Representation In The House of Representative

By Shree Shrestha
UWB received this article in email

At present there are 205 members in the House of Representative. Talks are going on in different circles on how to change the system of election so that every ethnic group will be represented in the new House. I read many articles regarding this issue. Most of the ideas presented are too complicated to understand and implement in the present context. I am trying to give simplistic solution to have proper representation in the House.

1. Keep the present 75 districts and 14 zones as is.

2. Each district will elect 1 member for the Upper House (National Assembly).

3. Each district should have electoral map divided into electoral map comprising of 100,000 people.

4. The electoral map should not be drawn according to geographical boundaries like hills, rivers and others.

5. Electoral map will be drawn according to ethnic inhabitants in the respective areas.

6. In general 100,000 people will choose 1 representative.

7. In case there are less than 100,000 of certain ethnic group they will be still allowed to elect 1 representative for the House.

8. If there are very small group of certain ethnic group residing among larger ethnic group it is not necessary to break them.
They will simply vote with the majority.

9. This way there will be fair representation of the people in the House. For example: there could be Chhetri (36), Brahmin (29), Magar (16), Tharu (15), Tamang (13), Newar (12), Muslim (10), Kami (9), Yadav (9), Rai (6), Gurung (5), Damai (4), Limbu (4), Sarki (3), Teli (3), Koiri (2), Kamai (2), Sanyasi (2), Dhanuk (2), Musahar (2), Sherpa (1), Thakur (1), Rajbansi (1).

10. There are other groups comprising of more than 50,000 but less than 100,000. All of them should be able to elect 1 representative in the House.

11. This way our House of Representatives will look like Nepal.

One foot note in my suggestion: For example most of the Muslims live in Nepalganj. So Nepalganj Muslims will elect their representatives according to their population make up. At the same time, if there are less than 100,000 Muslims in Kathmandu they will not be able to send Muslim representative. They will vote with Newar if they happen to reside within Newar electoral area. Newars will be able to send their representative from Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan, Kirtipur, Sankhu, Bharatpur, Dharan, Dhankuta. But Newars from Biratnagar (for example) will not be able to send their representatives if they happen to reside outside Newar electoral area.

Shree Shrestha lives in Madison, Wisconsin. He could be reached at edeja1 (at)charter.net

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

96 thoughts on “Representation In The House of Representative

  1. Yes Manan let’s thanks Indians rather than talking about bahuns only electing bahuns and Newar not being able to elect Bahuns .

    Lebanon actually proved kinda tricky for our KP Oli and PK Dahal breathing on the neck of GP Koirala it soon was turning into another disaster. But I really wonder how many Nepalese actually want to return home from there. What are the options when they get back. Didn’t you read that over dramatized article in Kantipur?

  2. Shree Shrestha, good reply. You are either a genius or really stupid. I am quite not sure which!

  3. Shree Shresta:
    That is a rather bold claim to make: That brahmins, Ranas etc. are not scared to move around. Can you perhaps some more substance since you have tantilized our taste buds.

    Yes we should thank the Indians – I am sure Coke, Fanta and the like think thats part of some broader conspiracy.

  4. shree shrestha,

    why do you keep shying away from my question/comment? i have posted twice offering a suggestion. why do you not respond?

    you just go on and on about what you feel and crap of that kind, atleast say whether you agree or not with what i have said? blog forums are meant to be platforms for discussion and deliberation, not for offering a discourse on an issue and then shying away from any questions that arise.

    just for your easy referral, my point was about proportional representation in the house of representatives as opposed to the majoritarian form of democratic set up that we have in place in the country..

    just don’t go on and on with the same stuff

  5. and in the hope that you respond to my comment this time, i will go on to add that the system that i propose is better than what you have suggested, for what you have suggested is completely impractical, illogical and contains brings with it the possibility of further fragmentation of our society.

    waiting….

  6. No one can doubt that the crisis that our country is facing today was made possible only by the persistent and perpetual misrule of the political parties after they were handed over the power by the Nepali people in 1990. They had the opportunity to do for the nation what no one else had done before but instead of prioritizing economical and physical development of the nation they were busy amassing ill gotten wealth and practicing dirty politics for which the Nepali people are still paying today. It is their utter incompetence that gave rise to the Maoist insurgency that has already claimed more than ten thousand Nepali lives and counting.

    Of course, we have been blaming corruption for all the problems we as a nation are facing today. However, most of the credit for the malfunction of our, barely alive, democracy should go to inefficiency and incompetence of our leaders rather than corruption alone. It seems that politicians do not only lack sincerity and honesty but simple know how as well. We should realize that an honest but incompetent leader might cost the nation a lot more than a corrupt but efficient one both in terms of time and money.

    It is efficiency and competence of leaders that can build a nation of prosperity and opportunities. Honesty alone can not be enough to achieve this mammoth task. Our misfortune is that our leaders are neither honest nor competent. They are perpetually forgiven for all corruption charges that people lay against them and the political parties are too autocratic to give ways for the efficient and competent leaders. Until and unless we find a way of promoting competent people to run our country our situation is doomed to worsen.

    We should have a system where our prime minister is chosen or elected by the entire nation not just one district. It is obscene when prime ministers (like Mr. Deuba) say that he or she has done so much for the district that elected him or her regardless of what has happened to the nation as a whole. MPs can be elected by districts but each party should nominate one person for prime minister’s position and the entire nation should elect the best possible candidate. At the moment we have no say in who becomes the prime minister of our nation but instead it is up to the respective party and it feels like he or she is the prime minister of the party and the district and not the entire country. Candidates losing the election for the premiere position should not be allowed to run again. However, he can be involved in other positions or activities within the political party he is involved in. This same rule should also apply to prime minister running for his or her next term in the office, if he loses, he loses for good.

    This is the only way, I think, of promoting competent leaders to the ruling positions of our nation. This system will also ensure that the political parties nominate their best candidate for the premier position and parties will cease to be family organizations which only promote their own kind to top positions. Any parties that do not promote competent people will eventually fade away and this system will also empower the people immensely. No one should be allowed to become the prime minister of the country five times during five different generations as it does not show his or her popularity but instead the fact that the people have already rejected him or her four times and he or she is still running. We probably have the most number of people who have become the prime minister most number of times at such varied time in history that we (at least the prime ministers) would in some way qualify for some kind of funny world record and it is not funny at all. The misfortune our country is that we have been trying to solve the same problems for the past fifteen years (or even more) with the same leaders who have proven themselves to be complete failures over and over again.

    Mr. Deuba has claimed (more than once) that he was a victim of a royal conspiracy and hence he does not need to take any responsibilities for all his misdemeanors. Who are these politicians going to blame should India conspire against Nepal? Are they then going to say, “Well it was not our fault but it was India who conspired against us?” What good does this do for the country anyway? Should not prime ministers be competent enough to fight off any conspiracies against the nation and her people? Is it not their prime responsibility? These politicians are no children and democracy is no lollipop for some one to come and snatch it away from them. In fact, it was their (leaders) shrinking intelligence, ever expanding greed and visible incompetence that led to the semi collapse of the democratic system with constitutional Monarchy established by the people of Nepal in 1990.

    For Nepal and her democratic system to succeed, we need new, young and energetic leaders who are willing to work, work and work and for that all the old ones must go. If Mr. Girija P. K. could not do it when he was seventy years old, I am pretty sure he won’t be able to do it when he is eighty four.

  7. Yes, Prime Minister should be elected directly by the people instead of selection by the party.

  8. I think that Ministers should not be elected. The house should be elected and the majority in the house should form the government whereby they appoint Ministers accordingly. This will ensure less corruption, more checks and balances and the ability of the government to change the Ministers due to non performance without bringing down the house and mid term polls. I don’t know but maybe even the Prime Minister should be appointed by the house. This will also ensure that MP’s will be more interested to serve their regions and not be fluttering around for Ministerial berths. This will give them all the time and push to be present where they are required – their own constituencies. Plus, it will give us the added benefit (hopefully) that our Health Minister is knowledgeable about public health etc. and our Finance Minister is knowledgable about Economics and so on. Politics can be very dirty and we see a trend where many brilliant people would choose to stay away from it, but with this set up they can still contribute as Ministers etc. to the nation, and becoming MP’s will be more about public service and representation of your constituency as it should be, and less about power and influence of one group of individuals.

  9. Prakash, you are talking about decreasing the number of constituencies and I am talking about increasing the number of constituencies as population grows. You are talking about 3-4 representation from each constituency and I am talking about 1 representation from each constituency. Surely, we have different point of view. You are the only one who suggested different idea. This is healthy. It’s easy to criticize somebody’s idea than coming up with new one.

  10. I rather like Prime Minister elected by the general public. Then Prime Minister forms the cabinet. Prime Minister, Ministers and Assistant Ministers should not be the members of the House or National Assembly.
    During the election cycle each party proposes 1 name for the post of Prime Minister and the people will decide who will be their Prime Minister for next 6 years.

  11. Case in point and probably the best example is Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh of India. He is not an elected official. He was appointed by the Congress party to be first the Finance Minister in the early 90’s which brought about great economic progress to their country and now he is an appointed Prime Minister.

  12. Nepal is not India. And I have not seen anybody like Man Mohan Singh in Nepal. We need to find one. For the time being elect one. Something goes wrong then we can blame ourselves.

  13. shree shrestha,

    i have told you what i think is not correct with your system.

    you have not told me what you think about the system i have in mind. i would like to hear your views.

    i do not see your system working. i respect your views, but would like you to deliberate

  14. “And I have not seen anybody like Man Mohan Singh in Nepal. We need to find one.”

    It is indeed regretable that we seem to have no one of stature, integrity and substance to call upon.

  15. INDEED, very interesting proposal, albeit it’s efficacy in implementing it in political kaleidoscope of Nepal, which is getting psychedelic everyday, and even if implemented reasonable doubts of accomplishing the desired results.

    Having said that, do not paint me paint me with bad color (these days ‘red’ seems to be chic, and I don’t know what color best suits the elites of Nepal), I am all for proportional representation at all level of governance. But, Lo and Behold! Right concoct of ‘numbers’ in parliament does not guarantee to pry social index (education, health, employment to name a few) up.

    People that we elect for the Houses are the law-makers, not policy makers, but they do have a clout to direct the policies to the right direction. And our past electorate history have shown that we have been sending complete ‘——-‘(lack of word to describe Nepali politicians, only thing that comes to my mind is mofos) to represent ourselves. Their metamorphosis from— clad in ‘Hati chaap chaapl’ to cruising in SUV by the end of the term, even makes Kafka’s bug trite.

    If not for altruistic democracy, may be for functional democracy, it is necessary to make feel all the ethnicities that they have been represented proportionally.

    But, again, regardless of ‘sarki’, ‘damai’, ‘chettri’, ‘bahun’, ‘rai’, ‘limbu’, once they get there, they turn out to be the same.

    Anyway, interesting proposal!

  16. YAHOOOO!!

    What you say is very true. But I never understand you, you write very difficult.

  17. well well welll..

    While I was out, I see some folks have resented my labeling of the proposal as ‘chilidish and stupid’. Let me explain why it is childish and stupid.

    For one thing, the concept is not any different from the outdated traditional way of one person suggesting how country should be like in disrepect to many who do not have voice or access to such discussion. Let’s face it, many ethnic groups were systematically prevented from getting education and therefore are not able to participate or would not understand what has been imposed upon them such as this proposal without their consent or knowledge.

    Secondly, Mr. Shrestha proposed total of 65(36+29)for Bahun Chetri group, the very people who made Nepal the begging bowl and imposed its racist caste system as a goverment policy on the ethnic indigenous people who were outside the caste system. I would like to remind Mr. Shrestha that Bahun/Chetri (Khas) people were less than 5% of the total population during the time of PrithviNarayan take-over. Now, they are the population majority, in a country that had 36 ethnic indigenous groups but only four Khas groups/Jat. Tell me how did population demography shifted so rapidly in less than 200 years. Everyone knows that Bahun/Chetri took the most fertile land and politicallly strategic position on state sanctioned land-grant, and overpopulated the country hundred-folds, while the local people suffered their autrocity and were pushed to the margin, often forcing them to flee the country in search of labor jobs in forien countries, mostly India. Your proposal based on such face value, withoug any regard to and understanding of historical injustices is simply self-serving in your little intellectual interest and therefore, stupid at best.

  18. Shree shrestha,

    You have done really hard work. Yes there should differentiate among the brahmin and chettri and quotas shouls be determined accordingly. That mixed up is the real problem in our democracy. When democracy starts to work brahmin overtake the majority where chettris are always feel they are being ignored and blamed in the democracy althogh they are in good numbers. If this sequence is well addressed including all the castes then our democracy really function well.

  19. the “khul za simsim” magic word for nepal is EDUCATION…..with proper education, people will see themselves as real people instead of empty-headed mobs ready to beat up or destroy anything in the path…..

    ….with proper education people will think of building their careers or building the nation….they will have nothing to do with politics….

    ….the Nepali-way could turn out to be life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness too !!!

  20. I agree with daadakaada_dhakosh. I think we will just be successful in creating more confusion and divide should we have a system of quota for the underpreviledged, women, disabled and so on. The bottom line is access to education and the quality of education that the Nepalis are getting. Regardless of you cast and ethnicity, the education system in Nepal is absolutely rotten at the moment and no matter who gets where, inefficiency and lack of skiils will always hinder our strive towards prosperity. In our system, students do not need to even go to college but can obtain degrees by simply passing exams. After SLC, a young teen (average 16 years of age) is forced to decide what career he wants to choose for his life. If he chooses science for his +2 level but after +2, the social pressure is such that he cannot convert to commerce even if he wants to. I mean to say, students should have the right to choose what ever they want to study even at the age of 30. If we study what we want, we will be efficient at it. At the moment our parents want our good (academically)chiildren to study science, average children to study commerce and bad ones to arts. Whereas, commerce and arts are the most important ones to build societies and industries. If a manager needs it, he can hire as many engineers and doctors to get any project done. what we need are good managers.

    So to have women in the parliament just because they are women will not benifit the nation in the long run. What we need are efficient and competent leaders whether they are tamang, thakuris or bhauns.

    We will not gain anything by talking about who did what to whom some 200 or even 50 years ago. If we look at the world history, atrocities have been committed by even the most respected countries today. Like, japan (against chinese, australians and so on), america (red indians,Vietnam, Iraq and so on) , england and many more other coutries. If everyone keeps seeking revenge and keep dwelling on who is right and wrong perpetually no solution is ever going to come. We need competant leaders who would only work in the interest of the nation not an assembly of people representing all communities, ethenicities, cast, or tribes who would only have interest for their own kind.

  21. Finally, good to see enlightening feeds (comments 70, 71 in refernce to comment 1). Kudos to Shree Shrestha for getting people to think objectively! A big YES for equal access to quality education for all, irrespective of caste, creed, financial status, location, etc. Make sure everybody goes to school till they become adult. Plus, a compulsary national service (military/police/social/sport/volunteer service/etc) for a few years may help create a desciplined cadre for future.

  22. b,

    Why then Ganeshman at the end almost fired from the party? Wasn’t he the competent leader?? How come these same old leaders competent to drive the nation?? why not we fired the failure one??

  23. Fanta,

    That is why i suggest the prime minister be elected by the entire nation. And that, once leaders loose the election for premier position he or she should not be allowed to run again. Even the prime minister, if he loses the election for his or her next term should be disqualified from runing for the prime minister’s position again.

    The reason Mr. Ganesh Man Singh was ousted was because Mr. koirala could be prime minister five times being elected by a district he would not lose from.

    What i mean by competent leader is not that he or she is simply sincere and honest but someone who is efficient in running the country. An honest but inefficient leader will cost us more (in terms of time and money) than corrupt but efficient leader. We need some one who can work hard and know how things work.

    There is no point of having leaders who claim that he was conspired against by the party, royal family or anyone else for that matter. Some one who can fight all conspiracies and is willing to take the national responsibility is who we need.

  24. Listen all- Indians have drafted the constitution (yechuri)for Nepal, not a rumor but very true . I doubt any of these people (after having Indian done for them) will be able to say No. So cut the chase and noise, sit back and let it roll.

    Now, now I didn’t picked it up from the air, verify it before you start calling me Anti -India, which I am not, far from it.

  25. We do not see a fixed quota system for the aboriginals of australia or red indians of America. What they have is equal rights and equal access to education. The other thing we need to work on is our judiciary system. Parliament does not protect our rights but instead it is the judiciaries. We need fast, effective and impartial judiciary system that would act immediately against any one who abuses someone else’s rights that has been provided by our constitution. We would not need special protection for any groups if every one could go to courts if they are done wrong against and expect fast and effective justice. If we have proper education for all, i think our women are competent enough to achieve everything that a man can.

    We need to get our perspective right. Like, it is absurd to suggest that women should have equal distribution of parental inheritance. We need to realize that it is our parents who have and acquired their property and it should be them to decide who gets their property and so on. Even men should not get an automatic right to their parents assets and properties. This will also encourage children to look after their parents if they are interested in the inheritance. and the possibility that the children may not get any of the parental inheritance will encourage them to think about their future seriously and be independent. Today a lot of people are waiting for their parents to die and they would simply rent our the bottom floors of their house and collect the rent money for their living. We need a will system instead.

    Today we are not desperate enough because there is always some property we would get from our parents and that is our security that keeps us from being independent, assertive and realizing our goals. at the moment it is too easy.

  26. Well, Indians have been interfering in our country for as long as i can remember. Nothing new. If we want to fight the maoists they will not give us any arms and if wen want to negotiate with them they will put forward an impossible condition. They (both US and India) want the Nepali problems to continue. The way the Americans supported the Lebanese while kicking out the syrians from lebonan and then deserting them to let the Israelis attack them makes me wonder if the International community would protest should the indian army enter nepal in name of indian’s national interest

  27. “makes me wonder if the International community would protest should the indian army enter nepal in name of indian’s national interest”

    If a Maoist government takes over Nepal, most of the “world community” would applaud India for intervening. That is why it is vital to our survival as a sovereign nation to defeat the Maoists!

  28. b,

    What security till now our government (whoever it maybe) given to our children and even to us so that children do not expect from their parents.?? If goverment able to give atleast job security then only children will not expect any property from their parents.

    Regarding prime minister selection is the good point and there should be bar for two terms only.

    diehard,

    what do you think all our acts are not being discussed with India before implementation even yesterday. Each and every actions of our government are being guided by India. That is why even UN officials first visit to Delhi government and come to Nepal for the the further discussion. We are only 50% sovereign from India. I don’t even imagine that our interim constitution is drafted without the consultation of India. The panels are just copying body of SPA, maoist and India.

  29. Fanta,

    Look, that is exactly my point. We expect too much security. I understand that our government so far has been non existent as far as them working for our interest is concerned as in increasing employment possibilities and so on. However, we do not have enough pressure at the moment to work a bit harder, if you know what i mean. Once the gaurantees are taken away from us, we would then realize that if we do not do something there will be nothing left for us. Even if you think in terms of individual right, should the parents have the right to choose who gets their hard earned money instead of their sons automatically getting it.

  30. and Fanta,

    Jobs should not and could not be gauranteed by any government. Of course, opportunities are created but it should be individual’s responsibility to prove he or she is worthy of being hired. I do not think gauranteed jobs would do much good to anyone.

  31. All this divide and rule theory is fine, but frankly (and probably people do not care what I have to say) all this is about power and very little about democracy. How can we be called a sovereign and secular country and still harp about carving up constituencies so that all ethnic groups are by political geography elected into parliament? Should’nt we be rather talking about strengthening our institutions especially the justice system so that discrimination is checked which includes discrimination even amongst people from the same groups and most importantly the discrimination against women?
    Women make up 50% of the population and all Mr. Shrestha sees to do is divide the country as if separating different types of spices while not even mentioning half of the Nepalis who are the most deprived – the women.
    If we are to remain a country under one nation then we have to strengthen our institutions, allow anyone to participate in elections as we are a secular state now and most importantly let us not forget our women. I say let the best woman or man win and for this we have to put faith on ourselves as a united people who can survive in harmony no matter what your religion, colour, gender, or political beliefs under one nation called Nepal.

  32. I agree with you. True equality for our women is vital, including right to inheritance and citizenship.

  33. Not to mention Mr. Shrestha jumping the gun with regard to the system we may end up with. Although I support a system with a PM and a constitutional monarch, let us not forget that we may end up with a republican Presidential system. So let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. The issue of the maoists, peace and disarmament is ever present as well. Now is the time to strengthen institutions, and deliver justice 24/7. Because no matter what system we may end up with they all need institutions and strong ones at that.
    Maybe little off the topic, but let us mention an institution called our civil service. The government always tries to raise taxes for their expenditure, but how about the government doing the taxpayers a favour and stream lining the civil service. Do we really need 30000 peons? I am sure such efficient measures would make the government coffers more healthy and without undue pressure on tax payers.

  34. b,

    I understand that government cannot give the guarantee but it can give opportunities which we are lacking.

  35. This blog really seems to be filled with a lot of reactionary idiots. Though Shree Shrestha’s proposals are flawed the intention is good-he basically wants all the communities in Nepal represented not just Rana, Shah, Bahun and Chettri. Sure India is had undue influence in Nepal-but whose fault is it? It is the fault of the people who have been ruling Nepal for the last 50 years!

  36. One can unite people in a war against an outsider foe in the name of nationality as Communist Russian did against Nazi Germans in II World War. You can call one ethnic group against another within a country as it had been done in Ruwanda or Sudan or you can do so even in Nepal. Division of Nepal in ethnic line by Maoists is nothing new. That is just a slogan to arouse ethnic groups on Maoists’ behalf. Bifurcation of a country can not solve that problem too as creation of Nagaland or Mizoram and so on in India did not stop insurgency on ethnic principle there. Also, division of a state from Kusundaland to Bahunland as Maoist do to lure people to their goal creates more problems than sulutions as it creates more ethnic tension within the divisions. No how ethnic proportion can be changed without ethnic cleansing and, I am sure, nonody supports such idea.

    Affluent people who left this country and nationality or pure royalists harp more on nationality than other people living here. The first group ask for duel citizenship, so, to be privilaged both way. The second group is scared of giving up their power.They raise India-phobia all the time to create an imaginary foe as by Big Brother in George Orwell’s book named ‘1984’. As affluent, privilaged and powerful people try to influence other people, big, powerful and populous country like India will, no doubt, tries to influence, interfere and also help its small neighbour and it should be taken as normal and use it for our benefit. No country can change its neighbours and their behaviours.

  37. though bit out of topic, recently Makune’s party purposed interime monarchy. more interim whim is on the air. why not interim Makune, interim Prachanda. and what about interim country. then interim husband, interim wife and so on. it seems that it will some time before whim settles down.

  38. Well i think we are talking too much in advance. I do not even see the election to the constituent assembly happening very soon. I dont even see a general election in the near future. I think we are stuck in a situation here. Maoists are illegal untill they surrender their arms and the negotitians will not succeed without it. But, it is impossible to defeat the maoists millitarily and it is not possible to have a general election untill the maoists come to the mainstream politics. at the same time it is almost impossible for the maoists to lay down their arms as without arms they will be chased out of almost all the villages of Nepal. So, i think although it is the right time to be talking about change but it is very unlikely to be implemented. The only things that the spa will do is whatever strengthens them against both the King and the Moaists. Nothing is going to change here because the leaders are afraid that changes will be too challenging for them compared to their comfort today.

  39. Hya k ko CA, k ko Interim King or even Interim SPA, simply assimilate Nepal into India. No more RAW politics, no more trouble after majority of us are genetically INDIANS anyway.

    Let’s help India become once again GLORIFIED MAHABHARAT another GLORIUS WORLD SUPERPOWER at 21st Century with its ancient knowledges and DAWN OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION and we all gonna make new united Super Great Indian Civilization finally ASSIMILATING all South Asia till the border to Iran.

    Hang all including King, heads of all political parties and specially GUN DOWN all top notch Maoists leaders and let Dogs eat their chopped corpses.

    Bande Mataram, Hamara Bharat Barsha Mahan Hai

  40. Jhandu Bam, You need to stop chewing the Quat. India will certainly be a world economic “super power” along with China, but that doesn’t mean that our beloved Nepal will be “assimilated”. Nepal will prosper along with her neighbors IF the Maoists do not come to power.

  41. an interesting read

    Change the World Without Taking Power

    John Holloway

    Transcription of a video by Oliver Ressler, 23 min, 2004

    My name is John Holloway, I live in Puebla in Mexico. I teach at the university there in the area of sociology. My main interests I suppose is the critique of capitalism and trying to think about how we can possibly get out of this dreadful society that we have created and create a more human world.

    If you look at the experience of the last century, if you look at the experience of revolutionary governments in Russia, in China, in Cuba – but Cuba is a more complicated case – or if you look at the experience of reformist governments, of governments, which have got to power through elections, then I think universally it is a terrific disappointment, a terrific disillusionment. In no case has a left-wing government been able to implement the sort of changes that the people who struggled for its victory wanted. In all cases what has resulted is the reproduction of power-relations, perhaps a change in power-relations, but the reproduction of power-relations which exclude people, which reproduce material injustices, which reproduces a society that is not self-determining. It reproduces a society in which people themselves do not determine the development of the society. I suppose my argument is, that you can analyze it historically: in Russia it happened for such and such a reason, in China it happened for such and such a reason, in Albania it happened for such and such a reason, in Cuba it happened for such and such a reason, in Brazil, etc. But then comes a point, when it is not enough to talk about it in terms of specific historical cases. Obviously we have to try to generalize. The most obvious conclusion is that there is simply something wrong with the whole idea of trying to transform society through the state. The failure to transform society through the state has to do with the nature of the state itself, that the state is not just a neutral institution but a specific form of social relations, that arises with the development of capitalism. And that it is a form of social relations that is based upon the exclusion of people from power, that is based on the separation and fragmentation of people.

    Changing the world without taking power means, what it says it means, namely that we have to change the world, that is clear. And that we have to do it in a way that we must not think of the struggle to change the world as being a struggle that is focussed on state and on taking state power. It is important to develop our own structures, our own ways of how doing things. One central aspect of the argument is, that it is important to make a distinction between two concepts of power. That the concept of power conceals an antagonism, an antagonism between our power to do things and our creative power on the one hand, and the power to command, the instrumental power of capital on the other hand. In other words, if you ask what power means, the most obvious answer is that power means our capacity to do things. This power, it seems to me, is always a social power, simply because the doing of one person always depends on the doing of others. It is very difficult for me to imagine a doing, which would not be dependent on the doing of other people. It is clear that our doing here at the moment depends on the doing of hundreds or thousands of people who created the technology we are using, who created the concepts we are using, etc. Our power to do is always a social power, is always a collective power, our doing is always part of the social flow of doing. Now what happens after capitalism – if we think of our power to do is a part of a social flow of doing – it is clear there are no clear divisions between the doing of one person and the doing of another. One flows into another. What one person has done, becomes the precondition of the doing of others. But in a way in which there are no clear distinctions, no clear identities, there are no clear dividing lines. What happens then under capitalism is that this flow of doing is broken, because the capitalist comes along and says: “That which you have done is mine, I appropriate that, that is my property.” And since that what one person has done is the precondition of the doing of others, then the appropriation by the capitalist of that which is be done gives him the capacity to command the doing of others, to rule over the doing of others. Through that the social power to do becomes broken, it becomes transformed into its opposite, which is the power of the capitalist to command the doing of others.

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  42. Jhandu_Bam,

    How about breaking India into thousand pieces distinct culturual identies of which it was made by force during the Indian slavery by British.

  43. Hi all

    After going through all the writings i am even more confused. One thing for sure, putting own’s opinion forward is much easier than actrually implementing it. We nepalese are sharp minded, we care about ourselves well, let alone the others.

    As such there are lots of added problems now in nepal. If we sulk away now then then the next generation are going nowhere other than the hell.

    My finding on the root cuase of all the problems in our (still our) nation is nothing but the seed of descrimination amongst ourselves germinating as ever.(in cyclic form , gen to gen). I think there is nothing wrong in quitting the traditions which are bad. Save the cultures which are good at present for the society. Lets not only save but try to groom the good cultures but lets eradicate the caste system totally. Why shouldn’t a bramhin choose sewing shoes as a propession if he likes.then should he be deprived?

    And again, why should a bramhin or chettri be higher in nepal if they are full of craps?

    Lets not follow the rotten tradition , lets not descriminate any human being as reagrad to surnames,sex, age etc. And i think this is the democracy for an individual citizens. I promise, we won’t have problems in elections.

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