Nepal: Crackdown on revolutionaries won’t solve the country’s problems
On March 12, 2019 the government of Nepal declared the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) led by Netra Bikram Chand (aka “Biplav”) to be an illegal organisation, banned its activities and started a crackdown against its members. Since then, over 1,000 of its members and leading cadre have been arrested and a number have been killed.
Repression against those who pose a threat to the status quo is always to be expected. But the sad irony in this case is that the repression is being carried out by the ruling party that calls itself the Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
The history of the communist movement in Nepal is a long and complicated one. The very brief version of recent history goes something like this. In 2006, Nepal’s centuries old monarchy was forced to relinquish power following a decade long People’s War led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) under the leadership of Pushpa Kamal Dahal (aka “Prachanda”). A Peace Accord was struck which was to bring about the re-establishment of a parliamentary system and see the revolutionary People’s Liberation Army (PLA) dissolved into the regular Nepalese Army. Elections were held in 2008 with the CPN (M) winning the largest bloc and Prachanda becoming prime minister.
The next few years saw some parliamentary manoeuvring as attempts to establish a new constitution for the Nepalese Republic were finally achieved in 2015. In the meantime, several leading members of the CPN(M) split from the party in 2012 citing dissatisfaction with the turn to parliamentarism of the Maoist party, the dissolution and integration of the PLA, reconciliation with the capitalist system and the abandoning of the revolutionary program of the People’s War. One of these was Biplav, who now leads his own party, the CPN.
In 2018, the Prachanda-led party, renamed as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) following a merger with several factions in 2016, merged with the long-time opportunist and rival revisionist parliamentary party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) to form the NCP. The NCP is now the largest parliamentary party in Nepal and won a significant majority in the most recent round of elections.
The Biplav-led CPN has attempted to uphold the revolutionary principles of the former Maoist party in the new conditions. They have refused to abandon the fight against capitalist exploitation and imperialist domination of Nepal’s economy by the multinational corporations, or support the selling out of national sovereignty to Indian expansionism and other foreign powers.
They have taken this fight directly to the multinationals themselves, taking responsibility for a series of bomb blasts against a tax evading multinational telecommunications company. This was the trigger for the crackdown by the ruling NCP, which is happy to accommodate itself to the class rule of the capitalists.
The crackdown has been wide spread in recent months. But the revolutionaries continue on regardless, knowing that the needs and desires of the people of Nepal can never be met by the parliamentary parties reconciled to the capitalist system. As Biplav states so simply in a recent interview, “The government fears us because we raise the issues which are close to the heart of Nepalese people.”