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Thread: Did Nepal's Maoists ban strikes?

  1. #41
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    No. They have a sister organisation for entrepeneurs, small businesses and shop owners etc that support them, but it's unrelated to any of their unions. And I don't think it's very big lol

    Watch the video to see what a bandh looks like. Revolutionaries take to the streets and force any shops still open to close.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comrade Alastair
    Nepal’s Maoists are often accused of being anti-worker, Stalinist, bourgeois nationalist and so on by many on the Western ‘left’, particularly anarchists and Trotskyists. As ‘evidence’ towards this, it is often claimed that while in government earlier this year, they ‘banned strikes’.

    Let’s set the record straight.
    Yes, let's do that; as author of what I believe is the original source of info for what Comrade Alistair calls the "Western 'left'", let's clarify; my article was called "Nepal: victory turns sour" - (sorry, not enough posts yet to post links). It stated in the first sentence "...the Maoist leadership agrees to banning strikes." Not that they had banned strikes. This article was then reposted by some persons unknown elsewhere with the title "Maoists Ban Strikes". So my article was accurate and can't be lumped in with a blanket condemnation of "Western 'leftists'" - having posted on threads where the article is linked to, CA should know this and take the accuracy of the source article into account before making blanket condemnations.

    Quote Originally Posted by CA
    They have strongholds amongst the teachers, hotel workers, petrol workers, workers in many SEZs and industrial zones, hospitality workers, and more.
    My understanding about SEZs is that the first ever in Nepal was proposed to open in Feb 2009 in Bhairahawa in southern Nepal - as far as I know that didn't happen (correct me if I'm wrong). So I don't think there are "many SEZs", it would seem unlikely there's any.

    I think it was a wrong proposal. But the thing people don't seem to realise is that the ban on strikes was reported on by one or two media outlets just the one time, then never mentioned again. It was never implemented and never happened.
    Wrong - after the Maoists stated their intention to ban strikes in Jan 09 they restated it in April 09 and it was reported in the mainstream press and I also wrote a libcom article on it. CA is apparently a very regular or daily reader of the Nepali press, so strange if he seems to have missed this - but then he says he knows how many times it was reported, so maybe he didn't miss it - perhaps not strange that he might not see fit to report it.

    Quote Originally Posted by CA
    So when we talk about that brief (and yes, in my view, wrong) proposal by the Maoists to ban strikes it should be seen in this context. The reactionary parties were calling bandhs to undermine the government. These were having an effect on the country, which was just a total fucking mess. The economy was in shambles and there were shortages of all kinds of basic goods. So when the Maoists talked about temporarily banning strikes in some sectors, my guess is it was a ploy by them to prevent their political opponents from using their ‘unions’ to undermine the government and try and make the Maoists look bad by causing shortages and chaos.
    This is wrong and CA should surely know it is; the maoists in government, with full co-operation from other parties, were putting the legislation through the necessary processes to put it on the books in preparation for introducing SEZs. The 4 yr old legislation had been drafted by an earlier government; so CA's 'explanation' for the proposal above is myth. This was explained in my original source article - if CA feels qualified to make blanket condemnations of those who criticise Nepali maoists surely he would have read that article so know that what he claims above is inaccurate? Further; my post reproduced below was made on a thread about claims that maoists were paying widows to marry which then developed into a debate on the strike ban; CA posted on the same page just below my post and said he would reply later about this issue but never did. So why is he now repeating the same invented myths and lies maoists keep trotting out - here, on Kasama etc - to try and excuse the embarassing intended strike ban; when he has already read their factual refutation on the earlier thread?

    My earlier post;
    Why do the Maoists never get the facts right about what they pretend to refute? All the pro-maoist 'explanations' and defences here (and much elsewhere) of the proposed Nepal maoist strike bans are talking nonsense - if they bothered to take their blinkers off and read the linked articles they could find the truth of the matter. But perhaps the truth has a bad taste... The legislation had nothing to do with public sector strikes by rival parties, nor was/is it aimed only at public sector strikes - this is made clear in my articles, so stop pretending otherwise (can't link directly to articles, as haven't posted enough);
    Originally Posted by libcom
    Maoist governmental Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai tried to justify a ban;
    Now, to create a vibrant industrial economy, is in the interest of both the management and the workers. But this reality is not sinking in their minds. This government is playing its role in creating a healthy relationship between the two. [...]

    The workers shouldn't resort to bandas and strikes. If this understanding is honoured we'll have a healthy environment in the days to come.

    Q: So the party wants to ensure that whenever there is a labour dispute, legal recourse should be taken?

    Bhattarai: Yes. At least for some time, there should be no bandas and strikes in the industrial, health, education sectors, on the major highways, in the public utility sectors. The government is trying to build political consensus on this issue.
    [...]
    KATHMANDU, Jan 22: After four years of finalizing the draft, the cabinet on Thursday endorsed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act, paving way for the implementation of the SEZ projects in the country. [...]
    ...the Act treats SEZ as a land where other domestic laws related to labor and industries would not be applicable. It has mooted an autonomous SEZ Authority to oversee its operations.

    The source stated that the ratification of the Act, which had so far lingered due to the differences over the tighter labor provisions, had became possible after the seven parties recently agreed not to launch strikes in the industries or disturb productions.

    “The Act allows workers to unite and practice collective bargaining, but prohibits them from undertaking activities that affect production and normal operations of industries,” said the source. It also allows the entrepreneurs to hire workers on a contract basis.
    SEZ's are industrial Zones common in Asian countries set up with preferential conditions for employers - eg, tax concessions, strike bans - to attract foreign and local capitalists; hyper-exploitative zones. Some months later Bhattarai restated the intention to ban strikes in some sectors;
    Quote:
    "We are in a new political set-up and it demands a new outlook in business and industries also," said Bhattrai. He assured entrepreneurs that the private sector would remain a key economic player in the country. He asked business communities to explore fields of competitive advantage.

    Nepal is in political transition and there are many problems in trade and commerce sector. "The government knows the problems and is working to solve them," Dr Bhattarai said. The government has been providing subsidies in fuel to industries from the second half of March.

    Furthermore, the government is planning to restrict bandhs [street protests] and strikes in industries and essential commodities. "Such regulations will come soon," he assured.
    (Himalayan Times online - Apr 10 2009)
    No mention of 'sabotage strikes' by other rival parties - there was a consensus among all parties on this disciplining of workers as exploited labour power. So stop making up false excuses.

    Recently on another revleft thread - originally about Bangladeshi garment workers' struggles in SEZ zones - Maoists were queueing up to express 3rd worldist solidarity with the workers there. But when Nepal Maoists seek to introduce the same kind of hyper-exploitation SEZ zones for the Nepali working class they make up all sorts of excuses and fictions. On that thread the Maoist strike ban also came up and I replied;

    As far as I know, the strike ban was never passed into law, it was just expressed as intended legislation (as I made clear in my articles). In Jan 2009 the Nepal Cabinet "endorsed" the legislation - and in April (shortly before leaving govt.) Maoist finance minister Dr Bhattrai, speaking to Nepal's International Chamber of Commerce, promised "Such regulations will come soon". The Maoist Minister was referring to a law drafted by a pre-Maoist govt. that he intended to make operational. But Prachanda, when in govt., was reported as already trying to use his influence to stop bandhs for some time ('bandh' can variously refer to street protests, strikes, shutdowns/blockades etc).

    Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has announced several times that bandas are henceforth banned. No one listened to him. Everyone thought, "They did it when they were underground, now it's our turn." You now have the absurd situation where political parties in the coalition, organisations affiliated to the ruling parties call for shutdowns.
    Nepali Times - ISSUE #441 (06 MARCH 2009 - 12 MARCH 2009)
    On the other thread I also commented on the further double standards of Maoists here;
    ... when someone quotes the mainstream press as part of a criticism of Maoists he dismisses it with 'well the bourgeois press would say that' - but on the Nepal sticky thread he and others are happy to cheerlead bourgeois press reports that are interpreted to be flattering to the Maoists. [...]

    The Maoists were quoted months apart in the media expressing the same intentions to ban strikes - they never issued any denial or claim of being misquoted after the first mentions nor the second. And, as you should already know, Nepali Maoists have never been slow to take aggressive action against newspapers who they feel misrepresent them.
    To ignore knowledge of such facts and instead only continue to repeat discredited invented myths can only cast doubt on Comrade Alastair's reliability as a general source of information.

  3. #43
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    chegitz, that comparison of strikes by workers for wages and working conditions to strikes in favor of racist / chauvinist oppression is really brilliant, by the way.
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    Thanks for your post Ret. Before I begin addressing your specific points, I think we should outline what my article was saying and what's being discussed here. You have critiqued some minor factual inaccuracies in my article, and I'm grateful for that as it means I can correct them. But the fundamental points I made - that strikes and bandhs were never banned in Nepal, that strikes and other worker class struggles in Nepal are today overwhelmingly led by the Maoists, and that the Maoists have a mass base of support amongst the urban working class - remain unchallenged and 100% correct.

    You are nitpicking at various slipups in the text without adressing my fundamental arguments. I suspect that's because the facts on the ground in Nepal don't tend to support the anarchist line that the Maoists are just 'red capitalists' who have either betrayed the masses already or are in the process of doing so.

    Anyway, here we go.

    Yes, let's do that; as author of what I believe is the original source of info for what Comrade Alistair calls the "Western 'left'", let's clarify; my article was called "Nepal: victory turns sour" - (sorry, not enough posts yet to post links). It stated in the first sentence "...the Maoist leadership agrees to banning strikes." Not that they had banned strikes. This article was then reposted by some persons unknown elsewhere with the title "Maoists Ban Strikes". So my article was accurate and can't be lumped in with a blanket condemnation of "Western 'leftists'" - having posted on threads where the article is linked to, CA should know this and take the accuracy of the source article into account before making blanket condemnations.
    My critique was never of your specific article. It was always a criticism of the mistaken idea common amongst anarchists and Trotskyists that the Maoists banned strikes. I fail to see any other way my article could be interpreted. I originally posted it without a link to your Libcom post, but added it after discussing the article with various people who suggested that I do so. Your post is usually referred to as 'evidence' by people labouring under the delusion that the UCPN (M) banned strikes (or made any serious moves to do so), so blame them for not reading it properly, not me. I have read your article several times and I am fully aware of what it says. I apologise for lack of clarity here.
    My understanding about SEZs is that the first ever in Nepal was proposed to open in Feb 2009 in Bhairahawa in southern Nepal - as far as I know that didn't happen (correct me if I'm wrong). So I don't think there are "many SEZs", it would seem unlikely there's any.
    Your totally correct, and I'm thankful that you pointed this out. This was a minor factual inaccuracy in my article which I'll remove. I follow Nepal fairly closely, but I'm human and I make mistakes. Thanks for pointing this one out to me. However, my point in that paragraph stands - the Maoists have a massive base of support amongst the urban working class in Nepal.

    Wrong - after the Maoists stated their intention to ban strikes in Jan 09 they restated it in April 09 and it was reported in the mainstream press and I also wrote a libcom article on it. CA is apparently a very regular or daily reader of the Nepali press, so strange if he seems to have missed this - but then he says he knows how many times it was reported, so maybe he didn't miss it - perhaps not strange that he might not see fit to report it.
    Right, so rather than being reported on once it was reported on twice. I'll update my article to reflect that. But what does this prove? Other than the fact that I don't have a 100% accurate knowledge of everything the Nepali media posted online in English in the past year, not really a whole lot. Strikes were never banned and the Maoists continue to be the ones leading strikes in Nepal. Class conscious workers continue to rally to the Maoist banner. All my arguments remain correct and unchallenged, and I'd rather you didn't make me out to be some kind of Machiavellian liar.

    This is wrong and CA should surely know it is; the maoists in government, with full co-operation from other parties, were putting the legislation through the necessary processes to put it on the books in preparation for introducing SEZs. The 4 yr old legislation had been drafted by an earlier government; so CA's 'explanation' for the proposal above is myth. This was explained in my original source article - if CA feels qualified to make blanket condemnations of those who criticise Nepali maoists surely he would have read that article so know that what he claims above is inaccurate?
    Your line here is an assertion of opinion, not fact. I cannot read the minds of the Maoist leadership and neither can you, but what I did was attempt to explain why they would have supported a temporary (and it was always clearly intended to be temporary - as Bhattarai said in the interview you referred to, the ban was to be for 'some time', not permanently) ban on strikes and bandhs at the same time as they are leading plenty of these themselves.

    We do not have very much information on the proposal to ban strikes. We certainly do not have enough to conclusively say that it was preparation for the introduction of SEZs. Perhaps you should remove your own blinkers and stop seizing every scrap of text you find to justify your view of the Maoists, and instead take a positive and humble attitude of trying to learn from the most succesful revolutionary movement in decades. But no, sectarians will be sectarians, and utopian liberals will be utopian liberals.

    Further; my post reproduced below was made on a thread about claims that maoists were paying widows to marry which then developed into a debate on the strike ban; CA posted on the same page just below my post and said he would reply later about this issue but never did.
    I apologise for this. There are number of times in the past that I've said I'd reply to a post when I had time and then never did. I forgot - it's as simple as that. I'm currently in a minimum wage labouring job with irregular hours, and most of the time when I get home I'm not really in the mood for spending the few hours a day I have to myself locked in an online argument. Sometimes I am, but usually I'm not. So frankly, if your going to get snarky about me not replying to your post you can get fucked mate. I don't know what you do for a living and I'm not going to judge the speed of your replies because of that. I think your attitude here is indicative of your attitude to Nepal - this is what i think the situation is, this is what I think it should be, FIRE ALL GUNS.

    So why is he now repeating the same invented myths and lies maoists keep trotting out - here, on Kasama etc - to try and excuse the embarassing intended strike ban; when he has already read their factual refutation on the earlier thread?
    Haha

    I'm not espescially embarassed by it. I think it was a mistaken line, but meh, it's not that big a deal. I mean, who am I supposed to be embarassed in front of? Western anarchists and Trotskyists? The UCPN (M) is shaking the very foundations of state power in Nepal and a confrontation is building up there the likes of which the world hasn't seen in a very long time, and all you lot can do is sit in front of your computers in the first world and seize on every bourgeois media article that indicates the Maoists are doing something you disagree with.

    I'm challenging you here and now to tell everyone reading this where exactly I've lied. I made a grand total (that have been pointed out so far) of two mistakes, both of which will be corrected. Those were not lies. Where have I lied? And furthermore, which of my fundamental points that I listed at the beginning of this post are false, and how do you intend to prove that they are false?

    Ret is proceeding from totally the wrong starting point, and as a result is finishing up in totally the wrong place. The correct approach would be to start by analysing the concrete practice of the Maobadi over a long period of time, working out what direction is being taken and how it's being taken, and establishing to the best of his abilities what is actually taking place in real life in Nepal and basing his conclusions on this.

    But instead of taking this approach, Ret is taking the incorrect approach of starting from the public statements of the Maoist leadership as reported in the bourgeois media, cherrypicking articles that cast the Maoists in a light we as leftists would consider to be negative. More than this - he is commiting the basic unscientific error of starting research with his conclusion already made. Ret starts from the position that the Maoists are counter-revolutionary, and thus desperately searches for information to back this up. And naturally, those who seek find. Contradiction is present in everything, including of course a mass revolutionary organisation, and there will always be bad lines and bad practices found if you search hard enough. The question is, which of these is the primary aspect, positive or negative? In the context of this discussion, when we are discussing the contradictions within the UCPN (M) and the revolutionary process it is leading in Nepal, with a particular focus on it's role in the urban working class, how does this contradiction play out? Of the positive and negtative aspects present in everything, which is primary?

    Nepal's Maoists, as I have clearly documented here and elsewhere, are in the forefront of the class struggle in Nepal. The vast majority of strikes taken by workers for increases in wages and conditions, for bread and butter issues, are organised through Maoist-affiliated unions. There may be a vast conspiracy within the Nepali media to not report on strikes carried out by non-Maoist unions, but frankly I find it rather unlikely. I have never read a Nepali news article about a succesful and militant strike being carried out by a union affiliated to any party other than the Maoists in the past year, and while that's not to say such strikes never happen and it's not even to say such strikes have not been reported on, considering how closely I follow news from Nepal it says a lot. The Maoists unions never, ever stopped leading strikes, and the Maoists call bandhs quite regularly. They called one today in fact, after some of their cadres were murdered in an attack by paramilitaries the Maoists claim were trained and armed by the state.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that a bandh is not a strike. It is quite different. I've never set foot on south asian soil so all my information is from other sources, and as a result I should certainly not be taken as the definitive authority on this, but from all the research I've done some things have become clear. A bandh in Nepal is when a political group calls a shutdown of an area to advance it's political agenda. Strikes are when workers withhold their labour power from the employer. A bandh is when a political group informs the people that the shops, schools and factories will not be opening and that no vehicles will be allowed on the streets - bandh literally means closure, and that's exactly what it is. If the party has mass support like the Maoists, most people will probably voluntarily observe the bandh. But even if it doesn't have mass support, people will still be forced to observe the bandh because if they drive their scooter to work bandh enforces will knock them off it, set it on fire and beat them up. A bandh is not in any way inherently an act of class struggle called by class-conscious proletarians in opposition to their exploiters. It is when a political group says "your not going to work or else". The Maoists called massive rallies during their bandhs which hundreds of thousands of people took part in, I've seen no reportage of any similar mass rallies being called by other groups, indicating that they can't mobilise the numbers for them. But despite this, all they need to do is put their youth wings on the streets with clubs and even if they can't shut an area down, they can still seriously disrupt daily life. The police don't seem to deal as harshly with bandhs called by non-Maoist groups either, surprisingly enough.

    They have been spreading their organisation influence and control throughout the labour movement. They have been, in many areas, creating a labour movement worth mentioning. They have been organising strikes left, right and centre. You cannot prove me wrong on this, because it's a basic fact. If it's demanded of me I'll go and find links to prove this, but anyone can establish this for themselves by going through the archives of Nepali media sites and investigating the situation themselves. And these activities over the past few years have not just been about defending the bread and butter conditions of the working class in some economist manner. These activites have been about preparing the ground for an urban insurrection in which the revolutionary forces defeat the state and the reactionary forces, seize power and build a revolutionary society. It's no coincidence that many of their union organisers, YCL leaders and student political leaders were former PLA commanders sent into the cities. The revolutionary war never ended, it's form just changed, and it's still going on.

    In the very first footnote to your piece on Libcom, you translated bandh as "a Nepali word literally meaning 'closed' - i.e. strikes and public protests in Nepal."

    This is not the case. A bandh is not a strike, and it's not a coincidence that in the interview you referred to Bhatarrai clearly made a distinction between the two. Such inaccurate reporting and such basic lack of knowledge and understanding of the concrete situation in Nepal indicates that frankly, you don't know what your talking about, and as you so eloquently put it, 'casts doubt on [your] reliability as a general source of information.'

    We can only conclude this. When the Maoists called for an end to bandhs and strikes temporarily in certain sectors, they were not conspiring with the reactionary parties to prevent the conscious self-organisation of the working class. They were calling a truce with these parties in order to ensure the country could function and have food, electricity and other basic services. You do not know what a bandh is, and inaccurately thought it was the same as a strike. You do not understand what is happening in Nepal and your entire analysis of the situation should be treated for what it is - the bitter, hostile sectarianism of an uninformed Western anarchist.

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  6. #45
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    chegitz, that comparison of strikes by workers for wages and working conditions to strikes in favor of racist / chauvinist oppression is really brilliant, by the way.
    Come on Yehuda, usually your much better than this. The point chegitz and others (including myself) have been making in this thread is that there is no inalienable "right" to strike, devoid of context, existing in the ether, handed down from god or whatever. Workers do not have the "right" to go on strike for counter-revolutionary reasons that retard the overall class struggle, and play into the hands of the capitalist class.

    There's basically two positions here and no inbetween. The first options is that workers have the inalienable right to go on strike for any reason whatsoever by simple virtue of being workers. This means that when workers go on strike against women being allowed into the workforce, or against black authors being taught in schools, they have the 'right' to do this and the woman/black people in question have to respect this inalienable 'right'.

    The only other option is that workers don't have the inalienable right to strike for whatever reasons they choose, simply by virtue of being workers. That would mean that regardless of whether the majority of male white workers in a coal mine oppose women/blacks being allowed in, it is still right for women/blacks to be allowed in and wrong, something to be opposed and if possible defeated,for these workers to take this strike action. Why? Because it is more important for white, male workers to unite with blacks and women than it is for them to unite with each other around shared prejudices.

    This should be common sense. But sadly, the Western left is in a pretty sad state and these questions are much more muddled than they need to be and should be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yehuda Stern View Post
    chegitz, that comparison of strikes by workers for wages and working conditions to strikes in favor of racist / chauvinist oppression is really brilliant, by the way.
    You've utterly missed the point. As revolutionaries, we don't support all the strikes made by workers. I doubt you'd join a strike by Israeli workers to keep Palestinians out of their work place.

    During a revolutionary situation, revolutionary workers have a right to ban strikes. The Bolsheviks did just that, many times, even legitimate strikes, in order to save the revolution. The needs of the revolution outweigh the right to strike.

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    The problem with anarchists, trotskytes and other armchair revolutionaries is that "they first made the shirt and then want to shape the body to fit the shirt", while any kind of common sense just says the opposite. But, why do they say and "do" so opposite to common sense? Because, they are "good" in criticism of revolutionaries but very very very bad in doing any kind of REAL revolutionary activity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comrade Alastair View Post
    This should be common sense. But sadly, the Western left is in a pretty sad state and these questions are much more muddled than they need to be and should be.
    I love the irony here. The irony that you are what most people would consider a 'westerner' whereas he is from the middle-east, try and work these things out before you make condescending remarks like that in future.

    You haven't refuted what's been said about proposing SEZs at all, I would like to see you do that. Also

    No. They have a sister organisation for entrepeneurs, small businesses and shop owners etc that support them, but it's unrelated to any of their unions. And I don't think it's very big lol
    I thought this might be the case, I've heard all this talk about "organising the urban petit-bourgeois" by Bhattarai before. It is quite reactionary behaviour really, also I would like to see how much support and how big this essential 'sister organisation' is and whether they too are called out on bandh duty.

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    I love the irony here. The irony that you are what most people would consider a 'westerner' whereas he is from the middle-east, try and work these things out before you make condescending remarks like that in future.
    I wasn't targetting Yehuda personally, I have a lot of respect for him and his politics usually aren't too shit for a Trotskyist. In future ls, when I make a comment about the Western 'left' and not a specific person, it's safe to assume that I am in fact referring to the Western 'left' and not in fact a specific person. Again, common sense...

    And just as an aside, Israel certainly isn't a Third World country, and while it's not a subject I've thought about in a great deal of depth I think there's definitely a case to be made for including Israel in the West. I mean, geographically New Zealand is less "Western" than Israel. The 'West' is a pretty dumb phrase really.

    You haven't refuted what's been said about proposing SEZs at all, I would like to see you do that.
    What's to refute? There aren't any. When some concrete details emerge about SEZs I'll happily discuss that, until then we're just crystal ball gazing.

    I thought this might be the case, I've heard all this talk about "organising the urban petit-bourgeois" by Bhattarai before. It is quite reactionary behaviour really, also I would like to see how much support and how big this essential 'sister organisation' is and whether they too are called out on bandh duty.
    A: I really don't think it's essential. But it's probably very useful.

    B: It's not reactionary in any sense of the word.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comrade Alastair View Post
    And just as an aside, Israel certainly isn't a Third World country, and while it's not a subject I've thought about in a great deal of depth I think there's definitely a case to be made for including Israel in the West. I mean, geographically New Zealand is less "Western" than Israel. The 'West' is a pretty dumb phrase really.
    It is a kind of dumb phrase, but Israel is not a western country just because it is largely a product and proported by western imperialism.

    What's to refute? There aren't any. When some concrete details emerge about SEZs I'll happily discuss that, until then we're just crystal ball gazing.
    What did you write?

    The Maoists briefly put forward a proposal to temporarily ban strikes in certain key sectors. This was at a time when the country had no electricity for most of the day, there was a food shortage and strikes and bandhs called by reactionary parties were causing chaos and undermining the Maoist-led government.

    In a recent strike in a big industrial zone in Nepal, the workers began as part of a union affiliated to the UML. But as the strike dragged on, they became increasingly frustrated with the collaborationist, reformist attitude of their union, and ended up leaving it en masse to join a Maoist union instead, which eagerly picked up their cause and threw it’s resources behind their strike. This says a lot I think about the relationship the UCPN (M) has with the working class.
    I am pretty sure this 'big industrial zone' was an SEZ by the sounds of it, in any case I think you pretty much defeat the first part yourself, with the second part from your article.

    Proposing to ban strikes is never a route that should be explored by a workers party, certainly not proposing to ban strikes in whole sectors, were these sectors even white-collar ones? I highly, highly doubt it. We are supposed to bring workers over to our side, not rule over them and implement bans on whole sectors, nothing like that at all.

    A: I really don't think it's essential. But it's probably very useful.

    B: It's not reactionary in any sense of the word.
    How is it not reactionary? Organising and especially, relying on the petit-bourgeois to do progressive political work for the workers is not a good idea at all, it will backfire. We should be getting the petit-bourgeois to organise themselves away from the workers, requisitioning resources when it is necessary and generally, controlling and keeping watch over them.

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    How is it not reactionary? Organising and especially, relying on the petit-bourgeois to do progressive political work for the workers is not a good idea at all, it will backfire. We should be getting the petit-bourgeois to organise themselves away from the workers, requisitioning resources when it is necessary and generally, controlling and keeping watch over them.
    That doesn't make any sense to me. Could you try to explain more precisely:

    Why is organizing people from middle classes reactionary?
    Why are you writing that the Maoists are "relying on the petit-bourgeois to do progressive political work for the workers"? What do you mean by that?
    Why should contacts between petit-bourgeois and workers avoided?
    What is your criticism of the UCPN(M) concerning the middle classes; what should they stop doing, and what should they do instead?

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    If I'm to do this properly ...

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    ... really need...

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    25 posts, so I'll be able...

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    the fundamental points I made - that strikes and bandhs were never banned in Nepal, that strikes and other worker class struggles in Nepal are today overwhelmingly led by the Maoists, and that the Maoists have a mass base of support amongst the urban working class - remain unchallenged and 100% correct.
    I never sought to challenge any of these things, as my post made clear.

    You are nitpicking at various slipups in the text without adressing my fundamental arguments.
    I never gave any indication of wanting to debate the merits or faults of maoism all day, if that's what you mean - though I have done that elsewhere; http://mikeely.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/prachanda-nepalese-people-will-seize-power/#comment-11628 (My intervention begins at comment 33.) I just wanted to, yet again, correct the misleading claims of maoists on the intended strike ban.

    Quote:
    Wrong - after the Maoists stated their intention to ban strikes in Jan 09 they restated it in April 09 and it was reported in the mainstream press and I also wrote a libcom article on it. CA is apparently a very regular or daily reader of the Nepali press, so strange if he seems to have missed this - but then he says he knows how many times it was reported, so maybe he didn't miss it - perhaps not strange that he might not see fit to report it.
    Right, so rather than being reported on once it was reported on twice. I'll update my article to reflect that. But what does this prove? Other than the fact that I don't have a 100% accurate knowledge of everything the Nepali media posted online in English in the past year, not really a whole lot. Strikes were never banned and the Maoists continue to be the ones leading strikes in Nepal. Class conscious workers continue to rally to the Maoist banner. All my arguments remain correct and unchallenged, and I'd rather you didn't make me out to be some kind of Machiavellian liar.
    Rather than call you a liar I actually said perhaps you chose not to report something.

    This is wrong and CA should surely know it is; the maoists in government, with full co-operation from other parties, were putting the legislation through the necessary processes to put it on the books in preparation for introducing SEZs. The 4 yr old legislation had been drafted by an earlier government; so CA's 'explanation' for the proposal above is myth. This was explained in my original source article - if CA feels qualified to make blanket condemnations of those who criticise Nepali maoists surely he would have read that article so know that what he claims above is inaccurate?
    Your line here is an assertion of opinion, not fact. I cannot read the minds of the Maoist leadership and neither can you, but what I did was attempt to explain why they would have supported a temporary (and it was always clearly intended to be temporary - as Bhattarai said in the interview you referred to, the ban was to be for 'some time', not permanently) ban on strikes and bandhs at the same time as they are leading plenty of these themselves.

    We do not have very much information on the proposal to ban strikes. We certainly do not have enough to conclusively say that it was preparation for the introduction of SEZs.
    We do, and this is where your whole argument falls down - that was the role of the 4 yr old proposed legislation the maoists resuscitated, to be in permanent legal effect with no time limit- as explained in quotes in my article you say you've read several times. The maoists also stated more general non-legal pleas to stop strikes in wider industries 'for some time'. Those are two separate facts, but both indicative of maoist attitudes to labour discipline when they were in government.

    Further; my post reproduced below was made on a thread about claims that maoists were paying widows to marry which then developed into a debate on the strike ban; CA posted on the same page just below my post and said he would reply later about this issue but never did.
    I apologise for this. There are number of times in the past that I've said I'd reply to a post when I had time and then never did. I forgot - it's as simple as that. I'm currently in a minimum wage labouring job with irregular hours, and most of the time when I get home I'm not really in the mood for spending the few hours a day I have to myself locked in an online argument. Sometimes I am, but usually I'm not. So frankly, if your going to get snarky about me not replying to your post you can get fucked mate.
    I wasn't "snarky" or bothered about your non-reply - but - in light of this thread - just observing that you didn't reply there where you would've had to deal with the facts of the SEZ legislation.

    I'm challenging you here and now to tell everyone reading this where exactly I've lied. I made a grand total (that have been pointed out so far) of two mistakes, both of which will be corrected. Those were not lies.
    Where have I lied? And furthermore, which of my fundamental points that I listed at the beginning of this post are false, and how do you intend to prove that they are false?
    I said you repeated lies, such as the misleading 'explanation' of the intended ban - whether intentionally or not I don't know, but you've read things that contain info about the SEZ bill that you chose to ignore in your 'explanation' of the intended strike ban. To omit relevant facts you're aware of certainly gives a deceptive picture of the subject. I'll leave that to the opinions of others as to whether that is lying.

    Ret is proceeding from totally the wrong starting point, and as a result is finishing up in totally the wrong place. The correct approach would be to start by analysing the concrete practice of the Maobadi over a long period of time, working out what direction is being taken and how it's being taken, and establishing to the best of his abilities what is actually taking place in real life in Nepal and basing his conclusions on this.
    Why assume I haven't done that? My conclusion is just very different from yours.
    But instead of taking this approach, Ret is taking the incorrect approach of starting from the public statements of the Maoist leadership as reported in the bourgeois media, cherrypicking articles that cast the Maoists in a light we as leftists would consider to be negative. More than this - he is commiting the basic unscientific error of starting research with his conclusion already made.
    Now who's mindreading? I think your conclusions about anyone who criticises maoism are 'readymade'.

    Rather than considering using government power to ban them, the maoists are certainly calling more strikes since they're out of government - no surprise there.
    I have never read a Nepali news article about a succesful and militant strike being carried out by a union affiliated to any party other than the Maoists in the past year, and while that's not to say such strikes never happen and it's not even to say such strikes have not been reported on, considering how closely I follow news from Nepal it says a lot.
    You missed this recent nationwide one;
    Petroleum Workers call off their strike

    Posted On - 05/11/2009
    August 18- Katmandu. Petroleum workers called off of their strike and returned to work after fulfilling their demands. Nine points agreement is signed between Nepal Petroleum workers union and Bagmati Zonal petrol association dealers in Labor Ministry.
    Gokarna Khadka, president of Nepal Petroleum Workers´ Union. He further said they would continue protest outside capital zone to get their demands fulfilled.

    GEFONT affiliated Union NEPWU had called on the strike across the country since Saturdays putting 15 points demands.
    They have been spreading their organisation influence and control throughout the labour movement. .... You cannot prove me wrong on this, because it's a basic fact.
    I wouldn't dispute - and have never done so - that maoists have made inroads into trade unionism - but, to broaden the picture; other unions have reported much intimidation by maoists;
    a report from 2008
    seven GEFONT leaders were injured in the brutal attacked by the members of the Maoist Trade Union (ANFTU) on 2 January 2008. The fracas erupted after the workers leaders came for dialoged with Babu Ram Panth, the Manager of Pokhara Noodles Private Limited, for the re-instatement of 12 workers sacked from the company illegally earlier.

    All factories in the Pokhara Industrial area remained close against the attack of GEFONT leaders. GEFONT also organized a protest rally against the brutal attack. "No one should minimize our strength, our responsible manner doesn’t mean of our weakness" – said comrade Surya Mohan Subedi addressing the corner meeting.

    Hundreds of workers from the industrial area joined the rally and chanted against the Maoist terrorism. Later the rally was converted in to the corner meeting in Amarsing Chock, Pokhara.
    http://www.gefont.org/ebulletin_detail.php?id=16#e_113

    In 2007;
    Maoist attack on GEFONT union members: As local leaders of the Independent Transport Workers Association of Nepal (ITWAN-GEFONT) were collecting dues from members on 16 October, they were suddenly and viciously attacked by more than 90 members of the Maoist All-Nepal Trade Union Congress (Revolutionary) – with the result that several GEFONT members were badly injured or kidnapped. Bidur Karki, Secretary of the Department of Education of GEFONT and the Central Committee General Secretary of ITWAN was one of those who were seriously injured, and he was hospitalised. Others suffering from injuries and/or abduction by the Maoists were Deepak Poudel, NEC member and Bagmati Zonal chief, Naran Nath Luintel Bagmati NEC member & CUPPEC secretary, Thakur Shrestha Zonal Committee member, Balgopal Thapa Joint Secretary of Central Committee of the Independent Press Union (IPWUN-GEFONT), Ms. Kripa Karki Central Committee member, Ms. Sunita Bidhathoki Central Committee member of Nepal Independent Hotel Workers Union, and finally Gayatri Niroula, Rameshwar Dhungana, Khem Dahal and Govinda Magar who are all NEST-GEFONT members.

    GEFONT reported an attack on the GEFONT chair of the Koshi Zone on 14 October, and the kidnapping of Nimesh Chhetri from the Nepal Rickshaw Pullers’ Union in the district of Morang. Sanjib Tamang and Bhupendra Rai of ITWAN-GEFONT in the district of Dhankuta were also reported kidnapped. The Democratic Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (DECONT) has also reported that it has had problems with Maoist unions.

    On 18 November, the attacks by the Maoists continued against GEFONT at the Bhrikuti Pulp and Paper Nepal Ltd. plant in Gaindakot, Nawalparasi district of Western Nepal, where Mr. Tika Ram Paudel, the Central Treasurer of the Nepal Independent Chemical & Iron Workers’ Union (NICIWU) and Mr. Shree Mahato, NICIWU Vice-president of the Bhrikuti Pulp and Paper Nepal Limited, were brutally attacked by a group of Maoists.
    http://survey07.ituc-csi.org/getcoun...=NPL&IDLang=EN
    In the very first footnote to your piece on Libcom, you translated bandh as "a Nepali word literally meaning 'closed' - i.e. strikes and public protests in Nepal."

    This is not the case. A bandh is not a strike, ....
    ...a bandh is not a strike. It is quite different....
    You do not know what a bandh is....
    Wrong;
    "During a Bandh, a large chunk of a community declares a general strike, usually lasting one day. While often it means the closing down of a major marketplace of a city for the day, there have been instances of entire Metros coming to a standstill."
    ..... A bandh is not the same as a Hartal, which simply means a strike: during a bandh, any business activity (and sometimes even traffic) in the area affected will be forcibly prevented by the strikers. However, in states where bandhs are banned, Hartals may be identical to bandhs except for the name.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandh
    and it's not a coincidence that in the interview you referred to Bhatarrai clearly made a distinction between the two. Such inaccurate reporting and such basic lack of knowledge and understanding of the concrete situation in Nepal indicates that frankly, you don't know what your talking about, and as you so eloquently put it, 'casts doubt on [your] reliability as a general source of information.'
    Wrong. I'm aware of the difference between 'hartal' and 'bandh'. But your definition is too simplistic; bandhs are demonstrations done by those who have to usually stop their labour to do so; they're also intended to stop others working. It's a bit like saying that in the West a picket line is not a strike. You don't generally have bandhs without strikes, so my given definition is correct; "strikes and public protests". (But maybe I should have been more precise for the sake of pedantic hairsplitters.) The term is commonly used interchangeably in Nepal now, partly perhaps cos so many strikes are at present party political rather than just about the economic interests of workers;
    Nepal bandh ends after 4 pm
    Friday, 01 January 2010 10:27

    Nepal stepped into New Year 2010 not with a celebratory bang but with a nationwide general strike (bandh) jointly called by various organisations representing indigenous and ethnic communities on Friday, demanding implementation of Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples by the International Labor Organization (ILO).http://www.nepalnews.com/main/index.php/news-archive/1-top-story/3189-nepal-begins-2010-with-nationwide-strike.html
    There's a site called 'nepalbandh' - but, reflecting present common usage of 'bandh' - they also report on their site simple labour stoppages which aren't 'bandhs' in the literal sense, such as this;
    Call for Indefinite Strike in the Offices of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) - Day 6

    Bandh Called By
    All Nepal Petroleum Workers Association (ANPWA)

    Reason
    All Nepal Petroleum Workers Association (ANPWA) have called for Indefinite Strike in the Offices of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) saying that the petroleum entrepreneur did not fulfill their demands.
    http://www.nepalbandh.com/event_view.php?id=1480
    Further examples from Nepali press;
    Bandh hits normal life for 2nd consecutive day as govt warns strike could put peace in peril
    Monday, 21 December 2009 10:42

    Normal life throughout the nation continues to be adversely affected on the second day of the general strike called by the Unified CPN (Maoist) on Monday.

    Maoist cadres take out torch rally at Putalisadak, Kathmandu, Monday evening, on the second day of their three-day nationwide general strike. nepalnews.com.ANA
    Like on Sunday, the first day of the strike, Kathmandu's streets look deserted with no vehicular movement. Long as well as short distance public transportation as well as private vehicles has not operated. Many people are walking on the road to reach their destination, while others have chosen to postpone their work due to lack of transportation.

    Cadres of UCPN (Maoist) and its sister organizations gathered in various places to impose the bandh.
    http://nepalnews.com/main/index.php/...-in-peril.html
    Maoist strike paralyses life in Nepal, 6 dozen arrested
    TNN 20 December 2009, 05:54pm

    Six dozen people were arrested from different parts of Nepal, vehicles vandalised and industries and restaurants attacked as Nepal’s Maoists on Sunday began enforcing a three-day bandh that paralysed the nation and closed down transport, industries, markets as well as educational institutions. .........
    Though the Maoists said they would not call off the strike, the government also remained equally resolute. “A responsible party should realise that strikes, which cause hardship to the people, is not the way to reach an agreement,” the prime minister said after arriving at Kathmandu. “I am requesting the Maoists to call off the strike and return to dialogue.”
    We can only conclude this. When the Maoists called for an end to bandhs and strikes temporarily in certain sectors,
    they were not conspiring with the reactionary parties to prevent the conscious self-organisation of the working class. All the parties 'conspired' with the maoists to agree this legislation.
    They were calling a truce with these parties in order to ensure the country could function and have food, electricity and other basic services.
    You're now doing that mind-reading you warned us against earlier. But you're wrong. You conflate two different things; they called for an end to strikes 'for some time' in certain sectors. But they also proposed to enact legislation to permanently restrict workers' rights in SEZs - which you avoided mentioning.
    In comments below the article on your blog, you claim;
    I’ve seen no evidence there were any major changes being proposed to industrial law. This was a temporary proposal to be enacted by the government, not any kind of legislative reform.http://comradealastair.wordpress.com...i-ban-strikes/
    Yet you say you 'read my article several times' where it quotes;
    KATHMANDU, Jan 22: After four years of finalizing the draft, the cabinet on Thursday endorsed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act, paving way for the implementation of the SEZ projects in the country. [...]
    ...the Act treats SEZ as a land where other domestic laws related to labor and industries would not be applicable. It has mooted an autonomous SEZ Authority to oversee its operations.http://myrepublica.com/portal/index....s&news_id=1357
    So how is that not evidence that you've seen?? It's as good "evidence" as the press reports you regularly post. So - again - it's your claims, not mine, that are dishonest. So how can you say "I’ve seen no evidence there were any major changes being proposed to industrial law"???

    In my later article reporting the reporting the maoists' restating their intention to ban strikes I quoted;
    Now Maoist finance minister Dr Bhattrai has told Nepal's International Chamber of Commerce that the promised strike ban will soon be operational;
    Quote:

    "We are in a new political set-up and it demands a new outlook in business and industries also," said Bhattrai. He assured entrepreneurs that the private sector would remain a key economic player in the country. He asked business communities to explore fields of competitive advantage.

    Nepal is in political transition and there are many problems in trade and commerce sector. "The government knows the problems and is working to solve them," Dr Bhattarai said. The government has been providing subsidies in fuel to industries from the second half of March.

    Furthermore, the government is planning to restrict bandhs [street protests] and strikes in industries and essential commodities. "Such regulations will come soon," he assured.
    (Himalayan Times online - Apr 10 2009)http://libcom.org/news/nepal-maoists...-news-10042009
    The reference to "regulation" is a clear intention to legislate on the issue. So if you somehow missed it before now you've seen the evidence. The maoists have always been quick to act against newspapers who say things they don't like - they never have claimed this report was inaccurate or refuted it so far. Contrary to what Alastair says or claims he 'has seen'- the maoists clearly stated an intention to legislate to ban strikes.
    You do not know what a bandh is, and inaccurately thought it was the same as a strike. You do not understand what is happening in Nepal and your entire analysis of the situation should be treated for what it is - the bitter, hostile sectarianism of an uninformed Western anarchist.
    What is revealing about your responses and those of most online maoists is that - rather than just dealing with the facts and opinions - you constantly try to discredit the individuals who make them with name-throwing, applying of dismissive labels etc. A typical Stalinist-type tactic, but still as unconvincing. I think I showed above who is making misleading staements about the strike ban and who's confused about whether bandhs are strikes and about how the word is commonly used by Nepalis and Hindi speakers. I have been to Nepal, and have had recent contact with those who live there, so my comments are not as uninformed as you ignorantly assume. I am at least as well informed as you are - as you say, you've never been there, you just read and interpret the online info, like lots of other people of various opinions.

    PS - I see that nearly all of your article is word-for-word from this video statement by CPN; are you the author of that CPN statement or did you just not bother making clear in your article that you are quoting rather than composing?
    http://partisan-news.blogspot.com/20...n-strikes.html
    Last edited by Ret; 8th January 2010 at 21:58.

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    PS - sorry to all about getting to the 25 post mark like that, but there were a lot of links in the post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NaxalbariZindabad View Post
    That doesn't make any sense to me. Could you try to explain more precisely:
    People who own small businesses are exploiters and have significantly different class interests to those that don't, people who are 'self-employed' may sometimes be able to be classed as non petit-bourgeois, although they often are. I assume that you are talking about these kinds of people, we must clarify exactly what these people are, shopowners which comrade alastair mentioned are definitely petit-bourgeois no doubt about it! They will mostly want to force workers' wages down, make them work for longer etc, it is material fact.

    Why is organizing people from middle classes reactionary?
    Getting them to organise themselves indepently in their own petit-bourgeois councils, then and most importantly, exercising workers' control over them when they attempt flex their class interests. This is not at all reactionary, on the contrary, it is extremely progressive. Working with people such as shopowners during strikes, to control workers and others however is definitely reactionary, it's class collaborationism.

    Why are you writing that the Maoists are "relying on the petit-bourgeois to do progressive political work for the workers"? What do you mean by that?
    See my criticisms above, I never said they exclusively do this either, but it is an element that is worthy of criticism IMO and it's something that Barburam Bhattarai mentioned as a good thing himself, which worried me even then.

    Why should contacts between petit-bourgeois and workers avoided?
    Uuhm.. class-collaborationism?

    What is your criticism of the UCPN(M) concerning the middle classes; what should they stop doing, and what should they do instead?
    Ah. Now, my criticisms of the UCPN(M) essentially span out from a wider context, it is necessary for me to critique other things first, essentially, I think the idea of taking power in the way they did led to the things I describe, they are symptoms, rather than they were "doing well until this or that".

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