Showing posts with label Maoists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maoists. Show all posts

Friday, September 17, 2010

Indian Maoists

A representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka...Image via Wikipedia
Foreign Policy: Fire In The Hole: about 2,000 villagers who had been hiding behind the commando vanguard clambered over the fence into the compound and began emptying the magazine. Altogether they carried out 20 tons of explosives on their backs -- enough firepower to fuel a covert insurgency for a decade. ..... For years, the Maoists had lived in the shadow of India's breakneck modernization. Now they were thriving off it. ..... railing against what the rebels' spokesman described to us as the "evil consequences by the policies of liberalization, privatization, and globalization." ...... a full-fledged guerrilla war. Over the past 10 years, some 10,000 people have died and 150,000 more have been driven permanently from their homes by the fighting. ...... "Operation Green Hunt": a deployment of almost 100,000 new paramilitary troops and police to contain the estimated 7,000 rebels and their 20,000-plus -- according to our research -- part-time supporters. ..... a country 20 years into an experiment in rapid, technology-driven development, one of globalization's most celebrated success stories. ....... Today, India's GDP is more than five times what it was in 1991..... Economic liberalization has not even nudged the lives of the country's bottom 200 million people. ...... India's vast hinterland remains dirt poor -- nowhere more so than the mining region of India's eastern interior, the part of the country that produces the iron for the buildings and cars, the coal that keeps the lights on in faraway metropolises, and the exotic minerals that go into everything from wind turbines to electric cars to iPads. ...... If you were to lay a map of today's Maoist insurgency over a map of the mining activity powering India's boom, the two would line up almost perfectly. ..... Revenues from mineral extraction in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand topped $20 billion in 2008, and more than $1 trillion in proven reserves still sit in the ground. ...... foreign investment in the country has grown to 150 times what it was in 1991. ....... some $80 billion worth of projects are stalled at least in part by the guerrilla war, enough to double India's steel output. ...... ining companies have managed to double their production in the two states in the past decade, even as the conflict has escalated; the most unscrupulous among them have used the fog of war as a pretext for land grabs, leveling villages whose residents have fled the fighting. At the same time, the Maoists, for all their communist rhetoric, have become as much a business as anything else ...... Shimmering waves of heat, thick with carbon monoxide and selenium, waft through jagged cracks in the pavement large enough to swallow a soccer ball. A hundred feet below, a massive subterranean coal fire, started in an abandoned mine, burns so hot that it melts the soles of one's shoes. ....... this blaze could easily smolder for another 200 years before the coal seam is finally burned through. ...... A fire ignited in 1916 by neglectful miners near the city of Jharia has grown so large that it now threatens to burn away the land beneath the entire community, plunging the 400,000 residents into an underground inferno. ...... statehood only enabled the rise of a new cast of villains. ...... The guerrillas shun email and mobile phones and rarely communicate with the world beyond the jungle, mostly via letters ferried back and forth by foot soldiers. Over several years of attempted correspondence, we received only a few missives in return. All were written in an opaque style full of the sort of arcane Marxist jargon that the rest of the world forgot in the 1970s. ......... many of their local commanders appear to be in it for the money alone. ...... "The only way to stop the attacks is to negotiate." ...... a state where less than half of raw materials are extracted legitimately. ..... The protection money, like the small bribes Kumar says he pays to the police to avoid troublesome safety and environmental regulations, has simply become another operating cost. ...... "If you want to be somebody in Jharkhand, just kill an aid worker" ...... Salwa Judum, secretly assembled by the Chhattisgarh government in 2005 to fight the Maoists; its 5,000-odd members patrol the state armed with everything from AK-47s to axes. Some roam the forest with bows and arrows. ..... After leftist author Arundhati Roy paid a visit to the Maoists this year, the Indian government reinterpreted its anti-terrorism laws to make speaking favorably about the rebels or their ideological aims -- including opposition to corporate mining -- punishable by up to 10 years in prison. ...... mistaking industrialization for development -- by thinking that it could launch its economy into the 21st century without modernizing its political structures and justice system along with it, or preventing the corruption that worsens the inequality that development aid from New Delhi is supposed to rectify.
The Economist: Nepal, China And India: Rivals On The Roof Of The World: Great-Power Rivalry Grows In The Himalayas: China has played a low-key role in Nepal until recently. But the emergence of the Maoists as the largest party has shifted the balance, with India becoming more closely aligned with the anti-Maoist faction. The prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, says India’s government distrusts them and wants the party to make sweeping changes to its organisation and beliefs. .... one MP said his daughter stood to lose her scholarship in India if he voted Maoist. ...... Senior staff at the country’s largest newspaper group, which Indian diplomats think hostile to their country, say they have been unable to get newsprint through India and that Indian companies have been asked to withdraw advertising. .....politicians of all stripes think India is trying to micro-manage Nepal and anti-Indian sentiment runs high. Indian diplomats “swagger around like viceroys” .... the ceasefire is looking ever more threadbare .....Being sandwiched between two giants might seem promising for a poor country. With skill, Nepal could play one off against the other. Instead, with peace in the balance and fears growing that both neighbours are vying to pick the next prime minister, Nepal risks being ground between their vaulting regional ambitions.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why Not To Fear The Maoists?

andolan5Image by paramendra via Flickr
Nepal is scheduled to have coalition governments for a long, long time to come, just like India. That might be a good reason to not fear the Maoists. And because Nepal is not about to become a two party democracy like America, it perhaps makes sense to not have a presidential form of government in Nepal, or a directly elected Prime Minister, which is the same thing by another name.

Not only will you have coalition government for a long time, you will also have three different layers of government. One party might be leading the government at the center as a minority party. And it would be very possible that party is not leading the government in about half of the states. It will be very likely that party will not be in power in the vast majority of local governments.

And you would have periodic elections. You might have elections to the national parliament this year. Next year you might have elections for the state parliaments. The year after that you might have elections to the local governments. The party leading the national government might likely suffer during the state and local elections because it did not meet the expectations of the people and sufficient disaffection built up against them among the electorate.

And so the UML and the Nepali Congress need to stop beating the dead horse, they need to stop scaring people with the imagery of a possible Maoist takeover of state power which they do to bring the people under their fold of pre-social justice thoughts. The king used to do the same thing to try and bring people under his dictator tent.

A Roadmap For The Maoists
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Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Maoists Have Won

Calling off their Nepal Bandh after six days I see as a grand victory for the Maoists. They have exhibited that they are capable of experimenting, that they are capable of the scientific approach. You try something. If it does not work, you ditch it and go try something else. First they tried a peaceful shutdown of the country. After they realized they were imposing unnecessary hardships for the populations, they partly lifted the strike. People could move around in the evenings. Perishable goods - fruits, vegetables, milk - could be transported. And so on. I was very impressed. Finally they have gone ahead and called off the entire Bandh itself. I am impressed.

Now that they have shown their street power, the Maoists still have the option to show their opponents their constitutional power. Unless the Maoists agree to it, the term of the constituent assembly can not be extended. If the term is not extended, this government's term is over, and there is a constitutional crisis. Although the constitution says you only need a majority in the parliament to form a government, in this case what is true is the ruling coalition needs the Maoists' approval to go on being in power. That gives the Maoists great leverage at the bargaining table.

A national unity government is still possible. It is desirable. But that has to be brought about through constitutional means. And it will only happen if the Maoists exhibit that they understand coalition culture. A coalition culture is where all partner parties together decide on who the Prime Minister will be, for example.

If Prachanda agrees to the Baburam Bhattarai name, that will give his party six months in power. And if the government performs well, the Maoists might come back with a full majority of their own in the new parliament. At that point, the Maoist central committee on its own can decide as to who their Prime Minister will be. Although I must point out I think coalition governments are here to stay in Nepal just like in India. The sooner the Maoists appreciate the give and take involved in coalition governments, the better their political prospects will look.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Maoists: Thinking Or Dogmatic?

Maoists To Allow Markets Open From 6 PM To 10 PM; Transportation Of Perishable Products Not To Be Obstructed NepalNews

This move by the Maoists gives me hope that the thinking Maoists who went from a violent struggle for a one party rule to a unilateral ceasefire and a common minimum program of a constituent assembly have not become all dogmatic and unthinking somewhere along the way. This move makes the Maoists look good.

Although the constitution does not ask for a government with more than a simple majority, I do feel the political need for something like a 10 party government. I am for a national unity government. But a give and take situation has to be created. The idea can not be to humiliate either the Maoists or the parties in power. The idea can not be to rub the other's nose in the dust, politically speaking.

This tactical flexibility the Maoists have exhibited on how to run their peaceful movement has also to be exhibited on the political front. If this shutdown of the country goes on for more than a week, for more than 10 days, it will have gone on for too long.

Monday, May 03, 2010

An Appeal To The Maoists

2005 was a politically complex year for Nepal. The year started out with three forces at loggerheads. The three forces were all at cross purposes. The royalists imposed a dictatorship. The Maoists were waging a violent struggle for one party rule. The democratic parties were squeezed by both. The business at hand was to get the royalists out of the way, and that could come about if the other two camps could join forces, and the other two camps could not join forces as long as the Maoists kept waging a violent struggle for one party rule. That violence had to come to an end first, and a political road map had to be agreed upon. The big parties like the Nepali Congress and the UML were opposed to the idea of a constituent assembly. But that was the only meeting ground. And that is what came to be. But first the Maoists needed to cease violence.

I argued that the Maoists needed to declare a ceasefire.

Prachanda, Order Your Cadres To Live

They did.

After Ganapathy, A Ceasefire
For The First Time In A Decade, Permanent Peace Feels Possible

Then it was but expected that the royalists will try to get them to break that ceasefire.

Militarists Attempting A Doramba Repeat To End Ceasefire

It still made tremendous sense for the Maoists to continue with the ceasefire, and they did.

Prachanda, Extend The Ceasefire By Three Months

That is what made talks between the Maoists and the democrats possible. And then the onus shifted to the democrats. Unless they agreed to the idea of a constituent assembly, there was not going to be an alliance with the Maoists. They reluctantly agreed.

The alliance happened. And that prepared ground for the historic April 2006 revolution. That revolution could not have come about without the alliance.

The reason I am talking the history of 2005 is that has lessons for today.

Just like the Maoists went for the unilateral ceasefire back in 2005, they should now unilaterally declare they are for a constitution that will turn Nepal into a multi-party democracy of state funded parties, that they are for an ideological fusion of the two competing political ideologies of the past century, and that after that there will be no revolution, only elections. They should steer their movement towards that goal. Change of government has to become a secondary concern.

Once Nepal is turned into a multi-party democracy of state funded parties where the book keeping of all parties is public, transparent, you can achieve land reform peacefully. You win elections, pass bills in the parliament.

Power flows through the ballot box. Power does not flow through the barrel of a gun. But power only flows through the ballot box if Nepal is turned into a multi-party democracy of state funded parties.
  1. All parties agree to turn Nepal into a multi-party democracy of state funded parties. The Maoists declare there will be no revolution after that, only elections. 
  2. Form a national unity government of the 10 largest parties in parliament in Baburam Bhattarai's leadership. Come up with a common minimum program. 
  3. Extend the constituent assembly's term by six months. 
Prachanda's Second Big Mistake?
The Peace Process Is At Its Most Fragile
Nepal Seeing Major Political Crisis
A 10 Party Government In Baburam Bhattarai's Leadership

Prachanda's Second Big Mistake?

What was Prachanda thinking? That he will get 50,000 Maoist cadres to come over to Kathmandu from the districts, and the common people in Kathmandu will join forces and next thing you know there are half a million people in the streets like during April 2006? For him to ever have thought that goes on to show that this guy has no clue as to what happened during April 2006.

The Madhav Nepal led government will be toppled through parliamentary arithmetic, and that parliamentary arithmetic will never come to be if Prachanda does not make it clear he understands how coalition governments are run. Coalition governments are run through the consent of all coalition partners.

Prachanda seems to think the Maoists central committee gets to make all final decisions in the country. The Maoists central committee decides who will be in power, who will not be in power. The Maoist central committee decides who will be Prime Minister. The rest of the parties need to do what the Maoist central committee decides has to happen. That thinking drives the other parties away. That thinking is what brought down the Prachanda led government in the first place. For him to continue with that thinking and expect a new Prachanda led government take shape is daydreaming. It is politically immature.

Prachanda's last big mistake was to abandon his coalition partners and bypass the office of the president to try and sack the army chief who retired on his own a few months later. His latest big mistake we are seeing in action right now. You don't have a movement. You have 50,000 Maoist cadres having free food.

His showing zero flexibility on as to who might lead a possible national unity government makes extra sure that such a national unity government will not get formed in the first place.

But the real issue is not just about changing the government. The real issue is the ideological clash between the Maoists and the rest. That ideological clash is not being addressed by either camp. The solution is to turn Nepal into a multi-party democracy of state funded parties. That step has to be preceded by making sure all parties make their book keeping public. Why will not the Maoists go for that?

The Peace Process Is At Its Most Fragile
Nepal Seeing Major Political Crisis
A 10 Party Government In Baburam Bhattarai's Leadership

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Peace Process Is At Its Most Fragile

Nepal Seeing Major Political Crisis

Maoist strike brings nation to halt
Three party talks for consensus stuck on PM’s resignation, army integration The parties have charted six different points of contentions, that need to be resolved through consensus, including formation of a national unity government, compliance with Comprehensive Peace Agreements (CPA), arms management and army integration, returning seized property to rightful owners, transformation or dissolution of Maoist youth wing Young Communist League (YCL) and commitment to peace process.
UCPN (M)'s May Day demos conclude peacefully, Dahal describes protests as 'final push'
Three-party meet adjourned 'on a positive note' Dr Bhattarai said the three parties have reached consensus on four of the six agendas set earlier. "Now, we will be discussing on constitution making and power sharing in new government,"
EU deeply concerned over lack of progress in peace process the rising political tensions in Nepal over the last few weeks.
22-party, HLPM task force meetin Leaders of parties in the government including CPN (UML), Nepali Congress, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik are discussing on whether or not to deploy army to quell the agitation.
Normal life affected due to Maoist demonstrations; Maoists to rally from 18 places in capital most people have chosen to stay at back at home. The streets look quieter, except for the Maoist cadres and others preparing for the rally. .... The Maoists are preparing to rally from 18 different locations in Kathmandu including Kalanki, Maharajgunj, Chabahil, Koteshwar, Gongabu, Balaju and Balkhu from 11 am, this morning.
Leaders claim, they are close to consensus Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and vice chairmen Babu Ram Bhattarai and Mohan Baidhya, CPN (UML) chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and politburo members Bharat Mohan Adhikary and Ishwar Pokhrel, and NC vice president Ram Chandra Poudel and leaders Bimalendra Nidhi and Krishna Sitaula were present at the meeting.
More than half a million people set to hit streets during UCPN-M's May day demo, Bhattarai claims thousands of Maoist volunteers will be deployed to manage the crowd to ensure that the mass demonstration of the party goes on smoothly..... The meeting of the council on Friday decided to deploy Nepal Army in sensitive areas including the airport, hydropower plants and telephone towers. Nepal Police and Armed Police Forced were deployed for their security previously. ..... defence minister Bidhya Bhandari told reporters that government might bring Nepal Army out of the barracks if Maoist demonstrations turn violent and goes out of control.
NSC hands over infrastructure security responsibility to NA
NC for deploying army, if needed government cannot be replaced from the streets
UML politburo throws weight behind PM Nepal The two-hour long meeting of the politburo concluded that PM Nepal's resignation alone would not solve the current problem and that the government cannot be changed through street protests... Majority of the politburo members including party chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, Prime Minister Nepal and senior leader KP Sharma Oli were present at the meeting.