Contribution of CP of Nepal [UML] [En]
It is my great pleasure to address this International Meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties (IMCWP) hosted by the Communist Party of Vietnam in the historic capital city of Hanoi. Here I recall the participation of our party in series of these annual conferences and I myself was there during the conferences in Brazil and Lebanon and this is my third personal attendance.
Today, we feel honored to have a meeting of communist and workers parties of the world in the capital city of the heroic socialist country of Vietnam for the first time in its history.The communist parties and the working class of the world take great pride on the progress made by Vietnam in the present day and her glorious past.
At the outset, on behalf of the Nepalese people, our party and on my personal behalf, I would like to pay deep respects to late founding leader of Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh. The current leadership of the Vietnamese party has built on very well on the foundation laid down by the earlier generation of communist leaders.
I am very glad to know that the 4th plenary session of 12 Central committee of the Vietnamese communist Party was recently concluded successfully. Besides reviewing the process of current rapid economic growth rate, the Party had paid attention to the socio-economic situation and international economic integration. My party and myself are fully confident that under the able political leadership of the Vietnamese party, the country will make further progress on economical, social and cultural field and will also be active on the international arena.
Let me now start with some introductory notes. Nepal is renowned in the world as a strategically located country between China and India. But more important than this fact is its long independent history of almost 5,000 years and it is one of few countries in Asia which is never subjugated by any colonial and imperial powers. As the birthplace of Buddha, Nepal was also able to lend the early ideas of egalitarianism in the form of Buddhism to Asia via countries like China, Korea and Vietnam.
Introduction of our Party CPN(UML)
The communist Party of Nepal was established in 1949. But due to legal ban imposed on political parties, it has to operate underground from 1960 to 1990. During this period, the party was split and unified several times. During 1970s, efforts were made to unite all small revolutionary groups into a coordination centre which later was established as CPN(ML) in 1978. While the party strengthened its underground organisation, it also started to participate in legal local elections and later in the Panchayat national legislature under a group called People-oriented group.
In the late 1980s, the left forces of Nepal led by the Party joined hands with the Nepali congress party representing the liberal democratic forces to form an alliance against the autocratic rule of the King. The first people’s movement was crowned with success due to the unity of the people and unpopularity of the Panchayat regime. So the king was forced to reach an agreement with the agitating alliance of Parties and there was a historic change in 1990. Multi-party democracy was restored in the country after 30 years.
As a result of People’s Movement of 1990, a new interim Coalition government was formed comprising of Nepali congress and CPN(ML). In January 1991, the party was unified with several other left groups including the Marxist Communist Party and the Party was renamed as CPN(UML). The coalition government was able to promulgate a new democratic constitution of the country in 1991 and also held a fresh election. The result of election brought two major parties in the forefront. They were the congress and CPN(UML). The latter sat as the main opposition party in the parliament.
The first parliament was dissolved before its full tenure and a mid-term poll was held in 1994. The CPN(UML) emerged as the largest party of the country but not with clear majority. Still, the first communist government of the country was formed under the leadership of the party chairman Com. Manmohan Adhikari. This event was rare in the history that even under the old state structure, a communist party was able to be the largest party in parliamentary election and was able to form a communist communist government.
The government lasted for 9 months. But this first communist government in Nepal left a historical landmark for the establishment of a welfare state in the country. For the first time in history, the central funds were directly delivered to village level governing body under the program of Build our village ourselves (BOVO). All senior citizens, widows and disabled persons were paid a monthly stipend and workers were given such legal rights as building unions and equal pay for equal work. The unique programs of this government was carried on by other subsequent governments of Nepal. In the nationwide election for local authorities held in 1997, the party won majority in 75 percent of districts, 60 percent of municipalities and 51 percent at the village level, proving our party's grasp at the grassroots level of the country's masses.
The party also participated as a partner of some of the coalition governments formed later but none of them lasted full term. On 1st February 2005, the King of Nepal staged a coup and dissolved the parliament and took over as absolute monarch. The political parties got united against this action. The CPN(UML) played the main role in bringing the then insurgent political group of Maoists into the peace process and the legal fold. A joint peoples movement was launched and it had the final thrust in April 2006, which is famously called as the Spring Revolution. It resulted in the complete end of monarchy by the restored parliament in 2006. In the election for a Constituent Assembly(CA) held in 2008, the Maoists came as the largest party followed by the Congress and CPN(UML). In this election, various left parties won 62 percent of parliamentary seats and 55 percent of popular votes.
But the CA could not draft a constitution till 2013 and a new election was held in November 2013 which brought Congress and CPN(UML) as two major parties commanding nearly two-third majority in the CA. They formed a coalition government. Maoists came as a distant third political force. Until recently, our party was in power in coalition with Maoists. Presently we are working as the main opposition party.
Now I would like to enter into the subject of issues mainly to be discussed in this forum.
Excessive centralization of capital is the source of internal crisis of capitalism and the crisis keeps occurring in a cyclical form. This analysis of Karl Marx of some 150 years ago has been proven true in the first decade of the 21st century, when the United States and some European countries faced a series of financial crises with global consequences. Immediate steps taken in the face of the crises protected this global financial capitalism from a total collapse for the time being. However, the capitalist world does not have its permanent solution. These developments justify that this financial crisis, which in fact is the characteristic feature of capitalism, and its ramifications will eventually end capitalism and lay the socio-economic foundation for the establishment of socialism.
The storm of the crisis has shaken the ideological and moral basis of the proponents of the unbridled market economy. The proponents who used to advocate for an uncontrolled market economy and see the state only as a facilitator in the economic process immediately turned to be staunch advocate of state interventionism following the crisis.
While uncontrolled market economies are struggling in crises, the states under the coordinated market economy are relatively doing better. China, Vietnam, Brazil, India and other emerging economies in East Asia and south and Southeast Asia are playing a key role in protecting the global economy from collapse.
This economic and ideological crisis of neoliberalism reconfirms once again that socialism is inevitable and communist-leftist values are worth pursuing as ever.
Reduction of conflict possibilities and constructive conflict handling has been an increasing trend in the world now. As far as possible, preferences are given to find negotiated settlements to any crisis or dispute. This constructive trend is emerging because of the changing power balance in the world, particularly due to the failure of the US to lead a unipolar world; the changing dynamics in US-/Europe-centric global power politics; and, the rise of China, Russia, India and Brazil as new economic-strategic power centres. In a welcome trend, the importance of interdependence is being felt and realized in the world now.
Economic interests and issues related to control over natural resources and security determine inter-state relations in the world politics today. And, this creates a new challenge to national security of small, landlocked and least developed states.
Social movements have been influential in global politics as ever before. These movements take on various forms, including the movements for gender equality, labour rights, human rights and democratization, and the movements against anti-farmer policies of the World Trade Organization, against the exploitation by and monopoly of multinationals on, say, seeds. There have been strong counter-movements in various parts of the world, particularly in the developing world, to ensure the rights of local communities over natural resources, and also to resist wrong and hazardous policies imposed by capitalist states in the name of industrial development, specially the policies that would have negative impacts on environment and climate change. Social movements have thus emerged as a new front against global financial capitalism.
We want to expand and develop relations with all countries in the world based on friendship, mutual cooperation and respect. We have realized it very well that for a small and economically weak country like Nepal, we must pursue an effective diplomacy and maintain friendly relations with all. As provided by the party principles of people's multiparty democracy , our foreign relations will be maintained as per the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, Panchsheel and the Non-Aligned Movement.
Since 1991, Nepal had enshrined Panchasheel and Non-Alignment as the basis of her foreign relations on the constitution of the country. Accordingly, we respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the countries and we expect the same from our friendly countries and we do not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and expect the same from others. So our relations with our friendly neighbours are based on sovereign equality and territorial integrity. As one of oldest independent country of Asia, we always take pride of our independence.
5. On the issues of environment and people’s rights.
As a leader of the party which has fought more than 5 decades of peoples struggle for justice and just society, I can vouch for the importance of peoples struggle based on such mass organisations as workers, peasants, women, intellectuals, students and various other organizations.Only such mass organizations can ensure the establishment of peoples right firmly at the various geographical and administrative levels.
Similarly issue of environment degradation caused by wild speed of industrialisaiton of the west has brought many harms in the form of global warming and melting of glaciers in the Himalayas which is also called the Third Pole of the world. The rapid process of climate change has threatened the life of people in particular those living in island and coastal nations and high mountain communities. It was in this context that as then prime mister of Nepal I called for special attention to issues of mountain countries during the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009. The burning issues which still remain are of rapid snow melt, disappearance of glaciers and formation of more glacial lakes with imminent risks of their outbursts. Subsequently, our country also made an Everest declaration on 4 December 2009 to call for attention on the environmental threats to Himalayas. I have noted with satisfaction that all those activities have culminated into the Paris climate agreement and but the measures are still not adequate for the hard hit poorer countries like Nepal and we hope to have more urgent measures on this in the days to come.
Nepal, a small nation sandwiched between two Asian Giants, India and China, lies on the lap of the lofty Mount Everest, acknowledged as the land of Lord Buddha and the land where Buddhism first sprouted. In this land, the home of Lord Buddha, we, the Nepali Communists, Workers, Left and democratic forces have fought several years for democracy, social justice, equality, sustainable peace, meaningful progress and equitable prosperity and played vital role in the democratic movement against the Rana oligarchy, Panchayati autocracy and absolute monarchy witnessing myriad of vicissitudes in term of arduous struggles. Today we the Nepalese communists have seen the seed of Marxist thoughts in egalitarian ideas propounded by Buddha. We have applied Marxism in our country’s concrete context.
The achievements of the peoples' struggle have been institutionalized by the constitution enshrining universal democratic values, social justice and inclusive democratic system. Fundamental rights to basic education and health, right to food and shelter and right to employment and safer environment have been ensured. Gender equality has been guaranteed, 33% seats for women in every state organs is secured and preferential rights as well the affirmative provisions for Dalits, indigenous community, minorities and differently able people are declared. The constitution has recognized the diversity of Nepali society and enshrined the multi-lingual, multi-cultural and secular set up of the society. Our constitution has acknowledged the three-pillar (the state, public/private and cooperatives) economy of the socialist orientation guaranteeing the right of decent work for the working class.
All the achievements are bagged through inclusive democratic procedure in the Constituent Assembly. The draft constitution was widely circulated among the people, public opinion and suggestions were incorporated in the final draft. Out of 597 Constituent Assembly members, 90% had voted in favor of the constitution and around 10% of the members had been abstained from voting.
Mean while, Nepal faced devastating and reoccurring earthquakes in April 2015 that led to arduous situation, unbearable hardship and unimaginable grievances to the people. We came together to cope up the disaster playing vital role for effective measure, prompt actions to emergency response and relief as well the reconstruction at the people’s level.
Nepal is still going through political transition until election at different tiers (village, municipalities, districts, province and federal parliament) are held stage-wise as per the provisions of the new constitution. The deadline for all of these elections to be held and the new federal government to be formed is set for January 2018. Our party is currently preparing for the election and hope to do well.
Finally, I have great pleasure in having this opportunity to exchange information, ideas and opinions among international comrades in this wide forum. During our deliberations, it is necessary to exchange ideas and experience on party building, economic development and socio-economic and cultural transformation. Through this conference, we need to consolidate solidarity, cooperation and interaction between all communist and workers parties so as to strengthen international left and communist movement. I hope that we will be able to reach common ground and common conclusions on this basis.
Before concluding, I would like to recite part of a poem written by Nepal’s renowned poet Bhupi Sherchan around 1968, when B52s were bombarding all over Vietnam. The poem was titled: A Letter to Ho Chi Minh.
“Standing behind the shadow cast by
The Fish-tail Peak,
The height of which is bolstered by a pillow of Blessings,
I extend salute to you
As if you are also a Himalayan Peak.
While I write letter to you,
Dear Ho Chi Minh,
The silence in my room has turned into
The serenity of a Buddha Vihar
The incense burnt in the Vihar has given rise of
A smoky humanly shape
Standing in front of me
The shape of your old and thin body
With dizzily bearded but sacred face !
I extend salute to you !”
Once again I sincerely thank the host VCP and the other active members of organizing committee for their hard work to make this meeting successful.
Thank you all.