Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Spiral of Nepali Revolution: Confrontation or finesse or movement for constitutional issues ?

by Mukti Nepal

Reactionary and status quoist parties at home and imperialist powers in foreign countries are blocking the Maoist party from going to power. They are forcing this party to dismantle all their forces and weapons. The old army is hiring new incumbents and accumulating weaponry but the defense minister is threatening to use force to stop the new and retaliatory hiring, if any, in the Maoist army side. How futile you think the effort is to go to power for the Maoist on the basis of the shaky votes which can be easily horse-traded to pull them back and when they have been defeated continuously for four times? Which path ahead: confrontation or finessing or a midway of waging peoples’ movement on the basis of issues to be incorporated in the new constitution for the time being?
Nepal is at a terrible cross road. Nepal has shown number of negative and positive extremes in recent years. It has witnessed a number of achievements as well as failures during this period. Among them, political economic extremes are most notable. While militarily unbeatable armed struggle led by the Maoists (the Peoples’ War) and the resultant abolition of monarchy are the major positive extremes, the unusual political economic  stalemate at the later part is the major negative feature.  As a result of the War, the marginalized, underrepresented and disadvantaged section of people such as disadvantaged ethnic groups, women, dalits (the so-called ‘untouchables’) have become politically aware, organized, empowered, have significantly increased representation in the parliament and have enjoyed some reforms in elementary education, primary health care, reforms in women rights such as heir and mother-based citizenship rights, pay and wage raises and distribution of lands to some bonded laborers.
 To the negative side, a globally notable revolutionary Peoples’ War has now confined to incremental parliamentary plays before the conclusion of the agendas of the War and/or the placement of a legal and revolutionary constitution. To speak the truth, the parliamentary plays have resulted in a political stalemate, non-governance and anarchism.  The country has failed to elect the prime minister for the fourth time again yesterday. Neither Maoists nor the opponents have been able to agree with each others proposals of integration of the Maoist army. The power holders including the (caretaker) prime minister are in a race of accumulating wealth for the life time through the front as well as the back doors. Ministers are involved in public fund or resource (such as mines, forest, herbs, etc.) embezzlements. Tradesmen are creating artificial scarcities of everyday goods and raising prices arbitrarily. The so-called government is irresponsive. The situation of law and order is record worse. Many ordinary citizens, press reporters, Maoist cadres, tradesmen, police officers and medical doctors have been robbed, abducted and many of them have been even killed.  The cross-border problems have risen. Border pillars have disappeared, dislocated and people in the bordering areas have lost their lands and country in these encroachment processes. Decent people have been robbed, rapped and tortured by border security people. Instead of protecting countrymen, the foreign minister takes the side of the foreign oppressor.
The life of people is very difficult. Besides the problems caused by global warming (such as drought, flood, drying up of drinking water sources, etc.), political economic and socio-cultural problems have also horribly hit the lives of people. Many major discriminatory practices are still in operation in most parts of the country. Back door oppressions by feudal lords have greatly reduced because of the War but the front door sucking (like low wages, high interest rates, high service charges especially for education, health care, clothing materials, apartment rentals, housing materials and accessories, telephones, utilities, transportations, etc., price rise of everyday goods /increase in the cost of living, disproportional product pricing, etc.) and  black marketers have still making the life of the resource poor very difficult. In rural areas, still a large portion of people have little or no land to make the living. Unemployment or lack of cash income has severely hit the life of people. Those who can invest for foreign labor employment have got some relief but many of these also have been cheated by labor supply companies or the employers in the foreign countries (the gulf countries, Malaysia, Korea, etc.).  Many female Nepali workers in foreign countries (especially in gulf countries) have committed even suicide. Kamaiya (the male bonded laborers) have been legally freed but have no or insufficient resource ownership to support the living. Many homes and farms of Kamaiyas that settled in public lands were destroyed and several Kamaiyas were even killed by the government. Kamlari (the female bonded laborers) have still not been freed. A sizeable number of freed Kamaiyas have committed suicide for not being able to protect or feed or provide medical treatments to the kids or the family. These kinds of suicide cases have been frequent lately among other resource poor families too in remote areas. Many poor low caste or dalit women have been beaten to death by usually the neighborhood high caste, non-dalit richer people blaming the victim to be practicing witchcraft. The revolutionaries as well as the government have been helpless to these suiciding or beaten or difficult-to- make-a-living families. Neither most ordinary people nor the country has experienced improvement in the living of most people after the War (please visit the interview archieves of BBC Nepali radio or Radio Sagarmatha or Radio Mirmire with economist prof. Dr. Madan Dahal and Young Communist League officer comrade Chandra Bahadur Thapa last month for further evidences and details). While Maoist  leadership of the War is considering the parliamentary play as the essential pathway for the successful conclusion of the agendas of peoples war and resolution to the management of Maoist army in the confinement, it has no  meaning to these sections of people. They rank all participants of the parliament to fall in the same category!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PLA Announces Fresh Vacancies


KATHMANDU, AUG 03 - Even as the Nepal Army (NA) announced fresh vacancies for 3, 464 personnel in its infantry, the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has called for applications to fill the vacant posts in the PLA on Tuesday.

Maoist PLA spokesperson Chandra Prakash Khanal ‘Baldev’ said the PLA decided to fill the vacant posts as the NA carried on with the recruitment drive by breaching the peace agreement.

He added that the PLA made the vacancy announcement in order to make the total number of PLA to 31,000, which he said is the real strength of the PLA before the UNMIN disqualified other combatants.

Currently, the number of PLA stands at 19000-plus after the UNMIN, which has been monitoring the peace process in Nepal, slashed the disqualified combatants.

Baldev said the PLA will recruit eligible persons in all seven cantonments.

The NA decided to go ahead with the recruitment drive that was stalled following a controversy with the Maoist-led government in December 2008 after the Supreme Court last week quashed the writ against the NA recruitment saying it was beyond its jurdiction.

Mohan Baidya 'Kiran' Interview: Agreement Implements From The Resignation of the Prime Minister

From The Red Star.

How are you analyzing the current political situation after the extension of the term of Constituent Assembly?

In course of drafting a new constitution, we came to realize that the process could not go ahead smoothly. We felt a massive intervention of the foreign powers in our internal affairs. A fresh debate and discussion among the national political forces could not go on in a harmonious way. Second, the process of draft ing new constitution was made stagnate intentionally by the government side. Third, the sharp contradiction between status quo and the progressive forces has been clearly come over the ground.

Has UCPN-Maoist determined about the principal contradiction?

Since before sometime the contradiction between Nepalese people and the comprador bureaucratic capitalist class and likewise Nepalese people and the Indian expansionist power has been sharp. And, these two contradictions are being fused together. The process is being intense.

Old front with parliamentary parties is still in existence. And you have prolonged it for one year. Isn't there any possibility to build front among the nationalist, progressive and the revolutionary forces?

We have taken the issue very seriously. The old front is not enough to go ahead. In the situation of rapid change in principal contradiction, we should give special emphasis on the united front with the patriotic, progressive, republic and the left ist-revolutionary forces. For this, we should give our attention in republic, federalism, draft ing of a new constitution, secularism etc. Which forces are eager to follow these points, we will make front with them. We are thinking that we should make a new front within the Constituent Assembly too. We are making our efforts on it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can We Go Ahead?

by Netra Bikram Chanda “Biplap", The Red Star Vol 3 issue 16

The debate in Nepal is on whether revolution is possible or not. The debate is not only ideological and general assumption; rather, it is cent radon the question whether there is possibility to increase intervention in the central power state or not. The two sharp analyses have emerged on the issue. They are on for and against.

The analytical perspective that sees revolution impossible:
One of the analytical perspectives is that the revolt is impossible. Yes, it seems so from that side of perspective. Th is analysis has been emerged mainly from the side of some leftist intellectual politicians and analysts. They have given the following reasons to justify this logic.

Unfavorable international situation
Favorable international situation is needed for the completion of revolution. For that, there should be a crisis in the centre of capitalism and unfavorable situation should have created against them. Moreover, there should be crisis in India, America and China for the completion of revolution like small and poor country Nepal. Otherwise, these power centres interfere over Nepal and revolution can not be succeeded.

No support of India
Indian ruling class is in favor of bourgeois class of Nepal. The role of Indian ruling class is important for the revolution of Nepal; however, the favor of India ruling has always been on the side of Nepali Congress and UML. Therefore, the revolution is inconvenient due to oppose of Indian ruling class.

Nepali Army supports bourgeois class
The role of army is important for the success of revolution. In the situation of incomplete revolution and existence of strong old army that side gets victory towards which army pays support. Therefore, if army supports revolution, it gets its completion and if it does not, revolution becomes failure. In Nepal, army is in the side of Nepali Congress and UML. In this situation, we will have to fight with army if we want to complete revolution.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

‘Betrayed’ Maoists to resume street war

 From the Kathmandu Post

The UCPN (Maoist) on Thursday concluded that the ruling Nepali Congress and the CPN (UML) betrayed the party by not implementing the “unwritten agreement” and the May 28 three-point deal. The party also decided to intensify protests against the government.

In a meeting of the Standing Committee of the party, the Maoists decided to come up with protest programmes if the prime minister does not quit “immediately,” according to a party source.

The main opposition, which has been saying that Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and senior leaders of the ruling parties have agreed to form a new unity government within five days of signing of the three-point deal on May 28, is miffed at the ruling parties.“NC and UML betrayed our party by not implementing the three-point deal, which was supposed to be a beginning of consensual politics,” Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said in a press release issued after the SC meeting.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Freedom Read Socialist Organization Statement on Nepal

Nepal is one of the most poor and economically underdeveloped countries in the world. It sits between the nations of India and China and within these conditions a broad and astonishing revolutionary movement is being developed. Beginning in 1996 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)—also known as the Maobadi—launched a popular armed guerrilla struggle against the feudal monarchy, headed by King Gyanendra.

The Maoists based themselves initially from the remote villages of Rolpa and Rukum, following the “Protracted People’s War” strategy originally developed by Mao Zedong.  That was the defining strategy that won the Chinese Revolution, which involved encircling the cities from the countryside. The Maoists formed the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which would militarily confront the monarchist forces, while revolutionary activists in the cities encouraged general strikes and talk of insurrection.

There are many notable things about this revolution that distinguish it from others, but prominently the issue of democracy, or as the Maoists call it “proletarian democracy,” has come to the forefront. After successfully building base areas and mobilizing both the rural peasantry and urban working classes, the revolutionaries of Nepal entered into a Seven Party Alliance to strip King Gyanendra of his crown, officially denouncing his position of “living god” and effectively abolishing the system of monarchy in Nepal. The Maoists have stated that they believe that the process of socialist construction should necessarily see competing parties as desirable.

Memorandum of Understanding Signed by 3 Major Parties

The UCPN(M), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML have signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding.  It is not currently available in an official English translation, but roughly the MOU is based on three points:
  1. The parties signing the MOU will show a mutual commitment to a joint action for a meaningful conclusion of the peace deal and  peace process.
  2. The parties agree to add one more year to the term of the Constituent Assembly in order to write the new Constitution for Nepal.
  3. The Prime Minister of the coalition government shows promptness for an immediate resignation in order to pave the way for a consensus government based on the above-said promises.
There are already signs that the government is not committed to the spirit of the MOU.  The government is interpreting the MOU for its own interests by asking the Maoists to work on No.1 and 2 before the PM applies No.3 and resigns. The government has also decided to hire about 9,000 soldiers despite the peace deal restrictions that bar either army (both the old Royal Army and Maoists' Peoples' Liberation Army) from recruiting additional soldiers.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Maoists' Final Draft Constitution Made Public

The UCPN(M) has published the102 page long document in Nepali. English translation is currently underway and the document will be posted here as soon as it is available.

Nepal PM won't resign before consensus: UML

From oneindia.

Kathmandu, June 2 (ANI): The CPN-UML on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal will step down only after the guarantee of past agreements on peace process and Constitution-writing.
During the Standing Committee (SC) meeting, the party has remarked that it was pointless on the Maoists' part to pressurise the prime minister to step down before implementing the past agreements.

UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and leader KP Oli informed the SC members about the procedures of three-point agreement between the three parties.

Nepalnews quoted Khanal as, saying that the first point of the three-point agreement, which is about implementing the past agreements, and the third point (on 'immediate resignation' of the PM) should be implemented simultaneously.

"The second point of the agreement regarding the extension of the Constituent Assembly term has already been executed," he said.

Earlier, UCPN (Maoist) Vice-Chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai had said there would be serious consequences if Prime Minister doesn't resign as per the agreement.

It had been agreed during the tri-partite meeting between the Maoists, the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML last Friday that Prime Minister will resign within five days if Maoists agree on the extension of Constituent Assembly (CA)'s tenure.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the big three parties is underway to discuss the contentious political issues including the spirit of the three-point agreement.

The three parties resume the talks shortly after UML decision that Prime Minister would step down if the main opposition party agrees to implement the other conditions stated therein.

The meeting is being attended by Prime Minister as well. (ANI)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Constituent Assembly Extended, Prime Minister to Step Down

Report by Mukit N. Kattel.
 This briefing on Nepal covers the developments until 11:45 am May 29 Nepal time (2 pm May 29 Eastern time USA/Canada). Finally the term of the Constituent Assembly (CA) has been extended by one more year and a national consensus government through an immediate resignation of the prime minister has been agreed upon by the three major parties (Maoist, NC and the UML). The extension of the term has been effective immediately but the resignation by the prime minster has yet to be implemented and whether the Maoist party would be able to lead the mainstream politics in the next phase of development is yet to be seen. Most Nepali people are happy with the extension even though they are tired of the corrupt and selfish nature of the current political leadership.
Nepali people are now thinking of the future of the CA and new constitution in relation to the Maoist party. What progressive contributions have the Maoist party has made so far, whether Maoist party had any better options regarding the CA extension debate, whether this party is on the line of its new democratic revolutionary mission and what tests the Maoists will have to pass immediately has been topics of discussion among left forces of Nepal in the occasion of Republican Day of Nepal. These are difficult topics that require an extensive treatment. However, views expressed by various sections of people in the internet and over few radios do also indicate the situation of the Maoist party. Besides, the activities of various organized and unorganized sections of people during the current discourses are also helpful in figuring out the picture of the situation.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

No extension of CA term under current circumstances: UCPN (M)

Reposted from

The Unified CPN (Maoist) has decided not to go for extension of the Constituent Assembly (CA) under the existing circumstances.

A meeting of the Maoist standing committee held at the party headquarters Paris Danda Thursday afternoon decided to stick with the party's earlier stance, concluding that extending the CA's term would be meaningless unless it is guaranteed that constitution would be written and peace process comes to a conclusion.

"To guarantee peace and constitution, resignation of the current government to form a unity government is mandatory," Maoist spokesperson Dina Nath Sharma said after the standing committee meeting.

If the Madhav Nepal-led government resigns right away there can be negotiation as to who or which party will lead the national unity government, he added.

"It has become meaningless even to continue the talks under the current circumstances," Sharma said. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Struggle Continues Over Constituent Assembly

Report by Mukit N. Kattel.


Its now 3 pm, May 24 in Nepal (5:15 am eastern time in USA or Canada). The situation is largely the same as described the day before yesterday. The new developments are:

(1) the Maoist party has opposed the constitution amendment proposal of the ruling party filed at the Constituent Assembly (CA), 

(2) the 10 coalition partners of the Maoist party are firm in their stance that it is not worth extending the tenure of the CA until this government steps down to give room for a national consensus government, 

(3) as deadline for deciding whether to extend the term of the CA is approaching closer, more pressure has built from within the country to the government as well as to the Maoist party to act on the extension of the term of the CA. A straightforward statement from the prime minister and an indirect statement from the most prominent leader of the Nepali Congress (Mr. Ram Chandra Poudel) that the CA is the agenda of the Maoist has given the impression to the people that they are not sincere about the life of the CA and would do whatever is detrimental to it (such as no stepping down from the government). However, the small parties look sincerely to the CA as it has helped them to come to existence and would help maintain their existence and are putting pressure for extending the term.

The Maoist party has unanimously decided NOT to extend the term of the  CA until the government agrees to form a national consensus government by stepping down. The party has stated that it is in favour of extending the term of the CA but the adding of the term under current situation has no meaning.  A small portion of the Maoist leaders are thinking that the saving of the CA has more value to the people than making the prime minister step down. However, a large portion of the party leaders are thinking that there would be no value of the CA to the people as long as the regressive parties continue to capture the CA (the small parties are opportunist in nature and favour those who are in power). The future CA in the leadership of these regressive parties will neither let a progressive constitution to be passed nor let the Peoples' Liberation Army gain the national army status, nor anything of that nature. So long as the regressive forces are in the upper hand in power,  the Maoists will have to go the people for a revolt anyway whether they extend the term of the CA or not if they are sincere to the New Democratic revolution. However, in the case of the government's stepping down, there are greater chances (given the Maoist leaders do not repeat the earlier mistakes) that the Maoist party uses the CA for the potential New Democratic transition.

So the issue of extending the term of the CA before the stepping down of this government is heavily linked to commitment to New Democratic revolution and the Maoist party is expected to adhere to this sincerely .
The Maoist party would benefit from your views at this crucial time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"The choices are difficult and the consequences are far reaching"

Report by Mukit N. Kattel. 22May2010, 6:30 pm Nepal time.

Since it is certain that no new constitution is going to appear by May 28, exercises have started for the post-May 28 period. The situation in Nepal is decisive and fast. Each of the rivals are undergoing vigorous civil and military homework and discourse.  The debate is centred around whether to extend the tenure of the Constituent Assembly or not, whether it is legal to extend this tenure or not, what if extension or no extension of the tenure or whether this fight is for the chair or a major change and who to be blamed for the consequences. People are divided on these issues. The choices are difficult and the consequences are far reaching.

The ex-monarch is organizing big public meetings in western Nepal and his supporters are trying to create public opinion for the resumption of the pre-2008 constitution in case no new constitution is in place within the defined time (i.e., May 28). A pro-Indian and pro-monarchy statesman (a noted ex-prime minister) is visiting India today for informal political consultations. Some NC leaders have started claiming the leadership of next government and are arguing that the tenure of the CA must be extended.

UML leader and Prime Minister Nepal has one more time revealed his true intention during his talk with a Norwegian minister by stating that he was NOT been in favour of the CA and supported the concept of CA just to please the Maoist party. He has been heavily criticized for this statement and is asked to apologize publicly. The UML is now campaigning for an amendment of the Interim constitution again to provide legitimacy to this government and the CA in the post-May 28 period.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pakistani's Rally in Northwest Fronteir Province in Support of Nepali Peoples' Movement

Pakistan Worker Peasant Party members and supporters rally in the heart of so-called "Taliban-country" in support of May Day and the peoples' movement in Nepal.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nepal Continues to Polarize, Growing Split Within the UML

Report by Mukit N. Kattel.

The situation in Nepal has become even more scary. The main ruling party has officially put the conditions of disarmament of the Maoist party before constitution writing and ordered the prime minister to stay on the position. The monarchist groups are nullifying the clauses of the interim constitution (like the clauses of secularism) to prepare moral ground for claiming the resumption of the pre-JanaAndolan II constitution. Debate is underway whether or not to extend the term of the constituent assembly. Some ethnic groups (like the Kirant) have started attacking police posts and putting local administrative building in fire to start their new democratic government at the local level. People have  confiscated Katuwal's property and many other lands in the countryside. The government has attacked and relocated some slum areas settled this way in eastern Nepal.
A severe inner-party struggle has started in the ruling UML party. This party has not been able to take action against the pro-Maoist Vice Chairman and his group. Physical confrontations have been reported between the Oli (the most notorious figure in the UML party) group of students and non-Oli group of students at RR college in the capital city.

The Maoists have cancelled the mass rally slated for May 25 and have rescheduled for May 29, the Republican Day and the end of the current term of the Consitution Assembly and the end of the period for constitution writing. They have declared that they would promulgate a peoples' constitution from the street on that day (to my knowledge, their constitution has not been public yet for discussion).

Footage from Lal Salaam's May 13 Public Event in Toronto

Presentations by: Katharine Rankin - Associate Professor and Director of Planning, University of Toronto. Derek Rosin - solidarity activist. Anil Bhattarai - reporter for The Kathmandu Post. Recorded May 13, Toronto, Canada.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No revolution can be replicated but developed

By Basanta, The Worker #11, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), July 2007, pp. pp. 15-24.

We do not regard Marx’s theory as something completed and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that it has only laid the foundation stone of the science which socialists must develop in all directions if they wish to keep pace with life. We think that an independent elaboration of Marx’s theory is especially essential for Russian socialists; for this theory provides only general guiding principles, which, in particular, are applied in England differently than in France, in France differently than in Germany, and in Germany differently than in Russia.”
V. I. Lenin [a]
Under the adept leadership of chairman comrade Prachanda, our party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), has been leading powerful people’s war since February 13, 1996. This revolution, irrigated by the blood of more than 13,000 best sons and daughters of Nepalese people, is now clashing at close with the enemies to give birth to a new Nepal, free from feudal and imperialist exploitation. Ever since the loss of proletarian power by our class in China, it is the only revolution that has attained this height. It is not that communist parties are not engaged in revolutionary struggles all through the period following it. Also, it is not to speak ill of others, but it is a living fact that it is the only people’s revolution, which has reached this level in the contemporary communist movement. Naturally, this great accomplishment has on the one hand become pupil of eyes for the proletariat and oppressed classes the world over and dust in eyes for imperialism and all sorts of reactions, on the other. It shows the great opportunities and grave challenges before our party and the revolution it has been leading.

Today, the New Democratic Revolution in Nepal is at a crucial juncture of great victory and severe setback. It is true for any revolution when it reaches at the threshold of seizing central power. In such a situation, only a correct political tactic can lead to great accomplishment while a wrong one is bound to result into disastrous consequence. We have witnessed triumphant revolutions in Russia and China. We have also witnessed serious setbacks of proletarian revolution in other parts of the world. We have sufficient treasury of experiences, positive and negative in the international communist movement. Success or failure of any revolution is dependent on whether or not the party of the proletariat can draw correct lesson from those experiences, both negative and positive, and apply the positive ones creatively in agreement with the specificity of the given country.

International situation: FAVOURABLE or UNFAVOURABLE?

by C. P. Gajurel ‘Gaurav’, Secretary of UCPN-Maoist

Communist Movement is an internationalist movement. Goal of all communists, provided they are truly communists, is communism. We should not be confused about vulgar distortions of communism whether it is ‘National communism’ or ‘Euro communism’. Internationalist nature of communists is characterized by the principle ‘either we all reach or none of us’. This is the basis of proletarian internationalism.

International situation is not same as proletarian internationalism.

Apart from the domestic situation, which is decisive, Communist movement is definitely influenced by international situation of the given time. Development of communist movement of a single country definitely depends upon the favourable or unfavourable international situation. Success or failure of revolution of individual country also largely depends on favourable or unfavourable international situation. In many cases, the question of ‘unfavourable international situation’ is being (mis)used by rightists or revisionists to justify their degeneration from a communist or revolutionary to a revisionist or a bourgeois politician. None of the revisionists of the world declare themselves as revisionists; rather they try to show that they are revolutionaries and are still communists. Capitalist class is an exploiter and oppressor class. So it is quite natural that the politicians openly representing the class interest of this class will not be able to garner support from the broad masses.

So in order to garner support of the broad masses, the revisionists, who represent the class interest of the bourgeoisie, disguise themselves as “communists”. They always distort the revolutionary line and situation in service of the bourgeoisie. They are the people who sabotage the revolution from within. Words like “Communism”, “revolution” are the masks of revisionists under which they cover their ugly bourgeois face. Revisionists of this era always prolong or delay or stop the revolution in the pretext of “unfavourable” international situation. They have regular and long time idea which states that no revolution can take place when there is “unfavourable international situation” and for them “unfavourable international situation” is permanent.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lal Salaam Chapter Formed in Quebec

Lal Salaam Réseau de solidarité avec le Népal has been formed!  Their blog can be found here.  They can be reached at lalsalaam [dot] quebec [at] gmail [dot] com.

Jed Brandt's Images From Nepal

Jed Brant, a member of the Kasama Project in the US, is in Nepal reporting on the revolutionary movement there.  He is also a skilled photographer and has been regularly posting his pictures here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Himalayan precipice: Time is running out for attempts to settle the country’s confrontation

From The Economist.

NEPAL’S Maoists can put on an impressive display. For the past week they have endured torrential rain and outbreaks of diarrhoea to bring the capital, Kathmandu, and the rest of the country, to a halt. Then, on May 4th, tens of thousands formed a human chain around both sides of the 27km (17-mile) ring road, surrounding and cutting off the capital. In a country where politics is marked by incompetence and cynicism, no other force can match the former rebels for commitment or organisation—which is only one reason why everyone else finds them so frightening.

After ten years of insurgency the Maoists laid down their arms and signed a peace deal in 2006. That deal is now on the verge of collapse. The heart of the process is the writing of a new constitution, a long-standing Maoist demand. When a Constituent Assembly was elected in 2008 to write it, the Maoists emerged with an effective veto and twice as many seats as their nearest rival.

Then things started falling apart. A Maoist-led government resigned after less than a year when the prime minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known as Prachanda (“fierce one”), sacked the army chief as part of a dispute over integrating former guerrillas into the army—only to see him controversially reinstated by the president. With some prodding from India, 22 parties cobbled together an anti-Maoist coalition, but the constitution-writing process stalled. May 28th marks the expiry of the interim charter under which the country has been operating. If there is no agreement to amend it, Nepal will plunge into legal limbo. No one knows what law—if any—will then apply.

Nepal in the Eye of the Hurricane

Report by Mukit N. Kattel. This report covers the developments until noon May 11 Nepal  time.

Nepal appears slow today as the Maoist Party does not have any protest program until Jestha 11 (by Nepali calendar or May 25). The Maoists have a vigorous stir planned from that date onward and have said that  preparations are currently underway and so is the case with their rivals. Bloodshed is likely after this date if the current stalemate continues. The Maoists refused to respond to a letter by the Prime Minister that requested that the Maoists sit down for talks. The Maoists have said that they would not sit for talks until the Prime Minster resigns.

The proposed deadline for the promulgation of a new constitution is May 28. Based on developments so far, no new constitution is likely by that deadline and a constitutional vacuum is likely. The Maoist Party is saying that the people themselves will promulgate a new constitution from the street on or after May 28.  The current ruling parties seem ready to respond with a declaration of a state of emergency so that they do not need any parliamentary approval for the extension of their tenure for another six months. The monarch and his camp are also waiting for that vacuum. The monarch last month said that he has not been constitutionally ousted yet as the existing constitution remains valid unless it is replaced by the new one.  They are provoking people with anti-secularist and anti-federalist slogans (and this slogan is being backed by Hindu orthodox groups in India).  There are many commonalities in interest between the current ruling parties and the monarch on army issues, land issues, etc. and the biggest partner of the ruling coalition, the Nepali Congress, is against federalism.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Balance of Power Shifting, PM Losing Foreign and Local Support

Report by Mukit N. Kattel.
Today's (May 10) development in Nepal is the announcement from the goverment that it is not stepping down despite its previous word that it would consider resigning if the general strike was called off. The government  has repeated the same conditions for the resignation and promulgation of the new constitution: the Maoist party should be disarmed (by merging few Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA) with the old army on person to person basis (not by group identity) and by rehabilitating most of them in the society, remove the para millitary nature of the YCL(young communist league), return the land and houses confiscated during the peoples' war to the respective landlords, etc. ). Tough physical confrontations are likely if current situations continue.
By 12:30 pm Nepali time of May 10, some changes in power balance have appeared. The UCPN(Maoist) has declined the call from the Prime Minister for sitting for dialogue. They have said that they would not sit for dialogue until the resignation by the Prime Minister. The diplomatic missions in Nepal and the people that led the peace rally against the strike have pressed the government to consider a consensus government, accommodative constitution and army integration (and implied that the government should keep its word by resigning). Reputed dailies have stated that CPN Maoist are getting favour from 10 parties in the Constituent Assembly. Maoists have continued protests and surrounding activities in front of the main administrative building in the capital city to halt the administrative activity. They have said that they are resuming nationwide massive protests and other peaceful activities again from May 11 onward. Today, the BBC Nepali radio interviewed representatives from all major parties and exposed what the bottleneck was and who the problem makers were. The interview made clear that the main issue of disagreement was the method of PLA integration.
Most of protesters of May 1 are reported to be still in the capital city for the next phase of stir.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gov't Refuses to Step Down Despite Strike Call-Off, Clashes Intesify

Report by Mukit N. Kattel.  Nepali speaking readers are encouraged to tune in to Radio Mirmire.  This report covers the developments until 1:45 pm May 9 Nepal time (2:30 am eastern time USA/Canada). 

The call off of general strike by the Maoist party the day before yesterday night created some confusion in people. Maoist leadership organized a public meeting yesterday to clarify their stance. The leadership clarified that they had dropped only the general strike component, not the whole movement. The chairman of the party said that they dropped that component to stop the people to people confrontations created by the government and to respect the demand of the government that they would consider their stepping down once the general strike was called off. The chairman said they would continue peaceful protests and warned that they would go for even higher level of movement if the government did not respond to the call off of the general strike by stepping down within two days.  He said his party would not even sit for talk unless the prime minister would step down.  After this public meeting, the confusion has been largely removed. Most civil society people, political parties, ordinary people, Nepal government and foreign diplomats have welcomed the call off. Some people and few protestors appeared to feel that the call off would not do good to the movement but most protestors look in favor of the step. From the chairperson’s speech, most people have gathered that the party would go for higher level of movement if the government would not step down. The stepping down of the current government means the stepping up of the Maoist party to the government. They think this stepping up would be helpful in many respects---they would be in upper hand position to restructure the army by integrating the peoples’ liberation army, to incorporate peoples aspirations in the forth coming constitution and to create a smoother transitioning to peoples’ democracy in the country.

Contrary to the expectations and request of most people, the government is not going to step down even though their demand of calling off of the general strike has been fulfilled. The meeting of 15 parties involved in the government yesterday has repeated their old stance (that the UPCN(M) affiliated Young Communist League should remove its para-military nature, that the properties and land confiscated during the 10-year Peoples’ War that is being used by the landless people be returned back to the old landlords, the new constitution will not be promulgated until the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) is merged with the old army, only few PLA will be merged on one by one basis rather than in bulk, and not the whole lot that were qualified by the United Nations, they cannot mention secularism, federalism, civil supremacy over the military, peoples over-riding power, peoples’ democracy, labor class rights, etc. in the preamble and other relevant sections of the constitution, etc. etc.) and have declared that  the government would not step down until the whole movement is dropped and their demand mentioned above is met. The resignation of the prime minster has thus become symbolic and an entry-point demand of the movement and has become a tussle between the regressives/status-quoists and the progressives. This situation is inviting a decisive class struggle.

Today, according to Mirmire FM radio and Sagarmatha FM radio’s live broadcast (Radio Mirmire has even stationed itself at the protest sites), peaceful protests are underway in more than a dozen places outside the capital cities and at more than a dozen places in the capital city, including the Singh Durbar area. The army has started heavily-armed patrols, the police has become more aggressive with the protesters and the youth wings of the ruling parties are attacking the protests in a hit-and-run manner. The army has not allowed the entry of even the employees into the main administrative building, the Singh Durbar. More than a dozen protestors and about the same number of policemen have been injured already. Police have heavily used tear gas to disperse the confrontations caused by the UML affiliated Youth Force attackers. The protesters have captured a few Youth Force people attacking the protests with weapons and have been submitted to the Nepali human right activists and UN High Commission for Human Rights people. Similarly, they have captured people from the intelligence bureau of the police with their identification cards who infiltrated into the protests and threw stones at the police to provoke them and have also been submitted to the human rights activists. This is the reason why the government has decided to remove the United Nations Human Rights offices from the periphery of the country and if possible, they would remove them from the country itself. It also shows that the government is well prepared to launch a heavy operation against the progressives to prevent the promulgation of a progressive constitution in the country.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

General Strike Called Off, Protests to Continue

Report by Mukti N. Kattel.  This report covers the development until noon May 8 Nepal time (1:15 pm eastern time USA/Canada).

The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has called off the general strike but has said  the peaceful protests will continue.  After the call off, schools are opening and now no room for protesters that came from outside the capital city will be available to spend the nights.  Maoists are reported to be asking them to go back home though they are said to continue the peaceful protests in the capital city. The Maoist leaders have thanked to the people for their participation and the meaning is unclear whether the leadership wants their participation in further protests. Yesterday, a huge anti-strike rally was organized successfully in the capital city (in which a few popular comedians also participated) and there were scattered physical confrontations of the protesters with the anti-protesters at the vicinity of the rally. The anti-protesters attacked the protesters at some places outside the capital city too. In some places, protesters were even shot but no casualties have been reported. An injured protester in the capital city yesterday has died today.

Some civil society leaders were suggesting that the Maoists should not to call off the strike before the resignation of the Prime Minister, that the call off and the resignation should take at the same time. The protesters were warning the leadership not to compromise. The participation of the locals in the protest was drastically increasing in the capital city. The ministers had a hard time commuting to their offices, having to enter before 4 am and leaving after 11 pm.  Some even slept over in their offices! On the other side, the government decided to deploy the old army in the name of involving them in transporting food stuffs.

Some diplomatic activities took place before Maoists called off the strike. The Indian ambassador to Nepal had met the chairperson of the Maoist party that morning. A few days ago, the foreign department chief of the party, Mr. Mahara, is said to have visited the United State at the latter’s invitation. The US requested the government of Nepal to be accommodative and considerate and for the Maoists to call off the strike. Some analysts are associating these diplomatic intercourses with the Maoist call off.

There are mixed reactions to the call off. The Maoists are justifying the call off by stating that it has prevented the people to people confrontations. Some Maoist activists argue that this step has put moral pressure to the government that was asking for a call-off of the strike before the resignation of the Prime Minister. The anti-call off people are arguing, however, that the call off  before any output will create frustrations in people and will reduce peoples' participation in future protests. They have argued that it was not wise to call off the strike when the protest was approaching the climax and had good potential to melt down the stubborn reactionary camp (the strike was called third Jana Andolan which means a movement to bring a major political change, not merely a change of persons in the government). A group of protesters have chanted slogans against the leadership (against the call-off) and have even locked a leader (Nabaraj Subedi, according to Radio Sagarmatha, a largely anti-protest FM radio station) in a Dharmashala building in the capital city. Some civil society leaders and some well wishers said over the radio that the call off is a surrender and should be explained to the mass of poor people who participated in the protests without food, sleep, etc. Some others are arguing that it is another expression of the reconciliatory attitude of the leadership that was been developing in them during recent years. Still others think that they might have taken this step to regroup and prepare for even bigger push in the near future.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lal Salaam CNSG Launches Letter Writing Campaign

Lal Salaam is encouraging everyone in Canada who is concerned about the current crisis in Nepal to write to the Nepali ambassador in Ottawa.  It is important for the government of Nepal to know that people around the world are watching and that their reputation around the world will be damaged if they move to violently repress the protests.  Below the break is an example letter that can be used by an individual, or modified to be a collective statement of a group of people or organization.

Day 5: "The situation is gradually turning violent"

Report by Mukti N. Kattel. This report covers developments until noon  May 6, Kathmandu time.

The situation is gradually turning violent. Efforts have been made from the government side to make the peoples' movement turn violent. The youth wings of the ruling parties (mainly the UML and Nepali Congress) have made unsuccessful physical attacks on protesters in many places (Jorpati, Patan Damakal, Hetauda, Birganj, Budhanilakantha, etc.). In many places the police have indirectly supported the ruling party youth wing people. In birganj, the World Hindu Organization people with assistance of criminals from bordering regions in India, Nepali police (DSP Mr. Pal), youth wings of ruling parties have jointly attacked the protesters in a planned way. 15 protestors have been hospitalized including two Maoist Central Committee members. The stage has been destroyed and food dispersed. They targeted the top leaders during the attack.  Most locals, however, are cooperating  with the protesters. Curfew is likely to be issued in Birganj.

In many places, situation is tense and physical confrontations may erupt at any time. Protestors have taken full control of Butwal area. Protestors participating in a martyr ganesh Subedi have asked for permission from the leadership to retaliate against the vigilante groups.

The ruling parties and the ministers have guided the attacks from behind the curtain even though the ministers themselves leave the administrative building (Singh Durbar) only in the midnight and re-enter at 3:30 am because they fear the protesters!  Members of the Youth wing of UML even put poison in the protesters' drinking water  at Bhotahity area yesterday and many fell sick.

There is a significant rise in the cooperation by native newars in the capital city and the amount of donations by locals in terms of food, money, and other logistics has drastically increased. Maoists are organizing a red protest in the inner part of the city (at 12:30 pm, a red protest of about 50,000 has been reported at tripureswor, the heart of the city; similar protests are seen on other streets too and will accumulate at Sundhara later).

The government is still stuburn and asking for the withdrawal of the strike before the resignation of the prime minister!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May Day, Nepal 2010 - unedited footage

Al Jazeera English on May Day Rally in Nepal

Day 4: UML youth wing fire on protesters, fail to disrupt protests

Report by Mukti N. Kattel.

This report covers developments until 1 pm Kathmandu time May 5, the fourth day of the indefinite and decisive protest/peoples' revolt.

The Maoists have shifted from yesterday’s capital city encirclement from the periphery (called the "red human chain approach") to the core capital city encirclement today.  According to their plan of preventing ministers from entering the main administration building (the Singh Durbar), protesters reached the gate at 4 am. However, some of the ministers had already entered at 3 am!

Other features of today’ s protests include  the continued increase of participation of local people, increased emotion (anger) in the protesters and the general public owing to the stuburn behaviour of the government despite the sober and just way of the protesters and increased firing at the protesters by youth wing people of the ruling party.  Yesterday the youth wings of the ruling parties were looting stores while camouflaged as Maoist protestors and were chased away by the real protesters immediately. Today they are firing without any camouflage. A protestor, Ganesh Subedi of Kaski, was killed  in Kalanki, Kathmandu at about 10 pm. Maoist deputy commander Janardan Sharma said he was killed by an armed police officer, Sangam KC and said the were studying further the nature of the killing and are demanding that the government not hide the killer and file murder case against him.  Meanwhile, Radio Sagarmatha claimed Subedi he was killed by motorbike wrek (but Janardan says the bike was parked on the street and the deceased plus the injured were sitting at the edge of the street). The other comrade injured in the incident will report the reality from the hospital when he is able to talk.  The deceased comrade’s funeral is organized today and comrade Sonam (Kul Prasad KC) and comrade Basanta (Indra Mohan Sigdel) are giving Dagbatti a final tribute to the deceased in Hindu culture which involves cremation of the body.  Youth Force members (the youth wing of the CPN-UML) have fired at protestors in Koteswor and Bhaktapur but no casualties have been reported yet.

Now locals are overtaking the outsiders in the protests.  Maoist are starting a door to door program to support the protest.  As a result,  Newa Jyapu Guthi (a cultural institution of the indigenous people of the capital city and which constitutes a majority native population in the  city) have  reacted positively.  Ministers and noted opposition leaders are commuting in police vans and have flocked in the ministers’ residence area, which is heavily fortified by police and army.

Protests are taking place in the outlying cities too and Youth Force people are trying to disturb it in a few places. At all site, protests are very organized (who leads which day, which music team, which health team, which security team, which reporting team, which human right activists, which logistic team, which participants when, where , etc. ).

The reactionary powers are not prepared to recognize the Maoist army as a part of National Army, nor are happy to entrust government  roles to the Maoists owing to the fear that they might never come to power again to enjoy the legal sanctuary of looting the people for their comfort.  Still, they are trying to find ways to persuade the Maoists to accept a minor share of power and the protestors are strongly warning the leadership not to fall for this trap.  The situation is critical.  The general public is putting pressure on the government to step down and give room to the Maoist who overthrew the monarchy, educated and organized the dalits, women and ethnic minorities for the change and have a vision of changing the country to a new height.  Not only Nepalis from foreign countries (such as Ram Bdr Gurung of Gunja Nagar, Bishnu Bhujel and others in Belzium) but international communities have also started voicing their support for the protests.  In Toronto, Canada many international groups spoke out in favor of the protesters on May Day and are coming up with some other activities in their country for the near future.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 3: More local people, women, UML members join strike

Report by Mukti N. Kattel.  This report covers the development until 1 pm eastern time (USA/Canada) (11:30 am Nepal time).

Very significant spontaneous rise is reported in the participation by the local people/nursing mothers in the capital city and some other cities outside. In the capital city, the indigenous people (the newars ) have poured in with flyers and speeches in their own language and the founding member of CPN, Mr. Narabahadur Karmacharya, has also come to the front today.

In some areas, a big mass of UML people are joining the Maoist party today, considering the UML a regressive party. In many places, protesters were welcomed by the locals with AbirJaatraa (a red powder that has a great cultural significance) and were supplying clean drinking water to the protesters.  However, the government has now started playing tricks (has employed vigilante to stone the police, has employed its youth wing people to loot stores, damage vehicles even during the permitted hours, to attack some journalists; the communication minister himself has been reported as intimidating independent journalists and has even ordered  them to blackout the news about the movement. Some of the vigilantes have been caught by the protesters and submitted to the police and others have been chased away or are being looked for. In some cases, the police are slow to look for the vigilantes. In general, there is harmony between the police and the protesters).

In the bordering areas to India such as Birganj, groups of suspicious people in half pants have entered Nepal from India and have tried to infiltrate into the protesters.

The reasons behind the increase in the participation of the locals and women are the involvement of the protesters in cleaning (removing and disposing the garbages) and sweeping the city, the hard work of the protesters (staying whole day on the reinforced cement concrete roads in the hot day sun, etc.), the increasing support of independent intellectuals (for example the civil society leaders, etc.) and the reactionary behaviour of the government.

Today the protesters are surrounding the city by lining up on the 27 kilometre-long RingRoad that circles the capital city. Other features are similar to what were reported yesterday.
Update at noon: Youth Force (youth wing of UML) have stoned the protesters at Kalanki and the police have been reported as being inactive in trying to take hold of them, yet situation is under control.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Report from Nepal: Day 2 of the General Strike by Mukti N. Kattel

May 3 is the 2nd day of the indefinite strike in Nepal. This report represents the developments until noon and is based mainly on the Maoist inclined Mirmire Radio FM (which, however, looks fair in reporting and the information has not contradicted with that from other FM radios).

The strike has brought the country to a halt on May 3 too. The movement of 60 important leaders of the leading ruling party that called for an immediate resignation by the prime minister to prevent the armed tussle between the government and the opposition (the Maoist party) has spread down to the local level at some places and may put a good pressure to the prime minister from within his own party.

The strike is not violent yet. Maoist leaders have continued to state that the Guandhian (i.e., non-violent) protest of people will be decisive to topple down the ractionary government to give room for peace and promulgation of  peoples' constitution.The protesters are chanting slogans, singing, dancing, conducting mass meetings, eating and taking rest right on the street during the protest hours (early in the morning thru late in the evening). Health camps are also set on the street and locals are also providing food and drinking water. Diplomatic vehicles and emergency vehicles like ambulances are allowed to operate and stores are allowed to open from 6-8 pm.

The number of protesters has significantly increased today in most places. The general public, various celebrities/artists, businessmen, bureaucracy and the civil society people are in favor of the resignation of the prime minister and for the promulgation of a constitution to save the achievements of last peoples movement.

Most people have noticed the change in activities (like he conducted the meeting of the security council upon arrival and got approval for using millitary force to suppress the Maoist movement) and in the tone of the prime minister after he met the Indian Prime minister in Bhutan during the SAARC meeting on April 30. India has tightened security in the bordering areas and the SSB (border police force of India) is reported to be collecting info about the movement from nepalis living in the bordering areas and to be giving hard times to those Nepalis.

Maoists have, side by side, continued the talk with the government for negotiation. The current major issues of dispute are :

(1) the creation of a new army by merging the old army and the maoist army as per the Peace Agreement 2006 mediated by the United Nations; and

(2) the resignation of the prime minister to let Maoist, the larget party in the consituent assembly, form the government to lead the constitution writing process.

The goverment still looks stuburn and the far rightist group (the Nepali Congress) is still not coming to the front to allow further confrontations between the left groups (the ruling party CPN-UML and the oppositon party, the CPN Maoist). The protestors are warning the leadership not to compromise. The royalist groups look silent for now (but may be cooking something inside).

Just a breaking news: a section of the police (some police are in favor and some others are agsinst the Maoist movement) has captured some of the drinking water trucks at few places to keep the protestors thirsty or to provocate the protestors towards violence.

If this movement is successful, it will set another and even higher record of Gandhian struggle. However, most people think that it can burst into armed tussle at any time. Situation is critical. Maoists in Kathmandu are asking for creating public opinion for their movement internationally.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lal Salaam Canada Nepal Solidarity Group May Day Flyer

As you read this Nepal is locked in a critical showdown whose outcome will decide the future of the country.

On the one side is the revolutionary movement led by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Backed by Nepal's peasants, low-caste untouchables, oppressed women, and urban workers, this force led a guerilla war from 1996-2006, through the course of which they liberated 80% of the Nepalese countryside. To win over the urban people of Nepal, the Maoists called for, and went on to win, elections to a new Constituent Assembly(CA)–a historic body formed to write a constitution for a new Nepal.

On the other side are the old-guard right-wing political parties that control the Nepalese state. Although they temporarily agreed with the Maoists to join the CA process, they have been blocking any attempts to change the feudal structures and foreign domination that continue to define the country.

The Maoists want land distribution, radical autonomy for oppressed minorities, and civilian control of the military. The establishment parties who currently form the government are refusing these popular demands, and no progress has been made towards the deadline for writing the new constitution on May 28th.

In response, Maoists have called for a general strike to begin May 2nd to push forward their demands. The people are taking up this call and current reports say that 20,000 people a day are streaming into the capital, Kathmandu, to join the movement. The government is threatening to use the army against them.

The Maoists, who never disarmed their People's Liberation Army, say they are ready to lead a people's revolt and launch an insurrection should the old parties refuse to form a new government.

This is a highly volatile situation in which something has to give. The Nepalese people have put out a call for international solidarity, and we need to respond.

We need to think and act on Nepal for 3 reasons:

First, to deeply understand the complexity of a real revolutionary movement unfolding before our eyes – the first communist revolution for a generation – learning about the real problems they face and studying their theoretical innovations.

Second, we need to popularize their struggle. Wherever people struggle under global capitalism but cannot see a way out, we need to be telling them about Nepal, to inspire us towards a new collective imagination of the possible.

Third, we need to act as internationalists, and fulfil our responsibility to support oppressed people anywhere who dare to rise up for change.

Join us at a Public Meeting to learn, discuss, and share your ideas.

Thursday, May 13th 6:30pm
Flavelle House (78 Queens Park, Museum subway), Downstairs, Room C.
Refreshments will be served

Sponsored by: Lal Salaam Canada Nepal Solidarity Group (, Socialist Project (, BASICS Free Community Newsletter ( and South Asia Solidarity Group.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Around the world, all those who love justice must support the peoples’ revolt in Nepal.

The oppressed people in Nepal, especially women, dalits (the so-called “untouchables”) and ethnic minorities, have faced vicious domestic and international exploitation that takes social, economic and political forms. Making great sacrifices, they have actively participated in the armed and unarmed Peoples’ War to end all forms of exploitation by overthrowing the guardians of exploitation, namely the monarchy, feudal landlords, corrupt politicians, and the social, economic and political apparatus that serves their interests.
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) successfully led this movement by raising awareness and organizing oppressed people to getting rid of the monarchy and won the largest number of seats in the elections for the Constituent Assembly (CA). As a result, a huge number of ordinary women, dalits and ethnic minorities were elected to the Constitutional Assembly. Unfortunately, the Party made some mistakes. They over-estimated the Party's power while under-estimating the power of the vestiges of the old regime. They had an overly simplistic view of the process of transitioning to a new state. After a while, weaknesses began to develop in the lifestyles of a few top leaders before the transformation of the country could be institutionalized. Fortunately, the vigilance of some leaders, militant forces and popular organizations was been able to teach lessons to the leadership and a fight is now underway for a new and revolutionary constitution and a new economic, political and military framework for Nepal. Nepal is now at a cross-roads in the struggle between the guardians of the old regime and the conscious forces of a new peoples' power.
The government of Nepal has turned against the peoples' movement. The parties running the current government have long served the interests of the monarchy but later participated in the anti-monarchy movement when monarchy lost its popular support, but have again turned reactionary and are trying to dismantle the revolutionary forces in whatever ways they can. When the CPN(M) led the coalition government, the other political parties put the CPN(M) in a trap by taking the side of the army (still loyal to the monarchy and the old system) against the democratic principal of civilian supremacy over the armed forces. Contrary to the Peace Agreement that ended the Peoples' War, they are refusing to create a new army by integrating the old monarchist army and the Peoples’ Liberation Army of the Maoists. They also do not want to incorporate the major aspirations of the people involved in the Peoples War and the Peoples' Movement II in the new constitution (such as nationalization of land beyond a set amount, regulation of private profiteering, regulation of unjust ownership of productive resources, framing a structure for effective power sharing, equity across regions, social sections, ethnic minorities and popular control over the state machinery, guarantee of ownership of a large proportion of the fruit of one's own labour). Instead, they are creating an environment to re-institute the old regressive constitution with minimal improvements.
The Peoples’ War and Peoples’ Movement was not limited simply to the removal of the monarchy or to a change of government but wanted to bring about a major change in the socio-economic structure of Nepal. But those aspirations are being neglected. The present government, most participants of which had lost the CA election, is working in the interests of the old (foreign or domestic) regressive classes and for their survival (recall the instances of passport scandal, Pashupatinath priest appointment scandal, day to day intervention in Nepali politics by foreign diplomats, etc.). Neither has it respected the minimum values of traditional democracy—it is neglecting and bypassing the main political party (the Maoists) on the pretext of insignificant issues of political processes. Preparations have been underway to crush the Party since it entered the mainstream political process by leaving its strategy of armed struggle.
This current government has set a new record for corruption, disorder and public fund embezzlement. Because of sky-rocketing market prices for everyday goods, lack of jobs, low wages, lack of basic human needs such as drinking water, electricity, food, medical facilities and security, even making a simple living has become extremely difficult for people. This government is not responsive to the peoples' needs, so the people can no longer tolerate the situation and may soon launch a revolt. We ask you all to support the peoples’ revolt in Nepal, if it bursts out, in whatever ways you can and to respect the "PEOPLES' RIGHT TO REVOLT". At the same time, we assure you that we want to join any peoples' struggle for justice. Be it in Iran or Peru or the Philippines or in India, we oppose aggression and invasion by imperialist powers in any sovereign countries. We hate unjust wars and want peace, and justice!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nepal Army could be deployed to contain Maoist threat: Defense Minister

Reposted from Telegraph Nepal.

Nepal’s defense minister Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari has said that if the Unified Maoist Party’s upcoming demonstration beginning May 1, 2010 goes out of hand and turns violent the government will deploy Nepal Army to take situation under control.
Said press advisor of Mrs. Bhandari talking to the media that the Defense Minister who met with the visiting US Navy Admiral Robert F. Willard April 28, 2010, at her secretariat had made these remarks.
Mrs. Bhandari was asked by the US’s Admiral of the government’s preparation for the forthcoming demonstration and indefinite general strike called by the main opposition ‘Unified Maoists’ Party.’
Admiral Willard also met with the Home Minister Bhim Rawal and Chief of Nepal Army General Chhatra Man Singh Gurung.

Kathmandu turns RED, Nepal Maoist’s cadres enter from all corners

Reposted from Telegraph Nepal.

 Reports quote Nepal Police sources as saying that in the last two to three days more than 40 thousand cadres of Unified Maoists have already entered in Kathmandu for the so-called ‘Peoples Uprising’ beginning May 1, 2010.
They have entered the capital through Thankot, Dakshin Kali, Sankhu, Bode and Sanga entry points, police reveals.
Reports have it that the cadres have been kept at various locations in Kathmandu, mainly at Schools, covered halls, club buildings, Party venues, vacant lands, Parks, Pashupati Area, Bhrikuti Mandap, under construction buildings and factories.
The Maoists’ party has called for Public Schools and Colleges Closure beginning April 29, 2010, to arrange shelter for their cadres who are still entering into the capital in huge numbers. The cadres will continue to arrive in Kathmandu until May 1 reports quote Maoists’ sources as saying.
At least 20 thousand cadres are expected to enter Kathmandu each day until May 1.
The Maoists’ party cadres who have already arrived in the capital could well be seen walking along the streets in various groups carrying the party flags.
“We are awaiting more cadres from Kavre, Makwanpur, Dhading, Sindhupalchowk, Nuwakot, Rasuwa and various other districts” beamingly claim Maoists’ leaders.
Some twenty public buses carrying Maoists cadres from the district of Banke have also landed in Kathmandu to add strength to the Maoist protest programs.
The stage is thus set for a confrontation, it appears.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jed Brant's May First: High Noon in Nepal

Reposted from Jed Brant's blog.   This article is also available as a pdf via Kasama Project.

“You must come to Kathmandu with shroud cloth wrapped around your heads and flour in your bags. It will be our last battle. If we succeed, we survive, else it will be the end of our party."
— General Secretary Badal of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

APRIL 21 — There are moments when Kathmandu does not feel like a city on the edge of revolution. People go about all the normal business of life. Venders sell vegetables, nail-clippers and bootleg Bollywood from the dirt, cramping the already crowded streets. Uniformed kids tumble out of schools with neat ties in the hot weather. Municipal police loiter at the intersections while traffic ignores them, their armed counter-parts patrol in platoons through the city with wood-stocked rifles and dust-masks as they have for years. New slogans are painted over the old, almost all in Maoist red. Daily blackouts and dry-season water shortages are the normal daily of Nepal’s primitive infrastructure, not the sign of crisis. Revolutions don’t happen outside of life, like an asteroid from space – but from right up the middle, out of the people themselves.

Passing through Kathmandu’s Trichandra college campus after meeting with students in a nearby media program, I walked into the aftermath of bloody attack. Thugs allied with the Congress party student group had cut up leaders of a rival student group with khukuri knives leaving one in critical condition. Hundreds of technical students were clustered in the street when I arrived by chance. The conflict most often described through the positioning of political leaders is breaking out everywhere.

Indefinite bandhs are paralyzing large parts of the country after the arrest of Young Communist League (YCL) cadre in the isolated far west and Maoist student leaders in Pokhora, the central gateway to the Annapurna mountain range. The southern Terai is in chaos, with several power centers competing and basic security has broken down with banditry, extortion and kidnapping are now endemic. Government ministers cannot appear anywhere without Maoist pickets waving black flags and throwing rocks.

With no central authority, all sides are claiming the ground they stand on and preparing their base. It’s messy, confused and coming to a sharp point as the May 28 deadline for a new constitution draws near with no consensus in sight. The weak government holding court in the Constituent Assembly can’t command a majority, not even of their own parties. Seventy assembly representatives of the status quo UML party signed a letter calling on their own leader to step down from the prime minister’s chair to make way for a Maoist national-unity government. He refuses, repeating demands that the Maoists dissolve their popular organizations and return lands seized by the people who farm them.

The Maoists have more pressing concerns than the legalism of the parliamentary parties. If they can’t restructure the state, by constitutional means or otherwise, the enthusiasm that brought their revolutionary movement this far may turn to disillusionment. With no progress in the assembly, and the leaders of the status quo parties now say there will be no resolution on time. The Maoists have rejected any extension as a stalling tactic and are turning to the people. With now-or-never urgency, they are mobilizing all their forces for a decisive showdown in Kathmandu.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Power fights

Reposted from Nepali Times.

The government has asked the security forces to remain on high alert in the run up to nationwide protests planned for International Labour Day by the Maoists. The Kathmandu Post writes:
An informal Cabinet meeting on Thursday asked the Maoists to immediately stop their nationwide ‘military training’ and withdraw their mass protests. It also warned of stern action if the Maoists ignore the appeal. The meeting attended by chiefs of three security agencies – Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department – directed the security agencies to initiate special security arrangements to avert possible violence during the Maoist protests.
Meanwhile, the Maoists have intensified their efforts to train their cadres and collect donations to fund the planned protests on 1 May. Republica reports:
In Dang district, Young Communist League (YCL) has begun lathi and khukuri training to youths in the districts and expedited donation collection drive which the Maoist youth wing said is for a people’s revolt.
Youths from all 39 VDCs and two municipalities of Dang have been taking part in the training. YCL said that it has planned to train around 10,000 youths in the district alone. The participants are trained to use lathis (sticks) and khukuris. But the Maoists have termed the training as a sport training.
Local landlords have been forced to give donations worth Rs 5,000 to Rs 100,000. But the Maoists have denied the charge and said the people have been asked to donate voluntarily.
Maoists have said the training is also being given to provide security to their leaders, The Himalayan Times writes:
Maoists have been imparting paramilitary training to its cadres to use traditional weapons such as khukuris and swords to, what the Maoists said, provide security to its leaders in the rallies to be held in the capital and elsewhere.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We Need No Condescending Saviors: A Review of "Beneath Everest" by Eric Ribellarsi

Reposted from FIRE Collective.

Beneath Everest is a new documentary film depicting the revolution in Nepal. While containing some interesting footage and criticisms of the Nepalese monarchy, this film is an obnoxious, arrogant attack from a western liberal perspective on the oppressed of Nepal and their revolution.

The film’s central thesis is the "Sandwich Theory," or the claim the people are caught between two oppressors. Yet the film’s own footage frequently disproves this claim. Beneath Everest primarily condemns the Maoists for violence, even while admitting most of the violence came via the monarchy.

The opening and closing scene of the movie (as well as the film's trailer) feature a young boy, probably about five years old, saying "why did you kill my father and my brother?" No context is given to this central character until halfway into the movie when we learn the boy's family were members of the Village Defense Committees, Nepal's monarchist paramilitary organizations, which were responsible for burning villages and raping women in witch-hunts for Maoists, though this connection is never explored by Beneath Everest. We are just asked again "why did you kill my father and my brother?"

Shortly after this opening scene, we see an interview with Kapil Shrestha (identified only as "professor of political science," yet having more interview time than any person actually involved in the revolution). Shrestha tells the viewer, "Until very recently, Nepal was known as a very peaceful, beautiful country populated by smiling faces. But this is no longer so." This excerpt is followed by the film’s "exploration" of Maoist violence.