“Aid” and the Political Scramble: India vs China in the Nepal Disaster-Capitalist Rush

[Frontlines:  Defensive about the appearance of an “aid” scramble in Nepal for power, influence and control, former Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Zhang Chunxiang said, “We do not have competition with India and other countries. There is no competition in humanitarian assistance.” But, not to miss an opportunity….]

“In post-quake aid rush, Nepal neighbors jockey for position”

Nepalese volunteers unload relief material brought in an Indian air force helicopter for victims of Saturday’s earthquake at Trishuli Bazar in Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015. Wedged between the two rising Asian powers of China and India, landlocked Nepal saw rescuers and offers of help pour from both sides within hours of its massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Nepalese volunteers unload relief material brought in an Indian air force helicopter for victims of Saturday’s earthquake at Trishuli Bazar in Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015.  (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) The Associated Press

Wedged between the two rising Asian powers of China and India, landlocked Nepal watched rescuers and offers of help pour in from both sides within hours of an earthquake that killed more than 4,000 people.

India, the traditional power in the region, launched Operation Friendship soon after the quake Saturday. It has sent the most help so far, deploying 13 aircraft and more than 500 rescuers as well as water, food, equipment and medical supplies.

China, increasingly making inroads in Nepal through everything from infrastructure investment to increased tourism, also pledged all-out assistance within hours of the disaster. It has sent 62 rescuers plus blankets, tents and generators and announced plans to send four planes and an additional 170 soldiers.

India’s rival, Pakistan, also has sent four cargo planes full of supplies, including concrete cutters and sniffer dogs.

The largesse of recent days is a microcosm of something much larger. It represents a subtle brand of disaster politics, a curious but understandable focus on strategically located Nepal, one of the poorest nations in its region but — clearly — a pocket of regional importance for powerful neighbors jockeying for position.

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Haitian Lessons to Warn Nepalese: Beware Disaster Capitalists in Humanitarian Clothes

[As the horrifying death toll continues to fise to many thousands, amid the collapse of much of the home, business, and cultural structures in Nepal — the result of milleniums of colonial domination, oppression, and plunder — the enormous need for international rescue and reconstruction is a plaintive appeal to the good intentions of people everywhere.  But the aid will come with many conditions by the powers who bear gifts.  It is instructive to study the experience of the “aid” and “recovery” of Haiti from the devastating earthquake of 2010.  The US turned Haitian earthquake aid into neo-colonial, militarized occupation.  The struggles of people to control their own recovery has been an ongoing fight in Haiti, and now in Nepal.  The following except from a chapter in the important new book Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Humanitarian Imperialism makes this Haitian experience hauntingly present in the streets of Kathmandu today.  —  Frontlines ed.]

US Imperialism and Disaster Capitalism in Haiti 

Keir Forgie, from Maximilian Forte’s new book: Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Humanitarian Imperialism
 At 4:53 PM, on Monday, January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shocked Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was the most devastating earthquake the country had experienced in over 200 years, with estimated infrastructure damage between $8 and $14 billion (Donlon, 2012, p. vii; Farmer, 2011, p. 54). This is particularly astounding considering that Haiti is recognized as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 70% of individuals surviving on less than $2 US per day (Farmer, 2011, p. 60). The quake’s epicentre was located 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, which is the most heavily populated area in all of Haiti (Donlon, 2012, p. vii). Approximately three million Haitians, one third of the country’s population, live in Port-au-Prince and every single individual was affected by the disaster: the Haitian government reported 230,000 deaths, 300,600 injured persons, and between 1.2 to 2 million displaced people (Donlon, 2012, p. vii). The country presented a “blank slate,” with all manner of political, economic, and social services in absolute ruin—an ideal circumstance to exercise the arms of the new (US) imperialism: notably, NGOs, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the militarization of humanitarian aid, and disaster capitalism.
US hegemonic globalization is the current world order—it is the new imperialism. The breadth of US influence across the globe in terms of politics, economics, and military are unparalleled across history, affording the nation the means to orchestrate geopolitics in its favor through coercion, masked by rhetorical altruism (Moselle, 2008, pp. 1, 8). However, the US is currently challenged by a state of economic decline and shifting international relations. In an effort to maintain its dominant position, the US must implement a number of novel strategies. As such, the “new imperialism” is distinguished by certain contemporary characteristics: notably, war in the pursuit of dwindling natural resources, the militarization of the social sciences, war corporatism, the romanticization of imperialism, and as a central focus to this paper, the framing of military interventions as “humanitarian,” legitimized through rhetoric of freedom, democracy, and the right to intervene. In truth, the militarization of humanitarian aid serves to facilitate the imposition of neoliberal economic policies through the exploitation of weakened states—a
strategy known as “disaster capitalism”.

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Nepal: The Strange Bedfellows of Nationalist Politics

[The following three articles, from the Nepali bourgeois press, describe new twists and turns in the politics of the former kingdom and nascent republic.  The announcement of the move by the leadership of the CPN(M) may have some relation to Baidya’s recent trip to capitalist-imperialist China (countering the UCPN(M)’s embrace of relations with the aggressive-yet-comprador Indian  bourgeoisie). 

And the move also reflects the ongoing urban orientation of the CPN(M).  The masses of peasantry in the countryside will undoubtedly view this with dismay, as a further CPN(M) downgrading of the struggle against feudal relations–a struggle which has been repeatedly downgraded, marginalized, neglected and suppressed since the end of the People’s War seven years ago.  

On the other hand, there are feudal forces (landlords) who have indicated their love of this shift. 

And Baburam Bhattarai, speaking for the revisionist-cum-bourgeois “republicanism,” jumped on it immediately, condemning the “collaboration” of Baidya and Biplav with the king. (see the third article, below). 

With this, what has been characterized as the struggle of a revolutionary CPN(M) vs. a revisionist and neo-comprador UCPN(M) begins to reflect two competing forms of nationalism, one aligned with China, the other with India. 

This turn poses a significant challenge to genuine revolutionaries in Nepal, and to all who support the revolutionary struggle in the Himalayas: May the revolutionary peasantry, youth and former PLA fighters keep their independence and revolutionary mass orientation!   —   Frontlines ed.]

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Business Standard:  “Nepal: CPN-Maoist may join ex-king to protect ‘nationalism'”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

CPN-Maoist, the breakaway faction of Nepal‘s Unified CPN-Maoist, today said that it could join hands with former monarch King Gyanendra for the sake of protecting “nationalism”.

CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Vaidya said that there could also be collaboration with the former king, “who carries true feelings of nationalism”.

66-year-old Gyanendra’s reign ended in 2008 when the Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a republic and abolished the monarchy.

At a function in Nuwakot district, Vaidya also said that there was no alternative to the formation of a greater front with all the nationalist forces including the former king on this issue. Continue reading

In Nepal, Jimmy Carter urges arrest of opponents of elections

[Ex-US President Jimmy Carter, who has provided the stamps-of-approval on many “nation-building” elections and electoral stability–(conditions for foreign investors and for diplomatic “aid” in many countries)–is now playing an even more open role in constructing a “post-People’s War” orthodoxy in Nepal, walling off non-compliant revolutionary people from the new power arrangements.  Frontlines ed.]

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Constituent Assembly polls likely in November, says Carter

KATHMANDU, APR 01 – Former US president Jimmy Carter on Monday said there is general political consensus that Constituent Assembly (CA) elections are not possible in June.
Carter, who is here on a four-day visit, made the statement after holding talks with President Ram Baran Yadav, Chairman of the Interim Election Government Khil Raj Regmi, top leaders of the major parties and Election Commission officials. With election-related preparations yet to be complete, Carter said the polling date is likely to be set for November.
“I think there is general consensus, which I share, that June election will not be possible at this point,” Carter told a press conference here. “My guess, as a foreigner who is here for three-four days, is that elections will be scheduled for after the monsoon season. The third week of November would be a possible time.”
The 88-year old leader pledged that his organisation, the Carter Center, would monitor the elections, while he vowed to visit Nepal to observe the polls. Carter visited Kathmandu in April 2008 to observe the first CA elections and was recently criticised by leaders from the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML for endorsing the election as “free and fair” on the very day of polling, without making a critical assessment. Responding to the criticism, Carter said that Carter Center staff are stationed in countries months before elections to conduct ‘real’ observations. “There was certainly some intimidation by the Maoists and others, which we acknowledged in our report,” he said. “But, in general, my view was that the election adequately represented the will of the Nepali people. It was not perfect but in my judgment it was honest and fair enough to say that it was a successful election.” Continue reading

Indian reactionaries have high hopes for Nepali revisionists, but not sure they will last

[Nepal’s UCPN(M), led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai, has now consolidated their abandonment and renunciation of the Nepali revolution and People’s War, in a Convention which declared their adoption of capitalism.  Recently, revolutionary activists have broken with the UCPN(M) and its capitalist road, and re-established the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which in ITS recent re-founding meeting struggled over how to re-set the Nepali revolutionary course — amid sharpening differences between advocates of re-starting People’s War in the countryside, and those who advocate peoples revolts (protest demonstrations and, possibly, strategic urban insurrections at some time in the future).  The “people’s (reform and) revolt” line prevailed over the “people’s (revolutionary) war” line at the recent meeting, but the struggle between these lines continues.  The Indian reactionaries’ views, reported below, are assessing the prospects of UCPN(M)’s capitalist consolidation. — Frontlines ed.]

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India’s Nepal hands watch Maoist shift

While some say the party’s change in the political line is positive, some argue that the change could hurt the party if it fails to clean internal issues like corruption and cadres’ problems

NEW DELHI, February 12, 2013–The change in the UCPN (Maoist) ’s political line, adopted during the party’s seventh General Convention in Hetauda, is being observed with great interest by neighbouring India .

Describing the change as a “huge and significant shift” in the party’s principles, India ’s Nepal hands claimed that the development would “undoubtedly have a positive impact on improving the New Delhi-Maoist relationship.”

The recently concluded jamboree of the largest Nepali political force endorsed Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s political document, which envisages embracing a ‘capitalist revolution’ by abandoning its previous line of ‘people’s revolution’. Continue reading

Nepal ex-Maoists declare “We will follow ‘the path of capitalism’ to achieve ‘communism'”

[Seven years after abandoning the revolutionary People’s War and dismantling the emerging liberation political powers in the countryside, and ending the revolutionary challenge to feudal and semi-feudal relations, and the People’s Liberation Army, the former Maoists led by Prachanda and Bhattarai are now shedding their “Maoist” cover.  A good number of purported revolutionaries who supported these revisionists soon after their abandonment of the revolutionary road–(some even called Prachanda and Bhattarai the “creative Maoists” of our time, and the leaders of 21st Century Communism)–will now be challenged to sum up their promotion of these anti-revolutionaries, and help those they may have influenced to understand how to avoid such retreats in the future.  The world of revolutionary Maoists will be watching.  We encourage our readers to comment on these developments.  Frontlines ed.]

Nepal Maoists to change ideology, hint at giving up anti-India stance”

Friday, Feb 1, 2013
 By Shirish B Pradhan | Place: Kathmandu | Agency: PTI
In a major policy shift, Nepal’s ruling Maoists will adopt a new path to socialism through capitalism and may also give up their anti-India stance at the upcoming national convention of the party.

Some 2,500 delegates of the ruling UCPN-Maoist will attend the six-day general convention, to take place after a gap of over 20 years, starting on Saturday in central Nepal’s Hetauda Municipality in an attempt to revamp the guerrilla group-turned-mainstream political party.

“We will follow ‘the path of capitalism’ to achieve communism instead of pursuing ‘New Democracy’ as propounded by chairman Mao Zedong,” said Narayan Kaji Shrestha, vice-chairman of UCPN-Maoist and deputy prime minister. Continue reading

The Nepalese Revolution in the Clasp of Reformism and Revisionism

[The following is a statement from the Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist Leninist on the current situation facing the international communist movement, with special attention on the effect of the Nepalese abandonment of the People’s War.  It is a very timely assessment based on seriously probing issues that affect not only the Nepalese, but revolutionaries throughout the world. — Frontlines ed.]

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Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML), October 2012

Following the death of Comrade Mao Zedong, similar to the process that took place after the death of Comrade Stalin, modern revisionism seized the party and the state power, and caused serious damages to the world revolutionary front. Having suffered heavy blows in the hands of modern revisionism, the International Communist Movement (ICM), despite having benefited from a series of class war and struggle practices, including the one waged in Turkey, has not been able to stand against the ideological offensives of imperialism, which gained considerable momentum especially during the 1990s.

In the circumstances where resistance was not organized strongly enough, communist forces sustained severe injuries throughout the process. While some of them sank in their capsized ships, yet some were swept to the opposite shores. Only the few “lucky” survived, considering the survival a major success in the given circumstances. There were several exceptional development by those who came up with accurate analyses and correct policies to advance the people’s war. Even these, however, found it impossible to advance without getting caught by the storm.

The most important defeat in people’s war experiences in recent history was suffered by Gonzalo led Communist Party of Peru (CPP). Despite having shown serious advances in revolution, the CPP failed to carry its success through the final stage. Those who explain the defeat in practical and tactical matters, which led to a severe blow in the leadership, or even in political approaches, are missing the chance to see the reality. Assessments regarding the revolution and people’s war that were revealed by the leadership under the conditions of captivity point out to a drift away from the fundamental philosophical principles of MLM science.

The same situation appears to be present in the process of Nepalese revolution as well. What is even more concerning is the fact that similar dangers are reproduced in the cases of certain components of the ICM, which inevitably leads to serious negative consequences in terms of absorbing and practicing Marxist ideology. As an action guideline, the Marxist ideology must first be correctly understood as a philosophy; as a reasoning method. Based on this comprehension, it can be applied for the analysis of class struggle and transferred to political arena.

Truth must be derived from the facts but in order to achieve this one needs appropriate methods and know-hows.   The materialist character of dialectic is shaped according to the correct conception of economic, social and political laws. Marxism is not a heap of dogmas but rather a science that breaks down the codes of today’s system; it contains a set of thesis and diagnoses that are proven to be correct and valid. Thanks to its ageless essence, its power to explain the transformation, and its structure that is open to further development, its light hasn’t dimmed; its mission as a guide is still on. Continue reading