Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Victory of Nepalese Maoists in Elections – Where to Now?

By Fred Weston and Pablo Sanchez
Thursday, 17 April 2008

As we write these lines the votes cast in the recent Nepalese elections are still being counted, but with most of the first-past-the-post seats declared and more than 4.5 million votes checked, the Maoists have achieved an outstanding result, a clear indication that the masses desire a radical change.

For the first time in eight years the Nepali people have been able to express their views in an election, and there is no doubt what those views are! These were the first elections since the October movement that had led to the Maoists being brought back into "legality" and also into a coalition government with the mainstream political forces.

There were months of negotiations about which electoral system should be adopted, which also saw the army in parliament, and this was then followed by a bloody electoral campaign. In fact the celebration of the elections on the terms demanded by the Nepali Congress terms, i.e. before the declaration of a Republic, is an indication of how much the Maoists have been willing to concede.

They have in fact come a long way since the days of their guerrilla campaign, which saw them control a large part of the country. From that position, they have given up the armed struggle, agreed to integrate their armed groups into the official army and even agreed to join a government with bourgeois parties. This is all in line with a classical Maoist outlook, which states that because Nepal is so underdeveloped the immediate perspective is not one of a struggle for socialism, but some form of bourgeois democracy, i.e. the "first stage" of the two-stage theory.

However, the way the masses have voted would indicate that they are very much intent on leaping over the first stage and move towards socialism. The fact that they voted so massively for a party that is called Communist and up until very recently was attempting to come to power through the armed struggle, would confirm that. So far, the Maoists have won 116 seats out of the 218 declared in the first-past-the-post part of the election, out of a total of 240.

The great losers in these elections are the Nepali Congress, that gained only 32 seats. This reduces it to the same level as the other, more "moderate" Communist Party, the CPN-UML, which has gained 31 seats. The CPN-UML had in fact pulled out of the government becoming the main opposition party, due to its bad electoral result. The regionalist Madhesi parties won around 30 seats, and they are the only real force that remains that can defend the keeping of the monarchy.

One of the ironies of this situation is that the Maoist leaders were so pessimistic about their own prospects that they feared a majority first-past-the-post electoral system. That explains in part why the electoral system adopted has been a mix, a hybrid, between seats elected on a proportional representation (PR) basis and a section of first-past-the-post seats. In the end the PR section is going to save the face of the bourgeois parties, especially the Nepali Congress, who would have been completely smashed if all the MPs had been elected on the basis of a majority system.

In the complicated system they have adopted, the two votes, PR and first-past-the-post, were not linked to each other. In any case, the results so far would indicate that the Maoists will get around 30% overall, while both the Congress and CPN-UML stand at around 20%, and the regionalists will score less than 10%.

The new Parliament is made up of 601 MPs, of which 335 will be elected by the PR system, 240 by the majority system and 26 are to be appointed by the government. This will very probably mean the Maoists will be by far the biggest force, but possibly short of getting an absolute majority. This would allow them to form an alliance of the left forces (the five communist organisations with electoral representation in the Chamber) which would have a clear majority in parliament.

Here again, we see the massive shift to the left: the combined vote of the two main Communist parties stands at about 50%! Thus rather than seeking any alliances with the parties that represent the weak Nepalese bourgeoisie, the two main Communist parties should be thinking in terms of a United Front without bourgeois parties and leading the masses in the struggle for socialism. Unfortunately, it is unclear what parliamentary tactic the Maoists will adopt.

They have two options now. The first is to refuse any alliance with bourgeois parties, unite all the Communist forces, and by mobilising the masses outside parliament lead them in the struggle for a socialist Nepal. The other option is to enter into negotiations with forces such as the Nepali Congress on the basis that this is the so-called "democratic stage" of the revolution. This would also involve holding back the masses and explaining to them that it is necessary to join forces with the so-called "progressive wing of the bourgeoisie."

Maoists send a soothing message to bourgeois

As could be expected, Prachanda and other Maoists leaders have been very quick to issue statements calming down anyone who might think that the former guerrilla leaders may go "too radical". Prachanda in talks with the Indian Foreign Minister, Pranab Mukherjee and EU foreign affairs officials said that, "he avowed his commitment towards the peace process, multiparty democracy and economic development". (Nepal news.com, April 17, 2008). This is in line with the policies of the Maoists leaders of rejecting any move towards socialism, sticking to their programme of "social development" of Nepal within the confines of capitalism, while abolishing the monarchy.

The Nepalese masses will be expecting serious change from this new parliament. In fact the Maoists will now come under enormous pressure to deliver the goods. But they will also come under huge pressure from the bourgeois forces both in Nepal and internationally. These will put in motion their machinery to make sure that the Maoists resist the pressure from below and do not go too far in their social and economic policies. Meanwhile the Terai and Madhesi regionalist movements will be used to continue their campaign against the democratically elected government.

It is clear that the Nepali ruling class is deeply divided between a staunchly monarchist wing on the one hand and those that see Gyanendra as a dead weight, who because of his stupidity and stubbornness was responsible for the Maoist victory. This king took the crown after the dramatic events in 2001, when ten members of the royal family were massacred by the crown prince, including the king and queen, who then took his own life.

The following year in October the new king, Gyanendra, dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet. He accused them of "incompetence" after they had dissolved parliament and had proven incapable of holding elections due to the ongoing insurgency. The king thought that the insurgency was merely a question of incompetence of the ministers. He was completely out of touch with the real situation on the ground.

In June 2004 although he did not re-establish parliament, he reinstated the most recently elected prime minister who formed a four-party coalition government. But then again blaming it for its inability to tackle the Maoist insurgency he dissolved the government in February 2005 and declared a state of emergency, imprisoning party leaders, and assuming power directly. The state of emergency was brought to an end in May 2005, but the king held on to absolute power until April 2006.

That was when three weeks of mass protests forced the king to reconvene parliament. Reality was beating the king on the head repeatedly, but he seemed incapable of really understanding what was happening, believing he could dictate as in the past. In spite of the king, in November 2006 a deal, a peace accord, between the government and the Maoists, allowed for an interim constitution to be promulgated. It was on this basis that the Maoists were allowed to enter parliament in January 2007.

That same accord entailed a new Constituent Assembly whose task it would be to draw up a new constitution. The recent elections are part of that process. All this has been done in spite of the king, not thanks to him. The more serious and far-sighted bourgeois leaders, clearly receiving advice from imperialism, understood that in the face of such mass opposition they could not continue to rule in the old way. As they had done previously in South Africa with the ANC, in Palestine with the PLO, and even in the North of Ireland with Sinn Fein, they understood that the only way of stabilising the situation was to open negotiations with the recognised leaders of the masses. In this case that was the leadership of the Maoist guerrillas.

By making "democratic" concessions to these leaders, who were already inclined to accept the market economy, i.e. capitalism, as the base upon which all political developments should be based, they hoped to use them to hold the masses back from overthrowing the system s a whole.

A recent statement by the President of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Kush Kumar Joshi, is an indication of this. He has said that the incoming Maoist-led government should adopt a "liberal" economic policy. We can expect much more of this kind of "advice" both from the bourgeois commentators inside Nepal and internationally. It is rather unfortunate that the Maoist leaders seem to give more credence to the opinions of these people rather than to those of the millions of workers and poor who have elected them.

What will happen to the king is not totally clear, although it does seem that on this question at least a move towards a republic is inevitable. The king himself is an unpredictable figure, but his personal position is not the unimportant issue here. The bourgeois can easily accept that he must go, if in exchange they can get the Maoists to accept a moderate stance.

One thing is clear: this electoral victory is proof of the power of the Nepali masses and it also is a vote of confidence in those who led the guerrilla struggle for over a decade. It clearly shows the willingness of the masses to transform society, and it would be criminal not capitalise on all this support. There is the danger that by accepting a bourgeois parliamentary "stage" the Maoists will be sucked into spending a lot of time in committees and elections. The new Assembly now has the task of voting on a new Constitution, probably holding a referendum, which would then be followed by new elections. This is the terrain that the bourgeois politicians prefer. They are experts in dragging out processes, delving into the detailed minutiae of each legal change. In the meantime the masses will be expecting alleviation from the miserable conditions they live in.

The population of Nepal stands at around 30 million, and a few figures give an idea of the level of underdevelopment of this country. It is among the poorest countries in the world. Three quarters of the population still makes a living from agriculture. GDP per capita stands at only US$1,100 per year. Almost one-third of its population lives below the official poverty line, unemployment stands at the staggering level of 42% and more than half the population is illiterate. Inflation officially stands at around 9% but is obviously much higher, especially in the recent months with massive food price hikes.

The Maoists therefore now have a big responsibility on their shoulders. They will not be able to tackle the serious economic problems if they form an alliance with any of the bourgeois parties and if they spend most of their time discussing constitutional change. The masses have voted not for talks but concrete action against poverty

The bourgeois are preparing a trap for the Maoists. In fact Koirala, the current President, has already called for a coalition government and all the pressure will be on the Maoists to go as slow as possible. If they do this it will only strengthen the right wing and the bourgeoisie. A clear indication of the tactics the ruling class are adopting comes from the chairman of the country's chamber of commerce who has praised the Maoist leaders for their promise to "listen to the private sector" when working out economic policy. By this it seems the Maoist leaders are preparing to "manage capitalism". In line with this are declarations by Prachanda in favour of a "mixed economy".

The Royal Army is also falling into line with the needs of the moment. It has expressed its commitment to work under the direction of an elected government, and carry on the discussions concerning the integration of the guerrillas into the national army under UN control. The only demand of the military leaders is that the army should not be "politicised". By this they mean the Communists should not meddle in the affairs of the army. They conveniently ignore their own "political" role in a decade of struggle against a communist orientated guerrilla movement. The Maoists are now pushing for the full integration of its former guerrillas into the army.

The Maoists will undoubtedly continue to have genuine mass support for some time. They have only just been elected and the masses will have a degree of patience. Thus they will have some breathing space, but so will the bourgeois and the imperialists, who are manoeuvring behind the scenes. As part of this process, the Maoists will most likely push for the abolition of the monarchy and for the introduction of other democratic measures, all things that the Marxists would support. Senior Maoist leaders have in fact "urged the country's beleaguered King Gyanendra to step down ‘gracefully'," according to BBC News, (April 16, 2008). However, the fact that they "urge" the king to go, rather than mobilise a mass movement behind this demand, is an indication of their approach.

The mass of workers, peasants and poor in general will be waiting for the proposals any new government will make concerning their real concrete living conditions.

What government now?

Prachanda has said that they are for an economy in which capitalists can make profit. He also excluded any "dictatorship of the proletariat". In his address to the business leaders in Kathmandu after the election the Maoist Chairman announced that power will not be used tyrannically, but for the welfare of the people and the country. (Kantipur online, April 16, 2008). Here the "people and the country" clearly means all the classes put together. The problem is that under capitalism you can either defend the interests of the working people or that of the capitalists (and landlords); you cannot satisfy both!

The Maoist Chairman has said that his government will adopt a "new transitional economic system" for economic growth, and he also added that political development is intertwined with the economy. In their manifesto for the Constituent Assembly, the former rebels envisaged a new "transitional economic policy" with medium level development over the next 10 years, high level growth in 20 years and ultra-high level development in the country in 40 years' time. This is perfectly in line with the traditional thinking of the Maoists: first there has to be economic development and only much later can we envisage any form of socialism. The difference here is that there is no mention of socialism, only "ultra-high" levels of economic development, under capitalism!

All this is posed in a completely abstract manner. The most powerful economy in the world, that of the USA, is clearly already in recession. The economy in the EU countries is slowing down. This will inevitably have a knock-on effect around the world and little Nepal cannot escape from the same process. Capitalist growth in China has clearly influenced the leadership of the Nepalese Maoists. They now seem to be "Dengists" rather than Maoists!

They have swallowed the whole idea of capitalist-type development. Following on from the industrialists' and businessmen's demands for better security, the Maoist Chairman remarked that an industrial security force will be formed during the process of army integration. He further stressed on the need for a new policy for taxation.

The Maoist second-in-command Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai has also assured that the government led by the Maoists will move ahead with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) theory. This is a very dangerous turn after more than a decade of struggle and sacrifice. Convincing the capitalists and imperialists to contribute to improving the conditions of the masses is going to be a very difficult task indeed. The Maoists are trying to please the masses and the capitalists at the same time; this is not going to be possible.

Dr Bhattarai, in a recent interview, in fact said:

"China eliminated the feudal system during Mao's regime. It established a solid foundation for economic growth. We could have thought of making rapid economic progress had the country been liberated from the age-old feudal system. When you inject new technology after the foundation for economic growth has been established, you can achieve such development. We don't have such a foundation now. Once we restructure the state and involve the private sector, it will be possible to achieve rapid economic growth. We would implement a transitional economic policy during such an interim period which involves public and private partnership.

"We can't think of developing this country in the absence of domestic and foreign investments. Technological inputs are of equal importance. So, we will follow the policy of attracting domestic and foreign investments. For that to happen, we have to put an end to political instability."

No doubt the imperialists will be delighted to hear these words. Here are the former leaders of a powerful guerrilla army, adopting a completely pro-market position. The Nepali Maoists are attempting to apply Deng's line to their little, underdeveloped country. But there are some important differences: Nepal has not had a period of 30 years of planned economy that built up the basic infrastructure of China, followed by more than 20 years of industrialization based on capitalist methods. Nepal is too weak, its material base is too limited, for this kind of "modern capitalism" to emerge. At best, under capitalism, Nepal will simply be the victim of this or that imperialist power. In the present context it will be a point of conflict between Indian capitalism and China.

Nepal is at a historic turning point: if the Maoists put forward a bold economic programme of socialist transformation, along with the abolition of the monarchy, they would have the overwhelming support of the masses. The bourgeois, the right-wing forces and the imperialists are very weak in Nepal. In fact they can only hold the situation if the Maoist leaders accept the role the imperialists have reserved for them. If the Maoists go down this road it will be a huge mistake that will be paid for dearly by the masses in the years to come.

The Maoists leaders need to understand that in the current stage of capitalism (and in a situation where the world is heading towards a major economic crisis) there is no room for any stable economic development over a decade, let alone over 40 years!

The masses of the Indian subcontinent are on the move. We saw this clearly when up to three million people turned up to welcome Benazir Bhutto on her return to Pakistan. In India we have seen powerful strikes and even an 80 million strong general strike a couple of years ago. The future is one of growing instability, economic crisis and social turmoil, not one of stability and economic growth. The Bhutanese Maoists have launched a guerrilla war, further confirming this point.

The problem of the Nepalese Maoists is that they have a narrow national outlook. They cannot see the growing class conflict all around the world. They cannot understand the severity of the economic crisis that is developing. The future in the whole region is one of intensified class struggle. This is the perspective they should base themselves on. Although Nepal is too small and underdeveloped to build socialism on its own, it can become the spark that sets the whole subcontinent ablaze.


sonia said...

Although Nepal is too small and underdeveloped to build socialism on its own, it can become the spark that sets the whole subcontinent ablaze.,

I seriously doubt it. By the way, the authors conveniently forgot to mention that Nepal's king has been ruling since 2001 with China's support. So the so-called "Maoists" are in fact anti-Chinese patriots trying to liberate their country from Beijing's quasi-colonial domination.

Read this article, written by a pro-Chinese Nepali denouncing the Maoists as "puppets of India and United States"...

Finally, some "Maoists" I can like...

steven rix said...

In the United States, we go to considerable trouble to keep soldiers out of politics, and even more to keep politics out of soldiers. Guerrillas do exactly the opposite. They
go to great lengths to make sure that their men are politically educated and thoroughly aware of the issues at stake. A trained and disciplined guerrilla is much more than a patriotic peasant, workman, or student armed with an
antiquated fowling-piece and a homemade bomb. His
indoctrination begins even before he is taught to shoot
accurately, and it is unceasing. The end product is an intensely loyal and politically alert fighting man.

(In Guerilla warfare from Mao Tse Tung)

MC Fanon said...

I think the most astute observation in the [excellent] article is that Prachanda and much of the CPN(M) leadership resembles Deng Xiaoping's "socialist" vision, and not Mao's whom they profess ideological loyalty to. Part of me believes that any form of Maoist socialism would actually harm Nepal's chances of improving its general welfare. Unless the CPN(M) are willing to pursue more market-based syndicalist socialism with viable investment opportunities for the population, it will be difficult to spur significant change. Unfortunately, it appears as though the CPN(M) may be following a less-bloody China path.

Frank Partisan said...

The Maoists in power in Nepal, are the same people, who used child soldiers in the civil war. It's allied with the Shining Path in Peru.

Profits in India for big corporations, are highest in Maoist controlled areas. This group in Nepal, considers China a capitalist country.

As the article points out, the Maoists in Nepal, don't have the conditions China had, the last few decades, including years of primitive accumulation and a favorable economic climate.

steven rix said...

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, and relies exclusively on tourism and drug trafficking (morphine, heroine and pink nepalese hash). If you look at the geographical situation of Nepal, they don't have much political choices bewteen India beyond the Utter Pradesh mountains and China and the Himalayas.
It's been only a few years since the nepalese women have a social statu, before this period, they were treated as dogs (taoism is the problem this time) and they are still the prey of sex trafficking with India.

Also take into consideration that Taoism is well implanted in Nepal so they can't really change their social status from one day to the next. In the dark ages in China and Nepal, people had to work for the benefit of their community, and once they were in the pigeon hole digging for irrigation, it was over for them.

CHRIS I. G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CHRIS I. G. said...

At the deepest level of our being – in our spiritual essence - we are of course neither man nor woman. Yet here we are, on planet Earth, in this culture or that, traveling through our lifetime with a male or female body.
According to Taoist Cosmology, the first movement into manifestation happens via Yang Qi and Yin Qi – the primordial masculine and feminine energies. At this level, then, there is equality between the masculine and the feminine. They are understood to simply be two sides of the same coin: one could not exist without the other...

steven rix said...

I don't think Taoism recognizes that men and women are equal. If you read Mantak Chia, it does explain why the ying and the yang are different in a sexual relationship.
That said, Taoism (how to balance the body and the mental in relation with the planet) is a philosophy of peace, and I also believe that Taoism, while edicting a moral conduct, was a huge problem for the progress of technologies. If you've seen the documentary called "connexions" from James Burke (it's a 30 years old documentary) China's Taoists had done so much with nothing, compared to Europe. Chinese had already the steel, the black powder and many other technologies that Europeans never discovered. Then later during the XXIth/XXIIth century, through global exchanges, once the Europeans got their dirty hands on black powder through the arabic trade, Europe started to rise because they had been able to develop weapons: they found out that black powder would be useful for weapons (gun powder), and once they got the technologies of steel, they first started to use it for BELLS in the cathedrals, and with the shape of the bells, they realized they could build cannons as well.

Also with taoism it was harder for any individuals to rise from the masses, and perhaps, that might explain that maoism was easier to impose on Chinese (I'm not quite sure because I need more elements to be categorical).

Here is something extraordinnary that was going to shape our life for ever: the classes appeared in Europe only in the XIIIth century during the medieval ice-age. Back then, all the people were sleeping together in the same room, there was not that much differences, and then during the short medieval ice-age, since people were living more and more inside, they found a way to warm their castles with only 1 furnace. In the medieval times, the price of a furnace was very expensive and it could not heat up all the rooms they wanted, so somebody came up with the idea to build a conduct in every room from one furnace only and it was since this day that the lower and middle class never came up that close to the upper class.
Incredible what technologies can do.

Nadia A. said...

"They [Maoists] cannot understand the severity of the economic crisis that is developing." That is too bad, the average citizen is stuck in this mess, between the ever-becoming-Maoist government and the slow starvation.

Frank Partisan said...

CHRIS IOANNOU G. What became of the Chris I knew?

Nadia: Only a few years ago, the Maoist politicians were in the jungle, terrorizing school teachers.

Politiques: I don't see any ties between Taoism or Maoism, that matter for this post.

steven rix said...

Like I said I'm not 100% sure, it's not a link for sure, but a logical anthropological evolution inside the chinese society, it's like maoism was the extension of taoism in respect with chinese culture and their way of thinking. There are some particularities in the chinese society that remains very different from the western world, and one of them was the civil obedience and absence of indidivualism that you can find both in taoism and maoism, even if one is a religion and the other one is an ideology. These were just typical signs of the chinese society until the XXth century. Why do you think China opened its arms to capitalism and still remains very rigid in Human Rights? Because Chinese are the only people in the world to respect the tradition and the memory of their dead, to preserve their cultural heritage. By bringing up stories of their family that happened 1,000 years ago, they also brought up the vision on how China should remain. They know where they are coming and they know where they are going. We, Westerners can't even remember shite if we go down 3 or 4 generations, and we tend to evolve in different directions (success, decadence or whatever).

steven rix said...

Gosh I just read some parts of Mao Tse Tung's book "guerilla warfare" and I can tell you one thing Renegade, his doctrine is fully inspired by Taoism. It's like he reconstructed Maoism with the tools of Taoism - which is normal for me because he does fit the chinese mindset - and also because the Chinese mind is very "obsessed" with opposites in their philosophy to explain life in general. In his book guerilla warfare he does describe that inside the principles of weakness in a war we can find also strengths. That is definitevely a concept of Taoism when he talks about his doctrine. Example: the guerillas are weaks because of their numbers, but because of their numbers they can move rapidly and secretly into more vulnerable areas. If Maoism is not inspired by Taoism then I think I'll have to throw myself through a building.

Here is another example that will strike your 3rd eye:

In every apparent disadvantage, some advantage is to be found. The converse is equally true: In each apparent advantage lie the seeds of disadvantage. The Yin is not wholly Yin, nor the Yang wholly Yang. It is only the wise
general, said the ancient Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu, who is able to recognize dlis fact and to turn it to good account. Guerrilla tactical doctrine may be summarized in four Chinese characters pronounced “Sheng Tung, Chi Hsi,” which mean “Uproar [in the] East; Strike [in the] West.” Here we find expressed the all-important principles of distraction on the one hand and concentration on the other; to fix the enemy’s attention and to strike where and when he least anticipates the blow. Guerrillas are masters of the arts of simulation and dissimulation; they create pretenses and simultaneously disguise or conceal their true semblance.

Everytime you find the interpolarity of ying and yang inside Maoism as well. So like I said before, and i stand corrected, Maoism by extension has been built on Taoism dialectic, and it's a normal - I would say - anthropological evolution.

Now at least, you can understand why Maoism is appealing in Nepal. It does fit their mindset 100%.

steven rix said...

Another thing about Nepal. There are lots of Nepalese that live in India, and lots of people from Burka that live in Nepal. It's pretty much mixed up over there, because it's a tiny country, with lots of cultural influences and lots of similarities with Tibet or China or India.

One of the best dish in Nepal is called "milk bang" very known from "worldwide stoners on a backpack" :)

steven rix said...

"They [Maoists] cannot understand the severity of the economic crisis that is developing.
We can't even understand the severity of the food crisis in the US.
I went to do some errands today, I could not find oil, sugar, rice, flour, pasta, and when I looked at the price of the eggs, I went banana (from Florida). We entered an hyperinflation mode now, count at least +100% on food price every year in the US for the basic products, and + $1 on gas every year. The food crisis is linked with the ethanol projects to cut down on oil imports and also with the US gov selling all its stocks to China. We are bankrupting.

LJansen said...

Thanks, all. Very illuminating discussion.

Frank Partisan said...

Politiques: Mao's Marxist sounding writing was ghost written, to make him sound like he had something to say about Marxist theory. Read Halliday's scorching bio of Mao.

To really undestand what maoism is, read Mao's "Combat Liberalism."

Entdinglichung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Entdinglichung said...

two interesting articles from today's Hindustan Times: Nepal Maoists to embrace capitalism & Nepal Maoists want good ties with India

steven rix said...

I will at a later time. Right now I'm reading "das Ende der Geschischte" (the end of history in german version) from Francis Fukuyama, and I'm struggling with many words coz I don't speak this language anymore.

In his book "guerilla warfare" Mao did set the foundations of his ideology against the West and particularly the United States and his work and especially the book "guerilla warfare" influenced and still influences lots of third world countries. Mao did not really invent anything, he just connected the dots with taoism and Tsen Zhu to justify his doctrine, and gave a model different from the one of the Soviet Union.

After Algeria's independence, Jacques Verges (a french guy) was asked what type of political model could go to Algeria and he had proposed the maoist model.

On another note, Mao's books are on a watchlist by the US authorities, which is nonesense in my opinion, because we are trying to educate ourselves in an academic point of view. It means if you go to the library and check for Mao's book then you may recieve the visit of the agents of the homeland security.

Check this out:

What do you get when you try to check out Mao Tse-Tung's infamous "The Little Red Book" from the library?

A visit from Homeland Security agents.

At least that's what happened to a senior at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, according to the Standard-Times newspaper of New Bedford, Mass.

The college student was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao's tome on communism. Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the college library's interlibrary loan program. The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number.

steven rix said...

Errata: the medieval ice-age in Europe happened during the XIVth century, and so did the separation of the different classes.
So it took like 500 years later to find out that there was effectively a problem of equality in our societies. It's as bad as telling us that Jesus Christ was born 2,000 years ago and set up a social model, knowing that during the medieval times, nobody had to get married.

End of the story, back to work.

MC Fanon said...

I just posted a lengthier reaction to the Maoist's electoral victory. As I have read more on the subject, I am increasingly fearful that the CNP(M)'s reign will pay a disturbing homage to the present neo-mercantilist Chinese regime.

celticfire said...

I can only comment briefly, but I believe what is happening in SE Asia is groundbreaking for socialism and the International Left generally. I am very excited about these developments and their meaning for the revolutionary struggle in the west.

Tula 49 said...

Yet again, the Stalinist-Menshevik "theory" of Two Stages is put into action. Instead of actually seizing power, Prachanda and Co. are siding with the capitalists. Anyone who studies history will realize that capitalism is no longer of playing a progressive role in the "Third World;" capitalism came onto the scene too late to play a progressive role of any kind. Decades have passed in the "Third World" under capitalism, and yet, no real development of the productive forces takes place. The weak bourgeoisies of the "Third World" were born dependent on their old colonial masters.

The "theory" of two stages, bluntly put, is de-facto pro-capitalism. It always sides with the bourgeoisie against the workers and their natural allies (peasantry, urban poor, etc.). It puts off socialism to a dim and distant future that will never come. It says to the workers and peasants: "Go to work and support the progressive bourgeoisie. There will be pie in the sky when you die!"

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