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FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN

SACRIFICING YOUTH
M AOI ST CADRE S AND P O L I T I CAL ACT I V I SM I N P OST -WAR NE P AL

Dan Vesalainen Hirslund

P HD T HE SI S Author: T itle : De partme nt: Supe rviso r: F ront page : Submitte d: De sc riptio n: Dan V e salai ne n Hi rslun d Sac rifi c ing Y outh: Maoist Ca dre s and P olitic al Ac tivism in P o st -W ar Ne pal De par tme nt of Ant hropology Morte n Axe l P e de r se n P hoto by au thor, d e sign by Morte n M e jne c ke April 3, 2012 This is an ethnography about young, lower-level cadres in Nepals Maoist movement after the 2006 transition to peace. The dissertation investigates the mobilization of a new generation of young people to the Maoists youth movement and how they are recruited to a program of revolution and selfsacrifice. The overall question explored is what it means to become a revolutionary when the war is over and how it has formed Maoist youth activism and Nepali political culture.

T ry again . Fail again . Fail bett er .


Samuel Beckett Worstward Ho

CONTENTS
Summary Acknowledgments INTRODUCTION 1
framing the argument analytical framework fieldwork, methods & ethics outline

CHAPTER 1 THE MAOIST REVOLUTION 29


pre-war Nepal peoples war 1996-2006 post-war Nepal

CHAPTER 2 MOBILIZED

TO

CLASS STRUGGLE 71

mobilizing laborers and migrants shifting perspective from hardship to class struggle recruitment as sacrifice

CHAPTER 3 SUBMITTING

TO

CAMP LIFE 104

Nayabasti camp a military command system commanders as instructors and cadres as apprentices disobeying leaders submitting to sacrifice

CHAPTER 4 LABORING

FOR

COLLECTIVITY 136

daily activities in Nayabasti continuous and disciplined labor collectivity and selfishness chores as revolutionary labor

CHAPTER 5 WAITING

FOR

WORK, WAITING

AS

WORK 165

waiting for leaders waiting to become leaders disciplined waiting waiting as preparation waiting as sacrifice

CHAPTER 6 COMMUNIST PIETISM 186


we did not come here to eat tasty food becoming a new man inner struggle renouncing entertainment rules and regulations communist pietism

C HA P T E R 7 A C T I V I S M B E T WE E N

T HE

P U BL I C

A N D T HE

P E O P L E 215

processions as a political statement the public as witnesses a history of people power obstructing traffic and waving black flags

CHAPTER 8 SECURITIZING
doing security protecting the public youth victims symmetries of sacrifice

THE

PUBLIC 246

CONCLUSION 265 Appendices 274 References 288

SUMMARY
In November 2006, the Government of Nepal and the Nepali Maoist movement entered into a peace agreement that ended 10 years of armed struggle, bringing the country into a transition period and the former clandestine Maoist guerilla force into the political mainstream. Based on 10 months of fieldwork in Kathmandu during 2009, this dissertation investigates the changes to political culture that the transition to peace has resulted in through an analysis of the Maoist movements shift from rural-based warfare to multi-party democratic politics in the capital Kathmandu. The post-conflict context has seen the rise of new forms of activism, spearheaded by the Maoists youth wing, the Young Communist League, which mixes protest and militarism with social service programs, and the aim is to investigate the ideas and social dynamics that sustain such expressions of politics. What are, I ask, the processes by which current forms of Maoist youth activism have grown since 2006 peace agreement and how is it practiced and legitimized? To explore this, the dissertation focuses on how the Young Communist League mobilizes and trains a new generation of members to the Maoist cause and to political activism. Based on the idea that it is a leading revolutionary force in the process of bringing about a New Nepal, the Maoist movement sees the current peace process as a continuation of the decade-long Peoples War and its youth organization as the frontrunner of this revolutionary process in the changed political circumstances. But what does it mean to carry on a Maoist revolution within a democratic parliamentary framework? How can a revolutionary space of activism be carved out, within the existing frames of political culture, that allows the Maoists and their youth movement to be a progressive force for change? In seeking to answer these questions, the dissertation investigates Maoist mobilization processes among the generation of post-conflict cadres who have become the central characters in this revolutionary transformation. To this end, I follow cadres as they are recruited by the Young Communist League and move into small communes where they are educated in the values and skills of Maoist activism, and out again into their

public work as activists where they draw extensively on their long periods of training. Analytically, I focus on political subjectivity as the lens through which to investigate Maoist activism as this allows me to ask, from the perspective of the cadres, what it means to become a revolutionary, and hence to pose the problem of post-war political culture from the vantage point of cadre experience: how do young people experience their transformation into Maoist cadres and how do they understand their own activism, which have become one of the most contentious issues in post-conflict Nepal? Drawing on the movements idea of revolutionary sacrifice, I am particularly interested in exploring how current forms of Maoist activism are narrated and experienced as a form of sacrifice, and in which ways this might inform activist practices. The thesis is organized like a parable about the young cadres sacrifice, starting with mobilization processes (Chapter 2), passing through the communes and training units that are known internally as camps (Chapters 3-6) and ending with examples of the cadres activism once they have completed their period of training (Chapter 7-8). In becoming cadres, it is argued, post-war members are convinced of the need to sacrifice their period of youth to the Maoist cause and this is the beginning of a long relationship with the party and themselves that revolves around the potency of youth for politics. New cadres begin to see themselves as morally divided between two expressions of youth and, through their training in the camps, cadres learn to strengthen and draw on a positive force of youth as energetic and one capable of sacrificing itself for a greater cause, in contrast to a negative youth force that is selfish and focused on the pleasures of entertainment and money. Increasingly, through their political maturation in the camps, positive expressions of youth become associated with cadre life and negative ones with life outside the camp and outside the party. As I shall argue, this has important consequences for the form that cadres activism takes because it expresses the double-edged nature of youth as political actors and it is particularly through processes of youth sacrifice their own and others that Maoist activism is formed in the postwar context. The analytic of sacrifice thereby informs our understanding of contemporary Nepali political culture and Maoist politics in particular, and it is in the interstices between these processes that this ethnography of youth, mobilization and revolution is located.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
A PhD dissertation is not a solitary accomplishment. Over the past years, I have incurred a great number of debts to colleagues, friends, family and my interlocutors in Nepal without which this project could not have been completed. I would first of all like to thank my two supervisors, Birgitte Refslund Srensen and Morten Axel Pedersen, who have contributed greatly to the finished product, Birgitte with her meticulous guidance before and during my fieldwork, and Morten who with his sharp eyes for form and painstaking feedback has been fantastic in helping me clarify and structure my arguments. In Nepal, I am grateful for the kind hosting of my project by the Young Communist League organization and am forever grateful to the people who shared their experiences with me and invited me into an unfamiliar world of socialist community life. The fieldwork was made possible by the dedicated and professional assistance of three hardworking anthropologists who not only provided daily support and translations in and out of the field but who taught me many important things about Nepal and became my close friends. Devendra Neupane showed me the intricacies of Nepali politics and tried his best to guide an inexperienced researcher through its pitfalls; Bicram Rijal became an invaluable field and research assistant, while Gaurab K.C carried on the work Devendra and Bicram had done with a rare commitment and enthusiasm. Gaurab has continued to be an invaluable support in writing up the thesis by helping me go back over details from field notes and offering his insightful and critical remarks on drafts of the ethnographic chapters, and for this I thank him. Amanda Snellinger is also a project-long and Nepali friend who has researched student politics in Kathmandu for close to a decade. She has been an outstanding support before, during and after my fieldwork by sharing her methodological experiences, giving me advice on who to meet and what to read, as well as providing comprehensive feedback on ideas and chapter drafts over the years. I have benefitted enormously from my many and good colleagues at the Department of Anthropology and the Rehabilitation- and Research Centre for Torture Victims

(RCT). PhD life is marked by periods of loneliness and frustration but is fortunately offset by the daily support and comfort of being in the company of colleagues who have, over time, become friends. As part of a larger research program at RCT, of which this project forms a part, I would like to thank Steffen Jensen and Henrik Vigh in particular who, as project leaders, have supervised and inspired the project from beginning to end with their insightful comments and for providing a supportive and reciprocal research environment. The project is generously funded by the RCT and the Research Council for Culture and Communication (FKK). Also from RCT, Jacob Rasmussen and Morten Andersen have been close companions for more than five years and in a constructive dialogue with the project from its inception, while Stine Jakobsen and Nerina Weiss have been very helpful in bringing a fresh perspective on the subject. Special thanks to Henrik Rnsbo for his patient reading of my ethnographic chapters when they were still way too long and for forcing me to clarify and tighten my arguments. The Department of Anthropology, where I have been working part of the time, has provided a stimulating research environment and, particularly among the PhD students, I have been fortunate to be working together with several wonderful people who have supported me professionally and emotionally and made it fun to go to work, in particular Maya Christensen, Cecilie Lanken, Ida Matzen and Regnar Christensen. Cecilie needs special mention due to her tireless and meticulous feedback on the entire thesis. The support I have received from my family is extraordinary. My wife, Hanna, has stood by me throughout what seems like endless rounds of extensions when the dissertation was almost finished. I marvel at that strength and am forever indebted to her and no less for the extra load of household work it has burdened her with. With three children, one of whom was born just as I received my grant for the PhD, my mother has been an additional and invaluable source of help. Some claim family life is incompatible with writing a PhD dissertation; for me it would have been impossible without. Where else can you turn when you feel like ripping your eyes out after wasting three months on an irrelevant discussion and instantly realize that none of those frustrations really matter. This work is dedicated to them.

SACRIFICING YOUTH

INTRODUCTION
When I arrived in Kathmandu in January 2009, barely more than half a year after the first elected post-conflict government had commenced its tenure, the public euphoria of a long-awaited peace process had begun to turn sour. Everyone had hoped that the transition government, spearheaded by the former guerilla fighters, would bring a fresh change to a long record of political bickering but the initial hope slowly turned to frustration, as they were unable to accomplish any significant social or political reforms. Daily life in Nepal was rife with strikes and protests and peace was also at best shaky in Kathmandu, a point that was efficiently driven home by occasional bomb blasts, and everybody complained about spiraling incidents of crime and looting. To make matters worse, daily blackouts of up to 16 hours accompanied my first months of fieldwork, and people hurried indoors after sunset, avoiding contact with silhouetted strangers in the street. Against this widespread pessimism, I was surprised to find that in the Maoist movement and among its youth wing where I conducted fieldwork, there was a ceaseless political optimism. Based on a strong belief in the steady improvement of the goals set by the party, there was an air of hope and a spirit of industrious eagerness that greatly contrasted with public sentiments. What was a sign of decay for ordinary Nepalis seemed like a call to work for my interlocutors: too much crime could be solved by patrolling neighborhoods and catching thieves; the failure of the state to provide basic social services was an opportunity to combat widespread corruption, and so on. What demonstrated resoluteness for the activists, signaled deterioration for the public and it seemed Nepal was divided into two worlds with the pessimists on one side and the optimists on the other. Suraj, at 18, was one of the young Maoist cadres that I got to know very well. He worked as a painter in Kathmandu during the political tumult in the spring of 2006 when the state of emergency was resisted by a broad popular uprising that returned the political parties to power and ended the Maoists armed struggle. In early 2007, not long

INTRODUCTION

after the establishment of the Maoists new youth wing, he decided to join the party. Though barely 16 at the time, he had already been a wage laborer for several years, and he was very excited at the prospect of a party with a strong pro-poor agenda. Suraj was young and physically fit and felt that this was a blessed period of his life where he could really engage in something which interested him. Youth have a special energy, he told me, and it would be a waste to just spend it painting like his father had done and was doing still. If there was a time for being politically active and putting ones energy to use, this was definitely it. The Maoists were the most logical option for getting organized in this work, since they had by far the strongest image as a movement for social justice and change, but what was ultimately at stake for cadres like Suraj was neither the survival of the party nor the prospects of a political career, which they did not have access to from their marginal socio-economic position; it was rather the prospect of seeing a transformed New Nepal and participating in bringing this about. Faced with the dire needs of a fragile transition and the continued exploitation of poor people, not becoming engaged in politics would be turning a blind eye to the fate of the nation and its need for a fresh generation of activists. The turn to politics and revolution, cadres insisted, was a sign of responsibility, and ultimately, of their sacrifice for Nepal and its people.

F R AM I NG THE AR GUM ENT


Since February 2007, a new political phenomenon has swept across urban Nepal, and the capital Kathmandu in particular: the Young Communist League (YCL), the youth wing of the Maoist party, the CPN-M. With its mixture of militarism and mainstream activism, it has championed a street politics through protests, parades, social campaigns and policing of criminals that has been roundly criticized for radicalizing the democratic political space and worsening an already fragile peace process, following a decade-long violent conflict that ended in late 2006. Consisting almost entirely of young men dressed in striped sports suits and with a communist red bandana tied around their head, the YCLs activism is highly visible and its activities have been followed closely by the national media and international observers who have routinely charged its cadres with disrupting public order and worsening the security situation through violent attacks on rival political groupings or people they are seen to dislike or disagree with. In its public image, the YCL uses a strong arm tactic that is ill-suited to a democratic transition from war to peace and, due to its poor reputation and dominant presence in the urban landscape, it has possibly become the most contentious political phenomena in postconflict Nepal. Against the widespread opposition to the YCLs particular brand of activism as excessive and unnecessary, however, the movements leaders and members 2

INTRODUCTION

hold that it is precisely necessity that defines its unique character, that which makes it progressive and requires that it adopts a force theory, for how else can it be revolutionary? This dissertation is an ethnographic study of the Young Communist League as a particular political phenomenon within the Nepali Maoist movement, and the overall aim is to contribute to an analysis of contemporary political culture in Nepal and the challenges bound up with a transition from war to peace. Since 1990, when a broad uprising brought to an end 30 years of autocratic governance, difficulties in establishing an inclusive and stable democratic platform have nourished a radical-left Maoist movement which has successfully mobilized countrywide support in the rural areas through an armed struggle and has, since 2006, moved to the center of the political arena and secured a surprising electoral victory in May 2008, thereby becoming the largest party in the country. In the span of just a few years, Nepali Maoism has traveled from the jungle and into the mainstream, negotiating a difficult shift from guerilla war to democratic participation. Underlying the Maoist movements success has been a strong pro-poor and anti-elitist platform backed by programs of redistributive justice that have sought to champion not only a communist vision of equality but strong nationalist sentiments to re-establish the glory of Nepal and its people against the interference of foreign forces, most notably India and the USA. The Maoist transition has paved the way for a reconfiguration of democratic society with its mix of communist politics and nationalist sentimentality, introducing both a radical conceptualization of democracy and a novel set of actors onto the political scene. By focusing on the youth wing of the Maoist movement, the dissertation explores the ways in which the complex configurations and histories of radical politics, youth mobilization and the transition to peace have engendered new political spaces that both build on and contradict dominant ideas and practices of what constitutes legitimate politics. When looking at the YCL, we are confronted with the question that is highly central to any radical-left grouping operating within dominant tropes of democracy and parliamentarism, namely how to navigate a political field that one is at the same time seeking to transform a question which points not only to the limits of legible political actions but equally to the possibilities and pitfalls of communist politics. I explore this question by turning to the site of activism and the interplay between public and internal organizational aspects of the YCL, as this is where everyday political battles are staged and political philosophies realized and resisted. Sitting at the intersection between individual members and the movement organizing them into action, activism opens up a fruitful point of departure for an anthropology of the political field because it allows us

INTRODUCTION

to understand how organizational values and political priorities are shaped and result in specific forms of expression. The Young Communist League relies for its public programs on a unique vision, culture and corps of cadres that it takes great care to train and integrate into the party community, and it is to the nature of this phenomenon we must turn to interrogate the movement at large. Based on 10 months of fieldwork in Kathmandu in 2009, I explore the nature of the YCLs activism by focusing on its internal cadre culture as the key to unlocking the secret behind its political expressions: in the way it mobilizes and trains new cadres to a program of revolution, in how it organizes members to generate discipline and increase efficiency, and in the forging of new political identities that break with dominant perceptions of activism. In focusing on Maoist cadres, I am therefore less interested in the urban politics within which the YCL has consolidated itself and the socio-political environment that it maneuvers within than I am in understanding how it builds cadres and what it means, from the individual members perspective, to become mobilized to revolutionary politics during a democratic transition: what are the challenges that YCL cadres are faced with in their decisions to become Maoist activists and what is it they learn about politics and legitimacy that informs public, political behavior? My overall argument is that Nepali Maoisms move from the margins to the center of politics has taken place through the cultivation of new political identities that mix ideas of youth and revolutionary ideology with national sacrifice, thus establishing the Maoist party as the savior of the nation and its cadres as heroes and role models of a coming New Nepal. The Maoist movement has consolidated its position in the postconflict landscape through the successful mobilization of a young generation to activism and introduced a politicization of the urban environment in an effort to empower ordinary people to participate in political decision-making. By drawing on a tradition of people power as it has been experienced through successive popular uprisings in 1990 and 2006, traditions of national warrior sacrifices, and the moral power of exemplary conduct, the Maoist movement has built a cadre culture that is as much about the rise of a new national political figure as it is about producing party soldiers, and it is in this overlapping identity between the revolutionary party cadre and national youth heroes that the analysis is located. YCL activism is thus revealed to be a product of a specific rendition and creation of the revolutionary post-war cadre whose commitment is encapsulated in the idiom of sacrifice, allowing us to appreciate the intricate linkages between youth identities, Maoist ideology and Nepali political culture. The chief question this dissertation sets out to explore is what it means to become a revolutionary in the aftermath of war, positioned between the heroic struggle of senior

INTRODUCTION

members during the armed phase and faced with the prospect of a continued revolution to bring about a New Nepal.1 This entails looking in detail at the role and form that sacrifice takes in the changed political context. Sacrifice is a central ethos around which cadres mobilization is structured, and self-sacrifice (balidan) has historically been central to the ethics of membership in the Maoist movement, and reached a climax during the armed struggle, the People's War, when Maoist soldiers gave their lives to the revolution and acquired the status of martyrs. But what does self-sacrifice mean in a context of peace, where sacrifice no longer requires the taking or giving of life? How is sacrifice becoming re-signified in the post-war context among the new generation of Maoist cadres that are not engaged in armed combat? The specific argument forwarded in this dissertation is that sacrifice in the post-war context has been turned inwards and onto a struggling self and is therefore reminiscent of ascetic rather than warrior sacrifice. Reflecting the changed momentum of the Maoist revolution that is now unfolding within the context of democratic politics, sacrifice has slowed down and become less spectacular; instead of sacrifices on the battlefield confronted with an enemy, they now take place in the camp, where they become extended into years, and involve turning oneself into a victim. Revolutionary sacrifice has become protracted and internalized. Ethnographically, I focus on the young and new recruits to the YCL who have dedicated themselves full-time to the movement and reside in small shared communes that are called camps. By paying special attention to the role of the camp in the cadres process of becoming revolutionaries, I investigate the personal and moral investment that accompanies political mobilization. Cadres decisions to join and leave are fraught with difficult dilemmas because they feel so much is at stake for them as individuals but also for the country's development. To start with, they must leave their current occupation behind, shift to living in a camp and learn entirely new skills, which challenges them on a practical level. And, in addition, they develop new visions of themselves and of society which result in a quite different set of quandaries: have they wasted their youth in chasing one employment opportunity after another that never seemed to lead anywhere? Have their parents failed them in not giving them a proper education? Is it morally deplorable to drink and smoke? Is it sometimes OK to use violence against others to prevent an even greater calamity? And how can they contribute and make a change?

In posing this question, I am interested in exploring not just how individuals experience becoming YCL cadres, with the contradictions and shifts this implies, but rather in trying to understand how the formation of revolutionary subjects results in specific organizational and political configurations. It is the problem of activism as a form of expression that is my overall concern and not how people cope with the challenges involved in their turn to Maoism.

INTRODUCTION

Such questions blur the lines between the personal and the political, and it is in these interstices that I seek to locate the processes of mobilization and the making of revolutionary subjectivity. I show what part local morality, ideas of youth and the concrete experience of activism play, and I also examine the wider ideas of social and political reform that accompanied mobilization. I will focus on how my informants understood and experienced their decisions to volunteer and the changed circumstances of their lives during their time as cadres in the camp but also focus on how their new role repositioned them in society and how this affected their relationships with friends and family outside the party. Through an ethnography that weaves together the daily life of cadres in the camps with local social and political values, I show what it means to be a revolutionary in this post-conflict space. The analytic of sacrifice connects cadres' extended lives in camps with their commitment to the revolution, and with their work as activists in public. Thus, the particularity of this case is relevant for understanding contemporary Nepali political culture; it throws light not only on how cadres are trained in the YCL and what it means to receive a revolutionary education for largely illiterate young wage laborers but it also analyzes the form that the revolution has taken during the political transition by linking it with the constitution of political subjectivities and discourses and practices of sacrifice. Far from being simply a marginal political phenomenon, then, the everyday life and subjective experiences of Maoist cadres is expressive of a political subjectivity connected with revolutionary movements worldwide and, as such, part of a globalized identity that stresses a willingness to sacrifice oneself for the sake of a socio-political program. In the tumultuous climate of transitory Nepal, this revolutionary subjectivity is part of the configuration of contemporary political culture and offers an important perspective on the nature of politics. Moreover, in spite of the marginal position of entry-level youth in the political structure, their formative experience as activists will undoubtedly provide a context for understanding central aspects of Nepali society in years to come. Cadres' lives, I argue, thereby illuminate the complex processes by which political subjectivities are constituted and partake in the larger reconstitution of political culture in post-conflict Nepal.

AN ALYT IC AL FR AMEWO R K
The anthropological study of political culture in Nepal is still a bourgeoning research field that draws on a wide variety of research themes. With the dramatic political events of the last decades, researchers in Nepal have increasingly turned their eye to studying 6

INTRODUCTION

political processes.2 The Maoist war, in particular, inspired numerous publications that sought to make sense of this new political entity albeit with very sparse first-hand material from the field (for an exception, see Onesto 2005); researchers were left with the CPN-Ms own reports and interviews with their leaders (Thapa 2003; Karki & Seddon 2003; Vishwakarma 2006), or general macro-analyses that investigated its causes, ideology and strategies (Baral 2006; Thapa & Sijapati 2004; Upreti 2008) but had little to say about how it worked on the ground or why people actually joined. Except for a small handful of ethnographers who provided pioneering descriptions from their fieldwork during the war and which has helped frame the way in which we think about Nepals Maoist movement today (de Sales 2000; Shneiderman 2003; Shneiderman & Turin 2004; Lecomte-Tilouine 2004a; Pettigrew 2004), the overriding shortcoming rested, simply, on a lack of data. This dissertation is an effort to fill this empirical gap of knowledge by providing an ethnographic account from within the movement. The changed political circumstances has made it easier to conduct fieldwork in or around the CPN-M and, in recent years, a number of scholars have both explored the new forms of politics that this has resulted in and sought to understand different aspects of its activism (Marsden 2010; Ghimire 2008; Maycock 2010; Medeiros 2010; Zharkevich 2009a; Sharma 2010).3 One of the interesting results of this anthropological upsurge on the Maoist movement has been a reconceptualization of the ideological context of the organization and, in particular, the way in which this has affected ideas of the individuals role in a revolutionary movement (Fujikura 2003; Mottin 2010; Lecomte-Tilouine 2006; Zharkevich 2009a; Snellinger 2010a). The study supplements this body of literature by considering the case of post-war Maoism and by paying attention to the constitution of political subjectivities, drawing on a rich tradition in the anthropology of Nepal.4 With the growth of a Nepali

This is particularly true for ethnographic research, which has principally been preoccupied with questions of religion and caste (Gellner & Quigley 1995; Parish 1993; Gray 1995) and studies of rural communities (Cameron 1998; Ortner 1978; Bennett 1983), privileging the minority ethnic groups (Holmberg 1989; March 2002). The democratization of politics following the 1990 revolution drove ethnographers to focus on the national and global contexts for identity production (Fisher 2001), situating Nepal in the global flow of modernity discourses (Ahearn 2004; Liechty 2005), and offering a body of literature that considered Nepal through the lens of politics (Gellner et al 1997; Hoftun et al 1999; Gellner & Hachhethu 2008), specifically addressing political institutions (Pfaff-Czarnecka 2008), political consciousness (Shneiderman 2009) and forms of participation (Lakier 2007; Wilmore 2008). 3 Jeevan Sharmas ongoing work with the PLA and the YCL is the only other research on the YCL that I am aware of and complements the present research admirably by being almost exclusively focused on rural Nepal, by being based on formal interviews, and by seeking to cover several locations rather than conducting in-depth fieldwork into one particular social setting. These differences notwithstanding, we have come to a remarkably similar set of conclusions. 4 I am thinking, in particular, of analyses of how changing socio-political configurations and new discourses have given rise to novel conceptions of self and other, from teenage romances and their techniques of love-letter writing (Ahearn 2004), through the position of young household workers in urban

INTRODUCTION

political anthropology, interesting studies of activism have also begun to surface (Gellner 2009, 2010; Karki 2006; Snellinger 2010b; de Sales 2010) but there is a further need to probe the variegated experiences and entangled relationships that follow from the emergence of youth as political actors and reflect the new positions for political participation that have become possible with the mainstreaming of the Maoist movement.5 Nepali Maoism belongs to a long and lively tradition of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movements worldwide that seek to overthrow capitalist state structures and replace them with socialist ones. In Maoism, the question of emancipatory politics is always tied up with questions of militarism and a position of antagonism to the dominant social order, thereby closely integrating the political problem of capturing the state with the social one of building novel institutions and identities through which communist persons can develop. As such, the thematic question that drives this study how revolutionary subjectivity is constituted connects with numerous historical examples in which revolutionary identities have been articulated. Nepali Maoism offers an interesting and curious case because of its participation in a multi-party peace process after having carried out a program of armed struggle, thus contrasting with the history of Marxist militant movements that have either succeeded in capturing state power, remained underground, or been co-opted by less radical political forces. The Maoist movement was not defeated but changed its strategy from armed opposition to cooperation with the major political parties and this way entered into a joint peace process. In exploring the convergences between Nepali Maoism and the historical context of a democratic transition, we are confronted by the challenge of how to develop a theoretical vocabulary for analyzing the flourishing field of new identities, novel practices and the rise of alternative political spaces while linking these distinct developments to the social and cultural field from which they originate and against those they react to. As Francesco Alberoni explained in his important work on the two social states (1984), efforts at overthrowing one social order with the goal of creating a new one lands
middle-class homes (Shah 2000) and to Mark Liechtys seminal work on middle-class youth in Kathmandu and their precarious position between the non-refined consumption of the lower classes and the vulgarity of the elite (Liechty 2003). Within politics, this line of inquiry has, in particular, been drawn by Richard Burgharts multifaceted examinations of ascetics, cobblers and political culture (Burghart et al. 1996), Vivienne Kondos early efforts at making sense of the 1990 revolution (Kondos 1994), Laura Kunreuthers sensitive exploration of womens voice in new movements (Kunreuther 2009) and Lauren Leves thought-provoking analysis of rural womens participation in revolution and development (Leve 2009). In probing questions of subjectivity, this study seeks to further these efforts at analyzing how changing conceptions and socio-political developments inform personal experiences and hence the formation of political identities. 5 Youth are a particularly interesting research object in the current political climate. Historically, labor migrations has been the major mobilizer of young people to new social identities but with the onset of the People War in 1996, soldiering for the Maoists became a new way of being young (Zharkevich 2009b) for uneducated and low-caste rural youth, and it is this tradition the Maoists have brought with them in their transformation into an urban movement, now mobilizing the urban poor.

INTRODUCTION

movements in a liminal stage whereby previous hierarchies and norms are turned upside down without new ones having solidified. In such periods which he terms the nascent state a multitude of contradictory and inconclusive cultural forms are born. Nepali Maoism operates in what I would term a twilight state; it is revolting against established hierarchies, political practices and cultural norms, and this has led it into uncharted territory in which the construction of new types of relationship and different values have gone hand in hand with the physical assault on state and societal structures. Following a Leninist model of centralized planning and state-building, however, the movements leaders are at the same time trying to circumvent a nascent state proper, seeking instead to steer the revolution around the edges of the nascent and quickly into the new order. While this was accomplished during the Peoples War by establishing parallel structures of governance, it poses a special problem in the current open political context where efforts at instituting a new revolutionary order are curtailed by the structures of state and society. The project of a communist socio-political transformation is now unfolding under the umbrella of parliamentary and competitive party politics, thus diffusing the forces that operate in the mainstream through negotiation (party leaders) and those that keep building alternative forms of sociality in the twilight of public space (YCL camps). The latter are spaces that are both partially visible and partially nascent, seeking not only to challenge the old but to firmly and authoritatively erect the new. To build a theoretical framework that encompasses these formulations of novelty within established social and political forms, I combine three approaches which, in unison, enable me to explore how a new generation of cadres is being trained and shaped to become Maoist activists. The first analytical frame considers general processes of cadreship: how one becomes a cadre, the role one is assigned within the organization, and how one moves within and through the institutional context. In addition to investigating the particular dynamics between organizational strategies and cadre positionality, this approach pays particular attention to how mobilization leads to new configurations of identity as a result of Maoist mobilization seeking to break with dominant societal values. The second analytical frame goes one step further to explore how cadres perceive and become invested in their new identities and roles as cadres. Movements such as the Nepali Maoists actively seek to mold new members to fit with their values and I turn to the question of revolutionary subjectivity in order to explore how cadres are constituted as subjects within a radically different ontology of the self;6 what ca-

I use subjectivity here to refer to the dynamic between the structural and historical construction of specific subject-positions and actors variegated efforts at fitting into these frames and making them constitutive of the self. Drawing on Michel Foucault (1984), Giogio Agamben (2009) and, more recently, Veena

INTRODUCTION

dres are taught about their activism, how they are trained to perform and how they are invited to change into different persons. The third, and final, analytical frame brings in theories of sacrifice to shed light on how Maoist cadreship implies a reconfiguration of individual aspirations within new horizons of meaning, and how this enables an exchange that generates new communal and political relationships and connects camp life with public activism. Considering these three approaches together allows me to move from the institutional dynamics through which cadres are taught to become revolutionaries, to the ways that cadres are mobilized to a project of personal reform, and then to the question of how cadres training engenders a political commitment and contribution through sacrifice.

Cadreship The first theme of analysis draws on explorations of youth identities and the complex configurations of mobilization in South Asia.7 The way in which revolutionary politics mobilizes people to large-scale social change suggests that we should examine how relations between the movement and its members are symbolized by general ideas of social service, justice, nationality, etc. At the same time, the important context of youth identities in Nepal's post-conflict period offers an opportunity to explore how configurations of membership in the Maoist movement become expressed through the potentiality and significance of a special cultural identity as youth. The case I present, however, is not only located in the interstices between youth and revolution. It simultaneously

Das & Deborah Poole (2004), I see subjectivity as the outcome of a process of biopower the effects of which are far-reaching but never stable and hence offer multiple ways of inhabiting these subjectpositions. If the power and enunciation of viable subject-positions circumscribe sanctionable forms of life, it is the specific imaginaries and practices through which historically-situated actors engage with these positions and seek to turn them into particular and meaningful life-forms what Foucault calls ethics (1984:48) that point to the processes of subjectivity I am interested in here. 7 With the global rise of youth identities over the past decades (UN 2005), young people have increasingly come to take center stage in intergenerational configurations of society and politics (Gale & Fahey 2005; Nash 2005), not least in South Asia where dynamics of globalization and structural inequalities have changed patterns of mobility and mobilization (Kumar 2008; Cross 2009; Jeffrey 2010; Sundar 2010). Mobilization to radical politics has, in particular, been shown to occur around collective identities (Mazumdar 1995; Hansen 1999), masculinity (Donner 2009), and processes of alienation (Banerjee 2009) or individual (un)certainties (Shah 2009), and has opened up a fruitful field of analysis in the interstices between agency and ideology (Kunnath 2006; Gorringe 2010; Chitralekha 2010). Furthermore, as evidenced by recent scholarly work in the context of violence and conflict (Richards 1996; Utas 2003), ideas of youth are particularly prone to being mobilized to large-scale social transformation due to the way young people are seen to inhabit the crevices between the old and new order and can assume a position as social shifters (Durham 2004). In such environments, youth has been shown to denote a precarious social position that is sought optimized through 'navigating' the social terrain (Vigh 2006; 2009), allowing for a complex notion of agency that is straddled between 'being' and 'becoming' (Christiansen et al. 2006), between the structural parameters of social position and the social imaginaries (Taylor 2002) of new identities.

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INTRODUCTION

straddles the volatility of war and conflict and the democratic structures of 'political society' (Chatterjee 2005). Post-conflict Nepal has both: the destabilization of traditional structures and cultural values due to experiences of war, which has opened up new spaces for youth as social shifters (Durham 2004), and the return of strong social and political institutions that circumscribe the experiences and trajectories of emergent youth cultures. In theorizing the nature of these conjunctures between youth, revolution and transitions to peace, I have searched for an approach to investigating cadreship that is sensitive to cadres own ideas of their activism while combining what they say about their experience with what they actually do as activists. The challenging question has been how to deal with the unexpected situation that cadres enunciations of the party ideology were not very different from how they actually behaved, and that it therefore seemed prudent to investigate how these two aspects of cadre life its values and its practices reinforced each other rather than looking at how they diverged. I have therefore been interested in approaching cadreship from the perspective of how it articulates new ideas and values that members actively try to conform to, and for this reason I have been focused on the question of identity, the identity as youth and the identity as revolutionary. To this end, I consider cadreship from the angle of volunteering. Volunteering is a fruitful departure point for examining the relationship between cadres and revolutionary activism because it poses the problem of joining around a decision to give time to the benefit of another person, group or cause (Wilson 2000:215). The perspective builds on a Durkheimian model of solidarity that follows from adherence to a set of social obligations (see Wilson & Janoski 1995), and this framing makes it possible to examine what, then, the nature of this solidarity might be, and why it constitutes an obligation. Formulating participation around issues of volunteering expands the nature of the question we pose to cadres decision to join from merely one concerning a personal motivation (cg. Tilly 1978; Klandermans & Roggeband 2010) to one considering their embeddedness in wider social fields. This locates volunteering in the interstices between diverse social spheres such as economic exchange, gift-giving, social service, kinship obligations etc., that are combined in novel and seemingly contradictory ways (Hayakawa 2009), thus placing volunteering in an ambiguous zone of overlapping discourses and practices. It allows me to analyze how volunteering to become a cadre is played out between young peoples social obligations, experiences of being young in a consumerized urban environment, ideas of national responsibility and the special role of youth in reforming Nepal. I use this perspective to consider the dynamic between group identification and social change, an issue that builds on anthropological models between movements and

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INTRODUCTION

identity processes (Pratt 2003; Edelman 2001). Because movements are active participants in society they do not have rigid boundaries but operate through intricate processes of inclusion and exclusion where they position themselves as simultaneously inside and outside communities, in a history of enduring opposition (Pratt 2003:10). I shall be investigating the complex configurations of youth in post-conflict Nepal as an identity that runs along two axes: between an inclusive national identity in which youth have a special role to play, and as a non-political idea of youth as a generational category divided by social positions. To understand the organizational context within which cadreship unfolds, I examine the processes through which cadres are trained and deployed as activists following the institutionalization of their roles inside the organizational frames of the Young Communist League. The YCL prides itself on being a tightly-organized movement with a strict discipline, and I focus on how positions are perceived and performed and result in quite tangible subject-positions. In this organizational matrix, I approach the subject along Foucauldian lines, as both an object of intervention something that is molded through disciplines (Foucault 1984) and as an effect of these very processes. This means that cadres are actualized as subjects by their localization in the organizationalcum-discursive matrix and such a relationship between cadres and the Maoist organization requires paying special attention to the role of the camp. The YCL camp is a strong institution that clearly distributes roles through which cadres come to relate to each other but, as subject-positions, these roles also describe identities within which they can develop as cadres. By treating this under one heading the cadre-subject I chart the constitution of members through the way they live, relate and imagine themselves in the altered social landscape of the YCL camp in order to analyze how cadres are formed and the ethics of the subject (ibid.:48) that is established within this organizational matrix.

Revolutionary subjectivity The analytical frame of cadreship that I have sketched is a first step in exploring how young people become activists through the rise of new identities and within specific institutional matrixes. Supplementing this approach, I employ a particular exploration of revolutionary subjectivity that considers the identification shifts peculiar to the revolutionary self. Departing from a variegated body of literature,8 I am interested in translat8

Since the advent of modern social revolutions, the intricate relationship between political change and the subjectivity of individual participants has preoccupied researchers and theoreticians of revolutions, ranging from investigations of a general revolutionary spirit (Arendt 2006), emotional motivation (Kimmel 1991), violence (Ciccariello-Mahler 2007; Finlay 2006) and morality (Judson 1984; Kapcia 2005) to pro-

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INTRODUCTION

ing models that are based on general philosophical conceptualizations or emanate from quite different historical contexts by operationalizing them to fit the ethnographic positioning of a specific Nepali revolutionary subject. This entails asking in particular historical configurations, and of particular people what it means for them to be revolutionaries and tracing how this occurs. I investigate cadres' revolutionary subjectivity by focusing on how they are actively engaged with molding themselves into revolutionaries in the YCLs image, and to accomplish this I engage with the question of revolutionary subjectivity along two lines: first, by investigating how a specific revolutionary ideology comes to inform the way cadres live and reflect upon their lives; and second, by providing an optic for understanding cadres investment in changing themselves through corporeal activity. The first perspective considers the interrelation between cultural practice and the constitution of subjectivities, particularly how the break with a mode of life that is seen as non-revolutionary results in the establishment of a highly structured experience of dwelling. Here, I draw on the varied body of Marxist-inspired literature to examine how revolutionaries must reconsider basic ideas of sociality when learning what it means to serve the party and live in a collectivity, and I further use these models when focusing on how experiences of positionality within institutional hierarchies are reconciled with the idea that revolutionaries constitute a single community based on equality. I draw extensively on Hannah Arendts writing on politics (1961; 2006) and, in particular, on her efforts at formulating a political practice centered on individual protagonists (1998) rather than on the structural forces of history that often occupy Marxist theory. To trace the way becoming a revolutionary is a quality one gains through extended training, I use the notion of apprenticeship as an optic through which to investigate how a structured living can lead to a revolutionary identity. This leads into my second focus on revolutionary subjectivity. With the formation of ethical subjects, I am interested in investigating a process of becoming within a framework that is doubly structured: on the one hand by the identity of the revolutionary, and on the other by the institutional context of the party and the camp. Here, Saba Mahmood's reformulation of Foucauldian ethics is useful because it considers the intrigressive efforts at prescribing how people become tied up in collective struggle through a combination of consciousness transformation (Marx 1904), professional guidance (Lenin 1973), dialectic or pedagogical practice (Mao 1937; Freire 2000; McLaren 2000), or a 'fidelity' without which neither the revolutionary 'event' nor the revolutionary subject would exist (Badiou 2006), suggesting that we probe not ideology as such but the nature of belief (Zizek 2009). Revolutions have always been about newness and 'the experience of the avantgarde' (Arendt 2006:33), and in seeking to remold institutions, social relations and even man itself (Cheng 2009), understanding what it means to be a revolutionary has required an approach that does not separate being from appearance (Arendt 2006:98) or the individual from the political (Holbraad & Pedersen n.d.) but which transgresses these usual scales of analysis and brings them under one, common frame.

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INTRODUCTION

cate ways in which selves are formed within discursive and institutional structures (Mahmood 2005). The question she raises is the process by which people turn themselves into subjects, and the crucial insight here is that it is through actively engaging with, and even submitting to, such a subject-position that people become ethical. In this model, the search for improvement is what leads persons to engage with new discourses and practices that reform selves, bodies and desires through the establishment of moral systems, which are formative in turning people into fuller and qualitatively 'better' beings. As such, the formation of the ethical subject hinges on the ability to subordinate oneself to a moral system. Transferred to the Nepali context, this means that we should not ask what the revolutionary subject believes but rather what an ethical revolutionary does, and this in turn requires paying detailed attention to how cadre life is structured, with its own hierarchies and moral systems. It is in this dynamic between cadres' subordination to a program of moral reform in their everyday lives in the camp, and the horizon of an ethical revolutionary identity which they aspire to that I locate my search for revolutionary subjectivity. Formulating dynamics of activism around collective identities and the subjectivity of cadreship raises the question of how to recognize the limits of this formation of Maoist cadres. When does it break down, and what is the point at which identification fails? In this study, I locate the fissures between persons and subjectivization processes in cadres inability to fit into the roles they are assigned. Cadres struggle, not primarily with developing secondary adjustments to supplement their official performances (Goffman 1961) but with turning the cadre identity into a viable model of being that is individually meaningful and can be tied into their own life-histories. Cadres efforts at becoming revolutionaries compete with other social models of being, and the prospects of failure are at the very frontier of this identification process, in cadres push for self-formation and the conditions in which it fails or becomes with-drawn. This study considers in particular cadres who continued the struggle to become good revolutionaries, although this took place in a context of the continual failure of other, less dedicated people both before, during and after my fieldwork period. I am interested in the way striving to become a better cadre through submission does not automatically result in the desired results, and how this prospect of failure derives from the inability of any social project to produce stable identities due to an inherent lack in the structure of subjectivity (Zizek 1989). I use the optics of cadreship and revolutionary subjectivity to analyze how mobilization to the YCL is framed, which organizational procedures it results in, how cadres invest themselves through moral and corporeal practices in attaining an identity as revolutionaries, and why it is so easy to fail. In order to understand the entire dynamic be-

14

INTRODUCTION

tween volunteering to bring about a New Nepal and then ending up in a camp where cadres are deliberately separated from society, however, I turn to the frame of sacrifice as a third and very specific analysis of Maoist activism.

Sacrifice In exploring sacrifice in its political context, I am interested not merely in describing it as an ethic or a trope that structures subject-positions but in trying to transpose an anthropological theory of sacrifice onto politics.9 Few have tried to interrogate political sacrifices from the perspective of sacrifice theory, leaving unanswered the question of whether the elaborate ritual prescriptions of religious sacrifices and the strong relationship between the figure of the divine have something to add to our understanding of the political sphere.10 This is what I propose to do here by pushing the link between sacrifice and politics further than is conventionally the case. In trying to think about how we might approach political sacrifices that are not about martyrdom, I have turned to a theory of processual sacrifices that is most clearly stated in Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss' famous essay from 1898: 'Sacrifice: Its Nature and Function'. This text revolves around the person benefitting from the sacrifice, the sacrifier, rather than on the general social effects of the ritual (Tylor 1871, Frazer 1994; Robertson-Smith 1886), and they pay special attention to the processes leading to the ritual climax (and away from it), instead of focusing on sacrifice as a spectacle (Girard 1997). What makes their theory particularly relevant for examining Maoist sacrifice is their model of how people (and objects) become eligible for sacrifice. In short, their model describes a process of sacralization by which the participants to the sacri9

As one of anthropology's core concepts, sacrifice has been a central theme throughout the development of the discipline (Tylor 1871; Frazer 1994; Robertson-Smith 1886; Hubert & Mauss 1964; EvansPritchard 1954; Girard 1977; Bataille 1989; Burkert 1986). Efforts at utilizing theories of sacrifice for understanding non-religious political phenomena, however, have been limited and have primarily revolved around the notion of martyrdom (Pettigrew 1997a). To be sure, questions of sacrifice have historically been important themes for studies of modern political movements, with George Mosse's work on the rise of the cult of the ordinary soldier's sacrifice during the First World War as a significant contribution for understanding the important link between the formation of new identities and the desire to become a martyr (Mosse 1990). Yet, despite intricate analyses of sacrifice and martyrdom in nationalist movements (Aretxaga 1997; Sharp 2002; Khalili 2007), studies of political sacrifice have principally been concerned with documenting practices of martyrdom that involve a glorious and courageous death for the sake of a principle (Pettigrew 1997b), highlighting the figure of the martyr as an individual hero (Schalk 1997), revolving around passion and fearlessness (Keppley-Mahmood 1997) or acting out a witnessing of his own faith (Asad 2007). 10 A notable exception can be found in the literature on divine kingship, which has a long history within political anthropology (see Graeber 2011) and is a particularly relevant theme in the context of Nepal with its more than 200 years of Hindu monarchy (Burghart 1996a; 1996b; van den Hoek 1990). I draw on these insights between authority, divinity and the body of the king to explore the nature of cadres sovereignty as activists but because I am concerned here with everyday expressions of activism, I do not pursue the interesting links between Nepali Maoism and Hindu kingship in this dissertation.

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INTRODUCTION

fice are ritually prepared, and a corresponding process of desacralization after the sacrifice that returns participants to their ordinary state. In this Durkheimian conceptualization, sacrifice involves an exchange with divinity and this is only possible if earthly beings approach the quality of the divine, i.e. sacrality. They must therefore be ritually prepared because otherwise the meeting would be 'incompatible' and have catastrophic results. Their approach is particularly apt when examining non-martyr sacrifices that do not involve being killed and where sacrifice is instead a processual aspect of revolutionary subjectivity rather than its climax. Sacrifice in such a context is neither spectacular nor abrupt but is integrated into the frame of everyday political activism. I utilize this framework to make sense of the way mobilization in my field describes a practice of moving into camps and learning to live according to its codex. The daily grind of cooking, cleaning and waiting that I shall spend much time describing are difficult to fit into an optic of revolutionary becoming unless we bring in a processual theory of sacrifice. Hubert & Mauss's theory is therefore a very useful optic in the situation I am investigating, where sacrifice has become protracted, and it helps me makes sense of how the cadres' life in the camp might be described as a period of political maturation during which they practice sacrifice on each other and themselves. In Hubert & Mausss conceptualization, sacrifice is not so much an event as a process whereby the sacrifier must be ritually separated and follow a host of detailed prescriptions to expel profanity from his or her self, and I draw on this idea to examine cadres' lives in the camp, with its routines and ethical codex as processes of sacralization. Aside from describing a way for persons to undergo changes as a process of ritual preparation, sacrifice theory lets us interrogate relationships between cadres and the other main participants to the sacrifice: beside the sacrifier, which cadres represent in my analysis, these are the sacrificer who prepares the sacrifier and guides him or her in the process of sacrifice; the witnesses to the sacrifice; the figure of the divine that represents the sacred; and lastly the victim. The figure of the victim is particularly potent and has inspired a long line of discussions on how blood-sacrifices in particularly serve to rejuvenate divine powers (Frazer 1994) or human communities (Girard 1977) by acting as a medium of communication between the sacred and profane realms (Hubert & Mauss 1964). It is through the destruction of a victim, whether human or otherwise, that sacrifices draw their potency, but whereas the figure of the victim is easily identifiable in situations of war, it is much more opaque in the case I describe where no-one or only very few are actually being killed. Recognizing the importance of the victim for something to be a sacrifice, this ethnography is in a way a search for the victim in postwar revolutionary sacrifice; clearly, it is no longer an individuals entire being that is

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INTRODUCTION

destroyed but, if the victim is no longer identical with biological life, what form, or forms, has it taken instead? To explore these wider aspects of the personal sacrifice, we touch upon three important theoretical traditions in the sacrifice literature that I shall make implicit or explicit references to, and which returns us to the problem of subjectivity. Where Hubert & Mausss Durkheimian model of sacralization has the benefit of providing an optic for understanding the multiple and often contradictory relationships between cadres, their lives in the camp and the ones they have left behind, it is however more limited in throwing light on how sacrifice involves a personal investment of the self; how becoming a revolutionary requires cadres to undergo personal change. The first of these traditions that I shall build on is the theory of substitutive sacrifices in which an object is offered in substitution for something else (Smith & Doniger 1989), a structural relation that helps us appreciate the way cadres turn themselves into victims when a proper external enemy is unavailable. The second tradition for thinking about sacrifice is specifically Hindu and has to do with the relationship between warriors, desire and ascetism (Das 1983; Hausner 2007; Blom Hansen 2005), which I will seek inspiration from when exploring configurations of revolutionary morality, particularly in the specific linkages between Hinduism and public authority in Nepal (Burghart 1996a; 1996b; van den Hoek 1990). The last tradition draws on the literature of initiation rites (Van Gennep 1960; Turner 1969) to explore the dynamic between self-sacrifice and regeneration of identity, thus allowing a temporal loss of vitality to be regained from an external source (Bloch 1991). Together, these three perspectives allow me to investigate a range of apparent paradoxes in the post-conflict revolutionaries, such as how sacrifice becomes reduced to requirements for ethical personhood, or how YCL cadres can be cast as soldiers in a militant youth organization when their lives are reminiscent of ascetics, and lastly how they volunteer to take part in the revolution and then end up in a small and closed community engaged in a range of self-sacrifices. In sum, the analytical framework I have sketched combines three different approaches through which I explore Maoist activism and with which I try to make sense of my ethnographic material whereby a commitment to political struggle by newcomer cadres took the overriding form of working and waiting in YCL camps. The combination of theories I have presented cadreship, revolutionary subjectivity, sacrifice is an effort to formulate a theoretical perspective from which to bring these expressions of activism into a logical frame, departing from cadres daily struggles with turning themselves into revolutionaries and investigating the forms that their engagement with the Maoist project takes. It is, I suggest, by linking processes of self-making with concrete institutional values and dynamics that we may arrive at an anthropological perspective

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INTRODUCTION

on political activism, one that looks into the specific organization of subjectivities and how these generate the energy and expressions through which particular political forms are shaped. YCL activism was, in crucial ways, shaped by the identities cadres were being recruited to embrace and by the way the production of cadre subjectivities, with its positions and ideas, empowered people to act. The theoretical perspective I have traced is an effort at capturing this symbolic framework for constituting political identities and is an optic that grows out of the historically specific phenomenon that Nepali Maoism is.

F I ELDWOR K, METHODS A ND ETHI CS


Activism in Nepal is very visible; it spills into the streets and the public sphere, deliberately interfering with the busy operations of city life to make itself known and recognizable through parades and political happenings. The forms of this activism are not at first sight so different whether one considers the CPN-M or other political and social pressure groups that use concerted action and sloganeering to push limited agendas in Kathmandus politicized urban environment. Yet, for the Maoists, protest goes hand-inhand with building relationships with the public through social service provision and other pro-community campaigns that are integral aspects, albeit less conspicuous, of the partys vision of being a platform for change. I wanted to get into this field but also behind its faade, to understand the nature of this activism, its goals and protagonists in a way that did not take its controversial expressions of disruption and violence as an analytical or methodological starting point and yet found a fruitful position from which to investigate it. From the outset, I was interested in investigating the newcomers to activism rather than the experienced members because I expected that, with CPN-Ms transition to an urban-based political movement, the prospects of the Maoist project, and the changes to political culture in general, would be found in how the coming generation of activists were trained to a reformed vision of legitimate political struggle.11 The most immediate consequence of this decision was to turn the focus away from party leaders and other
11

This was in line with a recent focus in political anthropology on studying the state from its margins because it provides a privileged analytical point for understanding authority, sovereignty and legitimacy (Das and Poole 2004). The YCL appeared to be a privileged field for investigating the constitution of a new political culture because it was clearly a heftily contested phenomena, with the party on the one side seeking to boost the organization and its image, and civil society representatives, public sentiment and rival political parties deriding it for being violent and undemocratic. In this sense, it was a double margin: the YCL at the margins of political legitimacy, and the junior cadres at the margins of the party.

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INTRODUCTION

central public figures, and therefore to prioritize a fieldwork away from the buzzing spotlight of centrally important events and strategies, and to delve into the mundane and routine aspects of activism. I was deliberately not interested in recording the opinions of a large number of different Maoist leaders and documenting this elite perspective on the political transition but in investigating what kind of changes it led to on an organizational level and how it registered among ordinary members whose experiences of activism were not well known. The combination of these two priorities to study the underbelly of Maoist activism and to privilege ordinary cadres perspectives led me to focus on the training camps and party offices of full-time members. These were the YCLs operational units where the majority of its members resided and coordinated their activities from. The advantage of focusing on these Area Offices of which there were 15 in Kathmandu, was that it gave me access to a level of the organization that would have been impossible to study from higher up in the party machinery and it provided me with a tangible site of activist practice outside the spectacularity of events. These local party offices, the YCL camps, are nodal points for connecting leadership strategies with the grassroots, as they are central hubs for coordinating activities in the neighborhood, for holding informal meetings, and for meeting up with other party members in the area. One does not, however, just walk into a YCL camp and start researching its members. The CPN-M is a hierarchically organized movement that prides itself on its vertical lines of integration, and access to the lower echelons of the party must be negotiated through the layers of leaders above it. I made my way down through this hierarchy over a period of three weeks until I was given the phone number of two or three YCL camp leaders, one of which was willing to accommodate my research objectives now that his leaders had consented. To study a hierarchical organization such as the YCL requires fitting into its structure and, since every member is placed on a fixed level with corresponding areas of responsibility and access, the same came to apply to me, even if I was not a member. My primary position in this matrix was the Nayabasti camp with Pradeep, the In-Charge, as my leader and gatekeeper and, while it opened up access to the camp and its social environment, where I could come and go as I liked, it effectively restricted my movement outside the Jorpati area. One of my original intentions, to research two different YCL camps for comparative purposes, therefore had to be dropped, and I focused instead on combining the detailed fieldwork in Nayabasti with a range of other methods to expand the field that I shall detail below. Added to this methodological complication of immobility was another aspect of doing fieldwork in not just tightly controlled organizations but conflictual environments where knowledge becomes politicized and is patrolled. YCL leaders were cau-

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INTRODUCTION

tious about their image, acutely aware of the public opinion mounted against them, and several were somewhat suspicious of my intentions. This did have some impact on my access to knowledge of organizational operations, which could only be provided by the leaders, and my curiosity of the YCLs political priorities and economic strategies was frowned upon and met with evasiveness and occasionally even hostility. This limited access to the operational and strategic aspects of the YCL as a political organization led me to refocus my research so that it revolved almost exclusively around cadre experiences, thereby shelving my original intentions to also map and analyze wider organizational aspects of the Maoist movement. It also led me to focus on the camp as a site for producing cadre subjectivity and thus to make this institutional world my village and its culture my principal research objective. What role, I started wondering, did camp life play for the cadres activism and for the leaderships mobilization strategies? Nayabasti thereby became my primary research field and the institutional space within which I was positioned. As a guest in the YCL, I was allowed to participate in almost everything that happened in the camp but would never be invited to official party meetings and to some of the assignments cadres were mobilized for, particularly what they called security operations. Clearly, this was first and foremost meant to protect me a party guest in the care of a lower-level YCL leader and cadres were happy to share information about their whereabouts afterwards, but the result was that I often stayed behind in the camp with the remaining (and more junior cadres) who were also always the last to be mobilized. Turning these methodological circumstances into the basis of an ethnographic exploration, I shifted my attention to the nature of this immobility that I shared with the junior cadres when I was in the camp. What did it mean, I started asking, to be mobilized to revolution and then end up sitting on a roof in a suburban neighborhood with the impression that one was learning about and doing politics, as cadres repeatedly told me? The majority of my fieldwork data stems from close observation in Nayabasti and from repeated interviews with its members on a wide variety of topics. This is where I came to spend most days in the field over a period of eight months, hanging out with the cadres to get a sense of the rhythm of camp life while probing them about their reasons for joining, relations with family and friends, tracing their life histories, and seeking to understand their experiences of cadre life as well as their prospects for the future. Nayabasti had three tiers of members (see Appendix 5): the two eldest, Pradeep and his righthand man Nischal, were the most senior leaders; below them were a handful of middle leaders, and both these groups held leadership positions in the party's committees at different levels and had been members in other wings of the party during the People's War; the third group was the post-conflict members who were on average a number of years

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INTRODUCTION

younger than the middle leaders and mobilized directly into the YCL from within the locality. While I developed close relations with most of Nayabastis less than thirty fulltime cadres, I was methodologically most interested in focusing on the peace-time cadres who comprised two-thirds of the camps members, including the only three women in the camp. My position in the field was reflected in the kind of relationships I developed with Nayabastis three groups of members. Pradeep would act as my superordinate in all our interactions, and though I mainly experienced this as control, he was also being protective of me, as if I were his cadre. With the middle-leaders, including Nischal, I felt a strong sense of equanimity and resonance. We would enjoy many long talks on everything from TV shows to why there have been so few revolutions in Africa, and they would query me endlessly about life in Denmark, critical about its loose social integration but otherwise respectful of how developed it was. To the young cadres, who saw me as a senior and were neither particularly interested in discussing politics with me or knowing my history, I was mainly just fun to have around. I offered them English lessons, bought books and magazines they could read, introduced them to war movies, let them listen to my portable music player and, with my clumsy Nepali and weird questions, I broke some routines and interrupted the flow of camp life. Nayabasti, as my primary field site, was both a blessing and a challenge. It made it easy to observe cadre life and the underbelly of activism but it was surprisingly difficult to study. Cadres lives were divided between three types of undertakings: either they were engaged in chores such as washing, cleaning and cooking or else they were offduty and would watch TV, take naps, read or hang out in small groups. Lastly, they would be called for work outside the camp. I would generally accompany cadres in their different activities but the problem was that they were predominantly off-duty and in the restricted spaces of the camp, this translated into inactivity. How do you carry out ethnographic fieldwork when nothing is happening? As people were dozing, sitting alone and reading, or half-heartedly watching a Hindi movie, I soon found that neither observation nor participation yielded very satisfying data. There is a limit to how much even anthropologists can get out of watching the absence of talk and movement and I often found myself walking from room to room desperately looking for someone who was doing something other than passive relaxing. I therefore often tried to pick up conversations but this also had its limitations as talking was hierarchically structured and the higher ranked seniors would reply rather than some of the younger ones that I was trying to engage with. During interviews, on the other hand, which I tried to keep private in order to avoid exactly this kind of situation, my position as a senior and the cadres' as apprentices often inhibited the flow of

21

INTRODUCTION

these conversations. Even after months of talking with the same two handfuls of people, I still felt that many were responding to me as if I were a leader testing them on their knowledge, and this applied even when I asked very personal questions. The most bizarre example I encountered was one cadre with whom I talked about what happiness meant to him. Although I saw this as an invitation to an unrestrained and very personal story, it only put him under a great deal of pressure to find a proper answer that did not revolve around himself but reflected his sacrifice and commitment to the party, and he had to flip through his notebook with leaders' speeches and revolutionary quotes for an appropriate formulation. After the interview, he apologized that he had not been better at answering my question, but that he had found the questions quite difficult. Next time, he promised, he would do better. In a situation where talk was either absent or highly schematized and cadres partook in routines of work and related through their positions in the internal hierarchy, the challenge for me was to produce an in-depth knowledge of a field that was somehow intentionally withdrawn while penetrated by a formality that I was uncertain about how to approach. As anthropologists, we rely much more than is often admitted on our protagonists willingness to talk about themselves, to tell us stories and to express their opinions information that we can then turn into scientific prose. But what do we do when talk is deliberately absent or stylized such as to become deliberately unpersonal? This raises important questions to a political anthropology that considers the formation of revolutionary subjectivities as does this one: how do we give voice to people who do not wish to speak and for whom silence is a virtue that corresponds to their position as novices? We are used to thinking about organizations as formal and life within them as informal but, with the YCL and its camps, it seemed that it was the other way around. Nayabasti, as with other YCL offices I visited, had a complete lack of institutional signifiers, starting with the absence of any sign outside the camp that this was not just an ordinary household residence. Relations between members, on the other hand, had an air of formality about them which reflected that its members took cadre life quite seriously. Often, when cadres wanted to talk to me about more private stuff what they thought about sex and romance, or how they felt about their kinship obligations this usually took place outside the camp, in tea shops, or during strolls around the neighborhood. Inside the camp, I was told, it was not appropriate to talk about private issues because that was not why they had signed up for the YCL. As a strong institution with its own organizational culture, cadres were expected to behave professionally in their cadre roles and it was this professionalism of the revolutionary identity that they were learning to master with its distinct requirements for conduct. It was therefore not that I

22

INTRODUCTION

had difficulty in eliciting honest responses from my interlocutors, or that these were not personal issues, but rather that cadres were so occupied with fitting into their institutional roles that little else seemed to matter.12 These dynamics around cadres efforts to become the revolutionaries they had signed up for convinced me to pay more attention to how they struggled with this identity with cadre subjectivity rather than trying to document all the small irregularities of camp life that cadres themselves were embarrassed about when I pointed them out. If Maoist cadreship was a mask, it seemed relevant to ask how members wore it and turned it into an extension of themselves and to understand how it produced the authority and self-assuredness of their political engagements. Analytically, the predicaments of doing ethnography in a context where expressions of formality are not seen as faades beneath which the real individual hides but rather the very form through which cadres are seen to develop and therefore also the role that they are invested in, requires shifting focus from trying to dig out the private individual buried under the weight of institutional and discursive formations to an investigation of how these forms are themselves productive of subjectivity. To understand this, I resorted to detailed observations of daily life, taking note of who came and went, who were on duty and who could relax, what people were doing and how they interacted. But it was also extremely helpful to listen attentively to the explanations offered by cadres and leaders about the role of work and the organizational set-up in forming revolutionaries, to pay attention to how relationships between members were expressed and negotiated, and to listen to leaders speeches and instructions despite the easily recognizable rhetoric. Furthermore, I regularly interviewed cadres and leaders on various aspects of camp life, tracing their life stories or engaging them in discussions about specific events they had participated in to draw a nuanced picture of their experiences and perceptions. The way in which cadres appropriated Maoist idioms to express their political or professional experiences opened up a fruitful way of exploring the formation of revolutionary subjectivities. The concentrated focus on camp life in my fieldwork offered a unique opportunity for investigating the way young and new cadres at the partys margins were trained and how they experienced this process in the rather curious mixture between political maturation, daily routines and physical seclusion in a camp. Yet to understand how Nayabasti was located within the wider field of Maoist activism, I had to employ a range of
12

During the Dashain holidays in late September, for instance, I followed a group of cadres back to their villages for five days, on their first leave from the YCL after one year. This was not, as one might have imagined, an opportunity to throw off the performance tied to an institutionally-backed cadre identity but rather an occasion for cadres to explain their decisions to become Maoists to family members and to play out their new political identities in a receptive environment where they were suddenly no longer novices but experienced activists who recited political poems in public village gatherings and lectured the old generation on how to resolve community conflicts.

23

INTRODUCTION

strategies for extending my field in different directions. First of all, I was continuously engaged with meeting and interviewing Maoist members from various corners of the organization, such as YCL leaders or local part-timers, and having access to other members perspectives helped me understand the integration of Nayabasti as a functional unit within the YCL and CPN-M as a whole. Another way in which I extended my field was by drawing in not only more people but also additional fields in my research: by following the Nayabasti cadres out of the camp to the various places their work took them; through conducting surveys in the locality of the work places where cadres had been mobilized from and with young people who were not political activists; by mapping the political environment in Kathmandu through weekly summaries of news items from across the spectrum of Nepali media; and by traveling with the cadres back to their villages during Dashain out of their party roles, as it were. These field extensions were a way for me to continuously evaluate the relative significance of my findings from Nayabasti, either by directly asking other members if they had had similar experiences, or by locating it within the wider political and organizational context. Working with marginally positioned people in an organization which is at the same time reputed to be violent, raised a number of ethical quandaries during my fieldwork and some which have continued to be relevant as I have worked with my material. From the outset, I was careful about how I positioned myself because this would have a lasting impact on my research assistants. Due to my insufficient language skills, I depended on translation from Nepali but I also used an assistant to negotiate access to the YCL and the Nayabasti office. Before contacting the CPN-M, I had several meetings with the first two assistants I worked with to produce an introductory letter on my work that would give them as peripheral and technical role as possible, since their challenge was how to continue working in this environment even after I had left and they were nervous about getting too involved or associated with the Maoist movement. I thus ended up hiring three different assistants that would accompany me for different activities and this way I made them secondary to my profile as a researcher, trying to ensure that they were not considered to be affiliated to my project and inquiries. Altthough one of my assistants felt he got too close and had to quit, it actually helped the next translator obtain a more peripheral role, since he was only introduced many months after I had started working in Nayabasti. The conflictual nature of Nepali politics and the YCLs contentious position has made me cautious in sharing information that would make it possible to identify the people I have worked with and, besides anonymizing my interlocutors (except when it concerns public figures), I have also abstained from giving too many details about how the Young Communist League functions as an organization, which is anyway not an

24

INTRODUCTION

aspect of my field that I researched, as explained above. This is one, important reason why this dissertation concerns cadres political subjectivities and neither the YCL, the mother party (CPN-M), or the Maoist movement as such. The largest dilemma I have encountered, however, was in my representation of my interlocutors. On one occasion, I presented my fieldwork findings in Kathmandu and showed a range of slides from the camp, including a picture of the cadres taking an afternoon nap. This provoked someone from the audience who felt I was making fun of their sincerity, and very well reflected the reaction I had received among the cadres when I showed them the same picture: to counteract the images it was communicating of laziness, the two I had shown it to immediately arranged for a new picture to be taken in which they were diligently bent over their books studying. This dissertation is an effort to understand precisely this reaction, departing from the criticism of sleeping as a form of laziness. If it is not laziness which defines cadres lives in the camp, how then can we understand it? Why this energy invested in recognizing oneself through the trope of studying? In portraying the cadres as lazy, I had not taken their commitment seriously, eventually leading me to reproduce them as the nave or desperate youth that they held in the public image. The analytical framework we bring to bear on our data has direct consequences for how people are portrayed. By focusing on the cadres through the frame of political subjectivity, I have tried to take this field seriously on its own terms and engage with their commitments to become revolutionaries. It is a commitment, as I often show, that is fragile and may fail, but it is sincere and transformative of identities.

OUTLI NE
In line with the ethnographic focus on cadre mobilization and the analytical one of exploring revolutionary subjectivity through an investigation of the forms sacrifice have taken in the post-war context, the dissertation is structured as a parable of cadres processes of revolutionary sacrifice. I start with their recruitment as cadres (Chapter 2), then introduce their submission to party and camp life (Chapter 3), continue by investigating the role and function of the camp as a training center (Chapters 3, 4 and 5) and end up with cadres participation in public activism after they have gained the necessary experience (Chapters 7 and 8). More than simply a chronological exploration, this outline conforms to the ways in which cadres are taught to sacrifice through their time in the camp and prepared through their camp sacrifices to participate in activist work and thereby to turn this into expressions of a public sacrifice. It shows that the camp is a stage that cadres must pass through because it prepares them as revolutionaries and that

25

INTRODUCTION

it is only by virtue of possessing this identity that they can transform their activism into politically significant events. I start this exploration in the next chapter, where I provide an historical context for understanding the rise of the YCL through a discussion of Nepals political development in the pre-war, Peoples War and post-war periods. Here I argue that Nepali Maoism is part of a wider democratic revolution which took off in the late 1940s and that the CPN-Ms project of a specific Maoist revolution has resulted in a paradoxical situation for the YCL, which is tasked with continuing this revolutionary process in the context of parliamentary politics that does not recognize the Maoist vision of politics as legitimate. Chapter 2 is the first ethnographic chapter, focusing on the YCLs recruitment of low-class laborers to a program of revolution through class struggle. I examine the frames and idioms of this mobilization process, arguing that becoming a Maoist cadre was experienced first of all as a shift of perspective, by which I mean that in order to enroll in the CPN-M, incoming cadres had to learn to see themselves as oppressed working-class youth who had to fight the exploitative structures of a class society in order to better their own situations and that of Nepal. Tracing how this mobilization process came to revolve around the identity of youth, I show that cadres were recruited to sacrifice their youth for the sake of the people and that this involved a willingness that they had to change into becoming revolutionaries. Chapter 3 takes us into Nayabasti. This is the cadres first constitutive act of cadreship and it shows their sincerity to enter the path of revolutionaries. Nayabasti is a paradoxical place where cadres are, on the one hand, requested to submit unconditionally to their new commanders while, on the other, treated with respect and invited to make use of the more experienced in order to develop themselves. I analyze the multiple idioms of relationship this involves junior cadres in and show how relations of hierarchy and equality are configured so as to experience their lives in the camp as sacrifices, since all are constituted as equal in their contribution to the movement, regardless of position. Chapter 4 tackles the first of the camp sacrifices, namely the daily chores that cadres are involved in. I analyze chores and other activities that correspond to newcomers position in the organization as expressive of an ethos of labor that is done for the sake of the collectivity to distinguish it from desires of selfishness. By documenting how cadres practice and speak of chores with reference to these contrasting values, I show that camp labor can be understood as a sacrifice for the Maoist community whereby cadres learn what it means to work for a principle beyond oneself and how it becomes expressive of a distinct Maoist ethic that is juxtaposed with how youth outside the movement prioritize and work. It is labor which produces these wider ideals of social

26

INTRODUCTION

service for a collective and allows cadres to give political relevance to an activity that is otherwise hidden within the daily routines of camp life. In Chapter 5, I expand on the revolutionary labor that cadres engage in through chores by considering the ways in which junior cadres, as a distinct category of personnel, are required to wait. Cadres wait in two ways: they wait for commands for leaders to mobilize them to work outside the camp and they wait to become leaders. Both types of waiting produce their own social practices, the first a peculiar type of discipline that builds on the notions of labor developed in the previous chapter, and the second an aspiration to leadership which is experienced as meaningful. In waiting, I argue, cadres are already full-blown revolutionaries, realizing their potentiality as activists, and waiting is therefore seen as a productive and signifying sacrifice related to cadreship, provided that it does in fact result in work and leadership. Chapter 6 shows why, despite being engulfed in daily chores and required to wait, the camp is nonetheless crucial for establishing cadres as revolutionaries. The camp is a place for personal transformation, where young people who used to be laborers and guided by selfish desires of entertainment and money are invited to change into better persons by renouncing counter-revolutionary desires. Strange as it may sound, the camp, rather than revolving around physical training and idioms of masculinity, is a place of piety, of communist pietism. Through loosely formulated rules and regulations, cadres are taught to renounce desires that threaten their cadre subjectivity and, in this way, they strengthen their character and revolutionary morale, thereby turning themselves into the victims of the sacrifice. Chapter 7 shows how, when cadres leave the camp and enter the public realm, they establish a relationship with the public, who are to become witnesses to cadres activism and should therefore be positively inclined towards the Maoists. Through acts of volunteering, cadres try to convince the public that they are social service providers and, by behaving with the party discipline and pro-social moral character that they have learned in the camp, cadres communicate the message that they are indeed selfless agents of the Maoist and Nepali revolution. This becomes relevant in activist work that takes the form of sacrifices because here the public is called upon to act as witnesses that legitimize cadres behavior and, through two different cases, I illustrate how this involves mobilizing, and wielding the power of, the idea of the people as a political force. Two important figures are therefore present in the public that are missing in the camp and which serves to turn public sacrifice into a resolution of the camps introvert and protracted sacrifices, namely the witness and the people for whom cadres ultimately sacrifice when becoming cadres.

27

INTRODUCTION

Chapter 8 brings the last figure of public sacrifices into focus by discussing what cadres refer to as security operations. In providing security, cadres are seeking to protect the public as an expression of sacred idea of the people from becoming polluted by greed, corruption and criminality. The YCL has, since its inception, been preoccupied with targeting criminality and this final chapter provides an explanation for this practice which has less to do with making Kathmandu more safe than with the fact that criminals represent the mirror image of cadres own reformed youth and therefore pose a threat to both their own transformation into revolutionaries and the moral cleanliness of the body politic. In securitizing the public, cadres thereby realize their sacrifice by turning the figure of the victim onto an external agent, which serves to reinvigorate their own sacrifice while providing a political solution to the structure of revolutionary sacrifice without a war and without soldiers.

28

THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

Nepali Maoism is part of larger regional struggles of state-formation and nation building in the 20th century and draws on international histories and theories of communist movements, with Marxist theory and Bolshevik and Chinese experiences of revolution as important sources of inspiration. Following the rise of pro-nationalist and anticolonial political movements in South Asia during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, a new political class emerged in Nepal that worked to overthrow centuries of autocratic rule and establish a national democratic platform, seeking to modernize both the political system and society. The Communist Party of Nepal, established in Calcutta in 1949, was a significant aspect of these new political currents and advocated for a socialist revolution to overthrow the old socio-political order and establish a classless society. Dwarfed by the influence of the Nepali Congress which successfully represented the broad pro-democracy struggle for decades, however, it was not until the 1990s when Congress was losing public support and internal rifts in the communist movement had solidified into a pro-revolutionary and an establishment front, that Maoism emerged as a powerful alternative to the dominant parties with its program of a peoples revolution through a Peoples War. This chapter details the historical development of the Maoist movement and its revolutionary agenda. The aim is to explain the rise of the YCL in the post-conflict phase and thereby to provide a frame for the subsequent chapters that deal exclusively with this last historical period and the question of revolutionary cadreship within the partys youth wing. Since 1994, when the CPN-M was formed under the leadership of Prachanda, it had focused on capturing state power and installing a Maoist New Democracy. In 2003, the party shifted its strategy towards the completion of a bourgeois democratic revolution, which opened up the path for cooperation with other progressive political forces and eventually led to the termination of the Peoples War, but which left the question of a proletarian revolution unsolved. It was this ambiguous revolutionary environment that the YCL was born into, with the result that the entire organization came to

CHAPTER 1

inherit the tension between these two revolutionary visions; on the one hand, by continuing the ideas and zeitgeist of the revolutionary war while, on the other, by being engulfed in a parliamentary model for political negotiation. Ultimately, this paradoxical situation came to define the limits and possibilities of what it meant to be mobilized to revolution after the war was over, and therefore constitutes an important historical context for investigating Maoist cadreship in the transition period. While the discourse of revolution has been a major source of inspiration for the YCL as a political phenomenon, it builds in fact on a long history of democratization, nationalization and ideas of development of which the Maoist movement is just one facet. In order to understand the constitution of the YCL and the political expression and experience of post-war cadres, this chapter traces the major historical trajectories that led to its establishment, including some of the themes that have inspired the discourse and practice of current political culture. I pursue this discussion chronologically and have organized the chapter into three broad sections: Pre-War Nepal that deals with the period from Nepals unification in 1743 through the first democratic revolution in 1951 and the return of monarchy in the Panchayat era (1960-1990), to the restoration of democracy after 1990; Peoples War (1996-2006) where I chart the war campaign and the development of new ideas and practices of activism, which considerably altered Nepals social and political landscape; and, finally, Post-War Nepal, where I focus on the rise and role of the YCL and the political challenges that the Maoist movement as a whole had to navigate, and which ultimately came to dominate the unfolding of events during my fieldwork period.1 In describing the history of the Maoist movement from its position as a participant in a general political struggle for democracy in the pre-war period, through its radical break with a bourgeois model of democracy in the Peoples War, and then back to an unstable alliance between revolution and negotiation, the chapter illustrates the precarious position of the YCL in the post-war context.2

As the object of this study is the Maoist revolution rather than the CPN-M and the Maoist movement, no separate discussion is offered on the history and structure of the party. Since the formation of the Communist Party of Nepal in 1949, Nepals far-left parties have been through numerous splits and mergers, reflecting changing historical contexts and internal disagreements that have already been well-researched by others (see, in particular, Baral 2006; Upreti 2008; Rawal 2007; Ogura 2008a). 2 Communist Parties worldwide have been establishing youth wings that they have named YCLs for a long time, and the phenomenon is therefore historically familiar. As part of a Communist International, most YCL groups were formed around the October Revolution: 1917 in Russia, 1920 in England, 1920 in China, and 1927 in Korea, and combined elements of youth and strength that had already been part of the boy scout movement with ideas of revolutionary change. The Nepali YCL is, however, better compared with two more well-known examples of communist societies that have organized young people on a large scale in order to maximize revolutionary impact in a context of peace, namely the Komsomol in the Soviet Union and the

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THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

P R E- WAR NEP AL
Geographically, Nepal is a land-locked country, squeezed between the Tibetan Plateau and the Indian plains, and has historically been an important trading post due to its location on the major trans-Himalayan routes. This strategic position has turned it into a buffer zone between the interests of its two influential neighbors, China and India (Rose 1963) although the politicization of Nepals geography is also reproduced internally. Nepal is divided into three major ecological zones that follow the rise in altitude from the lowlands of the Terai in the south, over the mid-hills where Kathmandu lies, and the high Himalayas that support several of Nepals many ethnic groups. The delineation, which roughly cuts Nepal into three vertical slices, corresponds to a long-standing social division based on the supremacy of the mid-hill population known as the parbatiya (literally people of the mountain), who have dominated Nepal culturally and politically despite comprising only 40% of the total population (Whelpton 2005:8).

State formation and the establishment of the Rana regime Before 1768, Nepal did not exist as a state but was made up of several small and large kingdoms, with Kathmandu developing as an urban area under the Malla dynasty from 1200 A.D. The rulers of the neighboring kingdom of Gorkha had long been intent on expanding their realm to include the valley of Kathmandu and this was accomplished in 1768 by Prithvi Narayan Shah, who is today considered the founder of Nepal. The end of the 18th century saw a major reshuffle of regional powers, with both the British East India Company emerging to claim control of Bengal in 1757 and the Chinese strengthening its control over Tibet, and these variegated nation-building efforts resulted in a series of conquests and retreats for Nepal. Though Nepal was never colonized, it had to concede all of its occupations outside present-day Nepal to the British after a series of defeats that led to the Treaty of Sagauli in 1816 and the permanent installation of a British representative in Kathmandu until 1923.
Red Guards in China. Both the Komsomol and the Red Guards were formed under existing communist regimes but were quite different phenomena: the Komsomol was closely integrated into the communist party and a highly institutionalized organization that penetrated other social institutions, most notably schools (Alt & Alt 1964; Gorsuch 1997), while the Red Guards were an anti-establishment student movement that was given free reign to pursue a radical transformative agenda during the Cultural Revolution (Karnow 1984; Walder 2009). The YCL in Nepal represents aspects of both these trends because of its unique position in a society where it is simultaneously part of a popular social movement that has become routinized while also remaining on the outside of mainstream culture, which it seeks to transform by continuing a program of revolution (see also Skar 2008b for a comparison between Nepals YCL and the Chinese Red Guards).

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CHAPTER 1

These experiences of being 'a yam between two rocks' as Prithvi Narayan Shah famously declared his new kingdom (Whelpton 2005:37) has continued to inform Nepal's political imaginary and led its new rulers to lead a defensive and isolationist policy by shutting it off from foreign influences. It was not only Nepal as a whole which was isolated from the tumult of the British colonization efforts, however, but also the life of the political elite from lay Nepalis, and the former quickly degraded into a highly conspiratorial court life with shifting alliances and backstabbing which, in 1846, led to the ascendancy of the Rana family as hereditary prime ministers and the relegation of the monarchial Shah dynasty to a symbolic figurehead. In the entire period, Nepal was dominated by an extractive patrimonial state (Riaz & Basu 2007; Gellner 2008) which had little interest in the population outside of generating wealth to finance the lives of a small elite and, at the time of the democratic revolution a century later, it was only the Ranas and their closest allies that were allowed to receive an education or travel abroad (Hoftun et al 1999). The Ranas hold on power was a complex arrangement of land entitlements, job rotations and obligations by which allies and civil servants were kept from conspiring and building up local power bases. The state functioned much like a centralized, patriarchal household, where the ruler owned and decided everything, and interacted with his subjects by bestowing upon them temporary favors in return for their loyalty and support. Nepali society became marked by such patron-client relations based on a tenurial system of state landlordism (Riaz & Basu 2007) whereby upper-caste elites were granted temporary land entitlements through which they could secure economic and political power locally. Nepals economic base has always been predominantly agricultural and, in the absence of strong state institutions, local leaders ruled through relationships of loyalty and dependence. The Rana rulers thus distributed resources among a hierarchy of patron-client networks centered around the royal palace as the only fountain of privileges (ibid.:134), and extended into remote rural areas. The system resulted in fierce competition among different client factions over the resources emanating from the same patron and, while it strengthened the power of the palace, it gave rise to a culture of deferential gift-giving and subservience, chakari (Bista 1991), through which loyalty and favors were sought institutionalized. These patron-client relations have continued in much the same form until today where political and economic rights converge in the figure of a patron, and they have led to a political culture organized along clear vertical lines of subordination. Underlying the monarchical political order was an elaborate framework of Hindu identities that provided patron-client networks with cultural legitimacy. Two overall components were essential for establishing this ideological hegemony of Hinduism in

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THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

Nepal: one was the social organization of the population along caste lines, and the other was the identification of the monarch with the god Vishnu. Neither of these were invented during Rana rule but built on a history of Hindu worship and caste-delineations in Nepal, as was the case in Kathmandu Valley where the dominant ethnic group of Newaris had long been organized into more than twenty caste levels (Parish 1993). What the new rulers changed was a nation-wide codification of the caste system based on ideas of ritual purity that covered the entire population, and which made everybody a subject of the king by virtue of his duty to safeguard the purity of the Hindu realm (Gray 1995:5). Nepals demography has always been ethnically, religiously and linguistically diverse but, during the consolidation of the Nepali state, Hindu ideas of purity became institutionalized in a nation-wide caste-system known as the muluki ain code from 1854 on (see Hfer 1979). Earlier administrations had introduced the caste system to Nepal but it now encompassed all people, including the ethnic groups who were lumped together as matwali, alcohol drinkers (Gurung 1997). The crux of this organization, as it is also known from India (Dumont 1970), was a differentiation between pure and impure castes, with the Bahun (Brahmin) and Chetri (Kshatriya) at the top, and a long list of caste groups known as jat below them in order of descending purity (Hfer 1979). While this organization was, for the majority, an artificial categorization that overlaid and negated territorial identities (Parish 1993), it did become authoritative for organizing social relations and served to legitimize the historic alliance of upper-caste Newars, the Shah and Rana aristocrats, and rural patrons, who were awarded superior positions in the caste scheme. The major organizing principle remained purity but the power of the elite in fact rested on a complex interplay between issues of purity, warrior-strength and landownership (Burghart 1996b), which is retained in the distinction between Bahuns and Chetris today: whereas Brahmins claim religious superiority and function as priests whose principal duty is to study and teach the ancient religious texts, the Chetris are associated with protection of the social order, and have traditionally been warriors (ibid.:38) or, in peace-time, landowners. Together, they comprise the bulk of the state administration and other power positions in society, and are identified as the Cate Hill Hindu Elite accounting for as many as 80% of leadership positions in important areas of governance (Lawoti 2003:52). In addition to providing a model of social organization and hence of social order, a more political justification of the polity was expressed in the identification of the monarch with the god Vishnu. In this conceptualization, which has followed the institution of monarchy up through the centuries, the king is seen as the incarnation of the supreme god, and the country his realm wherein the purity of this Hindu kingdom must be ascer-

33

CHAPTER 1

tained. The monarch thus becomes the protector of Hinduism and a natural figure of authority around which the entire social organization revolves. Already upon entering Kathmandu, the Gorkha rulers had sought to legitimize their conquest through the blessing of the virgin goddess Kumari, a local Newari tradition (Riaz & Basu 2007:135-136), and a close linkage between religious festivities and royal authority was established that has continued to this day. This religious hegemony is reflected in the national censuses which since 1952 have recorded people's religious affiliation, and which has remained steady at 85 to 90% Hindus despite a large increase in the population (Gurung 2001). The society that came to the fore under the rule of, first the Shahs and then the Ranas from 1768 and until the middle of the 20th century, was thus deeply divided into a small landholding political class on the one hand and a non-political majority on the other who lived as peasants; it was hierarchically ranked both socially and economically according to caste membership and was held together by a Hindu ideology of purity represented by the monarch nationally, and the upper castes locally. Though there were many ways of resisting the power of the state and its hegemonic Hindu framework (see Gellner 2008), the homogenization and supremacy of parbatiya (hill-caste) culture came to dominate Nepali society. In addition, few efforts were made at developing the country through education, infrastructure, communication or economic programs 3 and, aside from caste classifications, which undermined territorial and ethnic identities, new common identities were not sought forged.

Democratic revolution and national moderni zation This changed with the revolution of 1951, the period during which Nepals political parties were born. The aristocratic rule of the Ranas relied on an isolationist policy that sought to shield Nepal from outside influences. Following World War I in Europe, however, in which hundreds of thousands of Nepali soldiers participated (Gellner 2008), and the struggle for independence in India with Gandhi's Quit India Movement, dissidence started to grow in Nepal, demanding an end to Rana rule and the establishment of a more inclusive political system. In the 1930s, the Nepal Praja Parishad, to which present-day Maoists trace their heritage, was one of the first to target the regime and smuggled in a printing press on which leaflets advocating the overthrow of the Ranas were published. As has been the case in subsequent opposition to the regime, India provided
3

Nepal in 1951 had only 376 kilometers of road, and a very low level of education, with only 8,500 primary school students around the country, 11 high schools and a literacy rate of 5.3% (Hoftun et al. 1999.:4-5). Furthermore, the Nepalese economy was exclusively in the hands of the Ranas who spent little on public welfare, and the few industries to emerge in the Terai in the thirties came predominantly from India (Devkota 2007:296).

34

THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

both a sanctuary and an inspiration for building political organizations that could challenge the Nepali state, and Nepal's first political party, the Nepali Congress, was established in 1947 in India. The next thing to happen was the cause of some surprise. The king, who had only a symbolic function under the Ranas, dissented to India. On 6 November 1950, after asking the Rana prime minister for permission to travel to his hunting grounds just north of the city, King Tribhuvan led most of his family members through Kathmandu but then turned off the main road and entered the Indian Embassy, where he immediately applied for political asylum (Hoftun et al. 1999:1). This started the avalanche that is now referred to as Nepal's first democratic revolution.4 The revolution changed the balance of power in the country by bringing a new political class to power, primarily from the Brahmin caste, and stripping the Ranas of their privileges. A new constitution was also passed outlawing caste discrimination and making everybody equal under the law. In the decade that followed, the different political parties sought to reach a common platform for governing the country but it was an immense challenge to change the patrimonial political order into a democratic model of governance, and the political parties were marred by individual conflicts, changing coalitions and intrigues that in 1952 had already led King Tribhuvan to dissolve parliament and, only a year later, to give party politicians a second chance to form a government (ibid.:26pp). Due to political and social turmoil, it was only in 1959 that elections were finally held with the Nepali Congress emerging as the winner, and its leader B.P. Koirala becoming Prime Minister. With the Ranas out of the way, the monarch resumed a central political role as head of state. In 1955, King Tribhuvan died and was succeeded by his son, Mahendra, who took a more paternalistic line with the political parties and was seen by many as a strong figure who could unite Nepal and create stability. Following his coronation, he convened a conference with the political groups to discuss the way forward but he often clashed with the political parties and turmoil continued to grow, particularly after the Nepali Congress tried to implement its election manifesto amidst widespread resistance. Eventually, in 1960, 18 months after the new government had taken office, the king placed the government under arrest, outlawed the political parties, and took over the
4

As Martin Hoftun and William Raeper have documented in their detailed historical account of the event, India had a strong hand in negotiating the terms of the democratic revolution, and they suggest that the overthrow of the Ranas could not have come earlier because it was only after India gained independence in 1947 that the new leaders in Delhi began to push for a similar development in Nepal (Hoftun et al. 1999:22). Nepals Interim Constitution from 1951 on was also almost an exact copy of the Indian Constitution (ibid.:25). Throughout the democratic period, opposition to what was seen as the Delhi compromise therefore existed and several small revolts and independence movements sought to challenge the centralized and Indianbacked authority of Kathmandu.

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CHAPTER 1

administration of the government using the emergency powers vested in him, arguing that Congress had fostered corruption and was not promoting national interest (Hoftun et al.:71). This autocratic move was neither unexpected nor severely criticized, as many shared Mahendra's critique of an ill-functioning form of governance which was not beneficial for Nepal as a whole. The king's role as protector of Nepal had prompted him to make this move in the service of the nation, just as his father had initiated the revolution a decade earlier. Tribhuvan had been one of the heroes of the 1950 revolution but Mahendra, in choosing a non-democratic model for developing Nepal, was also acting out his responsibility towards his people. The Nepali monarch rules over the country not merely because it is a Hindu realm that he protects but also, in the tradition of the first Shah rulers, because the entire kingdom is his possession, and he therefore also represents the people living within its bounds (Burghart 1984). It was in this quality as ruler of the nation that Mahendra legitimized his interference in parliamentary democracy. In 1962, Mahendra promulgated a new constitution that established a partyless democracy through panchayats (councils) from village level up that included representatives from different class organizations and were integrated into a nation-wide pyramid structure with the 125-member strong Rastriya Panchayat (national council) at the top. The monarch held absolute power with sole authority over all governmental institutions, and although it underwent some change in 1975 and again in 1980 after a national referendum, this system lasted for almost 30 years and was extremely influential in defining what Nepal is today. Inspired by the debates of the preceding decade, King Mahendra embarked on a process of modernization and development that was extensively financed through bilateral foreign aid and which focused on agriculture, health, education, commerce and infrastructure.5 However he also emphasized the importance of unity and promoted a one-nation-one-people policy to integrate the diverse ethnic groups and regions into a singular Nepali national bond through the slogan one language, one dress, one country (Gellner 2008:10). Central to this vision was the idea that the population were no longer simply subjects of their rulers but rather citizens in a common national polity (Pfaff-Czarnecka 1997). The regime espoused an ideology of modernization centered around the notion of development, bikas, which spawned new identifications for both rural and urban populations (Pigg 1992), and a nation-wide education system was
Nepals dependence on foreign aid has reflected its strategic geopolitical location with the US, India, China, the British and the Soviet Union all vying for influence through donor money (see John Whelptons excellent history of these aid confluences, Whelpton 2005:125-137). Increasingly, aid has been channeled through inter-state agencies such as the World Development Bank, which the country started to negotiate structural loans from in the mid-80s. Recent analyses have shown the continued influence of donor discourse in Nepali politics (Shah 2008a) and one influential think-tank has even suggested that development aid contributed to the levels of violence during the Peoples War (FIC 2009).
5

36

THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

established that incorporated these modernizing links between cultural identities and development. Under the portrait of His Majesty the King, which all schools were instructed to display, and through the recitation of the national anthem each morning, which also became compulsory, Nepal's children were presented with a common historical narrative of modernization that stretched from the braveness of the nation's founder, Prihvi Naryan Shah, to the hopeful promises of development. This way, Nepal's road to modernity, and hence to democracy, became enshrined in a nationalizing strategy linking (national) progress with (national) heroism, and which became known as the bir (bravery) to bikas (development) narrative (Onta 1996).6 What made the Panchayat era interesting was therefore the way in which it clearly continued the project of modernization that had been kick-started with the 1950 revolution but did so by emphasizing national unity and social development instead of political change. It was a system of 'guided' democracy (Pfaff-Czarnecka 1997) whereby society was, instead, divided into six state-sponsored class organizations that replaced political, ethnic or regional alliances and represented legitimate social diversity; these were the peasants, laborers, students, women, former military personnel and college graduates. Once again, the king's historic link with Hinduism was stressed in order to seal this political arrangement and it was spread by means of the education system and elaborate state rituals aimed at underlining the monarch's politico-religious authority and his mediating role between the gods and the Hindu realm of Nepal. The king's duty was to guarantee harmony and solidarity within his realm and this also epitomized the conceptualization of social order in which conflict and dissent should be limited because they threatened to break the integrity of society (Burghart 1996b). The political parties, banned since 1960, were seen to represent 'factional' interests and were therefore inappropriate for a national development that stressed a common identity of Nepalis and social integration. Many former party members had been arrested, gone into exile or become members of the Panchayat system that defined new lines of privilege. Opposition was brewing, however, and became more vociferous (if less violent7) after King Mahendra was succeeded by his 27-year old son Birendra in 1972
Nepals education system was one of the significant areas to develop in the Panchayat era and was strengthened in the early 1970s with King Birendras New Education System Plan, which brought most schools and colleges into an integrated national structure under government control and expanded primary and secondary education by building schools in the rural areas (Whelpton 2005:137). Enrolment in education soared: from 1,680 pupils in secondary school in 1950 to 421,709 in 1991/1992, with a similar rise in higher education (from 250 to 110,329 in the same period). Schools became commonplace and, by 1991, 40% of the population was literate compared with 5.3% at the time of the 1952/54 census (Hotun et al. 1999:95-96). 7 Burghart and Gaenzle have argued that, whereas the first decade of opposition was primarily marked by violent struggles, the 70s marked a shift in which opposition leaders returned from
6

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CHAPTER 1

and expectations for a loosening of the tight control on political activity were not forthcoming. Following the 1960 royal take-over, the Nepali Congress had already built a small guerilla army of around 3,000 people, which attacked various government installations and was a considerable threat to the king in 1961-62 (Hoftun et al. 1999:72pp). And, in 1971, a small communist uprising in Jhapa in southeastern Nepal started a campaign of killing class enemies. Pressure mounted on Mahendra's 'partyless' democracy and, following a series of student protests in 1979, a nation-wide referendum was announced in which people were asked to decide whether they wished to continue with the existing system or return to a multi-party platform. While the vote came out in favor of Mahendra's model, political control was partially loosened in the eighties as the Panchayat system slowly but steadily succumbed to the pressures for change. In response to rising discontent, the political student unions that had been allowed to operate in a non-partisan form throughout the 60s and 70s became the official mouth-pieces of the banned mother parties and organized their political programs since the parties could not do so (Snellinger 2005). Society also changed. This was the decade in which a new class of property owners emerged, transferring some of the wealth that flowed into society through international development efforts and investing it in urban property, thereby starting an urbanization and the rise of the middle-class (Liechty 2003; see also Hachhethu 1990:190ff). Mahendra had built his model of modernization on a double strategy of isolation and integration, trying to protect Nepal from confusing forces and ideas outside the country while highlighting internal unity through the building of a common identity. This homogenization of identity undercut Nepal's demographic diversity and paid lip service to the vast inequalities and discriminatory practices that existed between the higher and lower strata of Nepali society. With the partial loosening of political control and the emergence of a new urban middle-class in the eighties, this model began to smolder, and protest against the regime increased, involving strikes and demonstrations (Burghart 1996c).

The second wave of democracy and the rise of the Maoists Following an Indian embargo in March 1989 that resulted in shortfalls in basic amenities and led to a wave of protests against the Panchayat government, Nepal experienced its second democratic revolution. Over a period of 50 days commencing on February
exile and started to extend their organizations, which, of course, did not officially exist (Burghart & Gaenzle 1991:6). Hence started the practice, also known from Communist Eastern Europe (Yurchak 1997; Havel 1985) and analyzed impressively by Burghart (1996), by which people led a kind of double life; outwardly pretending to accept the political order while privately opposing the Panchayat system and treating it with cynicism.

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THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

18, 1990 coinciding with Democracy Day since it was the 39th anniversary of King Tribhuvan's declaration of multi-party democracy in 1951 a series of spontaneous protests and mass demonstrations swept through Nepal's major urban centers. Just a few weeks earlier, a coalition of the seven Communist factions known as the United Left Front had come together with the Nepali Congress to launch the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy. People flocked to the streets demanding fundamental rights and an end to the partyless system, and several successful demonstrations were held. The government took harsh measures in trying to quell the protest and arrested several political leaders, and by the time King Birendra had lifted the ban on political parties in midApril, dissolved the Rastriya Panchayat and nominated the leader of the Nepali Congress as Prime Minister of an interim government, more than 50 people had died and many more been injured (Hoftun et al. 1999:148). By November 1990, a new constitution proclaiming a multiparty system, fundamental rights for its citizens, and the reduction of the kings role to that of a constitutional monarch had been approved and, in May 1991, the first post-Panchayat government was elected. Two things had changed from the first to the second revolution that are significant for understanding the rise of the Maoist movement. The first was the sidelining of the king, and the second was ordinary people's participation in demanding regime change. The 1950 revolution had primarily been negotiated between the king, the Ranas, the central political leaders and Indian officials but, in 1990, the king was sidelined, India was part of the problem,8 and it was through a People's Movement, Jana Andolan I, that a multi-party platform resurfaced (Hoftun et al. 1999). This gave rise to the idea of 'people power' (Kondos 1994), that social and political change could be affected directly by the agency of lay citizens irrespective of their status in the caste and elite hierarchy. During the protests of the 80s, the perceptions of agency that informed protest were still based on a Hindu cosmology whereby the king was the ultimate protector of the realm, and his subjects' duty was to inform his Majesty if something was wrong within the polity (Burghart 1996c); the power to direct change therefore lay with the monarch. But the
Indias role in the 1990 revolution was in fact a little more complex. It had been a disagreement over a 1950 trade agreement that had prompted India to impose its blockade in 1989, which sparked the first wave of protests, but Indian leaders had also given their vocal support to the democracy movement, most notably in a speech by Chandra Shekhar (a leader of the Indian Janata party which was then in government) in Kathmandu in open defiance of Panchayat authority only a month before the protests started (Hoftun et al. 1999:117). It is worth noting, though, that the image of India as an aggressive player in regional politics was, and still is, an important backdrop against which to appreciate domestic politics in Nepal. Since Indias defeat of the Pakistan army in 1971 and the absorption of the kingdom of Sikkim in 1974, which was regarded in Nepal as blatant expansionism (Whelpton 2005:102), Indian strategic interests have been considered to dominate Nepals internal affairs, and this is viewed with deep suspicion (Upreti 2003).
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protests of 1990 popularized and cemented the idea that the ultimate authority to rule lay directly with the people. It was essentially this logic which led to the political opening in 1990, and the advent of people power heralded a new era in which it was the people who ruled and not the king. The People's Movement therefore marked a turning point in the consolidation of public authority in Nepal, as it prompted a change from the king's sovereignty as the hegemonic model of political authority to a constitutional monarch where he was subjected to the collective will of the people, and not the other way around.9 The new post-Panchayat platform was also a clear victory for the political parties and their long campaign to overturn the partyless system. The Nepali Congress, in particular, symbolized this long democratic struggle and, just as it had won the last parliamentary elections in 1959, it also emerged a winner in 1991, with 110 out of 205 seats. Despite ideological differences, the political forces which, in the post-1990 period, crystallized into competing parties all grew out of a long history of opposition to autocracy and experiences of working underground or serving time in jail together. Nepals political class at that time consisted of a relative small clique of educated, high-caste, elite, male activists, and many of the leaders have historically been able to work together in the interests of a common democratic struggle, as was the case during the Jana Andolan I in 1990 (Hachhethu 1990). Present-day political leaders, the CPN-M included, are - to an extent - part of this shared history of struggle and shared ideology of a democratic Nepal. When the Maoist movement launched its war a few years later, it was in this spirit of an ongoing democratic struggle that they felt needed a different form to succeed. The Maoists had grown out of the clandestine opposition environment during the Panchayat years. During the polarized political environment of the 1960s, the Communist Party of Nepal splintered into many smaller groups with a major fault line between those who preferred to work together with the king and those who demanded the restoration of parliament. Following the Sino-Soviet split in international communist movements, radicals from the latter faction in 1974 established the pro-Moscow CPNFourth Convention under the leadership of Nirmal Lama and Mohan Bikram Singh and, in contrast to the pro-establishment CPN, which stressed the need to cooperate with all political forces in order to overthrow the monarchy, the Fourth Convention wanted to begin a People's Movement and called for a constituent assembly (Whelpton 2005:106).

This was clarified in the preamble to the 1990 constitution. The very first lines read: 'We are convinced that the source of sovereign authority of the independent and sovereign Nepal is inherent in the people, and, therefore, we have, from time to time, made known our desire to conduct the government of the country in consonance with the popular will'.

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THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

During the 1980 referendum, the Fourth Convention took a soft approach to the election, neither boycotting nor endorsing it but agitating for fair preconditions (Hoftun et al. 1999:92). The lack of support for a hardline approach to the regime among the majority of its members (Ogura 2008a:9) led Mohan Bikram Singh to establish the breakaway faction CPN-Masal in 1983. Only two years later, however, this faction splintered once more as Mohan Vadiya, now one of the current top CPN-M leaders, established the CPN-Mashal due largely to personal conflicts with Mohan Bikram Singh (Cailmail 2009). Influenced by the Revolutionary International Movement established in 1984 in France, and the Maoist-inspired armed insurrection of the Shining Path in Peru, the CPN-Mashal attempted to launch an urban revolt in 1989 but this was quickly brought under control and it ended in the arrest and exposure of many of its cadres. Mohan Vadiya subsequently resigned from the leadership position and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, became its new General Secretary. When the major Communist groupings formed the United Left Front in preparation for the Jana Andolan I, the CPN-Fourth Convention, CPN-Mashal and CPN-Masal came together and formed their own front, the United National Peoples Movement. They had been influential during the climax to the 1990 revolution (Hoftun et al. 1999:129) but rejected the compromises that the major political parties had conceded and, in their eyes, the new constitution was not valid because it had not been drawn up by an elected Constituent Assembly (Millard 2008:284). In November 1990, the Maoist groups in the United National Peoples Movement merged to form a new Communist Party, the CPN-Unity Centre under the leadership of Prachanda. The question of armed struggle, which had been a primary concern for many of the Maoist factions members during the 70s and 80s, was adopted at the first Unity Congress in 1991. This led to an intra-party debate between Prachandas faction, which wanted to adopt a Maoist-style guerilla war, and Nirmal Lama (the leader of the CPN-Fourth Convention) who favored a Russian-style general insurrection (Ogura 2008a:11). Without a clear party line, the partys campaigning in this period therefore remained focused on protests and general strikes and the establishment of a political front, the United Peoples Front Nepal, which participated in the 1994 election and was led by Baburam Bhattarai, eventually winning 9 out of 205 seats. Only in 1995, a while after Nimal Sharmas faction had broken away, did the decision to prepare for a Maoist Peoples War take shape, and Prachandas CPN-Unity Centre and Bhattarais United Peoples Front Nepal merged to form the CPN-Maoist with Prachanda as its leader. This name change, as explained by Bhattarai, was oriented to strengthening the partys revolutionary image (in Ogura 2008a:11). The successes of the 1990 revolution were short-lived. Despite strong public backing for the Jana Andolan I, Nepal was marred by continuing political and social insta-

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bility throughout the nineties. For one thing, the construed homogeneity of identity of Panchayat politics burst and gave way to an idea of empowerment through diversity so that the first years of the restored democracy saw a significant rise in political movements representing a wide variety of identity struggles, from low-caste women and dalits (untouchables in the caste hierarchy) to ethnic or regional ones (Gellner et al. 1997; Lawoti 2007; Kunreuther 2009). However social unrest also followed from a period of rising prices and the inability of the new government to restructure a patrimonial state bureaucracy, even if the panchayats had been dismantled. Poverty had been increasing in Nepal since the late 70s, mostly in the rural areas where 85 percent of the population resides (Devkota 2007). With an increase in population from 8.1 million in 1951 to 18.4 million by 1991, development efforts had not been able to offset population growth, and the standard of living in rural areas had actually decreased (Whelpton 2005:122; Macfarlance 2001). At the same time, the problems that had plagued the first period of democracy soon reappeared: quickly shifting alliances, a smothering of rival candidates, few concrete political changes, and the huge gulf separating ordinary Nepalis from the politicians, who predominantly belonged to the small elite of high-caste, male, hill (parbatiya) and urban Hindus (Hachhethu 2008; Adhikari 2010:226). The Nepali Congress had won a resounding victory in 1991 but by 1994 they had already lost the elections, indicating just how far the country had come from a united platform in those few years. Meanwhile, the post-Panchayat governments opened up culturally and economically to global influences and pursued a liberalistic economic policy in line with a general global tendency following the collapse of the Soviet regime. Western donors poured into Nepal with new projects and more money (Shah 2008a).10 In an effort to speed up the development of the rural areas, the National Planning Commission in its 8th fiveyear plan (1992-1997) employed market-oriented economic policies but this failed to have any impact on poverty levels (Devkota 2007:299-300) and only Kathmandu with its bourgeoning middle-class seemed to have grown more prosperous with the arrival of aid money (Liechty 2003). This served to widen the already deep split between the rural areas and urban centers that had grown throughout the 80s and paved the way for the Maoists alternative program for eradicating poverty and creating national unity: not through politics but through war. By the mid-nineties, Nepal had therefore managed to achieve the democratic platform that had been initiated more than forty years earlier, and had done so by gradually displacing the role of the king in representing the will of the Nepali people. The power
10

According to Suabhagya Shah, Nepal only had 193 NGOs in 1990 but upwards of 33,000 16 years later (Shah 2008a:viii).

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THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

to change society rested first of all with the people themselves and was to be carried through elections and political representation. The decades of modernization had also, however, resulted in uneven development, bypassing the rural areas whose graduates in the newly established school system were left without employment opportunities (Nickson 2003:33), and the newly-won freedom of identification beyond the glossy national identity had made it clear that Nepal was a deeply divided country regionally, by caste, in terms of class and also ethnically. The combination of squashed democratic hopes and popular discontent were important precursors for the instigation of a Peoples War, and less than six months after it had changed name to CPN-Maoist and adopted a policy of armed struggle, the Maoist revolution was a reality.11

P EOP LES WAR 1996 -2006


On the night of 13 February 1996, seven attacks were launched simultaneously around the country to mark the start of a Maoist Peoples War12: in the western districts of Rolpa, Rukum and Sindhuli, police posts were attacked and raided leaving 18 dead; in Kathmandu a soft-drinks bottling company owned by a multi-national company was
11

In 1992, the anthropologist Andrew Nickson argued that the conditions which had led to the rise of the Sendero Luminoso in Peru were structurally very similar to those in Nepal and the position of the CPN-Mashal. Both countries had similar sized populations, were characterized by mountainous zones with agricultural societies based on gravity-fed irrigation (vertical ecology), had historically been self-sufficient and militaristic societies, and had been through similar processes of nation-building that had led to the gradual subordination of these mountain societies through class exploitation, the imposition of a national language, and extremely centralized economic development. Lastly, the spread of a modern education system had, in both countries, only served to strengthen this crisis as graduates from the rural areas were left without employment opportunities. Mashals increasing Maoist rhetoric and its declaration after 1991 that the Nepali Congress was now its primary enemy, along with the king, led Nickson to conclude: 'For these reasons, it would seem that, contrary to global trends, the medium-term prospects for Maoism in Nepal are by no means exhausted' (Nickson 2003:33). 12 I shall refer to the armed conflict by adopting the vernacular name used by the Maoists. This terminology reflects a claim that the campaign against state and non-state actors is done by and for the people to redress historic wrongs and is therefore highly politicized. In conflict environments, as highlighted by a growing body of anthropological investigations (see for instance Nordstrom & Robben 1995; Bourgois 1990; Sluka 2007), language becomes charged with political intent and expresses the fault lines of conflict. This is also the case in Nepal, where it is customary to use terminology such as insurrection or guerilla war, sometimes even civil war, to describe the conflict. From the CPN-Ms perspective, such formulations serve to delegitimize the movements political claims, and they are furthermore inaccurate, or at least insufficient, as the 10-year conflict involved a number of strategies that were not focused on the use of armed force. In retaining the phrase Peoples War, I do not intend to align myself with the Maoist perspective of a just war but, because the subject of this thesis concerns the experience of Maoist cadres and not the political economy of the conflict, I seek to understand the movements own perspective of its actions.

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destroyed; in Gorkha district a liquor factory was targeted as was a state-owned agrarian bank with its loan papers burned and the land registration papers returned to the peasants; and in the district of Kavre just east of Kathmandu, a notorious moneylender's loan documents were destroyed, his house burgled, and seven of his family members shot to death. Meanwhile, leaflets appealing to the masses were distributed by their thousands in major urban areas of 60 out of Nepal's 75 districts and were supplemented with posters appearing overnight. Within the first few months, around 6,000 actions had taken place in over 65 districts, mostly focused on propaganda but also on sabotage, targeted chiefly at landowners and rural elites: burning of bond papers, distribution of food stores and the confiscating of land. In response, two dozen Maoist cadres had been killed by the police force and hundreds more arrested. The war had started. The CPN-Ms People's War lasted for 10 years, from 1996 to 2006, and was aimed at overthrowing the monarchy and an unresponsive political system and replacing it with a new democratic platform and a secular republic. The war spread from the western and mid-western provinces of Rolpa, Rukum and Jajarkot to 68 of the countries 75 provinces and claimed just over 13,000 lives, one-third of which were killed by the Maoists and two-thirds by state forces. At the height of its strength, the Maoist movement was estimated to comprise around 20,000 well-trained combatants (Kumar 2006:103), another 25,000 militias, an unknown number of cadres operating in various support functions, and as many as 200,000 sympathizers (ICG 2005:8; Kumar 2006:100).13 Throughout the war, the government controlled the main cities and towns, while the Maoists dominated the rural areas. The hilly and predominantly forested hinterlands formed their operational bases from where they targeted state institutions, police personnel and individual 'class enemies', and they established numerous so-called 'base areas' where the representatives of the state had been defeated and the Maoists could establish their own governance structures, placing as much as 10% of the population under their control. The Maoists established their first base areas in 1998 and, in 2001, formed their own regular army, the People's Liberation Army (PLA). From this moment on, the war intensified and the Maoists became regularly engaged in large battles with the army which, when conditions were in their favor, they could win. Maoist leaders increasingly realized, however, that the war could not be won by military means (Cowan 2010) and, in 2005, entered into an alliance with six other political parties against a royal coup, which eventually led to the Comprehensive Peace Accord of No13

The Maoists themselves claimed to have 62,250 fighters in 2002 (Pahari 2010:199) and Prachanda announced, in 2004, the aim of forming a 100,000-strong peoples militia (ICG 2005:9). In light of the verification of combatants after the peace agreement, when the Maoists presented little more than 30,000 cadres, out of which 20,000 were verified, the Maoist claim seems somewhat inflated.

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THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

vember 21, 2006. Over this 10-year period, the Nepali Maoist movement rose from a small and obscure radical left-wing party with no more than 100 full-time party cadres (Ogura 2008a:13) to probably the most dominant player on the political scene. With its large geographical influence and its communist ideology, it challenged and uprooted traditional socio-political structures and succeeded in redefining major tropes of the country's political imaginary.14 S t r a t e g y o f P e o p l e s Wa r Ever since the establishment of the first Maoist-inspired party in 1974, the leaders of Nepal's far left had been engaged in formulating the ideological components of a Nepalese version of Maoism and a policy of waging an armed struggle had already been agreed upon shortly after the 1990 Jana Andolan I, when it was clear that there would be no elections for a Constituent Assembly and therefore no systemic option of restructuring the state. CPN-Ms overall goal was to establish a Maoist New Democracy (naulo janbad), which entailed establishing a 'dictatorship of the proletariat', and the People's War was seen as an essential strategy for accomplishing a shift from 'bourgeois' hegemony to 'proletarian' hegemony (ICG 2005:3). Maoist leaders shared the ideas of development, modernization and nationalization that had been advanced during the Panchayat period and which were dominant across the political spectrum (see Fujikura 2003:25) but they were highly critical of the prospect of achieving these goals within the current political system. From the beginning, the strategy of a People's War was therefore seen as a reaction to an unresponsive state structure and the need to undertake radical economic reforms. The problem with the parliamentary model of democracy, as formulated by Maoist ideologue Baburam Bhattarai, was that it did not redistribute property, only advocate free competition, and in a situation of basic inequality, free competition naturally favored the more powerful. CPN-M's goal was to bring about a 'democratic revolution' that would address this structural inequality and redistribute
14

The Nepali Maoists also came to be regarded internationally as a historic success by likeminded revolutionary movements, and this was reflected in the leading role it had in the Francebased Revolutionary International Movement, RIM. After the demise of the Shining Path in Peru, with the capture of its leader Abimael Guzman in 1992, the Nepali revolution became the revolutionary event that Maoist movements worldwide followed and commented on from the sidelines, and it is still the subject of a heated international debate. The CPN-Ms international history is a subject yet to be investigated but recent publications point to two interesting ways in which the Nepali Maoists are part of a broader revolutionary assemblage: on the one hand, through their membership of transnational fora such as the RIM where strategies are exchanged (Cailmail 2009) and, on the other, by their strong reliance on a discursive tradition of revolution (a hegemonic discourse) that is heftily policed by other actors and to which the Nepali Maoists are constantly answerable (see Adhikari 2010).

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wealth among the poor (Hoftun et al 1999:239), thus bringing about a new democracy that would transfer political power to the masses. The problem from the leaders' perspective was the class of rulers and the systemic privileges they had built to uphold their power - the caste system, the monarchy, the state bureaucracy; the solution was to ignite a popular sense of righteousness and turn this into a weapon through which to bring the people, 'the masses', to power. Mao's ideas of a Protracted People's War, which he developed in the late 1930s, provided the Maoists with a military strategy for conducting an armed uprising, its major idea being that it is through a mobilization of the peasantry and an encircling of the cities from the rural areas that the state can be captured.15 As a war strategy, a People's War is based on the realization that, when faced with a numerically superior and better equipped enemy, an armed insurrection will quickly be defeated unless it turns its assets into military advantages. This has led to the well-known and popular guerilla tactic of attacking the enemy where and when it is weak and then retreating into hiding before a full-scale counter attack can be mobilized. It is a theory of war that seeks to manipulate the enemy rather than confront it openly, using elements of surprise and disguise to tip the balance of power in its favor (Cowan 2010). In the Maoist model, four basic elements are necessary for a victory in a Peoples War: the organization of a Leninist, vanguard party; mass support and a united front; the raising of a politically-controlled army; and the creation of strategic rural bases that provide safe havens (Kumar 2006:93). In September 1995, the CPN-M leadership officially adopted a strategy of People's War, judging that the conditions in Nepal were well-suited to this type of warfare as Nepal's rugged terrain could provide a good 'mass base' for guerilla tactics (CPN-M 1995), and would give the lightly-equipped and mobile cadre force a tactical advantage. Its strategy was consequently to roll back the presence and function of state institutions in the midhill region, chase out the political and economic elite and replace the political vacuum by installing elected Peoples Governments (Lecomte-Tilouine 2004b:16). A key to the success of a People's War, which was also a central concern for the Maoists, lies in its ability to unite with the people against a common enemy. As a revolutionary strategy, a People's War is essentially a liberation struggle that is centered on the peasants. Without their support, there can be no military success because they are the ones to be mobilized and armed to seize political power and the peasants are therefore a vital factor in winning the battle (ICG 2005:21). The outcome of the war cannot,
Many of Maos military writings have been compiled in what is known as the little red book published in 1966 (see www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/works/red-book/). Other influential texts are: Problems of Strategy in Chinas Revolutionary War from 1936; On Guerilla Warfare from 1937; Problems of Strategy in Guerilla War against Japan from 1938; and Protracted War also from 1938. All are available at www.marxists.org.
15

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THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

however, be measured solely in military terms and the importance of uniting with the people goes right to the heart of the Maoist conception of revolution as a process that is achieved by politicizing the population among which it fights and by transforming the cultural and political structures of society step by step alongside military victories (ibid.:22). CPN-M recognized that the People's War was a 'war of the masses' (CPN 1995) and its activities were carefully weighted to win villagers support by targeting unpopular institutions and individuals or skillfully appropriating local traditions in their practices, thereby turn their communist vision of society into concrete campaigns that reflected local sensitivities (de Sales 2000; Shneiderman & Turin 2004; ICG 2005). In contrast to the police force and the army, the Maoists were therefore not primarily fighting a territorial war but one that targeted key social and political structures, and which proceeded by conquering the population (Cowan 2006). In building their organization, they sought to integrate these concerns by combining a military organization with a political one. Following Mao's idea of 'three magic weapons', the movement was divided into three distinct units: the party, the army and a united front. However, while the united front was functional in terms of establishing representative revolutionary committees in the captured base areas and effectively consisted of a broad coalition of sympathizing groups (ICG 2005:10), it was considered the least important of the three, and it was the party and the army that organized cadres and constituted the core command structure. The party was, and still is, organized like traditional communist parties with a standing committee, politburo, central committee, divisional commands, regional bureaus, sub-regional bureaus, district, area and cell committees. Political power resides in a small handful of top leaders but is subject to the ruling of the central committee of around 100 members, although its size has varied with the overall size of the organization. The chief leaders of the People's War, and who still dominate CPN-M today, were Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), Baburam Bhattarai (currently Nepals Prime Minister), Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal), Dev Gurung and Mohan Vaidya (Kiran). The Maoists are at heart a political party, and has always subordinated their military structures and strategies to long-term political visions (Ogura 2008a:22). The PLA was under the direct leadership of the party, with Prachanda as the Supreme Commander, and it was organized into western, central and eastern divisions and further subdivided into brigades, battalions, companies, platoons, squads and then militias, who were the most poorly armed and did not carry uniforms. A two-tier leadership with both a military commander and a political commissar ensured tight integration between the party's political line, which was the latter's area of expertise, and military effectiveness, which was the responsibility of the commander (Cowan 2010). The commissar was in charge

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of defining the overall strategy while the commander handled day-to-day affairs and was the leader-in-chief during battles where a transparent and efficient command structure was crucial. In this way, the Maoists could build a separate military organization but still retain political control of its deployment so that it reflected the party's political priority of winning not just any war but a revolutionary war. In preparing for a revolutionary war, the Maoist leadership engaged in a reconceptualization of the country's social structure along class lines. A proletarian revolution is a fight between opposing classes into which existing social groups have to be fitted, and a new refined vocabulary of class relations thus had to be developed. Three overall categories were developed to reflect class positions in a proletarian revolution: those that were automatically supportive were referred to as a 'motivating force' and included the numerically small urban proletariat, and the two large groups of middle peasants 'who live with difficulty even after working hard on their land throughout the year', and farm workers who were enslaved through various forms of labor relations: bonded laborers, landless and poor peasants, porters, cart pullers, rickshaw drivers and transport and 'hotel' workers. While middle peasants outnumbered other classes in the mid-hills, farm workers were the most 'reliable', the 'biggest section of the population', and the 'main motivating force for the Nepalese New Democratic Revolution' (CPN-M 1995). These primary class forces were eclipsed by a 'vacillating ally' of classes who benefitted from the existing system but were not necessarily opposed to the vision of the NNDR, the Nepalese New Democratic Revolution. They consisted of rich peasants who employ laborers on their land and can 'accumulate' part of their income through exploiting others; a petty-bourgeois class of petty traders, teachers and other professionals; and a national bourgeoisie of capitalists in traditional and modern industries. The third class configuration were the 'opposing forces' and consisted of imperialists, feudalists, and the powerful comprador and bureaucratic classes that sought to divert or co-opt the vacillating classes from revolution. This reconceptualization of the population along class lines worked to delineate friends from enemies in the redrawn political terrain of proletarian war. Apart from directly targeting the state, the Maoists tapped into local dynamics of oppression. In the isolated village environment where the movement operated, long-standing social hierarchies define economic and social divisions between lower-caste ethnic groups, the janajati, and the higher castes who, through land ownership, political connections and superior caste purity wield political, economic and ritual power. The Maoist campaign consisted of targeting the rural high-castes by forcibly distributing their land to poorer villagers and punishing them for 'crimes' they had committed previously but which they had not accounted for due to their class power and connections. These local and practi-

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cal examples of the new class struggle were designed to show people the relevance of the ideology (Shneiderman & Turin 2004) and the movement's dedication to taking the problems of the oppressed classes seriously. In popularizing their campaign, the Maoists relied on a wide range of propaganda tools to publicize their revolutionary politics. Radio, print media and word-of-mouth helped disseminate its ideology and ongoing commentaries on current events, but one of its principal strategies was traveling groups of performers who put on entertaining but political shows in rural areas where the population did not have access to modern technology and were often illiterate. These cultural groups became enormously popular in their reliance on a Nepali folk tradition, with dances and songs that had wordings and scripts altered to fit the political sensibilities of the revolutionary struggle (Mottin 2010). Dramatized performances of the camaraderie between cadres, or parents' agonizing but willing sacrifice of their children to a national freedom struggle were put on show, and new revolutionary songs calling people to arms for the glorious country were composed (de Sales 2003). Through these performances, Maoist cadres could communicate their complicated analysis of Nepali society to large sections of the 'motivating' class forces in the areas they were passing through.

Mobilizing cadres and establishing base areas It was also from these social worlds that the Maoists mobilized their cadres. In the new post-andolan context where people's power had managed to overthrow an autocratic regime and the country was considered, across the political spectrum, to be in need of development, Nepali society had, in fact, very limited possibilities for social mobility that could address the huge gulf which existed between rich and poor, as well as between urban and rural Nepal. The Panchayat education system had built its vision of modernization and national development on rural Nepal as being backward in both these aspects (Pfaff-Czarnecka 1997), thereby turning it into a negative identity. Yet nationwide structures of discrimination made it very difficult for the rural poor to escape their historical position as disadvantaged (Joshi & Mason 2008). The two major options of migration work and education were very limited with the first being strenuous and offering little improvement and the second being grossly unequal, with very few passing the prestigious School Leaving Certificate that gave access to jobs and further education in the cities (Mikesell 2006). The Maoists tapped into these grievances and offered a path out of the village that was a noble alternative to migration (Lecomte-Tilouine 2009b:84), and which enabled young people to participate in a new form of modernity (Pettigrew 2008:321). Joining was therefore not just a reaction to personal despair but offered a chance to change a system that had made life difficult for them or for their 49

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parents, and it therefore expressed a dedication to bringing about a different collective future (Fujikura 2003:24). Women, in particular, recount that they became members because the Maoist organization was responsive to womens issues and encouraged their participation (Sharma & Prasain 2004: Gautam et. al 2003). Significantly, membership offered a positive identity against the dominant perception of rural life as backward and anti-modern. Maoist mobilization built on a project of national development that engendered new forms of collective imagination (Fujikura 2003). Cadres became liberators of a more just and prosperous Nepal, they were the new youth who could overthrow the old order (Zharkevich 2009b), and they became soldiers in a profoundly just war, whose lives were sacrificed for the sake of the larger good and who would be added to the honorific list of national martyrs (LecomteTilouine 2006). Through a cultural creation of symbols that defined the unity of the revolutionaries and lines of divisiveness, members were included in an imagined temporary community (Mottin 2010:61). While cadres in the People's War also recounted personal histories of suffering, the hardships of soldiers' lives, or the trauma of forced conscription (see, in particular, Jaquet 2009), they perceived themselves as heroes in a national freedom struggle. The status of the PLA soldier, in particular, was seen as honorable and a position that required years of faithful service (Eck 2010:42) which not everyone could attain (Zharkevich 2009b:70-71). As the Maoists managed to evict local state representatives, the most important of which was the police force, it established zones where cadres were in de facto control and could operate in the open. From around mid-1997 on, it started replacing the old power structure with Peoples Governments (Jana Sarkar) at the village level and gradually developed a national structure of United Revolutionary Peoples Governments from the central level down to the villages that came to function as a parallel government (Ogura 2008b). These 'base areas' were placed under the control of party officials who sought to implement new ideas of a fair and equitable social order: work was collectivized by organizing it into communes; political hierarchies were reshuffled by appointing formerly disregarded ethnic or caste-groups to lead important committees; young people were put in charge of local development initiatives that sidelined the older generation; rituals and cultural codes of the Hindu order were banned, such as discrimination based on caste impurities and festive activities celebrating the Hindu gods; People's Courts were established where local justice was meted out; the brewing of local spirits was made illegal; and new ethics of community work through participation and sharing were promoted (see Ogura 2008b; Lecomte-Tilouine 2010b; De Sales 2009; Shneiderman & Turin 2004). Through the Peoples Governments and the establishment of 'model' villages and 'model' schools, the Maoists strived to implement its communist

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vision of a society built on equality, national determination and a willingness to put the welfare of the collective before oneself. In this sense, these villages evidenced the movements dedication to an altered social order that also came to inform the way the party sought to socialize its cadres through communal organization in the post-conflict setting. Maoist efforts at impressing a naya satta, new power, on local communities was not uncritically received, however, and met with varied resistance. Detailed documentation from Western Nepal, where Jana Sarkars were most widespread, has shown how people were appointed to the new committees against their will, threatened into voting in favor of Maoist candidates, and recruited en masse to become whole-timers (Ogura 2008b). In 2005, discontent exploded when villagers of Dullu in western Nepal, mainly women, abducted and attacked Maoist cadres and ignited a popular campaign against Maoist violence (Shah 2008b). From other parts of Nepal, observers have highlighted how the Peoples War proceeded by terrorizing local worlds, and was accompanied by resentment and fear (Lecomte-Tilouine 2009a; De Sales 2009: Pettigrew 2008). Some of this was simply related to the fact that a Maoist presence exposed villages to army and police repression although the revolutionaries also employed excessive violence against individual class enemies and informers and earned a reputation for being extrahuman (Shneiderman & Turin 2004). Chief among the concerns that followed the Maoists was probably the parents' fear that their children would be recruited to join the People's War, and many sent their children away to prevent this from happening (Pettigrew 2004; Lecomte-Tioluine 2010b). The movement had two major recruitment campaigns: 'one house one guerilla' and 'shoes', which involved placing a pair of shoes outside the door of a house as a sign that one member of the household was expected to join (ICG 2005:10). However they also specifically used schools to recruit children in their early teens (Lawoti & Pahari 2010:310) and this particularly exposed the younger generation to Maoist propaganda (Jaquet 2009). Families who refused to provide a child for the revolution would instead be asked for a donation (Shrestha-Schipper 2009:107). Forced donations, chanda, or taxes were imposed upon tourists, businesses, civil servants, teachers and others who were considered capable of paying (Lecomte-Tilouine 2010b:125). Relations between Maoist cadres and villagers were therefore not straightforward and led one researcher to describe it as a fluid situation because support for the Maoists could vacillate from one

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village to another, and because its cadres were confronted with daily resistance on a variety of fronts (De Sales 2009).16 From the popular to the controversial, the Maoist movement's activities were an effort at grounding its political vision for Nepal and thus making it relevant at a local level. It was in this environment that the People's War grew and from which it drew its forces, and it was from this perspective of rural life with its structures and inequalities that it constituted a force that pointed its guns at the state and at the latter's alliance with a small class elite. In order to follow the Maoist strategy of encircling the city from the rural areas, it had to insert itself forcefully into this world by winning its widespread support, showing it how it conceptualized a better Nepal without class inequalities, and by mobilizing its occupants to fight their local and national oppressors. The Maoist movement, in this 10-year period, therefore became a decidedly rural movement that literally had to fight its way through the rural areas with their specific class and ethnic configurations, use the jungle as its operational base, and win these local battles with one arm while they fought the national state forces with the other. H i s t o r y o f t h e c o n f l i c t 17 During the first years of the conflict, the Maoists went through several phases to build an organization and strengthen the impact in the rural areas. At the outset of the Peoples War, the movement had as few as 100 full-time cadres and organized its forces into local fighting groups. The First Plan focused on publicity, sabotage, guerilla actions, and the assassination of class enemies. In response to swift police retaliation, however, The Second Plan, initiated after only six months, sought to transform the small fighting units, the Radak Dals, into proper squadrons and, in the following two years, the party expanded its organization under the slogan Lets develop guerilla warfare in a planned way. In this period, and entering into their Third Plan, the Maoists formed platoon-level forces and stepped up raids on police posts in order to obtain weapons and ammunition, and to create local power vacuums. Following the counterinsurgency operation Kilo Sierra II in May 1998, in which many cadres were killed, the Maoists entered into their Fourth Plan, which called for the establishment of base areas and a re-orienting of the military strategy towards a more professional task force that was capable of carrying out larger-scale raids on police posts. In September 2000, the movement conducted its first successful attack on a government headquarter in Rolpa
Although the forms such resistance took were probably specific to the history of the Peoples War, villagers resistance to local and national power has been an accompanying feature of Nepals history (Fisher 2008). 17 This section builds extensively on Ogura 2008a; Upreti 2008, and Hachhethu 2009.
16

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THE MAOIST REVOLUTION

District, killing 15 police officers and wounding more than 50, as well as looting the Nepal Bank for the equivalent of 544,000 Euros (Ogura 2008a:14). Five months later, the movement held its Second National Conference in India the first since the war had started where it decided to form the PLA as a regular armed force and expand its military actions further. During this initial period when the Maoist movement was growing and in the process of implementing its radical vision of society and a just war in the countryside, it was hardly noticed in the capital. Throughout the first years of its rural campaigns, it was seen as being of little relevance to politics and life in Kathmandu, where a spate of unstable governments were elected that recycled previous Prime Ministers (Gellner 2008:14). Nine days before initiating the People's War, Baburam Bhattarai, on behalf of the party, had submitted a 40-point memorandum to the Nepali Congress PM, Sher Bahadur Deuba, demanding among other things that the government take action against Indias expanding influence in domestic politics, against the continued social and political exclusion of women, lower-castes and janajatis, and for secure livelihoods (see Thapa 2003:291pp). Although it was of course completely unrealistic that these demands could be met in the two-week window the government was given, its decision not to respond at all clearly illustrated the little regard the political establishment held for CPN-M's political campaign. For many years, the Peoples War was consequently considered a law-and-order problem, and it was only in 2001 when Sher Bahadur Deuba once again became president that the government offered to negotiate. 2001 marked the first strategic shift for CPN-M. Partly in response to the urban elites disregard for rural politics, the leadership came to the realization that a strictly rural war did not seriously challenge state power due to the relative independence of the urban centers. None of the proletarian revolutions of the past could therefore be applied in Nepals political context, and a new type of revolution was needed that mixed the countrys unique situation with the global realities of the 21st century. Prachanda tabled a document under the title: The great leap forward: an inevitable need of history that was adopted as the partys new strategy. The idea, which has come to be known as Prachanda Path, seeks to mix the Protracted Peoples War of Mao with Lenins general uprising and therefore to combine a rural-based insurrection with an urban one (Roy 2008:63-64). Strengthening its military capacity through the expansion of the PLA was a key element of this new strategy, as it allowed the Maoists to threaten the state and its regional structures, and by April two large assaults had already been led against police camps in Western Nepal leaving more than 60 police officers dead. Six months after the adoption of Prachanda Path, the Narayanhiti Palace massacre occurred, a fateful event that fundamentally changed Nepals political landscape. Ten

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members of the royal family were killed, including King Birendra. According to a highlevel report issued only one week later, Crown-Prince Dipendra had gunned down his family over a quarrel with his mother. The kings younger brother, Gyanendra, became Nepals new king, as he and his closest family were among the few to survive unscathed, and it was popularly believed that Gyanendra was responsible for the massacre (Thapa 2005). The palace murders changed the Peoples War. Before 2001, the conflict had been between the government and the Maoists. Because the king controlled the army, this meant that the Maoists had been fighting only against the police, and although the government had asked King Birendra to mobilize the army against the guerillas, he had refused to do so, opting instead for a neutral position. CPN-M leaders believed that Gyanendras take-over was part of a conspiracy planned against them and observed that the Royal Nepal Army was being fortified and its capacity increased (see Ogura 2008a:15-16). In July the same year, Maoist leaders declared that they had militarily defeated the police forces, and it became increasingly clear that the king and the army were to become their new primary enemy: in November 2001, a state of emergency was declared whereby the army was, for the first time, mobilized against the Maoist movement; in October 2002, Gyanendra assumed executive power over the government; and on February 1, 2005, the king staged a royal coup in which he banned all news reports and arrested senior political leaders, journalists and human rights activists. The period from 2001 on therefore saw an intensification of the conflict. Maoists launched numerous large-scale attacks and adopted a strategy of positional warfare against the army forces with large troops of PLA soldiers. From May 2003, it entered into the third stage of Protracted Peoples War, called the strategic offensive, and started to train full-time party workers to form militias. In turn, the army launched counterinsurgency attacks throughout the country from November 2001 to May 2006, resulting in many civilian deaths and mass arrests. Before 2002, less than 2,000 people had died in the conflict but, in 2002 alone, the state forces were responsible for more than 3,000 deaths and the Maoists almost half as much (Lawoti & Pahari 2010:309), attesting to the determination and price of the army's involvement. The kings interference changed the political equation between the parties and the Maoists. Since 2002, when the state of emergency was declared, CPN-M leaders had maintained contact with leaders from the opposition and, after the royal take-over, a Seven Party Alliance was formed between the political parties to defeat the monarchy. In November 2005, CPN-M entered into a 12 point understanding with the Seven Party Alliance that included their old commitment to holding elections for a Constituent Assembly and the return of a democratic political environment (Upreti 2008:153-154). The movements coalition with the political parties was made possible by a change of

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strategy in the overall aim of the Peoples War during a Central Committee meeting in June 2003 at which Prachanda had presented a proposal entitled The Development of Democracy in the 21st Century.18 The proposal was unanimously endorsed and called for a Completion of Bourgeois Democratic Transition instead of a Maoist New Democracy, and one of its principal ideas was to accept a competitive multi-party political system. The royal coup therefore paved the way for CPN-Ms alliance with the mainstream parties and the gradual abandonment of their military campaign in favor of cooperation with the other political parties. While the Maoists in the preceding years had strengthened their army and expanded parallel governance structures and divided the country into nine Autonomous Regions, it was also becoming increasingly clear that they could not defeat the national army, which was backed by international anti-communist and anti-terrorist support (Cowan 2010:98; Hachhethu 2009:52). These developments led to the Maoist change of strategy towards a democratic transition and they legitimized this ideological shift by referring to the idea of Prachanda Path, which symbolized the fusion of quite different paths of political maneuvering. In the new context, Prachanda Path was thus expanded and redefined as a blending of armed revolution, mass movement, peace negotiation and diplomacy (ibid.:61). These ideological redefinitions were important for the Maoists because it allowed them to retain an image of being a revolutionary movement despite significant changes to the party line. The decision to cooperate with the political parties was not to be seen as a break with a strategy of guerilla warfare but rather as a continuation of a revolutionary struggle, and the Peoples War could thus be portrayed as a glorious event (ibid.:63) that had contributed to bringing about a joint political movement against the monarchy and in favor of a democratic republic (see also Adhikari 2010:239).19

Baburam Bhattarais explanation for this shift hinged on what he called the mistakes of the one-party system, which the new strategy sought to address by mixing socialism with political competition (Ogura 2008b:26). Maoist leaders said they realized that a party in power was different to a party conducting a revolution and that a suitable mechanism should be found to ensure constant control of monopolistic and bureaucratic tendencies (Hachhethu 2009:56). 19 Later party documents have shown how Maoist leaders viewed the peace process negotiations as another front to fight against the enemy (in Adhikari 2010:238). This was in line with a genuine communist policy[which]tactically concentrates the struggle against the one which has seized state-power (ibid.:237) and has been analyzed by Zizek in his discussion of Maos concept of the principal contradiction (Zizek 2008:181ff). Although the CPN-M has been accused of revisionism (Hachhethu 2009) and has since faced serious critique from revolutionary movements worldwide, it has sought to legitimize its decision to join the political platform by referring, on the one hand, to Prachanda Path as a necessary cultural adaptation of socialism and, on the other, to the tactic of concentrating on the principal enemy/contradiction.
18

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Summing up, the Peoples War was a reaction to a failed development and democratization process that involved a radical reconfiguration of the social and political landscape. Despite having broken with the political establishment at the outset, the end of the Peoples War saw a similar cooperation between the political parties as on earlier occasions when political leaders had worked together in the face of autocratic rule and in the interest of bringing back a democratic platform. But the conflict had also brought a completely new type of political organization to power that had fought and lived in the jungle for a decade with a large force of underground full-time cadres, and combined a large and efficient military machinery with a tightly integrated command structure that could quickly implement important strategic decisions. In addition, the Maoists had mobilized an entirely new generation of rural cadres to politics whose options for social mobility were limited by an elitist political culture, and the movement had succeeded in spreading a new ideology with ideas of social justice and national service that had become engrained in the revolutionary cadres, whose lives could be sacrificed for the freedom of the oppressed classes, and to which the coming generation owed everything. It was on the back of these developments that the 2006 People's Movement emerged and post-conflict Nepal unfolded.

P OS T- WAR NEPAL
In April 2006, over a span of 19 days, major protests and demonstrations unfolded in the Kathmandu Valley demanding an end to King Gyanendras emergency rule and a reinstallation of the parliament, reaching a climax on April 21 when Nepals largestever demonstration occurred with several hundred thousand participants (Ogura 2008a:29). For several weeks, the Seven Party Alliance had prepared for a general strike that marked the beginning of the Jana Andolan II (Peoples Movement), and the Maoists had been smuggling cadres in from the rural areas; the PLAs Third Division was also in Kathmandu to take an active part in the collective revolt.20 Initially, the government responded violently by mobilizing the army and the police against the demonstra-

20

Deputy Commander of the PLA Ananta claimed that more than 90,000 people from Kavre District alone had been sent to Kathmandu (in Ogura 2008a:29). Even if this figure were to be correct, it does not indicate how many actually participated and furthermore does not establish how many were party cadres. Many of the Maoist members I worked with, however, talked of their participation in the 2006 Jana Andolan and some recounted in more detail how they had been in civilian clothing to camouflage themselves but had been at the front of the demonstrations and used a strategy of standing on the back while hitting on the head. The latter was a slogan that was adopted by the PLA after the unilateral ceasefire declaration in August 2005 in their preparations for entering the urban areas (in Ogura 2008a:21).

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tors and imposing a day-time curfew but, with little international support, King Gyanendra withdrew his state of emergency on April 24 and G.P. Koirala from the Nepali Congress became prime minister (for the fourth time) of an Interim Government headed by the Seven Party Alliance. On April 30, the House of Representatives decided to hold Constituent Assembly elections and, on May 18, amendments to the constitution abolished the kings emergency powers, and the Royal Nepal Army became the Nepal Army. The CPN-M was still outside the political mainstream but announced a three-month ceasefire and entered into negotiations with the government which, after several obstacles, disagreements and concessions, led to the historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement on November 21, 2006. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was essentially a roadmap for a transition period with two principal elements. First was the containment of the armed conflict. There were still two armies in the country, the Nepal Army and the People's Liberation Army (PLA), and it was stipulated that both be contained in their barracks and cantonments, respectively, and that the PLAs weapons should be handed over and stored under UN surveillance along with an equal number of weapons from the Nepal Army. The United Nations' Mission to Nepal (UNMIN) was established to monitor the restraints put on the two armies and embarked on a verification process of the PLA soldiers that made 19,000 out of the 32,250 initially registered in the cantonments eligible for a process of integration or rehabilitation that should be decided upon later, and in the meantime a monthly allowance of 3,000 Rupees (33) was paid to each combatant.21 Second was the writing of a new constitution to reflect the important political changes that had occurred since the 1990 constitution. The People's War had not only highlighted the systematic discrimination against ethnic minorities and the lower castes but also the great regional divides that threatened to destabilize the country as a whole, and a new constitution needed to seek a better integration of the country's regions and their minorities. It was therefore agreed that Constituent Assembly elections should be held to form a new and inclusive post-war government that could decide on the best model for restructuring the state. Until then, an Interim Government consisting of the Seven Party Alliance parties and the Maoists should divide power between them, and an Interim Constitution was drafted in December 2006 that provided a framework for the transition
21

The significant discrepancy between the 3,428 weapons presented by the CPN-M and the numbers of PLA combatants (30,852) invoked suspicion that not all weapons had been accounted for. Recent research suggests that the PLA was, however, seriously under-armed (Cowan 2010) and the leakage of video footage in May 2008 in which Prachanda addresses combatants in the Third Division cantonment in Chitwan, saying that they had deliberately inflated the number of soldiers presented for verification when, in reality, they only had 8,000 fighters, suggests that the difference between weapons and personnel may not have been so glaring after all (see ICG 2011 footnote 14-19 for an elaboration).

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period. These two aspects of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and in particular its failure to fully negotiate the difficult issues of the two armies (Martin 2010), set the stage for the political debates in the coming years and came to delineate the major lines of conflict that often threatened to split the consensus apart.

Continuing the revolution As you all know, we are in the era of imperialism [and] the obverse side of imperialism is proletarian revolution. However, the bitter experiences of all the proletarian revolutions of the 20th century ending in counter-revolution and the failure to make any successful revolution after the demise of Com. Mao in 1976, have raised serious questions on the subjective side of proletarian revolution at the moment [] in our opinion, revolution cannot be repeated but can only be developed or improved upon [...] In the context it is of particular importance for the proletarian revolutionaries of the 21st century to pay adequate attention to the question of defense, application and development of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist science of proletarian revolution. Even though rightist revisionist distortion of Marxism-LeninismMaoism is the main danger in general, the vigilance against dogmatism and pragmatism within the revolutionary movement is no less significant. It is only by developing the invincible ideology of M-L-M through concrete practice in the concrete conditions that we may be able to fulfill the historical responsibility of making revolution and preventing counter-revolution. (Comrade Prachanda, Chairman CPN(M), The Worker #11, July 2007). Central to CPN-Ms development has been a strong belief that they are spearheading a proletarian revolution. These were ideas that had crystallized during debates and organizational realignments within the entire international communist movement during the underground years of the Panchayat era, and which started to take the form of a Maoist Peoples War in the aftermath of Jana Andolan I. From 1996 to 2001, CPN-M leaders largely followed Maoist revolutionary ideas of armed struggle but, since the formulation of Prachanda Path as a fusion between different strategies, the Nepali Maoists have incorporated new elements into their goal of establishing a socialist state, most significantly the idea of first completing the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution. Crucial here has been the conviction that the proletarian revolution has not been abandoned but is merely entering a new phase. One Maoist leader explained it to me by drawing a map of the revolutionary progress from 1996 onwards. During the Peoples War, the revolution was continually progressing in accordance with the evolutionary conceptualization of history underlying the Marxian idea of historic forces. After 2006, however, the revolution suddenly lost speed and itself entered a transitory phase. Only after capturing the state could the revolution once again gain speed and continue on its predestined route. While I heard many different interpretations of revolutionary pro-

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gression after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, all agreed that the revolutionary trajectory had suffered a blow and become more complicated. A new discourse of revolution therefore surfaced that retained the idea of an evolutionary progression towards establishing a socialist state while highlighting how it had changed character. In joining the peace process, the Maoist leadership was seeking to implement some of their long-time goals and judged that the time was ripe to carry these programs forward through a political process. Chief among these was to turn Nepal into a republic and prevent the king from overruling the government, and this included severing the historical link between the Nepal Army and the Narayanhiti Palace. Though the king had already been formally stripped of his powers, the army was still considered by CPN-M to be loyal to the king and therefore needed to be restructured. In the summer of 2006, the government had appointed Rookmangud Katawal as Commander-in-Chief of the Nepal Army and this was severely criticized by Prachanda since Katawal had been responsible for suppressing the Jana Andolan II in April and had practically grown up in the palace (Ogura 2008a:33). Beside these pro-monarchy forces, which Maoist leaders were wary of, they envisaged a whole-scale restructuring of the state that included a new judiciary, a changed legislature, a presidential system, and a federalization of Nepals regions along ethnic lines, all to be laid down in a new constitution (Bhattarai 2004; CPN-M 2008). Their concern was that the current parliamentary system was prone to instability and therefore not strong enough to carry out radical reforms, and they also wanted to ensure that ethnic minorities and other oppressed groups were granted the right to self-determination (Adhikari 2010:240ff). Maoist leaders stressed the need not just for a parliamentary democracy but for a peoples democracy that should be more answerable to its constituencies than the current model of governance, and the partys objective was to gain a majority in the elections and go on to a lead a new government for enough time to be able to carry these reforms through (ibid.:243). The post-war period and CPN-Ms decision to participate in a political process has resulted in a wide variety of changes in the party and its operations ranging from ideology to organizational restructuring to shifting political priorities and activities.22 Some of these changes have been a result of the movements adaptation to a political environment that has been highly skeptical of their sincerity in joining a multi-party platform and critical of many of their demands, while others have followed from internal transformations as the movement has sought to shift from an underground organization waging a war into a party fighting for votes. YCL has grown out of these changing dynamics and has been crucial for the movements transformation into an urban-based par22

See in particular Ogura 2008a; Adhikari 2010; Lawoti 2010b, Snellinger 2010a and ICG reports for details on these changes.

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ty. In what follows, I shall limit my discussion to tracing some of the principal elements of YCL's emergence in a post-war context, and as this is still a theme that has not been investigated, much of what I shall be recounting in this section is based on my own fieldwork data.23 The aim here is not to provide a comprehensive exploration of the YCL organization and its activities but to situate it within the Maoist movement as a whole, and thereby provide a context for understanding the establishment of the YCL camps and its mobilization of an urban proletariat to a changed revolutionary struggle.

Emergence and role of the YCL When the YCL was founded it was based on four principles: to defend and propagate the party line, to politicise the masses on the basis of MarxismLeninism-Maoism (MLM), to fight for proletarian state power, and lastly to serve the people. This organisation is a political, militant mass organisation. Previously we had an understanding with other political parties which is reflected in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The YCL is committed to implement[ing] this understanding and to make the other side implement this too. This is a politically contentious issue. We are trying to develop a state based on MLM and we want to demolish the current state. Those people with old ideas who want to maintain the status-quo will obviously oppose our organisation. Because we are fighting for the interests of the majority of the people, the majority of the people support us. A minority of the reactionaries who exploit this country oppose us.(Comrade Sonam, In-Charge of the YCL, 13 Sept 2009, wrpmbritain.org) YCL can helpfully be thought of as a phenomenon specific to the Maoist transition from war to politics in that it bridges important ideological and organizational aspects from the People's War with requirements and challenges germane to parliamentary democracy in Nepal: political negotiation, mobilization through an electoral system, urban presence and legal activities. The YCL has been criticized almost daily in the national newspapers for attacking and occasionally killing cadres from rival youth parties, for exhorting donations to finance their organizations and, in general, for employing vio23

The YCL does not publicize its organizational structure and publicly reveals very few details about itself. While most of what I report here is available publicly through official reports, news stories, YCL's publications and interviews by journalists from international communist movements, I use my own observations to draw out specific features of the YCL. Given the period and geographic limitations of my field site, this description is therefore biased towards the YCL in Kathmandu and the area in which I worked, and it is likely that some of the features I describe are germane to YCL anno 2009. Due to the unavailability of reliable research on the YCL, I have been unable to confirm the generality of some of my observations, and I ask my readers to bear these limitations in mind. This is particularly relevant for a movement that is constantly undergoing changes, and my intention here is not to provide accurate information on how the YCL in general works but to provide a historically and locally specific context for understanding the relationship between CPN-M members in my field.

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lence against its opponents. This kind of politics is expressive of the YCL's precarious position in the post-conflict sphere, where it has had to build on the movement's successes in the People's War with its reliance on PLA's guerilla strategy, while operating in a competitive environment and becoming a 'mass organization that mobilizes inexperienced and untrained people to support its cause. One of the first challenges the Maoists were presented with when agreeing to compete in a national election was their weak base in the cities, and it was decided to mobilize as many people as possible to enlarge the party's urban areas (Hachhethu 2009:67). By December 2006, CPN-M leaders already claimed to have more than 1,500 full-time activists in Kathmandu compared to 70 prior to the Jana Andolan II (ICG 2006). The YCL was a central element of this changed strategy and came into existence almost before the ink of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had dried. In late November, the Maoist leadership decided to reactivate the YCL, which was first formed in 1990s as a preparation for the Peoples War and had been converted to guerilla squads with the beginning of the armed revolution in 1996 (ICG 2007:23).24 Since the PLA had been neutralized by the peace agreement, the Maoists needed an organizational front that reflected the changing political circumstances but built on the unique role of the PLA as a military extension of the mother party. As outlined above, the PLA was organizationally separate from the party structure and yet tightly integrated into it. Being a broad-based political movement, the Maoists have historically been allied with different fraternal organizations that have worked as political fronts during their years underground, and which represent important societal sectors for the partys political work. Referred to as sister organizations, the most influential has been the All Nepal National Free Students Union (Revolutionary), ANNISU-R, which mobilizes students under the party banner, while other fraternal organizations mobilize teachers, women, peasants, workers and ethnic groups. The YCL is unique in that it is not regarded as a sister organization but much like the PLA used to be as a secondary organization (Snellinger 2010a:80) which takes its orders directly from the party leadership. This is reflected in its organizational set-up, which has the same hierarchical structure as the mother party. The YCL is organized into regional levels under a Central Committee with 45 members. These levels are hierarchically

According to the YCLs Chairman, Ganeshman Pun, the YCL dates back to the first communist youth organization in Nepal that was set up in 1951. In the early 1980s, this youth organization was led by Prachanda before he became a Central Committee member and, during the Peoples War, the YCL was mobilized to carry out mass work and public service. Pun described it as the kindergarten of the party since many people went on to join militias and, eventually, the PLA (Interview by WPRM-Britain. Published 20 Sep. 2009 on wprmbritain.org).
24

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structured into committees from State all the way down to Ward but, in Kathmandu, the most active committees during my fieldwork were the District, Area and Ilaka. As is probably common to the Maoist movement as a whole (see ICG 2005:8), leaders from one YCL committee level are ex officio members of the committee above them, and thereby serve to vertically integrate the different regional levels. Furthermore, there is horizontal integration, at least between party committees and YCL committees at the same regional level, through common meetings in which both YCL committee members and party committee members participate. YCLs integration into the party structure is evidenced by the way its leadership is divided between a commander (Ganeshman Pun alias Rashmi) and a commissar (Kul Prasad KC alias Sonam) similar to the distinction utilized in the PLA during the Peoples War to create an efficient military command-structure that is at the same time politically responsive. Ganeshman Pun is YCLs day-to-day Chairman and a member of the partys Central Committee, while the Politburo member Comrade Sonam is the overall In-Charge of the YCL and ensures that the organization is responsive to the partys political priorities.25 In contrast with the other Maoist fronts, the YCL is therefore cross-sectoral in that it does not work within a particular societal sector schools, factories, hotels, colleges, etc. but is rather a support movement for the party as a whole. Furthermore, building on the successes of the PLA, the YCL leadership considers it to be a fusion of a military and a political organization, and the YCL has been described as an army without uniform by one of its leaders (Tamang 2009). These historic and organizational links between the two militarized units of the CPN-M organizations have been further underlined by the largescale transfer of PLA cadres from the cantonments to the YCL, as prominent leaders and cadres in the PLA were given the opportunity to shift to the YCL during its inception phase.26
YCLs In-Charge explains the link between the PLA and the YCL in the following terms: Before the initiation of the Peoples War, there was already a YCL, which was transformed into the PLA during the war. During the Peoples War, youth were always organized in the PLA. At local levels there were also local defense teams. After the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement], the main force of the PLA was put in cantonments, but the secondary force, the village and local defense teams, became the YCL. The YCL is now carrying out activities to advance the party line and help the coming insurrection take place. During the Peoples War, the PLA was working as the main force of the mobile war. Now the YCL is working to defend the achievements of the Peoples War period and preparing for the coming struggles (Interview from September 2009, posted on wprmbritain.org). 26 Some sources suggest that up to 7,000 soldiers were shifted to the new organization (ICG 2011:5) but Comrade Sonam claimed in mid-2009 that there were some 6,000 full-time members with an additional 100,000 irregular and part-time activists. Other estimates cite 50,000 active cadres, as many as 450,000 ordinary members but also only 6,000-7,000 whole-timers (Skar 2008a). This figure is probably inspired by Ganeshman Puns assertion in June 2008 that the organization had up to one million members, although only a small percentage of these were
25

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The links between the PLA and the YCL have been more than organizational and are reflected in how both organizations in their respective periods have been seen as the most important front for the party through which to carry out the party line. During the People's War, this was the army, and during the transition period, this is the 'fusion' between a militarized and a political organization, meaning among other things that it should not remain shielded 'in barracks' but should be 'staying among the people' (Tamang 2009). The YCL was routinely described by its leaders in my field as 'a new type of organization for a new situation', reflecting the Maoist requirement for revolutionary movements to constantly adapt to changing circumstances. In effect, the YCL took over the role PLA had had as the main instrument for pursuing the partys political objectives. From the beginning, the YCL was thus charged with overseeing the partys transformation from Peoples War to Peoples Democracy and to provide ground-level logistical support in arranging party events and various public campaigns. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Maoist leadership divided its work between three strategic areas: parliament, government and the street, and the YCL was to be the partys new broad and popular mass organization that could exert its political force at street level, close to the partys constituencies. Its primary role became to secure an electoral victory that would allow the party to follow through on its sociopolitical visions, and the YCL was organized to reflect the importance of electoral constituencies.27 Throughout 2007 and early 2008, the YCL focused its work on securing electoral success for the party in the constituent areas where its cadres operated. Electoral processes in Nepal have historically been superseded by vote rigging and booth capturing and, besides regular political campaigning, the YCL was to ensure that rival political groups did not use any of these illegitimate methods in the election. The Constituent Assembly election was first scheduled for mid-June 2007 but was postponed twice, and was finally held in April 2008, two years after Jana Andolan II. The Maoists came out a clear winner with 30% of the popular vote and secured 220 out of 601 seats in the Interim Parliament. In Kathmandu, CPN-M candidates surprised everyone by winning in 7
full-time members (Kathmandu Post, June 16, 2008). Correct figures are therefore hard to come by but the appearance of PLA soldiers in the YCL has been widely noted and is hardly surprising given the sudden termination of PLA activities and the organizational similarities between the two organizations. Ganeshman Pun had himself been a political commissar in the PLA and many of the YCL leaders I met during my fieldwork had a history as soldiers for the PLA, including the leader of the Nayabasti camp. 27 Kathmandu Valley is organized into three districts, representing the royal centers of the old Malla Kingdoms: Bhaktapur, Patan and Kathmandu. Of the countrys 205 election constituencies, 15 are in the Kathmandu Valley, 1 in Bhaktapur, 2 in Patan and 12 in Kathmandu. The YCL was built up in accordance with these administrative lines, following CPN-Ms adaptation of a new organizational structure to reflect this state administration system after a a Central Committee meeting in Bhaktapur in December 2006 (Ogura 2008a:41).

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out of 15 constituencies, including the area in which I carried out fieldwork. The positive results were credited to the YCL, which was seen as the overall reason for the Maoist's election victory (Skar 2008a) and, in celebrating it, Prachanda invited Ganeshman Pun to address the crowds just as he had overseen the YCL's official inauguration in February 2007, 15 months earlier. During my fieldwork, the YCL's contribution to the Maoist victory was routinely referred to by both YCL and party leaders in order to underline their close cooperation and the value placed on the YCL's activist campaigns. Within the community of Maoist sister organizations YCL therefore had a special status, which influenced its position as a revolutionary front-runner, and was an identity that rubbed off on its cadres. Under the patronage of the CPN-M, the YCL quickly became a significant player in the political landscape in terms of sheer numbers and in the kind of activism they pioneered. Following the set-up of the YCL after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, as many as 7,000 PLA cadres were transferred to the new organization and, in September 2009, the party In-Charge Comrade Sonam claimed that it had 6,000 full-timer members and up to 100,000 irregular and part-time activists (see footnote 25 above). The Maoists have traditionally divided their members into three broad categories: whole-timers that are the partys full-time and core cadres; part-timers that are more loosely affiliated, and sympathizers who are not part of the organizational structure but can be called upon for specific campaigns. Because whole-timers dedicate themselves entirely to their work and position as cadres, they enjoy a high status within the Maoist community and are regarded as the core cadre-base, those most loyal to the party and the most committed revolutionaries. After the neutralization of the PLA, the YCL became the largest recruiter of whole-timers, and with advent of the peace process where it suddenly became possible to be a Maoist member or sympathizer without fearing reprisals from the security forces, YCLs mobilization of people to full-time positions significantly boosted its images as an organization seriously dedicated to revolutionary politics. YCL's activism reflected the central role the party had assigned it and which its political commissar summed up in the four principles above: carrying out party directives; creating political awareness; pushing for a representative state; and assisting people in general. Their work therefore took many different forms. On one level, the YCL was engaged in national issues that reflected the party's long-term fight against what it considered imperialist forces such as encroachment on Nepalese soil, or interference with domestic religious institutions. This could be done through political campaigns, or direct engagement with representatives of these foreign forces. On another level, it sought to ease daily life locally by aiding neighboring communities to clear away the garbage that piled up in the urban areas, by building new community organizations, solving

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community or family conflicts, directing traffic and assisting the police in arresting thieves and other criminals. On a third level, it sought to carry out the party's policies locally, hosting programs to spread political messages or raise donations and helping with development projects such as the construction of roads. On a fourth level, it interacted with local party cadres, coordinating work between the different fronts, arranging meetings and parades, and generally acting as an umbrella organization where it was numerically strong enough. Lastly, the YCL targeted their principal enemies, rival political cadres from the Nepali Congress and the UML who had their own youth organizations, the Tarun Dal and Youth Force, respectively. YCL leaders relate their role to the Maoist conception of mass line and the slogan grasp revolution, promote production where they live among the masses in order to serve the people.28 Up until the Constituent Assembly elections, the YCL was busy preparing the ground. To organize itself more efficiently in Kathmandu, buildings were rented in each constituent area and turned into camps. Camps provided small hubs of full-time cadres that could be quickly mobilized and, in accordance with the division of the YCL into areas, they constituted a central office for the local branch of the organization. Camps therefore had a dual function: they brought activists together under one roof and they facilitated close cooperation with the neighborhood. This latter feature was an important aspect of its function, and in my own fieldwork the YCL's Area Office, as camps were officially called, interacted with the local community through public campaigns or meetings, as well as arbitrating in individual disputes.29 At the same time, it provided a link between the party and the local grassroots, that is to say, party members from the sister organizations and other part-time activists who were dispersed around the area.
28 29

Interview with Comrade Sonam, September 2009, wprmbritain.org. It has also been rumored that the YCL used its bases to pressure businesses into forced donations, and that the organization used its large network to control and profit from smuggling and similar illegal activities. Whether or not this has been the case, the organization was faced with the challenges of raising money for housing and feeding its many members. Although camps reportedly had access to fields where they could grow vegetables - this was the case with Nayabasti members who cultivated potatoes on a small plot nearby - this would only cover a fraction of the office's subsistence needs. On top of this came the financial burdens of rent, clothing and remunerations that needed to be covered. It has been reported by several commentators that the salary paid to PLA soldiers was diverted into the party organization and that this helped finance YCL, but this is an issue I have not been able to investigate. Lastly, it is not unlikely that some of the YCL's development projects were financed by the Village Development Committee offices as the official channel through which state funding is dispersed. It is around such projects that patrimonial networks of 'distributional coalitions' have historically been formed in Nepal (Paff-Czarnecka 1997), and it is possible that the YCL has been able to tap into these resources, particularly when the Maoists were in government. Questions of the YCL's political economy, however, were not shared with me, and it was one of the areas of information that I chose not to push, as I met considerable resistance when bringing up such subjects, and I am therefore not qualified to comment on this aspect of the organization.

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The leaders of the Area Offices were also in charge of their areas, and therefore the commanders of lower regional party committees and its members: VDCs, Ilaka, Ward and Tol. This organizational structure facilitated the politicization of society through the strengthening of the local grassroots and, in this way, the YCL camps became important units in the Maoist movements efforts to build a strong urban base in Kathmandu. Aside from being an institutional front through which the YCL could interact with the public, camps were also internal organizational phenomena, the place the YCL housed its whole-timers, providing them with training and educating them in the skills and values of revolutionary cadres. This aspect of the YCL camps, as we shall see in later chapters, was crucial for cadres since when not mobilized to party work, they spent their time inside its premises, and camps therefore became central social institutions for producing the revolutionary subjectivity expected of the Maoist whole-timer force. In emerging as the principal organization for continuing the revolution after the neutralization of the PLA in principle as well as in practice, and in being the prime recruiter of a new generation to the prestigious identity of committed revolutionaries, YCLs role for the post-conflict development of Nepali Maoism can hardly be overstated. YCL brought the Maoists to power in the Constituent Assembly elections but, more importantly, it filled out the vacuum left behind by the severing of the movements army and full-time cadre force and was, effectively, an organization built to bridge the specific challenges the party faced when moving from a strategy of war to democratic politics. The YCL can be said to straddle the traditions of two different revolutions, the Maoist guerilla war and the New Bourgeois Democratic Revolution that the CPN-M leadership had embarked on, and the problematic of post-conflict revolutionary cadreship grows directly out of these configurations of YCLs historic role, of shifts in revolutionary ideology, and of the role and function of whole-timer camps.

Challenges to the peace process In the entire post-war period, the CPN-M has been split between pursuing a negotiation track with other parties and launching a popular movement against the government. From the outset, the peace process had been challenged by conflicts between the CPNM and the other political parties, in particular the Nepali Congress and its leader G.P. Koirala. Congress has been the dominant political party since it participated in the 1950 revolution, and has fought against left-radical groups on several occasions with their efforts at mobilizing the army against the Maoists during the Peoples War merely being the latest example. Congress leaders have been among the most critical voices against the Maoists turn to peace and have opposed most of their political demands since the

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12 Point Understanding of November 2005.30 Maoist leaders had entered the peace process with an intention to show maximum restraint and maximum flexibility (Baburam Bhattarai in Ogura 2008a:38) and, in a situation where few of their demands were met, they vacillated between compromise, bargaining and withdrawal. It was thus several months before the CPN-M finally joined the Interim Government after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and, on 18 September 2007, the Maoists withdrew from the government and launched a series of agitation programs in order to force the parties to adopt 22 demands which they had declared as pre-conditions for the elections. The use of extra-parliamentary options for making political claims has been characteristic of the Nepali political scene as a whole (Lakier 2007) but it has in particular applied to the Maoists, who have always navigated on the fringes of mainstream political processes. This has led to a situation that seems curious to outside observers whereby CPN-M lawmakers may be participating as MPs in the government while their activists stage demonstrations in support of the partys demands. Following the tradition of people power from the jana andolans, political negotiations are therefore regularly backed by a show of force, and this is what Maoist leaders refer to as a struggle on three fronts parliament, government and the streets. The YCL is an important player in this constellation because it can create pressure from the streets along with the CPN-Ms sister organizations, and it is not uncommon to see top Maoist leaders heading rallies and shouting slogans against their opponents. CPN-M members stress the fact that they are not merely a political party but also a movement, or in fact several movements represented by the different political wings, and this idea underscores their ability to conduct politics from below, independent of formalized political processes, and to reshape the political landscape by representing public grievances (Snellinger 2007). Political agitation was therefore the normal state of affairs for the CPN-Ms various fronts, and especially for the YCL as the partys primary support unit. Notwithstanding their success in securing the Maoist electoral victory, the peace process quickly ran into new problems once the CPN-M had formed a government in August 2008 and Prachanda had become Prime Minister. Before the Constituent Assembly elections, the two thorny issues of constitution writing and army integration could be postponed but once the first Maoist government was elected and declared Nepal a republic on May 28, 2008, the hard work of finding a common platform among historical rivals became evident.

30

Disagreements range from the wording adopted on the role of the monarchy in joint agreements and political decisions taken by Koirala without CPN-Ms consent, to the distribution of portfolios in the Interim Government, and the restructuring of Nepals electoral system.

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The problems surrounding the PLA proved particularly difficult because the Nepali Congress and the Maoists had diametrically opposed perspectives on the issue at stake (ICG 2011; PCSC 2008). For Congress and other major political and civil society organizations, the Maoist guerilla army was a problem in terms of reintegrating former combatants into society through community programs, re-education and economic support, and following international guidelines for DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration) processes. Such an idea was vehemently opposed by CPN-M leaders who argued that their army had not been defeated and should be treated equally with the Nepal Army. What they envisaged was the creation of a new national army combining the Nepal Army and PLA soldiers, or at the very least integration of the verified PLA combatants into the states security sector. The PLA was understandably a major challenge for the Maoist leadership since it had effectively become redundant in the current political context, and this situation put the PLA at loggerheads with the rest of the party. The PLA had been the primary force in the war, and had paid a high price for an offensive strategy in their battles with the Nepali army. What they had received in return so far was a seemingly indefinite lingering in the cantonments where they were completely sidelined from the political process. From CPN-Ms perspective, integrating the PLA into the army had two important advantages. It would provoke necessary changes to the strongest remaining pro-royal institution and the Maoists most obstinate enemy from the war, and it would also be a way of bestowing recognition upon the PLA soldiers who had, from the CPN-Ms perspective, fought an honorable war for the sake of the entire nation. Precisely because of the Nepal Army's historic legacy, however, its alliance with pro-royal forces, its long-standing opposition to the PLA, its image as an unpoliticized defender of Nepal the Maoist leaders push for integration of the PLA was severely opposed at every step. During the first months of 2009, the Nepal Army escalated the conflict by hiring new personnel, flouting the Agreement on Monitoring and the Management of Arms and Armies that accompanied the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (Martin 2010), a move which the PLA quickly copied, although it was eventually asked to back down. On May 4, 2009, after several weeks of failed negotiations between the government and the army, Prachanda in his capacity as Prime Minister fired the Chief of Army Staff. That same day, however, the President who was a Nepali Congress member overrode Prachanda's decision and reinstated General Katawal, even though it was beyond the bounds of the President's authority to do so. The next day, Prachanda resigned from his post as Prime Minister, effectively pulling the Maoists out of the government, and a figurehead from the UML party, Kumar Nepal, was chosen as the new PM.

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This was a serious blow to the peace process. Until now, progress had been slow and ridden with compromise but the Constituent Assembly had been elected with the most inclusive parliament in Nepal's history, and the Maoists had been leading the government for almost nine months. When the CPN-M stepped down, Maoist Constituent Assembly members started obstructing its procedures by shouting slogans against the President, and the major issues of the peace process the fate of the PLA and the drafting of a new constitution were left unresolved. The first years of post-war politics had thus seen the building of a political consensus which, despite remaining fragile, had progressed slowly: Nepal had become a republic, the Maoists parallel governance had been dismantled, and efforts had been made to rebuild the economy, strengthen social security and create reconciliation programs to heal the wounds of war. However the Maoist withdrawal from government had exposed the schisms in the political coalition, and the CPN-M started to talk about starting a new Peoples Movement (Jana Andolan III) against the establishment forces that continued to obstruct the peace process. It was in this political context that my fieldwork with the YCL unfolded, spanning four months of the Maoist-led coalition government from January to April and six months where the CPN-M tried to launch a peaceful protest movement. Up until the Constituent Assembly elections in 2008, the YCL had been active in building up the organization, mobilizing support and carrying out high-profile campaigns. When the Maoists came to power, YCL activities actually died down, as the party was preoccupied with bureaucratic procedures and political negotiations but, as the conflict with the Nepal Army and the President escalated, they once again became more active in protest programs. However, since the period of the YCLs climax, which seems to have been just around or after the Constituent Assembly elections, the organization has been on a path of decline. Following hefty criticism against the YCL from both political and non-political actors, Maoist leaders have regularly promised to stop the YCLs extra-legal activities and, in January 2009, it was renamed the YCDL, Young Communist Democratic League, in order to boost its image. Although YCL leaders denied these developments to me, and a new recruitment drive was initiated in August 2009, a third of the 26 cadres from the Nayabasti camp had left by October 2009 and just over a year later, there were only two cadres and a handful of leaders left.

C ONC LUS I ON
This chapter has outlined some of the major historical shifts in Nepals recent history and provided a context for understanding the rise and transformations of the Maoist movement, and the way in which a commitment to an idea of proletarian revolution has 69

CHAPTER 1

resulted in changing organizational and political strategies. The YCL, as I have tried to show, stood at the apex of the shift from war to peace and in inheriting the position of the vanguard revolutionary organization from the PLA including a good deal of its combatants it was expected to combine the virtues of the Peoples War with those of a peace process. Part militarized force and part political campaigner, the YCL was to act as a bridge between two different types of revolutions, and therefore carried on the idea of being the revolutionary avant-garde without it being exactly clear what course of action this legitimized. A particularly revealing example of the insecurity that this resulted in was well expressed in a discussion between the two senior leaders in the Nayabasti Camp during my first visit. Nischal, the second-in-command, had proudly declared that, prior to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, they had been so busy that they would not have had time to accommodate me in the camp, and the same would be the case once the party was able to carry out its reforms without being inhibited by the other political parties that continuously opposed them. In the meantime, he had explained, they were 'confused as to what to do'. Just the other day, one of their cadres had been killed. Normally, they would have gone after the culprit and handled it themselves, he told me, but now that their party leadership was leading a coalition government, they were unsure how to react. To this, the camp leader Pradeep had interrupted: 'Don't say that. The fact is that our revolution is not complete.' Pradeep perceived that the current experience of confusion was an aspect of the revolutionary trajectory that twisted and turned and sometimes seemed to be stuck, when in fact it was just moving ahead very slowly. For cadres who had participated in the Peoples War like Nischal this required a reconceptualization of revolutionary struggle in order not to get confused, and for new-coming cadres it meant developing an understanding of being the revolutionary avant-garde in a post-revolutionary climate. The YCL I came to study was therefore a temporary phenomenon that was a product of the wider political context of a democratic transition and an internal shift and underlying split in the Maoist movement between two versions of revolutionary struggle. What this meant for the young people who were mobilized to revolutionary politics is the theme of the remaining chapters.

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This chapter explores the mobilization of new members to the YCL and to CPN-Ms revolutionary program by drawing on interviews I carried out among cadres in Nayabasti camp and with other YCL members in Kathmandu. The analysis I offer focuses on the experience of being a young laborer in the city and the kind of attraction that becoming a Maoist member entailed. I argue that the young people who ended up as cadres were invited to change perspective on their social roles and identities, and that mobilization therefore primarily took the form of an extended conversation in which potential recruits gradually adopted a Marxist class perspective on their life as laborers. Through an idea that the social existence of unskilled laborers indicated an experience of exploitation, YCL recruiters presented young people with a model of class struggle through which they could escape capitalist oppression and contribute to building a New Nepal by becoming cadres. Cadreship was thereby turned into a struggle not against the political structures of society but against the roles, obligations and identities that framed young mens and womens experiences as laborers, thereby opening up to a perception of Maoist cadreship through the idiom of a personal sacrifice. Lacking the heroic context of a soldiers sacrificial offering of a life, however, post-conflict cadres were instead recruited through the ambiguous identities of youth. In tracing the process through which cadres become convinced about offering their time and youth to the party, this chapter establishes the ways in which sacrifice and youth frame experiences of revolutionary subjectivity in the Maoist movement. A significant debate in the research on the Maoist movement has revolved around dynamics of mobilization, and, in particular, peoples decision to join the partys program of revolution. There are, roughly speaking, two perspectives on this: one strand of research argues that structural factors and experiences of socioeconomic marginalization pushed people into the movement because it offered an escape from the constraints of social worlds (Lawoti 2010a; Eck 2010). The other perspective, which is not as widespread, considers the kind of socio-cultural space the Maoist movement was that made

CHAPTER 2

being a participant in it meaningful (Fujikura 2003; Zharkevich 2009a). What I seek to do here is to build on the first approach by describing the working life of young migrants from rural areas, as this made them particularly prone to recruitment. I do not, however, try to argue that this was a decisive factor in their decision to join since this would make it difficult to explain why some have joined and others not. Rather, I consider their background as relevant to establishing a sociopolitical category of an urban, Maoist class-subject that has made it attractive for the YCL to mobilize them. It is, in other words, the profile of young, unskilled wage laborers that rendered a proportion of the urban population relevant to the YCLs recruitment efforts, as they were seen to constitute the proletarian class just as lower-caste peasants did during the Peoples War. In order to investigate how people understood and described their reasons for joining, I shall therefore lean mostly towards the second approach. The primary question I seek to answer here is not just why people signed up to become maobadi but why they chose to stay. This is a much broader question and the approach is warranted by my findings, which show membership to be a process never formally marked, and where it was not so much the decision to join that eventually established membership of the Maoist community but a continued dedication.1 This chapter therefore focuses on mobilization from the perspective of people who have already joined and have some experience of cadre life. Becoming a Maoist party cadre in the post-war period was by no means a popular move and was criticized by lay Kathmandu denizens who were generally fed up with the politicization of society, as well as by family and friends who doubted that it would benefit the cadres individual careers. Some parents furthermore felt that they had already given children to the revolution during the Peoples War; was it really necessary for more children to serve the political struggle when peace had already been attained? Against such a background, how can we understand some cadres choice to stay despite critique from different social corners and the hardships of cadre life that we shall hear more about later? To explore this, I focus on how cadres framed their personal experiences of mobilization and the way these tied into, and made use of, the CPN-Ms vocabulary on class, struggle and sacrifice. These constituted the chief ideas around which cadres were invited to reflect upon their social and political positions, and therefore became essential

It is easy enough for people to approach a YCL leader and be granted permission to live in the camps, and I heard of many who came swiftly and left just as quickly again when they realized it was not quite what they wanted. Membership of the YCL was not very tightly controlled during my fieldwork, and there were people who participated in the organizations activities as if they were members when they were not, while others who had left the camp still considered themselves to be cadres in their absence and would show up for some events and be treated with respect.

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heuristic tools when young cadres interpreted, narrated and re-evaluated their decision to become members. The chapter starts by showing how cadres were recruited from their positions as unskilled laborers and how a moral economy was tied into the widespread examples of migrant workers, which cadres had started questioning as a viable model for spending their most productive years. The second section discusses how recruitment involved a shift in perspective, and that it was through conversations with party members and friends that young people developed an interest in, and reason for, joining. The third section asks what, then, constituted the new perspective cadres were being mobilized to, and it explores ideas of hardship (dukha) and class struggle (sangarshan) as crucial notions through which cadres recounted their experiences. The fourth and last section explores how, parallel to the idea of cadreship as a struggle, a discourse on sacrifice developed through which cadres interpreted their relationship with a notion of janata, the people, and themselves through dilemmas of youth.

M OBI LI ZI NG LAB OR ER S AND M I GR ANTS


Suraj is a young man of 18 tall, energetic and bubbling with self-confidence. If he could have, he would have liked to become a rapper. I still remember him listening attentively to the American artist Eminem on my music player, doubled over his handwritten translations to the printed lyrics I had given him in English, and struggling to follow the rapid, staccato recitations and explosive metaphors of his favorite musician. Suraj has lived all his life in Kathmandu with a Newari father and a Tamang mother who died when he was six years old. An only child, he grew up with his father in a small rented apartment. He would come home to an empty flat after school and find the rupees his father had left him to buy khaja snacks until he returned in the evening and the two of them could cook a simple meal. We were quite poor, Suraj recounts, and after my mother died my father changed. He used to drink a little but now he drinks at any time of the day. He is a bit of a drunkard. His father wanted Suraj to be well-educated and managed to pay for the boys first year of tuition in a local boarding school. Suraj studied hard and came out first and second in his class for many years thus getting his fees waived for the coming school years. In this way, he managed to study for free all the way through to 7th grade but his father was unable, or unwilling, to help him out when he was once again required to pay school fees and Suraj was therefore forced to cut short his education.

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Suraj had left home when he was 12. He had argued with his father, and instead he found a local family where he could live and work as a servant.2 Because he was still in school, they allowed him time off to attend classes and prepare his homework, but the remaining time he spent working in the house of his new masters, his sahu.3 When he failed to pass his school exams as a top student, this work arrangement also broke down because the family he served was not interested in paying his fees. Suraj, now 15, left his half-secure but defunct position as a servant-cum-student; he was angry and disappointed at not being able to continue his studies, and he walked straight out of town, through Jorpati and out to the small village of Thali. By sheer coincidence, he asked an old man by the side of the road if he knew how to get a job and, shortly after, Suraj had been hired as a laborer for a small construction company. The next year, he toiled away in Thali doing hard manual labor, and the following year, he changed jobs to work for a painter, thereby returning to his fathers line of work. In the middle of Jorpati, Suraj rented a small room for only 300 rupees per month. He lived alone, working during the day and hanging out in the hotel downstairs in the evening, where he would eat his khaja. This was around the time the YCL was established, and CPN-M members would regularly come and go as they had an office in the building. One day, Suraj was approached by a party cadre who, Suraj later recalls, had been watching him for a week, and he asked him if Suraj was interested in coming with him to join their struggle against imperialists and brokers. They talked for a while and Suraj particularly remembers him saying: Now people have been coming to the front [of the struggle] and it is time for the lower classes to join in the mainstream as well. It is only people like you who can transform society completely. Suraj was sympathetic to this line of reasoning. He had heard talk of the Maoists and the YCL but not in particularly flattering terms. Suraj, however, had already started questioning, as he put it, Why rich people become richer and the poor only poorer and when he visited the camp for the first time, his concern was to evaluate whether they were genuinely committed to this agenda. After returning to his room and reflecting on these new inputs, he decided to give it a try. He felt that other peoples criticisms of the party were illusory and, in his opinion, the party was absolutely working on behalf of poor people. By this he meant that it was trying to free the poor from the trap of the rich. Suraj explained that this had influenced him a lot and was the reason he chose to join the party. Furthermore, he saw in his own history a precondition for appreciating
These servants are referred to as kamgarnes (literally those who work) and in lower-middle class families in Kathmandu, it forms part of a modern rural-urban economy that has been superbly analyzed by Saubhagya Shah (Shah 2000). 3 A term that denotes owner, merchant or moneylender. Alongside the term malik, these two are the common ways of referring to masters or guardians of household servants (Shah 2000:88).
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the difficulties that the poor must suffer, since he had also worked for sahus since he was twelve: One thing I learned was that since I had a poor background, I've learnt what difficulty is; what it means to work hard. The rich kids don't know what the poor eat and how hard they work. Surajs story is illustrative of the new members in and around Nayabasti in the period I observed, where the YCLs ambitious plans for quickly erecting a mass organization had resulted in a large-scale recruitment drive among the young, urban proletariat. All of the post-conflict cadres in Nayabasti came from this class segment of the population, with a history of wage laboring since their early teens, and all but two stemmed from minority ethnic groups with low-caste status. In addition, none had finished elementary school, and two had not attended at all and were practically illiterate when they joined. The Jorpati neighborhood, where the research was located, has only come into existence over the past two or three decades and comprises a mixture of rural migrants and Tibetan refugee camps. Its economy is dominated by privately-owned, small-scale industries which supply a local market with garments, furniture and building materials. These businesses, known locally as factories, attract young and unskilled laborers (Graner 2001; 2002) and almost all of the YCLs new members, counting 20-30 wholetimers and 100-150 part-timers during 2009, originated from these low-income sectors with precarious working conditions. Cadres recounted, for instance, how they were lured into working for months without pay and would have to search for new income opportunities while they were being cheated in one way or another. The cadres entry point to membership was thus through the labor market and via their socio-economic class position as poor and unskilled; at the bottom, as it were, of Nepals class hierarchy and what the CPN-M designates as the urban proletariat. This is important when considering the cadres mobilization process because it was by drawing on and posing a contrast to the experiences tied up with proletariat labor that the Maoist movement offered itself as an alternative. What defined this experience of laboring, for my interlocutors, was not simply the volatility of employment but also its aimlessness: that it did not lead anywhere and was, therefore, pointless. Suraj had probably felt something along these lines when he had to drop out of school and had found himself, a few years later, in the same line of business as his father. An even more potent example of such an experience of proletariat labor, however, is Rohit, an 18-year-old Tamang from Makwanpur who joined the YCL around the time it was established in early 2007. Rohit felt that his life before becoming a cadre was the result of an aimless wandering in which he tried to react to different opportunities but without a clear idea of what it would lead to and where he was going. He recounted:

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It was in the year 2055 [1999] that I first entered Kathmandu. I was very small at the time, my brother was a thekedar [a senior position] in the carpet factory. I came here to study and my brother also put me in school. But I wasnt interested in studying; I quit and learned kick boxing instead. Then I felt that I had to earn money and that nothing could be gained by learning kick boxing, and I changed my mind and started in a carpet factory weaving carpets. One of my aunts then telephoned me from India and she advised me to learn traditional dance, since there is a lot of scope for this in India. So for three months I learned that here and then I went to Maharaja to meet my aunt and she also showed me the school where I had to study. But I didn't want to study and all the students and teachers in the school spoke Marathi. I couldn't stay there. After some months I returned back to Nepal and once again started in the carpet factory. One of my dais [senior relative] suggested that I take language classes but when I went to the language center, they told me it cost 1200 rupees, which I can't pay. Again I went to India, this time to Agra, and got involved in some labor, and again I returned to Nepal. It was then that I started to question my own life, why am I just wandering like this? and finally I got involved in the party. From there I realized that even if you have a aphno manche [a network] in Kathmandu, you have to do everything yourself. Rohit had been navigating between career opportunities since he left school in his early teens, and this had taken him to Maharaja and back again to Kathmandu, then to Agra and finally back to Nepal. But it frustrated him that he could not see where this would lead, and he gradually lost faith in the ability of his social network to help him and in his ad-hoc planning. When Rohit returned from Agra he began to meet up with a friend who had become a YCL member, and it was through him that he started thinking about a different way of spending his time. He told me about the Marxist ideology and I got inspired and inquisitive to learn more about the Maoists, and it was also popular at the time. I read many books and understood that there are only patriotic people in Maoists or Marxist movements It was neither out of interest nor out of compulsion that I joined. It was my inner heart that told me to join. I asked a dai [senior] who was in the CPN-M and he said that if your heart says so, then you should join. Rohit saw his move into the party not merely as yet another tactic in a long line of navigation (see Vigh 2006; 2009) but as a break with his more or less random engagements and therefore also as a break with a specific model of social navigation. He highlighted that he was not interested in joining the same way he had been interested in kick boxing, and nor was it a compulsion to earn money or follow the advice of kin that led him to become a member. Rohit used the metaphor inner heart to describe this dif-

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ferent way of looking at and navigating life, and, for Rohit, Maoist cadreship became a solution to the questions he had started asking of himself with regard to his wandering.

Moral economy of migration To understand what it was that Rohit and other cadres were seeking to break away from, we need to look at the moral economy tied up with this kind of proletarian labor, through which young people could better their life chances and attain status as adults. A crucial concern for YCL cadres, and one that followed them throughout their time in the CPN-M, was precisely the viability of poorly paid labor as a strategy through which to grow up and secure a respectable social position. To the extent that cadreship offered a different livelihood strategy, it competed with labor, both as an economy resulting in income and as a model of status and social exchange. This moral economy of labor, as I refer to it here, revolves around young peoples ability to support their family through wages, and the prospects of returning to ones village in order to build a house (for the men) and get married. Important here was the fact that, despite having lived in the city for a number of years, almost all Nayabastis cadres were rural migrants and had strong links to their villages. Wages earned them a salary through which to fulfill obligations of kinship, which for the men involved expenses for younger siblings weddings and their parents livelihood needs, thus tying them into these social networks of exchange. As was the case with Rohit, several of the cadres had worked on and off in India, as migration was the primary strategy for finding salaried employment for the uneducated and rural young men and women that comprised the YCL. Young laborers participation in the urban economy involved moving out of their family households and therefore described a process of independence and self-reliance, outside the influence and support of kinship structures. To be a young laborer in Kathmandus industries was therefore to be in the process of personal maturation, partly separated from kin and village but still tied into its moral economy of reciprocity. It is not difficult to understand the dilemmas cadres were facing as laborers, caught between their insecure positions and social expectations, and the way this resulted in questions similar to the one Rohit asked of himself: was he on the right track? Was this the kind of life he wanted to lead? Between the expectations of kin and the maturation of perspective that followed from moving into a new social environment even before they became Maoists, the young laborers had already started questioning the viability, coherence and attractiveness of living their life or at least their youth as wage-laborers. The dilemmas that led the laborers to embrace Maoism were sometimes expressed by cadres through the conflict over money; between their families expecting it, cadres 77

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desiring it, and their sahus seemingly going out of their way to avoid paying it. Money was at the heart of the relationship between the young migrants and their families in the villages. As laborers in Kathmandu, they had been expected to send money to their families and, when returning for holidays, they would bring small gifts that signaled their access to money. The predicament of earning money to secure their own future and support their families was well expressed by one of the cadres: They still expect me to make and send money to them. Also, they wish I could make my own future. Things are expensive in our village. So, money is important. I have realized that money is the biggest thing. Money and migration were two faces of the same coin, reflecting the extent to which rural areas in Nepal are based on subsistence economies, and how access to cash requires traveling to urban centers. The expectations for young able-bodied men from rural villages of pursuing migration careers was so strong that some of the cadres even expressed personal dilemmas regarding this obligation in the first place. One of these was Kamal, an 18-year-old Tamang from a poor area in the south. Along with two older brothers, he had been allowed to attend school until he was 14 but, by then, the pressure was on him to contribute to the familys subsistence and he accepted an offer of work in a furniture factory in Kathmandu: I was in a dilemma between studying and helping my family. It was my compulsion (badhetta), that's why I left school and came to Kathmandu. For economic reasons. A key point in leaving their homes and villages behind was thus that they could raise money in line with their familys expectations and, over time, also prepare themselves for their adult lives by being able to literally invest in their own future through the purchase of land, houses and marriage. Migration was not just an economic strategy but a model of growing up, one that involved crisscrossing processes of separation, obligation and personal maturation, and which rested on a continuous relationship with close kin. Money was possibly the strongest expression of the moral economy of migration and an issue that kept haunting cadres even after they moved into Nayabasti. YCL recruitment strategies were based on breaking these bonds of loyalty to an ethic of labor migration by helping cadres appreciate the exploitation they were suffering at the bottom of the economic food chain. This required mobilizing potential recruits to change their perspectives on themselves and the moral economy of wage labor, because it was only through such a voluntary and personal process of interpretation and reevaluation of their lives that the YCL and the CPN-M could offer an alternative.

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S HI FTI NG P ERSP EC TI VE
Suraj and Rohit had framed their decision to become cadres as a maturation of perspective; Suraj had become interested in a political pro-poor agenda whereas Rohit had spoken of a lack of focus in his earlier migration strategies and a conviction that joining CPN-M would be a wise decision. Both cadres had experienced work as wage-laborers and the disillusionment it fostered for their futures, and they were persuaded by the idea that the Maoists presented something different. To explore the dynamics of this persuasion and the way it linked in to the conversations that cadres held with party members preceding their enrollment, I turn now to the case of a 30-year-old YCL leader. Hari forms an interesting contrast to present-day cadres by having been mobilized during the Peoples War and originating from an urban middle-class background, but what unites his case with the situation I am exploring is the mutual reliance on a continuous conversation with the party and its ideas as the key dynamic through which mobilization unfolds. We4 met Hari on a Wednesday morning in a small office-building close to the Pashupatinath temple. Like all YCL leaders I had met, Hari gave the impression of a trendy middle-class urbanite with his motorbike, smart sunglasses and a hands-free headset for his mobile phone. Prior to becoming a cadre, Hari had worked for a local NGO repatriating trafficked Nepali women from India but had left because of disagreements with his boss, who was more interested in churning out money for the organization than in rehabilitating the women after their return to Nepal. An analogous inheritance dispute with his family over the property left behind by his mothers death left him disillusioned and Hari related that over the next 3-4 years, he spent his time in the company of friends, on the lookout for fast money and a quick fix. Those were my black days, Hari explained, and when he first me Bharat the undercover Maoist who was to become his friend and stepping-stone into the movement he was in fact on a bus trip to the southern city of Birgunj to buy heroin, which was very expensive in the capital. This was in 2001, during the Peoples War. Hari had given Bharat his phone number, and for a long time, Bharat would show up out of the blue and stay overnight at Haris place in Kathmandu. In the beginning, Bharat just advised him against taking drugs: You are the young generation, he had said, and you are the energy of the nation. You are wasting your youth. Think about Nepal. Hari had ignored him, thinking that Bharat was just trying to confuse him and, since he was an addict, he

I always conducted interviews with one of my three field assistants. When I refer to us, this includes one of my assistants unless otherwise mentioned.
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explained, he was trapped in his own world, which revolved only around supplying drugs. It turned out that Bharat was testing him, however, and one day, he called on Hari and hurriedly told him that he had a valuable bag of illegal items that needed delivering to somewhere else in Kathmandu. As long as he was well-paid, Hari was game and he was given a telephone number for his contact at the other end of town. Over the next six hours, Hari was routed from place to place, past several check-points and always told by his contact that it was too dangerous to meet right here because the police were searching people with bags. In the end, he was told to return the bag to the starting point and he angrily approached Bharat, complaining about how he had been ordered pointlessly around. Bharat had smiled, given him another 1,000 rupees, and asked him to empty the bag that he had so meticulously protected. It contained nothing but bricks and rubble. Hari was perplexed, and became even more defiant: why had he risked his life over such an invaluable cargo? But Bharat had congratulated him on the fact that he, unlike the other two who had also been given the same assignment but had run off at the first sign of trouble, had passed the test. It was at this point that Bharat revealed his identity. We are the revolutionaries (krantikari) and need your help. This had not impressed Hari, however, and he demanded more money for helping them. Bharat had asked Hari to come and participate in their programs but Hari had demanded 1,000 rupees5 just to show up, and Bharat had indulged him much to Haris own surprise: They must have seen my potential, he mused. The strategy worked, however, and Hari started listening to the content of the speeches of the CPN-M leaders and slowly became won over by the arguments, most notably by the idea that the young generation has to contribute to the transformation of society. This was around the time when King Birendra and his family were massacred in a spectacular ordeal in 2001. Hari had liked the king very much. He shaved his head in sympathy, as is customary for grieving male relatives of the deceased, and took to the streets together with many other Nepalis to attack the police with stones. This was when, he explained, I became a bidrohi [rebel] in my heart. He met on and off with Bharat although the latter was very busy due to the ceasefire negotiations in 2002 and, shortly after, Hari heard that his mentor had been ambushed by the army and killed. Hari was still only half-heartedly involved with the party but the sudden death of his

Equivalent of 10 Euros in 2009. In comparison, cadres monthly salaries as laborers would have been somewhere between 2,500 and 3,500 rupees per month. Even by 2009 standards, 1,000 rupees is a huge sum to pay for attending a meeting.
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friend grieved him deeply. He used to inspire me, Hari recounts, by saying that I am a diamond with a layer of dust on it, and that is why I am not shining. Hari resolved to give up his drug habits and become a proper CPN-M member. The first part was hard enough but the second proved curiously complicated. For security reasons, Bharat had been Haris only contact with the party, and he suddenly found himself alone in the town when the Maoists were only operating in the villages. He tried to travel to Pyuthan and Rukum far west of Kathmandu as this was reputed to be one of the movements strongholds, but the army posts would not let him pass even though he lied that as a drug user he needed to get out of Kathmandu to escape his addiction. So Hari was forced to return to Kathmandu without having established contact with the party. Whenever talk fell on the conflict, he found himself taking sides with the Maoists and increasingly defended his position with reference to the Marxist analysis of society that Bharatdai had taught him. People started criticizing him for becoming maobadi but he was defiant, as he had become genuinely impressed by the depth and relevance of their political program. So what if I am maobadi, he would retort, I can think what I want, I am a free person. Not for long. The army had been watching him and, in December 2003, he was arrested and confined to the ill-reputed army barracks of Singha Durbar on false charges of fundraising for the CPN-M. More to the point, he had openly been suggesting that the royal massacre of 2001 had been orchestrated by the kings brother Gyanendra a popular conspiracy theory of the fateful event (Thapa 2005:23, 28ff) but as Gyanendra had dissolved parliament and assumed absolute power only a few months prior to Haris arrest, this was a very dangerous position to be taking. Hari was tortured during his confinement in the army headquarters. He had only had his nose free, while the rest of his body was completely covered, and his hands were tied behind his back. The prisoners were made to sit outdoors in the scorching sun all day, and without jackets to shield them from the cold at night. Water was served out of a mug that was used for cleaning the toilets, and the daily meal was a simple plate of rice and lentils. Hari was routinely kicked and beaten with rifle butts, even on his head, and the army doctor was helpful in feeding him painkillers although the beatings continued unabated. The prisoners could not see each other because of the perpetual blindfold they had to wear but were aware of each others presence in the long hours of the night when they were coughing in the cold. Whenever he heard a soldiers boots marching, Hari knew that one of them was going to be pulled away, and this was the scariest part: Its my turn next, they will take me. Due to Haris family connections, he was eventually released. His grandmother had shown up every single day at the generals office to inquire about her grandson, patient-

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ly sitting there all day, and his relatives had pushed their connections within the army to effect his release. As soon as he was out, the family arranged for him to leave the country, fearing his obstinacy more than the authorities: They knew my nature, I always do what I like and do not listen to others. The first two months he was confined to bed, recovering from his prison stay, and after that he was sent to Hong Kong, from where he returned after a month, and then to Bangalore, where they managed to keep him for 2-3 months, and eventually to Mumbai. He again returned and then the popular uprising of April 2006 (Jana Andolan II) suddenly brought the Maoist cadres back to the capital, and Hari quickly established contact and became actively involved in organizing and carrying out protests against the police. From there, it was a short distance to commencing preparations for the upcoming elections following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and gathering new members in his own house, where he set up the very first YCL office in his area. After reuniting with the party, Hari explained, it was much easier for him to identify with the revolutionary struggle and commit himself full-time to the movement and its activities: An ideological purity developed in me. I followed the path of Bharat and dreamt of becoming a martyr. During the partys programs, when observing silence in respect for the martyrs, I always remembered Bharats face. I remembered him for his determination and revolution. Haris story very clearly exemplifies the way in which mobilization involved a shift in perspective. His transformation to a party cadre was encapsulated in his relationship with Bharat; it was Bharat who showed Hari a different path, indeed became Haris path, and Hari apparently had a long road to travel from his drug addiction to what he calls an ideological purity. His path into the party was a long and winding one that reflected the gradual maturation of his perspective under quite unique circumstances, and his preparation in becoming a cadre is thereby externalized, that is to say, it is narrated as something that happens in his environment; through Bharats death, his failed efforts at re-establishing contact with the party, his torture, his recuperation and his eventual reunion with the party during the Peoples Movement. Haris case thus highlights processes that are otherwise implicit and largely hidden but which are, nonetheless, central aspects of the shift to cadreship as they reflect the kind of changes that other YCL cadres also expressed. How does Haris case compare with the YCL laborers I researched? Almost all of the Nayabasti cadres, as explained, had been working in Jorpatis small industries, and this was also an important pool of recruitment, judging by the histories I recorded; potential recruits in the factories had been approached by experienced party members as the first step in their process of joining. Based on the stories I heard, senior Maoist ca-

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dres would frequently visit these sites and talk about the important work the party was doing for the country, or point out that people were being exploited by their boss and urge the young laborers to contribute to building a new post-war nation by becoming Maoist cadres. These introductions did not need to be very complex, or even ideological, because laborers in these economic sectors came from poor educational backgrounds and were young, and I was told by many that they had known very little of the countrys history before joining, several even claiming that they had never heard about the Peoples War and the Maoist movement, or only vague rumors. It was through conversational processes, just as with Hari, that cadres slowly warmed to the idea of exchanging their life as laborers for one of political activism. Cadres furthermore often involved their personal networks before taking the decision to quit their job and move into Nayabasti, thereby extending the conversation into different and more intimate circles of discussion and advice. Several of my interlocutors highlighted, for instance, that, in forming their opinion of the party and the pros and cons of joining, they were in fact inspired by conversations with friends or family who were already members and whose experience could help them make a decision. Surajs social network was not very strong and he took the decision by himself but by far the majority of the Nayabasti cadres knew some of the others in the camp from their previous work experience or had joined at the same time, and it was customary when cadres spoke of their early encounters with the CPN-Ms political program and worldview to mention the presence or influence of friends, satu.6 This replayed the young peoples general dependence on kinship networks, and just as their position in the labor industry had been negotiated, arranged or even demanded by kin, it was likewise through the support of select family or the inchoate group of satuharu (friends) that cadres had taken the decision to become maobadi, Maoists. One example is that of Rituraj, who was a part-time YCL member in Jorpati and who had been a member since before the peace process. Rituraj remembered the first conversation that introduced him to the world of Marxist philosophy. He had been visiting his

In line with cultural idioms of social networking, friends belong to the circle of aphno manche (literally ones own people) that one can trust and approach for help. The term satu is quite broad and can apply to fellow villagers or workers; it was also the standard way of referring to other party members that cadres knew personally. This is quite unsurprising in the context of Nepal where a long history of weak and absent state institutions in the rural areas in particular has underscored the need for strong social networks. The network structure of aphno manche designates those who can be approached whenever the need arises. According to the anthropologist Dor Bahadur Bista, in his book Fatalism and Development, the success of the individual in Nepali society depends upon who one knows rather than what one knows, and an individuals emplacement in aphno manche networks is so strong that he is reluctant to jeopardize it, unless there is an option of crossing the line from one circle to another (Bista 1991:98-99).

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brother, who had also invited a friend of his, and this friend was from the party. That evening, the Maoist satu had been talking about the Peoples War, and Rituraj had listened intensely: That night he told me everything, and we only slept 2 hours. Everything he said was interesting. Everything he said was true, but I was also thinking about my family because if I were caught, the soldiers would harass them. I was in a dilemma. For days and months I was really in a dilemma: should I join and contribute to society? On the other hand, I am not from a rich family and I also have to think about my family. So I was confused (September 2009). A little later on, Rituraj met another party member through another friend, and this guy, Rituraj explained, told me the same stuff, only a little differently, and it was after this second conversation that he had decided to join. Yet, despite this presence of friends when cadres formed their perspectives on the Maoist option, my interlocutors vehemently rejected the idea that it was because of their social relations that they had joined. Joining the YCL was understood as a decision taken independently of other peoples opinions, and one based on a maturation of perspective. Interestingly, therefore, cadres were rarely asked to join directly but were instead presented with information about the party and its ideology. It was then up to them to show an interest and explore the possibilities of becoming members. This turned cadres into the active agents of their own recruitment, one that started with the realization that the laborers life they were leading was unsatisfactory for personal or political reasons, and that joining the YCL was a step in the right direction. So far, I have shown how cadres were recruited from their class position as laborers and how a moral economy was tied into this form of livelihood, which cadres started realizing through conversations with members, friends and other pro-party voices. In this process, which could be long or short, potential recruits were broadening their perspectives and beginning to interpret their lives around some sort of lack, and the conversations helped them realize not only what was wrong with their life as laborers but also presented them with a new model of moral and social engagement. But if cadres changed their perspective away from the moral economy of (migrant) labor, what did they change it to?

F R OM HARDS HIP TO C LA S S S TR UGGLE


In all four cases visited so far Suraj, Rohit, Hari and Rituraj the process of becoming maobadi has been formulated with some reference to Marxist ideology: Suraj talked of the relationship between rich and poor, Rohit explained that it was through reading 84

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Marxist books that his inner heart told him to join, Hari had slowly been won over by the Maoist political agenda and had now developed an ideological purity, and Rituraj had awed at the truth of a party members political perspectives. This was not just random praise for the CPN-M or uncritical repetition of what senior members had taught them but personal appropriations of a huge repertoire of the partys many-faceted discourses on communist ideology and Nepali politics. Building a new perspective was a crucial component of enrollment since, as shall become clear in later chapters, it was very difficult to endure cadre life without a changed perspective and a strong commitment to the CPN-Ms political ideology. But what was the new perspective offered by the Maoists and how did cadres integrate it with their own experience, allowing it to become a personal perspective and a personal decision that was not taken because of loyalty to friends? As I shall explore here, cadres mobilization involves a shift from what I call hardship (dukha) to struggle (sangarsha) as two different perspectives that epitomize cadres life as laborers and Maoists, respectively. The notion of struggle, as YCL cadres employed it, is a Marxist term and connected to class position. That CPN-M members used such a terminology when recruiting cadres is well exemplified by one of Rohits friends, Bibek, who was invited to start thinking about his laborer life in class terms, even if on a quite rudimentary level. Bibek had worked with a group of other migrants in a carpet factory but had not received the expected pay prior to the Dashain holidays, which was something they had been relying on, and so they were now looking for new work. Bibek being the oldest of them at the age of 16 had come to ask Rohit for advice but had instead run into Nayabastis InCharge, Pradeep, who had asked him why Bibek and his friends did not come and join the YCL rather than toil away as wage laborers. Pradeep had explained how working for a salary did not make sense: You work and work but it doesnt change anything and, after many years, when you have grown old and weary, everything is still the same. In other words, you are working hard but someone else is reaping the benefits of your labor. This immediately struck a chord with Bibek and his friends. Rajesh, who was among them, said he had not known anything about the party until that day when Bibek had returned and recounted what the YCL In-Charge had told him, and he had been very impressed: Compared to other parties, he explained, it is only the Maoists that contain real ideas and work for the people. He was also frustrated at working under the sahu and weaving carpets. The sahu scolded us a lot, he continued. He did not pay us on time and the salary wasnt very good anyway so, to fight for the equality of all, I joined the party.

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Bibek and his friends began to see their life as laborers as a dead end, and that they were being exploited rather than merely randomly cheated. There was a systematicity to what happened to wage laborers, and this was the structure of class oppression. Rajesh, for instance, had first worked for two months in one factory, then for four months in another, and lastly three months in the Gokarna factory before he and his friends had started looking for something better. They dont look after us, he exclaimed, it was not a working environment. When I interviewed Bibek about why he joined politics, he immediately connected his own childhood with capitalist exploitation: I was very slow in the village, I didn't know very much so I thought that if I join the party I can become very clever and I can learn much about political things many of the capitalists exploited people and it is only the Maoists who were fighting against this. The party can give those people freedom, who are really suffering from the capitalists. Bibek explained that, when he was in school, there were many cases of how his parents suffered from capitalism because they had to borrow money just to pay his school fees and when they did not have enough food they sold their labor carrying stones, etc. The capitalists were not satisfied, he said. They treated my parents badly, trying to exploit us and always complaining, your work is not good. When thinking back on his life, Bibek said it was the moment he quit school and came to Kathmandu when he felt that he was not being treated fairly. I also became the victim of exploitation, Bibek explained, and I felt it inside. This intimate link between capitalism and personal suffering provided cadres with a sense that they experienced their own proletarization and was, I would argue, an important aspect of the new relationship between members and the party because it allowed cadres to cast their personal experiences in political terms. Such a political experience rendered the abstract notions of class and class struggle into concrete and tangible relationships between the capitalists who exploit and the poor who are exploited. To be on the receiving end of this class hierarchy was not merely to be a victim, however, but indicated a particular type of agency, a struggle, that revolted against being oppressed. Let me flesh this out by providing a brief discussion on the CPN-Ms discursive construction of the class concept, which is also present in Nayabasti through the Maoist textbooks that cadres are required to read. Briefly, in a Marxist analysis of society, those who own and control the means of production exploit the workers by extracting surplus value from their labor, which in turn allows the former to consolidate their economic power and transform it into political and cultural dominance. The discourse on class gained currency during the Peoples War as CPN-Ms political program reflected deepfelt local concerns of injustice and was deeply rooted in a Maoist understanding of feu86

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dal society.7 In rethinking society along the lines of class, the CPN-M leadership had produced lengthy and specific analyses of its class nature, most particularly with regard to evaluating the matrix of support and enmity from different groups (CPN-M 1995). As a vision of the social, however, what they have been able to champion is a boiled-down and simplified version of class that leaves only two opposing forces: the oppressors and the oppressed. This can, for example, be seen in the way new cadres were taught about the configuration of class. In a textbook that cadres were given to study Marxist doctrine, a defining distinction is made between two kinds of people: those that live without doing any labor and those who must endure hard labor. The division stands between the oppressed groups and the oppressors who exploit hardworking people and enjoy life based on the labor of others. In explaining how these two classes are mapped onto society, the text continues: Both of these groups can be found in society but many oppressed groups can be found in the villages. They work day and night. These hardworking people are called farmers. Another group of people exploit the farmers. They are called feudal. Similarly, in the city the workers working in the factory and industry are being oppressed and exploited by the owner. In the village as well as in the city, both the oppressed and oppressor groups can be found (Introductory Communist Education). The class concept that grows out of this perspective is not merely descriptive but a tool for understanding the nature of society and, more specifically, the nature of oppression. Before providing its distinction between two classes of people, the reader is asked to observe society around him because to know the people living in a society, it is necessary to observe social reality. It is in following up on social reality that the reader is instructed that there are two kinds of people. What this class concept invites us to do, in a nutshell, is then to observe (society) and divide (into two classes). It is particularly in this sense that I would like to think about the CPN-Ms notion of class as a perspective on the social which is related to general ideas of sociality and politics.8 Returning to Bibek and Rajesh, this can help us frame their political experience as exploited. In contrast to, say, the middle-class experience in Kathmandu where people
7

This has been documented by several ethnographic accounts (Shneiderman & Turin 2004; Fujikura 2003; Lecomte-Tilouine 2010b; Zharkevich 2009a; Ghimire 2008), and Sara Shneiderman has suggested that the Maoist movement employed a practical ideology, by which she means a transformation of theoretical Marxism into concrete economic reforms, relevant to the daily lives of villagers (ibid.:304). 8 While this is not to argue that the CPN-Ms analysis of inequality is content with this distinction the relaunching of the theoretical Marxist publication Rato Jhilko in 2009 is a case in point there is a sense in which the idiom of class that their political success has popularized has taken a highly dualistic form. It was definitely present during my fieldwork as a rhetorical way of talking about society and a central tenet around which mobilization was verbalized.

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are seen to be sandwiched between their class others and must endure a deep-felt anxiety bound up with the reproduction of status and fears of falling (Liechty 2003), the class perspective evoked through the idea of oppression is entirely different. From this vantage point far below as it were there is no anxiety, for to invoke the Maoist frame of class is to perceive very clearly where one stands in relation to others; one is either allied or in opposition. In other words, to become a class subject in Marxist terms and in the position of oppressed, which was where YCL cadres belonged, was to gain a new kind of energy from which one could act upon the class hierarchy and its structures of domination.

Compulsion to serve The way the class position of oppression stimulated cadres to enact their own liberation was encapsulated in their use of the term compulsion, badhetta, to explain mobilization. Becoming political activists was something they simply had to do once they had understood the class nature of Nepali society and their own unhealthy place in it. When cadres spoke of badhetta, it referred to an obligation that weighed on them and which they were not necessarily interested in but with regard to which they felt they had no real option. Kamal used badhetta in the example above when talking about his decision to leave school and engage in the migration economy. He did it because it was expected of him, not because he wanted it. During a conversation with Suraj in which I challenged him about his prospects for advancement in the party hierarchy, he expressed a similar sentiment. I had asked if he was satisfied with being a regular cadre for years and taking orders from seniors when he was not offered a better position in the party, but he swept my inquiry aside with the simple answer: Of course I am satisfied because my compulsion is to change the nation. In other words, he had not become a cadre to enrich his own personal opportunities. What Suraj seemed to be saying was that it was an obligation for him to be a revolutionary just as it had been an obligation for Kamal to leave his school behind and work as a migrant laborer. The implication of this is that, from one perspective, there was no structural difference in becoming a cadre because it involved the same kind of shift as engaging in a labor economy. One was doing this simply because it was felt to be necessary. In this sense, badhetta built on a continuation of accepting to do what was required, while introducing a break in how one perceived ones place in society. In using the term badhetta to describe their decision to become activists, cadres played on a recognized relationship of submission to cultural norms of personhood, thereby underlining the importance of becoming politically engaged. The cadre Himal, who also joined at around the same time as Bibek and Rajesh, was unambiguous in linking his 88

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political commitment to the trope of badhetta. He said that he was no longer just thinking about his own world and fulfilling his own and his small familys needs. As a cadre, he felt he was struggling for the whole of Nepal and even for the whole world. I think it is a compulsion, he explained. I found out that proletarian people were being suppressed and that motivated me as the party is able to liberate those people. Not everyone couched their commitment to their cadre life in the notion of badhetta. Rohit explained above how he specifically did not join just because he felt compelled to but because his heart told him to. Whether using one or the other cultural trope for convincing the ethnographer about the sincerity of ones intention, I think the idea of badhetta suggests at its most basic that becoming a cadre is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly; it involves difficult and unpopular decisions, and it is based, or is accompanied by, a rather radical reconsideration of ones place in society and what a proper life path would be. If it were then a compulsion to join the revolution as an effect of ones class perspective and class position, what kind of engagement did this compulsion entail, what was the cultural work specific to becoming a cadre? It is against this backdrop that the notion of struggle enters as a continuity that is also a break. Struggle was seen by the cadres as a strong undercurrent in their lives; since they had become laborers they had had to struggle, but their entire upbringing was also recounted as a kind of struggle of days full of menial tasks in the household for as long as they could remember, of the deaths of family members, of the impossibility of continuing their studies in which new worlds of knowledge were opening up, or of the absence of parental love, as in Surajs case. The female cadre Ashmi exemplifies this perspective. She grew up in a slowly disintegrating family in the far west, where her fathers inability to accept his lack of male offspring tore the family apart. My father died when I was young, my fellow villagers said my father had really wanted a son but we were all daughters, my sisters and me. Because he didn't have a son he drank a lot and played cards. Other villagers had suggested that he remarry so that he could get a son. We are 8 sisters. One day, once again my mother became pregnant but he just went to Udhaipur. Then my mother gave birth to a son and one of the villagers on the way had told him to return now that his wife had born a son. He said he would return but he didn't and he went to India. My mother became very frail and weak after that and slowly she died. With first the mother dead and later also the father, the eldest sister took over the running of the household and made sure Ashmi attended school. The familys calamities were still not over, however. Soon two of her sisters also died and even her young brother, leaving only the six sisters, and Ashmi went to Kathmandu to work in the gar89

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ment industry because one of her sisters had already moved there in the course of her marriage. Ashmi reflects on her life as one long struggle but, rather than seeing her cadre life as a break from struggle, it is on the contrary struggle that links her new engagement with her previous life. Life is a struggle. When I was in the village, I was struggling as I did in the carpet industry and here I am also struggling in one sense. Life is a struggle; you have to compromise with so many things. Now I am living and working here. People think that we are just eating and sleeping but we are also engaged in our own struggle in here. Suraj had said a similar thing about why it was natural for him to become a Maoist cadre: Since I come from a poor background, I've learnt what difficulty is; what it means to work hard. Struggle was thus expressed as a condition of life for the young cadres both before and after they joined the party. If we dig a bit deeper, a slightly more complex picture appears. The word Ashmi and others used to refer to struggle was sangarsha. Sangarsha belongs to a Marxist vocabulary and is often connected with class to become class struggle, barga sangarsha. Struggle in this form is at the very heart of the CPN-Ms political project and is prominent in their documents and speeches.9 It is fundamentally linked to the Marxist class perspective because the labor class is, by nature, always an oppressed class insofar as it presupposes a class above. It can therefore only exist, by definition, in opposition to a ruling elite, and the only viable answer to this repression particularly in the CPN-Ms dualist philosophy is to overthrow the capitalist class through continuous barga sangarsha. To identify with the downtrodden thus implies a willingness to fight on their behalf and the compulsion of cadreship prefigures this positional struggle; it is necessary precisely because it describes the nature of the lower class position, i.e. struggle is the proper mode of being for the oppressed classes. What cadres are suggesting with their retrospective analysis of their life as one of struggle is that this class position has been inscribed in their histories and bodies from the very beginning, and that they are therefore ideally posited to carry out this form of struggle. Although Ashmi is trying to (re)cast her childhood through the notion of sangarsha, this hides an important sliding of meaning, however.

Barsa Sangarsha probably derives from Hindi, which would be in congruence with the Nepali communist movements close historical links to the Indian communist parties. In any case, the words for struggle in standard Nepali do not include sangarsha, which lends credibility to the interpretation that the expression has gained currency in Nepal through its political appropriation.

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The common way to talk about the hard conditions of life is not sangarsha but the much more passive notion of dukha, which can also refer to sadness. Dukha is, in fact, a widely used Nepali term to denote everything from small daily problems (it was dukha to be stuck in traffic) to all-encompassing feelings of being down. This was how cadres usually talked about their life as laborers when they wanted to highlight that it was tedious and unsatisfying.10 That this difference was, in fact, important can be gauged by how one of the cadres tried to bring the two into simultaneous view. Bijay, the third of the friends who joined in Bibeks group, had this to say when I asked him about how he understood sangarsha, struggle: It is [the same as] hardship (dukha). Sangarsha means dukha. For example, if you go to the garden and start to dig then that is also sangarsha. If somebody is engaged in getting rid of a dukha that engagement process is called sangarsha. Right now, we are determined to overcome every difficulty. I mean to say that we are involved in an andolan [political movement] and also involved in dukha. In the end, we will definitely reap the fruit. We are passionately struggling by involving ourselves For this we might shout [slogans] during our involvement ... If you do not sow the seeds of oranges then will the oranges ever appear on the tree? And to eat it, you at least have to use your hands. Similarly, we are also here for the sangarsha. Bijay is offering an interesting analysis here. First, dukha and sangarsha appear to be the same. His short and immediate answer to my query as to what sangarsha means was the Nepali dukha ho (it is hardship). This is in line with Ashmis interpretation that the hardships of her childhood can be thought of as one long struggle. Then, however he offers a more nuanced and radically different analysis. Dukha is, in fact, the precondition for struggle, that which must be overcome through struggle. Struggle thus appears as the solution to dukha and not just as its twin. Struggling offers the possibility of reaping the fruit, which is absent from the notion of dukha. To take the opposition between the two terms even further, dukha denotes a passivity that sangarsha turns on its head and brings into motion: dukha is here a closing down of opportunities, a position one can be stuck in, whereas sangarsha describes a becoming, a move towards its undoing. Is it possible that it is this specific dynamic between dukha and sangarsha that describes the shift of perspective that cadres talk about? Several cases that I have discussed seem to support this analysis. Surajs identification with a life of hard work and difficulty as a precondition for his move to cadreship establishes a dynamic between an experience of dukha and the necessity of turning this into a struggle. It is precisely be-

10

The word garo would be used to expressively pinpoint that something was difficult or strenuous but this did not form an important context for talking about the values of mobilization.

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cause he knows what it means to labor, because he understands the hardships connected with his class position, that he finds an urge to struggle in the sense of fighting back, of taking the necessary steps to address his class condition. Rohit made a similar connection when he resolved to give up his aimless life and start taking himself more seriously. After roaming around here and there, he explained, I realized that one has to do a lot of struggle. One has to consider everything seriously and develop what I think. Rohits interpretation of his shift also hinges on a focus on struggle in contrast to roaming around. Struggle, in Rohits narrative, indicates a sense of direction that was lacking before; it allows him to focus. Or, more precisely, struggle is the very form that the focus takes, as Bijay spelled out with his botanical allegory. Summing up, cadres life as wage laborers was hence understood to be a structural problem that kept them from developing, and which turned their socio-economic navigation into a negative experience. In order to escape the harmful effects of labor under exploitative sahus, they had to break with the kind of navigation, which sought economic security through temporary employment. This required breaking with the entire moral economy of remittances and filial obligations that required such a strategy. Maoist cadreship did not offer a different avenue of livelihood through which young people could fulfill family expectations or attain a higher socio-economic position. In fact, as we shall see, it was deliberately modeled so as to negate this experience altogether. What it did offer instead was an entirely different perspective on how cadres should understand their social roles their wish to earn money, to build houses, live up to family ideals, or do things merely out of interest and this new perspective started with a reframing of working life through the idiom of class struggle. Cadres had to learn, or in the first instance to appreciate, the necessity of struggle as a way of living. We can begin to see the contours of how entering into a relationship with the CPNM and its youth wing took place through the wholesale reframing of social identities, turning the coordinates of the labor economy on its head and using it against cadres to show them the injustices of Nepali society and recruiting them to act upon this knowledge. From Suraj via Hari and to Rohit, Rituraj, Bibek, Rajesh and Ashmi, we have a body of young people who have started questioning their predominant role in society and resolved that they want to do something to change its class structures. What I have argued so far is how the practices of mobilization convince cadres that they have to start this process by changing not the socio-political system but their perspectives on their lives and, by extension, their own values and priorities. But what does it mean to change oneself from a laborer into a cadre? What are the consequences of seeing oneself through the trope of class struggle rather than simply hardship?

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R ECR UI TM ENT AS S AC RI FI C E
Concurrent with the argument about the shift from one model of social becoming (the moral economy of migration) to another (class struggle), I have also tried to show that with this change of perspective, cadres past was recast into experiences of oppression, and their new engagement thus involved a redefinition of their social obligations. Within the idiom of class struggle, it is no longer sufficient to satisfy the expectations of ones relatives because the task one has undertaken concerns society as a whole. A crucial shift then occurs in how relevance is understood; working for a salary and providing for oneself and ones immediate kin whether in the direct form of money or the social regeneration of households and position does not solve anything as it cannot address the basic structures of inequality. Instead, one must struggle on behalf of the entire laboring class, those who are structurally positioned in an oppressed position vis--vis the capitalist class. In a basic sense, then, ones obligation towards relatives has been replaced with an obligation or even a compulsion towards a wider socio-political category. It is here the idea of sacrifice becomes important. It was a central tenet around which mobilization occurred and was often evoked in conjunction with sangarsha. Rohit, for instance, explained his role as a cadre in YCL in this way: We work on behalf of peasants and the downtrodden and the majority of the population, not for the bourgeoisie and the rich. We have to contribute, struggle and sacrifice. Of course, this as with the values of mobilization in general is not a commitment that suddenly appears but part of the perspective shift that cadreship on a whole involves and which thereby might outgrow previous modes of relating to society. I had asked Rohit if he found it difficult to struggle and sacrifice and he had answered that in the beginning everything had seemed very difficult and complex but that his heart had never lost hope (remember, it was Rohit who spoke of his decision to join as a decision in his inner heart), and now I really want to sacrifice myself. Sacrifice, as another cadre well expressed, had become his dream. It was a way of both contributing to society and turning this into a personal project. Everybody has to fulfill their dreams one day, and I dreamt that why should not I fight for a good cause and the upliftment of poor people? Nihar, a 23-year old Magar from Siraha who had worked for more than five years as a laborer in Jorpatis factories, had been comparatively slow in deciding to join but when he did, he was already clear about its significance. He was tied to his life as a laborer in a very concrete way because he owed his sahu money, but once he managed to pay that off, he explained, he was finally free to join. He could now embark on his dream of sacrifice through his fight for the poor.

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It was, then, a project that could be deeply personal without being selfish. Kamal, who recounted his dilemma about having to leave school and work in Kathmandu and had yet chosen to do so because it was his badhetta, spoke about the happiness of his sacrifice: I am happy with the revolutionary life; the feeling of serving the nation and the majority of people. Kamal allowed that there was another type of happiness outside a revolutionarys life, one that also involved sadness (dukha) and entertainment, but this belonged to a personal domain and was irrelevant in the current context. He spoke of such feelings as memorable, as if they were petrified objects that belonged to the past, and instead he highlighted that someone has to take the initiative, i.e. the CPN-M has taken on itself the arduous task of liberating the nation. Being on the right side of the fight for liberation and recognizing this was in itself gratifying. In a memorable passage that also speaks directly to the issue of how the yet uninitiated are convinced to join through conversations, Kamal explains the difficulty of talking about this newfound happiness to his friends outside the party: It is not simple to convince my friends outside. You cannot just talk about the revolution and the party. But it also depends on you. You can show them that every day there is a choice between liberation in one hand and death in the other. We all die one day and before we die, everybody has to perform some kind of role that serves humanity. You have to convince your friends of that. Kamals sacrifice was rewarding because it served humanity as well as realizing his potential for contributing to something important in his life. This allowed happiness to take on a more general quality and bring a different set of criteria into focus, beyond the memorabilia of personal life. Happiness, as was explained by another cadre (Himal) was not about satisfying personal needs, but about seeing peace prevail, about giving ethnic minorities right, and ultimately about the development and emergence of a prosperous Nepal. The dream, happiness, or compulsion of sacrifice are therefore not ultimately performed for one-self but for the nation, the downtrodden classes and for the general idea of liberation. It is aimed at bringing equality and rights to those who are being discriminated against whether they are fathomed as proletariat, oppressed or poor and this way to forestall the coming of a New Nepal. Sacrifice thus bring into focus, more so than struggle and compulsion, the relationship between cadres and their new social obligations. This obligation is both about a specific group of people and concerns the development of the country, and the double quality of what cadres are sacrificing for is best encapsulated by the popular term janata, the people, because they are tied to the fate of Nepal, constitute its majority, and still retain the referent to constituting a class with re94

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gards to the oppressors. Sacrifice transposes cadres social obligations from their families and onto janata. Just like the former were central figures in cadres decision to become laborers so janata has become a referent point for their new engagements and for the class struggle. It is now janatas well-being and condition that cadres must respond to; their needs which prescribe what is important and therefore how relevance and happiness is measured. Far from just being a fancy way of tying people to the party, my argument here is that the idea of sacrifice became entangled into the very fabric of cadreship as a core component of what it meant to be a proper cadre exactly one who was willing to sacrifice for the sake of janata. One should therefore allow the full weight of the term, as a reconstituting of the relationship between self and other through the emergence of a new Big Other (janata) and the manifestation of an unbound plea that ties the two together. The cadre, from this perspective, is nothing if it cannot be connected to janata through the plea of the sacrifice. Sacrifice in the post-conflict context was strongly connected to the history of the revolution. When addressing party cadres, leaders during my fieldwork emphasized the importance of continuing the struggle that so many had already sacrificed their lives for, and which had now taken a different form but was of equal importance to the victories gained during the Peoples War. Cadres also underlined this link and turned it into a personal project. Thus, many directly expressed their own decision to sacrifice as a continuation of, or indeed respect for, those who had already given themselves to the struggle as Nihar here: I was really influenced and inspired by those people who fought in the army and jungle without caring for their lives Similarly many people died and sacrificed their lives and I found that so many people have sacrificed themselves so why shouldn't I? Commemoration for fallen comrades is institutionalized in the Maoist movement and is a dominant theme in poems, essays, songs, political speeches and cultural programs (see Mottin 2010).11 Sacrifice in the present context draws heavily on the experience and history of soldiering during the Peoples War, and is set as an example to be followed by present-day cadres. Yet, politically motivated sacrifices have a much longer
11

This commemoration is also part of national politics with the Maoist-led government declaring many thousand fallen from the Peoples War as national martyrs and thereby bestowing on them not just public recognition but also the states obligation to compensate their families. This has, of course, become a controversial issues with rival political parties claiming that the CPNM only considered their own casualties as martyrs. Meanwhile the Maoists have created a new movement for the families of the disappeared which incidentally also includes the civilian deaths that Maoist cadres have been responsible for. The British ethnographer Ruth Marsden has described and analyzed this interesting aspect of post-conflict politics (Marsden 2010).

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history in Nepal and draw on the complicated relationship between the king and his subjects. Incidentally, sacrifice is a cornerstone of Hindu worship as discussed in the introduction but in the institution of war, the practice of substitution whereby an object is substituted for the self in the sacrifice is replaced with a direct sacrifice: the warrior offers his own life to the king and this kind of sacrifice is designated as a balidan, a self-sacrifice. With his balidan, the loyal warrior affirms the kings authority and regenerates the nation through the spilling of his own (and others) blood (Lecomte-Tilouine 2006; 2010a). According to the French anthropologist Marie Lecomte-Tilouine (ibid.), the Nepali Maoists built on this notion of sacrifice during the Peoples War and the soldiers death was therefore seen as a noble sacrifice honoring not the gods and the king but the nation and its people, janata. But the revolutionary sacrifice was also regenerative in another way that transgressed the Hindu warriors sacrifice. Unlike the latter, it did not restore order but open up a space for continuous sacrifices for the on-going struggle. Consequently, the blood that colored the ground did not settle the divine anger the way sacrifices in the Hindu tradition are thought to do but only made them more bloodthirsty. A revolutionarys balidan was an example to be followed and thus pointed towards more sacrifices. It thereby reinvigorated the struggle by demanding more sacrifices and the momentum this opened up for was radically different from the Hindu sacrifice. Whereas the latter can be seen as a temporary disorder that is returned to a peaceful order once the fighting is over, in the revolutionary struggle sacrifice is constitutive and is therefore the only order there is.

Sacrificing youth How did this change in the post-conflict context where the focus was no longer on the taking and giving of lives? What constituted a proper revolutionary sacrifice for the young YCL cadres? Actually, the YCL leadership itself is giving us some clues in how to approach this change. From a report by one of its regional leaders in Kavre, the role of the YCL is introduced in the following manner: YCL Nepal is a young and very active organization. With the changing political context, this organization is formed to help in eliminating the strong feudal chain in changing the structure of New Nepal. This is an organization of organized youth heading forward in a progressive direction. The crucial words to notice here appear in the last sentence. The changing political context and the work of eliminating feudalism is not envisioned through war but by heading forward in a progressive direction. The seemingly clumsy repetition of this movement (forward and direction) only underlines the point: the role of YCL is not 96

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to kill its enemies but to show them the progressive path. At another place in the report, a similar gesture is pronounced. YCL is the army of the 21st century and this means it carries neither weapons nor uniforms, but stays among the people and is a political organization (rather than a military one) that plays the role of Red Guards in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In a similar manner, YCL is seen as a force that patrols the gains of the revolutionary war and makes sure that society develops in a progressive manner. In a CPN-M magazine distributed among its cadres, aptly entitled youth voices, Wuma Bhujel from the YCL Central Committee has written an article to inform cadres about the important work confronting them. Under the heading Question of the formation of a new culture, she writes: According to comrade Mao youth are the major active and living forces of society. They desire to learn more. They are not orthodox in their thinking. Responsible youth are being victimized by feudal capitalism and the wrong culture of imperialist. Because of this, they are heading towards the wrong path. Day by day, youth are becoming irresponsible and chaotic due to feudal superstition and the vulgar, porno literature of imperialism. The major and important work of revolution is to destroy the feudalistic, capitalistic and imperialist culture and replacing it by new value and culture. Despite of all this, large numbers of youth are trapped in a wrong culture. A beautiful world can only be imagined through a severe struggle against these hazards. To concretize this imagined world, YCL will spearhead the transformation and make all youths head towards the right direction. This, then, is the challenge confronting present-day cadres: to install a new culture that reflects the beautiful world imagined by the movement. Youth is at the center of this struggle; they are the victims of imperialist culture and they are in special need of rescue because they constitute the major active force of society. The new path that YCL is treading is a path for progressive youth who should be showed the right direction which points towards a New Nepal.12 In the report from Kavre referred to above, the link between youth and the YCL is also highlighted:

The centrality of youth in YCLs discourse reflects a society-wide focus on young people at the present historical junction both as an object of social policy and as a distinct agent in transformative politics (Shakya 2009; de Schepper & Poudel 2010). As discussed in the introduction, youth have become an important operator in transitory politics in Nepal, and the Maoists is only one actor among many in a contested political field that all vie for youth through different visions. In this regard, Mark Liechty has argued that the middle-class culture discussed above was one such very strong movement that constituted youth as a category in Nepal (Liechty 2003). As argued by Ina Zharkevich (2009a), CPN-M also participated in such a youth economy during the Peoples War by mobilizing youth to a radical social vision that particularly concerned them
12

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Taking into the consideration of present transitional phase, this organization is based on the characteristics of youth and it will intervene in each and every element which is anti people. How does this affect the structure of sacrifice? Essentially, youth became the operator through which mobilization was expressed and consequently that which the cadres could offer. It was because of their youth that cadres could contribute with something special to the movement. This was expressed by cadres in a variety of ways: I realized that my youth period must be used for the upliftment of the poor (Suraj); I was addressed as a youth [and told] that we youth have to transform society. This really inspired me ... We are involved for the youth. (Santosh); We are the energy of the nation. You are wasting your youth (Hari); I thought that if youth like us dont join, then who else is going to? (Himal). In contrast to the self-sacrifice of balidan which concerned the whole person life as such post-conflict sacrifice was focused on a special part of the self, which was envisioned as ones youth. What did this imply? It is important to be precise here. Incidentally, it was because of their youth that potential cadres were relevant for the YCL. This was highlighted by one of the partys local leaders in an interview I conducted half-way through my fieldwork. I was interested in how they decided to which of the many sister organizations new cadres should be mobilized, and was told that, youth want redemption from exploitation, and ideological leadership is given by the party. The main thing is to complete the people's revolution and for that aim youth are organized in different sectors. Our aim is to find out how efficiently the youth can be mobilized. Many youth do not go to college and schools and they get involved in YCL. Much more fundamentally, however, it was also their youth as a vital part of themselves that they were bringing into the struggle. At its most basic level, this concerned the obvious fact that to move from ones position as a laborer into a camp and severe these economic relations implied a sacrifice of a salaried position. What was offered here, in a nutshell, was time. The time that one had been spending as a laborer was turned towards another project and whence freed from its former relation, as so well expressed by Nihar when he realized that he was free to join YCL. The movement of time from one domain to another was in fact clearly perceived by cadres as an elementary aspect of their wish to become revolutionaries and expressed as giving time to the party. This was actually stranger than it sounds. To become a cadre through the wholesale exchange of one way of life with another which moving into the camp actualized
as a category. It was, as Zharkevich explains, a new way of being young. YCL is a continuation of this youth project but with an even stronger stress on youth.

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was in fact not the principal way of entering the party, nor the YCL. But it was definitely the most auspicious. The crucial distinction here stands between WTs and PTs, whole-timers and part-timers, which I introduced in Chapter 1. As the word indicates, WTs are full-time members whereas PTs are not. PTs can therefore lead regular civilian lives hold jobs, live with their families besides working for the party. WTs, on the other hand, have given themselves fully to the revolutionary struggle and there is no residue of civilian life standing between them and their commitment. The practice of WTs has changed in the history of the Maoist movement but, significantly, it was already a term used during the early years of the Communist movement to denote cadres who were experienced and dedicated. During the Peoples War, WTs constituted the core of the movement, particularly as PLA soldiers, because to participate on the side of the Maoists and hide from the government forces in the jungle precluded the continuation of regular civilian life. In line with this tradition, YCL WTs were considered more devoted than their PT friends, not only by the WTs in the camp but equally among the local PTs I talked to. The signifying difference was exactly that their sacrifice was total and uncompromised. Because they had severed themselves completely from their previous roles, and by extension their obligations towards their families, they were free to serve the party and janata around the clock. One of Nayabastis leaders expressed it this way: Compared to other sister organization [of the party] and other organization I worked with, it is different [here]. They don't camp. They have relationships with the neighborhood and have to settle their family problems but unlike in those organizations, the members working for YCL are free from their families. You have to be fully engaged in all activities even though you are sick etc. This made the WT YCLs special in the eyes of the rest of the organization. Camp members sacrifice was more complete simply because it was whole and the word wholetimer points to this crucial hierarchical distinction between the two categories of members. While it is clear that cadres were sacrificing their time in becoming cadres, the time in question also seemed to be tied in a unique way to youth. Not only was this directly expressed by cadres who recounted that their sacrifice concerned their period of youth and of giving ones youth, but it also came out in their ambiguity towards the forces of youth. On the one hand, youth was seen as a potentiality along the lines expressed by the YCL CC-member above; youth were active, desirous of new knowledge, unorthodox. Cadres further highlighted that youth were strong and fast and that it comprised an especially energetic period that was not correlative to biological age as long as one had a youthful mind i.e. progressive Marxist thinking as Suraj explained to me on 99

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one occasion. One of the camp leaders by contrast suggested that the only thing that set youth apart from others was bravery (himmat) and did therefore not only concern the mind. Accordingly, a 90-year old could be a youth, he told me, while cowards of any age did not deserve to fall in this category. On the other hand, youth was also seen as a devious substance if it became influenced by bad forces. Such youth could be identified by laziness, or a preference for alcohol and drugs and were referred to as bigreko, meaning spoiled (literally broken). Hari insinuates that he was such a youth before he slowly became transformed, one that was caught up in thinking about where he could get the next fix. This threat of spoiled youth was a concern for the cadres. Accordingly, Bibek explained that apart from the exploitation he suffered by the sahu, there were also many youths in the factory who were spoiled with drinking and smoking. Bibek was afraid of getting spoiled himself because many of his friends were engaged in such activities, and he was certain that if he had stayed longer with them, he would also have become spoiled. Prakash, who had eventually left the YCL due to his realization that the most important thing is money was nonetheless painfully aware of the risks of getting involved in what he called bad work. He had come from a poor background with many sick family members, including a handicapped sister who had been infected by evil air, and his whole childhood, he said, was penetrated by his obligation to look after the others so that he could neither play with his friends or go to school. There was no happiness in my childhood, he had told me without a grimace. This reflected on his outlook on youth. I learned, he explained, that I should not get involved in bad works like gambling, drinking, or being envious towards others I have seen man youth in Kathmandu who are rich but have not got an education. It is, I think, due to the fact that their parents do not behave properly with them and also, they cannot control them. Youth like these, according to Prakash, became uncontrollable and by extension could end up in bad works if they were not careful. It was in fact not wholly uncommon for YCL members to have such a history. Sabin, for instance, used to go stealing with his friends when he was a village kid and he was especially popular among his friends because he was good at conceiving plans. They were considered bad by the villagers, he explained, and this was even though they did know of our stealing, or so Sabin presumed, because they stole from neighboring villages rather than their own. This kind of spoiled youth, which the cadres later learned to speak of in correct Marxist terms as corrupted, was therefore the flip side of the energetic, brave and progressive youth that led the struggle for a new anti-imperialist culture, towards the New Nepal. Youth was therefore an inherently ambiguous figure and one which was, crucial100

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ly, not external to themselves but part of their past or potential futures. It was not only Sabin who could recount his process of becoming a cadre as a move away from a spoiled youth. This was in fact a common theme and could be recounted like Ravi did here: When I was young and hadnt joined Maobadi, I was just like any other youth drinking and roaming about. Now I have changed my mindset and engage in social work and help society. Becoming a cadre could then be thought of as a transformation of ones youth, of getting rid of the latent or actual spoiled parts of it and cultivating its progressive aspects. The sacrifice cadres express is intimately tied to this process. Youth can here be seen as a container both of time and of an bi-polar morality, and in offering the time of youth to the party, cadres are also bringing an inherently ambiguous substance to their political being. If youth is then a force, it must be wielded correctly to attain the desired goals and the remainder of this thesis traces how the ambiguity inherent in the sacrifice of youth is played out in their life as cadres.

C ONC LUS I ON
This chapter has analyzed the mobilization of young people to YCL in the post-conflict context by paying attention to the underlying shift in perspective that follows cadres recruitment process. I have argued that, by virtue of being wage laborers in a remittance economy, new members occupy a position of oppressed in the CPN-Ms class analysis of society and that decisions to join the movement involve a break with a way of life that reproduces rather than confronts structures of class exploitation. This realization leads to the notion of class struggle as the cultural work of cadreship and results in a reassessment of cadres social position and worth; rather than being obliged towards ones own interests or relatives expectations, cadre life now comes to revolve around janata, the people, and leads to the idea of self-sacrifice (balidan), which in the postconflict context is expressed through the ambiguous identity of youth. What does such an analysis of mobilization suggest? On the one hand, I have tried to show how the shift of perspective involved in becoming cadres is traversed by two crisscrossing movements: first from non-laborer to (migrant) laborer, and then from laborer to cadre. Cadreship involves a shift that is both a continuation and a break: In terms of continuation, it builds on the laborers personal identification with class subjects, one that they recognize through the exploitation of themselves and/or their parents. They are already laborers and simply have to recognize themselves in CPN-Ms idiom of class a shift of perspective (albeit an important one) 101

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and not one of position. In terms of break, the move from laborer to class involves the move from dukha (hardship) to sangarsha (struggle) which, one could say, fills the new class position with its content. If the labor position was defined by hardship and money, the new one by contrast has combined these contradictory experiences into a focused struggle against a common (class) enemy, one as we have seen that is partly internalized through the reference to youth. Due to their backgrounds as laborers, the new post-conflict cadres in the YCL are already experienced in the primary cultural work of struggle, albeit only in its passive mode of dukha. All that mobilization then requires is a willingness to transform the laborers class experience into a more productive form. On the other hand, cadreship, as I have traced it here, is ultimately an unstable project. At least with regards to the YCL, it should be understood as being based on a large-scale shift of perspective to class struggle which is inherently inconclusive because it is not based on any other force than cadres sincere willingness to become transformed into better persons, into progressive youth. It is a strenuous shift as it involves so much more than simply participating in a new social project; cadres reevaluate their own history as one that leads to this insight, and one which implicates an entirely different mode of being vis--vis ones social others. One is no longer primary someones son, daughter, brother, sister or villager but a kind of social transformer, i.e. a revolutionary, who must consider societys well-being in ones engagement. Sustaining this link between oneself and a generalized notion of a Big Other, janata, goes against the grain of everyday social exchange in Nepal. The idiom of sacrifice is a way for cadres (and their leaders) to make sense of this position because it is a recognized idiom that brings into view a different modality of being with new ways of evaluating self and social worth. It is along these lines that cadres reinterpret their experiences of navigation. The continuous adjustments and looking out for opportunities that they were forced to comply with as laborers was experienced as a kind of stuckedness that had little agentive potentiality. By contrast, in becoming cadres, they regain their ability to act on the world although this engagement is scripted so that it involves a struggle against the very structures that circumscribed their being as laborers. It is, in crucial ways, in order to set themselves free from what they were and the entire system that made such social relations possible that cadres turn to politics. The shift of perspective to Maoist cadreship therefore involves a critical reappraisal of a type of navigation that leads to social ruin and instead embraces a mode of being where one is not occupied with navigating positions but with building a new identity. The actual work of transforming people into cadres may start with conversations on the role of youth and laborers in Nepali society but it is only in becoming whole-timers and moving into the camps that cadres actively en-

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gage with the revolutionary identity of the sacrificing Maoist subject, and it is to this discussion that I now turn.

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Many come here and say they can live under the party hierarchy and that they are really motivated but eventually they leave as they are not willing to sacrifice themselves. That's why, these days, we are being selective about who we give membership to, it is not attained easily. It is important that people do what they are good at and give themselves to their work, just like this worker here [pointing to an old worker who is laying cement in the yard]; he is a good worker and is engaged in that. Similarly, people who come here should be investing themselves in the party. We dont give membership to everyone who comes here. We select on the basis of certain criteria. We look at their family backgrounds. Also we go through the individual personality. We check what kind of person he really is. - Nischal, second-in-command in the Nayabasti Camp

For Nischal, who control and evaluate peoples eligibility for membership, without submitting to the logic of cadreship as a personal sacrifice, one cannot succeed as a cadre and will just be wasting everyones time and energy. While local young people that fit YCLs profile are recruited by educating them about the Maoist class ideology, as discussed in the previous chapter, once they approach the camp to become members, they are treated with reservation and have to prove themselves worthy of membership. Before being allowed into the YCL and into Nayabasti, potential recruits therefore sit for an interview where they are warned of the hardships that come with their lives as cadres and asked if they are really ready to commit to such unfavorable circumstances. The essence of cadreship, as shown in Chapter 2, is captured by the idiom of balidan, sacrifice. It is the notion repeatedly invoked by leaders and lay members alike when explaining their own motivation for joining, and it is the reason offered when reflecting on those who quit. People who stay on to become cadres understand that they must sacrifice themselves, while those who fail to do so eventually also fail as cadres. Sacrifice is the fault line between the successful and the unsuccessful cadre, the conceptual idiom through which sincerity and loyalty to the movement is framed.

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In this chapter, I examine the cultural logic of this link between mobilization and sacrifice through an exploration of how newcomers are integrated into the YCL and the Maoist community. I will use the notion of submission to frame this discussion since this captures well the kind of relationships junior cadres are expected to become engulfed in, but, contrary to the perception of relations of subordination in Nepali society as being fatalistic (Bista 1991) or repressive (Cameron 1998), I show how this leads to a specific empowerment of the Maoist subject. Submission, as I use it here, does not therefore so much describe processes of stratification but rather designates a resubjectivization of people into the cultural framework of the CPN-M organization and cadres active efforts at fitting in. Submission means, first and foremost, a willingness to engage in novel ways with the cadre community and to find, and dedicate oneself to, a meaningful role in relation to other members. In this process, relations of hierarchy and equality are not opposed but coexist and even reinforce each other, thereby turning the submission Nischal epitomized as living under the party hierarchy into a rather more complex arrangement than the expression at first glance suggests. This perspective on submission grows out of the concepts of compulsion (badhetta) and struggle (sangarshan) that I analyzed as framing mobilization because it is through such understandings of a decision to become maobadi that relations of submission are made possible, since they signify and offer particular subject-positions. By focusing on processes of submission, I am interested in exploring the changes in social relationships that followed when young laborers became cadres, and to connect this discussion with the understanding of cadreship as a sacrifice. Returning to the quote above, why was it that cadres could not be successful in living here unless they committed themselves to the party? What was so characteristic about living in Nayabasti and becoming a member that it required newcomers to yield, so to speak, to its mode of operation? In zooming in on these processes of submission, we gain an understanding of what it meant for my interlocutors to become Maoist cadres and how newcomers were taught to fit into a different vision of self and society through the idiom and embodiment of sacrifice. By following the young laborers and migrants as they moved into the camp, I explore how novices were assigned roles and responsibilities within an organizational framework that emphasized the importance of military-like obedience to ones commander, while at the same time providing a pedagogical space for learning and advancing in relations of apprenticeship. Alongside a formalized hierarchical structure, a culture of respectful interaction and mutuality therefore existed that was based on ideas of sameness and equality between all cadres irrespective of their position and captured in the oft-repeated exclamation we live here together as brothers and sisters. I argue that

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through a dynamic between expressions of hierarchy and equality, a culture of sacrifice was made possible, whereby a Maoist social order could be regenerated through individual, low-level cadres participation. In this way, cadres ability to live under the party and invest in their new roles and take their work seriously, as Nischal suggested they should do, became a prerogative for staying in the camp and therefore for developing a cadre subjectivity expressed through a personal sacrifice. Submission describes a threshold that cadres had to pass over when joining the YCL and it was this process, I argue, that prepared laborers for a life and an identity as cadres in the CPN-M. The chapter is divided into five sections: I first provide a short description of the Nayabasti camp with its layout and social organization, starting with my own way into the field; next, I explore how newcomers were required to submit themselves unconditionally to the party hierarchy by obeying their commanders, and how this duty expressed a militarized logic of revolutionary power; in the third section, I analyze commanders roles as instructors and cadres position as apprentices within the camp community and the way they build on Nepali models of respect and mutuality in relations between kin; the fourth section explores cadres ability to criticize and disobey leaders through a consideration of how cadres perceived their position within the wider party structure; and the fifth and last section extends the discussion on equality by exploring how cadres link their experiences of submission to understandings of sacrifice and the idea of the people, janata. Proceeding through these different aspects of cadres submission from obedience via apprenticeship to disobedience and ending up with cadres relationship with the notion of janata the chapter connects junior members experiences of hierarchy and equality with the development of cadres as revolutionary subjects.

NAYAB AS TI C AM P
From the busy junction on the Ring Road, one takes the road leading east away from Kathmandu city center, and past the stores offering delicious momos, colorful garments, and small electronic supplies. The asphalt is potholed and the traffic noisy and chaotic. On the left a discreet wall with a guarded entrance reveals little of the luxury resort inside, with lush gardens and a calm atmosphere in stark contrast to the rest of the city's bustle. Onwards downhill the immediate hectic nature of the inner city recedes, allowing trucks and buses to pick up speed as they ply forward on their own curious missions. After the last peripheral tourist spot here on the edge of Kathmandu, the dazzling and majestic Buddhist Stupa of Boudhanath, one takes a right turn remaining for a little while on a paved street. The pounding noise of truck and bus horns has been exchanged 106

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for school children's laughter and the intruding sound of bike engines, now suddenly so dominating. A little further on, the two-three story concrete houses become scattered, revealing low-lying shacks along the road where men construct beds and chairs for the local market. To reach the YCL camp, one continues to the next junction, and turns right again, further away from the businesses of the road. The street has shed its tarp surface, releasing the dust of the dry ground. A small truck climbs up from below, tilting dangerously over the side as its front wheel dips into one of the knee-deep crevices. Passing the last fruit stall where I used to buy snacks for my friends in the camp, the street carries on downward gently curving from one side to the other, until one loses direction of the city one is leaving behind. More than once, I have found myself on a different street than I expected, getting lost in the maize of increasingly smaller and narrower paths, and occasionally ending up on the narrow edge that separates two green fields; for here on the edge of town, fields still appear in the interstices of the urban landscape. The last street, now more a path because it cannot accommodate motorized vehicles apart from 'two-wheelers', runs along a tall wall that reveals the characteristic sound of a school ground behind it. Buildings are fewer and further apart but relatively larger and more newly built. The fields here, close to the Bagmati river still relatively unsoiled by its passage through the Pashupatinath temple and the rest of the city are swiftly being transformed into a suburban landscape as Kathmandu continues its sprawling expansion over the valley floor. Houses are quickly started but slowly finished, as the raw structure of a potential second or third floor is left protruding from the roof and a pinkpainted front contrasts with the grey concrete of its remaining three sides. Here, on the edge of town, and yet in the residential center of the lower parts of the Jorpati neighborhood lies the Nayabasti camp, an unobtrusive two-story house in faded colors that functions as a living quarters, office and training facility for the Maoist whole-timers in the YCL. From the leaders' perspective, camps such as these have two overall purposes: they train newcomers to become cadres, and they function as a mobilization unit that can be activated at short notice. In addition, senior members have diverse party assignments in the Jorpati area, such as meeting up with other party members, arranging local events, and coordinating the large network of volunteers who are only part-time activists. Nayabasti therefore comprises an important unit in the organizational set-up, and represents the YCL's local Area Office, of which there are 15 in Kathmandu Valley. The camp's daily leader, Pradeep, was thus also the YCL In-Charge of the entire administrative area, known as Constituency No. 3. There was nothing to suggest that the house comprised a CPN-M cadre station; there were no signs on its doors, no characteristic red Maoist party flag with its large

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white hammer and sickle, and no fence or gate to shut if off from the neighborhood surroundings. In fact, Nayabasti occupied one half of a double house, sharing a balcony with the neighboring family who had a small shop facing the street, and cadres often hung out outside the building or on the school ground across the road, which became the center of afternoon volleyball matches with other young people from the area during the dry season. The inside of Nayabasti (see Appendix 4) was also hardly distinguishable from a residential building, maybe with the exception that it was very sparsely furnished and that two of its rooms were padlocked the food storage room on the ground floor and Pradeeps private room on the first floor. The roof served as kitchen and common area, which is not uncommon in a Nepalese context, and the largest room on the ground floor was converted into a TV room but also doubled as sleeping quarters for the camps senior leaders just below Pradeep in the hierarchy. Four of the remaining five rooms (there were four on each floor, totaling eight) served as shared rooms for the junior cadres with one being exclusively for the camps three women. This was one of the few instances in which gender segregation was visible in the CPN-M. The spatial layout of Nayabasti later carried on to the new camp when it was relocated in July was thus expressive of central values connected with the camp; that it was khula,open to the outside community, a message that was underlined by the fact that the doors to the house stayed open throughout the day, and that guests came and went as they pleased without knocking on doors or asking permission; that it was a place of collectivity whereby the household space was shared among its members so as to invite communal relations and, even if some doors were often locked, this was to prevent theft and there were no limits on the cadres mobility inside the house; and, lastly, that despite being shared, the house was divided between members and functionality, as expressive of a social organization that drew distinctions between the rank and role of cadres. It is this latter aspect that I focus on in the next section, which explores how obedience was seen as a duty because it expressed a military principle of struggle and how the organization into sections was central to institutionalizing this value in the relationships between commanders and ordinary cadres. Thus, as I am going to argue, the primary function of the camps military organization was not to mobilize cadres to act in the world outside the camp but instead to teach them what it meant submit to the hierarchical culture of a revolutionary party. The camp was a training facility, a place where aspiring members could learn the skills needed for practicing revolutionaries.

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A M I LI TARY COM M AND S YS TEM


When I first arrived in February, there were almost 30 cadres living there, the majority of whom had joined after the Maoists had come above ground, reflecting the YCLs drive to mobilize a new urban pool of activists. Nonetheless, eight members had longer histories in the movement, starting with Nischal as the second In-Charge who had come on board in the 1980s when the CPN-M was known as the moto masal (see Chapter 1) all the way up to Santosh who had become active during the Jana Andolan II in April 2006 and had incurred a limp after being shot in the leg during the protests. Several had been active in one of CPN-Ms sister organizations during the Peoples War, such as Marut who had been a part-time member of the Tamang Mukti Morcha (an armed ethnic front), although two of the senior members heralded directly from the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA): one of them was Pradeep who had been a PLA commander and was the camps In-Charge despite Nischals clear seniority in age and membership, and the other was Ganesh who, at the age of 24, was by far the youngest of the experienced cadres. There was thus a wide breadth of organizational expertise and historical legacy represented in Nayabastis senior members despite the large influx of new post-conflict cadres. At the heart of member differentiation in Nayabasti was the organization of cadres into different sections. Nayabastis members were organizationally divided between junior and senior members in a structure I shall refer to as the sectional hierarchy because sections made up the core units of the camp. Newcomers were immediately put into sections that were meant to emulate the military squads during the Peoples War,1 and as they were seen to be self-reliant and fully operable on their own, they contained a formalized division of roles. At top stood the Section Commander (SC), then a Vice Commander (VC), and, finally there was the more curious category of the FGL, who were seen as the fighters of the group and whose primary responsibility was to motivate the other members.2 Each section had between six to eight members and until the camps relocation in July 2009, Nayabasti had three sections called simply Section A,
1

A section was ideally seen to form a group of 7-8 cadres, which is less than the 11-12 stipulated for a Squad in the Peoples War and this may reflect the changed circumstances of the work they carried out. Accordingly, there were 3 sections in Nayabasti throughout the first half of 2009 when it still had a strong cadre-base, but this was reduced two after the relocation of the camp in July. 2 None of the cadres could explain what FGL stood for. According to retired Brigadier-General Sam Cowan who has worked with and researched both the PLA and the Nepali Army the acronym FGL might derive from the military term Fighter Group Leader, but he confessed that he never heard it used in the Nepali context (personal conversation). This reading fits the interpretation provided by the camp members of the FGL as one who is keeping junior recruits on their toes, but I have not been able to locate its usage within the history of the movement.

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Section B and Section C, respectively. In the spatial layout of the camp (Appendix 4) each section had their own Section Rooms where they kept their personal belongings, slept, studied and held meetings. Despite the gender segregation of sleeping quarters, the women in the camp were part of the sectional hierarchy although they all belonged to the same section. Figures 3 and 4 illustrate the distribution of cadres between sections and commander positions before and after the camps relocation (Appendix 5). Above and beyond the section structure were the more experienced members but unlike with sections, they were not internally ranked so that, apart from Pradeep as the overall In-Charge, there were no formal hierarchical distinctions between the middle layer of leaders within the camp. The reason for this was that the middle leaders held positions in the CPN-Ms committee structure in the local area, and while they were all answerable to Pradeep, they were not organized under him as were the section cadres but were part of the partys general hierarchical structure as outlined in Chapter 1. Sections, by contrast, were internal to the camp and had no direct relation to the party organization; they were as such invisible from the outside. Whereas positions within the party were decided at the appropriate committee level, cadres section membership was exclusively Pradeeps decision. This effectively sliced the camp in two: those who were part of the strictly internal system and who were almost without exception cadres who had joined after the war and then the smaller groups of senior members. The camps layout confirmed this differentiation. Only section cadres and Pradeep had fixed places; the remaining members had to scramble around for a place to sleep. Figure 2 (Appendix 5) shows the basic components of this organization and the opaque position of the middle leaders. The differentiation between junior and senior members was therefore instituted on a profound level between those who belonged primarily to the camp (organization), and those who were positioned principally within the party (organization). This distinction is important when considering how cadres were taught to relate to each other, and I now turn to a description of the basic relationship between ordinary cadres and their commanders. Sections were not simply convenient instruments for organizing newcomers in a principled fashion. As core units of whole-timer membership, they served to teach cadres the virtues of obeying a military command structure. Newcomer cadres were placed in one of Nayabastis sections and told that their principal duty was to obey their section commanders and accept, or live under, the party hierarchy. The emphasis on obeying ones commander was profound and constituted a ground rule for membership in the activist community. The cadre Rohit, whom we met in Chapter 2, gave a simple and powerful script for obeying when asked about the criteria for joining, himself a

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Vice Commander at the time: He is the leader, he gives a command, and we say yes, yes. Cadres referred to this obligation in a variety of ways, some using direct references to an organizational hierarchy, taha, or by employing words for obedience, manu or ajnapalan, while others used metaphors to underline their readiness to serve the party. Among the latter examples, the expression wherever the party commands me, I will go was regularly used when we conversed about work, meaning that what was important here was the cadres ability to respond to commands, rather than the specific nature of their assignment. The requirement for cadres to obey their commanders was interwoven with the sectional structure and was therefore a profound characteristic of how cadres spent their initial period in the camp; more than simply an empty value, it constituted the first test of potential cadres and was, as Nischal clearly attested to in the introductory quote, a significant worry for the YCLs leaders: whether or not cadres were in fact sincere about and able to invest themselves in the party by submitting to the party hierarchy. Relationships of subordination within the sections were a way of training cadres in this essential quality of CPN-M members. While the middle leaders, as explained, occupied an undifferentiated position between Pradeep and the sections, the internal differentiation within the sections was pronounced such that orders from above had to pass through the appropriate levels, starting with the SC, via the VC, and then to the FGL who communicated orders to common cadres. The obverse was also true. Ordinary section cadres requests to leave the camp, switch duties with someone else or be excused from an assignment had to follow the same channels of communication through the internal stratum of the camp hierarchy. This system of commands replayed the YCLs link to the PLA and its army culture and was regularly evoked as the model of how to behave in Nayabasti: Remember this is the army, as Pradeep and aspiring commanders such as Rohit were fond of saying. Despite the communal nature of living, which made this formalized information exchange superfluous from a practical point of view, cadres were thus still required to abide by the layered lines of communication befitting a military institution. It meant that the most basic unit of their party affiliation was, from the beginning, deeply hierarchized when it came to taking and giving orders, thus institutionalizing the system of commands that formed organizational relations. This role of the sections in disciplining newcomers was all the more evident when compared to the looser hierarchy among all the members above and outside the sections, as they could freely give orders to the different sections and were only answerable to Pradeep. Section cadres, for instance, took pride in reporting their command titles to me and were eager to let me know when they had advanced in the hierarchy but the middle leaders used no such references to their

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own status as leaders. The formalization of party roles did not therefore become more pronounced as cadres advanced in the hierarchy but was on the contrary most extreme at the very bottom of the organizational pyramid. In this sense, sections became an exercise in living under the hierarchy, and for newcomer cadres this took the overriding form of unconditional obedience. The segmented system underlined for cadres the fact that the work they were doing was not just the result of random decisions from erratic leaders, but of logical orders from mathi, above. The conceptual pair mathi-talla (high-low or above-below) was the most common way of invoking the party hierarchy, and it highlighted the mutual interdependence of the different organizational levels. To obey was thus expressive of ones functional integration into the party and was spoken of by the more erudite as a dialectical relation between the upper and the lower body. One was therefore not simply at the bottom of a vast hierarchy; one was in a productive relationship with mathi, one that took the form of obedience. The militarized system of commands taught cadres the virtue of clear lines of communication and was regarded as a unique feature of CPN-M activism, signaling the close integration between the strategies contemplated by leaders far away and the specific work each unit had to engage in. It was also what defined the YCL as a revolutionary party: When we work as revolutionaries, I was told, we have to work under a hierarchy; we need leaders to organize us.3 In the YCLs own campaigning, leaders have highlighted how their goal is to give military consciousness to youth (Tamang 2009) and the organization sees itself as a militant youth movement. This is how one of the regional leaders described it in an internal party magazine: This is an organization of organized youth heading towards a progressive direction (pragatisil path) [] It will continuously march in the path of revolution by adopting the Force Theory for the emancipation of the proletariat class and is committed to fight in favor of peasants, tenants, laborers and the common people [] YCL is a catalyst for radical change, a disciplined organization which is purely and originally democratic [it is] an
Such a formulation recalls Maos analysis of revolutionary politics as a special aspiration of military values. Though Mao was not the first to utilize the vocabulary of warfare when contemplating the parameters of revolutionary struggle, his rereading of the military strategist Sun Tzu has been essential in forming his thoughts on Protracted Peoples War in China, and have resulted in a number of detailed essays. In Problems of War and Strategy from 1938, it is declared that:
3

Communists do not fight for personal military power [] but they must fight for military power for the Party, for military power for the people. What is military power? It is a principal strategy when engaging in class struggle, and Mao warns that when there is naivety on the question of military power, nothing whatsoever can be achieved (ibid.).

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army of the 21st century but this army is an army without uniform and [] it will function by staying among the people but not on the barracks.(Magar 2008). While the YCL is an army, a disciplined organization, and adopts a Force Theory, it sees itself as a modern army without uniform and, by extension, without guns. It is therefore not war in a conventional sense that is the goal of this militarization. Rather, the military references to its organization points instead to a principle of revolutionary struggle: it is a form that struggle takes, as Mao explained in his famous dictum that war is the main form of struggle and the army the main form of organization (Mao 1938), and is inscribed into the way the organization works. It is in this sense that the YCL is a political organization based on military characteristics, as one leader explained (Tamang 2009). Pradeep, Nayabastis In-Charge, explained the complexity of this process as he saw it. The YCL, he told me, should be thought of as existing simultaneously in four different forms: as social service providers (sewa), as an organization (sangathan), as a movement (andolan) and as creating publicity (pracha pasar). This model links efficiency in carrying out the partys programs with creating awareness about the ongoing struggle, while attending to the social work that the Maoist movement has tirelessly championed for. But andolan, I was told, is a more complicated notion and can take three different forms according to the circumstances. It can be peaceful, strong or turn into an armed struggle, and this does not express a change in the organization or its goals, it is merely a matter of applying the necessary force to be the social service providers they are committed to being. Unlike sangathan, which had to abide by military characteristics to be efficient, andolan, in this model, was merely a lever; the form of andolan might change but the requirement of organization, of military power that is, was an unbreakable principle. The YCLs image and organizational structure as an army encapsulated its ability to be an efficient and disciplined organization that could implement the partys policies directly and swiftly.4
4

Slavoj Zizek has written about the relationship between revolutionary organization and its goals and calls it somewhat provocatively revolutionary terror. It accounts for a position that combines belief with resoluteness. The terror resides in being loyal to the idea and relentless in implementing it: Terror is nothing but prompt, severe, inflexible justice. It is therefore an emanation of virtue (Robespierre in Zizek 2008:159). According to Zizek, where promising revolutionary events failed such as The Cultural Revolution in China this was not a failure on the level of practice (that they were too ruthless) but on the level of allegiance to the idea; they were not radical enough and degenerated into a reactionary form. In the case of China, Maos use of the army to suppress the Shanghai Commune is understood by Zizek as the ultimate failure of the Cultural Revolution and not its Idea as such. The focus is thus not on military organization per se but on how it can be wielded to accomplish a long-term goal. In her analysis of Maoist terror during the People's War, Lecomte-

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What this means for our present purposes is that it was not simply that YCL cadres had to become soldiers as was the case with their PLA predecessors but that in the process of becoming revolutionaries, they should internalize the perspective of the soldier as a way of relating to the organization and each other. Military consciousness points to this basic allegiance between cadres and the general struggle: it should become a way of seeing ones own engagement. It therefore directly concerned cadres sacrifice because their commitment to the fight against injustice had to conform to the military form. To give oneself to the movement and its agenda implied becoming its soldiers, but a soldier of the revolution was something quite different from a contracted soldier performing a duty; it was, as we saw in Chapter 2, based on an idea of compulsion (badhetta) whereby an obligation to serve the party and the people followed from a class analysis of society. Writing on the concept of sacrifice among PLA cadres, Marie Lecomte-Tilouine has expressed this process of internalization well. Similar to the YCL cadres who are also just ordinary youth, PLA soldiers were not exemplary figures of military prowess and could therefore not draw on traditional idioms of heroism and physical strength. Instead of special military skills and sophisticated equipment, they had to turn their entire bodies into terrible and explosive weapons, ones forged, as Lecomte-Tilouine writes, in anger and set in iron, thereby turning themselves [into] the human weapons of the apocalypse (Lecomte-Tilouine 2006:59). In other words, if they obey because they must, it is only because this is a way of sharpening themselves as a weapon. Must is here not external to the compulsion of becoming a revolutionary but part of this very process. We can think of cadres insistence on obeying the party hierarchy as an expression of this military principle of revolutionary struggle and a revolutionary organization. The militarization of camp life was part of this ethic: a military language was used to designate not only different roles but other areas of camp life as well. The kitchen was accordingly called the mess and those who cooked had mess duty. A guard was also kept during the nights and when everyone was away for programs. These were called sentries another military term. Everyday life in the camp also imitated an army setTilouine highlights the strategic use of 'red terror' as a tool to combat the repressive 'white terror' of the state (Lecomte-Tilouine 2009a). In contrast to 'state terror', 'red terror' is calculated and precise. In Chairman Prachanda's own words: 'It should be strictly expressed in both our policy and practice that red terror does not mean anarchy' (ibid.: 386). Terror is therefore not the name for militaryness but the name of the revolutionary process, which, of course, must rely on an efficient and transparent form of organization to become a force. The military principle is simply the shortest (and necessary) distance from contemplation to action. This is why YCL must first of all be an army an efficient and disciplined organization that can implement party directives without fuss.

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up: sections had specific duties that rotated on a fixed schedule; the whole camp rose together between 5 and 6 am; it was kept orderly and clean; and there were rules against unsolicited behavior. Camp life was meant to be disciplined, to have military characteristics, and here the sections and the commander-cadre relationship were crucial. The use of the name commander in English for the position of authority within sections linked into this. The vice and section commanders were neither neta (leaders), In-Charge, or dais (seniors) as the terms variously used to designate mathi members, but were always referred to as commanders or by their acronyms VC and SC, respectively (the FGL was not seen as a commander position as I will explain below); hence my commander, your SC and so on was how cadres would talk about the section structure. Retaining the word commander for these low-level leaders and restricting the use of proper leadership titles to those who stood above the section structure reinforced the de facto difference in power and position between the two groups of members, and thus underscored the fact that sections existed as a shadow organization. But it also played on the division between political commissars and military commanders instituted during the Peoples War, which designated the first as the party strategists and the latter as its tactical arm, the site of action. We see, then, that the division which defines the YCL as the military wing of the party and which is institutionalized in a bifurcated leadership structure, as explained in Chapter 1, is replicated on each level of the organization: on the level of the camp, Pradeep represents the commander a notion he himself invoked with respect to the YCL leadership who instruct him of the party line; and within the camp, it is the sections that are the commanding unit in relation to the other leaders above, who embody the role of commissars by representing the party line. To be a commander in the CPN-M is hence to be subordinate to an entire party structure by virtue of being its (blunt) instrument. The operation of the section structures, with its command hierarchy and differential positions, thus attests to a strong organizational culture that blends histories and values of military prowess with requirements for obedience and integrates this into the commander-cadre relationship. Obedience carries with it a wide set of ideas about what it means to be a Maoist cadre and, more than simply designating an unconditional requirement of fitting in, it offers ways of falling in line with the party organization and the requirements of cadre life. Cadres become activated, so to speak, through their ability to submit themselves to this command structure. In this way, already in obeying we can see an element of the empowerment that cadreship involves. We would therefore be at fault, as I am going to argue in the next section, if we were to see in relations of superordination a system of pacification that strips cadres of agency; it is rather that it is

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molded into an agency of a specific kind through a re-subjectivization of people as cadres through relations of apprenticeship.

C OMM ANDER S AS I NS TR U C TOR S AND C ADR ES AS AP P RENTIC ES


Obedience, we have seen, was a virtue, indeed a compulsion (badhetta) and necessity, because it defined Maoist cadres as dedicated to a long-term and radical (class) struggle (sangarsha), opposed for instance to cadres of rival youth organizations the Tarun Dal and Youth Force who were opportunists and undisciplined, using their party platforms to pursue personal goals. The tight organizational structure was a shield against such random politics. From the perspective of ordinary cadres this meant that without an order, one had to remain inactive. This sense of subordination as an order which one waits for is captured in a short exchange I had with Nihar, one of the new section cadres: Dan: It seems to me that you are spending your days idly here... Nihar: I am here today because the commander has ordered me. Dan: I mean all of you here. For a long time you haven't had a lot of work. Nihar: It's not like that, as if we don't do anything. But we function only when the party commands or orders us. And if it doesn't order us we just stay here reading and writing. It is as if it is the command which makes something the cadre function, and, without it, the cadre is immobilized. The positive identification with a military discipline results, therefore, in a sort of deliberate pacification. But how was this pacification channeled into a model for activism through which cadres could recognize themselves as contributing to a wider social and political struggle? Cadres participation in different activities involved them in different relationships of submission. Rohit, for instance, was one of the experienced cadres and had been a member for two years. He had advanced to become a Vice Commander (VC) of section C in March and this placed him between commanding his section and fulfilling the obligations that his Section Commander (SC) and the remaining leaders in the camp placed on him and his section. Shortly after ascending to VC status, his section worked as volunteers at the national stadium during an international football cup, and, for several days in a row, they would attend the games. Rohits role, however, shifted many times in this process, depending on who else was going and what their specific assignment for the day was. If his SC was coming, Rohit did not have to command the section and would be put in a position similar to the other cadres, but there might also be leaders above 116

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section level attending, and they could take over the command, even if he had originally been given the responsibility of leading his section on that day. Sometimes, a SC from another section would command Rohit and his section. There would always be several layers of leaders above cadres that could reorganize the command structure to fit with a given situation and even the section structure was regularly broken up to accommodate other principles; thus the physically strong cadres from different sections could be assembled for the kind of work which required endurance while weaker ones could be sent to dance lessons in preparation for an upcoming cultural program. At the stadium, cadres were assigned to a variety of tasks on different days, from checking tickets to patrolling the gates for trespassers, to sitting in perfectly empty areas of the stadium in case any spectators needed assistance. Cadres were thus being activated not simply under one single line of command but by being handed specific responsibilities by different leaders according to the kind of work they engaged in. While regular section cadres were always in a position of being commanded, participating in different activities increasingly involved commanders in constant shifts between receiving instructions or orders and passing them on to others. It shows how cadres, more than simply instruments to command, were being activated to carry out different duties and hence given the chance to develop their skills. The distribution of who gave and who received commands was, in other words, not entirely fixed but varied according to the circumstances, and this became a way of leveling out sectional hierarchies and focusing on expertise and cooperation. This was in fact, I would claim, a crucial function of the hierarchical relations between members; that they institutionalized the guidance of novices. Talking about his own experience, Rohit for instance explained: Of course, there is a hierarchy. But that does not mean a distinction between inferior and superior. Pravirs [Rohits Section Commander] role, for instance, is to teach me but he never tells me that or directly lectures me. Instead, he has asked me to do his work and I used to do that and even I could give him advice about the work, and he would ask for my suggestions and help as well. Outside, it is not like this but here there is flexibility. Pravir is older than me and he has that position [as SC] which is also based on ideas and education but it doesn't mean a distinction between superior and inferior. We focus on team-work and the party does not get in the way of our abilities. Words such as team-work and flexibility bring out an aspect of cadreship that sees positional advancement as a reflection of ones activist experience and this was underlined by the sectional structure, particularly in the role of the Force Group Leader, the FGL. The FGL was the lowest command position in the section, and his or her du-

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ties were similar to those of his/her superordinate comrades only less significant; they were given the role of slogan leaders during processions; talking with local party members and motivating them; occasionally chairing the section meetings, and more systematically acting as go-betweens when passing orders from mathi to talla and vice versa. So Kamal, who acknowledged having to ask the advice of the leaders if a task was costly or complex explained that he had only ever asked his FGL Suraj in this case who would then disseminate it, like a postman, to the commander. Cadres understood the FGL as the fighter in their section and the first position that allowed a cadre to command others. It also gave access directly to the SC without consulting the VC. Rather optimistically, this had led Suraj to declare while he was still an FGL, that as an FGL I am the commander of all the members of my section, downplaying that he was first and foremost a link between the real commanders and the regular cadres. But for cadres who had so far only been at the receiving end of orders, it was naturally exhilarating to be able also to issue them. The new FGL after Suraj, Himal an 18 year old Tamang and probably one of the most optimistic people I met during my fieldwork understood that, as an FGL, he was a kind of intermediary. He explained: My role is to make the people work on a fixed time, to disseminate the division of labor. For instance, right now, the SC is Rohit and VC is Suraj. Suraj directs me, and I have to follow his direction and I have to disseminate his directions either by doing it myself or asking the other members. Basically, as an FGL, Himal became part of the chain of command whereby he both had to take directions from above and figure out what to do with them: how to disseminate them and make his comrades work on a fixed time. This position was well encapsulated by the In-Charge Pradeep. He told me that the FGL was a cadre who showed the potential to become a commander and that it was specifically a position for those who were training to advance in the section hierarchy. From this perspective, sections should then be understood as small units or teams that educated the cadres in Maoist activism, and its hierarchy was a strategy for accomplishing this integration of newcomers into the corpus of cadres. The process can be rendered clearer by seeing it as a type of apprenticeship. According to MerriamWebster, apprenticeship means being bound by indenture to serve another for a prescribed period with a view to learning an art or trade and it indicates learning by practical experience. Michael Herzfeld has written a fascinating account of craftsmen and their apprentices in Crete that expands this understanding considerably (Herzfeld 2003). He has shown how the relation between master and apprentice does not involve direct teaching but the master busying the apprentice with tedious and strenuous chores that

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discipline the body and build moral character. What is established in this form of apprenticeship is thus not simply practical skills but a whole set of values and an accompanying range of micro-disciplines: how to appear bored and indifferent in order to steal the techniques of a better master, or how to feign obedience to high-paying customers while mocking them behind their back (Sutton 2006). The conditions for developing ones expertise in Nayabasti were reminiscent of this type of apprenticeship. Cadres were constantly on duty in their new roles: now performing a menial daily task in the camp; now sitting in small groups and discussing the political news of the day; going off to a local meeting with other cadres in the vicinity; and occasionally participating with their sections in public programs and parades. These numerous small and large engagements never officially took the form of training. There were rare organized training sessions for cadres in which they were lectured about current political developments and these were the only situations that were understood as a teacher-student relationship. By contrast, it was in their daily lives that they received the basic experience that would allow them one day to become Maoist commanders. The FGL, the one who is training to become a commander, as explained by Pradeep, was in effect the one who institutionalized this experience of apprenticeship. It was this position that indicated the leaders acknowledgment of cadres training and prepared them to take on leadership responsibilities. But the gamut of values and practices that cadres were being taught was much wider than the position of FGL suggested. By handling the more mundane daily washing of their clothes, or disciplining themselves to receive commands, as well as by living according to the principles of communist revolutionaries that prohibited anti-social behavior discussions I will elaborate on in subsequent chapters they were all apprentices of a wide-ranging system of values and micro-practices. Experience was at the heart of sectional advancement, then, and commanders talked of their positions mainly in such terms. After becoming a VC in June, Suraj told me: I have faced many situations. During protests, we have to face many different kinds of people. Some are very stubborn, and those I really have to convince without aggression and I am good at that. And staying here, I think we should improve ourselves through innovative work like strengthening ones ideology. Along similar lines and in order to stress her seniority, Damini the other Vice Commander had told me that she felt old (buddhi) in the camp. I have learned many things, she said, about politics and about the party and to keep other people under my command. Sections were thus a way of formalizing the passage from newcomer to experienced. They institutionalized learning so that it both encompassed the essential lesson of 119

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abiding by the partys command structure while providing cadres with their own network within which to develop. From this perspective, the sections were training grounds and classrooms for new members. Outside these classrooms, their commanders had little authority; the Section Commander could only decide on matters pertaining to cadres work and lives within the camp and, as soon as they were working outside, the sectional command structure was reduced to carrying out the camp leaders orders. The FGL position was the first position cadres held in which they learned the relationship between commanding and commanded, and for both Suraj and Himal it had taken almost one year before they had advanced to this position. What the concept of apprenticeship points to, as also highlighted by Herzfeld, is the totality of this mode of learning; it leads not simply to a craftsman or a competent cadre but to a distinct, revolutionary, subject.5 It is now clear that the emphasis on the obedience of junior cadres was a way of institutionalizing junior cadres passage from inexperience to experience and depended on two distinct processes of submission, both embodied in ones commander: as a person to obey, and as person to learn from. In submitting to sacrifice, however, cadres acquiesced to a great deal more than simply institutional procedures and skills training; they assented to becoming different persons, and this involved rethinking relations of worth and responsibilities within complex social systems. To understand this process, I want to reflect further upon the nature of this type of hierarchy, which is clearly not just about organizing inequality, but rather about institutionalizing excellence a process that in fact relies on everyone being potentially equal.

A similar argument could have been made by utilizing Goffmans concept of total institutions as they are also seen as forcing houses for changing persons (Goffman 1961:12) and are especially identifiable by mixing the various identities of persons social, personal, professional and subsuming them under one new overarching identity. The problem with this theoretical frame is that it already assumes that this identity is a negative one; it is a very pessimistic reading of the social power of institutions and it would thus be at odds with the essential optimistic identity that Maoist cadreship is experienced as. Goffmans idea of total is also of another variety than how I use it here. While institutions are total in what identities, or roles, they allow, they are curiously flexible when it comes to what Goffman calls secondary adjustments the types of behavior that underwrite official rules. The totality of Nayabasti concerned a mode of living where there were no place for unsanctioned practices whereas identities were, on the contrary, always in the process of being made and unmade and this could be openly narrated and discussed. The difference between the Goffmanian institution and Nayabasti rests on the crucial fact that cadres voluntarily entered into its domain and used it as a place for trying to become something that they desired to be, and the challenges of this process were weighed and discussed. The problem was not the total power of the institution, as in Goffman's case, but cadres' struggle with filling out their roles as expected.
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Between hierarchy and equality We can distinguish between two ways of conceptualizing hierarchy: distributing positions vs. distributing status. In Dumonts influential analysis of the Hindu caste system from 1970, the two overlap; i.e. a lower-class position is congruous with less purity and hence also of lower status because the purity-impurity distinction is an overall ideological organizing principle (Dumont 1970). Separation is not just a formal act but a way to keep harmful substances such as the impurity of meat-eaters from polluting the pure (vegetarians). The higher castes in such a system are simply more sacred than those below them, and identity is therefore endemic to ones caste position and hence to the self. Analyses of caste relations in Nepal highlight such an asymmetrical principle, which not only concerns a social role but involves a differentiation of status (Gray 1995; Bennett 1983).6 Simply put, to have a lower (caste) position is to be inferior. It is against such a caste-based understanding of hierarchy that the CPN-Ms party hierarchy emerged as a different experience. On the one hand, it was strict and disciplinary, even ontologically certain. Nothing needed to be negotiated; ones position was given and this involved very real and everyday practices of subordination and superordination. On the other hand, the difference between newcomers and experienced leaders was not seen as an essential difference of the people occupying these positions. For one, todays rookies would become tomorrows leaders; this kind of mobility is inconceivable within a caste hierarchy. More fundamentally, however, there was a strong stress on the equality between positions such that, in spite of clear asymmetries in who must submit to whom, everyone was seen as able to contribute with his or her experience to the same cause. This basic equality was exemplified by Rohits relation to his commander; it was not a distinction between superior and inferior which defined hierarchy in the camp but rather flexibility since all were in the process of learning, and even junior cadres were said to be able to teach experienced members new things. In trying to understand how this works, we are helped here by a recent exploration of hierarchy in contemporary Nepal. In his examination of what it means to be a householder among high-caste men in Kathmandu, John Gray argues that there are basically two paradigms of hierarchy at play, one based on worship and one on respect, mannu parne (Gray 1995). It is the latter which is relevant for understanding the CPN-M hierarchy and it is based on relations between kin. Mannu parne literally means having re-

This is for instance Steven Parishs wager in his hierarchy and its discontents (Parish 1993). While social relations are effectively guided by asymmetries of worth between high and lowcaste Newars in Kathmandu, there is a concurrent and strong egalitarian discourse that challenges this implication of caste hierarchies. But it remains a politics of consciousness and does not in effect map on to social relationships.
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spect and is a differentiation which operates between people who are already of the same purity (in contradistinction to a hierarchy of worth similar to Dumonts rendition). This means that the asymmetry in mannu parne takes place against a basic equality between relatives. Rank is expressed as authority and respect for superordinates, while subordinates display obedience and deference. Within a household, the primary criterion for this differentiation is age: elders are superior to, have authority over, and deserve respect from youth (ibid.:70). This principle also divides siblings; older siblings, regardless of gender, are seen to be superordinate with respect to younger ones, and ones position in this hierarchy is identified linguistically by birth order titles: jetha/jethi is the first born, mahila/mahili the second born and so on. There is thus a duality inherent in this form of hierarchy: it communicates both an experience of superordination and of equality at the same time. The mannu parne hierarchical model throws light on how relationships were conceptualized in Nayabasti. In addition to using formal titles, the relationship between leaders and cadres were specifically expressed in general Nepali kinship terms as relations between junior and senior siblings. This was, in fact, the primary mode of reference, although only inside the camp, as cadres would use official titles, or the generic communist and English term comrade when in public. In vernacular kinship terminology, siblings are ranked according to birth order, and there are separate terms for older and younger siblings. In daily parlance, cadres used these respectful but colloquial forms of address for their commanders and everyone above: dai for men and didi for women, while the leaders in turn used the corresponding bhai for younger brother and bahini for younger sister when addressing subordinates. A commander entering a room would for instance call on one of his cadres by saying Bhai, come here. Relations between siblings, as explained by Gray, most clearly evoke a hierarchical-egalitarian experience and are captured in the term daju-bhai. While essentially denoting a ranked pair the daju (dai) deserving of respect and obedience from the bhai this also refers to the leveling experience of being brothers and as such comes to stand for brotherhood (ibid.:90). To put this in structural terms, what made brothers (and siblings in general) equal was their socially equivalent status with respect to the authority of their father, and this introduced, as Gray explains, derivative ideas of corporateness and equality into the domestic experience of mannu parne (ibid.:88). Ones elder siblings are therefore both worthy of respect and should be deferred to while being equivalent to oneself as a brother or sister. This was regularly emphasized in the camp, particularly in relation to the female cadres, who had to be treated like sisters, and the general idiom of cadre life was captured in the phrase we live here together as brothers and sisters (dauju ra bahini). Dais and didis were someone to ask advice of and, in

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turn, one had to obey their suggestions, as Kamal phrased it above, because it is how younger siblings would pay respect to their elder ones.7 The expression of mannu parne relations in Nayabasti was not a way to diminish the asymmetrical relations of the institutional hierarchy. It was Rohit who, just before explaining about the flexibility of relations between himself and his commander, gave the powerful script for obeying mentioned above: He is the leader, he gives a command, and we say yes, yes. Mannu parne relations in the camp did not deny the hierarchy between positions, but provided, I would suggest, a frame for thinking about the essential equality of all members irrespective of their rank. It could therefore both contain the important hierarchical element of the organization (mathi-talla), which guaranteed its efficiency, while also communicating the spirit that all cadres were brothers and sisters. It is, however, not enough to assume that cadres were equal with regard to purity and the subordination to their fathers, as is the case in Grays analysis. Sameness for cadres was based upon their participation in various aspects of party work, and it was through their ability to fulfill their differing roles that their worth and status was evaluated; not as persons with asymmetrical qualities but as revolutionaries with different tasks. It was therefore their positions, rather than their identities, which were unequal. Roles could thus contain movement in relation to how well cadres invested themselves in the party and gained the experience that, for instance, Suraj and Damini recounted in the passages cited earlier. Instead of conceptualizing this positionality as fixed within the hierarchical party structure, cadreship may be better understood as a role that can develop as a revolutionary moral career, to borrow Goffmans term (1961:14). This moral equivalence between all members was evident in how cadres were expected to behave with each other. Similar to Gray's case between kin, respect (mannu) between camp members was seen as very important. This meant that 'boastful' attitudes were frowned upon. Cadres should rather be humble and accept that they played only a tiny part in the broader party machinery; even top leaders were expected to display a general humbleness befitting a revolutionary's position as, ultimately, a mere servant of the people. What mattered here was not the rank one held, but how well one carried out one's duty. Members were consequently expected to relate to each other through the
7

The dai-bhai or didi-bahini relations are very popular idioms for fictive kinship, at least in Kathmandu, and with most of the locals I developed relations to, these terms of address were quickly institutionalized. But, curiously, I was referred to with the more formal sir (-ji) by the junior cadres possibly to mark me as an outsider and by my name with the seniors, which was also a way to mark a distance. When the cadres wanted to stress that they were referring to a senior in a hierarchical relation, they sometimes used mathi dai, meaning a senior high-up and the common way to talk about hierarchical relations would be through the linguistic pair mathi-talla meaning high-low (or above and below).

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functions they occupied in the organization rather than through their individual attributes. All had specific duties tied to their roles, and it was their ability to properly perform these roles they were given that was to form the basis of evaluations. Following this ideal, leaders were therefore in no privileged position to mistreat their subordinates and, despite the mathi-talla hierarchy of commands, abusive language between members was roundly criticized and something to be avoided. One of the lasting effects of such values was to turn relations between cadres into relations between their different roles. This both affected interpersonal tensions and friendship. Cadres were, for instance, highly critical of commanders who spontaneously scolded them and they would raise such issues during weekly section meetings; scolding was not a respectful way of behaving towards others who were merely trying to do their jobs because, as Suraj explained to me, it left no option for negotiation; instead, commanders should 'speak good things', in ways 'that can be negotiated'. Perhaps more surprisingly, however, cadres were also wary of considering each other as friends. As the Section Commander Ashmi succinctly put it: 'No, we are not friends here. We are all equal!' She thereby brought into focus the leveling experience of being related to others through the same role as cadres, or comrades.8 It was through their differing positions, denoting inequalities of experience, that the institution of apprenticeship became possible in Nayabasti, but only because everyone was morally identical in their revolutionary identity as cadres.

DI S OB EYI NG LEADER S
Whereas I have so far focused on the operations of sections and relations within the camp, it is now necessary to take a step back and look at cadres engagement in the party on a more general level. In this second to last section, I explore how equality, in addition to expressing mutual respect and fostering a culture of apprenticeship in cadres relationship with each other, also worked as a principle of revolutionary struggle beyond the commander-cadre relation.

This is not to say that friendship did not develop among cadres, only that these were discursively silenced. Ashmi, for instance, was close to Damini though not to another female cadre who left the camp during my time there. But such relations of affection and disaffection were not used as the grounds for cohabitation and even less so for work-related cooperation. Strenuous social relations were for instance sought brought into the official procedures for regulating camp behavior and thereby made subject to the requirement of a functional integration of roles. In this, as is many other ways, the camps space as a serious party unit was being underlined; it was not a place to make friends but to make comrades.

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Due to the emphasis on roles and the many tasks tied to these, a culture of evaluation developed in the camp and beyond that highlighted weaknesses in performing roles. During weekly meetings, cadres could rebuke each other for inadequate performance following a pattern of criticism and self-criticism. It was therefore not enough for cadres to passively go along with their assignments, they were given feedback on how well they had carried these out. Since every member of the party occupied a place in the distribution of functions, no one was immune to such criticism. The case of one of the most prominent leaders in the CPN-M, Baburam Bhattarai currently Nepals Prime Minister may serve as an example. Bhattarai became involved in the Maoist movement in 1981 and has been a full-time activist since 1986 when he returned from Delhi after completing his PhD with a thesis on underdevelopment in Nepal (see Bhattarai 2003). He was later punished by the party for wishing to pursue an academic career. The issue revolved around his failure of service, that he had prioritized his own needs above those of the movement. On one occasion after dinner, we had been discussing the issue of leaders mistakes and I asked Nischal why Bhattarai had been punished: Nischal: During the insurgency he wanted to take some time off to write an academic paper related to his PhD. I don't know much about the academic stuff but he asked the party if he could take a leave and because of this he was punished. Dan:Just for suggesting it? Nischal: He was a very important leader and it was a very critical time for the movement. And the leader is very important for directing the course of the party. The others thought that if he had to concentrate on his writing, he would be distracted from the path of the party. If the leader strays in his thoughts, then what will happen to the cadres? That's why they punished him. Dan:And what kind of punishment did he get? Nischal: There are two types of punishment: psychological and physical. He was just punished psychologically. He was pushed out of the Politburo for 6 months, I think. This is the real challenge of the revolutionary, to be able to challenge society and sacrifice one's family. The reason leaders are subject to this kind of criticism, I propose here, is because they are essential links between cadres and the revolutionary struggle. Nischal invoked two models of punishment but there was a third one which was much more widespread on the level that YCL cadres and similar lower-level members operated: exclusion. If one could not fit into the organization, submitting to the party and the camp, one was simply not worthy to be a revolutionary. I often heard cadres speak of severe punish-

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ment that had befallen misguided members, and when I pressed the topic, it always turned out that the ultimate punishment was to be thrown out of the party.9 In contrast to ordinary cadres, however, Bhattarai was too valuable to the party to be thrown out, and he had instead to be disciplined back into the role of a loyal servant. In her essay What is Authority? (1961), Hannah Arendt uses the image of a pyramid to explain how power operates in systems of governance that draw their authority from an outside source, whether in institutions of kingship that rely on a divine principle or in democratic governance where the population constitute the systems authority principle. If we consider the CPN-M through this image of the pyramid, we can see how, at each step below the top, power and authority are transmitted through dilution, filtered down so that successive layers are firmly integrated into the whole via their position like converging rays whose common focal point is the top of the pyramid as well as the transcending source of authority beyond it (Arendt 1961:98). Bhattarai has both more authority and power than ordinary cadres and, precisely for this reason, he is more liable to criticism for failing to serve properly. This preoccupation with the correct behavior of leaders had many expressions among the YCL whole-timers. For one, leaders in the camp were expected to work harder than their subordinates. Nischal, for instance, explained that whereas cadres could legitimately be excused from participating in party programs if they were ill, his responsibilities were higher and hence he was under more pressure to comply. Pradeep was a living example of this principle, always busy, and cadres understood the importance leaders served as instruments of the movement. Leaders were seen as essential not only for giving advice and educating cadres but also for coordinating action. We have to be strong and unite, Kamal had explained. We need dais to collaborate our actionand for this we have to obey the command of the commander. A relationship between commanding and obeying was thus established that did not simply pronounce an unconditional submission but a link between the coordinating efforts of leaders and cadres desire to act in unison. Nihar, young and inexperienced as he was, understood this very well when he said that although he was still learning he had just joined for six months so far; he was still evaluating whether the party was what it promised to be, and although he thought it a good sign that the party punished members who made mistakes, the same naturally applied to its leaders. There must be a good leadership and they must follow the right path, Nihar had said, and if the leaders

In rare cases from what I could gather, if someone had abused membership position to extort money or harass people, expelling could be prefaced by beatings. CPN-Ms system of punishments is a topic yet to be written but it has none of the terror connected with the Philippine Maoist Party during its purges (Garcia 2001).

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make mistakes, we will not let them get away with it. What cadres were obeying here was not the power of the commander but rather his or her authority as it filtered down through the party hierarchy. From the cadres perspective, the party structure expressed a reciprocity by which cadres gave leaders the power to command them in exchange for making them punishable if they did not perform their roles properly. In the context of a Nepali tradition of hierarchy whereby submission does not normally put subordinates in a position to openly criticize superiors (neither of Grays models discussed above include this option; see also Bennett 1983; Bista 1991; Parish 1993), this was quite a radical kind of relationship. Leaders were therefore obeyed neither due to their personal authority nor because of their sanctioned position but because they were transient mediums for the power and authority that filtered down through the command chain. Rather than focusing on the specific commanders when discussing the content of an order, cadres talked instead of the command (nirdeshan) as that which they had to follow. Commands were supposed to be the same whether they came from the SC, VC or mathi dai and they were often rubricated as senior commands (mathi nirdeshan) or Party commands irrespective of who passed them on. Commands could be good or bad and cadres insisted that they were not obliged to obey bad commands. By this they meant those orders that were not in the interest of the people, i.e. against the well-being of the revolutionarys authority. Bad commands were those that were anti-social. The perception of commands as potentially bad pointed beyond the issue of a weakness that could be criticized. A weak command, such as shopping for incorrect amounts of food or wrongly prioritizing who to mobilize for a certain assignment, was not necessarily bad as in being without proper authority: weak commands invited criticism and correction but bad commands could, in fact, be ignored. Unlike contracted soldiers, the cadres submission made them answerable to an authority beyond the party hierarchy, namely janata, and this allowed cadres to conceive of activities as legitimate even though they were beyond what their leaders had directed. One example of such a situation was the incidents at the Pashupatinath temple from December 2008 onwards where the government, under Maoist leadership, had interfered with the tradition of only hiring Indian priests and insisted on nominating two Nepali ones instead.10 This was fiercely resisted by the temple authorities and CPN-M cadres, the YCL in particular, tried to forcefully remove the Indian priest and ended up on sev-

From CPN-Ms perspective, India represents imperial interests in Nepal and therefore breaches Nepals sovereignty. The tradition of having Indian priests leading an important religious site in Nepal was therefore expressive of Nepals subjugation and a bond of servitude that it was necessary to break in the process of liberating Nepal from the power of foreign forces.
10

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eral occasions in fights with the police, journalists and temple personnel, including the Indian priests themselves. Pashupatinath is a very important religious site for Nepali Hindus and the Pashupatinath incidents developed into a very controversial issue, closely monitored by the media and constituting one of the Maoist governments key political battles. Although Pashupatinath did not fall within their area, Nayabasti cadres were called upon a few times when the going got tough because they lived very close to the temple. It was a very complicated activity compared to what they were used to doing because it involved protecting certain people (the Nepali priests) in a secluded area that had its own security procedures, keeping media personnel who were highly critical of the operation at arms length while trying to extradite the resisting priests, and all in an environment of intense public pressure. It was very easy to become separated from ones upper command and Suraj explained how they had tried to set up a perimeter inside the temple that several journalists had breached and they had had to force them away. When the priests had resisted their forceful removal, they were instead beaten and this incident, as Kamal recounted it, had not been ordered by the dai; that was not necessary because it was a command by the people, i.e. the real locus of authority. The point is not that this makes cadres immune to criticism; if they were seen to have acted wrongly, as in another case where a local thief was beaten, they would definitely have been criticized and possibly punished (as they had been by Pradeep in relation to the thief). Rather, the idea that the people (janata) can issue a command directly without the interference of the party structure shows that the pyramid model of authority is not sufficient to understand the constitution of submission. If we return to Hannah Arendts work on authority and power, we can take a closer look at the distinction she makes between the two terms. Whereas power, understood here as force, enacts subjugation or submission, authority always stands outside power, as that which legitimizes it, and in this way is superior to it. An authoritarial relation between one who commands and one who obeys does not therefore rest on the power of one over the other but in their mutual recognition of the hierarchy itself as that which they both have in common; the hierarchy wherein both have their stable and predetermined place is accepted as a legitimate instrument of authority (Arendt 1961:93). This is the principle which both Baburam Bhattarai and low-level party cadres share and the reason why they are both punishable under the party hierarchy. Authority, however, is not only different from power but also precedes it as that truth principle through which systems of power, or models of action, become possible. Along these lines, Arendt discusses the role of authority as a type of foundation which establishes the conditions of law and even becomes law itself, authority as law. In this conceptualization, authority

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emerges as a truth principle, an incorruptible seed to inspire and legitimize the social and political order (ibid.:112-113). This link between authority as law or truth is helpful for throwing light on the constitution of submission in the YCL. In Chapter 2, I discussed how the cadres decision to join was tied to an idea that they should serve the poor and downtrodden, and become involved in the revolutionary process that had been instigated by the Peoples War. The crucial notion evoked by cadres when referring to the relevance of their mobilization was janata, the people, through phrases such as the will of the people or working for the people. This was in keeping with the overall political line of the CPNM, which sees itself as a force that grows out of the wants and needs of the proletariat; it is, as Prachanda has recently declared, a great and glorious party, playing the role of vanguard of the proletariat class, and at the center point of hope, assurance and attraction of the entire revolutionaries and patriots of the nation (Prachanda 2012). Leaders and the cadres of YCL underlined very strongly the fact that the political object that the party and they personally served was janata, and they were unequivocal in connecting their service with an idea that what they were ultimately serving was outside the party. Janata was the CPN-Ms most vociferous truth principle. To be sure, the nationalist roots of the Nepali Communist Movement shine through in their songs and poetry (De Sales (2003) and the countrys greatness and beauty still informs the party discourse but, for the YCL cadres, it was always janata that constituted the important object of their struggle; it was janata that needed to be liberated, brought out of poverty, and have their rights addressed. With the post-war shift to electoral politics, it was rather unsurprising that the notion of janata had become strengthened but the CPN-Ms history of a Peoples War and continued stress on its unique ability to represent the proletariat or masses turned this into more than a mere rhetorical tactic; it constituted the locus of authority and underwrote the partys claim to legitimacy. Without the voice, will or a politics on behalf of janata, the Maoists risked being degraded to the elitist, selfserving and corrupt political cliques that they considered the other parties to be. Arendts rendition of the model of authority introduced by the Romans may help in elucidating the relationship between cadres and leaders in Nayabasti. Rather than simply being a matter of correct ideas and Truth, authority in the Roman Empire was based on the sacredness of the foundation, as something that could be passed on and was binding on future generations. Rome itself became the symbol of this original authority and the job for future rulers who could not repeat the original act was instead to build on it, to expand it by creating new cities in its image (Arendt 1961:120). Authority, in short, meant to augment the foundation and, in this sense, it was always derivative of the original founders authority. If we transfer this image of authority to cadres engagement in

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the CPN-M, we get an authority of the party that is derivative of the peoples will and can therefore only be an expression more or less successful of the foundation, an insight I shall build on in Chapter 7. Even if the link to the foundation in the case I am describing is thematic rather than temporal, it follows that the party can never be identical to that which it represents. The potential distance between authority and power creates a space of interpretation that can make some commands bad (by being disconnected from the foundation) and some perceivable directly by the cadres as commands from the people.11 At the same time, the party is also that which can augment the latent force of janata by becoming its (true) expression and can thus act as a mediator through representation from above (authority) and coordination (creating unity) from below. So leaders can be criticized by ordinary cadres for neglecting their duties, punished by the party for not serving selflessly, and their commands ignored if they are seen to be weak or bad. To be a commander and have the power of the command (nirdeshan) at ones disposal involves being a neutral medium for janatas authority and if this link is suspected to have been broken, leaders face punishment in the form of correction or expulsion. We are here far from the random and terrifying power of divine kingship as detailed by David Graeber, where kings stands outside normal social morality and seal their authority through their ability to inflict arbitrary violence at will (2011). Maoist sovereignty must be deliberately systematic and logical without a hint of personal excess since this would destroy the chain of authority which renders it legitimate. In order to command their soldiers, CPN-M leaders must be more perfect revolutionaries, not eccentric, extra-human ruler-kings. What are the implications of these insights for cadres submission to the party and camp hierarchy? How is the dual obligation to serve janata and live under the party conceived by the YCL members?

S UBM I TTI NG TO S ACR IF IC E


To understand what happens to submission when the organizational order is expanded to include a source of authority outside the political structure, I return to the question of what it means to obey. John Gray noted that what made brothers and sisters equal despite their asymmetrical relations related to age and gender was their allegiance to the same principle of paternal authority; they were all subjugated to his will and required to

11

Whereas the Roman foundation derives from past greatness (ibid.:122) and its mediators are a specialized minority, making authority derivative of janata in the present opens up the possibility for accessing the source directly, without the interference of a pyramid structure. The depth of authority thus becomes democratized and becomes a territory to guard. What cadres are trained to in such a reading is to become professional mediators.

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serve him. For the YCL cadres, however, as we have seen, what united them was not an authority on the level of the camp organization which is also ultimately why Nayabasti (despite appearances) was never simply a household but the authority of janata. In a conversation I had with Ashmi the commander of Section A since June she explained the relationship between the authority of her previous master, the sahu of the garment factory, and the section commander, which fleshes out this crucial distinction: Well, we met Pradeep and since the beginning I had been tempted to join the party as well. Pradeep asked me how long I had worked for the 'sahu' referring to the owner of the factory, and I also started feeling that he is a sahu because I had worked a lot for him and he used to earn a lot of money. Rather than working for the sahu, I thought, why not work for the others who are also working for the poor? What Ashmi was suggesting was that working in the camp, and under the command of others, was not the same as working for the commander. Leaders could be seen simply as a way of linking oneself to the more general idea of working for the poor and this, in effect, made the commander equal to oneself, since he or she was also working for the same agenda. It is this simple shift of reasoning that makes it possible to understand how cadres saw their subordination as different from the one they had experienced as laborers, and how the camp incorporated a strengthened idea of obedience with one of respect and equality and how these together constituted operations of submission within the YCL. In referring to this experience of obedience as establishing a principle which made cadres and leaders alike, cadres would occasionally coin the expression that a good communist is one who obeys, thereby turning the question of obedience into a matter of revolutionary praxis rather than party compliance. As Suraj noted: To become a good communist, the term 'good' is used. Whatever the policy and plan the party gives us, to obey all of this and being very committed. And not going in the wrong direction. So perceiving all the directions and commands and emancipating the proletariat for making the New Nepal is considered a good communist. Arendt already noted that authority demands obedience; that is what sets it apart from the type of power that only commands or that which persuades through reasoning. It is precisely because the notion of a peoples authority is so strong that obedience becomes a crucial virtue, and this extends the quest for militarization which also expressed a revolutionary ideal; more than simply denoting efficiency, which relies on obedience, the link to an ultimate source of authority expands the notion of submission and creates a leveling experience since it is a force that all revolutionaries are subjected to. To be a 131

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revolutionary (krantikari hunnu parcha), I was told, means giving time to the party and obeying the responsibilities which have been given by the party. In a nutshell, that short phrase contains the basic argument of both Chapter 2 and this chapter; that to become a cadre means to oblige oneself to donate time and that this entails a wholesale (as opposed to unconditional) submission. The conception here of the revolutionary (or communist) unites the different aspects of authority that I have discussed in this section. For the cadres, the relationship between authority and power as found in their relationship with a sahu who combines both into a single person (the figure of the tyrant in Arendts conceptualization), or as youngsters in relation to elder male kin that are figures of considerable authority and some power, has been turned on its head. Authority and power can be separated, and though the latter is an extensively layered hierarchy and expects cadres to subordinate themselves, authority is equated with janata and power with the party structure. This distinction between authority and power as residing with the people and party respectively gives us another tool to understand how hierarchy can both appear absolute and yet be nothing more than a skin underwritten by a strong current of loyalty to a cause. The two, naturally, coexist. Here, however, it is not only a vertical, hierarchical ideology which is encompassing in a Dumontian sense (Dumont 1970) but also a horizontal, egalitarian principle of authority that encompasses hierarchy. I think it is possible to argue that it is the coexistence of these two aspects of submission that defines the revolutionary party and also the experience of cadreship in the YCL. While the role of the hierarchy is to discipline cadres into becoming efficient weapons by reacting to a military organization, authority marks their development as cadres with the sign of the authentic struggle that all members are equally engaged in, and to which they must all equally contribute. Cadres act on behalf of a popular will, and this will is the sacred to which one must pay obedience, submit and sacrifice although the people are not a seat of power and their authority instead transfers power to the party hierarchy. In submitting to the party hierarchy, cadres accept this transfer of authority to the party and obey the power structure that embodies this authority. There is then a double meaning to the requirement that a good communist is one who obeys: obeying the authority of the people by obeying the power of the party. While I have highlighted how equivalence is framed in asymmetrical but respectful relations between kin whereby subordinates are addressed in ways that can be negotiated, and that maturation in the camp should be understood through the reciprocal idea of apprenticeship rather than the rigidity of orders, it is relevant to add that there is nothing particularly gentle about this arrangement. The expressions of equality and respect that I have traced are not automatic or easy constitutions of the cadres as subjects but part of

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a remaking of subjectivities that require a continuous struggle to participate in. Asymmetries of sacrifice the principle which makes cadres equal with respect to being subjected to janata comes at the price of struggle. The coming chapters will detail elements of this struggle but I think it is relevant to prefigure the point here because it draws a direct line between how cadres experienced their previous lives of migrant labor as dukha (sorrow, pain, hardship) and the way they sought to transform this into a generalized class struggle (sangarshan). Cadres were positioned between these two modes of understanding their lives between one that only concerned them and their families, and one which invoked a generalized Other. Their struggle as cadres was neither the personal one of their private selves nor was it simply a metaphysical struggle on the altar of the Other; it was rather a matter of identifying with janata, of turning this object of the sacrifice into a size and form that could be consummated by their position in the camp, to downscale it, as it were, to everyday cadreship. Submission opens up this aspect of the struggle, turning the general plea of mobilization discussed in Chapter 2 into the forms of sacrifice that I shall discuss in the following chapters. Because of the importance of the role of struggle throughout the process, it is worth repeating Ashmis explanation of the continuity and difference between her life before and now, this time in full: When I was in the village, I was struggling, and so I did in the carpet industry and here I am also struggling in one sense. Life is a struggle; you have to compromise with so many things. Now I am living and working here. People think that we are just eating and sleeping but we are also engaged in our own struggle over here. Life is totally different now. Before I could go anywhere, say anything, do whatever I liked. But now it is different. Everything happens under a chain of command, the party is really different. A few days ago my friend left from here. She might have been advised by relatives or parents: "Why are you attached with this kind of institution who isn't giving you money?" But I told her that it is not so: "We did not come here to earn money or to flash nice dresses or eat tasty food. Revolution is really difficult. We came here for the class emancipation of the people." In one sense, then, submission to a strict hierarchy is part of the struggle, part of that which one must give oneself to, the necessity of the sacrifice (a good communist is one who obeys). Though camp life was structured partly like a family and partly like a military camp where both sorts of power relied on an element of coercion, it was not coercion, however, that was the foundation of this relationship but rather authority. Nothing bound cadres to the camp; in fact, they were generally warned about entering precisely because it required a good deal of willingness (engagement, investment) to live here. Arendts dictum that authority implies an obedience in which men retain their freedom well expresses this seemingly paradoxical situation for it is precisely obedi133

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ence that was their freedom that which connected the cadres to the object of their struggle, and therefore one of the principle modes of cadres re-subjectivization. Submission, I would suggest, was then a kind of threshold that instantiated a relationship between the individual and the party, retaining the original structure of authority but acknowledging the role of the party as the pyramid connecting janata with the cadre. By submitting oneself, cadres committed to actually fighting for the ideas (i.e. the class emancipation of the people) and did this by turning this into a mode of living (i.e. camp life and the party hierarchy). It was at this moment that the struggle changed character, from the one they experienced as laborers to the one that accompanied their lives as cadres, including the predicament of equality between all. That is why the (good) revolutionary must obey it is his first act of devotion and the condition of any further sacrifice. Without submission, there can be no sacrifice. While submission can thus favorably be seen as a threshold, it does more than simply instantiate a sacrificial relation between cadres and janata. It also introduces the cadre into the community of members. I have traced elements of this community in this chapter by referring to the ideas of sameness and mutuality that accompanied relations of superordination. This was expressed in a mode of behavior that stressed relations of equality between commanders and commandeered and through forms of address, but the discussion in the previous section of leaders precarious position points, I think, in the same direction. Leaders, like Bhattarai, were more punishable for minor weaknesses than were the cadres. It is as if, by being closer to authority and power (being important for the movement was how Nischal expressed it), they were also closer to the dangers of falling. More was required of them and they had to work harder, and were in turn allowed to act as the benefactors of numerous layers of cadres below them. But this was in no way a guarantee of their position and, as if to illustrate this frailty, a Central Committee Meeting during 2009 proscribed party leaders from owning private property and initiated a transfer of their assets to the party. One of my informants had then proudly declared that even Prachanda did not own the pen he carried in his pocket. As such, their status as leaders depended on their continuous work for the party; a compliance that I think can be equated with the cadres submission. In submission, it therefore appears that they were all equals leaders and cadres alike. Everybody contributed equally through subordination, and this way submission can be seen as a way to make everybody equal in the sacrifice.

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C ONC LUS I ON
In this chapter I have analyzed the seemingly paradoxical relations of hierarchy and equality within the YCL cadre community as a first step to understanding how post-war revolutionary sacrifice is experienced. I have argued that rather than seeing vertical and horizontal relations as opposed, they express different aspects of revolutionary subjectivity and that laborers re-subjectivization into cadres is premised on being able to fit into and align themselves with the differing requirements that obedience, deference, apprentice, cooperation, disobedience and respect express. Processes of submission, as I have analyzed them here, are conditioned by a number of overlapping institutional concerns such as the histories and imaginaries of being a revolutionary party built on military effectiveness and discipline, and the understanding that all cadres are engaged in a common enterprise divided only by levels of expertise and not worth. The institutional solution to the challenge of distributing positions to enhance efficiency and integrating members through a common ethos of equality is, as I have shown, to foster a culture that mixes military discipline with apprenticeship, by bringing new cadres up to the standard of their experienced comrades without foregoing the qualities that made CPNM cadres renowned during their military campaign. This has become expressed through kinship idioms of elder and younger siblings, thus rendering the saying: we live together as brothers and sisters meaningful and operable within a tightly-structured party hierarchy. Issues of respect and mutuality notwithstanding, cadres also highlight their ability to bypass the partys command structure and directly intercept and act upon janatas orders, and while it is doubtful whether this has any practical implications, it does provide junior cadres with a checks and balances logic with which the erratic or abusive powers of leaders can be resisted. More importantly, it gives cadres a legitimate reason for submitting to the institutional logic of the CPN-M and the YCL as long as these are seen as expressive of the proletariats needs. These processes of submission are therefore not only relevant for understanding how the YCL functions as a revolutionary unit; they also help us appreciate central aspects of revolutionary sacrifice since expressions of hierarchy and equality connect cadres with their commanders, the party hierarchy, and the people on whose behalf they are sacrificing their time and youth. The next chapter builds on these linkages in order to investigate how cadres in practice sacrifice through carrying out elaborate, routinized labor-chores in the camp.

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Whatever my party commands, I will do. If tomorrow I am asked to go to Himal [the snow-capped Himalayas], of course I will go. Section Vice-Commander Rohit

This chapter considers cadres' camp work, most importantly their section chores that formed the basis of the apprenticeship between commanders and cadres and which were section cadres primary duty. Rather than participating in outside party activities, most days were spent in camp with chores and leisure activities, and I wonder how they were considered to be meaningful endeavors when people had in fact signed up as revolutionaries and avant-garde activists of a coming New Nepal. What was so avant-garde about domestic chores that they could sustain an idea of participating in important political work? Is it possible that chores constituted a form of sacrifice, and that it was this quality which made them relevant for their wider political engagement with society? For something to be a sacrifice, it must enable a kind of 'exchange' other than merely the consummation of materiality. In the tradition established by Hubert & Mauss (1964), for instance, this involves the communication with divinity; for Girard (1977) it is the externalization of evil from within the community, and so forth. But what is achieved by chores? What kind of sacrifices are they? In seeking to address these questions, I focus on the possible relationship between daily chores and sacrifice through an analysis of what it means to labor in Nayabasti. Chores only constituted a portion of cadres overall duties that they were assigned by their commanders, with the most well-known and conspicuous work being related to their participation in public programs and campaigns, which will be considered in Chapters 7 and 8. What was significant about chores was that they were exclusive to cadres section status, and when they rose above the section hierarchy they became exempted from this type of work. Chores were therefore clearly related to cadres process of apprenticeship in the party but were at the same time an entirely internal aspect of the

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camps daily organization that was inferior to the public activities party leaders could command cadres to do, and which were usually referred to as party jimmebari, party responsibilities. This chapter is an effort to understand how, in fact, chores were nonetheless important for junior cadres activism by connecting it with their understandings and values of labor. To analyze this, I will build on Marxist notions of labor, as it allows me to unpack the intricate ways in which routinized and unmarked activities became related to an ethos of revolutionary subjects. My argument is that chores were formative for cadres integration into the party community by teaching them values of collective labor, and by being experienced as necessary sacrifices. It is in this sense we can understand elementary chore work as sacrifices as something which cadres willingly do in order to arrive at a result beyond the immediate exchange involved in the work itself. More specifically, what was being reproduced by sectionalized work was, on the one hand, the camp as a space of collectivity that stood in opposition to a selfish self identified with being outside the party and, on the other, the idea that these mundane tasks constituted the necessary work at the bottom of the organizational pyramid, lending them political relevance as well. Chores therefore represented essential values that were at the heart of CPN-M's revolutionary subject and section cadres labor could be construed as worthy even with respect to the wider revolutionary goals. The practice and ideal of chores that I analyze here thus challenges the idea that, as menial and 'unfree' labor, they were just examples of yet another type of 'exploitation' of the young and unskilled.1 The chapter is divided into four sections. I first present a description of daily chores and routines in order to offer a sense of how they encompassed a multiplicity of activities that were integrated into the flow and very spatiality of camp life. Second, using Marxist ideas of labor, I suggest that we can gain an understanding of the camp as a space in which cadres must continuously labor, and I draw a distinction between two principal modes of labor scheduled section chores and an always-ready discipline to show how laboring emerged as a dominant trope and practice of camp life. In the third section, I investigate how labor was invested with values of collectivity through the way chores were organized and by the way its products particularly through cooking were seen as common goods that benefitted all camp members. Considering how
1

The situation I am describing here is comparable to similar to social situations in Nepal where (young) people are expected to give their labor freely, such as in the tradition of corvee labor (Holmberg 1989) or within extended kinship networks. Though, the duality of chores and public work renders my case unique as argued, these parallels show that the kind of submissiveness that chores require are not absent from local cultural relations, as touched upon in previous chapters, and that the sense of duty that cadres experience in Nayabasti reminisces of family and religious life in Nepal (see Gray 1995).

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the camp came to symbolize a moral break with dominant society, I contrast ideas of collectivity, samuhikta2 and selfishness, swartha, in order to highlight how these opposing values were mapped onto camp life and life outside the camp, respectively. In the final section, I expand on the discussion of labor in the camp by linking it with the Maoist community and its political vision. Giving first an example of how cleaning in the camp performed a politics of representation on behalf of the proletariat, and second by turning to a discussion of Arendts concept of labor as reproductive, I venture to show how camp labor attained a relevance for cadres aspiration to revolutionary work. As I shall touch upon in the conclusion, the larger problematic of camp chores is related to the precarious role of the whole-timer camps in the changing priorities within the CPNM, which gradually severed the link between chores and party work, thus threatening to undermine the organizational rationale that made household labor relevant for cadres political struggle. First, however, I shall provide a description of the daily chores and how they are expressive of section membership.

DAI LY AC TI VI TI ES I N NAYAB AS TI
It is 5 am and the house is slowly waking up. The thin rolled out quilts that serve as mattresses are folded away and placed against the walls allowing the rooms to regain an ordered look. Cadres shuffle down to the wells behind the house where washing routines are carried out and people take turns to wash their face, neck and feet thoroughly while taking turns handling the lever for the pump - a favor that is immediately returned when the next in line needs to wash. The rest of the morning is spent on the roof, which serves as the camp's common area. Anil, a tall and mild-tempered 24-year old, has fetched a collection of the days newspapers as part of his duties, and the next hours are spent calmly reading through the papers. The most popular papers to be read are the Maoists own daily Janadesha or weekly Janadisha but there are also samples of the more common national papers such as Naya Patrika or Kantipur. Chewing through the papers is a slow process because few can read well and several cadres are often reading the same article, helping each other understand, while others read slowly out loud to catch the meaning of complicated messages. The senior leaders are usually away meeting up with other party members in the
2

I henceforth use samuhikta, collectivity, and samuhik, the collective, to refer to the same idiom though their use naturally differs according to what is being described. Cadres also used the work samuhako, of a group, when talking about these ideas. I caution the reader, however, that this is not a precise semiological analysis of how varying words describing a collective were employed, and I use the vernacular idioms rather to refer to a general idea that it encapsulates.

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area, and this occasionally includes the Section Commanders. Pradeep is invariably never in the camp until later, and the young cadres are left largely to themselves. Having updated themselves on the news, preparations for the morning meal start. The section in charge of cooking the days two dalbhat3 meals starts chopping onions, potatoes and garlic on a small bench towards one end of the roof with section members dividing the work between them: lentils and rice need to be washed, buckets of water must be fetched from the wells and balanced on the narrow stairs leading to the roof, vegetables have to be cleaned and chopped. With 26 to feed, cooking easily takes two to three hours although the most labor-intense periods are at the beginning and after the meal when pots and utensils are cleaned. Meanwhile, cadres from another section sweep the floor of the roof, clean the two toilets in the house, and run round the remaining common areas cleaning the floors in corridors and on balconies. For the remaining cadres, the school grounds across from the camp are waking up and, if there are no urgent personal errands such as washing clothes or showering and they have not been commanded to do other assignments, many just watch the children playing in the yard before their classes begin. It is 9.30 and dalbhat is ready. Most of the leaders have returned and people line up to receive their portion from the cooking team who generously fill the plates. Mats are spread out for everyone and the pattern of diners always makes a circle with people facing each other. A bowl of fresh chilies is passed around and water is shared from a common jug.4 The team who cooked only eats once everyone else has refilled their plates and a portion is set aside if one of the senior leaders has not yet returned. Food is consumed in a quick no-nonsense manner and, after the meal, everyone (including Pradeep or guests that might have joined the group for the food) washes their plate and returns it to a straw bench for drying. There are two scenarios for what might happen during the rest of the day, between the two dalbhat meals. Cadres either participate en masse in a collective program or else linger in the camp. In the first case, cadres start getting ready after the morning meal by dressing in their signature YCL clothing5 or otherwise (which is most of the cases) they simply put on their sneakers so they can move about confidently and quickly. Large
3 4

Standard Nepali dish of rice, lentil soup and fried vegetables. The important distinction between pure and impure castes is expressed in whom one can and cannot receive water and food from. Impure castes are referred to as pani na chalne jaat, people from whom water cannot be accepted, and is part of the 1847 Mulukhi Ain Code (see Chapter 1). The sharing of water between cadres is one significant way of underlining the fact that their community is built on radically different principles. 5 Clothing is generally provided by the party and particularly this uniform, which consists of a pair of sports shoes and a blue jogging suit with stripes down the side.

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programs need constant coordination between leaders from different corners of the party, and a steady stream of revisions makes it necessary for leaders to continuously correct the times and places for the cadres participation. These moments are thus always hectic, with dressing, with the Section Commanders trying to grasp what the plan will be and passing on the information to their sections, with the uncertainty of who will stay behind to guard the camp and cook, with whether to bring party flags or not, with the nature of the program and which slogans to be shouting. And Pradeep, busier than ever, is non-stop on the phone. I shall return to this scenario in Chapters 7 and 8. In the second instance, which I shall focus on in this and the next chapters, the day passes slowly in the camp, interspersed with the occasional chores that sections are responsible for carrying out. The work of keeping the camp falls upon section cadres, and chores are systematized by operating a rota. Sections are collectively assigned two major, alternating tasks, cooking or cleaning. So when Section A cooks, for instance, B cleans and C rests and the next day, B cooks, C cleans and A rests and so on. Cooking lasts between three to four hours for each meal due to the large number of mouths to be fed, whereas cleaning is primarily a morning routine that can easily be finished before noon. Most of the day is therefore spent without too much activity - particularly for the off-duty section cadres. Many take naps or watch television, if there is no power outage, although TV is never a whole-day indulgence and cadres also take time out to read or simply hang out on the roof or in front of the camp to watch neighborhood life. As evening approaches, the section in charge of cooking will be re-activated and start their work. Sometimes, cadres play a game of volleyball on the school field across from the camp in the late afternoon, or they might venture to a nearby football field while the food is being prepared. As it is getting dark, those who have been out are returning. In general, all outdoor activities in Kathmandu recede after nightfall and people quickly shuffle home before the city is engulfed in darkness, and the camp is no exception to this rule. After-dinner hours are short and lazy and, at around 10pm, sometimes sooner, the night bundles are once again rolled out to cover the floors of the rooms, and as one starts spreading his bed out, others quickly follow. The only ones awake this late are the night sentries who take turns every two hours between 11pm and 5am to keep watch over the camp and the cadres. I have now shown how chores rarely filled out an entire day and left ample time for other activities. They were nonetheless always present as work waiting to be done when cadres were on duty and kept the sections active throughout the day. Chores were therefore essentially sectionalized, and participating in obligatory household work thus served to actualize the section structure. Not only were the chores undertaken by sec-

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tions but also organized by them. Cadres, and ultimately their commanders, were responsible for making the scheduled rota work. Since sections were exclusively an incamp organization system, as discussed in the previous chapter, their coordination was quite flexible as Pradeep was supremely in charge of regrouping people and changing schedules but this rarely happened and instead sections were given the responsibility of organizing their common duties between them. This freedom of organization also impacted on cadres, who could often swap duties with others provided, of course, that the required work was still satisfactorily carried out. Such a scenario was, in fact, common. When sections had cooking duties they divided themselves into a morning and an evening team since it was enough to have three or four people cooking at a time, but cadres regularly traded teams with their section comrades, and this was easily accomplished after clearing it with their commander. On the other hand, cadres rarely swapped duties with someone from another section, and this would also have been more complicated as both Section Commanders would have to approve of such a shift. Cadres identified with this sectional division of labor and presented themselves to me saying, 'Today I have cooking duties', or, 'Tomorrow I am off'. Work assigned to sections constituted a responsibility that had to be resolved within the section and was a duty which was given collectively to the sections to solve, rather than to individual cadres, and it had to be dealt with accordingly. Section work was thus an endeavor that depended upon being able to fit into a system of divisions you chop onions while I carry water that only added up to a finished product by counting all the individual contributions as a whole. While the section structure and cooking were the clearest examples of the need to collectively organize work within units, the principle applied in other areas of camp life as well. Cleaning, as the other major chore, involved coordinating who cleaned the two toilets, who swept the rooms, and engaging in keeping the house clean throughout the day, particularly the roof. The role of guarding the camp at night was also organized by sections through the sentry system. One Section Commander was given the duty for a week at a time to prepare a schedule whereby cadres took two-hour turns to be on lookout from the roof, and though this particular chore cut across the section structure (all section cadres were obliged to participate), cadres were here also part of a team that had to organize the shifts of a night by coordinating with each other. The underlying principle here was that work was carried out in units and the responsibility for completing it although transferred through the hierarchical structure fell to all the members in unison. To be a section member was therefore to be part of a team that depended on each other, and everyone was expected to be involved in the collective endeavor of household chores.

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Section work was not the only type of work activity that section cadres were obliged to do. Cleaning, in particular, did not just fall upon a section every third day but extended to personal hygiene and a requirement for keeping the camp and the section rooms orderly and uncluttered at all times. Irrespective of their specific section assignments, cadres were therefore often occupied with putting things out of the way, such as my bag if I accidentally left it unzipped or too close to the door. Suraj or Kamal would, for instance, often discreetly move it into a corner of the room, and cadres kept their own belongings in closed sports bags at the back of the rooms or hung on the walls. To keep the camp clean, cadres swept rooms, corridors and other common areas several times a day and each floor had a small broom for quick access. In addition, clothes had to be washed almost daily by hand, and this posed a challenge during the rainy season where hanging trousers, shirts and even shoes to dry indoors gave a sudden, unordered look to the rooms. Added to these chores, sectional and individual, was a rather nebulous feature of camp life that had to do with how cadres prepared themselves for the constant possibility of work, even when they were seemingly idle. This disciplinary feature of how cadres behaved was evident in the daily relationship between leaders and juniors and something I experienced as well since I spent most of my time in the company of the latter. At any moment during the day, commanders or one of the middle leaders above might enter a room and commandeer cadres for work. These were often petty things, such as asking them to help someone else in the mess the word used for kitchen or unloading food items that had been brought to the camp, or just calling the cadre outside the room to pass on a message. It very often happened that I would be sitting together with some of the cadres in one of the section rooms for small-talk or an interview, and a dai or a commander would abruptly open the door and ask the cadres to come out or get ready to leave. Reactions were always prompt: stopping in the middle of a sentence, cadres would get up and follow their commander out of the room. Since there were easily 10 leaders above an ordinary cadre counting the FGL, Vice Commander and Section Commander along with all the other seniors (see Appendix 5) this was a very regular feature of life in the camp, and it completely punctured the otherwise laid-back atmosphere that developed after the morning dalbhat, when most cadres could retreat from the collective chores. This sudden interruption of commands cultivated a powerful alertness. The way in which leaders entered the room already prefigured this relationship. Their arrival with commands would be resolute, confident and, in the case of Pradeep, also quite loud, and whenever someone entered the many small social hubs that formed around activities or rooms, everyone would attentively turn their heads in anticipation. In this way, cadres

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were attuning their bodies to being commanded, putting themselves at the service of their seniors. To this should be added the fact that no space in the camp was safe from such interruption as all areas were seen to have open access not only to other members but also to visitors. The entire camp was treated like an open office space where everybody could enter rooms without a knock on the door, and this included Pradeep's private room when he was home. Cadres themselves shuffled between rooms when shifting from one activity to another, and because leaders constantly came and went, there was a steady flow of interruptions large and small that precluded cadres from withdrawing into a corner and transforming their day off from section work into a space of leisure. I felt this inability to set up a private space for interviews quite keenly. Whenever I started an interview, I would always suggest that we moved into another, empty room, but it was rare that we would not be interrupted. Sometimes, senior cadres would deliberately intrude to check on what their section cadres were saying during interviews but it also often happened that others would arrive and start reading, take a nap or sit down to listen to us. It clearly showed that there was no such thing as an office one could close the door to and expect to remain uninterrupted or unnoticed, nor any private room for that matter, as cadres lived together with their section in one dormitory. All areas of the camp belonged to its members and were even open to outsiders to enter without warning. In this sense, the camp space was itself collectivized and the required alertness of work penetrated the everyday. All spaces in the camp were, in a way, party spaces and this party space, in turn, seemed to revolve around modes of work whether as chores, individual duties or alertness. It suggests that cadres were either actively working or engaged in preparing themselves for it in washing their clothes or in being attentive to the arrival of leaders' commands. The continuous flow of work across sections, of individual cadres who are commanded, routines of cleaning and order, cadres swapping duties these connections point to a need for a broader approach to understanding what it means to work in this context.

C ONTI NUOUS AND DI SC I P LI NED LAB OR


How might we theorize the diverse aspects of work in Nayabasti? Here, it is fruitful to look at the Marxian notion of labor and the distinction he made between estranged or forced labor, on the one hand, and creative labor, on the other. The first is the activity one engages in as an employee and which results in a salary. A worker has no relationship to the product of his labor because he is working for someone else and the work is therefore a time-bound, and often spatially demarcated, activity. Man, engaged in this 143

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kind of labor, is therefore unfree, driven by an external force, like an animal in need of shelter and food, and his work is not the satisfaction of a need but merely a means to satisfy needs external to it (Marx 1988:74). The other and more creative form of labor creates humans as a species-life distinct from animals by activity that is not tied by necessity. As products of nature, humans must be active to survive: gathering food, finding shelter and so on. In this, they are like animals, defined by life activity. But unlike animals, they are conscious beings that reflect upon their own being, and the object of labor is therefore nothing less than the objectification of mans species-life (ibid.:77). Human beings realize their potential as humans only by a creative interaction with the world, by a type of labor which sets them free rather than binding them to structures of domination. Or, as the Hungarian Marxist philosopher Istvn Mszros aptly put it: Productive activity is, therefore, the mediator in the subject-object relationship between a human mode of existence, ensuring that he does not fall back into nature, does not dissolve himself into nature. (cited in Patterson 2009:148). In other words, it is through (creative) labor that man creates the conditions for his own existence as a human being; it is labor that frees him from nature.6 It was this basic idea that allowed a philosophy of practice to be converted into a political program of revolution. Because practice could be revolutionary, given that it was critical; all it needed was guidance, and Lenins famous What is to be done attempts just that: a model of guidance of the masses against spontaneity and instead

Marx has given a clear formulation of this creative nature of labor in the first volume of Capital: Labor is, in the first place, a process in which both man and Nature participate, and in which man of his own accord starts, regulates, and controls the material reactions between himself and Nature. He opposes himself to Nature as one of her own forces, setting in motion arms and legs, head and hands, the natural forces of his body, in order to appropriate Natures productions in a form adapted to his own wants. By thus acting on the external world and changing it, he at the same time changes his own nature (Marx 1887:124). This idea of labor as essential to human nature has been integral to communist theory, starting with Marxs own Theses on Feuerbach from 1845 where he formulated a rudimentary philosophy of practice (in Fischer 2008:169-171). Here, human activity was understood as a dynamic revolutionizing practice whereby man could change the circumstances of his social conditions and, rather than an abstracted individual who contemplated the world, The essence of man, wrote Marx, is the ensemble of social relations and not an inherent quality. Practice was thus not only the foundation of humanity, but also the road to changing it an idea that Mao developed in his 1937 essay On Practice where truth is discovered through practical experience rather than the other way around and to be a revolutionary was therefore to engage in practical-critical activity (Mao 1937).

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organized under a small centralized revolutionary organization (Lenin 1973). What therefore separated ordinary practice from revolutionary practice was that the latter was critical and guided by a desire for transformation, or, as Mao writes, continuously rising to a higher level (Mao 1937). These two fundamental ideas that to be human is to labor, and that labor is the means to change the world establishes labor-as-practice as the essential activity of the revolutionary. What cadres must give to the party is their labor but, unlike in a capitalist relationship where labor is forced, the labor of the revolutionary must be voluntary and be involved in the development of the cadre, i.e. leading to truth, as Mao explained. Where one of Marxs criticisms of estranged labor was that it introduced a distinction between free-time and work-time, creative labor is conducive of human development and therefore already free. Consequently, and crucial for the present analysis, a Marxist system of labor does not distinguish between time off and time on since laboring is a common good, not merely a way to extract capital. Section cadres work in the camp, this leads me to suggest, was a way of institutionalizing this essential relationship between cadres and the party, by teaching cadres a readiness to labor around the clock. A principal function of the sentry system was not just to teach cadres the art of collaboration, and far less to protect the camp from theft since, apart from an old computer in Pradeeps room, there was nothing of economic value to steal. Instead, I propose, what it accomplished with its frequent two-hour shifts was to ensure that four people were disturbed in their sleep every night when there was effectively nothing important to do. On other occasions, when cadres were participating in party work the following morning, they would often get up as early as 3am although this meant arriving several hours ahead of anyone else. In fact, the elimination of work as tied to specific hours was perceived as a general aspect of cadre life, with leaders warning newcomers that here, you should not expect to get proper sleep since a command may come during the night. Work was accordingly not something that could be divided into a comfortable distinction between being on and off duty and, in theory, cadres had to labor continuously, or at least be prepared to do so. The alertness to the possibility of sudden commands, described above, adds to this picture of labor as a continuous enterprise. In contrast to the specific assignments inherent in chores and the sentry duty, the alertness to obey does not have a fixed duration or a specified content of activity associated with it. Compared to chores, it can be read as a form of passivity although this does not mean that it is necessarily relaxed, since it requires a disciplining of the self as cadres always have to be prepared to respond to senior members commands. How can we understand the kind of discipline at work here? Cadres frequently used the word basnu when speaking of their obligations to sit and

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wait to be mobilized. Basnu has a wide range of connotations but basically means to stay; in its passive form it refers to the place where one lives or resides and in its most active form it means simply to sit down. Suspended between this active and passive mode it well captures cadres practice of waiting to be commanded that similarly involved an activity of passivity. Basnu, sitting or living, was both a way of placing oneself in a relationship of subordination with respect to ones commanders but in a much more practical sense it was indicative of how cadres were simply obliged to sit and wait as a distinctively disciplined activity that had to be able to respond properly to a command. As a kind of labor, to sit and wait obviously mobilizes the body in a different way than the regimental and partitioned disciplining that Foucault describes meticulously with the rise of modern forms of power (see Foucault 1977): the power that divides the body into separate areas to work on; that turns the timetable into a principal tool for segmenting and optimizing time; that inoculates training through tests. Cadres basnudiscipline seems rather to draw on the Marxian idea of labor as a form of creativity with its potentiality for producing a rewarding experience that is congruent with mans capacity to create. Such a type of labor must remain unrestrained because it is only through an individuals voluntary engagement that a sense of self-fulfillment can be produced; in order to become free from bounded labor, cadres must become the authors of their activity. Only in this way can laboring produce an experience of meaningfulness. The ad hoc work that arrived via sudden commands from leaders was such a regime of labor. It reminded cadres that they were always active, and that there was no such thing as a part-time sacrifice, and it institutionalized this point through an organization of the day and the space of the camp so that simply living there was to be, in a sense, disciplined. Unlike in regimental disciplinary institutions, Nayabasti leaders had no advanced techniques at their disposal for tuning cadres, but that would also have defeated the purpose of disciplining them to a communist idea of labor precisely because it needed to be partly unregulated so as to allow them to experience an authorship of their own basnu. What camp life needed to teach cadres, then, was not simply to obey but rather the principle of always being prepared. And herein lies, I believe, an essential aspect of the way labor was attached to the transformation of individuals into cadres. Cadres were not goaded into perfect soldiers through strict and widespread disciplinary techniques they were, after all, not being fostered to become killing machines but were rather arranged in a frame where taking the necessary steps to perform their roles properly was left to them. One might say that this type of labor taught cadres to be always-ready as opposed to the Althusserian formula of always-already where subject positions point

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backwards to a pre-existing social order (Althusser 1971). Always-ready, by contrast, accepts the need for cadres to (always) submit themselves to the organizational system and its categories of personnel but points towards that which is yet to come and lays the responsibility of bridging the gap between the systematization of roles and correct activity on cadres performance. We could think of labor here as the activity that makes this bridging possible. This ties into the discussion of apprenticeship in Chapter 3, as this defined the relationships between commander and cadres where through the latter was given a chance to develop. In addition to seeing submission as a matrix of hierarchical and egalitarian relations, the discussion on basnu-discipline shows that obligations of obedience, by not being so strict and regulated, created a space within which cadres could learn to act correctly, thus turning them into authors of their own subjection. The various aspects of laboring in the camp that I have analyzed thus show how Nayabasti camp in itself became a space of labor due to its continuous presence as active tasks or as disciplined basnu. Moreover, because this mode of living life through labor, as it were, referred back to the symbolisms of sacrifice connected with joining, it described cadres own investment in becoming revolutionary activists. Junior full-time activists were trained in a Marxist ethos of laboring as the activity through which they both contributed to the movement and realized their aspirations of sacrifice, since it was a gift they were giving voluntarily. What labor in the camp did was then to give cadres an instrument with which to accomplish their transformation into the cadres they signed up for. This made the YCL camps quite different from regular army camps that likewise have extensive disciplinary requirements for an ordered everyday life and for soldiers behavior (Kold 2011). Cadres were not merely personally invested in becoming maobadi but it was through the various modes of labor in the camp from the structured and routinized to cadres preparing themselves for commands that they were activated to enact this transformation.

C OLLEC TI VI TY AND S EL FI S HNES S


I have so far invoked a Marxist theory of labor to throw light on various aspects of everyday life in Nayabasti and suggested that if we consider these diverse activities under the common heading of labor, we can begin to see how they espoused an ethic of camp life whereby cadres invested in their role as party activists by training their performance as members of the camp community. In this section, I explore how labor was not merely an end in itself but brought out competing values of collectivity and selfishness that cadres used to distinguish camp life from a life outside the party. I do this by first discuss-

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ing the concept of samuhik, the collective, as it was invoked by cadres and the Maoist community in general. Maoist members generally spoke of how important it was to stress on the collective. The notion of samuhik is central to the CPN-M and its self-image as a party fighting on behalf of the Nepali people and the sovereignty of the country against the aggression and foreign interests of, particularly, India and the USA. Samuhik was therefore above all part of the partys discourse when describing its focus on Nepal and its citizens as an entity, thereby underlining the importance of unity within the realm. Samuhik was not only what the party was striving for in its political program but the model for organizing work so that everybody worked together towards a common goal. On this level, it referred to the ideal of uniting. A part-time YCL cadre in Jorpati, who liked to compose his own songs, invoked it in this way during one of his spontaneous performances, chanting a verse that sounded like the refrain from any CPN-M political speech: If we collectively unite as one, then the feudals will flee The change is for all, and all have to understand this Drop by drop the sea will emerge Wake up liberators and wake up the proletariat friends Collectivity had to do with organizing activism for the best possible results. Kamal, an 18-year-old Tamang who had first been a part-timer before he came to Nayabasti less than a year before, spoke, for instance, of how cleaning campaigns that cadres were spearheading in the neighborhood could be over in less than two hours if only everybody worked collectively together, that is if everybody cooperated. Samuhako thereby came to constitute an ideal of laboring as an activist, and section chores were a principled site where this value was trained and expressed. Reflecting this, the various labor activities in Nayabasti were assigned differential importance in the day-to-day prioritization of cadres time. Daily priorities between competing requirements for work communicated the message that the essential labor in the camp was that which was organized in sections and which had as its focus, not the individual cadre and his hygiene or education, but rather the entire cadre community as such: feeding members, guarding the camp, and keeping the place spotless. Apart from chore work and individual cleaning and washing routines, section cadres also spent some time studying as part of their general training, as well as reading newspapers, participating in section and camp meetings, and on rare occasions farm work on a small plot of land that provided the camp with potatoes. Yet the rotational household chores would be prioritized over any other type of work, and this became evident when cadres were commanded to do work outside the camp. Duties that were not part of the sched-

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uled routines were easily forfeited and could be left behind, whereas the essential chores were upheld as far as possible. The section on the days cooking team would consequently always stay in the camp, even if all other members were off for party work, and only on one occasion did I witness a mobilization of the entire camp. This established a clear hierarchy between the daily section chores and the more nebulous activities related to cadre life that were not group activities or had little impact on the daily running of the commune. If we take a closer look at the section chores, we can begin to see how it was thus not merely because they operated through unity that this type of labor espoused an ideal of samuhik but also because of the kind of products it led to, which ultimately concerned the well-being of the community in its entirety. The role of cooking can be seen to have a special role in establishing chores as a common good. Because cooking, in particular, ended in a product that served all members (and potential guests), it came to symbolize chores as an elementary act of gift giving. Even before settling down for the meal, the communal nature of this activity was marked by how mats were spread out on the ground so that a circle was formed in which the diners would face each other during eating. Rather than forming a closed circle, however, the seating always opened in a half-circle towards the kitchen area. It may be recalled that the cooking team, in fact, had to wait until all the others had finished before they could eat, and they would stand behind the three pots of rice, lentils and vegetables to serve their comrades their first and second helpings. I find this arrangement quite intriguing, for while the meal, on the one hand, evidenced a sharing and coming together of the community to the extent that everyone had to be part of a joint circle, the cooking team in fact did not partake in the food consumption along with the rest without, however, being excluded from the circle. The cooking section was thus both outside the meal by not being able to share in its consumption but also inside the symbolic boundaries of the community. By serving the other household members before themselves being allowed to eat, the cooking section underlined in a very direct way that their work was done for the sake of the camp community. Serving was ritualized with cadres lining up in an orderly fashion for their turn and the actual act of giving was elaborated by being divided between three cadres from the cooking team who served, one by one, first rice, then lentils and finally the most delicious part fried vegetables or, on Saturdays, meat. Second servings were more spontaneous, with cadres getting their refill once they had finished their first portion but, as a general rule, the cooking team continued to divide their serving into those three parts. With cooking, section labor therefore clearly ended in a product that was a common good, and the way the team stood obligatorily ready to serve indicates that serving was not simply part of a duty but more akin to a gift that the section

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could give to the others. By remaining outside the group of consumers, the cooking team could retain a position of difference that made it possible for them to take on the role as givers and the rest as receivers, the exchange thus being made possible by momentarily institutionalizing two complementary roles. This dynamic pair in the gift exchange was underlined by other clues, such as the fact that the servers were standing while the rest were sitting down, thus allowing the former to remain above and, in a sense, overseeing the benefiters of their gift. In a basic sense, section chores trained cadres in the value of collective work, and the ritualized gift exchange during meals was a way of celebrating this central aspect of work. The cooking teams inclusion in the community through the open seating arrangement and the general social atmosphere surrounding eating, where everyone took part in the small-talk and joking, however, adds another layer to the meaning of giving food as a present. Following Mauss insights that exchange establishes social relations and that gifts produce an obligation of return (1966), the food that the section team gave to the others can be seen to reproduce the community of cadres. While giving to others what effectively amounted to the fruit of their labor,7 the teams inclusion in the seating arrangement constituted them as an essential part of the meal: they were poised visibly within the reciprocal relation that linked giver and receiver, the benefactor and consumer, and thus served to strengthen the idea that cadres constituted an important group whose existence relied on collective exchanges such as food giving and cooking. What cooking and eating established, I would therefore argue, was how chores were performed to please the community and they thereby became expressive of samuhik as a value of labor, effectively linking the idea of the cadre community and the nature of collectivized work. Samuhik penetrated the camp as a mode of dwelling in the two ways described here: as a disciplined anticipation and through household chores. What one was being given as labor, one gave back as a product (through labor). Cadres were offered labor for which they had to learn to show deference and they were taught to return this gift in the ceremonial procedures of communal eating where their labor could be honored. Serving the other cadres was therefore literally an expression of revolutionary sacrifice.

Marx comments in a footnote how the sale of labor in a capitalist economy results in the renunciation of all fruits of labor (Marx 1973:537) and ties into his general criticism of capitalism as a slave economy precisely because someone else is reaping the benefits of labor. What is interesting about the case I present here is that, within the communist ethos of the camp, cadres must also renounce the fruits of their labors; not to an exploitative boss, however, but rather to the community. As shall become clear later, the word renunciation is quite appropriate since this type of labor is experienced as a sacrifice and hence a way of freely giving, or renouncing, to the cadre community.
7

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It epitomized the way cadre life required preparing oneself, individually, to receive labor and to return this gift through collective household duties that served the community. In this way, laboring in the camp adopted the structure of the sacrifice and inscribed it into an ethic of collectivity, samuhikta. The collectivity, or community, was both that which gave and took through collectivized labor, but because it was different from the individual it was somehow more than oneself and yet anticipated the self at every stage of the laboring process a dynamic developed between self and community that was bound up with the notion of collective work and the idea of collectivity. If we turn now to how cadres spoke of collectivity, it is possible to show that it constituted an essential ethic of camp life that contrasted with ideas of selfishness. I have highlighted how samuhik symbolized an organizational cooperation and was institutionalized in the section structure, but it had several nuances that pointed to a more profound link between individual cadres and the community than simply a mode of laboring. It was, for instance, common to describe how they lived together by invoking notions of collectivity; samuhik rup ma basne here we live together as a collectivity or we are living like a family, collectively and united. More fundamentally, cadres occasionally spoke directly of collectivity as a personal quality of the individual that was connected with Maoist cadreship in general and therefore a necessary requirement for success. During a section meeting in which Suraj was the Vice-Commander and had been chairing the discussion, he had for instance raised the issue of what he called, the quality found in the comrade comrade being the formal way of addressing each other but one that was normally only used outside the camp. I asked Suraj what he had meant by this since I had not actually participated in the meeting but was allowed to see his notes afterwards. He had answered that it was a way to start a discussion on different views of what quality a communist must have. Basically, he had elaborated, we believe in collectivity, but apart from that everybody must express their own viewpoint. Suraj explained that it was an indirect way of criticizing other cadres behavior by making them think about their shared values, and he felt it was an important discussion because collectivity was such a vital aspect of their cadre lives. Collectivity was thus more than a way for individuals to fit into the group but pointed to the presence of a certain attitude, or even quality in Surajs words, that accompanied camp life. To understand the relationship between self and collectivity, it is relevant to mention two features of the camp as a site of liminality (Van Gennep 1960). One is the way it expressed an opposition to dominant society, hence allowing camp life to serve, in crucial ways, as a mirror image of how life outside it was imagined to be ordered, and this difference was constantly marked linguistically through words such as yaha (here)

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and bitra (inside) to delineate the cadre community whereas everyone else was simply referred to as bahira, outside. Second, and closely related, was the discursive and social production of the camp as a homogenous space where values, work and life in general were shared. Nayabasti as a whole was expressive of a single, monolithic ethic in which positions and knowledge were differentiated but not values. This was why, for Suraj, although all cadres were individually invited to share their viewpoint on what values of personhood should accompany a communist, he could assume that the principle of samuhako was, or at least should be, shared by all.8 To be a cadre was, essentially, to live in a collective way and to be solidary with the community. Collectivity thereby became linked with the project of constituting a revolutionary subjectivity, expressive of what it entailed to embrace a whole-timer mode of living. There was a general sentiment often evoked in speeches and during party gatherings among commoners that CPN-M cadres differed from those of rival political parties by being committed to the ideal of the shared community. While actual practices of everyday solidarity were clearly not as straightforward as Surajs meeting agenda insinuated and which I explored in Chapter Three it became an important aspect of the normative order into which cadres had to fit and a value that therefore underpinned the cadre identity. Committing to the collective almost became a collective mantra itself. An example of this can be given by considering how the female cadre Ashmi made sense of her junior section member Banhis departure from Nayabasti during June. Banhi was a relative newcomer, a member since fall the year before, and was a rounded and good-spirited girl of 17 who was popular with the others, and the roof was somehow merrier when she was on the cooking team as light jokes and hearty laughs would accompany the chore. But Banhi missed her family very much, she had told me, and she had difficulty understanding the ideological teachings. It made her feel uneasy and insecure because she
8

I shall not go into the details of the specific cultural production of this boundary between an inside and an outside of the camp but merely note some of its most salient features. For one, section cadres contact with their families was dissuaded through strict rules on when leave could be taken and this was further controlled by the dais who were the only ones to have access to mobile phones and hence to the lines of communication. Similarly, the junior cadres were not allowed to leave the camp without the approval of one of their commanders, and this included strolling along the small path in front of the house. While others could enter guests, neighbors, party members cadres could not go out without a legitimate reason, meaning, in practice, party work or chore-related errands. At the same time, as discussed in the previous and this chapter, practices and values of camp life were expressed as being radically different from what went on outside the camp its modes of relating and the ethic of communist labor thereby discursively reinforcing the idea that to be a cadre was to be part of a secluded and privileged community based on culturally transformative values. It is in this sense that I refer to the camp as a space of liminality, which both follows from an act of separation and assumes the character of an alterworld where initiates face culturally transgressive experiences.

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was not even sure what it was that she did not properly understand. Yet, when evaluating her decision to leave Nayabasti, Ashmi focused on Banhis role in the community and not on these two other quite obvious issues of loss of affect and confusion. Ashmi explained: She only felt about herself, not the collective or on a long-term basis and that is why she has gone. Her father had come here and said that if his daughter wished to stay then it was ok with him. But maybe later somebody might have told him something bad about the YCL and he changed his mind She didn't understand. There is nothing I can say. The revolution will not stop in her absence. I suggest she earns money and constructs a big house that's fine. These things happen in revolutions: Some come and some go. It was thus Banhis inability to think about the long-term struggle and actively choose the collective that was her failure. To feel for the collective implied a focusing and was understood to be a continuous struggle and not merely a one-off decision. Laboring for the collective implied that it should be unforced and express an active choice to engage for the sake of the larger good and cadres should therefore be committed to the community since it was no use having cadres that were not interested in participating in the life of the camp. As such, it was a commitment that needed to be regenerated all the time, and when cadres were unable to renew the spirit of collectivity, they were likely to lose faith and fall away. What I think emerges quite forcefully from this discussion is that collectivity was not simply a principle of labor or life in the camp but much more fundamentally revolved around a struggling self. What stands on the other side of this collective self? A self that clearly does not struggle and therefore one that easily becomes a victim of dominant social values. Such a relaxed self that does not struggle for the collective risks becoming swartha, selfish, and this was exactly what Ashmi indicated of Banhi. Although she mentioned that Banhi did not focus enough on the collective and that her father may have called for her, she also added that, I suggest she earns money and constructs a big house - a suggestion she herself must have known was quite ridiculous as Banhi came from a poor family, which was incidentally why they worked together in the carpet factory before joining and why Banhi had not been able to attend school beyond fourth grade. Selfishness signaled the outside of the camp and was what befell ex-cadres released from the morality of collectivity. The examples cadres gave me of selfishness were most clearly connected with money, and we could see this as an expression of their own process of becoming cadres, as discussed in Chapter 2. Money was therefore an issue that signaled the split between the life cadres had led before and their current occupation and, as if to drive this point home, the work cadres did for the party was not remunerat-

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ed financially - they only received 500 Rupees to cover their use of hygiene products, which they had to purchase themselves. The point was simply that cadreship should not be based on an economic relationship referring back to Marxs criticism of enslaved labor but also that working for the community had to be an active commitment to a radically different principle of organizing life and conceptualizing work. Sacrificing ones salary and thereby ones economic enslavement to a different ethos was therefore a necessary initiation. But this sacrifice of a salary also constituted a shift in the relationship with the self. From being able to fulfill ones desires of entertainment, of tasty food, of traveling, of building houses and engaging in gratifying relationships all the things connected with an outside life one needed to become a collective person whose selfish self did not stand in the way of a commitment to the common struggle of revolution. This meant that leaving the party was more than a change of interest; it was seen as a fall, a moral degradation. I think this is one reason why many of the cadres who left chose to flee without informing the leaders, or would come up with an excuse such as having to attend to family matters and promising that they would come back which they never did. It was simply too embarrassing to admit. For example, Tara, a stout and funny Tamang of 18 who often entertained with detailed stories from his year in the camp, had come under increasing pressure from his family to settle down and marry a local girl in his village. After the Dashain holidays in late September when I had accompanied him and several others back to their village in Makwanpur, his familys expectations had become very vociferous and after returning to Kathmandu he had been thinking more and more about building his house, which was the first step towards getting married. Tara was very perplexed about his options; he wanted to continue in the party but found it impossible to reconcile his familys expectations with his current commitment. Ideally, he told me, he would like to become a PT, part-timer, so that he could also take time out to work on his plot of land, but when I suggested that he ask the party for permission to be transferred to PT, he brushed it off immediately, saying that others would then think that he had been punished. As suggested by Tara, simply by leaving the camp where one was fully engaged in the revolutionary struggle was to be partially removed from the ideal of the collective and could be used as a punishment. Selfishness was thus connected to life outside the camp and particularly outside the party. It stood as the opposite of what camp life signaled, which was a lifestyle that prioritized the community. By contrast, to live in the camp was automatically to be a collectivized self. It is possible to think about samuhik, the collective, then, in relation to the sacrifice that cadres perform. In his work on sacrifice and violence, Maurice Bloch has described how initiation rites of youth into adults,

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in particular, often involve a dynamic between two opposing life forces of the community (Bloch 1991). On the one hand, there is vitality, and this is often connected to nature and, indeed, to youthhood itself. For the Dinka, for instance, it is nature, in the form of cattle, that symbolizes vitality and in order for youth to be initiated into manhood, they must kill this element of animality within them in order to prepare themselves to receive the wisdom of adulthood, that which separates humans from animals. In the Dinka case, this transcendent substance is Speech, the speech of the forefathers, which is eternal and therefore regenerative of the human spirit. I think collectivity attained the same quality of transcendence with regard to cadres sacrifice as does Speech for the Dinka. It stood opposed to selfishness in the same way that Speech does to Vitality because both are constitutive of humanity but, in order to attain a higher level of being to paraphrase Maos expression of the role of practice collectivity must be allowed to kill selfishness, understood as desires of the self. Selfishness links humans to their animality, and earning money and thinking about oneself are seen as almost instinctual desires of a life outside the camp. Collectiveness, by contrast, has a transcendent quality which symbolizes the eternal revolutionary struggle, and describes the ideal quality of the revolutionary just as Speech is an indicator of wisdom and age for the Dinka. In this optic, revolutionaries emerge as purely collective beings, and it is therefore swartha, selfishness, which cadres have to sacrifice in this process. Reminiscent of a space of liminality during initiation (Van Gennep 1960), Nayabasti was the stage inbetween the old and transformed self, where transcendent being here read as samuhikta, collectivity was revealed to the aspirants. It was thus through their lives as cadres in the camp that they had to learn to become the collective beings required of cadres; the being that constituted their promised humanity. As an expression of revolutionary subjectivity, the collective self emerges with the sacrifice of selfishness. It is here that the element of labor is crucial. It was labor particularly through household chores that allowed the initiators to travel from selfishness to collectivity, to become, as it were, the perfect revolutionaries. In other words, it was selfishness as one part of a moral personality that had to be addressed by chores in order to attain another, more desirable, personal quality connected with a mature political being.

C HOR ES AS R EVOLUTI ON AR Y LAB OR


In this final section, I shall explore the relationship between community chores and revolutionary subjectivity by tracing how mundane labor points beyond the camp, allowing it to represent the struggle of a revolutionary subject and not just of an inconspicuous household servant. One of the great paradoxes of chores is that while they purport to 155

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bring about a party cadre who works on behalf of the community, it is all performed within the spatial and temporal closure of the camp. What is so special about the collectivity which labor makes possible that it can transcend the multiple boundaries of camp life and turn everyday servility into a sacrifice for janata, the people? To explore these, largely symbolic, connections beyond the camp, in what follows I provide a discussion of the role of the cleaning chore as a practice with political overtones and then return to the concept of labor with the help of Hannah Arendt. Chores can be seen as a heterogeneous site for cadres apprenticeship into experienced activists and while, on the one hand, it teaches newcomers to labor around the clock for the benefit of the community through continuous and disciplined labor, on the other, it integrates them into the party world by playing on the links between the camp as a community and the CPN-Ms enormous cadre network. Contrary to what we might expect, the camp did not constitute a special community for its members. For cadres, the boundary of the community was not the camp but the party, and it was as Maoist cadres, karyakarta, that they introduced themselves, and it was the party which assigned cadres their positions and identities as maobadi not the YCL and definitely not the small camp unit. Chores therefore reproduced not only the small camp community but ones party identity as a cadre, and this can be exemplified through an analysis of how cleaning replayed important political ideals of Maoist notions of revolutionary behavior. Unlike cooking, cleaning was an easy chore. It did not take very long to finish, and not all members of a section needed to be activated to clean the two bathrooms and sweep the floors. It did not therefore rely on teamwork to the same extent as cooking, and there was no ritualization by which cadres served up the product of their labor as a gift to the camp. Does this mean that cleaning was not performed for a collective, with a collective in mind? I think this would be a rash interpretation. Cleaning was much more comprehensive than cooking in that it encompassed all areas of the camp, could be performed throughout the day, and was closely related to both personal hygiene and the requirement for keeping the camp tidy and office-like with personal belongings hidden from view. It was therefore part of a general effort at instituting an order on camp life to make it better resemble an office but also, I argue here, to facilitate an experience of the camp as more than a space for itself. This constant presence of cleanliness and order with regard to the floor starts to become interesting when compared with the centrality of the floor to camp life. In both Nayabasti and the second camp they relocated to after June, all work, and indeed cadre life in its entirety, was conducted on the floor, since there was only a single table used for camps computer in Pradeeps room and a few plastic chairs that were rarely used. Consequently, there was no difference in this regard between holding a meeting, study-

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ing, cleaning, cooking, watching TV or sleeping - they were all conducted on the floor. This was undoubtedly part of the point of the camp as a whole: it was a democratic gesture in correspondence with the emphasis on equality between members irrespective of their hierarchical position, so that everyone would be seated on the same level. The floor was one of the symbolic operators of sameness of the community of party cadres. Whereas floor life was likely an outcome of the pragmatics of life in an underfunded organizational department i.e. there was simply no money to procure chairs the role of the few chairs indicates that the distinction between an elevated and a floor position was not arbitrary and played a part in delineating the boundaries of the community. I particularly felt the way elevation signaled sameness when it was used against me by Pradeep. His room was the only one that did not correlate with the rest of the camps layout: he had a permanent mattress as a bed; a small shelf for his books and other private belongings; there was a table with the camps only computer and three plastic chairs that were occasionally offered to guests - this was, after all, an institutionalized way of signaling respect and hierarchy, at least in Kathmandu and in the official political and ministerial offices. When I was invited into Pradeeps room, he routinely offered me the chair although he would himself be seated on his bed, and I remember how I loathed being put in this position because it signaled a distancing that seemed to boost his authority rather than diminish it. The gesture both managed to signal the obvious you are not one of us, and the much more critical you belong to the old power structure (a doctoral student from a university in a capitalist country) while here I am among the common people, a mere servant, and our fight will never become yours. I was, fortunately, not the only one using the chairs as other senior members of the CPNM were happy to recline in them when visiting the camp leader, and it might be that I was reading my own othering into a harmless gesture. Nonetheless, on the day of my official departure from the camp, Pradeep asked me to sit directly facing him on the bed and, looking intensely at me, he conceded: Of all the cadres here, you are probably the most disciplined This suggests that there were conflicting ways of signaling respect. The chair was part of a more traditional script that linked power and status, whereas the floor drew on the camaraderie of guerilla warfare. By extension, being on the floor was automatically to be close to the common man, and hence the people, or janata. Being on the floor was both an exercise in humbleness, and it could be read as a clear political alliance; it was symmetrical with the camp perspective of cadre life that the work of those who struggle on behalf of the poor must also be located at the same level of their existence. Thus, politicians (and foreign researchers) may be sitting above us the practice of

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floor life seems to suggest and they are used to such signs of respect, but we the cadres of the revolution cannot afford such a distance. We must be (seated) where the people are (located). Discipline was, then, also about being able to live on the floor, and this should be taken in its double meaning: as an exercise in the physicality of life on the ground, and as a metaphor for the bases of society where life is defined by simplicity. One of Pradeeps favorite sayings about camp life was simple living but high thinking, effectively pairing the daily grind of chores and non-spectacular existence with political utopia. Sweeping performed the symbolic role of ridding the ground (the space of cadre life) of its dirt, turning the floor into the cleanest position to be living (and speaking) from; it was equivalent to taking the perspective from the floor, with all its symbolic baggage of representing the peoples true voice and so on. Marxian labor, as discussed, was at the heart of the human endeavor to objectify the world, and thereby emerge from it and eventually transform it: to distinguish man from his animality, as it were. The Brazilian Marxist, Paulo Freire, has elaborated on this principle through his notion of praxis. In praxis, labor is both action and reflection at the same time, and this formulation negates a distinction between the leader as the thinker and the follower as the doer, for the revolutionary must be capable of both activities at once (Freire 2000:126). Cleaning, I suggest, can also be as a praxis in Freires terms. It performs a general role of a mental preparation, a way of positioning oneself as a revolutionary cadre. The cadre Himal expressed this clearly during the first interview I conducted with him. Asked what his role was in the camp was,, he promptly declared: to clean, to learn about politics, and to free the proletariat. What Himal seemed to be saying in this single statement was that cleaning was a meaningful endeavor not primarily on the level of the camp, but on the level of the revolution itself; that to clean was to be engaged in a revolution. Beyond the transcendence of collectivity, cleaning thus initiates a general discussion of how chores are revolutionary. In her study of student politics in Kathmandu, Amanda Snellinger (2007) has shown that the student organizations in Nepal are closely connected to their mother parties by being the stepping stones to parliamentary politics. The student unions in Nepal fight fierce battles every four years (in principle) over seats in the Free Student Union a position which both gives access to power and is very prestigious. The FSU elections are huge events that mobilize support from top party officials and are prepared several months in advance, and Snellinger argues that they can essentially be seen as singular events where one can practice for the real elections that await cadres when they mature in the party.

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Although the camp seems far removed from student politics and in many ways decisively is I think the politics of the camp can be compared to the political preparations surrounding the FSU elections. Chores were also a way of practicing by linking labor to collectivity, and thereby to a praxis proper for revolutionaries. They are, in this regard, both efforts at practicing the proper form that their role as representatives of the people should take. I think this is how we should understand Himals link between cleaning and freeing the proletariat. Chores are a type of politics that is performed with the proletariat in mind (janata for the Maoists). Cadres in general understood themselves very literally to be delegates of the people, to be able to express their will and desires as was shown in the previous chapter where the violent incident around the Pashupatinath temple was a command from the people. By doing chores, cadres were, in this sense, participating in a political exercise whereby their labor must be loyal to the voice and commands of the people.9 Labor as necessity How is it that section cadres labor, which is so expansive that it contributes both to the entire party organization and to an imaginary relationship to the large body of common people, takes place through mundane and repetitious tasks whose products disappear almost as soon as they are produced? In other words, how can something so solid as the organization and the population benefit from something as provisional as cooking and cleaning? This problematic is part of the wider question which the thesis as a whole tries to answer, namely, how the best way of serving the peoples aspiration for a New Nepal is to be locked into a secluded space that is a deliberate effort at excluding oneself from the society that one claims to sacrifice for. In her essay Labor, Work, Action, originally written in 1958, Hannah Arendt examines the nature of three different modes of human production. Labor designates that which keeps us alive, that which reproduces biological life as such and corresponds to the biological processes of the body (Arendt 2000:170). Work, on the other hand, cre9

The elaborate system of routinized chores, sectional divisions, meetings on different levels, performance evaluations and internal hierarchies, not to mention the non-affectionate professional relationships among the cadres, can be seen almost as a small parliament akin to the Paris Commune, where the working class was finally allowed to work directly for the people through delegation, or, as Marx saw it, where the working class would run the state rather than the reverse (in Dorn 2005). It is interesting that Amanda Snellinger uses a similar metaphor for her analysis of Nepali student unions, namely the idea that they are in a sense 'mini-publics' since they provide a 'good perspective of who is interested and can find opportunity in politics' (Snellinger 2010a:3). By contrast the camp's mode of relating to society is not as an approximate demographic representation but in the idea of the 'vanguard', as the avant-garde representing the interest, or, more correctly, the will of the people.

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ates use-objects and not merely goods for consumption; it is the locus of fabrication through which man becomes lord and master of nature, objectifying and manipulating it to give the world stability and durability, the site of homo faber (ibid.:174). Lastly, action is that which lifts humanity into the realm of an entirely human world, where life is neither defined by biological necessity (labor) nor the wants and desires of housing the human body as Arendt somewhat cryptically formulates the meaning of work. Action is, by contrast, defined by word and deed and is like a second birth that brings forth communal relationships. This is where we are made as individuals, where we take initiative and where life is given a meaning beyond its mere biological quality. Arendts interpretation of this tripartite division is part of an effort to formulate a political ethics based on human freedom and, in her analysis, action is the only properly free human act because it is neither based on biological necessity nor follows an instrumental means-to-an-end logic inherent in work (Yar 2005). She thus makes two related claims that are of relevance here: one, that potentiality lies in praxis, not merely in contemplation clearly an argument that rings familiar to a Marxist and Maoist ethos and that it is only in activity, in vita activa, that this potential is properly realized, which is by contrast a move away from Marxs elevation of elementary, animalistic labor as the highest mode of human existence. Work in the camp, I would argue, corresponds to Arendts notion of labor. These are processes whose products have very little durability and the purpose of which is reproduction, although not only biological reproduction since cleaning, disciplined basnu and sentry duties refer to the camp and the party as its units. But the overriding fact that nothing of use-value is being produced here cannot escape us. Let us return to Arendts own descriptions of labor: By laboring, men produce the vital necessities that must be fed into the life process of the human body. And since this life process [...] is in itself circular, the laboring activity itself must follow the cycle of life, the circular movement which means that the laboring activity never comes to an end as long as life lasts; it is endlessly repetitive (Arendt 2000:170-171). Is the division of sections and their rotating schedule not a perfect example of the application of this requirement for repetition? It is as if, by making chores deliberately repetitive, they assume a quality reminiscent of the reproduction of life itself. This interpretation is possibly only strengthened by the disappearance of the products of the labor, the way goods for consumption [...] are the least durable of things: They are the least worldly, and, at the same time, the most natural and the most necessary of all things. Although they are man-made, they come and go, are produced and consumed, in accordance with the ever-recurrent cyclical movement of nature (ibid.:171). 160

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Similarly, chores produce nothing, except non-durable objects whose consumption renders them invisible and reverses their production process: once cadres have been mobilized, their basnu discipline is rendered irrelevant, and the same logic applies, of course, to the continuous labor of cleaning and cooking, which are more or less immediately consumed; the sentry duty can even be seen here as a garrison guarding the health of the organizational body that the camp is. But once the duty is over, there are no traces of its important work except - and I think this is the clue - the continued existence of the camp. What cadres labor reproduce is the basic health, as it were, of the camp as a body. Here, we should acknowledge the full meaning of the notion of labor, as that which produces life. It is therefore, the very beginning of the cycle of life, the basis of the productivity of everything that comes after. In this regard, it is not irrelevant that Arendt places it at the bottom of her hierarchy of activity; it is, after all, with this kind of productivity that everything begins. The vita activa that comes after and fills out the span of human life with a meaning beyond its mere existence relies, nonetheless, on this primary production of life itself. For this, we need labor. It is, in a very real sense, the beginning. When we think of cadreship as a new kind of life, this makes sense in two ways. Cadres must learn to live all over again, and the first lesson is how to produce life, how to create the conditions upon which the meaningful activity of revolutionaries can then be built. Following this is the related organizational hierarchy, which can also be seen to reproduce this logic in its distribution of work to different levels. The bottom of the organizational pyramid, where the camp and newcomer cadres are located, should also provide the base for the work of the levels above it. So, if section cadres can be given the task of creating life the task of labor then more experienced members are free to engage in vita activa, in politics, as it were. Chore work is therefore, and quite plainly, a necessity of the Maoist revolutionaries commitment to change because it enables a transformation of the self and a reproduction of the party structure. In various ways, cadres indicated that they understood their current life through the prism of necessity: there was the idea that joining (and sacrifice) was a compulsion; there was the positive statement that life in the camp was not free like outside, i.e. fortunately not; and there was a specific rendition given by the cadre Kamal about the problem of life outside as being too open. Kamal explained: Here, we are directed by the party. The work we do is based on the partys norms and conditions. You cannot find that outside, they are not disciplined, they have much money [...] and they have a lot of free time. If you are open (khula) like that, you cannot contribute with anything.

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So, in order to contribute, it is therefore an advantage not to be too open, or - as I think of it here - to submit to the logic of necessity: that to work for the party community, to struggle for a collective self, and to ultimately do all this to redeem janata, one must oneself renounce ones freedom and openness. I think labor manages to establish this link, so that by doing chores, cadres come to appreciate what it means not only to contribute - that their labor invokes collectivity - but also what it means to do something that is quite simply necessary. Section labor is necessary because the entire revolutionary pyramid, including the party organization and the idea of the people, must be reproduced in order to exist. I think we arrive here at Alain Badious crucial formulation of revolutionary subjectivity as one based on fidelity. In this view, the free subject comes into being through its fidelity to an Event such as the revolution, and the Event - in turn - relies on fidelity to exist (Zizek 1999). The relationship cadres establish with the collectivity through laboring can be seen as one of fidelity. It is necessary simply because neither the Event nor the Subject would exist in this mode without it. What interests me about the causality in this formulation is that the road to becoming cadres passes through the necessity of labor as that which sets them free by allowing them to gain full status as revolutionaries, sacrificing for the coming of the New Nepal etc. What labor reproduces is therefore a revolutionary body; this is the life it enables and to which cyclic activity corresponds, like eating does to the functioning of the human body. There is thus a shift of perspective from labor to life here. One could say that it is life which makes it necessary for someone to engage in revolutionary reproduction and not just that the individual cadre experiences that his contribution is necessary. Necessity is outside the self, a principle that one can become loyal to, establish a fidelity towards.10 It is interesting to end by thinking about the mapping of Arendts three forms of activity in cadres lives. As migrant laborers, cadres were engaged in work - producing durable objects with a use-value. This inevitably led to the formulation of a personal identity, and this is what had to be overcome and solved through their life in the camp. Labor, by contrast, takes them back to the beginning, in a very concrete sense, and says: Forget what you think you know about your identity. Here we will teach you about the fundamentals of life by engaging you first of all in the reproduction of a different kind of life and then, when you are ready, we will bring you directly to vita activa, giving
10

It is possible that the notion of necessity can be linked to Mikhail Heller's analysis of the 'nationalization of time' in the Soviet Union. He argues that a new temporal horizon was established wherein citizens experienced their past-present-future in ways that correlated with the party ideology and, as a result, accepted their party-assigned tasks as part of their outlook on the future (see Cheng 2009:6-7). It is the same type of inversion of causality whereby agency becomes located outside the self that I intend with the idea of necessity here.

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you the ability to do politics in the streets of Kathmandu. This formula, then, skips work and is this not because work has been colonized by the wrong class perspective and instead of fighting the battle at the level of work, it makes more sense to reeducate youth about the essential cyclical and necessary labor of life and then bring them directly to the boundless possibilities of action, the activity of vita activa? Action, as Arendt reminds us, is resilient; we can never undo what we have done, but this is also its power. It is the place of new beginnings, of a second birth. Before cadres can properly participate in action, however, they must familiarize themselves with the base that is the camp and its routinized labor.

C ONC LUS I ON
Chores, I have argued in this chapter, should be seen as a type of revolutionary labor which along with individual cleaning routines and cadres disciplined waiting for commands produces an experience of collectivity among cadres and establishes a symbolic link to janata while also reproducing the party pyramid, thus rendering itself politically relevant despite being conducted within the small camp community by newcomer section cadres. Camp labor, it seems, sustains cadres political activism by being turned into sacrifices for the community and a sacrifice of selfishness. Despite these connections between camp chores and political activism that I have analyzed here, there is an unresolved tension between the reproductivity and mundanity of cadres labor and the prospective of proper political work, of action in a vita activa. While the links connecting chores with politics do exist, as I have shown in this chapter, they are not particularly strong and only the idea of collectivity which integrates cadres with the Maoist community are discursively marked. There is, then, always a risk that chores come to be seen for what they really are: repetitive household tasks that may well have a disciplining and re-subjetivizing effect but which by and large fall short of transporting cadres onto the scene of politics. A notion of labor that is at odds with dominant social perceptions and ideas of collectivity in order to counter images of the selfish political parties is not only relevant for interrogating aspects of camp life but is deeply rooted in the CPN-Ms political vision and thereby points to broader debates about the corruption of political power and the need for a strong leadership to steer the party through its transition to big-city politics. As a site for bringing new cadres into the party machinery, Nayabastis simultaneous position at the bottom of the organizational hierarchy and as the site of its vanguard youth cadres attests to the difficulty in bridging these contradictory processes of public openness and exclusive identities in hiding. The paradox of disciplined waiting, the 163

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strong organizational values associated with menial household tasks, and the ways in which the camp, with its cadre life, were seeking to be relevant to the party and the revolution in ways I have analyzed here, all point to strong social and political tensions that turned Nayabasti into not simply a bridge connecting the party and the public, but a zone of tension between competing visions and political priorities. Nayabastis leaders were extremely good at subduing these ongoing processes of diversion within the party leadership and the changing nature of public support so as to render camp life quite calm and unarticulated, but I suspect that the processes I have analyzed here in some ways reflect the institutionalization of some of these tensions such that what would otherwise have passed as a period of training tends to become protracted sacrifices in the anticipation of more meaningful political engagements. It does not matter, in this regard, exactly what the work of chores accomplishes, because by being a road to establish fidelity between cadres and the revolutionary event, they are a way for cadres to practice what it means to sacrifice. Cadres were thus practicing this sacrifice on each other learning how to interact in a manner befitting those who lived by the principle of samuhik and working for the collective therefore also served to regenerate the community of sacrificers. While submission, as discussed in the previous chapter, activated the sacrifice, labor the revolutionary labor that has no end and to which one must give collectively instantiated it; it was a way of performing the sacrifice with chores forming a basic system for teaching cadres what it meant to labor in a systematic manner for the benefit of a larger community. To a certain extent, chores allowed cadres mundane everyday lives to momentarily break out of the confines of camp life by being rendered relevant on an organizational and political measuring rod. But it could not resolve the paradox that signing up for a national revolution had landed cadres in the small world of Nayabasti where their primary activity was simply to wait for meaningful party work and organizational advancement. The next chapter investigates this paradox of cadres sacrifice.

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It took several years from the cadres first arrival in Nayabasti until they had advanced above the section hierarchy. On average, cadres participated in work outside the camp once or twice a week, including party meetings.1 The remaining time was spent in the camp, occupied either with the variety of community chores described in the previous chapter or simply waiting. This chapter investigates what it means for revolutionary cadres to wait as a form of sacrificial practice. Waiting, I argue here, was not simply a biproduct of the daily routines of camp life or a space in-between the meaningful activities of labor; it was in itself a type of labor, and a dominant one at that. Waiting was one of the core activities that defined cadre subjectivity, and the question I pursue here is how this waiting was rendered meaningful from the perspective of junior cadres. Not just unmarked time, waiting was in itself a struggle and became an aspect of their camp sacrifices because it was a way of investing oneself in the role of the cadre and enabling an exchange between junior members and their leaders. Rather than a problem to be solved, waiting thus signaled an activity that resulted in leadership and important work

The rhythm of cadre life is divided between work outside the camp and their lives inside its small compound. At times when there are many party activities, they may be mobilized for several days in a row, whereby they get ready after dalbhat and may not be back before nightfall. During my fieldwork, March turned out to be one of the busiest months as cadres went to assist during an international football tournament for 10 days, alternating between the sections, as well as supporting the CPN-M student union, the ANNISU-R, in their run-up to the Free Student Elections on March 19. The following months alternated between less than one program per week and up to two, with May being the busiest after March due mainly to the resignation of Prachanda as Prime Minister. After June, most work died down, although there was a momentary revival for a couple of weeks before the month-long holidays of Dashain and Tihar when political activity came to a complete standstill. There was a seasonal rhythm to this pattern, reflecting not the natural environment but the political one. During crisis and rapid changes, in particular, work was more abundant than in other periods.

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and these prospects turned waiting into a productive enterprise, lifting it above boredom as it were, precisely because it pointed beyond the camp as a mode of dwelling. The discussion proceeds through five steps: I first offer a description of the everyday waiting for leaders and how it indicates a situational waiting that requires cadres attentiveness towards their commanders; next I examine how cadres, in a broader sense, not only wait for leaders to physically arrive but for leadership, a promotion that gives them increased access to party work outside the camp. The third and fourth section examine the two types of practices that result from this dual nature of waiting for leaders and leadership, respectively, namely a disciplined waiting, on the one hand, and waiting as a preparation, on the other. The final section on waiting as sacrifice addresses the paradox of camp waiting as a precondition for and hence as different from party work and public sacrifice and the challenges to political activism that this leads to.

WAI TI NG F OR LEADER S
Camp life was one long waiting for outside work. After several days without any activities, I was the first to get restless: Why arent we going out? When will we be leaving? It will come, I was told, meaning a command (nirdeshan) from the party leaders. But without a command, we cannot move. We are waiting for the leaders to order us. So, wait we did. The camp had enough rooms so that cadres could choose whether to wait in solitude or hang out in the common areas. Pratap often sat in his section room reading or writing in his small notebook and sometimes Kamal or Bibek would do the same, reflecting their interest in the educational literature. Most were not occupied with reading despite the fact that there were several books available. Ashmi and the other female cadres mostly sat in their own separate room, only to leave when occupied with a household chore. In the TV room, several cadres could often be found watching Hindi series or wrestling matches although this did not seem to make the room any livelier than the others. Santosh and Tara were often on the balcony or the roof, silently watching the street below. It is hard to describe this scene. It was as if nothing was happening but this is, of course, a very imprecise rendition as several small things were going on all at once: sitting, reading, watching, even sleeping. What seemed to identify these activities was rather something else. They felt subdued, as if we were inside a space ship where social relations had become mechanized and we had difficulty in speaking and hearing each other because of the thin air. Social interaction was sparse. It was there when needed, when a section needed to coordinate work, when clarifying a word in the newspaper, when looking for someone. But there was little spontaneous activity - commenting on 166

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what happened on the TV for instance - and when cadres talked among themselves, it was in low voices and preferably sat apart in a section room. Moving around in the camp also seemed limited. When I arrived from outside, striding through the corridors and opening doors to see who was here and what they were doing, I felt a great contrast between my restless activity and the cadres silent and patient stillness. Movement was minimal. Cadres would not wander around the camp and would just sit all day in the different rooms, now and again alternating between them as they shifted from watching TV to reading or sleeping. Even the cooking team managed without too much talking, although this did constitute something of an exception to the dominant pattern of sociality whereby words and activities were rarely shared and cadres simply seemed to be engaged in parallel activities; they were all doing similar things but in isolation unless actively engaged in a cooperative chore. One particular effect of this stillness was a penetrating drowsiness that engulfed the entire camp, at least between the two dalbhat meals when leaders were away and cadres were left to themselves. It was a kind of sleepiness that was more pronounced than I had observed in any other social setting in Kathmandu. This is perhaps best illustrated by the effect it had on one of my assistants. He was caught in this drowsy web and inspired to take naps with the cadres so that we had to put a hold on the interviewing until he had rested a bit. I am so tired, Dan, he would complain. On one occasion, he even fell asleep while he was translating during an interview, and after that we had to make sure we were sitting in the middle of the room when we wanted to stay awake rather than leaning against the wall, as it was too inviting a pillow. Time in the camp was thus suffused with a drowsiness that was marked by little verbal interaction and a profound stillness in physical movement as well. Cadres found their own rhythm of waiting. For some it revolved around the Hindi movies, some tried to fill out time by studying, others watched neighborhood life, some spent the waiting time with extra cleaning and most took naps during the day. But unlike social milieus where people have varied functions that carry their own tasks (see for instance Tan 2009), apart from the rotating schedules there was no difference in how the cadres could wait. Since they were all functionally equal and part of one collectivity, waiting was the same for everyone. When work arrived, it formed a stark contrast to the stillness of waiting. From the low position in the party hierarchy cadres inhabited, commands always seemed to come as a surprise. The flow of information from top to bottom was such that ordinary cadres were the last to be told about an upcoming event - ideally only the moment they were needed - because constant revisions to schedules due to suddenly shifting political priorities and the great number of cadres, from many different fronts and localities that need-

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ed coordination, made larger party events a logistical nightmare. Even though cadres might have been told that they were possibly going out later in the day or sometime during the week, the actual moments they were called for came very abruptly. While waiting in our different ways, for example, a senior leader would open the doors to the different rooms and call on cadres to get ready and come down in front of the camp as soon as possible. It did not matter whether cadres were sleeping, watching TV or writing a revolutionary poem, within a couple of minutes they had changed their clothes, put on their running shoes, and were standing ready in their sections outside the house. I often had my interviews interrupted in this way. When the command arrived, cadres would get up in the middle of their sentence, quickly excuse themselves and prepare to leave. These moments were always hectic: with dressing up in their uniforms, with the Section Commanders trying to grasp what the plan would be and pass on the information to their sections, with the lack of clarity regarding who would be staying behind to guard the camp and cook, of whether to bring party flags or not, of the nature of the program and which slogans to be shouting. And Pradeep, busier than ever, would be non-stop on the phone. The characteristic rhythm of camp life therefore took the form of long, slow hours of passing time with sudden tempo shifts when one of the leaders returned and ordered a swift departure. This pattern of work-waiting-work repeated itself throughout the day, throughout the week and throughout the year. Waiting was therefore not an isolated phenomenon but an integrated part of cadre life that occupied the spaces between events outside the camp. This kind of waiting has been described by Peter Dwyer as situational in contrast to what he calls an existential waiting (Dwyer 2009). Situational waiting is an expression of social engagement, it is a type of waiting that is distinctly of the world and not just a personal experience. What most distinguishes the situational from the existential is therefore that the former is inherently relational, meaning that it is embedded in social relationships. Dwyer gives the example of a rock climber who is belaying, i.e. holding the rope that secures a fellow climber on the cliff. A climber waiting for belay is high above the ground, fully equipped and waiting for her turn to climb. She is joined by a belay rope to a climber above her who needs to finish his section of the climb and secure himself before indicating that it is the others turn to climb (ibid.:18). Dwyers point is that this type of waiting designates a very active engagement with the world because it entails the physical belaying of the climbing partner above and an attentiveness to the subtle communications via the rope since they cannot see each other. Waiting here demands the belayers constant focus and participation; it is situational.

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The metaphor of the rock climber nicely captures the way cadres are tied to their leaders. There is a similar type of bond between them, expressed most vividly in the hierarchical structure that demands cadres be constantly attentive of their commanders commands (see Chapter 3). Leaders are also, in a sense, invisible since they are not present in the camp most of the time and, when they suddenly do arrive, cadres must be able to respond with proper deference. The leaders absence does not therefore result in laxness as the cadres constant readiness to serve functions like a belay rope between them and their commanders. What connects the absent leader from the present cadre here, though, is not a rope but a telephone. There were almost always some leaders present in the camp, at a minimum a vice-commander but most often one of the intermediate leaders above section structure as well. They interacted in a non-hierarchical way with cadres during periods of waiting, though, because they did not have separate section rooms; they stayed on the roof or in the TV room when at home. One call from Pradeep or Nischal was enough for all this to change. The erstwhile waiting leader, Marut for instance, would now be asked to mobilize the cadres and he came to embody the authority of the absent leader, thus activating the invisible connection to work. Cadres had to be attuned to this possibility of work arriving suddenly and even without anyone physically returning. It was in this way that the waiting was situational; it was embedded in the hierarchical relationship between cadres and leaders that required the former to be constantly alert to the channels of communication that leaders utilized in signaling a change from waiting to work. Yet, there is clearly a limit to the climbing metaphor. The physical attentiveness of the belayer is intense and not necessarily more relaxed than for the one leading she is the one who must be attentive to communication from above whether this entails the expected call that her partner is secured, or the more dramatic situation in which something has gone wrong. But cadres waiting though clearly situational was differently passive when they were not occupied with chores. Not relaxed, but passive. Cadres seemed, as I explained, to withdraw into their own worlds and to wait by themselves rather than in unison. Here, we can revisit the distinction between waiting on and waiting for that Monica Minnegal invokes in her essay on hunting in Papua New Guinea (2009). Every year, the Kubo people wait for tree-leaf when the trees drop not only their leaves but also the acorns on which pigs feed and grow fat. This signals the start of pig hunting. But when is this time? Trees are always dropping their leaves, and the amount of acorns may vary from season to season, so there is no way of knowing in advance when the time is ripe. So the Kubo wait and watch, attentive to the signs around them, both those of the forest and the activities of their fellows hunters, as one mans resolve to go hunting may lead others to follow. In this, the Kubo hunters are strategi-

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cally waiting. They are waiting on in a way similar to a waiter waiting on a customer, attentive to his/her needs before they become demands. Such a waiting revolves around choosing the appropriate moment to act, waiting for the optimal moment and entails, Minnegal explains, an intense engagement with, and attention to, the present (ibid.:91). Cadres wait for and not on. They are like the customer in the restaurant who must remain passive until the waiter arrives. Their waiting is a kind of longing that is oriented to an imagined future (ibid.:90). Until a leader commands them, cadres must wait, it is nothing they can decide and there is no optimal moment that they are waiting for. Another way of expressing this is that waiting here designates a lack of initiative because while they must be attentive, the initiative to transform waiting into work is not theirs.

WAI TI NG TO BEC OM E LE ADER S


There is a further link between cadres and leaders which influences the quality of waiting in the camp. Eventually, cadres become leaders, and this inscribes a kind of waiting into camp life which can be thought of as systematic because it is disciplined and teleological; i.e. the prospect of leadership is already inscribed into cadres waiting. In his introductory comments to the edited volume Waiting, Ghassan Hage notes that differences in waiting are not merely individual but are also differences in the way waiting is present systematically in society (Hage 2009a:2). Hage discerns three perspectives on this systematicity that express the politics of waiting: 1. who must wait; 2. what waiting entails; 3. how to organize waiting into a social system. Cadres waiting for work is part of a larger organizational cycle whereby work is linked to leadership status and this turns cadres into the category of personnel in the YCL who are designated to wait. Let me try to flesh this out by showing the way cadres advancement is linked to access to work outside the camp. In Chapter 3 I explained how cadres were in an apprentice relationship to their commanders, being given responsibilities above their immediate rank to teach them the craft of commanding through active participation. This system worked between cadres and leaders as well. Cadres who had attained commander level were given tasks outside the camp in the neighborhood. One of the crucial distinctions between leaders and cadres, as previously explained, was that the leaders work took place outside the camp whereas cadres worked in the camp itself. The cadres were therefore the ones who had to wait while their leaders were busying themselves with work. But as cadres advanced in the internal camp hierarchy, they were gradually given assignments outside the camp 170

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reflecting their personal qualifications: as an FGL (Force Group Leader, the position below Vice Commander in the section hierarchy), Tara for instance had been asked to talk to some of the local party volunteers who risked going backwards and his job was to motivate them just as an FGL would with regard his own section cadres. Vice and Section Commanders were, in turn, given areas of responsibility and contact persons that they were in charge of. After he had become an SC, Rohit thus had to rendezvous regularly with a local YCL supporter who had been asked to procure new members, and it was Rohits task to carry this through and report back to his seniors in Nayabasti. If a whole section was needed for a local job, such as supervising the building of a road or collecting donations, it was also often enough for the SCs to lead the cadres. This systematic evolution of expertise and status went hand in hand with the partys official recognition of cadres seniority by granting them membership status in respective committees. The commander position marked the shift at which cadres became relevant for the party machinery, and already in becoming FGL, the party would usually include cadres in the organizational structure. Cadres would often introduce themselves to me by referring to their committee status I am now an ACM (Area Committee Member) and this was seen as their official title and position in the party. The party meetings that followed from their committee memberships were another way of mobilizing applicable cadres to activity outside the camp; Area Committee Meetings, for example, were held monthly and, with more committee memberships, cadres would be allowed to leave the camp more often. By giving cadres increasing responsibilities outside the camp, a differentiation was made between newcomer cadres and the more seasoned ones; the latter were simply closer to work and had less waiting to do. This way, work served to transgress camp life and its waiting, the legible activity which propelled cadres back into society. The transparency of this systematic advancement through work connects leaders and cadres in a more fundamental way than the concepts of situational waiting and waiting for encapsulate. To return to the metaphor of the climbing couple, cadres and leaders are in fact tied together in a much more direct way than I described above. It is not simply that the rope is a medium of communication, one that keeps cadres alert and inscribes their waiting into social relationships. The rope between the two categories of personnel also facilitates the guidance of the cadre in his or her personal ascent towards leadership. The leader cannot, of course, pull the cadre up, in much the same way that climbers cannot, due to the elasticity of the rope I am a climber myself and am painfully aware of this limitation. The rope does not offer the possibility of laziness and is therefore a very apt metaphor for CPN-Ms concept of cadreship a continuous struggle that each individual cadre must be willing to perform. Cadres have to negotiate the

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terrain by themself and perform their tasks properly in order to ascend. However the rope metaphor also illustrates that there is an expectation that the climb does resolve the distancing between the leader and the common cadre, i.e. that it does in fact lead to a higher position in the hierarchy. What cadres are waiting for are therefore not the random actions of an external agent when considered over a long period. To wait for a leadership position is to expect the natural development of professional relations within the party, relative of course to ones investment. Waiting is not merely attentive, it is also full of anticipation. Suraj had felt this very keenly when it failed to materialize the way he had expected. He had fled from the camp for two months the year before I met him, the only case I heard of among the Nayabasti members, and part of his punishment had been a demotion from an FGL to an ordinary cadre upon his return. The embarrassment of having to return, because others might think him a coward as a person that could not stomach the struggle necessary to cadre life was not, however, his major concern: I feel quite sad, he explained, because the people I used to command are now commanding me, and this makes me feel quite bad. Our conversation on this issue took place in the middle of June and talk of the second office and the possibility of experienced cadres getting leadership positions was already flourishing. Suraj was certain that he would be one of these and was already comparing himself to the senior camp members above the section structure, even if he was only an FGL. I will be doing the same [as them] but my area [of responsibility] has not been decided yet. I might become a vice-president or a general secretary but anyhow my position will be high. Surajs excitement was evident and he admitted that he had waited for this opportunity for a long time because he felt that, compared to others, he had a lot of experience. Yet, when the decision did arrive, Suraj was only promoted the logical step from FGL to VC and, not long after, Suraj became distracted, as he himself explained, by a love affair that eventually led to him breaking with the YCL towards the end of September (see next Chapter). It is possible that we should read into his new love affair, which started less than a month after his demotion, a disillusionment at the speed of his ascent. Suraj felt that he did in fact deserve a higher position because he had already struggled so much and possessed the necessary experience. Surajs waiting turned into stuckedness, though not in the heroic sense described by Ghassan Hage (2009b) but rather in the disappointment that Henrik Vigh highlights for youth in Guinea-Bissau who have very few livelihood options and are perpetual losers in leaders power-games (2006). This shows the flip side of the systematicity inherent in this waiting. As Suraj had broken away from the relationship between cadres and leaders that designated the first as apprentices who slowly but steadily advanced under

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the guidance of the latter, he could not expect to suddenly jump the queue just because he was more experienced. Waiting was hard work, and Suraj had tried to dodge it (for a period).

DI SC I P LI NED WAI TI NG
This brings in the question of discipline. We can see how the politics of waiting for the YCL cadres in Hages formula clearly designate them as waiters (in contrast to leaders) this was his first point - and as waiters because they are in the process of becoming leaders his second point. Cadres waiting thus points towards leadership. But how is it systematized? Life in the camp is subject to the requirements of proper behavior, of which some aspects are social and others personal. I have dealt with the requirements of respectful interaction and the next chapter will detail the more personal aspects of this institutional order. Waiting is subsidiary to the same principles of submission, collectivity, morality. Just as there are no private spaces in which to practice another noncadre morality, there is also no heterogeneity of waiting spaces. Waiting, as I explained, is the same for everybody, all must comply with its regimental character. I believe this to be a distinct feature of cadres waiting because it makes a wide range of cultural practices normally associated with waiting unavailable particularly for youth. From his ethnography in North India, for instance, Craig Jeffrey (2010) shows how middle-class youth must endure a waiting in the educational system as part of their parents largely mistaken strategy of reconfiguring the cultural capital of their class position from land to education. Young men have been placed in the educational sector as a result of their parents waiting strategy to reorganize economic dominance in the province, a situation that has not led to career moves but to a lingering in the campus. These offspring therefore end up as educated but unemployed youth in a position they refer to as timepass, a reluctant suspension of their career progression into a kind of temporal abyss where they have too much time on their hands and struggle to fill it in meaningful ways. All the strategies of timepass that Jeffrey so well describes hanging out at culturally important spots, becoming fixers in the political economy of the campuses are completely absent from the Nayabasti camp. There is no room for strategies here.2 A similar analysis could be conducted with regard to youth in Nepal as a period of waiting, as well exemplified by Mark Liechtys and Amanda Snellingers ethnographies
Jeffreys ethnography fits well with Hages idea of stuckedness as the new form of heroism. The Jat students Jeffrey worked with also developed a vocabulary of heroism such as patience, male sociability and moral superiority that deflected criticism of idleness (ibid.:98).
2

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of middle-class identities in Kathmandu (Liechty 2003; 2009; Snellinger 2009; 2010b). Yet, as middle-class youth, the waiting described in these ethnographies consumption and career politics, respectively is not available to people from the socio-economic background that YCL cadres have. Instead, young people without access to money or careers might engage in one of the more popular forms of timepass in Nepal that is called ghumnu, wandering; a lighthearted roaming around the landscape in which it is not the destination that is the goal but the very act of engaging in walking without having one. Since walking is a very profound aspect of life in the hills, where transportation almost always involves long stretches of negotiating the steep terrain on foot, walking as ghumnu turns this strategic aspect on its head. What luxury to be able to walk without having to think about where one is going.3 For cadres, however, ghumnu was connected with outside life, although it was not necessarily seen to be morally regrettable, not selfish; it was just of course too open since it was deliberately unfocused. Before I went with the cadres to their village in Dashain, this was almost all they could talk about. How much we were going to ghumnu.4 But this was not available in the camp, and neither were other types of leisure reading magazines, surfing the Internet, listening to music, chatting on the phone, eating snacks, visiting friends and family, going to movies and many other indulgences that reeked of entertainment or were simply seen as unproductive idleness.5 Cadres were restricted to waiting in the camp and, furthermore, to doing so in the rather disciplinary style that camp life required. The unavailability of popular forms of waiting for cadres and the expectancy that it should be disciplined, to be always ready, gave rise to a different set of activities that encapsulated waiting. Waiting was never simply an empty practice but part of the repertoire of camp life. I draw here on John Cashs analysis of Becketts play Waiting for Godot, which describes the nebulous waiting for a man named Godot whom the protagonists are not even sure actually exists (Cash 2009). Cash superbly links the waiting of the main characters with the unavailability not only of the object of their waiting

A typical description of where ones home village is located goes something like this: two days by bus, and then tree days on foot. 4 The other thing, of course, was food. Tara was very excited about getting to taste dhedo again a thick white paste of ground corn similar to the Italian polenta served with a hearty meat sauce - since he had not been home for seven years, and his enthusiasm caught on: Just wait and see Dan. You will love it. I did. 5 Apart from the TV which was never a whole-day indulgence anyway - I was probably the closest cadres came to leisure but the problem was, of course, that it was also strenuous to talk to me because I asked them complicated questions about their lives. So while it could be fun to be interviewed, cadres also needed to concentrate a requirement that their waiting otherwise did not include. Attentive, yes. Vigilant, maybe. Focused, no.
3

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Godot but also of the moral fundament upon which their repertoires rest. The protagonists must constantly remind themselves and each other what they are waiting for (not on) because they continuously forget and, with the simultaneous instability of the ground of their waiting, all they have left are their repertoires; empty gestures of relationality that nonetheless work because they set their bodes in motion: This is the cultural repertoire [they] have inherited, an impoverished repertoire that no longer coheres and yet is a principal resource upon which sociality must draw. Apart from this cultural resource, all they have are the rhythms and routines of their bodies in space and time and the denuded nature that confronts them (ibid.:29-30). I suggest that something similar can be said about the cadres waiting. It is defined by a cultural repertoire that sets it apart from a non-cadre waiting and is in this sense also torn from conventional modes of waiting for young people in Nepali society. But it would be mistaken to think of this repertoire as impoverished since it abides by its own logic, which is the teleology of leadership and the disciplinary requirements of cadre life. What I think Cashs formulation nicely captures is the way in which the rhythms and routines of the characters bodies in space and time are themselves expressive of a mode of waiting. Waiting here is a repertoire, a way of doing things, a cultural practice. This offers an opportunity for analyzing the routinized life in Nayabasti as an essential component of waiting, as a form that waiting takes, i.e. the social system that Hage referred to. Days in Nayabasti were divided into their own routine, from the cleaning rituals in the morning, via newspaper reading on the rooftop, to phases of work, to studying, TV watching, sleeping and so on. Day after day, this scene repeated itself, much like Godots two acts in which the only thing that has changed between the first and the second act is the apparently lifeless tree, around which the play unfolds, having sprouted a few leaves. Thus Beckett, the analysis goes, has accomplished a play in which nothing happens, twice (Mercier in Cash 2009:27). Changes in Nayabasti were similarly subtle, indicative in fact not of change but of how the routine of cadre life stayed the same despite individuals being promoted or leaving the party, despite the fact that someone was often on leave or away for work, and despite the relocation to a second camp in July. When I did not stay overnight in the camp, I would often come at some time during the day, always being met with the same sight of a few familiar faces leaning over the roof greeting me with the CPN-M red salute, Lal Salam, while the remaining cadres would linger inside occupied with their different modes of waiting: Banhi and Damini together in their rooms; Rohit with his books; Bijay leaning over the roof; Kamal and Bibek tte--tte. These small daily routines and scheduled behaviors kept being repeated and were very predictable. As in Godot's play, 'nothing' happened 175

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repeatedly with almost imperceptible changes ensuring that, despite changes in who was at home, waiting conformed to a recognizable systematicity. It was these routines and rhythms that defined the cultural repertoire of waiting in Nayabasti. Disciplined waiting, then, complements cadres attentive waiting for work and their anticipated waiting for advancement. It describes a form of waiting which is much more comprehensive than the immediate rope between cadres and leaders leads us to think. Cadres waiting for future leadership and the disciplinary requirements of attentiveness also become routinized and result in a form a cultural repertoire that is an integral aspect of waiting.

WAI TI NG AS P REP AR ATI ON


What I want to explore in the second to last section is how we can understand this systematization of waiting not merely as a passive role that cadres learn to fill but one which actively prepares them for leadership. The agency in this waiting is similar to what Dwyer explains with regard to passive and active modes of situational waiting. People who sit and wait he refers to a sculpture of women sitting comfortably waiting in downtown Mesa, Arizona may be quiescent. The contexts in which they wait, including the consequences of their waiting, Dwyer explains, may therefore differ but it is in the frame of those contexts and consequences that they have chosen to act in the ways that we observe. There is no difference in their capacity to act (Dwyer 2009:23). It is this relationship between the frame of those contexts and cadres capacity to act that I think can be analyzed by considering the question of preparation. Cadres have merely chosen 'passivity' an attentive and disciplined waiting as their mode of agency. This takes us back to the context of cadres mobilization. The relationship that potential YCL members establish with the party can be understood as a giving of their time to the party. The internal distinction between whole-timers and part-timers as indicated by the term rested on the former's ability to give themselves more fully to the party precisely because they give more time. In this membership distinction also lay a valorization; giving more time as whole-timers did was a more complete commitment to the party and its struggle. This served to turn time itself into a valuable commodity in the YCL. This became especially visible among the part-timers in the area. One of them, Keshar, was a strong and outspoken man who lived with his wife and son not far away. He and his wife worked as painters and, though Keshar had once been a whole-timers, he had shifted to part-timer status and moved in with his family several years ago. Keshar was often in the camp, sharing a meal, just hanging out or helping to 176

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prepare for a larger program. As the coordinator of all the part-timers in his area, he was busier than many others in having to juggle work, family and party activities, and it often happened that he was called upon by Pradeep or another leader in the camp. In those cases, he came immediately. He left whatever he was working on behind and then rendezvoused with his party dais. Such a swift reaction to a leaders request was a very strong value among the part-timers I spoke to, even those in higher positions. Party work always came first and some of the newer cadres who worked as laborers on the side told me they had explained to their bosses that, if the party called for them, they had to leave at once. The extraordinary willingness of part-time cadres to come running whenever they were called attests to the valorization of presence as an aspect of cadreship. There is an interesting precedent for such an institutionalization of time in the political history of Nepal through the tradition of chakari, usually translated as sycophancy. During the Rana regime, kings demanded that their subjects should show obedience by being in the presence of the rulers on a daily basis. While this has been understood as a way for the Ranas to forestall mutiny by keeping those they feared closest to the palace and hence preventing them from conspiring, the tradition of chakari has continued as an expression of patronage. The principal feature of chakari is simply paying extended visits and the longer one stays the greater ones loyalty. The institution has also been used to pass messages and to exchange favors but the principle gift in chakari is time in its pure, empty form: the time offered does not have to contain anything else but its form, and it has consequently been criticized for leading to passivity (Bista 1991). Cadres in Nayabasti expressed a similar attitude towards their commitment of time. They, of course, did not have to plead allegiance to an ethos of coming immediately when party leaders called for them, for they were simply by lingering in the camp always prepared due to the discipline of basnu. What whole-timers instead articulated was that their very futures had been laid at the feet of their commanders, allowing the latter to command the cadres to engage in any type of work that they saw fit; as Rohit expressed it in the introductory quote to Chapter 4: Whatever my party commands I will do. If tomorrow I am asked to go to Himal, of course I will go. The cadres I interviewed about their future prospects did not talk of what they wanted or wished for but only about what the party (or, in some cases, the people) needed them to do. Their own personal futures were irrelevant in relation to the wider prospects of the revolution and, because they had already pledged to give their time to this project, it was, so to speak, out of their hands. In this way, cadres endorsed the idea that their primary responsibility was to supply time; how to prioritize its use was not their concern for it had been submitted to authority, to commands.

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The idea that one can merely give presence, as an empty form of time, thus corresponds with the valorization of time among YCL cadres. It shows the general institutionalization of time as a commodity in political relations, even if the form it takes in Maoist politics differs from chakari.6 The cadres' insistence that they contributed with their time, along with the hierarchy between WTs and PTs, was based on the idea that time was the essential commodity the social capital that constituted WTs as more committed than their PT colleagues. This expresses a fundamental feature of the social contract of cadreship in the YCL and not only of the relationship between categories of members. Young laborers ability to give time was what set them apart from others who could not or did not offer this basic commodity up unconditionally. To give time in this pure and empty form without any conditions on how it was to be used, i.e. chakari, was also to transfer the responsibility of activity to someone else. Similar to what Dwyer claimed, cadres' chakari, or sacrifice of time, was established as a context for waiting that illustrated how time was no longer the cadres' to command; it was now outside of themselves as an aspect of their relationship to the party. We can therefore think of the time passed in the camp the years of training to become a commander as marked by another's ownership. It was not their time, and hence not their own waiting but rather the party's they were enacting, a waiting on behalf of the party. I think this can be addressed as a cycle of reciprocity whereby cadres first give the party their unconditional time, and the party then returns this 'gift' as an extended form of dwelling that cadres must endure before they can venture beyond the horizon of the camp. Cadres give time, and in return they get waiting. We can now return to the case of everyday waiting. Although it is tempting to read into this drowsy everyday a prolonged waiting that only grows more intense by being extended for years, I think we have to look at this the other way around. Rather than starting from the tediousness of daily life and then watching how this turns into an even longer livelihood cycle, as if the latter were an extension of the first, is it not indeed because of the longer cycle of waiting that cadres must endure an everyday that is drowsy? It is daily life that imitates the structural condition of their waiting a drawn out and seemingly endless sacrifice of labor (Chapter 4), time (Chapter 5) and self (Chapter 6) and not the other way around. What the drowsy everyday seems to perform from this perspective is merely the extension of training into a period spanning years. One can see a parallel here between the slowing down of the revolutionary struggle into a transi6

CPN-M cadres would reject the comparison of their own activism with chakari because the latter can be seen as an elitist mechanism of suppression and because it promotes resignation in place of continuous struggle and transformation. I am using it here, however, to make a point about the commodification of time in political relations and it is this feature that I think is comparable to present-day politics.

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tion and into politics and the slowing down of cadres apprenticeships into dwelling and drowsiness. The extension of work over many years shows that there is no rush to learn to become a revolutionary, leading to a protraction of revolutionary sacrifice in the present. Cadres have several years in which to practice becoming revolutionaries. Besides, patience is a virtue that cadres have to learn because the revolutionary road is crooked and complex, as cadres themselves often reminded me, and it therefore seems prudent that the camp should teach them this lesson through a penetrating drowsiness. The waiting cadres were doing can therefore not be understood as that of impatient youth anticipating a rise in status or access to material benefits such a waiting had already been parked during their first pledge of submission but as the anticipation of young revolutionaries who were to be prepared for the important responsibilities behooving well-trained revolutionaries. Waiting itself was embedded in the ethos of revolutionary subjectivity. As I have discussed in previous chapters, this entailed learning to struggle, submitting to commands, to stress on the collective in both life and work, and it also involved the repulsing of selfish behavior and acquiring a new consciousness, as I shall discuss in Chapter 6. It was therefore part of the cadres general commitment to a revolutionary life and required that they did never got lost in the crooked path of revolutionary progress; as Ashmi had said, the ability to think on the long-term. This obviously took time. How long was someone elses decision. The everyday cycle of routine, with its drowsiness, was thus part of the preparation cadres went through. While labor (Chapter 4) clearly leads to a revolutionary identity, many of the petty daily routines, I would argue, can also be seen as a preparation for the cadre life that comes after the camp. Even to sleep is consequently not simply to be idle, but a way of waiting for commands, as not all disciplined waiting takes the form of sitting and looking at the door. From the very beginning, cadres had learned that sleeping was not to be mistaken for time-off since they could be commanded out to work at any time, even during the night, and sleeping was therefore not anti-thetical to work.7 Instead, it can be seen as a routine that expresses some of the core skills that revolutionar7

It was, however, a borderline case. Not sleeping vainly was also an expression of discipline, and the routine of naps took place between the two dalbhat meals that were the most relaxed periods. It was important that cadres did not simply sleep longer in the mornings. They had to get up and show that they were ready for the day's duties. My assistant was not thought to be too vigilant in this regard, sleeping way past 7 am in the morning, even when we tried (too mildly apparently) to wake him. Although sleep seemed to encapsulate the drowsiness of camp life and was connected to cadre status, it was also thought to be somewhat embarrassing and when I showed them the pictures I had taken of them sleeping, Kamal immediately arranged for a picture of himself sitting attentively in the room studying. Sleep somehow contradicted the requirements of a disciplined life and the idea of hardship with which camp life was connected as discussed in the previous chapter. But sleep could also be seen to be making a joke of the idea of giving time to the party, if one was just wasting it sleeping.

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ies must learn, in this case, patience. Cleaning the floor was also a way to learn about struggling, about working for collectivity and possibly also a way of confirming ones faith in the revolutionary path; cooking was similarly not simply household labor: it was revolutionary training in collective labor for the benefit of a community and in equal cooperation with others. Several of these ways of sacrificing oneself inside the camp that I have described can therefore simultaneously be understood as skills training, and hence as a steady preparation of themselves for a more direct engagement with revolutionary work.
8

The everyday drowsiness, its small routines, and the chores that cadres had to perform were all part of the longer cycle of waiting through which cadres became qualified to leave the camp. It was thus ultimately because of cadres willingness to sacrifice time that this prolonged dwelling was tolerated. In addition, time spent in the camp expressed many of the values connected with revolutionary subjectivity patience, renunciation, collectivity, transformation and so on and was therefore meaningful from the cadres point of view. It was this meaningfulness that I believe cadres expressed when they referred to the necessity of understanding that life for cadres was a struggle (as Ashmi did when criticizing Banhi for leaving) or that it entailed understanding the part (as Suraj had explained as the reason for his continued patience with camp life over others who had recently left). These were ways of underlining the necessity of waiting in camp as a type of preparation. Waiting was part of what one had to stomach, an element of ones struggle and of ones sacrifice. I therefore think we would be wrong in constructing this waiting as a type of boredom. I could not identify any particular enthusiasm with engaging in household work as an escape from the drowsiness connected with waiting, meaning that it was not better to do chores than to wait. There were also a few occasions where cadres in this case Bijay and Bibek were criticized for feigning illness so that they could stay in the camp rather than participating in a parade outside, which suggests that the camp was not automatically connected with boredom. Most importantly, as I have indicated above, ca-

The situation is not so different from the famous scene in the film The Karate Kid (1984), where the impatient teenager is ordered to paint the entire fence around the house and wax the cars before he is allowed to receive training from the old master, only to discover that the days spent painting and waxing were already a significant part of his training. Cadres must also endure tedious and partly incomprehensible work in order to qualify themselves and, similar to the somewhat haughty American kid, training starts with learning to obey a command, that is, with submission. Both must accept not only the unfamiliarity of their training ground (leading to insecurity) but also the complete authority of their new masters. Waiting is part of this relationship of submission that starts from a very simple but authoritarian command: Trust us to know what is best for you.
8

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dres themselves rejected the suggestion that their time in the camp was boring (bore lagdaina). Instead, they expressed a belief that their camp life had a purpose, that it was necessary for their struggle; waiting was not idle but pointed in a direction. If we return to Hages politics of waiting, this perspective allows us to see waiting not primarily as a lack of activity but as a mapping of social distinctions onto a mode of living; some have it, some do not and those who have it are not allowed to do with it as they please. I think this insight is relevant for understanding YCL camps. Waiting clearly served to distinguish ordinary cadres from leaders and thereby confirms the principle that it was a system of differentiation. More than simply a tool of differentiation and discipline, however, waiting for the cadres implied a fundamental relationship between the identity of newbies and seniors. Section cadres were, in a sense, destined to wait because this was what their sacrifice entailed, as long as they were still under training. Inscribed into their identity as section cadres were therefore also the conditions of their transformation into active leaders; that they would one day become like Marut, Nischal and even Pradeep. In the rare cases where cadres referred to their own futures within the party, they used the other leaders in the camp as their role models: One day, I might get a position like Marut or, as Suraj had expected for his promotion, he would be getting a high position like Marut or some of the other leaders.9 Waiting was then part of the transformation cadres were going through and, because of the limitations on how it could be carried out and because it pointed to a future identity as a busy leader, it was part of ones moral personhood. Waiting in the right way and for the right reasons meant acting morally and already being linked to the promise of prestigious work a link that was only strengthened by the hierarchical division of labor by which cadres with leadership responsibilities naturally became more active. As a result, activity was connected with leadership and passivity consequently became an effect of being a cadre, which ensured that a moral teleology became inscribed into waiting; that which leads to leadership and important work. This extends the analysis above, where I described how everyday petty routines could be seen as skills training. I think it is now possible to claim that it was waiting itself that constituted a type of preparation; more than simply a period of inactivity, it was in itself an element of the training cadres were subject to. The politics of what the waiting entailed for cadres in the camp, in particular all that it could not be, underlines this point: in waiting, they were already full-blown cadres.

The other leaders in the camp Marut, Anil, Ganesh, Chandra did not have any clear role in the internal hierarchy and often ended up becoming middle-men or mirroring the roles of each other although it seems they did serve as a body of role models for what leadership in the CPNM entailed.
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WAI TI NG AS S AC RI F IC E
Waiting, as described, implied two things: waiting for advancement and waiting for work. Whereas the first required patience and diligence in ones work, the second required a type of discipline that stipulated how one was always ready to serve. It is here we can see the sacrificial component of waiting. On the one hand, it involves the unconditional surrender of time to an entity outside the self, i.e. the party, and on the other, it prescribes an extensive mode of dwelling perpetrated by drowsiness, inactivity and discipline. Waiting thereby becomes a site of struggle, something one passes through not merely by tolerating it but by complying with its disciplinary requirements. The camp itself describes a mode of sacrifice but the entire enterprise constituted a mode of waiting, a temporary phase that pointed to leadership and outside work. If, as I have argued, waiting was in itself a preparation by which one learned to act as a proper revolutionary through the requirements of discipline and labor that occupied cadres time, it suggests that waiting was part of the matrix of stillness and movement that described the development of cadres from juniors to leaders. Attentive waiting because it was situational and not merely experiential took place against a background of symbolic efficiency. I have touched upon this theme now and again. Nayabasti was a space of a certainty through is discursive homogeneity and transparent, functional organization: people knew their place in the hierarchy, days had their prescribed chores and routines, there were rules regulating interaction and, where not clearly formulated, pious desire took over as I shall describe in the next chapter; even the physical space supported this certainty and transparency of camp life what Pradeep referred to as its simplicity. There was a symbolic efficiency to this mode of living, a stable world, a background of certainty which - when one was still a rookie - took the form of obedience. What changed here was not the structures and routines of camp life but the persons inhabiting them; they were the ones who should be moving, be transforming themselves and gaining the confidence of a revolutionary, as was the case with Shristhi and Daminis relationship. Their change occurred in an environment of symbolic stability and this was the struggle on the level of the self, so that even though life appeared normal and calm watching TV, eating, sleeping cadres were seen to undergo a transformative process that moved along in this symbolically efficient environment, acting, as it were, as a guide. In contrast to Gillian Tans ethnography of Tibetan nomads, for instance (2009), waiting was therefore not the opposite of movement; it was a type of movement. Cadre life registered this movement as a preparation that started with the sacrifice of ones time, proceeded through apprenticeship, and resulted in a leadership

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position. Outside work reminded cadres of this movement that waiting implied. On a larger scale then, waiting was a potential challenge. This was not the challenge of passivity or boredom, however, but of the threat that waiting actually became what it seemed to be without perspective, meaningless and motionless. During the precariousness of the transition phase, this became a pertinent issue that concerned the entire movement, although it was particularly a problem with regard to the PLA cadres the YCLs predecessors as it were since they were engulfed in a double insecurity; in the revolutionary progression and in their own fate within the movement. The YCL had inherited the momentum of avant-garde revolutionaries from the PLA, as explained in Chapter One, and were thereby insulated against such an unhealthy relationship between time and being i.e. motionlessness but the steady decline of its cadre-base even during my time in the field indicated that this might not always be so; in fact, the very transfer of the avant-garde banner from one suborganization in the CPN-M to another (from PLA to the YCL) highlighted the fragility of any one limb of the movement it could be left to wither and die so easily. The very possibility of such a flip, by which struggle turns into motionlessness, describes an instability in the sacrifice of waiting that was present in my field. A short example can be given of such revolutionary frustration from one of the PLA cadres who waited for a long time in the UN-monitored cantonments for a political solution to their demobilization. Throughout the transition period, news stories would depict the ruthless behavior of some PLA soldiers, who had threatened locals with illegally procured weapons, and there had been a nation-wide consensus that the reintegration of the Maoist combatants into society was a top priority without which the entire peace process would be endangered. Yet, according to the PLA soldier I interviewed in his village during Dashain, this was not the real problem for him. Rather, he was worried that the partys engagement in parliamentary politics was threatening the fruits of the Peoples War. When a ban on displaying party flags and pictures of Chairman Prachanda in the PLA cantonments was passed in August 2009 (since the PLA was not officially under the CPN-Ms authority but that of a specially established commission), he was actually relieved. He felt it would now be easier for the PLA soldiers to dissuade themselves from the compromises of big-city politics and continue the revolution that he had signed up for: If we are not allowed to continue our struggle, then I will have wasted all the years I have given to the movement, he explained. The fear of motionlessness, for him, came with the diminishing relevance of his struggle, which would render his entire struggle, including his current waiting in the PLA cantonment, futile. Waiting was, then, potentially problematic, and it needed to be held in check by its continued relevance, not just for oneself but for the revolutionary struggle as a whole.

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Although the YCL had thus far been spared such a waiting scenario which the PLA cadres had experienced, the continuous waning of relevant work activities outside the camp for the large number of whole-timers posed a concrete challenge to the significance of cadres waiting as a sacrifice. This suggests that while waiting could be constructed as meaningful on one level as something which acted as a preparation for upcoming work, for ones own maturity as a cadre, and for ones advancement to leadership positions with more activity it was, like the camp itself, a type of mirage: only insofar as it reflected off the surface of general revolutionary relevance could it sustain its energy as productive. It thus depended, like the moons ability to reflect, on an external source of energy, and this source was party work the stuff leaders did daily and which the cadres got increasing access to as they matured. When party work faded so did the meaningfulness of waiting. Herein lies one of the dynamics of cadreship in the present: that whereas it is configured as a space of waiting in which loyal party cadres are produced, from the cadres perspective the camp is only a context for real revolutionary work. When there was little of this external work, cadres either left or they had to give themselves up completely to the logic of the camp as an isolated institution, which seemed to be the case with two of the senior section cadres, Rohit and Ashmi, who put more energy than others into the community chores and were the only two cadres remaining by December 2010. This suggests that cadres themselves also have to fight meaninglessness in the struggle of the revolutionary. Proper waiting is therefore, in itself, a struggle and the moment it loses its relevance a threat that is always imminent one has lost.

C ONC LUS I ON
Due to the decline of the YCL, none of the post-war cadres in Nayabasti had actually managed to escape the sectional structure as of late 2009, and the rapid dwindling of the office, which left only two cadres behind one year later, suggested that this situation was not going to change. The camp became the cadres birth and death, the site of their inauguration into the party community but also the institution that they were unable to liberate themselves from, thus rendering their progression as cadres one long period of waiting interspersed by occasional party activities in public. Cadres waiting for work and for leadership was therefore ultimately about the role of the camp as an institution for parking or withholding cadres active contribution to the continued revolution and to bringing about the promised New Nepal. It was about protracting their sacrifice. What was at stake in the drowsy everyday of the camp was not the threat of meaninglessness in relation to the activities themselves (boredom), 184

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but the necessity of renewing the link between outside work and inside life (relevance). While camp life was modeled to express the sacrificial relation between cadres and janata, and thus to make ones camp sacrifice relevant as a preparation, a crucial source of its energy was outside both the camp and outside the self. Yet cadres access to this outside was limited and the challenge for the YCL cadres was to render their routine sacrifices politically meaningful. We can begin to see in the triadic relationship between cadres, sacrifice and camp life, then, a process of inversion by which the Maoist cadreship has been turned inwards in the transition phase, onto the camp and onto the newcomer cadres, whose struggle comes to revolve around making camp life work and imbuing it with a significance that registers as political activism. Chores, as I have shown, indexed a reproductive labor of the household and yet attained a quality of the revolutionary spirit through notions of collectivity and the symbolism of the floor; waiting, in turn, while describing stillness, inactivity, low-intensity discipline and an impressively long period of apprenticeship, was cast as situational since it was a process that gradually elevated cadres, guiding them into a position of leader and the promise of action in the Arendtian sense the political and public manifestation of being through word and deed. The camp was the cadres road to political activism but it proceeded via a development of their revolutionary subjectivities, and this took the form of odd camp sacrifices that had to be passed prior to their full participation in the CPN-Ms party activities. Not public but enclosed and largely invisible sacrifices that testified to the paradoxes of revolutionary progression during a political stalemate, and which ended up being turned in on camp life and indeed on cadres subjectivities to become a struggling self. The aspects of revolutionary sacrifice discussed so far contain elements of this most introverted battle of a cadre subjectivity the move from selfishness to collectivity as well as the ability to turn waiting into a productive experience but the next chapter will deal directly with how cadres were mobilized to reform themselves through pious behavior and to morally combat, or sacrifice, the non-revolutionary comportments of their being.

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Cadres shift from civilian life to becoming full-time Maoist activists and their movement into a secluded realm that kept itself apart from outside society performed a ritualized separation between two incompatible worlds. Not merely an army barracks or a training facility, the camp became an alternative space of sociality with the goal of preparing members for the party world, allowing them to re-enter the society they had left behind after successful service, after an extended waiting and extensive laboring with chores. When they had learned to obey their commanders, to internalize an alwaysready discipline, to master values of collectivity, to labor for the community, to address each other respectfully, and to wait, then they were ready to be let out of the camp. Almost. This chapter investigates one final, and the most fundamental, aspect of cadres camp sacrifices, namely the requirement of correct behavior and the ability to renounce the unwanted qualities of their previous lives. It testifies to how central personal and moral reform became in the process of creating cadre subjectivities and thus to the importance of post-war cadreship as a method of initiation; in order to be successful and become integrated into the party through access to leadership and meaningful work, cadres were required to change into revolutionaries and this meant learning to become better persons. Departing from an understanding of the camp as a liminal space (van Gennep 1960; Turner 1969) that actively sought to break away from outside social life, I explore how new ideas of conduct and an emphasis on moral qualities were expressed and practiced among the cadres, reflecting the fact that the camp was not merely seen to be qualitatively different from dominant society; it was envisioned as better. Not infested with swartha (selfishness), capitalist labor relations or hierarchies of worth, and free from the intrusion of family obligations, it could set itself apart as a protected place in which processes of personal reform became possible. As such, it was reminiscent of places of worship and I shall pursue this link with religion along two tracks: first through the no-

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tion of pietism which I mobilize to describe the recruitment of persons to change through an elaboration of desirable behavior; and second by invoking the Durkheimian idea of the sacred (Durkheim 1995) to describe the qualitative difference that cadres pietism resulted in when compared to religious pietism. Accordingly, the camp as I approach it here, by way of its liminal separation from society, was the site of the sacred as distinct from the profanity associated with the outside. Recalling Hubert & Mausss theory of sacrifice as a process of sacralization (1964), this gives us a tool to understand how cadres pietism accomplished a sacralization such that their progression as revolutionaries simultaneously described their movement from a profane being associated with outside life to the sacredness necessary for participation in the sacrificial rite (Hubert & Mauss hypothesis). Considering the fluidity of private and public spaces in Kathmandus social and religious life (see Gray 1994; 1995), cadres separation was indeed astonishing and possibly one of the most startling features of whole-timer activism. What for everyone else was a reasonably open party space guests, other cadres, neighbors, leaders was for the section cadres, particularly the junior members, a bordered camp, separated not by a physical boundary but by a symbolic one. And it was the efficiency of this boundary that turned Nayabasti into a liminal space for post-conflict cadres, and facilitated their development their transformation into revolutionaries via a process of sacralization. To establish this, I focus on everyday pietism through two central processes: rules regulating unsolicited behavior, and renunciations of pleasures, which I shall treat under the heading of communist pietism to distinguish them from religious comportments of the self that have been richly analyzed in the context of Nepal (Hausner 2007; Gray 1995; Ortner 1978). What I explore here is how renunciation and pious behavior had as its goal to establish the cadre as a revolutionary heroes, as a new man by overcoming his or her selfish desires. I start by discussing the problematic of enjoying food among cadres as an example of how renunciation is expressed in Nayabasti. I then proceed to an analysis of the CPN-Ms efforts to promote YCL cadres as the partys new man through a focus on cetana, consciousness, and show how the paradoxical requirement for cadres to be the revolutionary avant-garde when they were simply novices receiving training led to a focus on personal morality as the site of their avant-gardism. The last section explores the chief practices of this morality, i.e. cadres communist pietism, through three different expressions: renunciations of desires and entertainment; regulations governing conduct; and lastly by invoking studies of monasticism and pietism. In the conclusion, I reflect upon the processes leading from camp to public sacrifices and the importance of cadres sacralization through communist piety. But first to an everyday case of pietism that occurs around meal times.

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WE DI D NOT COM E HER E TO EAT TAS TY F OOD


On most days in the camp, the evening dalbhat meal was preceded by a period of rest. Time would often be spent sitting in the TV room half-heartedly watching the screen while making small-talk and peeping out at the balcony to try and read the behavior of the cadres overlooking the street to see if something interesting was happening. But we were actually more interested in watching the door. Whenever someone entered in these early evening hours, we turned our heads in anticipation that it was one of the cooking section cadres announcing that the meal was ready. With only two meals a day and no snacks in between, everyone was very hungry by the time the late round of dalbhat was served. Tara had lately complained that he was getting fat but when I suggested he eat less rice, he was shocked: how could he last the whole day if he did not fill himself up with a full second portion in the morning? He was afraid of going hungry, and with good reason. It was easily eight, sometimes up to ten or eleven hours between the two daily meals. When I stayed several days in a row, I often tried to invite some of the cadres out for tea during the day to cover up my own rumbling stomach and legitimize a little mid-day snack. When the call for dinner finally arrived, everyone would rush down to the mess the appropriate military term for a kitchen and prepare the mats for seating but would wait for everyone to arrive before lining up and receiving their portion. During meals, the general silence of camp life disappeared, and people talked in small groups or passed comments around for everyone to hear. If Pradeep was present, he would dominate the interaction by telling funny stories from his time in the war or engage me in a more serious debate about the phase of the current struggle. But when that was not the case, there was a loosening of social roles and hierarchies, and all cadres could participate in the communal sharing of food and talk. And then an interesting thing would happen: at some point during the meal, one of the cadres would look disapprovingly at his bowl and criticize the food by exclaiming that this is not tasty food, or there are stones in the rice, or this vegetable is truly untasty.1 This statement would lead others to agree, and often when we had just sat down and hardly had a chance to taste the food, someone would enthusiastically ask me whether this was not really un-tasty, and my denials would only meet with renewed efforts to criticize the food. Food was not supposed to be tasty, and when it was not the quality of the food that was being commented on, it was instead the poor quality of the cooks that was mentioned that he or she cooked a poor dalbhat and rather than a criticism, the joke was
The Nepali expressions used were mitho chaina (it is not tasty) or ramro chaina (it is not good), the latter referring both to taste and quality.
1

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actually on those who cooked tasty meals, such as Banhi. Comments such as these were always made in jest, and in fact Banhi was the first to laugh at the joke. Sometimes, the merry joking about poor food turned into its opposite when someone solemnly declared that in fact this was very good food and so-and-so did indeed cook a really tasty dalbhat. Immediately everyone else would follow suit and heap praise on the cooking team, recalling that they were expected to speak respectfully to each other and not engage in spontaneous criticism. Eating was, in fundamental ways, at odds with the idea that cadres had donated themselves to an important social project; it resembled moments of leisure and a loosened sociality that went against the disciplinary requirements of a militarized institution. While it necessarily stole time away from potential work, it was thus rendered problematic because of what it signaled: a relaxation of alertness and a resumption of ordinary divisions between labor and leisure as found in civilian life outside the camp. When I talked about this with Ashmi, she explained: People think we are just eating and sleeping, but we are also engaged in our own struggle [] we did not come here to earn money or to flash nice dresses or eat tasty food. Revolution is really difficult [and] we came here for the class emancipation of the people. The bracketing of eating thus formed part of a general perception of what it meant to be conducting a revolution. There is a contrast between eating and struggling here which suggests that they were mutually exclusive and, to underline that the problem here was not food per se, Ashmi repeated the opposition by referring to tasty food (mitho khana). Others I spoke to also stressed this inherent danger in eating because it potentially negated the simplicity of cadre life which allowed cadres to concentrate on being revolutionaries. Pradeep often spoke of this seeming simplicity of cadre life as a necessity for revolutionaries using the motto high thinking, simple living, thereby linking extravagance with counter-revolutionary behavior. Tasty food simply negated the role of the revolutionary in a way similar to the symbolic link between life on the floor and the proletariat, examined in Chapter 4. A local YCL leader, Ravi, who had been relocated to another area prior to 2009 but used to live in Nayabasti drew these discussions out when comparing his own shift to becoming a cadre and the distinction he saw with other political parties whose activists did not understand the priorities of a revolutionary party. When he was young, he explained, he was 'just like any other youth eating, drinking and wandering about (ghumnu). He had learned to temper this and change his mindset so that he could now focus on social work and helping society. This was very different in the other parties where he also had friends. It was not that he did not believe their sincerity but their in-

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terests were just not the same. Their activism was different simply because their outlook on life was of another nature. He explained: There are different involvements based on how one thinks. My other friends joined [the other parties] because they had such an ideology (bicar), where they first concentrate on their own families and only then do they think about others. It is different with us and it is the same in the camp. We all share though we have limited food. These other friends, they are going to restaurants where they also focus on eating first and so on. For Maoist cadres, sharing limited food thus came to stand for the opposite of eating first and going to restaurants because it indicated a type of behavior that put the individual before the community or, as I discussed in Chapter 4, before the collectivity, which encompasses both the entire body of party members and the direct link to janata. Food, particularly when it was limited and shared, could be thought of as a necessity of life and was one of the principles the party was fighting for that poor people were provided with food. This kind of food was subsistence; it should be simple and enough, nothing more. Food in Nayabasti was similarly spoken of in terms of a subsistence economy; as as an aspect of the economy of life it was a necessity and leaders were tasked with bringing in supplies and cadres with turning it into a collective chore that benefitted everybody. But, if too much food had been bought, the leaders responsible could be criticized for wasting resources. The problem of food, khana, was provision making sure it was available. Suraj told me once how he had responded to complaints from his section that new shoes were needed. He had been, as he said, a moderator during a section meeting, in his capacity as a Vice-Commander. He had immediately improvised an answer although he had not needed to: The party has limited funds, and first we must provide food, therefore it is impossible to buy new clothing right now. It was clearly an ideological answer for he had no idea of the economy of the camp; this was Pradeep and Nischals department. But the framing of food before shoes reminded cadres of the simplicity of their lives here such that food assumed the role of the simple and necessary the ground of cadre life, so to speak. It was eating (khane) and not food (khana) which was shot through with ambivalence. Engaging in eating the consumption part of the meal was what was rendered problematic about camp life. While on the one hand a kind of gift from the party, particularly on Saturdays, and an occasion when cadres came together as a community and meat would be served, it had to be differentiated from going to restaurants and putting oneself before others, which characterized rival party cadres. The joking interaction during meal times pointed to this paradox about food. If food was available, at least it should not be abundant or tasty. What does this tell us about the pietism of cadre life? 190

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Why could food not be tasty? To understand this, we need to investigate the notion of YCLs new man and how cadres were expected to transform themselves.

B EC OM I NG A NEW M AN
Communist movements worldwide have historically been preoccupied with the creation of a new man as part of a general modernist utopia wherein the birth of a new society goes hand in hand with the makeover of the human subject (Cheng 2009). From the Soviet new man through Maos good soldiers to Cubas let them all become Che, a wide range of programs and ideas for reshaping subjectivity have taken place that have become precursors for later experiments in instigating societal reform by paying attention to individual character. The Nepali Maoist movement is no exception, although only scant attention has been paid to this aspect of the maobadi revolution (for an exception, see Zharkevich 2009a & 2009b; Lecomte-Tilouine 2010b). To truly revolutionize society a concern that the CPN-M shares another type of human is needed who is more in sync with the ideals of the new society, such as a willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of the greater good and the ability to renounce greed (Prachanda 2012:5). More than just the CPN-Ms new man, however, the YCL was constituted in the spirit of an avant-garde following Lenins theory of a professional corps that should direct the revolution by guiding and educating the masses (1973), and cadres were therefore subjected to a strict regime of personal excellence since, as professional revolutionaries, they had to be, or become, better than the general population, for how else could they act as guides? Unlike many other revolutionary movements, the CPN-M has not developed a distinct vocabulary of a Maoist new man but has expressed its sensitivity towards the desirous qualities of its members through revolutionary poetry and similar cultural genres (theater, songs etc., see De Sales 2003; Mottin 2010; Lecomte-Tilouine 2010a) or in specific policies addressing illegitimate or disagreeable behavior as evidenced by the few studies available on the cultural logic of the partys practices during the Peoples War (Zharkevich 2009a; Lecomte-Tilouine 2010b; Shneiderman & Turin 2004). What can be gleaned from consulting these readings, and which also resonates with my own observations both from the field and in studying party leaders speeches and publications is the CPN-Ms steady concern with selflessness and sacrifice in direct opposition to what is usually denoted as anti-social behavior. This should come as no surprise; these are historically recognizable tropes of communist politics, amongst others, and constitute some of the most basic, if not essential revolutionary virtues as analyzed by Hannah Arendt in her reading of Robespierre (2006:69): 191

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One has often been struck by the peculiar selflessness of the revolutionists []. Virtue has indeed been equated with selflessness ever since Robespierre preached the virtue that was borrowed from Rousseau, and it is the equation which has put, as it were, its indelible stamp upon the revolutionary man and his innermost conviction that the []value of man be judged by the extent to which he acts against his own interest and against his own will. Looking specifically at the YCLs internal publications and programs, it is possible to tease out some of the core components of this vision of cadre subjectivity. In its programs and speeches, the YCL leadership underscored the organizations role in bringing about change by fostering a new generation of conscious youth. It combined two important ideas: one that youth stood at the forefront of the current national struggle for change since they had been disproportionately affected by the vulgarity and exploitation of imperialist forces, while also being the privileged agent for change since they were more easily persuaded to new thinking (Bhujel 2008); and, two, that the primary tool for turning youth into a revolutionary force was to educate them and provide them with a new consciousness (see Lohani 2008). These ideas were shared by leaders in the camp. On my very first meeting with Pradeep, I had sat with him on the roof of Nayabasti, with all the cadres that I was yet to get to know sitting patiently and attentively around us. I had told him about my interest in working with the young cadres directly, and he had explained why he thought that was actually a good idea. A new age has begun in Nepali politics and the youth are given consciousness. Not only in Nepal, but throughout the world, youth will learn that they do not have to bear injustices and suppression [...] The political consciousness comes from poor people and the oppressed. Youth who don't like semiimperialism want redemption and youth who don't like injustice and oppression feel that this party can give them a better future. Youth are ready to contribute time to the party. If they work 5 hours for themselves, they still give 3 hours to the party, and they listen to us and plan and read the news, and they gain consciousness and end up under our flag. The stress on consciousness, cetana, has in fact been central to CPN-Ms vision of change. Cetana is the outcome of class struggle and describes a maturation, a quality one can attain. The consciousness in question was thus not merely social but distinctly political; when oppressed youth started fighting against their subordinate class position, and this process led to consciousness. Class struggle was seen by YCL leaders as an 'automatic' dynamic because the mere fact of being oppressed would lead to a reaction against it and such an experience would in turn lead to cetana. Oppression would automatically result in 'counteraction', and political consciousness, rajnaitik cetana, would

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then come 'automatically', as I was alerted to by Pradeep's district leader, 'simply by participating in class conflict'. Here, the ideological path Prachanda Path of the CPN-M Chairman was seen to play a determining role. It was Prachanda Path that produced political consciousness in youth, I was told, and thereby prepared them to become leaders of the global revolution. Consciousness was not merely a particularly Nepali expression of the new man but, through the guidance of Prachanda Path, it could become a model for youth throughout the world. But such a youth consciousness also relied, in turn, on becoming modernized so that it gained its force by linking up with technological advancement. The YCL Chairman Ganeshman Pun explained it in these terms: Developed countries have technology but lack ideology. We want a fusion of political ideology and technology. Hollow slogans are of no use, but technology and expertise are also of no use by themselves. It needs to be combined, there should be a fusion of the two. [In fusing these two, we get] a modern man with a high level of consciousness and energy. [...] Human beings cannot be happy just by buying things. By nature, man wants to change his surroundings. There is a drive towards consciousness. Our chairman [Prachanda] has said that even in developed countries, there should be campaigns for consciousness. In our context, there is a lot of discrimination, and the youth are getting ready to redeem themselves from these conditions. It was in the fusion of modernity with political consciousness that the road to the YCLs new man was found, reflecting not only the modernist belief, deeply engraved in Marxs writing, that human nature was malleable All history is nothing but a continuous transformation of human nature (Marx 1955:190) but the more specific Marxist understanding of creative labor (see Chapter Four), whereby human beings were seen by nature to want to change their surroundings. Creative labor was the tool to set humans free but it was so by being transformative of the self through a development that led to consciousness. Political consciousness, in particular, was understood by Maoist leaders such as Ganeshman Pun as the frame for all other types of consciousness - 'individual' and 'social' for instance. The CPN-Ms concern for collectivity and loyalty to the greater good was thereby given ideological expression as a 'higher' stage of consciousness that encompassed inferior ones. Rajnaitik cetana, political consciousness, presided over other expressions of human development and, therefore, the quality that YCL youth should learn to harbor. How were YCL cadres, the youth at the pedestal of this societal transformation, expected to acquire political consciousness? While consciousness emerged automatically when participating in class struggle, it could be helped along and sharpened through

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mental labor. This was particularly indispensable for post-revolutionary cadres where struggle had changed character, as explained to me by one of the leaders in Nayabasti. Whereas the People's War had been full of physical 'struggling', such as carrying supplies past police posts and through the jungle, or learning to control one's fear of being captured by the armed forces, struggles today, Marut explained, were more 'mental'. If anything, consciousness had therefore become more prominent as the struggle changed character. One of the distinctive features of post-conflict cadreship was therefore this extension of struggle onto the domain of cetana and we can see how the camp became the primary site of struggle for this new generation of activists. Rather than secretly smuggling weapons past police-posts, or traveling under the cover of night to avoid detection that were also, in a sense, support functions for the actual revolutionary battles against their class enemies, YCL cadres performed this support work within the perimeters of the camp through a training of their consciousness, through an internal battle, as it were.

I NNER S TR UGGLE
To attain a proper political consciousness, it was necessary to become acquainted with Marxist theories about society and the nature of its conflicts. Thus, studying was seen as an integral aspect of camp life, an ideal both leaders and ordinary members regularly invoked, often literally comparing the camp with a school because it involved learning new things and debating political issues with each other. Studying, listening and reading were natural components of this development, and it was understood by cadres as a political education whereby they could build up their own vocabulary, allowing them to understand the unfolding of events around them and design appropriate responses. The daily morning routine of reading the newspaper was an element of this education but even more so was the party literature circulated within sections and provided by leaders such as Marut, Pradeep or others above section structure, and which cadres were expected to study. The problem was that, despite their good intentions and the section leaders responsibility to form study groups and help cadres understand the material, very little time was in fact spent reading, no doubt in part due to the fact that, with little or only a few years of schooling, most of the cadres were barely literate. Some of those who were in fact strong readers, like Suraj and a cadre named Rajan, however, were not particularly interested in the Maoist literature available in the camp, and tried to get me to buy them general science magazines which they could not themselves afford. And camp leaders 194

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themselves, Marut being a good example, highlighted the futility of purely theoretical knowledge; he was therefore less concerned with what cadres read, as long as it was not incompatible with cadre piety, explaining that pornographic material was definitely not allowed. Despite the strong discursive stress on cetana, consciousness, studying theoretical Marxism and reading about party policies and the leaders political analyses that filled the books and CPN-M magazines available in Nayabasti was not a high priority for either the cadres or their seniors. While cadres were not particularly diligent in training their political understanding and had glaring holes in their knowledge about contemporary political events, the question of cetana remained crucial as a lever for action. Cadres routinely criticized each other, though rarely directly, when there was a 'lack of understanding' because, in line with the Maoist notion of praxis, if interpretations, or thinking (bicar), was faulty, then actions would also be misguided. A cadres correct behavior therefore started with the idea of proper understanding even if this was in practice rather limited. Consciousness, and political consciousness in particular, was seen as such a central quality of revolutionary character because it served as a guide. It was a kind of perpetual ideological compass and if one lost one's bearings it would be like navigating in the dark. Revolutionary action needed to be insulated from such unguided behavior. This replays Lenin's famous distinction between the 'spontaneity' of the masses and the 'vanguard' of professional revolutionaries that provides ideological guidance (Lenin 1973) and the YCL saw itself in a similar role, combining the Maoist vision of a continuous revolution with the Leninist model of guidance by an avant-garde force of conscious youth. This process started with building the character of individual cadres, ascertaining that they were in fact capable of spearheading the revolutionary momentum. In this way, the question of youth consciousness led directly to the figure of the vanguard and, at least for YCL whole-timers, this was where the question of the new man was located. A significant shift was thereby introduced that led to an emphasis not on how well cadres were educated in revolutionary theory but on how convincingly they could act as guides for the masses. But what did this mean for a youth force which was largely illiterate and for whom consciousness training was an insurmountable task? How could one be avant-garde when one could hardly read? That cadres were expected not merely to be educated in revolutionary theory but to go through a process of personal transformation was evident through the way they spoke about their activist histories. After recounting his own story of entering the party, Ravi had told me that 'we are like children and the party like our parents' and that cadres should therefore allow themselves to be transformed as a child would. He had himself been transformed, he explained, from an irresponsible youth into a person who did not

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think about himself. The leader Marut who had been listening to our conversation had commented: 'It is akin to a revolution happening within him'. Cadres were novices, inexperienced personnel in need of training, but the process of their maturation was more fundamental than simply receiving the expertise of senior members. All Maoist cadres should be willing to change and it was spoken about as a phase one went through. In the beginning, cadres' characters were full of scratches and dents as a manifestation of their previous lives some even expressed having quite corrupt moralities, as we saw in the example of Hari in Chapter 2.2 But, little by little, they would change both their behavior and attitudes. If they did not, as Suraj once explained to me, then they would leave the party. It would mean that they were neither serious about changing society nor about transforming themselves. Social change (parivartan) and personal transformation (rupantaran) therefore went hand in hand. Surajs own struggle with this process provides a good example. Over the course of a couple of months, Suraj went from being very serious about his change into a Maoist revolutionary to literally losing his heart to another project when he fell in love with a girl. Prior to that happening, he was quite dedicated, well beyond what was formally required of cadres in submitting to the party hierarchy. He liked to read the party literature available in the camp and took notes of interesting facts, quoting whole passages verbatim into his personal notebook; he even wrote his own poems and had a page he dedicated to new and difficult political words that he needed help to translate. And, among the cadres, he was more correct than jovial, taking pride in his new role as Vice-Commander, which allowed him to chair meetings and reprimand his comrades for failing to respect the section hierarchies or instruct them in the ethics of camp life: emphasis on the collective, speaking to each other in a respectful way and so on. But, from around mid-August, he started meeting up with a girl he had known from school after accidentally bumping into her brother. From that moment, he became restless, unfocused and energetic and was more interested in discussing his new feelings with me than talking about the party and its ideology. Once, during a program in which we spent the time waiting with another round of talks on the qualities of love. While this had already led Rohit to disapprovingly leave our company, Suraj suddenly laughed and mused: Here we are talking about love when we should be talking about politics. Only a few weeks earlier, he had insisted that what distinguished him from a number of other members who had recently left the camp was that they did not understand what it meant to struggle and could therefore not invest themselves in the arduous process of becoming revolutionaries. Now, it was Surajs turn to hesitate. Initially, he tried
As a drug addict with a middle-class background, he had to learn what it meant to struggle before being fit to enter the CPN-Ms program of reform.
2

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to fend off his new feelings by saying that love and intimacy were only part of the heart and that the heart should not be focused on love all the time. He tried to quantify this: Only two hours a day, it is ok to think about her, but this number gradually grew and when the balance had reversed so that it was now ok to think about his love 22 hours out of 24, Suraj knew that he, like others before him, had lost the dedication required to continue living in the camp with its shared spaces, mode of participation, extensive waiting and, above all, commitment to personal change. Suraj never said directly that his love and the revolution were incompatible but he did not have to, for his dwindling interest in his cadre life spoke for itself. Keeping his feelings to himself, his notebook now became the center of this new struggle, and he shifted from revolutionary prose to his search for romantic love, filling the last five pages with one long praise of his loves beauty and the sincerity and mutuality of their feelings. He ended: Now I think I have achieved my work. I am happy. A week later, he was gone. Surajs love changed him. It had grown in his mind, and he was no longer able to keep up the commitment that his cadre life required. He was very well aware of this: just one or two weeks before, he had received help from a dai [elder brother or relative] outside the party to procure his citizenship card, which was required to travel abroad to work, and before I left with some of the other cadres to go to their village for the Dashain holidays, he had asked me for my email address. We both knew why but I did not ask so he did not have to lie, since leaving the party was always done in a hush. When we returned from the holiday, Himal, who had been serving right under Suraj, was quite shocked that the latter had not returned to the camp: He was a senior compared to me. He was quite experienced, he has been involved for two or three years but I wish him well and maybe when he returns he will be affiliated to the party again. That would be good, if he did. What can I say? He was a VC and used to give me commands and who knows many things and is more experienced than me, and when a guy like him suddenly leaves (tyagyo) then it really shocks me. Then tomorrow I might also leave. That kind of thinking came to my mind. It was particularly difficult for Himal to understand because he was in the middle of a completely different process. My involvement in the party has just started, he explained, although he had now been a member for a year. There are a hundred procedures to learn and I have just learned a few. There is much more struggle that I have to do. Unlike Suraj, Himal was still on the path of transforming himself into a revolutionary and this required a commitment that Suraj was unable to regenerate. The process of this transformation was sometimes spoken of by cadres as an internal struggle, taking its cue from the partys discourse of a two-line struggle meaning both one conducted

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against ones class enemies through politics and one conducted within the party through debate to rid it of its internal contradictions, its inherent class character. The shortcomings of an internal struggle within the cadre community were usually described by leaders in organizational terms as weaknesses, as a lack of communication between base and the leadership for instance, but cadres also used this vocabulary to refer to their own personal contradictions, the way they had to fight a part of their self in the struggle for avant-gardism. Discussing the notion of anta sangarsha, intra-struggle, Bibek explained: Revolution is a kind of a struggle. What we are doing inside the party is also a struggle. The debate that occurs between each other is also revolution, but there is another revolution as well; that is internal struggle, class struggle. Intra-struggle occurs inside the party, class struggle occurs outside the party. This stress on internal or intra-struggle as also concerning individuals personal struggles for change was not wholly unwarranted since the Maoist theory of dialectics that the CPN-M was inspired by postulated that anti-revolutionary tendencies were to be found on all levels, including within the individual itself, and consequently efforts at overcoming these negative traits required a focus on self-reform through a perpetual cycle of criticism and self-criticism. One of the virtues of revolutionaries was therefore to develop a dialectical perspective of ones self, as being the site of an eternal struggle between good and evil. The notion of evil for cadres, as we have seen most clearly in the philosophical underpinnings of the chore system, was selfishness, and cadres commitment to the party in the practices of submission, waiting and laboring attested to their ability of putting the needs of the collective before their personal interests. What resulted from this was the requirement, forcefully described by Hannah Arendt in her analysis of revolutionary avant-gardism, that each particular man rises against himself [so as to be] able to arouse in himself his own antagonist [since] the interest of the whole must automatically, and indeed permanently, be hostile to the particular interest of the citizen (2006:69). To fight oneself, to engage in an inner struggle, was therefore an inevitable appendage of cadre subjectivity among YCL whole-timers, and one which gave the idea of commitment a much more serious edge than the word immediately suggests. It was a commitment that could never remain only political but became a personal struggle and this was why, eventually, it was impossible for Suraj to combine it with being in love. Suraj had used the metaphor of the heart to refer to this conflict that his heart could only be either filled up with revolution or love but not both and it was an apt term for expressing how both involved his entire being, his self, by being located at its center.

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Interestingly, Himal used a similar vocabulary of feelings to refer to his own personal transformation. Reflecting that his process was for the moment the exact opposite of Surajs being actively engaged in changing himself he explained that he felt exceedingly happy; happy to be a cadre, happy for the revolution, and happy for janata, since when they were happy, he was happy.

R ENOUNCI NG ENTER TAI NM ENT


Cadres inner struggle was expressed through pious behavior. Lacking the analytical skills of youth in the student wing and without the ability to draw on the physical struggles that their leaders had participated in during the Peoples War, peacetime cadres political commitment became expressed through camp life and the moral separation between youthhood outside and inside the party. The problem Maoist whole-timers faced was thus how to inject a form of heroism (Guevara & Castro 1989) into everyday life, to make the domestic a sacred place where revolutionaries-qua-sacrificers were formed and post-conflict heroism thereby became inextricably bound up with a mode of living. The heroic deeds that defined this revolutionary character became expressed through the daily interaction of its members and not in high-flying or spectacular activities; heroism in this context was conspicuously 'low-fi'. In thinking cadre behavior through pietism, I have been inspired by the important parallels between revolutionary and religious doctrines in linking the rebirth of personality in the new world with a stern commitment to bodily reform in the present. 3 Saba Mahmood's work from Egypt pioneers the interesting dynamic inherent in pietism from which I take my cue (2001, 2005). She describes how Islamic women in Egypt submit to a regime of self-discipline as part of an effort to attain ethical personhood. For Mahmood, the problem we have in appreciating how submission can lead to freedom is that we are stuck in a logic of norms as repressive and hence as something that has to be endured or resisted. It is Mahmood's analytical strength that she has been able to link the difficulty in grasping the complex nature of pietism with this categorical blind spot. I want to build on these crucial insights while transferring them to the radically different context that Nepali Maoism is, that is, back out of the religious context that allowed

While there is also a distinct relationship between Christianity and Communism because they share many ideas about the nature of society and humanity - see for instance Cort 1998 for an exploration of the phenomenon of Christian Socialism, in which he particularly highlights the emphasis on equality and the skepticism of capitalism as two central ideas that Christianity shares with Communism it is not the content of this overlap but the similarity in processes that interests me.

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Mahmood to grasp the unresolved tension in feminist attitudes to pietism. In many ways, the communist ideals that inform revolutionary cadreship and which I have traced here provoke the same ambiguous response from a Western ideology of freedom what Mahmood, following Asad, 'loosely' refers to as a 'modernist secular-liberal ethos' (2005:24). Communist pietism stands in the same strained relationship to Western notions of liberal democratic subjects that religious pietism does: how can it be 'liberating' and transformative of subjectivities in any positively meaningful way? Yet this is exactly the contention of Mahmood's study of pietism and also what I want to draw attention to with regard to Maoist cadreship. It is a subject-position, to be sure, but one which may be experienced as empowering. Camp life, we should recall, symbolized a break with society outside, allowing cadres to use it as a platform for personal change in a protected environment separated from friends, family and forces of selfishness and anti-social behavior. What was at stake in Nayabastis cultural codes was not merely a question of proper behavior but of proper desires and cadres renunciations were particularly focused on enjoyment as that part of the self which needed to be eradicated. The ambiguity surrounding eating illustrates this well. Although cadres joked about the quality of the food and cooks who cooked tasty meals, it was far worse to be attached to good food. This was the case with Keshav, whom I only managed to meet a few times before he moved back to his village. Keshav was 23 years old, and a roundish guy, befitting the Nepali term moto.4 Except for Nischal who was by all accounts bulky, everyone else in the camp was slim. In the new camp, the next-door shop where cadres often hung out was run by a stout Limbu, and he was laughingly referred to as a moto guy (moto manche). Not only did this describe his stature well, it also referred to his humor good-natured and talkative. Keshav shared the same dual quality of being good humored and rounded. When he left the camp to return to his village in order to help his wife give birth to their second child, the explanation offered by the other cadres as to why he left rested with Keshavs love of food: He liked to eat very much and maybe he was dissatisfied with the quality of the food; or He used to each so much, and would always take seconds; He couldnt wait for Saturdays when we were having meat and

Moto is usually translated as being fat but the way moto was used in Kathmandu was as a light form of teasing someone for living the good life. People would often invitingly suggest that they were themselves moto or happily entertain the joke by pulling up their shirts (that is, among men), demonstratively slapping their soft bellies and confirming their moto-ness with a laugh. In this sense, moto could actually signal status but, from the perspective of the Maoist members, this was a suspect status aligned to bahira values.

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was always begging Pradeep to provide meat more often. 5 In more general terms, it was explained that Keshav had difficulty accepting the conditions of camp life, that he was not satisfied with the simple life that the cadres had to endure. Keshav, in short, could not submit himself properly to the requirements of the camps unique daily life and had, in particular, not been able to overcome his desire for food. Eating for him constituted a type of bourgeois remnant that clouded his commitment, and this is why it was so important to uphold the idea that the food being eaten in the camp was by default poor, and that it did not constitute a right but in contrast something one was willing to compromise for the sake of work. The downplaying of the pleasure of eating tasty food contrasts with Nepali society, which places a high value on food. Elaborate meals are customary in order to show honor to guests as well as to the Hindu gods, and celebrations and offerings consequently include lavish presentations of food. The simplicity of food in Nayabasti turned this logic on its head. Food was something to be negated in any form other than as an untasty meal cooked by poor cooks. One could have it, but one should not desire it. The renunciation of love of food that camp life required was therefore possibly the strangest break with bahira, outside, life. Although the renunciation of tasty food does indeed seem a strange way to produce revolutionaries, it does have its merits. For example, during August I was sitting in one of the section rooms with a few of the cadres, flipping through some of the old pictures I had taken in the camp. At one point, there was a close-up of two cadres who had quit the party during the summer, and on seeing them, Tara commented that: 'They were good at eating a lot of rice, but not so strong in their ideology.' There was an inverse relationship, it seemed, between eating and attaining the 'sound ideology' that was a very strong marker of maturity since it shielded cadres from spontaneous behavior. Eating was a significant first step in controlling behavioral spontaneity so, by learning not to desire tasty food, cadres sought to free themselves from the depth and dangers of selfishness, the sine qua non of Maoist cadreship and, for whole-timers on a path of personal improvement, it became a cardinal point. Tasty food got in the way since it reproduced selfish desires but simple food, by contrast, could cure this moral ailment connected to swartha, or selfishness. The strength of this model of cadre pietism was that it allowed cadres to break the road to 'conscious youth' down into smaller packages that made reform more manageable. Although renouncing tasty food did not seem like
5

Keshav himself insisted that he did not quit the party but had merely chosen to relocate due to the pressing needs of his family, and he claimed to still be in touch with Pradeep. However, when I asked Pradeep about this, he had no idea who I was talking about until I mentioned that it was the guy who loved food. Keshav did, however, admit that he loved food. 'I can eat a lot of meat,' he explained. 'Even Pradeep and the other friends used to get shocked when I ate meat.'

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much, it was nonetheless a first step and therefore very vital one. If one could not overcome such a simple renunciation, how were cadres ever going to advance to the much more complex struggles that a revolutionary's life contained? Camp life contained several such small indicators that its members were in a process of changing themselves through piety. One not only had to renounce tasty food but also comfortable sleep, alcohol, flirtatious relationships, money, free time, smart clothing; in short, much of what defined youth outside the camp with its 'spontaneous' lifestyle. It was an outside seen as guided by the desires of 'entertainment', and camp life, by contrast, was seen as conversely serious. The life of revolutionaries should not be fun and easy but - just like the revolutionary process - marked by struggle and hardships. Renouncing entertainment was thought to help cadres mark this shift and ultimately to travel the distance from entertainment to ethical behavior. The stress on ethics was particularly pronounced in the post-war scenario, when it became much easier to join the Maoists but when the party, on the other hand, was much more vulnerable to losing its ideological-competitive edge due to the political compromises of the peace process. Already in profiling cadres, as we have seen, leaders worried that the wrong type of cadre might try to join, and cadres willingness to transform themselves to invest in the party as Nishcal had called it became an important way of measuring the newcomers sincerity. Here, the question of entertainment was central since it was a predominant theme for teenagers in a commoditized urban context, and thus a fault line through which to distinguish a serious cadre from a roaming youth guided by his or her own self-interest. This dynamic was fleshed out by the leader of the YCL part-timers in the neighboring area Hari. Seeing the danger of entertainment as one of the challenges for him as a leader, he complained that the part-timers he commanded were not as diligent as the whole-timers because, even though he gave them books to read, they would just be watching TV at home instead, and he could not force them to study. He saw this as reflecting an overall distinction between 'two types of persons' who approached the movement: those that came with selfish intent and those who saw membership as a necessary step in changing society. The first group of people thought they could live a 'luxurious' life under the patronage of the country's largest party or use it for their own ends to settle scores with someone they were fighting, or even for hiding if they had been engaged in illegal activities,6 while the second type had come because they took their obligation as social transformers seriously.

Because of the camp's seclusion from society, it was actually possible to think of these camps as refuges where prying eyes could not enter, and there was a widespread vigilance among the camp's senior members to this type of exploitation of the party for 'selfish' purposes.

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One should therefore not, as explained in Chapter 2, have an 'interest' in joining because such an interest was already filled with 'selfishness' and hence a misguided expectation of camp life. This threat to the camp of becoming infested with 'selfishness' was aggravated by the ethic of openness whereby the party was open to everyone to join, and this was one of the roles cadres had to negotiate, as representatives of an electorate. The real challenge for leaders, Hari explained, did not consist of weeding out potential recruits with a dodgy background from honest, working-class youth but in allowing those who were sincere about joining a collective struggle to become cadres. Because anyone could potentially fit this description even Hari with his middle-class and drugabusive background there was no way to know a priori if a person was fit to become a YCL whole-timer. The whole point of the training was exactly to turn roaming and self-interested youth into sincere cadres. First people came because of their own interests. Some changed and now work for the revolution. Some never change and they leave the party. There are two groups of people. The other group joined because they are determined to struggle for the revolution. As this short quote from Hari makes clear, joining was itself seen as a potential process of transformation, and it was this process that the party needed to focus on. Rather than filtering cadres out at the camp's boundary, YCL leaders therefore preferred to let them join the camp and give newcomers a chance to prove their sincerity. Hari likened this process to the indiscriminate way rain filled up a big bowl, rain being newcomers and the bowl representing the party. During rain, the party had to allow itself to be filled up, and then the process of filtering had to be done later. This, as he explained, was part of a natural revolutionary process: In the path of the revolution, the coming and going of cadres is a natural process ... There is not such a measuring rod that can divide the good and bad cadres. But the revolution never stops. A black one can come and a white one go but the revolution does not stop.7 After all, it is politics and therefore even bad persons can join. Even a thief will find a space in the party if he wants to change himself. Like me, I was a drug user before and I wanted to change myself. If I want to be good I need to be given a chance to prove myself. If my attitude is like before, I will leave. If one likes to take part in the transformation, the party welcomes them. That is why we are having a big bowl and after we collect rain, the process of purification will be carried out later on. That filtering process will have to be done sooner or

Black and white here do not refer to racial distinctions but rather to a moral tainting. What he seems to be saying is that even when 'bad persons' join and good ones leave, the revolutionary process continues.

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later. Good persons will go ahead and those who are bad will go back in the party. Though Hari uses 'purification' as a metaphor, the story he tells underlines the fact that the struggle of cadreship is turned in on the self, on cadres ability to actively change. It illustrates that the distinction between 'two types of persons' is not external to the self but rather constitutes two aspects of selfhood that are in conflict: one part focuses on entertainment while the other embraces an ethic of sacrifice; one is guided by selfinterest and the other by compulsion or necessity; one selfish, the other collective. Rohit once explained to me how he saw the first years of his membership as a kind of phase he had to pass through where 'each and every task is difficult' and cadre life as a whole was 'very complex'. This was the phase in which one could rid oneself of the entertained self, and Rohit saw camp life as being organized in a way to facilitate the message that life here cannot, and must not, be enjoyable: Let me give you an example. A few months ago 4 people came here to join WT [whole-timers] and said 'we will work under the terms and conditions'. But it was no joke, and even after 4 days they couldn't stay. Their life was luxurious; they couldn't adjust. We are an army, people's army (janamukti sena) and work for the people. There were many stories like this, of people who came and went quickly because of their 'self-interest' and proclivity for entertainment, and it is part of the theme I have been discussing throughout whereby outside life was linked to a kind of corrupted morality and selfishness that the camp had to shield itself from. In a very telling conversation I had with Suraj around the time when he met his coming love but before he used the trope of love and the filling of hearts to talk about his faltering commitment, he talked instead of the possibility of earning more money: 'If I am not 100% committed,' he explained, 'I cannot stay here. It will be embarrassing if I leave, and I will think that I could not manage and that 500 Rupees is not sufficient for me. [But] If I do not have the commitment and a kind of seriousness in the party later on, I will leave.' Suraj was already aware of this potential split between desires and that one could not be a cadre unless one was completely committed and, by referring to money, it was as if he could already locate, within himself, where his faltering commitment might come from: The 'interest' of money was clearly a desire that was at odds with one's revolutionary 'compulsion'.8

There were a few examples of cadres who spoke of reconciling this perceived split between a desirous and an ethical subject through the notion of happiness, though in quite different ways. Rohit spoke, for instance, of his love of the great revolutionary figures such as Marx and Lenin and acknowledged that he was living through a period of romance by which, obviously, he

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What I have tried to raise here is the way this fundamental distinction was expressed through the trope of entertainment, of a life of 'luxury'. This adds an element to the discussion of authority and punishment of leaders in Chapter 3, because every person even hardened revolutionaries were seen to carry this seed of a corrupted, selfish behavior within them. It was an internal battle that every single revolutionary continuously had to fight and, when one failed, it was seen to be one's inner drive for enjoying food, money, status, love and so on that had taken control of one's desires. Keshav was too tied to food, Banhi was too tied to the love of her family, and other cadres who left were similarly criticized for not being able to renounce the desires and obligations tied to an outside life. Renunciation was therefore an important step in attaining revolutionary subjectivity. Because cadres were not turned down at its borders but were instead invited to use the camp to transform themselves through the 'rain-bowl method' of separating the fit from the unfit, this meant that it was through their lives as cadres that people had to prove their worth. The camp therefore had to bear the burden, so to speak, of filtering, and this process was made all the more complicated because membership was at the same time a way for persons to change themselves; an initial incompatibility could hence be transformed into its exact opposite and camp life therefore aimed to perform a double role: it had to monitor for selfishness while also assisting those that were sincere in their pledge of transformation. One of the curious effects of this was to automatically turn camp life into a place of hardship. It was as if hardship came to signify the opposite of entertainment, so that one could drive out damaging desires through frugality. Renouncing essential aspects of life outside the camp, such as the enjoyment of eating, therefore also became a way to 'purify' oneself. The complicated role of the camp as both a filter and motivator meant that renunciations were part of a system of control whereby warning cadres of hardships and punishing them for engaging in specific activities developed in tandem.

R ULES AND R EGULATI O NS


The way cadres learned to relate to food, we have seen, was part of a general effort at renouncing essential aspects of life outside the camp that cannot be understood without linking them to a parallel censoring of illicit behavior - precisely the type of 'selfish' and
meant something quite different from Suraj. Himal, in turn, spoke of being happy because of his love of the people as I mentioned above, and Hari felt that if you have 'a dream of the revolution', then you are always happy. He therefore distinguished his own 'job satisfaction' from the continuous complaining of his family members.

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'entertained' self that the camp had to filter out or assist in transforming. The stress on not expecting and hence not desiring food was similar to the way cadres were told that they should not expect fulfilling or comfortable sleep as an element of the camps philosophy of labor. In that case, it was also both the availability and the quality of sleep that was questioned and, as a very minimum, it shows that the cadres had to renounce, i.e. not desire, that which they might not get anyway. But the above discussion about self-sacrifice illustrates how renouncing eating was not simply a way of aligning one's desire with the conditions of cadre life but also expressed a belief that such a desire was potentially harmful; the problem of tasty food was not that it was not available but that even it if were, cadres should be able to abstain from wanting it. This becomes even clearer when we consider the behavior cadres were instructed to leave behind when they became revolutionaries. Although the details varied, in general cadres were not allowed to drink, smoke or be flirtatious, and if they were 'caught', as they said, they would 'surely be punished'. These various warnings and prohibitions were referred to as the rules and regulations (niyam shiyam) of the party though there were no codified rules to my knowledge and cadres explanation of what they contained differed somewhat. Santosh, who had been a member since Jana Andolan II (April 2006), explained what he told new cadres about the rules: You are not allowed to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and chew tobacco (surti), and if you are caught with that, you will be punished. Suraj, in turn, had highlighted another aspect of the camp rules, as he had been informed of them by Pradeep: You cannot flirt with girls; you cannot flirt vulgarly; you cannot put your hands on their shoulders and touch them; you won't sleep comfortably; we might have duties in the middle of the night and go anywhere and do any kind of works. Outside habits of drinking and smoking you cannot do them here. This is the army and you have to obey strict army rules." Surajs expressions of the partys niyam shiyam shows that cadres did not necessarily perceive a distinction between hardships and prohibitions. They were all aspects of the conditions of cadreship, tied to a life on the inside as opposed to the outside distinctions cadres used constantly in their daily talk; bitra (lit. inside) was both the community of party members and camp life while bahira was the social and political outside. As such, niyam shiyam (rules and regulations) were part of the requirements discussed in Chapter 3 about living under the party and attested to the kind of sacrifice cadre life was supposed to be. Leaders, in particular, saw the niyam shiyam as the first sign of the cadres willingness to submit themselves, even before they expressed a specific morality. It is in this sense that they were rules; decrees of compliance where resistance and incompatibilities could be swiftly measured and reacted upon. By contrast,

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if cadres bowed to the camps culture of conduct, there was a good chance that they were serious about becoming maobadi. What I find interesting about the niyam shiyam is that while they were formulated as prohibitions on behavior, there was no exact agreement as to what they encompassed. Santoshs and Surajs alternative renditions of the rules illustrate this point and speak as much to their own sensitivities particularly if we remember Surajs own transformation around the issue of love and a preoccupation he expressed with treating women properly. Accordingly, some cadres mentioned the ability to renounce a salary as a necessary hardship, others highlighted the rupture of kinship ties, while Banhi for instance said that all she remembered was that she had been told that she had to confine herself in a disciplined manner and could hence not go outside something that was obviously a concern for her. One of the senior members of the camp who advanced from being a Section Commander to a secretary of one of the Ilaka Committees during my stay reflected this variability in the way he saw the rules: When we recruit we first ask whether he or she can fit into our situation or not. If he or she is ready then we recruit. We try to teach that we have to drop superstitious knowledge and fit in to the norms and values of the 21st century [these are] the policies of the organization. We have strict rules like having to be on duty all night. If they want to be in entertainment then they cannot fit. For instance, we come and go to Ratnapark [downtown Kathmandu, a typical end station for demonstrations] for nothing [i.e. no salary]. Those who cannot do this may leave the office after just two days. The rules and regulations are based on the party's politics. At times they can be stronger [and]it also depends on the outside situation. Chandras explanation illustrates the fact that not only may the rules vary according to the party policy but that the rules are a kind of interaction between leaders and would-be members which, from the leaders perspective, tests whether he or she can fit into the situation. Hence, Chandra stressed the household duties as the primary rules, rather than illicit behavior: Getting up at 4 o'clock and doing physical exercises, they have to read newspapers, cook tea, and food, and wash clothes. Rules on behavior were thus part of a more general concern about cadres suitability to their new lives. This echoes Surajs paraphrasing of Pradeeps warning above on the partys niyam shiyam where the renunciation of comforts goes hand in hand with limitations on behavior because this is the army. It is quite unsurprising that Pradeep would allude to the army as expressing the party since he had a long background in the PLA and that Chandra, in turn, did not. What these various ways of formulating the context of the rules primarily indicate is that they did not constitute a very strict frame for guiding cadres actual behavior, and

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this was most evident with the rule against smoking. This was quite a clear rule that everyone could agree to, and allegedly two cadres had been beaten by the dais with sticks on an earlier occasion for being caught smoking. But there is another way of consuming tobacco in Nepali which is known as surti, and which consists of rubbing tobacco into the palm of one hand with the thumb of the other. During my time in the field, and particularly in the new camp, this was done quite openly by Nischal and Tara, and Suraj claimed that everyone is doing it openly in front of the dais. Suraj explained that this had been an issue of debate within the camp earlier because some of the cadres who were not used to tobacco had criticized others for taking surti and could not understand why there was a ban on smoking and not the same restriction on surti. To this charge, the surti cadres and Suraj counted himself among them though I never saw him taking it charged that: If surti affects the revolution, then we will quit it right from this day, but if it doesnt have any effect on the revolution, then why should we? The point of the rules was therefore not to be prohibitive but simply to instill a measure of self-discipline reflecting a broader requirement for moral behavior and something each cadre had to turn into a personal fight, eliminating his or her own seeds of selfishness, desire and entertainment. Despite being somewhat open to interpretation, this did not mean that they were random rules but rather mirrored the leaders and possibly societys concern with spoiled youth. The rules were important because they indicated YCL cadres projected moral superiority in comparison with their agegroup outside the party despite what they de facto accomplished. Suraj, for instance, explained how the ban on smoking, though he clearly challenged it, was necessary because it communicated to others that they were agenda changers: The main thing is that we cannot do it[smoking] inside the camp as other people will feel that YCLs are smoking. Just for the image. We cannot even smoke outside (bahira) because people will think that we do not have one common perception, and that YCLs are also smokers and drinkers. Previously many [outsiders] used to smoke and drink but now they don't smoke in this area. What I am saying is that we are the agenda changers and we have to make many progressive changes in society, so if we start to drink and fight and smoke then it doesn't make any sense. In addition to not necessarily being absolute, and to concern submissiveness, rules were thus also tied to the identity of being role models, which takes us back to Keshavs unhealthy desire for food: he could not be an agenda changer if he was more focused on getting meat than getting up at 4 am and standing guard all day during an important political event. There was therefore a sense in which renunciations and rules overlapped: on the one hand, they concerned the ability to submit to party commands, in which case they 208

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had to be seen as rather strict and comprehensive, even leading to punishment, while on the other they expressed a moral comportment of selfhood and varied with individual preferences. It is therefore useful to think of renunciations and rules as a pair. Renunciations can be seen as a type of sacrifice because it is that part of oneself which one must leave behind at the border of the camp in order to enter, but it is through rules of behavior that entering into a relationship with the camp also implies entering into a new relationship with oneself.

C OMM UNIS T P IETI SM


We arrive now at the question of communist pietism - why cadre life was not simply about renunciations and rules but about becoming a hero who needed to direct his unhealthy desires in order to facilitate his own transformation. Apart from specifying what one should do for the camp community wash, cook, clean rules also suggested what one needed to do for oneself: denounce comfort and abstain from immoral behavior, although it varied from person to person as to where the actual inner struggle lay. Renunciations therefore became linked to a specific trajectory of personal change made possible through prohibitions, and while punishable behavior seems at first to be quite different from not being too attached to either food or sleep, it was precisely as practices of pietism that they were tied together because both became moral comportments of the self. In his analysis of medieval monasticism, Talal Asad also addresses relations with the self although he does not particularly develop this through the concept of pietism. One of the insights one can infer from his analysis, however, is that pietism is part of a wider 'economy of desire' whereby actors actively seek to remold themselves by conforming to a program of reform. What they are seeking to transform are the very dispositions that constitute the self and, in the context of Medieval monasticism which he explores, this implies historically specific emotions such as humility and remorse (Asad 1993:134). Asad illustrates how a vocabulary of moral sin is developed that constantly endangers the soul, and it is these unlawful desires that the monastic program of reform must deal with. What is significant about Asads analytical take on the transformation of selfhood is that he sees renunciation not merely as a rejection of one aspect of the self but as the construction of a self-policing function. This means that renunciation, and particularly the rhetoric of renunciation, is already a particular way of mobilizing the desire of individuals to transform themselves. Rather than just a tool for manipulating desires, such a perspective allows us to see piety as creating a new moral space for the operation of a distinctive motivation (ibid.:144). 209

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By employing this idea of pietism with regard to cadreship, it becomes possible to see both the warnings of hardships and the specific limitations on behavior as delineating a moral space that 'guides' cadres' motivation for change. The point of this guidance is not to show a priori which desires are illegitimate but to let cadres understand that some desires are potentially sinful because they lead to wrong priorities. There was, for instance, no explicit formulation of the dangers of being too attached to food. It was just that, in Keshavs case, this proved to be a fatal desire for his cadre subjectivity, and the various ways of delegitimizing good quality food were ways of creating a new moral space that could motivate him to transform himself. Similarly, Surajs reaction when he was criticized for taking surti was that as long as this did not have a counterproductive effect on his revolutionary behavior, it should not be seen as illegitimate. Surti, in other words, was not the product of an unhealthy desire because he had the correct priorities. As a regime for transforming selves, the camp can thus be thought of in terms of the notion of pietism with its particular way of mixing rules with a self-policing function that ultimately places the burden of attaining correct desires on the cadres themselves. This link to pietism is actually more appropriate than it initially seems because it resonates with a way of preparing cadres for disciplining themselves. In Asads analysis, it does not become quite clear how the motivation to transform oneself is generated within the monasteries, and Asad operates both with an idea of submission as the principal virtue of monks while his analysis shows that the monks are also recruited to redirect their desires beyond the principle of obedience. I think Charles Hirschkinds ethnography of sermon listening in contemporary Egypt (2006) is helpful in furthering the investigation of piety as a moral disciplining of the self. Hirschkind builds upon and extends Asads frame and argues that piety in the context of Quranic verses implies turning ones body into an adequate host for receiving the divine message. This is, for instance, done when popular preachers employ a style that includes the audience in their lectures, thereby continuously recruiting his listeners to vocally and morally participate in the oratory he performs (ibid.:85). Consequently, he shows how submitting to the words of the sermons also involves a performance of the body that revolves around correct gestures and which are part of a wider ethical comportment proper to a pious self. Such gestural complicity in transforming oneself can therefore be seen, as Hirschkind argues, as a type of illocutionary act in the Austin sense (Austin 1976) where performativity expresses an intentionality on the part of the subject. Rather than simply an empty gesture, viewing it as an illocutionary act suggests that in performing a given act, the subject is also expressing a commitment to that which the act points to. To cultivate a capacity for humility and regret, Hirschkind

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argues, can thus be thought of as felicity conditions (also an Austinian expression) for the bodys experience of Gods closeness. The YCL camp differed from both Asads monasteries and Hirschkinds Islamic congregations by not being guided through detailed rules or scriptures that clarified the components of pious selfhood. Outside the loosely formulated rules on illicit behavior, cadres were left to themselves (and each other) to figure out how to attain the moral personhood of revolutionaries. The focus on respectful interaction between cadres described in Chapter 3 can possibly be seen as one such ingredient but it was an insight that followed from experience and not a formal requirement of behavior that cadres were told about: this is possibly what Rohit was referring to above with cadre-life being complex; there was an openness in this guiding that was quite confusing, and which could lead to experiences of uncertainty. Yet there was one interesting aspect of camp life that I think can be analyzed as a type of felicity condition for transforming the self, although this had nothing to do with codification but was expressed rather through a certain spatiality of the camps dwelling quarters. Maybe as a reflection of the camps overall function as a spatial delineator between outside and inside, the layout of the camps interior itself had a significant impact on how life could be led and, by extension, what spaces were available for the self. Earlier chapters have described the camps layout, the congruence between section structures and values of collectivity with the spaces available to cadres, and the disciplined nature of camp life through basnu and an always-ready form of waiting. What I want to suggest here is that this spatial power of daily life was a felicity condition for cadres pietism; that the way the camps everyday life functioned and the inability to escape this cultural logic of Nayabasti turned camp life into a gestural performance of the self that was in sync with the ideals of the moral cadres. A clear indicator that both Nayabasti and the new camp can be thought of as a felicity condition for cadres moral improvement was the functionality and layout of the camp whereby simply living in this space guided cadres into proper behavior: residing in one's room or the common areas was a way to put one at a service of a command and it meant living ethically because there were no temptations of camp life that could distract the cadres' selves. Hence there were no radios to play music, cadres did not have mobile phones on which to engage in conversations outside or to play games on, and there were no other types of reading available except for party literature and serious newspapers. Moreover, the lack of availability of personalized or individualized spaces that cadres could withdraw into downplayed the individual side of their lives. Symbolically, this was underwritten by cadres name change when they entered the party and the fact that cadres had few personal belongings, and the little they had was mainly pro-

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vided by the party (shoes, two sets of clothes, sports shoes) and kept packed away in small sports bags. One could not guess the individuality of any of the cadres either by their name or by observing their private section quarters. In fact, the entire camp looked as if it was minimally inhabited orderly, sparse and functional. What was left was the collectivized space that I analyzed in Chapter 4. As a 'felicity condition' the camp's space thus became a part of the illocutionary performance that cadres were enacting in order to orient themselves in the right direction. Against this formality and monotony of space, it was a surprise to enter Pradeeps room, which formed a contrast to the discreet packed-away personalities of the other rooms. His private room was full of personal belongings, furniture, literature and with a permanent mattress that doubled as bed and sofa, while a framed picture of himself and his martyred wife at their party wedding hung over his bed. Housing also the camps only computer and its few plastic chairs, Pradeeps room indicated that the spatial frugality of the remaining rooms was not a random coincidence; it was the point. It was the space appropriate for someone who was in the midst of being formed in the ethical doctrine of Maoist party cadres - selfless, obedient, prudent. Camp spatiality was dedicated to these values in order to help cadres attain these essential qualities. The cadres ability to renounce their desirous selves was therefore never a wholly 'private' problem, and this is one way we can read the elaborate operations of the camp in guiding cadres in their struggle - from prohibitions over structuring daily life into routines and disciplined waiting, to laying out the camp's spaces in a way that is befitting of a person who desires to forget his selfishness and become a good revolutionary by emphasizing the collective through the right kind of labor. The cadre and the camp not wholly unlike Bourdieu's Kabyla house which was also seen to contain a fullness (Bourdieu 1990) became reflections of each other: the layout of the camp reflects the idealized cadre, one that does not need a place to hide his private stuff away because this cadre does not even desire such a private space; and the cadres learn to think of their own struggle as one of shielding themselves from a corrupting outside such that civilian life, in part, comes to represent the harmful side of one's person outside is a lurking desire for entertainment that needs to be held in check. Such a 'collectivization' of space can be seen to fit with the notion of communist pietism that I have discussed here. Through a combination of force and motivation, that is, through rules and renunciations, cadres were 'guided' to transform themselves and particularly to rid their beings of entertainment and attain an ethical self. What Pradeep's room illustrated was that this situation was not everlasting but merely a phase that cadres had to pass through in order to be eligible for a proper status as party cadres. It showed that the camp acted as a mechanism of separation to protect the cadres from a

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polluting outside, but only temporarily. Eventually, when they had 'matured', that is, learned to control their harmful desires as Pradeep had, they were ready to combine their separated selves with a fuller mode of being that might also include (limited) access to entertainment, families and private histories. When cadres automatically weighed their priorities in favor of revolutionary piety and thereby understood that they had to subsume anti-social desires such that their cadre-self became a primary frame for behavior, automatic as it were, then they were ready to leave the camp.

C ONC LUS I ON
This chapter has argued that one significant aspect of whole-timer sacrifice were the practices of renunciation and moral behavior with the purpose of ridding cadres of a desiring, selfish self and attain a superior character as conscious youth who could act as guides and representatives of janata through their moral superiority. While the least noticeable and possibly the strangest aspect of Maoist cadreship, it is also the most important because in a situation where the entire revolution was put on hold and the cadres contribution to a political solution was negligible given, among other things, their difficulty in competing with the ideological fluency of cadres from the students union it became crucial to establish their legitimacy as party activists by different means. The conscious youth ideal was aimed at producing new national role models and became a significant way for the YCL leadership to claim authority in the changed political landscape and establish a procedure through which to screen motivated cadres in an environment in which tens of thousands had signed up to participate in the CPN-Ms popular social revolution. Internally, it also helped to produce an environment of patience that was still filled with significance. By waiting, cadres only improved themselves for the moment when they could participate in public work. Communist pietism was not the end of the world; on the contrary, it anticipated engagement for it was a way to charge the cadres, to prepare them for what was about to come. Revolutionary sacrifice, I have argued throughout the past chapters, demands the submission of the whole person to a collectivity both as a principle and as a community of fellow members that one must labor for, and it pronounces the ideal of selflessness, which cadres must also practice on their own bodies as a struggle against anti-social desires. At the center of this process stands the camp as an enforcer of a separation between cadres and the outside. This is true in a double sense: on the one hand, the camp separates cadres from the harmful substances of civilian life its kinship obligations and selfish drives and on the other, it constitutes a temporal break in the cadres own lives, between their former and reforming selves. Cadres must first of all be willing 213

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victims as the sacrifice will fail if it is not entered into voluntarily. Hence the numerous efforts at passing the responsibility of proper conduct onto the cadres themselves; these are ways of confirming ones faith and rehearsing what it means to give for the sake of a principle beyond oneself. Piety as a process of working on the self should be seen as an extension of the submission and laboring cadres must engage in as participants of camp sections; it addresses the same problem (the duality of an outside-inside) but it is now represented as existing within the cadre himself and not merely in the distinction between the party members and civilian life. There is, in other words, a congruence between the two types of struggle, the external and the internal: they are both cast in opposition to a radical otherness, in the first instance to outside life and in the second to selfishness, and they both lead to proper cadres; by adopting correct behavior and carrying out one's assignments in accordance with commands or, as in the situation discussed in this chapter, by learning to say no to entertainment and similar vain and bourgeois values. As we shall soon see, this is crucial for establishing cadres sacred power in activist operations. Communist pietism exemplifies a different aspect of cadres sacrifice than the discussions of the two previous chapters because what is at stake here is no longer the establishment of the revolutionary soldier one who must submit to the party hierarchy, labor for the collectivity and wait for work and leadership, all in the name of training, efficiency and necessity; in contrast to the soldier, who is an wholly internal figure of the organizational strategy, the hero is not only a hero for the party, but equally so for society, and is therefore also a public figure. The analysis of pietism therefore occurs in the interstices between the outside and inside of the camp, even if the cadres themselves do not enjoy the freedom to move between these two spheres yet. If this chapter has, then, investigated the way in which cadres were ritually prepared as sacrificial objects, as sacrifier in Hubert & Mauss terms through a process of renunciation and pious behavior that involved a cleansing of the impurities associated with their former lives the last two chapters will analyze how this allowed cadres to convert camp sacrifices into public sacrifice, precisely because they had now become sacralized.

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In their public participation, what I refer to here as cadres activism, YCL members engaged with members of the public, whether in low-key local programs or in much larger party events. One of the significant changes to occur when cadres moved outside the camp was that they were no longer hidden away but became publicly visible. Here, their roles as apprentices in training to become proper cadres disappeared, and they appeared instead as fully-fledged representatives of the party, visible to an outside gaze. As a deeply controversial political phenomenon, YCL was constantly watched by political commentators and lay denizens to measure the real intentions of the CPN-M in the guerillas-turned-politicians phase: were their intentions honorable? Had they really committed themselves to democracy? YCL was the key to unlocking this mystery, and it was an image cadres had to balance with the political resoluteness of a militarized organization that they also had to be seen as representing in order to be avant-garde revolutionaries. Cadres were therefore extremely concerned with their image when they ventured outside Nayabasti. Once, when Suraj and Tara had apparently spat from the roof of Nayabasti onto the street, Pradeep came flying up the stairs and immediately scolded them for spitting. The words that accompanied his reprimand were: 'How can we be respected by people if we behave like that?' Pradeeps concern was well reflected in the practice of regularly lining the cadres up for a roll-call on the school ground across from the camp before leaving for a program.1 Cadres would be arranged section by section with their Section Commanders up front, and would perform a few military steps in response to Pradeep's commands. These were moments for displaying YCLs discipline and moments of inspection: Pradeep might inquire as to the whereabouts of missing ca-

Roll-call is a military expression and generally designates the formal act of calling out names from a roll, i.e. checking that everyone is present. But one of the camp leaders told me that it was primarily used as a preparation for upcoming events.

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dres and reprimand those who did not wear their uniforms or in other ways acted with a lack of discipline. Such disciplinary inspection did not happen in the camp, but only outside and formed part of general repertoire of public behavior. In these outside performances, which often preceded the work they were about to carry out, cadres were calling into existence a relationship with a public; it was for their benefit that a specific and highly disciplinary mode of conduct was enacted and it served to show that the YCL was a 'disciplined army' and united force of dedicated youth in line with the selfimage of the organization. Why this concern with appearance in public and how was this significant for cadres activism? As I shall be exploring in this chapter, the public came to embody a role as witnesses to cadres sacrifice and therefore became active participants in cadres political agitation, imbuing activism with a significance it would otherwise not be able to entertain. Not all party work, of course, is about sacrifice and not all of it is eventful but what I seek to establish here is the close integration between acting in public and the procedures of revolutionary sacrifice. When cadres step out of the camp and participate in public work, not only are they being judged and evaluated by lay citizens, they also insert themselves forcefully into the political field for their actions to have effect and be noticed in the first place. Here, the force of the people, janata, that cadres have nurtured through their camp sacrifices comes into action and it is the nature of this relationship between cadres, the public as witnesses, and janata as a revolutionary force that I shall be analyzing in this chapter. In cadres public work, the figures of the public and janata co-exist and turn activism into a complex mix of political statements and revolutionary sacrifice. The chapter is divided into four sections: first, I describe a political procession that are known as julus and are one of the archetypical forms of Maoist activism; next, I turn to a discussion of the historical and political significance of the julus and show how Maoist processions build on and extend this tradition, paying special attention to the relationship between the public and cadres that is established in these public events; the third section explores the notion of jana-sakti people power in order to reflect on cadres position between the public and janata, respectively; the last section analyzes two specific cases of activism, first a chakkajam (traffic closure) as an example of cadres ability to establish sovereignty in urban space, and, lastly, a black flag happening as an example of a proper political sacrifice in which cadres sacrality is essential for appreciating the symbolic power of this ritualized happening.

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P R OC ES SI ONS AS A P OLI TI C AL S TATE M ENT


On February 25, almost the entire camp participated in a large parade to celebrate the CPN-Ms recent merger with the Communist Party of Nepal (Ekata Kendra Masal),2 and to inaugurate the official unification of the two parties youth wings, the YCL and the All Nepal Peoples Youth Union. Tiny, colored pamphlets were distributed around Kathmandu prior to the event with information about the importance of this unification for completing the peace process and they carried the following catchy headings: Mobilization of massive youth force for radical change! and Unity, national awareness and development, our campaign!! Because this was an important public celebration of the partys reform process, the cadres wore their uniforms, although due to the cold temperatures, it was only their trousers that stood out as a common dress code, and not even everyone followed suit.3 For the cadres, the parade started outside the camp, reflecting that they became public figures the moment they stepped out of the house. After dressing, they lined up in the street in one long row with the Section and Vice Commanders in front, and made a formidable impression on the small path in the middle of a Kathmandu neighborhood: they were standing erect, military style with raised chins and eyes gazing straight ahead, focused on nothing in particular. When they had settled into this formation, Nischal performed a head count, and ordered everyone off to the Jorpati junction. Several small flags were brought along but a few extra-long ones had also been manufactured and, thus equipped, the small troupe, with one of the Section Commanders keeping speed, made its way through the neighborhood. Although the parade was still silent and quite small, there was resoluteness in its march: flags raised, speedy passage and an amalgamated body that marked a contrast to life in the camp, which was invisible from the outside, and did not concern itself with a similar appearance of unity. The way the cadres emerged from their habitat, so to speak, and entered the public space, in itself marked a kind of passage into a different role. At Jorpati Chowk, the first march died down as cadres mingled with a growing crowd of people all local party cadres, including the YCL part-timers, who had been
2

This is where the Maoist Party officially changed its name to the UCPN-M, the United Communist Party of Nepal Maoist. 3 The previous days had been very hectic due to the late announcement of the program, and the office had been given the responsibility of preparing 1,000 flags on sticks, half of which were distributed to the party leaders of the local VDCs, and the other half to be picked up by the remaining participating organizations. In the end, the remaining flags had to be transported by motorbike to the paraders to make sure they were all put to use. The two leaders of Ilaka 1 and 2, Marut and Ganesh, were in turn in charge of contacting and mobilizing the YCL PTs and sympathizers through the local VDC leaders.

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mobilized for the event. Nischal had gone ahead on the camps second motorcycle (Pradeep had his own) and was already here, trying to coordinate the gathering. He later told me that he had officially been in charge of this pre-march gathering. The police had been notified beforehand and were helpful in setting up traffic barriers at this otherwise busy road junction. Buses passing by with cheering cadres on the roof were thrown some of the extra flags that had been brought to the gathering. The preparations for the parade were quite significant. The marchers roughly 200 people were lined up in two groups. Banners were being unfurled with the same text as on the pamphlet heading and entrusted to core party members of each group. People were instructed to form two lines behind the banner carriers, presumably for the parade to look more orderly, but it also had the effect of distributing the entire parade into two long snake-like processions. Already, what was a hotchpotch gathering of disorganized people buzzing around in a junction had now been transformed into a disciplined troop stretching more than 100 meters in the direction of the city center. Each group was assigned a slogan leader. He read out the central slogans for the campaigners to repeat and although there was still no movement, the event already looked and sounded like an impressive parade. The slogan leaders yelled the slogans and the group responded, repeating the central verb twice. So Long live the YCL was echoed with a collective Long live, long live. This way of repeating only the refrain created a strong rhythmic effect, and although the singular voice of the entire slogan was easily drowned in the commotion, the collective chorus rose above the crowd and created a recognizable pattern: dum-dum; dum-dum. Furthermore, although many slogans had different wordings, their central verb was the same (such as long live) and the end result was that the passing of the march, once it moved off, was accompanied by the audible and repeated cries of two starkly different messages: Long live, long live (djindabad) and Death to, death to (murdabad). Almost an hour passed before the march set off from Jorpati Chowk. In the meantime, many had lost the initial fervor of the disciplined lining up, the slogan shouting had died down, and a generous lump of tika (red vermillion powder) had been applied to peoples foreheads. As people started marching, they also resumed shouting and the parade made its way towards the Ring Road where it was to meet up with members approaching from other directions. At Chabahil as this Ring Road junction is called people were waiting in their thousands for the different marching groups to approach. The cadres from Nayabasti cheered and greeted their party friends although they had to stay inside their own banner column and, although there was a momentary standstill which threatened to turn into confusion, the entire parade soon started off and made its way southwards, easily filling the wide road as it charted forward.

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With the growth of the parade, it also lost much of its structure. Two kilometers south where the parade turned off the wide Ring Road and headed directly for the city center, what little was left of the individual columns, dissolved completely. Many other things changed: sloganeering could no longer encompass as many people and became more spontaneous and hard to separate from general cheering; leaders were freed from their coordinating function and were engulfed by the marchers; and marchers found themselves freed from the disciplined constraints of the original form and able to engage in conversations with friends and other party members in what from the perspective of being inside the movement now felt more like a casual stroll than a march. As we approached Khulamanch, the casual pace slowed to a halt as participants from all over the valley had arrived at roughly the same time an hour before the inauguration of the public program inside the gated field with a large scene for speeches and performances. On the last stretch of the march, when leaders could relax more, Nischal also found me and had me turn my head to look at the impressive onslaught of moving bodies and buoyant reds that kept flowing towards us. For the cadres, the event ended with their arrival at Khulamanch just at the point at which the official ceremony, which lasted 3 hours took off. They all sat down against the fence behind the stage and simply waited for the program to finish. Many of the other marchers had filled the grass area in front of the stage but, like the cadres from our camp, the streets outside were also filled with party-dressed people sitting and waiting. Throughout the day, cadres had neither food nor water to drink, except for the two bottles I bought them while at Khulamanch, and they had to wait until evening for their dalbhat meal in the camp. As the program came to an end, Nischal got up, had everyone stand in a line, performed his head count and marched the cadres to a bus outside that would take them back to Jorpati. A few got excited and found a seat on the roof, which is generally illegal but, since the buses had been rented by the party, and the day was marked by its control of the streets, this mattered little. Parades or processions (julus) like the Unification Parade constituted a prominent part of cadres' outside work, were always public, and ranged from internal party celebrations to concrete political demonstrations for or against a cause. A significant aspect of julus was their size, and this was clearly related to their prospect for making a strong impact in the public sphere.4 To make a julus big was therefore a significant aspect of
4

In preparing for these events, Pradeep and other leaders were usually hectically engaged in mobilizing support from part-timers and sympathizers, even to the point where Pradeep once asked one of my assistants to bring some of his friends. As I explained in Chapter 2, many potential members started their relationship with the Maoists by participating in their events. Here, the part-timers plea to leave whatever they were engaged in behind and come running was very welcome and quite necessary. Without this, the party would only be able to rely on its few full-

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its success. Because julus were so clearly big public performances, they almost always included sloganeering as a way of communicating with the public. In this sense, slogans can be seen as a type of condensed message about the event that represents its core political expressions. From the Unification Parade, these were the two simple statements that effectively read long live us and death to our opponents. This was in spite of the parades official aim of being an internal celebration of the party. As in other cases I witnessed, however, drawing a discursive line between us and them was an inescapable aspect of any julus, indeed of almost all types of public work. It was a way of charging cadres participation with a clear political message and of effectively communicating this to onlookers and thereby involving the public as spectators in the drama. These features of the julus underline how they were events that were conducted for the sake of a public. Without the presence of spectators, these events lost their significance as political messages, and parading therefore had to take place in front of the eyes of the public, engaging them through dramatization. Striking visual events were therefore also popular because they broke with the quite worn script of parading. Two examples are the masal julus, a march with burning torches that was performed after dark, often in obstinate silence, and the MC Julus, in which a convoy of motorbikes wound along wide streets with passengers carrying flags and cheering eagerly but without slogans being shouted or banners wielded. They both played on the recognizable the coordinated mass event, the movement through the landscape and the use of strong symbols while simultaneously breaking with it: reversing the intense soundscape in the masal julus or refusing to communicate through words as in the MC parade. Through a combination of different repertoires, such julus were a creative way of activating the public gaze and hence accomplished exactly the same as the regular processions, of which the Unification Parade was a good example. The strongest of these were possibly the julus that involved burning huge effigies of unpopular politicians such as the president himself. Here, fire, slogans and parading all came together in one big spectacle, and instead of the political program at the end, cadres assembled in the center of Kathmandu (usually Ratna Park) and performed the last rites of the dying personae in a drama indicating that, here, words did not suffice to expunge evil from the body politic. Processions were therefore essential tools through which to act politically and in order to be successful they needed the presence of a public. During the Unification Parade, bystanders had lined up along the curb and watched the passage of the thousands of Maoist cadres, some responding to the cheering but most people forming a silent contime cadres but, as soon as the part-timers came running, a local Jorpati event could muster up to several hundred participants instead of the two handfuls of WTs from the camp.

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trast to the activity taking place inside the julus. What role was it that the public were given in these events and why was their presence so important? The case of the Unification Parade is interesting not merely because it brought many of the lessons cadres had learned inside the camp into the public sphere how acting collectively amplified their individual contribution manifold; how the success of such an event required their submission to the roles they had been assigned as paraders; and how ignoring thirst and hunger as aspects of disciplined behavior was necessary for keeping their place in and focus on the event but above all because it transformed camp sacrifices into a political statement through the mediation of the public as an audience, or, as I shall be analyzing it here, as witnesses.

THE P UB LI C AS WI TN ES S ES
The political julus builds on a long history of religious processions that also mobilize a large number of people and turn the everyday (dis)order of the city into spectacular performances.5 Public processions are therefore part of a general cultural repertoire and they easily rival, in sheer size of participants, the Unification Parade. 6 The elaborate rituals surrounding both daily and festive practices of public religion are vital elements in underwriting the social order, and, in the case of Hinduism and the large national festivals, also the political order. This has to do with the divine underpinning of royal authority whereby the king is seen to embody the god Vishnu and ruler and citizen are united by their functional integration into a cosmological order (see Riaz & Basu 2007; Hfer 1979; Burghart 1996a).7 Religious ceremonies express and legitimize this order
5

Throughout the year, several large religious festivals claim the streets in huge processions such as the Rato Macchendranath Jatra in Patan where I lived: a large chariot carrying a very tall spire is first built and then towed around by devotees to religiously important sites accompanied throughout by daily ceremonies until it is returned to its starting point. The entire procession lasts for more than a month and its final ceremonial climax is a festival of its own, known as Bhoto Jatra where previously the king but now the president participates as the central figure. 6 Towards the end of February, Hindus celebrate the birth of Lord Vishnu in the festival known as Mahashivaratri. Devotees from all over visit the Pashupatinath temple on this occasion, which lies on the way to Nayabasti from my apartment and, in 2009, apparently several hundred thousand people participated. 7 Royal authority in Nepal is based on a conception of the king as a descendant of the god Vishnu and the protector of Hinduism in the Himalayan realm (Riaz & Basu 2007:135; van den Hoek 1990). In this cosmological order, Nepalis are not simply citizens in a polity but share in Vishnu's divine substance albeit subsumed under the king, as his subjects. The entire political edifice of royal power is therefore based on a logic of encompassment (e.g. Dumont 1970) that connects ruler and ruled through the principle of divinity, with the king as the apex figure. Even the caste system, codified in the Mulukhi Ain Code of 1854, which legalized the hierarchical social order (see Hfer 1979), is therefore not merely a model of social organization but articu-

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either directly or indirectly, such as in the 8-day-long festival of Indra Jatra that I shall revisit a little later, where the virgin goddess Kumari is paraded around the city in her chariot, and the king (now the president) pays homage to her, receiving her blessing. Urban processions in Kathmandu were therefore automatically politically important. While the julus draws on the script of religious processions in the way it uses the streets for its parades and through the close association with public authority, it inverts its crucial relationship with political power from one of support to one of dissent. Maoist urban politics relies on the streets as a crucial tool to connect citizens with their rulers and can be seen as a democratic device that potentially invites everybody into collective action. In Nepal, streets are not just 'empty signifiers' or politicized stages for the state's display of power, as has been argued with regard to the Soviet regime (Yurchak 2005); they are a part of the functional integration of society, and it is this which makes them so powerful as sites of political contestations.8 Unlike ritual processions, whose stake on public space is not enacted to challenge state authority and make claims vis--vis other groups, political processions deliberately seek to occupy public space in ways that are disruptive of the social order. In this scenario, the public in their role as spectators represent the neutral ground between the dominant order and the disruption of the political procession. In their opposition to ritual processions, political julus played on the wide gamut of symbolic connotations that made the Hindu celebrations so effective for the throne. Here the role of the urban space, Kathmandu's in particular, was unmistaken, and the focus of this spectacle was the public in their ability to witness the unfolding of this political happening. The significance of the public for the julus therefore not only concerned the capacity of the event to put on a spectacular show but also its ability to occupy important urban spaces that amplified the political message of the parade. Kathmandu is built on a center-periphery model whereby political significance decreases with distance to the center, turning the peripheries outside the Ring Road into more than just socio-economic margins. For the
lates the different parts of the celestial Brahma's body. Each caste is 'endowed with the qualities to perform a particular function so that the universe might survive as a whole' (Burghart 1996a:193). 8 The streets' openness to collective action has become the signature of contemporary political activism, as several authors have noted in their analyses of the new forms of voice that this enables (Kunreuther 2009) or when lamenting the illiberal consequences of mass actions that, like the parade above, impedes the individual autonomy of other citizens by transforming the public into a politicized domain (Lakier 2007). This, above all, attests to the enormous power inherent in collective protests use of the public space, and has been seen by political actors as a remarkable new source of power that enables them to make the government listen (ibid.:266). Because they have turned out to be such successful ways of staking claims, even very local grievances often adopt the form of public protests, and they have consequently become a widespread and daily feature of urban life.

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cadres, who were already located in the margins of politico-religious power, to march from the periphery towards the center of Kathmandu with its royal palace, the seat of government, the military parade grounds (just by Khulamanch) and the Durbar Square of the ancient king was also to enter the heart of political power to automatically politicize ones parade.9 This center-periphery structure of the city made routing of julus quite predictable: start at the fringe and then move in. For large parades, where the heart of the city was the goal, the fringe was often defined as the Ring Road. This had a double impact. Since it constituted an imaginary encircling of the city, it came to signal the limits of political power, and a movement in the opposite direction implied the implosion of the margins into the center, which was exactly the Maoists political claim: a rule for the majority; an inclusion of the marginalized; a party representing the will of the people. A parade from the periphery to Kathmandu center already marked it as a distinct type of politics that brought the voice of the people and the force of their presence into the nucleus of power. The second impact was visibility. By making a Ring Road junction a meeting point, the organizers ensured that it would be noticed by the citys busy commuters and, in the likely advent that traffic flow was affected how could it not be the parades message could reverberate through the growing queues of stalled vehicles. This not only altered the speed of a modern citys everyday life, enacting a kind of ruralization of Kathmandu itself, but also forced its citizens into passive spectators of the transformation of the citys transport veins into crawling and people-infected political phenomena. In this reading, it was no coincidence that it was Chabahil that served as the major transformation of the Unification Parade from a small, local parade that made sure to only fill out one half of the road to allow traffic to pass on the other side, into a mass event that engulfed the city in a much more dramatic way and had to be opposed to traffic.10 What we can infer from this discussion on the julus as a deliberate spectacle is the central importance of performing in front of a public and thereby including them in the event, albeit in a way that firmly locates them on its borders. This is true both in a symbolic and spatial sense; the public is spatially on the outside of the parade, engulfing it
9

The central parade ground (Thundikhel) stretching out from Khulamanch is encircled by a long one-way but 4-5 lane road, and prestigious parades would make sure to do a round of the parade ground before landing in or around Khulamanch, which constituted the most popular end station for the larger julus. Although julus were a widespread phenomenon for various political groupings, not many were allowed to march to the citys center and lay claim to its large traffic veins. This also meant that they could not become as politically significant. 10 Chabahil also constitutes the point at which the city becomes periphery and coincides with the border of the camps operational area. From the camps perspective, Chabahil is where their mandate as the YCL stops and the (exclusive) authority of the party begins.

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by its presence, and they thereby come to take the role of spectators who witness the unfolding of the event and, through this act of witnessing, partake in it. By witnessing here, I mean first of all a relationship of consent that is based on a division of labor between cadres and the public in which the first act and the latter re-act in response to the cadres performance. Cadres activism can be understood here through the Arendtian notion of action as the activity of the public sphere par excellence because it is defined by word and deed and is like a second birth, where we take upon ourselves the 'naked fact' of our existence (Arendt 2000:178). Action, the only activity that goes on directly between men without the intermediary of things or matter, corresponds to the human condition of plurality, to the fact that men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world. While all aspects of the human condition are somehow related to politics, this plurality is specifically the condition [...] of all political life. (Arendt 1998:7). The products of action, as Arendt notes, take place directly between men and this means that cadres outside work was set on a stage that actively involved non-party members. So while action marks a beginning, Arendt explains, its flow is unpredictable because it is conditioned by human relationships with its conflicting will and intentions and newcomers in this environment must always respond to the crucial and penetrating question: who are you? Cadres political activism, particularly in these coordinated events where only they participate, are indicative of such a notion of action with the crucial distinction that the public is reduced from being co-authors of this pluralityof political life to being its witnesses. As the public sphere of action is the place of words and deeds, activism implies taking the initiative and then waiting for the response. If cadres are confronted with the question who are you? when entering the public sphere, and reply through scripted and disciplined activist action, their reply in turn anticipates a reaction, since they are now part of an open and interpretive field. Through the julus the public are asked to participate by spectating; to be impressed, to cheer, to greet, to comment, to help, to get out of the way and hopefully to understand and agree. This witnessing could take many forms and was not restricted to julus or even to party events; cadres talked, for instance, of how they expected their family members to 'understand' their decisions to become whole-timers, and this was but one way of saying that their kin should not just accept but should appreciate the importance of what cadres had given themselves to. Witnessing implies a measure of support. Cadres wanted to know that they could rely on support from both their families and the public at large, and a large sub-set of work outside the camp consisted in social service campaigns where the public were the direct benefactors of cadres words and deeds. Referred to 224

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by cadres as volunteering, swayamsebak, such activities included garbage cleaning, building new youth organizations, or solving community disputes and were central to YCLs self-image as a pro-people movement and a grassroots organization. Through volunteering, cadres sought to build relationships of mutuality outside the political community which they could then draw on in the spectacular, more politically loaded events, when they, in turn, needed help to politically charge them. This way, volunteering invited the public to adopt a favorable outlook towards the YCL's work. The public were thus important participants in cadres activism, either as the targets of volunteering that benefitted people directly or through their ability to show tacit support through witnessing. The public constitute the actual people that cadres encounter and engage with outside the camp and are participants in the political field that the Maoists perform in. As such, it is the public to which cadres must be answerable to and my interlocutors were painfully aware that they were constantly being criticized in the media and that this tampered their public image. Their concern was not with this type of propaganda, however, but that locals in Jorpati and in the streets of Kathmandu would also be critical of YCL youth because this would delegitimize their actions in the eyes of the public and whence turn their witnessing on its head: from expressing (political) support to becoming criticism. But why was the public so important for the cadres? Why did the activists need this support? To understand this, I turn now to a discussion of jana-sakti (people power) and the similarities between the public and the notion of janata, which turn the former into not just any type of witness but a particularly potent one for Maoist activism.

A HI S TOR Y OF P EOP LE -P OWER


Cadres' sacrifice is not merely another type of waiting but designates a desire to incur a transformation in the social sphere, which, as we have seen, begins with learning to transform themselves. Outside the camp, the question of this social transformation becomes relevant again, and is encapsulated in the figure of janata as the object towards which their sacrifice is directed. But wherein lies janata's divinity that turns it into such a strong locus of authority? From the moment people become interested in joining the Maoists, they start developing an understanding of the idea of janata and, through the cadres training and political experiences, this slowly turns into a relationship. The notion of Maoist sacrifice that cadres swear their allegiance to stands on the shoulders of their relationship with janata, since it is for the sake of the people that they leave their life as laborers behind and embark on a journey of cadreship (see Chapter 2). In the camp, the relationship to 225

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janata is nurtured through the logic of the party hierarchy, through ideas of simplicity and necessity, and in the experiences of self-sacrifice, although it remains largely implicit and dormant. This is what public work changes; here, janata bursts out into the open and becomes a tool for politics whereby the cadres role as representatives, as the avant-garde, is activated. Janata becomes a weapon that charges activists power, and it does so by being historically constituted as a political force; a legitimate authority of rule by the people that Maoist cadres can utilize as long as they possess the unique quality that allows them to represent the people, the quality I have analyzed as sacrality, and the quality which follows from their camp sacrifices.11 Comparatively, the constitution of the people as a political authority has been an overriding principle of sovereignty since the revolutionary wars in 19th century Europe, to the extent that in the West we take it for granted. But in Nepal, this transformation of political authority from a divine principle outside the body politic to being located firmly within it has taken place only in the latter half of the 20th century and most dramatically with Jana Andolan I (1990) and the subsequent struggles between divine kingship and republican powers, of which the CPN-M has only been the most successful (see van den Hoek 1990).12 The succession from monarchical absolutism to republicanism with the 2008 election gives the impression that the battle to institute the people as the over-arching sovereign principle has been won, but this is far from the case, and the CPN-Ms priority both in and out of government has been to consolidate the republican principle formulated through their New Democracy concept and weed out other claims to, and practices of, sovereignty. In this battle, the question, the problem, the definition, and the power of janata, have been crucial, and while high-brow party politics can be seen to engage with the definitional and institutional aspects, the mass politics represented by the YCL is concerned with the latter, with the power of people to act; a power cadres strive to represent and enact. It is this particular dynamic that I want to analyze through the optic of sacrifice; janata as that which cadres sacrifice for is also the principle that fills cadres with a special power. It is a reciprocal relation with a figure similar to the role played in religious sacrifices by divinity. People power, as I shall analyze it here, is the republican
11

To the question of what agency cadres have in the camp, where they must submit themselves to a range of inconspicuous sacrifices, the answer is then that these were the necessary preparations that enabled them to act with force, as Maoist activists, in the public sphere.
12

An intriguing aspect of Nepali Maoism, that I have not been able to explore here, concerns the links between royal sacrifice and revolutionary sacrifice, particularly the idea that the king is the nations supreme sacrificer and hence invested with a special sacred quality. It serves to show, at the very minimum, that repertoires of political sacrifice have structured public expressions of sovereignty in Nepal, and it would be interesting to explore the extraordinary success of Nepali Maoism in light of this historical alliance.

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equivalent of the divine, and cadres, by standing between janata and the public, are ideally situated to mediate this force or, as I shall show, wield it. The people's movement in 1990 (Jana Andolan I) marked a turning point in the consolidation of public authority in Nepal, as it prompted a change from monarchical sovereignty as the only model of political authority to the multi-party system where both power and authority became factionalized. What mattered here was not merely the shift but just as importantly the way in which it occurred; through a people's movement, through a 'democratic revolution' (Hoftun et al 1999). In an extremely interesting paper written shortly after Jana Andolan I, Vivienne Kondos (1994) traces this shift based on her own observations of public events in this period. She argues that something fundamentally changed during these key months of protest that led to the restoration of the multi-party system after almost forty years of royal rule. This was the emergence of an idea of people power, a form of collective identity that drew on a different source of energy and authority than sanctioned by the crown. As explained, political power in Nepal has historically relied on an embodiment of both secular and ritual authority in the figure of the king, and the establishment of public order has accordingly been defined in terms of a unity represented by the kingship. All Nepalis are seen to share in an identical substance, from king to commoner, which reflects the unity within the subtle body of Vishnu (Burghart 1984:120). Against such a homogenizing identity, the emergence of a new populist self that could not be encompassed or shared by the figure of the king took shape against a background of betrayal. The state forces violent reaction to the public protests is analyzed by Kondos as a war machine that with its brutal potency turned civil relations into a field of war (Kondos 1994:273). The states betrayal turned the sameness of the holy substance into a fault line that differentiated peoples former roles as national subjects from the enemies they had now become. This led, in rapid order, from doubt to agitation of public imagination to outrage. If the state could bring in a war machine, if the palace could remain disturbingly quiescent when intervention was needed most, if the state could not prevent the martyrdom of the young the state was then seen as not only betraying the people but betraying itself to them. And that became imprinted in public consciousness (ibid.:273-274). Of course, the betrayal of the state was still not the betrayal of the king and the divine principle, but the coordinates of public order that rested on the state as expressive of the

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people's will (jan bhavna)13 was shattered and brought the possibility of a different relationship with power into view. Kondos explains how resistance in public life prior to Jana Andolan I primarily took three forms. One of these was chakari, which I have already discussed (see Chapter 5). However, where I stressed its quiescent nature, Kondos highlights how this type of obedience can also be seen as a shrewd way of 'tapping a source-force after a string of subtle negotiations' (ibid.:275). Yet it still revolves around 'favoritism' and the ability to get the 'source-force' to act on one's behalf and only thereby 'realize one's desires'. Adding to this is another modality of action that is more clandestine and which Kondos refers to as 'chicanery'. It builds on cleverness (calakh) and entails 'acts of secrecy, of sabotage, prevarications, pretense and a play with illusion'. A third mode is better known outside Nepal and has been theorized by de Certeau as 'making do' - the realm of tactics (de Certeau 1984). Here, one proceeds through obedience, evasion and negotiation to win small battles and then retreat. There is then a procession of disobedience at play here. Whereas chakari is based on 'intercession' and relies on gifts and flattery, 'chicanery' is organized through elusiveness, and 'making do' on the pretense of accommodation that is effectively turned into a kind of weapon. The new form of public resistance encapsulated in the protest of 1990 differed from the other forms by directly challenging authority, and is seen by Kondos as an 'antithesis' to authority as such. This allowed for the emergence of a set of public activities that were direct and openly defiant. Kondos mentions the gherao in which a victim is encircled by an aggressive mob and thereby turned into prey, and there is also the ritually polluting practice of 'shoe-garlanding' that entails throwing a pair of dirty shoes over the victims' shoulder (ibid.:275). Although none of these practices were new in 1990 (Burghart 1996c:316), they signaled a willingness to openly challenge the state and to employ violence in injuring their victims. The moral outrage she describes led to common people being able to act suddenly as punishers, and this inspired an enormous confidence. What followed was a momentum of mass resistance that was contagious and where the usually cautionary measures of resistance were disregarded and people became engulfed in a direct confrontational struggle that eventually led to the downfall of Panchayat rule. This democratic revolution stands as the cornerstone of modern Nepal, the event that transformed subjects of the king into active citizens who could publicly express and contest political views.

13

See Burghart (1984:121). He argues that, after 1960, both the Panchayat democracy and the institution of kingship together came to be seen as representing Nepaliness and 'established an exclusive, natural and non-contractual basis of membership in the polity.'

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While Kondos stresses the protest as an antithesis of authority, I think it is more correct to see it only as an opposition to one form of authority - the royal model that dominated during the Panchayat years. People power also drew on a source of authority, only a completely different one, and the challenge consisted of freeing oneself from the quiescent subjectivity present in the royal model in exchange for an active form of resistance that was made possible in the second form. Richard Burghart provides a succinct analysis of this shift of authority from a teachers' strike during 1984-85, i.e. before Jana Andolan I (Burghart 1996c). The expression of agency within a hierarchical order whereby individuals are subjects of the king and yet part of the same substance does not take the form of speech (ibid.:302) but rather of passivity and self-restraint and this is what accounts for the prevalence of, for instance, chakari and chivalry. In a context where speech is associated with authority, how do subjects come to have the moral authority to speak? Burghart shows that the teachers strike proceeded through three distinct stages that traced the process of gaining a voice independent of the public order, or, more precisely, a voice proper to another conception of political subjectivity. The first move was for the strikers to wear black armbands, a deliberately silent expression of discontent which was just meant to inform one's employer that the workers had a problem, similar to a limb of the body sending a signal back to the brain that something in the body politic is not working. Delicate and tactful, this 'token strike' merely pointed out to a benevolent lord that his subjects were suffering but 'agency [was] still vested in the employer' (ibid.:311). In the next step, the teachers made their discontent public through a lantern procession. While this amounted to a public criticism of the king - 'the kingdom had become so dark from injustice that honest men now found themselves obliged to guide themselves by lantern-light' (ibid.:312) - it was still not vociferous and retained the idiom of kingship. People were still loyal subjects who were pointing out weaknesses in the realm but who expected the king, as the sole figure of authority, to sort out the misery. It was only in the third stage when protestors directly started attacking representatives of the state and forcefully shut down the city that they had gained the authority to act. The ruler was seen as weak and 'a weak ruler is neither empowered nor entitled to rule' (ibid.:314). Only at this point, argues Burghart, did doubt in the legitimacy of the regime appear, and this unleashed the teachers' moral entitlement to act. The procession of the strike through the three stages step by step opened this moral space of agency and at the same time diminished the kings authority. While Burghart's analysis shows very well how the emergence of doubt and hence the transfer of agency to subjects preceded Jana Andolan I, what was born in the 1990 revolution was first and foremost a confidence in the power of ordinary people to

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change the political course of the country. Kondos quotes one of the Jana Andolan participants, who attest to this sense of public strength: 'If we can bring democracy, don't you think we can handle this man who has abused his power ... democracy came from the actions of ordinary people...jana-sakti. We'll show him that we can't be pushed around' (Kondos 1994:282). The reason this history is interesting here is because it shows the establishment of the idea of popular justice that has accompanied the rise of the Maoist movement, and which continues to inform the conception of relevance inherent in present-day activism. The new struggle from below that jana-sakti came to express needed a new locus of authority since it was openly defiant of the established order, and this became the notion of the people, janata. Not in the sense expressed by a shared divine substance channeled through the authority of the king, but janata as the principle of a democratic republic in which it designates, as Zizek writes, the 'part of nopart' (Zizek 2008). The people in this conception are an irreducible principle that has nothing to do with actual individuals. It is just as abstract as the idea of Vishnu and therefore a true locus of authority. What jana-sakti (people power) points to, and the reason Kondos' article is so important, is the simultaneous manifestation of janata as an absolute figure of authority, and common citizens as the legitimate representatives of this force. There are two figures of people present here, and therefore also two distinct forces: there is the 'part of no-part', janata, and then there are the wielders of popular justice, jana-sakti. Kondos focuses on the latter since they are the main protagonists of the revolutionary procedure14 but I think there is analytical leverage in drawing a sharper distinction between the two because this allows us to see the role that Maoist cadres perform in public. As a political force and won through their participation in the Peoples War, the CPN-M embodies the principle of jana-sakti; a condensed and focused form (organization) which can deliver instant and direct justice - and here I quote Kondos' description of jana-sakti 'whose source of power is the people' (Kondos 1994:281), that is, janata. Most of what Kondos describes for the revolutionary activity of ordinary people through the concept of people power applies directly to the Maoists in peacetime: the strong focus on delivering justice and thereby daring to take the law into their own hands; engaging in a struggle where the stakes concern the masses; a principle of 'transgression' that drives them to venture beyond the familiar and the usual; the momentum of collective action; courage.
14

Kondos also indicates the existence of a collective principle that inspires these new modes of action although she clearly struggles to find a proper analytical frame for it. She speaks, for instance, of the existence of a particular kind of collectivity' and 'a consciousness of its particular potentiality' (ibid.:282) as well as claiming that 'the source of power is the people' and that 'a new ontology has emerged' (ibid.:281).

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During times when ordinary citizens are not engaged in revolutions, the CPN-M represents their power and energy, their sakti. Revolutionary modality is not an exclusively Maoist subjectivity since during popular uprisings all citizens become part of these movements. It is just that the cadres are professional revolutionaries, doing this around the clock and for many years to train themselves into being the perfect instruments for janata's will. Cadres thereby come to enact, at least from their perspective, a role that is latently present in society, and which is only impeded by the weight of daily life which ordinary people must bear. It is therefore not simply that collective political action is legitimate, but it is also desirable; it expresses the popular justice that is otherwise only present during jana andolans. In a similar way to how the king is an embodiment of Vishnu (van den Hoek 1990), Maoist cadres also embody, and not just represent, janata in their enactment of jana-sakti. In this scenario, ordinary people once they no longer act in the name of the people and exert people power return to becoming more or less passive spectators to the unfolding events. This is what is implied by the term public, and why their role as witnesses is so central to the cadres' work. The public carry within them the original seeds of jana-sakti and are thus able to sanction cadres' activism as either legitimate or illegitimate expressions of janata's will.

Wi t n e s s i n g t h e s a c r i f i c e The publics role as witnesses therefore carries a special weight, and if we now return to the case of the Unification Parade, it becomes possible to analyze what, exactly, witnessing, implies in the context of a sacrifice. To repeat, the argument here is that camp life prepared cadres by sacralizing them and that it might be fruitful to explore whether public activism can also be understood through the analytical frame of sacrifice. How might julus express a revolutionary sacrifice and what is then the relationship between cadres and the public in the role as witnesses? Sacrifices require a witness in order to be acknowledged as such, and what the public acknowledgment of sacrifice accomplishes is to confer upon it a political legitimacy that it did not and could not attain in the camp.15 If we look at the spatial relation between cadres and the public in the julus, we can analyze how the publics role as witnesses is accomplished; cadres are at the center of the event and the public outside but encircling it. This dynamic replays Hubert & Mauss elaboration on the spatiality of the sacrificial rite. A distinguishing feature of their model of sacrifice that is helpful in per-

15

The notion of the martyr is precisely the political name for a self-sacrifice that has become acknowledged. One of the problems with present-day cadreship, from the Maoist perspective, is accordingly how to turn revolutionary sacrifice into martyrdom to routinize and politicize it.

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ceiving this point lies in the spatial model of their theory of consecration, which describes how objects attain sacrality by being shielded by a 'series of concentric magic circles' wherein sacredness increases as they approach the center where the sacrifice is taking place: in the Hindu rite the construction of the altar consists in describing a magic circle on the ground [it] consist[s] in tracing out a kind of series of concentric magic circles within the sacred area. In the outer circle stands the sacrificer; then come in turn the priest, the altar, and the stake. On the perimeter the religious atmosphere is weak and minimal. It increases as the space in which it is developed grows smaller. The whole activity of the place of the sacrifice is thus organized and concentrated round a single focus (Hubert & Mauss 1964:28-29). By being on the perimeter, the public act as a shield between the cadres' sacrality and the profanity of the outside world and are therefore indispensable to the success of the primary event; in other words, the public can be seen to attain this essential function of marking the weak 'religious atmosphere' on 'the perimeter'. This makes the public accomplices to cadres sacrifice, inasmuch as the witness legitimizes and even facilitates the sacrifice precisely by encircling it. This turns the public into active participants in the sacrifice, and it was for this reason, I would claim, that harnessing a good relationship with the public was so crucial for the YCL. Because they acted as witnesses to the cadres' sacrifice, their blessing was indispensable to the completion of the sacrificial act, and this is what the dual procedure of working for the public through acts of volunteering and working inside the public as in processions, where the latter are reduced to spectators, accomplishes. In processions, the cadre-public relation became endowed with an extra layer of signification, as an event that depended on the latters active support. If we follow this logic through, we can see how from the very moment the cadres moved outside the camp, they called upon the public as witnesses by performing their political identities through discipline, unity, uniformity and resoluteness. Because the public marked the outer ring of the rite, they also marked the point at which sacrality and profanity blended. In other words, inside the ring of the cadre-public relationship, sacrality remained intact and the publics role was to protect cadres from the profanity outside the symbolic circle. The shielding role of the public is thus dual: internal to the sacrificial procedure of the julus in augmenting the sacredness of the cadres by drawing the concentric circles of the ritual space; and external in protecting the sacred persons within the ritual from the pollution threatening it from the outside. The relations cadres form with the public express this duality by, on the one hand, calling on the public as spectators and, on the other, providing gifts and flattery that serve to appease their criti232

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cal evaluation (i.e. volunteering). Witnessing brings together these two features and shows that the public was seen as a powerful agent whose protection was essential for outside work to be successful. Through this encouragement, the public was effectively asked to act as a protective shield around the YCL, between their enemies and themselves. This was possible because of the presence of the public throughout the cadres' sacrificial process. When moving into the camp, it was this public gaze from which they had to be protected, as they were not yet ready to face it, or to live up to its stern judgment. Many cadres waited a long time before telling their family members of their decisions to quit their jobs as laborers and become political cadres, and tried to put off this conversation until they met again. This could take many years and many voluntarily waited much longer than the six months proscribed by camp leaders because they did not feel ready to face them as representatives of a stern, judging public yet.16 When operating outside the camp, as illustrated with the case of the Unification Parade, the public was immediately called upon as spectators even before the cadres reached Jorpati Chowk where the march started from. This re-engagement with an outside gaze was clearly the first stage of the event from the cadres' perspective; it was very important that they demonstrated their cadreness (discipline, resoluteness, unity) because they were being watched and measured, but it was at the same time a way of summoning the public to bless them before they embarked on their work. As such, invoking the public as soon as they stepped out of the camp was the first step in a ritualized process that accompanied the cadres from beginning to end. Although their actual work as paraders was only to start a little later, the protecting shield of the witnesses had to be established at the very moment the cadres stepped out of the camp, preceding, as it were, the actual sacrifice.

I think Himals insecurity with regard to how he should handle talking to his parents, particularly his mother, supports this observation. He felt there were so many things he would like to say about the party, about how he loved the people but was unsure of how to formulate them and, ultimately, of how to make her understand. In the interview where I pressed him to explain what he wanted to say and inadvertently took the mothers perspective, Himal grew impatient and frustrated and simply concluded: She must understand. It was as if he was not yet able to explain it properly to her which turned out to be precisely the case when we finally went to his village and he himself saw this as a sign of his immaturity. After the interview, he told me that he had not replied well enough and that he needed to train more. Fluency in speech is one way of warding of such criticism and also the tool for communicating to the public in the 'words and deeds' model I have followed here. There is an interesting parallel here to the case of Dinka sacrifice where Speech represents the ancestral spirit and hence that which youth must be initiated into when they become adults (see Bloch 1991). Although it is a theme I have not been able to follow up on, there is definitely a sense in which Speech is also what cadres must learn to conquer as an expression of their transformation of consciousness. This was talked about by the cadres as being 'ideologically sound' and was one of the necessary steps for advancement.
16

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Obviously, there is a limit to this parallel between political activism and ritualized sacrifices, and I do not wish to suggest that all work outside the camp adopted this formula or that the theory of spatial consecration is the model through which YCL activism unfolds. It should also be quite clear that this theoretical perspective is not shared by my interlocutors who prefer the political idioms of Maoism and describe their relationships with the public through the notion of the people. Where I see three distinct figures janata, public and cadres they see two: janata and revolutionaries. What I think my analysis shows, however, is the sense in which cadres, from the very moment they became mobilized, embarked on a conflict-ridden and contradictory relationship with several groups of significant others outside the party their families, other youth in the locality, Kathmandu citizens they met qua their identities and work as Maoists and that a significant struggle in finding oneself in the role of the revolutionary cadre had to do with how to relate to and conceptualize party outsiders. The public, as I have shown, was very important to the cadres because they (in the plural, as an expression of a general opinion) underwrote cadres belief in that their activism mattered. My interlocutors desperately wanted their sacrifice to mean something and something which was neither about what the party or they personally benefitted from. If all they met outside the party was criticism, it was very difficult to sustain this idea and cadres were therefore quite concerned about engaging in activities that went against public well-being or met with public resistance. In the last section of this chapter, I want to explore this triadic relationship between janata, the public and cadres in order to show how these are useful categories with which to think about Maoist activism. In addition, the two cases I describe also have distinct spatial qualities that I believe adds to the analysis of activism as building on (in the first case) or directly expressing (in the second case) a sacrificial structure. The first case considers a traffic obstruction (chakkajam) and the second a secret black flag happening.

OB S TR UC TI NG TR AF F IC AND WAVI NG B LACK F LAGS


It is a warm September morning in Kathmandu. The annual rainy season has not been able to break the brown cloud that hovers above the valley and the leaves on the scattered city foliage are quickly covered in dust after an occasional and all too short rainfall. I am cycling through the dirty city to meet the cadres at Chabahil, as I was told only an hour ago that they were not in the camp but participating in a chakkajam - a forced obstruction of traffic. I approach the Chabahil junction from the north and pass by the preceding junction (Gaushala) at the famous Pashupatinath temple. This important Hin234

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du site, as I explained earlier, had been the center of a heated controversy since last December. Gaushala, which was otherwise packed with buses and often controlled by traffic police because commuters rarely obeyed traffic lights, was now half empty. This still meant that there were hundreds of people, including young men who were running first in one direction and then in another, seemingly in response to the truck of anti-riot police (the Armed Police Force) that had just arrived and was unloading its cargo. The regular city police were already in place patiently trying to put out the tires that the protestors kept igniting but it was not until the Armed Police Force arrived that the antagonism turned into a fight (or, rather, chase). I tried to spot my friends from the camp but did not recognize any, although I knew that they had been called upon often to take part in the local battles of the temple priests.17 I got on my bike again and continued northwards towards Chabahil, approximately one kilometer away. The road was empty save for a few people walking on this desolate stretch of the Ring Road, and soon the thick and pitch-black smoke of burning tires filled the horizon. I edged myself past these protest monuments and could now see Chabahil further downhill. I was not surprised to find it full of people and empty of traffic. I was soon asked to get off my bike by a couple of eager young men patrolling the junction but was surprised that they were not cadres from the camp. Instead, I found most of them sitting on the fence by the side of the road, calmly watching the situation. So calmly, in fact, that Tara was reading the paper. A few people were arguing with a minibus driver in the middle of the junction, who eventually volunteered to turn back and, on one occasion when a motorcyclist had entered a bit too far into the chakkajam zone, Tara shouted for someone to take his keys and force him off the bike. As several immediately ran to stop him, he must have decided that the situation was under control and soon returned to his paper. We first try to reason with people, he later explained, and only if they are obstinate do we force them out of their vehicles; they have to understand that we cannot let them pass. The chakkajam is a disruption of traffic for a limited period and in a specific location. On this day, it only lasted from 10 am until noon and, in that period, no vehicles including bicycles were allowed to pass between Gaushala and Chabahil. As this stretch is part of the Ring Road that encircles Kathmandu and Patan and for which no alternative infrastructure exists, it is like cutting a piece out of a water hose; it was a very efficient way of affecting the citys daily, hectic traffic flows and the reason why I could ride my bike so easily between the two junctions (where I was obviously not allowed to cycle). After the party had walked out of the government in May, the cadres
17

This was outside their area of operation and hence it would only be if the Kathmandu District leadership ordered them to that they would help the local YCL branch in Gaushala out.

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were often in a chakkajam as a way of protesting. On this occasion, it was actually the Pashupatinath controversy which had been reignited due to the new Prime Ministers final approval of the Indian priests contract at the temple, and it was therefore very appropriate that the chakkajam took place where it did. But the cadres always participated in chakkajams at Chabahil precisely because this was still their area and was at the same time the closest they could get to the city and its flow without overstepping their boundaries. Chakkajam formed a popular subset of the phenomena of bandh, a forced closedown of an area that includes businesses and traffic. Bandh is an extreme measure because it involves the cooperation of large sections of the population (i.e. the figure of the public) and completely alters the pace of the city. Bandh, including the chakkajam, rely on a measure of cooperation from the public and are thus based on a relationship with the public, just as is the case with julus and popular campaigns. During a bandh, all street-front shops remain closed, and neither private nor public transportation ply the streets. People who work in private businesses not visible from the street can most often sneak their way to work although they have to walk to get there, but public institutions including schools and colleges close down. On one such successful Kathmandu bandh during April 2009, the city changed character dramatically. Gone was the noise and illfumed traffic that otherwise dominates the city, and people flocked to the streets, strolling casually around the wide empty roads. Bandhs are a popular form of protest throughout the country and often concern very local issues.18 In this way, the bandh is the exact opposite of the state-imposed curfew; it is not trying to enforce stability by shutting people in and momentarily filling the public space with absolute authority, but rather trying to disrupt this authority and its routines. The force of the bandh lies in the very idea of disruption, that something which is
18

Bandhs are not only used by CPN-M; in fact, it has become a very popular way of making a statement for a wide range of groups and a website dedicated to warning people of bandhs around the country was established in 2007 and is still recording (as of January 2011) small and large incidents around the country (see www.nepalbandh.com). In the period from June 2007 to January 2011, they had recorded close to 1,800 bandhs, averaging more than one per day. Roads and markets usually become targets but institutions such as schools and colleges also constitute bandhs even though they are private institutions. One should not dismiss the strength of this script of forced closure and it is often used as a protest against institutional management such as padlocking (this is the keyword) the offices at Tribhuvan University to protest at a rise in fees or delays in examinations. Padlocking is ultimately an intra-institutional conflict that does not concern the public nature of the institution; it is not the teaching facilities that are being obstructed by a padlocking, although this would be the case during a bandh. This is amply illustrated by the curious case of prisoners who want to protest against the managerial mistreatment of one of their fellows. What do they do, escape? No, for the conflict is not about rights to freedom but a critique of the management. So, instead they lock the gates of the prisons from the inside so that the prison personnel are locked out of the institution.

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normally open can forcefully be closed down. Rather than targeting people as the curfew does the bandh is after structures the structure of business and traffic. The bandh plays on the same dynamic as the curfew and, by extension, state power but turns the message on its head. Whereas the state, from the perspective of the curfew, prioritizes structural order over human mobility, the bandh disrupts structural power so that people can flow freely again. Much of the cadres outside work consisted of bandhs or similar public disruptions such as dharna (sit-in) where the entrances to governmental offices would be blocked by demonstrating in front of the main gate. Julus, as shown, can also be seen as a form of disruption of city life and, in all cases, this type of spatial havoc was a way of bringing the figure of janata into daily city life. Bandhs, julus and dharnas as the most obvious cases are all shows of force and thereby subject to another authority: the voice of the people, the will of janata. Bandhs express the arrival of janata in the political spectacle and do this through a double move: by enacting a disruption of the official order and by relying on (shifting to) the authority of janata. Chakkajams and other bandhs as routinely expressed by Maoist members were seen as legitimate because they represented a popular resentment. 19 During a conversation I had with Nihal on the meaning of chakkajam, Kamal interrupted us and presented his explanation: I would also like to say something about who does it and why it happens [chakkajams]. When Nepalis demand some basic rights from the government and the government becomes indifferent, then the chakkajam takes place. Also, when a government is speechless, even when the borders are being encroached by India, our daughters and sisters are being raped, and we carry out a chakkajam against the government. We don't do this for entertainment but out of compulsion. In CPN-M symbolism, the chakkajam is turned into an expression of class oppression: daughters and sisters are being raped by the Indian security forces, and they are the downtrodden that represent janata: those who are illegitimately pushed down and whose liberation is passed on to their representatives, the revolutionaries). The janata as the downtrodden which was a very common metaphor used by the cadres thus indicates a repressed figure whose very repression becomes a force for the offensive of the political event. But it also seems to constitute a more fundamental source of energy for cadres because the latter become the representatives out of compulsion (badhetta) of the former. It is reminiscent of vitality of animality that Maurice Bloch describes initiatI discussed in Chapter 3 how some cadres decision to beat the priests was seen as a command from janata; it was the people who were the real authority behind that decision and thus behind the appropriate use of force.
19

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ed youth must consume in order to return to life (Bloch 1991). In this reading, the force of janata is called forth like ancestral spirits not only to legitimize but also to invigorate cadres work. Bandhs express this relationship to janata very strongly. It brings janata into the city as a disruptive force, as if it were an energy that the cadres could wield like a weapon. When Tara commanded that the chakkajam intruder be stopped, he was therefore speaking in the voice of janata, from their position of anger, and against the figure of the public, here in the form of the pacified post-revolutionary citizen who has to rely on professional cadres to embody people power. Tara's assurance that cadres try to convince people to leave before they force them to illustrates the complicated relationship between janata and the public at play here. While Tara must obey the command of janata and enforce this law upon the space that cadres momentarily hold, he must be wary of treating a representative of the public with disrespect due to the necessity of its allegiance. But as the janatas command is absolute because it represents a return from repression and hence an unstoppable process akin to revolutionary progressions (i.e. class struggle), there is no doubt as to the end result of this small battle. If necessary Tara must therefore impose his will upon the intruding motorcyclists because, in this space that the chakkajam represents, it is the authority of janata which reigns, and cadres are its servants.

Black Flag event as a sacrificial rite In some cases, the disruptive force of janata was expressed very vividly. A persistent agenda for the Maoist party was the transformation of rule from monarchy to republic, as explained above. We can see in this the related claim that to rule on behalf of the people is incompatible with royalty because it involves another authority, that of the Hindu gods. For Maoists this is problematic because it legitimizes the rule of one class those that hold the key to divine grace over another, and hence represents a corruption of power; the power of the wrong authority. On September 4, 2009 more than a year after becoming a republic the erasure of religious authority from the state mechanism threatened to become blurred by the Presidents official inauguration of the Indra Jatra festival. This inauguration used to be performed by the king and was a way for the virgin goddess Kumari to bless his rule - incidentally one of the founding rituals of royal authority employed by the founder of Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah, after his conquest of the Kathmandu Valley in the 18th century (Riaz & Basu 2007:135). This ceremony

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and the seven days of festivities it heralds cannot commence unless this initiation is made.20 The Maoists now no longer in government were forced to react to this constitutional breach of the oath of republican governance.21 But whereas bandhs were not illegal if they were announced beforehand at least this is what I was told by the camp leaders what they were about to embark upon now was. After dalbhat, everyone assembled in front of the camp, this time without their uniforms, and marched at quite a leisurely pace down to Jorpati Chowk to catch a bus. Although it was clear that they were well-prepared all wearing their running shoes and no extra unnecessary frills this was not an official event and hence also not one that involved the public, yet. In other words, the publics blessing was not necessary this time, or at least not at the outset. The bus took them downtown to New Road, an upmarket street of electronics shops and a shopping mall. More importantly, it is also the traffic vein connecting the secular seats of power the government building and the large parade grounds to the ancient royal authority, the religious center of the Durbar Square. The street itself marks this passage because whereas the first section is lined with extravagant shops on both sides and is a thoroughly modern consumer street, the secular flow suddenly stops at the entrance to Durbar Square, the traffic is redirected and all foreigners must pay a fee to enter. Instead of expensive imported goods, the few shops before the actual square sell traditionally produced curd and cows milk a holy substance by Hindu reckoning. A long, rustic chain marks the entrance to the Durbar Square area, and thus signals the passage from secular to religious power with its important metonymic extensions: on one side modernity and consumerism, on the other history and traditional produce.22 It was this line that the President was going to transgress and thereby corrupt - from a Maoist republican perspective - his political mandate by polluting it with an old form of power. We had arrived at 2 pm, knowing that the Presidents convoy would pass at some point, and we casually lined the narrow sidewalk waiting for his arrival. There was nothing to indicate the event that was about to unfold; although we were all within the near vicinity of each other, cadres stood and sat in different places, some in small groups, some alone, some around the corner and Pradeep and Nischal sat down next to a

The presidents enactment of the former kings role was one reason why the Maoists scornfully referred to him as the little King. 21 Interestingly, the previous year, when the Maoists were in government, they had let the processions happen, illustrating just how fragile such an absolute measure of justice is in day-today politics. The former King Gyanendra, however, was forcefully turned away by party cadres when he tried to receive the Kumari's blessing. 22 See Mark Liechty for a fine historical analysis of the New Road area (Liechty 2010).
20

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blind beggar playing music and talked a while with him. It was all very casual and also very slow. We waited for more than two hours in this way before anything happened. As time passed, cadres became tenser. Whenever a dark, exclusive-looking vehicle approached, everyones attention stiffened to see whether it was the right one, and on several occasions cadres actually stepped out onto the road and put a hand in their pocket as if preparing for some kind of action. But when it turned out to be false alarm, they swiftly stepped back and resumed their laid-back positions. I had tried to pass the time by asking Ashmi and Damini about the difference between two branches of the YCL but they had quickly hushed me up and said that they did not want to talk about this here. Suraj leaned over and told me quietly: We dont want the police to know we are here; that way we may avoid getting arrested. Despite their seeming relaxedness, the cadres were thus quite disciplined in not giving away their identity, appearing as casual denizens hanging out in a flashy part of Kathmandu, and increasingly turning their attention towards the event that was about to unfold. Traffic on New Road had now come to a complete halt, except for official vehicles approaching the ceremony, and the cadres could therefore freely step onto the road when the long black car with the two small Nepali flags on the front finally appeared. Its the president, its the president and quickly everyone stormed into the street, pulling small folded black flags that they had hidden in their pockets out in front of the passing convoy of vehicles. People flocked to the street, several hundreds of them, all waving their black flags energetically and cheering loudly at their own success. My God, they made it, my assistant shouted in exasperation, they pulled it off. See how many people there are. They are everywhere. As soon as the show was over it lasted less than a minute Rohit told us to leave. Its over, he said. They had succeeded in pulling off their event and this was enough. It was time to go. But what was it exactly that had happened here? Why was it effective to merely wave a piece of black cloth at the impenetrable metal fortress that carried the president to his destination? From the perspective of the state ceremony that was about to unfold, nothing had changed, and the violent clashes between police and rioters that followed involved neither the president nor our cadres who had (both) completed their work. Yet it was evident that a significant battle had been won by the cadres. They were very happy at the outcome of the event and it marked a milestone in the partys recent call to the YCL for all public performances of the President and the PM to be disrupted. But how was this disruption? Waving black flags is part of an historical political repertoire in Nepal as a way of showing discontent with political leaders. It was, for instance, used in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Rana regime when anti-Indian sentiment

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resulted in Jawaharlal Nehru (the then President of India) being met by demonstrators waving black flags at the airport upon his arrival in May 1954 (Hoftun et al 1999:39). It is a very strong expression of disagreement, possibly because it is a collective opposition all demonstrators are speaking with one voice but even more so because it can be seen as an unconditional rejection. As with the burning of effigies, it signals that we are beyond words and dialogue and, in this sense, it is a complete dismissal of a political figure that erupts through public resentment.23 Pradeep had warned me that we might be arrested and should be very careful, and his words reflect that this type of protest was highly charged and would provoke a strong reaction which it did. Riot police quickly arrived and started chasing those remaining on New Road away, hitting them with their long wooden sticks.24 If black flags can be seen as a total rejection of a political figure, what is it that actually performs this operation? In other words, what is the voice that rejects? If cadres had merely succeeded in showing that members of the CPN-M disagreed with the presidents visit to a religious site, this would hardly have been surprising, given their long championing of Nepals change to a republic, and the fact that they were now in opposition. It is doubtful that this would have led to the cadres satisfaction at the demonstration, or that of my awe-gaping assistant who recognized the significance of the event (as did, obviously, the riot police). It would, then, not have been enough to disrupt symbolically but had to take a more manifest form as julus or chakkajams did. It was precisely the strength of the symbolism, I would argue, that constituted this as a proper sacrifice for the people. The black flags are not mere cloths of an inauspicious color that signal unity among the demonstrators; they can be seen - in this case at least - as the very embodiment of janata. When cadres waved their black flags, what they were unleashing from their pockets was the powerful spirit of janata, and it was pitch-black to show the impersonator of corrupt power that janata was angry. Such a show of brute force can be likened to the penetrating gaze of gods in Hinduism,25 or the
23

This seems to contrast with Burghart's claim that the wearing of black armbands is the only possible expression of discontent in a public sphere where the subaltern does not have the authority to speak as discussed above. Ye, black flags are part of a decisively collective protest and the context in both 1954 and in 2009 was not one of a stifled public sphere in which only a royal voice of authority was present. 24 Although I had thought I could escape this charge I also had to hide with the others. The cadres, however, had been wise enough to leave and it was only my curiosity that had kept me at the scene. But fighting was not what the event was about for the cadres. 25 See, for instance, Lawrence Babbs discussion on the interaction between divinity and devotee as a relationship between seeing and being seen (Babb 1981). The divinitys gaze is thought to be so powerful that being caught unprepared in its line of sight can be fatal, although it is similarly the sacredness of the divine gaze that becomes the source of grace. Devotees therefore wish to be seen by their gods but they have to prepare themselves to receive this powerful gaze.

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sacredness of the divine in studies of sacrifice (Hubert & Mauss 1964), which is also the link I have tried to trace here between janata and divine spirits. It is such a powerful gesture that it immediately strips the assailant of his or her veil of legitimacy. Before the eyes of the spirits, in front of the true voice of janata, all must stand naked, and it is this penetrating curse from below that shakes the ground beneath the leaders feet. By being met with these miniature spirits on the way down the road, it is as if the critical voice of the janata was warning him of the sin he was about to commit in crossing the line separating secular and royal authority, and this warning or declaration was evident enough; it turned, it seemed, the otherwise festive ceremonies into a symbolic funeral parade. Cadres and janata allowed the president to pass because he had already been defamed and desacralized. Whatever he commits after this fateful rendez-vouz with his benefactors is insignificant because he has been rendered insignificant in the eyes of the public. Once again, it is authority that performs the significant operation here, the authority of janata. In the black flag event, it must be smuggled in as a de Certeauean tactic and not allowed to rule through force, as in the chakkajam where it, in his vocabulary, becomes a strategy (de Certeau 1984). What separates the first case from the second is, then, the shift from a strategy to a tactic. In the chakkajam, cadres had occupied the territory and could issue commands (i.e. strategies) to deal with trespassing (tactics) but, in the black flag procession, they had to employ the space of the tactical: hiding and bursting out in surprise attacks as the enemy approached. Kondos also referred to such a strategy of 'making do' as part of a pre-andolan repertoire of displaying resistance. De Certeaus convincing hypothesis that strategy is power is, however, given an interesting twist here. Cadres clearly command the space of the chakkajam and they can therefore force deviant behavior into the hegemonic script, into rule or law (another strategy component). I think, however, the cases show that there is something to be gained through the unexpected outburst of a suppressed voice, by the symbolic guerilla attack on a public parade. Cadres were effectively putting the small powerful spirits in their pockets before leaving the sacred arena of the camp, and they then carried them unnoticed through all the profanity of the city, as if carrying something of extreme value that must remain hidden so as not to lose its power.26 Only at the right moment, when all the components of the ritual were in place the territory marked for the sacrifice (the street was sealed off from regular traffic in anticipation of the President's convoy); the public surrounding the event and thereby shielding it from the profane outside; and the
26

I did, in fact, not know what they had in their pockets or what was going to happen in New Road, so the curiosity I recount above is quite genuine: it was mine!

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victim approaching the altar dressed in power were the spirits brought out wielding their terrible power. Because they were hidden until the last moment, nobody noticed that what was supposed to be a ceremonial ritual had turned into a sacrifice of the president's political being. Even before he could cross the polluting line to the Durbar Square, New Road had become a magic circle with everything prepared for the sudden arrival of the janata that could turn the entire ceremonial edifice around. The president thought he was riding to increase his power by sealing it with a drop of royal authority but instead he rode through a sacrificial ritual that stripped him of his political persona. This is why Durbar Square from the perspective of cadreship that is became his coffin and not his throne. Unprepared, he had passed through the republican altar on his way to the royal compound so that, when he entered the latter, he had been reduced to a naked and bloated person, desacralized and rejected by those who had temporarily allowed him to rule. It was the symbolic force of janata, I would argue, which turned the presidential ceremony into a political sacrifice. He was not prepared to meet divinity before entering Durbar Square, and he was most certainly not prepared to meet it in the form of janata, very angry at the betrayal he was about to commit. That the punishment came before the crime only confirms the omnipotent power of janata; their authority is total, their gaze is relentless. By carrying them in their pockets, the cadres wielded a terrifying weapon and one which they had to be properly prepared to use. It was the cadres' sacredness their extensive sacrifices in the camp that turned the black cloth into such a potent weapon because it established an affinity between cadres and the figure of janata. This is in line with Hubert & Mauss' prescription of sacrifice, that it describes a process of increased sacralization and, in their analysis, the sacrifier is also often physically separated from society and hence profanity in order to gain the sacredness necessary to meet the divine substance. All those years, they have prepared themselves to represent janata, to carry it hidden in their pockets or openly in strategic commands. And as long as they continuously sacrifice themselves, this is the force given to them by its authority. The tactical maneuver becomes more effective more powerful in a way because the spirit is compressed and hidden, similar to the way the repression of the people compacts their energy and prefigures a tremendous outburst. Bringing janata into the public arena through such sudden eruption plays on a symbolism of a compacted energy source that is released all at once. We do not have to look far to find a parallel. Due to the history of the CPN-M, it is not wholly improbable to think of the use of janata here as a process that is reminiscent of explosions a very common tactic during the Peoples War. Pradeep once entertained cadres by explaining how he made bombs out of

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pressure cookers. It was difficult work and they would hide in the jungle for over a week just making pressure cooker bombs even though they had nothing to eat. He was now so proficient in bomb making, he claimed, that he could make bombs with his bare hands. In a way, the black flags are also small bombs, representing janatas wrath. It is a condensed spirituality that, when abruptly released, is terrifying and, as with bombs, cadres have to learn to construct them, carry them to their site of detonation and use them properly. This is what it means to be a revolutionary during a political phase: to live in the jungle (camp), learn how to make bombs with your bare hands (labor and renunciation), travel to battle (disciplined entry to the outside) and discharge the raw energy that one has so meticulously constructed on the head of the enemy.

C ONC LUS I ON
The figure of janata belongs to outside the camp. This is where it can be called forth and used to invade the city, and to make itself heard as a powerful voice in political battles. By bringing janata into action in this way, the cadres relevance as mediums in this process becomes very clear and actualizes the sacrificial component of their mobilization; they have become the instruments of janatas authority, representing its will. Their activism when properly conducted therefore assumes the character of the sacrifice, with the public as witnesses and themselves as sacrifier between the public and the divinity that janata represents. The chapter has traced the changes to revolutionary sacrifice which follow from engaging in public party work as both a contrast to and a continuation of camp life, and its more introvert sacrifices. From this perspective, we can see how camp sacrifices functioned as preparation, connecting the months and years cadres spent in their sections with politically meaningful activist procedures. In their activist work, the cadres impact on the unfolding of political events and hence on the revolutionary progression changed significantly, from being one that was almost entirely outside its flow to becoming one of its most vivid expressions. Through participation in public work, cadres momentarily obtained the quality of the avant-garde beyond its mere moral overtones that leaders had proscribed for them; here they could experience being part of an important unfolding of political potentiality, which they were spearheading through their discipline, focus and special political experience, sacrality. It is quite unsurprising, then, that there was a close relationship between cadres participation in activist happenings and their loyalty to revolutionary subjectivity. Going through the quite arduous processes of sacrificial preparation removed from ordinary social life was not going to make a whole lot of sense if it did not lead to political activ244

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ism and remained instead a private, and hence non-political, sacrifice. From this perspective, what public sacrifices accomplished was to reinvigorate the camp sacrifices; cadres successes in public events made the preparation worthwhile and, indeed, meaningful. To further explore this feedback mechanism from public to private (camp) sacrifices, I turn now to the last chapter, which brings in the final and most conspicuous element of revolutionary sacrifice, namely violence against corrupt youth.

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When not engaged in forms of protest, such as the julus and bandhs discussed in the previous chapter, cadres activism were either encapsulated in the trope of volunteering, swayamsebak, where the purpose was to directly assist the public, or the trope of security, suraksha, that had as its overall goal to protect other party members or the public against enemies. This chapter explores cadres security work with particular focus on the form of security where the goal was to defend the public. The question I seek to address in this chapter is why security has taken such a central role in YCLs public manifestations. Unlike volunteering which was seen as a way of combining political work with social work according to my interlocutors, security work drew on a different set of ideas that built on the figure of the enemy and its opposition to both the public and the party. What was so political about doing security that it legitimized becoming a considerable focus for YCLs activism? In these efforts at securitizing the public, I shall argue, what happens is that the sacrificial victim which has so far primarily been cadres themselves, becomes externalized and pushed on to an exterior, tangible enemy. It is through security work, in particular, that cadres transform the internalization of the camp sacrifice into an aggressive sacrifice. This describes not only the climax of the sacrifice but at the same time the high-point of cadres public assertiveness thereby connecting the processes of sacrifice with the political expressions of YCL activism. The most potent aspect of revolutionary sacrifice occurs around the figure of the victim. In the history of the CPN-M, this has been acknowledged through the tradition and institutionalization of martyrdom, whereby death has been signified as an element of the political struggle. Martyrs are victims of the revolution, people who have given their lives so that others may benefit from their accomplishments and, in this sense, martyrdom is regenerative of the socio-political order, bringing about the hopeful prospect of a New Nepal, as well as the urge for new recruits to follow the blessed example of martyrdom; as Marie Lecomte-Tilouine aptly writes, Kill one, he becomes a hundred (Lecomte-Tilouine 2006). Martyrdom is an exchange of the most radical kind, in

SECURITIZING THE PUBLIC

which a life is offered in return for the community and its ideals, and the power of the Maoists political project can be gauged by its ability to generate martyrs. During the Peoples War, martyrdom was the primary category of sacrificial victim within the CPN-M; one gave ones life to the revolution, and this was the honorific script of successful cadreship. But what has happened to the victim with the cessation of violent confrontation and the absence of death as a regenerative sacrifice? In this chapter, I conclude on the question of revolutionary sacrifice in the CPNMs political transition by looking at the role of the victim. The victim, as Hubert & Mauss remind us (1964), is that figure which undergoes the most extreme change during the sacrificial rite, in some cases even perishing, and it is the release of sacred energy facilitated by the victims transformation that constitutes the rituals source of energy. Without victim, there is no sacrifice. While the victims in the camp were the cadres themselves, or part thereof through their labor, time and immorality, outside the camp sacrifice changed character and was redirected at an external victim. In order to understand how this affects revolutionary sacrifice, I shall employ Maurice Blochs analysis of initiation (1991) to argue that the prototypical external victim represents the same kind of core substance that define cadres self-sacrifice, namely youth. It is their own youth that cadres sacrifice when moving into the camp, and it is others youth that is sacrificed through activism. This figure of youth at the heart of sacrifice ties together the thesis and defines the symbolic operations of post-war cadreship, that is, the reproductive dynamic of youth in politics. I start with a description of security work, then turn to a discussion of securitization, followed by the figures of corrupt youth as that which security work targets, and lastly analyze the symmetrical relationship between cadres and their victims, which accounts for its sacrificial potentiality. The chapter is thus not concerned with mapping the diverse forms of assertive activism that YCL cadres engage in but to understand one specific aspect of their public engagement and to analytically draw connections between cadres non-public camp preparations and the expressions that a large subset of public campaigns take.

DOI NG S ECURITY
The game started at 2:30 pm. By that time, the stadium was full with people. 15 minutes after the game started, groups and groups of people started crossing the North East wall ... One policeman started beating them with his stick and he was followed by another police man. But, it was out of control since the group was so big. Eventually, YCL cadres (not our friends) took the police sticks and started beating the mass. It was controlled for a while. 247

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But later, they [lost] control of the mass. In the end, when the game ended with Nepals victory, spectators crossed the fence of the stadium and ran to the players. The policemen also ran after them and beat some of them. But there was a lot of excitement and sensation so that nobody could control the masses. Our friends were motionless at that time as if it was clear that controlling the mass did not fall under their duty. This quote is from my research assistants observations during the final match of the Prime Minster (PM) Cup during the month of March, in which the Nayabasti cadres had been assigned to a section that remained calm and they were therefore motionless. In such situations, cadres illustrated that they were not merely volunteering to assist in the smooth operation of an event, but had a much more fundamental role to play. They had specific duties and this did not involve preventing spectators from breaching the lines separating players from onlookers. Cadres talked of such duties as suraksha (security) and it described how they were assigned to ensure calm and order in their area of operation. When talking of the PM Cup, several alternated between using swayamsebak (volunteering) and suraksha to indicate that whereas they provided a voluntary service to the sports council for which they were only reimbursed their bus tickets, what they were actually doing at the stadium (in most cases) was guarding against unsanctioned behavior in their place of assignment. This was doing security (suraksha garnu), ensuring that public order was maintained by preventing individuals from breaching it. Suraksha constituted something of an archetypal task of the YCLs work in public. It was the goal of winning the CA elections that had been the YCLs major assignment during its first years and the YCL was responsible for protecting the polling booths in their areas of operation, particularly to ensure that rival party cadres did not cheat and capture the booth.1 YCLs central role in winning the CA elections was often congratulated during my fieldwork when party leaders addressed their youth wing. Among the cadres, it was similarly significant, and most of the camps members and around half of the section cadres had been part of this important operation. Like the Jana Andolan II in 2006, it became a party event that one could be proud of having taken part in. During my fieldwork, the Free Student Union (FSU) elections provided a similar important frame for the cadres to do security.2 The YCL was mobilized by the Maoist
1

A magnificent account of how such local politics is carried out in Nepal is provided by Manjushree Thapa in her award-winning novel The Tutor of History (Thapa 2001). 2 FSU elections in Nepal are a national affair, as also mentioned in Chapter 4. This has been documented by Amanda Snellinger in her detailed work with the Nepali student unions, and she argues that because they are career links to national party politics for its members, its elections can be seen as exercises in parliamentary democracy in which cadres train to become politicians (Snellinger 2007). Student Unions also carry a historical legacy as legal fronts for the political parties and their internal battles have therefore always been seen to reflect the national battle between the three major parties (NC, UML, CPN-M). For this and other reasons, the FSU elections are followed closely by the national media, they mobilize

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Student Union, ANNISU-R, to assist with security during these events. Nayabasti was assigned to two central campuses downtown, one in which the political battle between the parties was quite fierce, and also the one that they were most often called out to work for. Bajra was traditionally a stronghold of the arch-rival Nepal Student Union (the student wing of the Nepali Congress party) and, in effect, became a back-up force for the ANNISU-R leadership. In the weeks preceding the elections scheduled for March 19, cadres participated in two large events although camp leaders often went to Bajra to meet and discuss with their ANNISU-R colleagues, and cadres were on standby to react if ANNISU-R cadres were attacked at the college. On the first occasion, cadres participated in a CPN-M cultural program a dramatized performance of song and dance recounting scenes from the Peoples War and including political speeches by campus ANNISU-R leaders. The cadres were sitting among the spectators, a few taking notes of the speeches, while some of the leaders patrolled the campus area. The second time, they were assigned a more specific role to handle security for Baburam Bhattarai, a senior Maoist leader, who was giving a speech at the campus, and the cadres were divided into two sections guarding the two entrances to the stage. I talked to one of the Section Commanders about the work immediately after Bhattarai had left. Compact and strong, Prabir was only 19 but he had fought during the Peoples War and belonged to the category of seniors who very soon after moved out of the camp. He clarified: Since the CA elections it has been easy to provide security. Before the CA we used to travel in the dark of night undercover. Today, we were also a little extra alert because of the security incident yesterday [where one of the ANNISU-R members had been attacked by rival groups at the campus] and, unlike the previous program, which was also education, this time we were here purely for security. Security of this kind was mainly for the protection of leaders. Whereas the first program also involved education listening to speeches by their leaders and playing out the crucial function of leaders as guides (and cadres as apprentices) as discussed in Chapter 3 they were effectively in place to make sure that the program could be carried out without interruption. So while the junior cadres were sitting among the spectators and watching the performance, several Nayabasti leaders were circling the campus area and checking people out who were standing further away from the show to forestall a potential attack on the performers.

the mother parties support and become central political spectacles that involve several weeks of political events and recurring clashes between the opposing parties.

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In the second instance, however, cadres acted more clearly as security guards.3 This role was best served, I was to see, by not wearing their uniforms and hence being invisible to the public eye. Tara explained this to me after they had been called to another security incident at the national university in Kirtipur a few weeks after the election (votes were still being counted and fought over at Kirtipur many weeks after election day). I had asked how they could provide security if they were unrecognizable and Tara answered: We have to be invisible if we have to react, there would otherwise be a lot of publicity. We stand in the crowd to provide security for our friends and leaders so that they are not attacked ... If we are not in our dress there is less risk of being noticed. People will simply say that there was an attack between students. But even though other students do not recognize us we are providing protection. If there is fighting we try to convince them to stop and if they don't we'll react. Prabir also stressed the need for invisibility in the FSU elections. It was particularly accomplished by not wearing their uniform. People dont know we are here, he said, and we dont want them to know. On election day, March 19, cadres security role was broader than merely protecting leaders. They had already arrived by 3 am just to make sure they were the first there and could thus prevent any form of early sabotage. At 6 am, voters started lining up outside the campus. The cadres had various roles on that day. During the morning, some had taken part in dancing and cheering for the ANNISU-R in small snake-like processions in front of the campus but, since then, they had been entirely focused on their security work. They had stood scattered in small groups along the wall on the other side of the street from the college entrance with the different leaders above section structure going back and forth passing messages. A group of seven cadres (the most junior ones) had been assigned to a different college but, by noon, they had come and joined the rest. Throughout the day, they just stood and waited; with the street completely packed with people, they were inconspicuous, invisible in fact. Although there was lot of commotion and spontaneous sloganeering, no fights erupted at this college and, consequently, the cadres stayed on their guard without being activated.4

Several CPN-M leaders have equipped themselves with security guards from the PLA; Prachanda, for instance, was being guarded by more than two handfuls of PLA soldiers until their recent return to the cantonments at the start of the reintegration programs (News from June 6, 2011, www.nepalnews.com). Bhattarai had not brought along his own security team on that day and that was why the YCL cadres were given the task of guarding him during the program. 4 Less than 500 meters away, people were clashing with riot police, hurling stones, and several tear gas bombs were thrown by the police. But this incident was related to another college and did not interfere with the voting at Bajra.

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Doing security conformed to YCLs fundamental image as guardians of public order. A recurrent theme within the organization was its ability to combat crime, and during the first years of its operations before the CPN-M won the CA election YCL conducted several high-profile anti-crime campaigns. During my fieldwork, YCL members spoke with pride of how they were more efficient than the police in catching criminals and that locals would therefore often call on the YCL if there was a security incident. With its tight command-structure and ready availability of cadres in the camps, a few phone calls would be enough to quickly mobilize a section unit. In this role, the YCL considered itself to be an intermediary between the public and the police since it possessed the discipline and man-power necessary for instituting order and would then hand over its victims to the authorities. The expressions of security as a way of instituting public order were well reflected in the two cases presented above. At the football stadium, for instance, their principal task was not to prevent fighting but to keep order within the bounds of their authority, and since there had not been any commotion in the sections that the Nayabasti cadres guarded, there had been no reason to react. A similar logic applied to the FSU elections. Here, maintaining order was about the smooth running of the elections, and cadres were deliberately posted just across from the entrance to the college which was the scene where they anticipated disruption. In a narrow door into the college, two security guards were checking peoples credentials before letting them in to vote, and cadres feared that they could easily be overpowered by a group of cheaters. It was this gate and this admission procedure that they were carefully watching to prevent irregularities. As Kamal explained to me when I queried him about his perception of security work many months later: As far as I know security means to control any disruption in programs. Sometimes we do that. When decisions come from the upper bodies, our enemies might try to oppose this, and to control it, we do security. Security thus became a way of instituting order and the kind of participation this required was precisely the withdrawn discipline cadres had trained in the camp and which they also made use of in other cases of activism: in their withdrawn presence during the chakkajam; their hidden waiting in the black flag procession; and their uninterrupted guarding of the election procedures that meant they could not leave their post for the entire day. Cadres role here was reminiscent of soldiering, or patrolling, whereby they waited in a disciplined manner until they were activated These all testified to a distinct way of bringing order through alertness, discipline and, if necessary, swift reaction.

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Suraksha as a type of engagement with the outside is interesting because it brings janata in to perform quite a different role than when cadres are disrupting city flows or political authority. In those cases, as I showed in Chapter 7, it is janatas wrath or suppression which returns by compulsion, and cadres are merely the loyal mediums for this energy. Security work also manifests janatas will but, this time, it is a much more neutral power. Consider how Bijay formulates their security work during a boxing and wushu5 tournament. I had asked him if they were not afraid after all, these were martial arts experts - and Bijay had particularly stressed the risk that the loser might attack his competitor after the game: No [we were not afraid]. We have a mandate from the people [janata]. We are volunteering for the people, so it is not us who are scared, it is they who are scared of YCL and they won't dare do anything to us. Janata is protective of the cadres because they have volunteered for them, or, in my analysis, sacrificed themselves when becoming activists and, in this process, gained a direct relationship with janata as those whom they are representing. Bijays use of volunteering here is instructive, for although it is reminiscent of the volunteering they do for the public in order to entice them, volunteering here performs a special kind of representation that protects cadres from harm. It is a force that injects them with sacrality and against which the profanity of the outside poses no danger. The same way cadres can wield the force of janata because they have cleansed themselves of the most polluting profanity, cadres stand between the public and the janata, representing the latters immanent will while enjoying its protection. The mandate cadres expressed when disrupting social order through chakkajam, julus and bandh was, in security work, used for precisely the opposite purpose to create or restore order. While most of the suraksha cases I have described so far primarily concern preventing an undesirable calamity from occurring, cadres janata mandate becomes particularly strong when used to impose a specific vision of the social on society; that is, to impose a moral order.

P R OTEC TI NG THE P UB LI C
The links between the YCL and public order replayed the revolutionarys role as an intermediary between the public as a dormant expression of jana-sakti (people power) and the idiom of janata as the site of democratic authority (see Chapter 7). From this perspective, YCL as the avant-garde of the Maoist revolution had a special role to play in protecting the public against anti-revolutionary impurities. During the Black Flag
5

A Chinese full-contact martial arts discipline.

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event that I recounted in the previous chapter, for example, Pradeep and Nischal had been chatting with a blind beggar on the curb while waiting for the event to unfold. The reason for this, I was told, was to test whether he was cheating about his handicap and when he got up and walked away, he bumped into several of the cadres as if he could not see them which would, of course, be the perspective from blindness. But the cadres were not impressed and teased him with comments like :youre exaggerating. For a movement which claims legitimacy because it represents the true voice of janata, the pollution of this substance must be controlled. Pradeep and Nischal were, in this sense, checking on the beggars true identity as a janata, on his authenticity as downtrodden and dispossessed. Public disturbances that the YCL is seeking to control through doing security seems to be an extension of this principle whereby the public risks being polluted by a non-revolutionary substance and it was significant that YCL was in other ways given the tasks of establishing order: cadres would, for instance, be charged with creating new youth organizations to prevent restless teenagers in local villages from becoming a problem, clearly a pre-emptive move; and Pradeep had as one of his public roles to mediate in local neighborhood disputes that were irrelevant for regular law enforcement but not for Maoist ideas of social order. Reminiscent of examples of vigilantism (Buur & Jensen 2004; Sundar 2010), security work in the YCL expressed the moral visions of the Maoist movement and were therefore not simply about upholding the law but about implementing a particular perspective on order a social and moral one on the public. Following from these concerns with keeping the public clean of anti-revolutionary substances, YCLs security work had as one of its primary goal to control vandalism. Ravi, who had been the In-Charge of Nayabasti before Pradeep, offered his perspective on how he saw the relationship between CPN-Ms political program and vandalism. He had been a member already during the armed phase and therefore had a longer perspective on the revolutionary successes than the younger cadres. Despite the partys victory in the elections and the promises of the new consensus phase, he was far from happy. He was content with the democratic process, which meant that people were no longer killed, but he felt that all the things they had fought for fundamental rights for people had not been fulfilled. This is because, as he explained: vandals are not letting us work. For the YCL, vandalism represented a disruptive social force, one that took pleasure in destruction. The word most often used to refer to this figure was gunda, meaning rascal, goon or gangster. When speaking to cadres about the FSU elections, this was the term used to describe the real battle that the elections represented. During a group interview with five of the cadres, gunda was constantly referred to as the backdrop both to

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the election and to those they were fighting or providing security against. Here is a condensed transcript of the more than one-hour long interview in which gunda was used: Bijay: I think if the revolutionary [ANNISU-R] wins, vandalism will not be there, and it shouldn't. Shyam: This election is basically to distinguish vandals from the real communists. Bibek: Others vandalise and kill people but in contrast we give good things to the people. Shyam: I think the distinction between the two [elections] is that in the CA elections people can choose which party should lead the country but in the student elections, the choice is between vandals and ANNISU-R Those who are rich and who don't like change they vote for vandals and smugglers. Nihar: In the colleges, it is the supporters of the NSU [Nepal Student Union] that are vandals. Bijay: Students search for good organizations in the campuses and it [student unions] provides security by controlling vandalism so security is a concern for them. Gunda is used here to refer both to the rival political organization and to its supporters, and these ways of using gunda turns it into a metaphor for destruction that can be seen to be linked to class positions: those that are rich and the supporters of the NSU which is the student union of the conservative Nepali Congress party and has been CPN-Ms major political enemy since the Peoples War. Vandalism is therefore not only an irruptive force but also an immanent one; it is a force that resides in society and threatens to burst out if not kept at bay and controlled. Damini explained, for instance, that she was afraid of saying that she was a YCL cadre when going on her own to her village because I might run into vandals. It was a lurking danger, not unlike the way Maoist cadres were themselves feared during the Peoples War as non-human beings that came out of the jungle (Pettigrew 2008). Vandalism could be kept down through security, as Bijay makes clear in the last comment above. Security targets vandalism and controls it. Here vandalism is joined by another central figure that is in need of control, namely tyape. Tyape are usually recognized as cocky individuals, people who are smart and who do not want to recognize

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the cadres authority.6 During a chakkajam where cadres had to enforce their will more forcefully, Kamal recounted how tyape started opposing them and hitting the cadres that were telling them to get off their bikes. Tara similarly explained how one tyape had beaten Keshar during a bandh and, when they finally found the culprit, they realized he had a bad reputation for stealing in his community and they threatened him by saying that they would come after him if he ever stole again or obstructed their programs in that way. What emerges from this discussion is how cadres role as guardians of the public order gave rise to quite distinct figures of the enemy within. In this regard, YCLs security work reminisces of processes of securitization which denotes not the actual act of instituting order but the discursive one of marking something as an object of a security concern (Buzan et. al 1997). Securitization rests on a superior agents ability to structure a field through discursive procedures in order to physically transform it and this was also cadres security concern; to rid the public of gunda and tyape. As a strategy of order, securitization therefore establishes not only the figure of the enemy but at the same time the idea of the desirable community, of that which must be protected, and it is a similar idealization which pertains to YCLs security work with the public on the one side and vandals on the other. The public, as I explained in the previous chapter, act as witnesses to cadres sacrifice in two senses: they must protect cadres from profanity, and we can now see that the strongest expression of this anti-sacredness are the vandals with their immoral behavior. But the public also possess the dormant seed of jana-sakti, which is what allows them to actively support cadres, since cadres are, from a political point of view, a perfection of the public and must occupy themselves with daily affairs and the resulting 'openness' of 'word and deed' that this necessarily leads to. The public are, in other words, unfocused and not in a revolutionary mode. This does not mean that they are corrupt, however, just dormant, and tyape and gunda threaten this purity within the public. The threat of corruption that vandals pose can thus be seen as the anti-thesis to the revolutionary alliance between cadres, the public and janata: Janata is all revolution, its very principle; cadres constitute their most direct representative; and the public are like faded revolutionaries, still loyal to the principle but far from capable of utilizing its force, of wielding its spirit like cadres do. Corruption is the anti-revolutionary principle7 that threatens this complex

It is also the term regularly used for Euro-American hippies, following their strong presence in Kathmandu during the 1970s and 80s. Tyape is therefore often associated with taking drugs, such as marijuana, which has been popular with Western tourists in Nepal. 7 A strong theme in revolutionary movements has historically been to guard themselves against corruption of the revolutionary process, and in CPN-M the 'internal struggle' also refers to such a continual cleaning of revolutionary spirit (see Chapter 6). See also Arendts interesting discussion of the fight against hy-

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relationship between public, cadres and janata and patrolling the public for anti-social elements is therefore to ascertain that its core body is not corrupted, that it can retain its revolutionary innocence. YCLs securitization of the public can thus be seen as a strategy for perpetuating revolutionary politics through an activism that played on recognized tropes of policing controlling criminality and so on. But the vandals that YCL turned into enemies were not just randomly chosen victims of a securitizing strategy but played on the corruptible nature of youth, thereby bringing them on level with cadres whose own activism was also an expression of their identity as youth.

YOUTH VIC TIMS


Cadres conceptualization of public enemies were, as I explained, vandals, and more precisely gunda and tyape. They were both disruptive forces but they seemed to have distinct characteristics, pointing to the complex configuration of this enemy category. There was specifically one type of work referred to as CC Operations which encapsulated this relationship between YCL cadres and the corruption of the public, and which is helpful for throwing light on how cadres enemies were conceptualized. In CC Operations, the aim was plainly to clean the neighborhood of these types of person. I was told that a list would be kept of bad people that the cadres would be specifically mobilized to search for. Suraj explained: In CC Operations, disruptive guys the tyape type you know will be snatched and beaten. If we find any evidence against him then we will beat him but otherwise we just counsel him. This operation is just that: hit the gundas and tyapes. In Surajs view, it was necessary to perform this operation on a regular basis because it kept the neighborhood clean. He had never participated in a CC Operation, since most of the criminals had been weeded out from their area, but he felt that it was time to do so again because new criminal elements were forming in the Bouddha area, particularly gunda gunda who, in contrast to tyape, organize into gangs and spread their pollution through violence. Himal also saw the importance of preparing for societys progression by removing people who create problems. In explaining to me what CC Operations covered, he said:

pocrisy as a signifying, and in her opinion lamentable, trait of revolutions since Robespierres terreur (Arendt 2006).

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Both in villages and the city you find these kind of people who really create problems for others and it is very important to change their behavior and what we do is, in the beginning, is to counsel them (samjauchau) but then if they still haven't changed their behavior we bring them to the camp and we punish them.8 It is for the progression of society as well as to change their behavior. More than simply examples of specific enemies that YCL security work targeted, tyape and gunda, I would suggest, were master-signifiers for immoral personhood and were seen to be linked to idleness, smoking, drinking, flirting, etc. They pointed to a type of being which was polluted and needed to be cleaned and it was therefore primarily an 'internal' corruption. Tyape were possibly a slightly different kind of corruption of the public than gunda; they were even more insidious than gunda, and my interpreter usually translated it as drug addict to show how it referred to an utterly corrupt morality. Tyape was therefore a type of being that could ideally be corrected, as had been the case with the middle-class YCL leader Hari who had also been a drug addict before joining the YCL (Chapter 2), and this was also reflected in Bibeks answer to my question about what the point of targeting tyape was: To make a New Nepal we have to make individuals very good, he explained. Replacing the bad habits of people and creating good ones, we will definitely make a new Nepal. This points to how the YCLs enemies were not simply a social evil that needed to be eradicated but rather corrupted individuals that could be reformed through counseling. It is instructive here that cadres rarely spoke of violence in direct terms but rather through this idea of counseling to highlight that their first reaction was to give vandals advice and only if they continued to misbehave would they physically assault, or punish them. To attack vandals could therefore be experienced by cadres as an ambiguous process because it was recognized that, ultimately, vandals were also just persons. This complex of feelings was well expressed by Kamal when we spoke about the incidents at the Pashupatinath temple where the YCL had been engaged in fights on several occasions (see Chapter 3). Kamal first recounted how they had been guarding a perimeter inside the temple that they had set up when some journalists breached it, and how the cadres had been persuading the journalists to retreat: Again we tried to counsel them, Kamal said, but they did not listen to us and we beat them. Immediately upon saying that, Kamal then reflected upon the incident and admitted that, personally, he would rather see that they were all united instead of fighting each other:

It is interesting that Himal refers to punishing. It links CC Operations with other more informal ways of targeting thieves and other small-time criminals that they encounter in a neighborhood. I was told of a few occasions, apparently a long time ago, where they had caught thieves and brought them to the camp to punish them.

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Even tyapes and gunda are Nepalis and personally I feel we should create an environment where all these disagreements can be managed rather than creating tensions amongst each other. This way, cadres re-signified security work and the securitization of the public as an effort at correcting bad habits so as to create good ones, highlighting the shared identity between vandals and Nepalis in general. The parallels to cadres own process of political maturation through communist pietism are striking; they also needed to correct their behavior by renouncing the anti-social aspects of their selves. I think this points to a symmetry between cadres and vandals: they both contained an immoral seed within them and if not controlled, it could lead to the kind of selfish and destructive behavior that vandalism exemplified. What united cadres and vandals, I want to suggest, was not merely their Nepaliness but more fundamentally their identity as youth. Cadres spoke in the exact same terms about gunda and tyape as they spoke about youth outside the camp their own as well as others: irresponsible, selfish, anti-social, idle. These were exactly the aspects of being a youth in the city that cadres had sought to escape when moving into the camp and the part of themselves that they needed to reform. Just like cadres themselves, gunda and tyape therefore represented the category of youth but as socially disconnected actors who had succumbed to the immoralities of selfishness in an extreme form. In the form of tyape and gunda, something had therefore happened which changed the struggle of youth from a private phenomenon to a public one. As vandals and thieves, the youth that roamed the outside world in this clothing were no longer simply sinners incapable of revolutionary sacrifice but harmful substances in societys midst. And it was this particular corruption of youth as the most negative expression of its identity that turned vandals into victims, deserving of punishment.

S YMM ETRI ES OF S AC RI FI C E
To explore how we can theorize this aspect of security work as revolving around an identity of youth that both cadres and vandals share, I turn to Maurice Blochs analysis of rebounding violence (1991). Bloch uses initiation rites to illustrate the original violence which occurs when youth are separated from society, an analysis that nicely captures YCL cadres own process of sacrifice. At this stage, the initiates must kill that which ties them to their youthhood, which is equivalent to that which constitutes human vitality. From Bloch's own work on Madagascar, this vitality is represented by pigs, for instance, whereas for the Dinka it is cows that are equated with the life-giving substance. Only after getting rid of that part of themselves that ties them to society are they 258

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ready to connect with the life-transcending principle that differentiates them from animals, typically in the form of ancestral spirits. The final stage of the initiation requires their reincorporation and thus they must return from the spirit-world that they have lived in during the liminal phase and become recognizable to humans. This is done by regaining the vitality that they abandoned during their separation and can, for instance, involve the ritual consumption of pig meat. The important point Bloch is making here is that what was originally a part of oneself and lost during separation can only be regained from an external source, since it no longer exists in one's own body. The vitality that one lost now has to be conquered, and this is the process of rebounding violence. The violence that was unleashed on the self to rid it of vitality needs an external source of vitality for the initiates to become whole persons again, albeit now as adults - part vitality and part spirits. As such, Blochs theory explains, as the title of his book shows, the shift in the initiated from prey into hunter. When transferred to cadres, this model helps explain the entire process I have described from the moment they decided to enter the camp. Cadres must also enact a forceful separation that sets them apart from civilian life. This is both a spatial, moral and social separation and can be regarded as the beginning of a process of 'killing' a part of themselves that tied them to society the vanity, desires and monetary fixation of youth, in short, selfishness. Communist pietism is an effort to accomplish this internal violence: killing the selfishness in the self. Cadre life is also reminiscent of a liminal phase in which they are initiated into the life-transcending principle that connects them with a cultural past and future and makes their life meaningful beyond their own short lives. But, for cadres, this transcendent spirit is not the permanent teachings of the adult world and their ancestral spirits but a different world: it is the greatness of the revolutionary soldier that becomes their spiritual essence. Cadres, like initiated youth, are still only half beings in the camp, however. It is a liminal space because the spiritual element is not as strong as it is in society. This is the paradox of revolutionary initiation. It must break with society but cannot be completed outside it because sacredness resides in the midst of society, in the true politics of the people as shown in the previous chapter. Cadres must therefore return to society to complete their transformation to revolutionary being. This is where, I want to argue, the figure of gunda and tyape, as examples of corrupted youth, become relevant for cadres sacrifice. As documented in the first three chapters, youth have come to represent the primary force in the transformation of a deeply divided country into a New Nepal; youth are being mobilized to take part in the reconstruction of the country via politics, production and education, and activism is just one form this heightened awareness of youth's importance takes. To be 'youth' is then to

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be powerful and this can be understood in two ways. One's period of youth, as cadres would say, is a time of strength and vitality, in which they are naturally strong. From society's perspective, however, youth are also seen to represent its vitality the new generation for a new era (Shakya 2009; de Schepper & Poudel 2010). It is this power of youth, I suspect, that turns vandals into ideals victims because, just like cadres, they possess the substance of youth and are therefore full of potentiality but, as a youth that has become corrupted by being turned against society, it is in need of correction through punishment. Let me try to flesh out the implication of this perspective on vandals as youth victims from the perspective of sacrifice. What does it mean to be a victim here? I think it points to three things that follow from the fact that it is entirely in relation to the sacrifice that they are victims. The most obvious implication of being a victim is that it is the one that must be sacrificed. It is the being that undergoes the most radical change during the ritual, in the most extreme cases traversing the line separating life from death.9 This takes us to the second and very interesting aspect of the victim that I want to highlight: the close affinity between cadres and corrupt youth. As explained in Chapter 6, renouncing immoral behavior in the camp was a way for pious personhood to ascertain dominance over the immanent anti-social elements of youth that threatened to burst out through entertainment. In the camp, communist pietism was expressed through renunciations and a program of reform that were helpful in permanently instituting the new and wholly moral being that cadres were trying to become. Against this strengthened moral being stands not simply the outside youth with their lack of discipline and irregular openness that prevents them from focusing but the physical presence of gunda and tyape. They are the exact inversion of cadres with the same hardened personality and their deliberateness. They are just as anti-revolutionary as the cadres are revolutionary and contain all the bad elements of youth that cadres have fought to exorcize. This makes them formally identical: cadres on the one side and gunda/tyape on the other. This brings me to the third aspect of vandals as victims, namely that, by virtue of their corruption (anti-sociality), they are already sacred objects. This is a point which has been argued throughout the literature on sacrifice but, in particular, by Rene Girard

This is NOT the case in the sacrifices I am describing here. Gunda and tyape are symbolic victims and the fatalities that have been connected with the YCL over the years cannot be directly equated with the sacrificial structure I am analyzing. This is principally due to the fact that the securitization strategy connected with the purification of the public, as shown, revolves around correction of bad behavior and punishment rather than extermination, which is an altogether different kind of erasure of the enemy figure. Just as with cadres own sacrifice, the enemy category I have sketched is partial to the entire person; it is an insidious form of corruption and it therefore suffices to focus on this kernel of evil rather than on the persons per se. To accomplish this cleansing of the public, force might be needed bu killing is unnecessary.

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(Girard 1977). Beings that are radically opposed to society criminals, certain animals, demons already contain sacredness. The identity between cadres and their mirror image therefore concerns not only the fact that they represent opposing forms of youth one clean, one sinful but also that they are both removed from the profane by virtue of their extremity. This should be understood in the context of Nepali Maoism where the political itself, as I have shown, is seen as imbued with a sacred quality linking the authority of the people with the power of the movement to represent it. Politics and youth are both sacred fields for the CPN-M: politics is their ritual specialization and anyone else entering this field must confront the divine gaze of janata, a secret the Maoist party guards and a power they wield; youth, on the other hand, express potentiality and strength, the sacred instruments. Politics is the field whereas youth are its idealized form because they shall bring forth the New Nepal. When combined with the sacred substance of youth or politics, corruption itself representing the most deplorable anti-revolutionary principle becomes dangerous and must be eliminated. It is these qualities of vandals as corrupted youth that turns them into ideal victims as representing cadres alter-image, in being already sacred objects for Maoist activism, and by nature of their corruption. In the revolutionary sacrifice, it is not enough for something to be corrupt to become a victim; it must at the same time be a youth (or another sacred quality)10 so that the symmetry between cadres and gunda/tyape rests on a structural analogy of both opposition and sameness. Both substances share the same form (youth) but with opposing qualities. The sacrifice can now be performed without further delay because what transpires in the ritual climax when corrupt youth are sacrificed at the hands of the cadres that is, punished and corrected, not killed is that the energy of the victim flows into the sacrifier precisely because of their proximity of identity (Hubert & Mauss 1964:12), their mutual sacrality and the single most important fact, of course that the cadre, as the sacrificer, wields the instrument of the sacrifice. In this way, the cadres moral youth is reinvigorated through the sacrifice of corrupt youth.11 If we return to Blochs frame of rebounding violence, it now becomes possible to link cadres and vandals through their symmetrical positions in the sacrificial structure.
10

The victim I discussed in the Black Flag procession in the previous chapter namely the President can also be seen as a sacred victim. His sacredness consisted of a dual identity similar to that of corrupt youth: on the one hand he was corrupt - 'a little king' who had taken an 'unconstitutional' decision which eventually brought down the CPN-M government; on the other, he was politically powerful. When combined with corruptness, this automatically turned someone into a perfect victim. 11 Lecomte-Tilouine discusses how Maoists sacrifice of government soldiers during the People's War denied the latter the honor that has been customary in Nepali conceptions of sacrifice in war (2006). I think the analysis I have offered may go some way to explaining this phenomenon. Since the victims are not part of the Maoists' conception of the social order but stand outside the community - this is essentially what the term 'anti-social' describes - there is no moral obligation to turn them into heroes.

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What the sacrifice of symmetrical victims allows is similar to the external consumption of vitality. Both youth and political actors represent vitality the sacred for the Maoist and the sacrifice of corrupt youth accomplishes a symbolic transfer of their vitality to cadres who thereby approach revolutionary personhood. In contrast to Bloch's analysis, what I am describing is an inverted consumption. For reincorporation, one has to consume the same vitality that one killed but, for cadres, who are striving to become different, they consume a symmetrical substance, the same in one way (vitality) but opposed in another (corrupt versus the cadres anti-selfishness). Cadres' 'rebounding violence' thus allows them to gain the strength of social being and to transcend it at the same time. They simultaneously become more human (strong political actors) and more extrahuman (true representatives of the people). Another way of saying this is that the cadres are not consuming the substance of youth from their victims in the form of corruption, and that it is sacrifice which transforms it into a different form: turning corruption (and particularly corrupt youth) into revolutionary morality (or, moral youth).12 Cadres security work can thus be seen to produce the category of the victim through a securitization of the public and to identify victims with a form of corrupted youth that stands in direct opposition to cadres own reformed youth. Cadres and vandals thereby become equal but opposed identities, resulting in a structural competition between two forms of vitality that strive to define the contours of youth in the urban atmosphere. Targeting corrupted youth is thus more than a political strategy for cleaning the public, it is also a way for cadres to hegemonize the space of youth in post-war Kathmandu. The symbolic framework of sacrifice helps accomplish this politicization of youth identities, turning corrupt youth into ideal victims.

12

On a curious note, it is interesting to think about this scenario in Rene Girard's terms. He argues that sacrifice can be seen as a process whereby an internal conflict is solved by choosing a (random, but sacred) victim, externalizing it and finally sacrificing it to symbolically imitate the expulsion of evil from the community. From the perspective of the YCL, something similar happens to tyape and gundas here; identifying them as constituting the root of social evil and then expunging them from the social sphere by correcting, punishing or, in extreme cases, killing them. But, from another perspective, it is the exact opposite that happens. A victim is identified, someone who is already outside moral society due to their corruptness. Sacrificing them neutralizes them (removes their corruptness) and allows them to return to society (similar to what Hubert & Mauss describe as desacralization). On the other hand, through this procedure cadres further distance themselves from society in becoming more perfect revolutionaries - stronger and more moral. In this reading, cadres seem to use the energy of the sacred victim's desacralization process to further sacralize themselves, and thus to shoot themselves further away from the social body. Cadres thus become more pure or sacred through these sacrifices of others youth.

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SECURITIZING THE PUBLIC

C ONC LUS I ON
In turning gunda and tyape into objects of a securitizing strategy, the political expression of YCL activism built on distinct processes of revolutionary sacrifice and, in particular, the way in which post-conflict sacrifice came to revolve around the identity of youth. This connected not only Maoist idioms of cadreship that built on ideas of selfless national service but also the particular form of YCL whole-timer cadreship in camps with its invisibility and passivity with the most aggressive forms of activism. The public aspects of revolutionary sacrifice have therefore not just brought into the open new kinds of political exchange between cadres, the public, janata and youth victims; it has also illustrated the differences between sacrifices that are performed for the sake of the people public processions, demonstrations and similar programs with a clear political goal and those that I have traced in this chapter, which are more narrowly focused on a battle over youth. While both can be said to help cadres reconnect to their sacrificial plea of becoming cadres in order to build a new society, the object of the first sacrifice is the will of the people a politics for janatas sake whereas in the sacrifice of corrupt youth it is cadres self that is the goal. This also explains the formal difference between the two. I have argued that political processions need the protective shield of the public from direct profanity and that cadres must be careful to remain unsoiled when performing this work. With youth sacrifice, these procedures are much less important because both sacrifier and victim are already so sacred and because this sacrifice does not need to call forth the authority of the people; it is a private sacrifice whereby the sin of the victim passes into the cadre in the form of sacred youth. In this way, revolutionary sacrifice seems to be a vehicle for two processes; it becomes a political script for activism through, for instance, julus and bandhs, and it produces cadreship by generating revolutionary subjectivity through the consumption of an externalized victim. Cadres sacrifice turns them into revolutionary weapons. Through self-sacrifices in the camp, cadres first turned themselves into victims by putting their bodies and their selves at the service of the party (in the short-term) and the Maoist revolution (in the long-term). In public, these processes of self-sacrifice are then transformed into strength efficiency penetrated with sacrality. Here, YCL cadres do what the Maoist army PLA before them did utilize their organizational strength and disciplined training to invade, control and transform political bodies and, with limited access to the institutional structures of society, they act on its public expressions: the singular events or individuals that embody elite class interests and can therefore be targeted through political happenings or security work. In these expressions, YCLs concern, as I have argued here, is to politicize the public sphere by securitizing the public, turning it

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into an object of concern and patrolling to keep this public body clean of anti-social, and anti-Maoist, substances. It illustrates YCLs specific strategies of sovereignty that draws on the power and political repertoires of sacrifice and the re-signification of revolutionary sacrifice in the democratic transition.

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Repeated breakdown of talks between the political parties and a continued inability to draft a new constitution has underlined the instability of the transitional phase. At a time of renewed pessimism, youth cadres assertive action and self-confidence offers a critical perspective on youth and politics in Nepal but also one which is riddled with contradictions and the prospect of failure. For one thing is YCLs efforts at forging new, national youth identities that revolve around ethics of social service and changed moralities but quite another is the question of desirable and productive forms of political culture. YCL has since its inception been stretched out between the expectation of the Maoist leadership that it should spearhead the continued revolution and its daily efforts at finding a model for participating in the political space of a democratic transition, and this has not been easy. Up until the April 2008 election which brought the Maoist party to power, it could chart a first-come first-serve template of change and was directly responsible for CPN-Ms electoral victory. Since then, YCL has lost its former dominant position particularly with regards to combating crime and engaging in social programs, and has primarily been active in limited political campaigns. On 3 November 2011, after years of political pressure, the Maoist-led government under Baburam Bhattarai as Prime Minister entered into a seven point agreement with the major political parties to seek an end to the impasse of the peace process. This included a plea to dismantle the paramilitary structure of the YCL, thus putting an end to the era of the YCL as an organization that bridged two seemingly incompatible forms of politics: war and democratic negotiation. Does that also spell an end for a particular kind of Maoist politics that drew its strength from a model of cadreship that built on the virtues of the revolutionary soldier and the momentum of regenerative sacrifices? In this thesis I have argued that in order to understand the form and meaning of activism as one significant aspect of CPN-Ms politics, we need to look at how cadreship is constructed and experienced, that is to say the kind of political subjects cadres became, and how this distinct subjectivity was circulated and interpreted by party mem-

CONCLUSION

bers themselves. I have suggested that to understand cadreship, we should follow the generation of low-level cadres from the moment they enter the party as rookies, through their intermittent training, and into the public sphere where they bring their new knowledge and identities to bear upon the unfolding of political events. Only by seeing how cadres develop their political subjectivities and make sense of their activism, I have argued, can we properly appreciate the cultural logic that underpins CPN-Ms version of Maoist politics; this does not tell us many other things about the CPN-M as a political machine how its different organizational wings work, what its political priorities will be, or how successful they may be but it does give us a thorough understanding of how it mobilizes people to its vision of revolutionary change and the core values that inform its community of members, and it therefore provides an important perspective on the coherence and integration of a type of political movement that has become entirely discredited outside the limited arena of international Maoist organizations. By offering an inside analysis of how a key organization in the CPN-M works, I hope to have provided a nuanced picture of what it means for ordinary people to become Maoist revolutionaries and how this forms a script of political subjectivity that may inform our debates about activism both inside and outside the academy. Following the young men and women into and through the training they receive as YCL whole-timers, the thesis has built on two significant movements in order to elaborate on a third: one is of young migrants who as low-class labor comes to Kathmandu as part of a livelihood strategy. Here they train the disciplining and hard work that is already part of rural village life and they experience the submission connected with work life in the factories. The second movement is of being young in the city. In Kathmandu, rural migrant laborers get acquainted with youth as a new category and watch it played out as a middle class consumption phenomena including the idleness of young people who can afford to just hang out, smoke, flirt, and otherwise entertain themselves. The Maoist movement offers an alternative identity to that of the laboring migrant, and this corresponds to the third movement that I have been tracing over the past chapters. This is a movement which builds on the disciplined self that understands how the road to salvation goes through submission and which confronts the challenge of a youth which the low-class laborer can never properly fit into due to their socio-economic status; how can one be a youth i.e. do something else than merely focus on livelihood and survival and do it in a respectful way? The answer is cadreship. Young people who became YCL whole-timers moved from migrant-class to youth to political cadres, and it is this new role that they had to struggle with and turn into an identity, make their own.

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It is in this context that the camp emerges as an all-important site for producing cadreship. Neither a total institution in the Goffmanian sense but much more than simply a commune of fellow dwellers, it integrates a militarized party hierarchy and an ideology of revolutionaries with a specific mode of dwelling that guides newcomers into an identity as cadres. The camp is an institution of training but also an institution of personal transformation; it is place where one learns to struggle and to direct this struggle towards oneself, giving way to the idea of internal struggle and the prinicipled battle against selfishness the chief vice of the Maoist revolutionary. In effect, the camp simply helps laborers develop into cadres. While we may marvel at the camp and whole-timer lives within it as an extreme and maybe even anachronistic form for producing subjectivities, particularly in the open political environment of multiparty democracy, the camp itself as I have sought to show, is not the challenge for Maoist cadres. The laborers I have followed were already acquainted with that type of institutionalized discipline and the script of submission from their position as unskilled laborers, and rather than something which needed to be resisted, the structuring power of camp life emerged as a felicity condition for those who were serious about transforming themselves. It was therefore identities that underwent change within the institutional constraints of the camp, and it was this identity of the cadre and not the camp as a structure, which posed a challenge to the cadres. There was no need to resist the structuring power of the camp because it was, like the rules and renunciations of a monastic life, simply an aid for ones personal change into a better person. This takes me to the theme of sacrifice. What I have tried to do is to par the question of how one becomes a revolutionary through a program of discipline, labor and renunciations with the problematics of Nepali Maoism and the historical context of a democratic transition. How can one become a soldier of a Maoist revolution when the revolution is, for all practical purposes, over when all that is seemingly left is a discursive production of revolutionaryness encapsulated by a party machinery that has become part of the very system it claims to oppose, i.e. state-carrying? In this context, as I have shown, the revolution lives on in the subjectivity of cadres through the trope and experience of sacrifice, and it is mainly for this reason that the analysis of cadreship is so central for understanding the CPN-M today. If we only look at the party machinery and its political strategies, we get a sense of a dying giant, torn apart by pressures from without and within, and indeed one of the most popular curiosities noted by researchers and political commentators alike is the Maoist movements historical ability not to split into factions since the onset of the Peoples War in 1996. One reason for this may exactly be the manufacturing of a culture of sacrifice among its cadres, which has been aided greatly by the generation of martyrs during the Peoples War, but which might

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also point to a certain monopolization of this ethic of activism; one that builds on an idea, that I have traced here through both Marxian and Arendtian notions, that to act politically means taking ones obligation as a representative of people seriously. In a cultural environment where politics has historically been a system of patronage and privilege for the elite and has since the democratization in 1990 grown to accommodate primarily middle-class identities and interests, the CPN-M might be the only popular party which caters to an alternative notion of political participation. Ironically, then, it seems that the liberalization of politics into a multiparty democracy encompassing the middleclass and its allegiance with globalized values of consumption might have strengthened CPN-Ms position as providing a different script for mobilizing people to politics, whether through a strategy of war or New Democracy. Sacrifice, as I have analyzed it here, has become the principal trope to encapsulate such an ethic of cadreship, and it consequently plays an important role throughout the process of mobilization. I have spoken of revolutionary sacrifice to distinguish it from the large body of literature on religious sacrifices but the processes I have traced are similar, from the preoccupation with erecting a boundary between sacred and profane realms in order to mark the first as the sphere of the political where selflessness reigns, to the relationship established between cadres as sacrificers and janata as resembling the character of divinity, and to the elaborate preparation of the sacrificial procedure, which in the camp involves the sacralization of cadres and in public events relies on spatial or symmetric consecrations. As a script of activism, revolutionary sacrifice establishes the authority of cadres to represent people power in the public sphere, thus enabling a symbolically effective procedure for mobilizing public support and counteracting corrupted persons such as the president and misguided youth. In short, it institutes sovereignty, legitimizing and energizing Maoist transformations of social and political bodes. As a script of cadreship, sacrifice produces an experience of a distinct subjectivity, marked off from predominant civilian life by its stress on collectivity, pious behavior and new ways of relating and laboring. Together, the sacrifice of cadreship, as it is produced through camp life, and the sacrifices of activism, as they unfold in public work, constitute the two faces of peace-time cadreship and they reinforce each other. Camp sacrifices, by sacralizing cadres, lead to public sacrifices and they, in turn, reinvigorate the link to janata (making them politically relevant) or the saliency of youth, as a force of national transformation (making them personally relevant). Post-war sacrifices are thus regenerative not through blood as has been the case with war sacrifices both in the form of Hindu and Maoist soldiers, but through the symbolism of political events and through the identity of youth. It is along these lines that I have insisted that we cannot

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distinguish the political and the personal, as the latter is bound up with the regeneration of the former and vice-versa; the political experience of cadres is deeply personal, and it is only by realizing this that cadres succeed. In developing this double perspective on sacrifice as a mixture of the personal with the political, I have argued that there are predominantly two aspects of themselves cadres are sacrificing in the course of their mobilization to transitory politics, and which account for their ways of being political; these two are time and youth. Time is given in a complete no-nonsense fashion similar to the institution of chakari, as an empty commodity without conditions; it is a total sacrifice where cadres put their selves at the disposal of the party without reservation and without an end. Youth, on the other hand, is a much more complex entity. It is marked by a split, and while youthhood is seen as a force that one can give, even a vitality that is necessary for the revolutionary project, it must be tamed and put to the right purpose. While time is a neutral commodity, youth on the other hand is particular; it carries values about right and wrong, about the correct struggle, about corrupted moralities. The reason why cadreship is not chakari and therefore not unconditional, is simply because one does not only give an empty, uncritical time, but also the intentions of youthhood. Youth shoots off in all kinds of directions love, entertainment, money, family and can be a hard beast to control. Camp and public sacrifices are different efforts at generating a productive force of youth and the plea of whole-timer sacrifice that the party can do with my time as they see fit establishes a frame within which sacrifice attains a political expression through the trope of youth. In sacrificing youth, their own and others, activism blends political expressions not only with personal change but also with distinct sensibilities of personhood. Such an analysis of cadreship also gives us clues to when it breaks down, and that is when it loses its sacrificial potency, when cadres can no longer connect their struggles with janata. The demise of street-based party work following CPN-Ms victory in the CA-election threatened to break the relevance of cadres sacrifice, as did the slow realization that the partys maneuvering of political space did not institute significant changes for the poor and downtrodden that cadres had signed up to fight for. At that point, the struggles that accompanied camp life became untenable, and cadres started reviving their previous strategies of navigating livelihoods, resuming a life of laboring or returning to their villages. It serves to show that the script of cadreship based on sacrifice was inherently unstable and reflected the larger political circumstances within which the Maoist movement unfolded. Sacrifice may be a powerful script for political mobilization, but it is extremely hard to routinize given its radical ontology of personhood, and a failure to link cadres personal struggle up with the generation of role models and politi-

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cal change undermines sacrifices revolutionary legitimacy. Without this qualification, it becomes irrelevant and powerless. Where does this leave Maoist politics and the CPN-M in its efforts at reforming Nepali society and its political culture? A rapid succession of governments with the major political parties taking turns to act as Prime Ministers has done little to reform the clientelist nature of state structures and not much more to combat the inequalities and class-structure of Nepali society that is otherwise CPN-Ms main political goal. Entering the political mainstream has become just as difficult for the Maoists as critiques feared, and the question of just how committed the party is to its political vision of change has become the thorny issue within the anti-capitalist left camp that is threatening to undermine not only party unity which may or may not be a good thing but also the organization of a progressive political platform. Being situated squarely within the geopolitical spheres of its two dominating neighbors and integrated into the world economy through its cheap supply of labor and as a transit country for goods, the challenges of radical social reforms involve strategies that reach well beyond both the politics of parliament, the street or the jungle, and it remains to be seen whether CPN-Ms particularly Nepali brand of Marxism with its strong stress on national sovereignty provides the best model for bringing Nepal out of the democratic transition that it has effectively been in since the 1990 Jana Andolan I. As a revolutionary critique, my contribution highlights the challenges of mobilizing cadres to a distinct identity without inviting more openness regarding the strategies and workings of the party. This is exactly the effect of an ideological party structure; it does create coherence and integration but at the risk of alienating cadres who are not invited to understand the turbulent political landscape that its leaders are seeking to navigate. Presently, there is a division between deliberations on the revolutionary momentum or the overall strategies of perpetuating change and the mobilization of cadres through notions of sacrifice. The sacrificial structure where cadres sacrifice their own youth to battle enemy youth for the sake of people(s liberation) is despite its political character largely an internal procedure of the movement because it fails to render tangible how cleaning up youth liberates the poor, to put it in a nutshell. Revolutionary piety is all very well, as is the project of forming an avant-garde revolutionary corps, but a bloated party machinery with no uniform sense of direction and a culture of secrecy does not provide a particularly fertile environment for educating people to a new social and political ethic. The analysis I have provided of pietism as a principal model of attaining political credibility reflects this challenge and points to processes of internalization in producing cadreship as a way to overcome the paradoxes of a stalled revolution that pretends to be in motion. YCL whole-timers became the ones to carry this burden of

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signaling change through transforming themselves into sacrificing revolutionary subjects into avant-garde youth through a protracted sacrifice. And the camp was, as we have seen, their accomplice. As an analytical for exploring political culture, I have mobilized the optic of sacrifice as a way to approach the constitution of cadre identities and the structure of political events. This has allowed me to focus on the role of signification in framing political experiences of selfishness, collectivity, respect, equality to name but a few and is, I believe, a necessary maneuver for unpacking how the political is reproduced since sovereignty is always based on a symbolic framework, what Thomas Blom Hansen terms the sublime (Hansen 2001). Rather than treating Maoist signifiers as merely an ideology which forces its ontology onto its practitioners as if it was only relevant for what people say and not what they do to recirculate a classical anthropological refrain I have sought to show that, just like the political and the personal, ideas and practices cannot be so conveniently separated. Sacrifice, I have found, is a productive way to open up the question of political subjectivities because it insists that there is an irreducibility to this cultural procedure, and that the very idea of what it means to be a person changes character. From the perspective of sacrifice we cannot reduce the cadre to a contestation of cultural meaning and the distance between a subject and its actions that this implies, and neither can we resort to a disenchanted analysis of the power configurations that produce the political as a sovereign space. To be a cadre is not to wear a mask but to engage with a concrete character of desires, strengths, weaknesses and ideas, and the cultural work of the Maoist cadre consists in turning this subjectivity into him- or herself. A chief challenge for the Maoist movement in transforming into a mainstream political party has been the routinization of the political force of martyrdom through which it has historically legitimized its struggle to its cadres corps and Nepali society simultaneously. Post-war revolutionary sacrifice, it seems, does not regenerate very well since there are no martyrs to copy, and by being turned into forms of pietism it risks losing its political edge ad well. The form of sacrifice I have traced might still be Maoist in conception but in its invisibility and protractedness, it is doubtful how efficient a weapon it is as a lasting model of activism. With the CPN-Ms decisive shift away from a political formula that, in YCL, sought to combine the efficiency of the war machine with street campaigns against social and political evils, the question of cadreship has gained new relevance as the party strives to form a new script for the ideal cadre. Whether this will still revolve around the whole-timers ability to give time unconditionally and the structure of sacrifice remains to be seen but cadreship in the Maoist movement is one of the

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significant keys to unlocking the path that anti-capitalist activism will take and therefore a fruitful starting point for understanding Nepali political culture.

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APPENDICES

AP P ENDI X 1 : GLOS S AR Y OF NEP ALI TERM S


Badhetta Bahira Balidan Compulsion. An idiom for cadres sincerity about becoming activists. See Chapter 3. Outside. Used by cadres to refer both to the physical outside of the camp and the moral outside of a non-cadre life. See Chapter 4 and 6. Self-sacrifice. The popular idiom for martyr sacrifices. Alternatively, tyagnu may be used to describe everyday acts of renunciation and sacrifice. See Chapter 2. To sit; to live; to stay. It is used in Chapter 5 when discussing disciplined waiting Sycophancy, enacted through physical presence. Analyzed as an institutionalization of giving time in politics. See Chapter 5. Consciousness. In CPN-M often used in connection with political consciousness, rajnaitik cetana. See Chapter 6. Comrade. The standard way of cadres to refer to each other in public. Literally, elder brother. A generalized kinship idiom that can be extended to elder relatives and friends as a respectful title. Used by cadres to refer to seniors in the Nayabasti hierarchy. Nepali standard diet of lentils (dal) and rice (bhat). Often served with fried vegetables on the side. Hardship; difficulty; sorrow. Cadres use this to refer to their life as laborers. See Chapter 2. Wandering; strolling. Analyzed as a form of leisure that was unavailable to cadres in the camp. See Chapter 5. Rascal, crook, hooligan, gangster. Usually only males. See Chapter 8. The people. Used by cadres to refer to the principle they serve. See in particular Chapters 2, 3, 4, 7. Cadre. CPN-Ms name for its members. Revolutionary. Another way to refer to Maoist cadres.

Basnu Chakari Cetana Comrade Dai

Dalbhat Dukha Ghumnu Gunda Janata Karyakarta Krantikari

Lal Salam Red Salute. CPN-M greeting. Accompanies a raised right-hand fist. Mannu Parne To give respect. A paradigm for hierarchical relations discussed in Chapter 3. Maobadi The vernacular name for the CPN-M, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) . Mathi-Talla High-low; above-below. Used by cadres to talk about the party hierarchy. See Chapter 3.

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Niyam Shiyam Rules and Regulations. Cadres way of talking about membership policies in the YCL. See Chapter 5. Part-Timers Abbreviated PT. CPN-Ms name for their part-time activists. Sahu Owner; merchant; moneylender. A common way to refer to masters or guardians of household servants. Cadres used it to refer to their bosses from the small privately-owned factories in which they worked. See Chapter 2. Samuhik(ta) Collective (samuhik); collectivity (samuhikta). A CPN-M idiom to describe the Maoist community and the idea of a general, as opposed to private, interest. Cadres contrast it to swartha, selfishness. See Chapter 4. Sangarsha Struggle. Part of a left-political vocabulary and linked to barga sangarsha class struggle and anta sangarsha, intra-struggle. Surti Tobacco that is taken through rubbing its leaves into the palm of the hand. Very common in Nepal. See Chapter 6. Swartha Selfishness. See Chapter 4. Tyape Anti-authoritarian hippie; drug-user. See Chapter 8. Whole-Timers Abbreviated WT. CPN-Ms name for their full-time activists.

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AP P ENDI X 2: AB BR EVI ATI ONS


ANNISU-R CPN-M All Nepal National Independent Student Union-Revolutionary. CPN-Ms student wing. President Leknath Neupane. Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Developed from Mohan Bikram Singhs CPN (Fourth Convention) in 1974 through several splits and have since 1986 been led by Prachanda. Was formally established in September 1995 after a split in the CPN (Unity Centre) and. Changed name to Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in February 2009 when it fused with the CPN (Ekata Kendra Masal). Chairman: Prachanda. Peoples Liberation Army. CPN-Ms armed wing during the Peoples War. Established in 2001 and cantoned under the supervision of the United Nations Mission to Nepal following the peace agreement in November 2006. Has been awaiting rehabilitation and/or integration into the nations security forces. Nepali Congress. Until recently, Nepals largest political party. Established in 1947. CPN-Ms arch-rival and a dominant player in Nepali politics. President: Sushil Koirala Youth wing of the Nepali Congress.

PLA

NC

Tarun Dal UML

CPN-UML, the United Marxist Leninist. Established in 1991 after the Jana Andolan and quickly became a successful political party, winning the general elections in 1994. YCL Young Communist League. Originally established in the 1980s and was re-activated following a Central Committee of the meeting of the CPNM in November 2006. Chairman: Ganeshman Pun; party In-Charge: Sonam. Youth Force Youth wing of the UML.

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AP P ENDI X 3: SELEC T NAYB ASTI C A DR ES


Ashmi 24-year old female Rai from Khotang. Worked in a Jorpati carpet factory. Attended schooling until grade 10 but failed her school leaving (SLC) exam. Started in YCL during August 2008. Promoted to Vice Commander before February 2009 and became a Section Commander in June 2009. Banhi 17-year old female Tamang from Dolakha. Studied until grade 4 and came to work in Jorpatis garment industry. Recruited in October 2008. Left YCL in June 2009. Bibek 17-year old male Tamang from Makwanpur. Passed grade 5 in school and started in Jorpatis garment industry when he was 15. Mobilized in October 2008. Damini20-year old female from the outskirts of Kathmandu. Studied until grade 3 and later worked in a carpet factory in Jorpati. Started in YCL in January 2008 and became a Vice Commander in June 2009. Himal 18-year old male Tamang from Makwanpur. Worked as a laborer in Kathmandus garment industry since 2007, mobilized in September 2008. Studied until grade 5. Became an FGL in June 2009. Kamal 18-year old male Tamang from Makwanpur. Came to Kathmandu when he was 15 and worked as a laborer in a furniture factory. Schooling until the age of 14. Mobilized to YCL in the fall of 2008. Rohit 19-year old male Tamang from Makwanpur. A history of migration since many years and spent three years in India. Worked in the local Jorpati industry before becoming a cadre. Schooling up to grade 5. Has been a member since YCLs establishment in late 2006/early 2007. Was an FGL during early 2009, was promoted to Vice Commander in March and Section Commander in June. Suraj 18-year old male from a poor Newari family in Kathmandu. Worked in a furniture factory and with painting before enrolling. Attended school up to grade 5. Started in YCL during the summer of 2007. Became an FGL in March 2009 and then an Vice Commander in June 2009. Eventually left the YCL in October 2009. Tara 18-year old male Tamang from Makwanpur. Studied up to grade 7. Worked in a carpet factory in Gorkhana (neighboring Jorpati) when he was mobilized. YCL member since mid-2008.

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AP P ENDI X 4: LAYOUT OF NAYAB AS T I

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AP P ENDI X 5 : NAYAB AS TI HI EAR C HI ES

Figure 1: Nayabasti Hierarchy

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Figure 2: Section Hierarchy until June 2009

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Figure 3: Section Hierarchy after June 2009

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AP P ENDI X 6: MAJ OR HIS TORI CAL EVE NTS


Kingdom of Nepal Unification of the country under the Gorkha kingdom following Prithvi Narayan Shahs conquering of the Kathmandu Valley in 1768. Hereditary aristocratic rule between 1846 and 1951 where the Shah monarch was reduced to a figurehead. Continued the hinduization of the country by formalizing the caste system through the Mulukhi Ain code in 1854. 1951-1959. Overthrow of the Rana dynasty and the establishment of political parties. The shah monarchs regain their power with King Tribhuvan spearheading the countrys transition to a parliamentary democracy but the period is marked by civil and political strife and only in 1959 are the first elections held that the Nepali Congress win. 1960-1990. Partyless democracy under an autocratic monarch. King Mahendra (King Tribhuvans son) carries out a royal coup, banning the political parties and promulgating a new constitution. The period is marked by centralized efforts development, nationalization and modernization. Following a referendum in 1980 where the political parties are allowed to contest, political repression is partly lifted. Peoples movement , June 1990. Revolt against Panchayat rule and the reestablishment of parliamentary platform with a lifting of the ban on political parties. Parliamentary elections are held in 1991 allowing the Nepali Congress to form the first postPanchayat government. A process of economic liberalization and political turmoil mark the first years of democratic governance. 1996-2006. CPN-M- led Maoist insurgency against the corruption and undemocratic nature of the parliamentary system with the aim of capturing state power and installing a Maoist New Democracy. CPN-M mobilized widespread support in the rural areas and managed to establish its own governance structures in several provinces. Conflict escalated between 2001 and 2006 with the entering into the conflict of the Nepali Army and the founding of the CPN-Ms own army, the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA).

Rana Dynasty

Democratic Reform

Panchayat Era

Jana Andolan I

Peoples War

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Jana Andolan II

CPA

Republic of Nepal

April 2006. Popular uprising against monarchical emergency rule backed by the political parties and supported by the CPN-M. Reinstatement of parliament. Comprehensive Peace Agreement entered into by the CPN-M and the 7-party alliance on November 21, 2006. Contained a road map for the peace process that included a management of both the Maoist and state armies and the holding of Constituent Assembly Elections. 28. May 2008. The newly elected Constituent Assembly declared the Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, breaking with more

than two hundred years of Hindu monarchial rule. After winning a land-slide victory, the CPN-M led the first elected post-war government with its chairman Prachanda (Pushpa Kamal Dahal) becoming the first Prime Minister. CPN-M government 4 May 2009. Prime Minister and CPN-M Chairman Prachanda falls resigns from his post, following disagreements with the President over the firing of the Chief of Army Staff and leading to widespread pessimism about the future of the peace process.

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AP P ENDI X 7: TIM ELI NE OF P OLI TI C AL EVENTS


2006 April

June

June

November

CPN-M and Seven Party Alliance start pro-democracy agitation against Royal rule and draw wide public support with non-stop protests and demonstrations taking place across the country. King Gyanendra agrees to reinstate parliament and Nepali Congress leader Girija Prasad Koirala is appointed as new Prime Minister on April 25th. Maoists hold their largest open mass political rally in Kathmandu after going underground. Over 200,000 attend. They demand the dissolution of the newly formed government and the holding of a national round table conference. 8-Point Agreement is signed between the Government and the Maoists with provisions to draft an interim constitution and form a new interim government; to dissolve local Maoist governance structures and to invite UN to manage and monitor arms of both side of the conflict. Prachanda holds his first public press conference. Government, leaders of the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The CPA brings the armed struggle of the CPN-M to a formal close. CPN-M forms the Young Communist League (YCL)

November 2007 January

January January February

The Interim Constitution is approved and the Interim Government with 330-member parliament is established. The CPN-M is represented by 83 members. Maoists issues orders to dissolve all their peoples governments across the nation as well as their peoples courts. United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) officially established charged with monitoring the two armies respect of the CPA. YCL holds its first national convention, establishing a 45-member Central Committee Inaugural ceremony of the YCL in Kathmandu, presided over by CPN-M Chairman Prachanda. Ganeshman Pun declared as its leader. An Interim Government headed by Nepali Congress leader Girija Prasad Koirala is formed and includes five CPN-M members. Leaders agree to hold the CA elections on June 20, 2007.

April

285

Sept-October Escalating conflict between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists. CA elections first postponed to November 22 but are once again delayed as agreements cannot be reached on the future of the monarchy and the electoral process to be adopted for fair representation. In September the CPN-M quite the Interim Government. December Maoist and the Seven Party Alliance reach an agreement that the new Constituent Assembly shall declare Nepal a republic after their first meeting and that the number of seats should be increased to 601. Maoist rejoin the Interim Government. 2008 April

May July August

Constituent Assembly Election, CPN-M win 120 out of 240 seats in the first-past-the-post portion of the elections and 100 seat through proportional representation, amounting in total to a 33% dominance in Parliament. Nepal is declared a republic Ram Baran Yadav of Nepali Congress becomes the president of Nepal The Constituent Assembly elects Prachanda as the first Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Nepal Congress does not join the government but remains in opposition and boycotts parliament sessions.

2009 January

January February February

February

Nepali Congress ends it boycott of Parliament after a new agreement is reached with the CPNM: the Maoists are to ensure the return of all seized property during the Peoples War within 90 days; and the YCL will have to vacate all public and government buildings that it occupies as well as dissolve its paramilitary structure within three weeks. YCL is renamed YDCL, Young Democratic Communist League but within a month the name change is dropped. CPN-M changes its name to United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) after merger with Communist Party of Nepal Ekata Kendra Masal. In the face of strong opposition by the Maoist Defense Minister Ram Bahadur Badal, the Nepali Army announces that it will go ahead with plans to fill 2,800 vacancies which is seen by the Maoists as a breach of the CPA Senior Maoist Matrika Prasad Yadav defects from the CPN-M and his ministerial post, taking a number of cadres with him.

286

Mar-April

May 4

May May-July

Conflict escalates between the Government and the Nepali Army. Initially the PLA announces job vacancies similar to the Nepali Army but these are later cancelled. Chief of Army Staff General Katawal is asked to respond to a series of questions on the armys strategies but refuses to do so. Prime Minister Prachanda fires Chief of Army Staff Katawal. A few hours later President Yadav annuls the firing of Katawal. The following day, Prachanda resigns from his post as Prime Minister. On 25 May, Madhav Kumar Nepal from the CPN-UML is installed as new Prime Minister. In protest of the Presidents overruling of the PMs decision to sack the army chief, Maoist lawmakers obstruct parliamentary procedures and street protests against the President and the new Prime Minister are carried out by Maoist cadres. Maoists threaten to launch Jana Andolan III, a new peoples movement. YCL begins a new recruitment drive.

August

287

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