Imperialism, Neo-liberal Policy and Agrarian Question in Nepal.

प्रकाशित मिति : २०७३ असार १४

- Sr. Tamang

“In a Very short time … several hundred million peasants will rise like a mighty storm, like a hurricane, a force so swift and violent that no power, however great, will be able to hold it back. They will smash all the trammels that bind them and rush forward along the road to liberation. They will sweep all the imperialists, warlords, corrupt officials, local tyrants and evil gentry into their graves. Every revolutionary party and every revolutionary comrade will be put to the test, to be accepted or rejected as they decide.”
                                                                                                                         Com: Mao Tse Tung
(1)Agrarian Question in Nepal    
Agrarian question, in general, is the Question of development of capitalism in agriculture, the relation among classes arise on this basis, and the class struggle within socio-political arena connected with it. Agrarian program needs solution to social and economic contradiction in agrarian structure. It also helps enhancing agricultural productivity, ensuring equitable right over resources and justified distribution of economic outcomes in society. But class content of agrarian reform is totally determine by the social system of the country and its form of government. In capitalist countries reforms are turned against feudal mode of production which obstruct the advancement of capitalism in agriculture. For example, in Western Europe, agrarian reforms were turned against feudalism and made straightforward the path of development of capitalist agriculture (large scale agricultur production)  based on modern technology. But in pre-capitalist countries like Nepal where feudal, semi-feudal and semi/neo-colonial conditions are prevailing over the economy, agrarian question concern the paths and methods to eliminate pre- capitalist relations of production to accelerate overall transformation in agriculture. In this sense, the agrarian question is one of the basic tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution that associated with the confiscation of the landed properties of landlords. However, as historical experiences show, the bourgeoisie cannot finally resolve the agrarian question due to their class limitation. The complete resolution of the agrarian question is possible along with the consequences of New-Democratic Revolution in semi-feudal, semi colonial and neo-colonial societies which not only resolve the problem of the expropriation of large landed property and distribution of land among peasants, but also creates the pre-requisite infrastructure for the socialist transformation of agrarian economy.

Nepal is predominantly under self sustained agrarian economy. The colonial extension has been prevailing over the entire political and economic sector along with the neo colonial extension rules propagated by the World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Monitory Fund as well as the feudal elements that are being converted to compradors being alliance with neo-liberalism, development of national capital has been blocked with penetration and transformation of these elements. So the importance and need of New Democratic Revolution is yet to perform and accomplish. Only the changes over the superstructure of the state power are not being sufficient to accomplish New Democratic Revolution.

(2)Comprador-Capitalism and Left Movement    
            Nepal was self-sustained in food grain production and it was a food grain exporter country previously. But now, this country is suffering from food deficiency and has turned into food grain importer. Since long agriculture has been the main occupation with 66 percent population employed in it. However, the agriculture sector contributes only 34 percent in GDP. These indicators Show that the traditional subsistence agrarian system is not able to feed the people and to provide resource for the national development. More than three million youths have migrated to abroad in search of attractive employment. As a result a considerable portion of arable land is left fallow due to the lack of working youth. At present the remittance has been one of the main source of the economy.
    Main causes of deteriorating food grain production in Nepal.
•    The agrarian reform policy was not in favor of National interest.
•    Corruption within bureaucratic hierarchy.
•    Insufficient production to feed the growing population.
•    Poor productivity to compete with the product of neighboring states.   
•    Weak position of revolutionary forces.

Nepal has been suffering since long under the feudal regime. Monarchy is eradicated in 2006, however, the feudal social structure is yet to eradicate. (To revive monarchy and Hindu Kingdom, some reactionary elements are trying their utmost). The social and cultural feudalism is strong in agriculture too. So, for the transformation of rural social structure in rural areas need a heavy blow on the socio-economic and cultural basis of feudalism. Considering the basic characteristics of feudal agricultural production relations, the left literatures have used the term “semi-feudal” to denote socio-economic condition of Nepali society. This terminology is used by Lenin because of limited introduction of commodity production in feudal economy. Regarding the contemporary context of Nepali society CPN (UML) and C P N (M. centre) have denied the “semi-feudal” condition of Nepali society. According to them, after the eradication of monarchy and restoration of federal republic system, feudalism has been disintegrated and the Nepali society is transfor into capitalism of primary type.

 The capitalistic transformation of agrarian sectors is in initial stage and a growing phenomenon in Nepal. Nepal government has encouraged to the previous feudal elements and landlords to organize contract and corporate institutions along with foreign investment occupying large holdings for commercial purpose. Finance Minister Ram Saran Mahat (F.Y.2013/014) is an advocate of neo-liberalism and has tried his best to launch a contract and corporate agro-farming in Nepal.

Consequently others like CPN (UML) CPN (M center) and RPPs have followed the foot prints basically.
The unjustified and skewed land ownership distribution since long has shaped the present semi-feudal ownership pattern and process. But the present trend launched by the government is not being directive for overall agrarian transformation. Therefore the present position needs steps of scientific and revolutionary transformation process to enhance optimum land productivity, equitable access and justified distribution. Politicians representing feudal culture and bureaucracy representing landlord class are strong to influence state power and they are reluctant to launch even the reformative plans and programs in agriculture. As well as the CPN (UML) and CPN (M centre), who have given up the New Democratic Revolutionary agenda have followed the agenda of democratic socialism propagated by Nepali Congress, are also rhetoric and reluctant to launch agrarian revolution in Nepal.

Nepali Communist Movement, since 1949, has adhered that Nepal is a semi-colony of Indian   expansionism. But UML and CPN (M center) have abandoned this phrase. The leaderships of big left parties, who have lead the bourgeois governments, abandoned the ‘semi-colonial’ terminology because of “to earning the faith from a neighboring country that have never hesitated from exercising its veto-power in the internal affair of Nepal …..”. (C.K. lal, june 23, 2014, Republic). However, the general acceptance of left movement that Nepal is in a ‘semi-feudal and semi-colonial condition’ shows the character of revolution, mainly, bourgeois-democratic revolution opposing feudalism and imperialism-expansionism. On the contemporary globalized world arena and the geopolitical situation of Nepal is compelled to face encroachment of neo-colonial extension directed by neo-liberal policies. The following tasks that we have to do to turn capitalist  production system from semi-feudal one.

•    To end the remnants of feudalism and of the comprador-bureaucratic landownership in production relations.
•    To stop the Monopoly of MNCs on land grabbing, agro-production and agri-business  
•    Ensure rights to “land to the tillers”
•    To preserve and use of indigenous technology, skill and local seeds based on organic farming.
•    To empower and increase awareness in peasant organizations.
•    The state must protect the food security and sovereignty.
•    To launch a program of diversification, specialization and commercialization in agriculture.
•    To organize large scale production units along with co-operatives as well as small scale family farms.
•    To create the opportunity of employment outside agriculture by developing industry, trade and service sectors in country.

Agrarian reforms were carried out in many of the developing countries (but not in the sense of radical transformation) aiming transition to capitalism by state-conductors of political power. But, in the context of Nepal, the positions of radical forces are relatively weak.

(3)Model of Agrarian Revolution

We have discussed above the state of pre-capitalist mode of production in Nepali society. It has two characteristics:
      A) Semi-feudal and B) Semi-colonial/neo-colonial.
     a) First, S.F. = SSPP+SSCP.
Where, S.F = semi-feudal production relations
             SSPP = small-scale primary production relations
             SSCP = Small-scale Commodity production relations

Here, SSPP is the legacy of feudalism and SSCP represents the product of transitional period from feudalism to capitalism. NLSS (2011) shows that there is 76 percent households are engaged in agriculture and among them (regarding 75 Percent households as 100 Percent) 96 percent consume their products themselves, only 4 percent is for market. It shows that the vast majority of the productive forces is engaged in agriculture. This shows that Nepal is still in an agrarian society, economically backward a petty-bourgeois country, that is, a country in which low productive individual peasant farming based on small ownership still prevailing and dominating.
    b) Second: IC=LSCP
 Where, IC=Industrial Capitalism
  LSCP= large- Scale Commodity Production (relations)

Without overcoming semi-feudal production relations, a country could not turn to Industrial capitalism (IC). We must have National Industrial Capitalism that would be oriented to socialism. But the Present trend of development is not directive to National IC., on the contrary, it is under the control of Bureaucratic Comprador Capitalist Class. After the elimination of monarchy, the bureaucrat-Comprador Class are influential and controlling over financial sector, and the feudalism being weaker and they are being converted to corporate compradors .

The fundamental and principal trend of Capitalism is the displacement of small-scale Production relations, both in industry and in agriculture. So, it is clear that Capitalism (LSCP) needs a large-scale commodity production relations in Society. In Nepal this form, a characteristics of “modern” capitalist farming, at least  in theory, developed by mid 1970’s is extremely limited (Seddon,1987:xiv). We can see LSCP schemes running under the government’s control but it has contributed not more than six percent to GDP of national economy.

Here, it is better to remember that the establishments of large scale commodity productions were sold on “throw away prices” during PM Girija Prasad Koirala’s tenure. This is an example of corruption and brokering in bourgeois political trend in Nepal.

(4) National Industrial Capitalism (NIC) a must.

A country could not be developed unless LSCP is able to command economy. But there is a question whether its destination is in favor of imperialism or in National Industrial Capitalism. Our attempt is to develop the NIC, but not to implement the Imperialist (Monopoly Capitalist) favor. Since the historical people’s movement – 2006, all big political parties, especially N.C, UML and former UCPN (M) have committed for scientific land reform to eliminate feudal land-ownership system providing land to the tillers Dalits, marginalized households etc. Such commitments are positive, but the historical evidences show that they have not given sufficient interest and implemented action on these agendas of progressive land reforms that are needed for economic and social revolutionary formation. So it is doubtful that their commitments will be helpful to meet the challenges of NIC in future.  But, now, the Agrarian Program of Nepal Government is to enhance the model of contract and corporate farming that are dictated by multinational corporations of western Imperialism. This indicate that it will not be possible to create the background of NIC without eliminating the semi-feudal and semi-colonial/neo-colonial condition in Nepal. Therefore, it needs the leading role of revolutionary forces and it is necessary to advance new political force which will be pro-poor, pro-peasant pro-labor and marginalized people in Nepal and which will alternate to develop the structure of NIC.

(5) Conclusion

After world war -II, during cold war period and on the process of globalization, neo-colonial powers extended policies of liberal- economy and competitive market policies under the leadership of international Agencies like WB, WTO, IMF and other multinational corporations (MNCs).Neo-liberalism was pursued relentlessly form the early 1980s onwards by Thatcher government in Britain and the Reagan Government. in the US as well as international financial institutions dominated by these countries, multinational corporations (MNCs) and their elite in most developing counties (From Statism to Neo-liberalism, 2009). With the disintegration of Soviet Union in 1990, the Process of economic liberalization has been intensified over developing countries with the policies of “Structural Adjustment” liberalization, privatization, competitive market polices etc within the persuasive frame of neo liberal globalization.

 In Nepal, Partyless Panchayat Government had endorsed the Neo-liberal Policy in 1985 by adapting a “structural Adjustment program (SAP)” with financial support from W.Bank, WTO and IMF. Following 1990, the Multiparty Democratic Governments also adopted and encouraged the Process of Neo-liberalism. Liberalization Process had been well incorporated in the 9th plan (1997-2002) and twenty year Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP, 1995-2015) as well (Bhattachan, 2005:86). Then after historical People’s Movement of 2006, the Democratic Republic Governments also encourage corporate and contract farming along with MNC’s investment to occupy large holdings for commercial agriculture (ADS,2015-2035). Contract and corporate farming are the anti-peasant movements in relation to the present agrarian situation. Regarding this context and situation, The Preparatory Committee of First World Peasants’ Conference has organized this conference in Nepal and has provided opportunity for presenting paper to Forum for Agrarian Concern and Studies in Nepal (FACT-Nepal) in this anti-imperialist platform to discuss on this particular problem facing by Nepali peasants too.

We would like to be coordinate with the movement “Struggle Against Neo-Liberal Policies Dictated by Imperialism in All Sector of Agriculture” sincerely. For this immediate steps are to be launched in order to protest the Neo- Liberal Imperialism as:-
•    To organize, protest and awareness program to oppose the extended political- economy of MNCs.
•    To oppose the neo-liberal extension policies and program.
•    To discard GMO and chemical based farming system in the name of so-called green revolution.
To oppose corporate and contract of agriculture farms.