionary who has armed force on his side has always won, while unarmed even your visionary is always a loser.”
(Machiavelli, The Prince, 1613, p.23, Penguin ed.)

“One of the things historians admired about the Achaean leader Philopoemen was that even in peacetime he thought of nothing but military strategy and when he was in the country with his friends he would stop and ask them: if the enemy were over that hill and we were down here with our army, who would be in the better position? How could we attack them without breaking ranks? If we decided to retreat, how would we do it? And as he and his friends went along he would list all the predicaments an army can find itself in. He listened to their ideas, expressed and explained his own; so much so that, thanks to his constant work of mental preparation that when he was back leading his armies there was simply nothing that could happen that he didn’t know how to deal with.”(ibid: p 59)


(Notes from underground)


The international line-up against the Nepalese Maoists boycott of the scheduled November 19th election has already taken shape. This week the European Union (EU) ‘missions’ in Nepal condemned the successful one-day general strike (banda) called by the 33 party alliance led by the CPN (Maoist) and urged them to desist from agitations: “which disrupt people’s daily life.”

Parties to this statement were; Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the UK plus Norway and Switzerland; all expressing ‘serious concerns’ over the effect of the banda in the Kathmandu Valley and nine eastern districts of Nepal. They furthermore stated that the ‘bandh culture is inhibiting Nepal’s investment prospects.’

The CPN (M) hit back directly, expressing anger this ‘meddling in Nepal’s internal affairs’ was a breach of diplomatic norms but because a critical mass of the political representatives of the Nepalese people were excluded from the corrupt political process which had delivered this kathit nirbaachan (so-called election) process they had no other peaceful option at their disposal.

This is a foretaste of what is to come in the propaganda war against the Maoists and their allies. The enemy has – on the face of it – a formidable array of powerful foreign states, the UN, international government and non-government organisations all focused on driving this election through.

The UN – in all its multitudinous manifestations - is mainly here to keep Nepal underdeveloped and aid dependent according to the imperatives of western monopoly interests and this case to wave a stick on as it imposes western ‘democratic.’ norms on possibly troublesome natives. The White Sahib now patronises as much as he terrorises. But it is same old imperial mindset, just tricked-out in Madison Avenue PC gloss. The White Man’s Burden de nos jours.


Therefore, we had last week the first batch of international observers arriving to subject the process to scrutiny. Representatives from the Carter Center and up to a 100 from the United Nations having already arrived; “to assess the pre-election environment”. Observers from the European Union and the Asian Network for Free Election (ANFREL) will be here in the next couple of weeks.

All of these international worthies and many indigenous ones will soon be granted accreditation prior to any monitoring taking place.

The Carter Center’s senior consultant – Peter Burleigh – has form. He ‘monitored’ the 2008 Constitutional Assembly as well, as part of a broader US strategy, orchestrated by the then American Ambassador – De Lisi – aimed at discrediting the election where the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN (M) had emerged as the largest party.

The allegation made was that the Maoists had won by intimidation, using the 300,000 strong Young Communist League (YCL) to enforce a victory. Hence the thuggish response this time to the boycott campaign was not surprising as the Centre in its report of October 1st , inter alia, urged the government to launch a police-crackdown on ‘anti-poll activities’ and gave full support to security services acting against: ‘illegal efforts to block the election process’.

 It further claimed that efforts to block voters registration were in breach of Article 9 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Therefore concluding that ‘incidents of intimidation, theft and destruction of ECN (election) materials’ violated these rights. Underlying how seriously sections of the international bourgeoisie are taking the boycott as they goad the Nepalese state repressive apparatus into attack mode.

ANFREL is a straightforward NGO ideological mechanism promoting western bourgeois ‘democratic’ practice in the patently unsuitable soil of the region. Its lofty mission statement claims it is all about ‘promoting electoral integrity’ and its founding member and ambassador emeritus is General Saiyud Kerdphol, retired Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces. (What a great world when a retired warrior from a feudal autocracy can undergo a Damascene conversion and become a force for equality and fair play.

He even gets the ultimate ‘honorary white-man’ accolade - a lofty Latin tag.) Its board of directors is fronted by regional worthies – including one from Nepal, Kapil Shrestha, from its National Election Observation Committee (NEOC) and all funding comes through United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

Therefore this time they are here – not just to monitor – but to enforce an election. They believe they have good reason to be confident in the ability of the security forces to meet any Maoist challenge. The Nepal Army, e.g. has swollen from less than 35000 before 2001 to nearly a 100,000 in 2013 mainly thanks to US dollars, training and logistical aid* and is complemented by para-militaries of the 35,000 strong Armed Police Force (APF). Plus the government has just been given permission to hire another 50,000 special extra cops in a show of overwhelming state power.

In total there will be 51 groups, 49 national and 2 international, accredited by the Election Committee deploying 74,000 observers covering 18,000 voting booths. The NEOC alone is providing 10,000 personnel.  The two international groups chosen and mentioned above are the Carter Center and ANFREL and the EC has also extended invitations to the EU and the UN.

The EC has said that it is setting minimum academic standards for national observers saying they should hold at least a high-school degree or have some experience in monitoring polls with local ones having at least a school leaving certificate.

* From previous page: (Although US arms began filtering arms through to  the then Royal Nepalese Army after 2002, subsequent to the Maoists being labeled ‘terrorists’ in the same category as Jihadis, even up to the 2006 ceasefire the average squaddie carried a bolt-action .303. Standard; issue now is the much-improved, modified and versatile M16 along with its carbine variant for Rangers and Special Forces battalions. With the UK providing also the Heckler & Koch SA 80s it is evidence that the army whatever its overall logistical problems till  now, has considerably enhanced its infantry firepower with modern bullpup weaponry.)

The minimum requirements for the extra police are similarly tailored to the work and preference will be shown to ex-servicemen as long as they do not have a police record, although a spokesman has said that: “The force does not necessarily have to be only ex-soldiers.” 

The proposed measures of all these domestic and foreign governments and organisations show they are aware that the forces supporting boycott are not negligible; at the political level the CPN-M alone has 92 delegates plus allies in smaller parties in the 491 strong CA, on the streets it has shown its strength with the cumulative wave of well-drilled marches and rallies organized by the People’s Volunteer Bureau (CPN-M youth wing), at a possible operational level the Party has retained the support of 70% of PLA veterans. Add to these factors the latest successful bandas unfolding across the country and consider that these are only preludes to the main campaign due to be launched next week and the fear in the ranks of the status quo is both palpable and explicable. It accounts for the huge military and political over-reaction and evidences a determination to see the electoral process through.

To some extent the Four-Party syndicate is a bystander in the unfolding drama as it squabbles – not only among its constituent parties but within the parties themselves as factions and clans jockey for political position and advantage. They are also divided by sotto voce by psephological prospects as to the actual election date and the scope for flexibility in trying to bring the CPN-M on board. It is not a monolithic front and the Maoists have exploited this fact in negotiations but whenever agreement has looked likely Dehli has directly intervened. The latest occasion last week when Dehli firmly squashed any suggestion of Regmi – the Chief Justice appointed as PM through Prachanda’s macinations – resigning in response to a CPN-M demand for a political administration. The Indian Foreign Secretary – Sujatha Singh – followed this up by stating to Koirala – the NC leader – in Katmandu that they must take place on the 19th November and that furthermore India would seal the border to curb: “unwanted elements.” (Himalayan, Sept.15th) This will involve open tactical cooperation with Nepali security forces.  


The huge security operation just announced will see deployed 62,000 Nepal Army as back-up, 54,000 police, 22,000 Armed Police Force and 44,000 temporary police operational at voting centres, with officials of these four security services cooperating with the Home Secretary and the Home Minister in an Integrated Security Plan. The government will further form central security and central command committees with devolved powers to the five regions and 75 districts. This has led to a drastic escalation of expected budgeted costs, rising from over Rs 8 billion originally demanded by the Home Minister from the Finance Ministry, to an amount that now could exceed Rs 14 billion. The increase solely attributable to pressure from the security services for an enhanced role.

This reflects a justifiable jitteriness – especially from the Army who know that among the ranks of CPN-Maoist are many tough, experienced political/military personnel who were at the forefront of the decade-long People’s War.

They are largely second-generation leaders who may have joined the PLA as teenagers and are now in their early forties. They have been influential in the setting-up of the People’s Volunteer Bureau – a proto-army that has been evident at the boycott marches and rallies.

This and their unflinching determination to stop the ballot mean they have the potential to wreck these electoral stratagems. If there is extensive government repression they know it could provoke armed conflict.

The Maoist leaders have not ruled this out and it is another worrying prospect for the NA command.

This scenario demonstrates the latent power of the Army as a decisive player in Nepalese political life, intervening now as forcefully as it did in the 2008 coup when it overthrew the infant Maoist-led government under Prachanda.
Here we see a supposed democratic function become usurped as a military/police operation. The election therefore has become subsidiary to security considerations as a tight-knit political/military cabal attempt to dictate the course of events up to and on election day, along with their foreign allies and advisers.

In this respect NA staff meet monthly with their American counterparts at the US embassy, Kathmandhu, at the Office for Defense Cooperation – OCD – convened under CINCPAC – US Commander-in-Chief – Pacific.

It reflects a growing ‘Egyptianisation’ of the NA, as its officer class and high command are integrated into the US industrial/military complex, building on links already established through Nepal’s comparatively high level of participation in UN ‘Peace-Keeping’ missions.

The US army provides extensive training programmes and has inducted the NA into – inter alia- counter-insurgency strategy and tactics. With the weaponry already alluded to, on paper, this makes it a much more professional force than the one which faced the PLA after the turn of the century There are however, geo-political constraints on the NA command as a recent US president  asserted that the US and PRC were “strategic competitors” in Nepal.

Given that Nepal has a strong national interest in seeing a strong China as a growing counterweight to its present neo-colonial subservience to India this gives little room for any blatant pro-American strategic maneuverings.

The subservience extends deeply into the military sphere, for all the US targeted aid, India is now resuming its role as the NA’s major supplier of arms and equipment and is now Nepal’s biggest military aid provider. This follows a long gap of eight years when India cut off aid in protest at King Gyanendra’s 2005 declaration of Emergency Rule under which the CA was dissolved and parties banned.

The timing of this resumption is no accident and is to bolster the 62,000 NA personnel being deployed and to help them mesh effectively with the police and other security forces in ensuring a trouble free election. The fact is that despite the targeted US military aid in officer training and light weaponry the army has been suffering from severe logistical deficiencies in basic equipment and has made several requests to the Indian government which hitherto have gone unanswered. Now New Delhi has resumed its role as Nepal’s major military aid provider and it has been prompted by the fact that the Maoist-led boycott creates uncertainty. It believes resumption will boost the chances of the army containing any violence and has assured to that end:

“All possible logistical support for the polls, including 764 vehicles at the cost Rupees 50 crores….The total value of equipment and other logistics to be supplied immediately was stated as Nepalese Rupees 1.76 billion.”

(Hindustan Times, October 3, 2013)
Back in August jeeps, buses and motorbikes began arriving; three drones have been acquired and Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) manufactured in Bangalore by Hindustan Aeronautics have been promised, all under the rubric: “Bilateral assistance in restructuring and capacity building”.

This is a sub-continental show of ‘machtpolitik’ showing that New Delhi is not only prepared to crush brutally internal Maoist revolt but will also intervene to defeat the same threat in Nepal. Therefore, each of Nepal’s present military partners has their own reasons for wanting Nepalese Maoism contained at least with respect to the boycott and hopefully extirpated at a later time.

It has to be containment as all elements in the cabal, domestic and foreign know that a bloodbath will tarnish the election unless it can be pinned on the Maoists. In this respect I mentioned in an earlier piece regarding the estimated 25,000 Indian security personnel (Research and Analysis Wing, RAW) in Kathmandu who may act as agents provocateurs providing the excuse for massive repression.  While obviously preferring quiescence they may have to consider switching tactics should the boycott be effective.

They also have to consider Chinese reaction given that the CPN-M is the only political party that is credibly pro-Chinese having made the estimate, mentioned earlier, that a strong China was in Nepal’s national interest and that vice versa an independent Nepal was in Chinese national interests, not wanting to see it either ‘Sikkimised’ by India or used a border fort by America as part of an encirclement strategy aimed at hobbling China. (The Chinese have earlier evidence of the latter given continuing US, CIA support for Lamist, Tibetan separatists.) 


Therefore the boycotters face a considerable security apparatus with the emerging modalities of a police-state. While in parallel there is a sustained, domestic, vitriolic, anti-Maoist campaign centring on the Kantipur media monopoly – a conglomerate with tentacles in press, TV and radio. As the date of the intended election draws nearer the indigenous propaganda machine will be supplemented by foreign media organizations; CNN, BBC, Al Jazera, NBC, SKY &c. They will send battalions of journos, reporters, photographers, cameramen, commentators, anchorman, presenters, ad nauseam and will be uniformly hostile towards the CPN-Maoist and the 33 party alliance’s boycott.

The local right-wing media has long portrayed the CPN-Maoists leadership as ‘dogmatic’ and ‘hardline’ and further worked itself into a state of hysteria at the effectiveness of the bandas. Incidents that could be magnified distorted or invented given prominence as part of a sustained campaign against boycott activists, particularly the Maoists. E.g. last week in Charikot when a group of bandists were attacked by a few local goondahs; the press unanimously declared this heralded popular resistance against ‘these anti-people activities’, with the Katmandu Post – part of the Kantipur media monopoly) opining that the Maoists had got: “the trashing they deserved”. 

I myself, inadvertently became a target for Kantipur for daring to give a message of solidarity with the boycott, from communists and progressives in Europe and the Americas, to a huge Dash Maoist rally the following week in the same town – Charikot – (in the Tamsaling  region which surrounds the Kathmandu Valley) and was labeled in Kantipur the next day, to paraphrase it, an ‘Irish trouble-maker’. Subsequently a police and army man-hunt has been launched for some alleged breach of electoral law and I write this after some days underground.

(CPN-Maoist boycott rally in Charikot, September 24th 2013. Programme included speeches from GS Badal, Dr Bishnu Hari Nepal, many local activists and I as foreign guest. It was Emceed by Party secretary, Prem Darnal, and also included music, dance and drama from the Party’s terrific young cultural troupe, Sanskriti Abhiyaan.

This shows two things; the first is that the countrywide search for a ‘Controversy stirrer Irish’ (sic) (Kathmandu Post, Sept. 26th ) arises from panic and secondly the double standards applying where a sole left-wing supporter of the boycott is pilloried and hounded while hordes of foreign right-wingers can descend and tell Nepalese why they should submit to a November 19th election and blasting the boycotters and the many Nepalese people they represent without any comment or action being taken. The Party’s International Department’s representative, Dr. Bishnu Hari Nepal pointed this out and called for Jimmy (‘No more Mr. Nice Guy) Carter to be charged similarly with meddling in Nepal’s affairs. (Kathmandu Post, September 27th).

Misinformation and black propaganda are familiar in countries where there is monopoly bourgeois control of all media outlets and which fashions ideological rottweilers en masse and habitually unleashes them, to denigrate progressive causes and demomise radical individuals.    In relation to Nepal this well-oiled attack machine is going to appear in even more concentrated and coordinated form when the foreign homologues of the local commentariat descend and the battlefield widens from the national to the international front.


“War hath determined us, and foil’d with loss 
Irreparable: terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given
To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted? And what peace can we return,
But, to our power, hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance and revenge though slow:
Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least
May reap his conquest and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?”

(Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 2, lines 330-40)

*After much discussion the Party adopted the title CPN-Maoist in order to distinguish itself from  Yadav’s CPN (Maoist) – an earlier breakaway from the UCPN (M) and they are now called the Dash Maoists in common parlance.

Despite this considerable array of political, military and ideological apparata the CPN-M has kept its nerve and matched the threats and avoided equally the subtler ploys of the opposition trying to lure them into an electoral trap.  Further, it has stoutly condemned the mobilization of the Army as a violation of the 2006 Comprehensive Agreement. The right has had to twist the terms of Article 158 of Interim Constitution and finally used the ploy of presidential decree to grease Army mobilization through.

Dev Prasad Gurung, CPN – M secretary went as far as to say that the government was declaring war and inviting conflict into the country. Baidhya, the Maobaadi Chairman, followed up this statement saying: “Deploying the army in an election is a serious matter. Armies and police should fight against those who have been damaging the image of the country.” (Himalayan, Sept. 24th). Underlying the seriousness with which the Party viewed this deployment further saw Guarev (CP Gajurel) deliver an official memorandum to the UN SG, Ban ki-moon via the residential coordinator, McGoldrick, complaining that the unilateral deployment contravened the CPA in not consulting the signatory parties. This was as much to build a case as it was to put the UN on the spot; its remit from 2006, along with running the cantonments where the PLA and its weapons were sequestered, was to oversee electoral modalities for the CA and the interim constitution. This was followed up by visits to all the major embassies. For the present Ban has sidestepped the issue by allegedly redoubling his efforts to get the CPN-M and all the dissenting parties into the election process but in fact sealing the process that excluded the CPN-Maoists and the 33 party alliance.

Reiterating his general point made three weeks ago at a massive march and rally in the capitol that the Party will engage in ‘urban-centric street agitation’, as opposed to returning to the jungle, G.S Badal nevertheless stressed that there would be resistance to military suppression or heavy-handed tactics wherever it was manifest. Politically the Party has attacked the election as a means of drawing up a right-wing, status quo constitution and is the reason they were originally excluded from the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) which was the four-party carve-up that produced this electoral stratagem. Now it is, according to Dahal UCPN (M) boss and leading HLPC member: “working to the last minute to bring CPN-M on board” (Republica, Sept. 27th.) Dahal has even tried to lure Baidya personally, aware that the date PR and FPTP candidacies has passed and therefore dissenting parties are officially out of the race, by offering him a seat under a UCPN (M) banner.

These blandishments have been resisted although Kiran (Mohan Baidhya) earlier said he would not close the door in case the four-party syndicate ‘regained wisdom’ and accepted at least an open-ended, roundtable conference. By the first week in October he recognised that the time for talk’s option was at an end, appealing to people to boycott and for candidates to revoke their candidacies. He further said that a new CA would not draw up a people’s constitution and would only force Nepal into becoming a new Sikkim. Therefore the scheduled election was not a political solution but if these points were ignored and:

“They use force against us, we will take counter-measures.”
(Republica, October, 3rd )

Affirming that the next stage was one of struggle he said they would make the constitution in the streets saying:
“We will take a decision from the field if they come against us with force.” (ibid)

Thus the Party continued to up the ante on the boycott campaign and while the term ‘effective’ is a balance between ‘active’ and ‘peaceful’ it is no less confrontational. Guarev, e.g. has floated the idea of kidnapping those attempting to register as candidates saying it was in the national interest to do so. The right-wing press – led by Kantipur - went apoplectic at this idea calling for the security forces to give protection to any aspiring politico thus threatened. The Maoists have also asked candidates not to enter villages to canvas for votes and have begun extensive training programmes on effective boycotting with young cadres in the villages, some of which has been described in the press as of a military nature. It has also announced further agitation programmes culminating in a 10 day national general strike running from the 11th to the 20th November

What is apparent is the Maoists are undaunted before the combination of enemies already limned. Prankanda (KB Bisawkarma), a veteran PW battlefield commissar and still a young man, summed this attitude up insouciantly:

“We sustained a People’s War for ten years. Stopping this electoral plot will not be so difficult.”  


“When a great social revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch, the market of the world and the modern powers of production and subject to the common control of the most advanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous pagan idol who would not drink nectar but from the skulls of the slain.”

(Marx Engels, The Future Results of British Rule in India, 1853, Selected Works, Volume 1, p. 449)

Biplav (NB Chand) said in a recent interview about the Maoist’s bottom line:
“Our emphasis is on the nitty-gritty of a future constitution. All others issue are subsidiary.”

“What people want now is a constitution – not an election.”

This is why the Dash Maoists are demanding a round-table conference to thrash one out. They are acutely aware that domestic reactionaries – at the behest of Delhi and Washington - used the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement as cover behind which to re-group and, aided by complicity of the Prachanda/Bhatterai UCPN (M) leadership, used the years since to block a progressive, reforming and federal constitution that tackled land reform, ethnic oppression and discrimination being enacted through the Constitutional Assembly.

(Six wasted years – during which time Nepal has slid even further down the list of least-developed nations. Where private affluence and public squalor increase in tandem – a sure sign of a third world country that has had comprador capitalism thrust onto it, and through economic failure sends many of its best young men into virtual slave labour abroad for the 25% their remittances provide to the national economy while basic infrastructure at home is either non-existent or crumbling into maintenance-free desuetude.)

The ‘subsidiary issues’ relate to resignation of the appointed Prime Minister – Regmi – the Chief Justice and postponement of any election and  until next year a 100% proportional representation modality instead of the present 58% PR and 42% first past the post (FPTP).

Essentially the Party not against elections per se, as Biplav noted: “taking part in elections is a relative concept.” but not before all Nepalese are represented in the forging of prior constitutional understanding. Nor have they lessened the growing tempo of bandas, agitations, marches and rallies and general street agitations. The Party has shown strength in depth in these activities with first and second generation leaders organising and inspiring a third generation of cadre; where the red shirts en masse have provided the memorable image of the boycott campaign. 

I ought to add a note of caution here having been involved with the People’s Volunteer Bureau and reported favourably on their energy and communist zeal and therefore biased
However, it appears to me that they represent sizeable strata of youth in a very young country who have seized the popular imagination. None of the 4 party syndicate has been able to match this, or indeed to even equal the scale and dynamism of the Dash Maoists boycott programme. Even if defeated here, and that is no certainty, the revolutionary communists have planted the seeds of a possible future victory by inspiring a young, dedicated cadre.

Similarly with the leadership the Maoists have another as yet imponderable advantage as the least corrupt and most austere of all the major parties; the four party syndicate, e.g. is riddled with millionaires, corruption, nepotism, jobbery and not an honest leader among them, Sitaula (NC), Nepal (UML), Dahal (UCPN(M)) are all rich Brahmins and Gadachhar (UMF) is an equally high-caste, high-cost Madeshi politico whereas all the Maoists leaders led very modest life-styles. Kiran is an exemplar of Leninist rectitude and has the significant asset in being recognised as the only honest leader of any big party, even by his enemies. In a country riddled with corruption – like its big brother India – it is an incalculable asset for a party to be so perceived as not full of placemen, careerists and hucksters and its activists not out solely for personal gain. 

(It underlies the unsuitability of these imported governance models as they form only a thin carapace over a network driven by a corrupted, compromised and comprador ruling class. The ideas  they tout do not, as claimed, represent ‘universal and eternal human values’ but are historical contingencies whereby one class – the bourgeoisie – established it supremacy – both in modes of production, ideology and polity – over its feudal predecessor. The peoples of Nepal, SE Asia and all the third world will make their own forms of democracy in their struggle for freedom and their class supremacy over the bourgeoisie in turn.)

There is also a strong perception among many Nepalese that all the four parties are servants – in varying degrees - of New Delhi. This is shown is the cartoon above which appeared in the August edition of Nepal – a popular monthly – showing Prachanda, Nepal, Sitaula and Gaddachhar blubbing uncontrollably as Nepal beat India, 2-1,in the SAFF championships just finished. Here again is a liberal, anti-Maoist columnist’s, Ganga Thapa, estimation:

“It would not be incorrect, if very insulting, to say that Nepal’s top leadership vis-à-vis India, has been morally bankrupt, greedy, hypocritical and have served as no more than errand boys. People are tired of these slick, fast-talking politicians. In fact their reputation has gone down the drain. In a culture aimed above all at seizing power, with material motivations, political democracy and thereby sustained peace is unlikely.”
(Thapa, Republica, 30/09/2013)

The Party has therefore hammered the patriotic message – the appeal of which transcends - to some degree - politics of left and right but not equally. The fact that royalists – an aging demographic – support the Dash Maoists for their patriot, anti-Indian expansionism is welcomed by the Party as part of a  popular front to protect national sovereignty by resisting Indian domination and expansionism but any such movement will be Maoist led.

This has been seized on by some leftists and Prachandaite
opportunists, Matrika Yadav’s CPN(M) flounced out of the 33 party alliance on the grounds that it was pandering to nationalism and that:

“Nepal’s sovereignty cannot be protected by pleasing both India and China.” 
And accused the Dash Maoists leadership of:

“Serving the interests of the international community.”

Equally odd things to say but no more than the further paranoia regarding the prospect of a King Paras (ex-Crown Prince,Gyanandra’s son) in a ‘constitutional communist monarchy’. This is ultra-left/liberal paranoia because the Party asserts its patriotic position derives from Mao’s axiom that in the age of imperialism:

 “The national question is a class question.”

And it is a class question because in third world countries the indigenous bourgeois classes have become increasingly compromised as comprador classes; in thrall to Western, or as in Nepal’s case Indian interests. Economically, ideologically and politically dependant, the Nepalese Babus’ acceptance of neo-colonial status renders them incapable of representing patriotic aspirations. Some of them as with the Zamindars in the Madesh would even declare the region for India given half-a-chance. Only the working-classes, rural and urban, only the oppressed minorities, only the Dalits, only the huge marginalized communities have a decisive interest in severing these Indian bonds, of strengthening their border, of repealing the many Unequal Treaties and establishing an independent socialist, federal people’s republic and the CPN-Maoist is the only major party that represents them, with a clear vision and a determination to achieve it.

The Babus have lost because the years of ‘capitalist democracy’ since 1990 have been years of failure. They have not been able to establish a functioning modern state, in the manner of the Western bourgeoisie, whose epigones they are.  History has passed them by and they have not only become redundant but an active bloc on change at the behest of foreign powers. This opens the door to their increased authoritarianism and military repression as they attempt to maintain to maintain power and privilege. The dog barks, and occasionally becomes rabid, but the caravan moves on. And to continue the metaphor is why the old CPC slogan: “Down with imperialism and its running dogs’ is still relevant.

Nepal is at a crossroads– one way leads to it continuing – in the sort term at least - its status as a vassal, failed state and the other toward it being independent, socialist one. This election boycott is where the conflicting currents in Nepalese society confront each other, if the right succeeds by the point of a gun and the crack of lathi it will a temporary victory because the problems, divisions and manifold injustices that provoked the People’s War will have  not been resolved. If the left and its allies succeed it will be a decisive stage in that unresolved revolution.

Finally: on the face of it below is a picture of a nondescript scene taken in Tundikhel Park, Central Kathmandu on September 23rd. On the left you can just see the red banners of a huge CPN-Maoist boycott rally and foreground, centre and right, seemingly unconnected are over a thousand small hawkers and traders plying everything from Ray-Banns, Nike shoes, Louis Vuitton T shirts, pots pans, and assorted bric-a-brac. Haggling here would be callous because firstly, the prices are so low and secondly, more importantly, the sellers’ lives are so precarious. They are a small section of Nepal’s huge sans culottes, rural and urban and what connects them with the rally and the cause is that they are all Maoist supporters. I found this is out through meeting S., a watch stallholder there, who is an active young Party member. He took me along the stalls saying: vahalaai Kiran man parcha (“He likes Kiran) - party card were flashed - clenched fists went up with shouts of ‘Kiran, Kiran’. It was like fucking Spartacus and one of those moments that make your life seem worthwhile.

What have they and their peers got to vote for?

More of the same?

No - whatever the headline outcome of the upcoming charade, the CPN-Maoist and its allies represent a critical mass of the Nepalese people who are not catered or cared for, who are not going away and who are definitely not lying down.

Lal salaam,                                          Peter Tobin October 4th 2013 

PS There will be countervailing voices in the English-speaking world supporting the boycott;  Kasama, Democracy & Class Struggle, Serve the People, Second Wave, among many and they have a proven track record in relation to the Nepalese revolution.

There will now also be a special edition of Red Front produced in Kathmandu to supplement these voices and the official English language publications – such as People’s Voice – of the CPN-M.

We have already articles and interviews committed from: Kiran, Biplav, Gaurev, Bastola and many more from across the party and movement. There will also be an international section and we have committed articles from David Seddon on South Africa and Paulo Babini on the world communist movement.

What we are asking for is support for and distribution of Red Front in Europe and the Americas. In this respect we would like a commitment for copies and – equally important – to help ensure their launching, distribution and promulgation. Also spreading it through social networks will be very helpful.

Any suggestions for further dissemination would also be appreciated.

There will a fuller version of this RF notice when all contents are decided.

Prem Darnal (Bikelpa), Chief Editor

Peter Tobin, Senior Editor

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