Monday, January 15, 2007

How now, Chairman Mao?

Auntie's been keeping tabs on Nepal. It's been nearly a year since the revolution, and:

Maoist rebels who fought a 10-year war in Nepal are expected to enter parliament for the first time on Monday ahead of elections later this year.

The historic move is one of a series of measures to bring the rebels into the fold after a peace deal last year.

Parliament is debating a new interim constitution to clear the way for rebel MPs to join the house - endorsement is seen as a mere formality.

Any leaking of power back to the old state machine could come via this temporary assembly. The Maoists have been promised 1/4 of the seats in the assembly. Given they gave up their right to insurrection they can hardly expect a majority in the assembly.

Apparently the Maoist troops and weapons will be 'registered' in 'designated camps'. This sounds a little to me like the old CP trick of committing political suicide in honour of the 'stages theory'.

Sure they have MPs but will they sit with old monarchists in the assembly. Presumably, as the Maoist leader, Prachanda, said the question of a monarchy or republic was an open one. Who has the weapons now, the loyalty of the armed forces, the mainstream parties? If so, could they be a possible route back for the monarchy?

NOTE: All my previous posts about Nepal have concerned political freedom. Revolutions are never just about political freedom. Nepal has a small working class and a relatively large peasantry, oppressed as they are by landlords. In addition to these questions we must ask how far the mainstream parties will go to alleviate the poverty of the working poor? If they make more than simple gestures, will the working classes ask for more?

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