Nepali politics has taken a new turn with the recent alliance between the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) and Naya Shakti Party, Nepal. The alliance has given rise to a great deal of enthusiasm and hope but also many doubts.
At its heart, it is a strategic alliance aimed at jointly contesting upcoming federal and provincial election, with the ultimate goal of building a powerful socialist center for political stability, peace and prosperity in Nepal. An unprecedented political event, it is a matter of both historical necessity and contingency.
Following the declaration of the alliance, various speculations have surfaced. Some analysts even consider it as an outcome of foreign machinations. It is true that Nepal is situated between two giant countries, India and China. And political instability in Nepal often complicates our relations with these two neighbors. But Nepal is a sovereign country and its leaders and people are capable of setting their own course, regardless of foreign interests and influences.
Our own masters
The alliance is an outstanding example of our right and capability to decide our political course. It is also an indication that a change in public mentality is essential for socio-economic change. We must learn to trust national political forces and their initiatives. The long-held notion that ‘Nepali leaders lack the capacity to decide independently’ is false; and it is in fact nothing but a conspiracy theory. We must learn to ignore such baseless theories, also in relation to the recent left alliance.
Nepal has undergone massive political changes of late. Yet our national politics remains in thrall of political syndicates. People thus hope that the new alliance will end this trend of syndication.
Nepal has been set on a new journey with the new alliance, a progressive alliance at its best. The alliance may in some quarters be viewed as ‘communist’. But communism has become an old brand and being a communist does not equate to being progressive in Nepal. There are many cases of our communist parties and their leaders and cadres degenerating into status quoist or regressive forces. And the era of radical communism is long over. So the alliance will emphasize democratic practices and establish a powerful socialist center around democratic norms and values. It will also strive for alternative ways of social, political and economic management.
Socialists, not communists
The parties in the new alliance are left-oriented parties. But they all espouse different forces of democracy. CPN-UML believes in the principle of ‘people’s multiparty democracy’, CPN (Maoist Center) is advocate of ‘new democracy of 21st century’, while for Naya Shakti, national independence, equitable development, participatory democracy, good governance, ethical politics and advanced socialism are the guiding principles.
Naya Shakti is an alternative force which has assimilated good aspects of both capitalist and socialist systems. Its main goal is progressive tax system and social security so as to build a robust ground for advanced socialism. It has joined the new alliance with these objectives in mind. It will always advocate the idea of creating a new socialist center out of the current alliance in order to address Nepal’s current and future challenges.
If the three political parties in the alliance later merge into a new party, the new party will not be a communist party, nor will it hew to the right. It will rather become a new force that can chart a new political future for Nepal. Undoubtedly, the youth will take up the lead role in such a party.
Some people are concerned that Naya Shakti may lose its identity. But in fact it is always looking to effect paradigm shift in Nepali society. Political cooperation is needed for prosperity, peace and development. For this, it has joined the alliance with the major left parties. But the guiding principles of Naya Shakti will be kept intact in the course of discussions for an eventual unity. We will try our best to persuade the alliance to stay true to our principles.
Again, Naya Shakti will not support the idea of forming a new communist center; our attempt will be rather at building a strong socialist center. Naya Shakti’s objectives are clear crystal. It is a bulwark of alternative politics; it is the advocate of participatory democracy; and it is the advocate of equality, inclusion and peaceful political initiatives. It is neither a left nor a right force. It has rather always been at the forefront of alternative politics and that will continue to be the case.
Naya Shakti has decided to join the left alliance with the firm belief that doing so is the need of the time, both for the country and the party. As the country has evolved, so have we.
The author is a member of the communication department of Naya Shakti Party