A great step forward in Nepal

April 18, 2008

The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) victory in the constituent assembly elections held on April 10 is a great step forward for the forces of the left in the region and internationally. The masses voted for those with no experience of elections but with full experience of fighting for basic rights.

The Maoist youth launched a campaign all over Nepal after the success of the movement in 2006 against corrupt officials in the bureaucracy. They would picket any government office for this purpose and sometimes kidnap corrupt officials to be paraded in public later.

This practice brought a very forceful message in a society that is in the grip of absolute poverty.

Earlier in 2006, a mass movement initiated by the various radical social movements was joined by hundreds of thousands of people and forced the king to withdraw his dictatorial measures and to restore the parliament.

There is absolutely no basis for a counter-revolution after this latest stunning victory. The masses will not accept any attempt. In fact, the military suffered a crushing defeat in the 2006 mass uprising, and it will take a long time to recover.

The victory of left forces will have a tremendous effect on the politics of the South Asian countries. It will radicalise a whole new layer, and particularly it will have a tremendous effect on the youth in Pakistan where a mass movement against the military dictatorship is still going on.

To what extent the CPN-M will be able to solve the basic problems of the masses will have to be seen. But while I was in Nepal, there was a meeting of a World Bank official with the Maoist minister in charge of Kathmandu water. They were in negotiations for the privatisation of Kathmandu water.

It seemed that the minister was not that worried about privatisation but more interested in the aid that will come through World Bank. There was some criticism of this by activists in the meeting I was attending.

Would they go for nationalisation of the big institutions and cancel the privatised ones? I do not see that. They will more go along the lines of working with a shadow of capitalism rather than breaking with capitalism. It is likely to be more like a West Bengal situation (the communist-led Indian state that works within capitalism) rather than a Venezuela-type development.

The victory of the CPN-M is a massive step forward for the people of Nepal. Once and for all they will get rid of the monarchy. Nepal will start a new era. However, it can go at a much faster speed towards development if it does away with capitalism as well as the Shah family.

In Pakistan, we will all celebrate the victory of the CPN-M and other left forces of Nepal and will show our maximum solidarity with the new radical government.

[Abridged from http://links.org.au. Farooq Tariq is a spokesperson for the Labour Party Pakistan. Visit http://www.laborpakistan.org and http://www.jeddojuhd.com.]

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