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Marxism cannot die: PM Bhattarai

Saturday, September 24th, 2011
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PRERANA MARASINI in NEW YORK

Pic: YOPESH PRADHAN

Pic: YOPESH PRADHAN

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai who is in the United States to participate at the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations took some time out to speak about Marxism on Friday, saying it was “alive and kicking” (pictured, right).

At a program organised by The New School in New York, he said Marxism could help guide the world in the 21st century. The picture book, ‘Maobadi’ written by Kevin Bubriski was also launched. The discussion was organised by the India China Institute of the New School University which had also invited then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal in 2008. Bhattarai was introduced by the New School’s president, David E. Van Zandt.

“I think by the end of the 21st century, Marxism will be the leading ideology and philosophy to guide the world,” the Bhattarai said, adding that only Marxism can explain the crisis such as the gap between the rich and the poor and emergence of wars. Speaking before students of international affairs and political science as well as professors, the PM said Marxism does not have a straight development and thus it needs to be changed creatively, according to the changing context. He cited Stalin who “distorted” Marxism and Mao Zedong who applied Marxism “creatively”.

In Nepal, Bhattarai said, they followed Marxism creatively “by having not only class issues but also non class issues such as caste, gender, nationality issues”. He pointed out that these were the reasons for the party to be able to influence masses of people and to be successful at overthrowing autocratic regime. As any communist, he stood against globalisation and capitalism, terming them broadly, “financial imperialism” but maintained that the fight is not against industrialist capitalism but against monopoly capitalism. So what would be the other way to promote Nepal’s economic development? Bhattarai answered: Have industrial base first and then go for productive capitalism oriented towards socialism. “We can’t fully skip over capitalist phase,” he added.

Professors from The New School, Columbia University and Washington University who have been following Nepal’s progress closely had joined in the discussion as panelists and asked questions to the PM about constitution making, economy and social inclusion. Bhattarai said the constitution to be written would not be a socialist but a bourgeois democratic constitution as he said Nepal is in a phase of bourgeois democratic revolutionary phase and that it would take several years or decades to make transition to socialist phase.

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