Thursday, April 29, 2010

May 1 Posters in Kathmandu

Here are some of the posters that are plastered around Kathmandu for the upcoming events. I'll try to keep this from becoming a political rant, and focus on the topic at hand. It's amazing to me that the symbolism that they are using is at all effective. In the first poster below, and I've seen the images elsewhere, we see people like Mao and Stalin with Nepal's communist leader just below them. I would think that comparing yourself and placing yourself near people who murdered millions, MILLIONS, of their own people would not be the ones you would want to compare yourself with. Why not throw Pol Pot up there too? 

Personally I find communism to be one of the most juvenile intellectual positions you could possibly take on government. It often shows a complete lack of understanding the nature of human beings and of governments in general. The fact that it is supported by phrases like "workers of the world unite" is so absurd given the track record of these movements that it boggles the mind to still see this in print. When have the "workers" ever run these socialist regimes? These government structures are always run by pseudo-intellectuals who form a political class that is backed by military force. Every time, and they ride on the backs of the "workers" who "unite". I've never understood Asia's fascination with these kinds of movements, be it in Cambodia, Vietnam, China, the red-shirts uprising now in Thailand and the uprising here and in to a lesser extent in India. The factors of rural poor, lack of social mobility, corrupt and complacent government, unemployment among young males; all these things play a factor, but it just seems odd to me that it always manifests itself as these communist symbol laden movements. 

Anyway without further long winded commentary here are the posters popping up in Kathmandu;

"Gullible People Workers of the World Unite"

"We don't need the boss, the boss needs us!!!!!"
True but then you would need the start up costs, the risk and the energy to do something on your own!!!


  1. Hi Brian, I hear you. It is amazing that by now people follow the communist banner given the history, but that being said, the process of indoctrination can be a powerful thing. If you have finished reading Forget Kathmandu, I think that book identified some of the ways which information is passed to the rural poor. How the people can be bullied, and bought. I know that the Maoists in the past have paid people to protest and show support for the cause. In addition, some people follow simply because it is a promise of some change... but is it really?

    When Prachanda was in power last year, he managed to produce just about zero change. It became obvious that the Maoists were much better at protesting and blocking things than they are at governing. The whole row over the firing the chief of the army which led to the Maoists resigning from power was essentially a convenient "out" for them. It is easier to take potshots at the ruling party than to govern yourself.

    It is sad, but when you look at the ASEAN nations and see who is progressing and who is not, the key to everything is a stable government.

    Nepali politics is complicated and particularly with the 20+ parties that exist, it is difficult to get things straight. I spent my whole year in Nepal scratching my head over the political situation...

    Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Take care.


  2. All spot on observations Court.

    As I noticed when encountering Maoists in the hills during the conflict and as pointed out in Forget Kathmandu many of the Maoist Cadres are dissected youth who are in the party for reasons other than political ideology. I can understand this, I can understand people wanting change in their government, and I can understand feeling pushed to revolution. Where I have trouble understanding is why this always seems to manifest itself as the siren song of communism and not some other kind of banner at this point.

    Nepali politics is indeed complicated, because it seems that mot of what is really going on is hidden below the surface in inference and cultural understanding. As a foreigner it seems impossible at most times to get any pulse on which way the winds are blowing.

  3. I think one thing to keep in mind when talking about the "Maoists" in Nepal is that they don't really have a communist agenda at all (from what I have read). I think the people who join the protest want something other than the current (and past) corrupt government. Are they even aware of the history of China/N. Korea/Russia/etc? I don't know that these topics are necessary touched on in school. I believe most school curricula are focused on math/science/English. I do know that in public schools in the U.S. this is not a topic usually touched upon (at best briefly) - unless you study this topic specifically in college or on your own. I really think the Maoist movement is more a desire for *something* different.

    I believe they want equality for women, getting rid of the "castes". But "real" communism? I doubt. Even China doesn't run a strictly communist economy (one reason why they are so successful?).

    Just a pet peeve of mine - I wish the Maoists would support FIXED PRICED SHOPPING! Isn't that more "equal"? Every one would be paying the same price. Somehow though, I don't see this happening. I guess, as in every communist society, some people are more "equal" than others...


Related Posts with Thumbnails