Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bourgeois Revolution

Nepal has finally entered the modern age, well at least the modern age of the 19th Century.

In the capital of Katmandu, thousands gathered in the heart of the city, waving banners and chanting slogans in celebration.

"Victory is ours! Long live people's democracy and peaceful Nepal!" chanted the participants.

In the southern city of Bharatpur, hundreds gathered and chanted, "Let there be permanent peace! No more autocracy! No more dictatorship!"

Maoist leaders will take seats alongside the elected politicians in parliament and join an interim government to oversee elections for an assembly that will draft a new constitution and decide the fate of the monarchy.

More than 13,000 people were killed before a cease-fire was declared in April following the weeks of mass pro-democracy protests that forced Gyanendra to restore Parliament, which he had usurped 14 months earlier.

The accord came a day after a government commission blamed Gyanendra for the brutal crackdown on the April protests that left 19 people dead, and recommended he be punished.
Under the deal, the rebels will join the interim parliament by Nov. 26 and will get 73 of the chamber’s 330 seats. Koirala’s Nepali Congress will remain the biggest party with 85 seats, and the Maoists will share second place with the Communist Party of Nepal. The rest of the seats will be held by smaller parties.
The rebels’ large number of seats is sure to give them a significant role in a new interim government, which is to be in place by Dec. 1. Officials were still working out the details of how the administration would be set up.
Gyanendra seized power in February 2005, saying he would bring order to a chaotic and corrupt political scene and quell the Maoist insurgency.
Since restoring Parliament, Gyanendra has been stripped of his powers, command over the army, and his immunity from prosecution.

The making of a "Bourgeois Revolution"
Social Research, Fall, 2004 by E.J. Hobsbawm

What this paper has tried to show is that something that plainly forms the foundation of the classical view of the French Revolution as a social revolution, a "bourgeois revolution" and a central and decisive step in the evolution of modern society, emerged in the first postrevolutionary generation, and why this reading of the French Revolution and its consequences seemed more logical and realistic than the modern revisionist view that it was "haphazard in its origins and ineffectual in its outcome" (Runciman, 1982: 318). It seemed realistic to French liberals in three respects, because in 1830 it seemed evident that a middle class actually had come to power. The nineteenth century, moreover, seemed clearly to perpetuate and even to institutionalize the conflict, which had not existed before 1789 but emerged during the revolution, that between "1791" and "1794," between middle class and "people" or "masses" (later specified by some as the "the proletariat"). Above all, it seemed realistic because, as Tocqueville put it elegantly and eloquently, the revolution

   has entirely destroyed, or is in the process of destroying ...
everything in ancient society that was derived from aristocratic
and feudal institutions, everything that was in any
way connected with them, everything that had the least
impress of them (Tocqueville, 1947: 23).

And the canyon with the earthquake of the revolution had opened between the Old Regime and the new society was evidently impassable, its profundity and width demonstrated, in France at least, beyond any doubt by the repeated failure to restore that Old Regime.

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