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Eyewitness to the Revolution in Nepal Touring NZ

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The first communist revolution of the 21st century is unfolding in Nepal. The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is leading the workers, peasants and oppressed in a movement that seeks nothing less than a whole new world. Ever since the destruction of the Soviet Union, the ruling class has told us that communism is dead. Unfortunately for them, the people of this small, desperately poor country do not appear to be listening. From the new pamphlet Revolution in Nepal by Alastair Reith and Mike Ely

Between 1996 and 2006 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) staged an armed peoples war against the Nepali state. After the overthrow of the despotic King Gyanendra in 2006 by a mass uprising, the Maoists started to take part in elections. In 2008 they won the most votes in Nepal's Constituent Assembly in 2008 and formed a government. The Maoists began a campaign of land reform and moves to improve the status of women. However, the Maoists resigned from government after Nepal's Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal (a Maoist) had his decision to sack the head of the army overturned by Nepal's ceremonial President (a bit like their equivalent of NZ's Governor General). Since then there have been clashes in the streets between Maoist activists, as well as other Nepalis angry at the President's interference with democracy, with the police and army.

Eyewitness to revolution speaking tour: March 21st to 26th

Ben Peterson, a young Australian socialist who recently visited Nepal, will be touring New Zealand to speak about the Maoists' struggle.

Sunday 21 to Monday 22 March - Auckland
2pm @ Auckland Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road, Grey Lynn.
• Monday 22 March - Auckland
1pm @ Function Room (over Quad café), Auckland University.

Tuesday 23 March – Hamilton & Rotorua
1-2pm (followed by discussion) @ SUB G.20 (Guru Phabians room), Student Union
Building, Waikato University, Hamilton.
7.30pm @ Ghandi Hall, 16 Gibson Street, (opp ten-pin bowling alley), Rotorua.

 Wednesday 24 March - Wellington
6pm @ Newtown Community Centre, 1 Columbo Street, Wellington.

 Thursday 25 March - Dunedin
1pm @ University Union Main Common Room, Dunedin University.
7pm @ Knox Church Hall, George Street, Dunedin.

Friday 26 March - Christchurch
1pm @ Steed Meeting Room (next to the International Room), UCSA building,
Canterbury University.
• Saturday 27 March – Christchurch
7:30pm @ WEA, 59 Gloucester Street, Christchurch.

Interview with Ben | Ben's Maobadi Watch Blog

Comments

Communism!!!??!! Communism is

Communism!!!??!! Communism is a classless, stateless society without wage labour and money and wages, not a bunch of nationalists who support state capitalism and repress strikes. http://libcom.org/news/nepal-maoists-restate-intention-ban-strikes-other... Why is Indymedia promoting this Maoist bollocks on its front page? Maoism has been one of the greatest tragedies for the working class around the world, leading directly to the deaths of millions and millions and millions of workers and peasants. Thankfully, I won't be going to this nonsense.

no investigation, no right to speak

The Maoists never banned strikes. It's just a myth spread by a Libcom writer who knows nothing about the situation in Nepal, what is taking place there and how the struggle is unfolding.

This myth has been dealt with here: http://comradealastair.wordpress.com/2010/01/02/did-the-maobadi-ban-strikes/

"He hides behind myths and lies"

The only myth is the comment of "I hide behind pseudonyms..." here; he is here being as dishonest as maoists have been elsewhere about this subject. I am the libcom writer he refers to - and I have never claimed that the maoists did ban strikes, only that they expressed an intention to do so. Yet maoists keep repeating these myths around the Net; my replies to some of these misrepresentations begin on this revleft thread at post 42; http://www.revleft.com/vb/did-nepals-maoists-t125960/index3.html?highlig...
Note that I state from the beginning;  "my article was called "Nepal: victory turns sour" - ...     It stated in the first sentence "...the Maoist leadership agrees to banning strikes." Not that they had banned strikes. This article was then reposted by some persons unknown elsewhere with the title "Maoists Ban Strikes". So my article was accurate ...."
The shabby tactics and dishonesty pro-maoists feel obliged to repeatedly resort to on this topic only show that this is an embarrassing raw nerve for them.
The original articles;
http://libcom.org/news/nepal-victory-turns-sour-22012009
http://libcom.org/news/nepal-maoists-restate-intention-ban-strikes-other...
Other articles on Nepal by myself, the supposed 'know-nothing'; http://libcom.org/tags/nepal
Another thread where maoist lies on this topic were refuted; http://kasamaproject.org/2009/01/29/prachanda-nepalese-people-will-seize...
The real reason maoists feel the need to repeat these distortions are to try and discredit my articles. Why? Because the articles show clear evidence that the Nepal maoists stated an intention to ban strikes. Shortly after they stated these intentions the maoists left the government, so never got the chance to carry them out.

*sigh*

Firstly. Regardless of what your intentions were, and regardless of what the article actually said, it has led to a misconception throughout much of the Western 'left' that the Maoists are anti-strike, anti-union, anti-worker, etc etc etc. I've had to spend a fair bit of time refuting this rubbish.

And as I repeatedly pointed out in that thread on Revleft, you simply don't have any real understanding of what the situation is like in Nepal. You do not know what words like "bandh" (i.e. the forcible closure of all businesses, schools, factories and so on and the banning of all motor vehicles from the road in a particular area as an act of protest by a political group)  and "hartal" (more like a strike as we understand it in the West, between workers and capital) mean, what the differences between them are, and how they actually play out IRL in Nepal. As I wrote in the thread you linked to:

//////In the very first footnote to your piece on Libcom, you translated 'bandh' as "a Nepali word literally meaning 'closed' - i.e. strikes and public protests in Nepal."

This is not the case. A bandh is not a strike, and it's not a coincidence that in the interview you referred to Bhatarrai clearly made a distinction between the two. Such inaccurate reporting and such basic lack of knowledge and understanding of the concrete situation in Nepal indicates that frankly, you don't know what your talking about, and as you so eloquently put it, 'casts doubt on [your] reliability as a general source of information.'//////

Bandhs are called by political parties. Groups of the party's militants then roam the streets forcing any shops that are open to close, and attacking any vehicles driving on the street in defiance of the bandh. Due to this generalised use of violence, it is possible even for a very small and weak political organisation to shut down a particular area just by calling a bandh and getting a few hundred people on the streets.

An example of this is the bandh called in late February by the RPP, the Royalist party. It has four seats in Nepal's constituent assembly, and virtually no support except amongst some of the country's senior citizens and religious types. It was the only party to vote against the declaration of a republic in 2008 - 560 votes in favour, the RPP's four against. It is a fringe force.

Yet it called a bandh in the Kathamndu valley and shut the place down. As Nepalnews reported: "Normal life in Kathmandu valley has been crippled by a bandh called by the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPP-N), Monday.

People are forced to stay at home or walk to their destinations as private as well as public vehicles have remained off the road. Markets, schools and offices have closed."

This is not an indication of support for the RPP - rather, it is an indication of how bandhs actually work in Nepal (something Ret does not understand) and the kind of situation this creates. As I said, party cadres enforce the bandh with violence, so the moment a bandh is called everyone just stays home and cars stay off the road. 

Details and a video of the RPP bandh can be seen here: http://www.nepalnews.com/main/index.php/news-archive/2-political/4329-rpp-n-demonstrates-around-singha-durbar.html

http://www.nepalnews.com/main/index.php/news-archive/2-political/4309-rpp-n-bandh-cripples-valley-life.html

So what does all this mean? What this means is that the various reactionary political forces in Nepal, from the fringe groups like the RPP to the main parties of the landlords and capitalists like the Nepal Congress and the UML, are able to cause chaos and shut down production, transport and so on to an extent completely out of proportion to the levels of support they actually enjoy.

It should also be noted, as I wrote in the blog post on this issue, that "strikes in Nepal are never just issues of workers vs bosses. All the unions (as far as I’ve seen) are affiliated to political parties. Strikes are not just called by workers through their unions, they’re called by the workers affiliated to this or that political party, in consultation with that political party. You can disagree with this if you prefer the idea of independent workers unions doing their own thing, but these are the facts on the ground. Strikes are as much about a struggle between different political factions as they are about a struggle between workers and bosses."

When the Maoists were leading a government (a tactic I explained here, in case anyone's interested: http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.php?p=1683898&postcount=20) the feudal parties were calling bandhs and strikes to disrupt production and cause economic chaos. This is in a country where electricity is off most of the day, there are severe food shortages and basic law and order is falling to pieces. This situation is good in many ways, as it indicates the level to which the Maoist-led revolutionary movement has weakened the power of the state to the point of it being almost irrelevant in most of the country, but it's bad in many ways for the ordinary working people who lose pay for every day they can't get to work because the Congress or the monarchists have called a bandh, or who can't get any food because basic distribution networks are fucked. 

The Maoists temporarily offered a truce to the reactionary parties - we'll stop calling strikes and bandhs for a time, if you'll do the same. The deal was never implemented, for the record, but even if it had, it does not in any way indicate counter-revolutionary tendencies from the UCPN (M). Maoist-led unions continue to lead the class struggle in Nepal. The most recent reports I've seen are of a struggle currently being waged by the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Tourism Workers Union.

http://www.nepalnews.com/main/index.php/business-a-economy/4714-maoist-trade-union-bars-trekking-agents-from-sending-guides-porters-to-annapurna-region.html

I'm not 'embarrassed' by it at all. Why would I be, and who would I be embarrassed in front of? The fact that a handful of Western anarchists on Libcom aren't happy with the revolutionary strategy of the UCPN (M), a mass party of millions, isn't going to stop me sleeping at night. 

The sad and unescapable fact here is that you don't have your facts right, and what facts you do know are out of context and misunderstood in your head because you've only done a surface level analysis of the situation in Nepal. It's a shame, it's annoying to have to read this rubbish over and over again... but it's how it is. You do not know what you're talking about.

The truth doesn't go away...

Are Alastair and the untruthful "I hide behind pseudonyms..." the same person? Perhaps Alastair can tell us and/or the admins can check the relevant IP numbers and let us know.

Alastair;

    Firstly. Regardless of what your intentions were, and regardless of what the article actually said, it has led to a misconception throughout much of the Western 'left' that the Maoists are anti-strike, anti-union, anti-worker, etc etc etc. I've had to spend a fair bit of time refuting this rubbish.

Any misinterpretations are not at all my fault, I've corrected them wherever possible - and the maoists when in government were increasingly anti-strike, as I'll again show here. The inescapable facts; the maoists intended to ban workers' strikes and said so. You've tried to excuse this repeatedly. But I won't repeat the arguments we had on the revleft thread I linked to above - others can assess the truth of the matter for themselves and see how honestly or otherwise you've dealt with the truth. The quoted facts of what the maoists said are linked to on this thread and they can be compared with Alastair's attempted excuses.

Alastair;

    And as I repeatedly pointed out in that thread on Revleft, you simply don't have any real understanding of what the situation is like in Nepal. You do not know what words like "bandh" ... mean, ...

Again, I showed the error of this claim on the revleft thread - mosts bandhs are strikes but not all bandhs are, nor is a bandh only a strike. So my definition is not inaccurate - I also showed multiple examples of how the words are used interchangably on a daily basis in the Nepali press. Like here;

Political parties vow no strikes in 2011 in Nepal
    KATHMANDU, Feb 27 - Nepal's major political parties have pledged they won't call general strikes or road blockades in 2011...
    http://www.ekantipur.com/2010/02/27/intl-coverage/political-parties-vow-...

Or this article by a Nepali economist;

MYREPUBLICA.com - 30 Jan 10
    Costs of Nepal bandas      
     CHANDAN SAPKOTA
    Organizing strikes (popularly known as bandas)...
    http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=...

It's also amusingly ironic that, after reading Alastair's article, someone from Asia commented on it;

Ashish said
    January 7, 2010 at 10:42 am
    Article is poorly researched.
    Maoists did propose to ban “bandhs”, with reference to Nepal bandhs and Kathmandu Bandhas. I can vouch for that and can produce evidences in this regard.
    As Arthur has stated, I think the writer is confused with bandh as in forcible closure; and hartal as in strike."

As Kdog said in his excellent responses (highly recommended) to Alastair's article here; http://kasamaproject.org/2010/01/05/unraveling-a-lie-no-nepals-maoists-didnt-ban-strikes/ - Alastair's excuses are full of contradictions and the whole issue on bandhs etc is a red herring - an attempt to deflect from essential facts. (If anything is a "killshot", it's Kdog's responses to the article.) This tactic of trying to misrepresent one phrase in my article to conclude it shows I 'know nothing about Nepal' and so invalidates anything else I say is childish, desperate, and typical of Alastair's repeated dishonesty.

The maoist government did ban at least one strike just prior to leaving government; it was a ban against oil "tanker owners and drivers if the latter refuse to ferry essential goods", so it's unclear how worker drivers would have related to this; whether the drivers were pursuing their own interests as workers in this strike or just following the orders of their bosses. But it does show again that a claim of Alastair is wrong - that the maosts had decisively rejected utilising legislation against strikes and there was "not any kind of legislative reform". The maoists had stated that they wanted to stop strikes in essential services and the report below (from April 2009, shortly before the maoists left government) shows that they invoked legislation to arm themselves with the power to ban such strikes.

Strike banned in import, distribution of petro-products      

    KOSH RAJ KOIRALA
    KATHMANDU, April 7: The government has invoked the Essential Services Act (ESA) 2014 B.S, which bans strikes, in 16 various crucial service areas, starting Monday.

    Among other things, the ESA bans all manner of strikes in the import and distribution of petroleum products including LPG (liquefied petroleum gas).

    This latest move by the government comes in the face of growing instances of strike in various essential areas and just a week after petroleum dealers and tanker operators launched nationwide strikes, causing acute shortage of petroleum products in Kathmandu Valley and other parts of the country.

    Home Ministry spokesperson Nabin Ghimire said the import and distribution of petroleum products has been recognized as an essential service and strikes in this service banned, at the request of the Ministry of Commerce and Supply. “We hope that enforcement of the act (ESA) will do away with the tendency of organizing strikes in the critical services area,” he added.

    As per the Essential Service Act 2014 BS, those directly involved in strikes against essential services are subject to a six-month jail term or a Rs 200 fine or both. Likewise, those inciting strikes or tacitly supporting the strike organizers are liable to a one-year jail term or a Rs 1,000 fine or both.

    Last year also, the Home Ministry had enforced the ESA to ensure the availability of essential services. However, the ESA then did not recognize the import and distribution of petroleum products as an essential service. “We have also included internal security-related services as an essential service,” spokesperson Ghimire said.

    The ESA remains in force for six months from the date of its notification through the Nepal Gazette.

    According to a notice published in the Nepal Gazette, the government has recognized drinking water supply, electricity supply, hotels, hospitals and drugs manufacturing, garbage collection and disposal, and banking and insurance as essential services. Surface and air transport services, communications services including the post and telephones, airports and government printing and publication services are also included under the ESA.

    koshraj@myrepublica.com

    Published on 2009-04-07 09:41:00  http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=...

As far as we know they only invoked/activated this law against oil tanker drivers; but a spokesperson for the maoist-led government is quoted explicitly referring to its intended wider application; '“We hope that enforcement of the act (ESA) will do away with the tendency of organizing strikes in the critical services area,” he added.' This Essential Services Act was activated in the same week that Maoist finance minister Dr Bhattrai told Nepal's International Chamber of Commerce that the promised strike ban would soon be operational, and could clearly be used to deliver what he promised to bosses;

    the government is planning to restrict bandhs [street protests] and strikes in industries and essential commodities. "Such regulations will come soon," he assured. (Himalayan Times online - Apr 10 2009)

The scope of the Act is extremely wide;

2009-Oct-01
    The Essential Services Act (ESA), 1957, bans strikes and protests in 16 sensitive service sectors that are essential for the public. They are as follows:

    Banking services, Postal service, Electronic and print media, Telecommunication service, Transportation service including road, air and marine transport, Work related to civil aviation and maintenance of aircraft, Public security, Services on railway station and government storages, Mint and government print service, Manufacture of defense goods, Electricity supply, Drinking water supply, Hotel, motel, restaurant, resort and tourist accommodation and other similar kinds of service, Import and distribution of petroleum goods, Hospital, health centres and manufacturing establishment of medicine and distribution, Garbage collection, transfer and recycling services.
    http://thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=Half++forgotten+Act+&...

This legislation that the maoist-led government revived is clearly a provision for an almost blanket ban on workers strikes. Some may claim it was only done for the sake of the public good - but this rings hollow when one sees that after leaving government maoist-led disruption of essential services such as fuel was considered fine; as in Nov 09;

KATHMANDU: Unified CPN-Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Petroleum Workers’ Union (ANPWU) on Monday lived up to its threat, shutting down all private petrol pumps in the Kathmandu Valley for an indefinite period.
    The closure comes in the wake of the Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association’s (NPDA) ‘failure to fulfil’ ANPWU’s 16-point charter of demands.
    The Maoist union’s stir has spread beyond the Kathmandu Valley as well. ANPWU members today picketed at all nine Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) depots across the nation for the fifth consecutive day. NOC depots are located in Amlekhgunj, Pokhara, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, Surkhet, Dipayal, Janakpur,
    Birtamod and Thankot.
    The fuel crisis is likely to deepen in the coming days.
    The All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) — the workers’ front of the Maoists — today announced that it would lead the ongoing
    agitation. http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullTodays.php?headline=ANPWU+warning+f...

So we can conclude; shortly before they decided to leave government the maoists stated that they wanted to stop certain workers' strikes, and they then invoked/activated legislation giving them the legal power to do so. So not only did the the maoists while in power revive and activate the anti-strike legislation for SEZs;

KATHMANDU, Jan 22: After four years of finalizing the draft, the cabinet on Thursday endorsed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act, paving way for the implementation of the SEZ projects in the country. [...]
    ...the Act treats SEZ as a land where other domestic laws related to labor and industries would not be applicable. It has mooted an autonomous SEZ Authority to oversee its operations.

    The source stated that the ratification of the Act, which had so far lingered due to the differences over the tighter labor provisions, had became possible after the seven parties recently agreed not to launch strikes in the industries or disturb productions.

    “The Act allows workers to unite and practice collective bargaining, but prohibits them from undertaking activities that affect production and normal operations of industries,” said the source. It also allows the entrepreneurs to hire workers on a contract basis. [My emphasis.] http://myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=1357

 

- but they also invoked and activated the anti-strike law The Essential Services Act. Two pieces of anti-strike legislation; that's pretty good going for the self-appointed champions of the exploited masses. Better, in fact, than the previous bourgeois governments.

The chances of the Nepal maoists ever achieving, by whatever means, their desired political domination appear to be diminishing at present. But if they ever were to do so, the facts laid out above about their view of labour relations give an indicator of what the exploited workers and peasants could expect from the new boss Party. When out of power, strikes are useful for pursuing the maoist party goals; when in power strikes would have no place, as the working class is supposedly in power - and how can the working class possibly strike against itself? (Anyone who has studied a little revolutionary history should already know the answer to that.) Of course, any strikes under any future maoist one-party regime would probably be suppressed as reactionary; strikers and dissenters might be jailed, but they would all be anti-working class counter-revolutionary workers, just like they were in Russian and Chinese Gulags etc. And pro-maoist cheerleaders would try to justify it in similar ways as they try now to excuse the maoist anti-strike legislation.

The  move from a

The  move from a enslaving-feudal-Bourgeois class society to a revolutonary worker-peasant-student alliance is taking place in Nepal.  From a dictatorship of the enslaving, feudal- bourgeois to the dictatorship of the working classes has never been greeted with justice, truth and peace by the overthrown classes. 

The transiftion will take numerous years, and is already fraut with numerous contradictions, as it was in 1949, in China when Chairman Mao-tse-tung declared on The gate of heavenly peace, the Peoples Republic of China, and in a speach, declared that ' The Chinese People Have Stood Up'.  This after the Chinese Peoples liberation army had just defeated The U.S. backed army of Chiang-kai-Chek, who was equipped with sophisticated  U.S. weapons.  Chiangs army was a feudal army backed by the feudal landlords, and comprador bourgeoisie who had sold out the country to Foreign Imperialists headed by U.S. Imperialism, who still occupy China's sacred province of Taiwan previously called Formosa. 

This is not ancient history or herstory, and as matter is in motion, the changes are on-going and in truth the Chinese Peoples in Liberation know that the struggle to defeat the world Imperialist camp headed by U.S. Imperialism is not easy, but will in time be done to end the destruction of the environment and the unust wars of aggression that imperialism heads throughout the modern world. 

The people of Nepal are on a long march to a liberated world, and there is not instant cure such as text book communism , put forth by arm chair communists.  It involves changing the society in the most favourable ways from the level that they find themselves, and if they are opposed to the Unions, which is not my knowledge of their practice, they would be making a theoretical mistake for Marx and Engles both point out that the trade unions are the path to the workers state, and the workers state is the last classist state, and is used only to end all exploitation of labour, and to stop the overthrown classes from returning to exploit the working class. 

 When early taking the path of revoluton Mao formed a Peasant Union, that allowed the peasants to re-distribute the Landlords huge stocks of food, back to the peasants themselves, whose work had produced it.  That takes a huge amount of time and energy to do.  It is not a instant thing, in a huge country such as China. 

What is important when dealing with this contradiction, is to make sure that you support the workers in moving society to a new non-exploiting position globally, and distribute the wealth justly, in a more equitable way.  Workers of the world, unite!!

yep.... fuck Mao.

yep.... fuck Mao.

A real revolution is

A real revolution is happening in Nepal. It's the first we've seen in decades. It's in a tiny, incredibly backward country sandwiched between China and India, and dominated in particular by Indian expansionism. The US and the EU have regularly intervened against this revolutionary movement over the past decade, and look set to continue as the revolution reaches it's decisive moments.

This is a country with 40% unemployment, in a good year. This is a country where thousands of women are sold into the sex trade in Indian brothels every year, often because for their families it's a nightmare choice between that and starvation. And more generally, women are bought and sold like cattle into arranged marriages, often when they're as young as 12 or 13. The Maoist movement has gone further in destroying these practices than any other movement or legislative reform in Nepal's history, but the fight isn't over yet. This is a country where over 40% of the rural population (i.e. the overwhelming majority of the population) do not have enough land to make a living, and are forced to scrounge and struggle every day just to put food on the table. This is a country where the many indigenous peoples and oppressed nationalities have for too long been denied their right to self-determination, and it's only now with the rise of the Maoist movement that they are organising themselves into autonomous revolutionary states.

Nepal is surrounded on all sides by the Himalayas, except for it's southern border with India. This border is currently open, but all India needs to do is close it and Nepal starves. Simple as that. It's not like NATO will organise a new Berlin Airlift into Kathmandu, and there's no socialist bloc to back Nepal up if India moves to crush it's people's revolution.

This puts an incredible burden of responsibility on the shoulders of people like us, the Western revolutionary left. When the working people of Nepal are moving to take control of society, we need to stand with them and oppose all attacks on them. This is the meaning of internationalism.

Sadly, I doubt it'll happen. The phoney liberal left will stand by as imperialism moves against the Nepali revolution, contributing nothing to it's defence but instead denouncing the revolution because the workers and peasants have chosen to make it under the banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

People need to decide which side they're on. As the deadline for a new constitution grows nearer, and as the Maoists promise a revolt following it, we need to start drawing lines in the sand. Who's going to stand with the oppressed people of Nepal as they risk everything and move to create a new world? And who's going to side with imperialism and spend their time attacking the revolution?

Time will tell. And history will judge.

Your fervour is pretty out

Your fervour is pretty out there. It is like you see things in purist black and white terms: you are either for or against the Maoists. Reality is of course much more muddy and complex. No doubt the Maoists may have done some good in terms of concrete reforms and grassroots organisation to get food and the basics of life. And I wish there was a genuine revolution in Nepal.

But I would need to know more. Are the Maoists genuinely encouraging autonomous working class and peasant self-organisation around concrete issues and demands? Or funnelling these struggles through the all knowing Party, and distrusting any independent activity? Are the Maoists going to get rid of the state or just form another government like last time? What forms of grassroots democracy to the propose to replace it? Are these forms going to be genuinely independent of the Maoist Party? Will they be repressed if they question or act against the Maoist Party (and I dont just mean counter-revolutionary dissent from the right, but dissent from the left)? And what about capital? Do the Maoists plan to get rid of capitalism and bring in communism (meaning where all property is communalised, and the wage system and money is abolished, and produce is produced voluntarily and communally from each according to their ability, and to each according to their need) or form a workers state where the means of production is owned and controlled by the party elite and the wage system and money is retained ie. state capitalism? Will getting rid of capitalism mean getting rid of forced labour? If the workers state just forced people to work for them then I cant see how different it is from capitalism or any other class society. And that is precisely what Maoist China was and is. A class society. 

In China, beneath Maoist anti-bureaucratic rhetoric, lay the Stalinist reality of forced wage labour, market exchange, capitalist social relations, a totalitarian state, personality cult, death camps, militarism, nationalism, imperialism and an elite (if not class) at the top of the Chinese Communist Party controlling and exploiting Chinese workers and peasants. The Maoists were not communists.

Prove to me Nepal is different from Mao's China. It is very very easy to romanticise struggle in the 'less developed' world from afar, and go on trips there where of course the Party shows you what need to see and hear, and then come back to proclaim a workers paradise or revolution, and shout it from the rooftops. What foul beast shambles towards Bethelem...

//Are the Maoists genuinely

//Are the Maoists genuinely encouraging autonomous working class and peasant self-organisation around concrete issues and demands?//

The Maoists ARE workers. The Maoists ARE peasants. There is no false dichotomy between the Maoists and the masses, as if the Maoists are some alien force. Who do you think make up the ranks of the Maoist party? Peasants and workers. So if that's what you mean by 'autonomous self organisation', then yes, they're very enthusiastically pushing that. I prefer to use simpler terms like class struggle.

//Or funnelling these struggles through the all knowing Party, and distrusting any independent activity?//

I'm yet to encounter any claims by the Maoist leadership to be 'all knowing'. If all action taken by supporters and militants of a party is by it's nature not 'independent', and if you only like such 'independent' action, then you're setting up a situation where the party will always condemn itself whatever it does. 

//Are the Maoists going to get rid of the state or just form another government like last time?//

The Maoists intend to do a lot more than just 'get rid' of the state. Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai recently had this to say: "The key question in any revolution is the question of the state. The state is simply an instrument of dictatorship of a certain class. Right now in Nepal the existing state is a dictatorship of the feudal, comprador and bureaucratic capitalist classes. So the task of the revolution is to smash this state and replace it with a New Democratic one. This is the basic objective of the revolution."

//What forms of grassroots democracy to the propose to replace it?//

We'll see what form the New Nepal takes as it emerges. But they have made proposals in the past as to how the new society should look - these can be viewed here. http://ucpnm.org/english/doc11.php#39

//Are these forms going to be genuinely independent of the Maoist Party?//

They call for multi-party democratic cooperation and competition under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and oppose the one party state model. 

//Will they be repressed if they question or act against the Maoist Party (and I dont just mean counter-revolutionary dissent from the right, but dissent from the left)?//

What kind of question is that? I don't have my crystal ball on me, but next time I get a glimpse of the future I'll try and find out for you.

//And what about capital? Do the Maoists plan to get rid of capitalism and bring in communism (meaning where all property is communalised, and the wage system and money is abolished, and produce is produced voluntarily and communally from each according to their ability, and to each according to their need) or form a workers state where the means of production is owned and controlled by the party elite and the wage system and money is retained ie. state capitalism?//

You're asking if they're anarchists. No, they're not. They have a certain amount of common sense, and know that you can't develop communism in one country, especially one as backward as Nepal. They plan to build a society under the control of the working masses, who can then put it and keep it on a revolutionary road. 

//Will getting rid of capitalism mean getting rid of forced labour? If the workers state just forced people to work for them then I cant see how different it is from capitalism or any other class society.//

Um, I think necessity and the need to produce enough basic goods to keep everyone alive will force people to work. Work will become optional in a post-scarcity society. I don't see that arriving in Nepal any time soon.

//And that is precisely what Maoist China was and is. A class society.//

Cool.

//Prove to me Nepal is different from Mao's China.//

Do you really require proof that a country like Nepal in 2010 is different to China in the 1930s? You think the burden of proof is on me to prove they're different, not you to prove they're the same? That's a slightly strange attitude.

//It is very very easy to romanticise struggle in the 'less developed' world from afar//

I don't know who's romanticising anything here. Perhaps you should explain yourself a bit more. I do know that I for one have spent the past few years exhaustively researching the situation in Nepal past and present, and that I follow the Nepali media very closely. If rational analysis is 'romantic' in your view, I don't really know what to say to you. And exactly why is 'less developed' in quotation marks? Are you implying Nepal isn't less developed?

//and go on trips there where of course the Party shows you what need to see and hear, and then come back to proclaim a workers paradise or revolution, and shout it from the rooftops.//

A Western visitor can go wherever they please in Nepal. I don't think you really know what you're talking about here.

Couldn't find a blasted copy

Couldn't find a blasted copy of Das Kapital anywhere in that hilly place. Much the same in Kolkota. "Mao who?" they'd say. Of course, this is all Kathmandu. In the regions (at least the central ones) the real economic force is the flow of Western tourists as a sort of soft and cleaner alternative to India.

Woohoo controversy!

Glad people are commenting on this.  Indymedia has been a bit quiet recently.  A post like this is good for promoting debate

Interview with Ben Peterson

Interview with Ben Peterson on Bfm http://www.95bfm.com/default,195354.sm

 

 

Very informative.

Very informative.Thank you for posting.I have bookmarked your site.

Megaan Austin @ http://news-updations.blogspot.com/