Conversation Between a Maoist Guerilla and a Soldier

The ceasefire effect: Maoists, troops trade words, not bullets

By Shahiman Rai in the Kathmandu Post (Here is the original article)

BHOJPUR (Eastern Nepal)- Even two weeks ago, they might have been shooting at each other. And now one is taken aback to see the Maoist rebels and government troops freely chatting with each other at Bhojpur district headquarters, without any fear and suspicion, thanks to the ceasefires announced by both warring sides. More importantly, both sides have time to weigh up the pros and cons of the war in which they were directly involved and also to exchange grievances against each other.

“We are fighting for the sake of the people, but who are you waging this war for?” a Maoist cadre asked a Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) soldier.

“I don’t know,” was the RNA man’s reply. “You didn’t allow us to visit our family and relatives. You also continued the abductions, beatings, torture and murder,” was his gripe to Hari Bahadur Budhathoki, a Maoist peasant leader.

“We should stop killing each other now,” said Maoist cadre Ananta, adding, “We are just brothers. But come and join us. Together we will lead this revolution.”

“What will be my designation there?” said an RNA man jokingly.

However, another Maoist cadre did not stop short of suggesting to the RNA soldiers. “You are just the means for prolonging the king’s regime.”

The Maoist presence at Bhojpur district headquarters has increased lately as they have come here to organize their mass meeting.

“Have your commanders ever come up to the front line?” asked a Maoist of another RNA soldier. “Those losing their lives are none other than the sons and daughters of poor Nepalese.”

When a Maoist asked the soldier whether they were Royal Nepalese Army or “national army”, the latter said, “We are like you.”

28 thoughts on “Conversation Between a Maoist Guerilla and a Soldier”

  1. “We should stop killing each other now,” said Maoist cadre Ananta, adding, “We are just brothers. But come and join us. Together we will lead this revolution.”

    -Just from this statement, it is not just clear but crystal clear that the cadres have no intention in coming into mainstream stream multiparty politics. They still go on about their “revolution”. I can’t see how anybody thinks it otherwise. All this talks and ceasefire will be a waste of time and will place our govermenmt and our security forces on the backfoot when conflict resumes in 3 months. More misery to the people.

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  2. We must be united against the Maoists yes. And we must stand united side by side with the only group capable of opposing the Maoists, the RNA. Stop trying to cripple the only hope we have of defeating the Maoists.

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  3. When people will get peace ????????????Just defeating king,maoist or SPA will not settle the problem… The propblem will be only settled by staying in the table with give and take from all sides and that will balance the power????If one is erased another will be effected…this is not 2046 it is the critical moment everyone has to accept it..

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  4. Maoist rebel detained
    Kathmandu , 7 May: Security forces have apprehended a Maoist rebel with weapons as he was making his way in the capital city, writes Sambodhan weekly.

    At a time when the newly formed cabinet of ministers is busy in the assignment of declaring ceasefire from the government side, the Maoist rebel was entering Kathmandu with weapons last Wednesday.

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  5. The answer by the RNA soldier to the Maoist question – “Have your commanders ever come up to the front line?”

    “Has your’s”.

    True, as Prachanda, Baburam, and even the military commanders Badal etc. never are in the frontline either. It’s in fact not even the low rank cadres in the frontline, the one’s in the frontline unfortunately are abducted villagers forming human shields.

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  6. Guys, I think this article published in the recent edition of Nepali Times is worth posting here!

    Megawealth
    How to turn falling water into wealth
    STEVE GORZULA

    The ongoing bloody insurgency might have been avoided ten years ago if someone could have given Prachanda and Baburam a pocket calculator and a map.

    Here’s some number crunching. The surface area of Nepal is 140,800 km2. Arable land covers 16.07 percent which is 22,627 km2. The population of Nepal is 28,287,147 (July 2006 estimate). Eighty five percent of the population is rural, which is a little over 24 million.

    If there was a reform program sharing the arable land equally the result would be that each man, woman, or child would receive a plot of land 24 m x 40 m. That’s slightly less than one tenth of a hectare. It is perhaps enough to raise a goat on but insufficient by far to provide a decent standard of living for a human being.

    There actually isn’t any land to redistribute in Nepal. The myth of agrarian utopia is being propagated by ruthless counter-elites who are influenced by an outdated Marxist ideology and exploiting the myth to further their own political ambitions rather than furthering the commonwealth of the people.

    The real problem in Nepal is that over the past 50 years, well-meaning and morally justifiable health care programs have cut infant mortality, while educational expansion has created greater literacy and demand for employment. Yet Nepal’s population has grown faster than its economy. Infrastructure and social services development have not kept pace.

    Nepal has passed its carrying capacity as an agrarian society. There is only one practical solution: it must have a realistic plan to change from 85 percent rural to 85 urban over the next 20 years. Nepal must industrialise and urbanise–and create the infrastructure for modern city states where dynamic shifts in culture, education and technology can take place.

    How is Nepal going to find the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars necessary to achieve this goal? Currently, the only known resource for doing this is Nepal’s huge undeveloped hydropower potential. A common national goal accepted by all would undermine the apparent support for the insurgency.

    Theoretically it is technically and economically feasible to develop about 43,000 MW of hydropower. All of Nepal could be electrified with up to 5,000 MW. The remaining power would be equivalent to putting a 25 Watt light bulb in every house on Planet Earth and there would still be power left over. The market is just next door. Right now the adjacent States of India have a short-fall of 20,000 MW. Within the next 10 years India will need an additional 100,000 MW of installed capacity to grow economically. Nepal is a key player for solving India’s energy problem.

    The Snowy Mountains Engineering Company (SMEC), have been negotiating power sales with the Power Trading Corporation (PTC) India Ltd for the 750 MW West Seti hydropower project. When this project is online the annual royalties alone would be about $ 20 million. Of this money the Local Self-Governance Regulation stipulates that 10 percent would go to Doti DDC.

    There is not a fixed amount of wealth in the world that needs to be redistributed. Developing hydropower in Nepal would create wealth. This would not only benefit Nepal but the rest of the economies of South Asia.

    Harnessing Nepal’s hydroelectric potential will be capital intensive and will require massive investment up front from foreign governments, multilateral organisation and private businessmen. Such investment will not be possible unless Nepal is politically stable, security can be provided in the countryside, and the government is favourable to investors.

    An atmosphere for transformative investment will not be possible while Nepal is suffering an insurgency being led by extortionate would-be revolutionaries who oppose private capitalism and foreign business.

    Dr Steve Gorzula worked in the Department of Electricity Development from 1998-2004 for USAID’s Private Sector Hydropower Development Project.

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  7. Interesting but politically problematic. The good Dr.Gorzula is not considering the impact on neighboring India whose life blood is water from the Himalayas. Border issues and especially water issues can become inflamatory very quickly. Yes, Nepal has the sovereign right to do as it wishes with it’s natural resources. However, many wars have been fought over water rights and India is an intimidating neighbor.

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  8. Nepal
    The Saga of Compromise and Struggle
    by Pratyush Chandra om zmag.org

    As sniffing K9s of the global hegemony, the corporate media around the globe smelled Maoist activists’ and pamphlets’ presence in the post- April 6 protests as proofs of the Maoist infiltration. The BBC reported on April 24: “There are very real fears that Maoist rebels could well use the opportunity to fill the void and take control of the protests. Maoist activists are already believed to have been present at many of the rallies, and there have been several instances of Maoist campaign pamphlets being distributed among the protesters. The last thing the parties want is for the protests to spin out of control and for the Maoists to move in, a view that is fast gaining currency.” Such rumour mongering by the corporate media is definitely sufficient to send their own masters to psychotic fits of Global McCarthyism. It can also buy a compromise between the King and the anti-communist section of the Nepali middle class trained during the US’ Cold War aid regime who grabbed the leadership of many moderate democratic parties after the 1990 arrangement. However, it means nothing to the local population. They know that the Maoists were the only force facilitating their politicisation to the degree that they could sustain mass strikes for so many days.

    Of course, the 7+1 alliance was a great jolt to the vastness of “popular exclusion” that the Nepalese polity and its sponsors have till now maintained by utilising the weapon of “divide and rule”. And we saw literally a new version of Samudra Manthan (churning of the seas) and the whole Nepal was drowned in the resulting tide. The General Strike in Nepal that continued to gain momentum since April 6 demolished the floodgates already tattered in the course of Maoists’ continuous assaults for a decade. These gates erected during the six decades of continuous betrayals forged and financed by the complex international network that combines the global, regional and local ruling classes had trapped and ‘subalternised’ the confidence and consciousness of the Nepalese downtrodden. Today the gates are nowhere. Throughout Nepal curfews and “shoot-on-sight” orders have been enforced and defied. “Emotionally charged sea of the masses in the streets manifests that the liberation forever from the feudal monarchy, which has been betraying since the past 250 years in general and 56 years in particular, is the earnest and deep aspiration of the Nepalese people” (Prachanda’s Statement, April 22).

    Justin Huggler aptly captured the scenario for Independent (UK) on April 22 after King Gyanendra did his first bid to buy off the leadership by offering the protesting parties the Prime-Ministership. “Looking tense before the camera, King Gyanendra said: ‘We are committed to multi-party democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Executive power of the kingdom of Nepal, which was in our safekeeping, shall from this day be returned to the people.'” On the other side of the political fence: “‘Death to the monarchy!’ they chanted as they marched. And as they walked, the people of Kathmandu lined the streets to cheer them on. This was a nation on the march. Several police lines fell back before them. Soldiers guarding the airport grinned and gave them signs of support.”

    After the King’s second bid on April 24 once again the million-dollar question remains “whether the announcement will be welcomed as readily on the street, where hundreds of thousands of Nepalis have called for the monarchy to be abolished” (Huggler in Independent, April 25), despite the fact that the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) has accepted the King’s offer to reinstate the Parliament, dissolved in 2002 on the recommendation of one of the leaders in the SPA. Guardian (April 25) reports, “There is a danger that crowds may take to the streets in defiance of the political leadership. Yesterday, speakers at rallies in the capital’s suburbs repeatedly said they would not be “tricked” by the king.”

    What we witness in Nepal today is a unique dialectic of spontaneity and organization in full operation that characterises any great movement. “The masses are in reality their own leaders, dialectically creating their own development process” and the ‘leaders’ are forced to or willingly “make themselves merely the mouthpiece of the will and striving of the enlightened masses, merely the agents of the objective laws of the class movement”. (Rosa Luxemburg) At least one section of the political leadership is conscious of this dialectic, when it says: “[T]his movement has not now remained to be a movement only of either seven political parties or the CPN (Maoist) or civil society or any particular group but as a united movement of all the real democratic forces, who have been repeatedly deceived by the feudal autocratic monarchy since 1949.” (Prachanda & Baburam Bhattarai’s statement, April 17, 2006)

    By rejecting the present compromise the Maoists show their respect to the Nepalese downtrodden who fought valiantly for the basic demand to form the constituent assembly – the institution that will give them at least a say in the process of ‘democratisation’ curtailing its patrician character and may serve as the foundation of the new democratic Nepal. Even though the wavering petty bourgeois parliamentary leaders afraid of the radicalised masses unilaterally withdrew their support and rejoiced on the restoration of their privileges, let us hope the Maoist rejection and the grassroots unity across various political formations built in the yearlong united people’s struggle will keep them sober.

    A commenter on International Nepal Solidarity Network’s website (insn.org) thus reacted to the news of the King’s announcement:

    “In protests, for a moment, people from all classes were present… They will once again split into the political camps, who best represent their class interests. The only ‘people’ who will continue to be on the streets are those who were already there on the streets and fields before the protests – who will continue to fight to survive. The ‘protests’ have at least given them a rough map of the political scene of Nepal, and heightened their confidence and consciousness.”

    However, we must admit that the recent protests marked a new phase in the Nepalese struggle for democracy and self-determination. From now onwards nothing remains consecrated in Nepal, beyond popular scrutiny and criticism. Every section of the society is politically charged. We see democracy in action in the streets of Nepal.

    Tariq Ali rightly puts (Guardian, April 25): “What the uprising in Nepal reveals is that while democracy is being hollowed out in the west, it means more than regular elections to many people in the other continents”. It means the people’s right to root out their own poverty, the democratic control of the Nepalese human and natural resources, ending the caste, national and gender privileges and discriminations… It means to have a Constitution that secures all these fundamental rights, and for that they demand a constituent assembly.

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  9. Nepal & Venezuela
    by Pratyush Chandra
    March 20, 2006

    Any serious and honest survey of the Maoist movement in Nepal can convey the truth that its main agenda has been to establish the essential democratic institutions that will allow a devolvement of political economic power to the masses. The Maoists can challengingly claim that in every negotiation they have indulged, with the King and the parliamentary forces, they have asked for an unconditional constituent assembly, during whose election different political forces can go with their respective choice of political structure and ask for the people’s mandate. And, of course, they have demanded a subservience of the national army to the democratic government. Only a democratically elected constituent assembly having representatives from the exploited and oppressed majority has the capacity to provide a democratic constitution. Otherwise a constitution is bound to be an eclectic compromise between the already empowered vested interests, as it has happened many times in Nepal, and in many other ‘democratic’ countries. On the other hand, which modern nation can openly deny the ‘professionalisation’ of the armed forces, their ability to harm the democratic interests incapacitated and their subservience to those interests?

    The Maoists have time and again emphasised their sufficiently theorised commitment to multi-party republican democracy and to political competition that it represents. They know that the fight for their maximal goal, for socialism and communism has to be long drawn, taking into consideration “the balance in the class struggle and international situation”. But as Prachanda simultaneously stresses, this position “is a policy, not tactics”.(1) Does this stress diminish the revolutionary agenda of the Maoists? Not at all. When Mao called for putting politics in command and guns under this command, he meant the readiness of the revolutionary forces to change according to the exigencies of class struggle and revolution. What the Maoists are struggling for is the establishment of the basic political structure that will release the energy of the Nepalese exploited and oppressed masses towards an intensified class struggle, creating conditions for an unhindered process of self-organisation of the working class.

    In this regard, well-known Indian Marxist Randhir Singh’s assessment of the place of the Nepalese movement among the post-Cold War revolutionary movements is quite apt: “Latin America is in fact emerging as a particularly important zone of class struggle against international capital. Just as, far away, on another continent, Nepal exemplifies that, odds notwithstanding, people will continue fighting for life beyond the established capitalist or feudal social orders. In this revived revolutionary process, the Chavez-led Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela apart, the Communist Party (Maoist)-led movement in Nepal – popularly known as People’s War – is undoubtedly the most significant popular struggle for freedom and democracy in the world today.”(2)

    This comparison between Latin American experiences and Nepal’s Maoist movement is quite meaningful. Both aim towards political exercises unprecedented in the world revolutionary movement. In Latin America (Venezuela, Argentina and others) and Nepal, we are literally witnessing, what Marx hypothesized, “the whole superincumbent strata of official society [of global capitalism] being sprung into the air”.(3)

    In Venezuela (and Latin America, in general), the complexity of the revolutionary transformation is engendered by the lingering of the capitalist state machinery and hegemony, on the one hand, and on the other, the contradiction of bourgeois democracy, which has put revolutionary forces at its helm. In this situation, there exists a tremendous pressure within the capitalist state and society o de-radicalise the social forces behind the upheaval by accommodating their leadership. The strength of the revolutionary forces, on the other hand, will be determined by their ability to challenge the lingering hegemony and the danger of their own accommodation by facilitating the task of building and sustaining alternative radical democratic organisations (“self-government of the producers”), while subordinating the state to them. “Only insofar as the state is converted from an organ standing above society into one completely subordinate to it’ can the working class ‘succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew’.”(4) Asambleas Barriales (neighbourhood assemblies) in Argentina and the practice of co-management (a partnership between the workers of an enterprise and society) in Venezuela seek to transcend the officialised practice of statist socialism and ‘sectionalist’ self-management by establishing an incipient ‘social’ control over production.

    Modern capitalism relies mainly on representative democracy as the political system to reproduce the general conditions of capitalist accumulation. Therefore, “the crucial problem for the people in charge of affairs is to be able to get on with the business in hand, without undue interference from below, yet at the same time to provide sufficient opportunities for political participation to place the legitimacy of the system beyond serious question… Parliamentarism makes this possible: for it simultaneously enshrines the principle of popular inclusion and that of popular exclusion.” It ‘de-popularises’ policy-making and limits the impact of class contradiction at the workplace and market place upon the conduct of affairs.(5)

    Hence, the practice of “participative and protagonistic democracy in society as a whole, the idea of people communally deciding on their needs and communally deciding on their productive activity” is definitely a grave crisis for global capitalism. This practice shoos all ‘metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties’ that characterise market relations (presenting the capitalist reality in distorted manner), dividing the collective worker into various identities (consumers, citizens, unemployed, formal and informal sector workers) and devise competition among them. It reclaims the right of determining one’s own destiny, to realise the “creative potential of every human being and the full exercise of his or her personality in a democratic society”, as envisaged in the Bolivarian constitution of Venezuela.(6)

    In Nepal, on the other hand, regular betrayals of the democratic movement by Monarchy and democrats have time and again scuttled the potential emergence of even the minimum semblance of popular democracy. Therefore, the movement was restricted to petty bourgeoisie, who were heavily fed by international aid and its “cut and commission” regime. Whenever the movement seemed to integrate with the struggle for the basic needs of the poor peasantry, landless and proletarians, a compromise was forged curbing the radical potential of the movement.

    The success of the Maoists lies in the fact that they integrated the remotest corner of the Nepalese society with the mainstream struggle for popular democracy. They exposed the class content of the formal democratic exercises undertaken in the 1990s. They demonstrated how the formal democratic institutions that emerged in Nepal with the arrangement between the royalty, landlords and the upper crust of petty bourgeoisie along with global imperialism were designed to integrate the neo-hegemonic interests, the local agencies of commercialisation, dependency and primitive accumulation.

    In this regard, we must not forget that the armed struggle was the major catalyst in the achievements of the Maoist movement. Firstly, it was a veritable boost to self-confidence and self-defence of the oppressed and exploited in Nepal. Secondly, it allowed sustaining politicisation and democratic practice of the downtrodden undiluted by the hegemonic coercive and consensual influences. The virtual emergence of dual power could become possible only if it had its own defence mechanism. The decade long people’s war and radical land reforms undertaken in the countryside with alternative incipient democratic institutions have radicalised the Nepalese society. It halted the continuous drainage of the Nepalese natural and human resources for economic profit, leisure and security of the external hegemonic forces, buffered by the Nepalese landlords, merchants and corporates under the leadership of the royalty. Time and again all these forces combined to scuttle the democratic aspirations of the Nepalese society in the name of maintaining stability, however allowing a “controlled transformation of the economy to suit the imperialist calculus”.(7) The Maoist upsurge liberated the potentialities in the Nepalese polity and economy.

    The recent alliance between the Maoist and other democratic forces in Nepal can be seen, on the one hand, as winning back of the “middle forces” (using Mao’s phrase) and on the other, it signifies a nationwide unity among the exploited and oppressed sections of the society. Further, it marks the willingness to challenge the formal ‘democracy from above’ by the incipient ‘democracy from below’, to allow a “political competition” between them. It is in this respect we can understand the Maoist movement as part of the global struggle for freedom, democracy and socialism. We will have to wait and see, what specificities the Nepalese struggle would acquire. Or, will it be another saga of historic betrayal forged by the imperialist forces and the local ruling coalition?

    Seeing the way global imperialism has been once again hyperactive with its ideologies and armies, one can only rely upon the working classes of the world to defend these movements for social transformation with their “fraternal concurrence”. They must realise their “duty to master themselves the mysteries of international politics; to watch the diplomatic acts of their respective governments; to counteract them, if necessary, by all means in their power; when unable to prevent, to combine in simultaneous denunciations, and to vindicate the simple laws or morals and justice, which ought to govern the relations of private individuals, as the rules paramount of the intercourse of nations. The fight for such a foreign policy forms part of the general struggle for the emancipation of the working classes.”(8)

    References:

    (1) “Interview with Prachanda”, The Hindu (excerpts published on February 8, 9 and 10, 2006) Full text: http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/nic/maoist.htm

    (2) Randhir Singh (2005), “Foreword” in Baburam Bhattarai, Monarchy Vs. Democracy: The Epic Fight in Nepal, Samkaleen Teesari Duniya, New Delhi, pp.vii

    (3) Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels (1848), The Manifesto of the Communist Party.

    (4) Michael Lebowitz (2003), Beyond Capital (2nd Edition), Palgrave, pp.196

    (5) Ralph Miliband (1982), Capitalist Democracy in Britain, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp.38

    (6) Michael Lebowitz (2005), “Constructing Co-Management in Venezuela: Contradictions along the Path”, Available at: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/lebowitz241005.html

    (7) Baburam Bhattarai (2003), The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional Structure of Nepal: A Marxist Analysis, Adroit Publishers, Delhi, pp.46

    (8) Karl Marx (1864), “Inaugural Address of the International Working Men’s Association”

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  10. as long as people have “paapi peit and”…….it will continue to create chaos for power and money. Democracy and communism and republics are just fantasies that never see the daylight. This talk about kings, clowns, new regime leaders, and people power is full of crap.

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  11. The above article shows how completely cluless the international media were regarding the janandolan 2.

    The leaders were not present on the street because they were probably told not to be by the maoists – as they could not guarantee their safety, and also they did not want them to come out tops by being present.

    Everyone by now in Kathmandu knows that lakhs of people were coerced by the maoists to join the protests or either pay a hefty sum for not going. Talk to residents around these mass gatherings, it is no secret. It was a great triumph but unfortunately not for democratic forces, it was a complete political victory for the maoists. If the army (who must be thanked for their restraint), resorted to shooting than the comrades would have definitely reciprocated. Thank god the army did not, because many feel that, that is what the maoists wanted for a final push for not just a political victory but hopes of a military one as well.

    As for the international media, with reportings as above, all we ask is that they be better prepared next time with background information, because in all honesty even the BBC and CNN reporters looked like rookies out there.

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  12. Worth Reading This.
    *NEPAL**: Hope is Not a Method*

    5 May 2006

    Dr Thomas A. Marks

    Dr. Marks is a political risk consultant based in Honolulu, Hawaii and a
    frequent visitor to Nepal. He has authored a number of benchmark works
    on Maoist insurgency.

    As Nepal moves towards a new order, its governing parliamentarians would
    do well to heed that most fundamental of maxims: hope is not a method.

    To date, events have gone reasonably smoothly, but there continue to be
    ominous signs that a rougher road lies ahead. Not least of the elements
    for concern is that which has been at the heart of the matter all along,
    the motives of the Maoist insurgents.

    Contrary to much ill-considered opinionating, the Maoists have not opted
    for peace in our time. Instead, their forces remain intact, even as they
    encourage the government to dismantle the only intact force that stands
    between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), or CPN(M), and its
    ability to work its will, the security forces.

    **Situation**

    Its grudging moves towards negotiations notwithstanding, the Maoists
    have been very consistent. In their verbiage, in their briefings to
    their cadres, and even in their interviews given to members of the
    international media, they make clear that they do not accept the present
    state of things. Instead, they are convinced that they are riding the
    “will of history” that will see the complete ouster of the old-order.

    They view the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) present course as an error of
    major proportions and are fearful that they – “the people” – will be
    “betrayed.” They certainly do not accept parliamentary democracy as the
    end-state, unless it emerges in a form of which they approve.

    What stands behind their present tactical maneuvering is a willingness
    to go with the flow so long as the river does not leap its banks. If the
    SPA will do the work armed rebellion could not accomplish – especially,
    dismantle the security forces and do away with even a figurehead
    monarchy – that is agreeable. But one cannot expect them, if things do
    not go their way, simply to shrug and say they had their moment.

    There is a veritable cottage industry of historical falsification
    abounding, in Nepal and abroad at the moment, which states the Maoists
    turned to insurgency only because they were not allowed to participate
    in parliamentary elections (as /Masal/). That is false. The machinations
    that led to one wing of /Masal/ being allowed to run using party
    identification were an intra-/Masal/ squabble, not something the system
    engineered.

    Likewise, the outrageous claim that the monarchy is somehow responsible
    for the violence of the Maoists is as astonishing as it is absurd. The
    Maoists first systematically laid waste to Nepal and its weak democracy,
    then systematically carried out a campaign to claim the reigning monarch
    had killed his brother and engineered what they, the Maoists, in fact
    had done – destroy Nepal.

    Having turned to armed insurgency, CPN(M) systematically destroyed the
    structure of the state, in the process eliminating all who opposed the
    local presence of the Maoists. Non-activists who tried to compile
    statistics were themselves assassinated.

    Having gained control of widespread areas, which they will continue to
    control during “elections,” no matter for what purpose those elections
    are held, they are not about to allow their rivals to freely contest
    within “liberated space.”

    This is classic “machine politics,” as the Maoists claim the Nepali
    Congress (NC) and Unified Marxist Leninists (UML) have been playing all
    these years. Since UML buys into this logic, at least partially, it is
    willing to front for the Maoists. The extremist wing of the UML does
    more than front — it works with the Maoists.

    *Role of **India*

    Ironically, anti-communist India has ended up letting its own Marxists
    have their moment by unduly influencing New Delhi’s Nepal policy. This
    should not surprise, given the realities of coalition politics.

    The ruling United Progressive Alliance (a coalition led by Congress) has
    roughly 218 seats versus the 189 of the National Democratic Alliance (a
    coalition led by the BJP) — of the total 543. With 71 independents, the
    65 votes of the Left Front — 43 of those 65 votes are CPI(Marxist) —
    are what allow the UPA to rule (even in a hypothetical worst case
    scenario, 283-260). That is why the demands of the CPI(M) have been
    acceded to, and that is why CPI(M) figures such as Sitaram Yechury have
    become regular visitors to Kathmandu as they conduct the Indian left’s
    “foreign policy within a foreign policy.”

    Actions of Congress Party itself need little explaining — this is the
    party that absorbed Sikkim, and that sees the Nepali King in the same
    light as the deposed Rajas of the princely states. This is the party
    that yet contains a wing that sees itself as heirs to “the Great Game.”
    In their assessment, the king of Nepal should have gone the way of the
    Rajahs “back then,” but the business of cleaning out the dead wood on
    the subcontinent was not finished.

    The result, as needs little recounting, has been regular and consistent
    interjection of India into the affairs of Nepal. Having done this yet
    one more time, in the present crisis, India now expects Nepali politics
    to function as that of a union territory in all but formal status.

    This issue is not one that need detain any analysis at this moment. It
    will ultimately be decided, one way or another, as it was in Sri Lanka,
    by nationalism of the target state. Nepali nationalism, to be sure, is
    something which has rarely reared its head in anything save platitudes
    about “never having been a colony.” In fact, Nepal is as thorough a
    colony as ever there was (of India and of the international community
    through its utter dependence upon external aid).

    Still, to be clear: first, India has no desire to become bogged down in
    the quicksand of Nepal, so having “democratic allies” in power is the
    proper route to realization of its geo-strategic designs; second, there
    is a strong wing of Indian politics that sees the present policy towards
    Nepal as misguided, counterproductive, and downright dangerous, given
    India’s own Maoist threat. The claim that there are no connections
    between the Nepali and Indian Maoists is falsified by a wealth of
    evidence, not least the pronouncements and actions of the Nepali Maoists
    before they became more media savvy.

    The threat to Nepali sovereignty, then, is not from India per se but
    from the present situation that India has “enabled.” Its view is that it
    can “handle” the situation. This remains to be seen — just as India
    proved quite incapable of “handling” the Tamil insurgents.

    *Internal Issues*

    /The most pressing danger, at this juncture, is that SPA, dominated by
    NC and UML, will revert to form (on full display during the dozen or so
    years of full democracy) and lead Nepal into a “Kerensky moment” for the
    Maoists, as occurred for the Bolsheviks in Russia of 1917-18. The
    Leninists were not the strongest party in post-Czarist //Russia//, only
    the party with a preponderance of force at the decisive point(s). This
    allowed them to gain control of the state and then to do what was
    necessary to consolidate their hold. /

    / /

    /This is also how Hitler consolidated his hold on //Germany//, despite
    having only one-third of the parliament (Reichstag). Further, it is what
    the Sandinistas did in post-Somoza //Nicaragua//. One already sees the
    Maoist thugs threatening even UML politicians (who, in any case, have
    always been on the cutting edge as victims of the Maoists)./

    / /

    /What all three of the cases just named share is that the security
    forces had fallen apart. This is not the case in //Nepal//. The key,
    therefore, is to make the new-order understand that the security forces
    have every intention and desire to serve democracy — but that they will
    not stand by and see compromised restored democracy and Nepali
    sovereignty compromised. What they desire is what they have fought for
    — a viable parliamentary democracy. /

    / /

    /Already, the Maoists have stated repeatedly that they have other goals:
    trials for those central to the old-order, especially for the monarch
    and the Royal //Nepal// Army (RNA) officer corps (the Maoist leadership
    has asserted both of these goals in its less guarded moments). This is
    also what they have been saying to their cadres. /

    / /

    /They have rejected integration into the Royal //Nepal// Army (RNA) by
    any name and demanded a new force, which they will dominate by default.
    This is just how the scenario played itself out in //Nicaragua//, the
    result being the Sandinista dictatorship, which rapidly produced its own
    counterrevolutionary insurgency by abusing the people. (Contrary to the
    hoary left-wing myth, the CIA could not even arm all the contras, so
    abundant was the influx of peasant manpower demanding the right to
    resist the //Managua// Marxist-Leninist dictatorship.) /

    **/ /**

    **Status of the Security Forces**

    In this situation, what is both puzzling and counterproductive is how
    little realistic consideration has emerged concerning the future of the
    security forces, of which the RNA is the dominant element.

    This is puzzling, because the security forces are quite intact and –
    contrary to yet another theme pushed by both activist elements of the
    new regime and their international activist backers – exercised
    remarkable restraint during the recent upheaval. /Lathi/ charges are not
    semiautomatic volleys, and the latter did not occur.

    It is counterproductive for the same reasons: there are at least 150,000
    armed government security forces in completely intact units. It is naïve
    to assume that they – and their compatriots in the other two forces, the
    Armed Police Force, or APF, and the Civil Police, or CP – are going to
    march off to oblivion, surrender, or slaughter.

    The latter two, to be clear, are the Maoist position, and they expect to
    extract such from the ruling SPA as the Maoist price of “nonviolent
    participation” in the state. To judge that this inevitably will lead to
    confrontation requires no analytical acumen, simply looking at the
    Nepali security forces with clear eyes.

    What is now on the field is a force quite different from that which
    entered the conflict in November 2001, when RNA was attacked by the
    Maoists. This is especially so in the key middle grades of RNA and
    extending even to the younger brigadiers. It is also true in APF,
    perhaps to a lesser extent in NP. It is RNA which is of particular interest.

    RNA’s “field elements” accept parliamentary supremacy and seek a more
    professional, “21^st Century military.” Critical in this respect is a
    functioning Ministry of Defence. Frequently (e.g., as in Sri Lanka), the
    Prime Minister will also be the Minister of Defence, with a Deputy
    Minister actually handling the day-to-day business of running the armed
    forces. This is a level of detail that does not concern RNA now.
    Officers know there are numerous friendly states with extensive
    experience in implementing and consolidating the proper mechanisms.

    Many of these younger RNA officers have even considered the passing of
    the monarchy, but they are worldly enough to see that this leaves open
    the question of what institution or figure would serve the referee’s
    position (e.g., India has a president; many former Commonwealth states
    have a Governor General; the US has its Senate; Britain, the House of
    Lords). Hence, they believe it is preferable that a constitutional
    monarchy remain.

    What they do not accept is the position demanded by the Maoists and
    their left wing allies: “replacing” one force by another, or of
    “purging” one force only to install the cadres of another.
    Reconciliation, to their mind, demands amalgamation, even if this is
    accompanied by reduction in overall numbers.

    For their part, APF and CP are critical to the normal functioning of the
    state. /Under no circumstances will any force accept being disbanded in
    favor of Maoist replacements. To do so would guarantee left-wing
    dictatorship./

    **Operational Matters**

    Ironically, whatever the precise manner in which events unfold, the
    sitting government is bound to find, in the months ahead, normal
    policing and security duties will assume heightened importance. A clear
    understanding must be worked out by the government as to what is
    expected to arrest a dangerous societal drift that has set in. /Armed
    thugs, often claiming to be representing “the people” but invariably
    cadres of Maoist front organizations, roam all major population centers
    in //Nepal// and must be brought within the normal rule of law./

    This is a job particularly of the police, supported by the APF, but it
    is inevitable that RNA will be involved. The present situation, to
    include the widespread threatening of individuals and institutions,
    cannot go unchecked.

    Within the forces themselves, leave and training will assume heightened
    importance during the transition. The latter must be done in a way so as
    to maintain unit integrity and readiness but not be confrontational.
    Best way to do this is to integrate representatives of the local civil
    authority into coordinating bodies.

    Politically, RNA is confronted with a Faustian bargain: It must serve
    the state even with the knowledge that the unity of SPAM (Seven Party
    Alliance + the Maoists) depends upon the SPA placating the M. The
    Maoists see the victory as theirs and see themselves as dictating the
    terms of surrender — and see only trials for those who have resisted
    them. Hence, the security forces must keep order even as they are
    plotted against (in certain circles) and held up as a bargaining chip
    (in other circles).

    Their logical advocates, the Indians, who have the most to lose from a
    Maoist-dominated Nepal, remain, as noted above, very much an unknown
    element, given the array of actors waging mini-foreign policies. One
    factor has not changed as any perusal of large segments of the Indian
    press reveals: New Delhi has been ill-informed by a good fraction of its
    so-called “Nepal experts,” in just the manner it was led astray, two
    decades ago, by its “Sri Lanka experts.”

    It cannot be said that Indian analysts have developed much actual
    knowledge of the workings of Nepali Maoism. The dominant position is
    that the CPN(M) can be bought off or simply directed – an astonishing
    position given what India seems to have realized quite belatedly about
    the Stalinist, anti-democratic essence of its own Maoists.

    CPI(M), in particular, has little understanding of Nepali insurgent
    ground realities. The Indian left-wing political pilgrims to Nepal deal
    with their opposite numbers in the UML. If they meet a “Maoist,” they
    deal with personalities of their “own stratum,” who can be as engaging
    and sophisticated as any. They do not deal with what is in the hills,
    thus gaining no comprehension that there is an organization of LTTE
    clones, every bit as dogmatic and ruthless.

    For those who have dealt with the Tamil insurgents, one conclusion is
    salient: orientation of /manpower/ is never the issue in a situation
    such as this. It is /leaders/ who are the lynchpin. It is insurgent
    leaders who have produced the endless cycle of insurgent brutality in
    Sri Lanka, a struggle that has long since seen its original causes vanish.

    /The situation is quite similar in //Nepal//. It is the Maoist leaders
    who are following an ideological play-book. Their followers are thrown
    up by local grievances. Maoist manpower is just as eager for “peace” as
    anyone else, but they expect to get something out of their campaign.
    They have been told consistently that the new order will belong to them
    and will bring justice and prosperity. There is no way to do that in the
    short term except by taking from the old and giving to the new./

    That this is playing a losing hand has been made clear in study after
    study, most recently by the simple calculations of Dr Steve Gorzula. As
    he notes, divide the arable land of Nepal (22,627 km^2 ) by the
    population (28 million in July 2006 estimates), and the result is a
    society that has exceeded the carrying capacity of the land. Lip-serve
    is paid to the only real possibility, development of hydropower, and the
    result is a vacuum into which Maoist coercive utopian solutions have no
    competitors.

    **What is to be Done?**

    Certainly Lenin, who set forth the query in his famous work, would be
    proud of his Maoist pupils. On the side of democracy, there is little
    worthy of praise. The stormy course ahead, though, will require more
    steady seamanship than has hitherto been demonstrated in the short
    history of Nepali democracy. More than “hope (it all works out)” will be
    required.

    /The role of the security forces will be paramount, for they are the
    only guarantee that Maoist violence will not be the trump card./ Thus
    normal functioning of those security forces must be maintained at all
    costs, so as to avoid demoralization and possible desertion. Clear
    explanations of what is happening are imperative, with the emphasis upon
    “transition to parliamentary supremacy.”

    Any impression of “defeat” must be banished, despite the concerted
    efforts of the left-wing to push this claim to front position in the
    ongoing struggle for control of the narrative describing recent events.
    Already, the Maoists claim their revolutionary forces were key (with
    their cadres inciting violence and caching explosives in urban areas).

    Of course, it was not the revolutionary project that emerged victorious,
    but the demand for participation and results. “Reform,” then, must be
    the order of the day, as has long been called for by all interested
    parties.

    “Reform” is not a word in the Maoist vocabulary, so forces of actual
    democracy (as opposed to “people’s democracy”) will be called upon to
    face the inevitable backlash. It is for the politicians to deal with
    this reality, but the security forces will be their shield.

    It is possible that international mediation and even involvement may
    create new possibilities. For the moment, however, the Maoists have no
    intention of participating in a “new” version of the old-order. They are
    demanding and expecting that a constitutional convention will deliver a
    people’s republic in form if not in immediate practice. They are
    determined to exact vengeance.

    They are not, in other words, seeking “democracy” as we know the word.
    There is a strong thread of thought which claims the Maoists will choose
    the path trod by the “other” insurgent groups in Sri Lanka (e.g., PLOT,
    TELO, EPRLF), groups that agreed, with certain misgivings, to work
    within the system. More likely, is that the Maoists will go the way of
    LTTE, which moved after each hopeful pause to resume its revolutionary
    project.

    It hardly needs highlighting that such a course of action by the Maoists
    would put them squarely at odds with the desires of the Nepali masses –
    just as LTTE cannot today be said to represent much more than the
    aspirations of its rump state. If the CPN(M) is astute, it will realize
    this.

    Unfortunately, historically does not provide grounds for optimism. There
    is no Maoist insurgency that has displayed such foresight. Neither do
    operational realities provide any more hope: the Maoists are not in any
    way standing down.

    The up side? If the Maoists move as driven by their hate-filled ideology
    and resume their struggle. they will find themselves just where LTTE
    does – on the wrong side of history and facing a reasonably united,
    democratic society, amply assisted by friendly powers — to include India.

    Like

  13. pratyush chandra needs to realist that the system is working or satisfying the poor in venezuela only because venezuela is the world’s fifth largest exporter of oil which brings in massive revenues.. if there was no oil, all chavez’s leftist ideas would have killed him politically. one needs to realize that while communism (in whatever form) does bring about some benefits for a country’s poor (again, it the leaders have honest intentions), it is completely inefficient as compared to centralist ideals and privatised industries. nepal has no oil… nationalizing stuff will kill us all.. nepal needs to privatize extensively. a couple of nepal’s best run hydroelectric plants are privately run.. the government has made a complete mess of the bigger national projects… expertise and efficiency cannot be brought about by the state by its own..

    therefore, the entire venezuelan argument falls flat.

    Like

  14. 1. Absolute Monarchy (Gyanendra Path)

    2.Constituional Monarchy(like in 1990 constituion)

    3. Ceremonial Monarchy.(like in Sweden)

    4. Republic(like in India)

    5. Democratic People’s Republic of Nepal.(like DPRK and Cuba)

    What the people want ?

    No 1. is most hated.
    2.It has failed.
    3. Majority want this.
    4. New generation want it.
    5. Only Maoists want it.

    I think people are between No. 3 and 4.
    So, vote for 3.

    Like

  15. How about people post the link to the article as opposed to the entire article? This Wagle and Acharya just sit around with their thumbs up their you know what. The only thing they seem to do is to moderate people’s comment!

    That Steve Grozula is a stooge for big business that wants to exploit Nepal’s resources. Nepal needs deep rooted structural reforms. We need to start with land/agarian reforms. 85% of our population lives in the rural areas and are engaged in farming. Despite that we are not self sufficient in rice or wheat production. Currently Indian agricultural products have to fill our markets… this is really not good! That’s right Coke the food you eat everyday comes from your beloved India.
    Hydro-power generations needs more time and research.

    Bedeshi
    It suprises me to no end that a Bedeshi would advocate a military solution to Nepal’s Maoist crisis? I wonder where you are from… Russia maybe?

    Like

  16. People can’t you just give links to the articles you want others to read, instead of fillling threads after threads of something which is quite irrelevant to the original post ?

    Like

  17. To whoever tagged along Chandra’s (psuedo) analysis, comparing Nepal & Venezula is like comparing apples & oranges. One can only stretch one’s imagination & interpretation so far… (Anyway, I do not see any logic in tagging Chandra’s article to the Moaist/RNA soldier dailogue. It merely takes up space).

    Chavez’s movement is a populist uprising & peaceful Unlike the Nepali Maoists who have adhered to violence, brutality, forced kidnappings and extortion. Chavez’s Venezuelan power comes from the ballot box. His party participated in elections and won fairly. Maoists are afraid to lay down their weapons and participate in elections. Maoists power comes from the barrell of a gun. Chavez has not thrown out the constitution of Venezuela, he has merely adhered to it. His is a democratic social engineering. Nepali Maoists on the other hand demand a constituent assembly. Finally Venezuela has big OIL for its disosal to do all kind of social experiment, Nepal doesn’t.

    Like

  18. Bhudai Pundit: Unless the Maoists disarm there is no solution other than a military one. Unless you consider surrender to the Maoists an option.

    Like

  19. Eventhough I am a Nepali I agree with Bideshi. i always said in these posts that if the Maoists do not agree to the unconditional declaraion and elections to the CA and further continue their armed struggle, there is no way than to have a military solution. I always preferred to have a Peruvian solution to our crisis. But in Nepal we had three powers instead of two in Peru. In that country, there were only Govt. and Shining Path. In Nepal, we had Maoists, Parties and the Govrnment(RNA included) controlled by the King.It was because King did not listen to the advice of all, including international communities, UN, INGOS, Political parties and the leaders of the civil society for a long time, Parties joined hands with the Maoists to expell the King from power.

    In the whole episode, King lost all the credibility he had from the Nepali average public. He put in jeopardy the Monarchy as an institution in the country. It seems impossible to recover that respect.

    Only seems to be talks with Maoists and seetle out the problem. But there is a misconception about democracy. Parties want multi party democracy and Maoists want one party rule. We want to ask the parties, they both must clear us which way they want to take us so that we would be able to choose our representative of CA.

    Like

  20. Mabuhay ang Armadong Pakikibaka!!!

    Isulong ang Bagong Demokratikong Rebolusyon hanggang sa tagumpay!

    Durugin ang imperyalismo, pyudalismo at burukata kapitalismo!

    Mabuhay ang CPN-M!

    Mabuhay ang sambayanang Nepal!

    Like

  21. It is clear YOU CANT HAVE DEMOCRACY WHEN VAST AREAS in the COUNTRYSIDE are CONTROLLED and people coerced….
    CAN SPA go to the countryside and hold a DEMONNSTRATION against MAOBADI????

    MAOBADI must lay down arms before there can be any progress…no other solution…

    As far as agriculture is concerned Nepal can never be self sufficient in food with so little arable land..Last 250 Years Nepal got food from areas that Nepal conquered in India or from the salary or its soldiers…

    India could not eradicate poverty by distributing land..just gave now option to the poor but to cling to the small peice of land..THAT IS WHY INDIA IS SO POOR EVEN THOUGH IT IS SO BIG AND WITH SO MANY RESOURCES…

    Nepal has to industrialise..allow International Investment, attract more Tourists, Exploit its natural resources of water,hydroelectricity, attract investment to connect the countryside with Kathmandu..

    PRACHANDA is a CROOK fooling illiterate people and feeding them lies like “feudal monarchy, which has been betraying since the past 250 years”..He is rewriting historical facts…Nepal was always better than any area in the neighbourhood in South Asia..that is why it remained independant..NOW Indian LEFTISTs want to CONQUER Nepal…PRACHANDA thinks he can use them and they think he will deliver Nepal to the COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL SUCCESSORS…

    Like

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