Maoists and Main Stream Politics of Nepal (Two Years After)

Two years ago Neil wrote: Instead of joining the mainstream the Maoists intend to define the mainstream.
Now he writes: The Maoists have not joined the mainstream. Now they are the mainstream.

By Neil Horning

Nearly two years ago I wrote an opinion piece for UWB where I warned, “While it is imperative that both sides agree on how to manage arms during the election, attempts to extend the sovereignty of the Parliament… and other political games designed to influence the outcome of the constituent assembly will do nothing but delay the inevitable at best, and restart the bloodshed at worst.” The main point was that the Maoists had used their armed struggle to gain genuine public support, and that instead of joining the main stream they would define it.

What has happened over the last two years, and what has been accomplished? First, the traditional parties spent 6 unnecessary months of delaying the promulgation of the interim constitution. This included sending a letter unilaterally to the U.N. requesting the management of the PLA only, negotiating an unreasonable arms management arrangement (for a conflict that had achieved strategic parity) and finally forcing the Maoist demand for full proportional representation out of the CA elections (which was finally accepted on the condition of them being held within 6 months). This last effort resulted in the subsequent 4 months of violence in the Terai and the formation of the MJF. Then there were three months of obstructing the Maoists’ entry into the interim government, where they were forced to concede the leadership of any major ministry and the deputy prime minister post they had been promised (again contingent on the CA elections being held by June).

Two weeks later the CA elections were delayed. When the Maoists rescinded their commitments made on the contingency of June elections, it resulted in the inclusion of 60% full proportional representation in the CA elections, and their delay to April. Finally, after conventional wisdom indicated the Maoists had lost all support they had enjoyed, the elections were held. The results, of course, are widely known. The Maoists have not joined the mainstream. Now they are the mainstream.

Forget Prachanda’s conciliatory gestures since victory. A cursory glance at Maoist literature as recent as the latest issue of “The Worker” shows they are very much the same Maoists who initiated the demand for the Constituent assembly in the first place. Their change in public discourse is no conversion to free market principles. Even in China, Mao spent his first five years in power eliminating feudalism by introducing capitalism. These were arguably the most successful years of his reign. Among these capitalist policies was land reform, an initiative that gained the party theretofore unheard of popularity. It is top on the Nepali Maoists’ list.

The reasons for the change in rhetoric are practical; what the Maoists would call the “objective situation.” First, the Maoists cannot afford to ruin the country. The capital flight resulting from radical proclamations of the presumptive president would result in the decimation of the service and industry sectors. This would in turn enrage the Maoists’ base that is dependent on these sectors, be it for market or employment. Given that many state owned enterprises are currently failing, the Maoists could hardly nationalize industries. Nor can they precipitously eliminate the vast dead weight of the bureaucracy without causing undue societal disruption. Even revisiting hastily reached hydroelectric agreements threatens badly needed projects, and would undoubtedly result in the Maoists being tossed out on their ear. Second, the Maoists must deal deftly with foreign powers. They must not only balance Indian and Chinese interests against each other to achieve Nepal’s, they must work with Washington to get the terrorist tag removed and pacify donor agencies if they wish to make any progress. All these factors existed 2 years ago, and would have produced the same conciliatory tone, two years ago.

In order to fulfill the mandate they have been given and survive, the Maoists must focus on what they can achieve. They must abolish the monarchy, redistribute land from the owners to the tillers, federalize the state, secure access of minorities to the levers of power and erode sex/caste/creed/class/regional based discrimination, all while expanding the economy. If they succeed in these tasks, they will no doubt enjoy great popularity. If they fail on their own accord, they will be kicked into their favorite place, “the dustbin of history.”

However, if the Maoists are somehow obstructed in accomplishing these tasks, the results will be disastrous. They have at their command a full army, complete with weapons locker keys, and millions of voters who will now righteously feel cheated. Perhaps, that was the point all along. Basanta states in “The Worker” #11:

“It is not that we waged mass struggle in the peace time only. But, a proper sequence between political and military offensive has been the specificity of Nepalese people’s war ever since its preparation. In our case, every political offensive has been carried out to create such a political situation in which the subsequent military offensive is justified.”

Two years of obstructionist tactics have so far only delayed the inevitable. If the other parties want to restart the bloodshed, there is no better way to do it than keep the Maoists from forming the government.


11 responses to “Maoists and Main Stream Politics of Nepal (Two Years After)”

  1. Grija Prasad Koirala Avatar
    Grija Prasad Koirala

    You wrote the past

    Forgot about past and follow the New things that going to be in nepal

    past all the wolrd knows,what you want to proove?

    Best regards

  2. Neil Horning Avatar

    The prime minister posts on UWB?

  3. Joti - Scotland Avatar
    Joti – Scotland

    Well, i don’t want to live in a fake democratic country where where prime minister’s daughter ( also his relatives) comes from nowhere and starts to run the country, where he hires his relatives in politics and where his German son-in-law benefited from RNAC deal.

    I am proud of living in the country where our maoist – 18 to 25 years old adult fought for country, for us, for our future and for our benefit by giving their life and future to bring real democracy in country. What has Girija done other than those i mentioned above? All politicians played their dirty games.

    Neil Horning why don’t you write about something interesting?
    – talk about missing foreign aids? who took them? Who made nepal a dirty platform? who destroyed RNAC deal?

    Neil – Why don’t you investigate on these issues which matters for us now?

  4. Harke Avatar

    This election is a CA election, it is done to make a new constitution, not the government. The press and the Maoists are misleading the people and saying that Maoists have the right to lead the government. They only have the right to lead the constitution making process.

    The peace process hasn’t ended. The Maoist army hasn’t handed over its arms and ammunitions, YCL is still terrorizing the people. In this condition if a Maoist becomes the PM, he will 80% chance and 100% opportunity to become a dictator and capture the state power. So it is wise for us all to pray that GP Koirala, the man who is behind all this mess, will remain PM for the sake of “loktantra”. If the Maoists get the hold of state power “loktantra” will end and give birth to a new era called “janabaditantra”.

  5. freedom writer Avatar
    freedom writer

    Looking at the luck of GP Koirala, I have started beleiving in something called “fate”. He must have a strong fate, cause people are still praying that he remains the PM, even when they are fully aware that he has a big hand on all this mess in Nepal. What a irony for all the Nepalese people, and what a luck for Mr. G.P Koirala, cause there is no substitute for him.

    Mr. Neil, you say that “If the other parties want to restart the bloodshed, there is no better way to do it than keep the Maoists from forming the government”. But I fear that they make take over the country and start dictatorship, which does not seem impossible if thats what they want since they have their own army. The only thing is that there will be more bloodshed anyway.

  6. Neil Horning Avatar

    If the Maoists are shown that winning a plurality in elections and becoming the largest party is not even enough for them to lead, You will get both bloodshed AND a dictatorship.

    Maoist ideology consistently states that elections are a bourgeois scam designed to reinforce the dictatorship of the upper classes over the lower. The Maoists are in trouble with every international Maoist group, save for the ones adopting a “wait and see” attitude, for actually contesting elections. Being obstructed from power on instruction from Nancy Powell may cause them to adopt their old view of things. The outcome of this election puts them in a stronger position both politically and militarily than they were before the ceasefire.

    If the parties want to stop a dictatorship, the should concentrate on providing strong provisions for individual rights and checks of power within the constitution. Of course, given their past record of human rights abuse, I wouldn’t expect it too much.

  7. s Avatar

    the maoists whould run the govt. till next election, other parties should concentrate on ca. it’s silly to not let them run the day to day admin. Why give them a super soft landing anyway?

  8. freedom writer Avatar
    freedom writer

    So Neil, basically you’re saying that the maosit’s dictatorship in Nepal’s future is kind of like inevitable. Its just matter of time, when it will begin. If the maoists get it their way it will start in a few years time and if other parties oppose maoists victory now then it can start anytime soon enough. huhhhh ….. that could be true!

  9. mahila  sahu Avatar
    mahila sahu

    Dear Neil Horny, do not forget that Maosit won by cheating, terrorizing the poor villager, lying and selling impossible dream to urban lower middle class and poor people. Even they tried all the booth capturing etc they have not managed to get full majority. Now, they are talking sweet things but basically they belive in dictatorship and brutality. Only thing they are going to be finished is by contradicting themselves. Now hear my pridiction as well, All Nepalese are going to suffer the fate of palestine and North Korea combined. But I do not only blame Maoist all the stupid party leader are equally to blame for destroying the country in Name of religion, ethnicity etc. Now we Nepali does not need to wait long as first trouble will start when they have to decide about Federal Structure, How they are going to divide Nepal in Ethnic line ? or Geographic line ? and how self supporting it will become. This is recipe for destruction of Nepal as Nepal has one of the most geographically diverse people living on comparatively small geographic place.

  10. Hashin Avatar

    I would like to appeal all the youths of our country not to move anywhere for employment (Specially Overseas) ! Because our country is becoming ‘SWITZERLAND’ within 10 years ? Why to Worry?

  11. a gal fron BBA Avatar
    a gal fron BBA

    some commentators here like mahila sahu are suffering from”status quo”.if maoists are using the liberal words u think they are pretending and how would u opine if they had used harsh word.but one thing is true that we really need a dictator (doesn’t mean like adolf ),in this country other wise bhavisya andhyaro chha.

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