Friday, November 30, 2007

POPULAR STRUGGLES IN NEPAL AND BOLIVIA

MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRACY IN NEPAL--Second movement for democracy.

Nepal witnessed an extraordinary popular movement in April 2006.The movement aimed at restoring democracy, it was aimed at regaining popular control over govt. from the king.

HISTORY:

Nepal a third wave country, had won democracy in 1990.

--King was formally the head of the state but the real power was excerised by the elected representatives.

--The king Birendra, was the one who accepted this transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy, he and his family was massacred in 2001.

--King Gayendra the new king of Nepal was not prepared to accept democratic rule, on feburary 2005 he dismissed the Prime minister and dissolved the popularly elected Parliament.

Events during the popular revolt:

All the political parties in the parliament formed an alliance--Seven party alliance--SPA and called for four day strike in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.

2. The protests turned into indefinite strike in which Maoist and various organisations joined hands.

3.People defied curfews and took to streets.

4.More than lakhs of people gathered almost everyday to demand retoration of democracy, on 21 april they served an ultimatum to the king and the leaders rejected the halfhearted concessions given by the king and struck to their demand s.

5.their main demands were--a)restoration of parliament,

b)power to an all party govt.

c)new constituent assembly.

RESULTS:

On 24th april , the king was forced to conceed to all the demands

--Girija Prasad Koirala was choosen as the new PM of the interim givt.

--The SPA & Maoist came to an understanding as to how new Constituent Assembly was to be elected.

--Parliament passed laws taking most of the powers of the king.

It was known as second movement of democracy in Nepal.

BOLIVIA'S WATER WAR-A Struggle against Privatisation of Water

--Bolivia is a small and poor country in Latin America.The WorldBank pressuried the govt. to give up its control of municiple water supply.

--The govt. sold off these rights to an MNC.The company immediately increased the prices four times.

--In January 2006 a new alliance of labour, human rights and community leaders organised a sucessful strike for four days in the city and the govt. agreed to negotiate but nothing happened. Police resorted to brutal repression when the agitation was started again in Feburary.

--Another strike was there in April and govt. imposed martial law.

--But the power people forced the officials of MNC to flee the city and made govt. to conceed to all demands of the protesters.

--The contract with MNC was cancelled and water supply was resorted to municipality at old rates.

This was known as Bloivia's water war.

DEMOCRACY AND POPULAR STRUGGLES OF NEPAL & BOLIVIA
The two incidents have following
similarities
In both cases political conflict led to the popular struggles.
Both the cases involved mass mobilization.
Both instances involved critical role of political organizations.
DIFFERENCES
1.Nepal was struggling to establish democracy while in Bolivia the struggle involved claims on the elected govt.
2.In Bolivia struggle was about one specific policy, while struggle in Nepal was about the foundations of the country’s politics.
MAJOR ELEMENTS FOUND IN DEMOCRACY
1.It evolves through popular struggles. If significant decisions are through consensus than it is an exceptional situation. Democracy usually involve conflicts between those groups who have excercised power and those who aspire for share in the power. This happens when the country is going through transition to democracy, expansion of democracy or deepening of democracy.
2.Democratic conflicts are resolved through mass mobilization. Some times it is possible that the conflicts are resolved by the existing institutions like parliament or judiciary but when there is a deep dispute, very often these institutions get involved in the dispute and the resolution has to come from outside , from people.
3.The conflicts and mobilizations are based on new political organizations, these include—political parties, pressure groups and movement groups.


MOBILISATION AND ORGANISATIONS.
Q.
Which were the major organizations involved in mobilization of the masses in Nepal & Bloivia?
In Nepal:
a) SPA-Seven party alliance of big parties.
b) Nepalese Communist Party—Maoist.
c) All major labour unions and their federations
d) Organizations like organization of indigenous people, teachers, lawyers & human right groups extended their support.
In Bolivia
There was no political party but it was led by ,
a) A n organization-FEDECOR-it comprised of local professions, engineers &environmentalists.
b) Ffederation of farmers.
c) Confederation of factory workers union
d) Middle class students and city’ growing population of homeless children.


Q. What role is played by the organizations in any big struggle?
The organizations play their role in two ways—Direct & Indirect
Direct: One way of influencing the decision in democracy is direct participation in competitive politics. This is done by creating parties, contesting elections and forming govts. Citizens participate through voting.
INDIRECT:
There are many indirect ways in which people can get govt. to listen to their demands or their point of view. This can be done by forming an organization and undertaking activities to promote their interest or their viewpoints. These are called Interest or Pressure groups.
trol of municipal water supply.


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