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.