Tuesday, June 17, 2008

understanding maoism through the nepal revolution

Maoists have come to power in free elections under international supervision for constituent assembly in Nepal, as the leading party of a coalition:
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) 3,145,519 votes; 30.52%
Nepali Congress 2,348,890 votes; 22.79%
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) 2,229,064; 21.63%
People who don't understand maoism will be surprised at their popularity inNepal.

I visited China in 1972 (before Mao died) and have read a lot of Mao, especially his philosophical works. Mao's essay On Contradiction (and related essays) has had a huge influence on how I understand the world, the dialectical materialist world view.

Here are some of the things, from an interview with maoist leader Prachanda that may surprise:

Support for democracy and multi party competition:
We have proposed to form a republican front of all the democratic forces, not just from the left wing but also from the liberals and radicals. We want to unite all the republican forces in the country against the feudal autocracy ...there should be multi-party competition. We came to this decision through intensive debate within our party. Our understanding is that without multi-party competition a modern society can not be built. But there is one very important issue for us: who is this democracy and multi-party system for? We have witnessed many different democratic systems which do nothing to help the majority of the population, but just few classes or regional groups. On the contrary, we want democracy to be really to benefit the masses.
Independent thinking:
We are not dogmatists, we are not sectarians, we are not traditionalists. We want to be ever more dynamic, adapting to our environment, understanding modernity ... We have to apply marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism. We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody. But to do that, we need the support of all the masses from abroad. That's why I want to appeal to all the anti feudal and and anti imperialists throughout the world. In Nepal we are at an historical turning point, the poor are fighting against autocracy, for justice and equality. Even if we are a small country in South Asia, we think that our revolution can have impact all over the world. We are fighting not only for Nepal but for the masses of the entire world. We need help and the contributions from everybody
Support for the development of capitalism in a feudal society:
Tourism could also create enormous income for us, thanks to our marvellous mountains, our historical and religious sites and our astonishing natural parks. Not to mention our agriculture, the land in Terai is potentially very fertile With good government we can become one of the richest country in South Asia. But we need transport, hi tech and scientific projects, infrastructures, and a lot of courage. In ten years we'll change the whole scenario, rebuilding this country to prosperity. In 20 years we could be similar to Switzerland. This is my goal for Nepal ... We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are no saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal
Nepali maoists are not terrorists. There is a monumental difference between popular armed struggle against oppressive regimes and the terrorist methods used by groups such as alqueada who target civilians intentionally. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) should be removed from the US government listing of terrorist organisations. (source)

It also seems clear to me that the Nepali maoists succeeded because they used flexible, non dogmatic analysis and tactics based on the actual conditions in Nepal.

More regular up to date information at Revolution in South Asia blog


Mike said...

Nice post Bill. I've taken the liberty of posting it around to a number of comrades. I've put some stuff up about nepal on my own blog at http://mike-servethepeoplpe.blogspot.com.

PS Enjoy the maths lessons too!

Your old comrade...

Mike said...

Ooops - I got too excited! That should be http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com

A fraction of an error!

Bill Kerr said...

hi (old comrade) mike,

thanks for reading my blog, passing on my article and the link to your blog

nice to hear your voice again, much to argue about ;-)