Monday, February 13, 2006

Revising Maoism

Nepal's Maoist leader, Prachanda has given an interview to the BBC.
Do you believe in the multi-party system or would you like your party to be the one party ruling Nepal at some point in the future?

I am going to address this question very seriously. Three years ago, at a Central Committee meeting of our party, analyzing the experiences from 20th century communist states, we put forward a proposal for the development of democracy. In the 21st century we cannot have a state like those of the 20th century. That's why our Central Committee unanimously passed this paper on the development of democracy in the 21st century.

The spirit of this paper is that there should be peaceful competition between all political parties against feudalism and foreign imperialist forces. And that there should be multi-party competition. Since then we have said that within a certain constitutional provision multi-party competition [should exist] as long as it's against feudalism, against foreign imperialistic interference and all political parties can compete against each other. And this document was unanimously passed three years ago in very clear terms. In the agreement that we recently made with the political parties, we have clearly stated that we agree to multi-party competition.

Do you want to be leader of this country? Head of state?
[...]
I also want to clarify that - from the lessons of the 20th Century communist states - we want to move to a new plane in terms of leadership - where one person doesn't remain the party leader or the head of state. [...]

What were the negative experiences of the 20th Century in which people who should have been more powerful and should have had more rights, could not get them? We are studying this. Why it could not happen during Stalin's time, how much of this happened in Mao's time - we are studying this and we are in the process of developing a new system of thought.
The 'number two' mentioned in this interview and in other recent coverage, Baburam Bhattarai, does not seem to be the same as Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who was interviewed by Isabel Hilton for the FT Magazine last May, ("The King and Mao" - subscribers only --- link ). This gave rise to a letter to the FT (Rajendra S Khadka, May 21 2005) which stated, 'Two years ago, I recall reading in Kathmandu that one of the top leaders of the Nepalese Communist party, when asked about Pol Pot's genocide of Cambodians, reportedly replied that that had not been independently verified.'

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