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April 24, 2006

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Nelson H.

Last minute deal beat me to the punch. But anyways, in the past half-hour CNN.com has begun this story: http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/04/24/nepal.protests/index.html, showing protestors dancing in the streets after the King announced "his" reinstatement of parliament. Have folks seen any analysis of what this means for the 12 point agreement's future?

Which of the 7 parties are caving?

What will this mean for the 7 parties' unity, especially in light of important questions folks (Shine the Path and others) have raised concerning the possible movement of other "Marxist" parties toward the CPN(M)'s line of march?

Nelson H.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/04/24/nepal.protests/index.html

Comandante Gringo

It doesn't matter anymore what the bourgeois party leaderships are scheming: this King is deposed. Out the door -- or up against the wall. And whatever these parties do today *will* come right back and bite them on the ass, both during and after the now inevitable Constituent Assembly; *and this is one big reason why the CPN(M) did not "march on Kathmandu" as so many were counselling*.

The CPN(M) understands the importance of allowing the urban masses to have their democratic say; and these masses have voted with the their feet -- and beaten a path to the palace to oust the dictator. And so now these bourgeois schemers, who dragged their feet too long, and prevaricated for all to see, will have to deal with the rank and file of their (likely former) supporters -- who will no longer be so passive and malleable as before, as they have tasted real people's power.

As I said before: job well done, CPN(M). On, now, to the next stage of the Revolution.

Gyanendra's speech

http://ia.rediff.com/news/2006/apr/25nepal.htm?q=tp&file=.htm

What Nepal king told the nation

April 25, 2006 02:40 IST

Following is the full text of the address of King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev:

Beloved Countrymen,

Convinced that the source of State Authority and Sovereignty of the Kingdom of Nepal is inherent in the people of Nepal and cognizant of the spirit of the ongoing people's movement as well as to resolve the on-going violent conflict and other problems facing the country according to the roadmap of the agitating Seven Party Alliance, we, through this Proclamation, reinstate the House of Representatives, which was dissolved on 22 May 2002, on the advice of the then prime minister in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990.

We call upon the Seven Party Alliance to bear the responsibility of taking the nation on the path to national unity and prosperity, while ensuring permanent peace and safeguarding multiparty democracy. We also summon the session of the reinstated House of Representatives at the Sansad Bhawan, Singha Durbar at 1 pm on Friday, 28 April 2006.

We are confident that this House will contribute to the overall welfare of Nepal and the Nepalese people.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their lives in the people's movement and wish the injured speedy recovery. We are confident that the nation will forge ahead towards sustainable peace, progress, full-fledged democracy and national unity.

May Lord Pashupatinath bless us all! Jaya Nepal!

Zhe-Li

Commandante Gringo:
"As I said before: job well done, CPN(M). On, now, to the next stage of the Revolution."

Just what is that next stage, we all wonder. After promising to abide by parliamentary democracy it might prove very difficult to start expropriating property for a transition to socialism. I hope the crowds are rejoicing to soon.

the burningman

Zhe-Li writes: " After promising to abide by parliamentary democracy it might prove very difficult to start expropriating property for a transition to socialism."

What Prachanda has demanded is an "unconditional constituent assembly." That is within the range of bourgois right -- but I suspect is the very "condition" that Prachanda is denying the power to limit.

It is a form that can transcend itself and establish a radical break with the existing regime.

This will include a break with the existing armed forces, and the social system they have apparently failed to guarantee.

The Maoists do not have the force, or apparently the inclination, to attempt a unilaterial seizure of power. But they will set some terms now. They have. It was just a couple weeks before all this that the two most important leaders in Nepal, Prachanda and Bhattarai, went on a world media interview blitz. They spoke at some length and it's all available in the March archives on this very website.

The passivity and flips of India are interesting in light of the meetings we know Bhattarai had there around the time of his disputes with Prachanda.

--------

I think the communists understand what is special, in the fact that this will be the first communist revolution in many years, and since the collapse of actually-existing (revisionist) socialism in Europe.

They do not want this revolution born with bloody hands. It must come from the real people.

Well armed, and with relatively weaker support in the cities, the forces of reaction could turn Katmandu into what one commentator called a "Kabul." That is, a city-state garrison backed by foreign powers that is able to strike out and not be taken.

The CPN(M) recognized that even if they could unilaterally take the capital, the price would not be worth it. They are not militarists even if they respect where political power (here obviously) grows from.

They reached an alliance with the parliamentary parties in a position of profound strength, and are conducting themselves most admirably with a ceasefire in the Katmandu Valley (with offensives just about everywhere else).

It is Prachanda who is saying "Now!"

So, to return to the initial comment by Zhe-Li -- the agreement for a democratic process (a republic and the rule of law) is not the same as being bound by the confines of bourgeois right.

Let us see what the people decree.

I am prepared to be impressed.

On the Scene in Katmandu

Revolution interviewed Stephen Mikesell who witnessed the protests in Kathmandu. Mikesell is an anthropologist and expert on Nepal.

------------From the interview:

Stephen Mikesell: Yesterday, perhaps a million people came out from all over and descended on Kathmandu up to Ring Road, blocking the way, all around, inside the city. It looked like it was going to culminate to something big but then there was a large thunderstorm that seemed to head off a major confrontation as the groups were entering the various arteries of the city. Today there were smaller demonstrations around Kathmandu and there were also demonstrations all around the country. The King’s ministers are all packing up today, leaving their government residences, so basically the government is crumbling apart. About 6 p.m. I walked out to the Ring Road surrounding the city and found large groups of people around fires burning in either direction as far as I could see.

Revolution: What is the mood of the people at these demonstrations?

Mikesell: It is enthusiastic but at the same time tense and somber. There is determination and the crowds are tense. But people are also dancing and singing and going all around the police. There is a mix of different reactions, very complex. Generally the crowd is very young – teens and early twenties. There are all ages, of course. But mostly it is those ages and then there are a lot of other people on the sides. A lot of demonstrators, peasants, who came in from the countryside. There were lakhs and lakhs of people who came in from areas outside the city [a lakh is 100,000].

Revolution: There are reports that many people in Nepal resent outside forces like the U.S. and India intervening, and they say that the foreign governments greeting the King’s announcement just shows this kind of intervention. Have you got a sense of this out in the street?

Mikesell: That’s exactly the feeling. There is a general feeling that way, people feel that the foreign governments acted too quickly, that they have a superficial understanding of the situation and that they have a fear that the Maoists will emerge very strongly out of all this. They (foreign governments) see the settlement as being between the King and various parties and want some sort of situation that puts the Maoists outside of this. That’s why the foreign countries came very quickly to support the King. But generally, nobody in the country supports the King’s statement, except a few royalists. Everybody I talk to says this is the end of the King. And then after that I don’t know what will happen…

http://rwor.org/a/045/nepal-interview.html

King Reinstates Parliament...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/25/world/asia/25nepal.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

ShineThePath

KATHMANDU (AFX) - Nepal's new interim government will declare a ceasefire with Maoist rebels, a senior opposition leader said.

'After the formation of government, the government will declare a ceasefire and remove the terrorist tag from the Maoists,' said Madhav Kumar Nepal, leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist).

'We want the Maoists to declare a ceasefire too,' said Nepal, a leader of one of the seven parties charged by the king to run the country after he agreed to re-open the parliament dissolved in May 2002.

leftclick

burningman writes: "The CPN(M) recognized that even if they could unilaterally take the capital, the price would not be worth it. They are not militarists even if they respect where political power (here obviously) grows from.

They reached an alliance with the parliamentary parties in a position of profound strength, and are conducting themselves most admirably with a ceasefire in the Katmandu Valley (with offensives just about everywhere else)."

We can't assume that their position on a military seizure of power is absolute. Rather we should see it in relation to the balance of forces. According to recent mainstream news, the king has driven a wedge between the CPN[M] and the seven parties. The CPN[M] is reminding them that there has been no commitment to a constituent assembly.

Lenin was willing to go along with the continual assurances regarding a Constituent Assembly - up to a point. When he saw that it was a stalling tactic by the bourgeoisie to allow them to gather strength, he called for an insurrection to head it off. Are the CPN[M] in a similar position?

It is highly unlikely that Gyanendra is initiating this process with the understanding that it will remove him from power.

How long will it be before the 7 parties realize that a genuine constituent assembly is probably not on the agenda? How long will the CPN[M] rely on non-violent agitation in Kathmandu? Will the masses see through the king's ploy sooner rather than later?

Nelson H.

The CPN(M)'s central committee has put out a new statement rejecting the king's offer as the weak attempt to buy more time that it is. The International Nepal Solidarity Network has a whole run-down on the Maoists' position here: http://66.116.151.85/?p=3285

It also appears that the Maoists are leading another wave of nation-wide protests demanding the institution of the Constituent Assembly and warning the SPA not to accept further compromises that betray the demands of the 12 point agreement. News of this here: http://66.116.151.85/?p=3298

I haven't been able to find an English translation of this latest statement yet, but has the following was posted in the comments section on the International Nepal Solidarity Network's website:

General points in English:

The Maoists reject the offer of the King and they think the SPA is making a historical mistake by accepting the offer. They are also disappointed that the SPA has not consulted them before

The movement of the Maoists will not be stopped until it is sure that the sovereignty of the people is ensured by calling a constituent assembly.

The Maoists at the same time expressed their commitment to the 12-point agreement between MBs and SPA and they especially urge the parties to act in accordance with the agreement.

The Maoists announce some programmes: Countrywide peoples’ mobilisation and demonstration/gatherings. Physical action be taken against the elements who are still against the movement or who suppress the movement. Blockage of Kathmandu and district capitals until unconditional elections for a constituent assembly is announced.

Zhe-Li

Burningman:

"I think the communists understand what is special, in the fact that this will be the first communist revolution in many years, and since the collapse of actually-existing (revisionist) socialism in Europe."

I hope you're not being over-eager, comrade. Nepal is still far away from a "communist revolution" unless you want to define down communist until it is essentially meaningless. The US is satisfied with the current state of affairs -- bourgeois democracy and a ceremonial King --and we've yet to see what the new constitution will look like, if indeed there is one. The shift from protests to victory rally could be very bad news for a more radical agenda; evidence of a lack of revolutionary resolve on the part of the masses. Right now this looks more like the bourgeois "Orange" revolution than anything that resembles 1949. I'm prepared to be unimpressed.
Note the shift in your own language in talking about the revolutionary potential of the Nepalese parliament:

"It is a form that can transcend itself and establish a radical break with the existing regime.

This will include a break with the existing armed forces, and the social system they have apparently failed to guarantee."

You segue from a "form that CAN" to "This WILL" without any qualification or apparent thought. The inevitability of "communist" revolution is a dated concept that did not survive the 20th century. As Marx warned, barbarism is also an option.

A Historic Blunder

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/25/world/asia/25cnd-nepal.html?hp&ex=1146024000&en=ca1fdb7cac281cb7&ei=5094&partner=homepage

"But the coalition also faced a stinging statement from the Maoist rebels, who had lately linked arms with them. In an apparent bid to ensure that they are not forgotten in an easy political settlement, the rebels denounced the parties' acceptance of the king's offer as "a historic blunder" and vowed to carry on with a blockade of the main roads leading to Katmandu, effectively preventing the flow of goods, including food and fuel, from reaching the capital."

So the Maoist blockade is now aimed at the democracy movement?!

no...

The democracy movement is not owned by the politicians of the bourgeois parties.

Protests are already putting the politicians on notice that the masses are not a wave for them to surf.

Fact: the "new" prime minister has already been their four times -- and he will govern nothing. He has no army, no mandate -- and if there is not an immediate constituent assembly, well... watch.

leftclick

A Historic Blunder you left out a key point in that article: "The nub of the disagreement is around whether — and how quickly — the new government will hold a vote to redraw the country's constitution and decide on the fate of the monarchy and the king's precise role. Party leaders, in interviews today, insisted that the king, late Monday, had conceded to their entire roadmap for peace, which includes the referendum on the constitution.

The skeptics — and they include the parties' younger, more radical foot soldiers responsible for sustaining three weeks of defiant street demonstrations — pointed out that the king's speech did not explicitly mention the vote on the constitution." This is precisely the point.

The fundamental demand was for a Constituent Assembly which would write a constitution that would define, or even eliminate, the role of the monarchy. The seven parties simply agreed to return to the status quo pre-February 2005. The CPN[M] are insisting on the original demands and recognize this as the ploy that it is.

My theory is that the seven parties were always looking for a way to form an alliance with the monarchy [and the US] against the CPN[M] without appearing to be imperialist and monarchist stooges - and the US [Gyanendra's not strategically capable of doing this] gave it to them. Honestly, who would the seven parties and the US fear more, a moribund monarchy or Maoists who increasingly control the countryside?

The unknown factor here is the Nepalese masses. The last two weeks, they have shown how much they want Gyanendra's removal. in this way, they have far outstripped the snail's pace approach of the parliamentary parties. This provides the CPN[M] with an even stronger basis to build political strength in the capital than before.

Whatever the CPN[M]'s initial plans, entering the new government under the present circumstances would simply be throwing the revolution away. THAT would be a historic blunder.

Comandante Gringo

"How long will it be before the 7 parties realize that a genuine constituent assembly is probably not on the agenda? How long will the CPN[M] rely on non-violent agitation in Kathmandu? Will the masses see through the king's ploy sooner rather than later?"

Hunh?? This is exactly what these 7 parties did: stab the masses in the back and renege on their 12-point agreement with the maoists. These 7 parties have *exactly* moved to take advantage of the good will of the masses who have followed them up to now. They have effectively shown they cannot be trusted -- and that they have thrown their lot in with the bourgeois imperialists outside Nepal. The dictator could have been removed today. That he wasn't is reason enuff to break with this treasonous lot.

I haven't yet digested exactly how the maoists are moving in response to this -- other than Prachanda's one or two preliminary statements -- but the deal has been broken, and the maoists simply must make these parties pay for their perfidy by forcing the issue over the Constituent Assembly ASAP. And certainly not to concede the slightest issue. They've already been eminently reasonable. Enuff of these bourgeois games -- all the moreso because of the danger they portend for the future of a free and democratic people's Nepal. These idiot, scheming parties are actually quite weakened by all of this, their foreign cheerleaders notwithstanding. Now the maoists can and must take advantage of this by exposing their games to the masses.

For that matter: already all the bourgeois commentators everywhere are calling for the maoists to give up their arms(!!) It's at moments like this I have the most complete contempt for these transparent cretins.

Comandante Gringo

Man, I've read some awful tripe above.
Who sez Nepal is far from communist revolution (it's certainly far from communism. Even socialism)..?

As I've stated elsewhere, the CPN(M) has been very smart in agreeing only to a bottom-line 12-point agreement which has as its backbone the Constituent Assembly. The maoists understand these parties VERY well, and KNOWS they will betray nepalis at some point (being parliamentary cretins of the bourgeois type) -- and that's been the whole POINT of this entire 'end game' strategy of theirs from the beginning. And one possible outcome of this push to remove the monarchical dictatorship was the one which actually took place yesterday: the betrayal which came as soon as this dictatorship made it possible for the SPA to double-cross those very forces which actually allowed them back into power in the first place -- the maoist insurgency.

These people are indeed truly cretins of the First Order...

And so what was the maoists' plan for this probable contingency? Why, the knowledge that this betrayal *would also be a betrayal of the wishes of the masses for a Constituent Assembly and a republic*. And so here we are on the day after that historic -- but easily-foreseen -- double-cross.

And so now the maoists are in a perfect position to stand in front of the assembled masses of Nepal and the world, and demonstrate concretely to them all that these 7 bourgeois parties (including the opportunist CPN-UML) have been tried in the heat of revolution -- and been found sorely wanting. And so now it's on to the Next Big Step: a Constituent Assembly which reminds me of nothing so much as the convening of the L'Assemblée Nationale Constituante after the failure of Louis XVI's États Généraux...


leftclick

In http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/26/world/asia/26nepal.html

"But Katmandu remained in the grip of rambunctious demonstrations all day, though the mood was palpably less menacing than in previous days. The celebrations on the street were accompanied by warnings to the party leaders not to renege on their promise to hold a vote on the Constitution and allow Nepalese to decide on the future of the monarchy.

"Now the ball is in the court of the seven-party alliance," said Gagan Thapa, the leader of the youth faction of the Nepali Congress Party. "They should fulfill the commitment they have made to the people."

Mr. Thapa promised to continue the demonstrations until the party leaders set a date for the constitutional vote. "Our movement is still on," the crowd around him yelled."

Comandante Gringo

Man, how many lies and half-truths can the New York Times pack into just one article?

I used to regularly buy this quarterly magazine called "Lies Of Our Times" (LOOT), which, sadly, stopped publishing a number of years ago. Its raison d'être was systematically exposing the systematic lies of this corrupt ex-"Newspaper of Record". And while LOOT no longer exists, and the NYT is no longer "the Paper of Record", we can all rest easy knowing that at least one longstanding tradition associated with the New York Times continues...


r graves

Exciting stuff!

An aside: BM, you reference the "pathbreaking" "Conquer the World?", which some other recommendations in discussions on this site prompted me to check out-- what is it that is so pathbreaking about this piece? As far as Stalin is concerned, it seems like the criticisms Avakian lodges are nothing new-- that he was protected Russian interests at the expense of advancing the world struggle. And BA upholds Stalin's 'advances' with plain assertions that Stalin represented the "most correct position" in Russia at the time-- BA doesn't actually enter any evidence or arguments to support this position. Is there somewhere else where he fleshes out this position with reference to the particulars of Russia in the late 20s and 30s?

Which path was broken with this essay? Is the main thing the perspective that "line is decisive" in determining whether a society is socialist?

leftclick

Comandante, I agree with you about the NYT but the interesting thing in this article is that it reveals something about the lingering sentiments that still persist among the Nepalese.

After Gyanendra's announcement on Monday, the mainstream news portrayed popular reaction as one of unconditional acceptance. Now the Times has revealed a more contradictory side of the story even if only to minimize it.

Comandante Gringo

Sure. That's the only thing that makes the NYT article worth reading at all.

leftclick

r graves, regarding the issue of line, you might want to check here:http://burning.typepad.com/burningman/2006/04/campaign_propos.html

Part of the breakthrough is that Avakian had begun the process of placing the Stalin period in historical context. Whereas Marx once proclaimed that workers had nothing to lose but their chains, Avakian reminds us that once a socialist state came into existence, workers DID have something to lose. Having a socialist state is important for advancing world struggle so handling that contradiction was not a simple matter of choosing one over the other.

Avakian has since filled in the picture a little more in various speeches but I know what you mean, I'd like more too. Conquer the World was only a beginning but I think the important thing was to re-open the question of Stalin in particular and socialist experience in general. But it's not just about Avakian, we also have some responsibility for challenging the Cold War consensus. I'm not inclined to uphold Stalin, but I'm willing to look into it more.

We should continue this discussion in another thread.

Leon Sphinx

"BM, you reference the "pathbreaking" "Conquer the World?", which some other recommendations in discussions on this site prompted me to check out-- what is it that is so pathbreaking about this piece? As far as Stalin is concerned, it seems like the criticisms Avakian lodges are nothing new-- that he was protected Russian interests at the expense of advancing the world struggle."

Maybe it's new in that a specific Maoist strain, the RCP, finally acknowledged what the world has known for a long time: that the "proletariat struggle" was mostly a mask for Stalin's megalomania and Russian nationalism. (Anyone wonder why there are so few Maoist in former Warsaw Pact Nations?) Avakian's efforts at weaselly partial admissions and Stalinist apologetics are both lame and sickening and ensure that his cult will be seen for what it is. It's past time these fools take a clue from the 20th century.

another brother

Leon, that's not quite what it said. But since that's the best you can come up with, I'm sure you're not interested in what it ACTUALLY says.

The funny thing about your rap, here of all places, is that it works much better on those who know nothing of the history except exactly the lame, bourgeois pscho-babble you run.

So, put that Robert Conquest back on the shelf and try again.

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