I, On behalf of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and on my own, would like to extend my cordial felicitations, earnest affinity and warm greetings on the happy occasion of 90th founding year of the Communist Party of India (CPI). We highly appreciate the important role played by the CPI to organize and to mobilize the working and oppressed people of India. Active contribution of the CPI for development, expansion and consolidation of the international left movement has a great significance. We sincerely thank the leadership of CPI for organizing and inviting us in this historic event.
Excessive centralization of capital is the source of inherent crisis of capitalism and the crisis keeps on occurring in a cyclical form- the conclusion of Karl Marx has been proven true again at the beginning of the 21st century, when the US, Japan and some European countries faced a series of financial crisis with global consequences. Immediate steps taken in the face of crisis protected this global financial capitalism from a total collapse. However, the capitalist world does not have its permanent solution. The quake of the crisis has shaken the ideological and moral basis of the proponents of the neo-liberalism, that used to advocate for an uncontrolled market economy and see the state just a facilitator in the economic process. They immediately turned to be staunch advocate of state intervention. This phenomenon justifies that such financial crisis will eventually lead towards the end of capitalism and lay the socio-economic foundation for the establishment of socialism.
Global financial capitalism has been pursuing an offensive strategy to cope with this crisis. Its offense has been manifested in various forms- ideological-political, economical, military, cultural and even psychological. Protection of the autocratic regimes, if they serve capitalist interests, and interference in the internal affairs breaching the international laws, if they are not supportive to them, is the basic characteristic of global capitalist polity. Put immense pressures upon developing countries to open up their market to global financial investment, compel them to squeeze public investment and weaken the labor force, capitalism is pursuing this neo-liberal economic offence. Military interventions are quite rampant in various pretexts, causing severe consequences to global peace and stability. As we are aware of terrorism and fundamentalism that have been creating serious threat to humanity, the way capitalism has been pursuing to fight against terrorism and fundamentalism does not seem making any sustainable solution. Global capitalism has been promoting the culture of individualism, consumerism and divisive policies that weakens the resistance power of working class, and undermines the national interests and progressive ideology. Corporate media and various institutions have been serving as influential instruments on this regard.
The world has made some progress in terms of economic development and prosperity. But evidence shows that not all the countries have been benefited from this progress. Unequal opportunities on trade, investment and technology transfer are the characteristics of current global economic order. In-country inequality is even more serious. We have nearly one billion of world population still in absolute poverty, majority living in South Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa. Nearly half of the population in South Asia is suffering from malnutrition and hunger. Inequitable distribution of national income among and within the countries and exploitative labor market relations are main causes for this situation. The global institutions advocating and prescribing neo-liberalism and state policies implemented under that framework have been instrumental to create such an unequal world.
The liberalization of capital and restriction in the movement of human resources has created a situation whereby countries having excess capital can dump their investment in the developing world to benefit from the cheap labor and lax environmental standards. The outsourcing and de-unionization of labor force through austerity measures and unlimited right to bosses on hire and fire has pushed the workers in further vulnerability and live upon the mercy of the capitalists.
In several countries in the world, there has been a decline in the share of wage in national income and this is mainly because of the weakening bargaining power of the working class. The declination of the share of wage in manufacturing output by 5 percent and nearly a quarter of the labor force that are poverty stricken in Nepal are evidences of unfair distribution of national income.
Many countries in the world, including those in Asia, have suffered or are suffering with violent conflicts. According to the political theory of conflict, greed and grievances are the main reasons behind conflict. Nepal has also undergone a decade long armed conflict that jeopardized the development process. Though the root causes of grievances emanate from exclusions – social, economic, political and geographical, such violence launched in the name of working class has further weakened the workers’ power.
When governments work for the multinationals and global capitalists in neo-liberal policy framework, exclusion, poverty, deprivation and inequality along with social injustice emerge into that development process. When we talk about inclusive development with social justice and equality, we must correct the global economic rule set by the global economic powers and we can collectively emerge as the alternative pressure group to set a new world economic order which works for people at large.
Here, I would like to quote Thomas Piketty. ‘Can we imagine a twenty-first century in which capitalism will be transcended in a more peaceful and more lasting way, or must we simply await the next crisis or the next war (this time truly global)? ….if democracy is to regain control over the globalized financial capitalism of this century, it must also invent new tools, adapted to today’s challenges. The ideal tool would be a progressive global tax on capital, coupled with a very high level of international financial transparency.’
The existing world economic order which prevails under the hegemony of the multinational institutions like the IMF, World Bank, ADB, WTO, have failed, to create an egalitarian, just and equitable society. As a result, pressure is mounting for a new order with re-architect of the existing institutions creating alternatives if the reengineering of the existing one does not work.
There should be a platform to hear the voices of developing countries in general and least developed countries in particular for a fairer international economic order.
After the disintegration of USSR in 1990, USA once seemed as an unchallenging superpower and there was an assumption that future world would be unipolar. But socialist China made a turn around since 1980s and by the turn of the century, she became a recognized power. By now, China is the second largest economy in dollar terms and the biggest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. China’s phenomenal development can be credited to application of socialist market economy. Social security, health insurance for all, unemployment allowance are some of the examples of numerous social welfare programs launched by the state. China has not only firmly developed socialist system internally, but it has also helped the developing countries in Asia and Africa in particular without any strings attached. So the socialist system of China offers the most viable alternative to the neo-liberal dispensations in Asia. Also it has to be noted that with the shift of world power balance from west to Asia, China is drawing a sincere attention around the world.
The establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is a milestone in developing Asian capital market but more needs to be done to establish institutions like Asian Monetary Fund, which could work for the financial stability in this region. We also need to better integrate our economies among ourselves to expand inter-regional trade and investment through home grown economic policies. We think, forums like this should come up with policy suggestions to make our region the leader of world economic prosperity.
After the global financial crisis and recession, the euphoria of so-called eternal domination of neo liberalism has been over. So-called new economic world order has been shattered. Communist and left movement is reviving and making upsurge in various part of the world. Against this backdrop, to build the strong alternatives, communist and left forces should make broader interactions and create platforms to share ideas and experiences. We must enhance wider solidarity to the struggles and achievements of the working class seeking unity among diversity. New and innovative approaches are required to develop Marxism in the changed contexts. Here I would like to acknowledge the successful initiatives made by Brazil, internationally known as ‘Lulamnia’,to make equitable society. We should mobilize all progressive and democratic forces against the global capitalist offense. Social movements, the movements for gender equality, right to Dalit and indigenous community, popular cultural movements and the movement on environment are playing influential role in this context. Broader alliance with these movements with the central role of left and communists will create strong alternatives. Without strengthening the productive force and without developing a strong national economy, global capital offense cannot be resisted.
Please allow me to share some of our experiences in this regard. Communist party of Nepal played pivotal role in the democratic movement against the Rana oligarchy, Panchayati autocracy and absolute monarchy. After the arduous struggle of nearly seven decades, we have been able to establish the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. We have promulgated the Constitution of Nepal on 20th September 2015, which heralds a new era for Nepal. Constitution has institutionalized the achievements of the peoples struggle like democratic republic, universally accepted democratic values, social justice, federalism, inclusive democracy, etc. Our constitution has ensured the fundamental right to basic education and health, right to food and shelter, right to employment and have a safer environment. Constitution has guaranteed the gender equality and secured at least 33 percent seats for women in every state organ. Preferential rights and affirmative provisions are mentioned for Dalit, indigenous community, minorities and differently abled persons. The constitution has recognized the diversity of Nepali society and institutionalized the multi- lingual, multi-cultural and secular set up. With non-ceasing left initiatives, the Constitution has recognized the three-pillar economy with socialist orientation and it has guaranteed the right of working class including right to decent work.
All these successes have been achieved through democratic procedures. The constitution was drafted by the most inclusive Constituent Assembly (CA). Draft was circulated among the people and public opinion and suggestions were incorporated in the final draft. 537 members of CA, out of 597, voted in favor of the constitution. Around ten percent members have reservations on some provisions of the constitution. Those grievances can be solved during the implementation process and through the amendment of the constitution.
After the promulgation of new constitution, new government has been formed with the premiership of comrade KP Oli, our party chairman, comprising of all most all left parties. Renowned leader of the women movement Mrs. Bidhya Devi Bhandari has been elected the President of the Country, an ex-combatant commander has been elected Vice President of the Country, women leader from indigenous community has been elected the speaker of Legislative Parliament, a Madhesi veteran has been elected Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Parliament- which reflects the mosaic character of our society. These historical achievements have proven the validity of our political ideology- People’s Multi-Party Democracy. We have entered in a new era, with the basic completion of democratic political revolution with our own characteristic.
Unfortunately, after marking this historical and epoch-turning achievement, Nepal is facing severe crisis since last two months. Indian government, which always claims as the largest democracy in the world, just ‘noticed’ these historical events of its close friend and neighbor. Moreover, it encouraged the blockade of essential goods in the border points in the pretention of some unrest there. Due to this un-official blockade, Nepal is facing severe humanitarian crisis now. Hospitals have run out of life saving medicines. Severe scarcity of petroleum products and cooking gas has kept thousands of citizens in hunger. Schools are shut down because students cannot attend their classes due to the lack of vehicles to board. Millions of earthquake victims of last April are in pathetic condition, because the rehabilitation and reconstruction process is badly affected by this blockade. Nepal’s right to access to sea ports and UN- ensured transit right has been openly violated.
We are conducting incessant dialogues with the section of people who remained unsatisfied with some provisions the new constitution. This is our internal affair and we have every right and capability to resolve this by ourselves. We had only requested Indian government to respect our sovereignty. We want to develop cordial relations with India, based on mutual equality, cooperation and interests. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to CPI and entire Indian people for their solidarity on this regard. We urge all comrades here to extend your strong solidarity as well.
Twenty two years ago, Peoples leader Comrade Madan Bhandari, while addressing the communists and leftists all around the world gathered in Kolkata in a seminar organized by CPI (M), declared- ‘growing contradiction among capitalist countries themselves, persistence of economic recession in capitalist countries and rising discontent among oppressed and exploited people due to pro-capitalist and anti- poor policies imposed in the third world reassure that resurgence of Marxism is inevitable. .…..The setback to Marxism is a temporary phenomenon and a socialist philosophy developed by examining the class nature and historical development will definitely regain popularity in the near future. …..’ After this long span of time, we can say, he was absolutely correct!
Once again I would like to thank CPI and all the participants for providing us the opportunity to share our views in this august forum.
Gyawali is National Secretary of ruling CPN-UML. This working paper has been presented in the program in New Delhi to mark the 90th founding year of the Communist Party of India (CPI).