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Nepal's Parliamentary Parties Back Maoist Demand for Constituent Assembly

by Jed Brandt (jedbrandt [at] gmail.com)
The People's War in Nepal is surging from one success to another. Since "King" Gyanendra's Feb. 1 decree of emergency rule, any claim to being the sovereign of the Nepalese people has been shown for the fantasy it is.

The Maoists immediately launched a non-violent "siege" of Katmandu, called a bandh, that stopped all traffic throughout most of the country without even blockading the roads. The wildcard in Nepal's civil war has been the marginalized parliamentary parties centered in the capital city. Up until today, they have respected the legitimacy of the monarchy and refused to recognize facts on the ground, including the censorship of their press, and the killing and jailing of their leaders by the isolated monarchy.

The Congress Party, UML and the other main "legal" parties have declared in a New Delhi meeting that "This will be our last fight with the king. There will be no more compromise." The parliamentary parties were banned during the coup, and with no where left to turn have accepted the Community Party of Nepal's main demand, the convening of a constituent assembly to decide the fate of the Hindu monarchy.
squad2.jpg

The People's War in Nepal is surging from one success to another. Since "King" Gyanendra's Feb. 1 decree of emergency rule, any claim to being the sovereign of the Nepalese people has been shown for the fantasy it is. The Maoists immediately launched a non-violent "siege" of Katmandu, called a bandh, that stopped all traffic throughout most of the country without even blockading the roads. Western "human rights" groups made outrageous accusations of Maoists "threatening" to cut off people's hands, while failing to report that nobody's hands were actually cut off. Amnesty International sent a high-profile delegation to meet with the king and victims of the army's rapes and abuse, but couldn't bring themselves to meet with the rebels, or to present their story. Reports in the capitalist and communist press agree that the Maoists have galvanized the lower classes, particularly the desperately poor peasants, into a cohesive fighting force that cannot be defeated by the monarchy.

The wildcard in Nepal's civil war has been the marginalized parliamentary parties centered in the capital city. Up until today, they have respected the legitimacy of the monarchy and refused to recognize facts on the ground, including the censorship of their press, and the killing and jailing of their leaders by the isolated monarchy. U.S. ambassador James Moriarty told the BBC that failure to bring the "mainstream" parties back into alliance with the monarchy could result in victory for the Maoist rebels. He mean that would be a bad thing, unlike having a king.

The Congress Party, UML and the other main "legal" parties have declared in a New Delhi meeting that "This will be our last fight with the king. There will be no more compromise." The parliamentary parties were banned during the coup, and with no where left to turn have accepted the Community Party of Nepal's main demand, the convening of a constituent assembly to decide the fate of the Hindu monarchy. The days of the monarchy grow shorter by the minute. How these parties respond to the fight for communism remains to be seen, but if democratic respectability is their measure -- then the way points towards at least neutrality towards the People's War.

Meanwhile, the non-Maoist American and Western European left continue to ignore the People's War in Nepal and the atrocities the monarchy, and it's backers in the US/UK and India, inflicts on the population. Considering how much political capital social democrats, liberals and anti-authoritarians have invested in the "death of communism," it's hardly surprising. Another world is possible, they say while ignoring it's birth in the mountains of Asia.

Li Onesto, a journalist with the Chicago-based Revolutionary Worker, trekked into the heights of the Himalayas to meet with the rebels in their base areas, mass organizations and scored a unique interview with the CPN's leader Prachanda. Her recent book Dispatches From the People's War in Nepal is a necessary read on the early growth of the communist movement. Her portraits of common people in struggle and their inspiring belief that they can remake the world against centuries of oppression is a tonic to the lowered expectations and defeatism afflicting much of the post-everything left.

For those interested in how the liberal party line is being articulated, and what much of the anti-radical left will undoubtedly start parroting once they can no longer ignore the insurgency, check out this cut-and-paste job from Human Rights Watch. It deploys the standard line that the people are caught between the King and the Maoists. They've said the exact same thing about every insurgency since the 1980s when this meme was deployed with stunning effectiveness against the guerillas of the Communist Party of Peru/Shining Path. They just switch the party names and local color and call it an analysis. At least now they openly admit that their goal is not simply "democracy," but a "strong civil society and a vibrant middle class." Tell that to the peasants who've had enough of those lies.

§Mission District mural
by Jed Brandt (jedbrandt [at] gmail.com)
nepalmural.jpg
artists unknown
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