Monday, December 11, 2006

The Maoists’ Anti-Feudalism Masquerade

Despite its economic and social backwardness, Nepal is a capitalist, not a feudal, country. Even King Gyanendra is known for his business dealings. The program of the Maoists does not represent the interests of ordinary working people, but sections of the business elite that are keen to reap the benefits of opening up Nepal to foreign investors and regard the monarchy as an impediment.

It took a formerly pro-Maoist writer and platform to point out the incongruity of Nepal’s much-hyped anti-feudalism fight.
W.A. Sunil and the World Socialist Web Site are no strangers to Nepali netizens. Until recently, they longed for the beacon a People’s Republic of Nepal would provide revolutionaries worldwide. With Prachanda settling for a democratic republic and wowing everyone around him, the writer and website are groaning in pain.
The headline of Sunil’s December 11, 2006 write-up – “Nepali Maoists to lay down arms and enter the government” – makes it sound like one of those regular straight news stories on the historicity of our peace process. Sufficient chunks of commentary are interspersed with the paragraphs to form a cogent opinion piece. The keyword running between the lines is “betrayal”.
“[T]he entry of the Maoists into the cabinet will do nothing to end the country’s deep economic and social crisis and is directed at suppressing any political opposition to the government and its policies,” Sunil writes. “Far from opposing capitalist rule, the Maoists are propping it up.”
Quoting from Prachanda’s interview last month with a British newspaper, Sunil notes that the Maoist supremo offered a guarantee to international investors that their capital would be safe in Nepal. “We are not fighting for socialism,” [Prachanda] bluntly stated. “We are just fighting against feudalism. We are fighting for the capitalistic mode of production. We are trying to give more profits to capitalists and industrialists.”
Prachanda’s comments, in the author’s view, are the direct consequence of the Stalinist two-stage theory, which is the core component of the nationalist ideology of Maoism. “The Maoists have always subordinated the interests of the working class and peasantry to ‘progressive’ sections of the capitalist class and relegated socialism to the distant future. In one country after another, the results have been a disaster as the ruling class has invariably turned on the masses.”
Buttressing his point, Sunil states the Maoists have agreed to help suppress strikes and industrial action. “Point 7 of the [November 21] agreement declares: ‘Both sides believe in the fact that the industrial climate in the country should not be disturbed and production should be given continuity and that the right of collective bargaining and social security should be respected.’ Any disputes with employers should be solved ‘in a peaceful manner’.”
Sunil notes that along with other Nepali leaders, Prachanda has written to former US president Jimmy Carter calling on him to send international monitors to observe next year’s poll. “‘I value your commitment to conducting the [constituent assembly] elections in a conducive environment,’ he wrote. The letter is clearly addressed not just to Carter but is aimed at establishing closer relations with the US ruling elite.”
In fact, Sunil writes, “[T]he Maoists in Nepal are simply the latest in a long line of nationalist guerrilla movements, which in the 1990s abandoned their anti-imperialist rhetoric and, under the auspices of the major powers, cut a deal to enter mainstream capitalist politics.”
In his ultimate indictment, Sunil states: “Prachanda is now joining hands with the very parties that over the past decade helped prosecute the war against his guerrilla army.”
For those wondering why the Maoists and elements of the Seven Party Alliance should want King Gyanendra, for all his purported transgressions, to become president, Sunil’s quote opening this entry should be more than revealing.