Friday, April 28, 2006

Maoist Posturing

On April 25th, a "Letter to the Editor" appeared in the leading Nepali language Kantipur newspaper from Baburam Bhattarai, one of the leaders of the CPN(M). The letter sets out a clear understanding of the revolutionary moment, and warns the parliamentary politicians that were they to attempt a new arrangement with the King they would be swept aside.
The king came out saying he is for taking the country ahead "according to the road map of the agitating Seven Party Alliance." (18 Days Of April Revolution: Victory) After victory, the seven party alliance has time and again expressed its commitment to that same roadmap. The roadmap leads to a constituent assembly. And so this saber rattling on the part of the Maoists is uncalled for.

One can understand that the Maoists might want to try and drive a hard bargain in what they expect to be an integration of the two armies, but you don't go about doing that by trying to sabotage the very process that might make such an integration possible.

The Maoists need to engage in trust building, not in posturing. Their posturing is not helping the cause of constituent assembly.

The Nepali Congress might have talked of a constituent assembly half a century ago. Heck, that party even picked up arms back then. But it is the Maoists who have taken the lead on the idea of a constituent assembly this past decade. Parties like the Sadbhavana might claim they have been asking for a constituent assembly for a longer period of time, but it is the Maoists who brought the issue to the center of the country's politics. I give them credit for that. The seven party alliance came around to the idea of a constituent assembly only much later.

But now is not the time to bicker on such finesse.

The April Revolution was a superb experiment in non-violence. Not even the seven party alliance saw it coming. The original April 6-9 program grew into a tsunami of people across the country and surprised both the SPA and the Maoists. Both have rushed to take credit. The credit goes to the people.

The Maoists need to stop trying to pressure the seven party alliance to head for a constituent assembly when that is precisely what the seven parties are trying to do, on their own. The seven parties don't need convincing, and they are very much on schedule. The alliance is on track.

The worst part of this Maoist posturing and saber rattling is that the worst fears about the Maoists start to come alive. Are we going to see a new round of civil war with the state army on the side of the seven parties? Will the seven parties end up seeking military aid from India, America and Europe should that happen? Those questions arise. So the Maoists need to stop pushing and start behaving.

I am not being naive. We have to maitain vigilance. There might be members and cliques of the old, discredited regime that might make attempts to spoil the party, even if unsuccessfully. And we have to watch out for that. But you don't do that by unnecessarily hammering the seven party alliance. You are beating the wrong drum when you are beating up on the seven party alliance at this point in time.

So Baburam, Prachanda, chill. Take it easy. The roadmap to the constituent assembly is very much on track. Focus your energies on the peace talks that are next. Organize rallies and mass meetings. Prepare for the next steps. Prepare for the constituent assembly. Stop badgering the seven party alliance.
Baburam Bhattarai: "The degree of active participation of the common people, the nature of that participation, the level of their motivation can only be compared with that of major revolutions in history."
The First Major Revolution Of The 21st Century Happened In Nepal

The Revolution Is Very Much On
Reciprocate The Maoist Ceasefire Immediately
Army Under Parliament, Now
Declare Constituent Assembly On First Day Of Parliament
Maoist Reaction To Democratic Victory: Not Right

In The News

Interview of Li Onesto on CNN
NPR: Exploring the Complex Politics of Nepal
US Senate Resolution On Nepal INSN
NYT: Editorial Samrat Upadhyay INSN
US can remove red corner notice INSN
The Americans are leaving, State Department stays on INSN
Saga of compromise and struggle continues INSN
Baburam: Parliament by king’s mercy Kantipur

PM's swearing-in ceremony delayed NepalNews
The first session of the parliament commencing today
Yechuri arriving in Kathmandu today
RPP offers help to resolve key problems
Senior bureaucrats demand action against chief secy.
Leaders vow not to repeat past mistakes; say constituent assembly will be the first agenda of HoR
Koirala taken ill

The Revolution in Nepal Rediff, India
Nepal: Parliament to meet and usher in crucial period of change ... ReliefWeb (press release)
Nepal Parliament set to reopen, India
Yechuri in Nepal as Koirala forms Govt. CNN-IBN, India
People issue notice to palace Calcutta Telegraph
Over 300 activists released in Nepal Chennai Online
Nepal PM-designate too sick for swearing-in
Reuters AlertNet, UK
Nepal's PM too ill for ceremony Daily Telegraph
Nepal PM-designate too ill for swearing-in Independent Online
Yechury basks in Nepal glory
Calcutta Telegraph, India
COMMENT: Nepal’s eye-opening political ordeal — Tanvir Ahmad ...
Daily Times, Pakistan
Read the Nepal quake right
Indian Express, India


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1 comment:

Klement said...

It seems to me that the Maoists had cause to be a bit irked when the SPA called off the protest program without even consulting them first about how to respond to the "king's" address reinstating the parliament.

This was not a non-violent revolution. Blood was shed by the royal security forces. The people resisted with whatever tools were at hand. And it was the looming presence of the Maoist PLA that helped the autocracy decide to concede.