Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Nepal Maoism Bookmarks


1. The single article introductions below are the latest postings of this month's bookmarks for news items or opinion pieces on the Maoist revolution in Nepal. To see all this months bookmarks to date, use the "Read More" link following the currently displayed articles.

2. The introductions to articles are excerpts from the original publication. The original publication is accessed from the link at the end of each introduction "... go to original article".

3. To obtain last month's Nepal Maoism bookmarks only, go here or when available next month's Nepal Maoism book marks will be available here.

4. To obtain a display of blog postings including all monthly bookmarks as well as all other blog postings including the tag "nepal maoism" please go here.

'Army, Judiciary pose serious threat to Republican Order'

March 29 - Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai: "..most of the State Organs have since then adopted to the democratic principles but yet the Army and the Judiciary have yet to accept.. changes taking place in the country”.. particularly concerned over the fresh Supreme Court’s decision to halt the retirement of the Nepal Army Generals. “Most of the supreme court judges were appointed by the former king and the decision they made are in favor of those corrupt Nepal Army Generals who had objected to the Republic declaration.. “The Eight Generals are royalists, thus it is not needed to extend their tenure in office” The recent Stay Order served by the Apex Court does not in any way mean the Generals have been told to occupy their former posts. Stay Order means that the particular case is kept on hold until another verdict. Dr. Bhattarai perhaps should understand the language of the Court. But the Army head quarters, as per Dr. Bhattarai’s claim, has already asked the retired generals to occupy their respective posts. ... go to complete original article

Bhattarai: On a Legal System That Backs Reactionary Generals

March 30 - Bhattarai: On a Legal System That Backs Reactionary Generals Posted by n3wday on March 29, 2009 Baburam_Bhattarai_UCPN_Maoist_NepalThis article was posted on Democracy and Class Struggle. Senior leader of the Unified CPN (Maoist) and Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has warned failure to democratise judiciary and the army could jeopardize the republic set up of Nepal. Speaking at a programme organised by his party in Parvat Saturday, Bhattarai said many senior army officials still have a soft corner for monarchy. We tried to relieve unscrupulous royalist generals, but they got themselves reinstated by taking the judiciary in their hands, Annapurna Post quoted him as saying. The judiciary is rolling back all our decisions, which shows there is politics involved even in Judiciary, Bhattarai added. There is nobody above the people in democracy. Army and judiciary should be democratised so that people have control over them, he said. ... go to complete original article

Nepal Maoists To Revolt If Pushed To Wall: FM Bhattarai

March 30 - Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai, the Minister for Finance..“The UML that sans ideological theories has become now impotent”.. making a threatening remark also said that if the Maoists’ party is forced out of the government, the Maoists will not have any option left than to halt the peace process and take on the path of yet another revolt. “The UML is trying to use the Butwal episode as a vendetta against our party, if the UML quits the government, will force us to wage yet another revolt”... said that a baseless party with no public support does not deserve to lead so many ministries including the ministry of home affairs. “Restructuring of the judicial system is the most important part of institutionalizing the newly found republican order” Bhattarai said adding, “The republican order will continue to face threats from judiciary if not restructured” “The government will immediately forward a proposal in the constituent assembly to restructure the judicial system”, informed Dr. Bhattarai. ... go to complete original article

Nepal Awaits Dictatorial Regime: Koirala

March 31 - The Nepali Congress President Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala has said that a nouveau dictatorial regime was already in the offing for this new republican State. “The Maoists’ led government is already in the course of imposing a dictatorial rule in the country”, said Koirala talking to journalists in Kathmandu. “The fresh Maoist attack on the system of Judiciary and the Nepal Army does tell that they are proceeding towards a dictatorial rule”. Koirala urging the journalists to stop the prevailing anarchy said, “If you do not stop the anarchy, then the country will soon be declared a failed one.” Responding to a query Koirala added, “All the democratic minded political parties must form a democratic front to challenge the Maoists’ dictatorship, but I still do not see the need for forming a broader democratic alliance.” ... go to complete original article

To get a display of all this months Nepal Maoism bookmarks

I am holed up in an old apartment outside Beijing trying to get permission to haul my crap overland to Kathmandu. I did find some old knicknacks here and decided to name one "Baby Nepal".

Below are the latest news items I have bookmarked:

Nepal Maoists' CA Members Told to Exhibit Restraint

March 29 - PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal prior to his departure to Norway and Finland Saturday, March 28, 2009, requested the United Maoists’ Party CA members to exhibit restrained behavior during the Winter Session of the Constituent Assembly while he will be out of the country for a week.. “The Ordinances brought in by the government are in favor of the people, I do not think that the CA proceedings will be halted due to those Ordinances”, hoped the PM. “The government had earlier brought in three Ordinances related to inclusiveness, disappeared people and updating the voter list…I do not see differences over the issues as such, the government stands firm in favor of the people” added the Prime Minister.. “My main agenda would be to discuss the prospects of Wind Energy and Hydro Energy in Norway” “I asked our CA members to act in a mannered way and exhibit utmost restrained behavior”, said the Prime Minister. The namesake Winter Session of the constituent assembly is to begin today March 29, 2009. ... go to complete original article

UML Leaders Threaten to Quit Nepal Government

March 28 - Annoyed UML leaders threaten to quit Nepal government TGW One of the major coalition partners of the Maoists’-led government, the Nepal Communist Party United Marxist Leninists, UML, has summarily threatened to quit the government. The UML submitted a memorandum to the Chairman of the Maoists party and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Friday late evening, March 27, 2009, in Baluatar demanding immediate acceptance of the Maoists’ past commitments and also to stop criminal activities being carried out by the Maoists’ cadres. The UML statement came a day after a UML cadre in Butwal, Rupandehi district was brutally killed after succumbing to bullet injuries. ... go to complete original article

New land revolution in offing: Nepal PM Dahal

March 28 - New land revolution in offing: Nepal PM Dahal TGW Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that with the institution of monarchy uprooted, the Maoists’ will now focus in the Land Revolution. “The Government is totally committed to end the feudal ownership in the cultivable lands…we will soon launch a scientific land reform wherein the poor farmers will have their ownership in the lands.” “Revolution in the land sector and scientific agriculture can change the face of the nation”, opined the Communist prime minister of Nepal. “Unless the workers, farmers and the downtrodden can feel the change, the newly established republican order cannot be institutionalized”. The Prime Minister made these remarks at the opening of the High Level Land Reform Commission in Kathmandu, March 27, 2009. “We are already in the course of building a new Nepal but we have a long way to go to build the New Nepal that we have dreamt of”, he added. ... go to complete original article

Apex Court Decision Aids Reactionary Elements: Nepal FM Bhattarai

March 27 - “The Supreme Court’s decision is a conspiracy to stop the forward-looking activities of the government and in essence aimed at supporting the reactionary forces”, said Dr. Bhattarai talking to journalists in Simra of Bara District, March 26, 2009. Dr. Bhattarai hinting that the Supreme Court has made an undemocratic decision further said “all the organs of the State are yet to be democratized (Lokatantrik).” “Including the government officials and administration, there are remnants of feudalism every where, the Supreme Court’s decision is the fresh move of the reactionaries”. “We will soon wipe out the remnants of feudal elements from the State Organs”, Dr. Bhattarai added. ... go to complete original article

Nepal: Cabinet Expanded, Dalit and Tharu Ministers Inducted

March 26 - Nepal: Cabinet expanded, Dalit and Tharu ministers inducted TGW Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has expanded his cabinet with the induction two ministers in the government. Mahendra Paswan-representing the Madhesi-Dalit community will head the ministry of Land Reform and Ram Charan Chaudhary, representing the Tharu Community will be leading the Ministry of Women, Children and Social welfare. Both Paswan and Chaudhary are the Maoists’ central committee members and the Consistent Assembly Ministers as well. ... go to complete original article

The photo here is from facebook friend Ben Peterson now in Nepal and is taken at a Maoist cantonment. He titles it "History of Shaving". The articles immediately below are a selection from March 26 wherein the primary issue at this point in time continues to be the struggle between the Maoists and reactionary forces over the forced retirement of NA generals:

Decision to Retire Army Generals, Nepal Govt Prerogative’

“The decision to Retire Eight Nepal Army Brigadier Generals is the prerogative of the Government of Nepal”, the Ministry of Defense application filed at the Supreme Court on March 25, 2009 at the Supreme Court reads. The Defense Ministry had filed the application demanding the termination of the Stay-Order issued by the Supreme Court just a day ahead against the United Maoist-led government’s decision to force retirement of the Nepal Army Brigadier Generals. “The Government has forwarded the Clause 17-3 of the Nepal Army Act-2063 which allows the government to take such a decision”. “Thus the decision taken by the government is a legal one”, the defense Ministry application further reads. In the mean time, the Nepal Army Headquarters referring to the Stay Order notice by the Supreme Court has asked the retired generals to continue their work in office. ... go to complete original article

Attack on Nepal Judiciary: NC Protest Maoist Highhandedness

“The Maoists play double, Prime Minister Dahal on the one hand commits himself to the democratic order and independence of the judiciary, but on the other, his erratic cadres protest against the Supreme court’s decision” said Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, the NC leader, while commenting on the protest program of the United Maoist party against the Stay-Order notice issued by the Supreme Court against the government’s decision made to the force retirement of the Eight Nepal Army Brigadier Generals. “The filthy words and threatening remarks that were made by the Maoists leaders against the Supreme Court are highly objectionable and unacceptable, said Dr. Mahat adding, “The Maoists are pushing the country towards a dangerous point.” ... go to complete original article

Maoists Wrath Against Nepal Judiciary

Ganesh Man Pun- the YCL President addressing the meet said that the Institution of Nepal Army was virtually running under the command of some invisible forces but it was not under the supervision of the Government of Nepal. “The Supreme Court’s decision is against the spirit of the Republican order, anti-national, thus the SC must retract the decision”, opined Mr. Pun. “The Supreme Court judge feared the possible wrath of the Nepal Army and thus made the decision in favor of the Army”, he added. “The Supreme Court has served the followers of former King Gyanendra”, said Pun adding, “Making the decision in favor of the reactionaries, the SC has proved that it was a feudal institution.” “The judiciary must come under the jurisdiction of the common people, if not, the Maoists are totally committed to run a parallel judiciary that will be under the peoples’ command”, Pun threatened. ... go to complete original article

The following two news items concern the continuing key issue of integration of the National Army of Nepal(former Royal Army) with the Maoist Peoples Liberation Army - listed most recent first:

Supreme Court Orders the Government to Reinstate Generals of the Nepal Army

March 25 - Failing to get their term extended, the army officials reached Supreme Court on Sunday saying that government decision was illegal.. says the government decision not to the extend terms for the army generals did not complete legal procedures. The order would remain as final verdict of the court unless government supplies sufficient reasons to prove that its decision completed all legal procedures.. [Democracy and Class Struggle (who posted the news item) says now the Judiciary has weighed in against the UCPN Maoist led Government in support of the Nepal Army and against the Ministry of Defense. The Judiciary the Nepal Army and the Bureaucratic apparatus of The Nepali State are throwing down challenges to the Maoist led government and Koirala is ratcheting up the anti Maoist rhetoric - it is time for the UCPN Maoist to seize the initiative and smash this rotten Nepali State apparatus before it destroys them and their government.] ... go to complete original article

PM Prachanda Says Army Integration Complete in Four Months

March 23 - Prime Minister Prachanda said on Monday that integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) would be completed in four months. PM Prachanda , who heads the army integration special committee (AISC), said this during a meeting with US ambassador to Nepal, Nancy J. Powell. During the meeting at the PMO, the US ambassador is known to have queried if army integration would complete when the renewed term of United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) expires, in four months. Constitution-drafting process and the ongoing dispute over the retirement of eight Nepal Army Generals also figured during the meeting. Meanwhile, a meeting of the AISC today discussed the army integration issue, but no formal decision was taken. The meeting also discussed matters concerning the technical committee that would be formed to assist the AISC, according to Mohammad Habibullah, a Madhesi Janadhikar Forum leader and AISC member. ... go to complete original article

Telegraph Nepal : Nepali Congress is a disgraced party: Nepal FM

March 22 -“The UML in government does not want the government to execute people oriented programs and policies”, blamed Dr. Bhattarai adding, “their New Delhi mentors have told them to hinder the government’s activities while being in the government”. “King Gyanendra, NC president Koirala and the UML leader K.P. Sharma Oli had asked for New Delhi’s support to derail the Maoists’ government, however, they were instead advised by their masters to become a part of the government but while creating hindrances for the government”. “The Nepali Congress is a disgraceful party, it does not know any thing else than criticizing others, however, it is of great surprise that the UML which is also in government is ridiculing the government’s decision”, said Dr. Bhattarai referring to the fresh government’s decision to reject the NA proposal for prolonging the term of Nepal Army generals. “Our intention is clear, we would like to elevate qualified officers in the Nepal Army to hold higher posts” ... go to complete original article

Refrain From Destabilizing Government: Nepal PM

March 21 - Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that the cabinet will be expanded within a week time. “We will soon see new ministers and assistant ministers in our cabinet that will mostly represent the marginalized and dalit communities of the country”, said Dahal addressing a program organized to celebrate “44th Stop Racial Discrimination” Day in Kathmandu, Saturday March 21, 2009. “We are totally committed to draft world’s best people’s constitution for Nepal, we will address all the demands raised by different communities and include them in the constitution”, said the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Dahal also said that likelihood of the Nepali Congress party becoming a part of the government has also increased. “After my last meeting with the NC president Koirala, we are hopeful that the NC too will join the cabinet sooner than later”, PM Added. ... go to complete original article

Nepal Maoist PLA Men in Development Activities

March 20 - Prime Minister Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal has provided a clear nod to the Maoists’ PLA extreme desire to get involved in the development activities. The Maoists’ PLA are languishing in several cantonments across the country for over two years and a half.“In the beginning, the PLA will involve itself in the development of Road Infrastructure mainly, in the vicinity of seven cantonments”, reports say. “We are advising the government to use the youth power, they should not be kept in the captivity for long”, he adds. “The Prime Minister has told us to forward a proposal with the total budget plan, we are currently involved in this”, says Mr. Tej Bahadur Oli- the sixth division commander. “We would like to contribute in the nation-building process, we have also asked the Prime Minister to use the Nepal Army in the development activities in an effective manner, he has been very positive”, Mr. Oli said talking to a vernacular daily. ... go to complete original article

Nepal: The PLA Continues Recruitment!

March 19 - Flouting Supreme Court’s interim order to stop its recruitment process, People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the military wing of the ruling Unified CPN (Maoist), has decided to go ahead with its earlier decision to fill up the position that had, according to it, become vacant after the verification team of United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) disqualified many of its combatants mostly because they were underage. A “General Staff” meeting of the PLA held in Kathmandu Saturday decided to go about the decision on the basis of the applications for “vacant positions” it received before the SC issued an interim order against PLA recruitment saying it goes against the Comprehensive Peace Accord. Likewise, both the government led by the Maoists and the Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) under whose jurisdiction the PLA comes have already ordered immediate halt to the PLA recruitment process. ... go to complete original article

Nepal PM endorses Defense Ministry decision

March 19 - Government of Nepal is yet to formally reject the Nepal Army request made more than a month back, to prolong their terms of service by three years. The Maoists’ Prime Minister of Nepal had arrived at Koirala residence in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, early hours, Thursday March 19, 2009. Sources reveal that the prime minister virtually snubbed Koirala for making irrelevant comments as regards the retirement of the Nepal Army Generals and also blamed him for trying to politicize the issue unnecesarily. Koirala has been instead blaming the Maoists for trying to demoralize the Army and also politicizing the institution. Other political parties, save the maoists, too have joined the Koirala's stance over the issue of the army general retirement. “The decision taken by the Ministry of Defense will not be revoked come what may”, is what Prime Minister Dahal told point blank to Koirala. ... go to complete original article

Maoists Unveil New Proposed Constitution for Nepal

March 18 - Dr Baburam Bhattarai, who heads a committee formed by his party, Unified CPN (Maoist), for determining the party’s vision on democracy has unveiled the party’s draft proposal through his personal website. The Maoists’ draft maintains liberal stance on fundamental rights of the people such as freedom of expression, right to form political parties, right to assembly, among others. The draft divided into 21 parts and 145 articles authorises the state governments to form paramilitary force or militia but the national army would be formed after integration between the People’s Liberation Army and Nepal Army. The party has proposed an Audit Commission as the highest auditing body of the country in place of the Office of the Auditor General. The Women’s Commission and Dalit Commission as the constitutional bodies of the country have been removed and three new commissions have been proposed - inclusion commission, development commission and inter-state relation commission. ... go to complete original article

March 16 - (Photo Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda") The following news items came in today in the following sequence:

Tensions High Following Government Refusal to Nepal Army Request

With Nepal’s Supreme Court legitimizing fresh recruitment carried by the Nepal Army, it was the turn of Mr. Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal the Maoists’ Minister for defense to take the revenge against the Nepal Army Chief Rookmangad Katawal. Which, he did so, by refusing to prolong the term of eight Nepal Army Brigadier Generals- who were considered to be close to Mr. Rookmangad Katawal. The Nepal Army headquarters had sent a request letter to the government demanding extension of the tenure of the eight generals for more three years, which was summarily rejected by the Ministry of Defense. Ramindra Chhetri, the NA spokesperson described Rookmangad Katawal’s immediate call to President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Defense Minister Badal on Tuesday March 16, 2009, a routine one, but sources say that during his separate meetings with the three stalwarts, Mr. Katawal expressed his utter displeasure over the fresh act of the Ministry of Defense. ... go to complete original article

Nepal Maoists' Party Okays Government Decision on Army Retirement

The United Maoists’ Party has supported Nepal Government’s decision not to prolong the term of eight Nepal Army generals. The Maoists’ party top-hats held a meeting at Prime Minister’s residence in Baluatar on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, evening. The meeting also criticized the stand taken by coalition partner-the UML and the main opposition- Nepali Congress over the issue. “The decision was not taken in a haste, we had discussed this issue in advance, thus the government will not retract from the decision”, said Mr. Mohan Baidya Kiran, a Maoists senior leader later talking to reporters. In the mean time, the Nepali Congress and the UML has intensified its criticism against the decision made by the Maoists led government which only the other day sacked some eight functioning and experienced Brigadier generals. ... go to complete original article

Merge PLA-Nepal Army Soon: PLA Commanders

The Commanders of the Maoists’ Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) who have gathered in the capital Kathmandu threatened that further delay in the integration of Maoists combatants into the Nepal Army will break the patience of the PLA men. In the ongoing meeting, there is the presence of Maoists’ PLA Commanders and Deputy Commanders from all seven cantonments spread across the country. “The PLA must be integrated into the Nepal Army to boost their waning morale”, the PLA commanders said, say reports. “We request the Special committee for Army Integration to initiate the Nepal Army –Maoists PLA merger at the earliest”, the speakers also demanded. Attending the program, the Commander of the Maoists’ Peoples’ Liberation Army Mr. Nanda Kishor Pun alias Pasang had said that the fresh decision of the Supreme Court of Nepal legitimizing fresh recruitment carried out by the Nepal Army has side by side legitimized the PLA recruitment as well. ... go to complete original article

Govt-Tharu Representatives Sign Six Point Pact; Tharu Agitation Withdrawn

March 15 - PM Prachanda attends. talks ending with a proposal to amend the constitution to address the demands of the agitating Tharu community along with other ethnic groups. Tharu organisations and other ethnic communities supporting the agitation have called off all programmes of agitation with the agreement. A general strike called by the Muslim community has also been called off. According to the agreement, the government will declare four cadres killed during the agitation as martyrs, bear the cost of treatment of those injured and release all cadres arrested in connection with the agitation. Chairman of Tharuhat Struggle Committee Laxman Tharu, General Secretary of Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha Raj Kumar Lekhi, Babu Ram Chaudhary from Nepal Loktantrik Tharu Sangh, Indrajeet Chaudhary from Tharu Rastriya Mukti Morcha and chairman Janajati Mahasangh Pasang Sherpa on behalf of the agitators and peace minister Janardan Sharma on behalf of the government have signed the agreement. ... go to complete original article

Nepal: War for Peace « Revolution in South Asia

March 12 (Originally published March 8) - PLA will not be directly under the Unified CPN (Maoist) here after. Unified Maoist has a new responsibility to legalize and fuse PLA by bringing it under Army Integration Special Committee (AISC). He added, “PLA will be directly under the leadership of AISC. Theoretically, PLA is already under it. We will be connected for a long time contemplatively that is another thing. However, PLA will not be under unified CPN (Maoist) anymore, morally and theoretically.” Because of the changed situation, the changed role and the responsibility of PLA should be ready to guarantee the victory of struggle for peace. For that, premier Prachanda has stressed, “PLA should follow and implement the directives of AISC unconditionally.” There are many challenges in front of the Maoist-led government to write new constitution on time. Criminal elements and gangsters are trying to spread the communal violence all over the country. ... go to complete original article

Revolutionary Land Reform: Essence and Aim « Revolution in South Asia

March 12 (Originally published March 7) - Krishna Das Shrestha - As said above, to abolish feudal land ownership is the foremost and primary task to be done in the economic sector, whether land reform program is revolutionary or not must be judged on the basis of the commission’s policy towards the task and of its manner of implementing the policy. The main policy of the revolutionary land reform is “land to the tillers”. Therefore, the reform program must be guided by the real sense and spirit of that principle. A truly revolutionary program must set itself to accomplish the following tasks: •The confiscation of land property of the feudal lords without compensation and the transfer it to the tillers and poor peasants. •The abolition of debt taken by the peasants from the landlords, usurers, banks etc. •The emancipation of the peasants from all kinds of feudal exploitation and expression. •Gratis distribution of cultivable follow land to the landless and poor peasants. ... go to complete original article

Major Seven Parties Reach Agreement to Address Tharu Demands

March 11 - (Photo: Maoist Minister for Law and Justice Dev Gurung) The major seven parties—five ruling and two opposition—Wednesday reached an agreement on Wednesday to address the demands of the agitating Tharu communities even by bringing in a new ordinance.. the seven parties including the main opposition party Nepali Congress and Tarai Madhesh Loktantrik Party (TMLP) .. agreed to fulfill the demands of the Tharu groups after meeting the legal and constitutional process. Emerging from the meeting, UML leader Ishwor Pokhrel said that the demands of the disgruntled Tharus, who are launching their strike to press their demands in the southern plains, would be resolved by rectifying the error of the ordinance. The Tarai region is witnessing a life crippling bandha since the past ten days due to the strike called by the Tharu communities in protest of the ordinance that categorises them as Madheshi.. “We have opened the legal and constitutional roads to address Tharus’ demands,” said Pokhrel, “All the parties have agreed on that". ... go to complete original article

Government-Tharu Talks Inconclusive

March 10 - .. talks between the government and the agitating Tharus and other janajati groups ended inconclusively Tuesday evening. The talks .. were adjourned as the government team headed by Peace and Reconstruction Minister Janardan Sharma said it could not decide on the demands of the agitating groups without discussing them with the Prime Minister. ".. told us that he would clarify the government's position on our demands tomorrow," Laxman Tharu, who led a nine-member team of Tharu Joint Struggle Committee.. He said the agitations would continue unless the demands, which include scrapping of the ordinance that put Tharus in the Madhesi category, were met. Seven-member team of Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha (TKS), Muslims and other janajati groups led by TKS general secretary Raj Kumar Lekhi, Maoist-affiliated Tharu National Liberation Front led by Indrajeet Choudhary and a team of UML-affiliated Nepal Democratic Tharu Association also participated in the talks. ... go to complete original article

C.P. Gajurel: "Maoist Party Never Took Tharu as Madhesis”

March 8 -Mr. C.P. Gajurel, the United Maoists’ Central Committee member rejected the idea that says that the indigenous Tharu Community too fell in the Madhesi category. The United Maoist party is the one that advocated first in favor of Ethnic Awareness but unfortunately it is turning communal and threatening the existence of the Nation- State, say experts.

“Our party never took the Tharu Community as Madhesis”, he clarified. Mr. Gajurel said, India has occupied Nepali lands in 58 different locations along the open border including Susta, Kalapani and Ilam, our party will soon launch a National Awareness Program against this continued Indian aggression”. Mr. Matrika Yadav, a Madesh and renegade leader however, believes that the Pahadiya Rulers of Nepal ( he Means Prachanda and Bhattarai ) are trying to create fissures between the indigenous Tharu community and the Madhesi community to create unrest in Terai. ... go to complete original article

Telegraph Nepal : Address Tharu demands: Nepal’s political actors

March 8 - With the Tharu uprising taking on a violent turn after the death of two innocent civilians and a police official on Friday March 6, 2009, Nepal’s political actors have begun making statements in favor of the Tharu Community. Minister Bijaya Kumar Gacchedhar, though, a member of the indigenous Tharu community, who has time and again made confusing statements, sometime in favor of the Tharu community and sometime against them... Mr. Mahanta Thakur the president of Tarai Madhesh Loktantrik Party too has slightly toned-down his pro-Madhesi demands and asked the government to address the Tharu demands.. Mr. C.P. Gajurel, the United Maoists’ Central Committee member rejected the idea that says that the indigenous Tharu Community too fell in the Madhesi category.. Matrika Yadav, a Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) leader.. [says] Prachanda led government of Nepal [and] .. Pahadiya Rulers [are] trying to divide the population.

Mr. Matrika Yadav, a Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) leader however, believes that the Pahadiya Rulers of Nepal are trying to create fissures between the indigenous Tharu community and the Madhesi community to create unrest in Tarai. "The Prachanda led government of Nepal is trying to divide the population first and rule in an absolute manner”, said Mr. Yadav talking to the pressmen in Rautahat on Friday, March 6, 2009. “Even if Nepal gets the new constitution, it will be just in favor of Khas (Chhetri and Brahmins) Community”, Mr. Yadav predicted. “The pro-Madhesi parties want to occupy power and exploit the Madhesis themselves”, Mr. Yadav also said. ... go to complete original article

Nepal: “Peoples Liberation Army Won’t Stop Recruitment"

March 8 - Unified Communist Party Nepal (Maoist) PLA Drill (Photo) This originally published on eKantipur.com originally entitled: PLA Commander: PM Doesn’t Count Mar 7 - A commander of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said on Friday that PLA’s seventh division based in Bhangadhi would go ahead with recruitment, come what may. “The PLA will not stop the recruitment even if the party Chairman and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal himself issues directives against the fresh intake. Not even comrade Prachanda can stop us,” said division commander Mahendra Bahadur Shahi as a local newspaper published the vacancy announcement in its Friday edition. The division plans to recruit some 1,906 combatants. He said the PLA initiated the recruitment as the Nepal Army (NA) was taking in recruits. On Thursday, Dahal had said the recruitment controversies surrounding the NA and PLA would be over within a few days. ... go to complete original article

Maoists: Reactionaries Mistreating the Tharu people « Revolution in South Asia

March 6 - This article was originally published on Nepal News under the title: Maoist, Madhesi leaders speak out in favour of Tharu people. With Chitwan district and many parts of Terai remaining tense because of government categorisation of Tharus as Madhesis, a senior Unified CPN (Maoist) leader Friday argued that Tharus are not Madhesis but indigenous people. C.P Gajurel, who is also the foreign department head of the Maoist party, said the government led by his party erroneously decided to put Tharus in the Madhesi category coming under pressure from “other political parties” and claimed that his party never considered Tharus as Madhesis. He didn’t say under whose pressure the government made this decision, but it is believed that junior coalition partner Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, which has long been trying to woo the indigenous Tharu community, may have some hand in this. ... go to complete original article

Nepal Maoists 'recruit thousands'

March 4 - The Maoist former rebel group in Nepal, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), says it has begun recruiting thousands of young people. The announcement comes just days after the army said it had filled 3,000 vacancies, a move that has been condemned by the former rebels. They said it was a violation of the peace deal that ended their insurgency. The Maoists came to power last year after a landslide poll win but the role of the army is an unresolved issue. The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says this game of tit-for-tat on recruitment has raised tensions but that most observers do not believe the Maoists seriously intend to go back to war. Rising tensions The head of the PLA, Nanda Kishore Pun, told the BBC that his organisation would take on more than 11,000 fighters, bringing the size of his army up to more than 31,000. He said that the recruitment process would continue unless the Maoist-led government intervened. It has yet to comment. ... go to complete original article

The Recruitment that Threatens to Derail the Peace Process

March 4 - Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cantonments have started recruiting new soldiers apparently in response to the ongoing recruitment in Nepal Army (NA). Though the Maoist party itself has yet to officially comment on the recruitment, key political parties have come out strongly against the drive saying it violates past pacts, most notably the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of November 2006. Maoists, who head the defense ministry, said the same when Army recruitment row broke out. The other political parties gave the nod to Army recruitment. Ram Sharan Mahat, who represents Nepali Congress at the Army Integration Special Commitee (AISC), reacted to what PLA Chief Nanda Kishor Pun had said on Monday: “How can this combatant commander talk about additional recruitment when the AISC is talking of rehabilitation and integration of ex-combatants? ... go to complete original article

Young Communist League Merges With Youth Group of Masal

March 1 - Young Communist League Merges With Youth Group of Masal March 1, 2009 The Young Communist League (YCL), affiliated to the erstwhile CPN (Maoists), has merged with All Nepal Janabadi Youth Association, affiliated to the erstwhile CPN (Ekata Kendra – Masal) following the unification of their mother parties to form Unified CPN (Maoists). A 255-member committee led by Ganesh Man Pun, the erstwhile chairman of YCL, was also announced at the function. Raju Khadka and Uma Bhujel are deputy co-ordinators of the committee. The name of the new organisation will remain YCL. Earlier, the two organisations had decided to add a ‘democratic’ epithet to the name after the merger. It will adopt the flag of the Janabadi Youth Association. Addressing the function, Kul Prasad KC, alias Sonam, said YCL would be developed as the successor organisation of the Maoists. Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Minister for Information and Communications Krishna Bahadur Mahara also addressed the function. ... go to complete original article

Developing a Federal Structure

March 1 (Originally posted Feb 27) - We find mainly two models of the state structure implementing in the world: Unitary system and Federal system. Unified Maoist Leader and Minister of Law and Justice Dev Gurung says if the production-relation had developed in a capitalistic way, the ‘nationalities’ would have been merged and advanced ahead towards the ‘nation’. Therefore, to pave the way for nation building, the existing situation of nationalities should be addressed properly and scioentifically. They should be brought into a national unity by providing them the right of autonomy. Dev Gurung further says, “The nation remained ‘mono nationalities’ or ‘mono nation’, though the specialities of the country is still ‘multi-nationalities.’ The modality of federalism should provide autonomy on the base of nationalities. The re-structure of the state should be on the foundation of social unity created by the production-relation of the contemporary society in Nepal. ... go to complete original article

ZNet - Beginning of a New Nepal

March 1 (Originally posted Feb 23) - 2065: The Beginning of a New Nepal April 23, 2008 By Alberto Cru Alberto Cruz's ZSpace Page. Nepal has entered the year 2065 of its calendar and (after two postponements) has already held elections for the Constituent Assembly that may end the monarchy and open the way to the proclamation of a republic. This is an aspiration of a majority of the Nepali people and has been symbolized by the political and military struggle of the Maoist Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-M) since 1996. Nepal thus enters a new era following the popular rebellion that defeated the coup d'├ętat of the feudal monarchy and forced King Gyanendra to leave public life while maintaining the institution of the monarchy. Now, the principal task of the Constituent Assembly is to proclaim a Republic, assuming that the 23 point Agreement between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists is honoured. That agreement followed the Maoists' abandonment of the interim government when previous agreements were not kept. ... go to complete original article

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Reply to RCPUSA Badiou Polemic

In follow up to the discussion of published polemics by the Revolutionary Communist Party USA vs the Nepal Maoists and Alain Badiou at the prior post Nepal: Revolution Reports (Prologue - Section 3):

I'd like to wrap up and not spend any more time on these polemics. I was really struck by the fact that the Nepal Maoists and the philosophy of Badiou have become my main points of interest over the last few years and the RCPUSA has chosen precisely these two elements in the development of 21st Century communism about which we should have the most fear. I feel encouraged therefore that I may be on the right track. Nothing more to say on the Maoist polemic as I think IMHO it has been fairly discredited in comments at Kasama already. I do want to say at least a bit on the Badiou, then 'nough said.

Each section of the polemic is repleat with quotes employed from Mr. Marx, supplemented by the wisdoms of RCPUSA guru Bob Avakian, and well salted with exhortations against the evils I am sure all of us abhor without resorting to such hyperbole. But at the end of each section we do get an original statement and these comprise the heart of the polemic. Beginning at the very end of the document:

Alain Badiou’s “egalitarian maxim proper to every politics of emancipation” does not offer a pathway of moving beyond the narrow horizon of bourgeois right—nor open the possibility of eliminating the bases for class society, commodity production, and exploitative and oppressive relations. It is stuck in bourgeois society.

To this I would like to supply Badiou's statement of the "communist hypothesis" from an article on Sarkozy (bourgeois right, isn't he) written sometime before his (Badiou's) now famous attack on the president in the latest book - the article:


What is the communist hypothesis? In its generic sense, given in its canonic Manifesto, ‘communist’ means, first, that the logic of class—the fundamental subordination of labour to a dominant class, the arrangement that has persisted since Antiquity—is not inevitable; it can be overcome. The communist hypothesis is that a different collective organization is practicable, one that will eliminate the inequality of wealth and even the division of labour. The private appropriation of massive fortunes and their transmission by inheritance will disappear. The existence of a coercive state, separate from civil society, will no longer appear a necessity: a long process of reorganization based on a free association of producers will see it withering away.

So that is Badiou "stuck in bourgeois society". The polemic is clearly focused on the question of Badiou's "egalitarian maxim" axiomatic as in the key statement ending the second to last section:

Yes, people have a capacity for truth (a criterion of equality for Badiou) but exactly in consequence of the divides and inequalities in society, this capacity does not translate into spontaneous gravitation towards or embrace of truth.

Well first of all I want to say "Well no shit". If "people" (and I guess they mean something that means everybody) spontaneously embraced truth, then I that truth whatever it may be would not be something humanity failed to embrace. Obviously Badiou is not indicationg that. The "criterion of equality" is based on the "capacity for truth" not its spontaneous embrace by anyone (and here we are discussing the internal logic of the stement in the polemic, not at all what Badiou says). What is missing is a comprehension of Badiou's philosophy of the "Event" and the "Truth Process". If, and this means "if" , a genuine novel "Event" occurs engendering a truth, it is only by individuals acting in allegiance to what they believe is a novel truth in this process (yes its an atheistic faith, perhaps even an embrace in a different sense) that the establishment of their having been an actual event occurs, it is realized future anterior. It is the case says Badiou that the advent of Marxism itself is in its truth process and marked by such manifestations as May 68 and the Cultural Revolution. The hypothesis is even said to be operative far into the past or not so far before Marx during the French Revolution. In a lack of understanding of Badiou we see the conclusions from the third to last section of the polemic:

With his “communist hypothesis,” Alain Badiou conflates the radical upsurges, social upheaval,and enthusiasm of the popular masses during the French Revolution with the communist revolution to overturn the bourgeois order and to create a new world.

Actually Badiou presents the idea of revolutionary phases, positioning the state of the communist hypothesis at the start of the 21st century:

In many respects we are closer today to the questions of the 19th century than to the revolutionary history of the 20th. A wide variety of 19th-century phenomena are reappearing: vast zones of poverty, widening inequalities, politics dissolved into the ‘service of wealth’, the nihilism of large sections of the young, the servility of much of the intelligentsia; the cramped, besieged experimentalism of a few groups seeking ways to express the communist hypothesis . . . Which is no doubt why, as in the 19th century, it is not the victory of the hypothesis which is at stake today, but the conditions of its existence. This is our task, during the reactionary interlude that now prevails: through the combination of thought processes—always global, or universal, in character—and political experience, always local or singular, yet transmissible, to renew the existence of the communist hypothesis, in our consciousness and on the ground.

So we come at last to the beginning of the polemic:

Alain Badiou is driven to a framework of understanding of the “problem” confronting humanity and its “solution” that corresponds to the class position and class outlook of a very definite segment of society, the radicalized petty bourgeoisie. He sees the problem of vast inequalities, but does not follow through to the taproots of exploitation in the economic base of society; he sees the solution as a “pure Idea of equality” in the political realm, not in overcoming the “4 Alls.”

Then shortly after that in the same concluding statement of the first subsection:

Alain Badiou wants “equality” but shrinks from the complex process of making a revolution that not only overcomes social inequality but also achieves something far higher than equality.

Something "far higher than equality"? The polemic tries to tell us Badiou is stuck in an earlier sequence from Rousseau to a present radicalized petty bourgeoisie. Actually, to put it in terms something like the way Badiou employs set-theory, the RCPUSA is circumscribed by a set situation made up of dogmatic elements, demonstrating the inadequacy of their party for 21st century communism because all they have is their rigid conclusions and anything else is revisionist. Badiou says there is the void, always a multiplicity exceeding set situations in the scope of our present understanding of how communism, or the egalitarian maxim, may manifest. Concluding with Badiou from the same article cited on the need to understand the novel phase underway:

What remains is to determine the point at which we now find ourselves in the history of the communist hypothesis... The first sequence runs from the French Revolution to the Paris Commune; let us say, 1792 to 1871. It links the popular mass movement to the seizure of power, through the insurrectional overthrow of the existing order... The second sequence of the communist hypothesis runs from 1917 to 1976: from the Bolshevik Revolution to the end of the Cultural Revolution and the militant upsurge throughout the world during the years 1966–75. It was dominated by the question: how to win? How to hold out—unlike the Paris Commune—against the armed reaction of the possessing classes... the revolution prevailed, either through insurrection or prolonged popular war.. but it proved ill-adapted for the construction of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ in the sense that Marx had intended—that is, a temporary state, organizing the transition to the non-state.. the Cultural Revolution and May 68, in its broadest sense—can be understood as attempts to deal with the inadequacy of the party... 1871 to 1914 saw imperialism triumphant across the globe. Since the second sequence came to an end in the 1970s we have been in another such interval, with the adversary in the ascendant once more.. The second sequence is over and it is pointless to try to restore it.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Aussie Invades Nepal

I had a chat with Ben Peterson last night as we are Facebook friends. That's his photo above. As stated at a Kasama article about Ben, he "traveled from Australia to Nepal to report directly about the revolutionary events there. He has made a special point of interviewing a wide range of people — to give a real sense of the impact of the Maoist revolution, and also the intense contradictions at this particular moment. Ben’s pieces will appear on Kasama’s South Asian Revolution site, and also on his own blog Lal Salam."

Ben told me "Well i was just an activist in Australia, and my first introduction to Nepal was the Jana Andolan, that propped up on the news for a couple of days when i was first getting active in politics. and i just started reading more and more, and basically came to the conclusion that this was something with amazing potential- which leftists should be paying more attention too"

In the article linked above we hear how Ben went to one of the “cantonments” — bases where the Peoples Liberation Army fighters are sequestered in accord to U.N. agreements.

So Ben is a vanguard element in this set. He's a bright young guy with a very engaging writing style and method of investigation. As an old soldier, I look forward to meeting him in Nepal soon. So what am I writing about here. I am pretty sure it has to do with the need and desire for communists outside Nepal to exit their armchairs, or at least take indirect action in the Nepal arena. I liked Tell No Lies comment at the Kasama discussion where I think he got to the point:

"Actually, I think that we need a whole bunch of people to follow Peterson’s example. We need a whole layer of people with some genuine on the ground experience in Nepal to ground our discussions. We need to organize two-week delegations, encourage students to spend a semester or a summer studying what is happening there, and support individuals who are willing to relocate there on a more long-term basis. We need people who can write and go on speaking tours to inform people and build solidarity."

Well, let's go for it. In the conversation with Ben there were a couple of key points. I expressed my desire to interview some leaders that may be accessible - particularly C.P Gajurel as he is the international relations guy. Ben is already on that track and may be seeing him within a couple of weeks. My idea is to get ready for that with some of the key questions being aired at Kasama by Mike Ely and others. Perhaps Ben is open to some leads in this direction. I am posting below what I see from the inquiry at Kasama.

The other key point has to do with establishing infrastructure. What I said to Ben is "I think to explore the infrastructural possibilities with you and others and possible assistance from Gajurel is best." Ben said: "When I talk to him, I have to talk to him about some other stuff, but I will bridge the idea with him also." What I have in mind should be presented transparently. I would hope for some support from the Maoist international relations department. Ben thinks it would be a way for foreign socialists etc. to coordinate solidarity efforts. I think they could provide volunteers, especially for translation and interpreting. Another key element would be a visa support system for expats. C.P. Gajurel is key as he heads the international department. It would be a labor of love but proceed as a mutual aid concept. To establish a base a matching funds method should be employed. I would put up a few thousand USD and maybe others would too and this could be a beginning for an international activist setting.

The following begins with my response to discussion at Ben's site:

Yea, the PLA used the NA recruitment as a window to do the same, but the unanswered question is what's the result to be if the fact is the PLA cannot match the NA in a showdown. Wouldn't it then ultimately depend on the people refusing to accept an NA led coupe? If they don't its defeat for the Maoists at that point. If on the other hand there ensues a peoples resurrection what are the chances for that succeeding - I am wondering about that essential question.

It seems therefore that if it is not possible to prepare the PLA to defeat the NA then the tactics of dismantling the NA would be the most promising way to avoid bloodshed. In short rather the reverse of the disarmament and reintegration of the PLA advocated by the internationals by applying DDR exclusively to the NA.

I think we must agree the new constitution will by default be the minimum program of the Maoists because of their endorsement by the people in the elections. So it seems hopeful that the NA could be controlled if the constitutional process is allowed. That's it will the reactionaries allow it or is the coup coming. Then if the coup comes will there be a peoples resurrection.

If there is a resurrection would it be strong enough in combination with the PLA to defeat the NA? Even if it was, would that not then mean the reactionary forces would seek and obtain the assistance of the Indian Army? I am asking, I don't know. It was Prachanda's prognostication some time ago that ultimately the people of Nepal may have the fight the Indian army - he said this would offer an opportunity to capture a lot of weapons. Atheistic or not let's all pray for the constitutional process.

The above was in response to Ben who is responding to Mike Ely:

"Well Mike i don't necessarily agree with what your saying.

I think that you are underestimating the importance of the Constituent assembly and the process of creating the New Nepal.

At the moment the Maoists hold the political initiative. The new Contituent assembly came about because of the hard work and sacrifice of the Maoists, and this is recognized by the broad masses of people. All political players at the present moment are shackled to the Constituent Assembly and the New Nepal, and this includes the Maoists.

The assembly puts the Maoists at an advantage in two ways, firstly, it was their demand since the start of the peoples war, so now that all the parties took it up they have in effect endorsed the Maoists and the PW. Secondly, the Maoists won over a third in the elections, meaning that they have an effective veto over any part of the constitution. The New constitution will by default, be the minimum program of the Maoists.

So to say that that it is essential to bring the Army under the government is correct, because the Army would then be under the control of the Maoists.

And my discussions with people here confirm this. While there are a lot of Maoists, there are more people here on the streets, in my interactions, who don't necessarily support the Maoists as such, due largely to the immense propaganda machine run by the elites, but there is enormous support for the constitution writing process and the "New Nepal", which is in effect a backwards endorsement of the Maoists

Now the PLA will of course play a role. The PLA will be the insurance to stop the situation from becoming another Chile (ect) and does provide a backbone to the Maoists and the process, but i don't think that the PLA will play the decisive role in the "showdown" that i think (like you) is coming.

Firstly i don't think that the Maoists can or would pull out of the processes that are happening to revert back to the PW. For one, they would have to give up the political high ground, and walk away from the "New Nepal" and the constituent assembly they have championed for years. This would then leave this space, and the political legitimacy, to the reactionary parties.

Further, that would then provide a open political window for foriegn intervention into Nepal from international forces, in the name of suppressing the Maoist threat that walked away from the peace process.

Finally The PLA even if they were to recruit double what they are doing now, would still be militarily inferior to the Nepali Army. They still don't have helicopters and armourded cars or the training ect that the NA has. The PLA's strength was (is) inits superior knowlegde of the land, the people and its political superiority. They wouldn't be defeated by the NA, but it would require a qualitative increase in their capabilities to militarily defeat the Nepali Army.

But still, in essence, we are in agreement. I think that there will be a "showdown" of sorts, i think that it is obvious that there NEEDS to be a showdown.

The question is State Power, the Maoists have the political upperhand, and the "government, but as we can see from the failure to implement the budget and the episode with the Army, they do not have State Power.

I think that this question needs to be resolved and shorty, but i think that the form of this struggle will take will be similar to an uprising, and possibly as a result of a coup attempt (which would involve the opposition trying to unhinge themselves from the "New Nepal, which would expose them politically), and maybe similar to the Venezuelan Coup Attempt in 2001, which afterwood greatly freed the hands of the revolutionary forces there. Or' maybe similar to the take over in Russia. I don't think it will be on Chinese lines, with the PLA rolling into the cities.

Mike Ely's comment referred to above by my and Ben's reply:

This is a thoughtful and informative piece -- but I think it somewhat mechanically takes the public statements of various kinds and assumes "this is what is happening, this is what their motives are."

We need to base our analysis on what is happening, not merely on what is said.

Is it true that the PLA was "forced" to recruit by others? I don't believe that.

Isn't it more of a case that the aggressive actions of the reactionary army gives the PLA the public space to do what it is wanting to do (prepare for a showdown)?

Isn't it true that the expansion of the royalist army will enrage progressives and encourage more of them to join the PLA.... so that this is an opening and an opportunity?

this piece writes: "The peace process only can be brought to a logical conclusion when the two forces are integrated into a new, democratized national army, loyal only to the New Nepal."

I don't think this is true at all. The peace process can be brought to a conclusion in many different ways. It may end in a royalist military coup. It may end with a maoist insurrection. I suppose it is possible that there may be an integration of the two armies, but it is certainly not the only conclusoin (and I'm not sure why it is considered a "logical" conclusion.)

This article says:

"Contrary to the opinion of the political opposition, the most pressing need in this matter is not to rehabilitate the PLA into the community, but (as this whole episode shows) firstly to bring the rogue army back under the control of the civilian government, and secondly dissolve both of these forces, and then reintegrate them into a New National Army for the New Nepal."

This is (again) what is being said. But is this true?

Is the most pressing need to "bring the rogue army back under the control of the civilian government"? Or is the most pressing need to expand and prepare the revolutionary armed forces to be able to defeat this reactionary army?

In fact the talk of recruiting to the PLA suggests that the Maoists are "sharpening their sword" -- and while there is talk of pressing the peace process forward, there are clearly preparations for ending the stalemate by other means.

Why report on one aspect and downplay the other?

To give an example: Prachanda has announced that the PLA is no longer controled by the party. And the PLA has announced that their recruitment plans were not dependent on Prachanda's views.

Do you believe that? I don't. In fact, I don't think anyone can or does believe that.

So we can't repeat statements as if they were simply and literally intended at face value.

I also caught Mike Ely's comment at Kasama where he out lines some important questions to ask - part of this below:

In fact, if you read the agreement signed in 2006, you can see that it explicitly allows the fighting forces to maintain (in operation) weapons for the guarding and defense of their encampments — which means that they also have the means for continued training and readiness.

Also the weapons themselve are “stored” — right near the fighters themselves reportedly under conditions where they can be gotten very easily. (They are “under lock,” have some outside observers and the camp commander has the key.)

Also it is worth thinking about this study that the fighters are engaged in….

The study can have several purposes: If they were going to be “reintegrated” into society, they would need education — because many of them can’t go home to their villages. If they are going to be “integrated” into a fused new army (together with the former-royalist army), they will need high levels of literacy to deal with the existing reactionary officer corps.

And if a new round of insurrection breaks out, study is needed to prepare an army of peasant guerrillas to lead a larger revolution and then create a new state.

Mao’s Yenan became a “university” for its soldiers in the 40s…. as the Maoist army was preparing for an opening to seize power.

Some reports have said that the study of the Maoist fighters includes a lot of political and military theory.

Also, it seems to stand out from this report that the Maoist army is hardly demoralized, indisciplined from the confinement to these bases.

I’m curious about some other questions:

* is there more to know about the content of their study?
* is this cantonment similar to others? Is there any way of knowing what the conditions and morale are at other bases?

* are the Maoist fighters able to go in and out of these cantonments?

* do they do political work among the surrounding areas? (I have heard this was a big issue in the Terai, where the cantonments became centers for organizing previously unreached peasants…. is this true?)

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nepal: Revolution Reports (Prologue - Section 3)

I continue to set the scene for future reporting from Kathmandu. The initial section of this prologue essentially reviewed the nature and extent of prior blog entries on the Maoist revolution in Nepal and anticipated further orientation in subsequent prologue sections. In short, my interest in the Nepalese revolution deepened about four years ago, at which time I was concerned with the child-soldier issue and was also studying the early influence of anarchism on the Chinese in Paris who subsequently formed the Chinese communist party. I have in fact been based in China for almost 7 years, and about the same period of time before that in Central Asia, mainly Kazakhstan. At present I am transitioning out from Beijing and will go to Nepal, not knowing whether I will find grounds to follow my practice living there or not. It will be my second journey to Nepal, the last in early 2006 for a few weeks.

Thus it is that it has been just a few years that I have become a student of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism - and this primarily as a student of theory and one who has found a small scope of practice in "internet activism". There are two main elements in this practice: one has been to provide coverage and discussion of the evolving situation in Nepal, the other has been sharing my interest in the theories of the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou. Obviously I see some take on the practice of MLM in Nepal from the position of Badiou thought. I also follow closely discussion of the Nepal Maoist revolution by communist writers, most notable and active discussion has been taking place at the Kasama project. It was anticipated that I would begin to address that in this section of the prologue now, following an earlier section wherein I reviewed the decidedly non-communist evaluation and recommendations of the well known International Crisis Group.

The complex analysis of the theoretical and practical element in the Nepal Maoist's struggles by Mike Ely and the group of contributors at the Kasama project has been very interesting for me. I don't really have the deep knowledge of MLM to participate, but I certainly grok the spirit of the inquiry at the Kasama site inasmuch as it seems to invite an open and diverse set of opinions with the emphasis being "let's find out what's true together". I have commented a little on Mike Ely's writing on Alain Badiou, but he has not gone into it much other than to indicate an interest and appreciation of Badiou for further study. As I say, I mainly look to follow what is being discussed about Nepal. I can't help but be aware that Mike Ely leads a split from the Revolutionary Communist Party of the USA.. but frankly I haven't had too much interest in commie vs commie party battles. I am a bit more into the continental communist philosophy debates such as the distinctions between Badiou and Deleuze - and of course the very recent Birkbeck conference where all the players were - Badiou, Zizek, Peter Hallward, Negri, Toscano, Bosteels et al. However, just in the last week I began to hear about and read that the RCPUSA has initiated a public polemic asserting the revisionism of the Nepal Maoists. The issue is also being taken up by the folks at Kasama. Practically at the same time the RCPUSA has issued a draft of a polemic stating Badiou's influence is a danger to world communism because he is essentially a throwback to Rousseau.

I will focus in the balance of this post on the latter RCP letters to the Maoists. A subsequent post will take up the Kasama discussion referencing the Maoist response as it provides a much deeper analysis of the issues beyond the rather simple refutation of the RCP polemic against the Nepal Maoist party. Later. in another post, I will address the Badiou polemic to similar effect.

The Kasama website provides the following link to a PDF of the RCP document: Two Lines Over Maoist Revolution in Nepal. There are several letters involved, only one of which was a response to the RCP by CPN (M) in 2006. The final letter early this year by the RCP is a public declaration against the Maoists. Then also the letter subsequent to the Maoist response. I will excerpt some major points from these first as they summarizes the series of letters and provide their critique of the Maoist response - later I will take up on the Maoist response letter itself, then finally outline the views from the Kasama project. Conclusion from the January 29 RCP letter to the Maoists:

"We are forced to conclude that this policy of keeping
our struggle internal is no longer appropriate under
the present circumstances. When the party leadership
has shown no interest in pursuing struggle over cardinal
questions of ideological and political line and where
the leading line and policies of the party itself are accelerating
in the wrong direction, to keep silent would
objectively represent acquiescence in this very path.
On the contrary, the circumstances require a vigorous
public discussion of the central ideological and political
questions involved.
We do not take this decision with joy of heart but
rather out of the deepest concern for the future of the
revolution in Nepal and its implications for the proletarian
revolutionary struggle internationally.
Just as we had decided that it is now correct to
take this course of action, an article written by Roshan
Kisson appeared in your English language journal Red
Star (#21) in which there is an open repudiation of the
whole of Marxism, beginning with Marx himself, an
open rejection of the whole experience of the proletarian
revolution up to this point, and an open proclamation
that the revolution in Nepal can do no more than
build a modern capitalist state, leaving the question of
the struggle for socialism and communism to future
As part of the anti-communist diatribe in Red Star
#21, Kisson launches a vicious and unprincipled attack
and personal slander on the leader of our party,
Chairman Bob Avakian, which is reprehensible and
unacceptable. We strongly protest the completely anticommunist
content of this article. To publish such an
article in a journal that is seen all over the world as a
vehicle for dissemination of your line and views constitutes
promoting views that are completely in opposition
to the goals and methods of communists that should
be upheld by the international communist movement.
We will proceed with publishing the three major
letters mentioned above along with the only response
we have received from you, unless we hear from you
by February 15, 2009 with a compelling reason for not
doing so."

Now from the RCP letter of November 2008:

".. the state system being established and consolidated
in Nepal is not New Democracy, the particular
form of the dictatorship of the proletariat appropriate
in countries like Nepal, but rather a bourgeois state, a
“federal democratic republic” which will preserve and
enforce the existing capitalist and semi‑feudal relations
of production prevalent in Nepal.
The People’s Liberation Army is to be destroyed
through “integration” into the reactionary state army
and/or dissolved by other means, land distributed by
the revolution to the peasantry is to be returned to
previous owners, Western imperialist powers and reactionary
states such as China and India are being hailed
as great friends of the Nepalese people, and astounding
theoretical propositions are being put forward such as
the “joint dictatorship of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie”.

Then later:

are not in a position to speculate or propose specific
tactical steps, and we do not see that as the role that
comrades in the international movement can or should
be playing. We must all focus our attention on major
matters of ideological and political line and not on secondary
matters of tactics or so-called “maneuvering”.
Most fundamentally this means reaffirming, ideologically
and in its political line and specific policies, that
the revolution in Nepal is seeking to establish socialist
relations in the country as part of the whole world
process by which the capitalist‑imperialist world order
will be overthrown and supplanted by socialism and
ultimately communism."


"This essential point – the need to maintain the
goal and orientation of fighting for New Democracy
and not substituting the goal of classless, “pure” democracy
(which can only mean bourgeois democracy,
whether federal and proportional or not) – was a major
theme of our October 2005 letter to the Party, which
the CPN(M) leadership dismissed as merely being
the “ABCs of Marxism” with no importance for analyzing
the specific questions of tactics and policy facing
the Party. But these “ABCs”, or more correctly put,
these basic truths of Marxism, confirmed in the course
of generations of revolutionary struggle all over the
world, remain crucial to the success or failure of the
revolution, and the rejection of these basic truths by the
CPN(M)leadership is what is leading the revolution
over the cliff."

After this the letter makes a nice presentation of how government of a truly new democratic republic should function and goes on to contrast the performance in Nepal of the Maoist led government with this standard:

"In all of these aspects the New Democratic system
represents something quite different from bourgeois
democracy. Bourgeois democracy accepts the capitalist
system in a given country and internationally. It offers
“equal rights” (especially the right to vote) to everyone
within the framework of the existing ownership system
and the existing relations of production. Bourgeois democracy
will always seek to demobilize the masses and
oppose and repress the efforts of the masses to assert
their own interests.. And we know that in a country like
Nepal, bourgeois rule, however “democratic”, inevitably
involves a great degree of compromise with semi-feudal
relations, as is seen so clearly in neighboring India.
The “rule of (bourgeois) law” so central to bourgeois
democracy means that government officials become
the agents and enforcers of bourgeois law. Isn’t this an
important lesson of the “Yadov affair”, when comrade
Matrika Yadov, the CPN(M) Minister of Land Reform
and Management in the new government, resigned over
his refusal to accept the use of state violence to evict
the peasantry off of land that had been redistributed to
them by the revolution? This shows quite clearly how
the government cannot help but function as an agent
of the reactionary production and social relations, and it
is a good illustration of Marx’s point that “the proletariat
cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state
machinery and wield it for its own purposes” but must
“smash it” and establish its own state."

The above is clearly something a "true communist" as they say would uphold. Yea, I like it, but it is not quite clear that the Maoist think otherwise.. in fact the RCP goes on to say the issue is still actually in question:

"The fundamental issue at stake in the debate over
the form of the state and the role of “multiparty democracy”
in Nepal today is actually about whether the
dictatorship of the proletariat (at the stage of New Democracy)
will be established. Indeed, as the Chinese
comrades pointed out during the epoch of Mao, all of
the great struggles between Marxism and revisionism
have been focused on the question of establishing and
persevering in the proletarian dictatorship, and this is
the case in Nepal today."

Some pages follow with some doctrine and history we can all appreciate. Again the implication not really substantiated is that somehow it is clearly the case that the Maoists in Nepal are following a contrary line.. if they are, then in still awaits in the rest of the letter to show that it is so. Next we see, the RCP has not exactly been correct is its prognostications regarding the Nepal Maoists:

"The most significant event that took place since
we sent our letter of March 19, 2008 has been the
Constituent Assembly elections, the emergence of the
CPN(M) as the largest party in the country and the
subsequent formation of a government with Comrade
Prachanda at its head.
One leading comrade of the CPN(M) described
this as “the election miracle”. And indeed, we ourselves,
like many other observers, were surprised by the result.
We had written in our March 19 letter: 'The most
likely result is that the CPN(M) will be defeated fairly
at the elections… If in the extremely unlikely event
that the Party did come to occupy the key positions
of government through this electoral process the very
alliance required, the entanglement in bourgeois political
institutions and with the international community
will ensure that there is no transfer of power to the
proletariat and the oppressed classes and no basis for
the state to carry out the revolutionary transformation
of society.'
What our party had predicted as 'extremely unlikely',
that is the emergence of a CPN(M)‑led government,
has come into being."

Oh, never mind.. it did not really mean anything:

"While it is true that the revolutionary
masses of Nepal voted for the CPN(M) out of
the love and respect won in the course of the People’s
War, the deferential treatment of the CPN(M) by the
bourgeoisie, imperialists and India came not from having
waged a People’s War but from having stopped one.
Any support from the middle classes and others for the
Party on this basis (having stopped the war) will not
further propel the Party toward completing the revolution
but act as a brake on it."

The RCP then develops the polemic with the prime example (which at this point as then remains an assumption) that the Maoist plan of integration of the NA and the PLA will result in essentially a reactionary army:

"All of Marxism as well
as contemporary social experience teaches again and
again that it is the armed forces that are the central and
decisive element of any state. The People’s Liberation
Army, which had been the pillar of the new state that
was being forged in the base areas, has been confined
to cantonments and is now threatened with liquidation
through the process of “integration” into the old reactionary
army. Without the PLA it will be impossible
to protect the transformations that have already taken
place in the base areas, to say nothing of extending
them throughout the whole country. We should never
forget Mao’s words that, “without a People’s Army, the
people have nothing”, nor the great sacrifices that were
required to build up a powerful PLA in Nepal.
Any idea that the Nepal Army, even if it swallows
up and digests part of the PLA, can be transformed
into a People’s Army, that it will become, in essence,
anything other than what it always has been, is worse
than ridiculous, it is extremely dangerous. As noted
earlier, the role of the Nepal Army will be to continue
to enforce the dominant social and production relations
that keep the masses enslaved."

Is this prognosis showing itself to be true? On the contrary, recent news has been centered on the Maoist moves outmaneuvering the reactionary parties by removing the top eight generals of the NA. The letter then goes on to admonish the Maoists for failing to see that the imperative at this point is to smash the state not to participate in its clearly bourgeois democracy. Again, however, current events see the Maoists issuing warning to the other parties against subterfuge, clearly putting forth the probability of renewed revolutionary violence and already establishing plans to develop the capacity of the masses to engage in armed resistance to Indian aggression.

The rest of the letter offers us the alternative to the supposed revisionist Nepal Maoist line - namely Bob's Communism:

"Now, when the first wave of proletarian revolution
that began with the Paris Commune and continued
through the Cultural Revolution in China has ended
and a new wave of proletarian revolution has yet to
break forth, questions of ideology have taken on a particular
importance. Bob Avakian has stepped forward
to the challenge of summing up the tremendous experience
of the first wave of proletarian revolution, its
grievous shortcomings as well as its heroic accomplishments,
and has brought forward a New Synthesis."

Those pesky Nepal Maoists however just seem to think and keep demonstrating they just may have their own working and workable tactics to reach the new democracy, a novel development in the communist hypothesis. They gave the RCP only one concise letter of reply and otherwise seem to be failing to appropriately respond to the RCP with its "actual communism of the twenty-first century":

"But unfortunately, the leadership of the CPN(M) has adopted an opposite approach that accepts the unscientific anti‑communist verdicts of the international bourgeoisie and renounces the dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transition toward socialism and communism. Instead, the very old ideology of bourgeois democracy is being presented as “Communism of the twenty-first Century” and the actual communism of the twenty-first century as it is concretely emerging is being ignored, belittled or opposed."

The next section is a criticism of the fact that the Maoists are studying the economic model of Switzerland. The implication is that this means the intention is to foster capitalist exploitation:

"A basic question is whether development must
come by being more integrated into the capitalist and
imperialist system – that is by welcoming and organizing
more capitalist exploitation – or whether the socialist
road is actually possible: building a viable and
emancipatory social and economic system that in a
fundamental sense is opposed to the world capitalist

This use of the study of Switzerland gets considerable play in the Kasama discussion outlined later. The exposition of the evils of China and others who allowed capitalism to consume the revolution is interesting, but in fact there is nothing to prove the Maoists actually intend to foster exploitation, only that they intend to participate in a period of capitalist development. This not a revision of Maoism, in fact it follows the line of Mao himself as can be seen here. The RCP however concludes the straw man attack with the wrong information about Mao's complete repudiation of capitalist methods for advancing productive forces:

"Despite the claims of the CPN(M) leaders that
they are aiming eventually to achieve a communist
society, in truth they completely confound democracy
and communism. They are themselves prisoners of
their own world outlook. Furthermore, the CPN(M)
leadership is falling into the age‑old revisionist error
that the achievement of communism depends primarily
on the further advance of the productive forces, to
be achieved by capitalist ends. This is precisely the line
that Mao and the revolutionaries in China fought out
in the course of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
against Liu Shao‑chi and later Deng Xiao‑ping."

There is no evidence that the Maoists are following the line of Deng Xiao-ping nor can it be said their planning is a revision of Mao's own policy of engaging capitalist modes of production under constraints preventing exploitation. Yes there is the danger of revisionism, but there is no evidence that this is the intention. The whole continuation of the RCP polemic vs the eclecticism
and centrism is rooted in the assumption that any engagement of capitalist modes is doomed:

"One of the particularities of centrism and eclecticism
is its refusal to make a clear‑cut demarcation between
Marxism and revisionism, but instead to try to
carve out a position “half‑way” between a revolutionary
communist ideology and politics and outright capitulation
and opportunism. In Nepal it is this form of centrist
revisionism that has become the greater danger,
not those who unabashedly proclaim their adhesion to
the ideology of multiparty democracy and the glories of
capitalism. The tired refrain is that there is the danger
of revisionism or rightism “on the one hand”, but there
is also the danger of “dogmatism” on the other, and that
by skillfully maneuvering between these two obstacles
the Party has gone from victory to victory. Or, there
is the recognition‑in-words of fundamental principles,
the “ABCs of Marxism”, such as the need to smash the
existing state apparatus, while the Party’s actual policy
goes completely contrary to this goal."

Reactionary forces are indeed involved in the state apparatus, in the UML and NC factions especially and in their influence in the National Army and the Supreme Court. Just because the Maoists have chosen to allow this as a tactical measure does not make them reactionary. Indeed even a cursory examination of the news shows the Maoists are clearly stating that if the reactionaries impede the decisions of the government under Maoist leadership they will indeed smash the apparatus. The point is this need not occur unless in fact exploitation cannot be eradicated and prevented following the present line. The fact is we don't know yet.

So I will follow in the next entry with commentary on the Maoist response to the RCP and the outline of the ongoing Kasama discussion.

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