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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Maoists roll over in Nepal elections


Surprising even for Maoists themselves, they have taken 8 of 10 Katmandu seats and lead in or have already won 82 of 151 constituencies where vote is being counted. Meanwhile, the Nepali Congress may get 28 seats and the Comunist Party (UML) 22. Minor parties would take the remaining 19 MPs, according to Al Jazeera.

I am a little confused because the total constituencies are 240, plus some other 335 seats being elected on proportional grounds and 26 nominated by the cabinet. Why are there only 151 constituencies being counted, what happens with the other 89? And the proportionally allocated seats?

Anyhow, the key of Maoist victory may have been that they have reached out to all ethnicities of Nepal and promised a federal republic.

Naturally neither the USA (who still has them classified as "terrorists"), nor India (that has its own strong Maoist guerrillas controlling many rural areas) nor the Nepali Army see that favorably. Maoist leader Pachendra has therefore made a conciliatory victory speech, promising to be a good neighbour of the two bordering giants: China and India.


Maoist leader Prachendra in a victorius speech

Whoever said that Marxism is dead, should think again.

6 comments:

Manjunat said...

nor India (that has its own strong Maoist guerrillas controlling many rural areas)

I don't think India will have any problems with Maoists who join democratic process. Idealogies are irrelevant as long as you are part of Democratic process.

Maju said...

I don't know, really. It is anything but certain that Maoists will keep the "burgueois" institutions once in power (just a guess with some historical basis).

Just remember Mao's "truth is in the point of a gun".

Also India has its own Maoist guerrilla that is increasingly strong (feeding in the historical inequalities of India) and is a real challenge (moreso than ethnic nationalist groups) for the stability of the country.

According to http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/terroristoutfits/CPI_M.htm, the CPI(M) guerrillas are active in 153 (out of 604) districts and in 13 states (out of 29). They are particularly strong in Bihar and Jarkhand with important presence also in Andrah Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal and Uttaranchal.

I can understand if Indian authorities are concerned. Not to mention historical rivalry with China (formally still Maoist, even if actually quite petty burgueoise).

Manjunat said...

Just remember Mao's "truth is in the point of a gun".

Indeed, as long as Maoists hold the gun India will have problems.

Also India has its own Maoist guerrilla that is increasingly strong (feeding in the historical inequalities of India)

Eventhough cadres come from Dalit and Tribal groups, big chunk of leadership comes from Brahmins. You need to understand that Marxism or Maoism are literate ideologies and generally took up by Brahmins and a section of newly literate middle castes. Historically, non-brahmin castes were barred from education (that means Sanskrit education) by religious diktat. The English education was generally taken by Brahmins first when British introduced it in India. Of course, there are exceptions. Certain castes like scribes also took it up. Therefore, the ideology didn't enter into historically disadvantaged communities first. It was introduced to them by historically privileged groups (within caste or Hindu society).

Irony is that in the past Dalit scholars and leaders shunned Communism as they found it another area where Brahmins dominate.

Now the struggle is between Maoists and numerically strong middle caste dominated governments in these regions.

By the way, Marxists joined Democratic process long back. They still dominate in three states of India (Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura).

Maju said...

You need to understand that Marxism or Maoism are literate ideologies and generally took up by Brahmins and a section of newly literate middle castes.

Sure. But those are probably the less classist of Brahmins. I mean: if you are born in the elite and you choose to join the "working class struggle", you are being very critical with your own education and presumpt birthrigh. You do not choose your parents but you can choose your friends. Many Marxist and otherwise socialist leaders everywhere were born in middle or high classes: Marx and Engels were burgueoises, Che Guevara too, Kropotkin (anarchist) was an aristocrat, Lafargue another silverspoon, etc. Others were of more humble extraction, like Mao, but is not that rare that the leaders have some sort of upbringing, even if they are not fond of it.

Guess the important thing is not where you come from but where do you want to head to.

By the way, Marxists joined Democratic process long back. They still dominate in three states of India (Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura).

I know. But those are other Marxists, more social-democrat or "Eurocommunist" to define them somehow. Surely the Maoists shun them.

Manjunat said...

So you think elite classes breaking class barrier is the same as elite castes breaking caste identities?

Maju said...

A caste is just a special type of class after all. Caste is more archaic/medieval... but the same thing more or less.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste

There were castes in Europe and other places, you know. Maybe not as extreme as in India but I'd say that Medieval Europe was not so different actually. Just that there was no priestly caste, at least not a hereditary one. But there were certainly ksatriyas (aristocrats), vaysias (freemen) and sudras (serfs and slaves). What Medieval Europe lacked (largely) was the "clannic" (or pseudo-tribal) system of jatis. Also at some times and places there was some social mobility, but very limited, by royal decree almost necesarily, and contested in any case.

Basically caste and class are different in that one is hereditary and the other more or less open (quite hereditary in practice anyhow). But they have so many other things in common that I have no much problem ignoring the differences.

What burgueoise revolutions did in Europe was largely to supress medieval castes... and replace them by classes. What socialists wanted and surely still want to do was to go a step further and supress all classes by fusing them in a single educated and self-ruling working class.

But by creating the one-party system, they actually created a new "brahmin" class (not caste) of bureaucrats and "priests" of the godless Marxist-Leninist "religion".

It would be a good idea to rethink such paradigm but I fear many are still way too Leninist, while others bow to "free market" (lost their whole revolutionary project).