Reflections on the recent evolution of Maoism in Nepal.
"The fierce one" speaks with forked tongue; Nepalese Maoists leave government - sackings, lies and videotape
Last week (on Monday 4th May) Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Chairman and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (also known as Prachanda, "the fierce one") resigned. This was the latest twist in a long running power struggle.
Prachanda had sacked Nepal Army (NA) chief Katawal, who is considered central to resistance to Maoist attempts to seize control of the Army, after General Katawal had refused to integrate thousands of Maoist guerilla People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops into the regular Army.
Reports of recent developments in Nepal and the Maoist-led government's proposed crackdown on workers' struggle.
Several months ago we reported public statements by Maoist government ministers that they intended to legislate to ban strikes (see http://libcom.org/news/nepal-victory-turns-sour-22012009).
As a strike wave sweeps the country, the Maoist leadership agrees to banning strikes.
Since the Maoists emerged in the April 2008 Nepal elections as the largest party (though without an absolute majority) to lead the new coalition government, they have failed to heal existing divisions - in their own party, within the parliamentary political system and its ruling class - or within the intermingled social, caste and ethnic tensions across the wider society.
Nepal's Maoist Party has won around 220 seats in the recent Constituent Assembly (CA) election, about one-third of the total. Though the largest party, they don't have an overall majority; they have stated their wish to lead a coalition government.
But as the result became clear Maoist leader Prachanda told journalists “I will be declared the acting President of this country very soon…which will be followed by occupying the post of the all powerful President of New Nepal…this is the peoples’ mandate…no force on earth can disobey this mandate”.
The Maoist party - former guerrillas CPN(M) - have won a clear majority in last week's elections. But what changes will this mean for Nepal's workers and peasants?
The result so far is for the 240-seats first-past-the-post vote for the Constituent Assembly. Results for the decisive 335-seat proportional representation part of the Assembly will take longer, but the Maoists are expected to do well in this too.
The general strike called by Madhesi ethnic groups of the southern Terai plains region has ended with most of their demands granted.
Two days after an agreement with the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) - paving the way for the April 10 Constituent Assembly elections - the government today signed an agreement with the Federal Republic National Front (FRNF), an alliance of seven groups agitating in Terai and eastern regions.
In the Terai region of Nepal, on the southern plains, an indefinite general strike has been ongoing for over two weeks; curfews are in force.
It has been initiated and enforced by a coalition of local ethnic Madhesi groups, in pursuit of provincial autonomy, greater parliamentary representation/proportional representation and the 'right of self-determination'.
A brief look at some aspects of the political situation in Nepal today and its wider regional context.
The rapidly expanding economies of some parts of Asia have not been accompanied by a uniformly greater integration into Western structures of political administration. South Asia is experiencing a crisis of its democratic institutions; leftists, islamicists and nationalists compete with ruling powers for conquest of the state and domination of workers and peasants.