From A World to Win News Service

European Governments Seek to Save Nepal Regime

Revolutionary Worker #1246, July 18, 2004, posted at

We received the following from the A World to Win News Service:

28 June 2004. A World to Win News Service. Recently the ambassadors of Britain, France and Germany urged the Nepali Congress party, the Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) and other parliamentary parties to join the Deuba government just appointed by Nepal's King Gyanendra. The Kathmandu daily Kantipur reported, "During a function in the capital, British Ambassador Keith Bloomfield, French Ambassador Claude Ambrosini and German Ambassador Rudiger Lemp univocally opined that the participation of all the parliamentarian parties in the present government is `essential' to end the political deadlock in the country."

The Europeans also urged the king to accept a political package: multiparty government, negotiation with the Maoists, and new parliamentary elections, in which they said they hope the Maoists would participate. Quoting the European ambassadors in Kathmandu, Kantipur reported on June 16, "the three ambassadors stressed on the multiparty Government as the only solution to the present political crisis."

By "political deadlock" and "present political crisis," two things are meant. One is the contradiction between the king and the five parliamentary parties. This crisis has been continuing since October 2002 when the king dismissed parliament and took all authority into his own hands. The other is the contradiction between the regime and the revolutionary war led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which, as a number of U.S. and European diplomats have been forced to publicly recognize, the monarchy has proven incapable of winning on the military front.

This is not the first time that the parliamentary parties have been told to unite with the king. The urging by the European ambassadors that the parliamentary parties enter the government follows similar statements by American diplomats. In the last few years U.S. and Indian representatives have gone door to door visiting the offices of the parliamentary parties, trying to get them to give up their struggle against "regression" (the king's power grab). All of them have openly said that they hope that unity between the parliamentary parties and the king would force the Maoists to abandon the people's war to overthrow the monarchy. What they don't always say but obviously fear is that a continued split between parliament and the king would work to the advantage of the revolution.

Nevertheless, in the past two months the struggle of the parliamentary parties had developed an effectiveness that was previously lacking, not because the parliamentary party leaders have taken a clear political stand against the king but because of bold initiatives and determined demonstrations in the streets fuelled to a certain extent by a desire for a republic on the part of some activists of these parties and especially the people.

In response to this, the king recently reappointed Sher Bahadur Deuba prime minister. The king had fired him and took over personally in 2002, ostensibly because of Deuba's incompetence but really as a coup against parliament. Deuba is from a faction of the Nepali Congress party. The king's move in reinstating Deuba has been successful in splitting the five parliamentary parties. In particular, the UML--a revisionist party that is so entrenched in the system that it is mocked as "the royal communists"--has left the five-party alliance to side with the king. The other biggest parliamentary party, the Nepali Congress, has declared that if the Maoists were to win their demand for a constituent assembly to map out a republic, they would not take part. But the UML's defection and the Nepali Congress's pro-monarchy stand have not lessened the almost daily demonstrations and mass meetings against the king.

Deuba's comeback is seen by many people not as a result of a change of heart by the king, but of pressure from the U.S., Europe and India.

The European ambassadors' intervention was only the most recent attempt to spread the illusion that the formation of a multiparty government in Kathmandu will bring the defunct 1991 constitution of Nepal back to life. (The constitution that supposedly marked the country's transition from a more or less absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy whose powers are limited by parliament.) The UML has begun to argue that with Deuba's reappointment King Gyanendra has corrected his 2002 coup. But Nepalese constitutional experts of many different political tendencies believe that that constitution is dead no matter what political maneuvers Gyanendra may carry out.

The CPN(M) has clearly stated that the only possible peaceful way out of this crisis is to go forward, not backward. Gyanendra's autocracy, whether in an open or "constitutional" form, with or without parliamentary elections, represents the rule of semi-feudalism and comprador capitalism (business subordinated to foreign capital). It has said it won't participate in elections designed to perpetuate this system and rule. Instead, the party has proposed a possible peaceful alternative: to hold an all-party round-table conference, form an interim government, and organize elections for a constituent assembly. In this context, since 80 percent of the country is in the hands of the revolutionary people, the proposition of the Europeans-- which would essentially preserve the monarchy-- cannot lead to a solution but only to a great political step backward.

In fact, the urgings of the representatives of European ruling classes that the parliamentary parties assemble in the Deuba government is a vicious conspiracy against the liberation and revolution of the Nepalese people.

This conspiracy seems very dangerous. At the same time that they are arguing that they want "democracy" restored in Nepal, some European imperialists, along with U.S. imperialism and Indian expansionism, have been providing the regime weapons, ammunition and military hardware of all kinds. Their diplomatic sweet talk and arms shipments are two sides of the same coin and serve the same purpose: to strengthen Gyanendra against the Nepalese people.

Further, the Indian ruling classes have been pondering direct intervention against the Nepalese people. Kantipur published an article on 20 June 2004 entitled "Possibilities of Indian Intervention in Nepal" by a journalist related to Time magazine's Asian edition. He suggests that New Delhi has been asking itself if this is the right time to intervene militarily in Nepal just as it did in Bangladesh in 1971 and 1987, and in Sri Lanka during the tenure of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The Kantipur June 16 article reported, "the Ambassadors also urged the Government and Maoists to give up arms from each side and come to the negotiating table." This is entirely hypocrisy, since the UK, whose ambassador was one of those present, has been supplying arms to the monarchy, along with the U.S., Belgium and other countries. Their real concern is to get the CPN (Maoist) to give up the weapons in the hands of the People's Liberation Army it leads. This is a conspiracy to disarm the people whose weapons are what ensure that they can decide their own future and who already exercise their own revolutionary democratic political power in the countryside.