Analytical Monthly Review, published in Kharagpur, West Bengal, India, is a sister edition of Monthly Review. Its November 2009 issue features the following editorial. — Ed.
We last commented on events in Nepal in our May editorial, following the attempt of the ceremonial president to exercise royal authority by “countermanding” the decision of the elected government to dismiss the openly insubordinate army commander, General Katawal. The government, headed by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist and its chairman Prachanda, immediately resigned.
A government was then cobbled together dominated by the two primary political parties of the parliamentary regime of the deposed monarchy, the Nepal Congress (party of those who own meaningful property) and the UML (party primarily of the petit bourgeoisie). These parties had been decisively defeated in the April 2008 elections for the Constituent Assembly, obtaining fewer seats when added together than the UCPN(M). The new government chief became Madhav Kumar Nepal, head of the UML, who had run in two constituencies in the Constituent Assembly elections and been defeated by the UCPN(M) candidate in both! This practical demonstration of “democracy” has not been lost on the people of Nepal.
In the intervening half-year, the UCPN(M) has made the world aware that civilian supremacy over the military is the foremost issue in Nepal. Of all the unfinished business of the revolutionary civil war that deposed the monarch, the continuing control of the Nepal Army by U.S. “advised” officers remains the leading obstacle to any lasting peace. Although the agreements that ended the civil war explicitly required the “democratisation” of the Nepal Army, nothing whatever has been done. Since May the UCPN(M) has peacefully obstructed all initiatives of the defeated parties insisting that first the question of civilian control of the military must be decided. In a complete admission of moral impotence, the Madhav Nepal government refuses to permit the question of civilian control even to be debated in the Constituent Assembly.
The plan for Nepal’s future as set out by Washington, New Delhi and their friends in the traditional political parties of Nepal is that the revolution is over once and for all, and no further substantive change shall be permitted. The Nepal Army shall stay under their control, as shall the judiciary and the higher civil service. “Development” — such as it is — shall be dictated by foreign “aid” and those who provide it. “Freedom of the Press” shall continue to mean that the media belongs to those who have the most money; in Nepal that means the friends and agents of the United States and India. “Equality” shall continue to mean only a set of formal rights set out in law codes, but even that beyond the reach of anyone unable to afford the best and most expensive lawyers. And “democracy” shall be ceremonial voting exercises in which no challenge is permitted to the power of the top layer of society and the agents of the United States and India, and the armed forces they control. In short, the complex of individual “rights” and exploitation that every honest person in the world recognizes as the fraud of bourgeois democracy, the most efficient form of the dictatorship of capital and its personifications.
Even among our friends there have been some who believed that the UCPN(M), having led a successful revolutionary war, had nonetheless settled for this fraud through a mistaken understanding of the “theory of stages” in revolutionary development. But as the last six months have shown, the UCPN(M), beyond dispute now the dominant mass force throughout Nepal, have used events for political education to deepen their presence. The next revolutionary advance — toward a new democracy in which the majority actually rules — requires that the class essence of the bourgeois democratic parties (and the version of “democracy” as advocated by their advisers from the United States and India) be understood by the entire leading elements of the working people of Nepal and not only party theoreticians. And this task is now successfully underway.
What is at issue is the achievement of the new democratic revolution in Nepal and the first steps in the transition to socialism. Readers of this journal will know that we see this not as an issue of concern to Nepal alone, but a necessity on the broadest scale if planet-wide catastrophe is to be avoided. As the advance of the people of Nepal quickens in the coming months, the revolutionary forces are owed the practical solidarity of all sincere Marxists the world over and such assistance as we are able to give — it’s in our own interest as well.