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.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

UNMIN being blamed to conceal the failures of political parties, claims top UN official

Reprinted from Nepal News.

Visiting United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, has made it clear that the actual number of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) combatants living in UN-monitored cantonments and other information on them can’t be shared. He also accused the political parties here of putting the blame on UNMIN in order to hide their own failures.

Referring to Nepal government’s request to UNMIN to provide information on Maoist combatants in the cantonments, Pascoe bluntly said that the actual number of Maoist combatants can’t be shared and it will remain a secret. He said the information on the combatants should be kept secret as per the understanding reached between the government and the Maoists and that UNMIN will honestly abide by it (the understanding).

The remark by the senior UN official comes at a time when the government has been annoyed by UNMIN’s refusal to share information on Maoist combatants, citing such information as ‘very confidential.’

New Pamphlet: Arundhati Roy’s “Walking With the Comrades”

Revolution in South Asia has produced a pamphlet of Arundhati Roy’s “Walking With the Comrades”.  The important and brilliantly written article describes Roy's journey into Maoist influenced areas and the struggles rural people are waging against the Indian government and the local feudal ruling class.  While the Maoists in India are different from the Maoists in Nepal, the article is still important for understanding the revolutionary process taking place all over South Asia.