Nepal

When the CPN-Maoist joined the coalition government in Nepal after the revolutionary events last year, the media, the imperialists and last but not least the Nepali ruling class proclaimed a new era of peace and prosperity. This was never going to be the case and now, not even a year after the formation of the government, the Maoists have left the government and Nepal is heading back down the road of crisis.

On March 31 the Nepalese Maoists joined a coalition government with bourgeois parties. From armed struggle they have gone to ministerial portfolios. Now the masses will be expecting something concrete for themselves, real economic and social improvement. But will this be possible in such a Popular Front coalition?

While the Nepalese Maoists and other left forces are involved in talks over a Constituent Assembly and have accepted to put down their arms in exchange for seats in parliament, social unrest is brewing in the country as the recent Terai riots clearly demonstrate. Not having taken power when it was there for the taking, the Nepalese Maoists are leaving room to reactionary forces to manoeuvre behind the scenes.

From a position of enormous strength, controlling 75% of Nepalese territory, the Maoists have agreed to form a coalition government, integrate their guerrilla forces into the bourgeois army, and limit their goal to achieving some kind of Republic in the future. But this will not solve any of the fundamental economic and social problems facing the Nepalese masses.

In April 2006 the stage was set in Nepal for a revolution that could have not only done away with the centuries old monarchy, but also swept capitalism aside, laying the foundations of a socialist society.  However, due to the bankruptcy of the so-called Communist Parties this did not happen and the revolution in April did not fulfil its tasks.

Faced with a mass revolutionary movement the king of Nepal has been forced to reinstate parliament. Now the movement is being channelled towards some form of bourgeois parliamentary rule. But much more could have been achieved had there been a genuine Marxist leadership.

Nepal has entered its third week of a revolutionary crisis. The people of Nepal have once again taken the road of revolution, including two weeks of demonstrations and an indefinite general strike, taking their destiny into their own hands in an attempt to bring down the King and transform society.

The ceasefire declared by the Maoist leaders back in September has been extended. There is now an attempt to reach a deal with a wing of the ruling class to oust the King. A section of the ruling elite seems disposed to such a turn. Even imperialism is giving its consent. China is still backing the king but could easily swing the other way as long as “stability” is maintained. In all this what benefits are there for the urban poor and rural masses?

On February 1, the king of Nepal assumed full powers, sacking his prime minister and carrying out a royalist coup. The imperialists have shown some concern at this turn of events. They are worried that instead of stabilising the country it could play into the hands of the Maoist guerrillas.

This article was written in September shortly after the August blockade organised by the Maoist guerrillas. Although with a little delay, we are publishing it now as it is relevant to the general situation and the impasse the country is facing. The Maoists have a strong position but because of their view that the revolution will be bourgeois-democratic – and not socialist at this “stage” – the situation is one of stalemate and growing instability with no clear way out. This article tries to give another perspective to the Nepalese Communist movement.

While the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) prepares to join a coalition government with bourgeois parties, the Maoist guerrillas of the CPN-Maoist continue their armed offensive. The situation in Nepal is an extremely unstable one. If the two Communist parties based themselves on the ideas, tactics, programme and perspectives of Lenin and the Bolsheviks power would be there for the taking.

Last month we witnessed mass protests against the self-appointed Nepalese government and the collapse of the "Peace Talks" that had started back in January of this year.On August 28 security forces in Nepal were on alert after Maoist rebels announced they were withdrawing from the ceasefire and after a senior army officer had been shot dead by the guerrillas. This was the first casualty in the new wave of clashes.

Nepal is not often mentioned in the western media, apart from the occasional report of an attack of the Maoist guerrillas or such events as the royal coup. However behind this obscure image of Nepal being a far and distant place somewhere in the Himalayas, there is a real tradition of class struggle and revolutionary history.