POPULAR STRUGGLES AND MOVEMENTS
Democracy invariably involves conflicts of interests and new posts and those who excuse power are constrained by the influence and pressure exerted on them. The popular and pressure external on them. The popular struggles and movements are often expressed in organized ways. Political parties or men in power are required to balance these conflicting demands and pressures. These struggles and movements around conflicting demands and pressure shape the democratic structure of the country. Even an ordinary citizen plays an important role in these popular struggles and movements.
MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRACY IN NEPAL
In April 2006, Nepal witnessed an extra-ordinary movement that was aimed at restoring democracy in the country. Nepal, one of the third wave countries won democracy in 1990 despite the fact that King remained the head of the states. But the real power was exercised by popularly elected representatives. Unfortunately King Birendraj who accepted his transition from absolute minority to constitutional monarchy was killed mysteriously in the massacre of royal family in 2001. King Gyananendra, his successor and new king of Nepal showed his non-acceptance for democratic rule in the country. He dismissed the elected Prime Minister and dissolved the popularly elected Parliament in February 2005. It created a wave of dissatisfaction among citizens and led to movement of April 2006, that was aimed at regoing democracy over king and monarchy. All the major political parties in the parliament of Nepal formed a seven Alliance (SPA) and declared a four day strike in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. The struggle aggravated and resulted into indefinite strike where Maoists insurgants and other social and political groups joined hands. The number of protestors reached in the figures of 3 to 5 lakhs on April 21 and collectively they served ultimatum to the king. There was demand for restoration of democracy in this movement. King made half hearted concessions but the leaders of the movements rejected them completely. They firmly stood to their demand and demanded power to all party government and a new constituent assembly.
Finally, King Gyanendra was forced to accept all their three demands on the last day of the ultimatum, 24 April 2004.
Girija Prasad Khosla was unanimously chose as the New Prime Minister of the internal government by SPA. This restricted parliament meet and passed laws taking away most of the power of the King.
SPA along with Maoists took important decisions about the formation and works of New Constituent Assembly. The struggle wrote history and was formed as Nepal’s second movement for democracy.
BOLINA’S WATER WAR
This popuylar and successful struggle against the privatization of water in Boliva implies the fact that popular struggles are integral part to the working of democracy.
World Bank pressured Bolivia’s government to give up its control of municipal water supply and later the government sold the rights for the city of Cochamba to affluent multi-national company (MNC). The Company immediately linked the priced of water by four times. Bolivia’s people received monthly water bill of Rs. 1000 as the average income of their citizen was round Rs. 5000/- a month. It led to a popular protest that was spontaneous and was against this injustice.
DEMOCRACY AND POPULAR STRUGGLES
The struggles relating to Nepal and Bolivia were successful but their impact was at different levels. The struggle in Nepal was to establish democracy while the struggle in Bolivia involved claims on an elected democratic government. Both these different stories shares some elements which are relevant to the study of the past and future of democracies. Both these struggles involved mass mobilization. These popular struggles had major importance in democracies and they are as follows:
1. It is clear that democracy evolves through popular struggle. It usually involves conflict between those group who have exercised power and those who aspire for a share in power. These moments erupts when country is going through transition to democracy, expansion of democracy or deepening of democracy.
2. The democratic conflict is resolved through mass mobilization as it was done in Nepal and Bolina. But sometimes, the conflict is resolved through parliament or judiciary. It is possible that they sometimes even get involved in the dispute so the resolution has to come from the people.
3. These conflicts and mobilizations are based on new political organizations that may include political parties, pressure groups and movement groups.
MOBILIZATION AND ORGANIZATION
In democracy, several different kinds of organization work behind any struggle and these organization play their role in two big ways and they are :
1. It helps in influencing the decisions in a democracy by direct participation in competitive politics.
2. There are many indirect ways by which people can force governments to look forward to their demands. It can be done by forming an organization and undertaking activities to promote their interest or their view point. Such groups are termed as interest or pressure groups.
SECTIONAL INTEREST GROUPS AND PUBIC INTEREST GROUPS
Sectional interest groups are sectional port of group or society that works for the betterment and well being of thin members and not society in general. Bolivian organization FEDECOR, that played major role in Bolivian Walter War can be called sectional interest group.
Promotional or public interest group aims to help groups other than their own members. Their main concern is with social justice and social equality for the entire society.
INFLUENCE OF PRESSURE AND MOVEMENTS GROUPS ON POLITICS
1. Pressure groups and movements carry out information campaigns, organizing meeting, file petition etc to gain public support and sympathy for their goal and activity. They also influence media by giving more attention to these issues.
2. They organize protest activities in order to force the government to take note of their demand.
3. Pressure groups and movements do not directly engage in party politics as they take a political stance without being a party. They work on political ideology and hold political position on major issues. The pressure groups and political parties can associate directly or indirectly.
4. In some cases, pressure groups acts as extended arms of political parties.
5. Sometimes political parties grow out of such movements and pressure groups and plays integral part in state and country politics.
6. In most cases, political parties and pressure groups are opposed to each other. In such cases they are either in dialogue or in negotiations. It is assumed that new leadership of political parties comes from interest or movement groups.
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POPULAR STRUGGLES AND MOVEMENTS
10 Jul 2009 Member Level:
Thank you for your great contribution.It will be highly useful for those who prepare for competitive exams,expecially for those who prepare for public service commission.
Keep posting such a kind of valuable resources.
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