Alt Left: Who's White? A Caucasian Roundup, or Ultra-Pan-Aryanism

Thinking Mouse: I didn’t read the article and now see you disagree with me, but I’ll explain why I think this category is appropriate.
Since I’m largely anti-HBD (though the African non-African dichotomy might have some merit), especially to the traits affecting many types of social capital, I really just see race as the social constructs and their origin. So when people look different, that could have an affect on the perception people have, and it used to in the past.
I think its that you are raised in America with its diversity, and maybe your lack of racism has made you accept more swarthier people as fulfilling the roles of good citizens, and therefore get an pass to the all so important group. In my view, by your criteria for an race, we might as well say that an Frenchman with dark hair and large nostrils/bulgy nose is Chinese cause they don’t look “that different”. Blue eyes and pink nipples are almost unique to Whites, that’s like indispensable right there.

Of course Arabs are White, especially North Africans like Moroccans and Algerians. However, there are Black people in those countries and they don’t count. Most Libyans are White. So are most Tunisians and most Egyptians. There are non-White Egyptians in the South. I had an Egyptian girlfriend once who would be more properly characterized as a light skinned Black woman. Light Egyptians and Moroccans openly identify as White.
Most Saudis and Yemenis are White. The Yemenis we have here are all White and identify as White. All Syrians are White and the ones here also identify as White. Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Iraqis and Gulf types are mostly White. However there are a few Blacks among these people in Iraq and the Gulf. Prince Bandar is not a White man.
Of course Persians and most Afghans are White. Afghans even identify as White. The ones I know told me they are Aryans, the original Whites. But some Afghans are Asiatics, like the Hazara. Most Pakistanis are White, and some even identify as White. There are some non-Whites down in the South, but all the ones I have met are as White as I am.
Many but not all North Indians are White, especially Punjabis, many of whom are as White as I am. Quite a few Uighurs and Nepalis are White, but many are not. Groups like the Mansi are similar and you have to look at them on an individual basis.
Of course Chechens, Azeris, Georgians, Armenians and the rest of the people of the Caucasus are White. Also Azeris, Armenians and Chechens at least identify as White.
Most Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks, etc. and many Siberians from around the Altai are best seen as mixed race. Many Tatars and Bashkirs are also mixed race. All of these groups are so mixed with Asiatics that they can’t really properly be called Whites.
I would look at facial and bone structure. Really all Caucasoids are simply Whites. Look at the face and if the face looks like a White person’s face, no matter the skin color, they are White.

Why Do Some Countries Lack a Class Conscious Working Class?

John Engelman: Contrary to what Karl Marx said, for most people most of the time loyalties of nation, race and ethnicity are stronger than loyalties of class. The working class in the United States has always been more diverse than the working class in European countries. It is becoming more diverse with the influx of non whites.

To get class consciousness you really need a homogeneous working class. It helps if the working class is ethnically distinct from the upper class. In Scotland the upper class is English, or Anglicized Scottish. That is to say Scottish, but educated in England, and often speaking with English accents.
The clear majority of Scots vote for the British Labour Party. English workers are more likely to vote for the British Conservative Party.
The argument is circular in a sense because as you look around the world, generally what you see in most cases is an ethnically homogenous working class.
Would you describe the working classes of Latin America as homogeneous or diverse? They seem to be a mixture of White, Indian and Black and the mestizo, mulatto and Zambo mixtures, correct? Yet the diverse working classes down there have high working class consciousness despite their diverse nature.
Aren’t North African and Gulf countries fairly mixed between Blacks and Arabs?
Certainly in Arabia, lands with diverse working classes of Kurds, Arabs and Iranian working classes are all very left.
I believe Sri Lanka even with the vicious Tamil versus Sinhalese war, the diverse working class is leftwing. In Burma the working class is very left although there have been wild ethnic wars sputtering on for decades.
In Russia and other nations of the former USSR, there are many ethnic minorities, but the workers are still working class.
A recent exception is Ukraine where workers have gone radical Right. The former Yugoslavia is still very leftwing even after all of the ethnic conflict and even slaughter of past years. Spain’s working class is very radical despite an armed conflict in the Basque region and separatists in Catalonia. The different religions hate each other in North Ireland, but the Scottish Protestant workers are as class conscious as the Irish Catholic ones. Switzerland is divided between three ethnic groups – French, Germans, and Italians – yet it is a very leftwing country.
The extreme tribalism in Africa has not prevented the working classes from being class conscious.
Is the working class of England voting Tory yet? Or do you just mean that they are more likely to vote Tory than the Scots are?
Most workers in Europe, Arabia, North Africa, Africa, the former USSR, China, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Japan, South Korea, Nepal are the same ethnicity as the ruling classes of those places, yet workers have a high degree of class consciousness in all of those places.
The places where working class consciousness has been harder to develop were those that had a Chinese ruling class as in Philippines and Indonesia.
I think we need to come up with some better theories about the poor class consciousness of the US working class. If you are looking for examples elsewhere, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, the Baltics and Colombia are places with quite poor working class consciousness.
In Australia it is recent as US style conservatism is imported.
A similar trend is underway in Canada and has been since Thatcher in the UK. But the UK is in nearly a revolutionary situation. A lot of the working classes are militant and radicalized, while a lot of the country has at the same time gone Tory. When Thatcher died, there were anti-rich riots in housing estates across the land. Thatcher was burned in effigy in the streets. Can you imagine that happening in the US?
The recent riots in the UK also had a class undercurrent. I was dating a British woman at the time, and she told me that local storeowners who treated the community well were spared by rioters. Rioters focused on stores selling upscale goods to the rich. Many corporate outlets were also smashed.
She told me that a number of those outlets had a reputation for not paying taxes to the UK by hiding money offshore. She said the rioters knew who those companies were, and they were brutally singled out. Many outlets were burned to the ground. Can you imagine heavily Black rioters in the US having class consciousness like that?
The Baltics are a case of entire nations full of complete idiots who hate Communism so much that they went into an extreme overreaction against Communism and turned against anything socialist, left, liberal or mildly progressive. Fascist heroes including many Nazis with a lot of Jewish blood on their hands were celebrated. Communist parties were outlawed, and Russian minorities were viciously maltreated.
Radical rightwingers were elected in all of these lands, and Chicago Boys Friedmanite experiments were undertaken. The results were predictable. In the recent economic crash, the most neoliberal European countries were the most devastated of all. Estonia was eviscerated, and Latvia was almost wiped off the map. 1/3 of the Latvian population left the country, including almost all of the educated people.
The Philippines and Indonesian cases are up for discussion, but these are Latin American situations of a ruling class of a different ethnicity than the working classes holding forth brutally and anti-democratically over the people. In addition, the workers have little consciousness.
Taiwan has a similar legacy where extreme hatred of Communism resulted in being ruled by reactionary fascist anti-Communists for decades. There is a nascent Left now, but it has little power yet. The wealth of the country seems to have gotten in the way of working class consciousness. Probably the extreme anti-Communism helped too, as any working class movement could be quickly portrayed as Communist.

No Conservatives Allowed on This Website!

We have had a few conservatives posting here in the past few days. These are US-style conservatives, which are the worst kind of all. US-style conservatives are absolutely banned from posting here in any way, shape or form.
Conservatism means different things in different countries, so conservatives from much of the rest of the world (except Latin America and the UK) can continue to post. Even Canadian conservatives can continue to post, as I do not mind them. It’s not conservatism itself that is so awful. Almost every country on Earth has people who call themselves conservatives, and there are conservative parties in almost every country on Earth. But being a conservative just about anywhere outside of the Americas is more or less an acceptable position for me. I probably won’t like their politics much, but I could at least look at them and say that this is an opposition I could live with.
US conservatives and their brethren in the UK, Latin America, the Philippines, Nepal and and Indonesia are quite a different beast.
I have to think hard about conservatives in Eastern Europe, especially Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic. These fools had such a bad experience with Communism that they went 180 degrees in the other direction. I would have to see the positions of these conservative parties in those countries to see whether they would be OK or not.
Just to give you an example, Vladimir Putin is considered to be a right-winger, and his party United Russia advocates a politics called Russian Conservatism. Looking at the party’s platform, this is not only a conservatism that I could live with but one I might even vote for!
Conservatives in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and most other places in Asia are acceptable. The conservatives in the Stans, Georgia, Ukraine, and Armenia can be rather awful, particularly in the nationalist sense, but I will not ban them.
I dislike Indian conservatives, but I will not ban them.
Conservatives from the Muslim World are all acceptable. In the Muslim World, conservatism just means religious and sometimes nationalist. I can live with that. Even the ones in Iran are orders of magnitude better than the US type.
Conservatives in the Arab World are acceptable. They are mostly just religious people.
Turkish conservatives are awful, but I will not ban them. They are just religious and a particularly awful type of nationalist.
African conservatives are OK.
Conservatives in Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany,  the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Italy, the Balkans, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania are sometimes good, sometimes pretty bad, but they are all acceptable here. Conservatism in Europe mostly means nationalism. I am actually rather fond of the conservative running Hungary, Orban. LePen conservatives leave something to be desired, but they are acceptable. They’re mostly just nationalists. Hell, I might even vote for Marine LePen! If it was down to LePen versus Macron, I would absolutely support LePen!
Conservatives from Indonesia, Nepal and Philippines are not OK. These are an “everything for the rich elite, nothing for anybody else” type of conservative. Some of them even hide under the labels of Socialist or even Communist.
The word conservative has no real inherent meaning. It means whatever people say it means.
Anyway, the conservatives in the US are pure garbage and recently they have become out and out fascists after moving in that direction for a long time. And a particularly horrible type of fascist at that, a Latin American/Filipino/Indonesian style fascist. I will not allow any US conservatives to post on this board. You all are lucky I even let you lurk here. That’s an idle threat as I can’t ban lurkers, but if they all stopped lurking, I would not mind frankly.
You all really ought to go back to the gutters you crawled out of.
PS This especially applies to Libertarians, the very worst of all the US conservative vermin. We shoot Libertarians on sight here, so you better watch out.
*This applies only to economic conservatives. If you are not an economic conservative, and your conservatism is only of the social variety or you are only conservative on race, religion, guns, law and order, respect for tradition, American nationalism, the military, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity issues, you can stay. I’m not crazy about some social conservatives, but I can live with them. I will probably even let patriotards post as long as they are not economic conservatives.
I am an American nationalist myself. I just don’t like patriotards. Of course, I very much dislike and even hate the country as it is right now, but I sure don’t want to make it worse! I have to live here too you now, and it might as well be as pleasant as possible as long I stay here.
I want what’s best for my country. I don’t want to harm this country or screw it over. That will be bad for me! And believe it or not, most US patriotards do not want what is best for the country! I have dreams of a greater and better America. It’s not impossible, but we will have to undergo some serious cultural changes. One of the reasons I am so against illegal immigration is because it is ruining my country and making this place even worse. Also illegal immigration is terrible for US workers and I am for the workers. I am against H-1B visas for the same reason – they are wrecking my country. IT workers are workers too, so they are my comrades. I want what is best for America and American workers.
I cannot live with economic conservatives. I like cancer way more than I like US conservatives. Cancer is much more decent and respectable.

"Time of Monsters," by Peter Tobin

Peter Tobin is a Marxist activist and author who is an experiment on the recent goings in in Nepal especially with regard to the Maoist revolutionaries who recently fought a brutal civil war there and are now part of the government. Turns out that with disarmament, a lot of the Maoists sold out completely on almost all of their revolutionary principles, become rightwingers and in the process become millionaires with huge mansions. In addition, as you might have guessed, all and I mean all of the Maoist leaders were Brahmins.
And this was an anti-caste revolution.
In this part of the world, caste is like dirt. No matter how many times try wash the dirt off, there’s always some on your skin. And no matter how many attempts are made by South Asians to cleanse the body politic of caste, there’s always some of it remaining on the skin of their culture. you can’t take enough showers to wash all the dirt off and you can’t do enough reforms to wash caste out of the culture. It’s looking like caste in now an integral part of South Asian culture like curry, saris or gurus.
Warning: This work is very long. If it was a book, it would be 60 pages, long enough for a novella if it was fiction.

Time of Monsters

by Peter Tobin

The cartoon above reflects a widespread perception among many Nepalese that the four parliamentary parties are servants – in varying degrees – of New Delhi. It appeared in the 2013, August edition of Nepal – a popular monthly – showing Prachanda (UCPN(M), Nepal (UML), Sitaula (NC) and Gaddachhar (MJN), (Brahmins all!) blubbing uncontrollably as Nepal against history and the odds beat India 2-1 in the South Asia Football Championships in July 2013.

Nepal’s Brahminical State and Problems of Legitimacy

From Machiavelli:

What’s more, you can’t in good faith give the nobles what they want without doing harm to others; but you can with the people. Because the people’s aspirations are more honorable than those of the nobles: the nobles want to oppress the people, while the people want to be free from oppression.
Machiavelli, The Prince, 1516, p.39. Penguin 2009.

To the present day:

How can people trust them to run the state? Our boycott is therefore a political act to expose the failure of this parliamentary system. To build a new democracy and renew the revolutionary process we must go in a different direction.
– Mohan Baidya, ‘Kiran’, Chairman, CPN-Maoist, October, 2013

Introduction

Political parties in all societies reflect specific histories and display the balance of social and political forces at any point in their narratives. Nepal is no exception to this truism; the classes and strata arising from the socio-economic conditions obtaining in the country’s history gave rise to caste, party and faction. The aim of this article is to provide detail of their historical gestation as a means of examining and explaining the present impasse in Nepalese society.
This is presently evidenced by argument as to whether a Consultative Assembly, elected in November 2013 in a disputed ballot, has authority to promulgate a new constitution and is another issue of serious division that pervades every sphere of Nepalese society – political, cultural, social and economic – that cumulatively call into question the legitimacy of the essentially unreconstructed state founded by Prithvi Nararyan Shah in 1769.
The article will argue that discord has been inherent since the state’s inception in the mid-18th century, with the campaign of unification driven by a minority elite imposing a nationality upon a multi-ethnic majority and which despite changing modalities of state power in the succeeding two-hundred and fifty years, remains the dominant power in Nepalese society, surviving monarchical absolutism, feudal clan autocracy, constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy, successively appearing as contrasting if not antagonistic systems.
It is certainly the case that internecine power struggles among ruling Nepalese elites, regarding modalities of power, are crucial to understanding the forces shaping the present. However, evident systemic discontinuity should not obscure persistence of upper caste, particularly Brahmin ascendancy, surmounting every upheaval, and turning every change of polity into a vehicle for retention of power and privilege.
Responding to the pressures of the modern world, and with long experience in judging the vagaries of historic authority, these same castes have melded seamlessly into the local bourgeoisie – domestically hegemonic but internationally subservient.
Not every ancien regime is oblivious or impervious to demands for change from formerly subaltern classes. Note the nationalist leader Tancredi’s maxim, in di Lampedusa’s epic novel The Leopard about the 19th century Risorgimento (Italian unification):

“Things have to change so that everything can stay the same.” (“Tutto deve cambiar perche tutto reste uguale.”) (Il Gattopardo, G. di Lampedusa, 1958)

The Nepalese ruling castes are exemplars of this paradox, having survived successive changes in polity, a point underlined in contemporary Nepal where the major constitutional parties and organs of state are dominated by the same higher caste/class, as supreme in the new democratic republic as they were under the preceding Hindu God-Kingdom created through war and conquest by their Brahmin/Rajput ancestors in the 18th century. Unification was more empire than nation building, pitting a warlike Indo-Aryan warrior caste against a rural majority comprised of over sixty Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups, each with its own languages and specific Buddhist/pantheist/shamanist cultures.
Over time this may not have precluded the forging of national identity: consider the example of Britain, which emerged from English subjugation and colonization of the tribal Celtic peoples that flourished on the periphery of the later named, with breast-beating triumphalism, British Isles.
Similarly the English had emerged as a distinct people following military invasion and occupation by French Normans over Anglo-Saxon natives. Christianity in the form of Roman Catholicism already provided a common ideology for conqueror and conquered. In the centuries following, the former lost both their French language and territories with the European feudal system they imposed upon Anglo-Saxon England taking root and dominating until the emergence of bourgeois capitalism in the Late Middle Ages.
Nepal has never overcome the contradictions engendered by its violent birth which was compromised by its Hindu ruling castes retaining political, cultural and economic ties with caste peers governing India the sub-continental empire, and who, since Bhimsen Thapa, Jonge Bahadur and the Ranas, have, unlike the nation-builders of medieval Europe, proved unable or unwilling to act with national impunity.
The notion of the present ruling caste elite representing the national interest is presently even more unlikely as their growing cosmopolitan class interests political, ideological and economic necessitate the country continuing as neo-colony of Brahminical India, subject to the ubiquitous, all-conquering global market and the multinational institutions established by US and other First World powers after 1945.
The last serious threat to centralized caste power was the People’s War from 1996-2006, which saw a 12-point peace agreement between parliamentarians and revolutionaries, following the success of these two former bitter enemies allying to overthrow King Gyenendra in the 2006 second Thulo Jana Andolan (Great People’s Uprising/Revolution). It did not, as promised, lead to a ‘New Nepal’, instead seeing the elites of ‘Old Nepal’ regrouping, and remaining ensconced in power.
This had also happened after the 1990 Jana Andolan, when the Brahmin leaders of the democratic movement summoned the Janjatis (ethnic minorities) and oppressed castes and classes to join the struggle for democracy against King Birendra and the feudal Panchayat system.
Promises made, offering cultural and political autonomy to redress historical injustices, were later reneged on, with the subsequent constitution drawn up by the victorious New Delhi-backed political parties even retaining Nepal’s status as a divine Hindu Kingdom. It was not until 2008, with the declaration of a republic, that the monarchial system was finally abolished.
However, that was the only tangible political gain from ten years of People’s War, while the major socioeconomic and cultural inequities that had provoked it were left in place, with attempts to ameliorate them blocked or sabotaged by a resurgent rightist bloc that seized the political and military initiative in the years following the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Nepal’s political parties are defined by which side they take in relation to this history; whether they want to either preserve the existing system, albeit with minor tweaks and modest reform, or completely replace it with a new dispensation. Conservatives and revolutionaries are adversaries in the struggle for the body and soul of the nation.
First, some empirical details about the country that provide the inescapable, epidemiological conclusion that the socio-economic antagonisms fermenting in Nepalese society point inevitably to further eruption.

Economy and Society

Nepal is an aid-dependent, landlocked country, accessed principally from India, with a population of approximately 28 million. It has over sixty ethnic groups or Janjatis (called Adivasis in India) reflecting a rich linguistic and cultural diversity. Over 80% of its peoples are rural inhabitants, mostly dependent on subsistence farming. The agricultural sector contributes approximately 38-40% to GDP, with the tourism/service industry adding 47-50%, and the industrial/craft sector contributing 10-13% (1).
The CIA World Factbook estimates its labor force at 16 million: 70% of those employed are in agriculture and 18% in the services sector with the remainder in industry and craft production. The imbalance between numbers of population engaged respectively in these sectors and the value each one adds to GDP is striking. What distorts the figures is that 25-30% of the tourism/service GDP (where it measured by income) comes from Gurkha pensions and increasingly over the last decade from émigré labor remittances (2).
As its contribution to GDP shows, the manufacturing sector is small, with carpet weaving dominating its light industrial sector and the rest made up of skilled handcraft production in metal, stone and wood. Since the decline of the jute industry based in Biratnagar, heavy industry is negligible, and Nepal has to import everything from cars to computers – necessities of modern life – which add to its trade deficit.
Nepal has always faced the difficult situation of being a small economic power next to a big one that is denied economies of scale that accrue from size, thus insuring that Nepali companies could not compete with bigger Indian ones in the home market. This problem has, for example, caused the virtual collapse of its cotton and garment industry. Exports are inhibited because India imposes high import duties to protect its own industries.
The pan-Indian Marwari Corporation/Clan dominate the domestic industrial and commercial sector in collusion with the traditional caste elites of Ranas/Shahs. A further aspect of its neocolonial status is that Nepal is forced to concede an open border with India and must endure a ‘take or leave it’ in terms of trade with India, a market that accounts for nearly 70% of Nepal’s total exports. In some instances Delhi has even reneged on prior agreements in order to sabotage specific Nepalese attempts at establishing nascent industry (3).
Nepal’s manufacturing base was further weakened by the global march of neoliberal capitalism (4) that saw, for example, Structural Adjustment Programs introduced in Nepal from the mid-1980s’.
SAP’s are loans to aid-dependent, underdeveloped or economically unstable countries that have strong conditional clauses requiring adoption of rigorous free market policies, including privatization, trade and finance-sector liberalization, prices determined by the market and precluding and retreating from state intervention in any form.
They were implemented by the IMF and World Bank, acting in a ‘bad cop/bad cop’ scenario and affected all sections of Nepalese society; the removal of subsidies on such items as cooking gas hit many homes, while those on fertilizers reduced agricultural production. Privatization programs ended public enterprises, many of which had been initiated by a dirigiste Rana regime in the 1930’s in a desperate attempt to modernize.
There was, for example, sustained pressure from multilateral development financial institutions – the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in particular – forcing a sale of water utilities, resulting in their complete privatization by 2006. Tariffs protecting indigenous industries were also removed and the penetration of multinational capital was facilitated across all sectors.

Inequality and Poverty

This regime, which does not even manufacture a needle in the name of a self-reliant and national economy, has handed the whole economy to a dozen families of foreign compradors and bureaucratic capitalists. This handful of plunderers has become billionaires, whereas the real owners of this country and the national property – the toiling masses of Nepal – are forced to eke out a meager existence of deprivation and poverty.
– (CPN(M) leaflet, distributed on the eve of the start of the People’s War, 13th February, 1996.

The UN Human Development Report 2014 listed Nepal as the 31st poorest country in the world and among those classified low in Human Development indices with glaring inequalities in incomes and lifestyles that has the top 10% owning 42% of wealth and the bottom 10% accruing 2.7%. The Multidimensional Poverty Index, which measures schooling, nutrition, infant mortality, sanitation, and access to clean water among its criteria for standards of modern life, puts incidences of poverty at 65% whereas an income-poverty criteria at $1.25 per day gives a 55% figure of those suffering deprivation. (5)
Government Household Survey statistics for 2010/11, by contrast, estimated deprivation at 25% of population but only by using a smaller cohort, with the sole criterion defining poverty as daily consumption of less than 2,220 calories. By whatever measure, poverty is endemic and exacerbated by increased levels of unemployment that since 2000 have inexorably risen to nearly 50% of the working population in 2014. By conflating the above figures along with other relevant indices, the Gini Coefficient statistics for 2010 (6) showed that inequality has worsened over past two decades of western-style parliamentary democracy and capitalism. (7)
While the majority of Nepalese are rural dwellers, the agriculture sector is weak and inefficient; hilly and mountainous topography with subsequent scarcity of arable soil apart from the southern Terai plains allows mostly for only subsistence farming. A poor infrastructure of roads and communications inhibits movement of produce. The continuing failure to reform land ownership sees huge, growing numbers of landless Dalits, Muslims and other minorities, especially in feudal and populous Terai. The failures to implement scientific management and introduce modern technology combine to render Nepal dependent on importing foodstuffs from or through India.
The failure of the present system to provide necessary conditions of existence for an expanding demographic adds greater urgency to the antagonisms between the Establishment Right and Radical Left. These will be further accentuated given that India’s newly elected BJP administration has signaled the intention of pursuing more aggressively expansionist policies and is fully committed to the neoliberal economic project. The latter is being promoted as ‘shock therapy’ necessary for economic lift-off that will rescue the Indian people from poverty and deprivation.
It is it problematic because it is set out as an ideological as opposed to an economically rational project deliberately masking the aim of increasing the penetration of Western monopoly capitalism into the Indian economy through the mediation of the Brahmin/Banyia oligarchy. One of the new regime’s first acts was to increase hikes in diesel prices, allowing the state subsidy to shrivel, while signaling an intention to do the same to fertilizer subsidies. It has since announced that the health budget is to be slashed in a country that already has one of world’s lowest expenditures in this sector.
When all such state aid is rolled back, if wealth ‘trickles down’ perhaps by the conspicuous consumption of luxury commodities and lifestyle of a privileged cosmopolitan caste elite or charity (not a noted Brahmin characteristic) and alleviates some poverty – so be it, but it will be serendipitous. Such an outcome is not what drives au courant ‘capitalism with its coat off’ mutation, (4) so eagerly embraced by India’s caste elite as greed is a noted Brahmin characteristic.
However, for all the Hindutva histrionics and bravura posturing of the demagogue Modi, his BJP regime is in fact morphing effortlessly from Mohan Singh’s Congress Party Administration’s line of march. This became apparent in 2005 US/India Memos of Understanding (MOU) which, inter alia, initiated opening up India’s agricultural research establishments to American monopolies and activated policies of ‘rapid commercialization’ of already hard-pressed Indian farmers.
One commentator noted at the time:

The treaty is a partnership between two unequal partners. American agriculture is highly mechanized and organized, energy-intensive and market-centric. Indian agriculture, by contrast, has been for millennia the way of life for the vast majority of the population. (8)

The present Nepalese establishment invariably marches in step with New Delhi and accordingly rolled out the red carpet for the newly-elected PM Modi’s August 2014 official visit to Kathmandu. Addressing the Nepalese Parliament, he emphasized his government’s neoliberal economic priorities and the benefit Nepal would derive from deepening existing bilateral links by “…taking our relationship to an entirely new level.”
Nepal’s establishment parties were receptive, as the post-1990 administrations had closely shadowed India’s descent into neoliberal policies, and Modi’s regime was seen as continuation of this course.
The August visit was also marked by concluding agreements that increased Indian access to Nepal’s vast untapped water resources, which the revolutionary opposition denounced as a blatant example of neocolonial subservience to Indian expansionists and betrayal of the national interest.
The argument over this abundant but as yet untapped natural resource constitutes a longstanding fault line in Nepalese politics that bears examination; it concentrates many existing socioeconomic and political contradictions in one issue.

The Politics of Water and Unequal Treaties

On September 6th 2014 the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist announced its intention to publicly burn copies of the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) recently negotiated between India and Nepal which allows for the construction of hydropower projects by Indian companies so as to facilitate energy trading, cross-border transmission lines and grid connections between the two countries. (9)
The coalition government concluded a further agreement with the Indian company GMR to construct a 900MW hydropower project on the Upper Karnali. It was claimed that combining these two accords would enable Nepal to utilize its hydropower resources to produce enough surplus to permit the already agreed export of electricity to India and help reduce the country’s trade deficit.
The extraction of Nepal’s water resources began in 1920 when the Indian Raj signed the 1920 Treaty of Sarda that secured access to the Mahakali. After independence, India’s Nehru’s Administration continued in a similar manner with the 1954 Koshi and 1959 Gandak Treaties that saw dams constructed solely to irrigate the thirsty Gangetic Plains of North India. There was outrage at these one-sided deals from Nepalese nationalists and communists, which led to greater caution by successive regimes faced with India’s insatiable water demands paralleled with failed attempts in securing international aid or a loan from the World Bank to develop the country’s hydropower resources independently.
After the 1990 upheaval that ostensibly reduced Birendra to constitutional status, the fledgling democracy experienced renewed pressure from New Delhi that led to the 1996 Mahakali Treaty which was described as revealing:

“…the larger neighbor as bulldozer and the smaller one as hapless and internally divided.” (10).

While this treaty was supported by the both the constitutional communist party, the Unified Marxist-Leninist Communist Party which turned full circle from the anti-Indian position of its mother party in the 1950’s, and the always reliable pro-Delhi Congress Party (NC), it was denounced by CPN (Maoist) spokespersons who pointed out that Nepal would only get 7 out of the projected 125 megawatts output. (11)
The symbolic burning of the present PTA as ‘against the national interest’ by the new Maoist party was manifestation of an ongoing campaign for retaining Nepalese jurisdiction over its water resources, resisting New Delhi’s strategy to monopolize them. This is underscored by observation that Nepal has huge hydropower potential estimated at 40,000 MW but is presently realizing only 600 MW.
All of this is happening against a backdrop of daily power cuts and the fact that 60% of the population have no access to electricity. Harnessing hydropower resources will provide the means of modernizing and enriching the country, putting its growing young unemployed to work and ending its dependent, underdeveloped status.
Lenin famously stated that for USSR: ‘Communism was Soviet power plus electrification’ to which Nepal’s unreconstructed Marxist-Leninists paraphrase the end as: ‘plus hydropower’; reflecting the importance of this power source for realizing an independent socialist Nepal.
The PTA is described by patriots of left and right as yet another unequal treaty among the many that began with the 1816 Treaty of Sugauli imposed by the East India Company. This is now seen a British land grab that resulted in Nepal ceding one-third of its territory to the Company, including Sikkim and what is now called Uttarakhand.
The reduction of ‘Greater Nepal’ to its present territory resulted from military invasion and defeat. Treaties covering trade and resources have been facilitated by the Nepalese ruling caste/class acting in collusion with first imperial Britain then Brahminical India .
The Brahmin/upper caste supporters of the power deal tend either to not recognize or to remain oblivious to the idea that any treaty agreed with brother India has ever been ‘unequal’. The same political class once again faced a 2011 furor over by the ‘Bilateral’ Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) which allowed for greater penetration and increased security for Indian capital in Nepal. This sellout document earned the parliamentary apparatchiks, parties and the Bhatterai Administration who negotiated and agreed to it epithets from the stooges and hirelings of the extra-parliamentary Maoist opposition and royalist factions.
The definition of unequal agreement is where an imbalance of power, political, military or economic, exists between the parties to the agreement. Chinese nationalists and communists in the 20th century used the term to describe all treaties extracted from China in its ‘century of humiliation’ at the hands of Western imperialists in the 19th century.
These treaties between Nepal and India involved loss of Nepalese sovereignty over territory and domestic markets and facilitated imports of commodities, including, notoriously, opium produced by East India Company, accompanied by the threat or use of superior military force. The period also saw the emergence of indigenous merchants acting as East India Company agents/intermediaries described as ‘compradors’.
Nepalese patriots use the term “unequal treaties” to describe a history that began with Sugauli, was carried over from the East India Company to the Raj and continued in postcolonial India with the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty formalizing Nepal’s neocolonial status by allowing India increased access and control of the Nepalese economy and veto over Nepal’s foreign relations with third parties.
It guaranteed Nepal as a captive market for Indian commodities and along with further revisions and succeeding agreements allowed exploitation of Nepal’s natural resources, principally water as described above, and access to cheap Nepalese migrant labor.
New Delhi was driven as much by geopolitical considerations; Nehru saw Himalayan Nepal as a bulwark on India’s northern frontier against Communist China, and serving along with Bhutan and Sikkim as part of a “chain of protectorates,” so described by Curzon, a particularly bellicose, expansionist Raj Viceroy at the turn of the 20th century.
Nehru was a ruthless autocrat and saved his fine words regarding nonintervention and non-aggression for the Pansheel Principles set out as a stratagem to bamboozle Mao’s Communists, burnishing India’s Gandhian credentials and non-aligned status in 1954 Treaty with the PRC. Nehru accordingly extracted the 1950 Treaty from the last Rana PM three months before he authorized an invasion of Nepal from India by a joint royalist/ democratic army which signaled the beginning of the end for Rana rule.
Independent India under the imperious Pandit owed more to the martial warrior spirit of the Maharbarata than it ever did to the myth of Hinduism’s essential ahimsa (pacifism) peddled by the casteist charlatan Gandhi. Recent information shows that Nehru may have slaughtered even more Muslims in Manipur in 1947 than Modi managed in Gujarat in 2001.

Constitution or Revolution?

The new Maoist party, the CPN-M, is extra-parliamentary and does not accord legitimacy to the present institutions of state, distinguishing it from the three major parties in the Constituent Assembly, who supported and negotiated the PTA. In descending order of electoral strength, they are: Nepali Congress, Unified Marxist-Leninist CPN; and Unified CPN (Maoist). The first two are in coalition government, with the NC leader GP Koirala as Prime Minister. Koirala’s family is a Nepalese political dynasty akin to India’s Gandhis.
A split in the third biggest party, the UCPN(M), in 2012 led to the launch of the CPN-M by cadre led by veteran Maoist leader, Mohan Baidya (‘Kiran’) (12), increasingly disillusioned with perceived growing revisionism of the UCPN(M) under the leadership of Prachanda and Bhatterai. They concluded that following the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the UCPN(M)’s political practice had degraded into reformism, conforming to Lenin’s bitter reasoning for the ultimate treachery of the German SPD’s voting for war credits in 1914:

…by making a fetish of the necessary utilization of bourgeois parliamentarianism and bourgeois legality.

In the view of many cadre, the party had lost its revolutionary edge and has been remade to suit New Delhi’s requirements. The party was guided by two leaders, Dahal (Prachanda) and Bhatterai, reconnecting with their Brahminical caste roots.
The final betrayal was the surrender by Bhatterai’s ostensibly Maoist-led administration of the People’s Liberation Army and its weapons to the Nepalese Army in 2011 after being laagered in UN cantonments following the 2006 CPA. In reaction to this and policies such as handing back expropriated land to the feudal landlords, the new CPN-M declared a return to revolutionary first principles and building on the foundation of the principle of People’s War as a precondition for future political work.
A fourth political bloc represented in the Constituent Assembly (the National Assembly – an upper house created in 1990, was abolished in 2007, and Nepal now has a unicameral system) is the United Democratic Madeshi Front representing landed property class parties from the Terai, a region of flatlands in southern Nepal and topographically an extension of the Gangetic Plains of North India.
Ethnically and culturally the Terai’s upper castes are closer to India, so this group’s political support for increasing bonds between the countries is guaranteed. The Terai was formally a NC fiefdom, but party membership collapsed when leaders and activists principally drawn from the Bhadraloks (Terai upper castes) deserted the party which they believed had become dominated by the Brahmins of the Kathmandu and the Central Hill regions referred to as Pahadis (Hill People).
This political bloc, following the 2006 Peace Agreement, appeared to upper caste Madeshis to be too weak to stand up to the Maoists, perceived as all-powerful after ten years of People’s War and a real threat to feudal and zamindar (landlord) interests in the Terai. Madeshi parties subsequently emerged seeking either regional autonomy or direct integration with India.
The more militant among them advocated armed struggle and were instrumental in driving the 2006/7 murderous conflict with the Maobaadi (Nepali for Maoists) in order to defend the status quo in the region. Indian security services were rumored to have been heavily involved in arming and funding these groups, signaling New Delhi’s growing alarm at the threat to Indian interests posed by the Nepalese Maoists as they stood on the verge of a takeover.
There are 22 other parties represented in the CA, the largest two being royalist – the Rastriya Prajantra Party (Nepal) and the Rastriya Prajantra Party – representing the ancient regime and seeking in one form or another a return to divine Hindu monarchy abolished when the Prachanda’s 2008 UCPN(M)/UML coalition government declared the republic. However, many monarchists are patriots with a deep distrust of India to the extent that some prefer China in all circumstances.
After the RRP(N) and the RPP, there are many small socialist, communist and peasant parties reflecting the patchwork and multirepresentational nature of Nepalese politics. This plethora of parties is also apparent among the forces outside the CA led by CPN-M in a 33-party alliance.
The CPN-M (13) and its allies – other communist, socialist and social democratic parties along with Janjati (ethnic) organizations – came together in 2013 to boycott the November election for a second Constituent Assembly. They argued it was a ‘phony, rigged election’, promoted by the same forces that had blocked a progressive federal constitution in the first CA. Now the parliamentary ‘Four Party Syndicate’ was seeking a mandate to forge an anti-people constitution ensuring that power was retained by upper castes and that in any event, asserted the boycotters, would be written in New Delhi.
Among the international supporters of the second CA election were the US, China, EU, India, the UN, NGOs like the Carter Center, ANFREL etc. 70,000 police, army and paramilitaries along with 50,000 temporary police personnel were mobilized to counter the campaign organized by the CPN-M, leading a 33 party alliance around the slogan:

Boycott this corrupt/so-called election (Kathit nirbaachan bahiskaar gare).

The election duly took place, pre-weighted through the creation of a High Level Commission that excluded all other parties, ensuring the ‘Four Party Syndicate’s unchallenged control of proceedings. Rs 30 billion was allocated to pay for it, a staggering amount considering only Rs 2.8 billion was spent on the 2008 election. The election was further tainted as turnout figures were disputed, with nearly five million voters disappearing from the 2008 election rolls. There was also no postal vote provision for the estimated two million émigré workers scattered through the Gulf States and South East Asia.
Each side claimed higher or lower percentage turnouts, but the significant result was the major setback for Prachanda and Bhatterai’s revisionist UCPN (M). The party lost its place as the biggest party gained by a shock victory in 2008 election, where it garnered 40% of the vote but was now reduced to third party status after the NC and the UML.
In any event, the CPN-Maoist ‘Dashists’ did not halt the election, but held their nerve in spite of powerful domestic and international enemies, a sustained hate campaign from the Brahmin/bourgeois controlled media sequestered in Kathmandu led by the Kantipur Corporation, Nepal’s largest media house, and internal party tensions. Notwithstanding the final number of votes cast, the election showed that the boycotters represented a critical mass of the citizenry. Whatever the outcome of the charade, Kiran said emphatically, they would burn any constitutional declaration emerging from the new CA and “write one in the streets.”

The Caste System & Democratic Deficit

However, it may also be stated that most Dalit leaders are right when they blame the ‘Brahminical’ order of society for the grievous discrimination practiced against them…the reification of the caste system, even to this date, depends for its authority on the socioreligious observances of Brahmins, the high priests of Hinduism.
– V. Rajan “Dalits” and the Caste System in India, p 3, 2010)

As in India, it is formally illegal under the Nepalese Constitution to discriminate on grounds of caste, and the education system is also nominally open to all. In reality though, the caste system remains pervasive with the upper castes constituting 70-80% of personnel in all institutions of the state, education, media, commerce and health sectors, while forming  only approximately 20% of the population.
The Kathmandu Valley Newaris, for example, form 3% of the population but occupy 13% of civil service posts. In the 1990’s it was shown that 80% of civil service, army and police posts were shared among Brahmin and Chetri castes. (14)
A more recent study in 2004 showed little change. Brahmins, while forming 13% of the population, accounted for 74% of top civil service posts. (15) Brahmins also lead the establishment parties which espouse the virtues of western-style multiparty democracy and the global market.
Nepalese Brahmins in politics, culture and business defer easily to fellow Brahmins ascendant in India, claiming a realism similar to the pragmatism of a small boy before a bigger sibling.
This assumes that Nepal and India are ‘family’, albeit one where might confirms right. They also note admiringly that Indian Brahmins have since Independence retained power and privilege in alliance with the Kshatriyas, the military caste, and the Banyias, the commercial and merchant caste, making a mockery of the great Dalit scholar/statesman Ambedkar’s 1947 Constitution prohibiting discrimination on grounds of caste and guaranteeing equality for all citizens.
Words were also cheap in the 1972 Amendment to the Indian Constitution that added the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ to the original declaration of ‘sovereign, democratic republic’. Against the evidence and from the beginning India was also touted in the capitalist West as rival to Red China’s ‘totalitarian ant heap’ and gushingly described as the ‘World’s Biggest Democracy’.
Yet caste and democracy are mutually exclusive; caste rule is anti-egalitarian, and democracy requires equality. India and Nepal are clear examples, still controlled by the same caste configuration that in the political sphere refracts into parties and factions with acquired skills, resources and enough cohesion to collectively jump through regular electoral hoops. Effective democratic camouflage disguises elective oligarchy. A lesson well learned from the White Sahib’s mastery over and increasing sophistication in the dark arts of electoral manipulation and illusion, important because the popular mandate confers legitimacy to uninterrupted ascendancy of the bourgeois capitalism.
The Dashists and their allies program the end of the upper caste monopoly of state power by establishing a New Federal People’s Democracy that represents the hitherto excluded Janjatis, Dalits, minorities, working classes and urban underclasses. Federalism is crucial to New Democracy as it means breaking up the centralized Brahminical state by devolving power to previously oppressed national minorities.
It will correct the historic wrong that began with the autocracy founded by Narayan Shah and extended by the Ranas through King Mahendra’s Panchayaat and continued since 1990 with elective dictatorship coalescing around establishment parties as they cartelized political and state power.
It was significant that one of the organized manifestations that followed victory in the 2006 Andolan was the mocking of Prithvi Narayan Shah’s statue in Kathmandu by Janjatis, indicating both that there is continuing antipathy to the oppressive central power he founded and that this historical wound remains very much open. The event was complemented by royalist outrage at such desecration, further testament to the irreconcilability of contending forces in Nepalese society.

Maoist “New Nepal”

From Marx:

…the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world market, and with this, the international character of the capitalist regime. Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation…
Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 1, p. 73

To the present day:

Gender, Dalit and regional issues are important, and they are tied into the class struggle. But working to solve just these issues will not bring a full solution. This can only be reached by completing the class struggle.
– KB Bishwokarma, Prakanda.

The CPN-M Dashists affirm their wish to break with global capitalism and establish economic autarky featuring tariff walls to protect infant industries along with land reform and infrastructural development, all through socialist state planning and ownership. Nepal, they argue, has failed to straddle the transition from feudalism to capitalism, and its traditional ruling classes have been incapable and unwilling to provide effective governance to tackle deprivation, poverty and inequality. Since 1990 it has increasingly aped India’s development, a huckster capitalism overseen by wholly corrupt caste elites dressed in “emperor’s new clothes” of bourgeois Western multiparty democracy.
Maoists maintain that socialist transformation will improve conditions for the people and ensure genuine national sovereignty. Kiran, citing Mao and Stalin, argues that the national question in the case of Third World countries like Nepal is a class question. These weaker states have become subject to the interests of a dominant First World requiring them to be maintained in various stages of underdevelopment and to enable open markets for imported goods and foreign investment and to increase the plunder of their natural resources to feed insatiable Western consumer societies.
Third World countries are further valuable sources of low-paid indigenous labor for production of cheap commodities intended for the Western market, dramatically highlighted by the 2013 Rana Plaza clothing factory tragedy in Dhaka. These nations also provide a reservoir of migrant labor for international capital projects, graphically exposed by the slave-like conditions endured by émigré workers, many of them Nepalese, on the notorious Qatar World Cup project.
Even if not dramatically affected as migrant workers, neoliberalism, through international institutions led by IMF and World Bank, impacts on the Nepalese masses by shackling its government along with those in other impoverished, underdeveloped Third World countries to market-based austerity policies and denying whole populations benefits of modernity, decent infrastructure, modern schools, basic health care, access to clean water and sanitation, decent housing &c. Measuring everything by market criteria also blocked welfare programs, food subsidies and all state intervention aimed at reduction of poverty or stimulating domestic growth.
In Nepal it has led to growing numbers of Sukumbasi (squatters), increasing, persistent mass unemployment, landlessness, rural flight to towns/cities, especially Kathmandu, exacerbating already high urban poverty, bonded, émigré and child labor; all salient features of a failed state, where a traditional elite continue to flourish, retaining social and economic privilege.
This elite increasingly lives in ‘forts of gold’, while the world and the city outside crumbles over the head of the excluded and increasingly impoverished majority. Kathmandu is symptomatic, where, as in many Third World urban centers, the spectacle of private affluence for the few contrasts starkly with increasing public squalor for the many.
Hope for a more egalitarian Nepal following the 1990 transition from monarchical absolutism to multiparty democracy was quickly dashed in the years of corruption and reaction that followed, when a newly empowered political elite proved even more venal than the Panchas they had supplanted. Ideologically colonized, like the Brahmins of Congress India, they were transfixed by western liberal democracy, whose representative institutions and personal freedoms, they were conditioned to believe, enshrined universally applicable and superior European Enlightenment values.
Whereas imperialists once hawked a Christian Bible, their contemporaries now peddle the snake oil of capitalist democracy as salvation for, in Kipling’s infamous phrase from the poem Recessional, “lesser breeds without the Law”. Just as missionary societies once flourished, now Human Rights industries thrive and NGO’s promoting Western values and practices proliferate, employing some indigenous educated and enlisting them into the comprador class while sustaining patchwork schemes in a parody of development.
From the beginning the conditioning of native elites through education invariably inculcated western values and ideologies which, on one hand informed and articulated claims to national independence and produced the leadership for anticolonial struggle, while one the other, ensured the same leadership was sufficiently psychologically colonized to slavishly adopt after independence the parliamentary model, including the flummery. An exotic plant in wholly unsuitable conditions. (16)
As Franz Fanon caustically opined:

 The colonialist bourgeoisie, in its narcissistic dialogue, expounded by the members of its universities, had in fact deeply implanted in the minds of the colonized intellectual that the essential qualities remain eternal in spite of all the blunders men may make: the essential qualities of the West, of course.(17)

Bourgeois parliamentary institutions emerged in the Europe of the Late Middle Ages as a revolutionary and contingent challenge to residual feudal control by divinely mandated monarchs scattered across the kingdoms of Europe. Increasingly, with bourgeois power assured, they became functional requirements for regulation of class interests and instruments of chauvinist aggression against other nations, initially in Europe. In their early gestation they provided an arena for systemic compromise where differences could be aired and reconciled by parties representing old and new forms of propertied ruling classes in given historical transitions.
This occurred in England following the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688, establishing a constitutional rapport between Whigs, the nascent bourgeoisie, and Tories, the old landowning class, but significantly this same transformation did not emerge from Les Etats Generaux of Bourbon France, making inevitable the 1789 Revolution and bloody, bourgeois victory over L’Ancien Regime. However, modern First World states, despite the potential democratic threat of universal suffrage, increasingly stabilized, and bourgeois capitalism established unchallenged supremacy.
Parties are now even less class-based, representing sectional interests within the ruling class competing for control of the state apparatus, with elections determining which of the intraclass rivals accedes to government, enabling exercise of executive power and policy implementation until the next poll. Among the mature Western democracies this increasing homogenization of parties barely masks elective bourgeois dictatorship, now tricked out in ballot box ritualism, steeped in what Marx derided as ‘parliamentary cretinism’ and nailed by Engels as:

…an incurable disease, an ailment whose unfortunate victims are permeated by the lofty conviction that the whole world, its history and its future are directed and determined by a majority of votes in just that very representative institution that has the honor of having them in the capacity of its members.
– Frederick Engels, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany, 1852, ME Selected Works, Vol 1, p. 370)

Yet this system was adopted by the ex-colonies of the British Empire in Asia and Africa, all of which have signally failed. India is the worst example, especially after the collapse of Nehru’s dreams of socialist democracy involving state ownership, five year plans, and deficit spending within integument of a mixed economy, etc. all evaporated in the early 1960’s, following the disastrous defeat in the war of aggression launched against China in the Kashmir Aksai Chin. Nehru had always allowed for a degree of corruption, but after him it was unchecked; reflected in the Lok Sabha which degenerated into the kleptocracy presently extant.
In Nepal, similarly, after 1990, the new democratic state institutions quickly became synonymous with cronyism, nepotism and carpetbagging. A pervasive corruption disfigured Nepalese society and subsequently Nepal scored 2.2 on the 2011 World Corruption Perception Index, where 10 is ‘very clean’ and 0 is ‘highly corrupt’. (18) The economist Arun Kumar further estimated that the Nepalese black economy, in 2006, accounted for $4 billion in contrast to an official GDP of $7 billion, an even higher percentage than India where the same phenomenon accounts for a still eye-watering 50% of GDP.
Like a fish stinking from the head, the godfathers or Thulo Hakimharu of NC and UML contributed to this state of affairs by pursuing a brazen policy of enrichessez-vous as vigorously as the state campaign of terror and foreign-funded mayhem they unleashed before and during People’s War against the Left and rural agitators who challenged the new corruption.
Nevertheless, communists are not anarchists, grasping that participation in bourgeois elections is often a tactical necessity, so that if on occasion normative bourgeois control of electoral process as a result of political, economic or military crises is problematic, then communist parties should participate, particularly if it offers them the possibility of advancing proletarian interests. It was on such practical eventualities as well as principles that Marx and Engels campaigned for universal suffrage in the Communist Manifesto. They saw communists using the extended franchise to subvert the elective dictatorship of the bourgeoisie:

Transforme, de moyen de duperie qu’il a ete jusqu’ici, en instrument d’emancipation. (Changed by them from the usual means of deception, into one of transformation.)
(K. Marx, Manifesto for French Workers’ Party, 1880. ME Selected Works, Vol 1, p. 546)

It was in this spirit that the  CPN (M) following the CPA entered the 2008
election campaign for a Constituent Assembly from which it emerged as the biggest party with 40% of the vote, to the surprise of many and to the particular alarm of domestic and foreign reactionaries. Prachanda had used his premature cult of personality, giving him unique authority over the party, PLA and United Front, to promise that the CPA would provide access to the towns and cities, enabling the party to use a CA as an engine for bringing the urban masses into the revolution.
The Maoists were aware that they had considerable support in towns and cities but could not connect with it as People’s War had reached military stalemate, with the PLA controlling the countryside and the RNA and Armed Police Force (APF) paramilitaries the urban centers, particularly Kathmandu. It was a logjam that had to be broken if the Prachanda Path strategy, the fusion of Maoist protracted rural struggle and Leninist urban insurrection, was to succeed and the revolution carried through.
In any event, the CPN (M) formed an administration in alliance with the UML with Prachanda as Prime Minister.
The administration’s first act was to abolish the monarchy and declare a republic, but an attempt by Prachanda to bring the army under civilian control by sacking the insubordinate CoS, Katawal and the royalist generals around him for refusing to integrate PLA ex-combatants en corps into the NA as per the CPA provoked a virtual coup openly orchestrated from New Delhi involving its Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) foreign intelligence service acting in collusion with NA officers and apparatchiks from NC, UML and UDMF.
This resulted in Yadhev, Nepal’s first President, significantly one of the few remaining prominent NC Terai Madeshis, exceeding his constitutional authority and reinstating the insubordinate Katawal.
The UML, following instructions from New Delhi, pulled out of the coalition, and with the Maoists now unable to secure a majority in the CA, Nepal’s first Maoist-led government collapsed after only eight months in office.
What provoked New Delhi to act with such speed and malice was triggered by Prachanda’s challenge to India’s right of veto over Nepal’s foreign policy by ‘playing the China card’, repeating Birendra’s ‘mistake’ with an attempted arms purchase from the PRC. Any hint of a China/Nepal alliance was anathema also to the Nepalese officer class and high command, who were historically close to India, and had, post-9/11, forged a deep relationship with Washington and the Pentagon, based on dollars, weaponry and training in return for allowing Nepal to become another link in the US chain surrounding the People’s Republic.
When Biplav (Netra Bikram Chand) was asked during the 2013 boycott campaign why he opposed elections, he replied that Maoists were not opposed to them per se as they were a ‘relative matter’. He opposed this specific one as political and financial larceny on a grand scale, attesting:
“It is a criminal conspiracy against the Nepalese working class.”
The 2009 coup showed that electoral results as democratic expressions of the popular will are also, when the occasion demands, a ‘relative matter’ even for those who peddle democracy as a universal panacea at least when it serves class interest but are as quick to ignore or subvert it when it doesn’t.

Class and Patriotism

It would not be incorrect, if very insulting, to say that Nepal’s top leadership vis-à-vis India, has been morally bankrupt, greedy, hypocritical and have served as no more than errand boys. People are tired of these slick, fast-talking politicians. In fact their reputation has gone down the drain. In a culture aimed above all at seizing power, with material motivations, political democracy and thereby sustained peace is unlikely.
– G. Thapa, Republica, Nepalese daily newspaper, September 30, 2013.

Marxist-Leninists argue that nation and class are linked in Third World countries. In these countries, traditional ruling elites and the emerging bourgeoisie have been suborned by transnational capitalism and accept
neocolonial status as preferable to revolutionary change and national independence. It is therefore not in their increasingly cosmopolitan class interests to seek genuine self-determination; only the exploited working and marginalized classes have a genuine interest in such an outcome. (19) The symbiosis of communism and patriotism is therefore contingent to the epoch of imperialism.
The lack of concern of the present ruling elite for its people is shown in the case of Nepali migrant workers in Qatar, cited above, because their remittances contribute over 25% when included within the tourist/service sector’s contribution to GDP. At the macro level they improve the immediate balance of payments but over a longer term contribute to decline in manufacturing and agriculture, which leads to rises in imports, augmenting the structural weaknesses noted earlier in the economy.
Aside from BOP advantages, the money sent back also reduces governmental responsibility for the alleviation of poverty, especially in rural areas. Consequently there has been little or no representation from successive governments for the rights and well-being of the estimated 2.2 million émigré Nepalese presently working in India, Malaysia and the Middle East. (20)
This echoes an early initiative of Jonge Bahadur, who established Rana power after 1846 Red Kot Massacre by reducing the monarchy to titular status. He negotiated a payment per head for every Ghurkha recruited into the British Army. (21) This was one aspect of a new strategic alliance with the East India Company through which the new rulers began to draw material benefit from trading their subjects as commodities in the form of mercenaries, while being left unchallenged in Nepal to establish Rana monopoly control over all trade and to plunder state coffers and lands with impunity.
The arc that connects the establishment of Gurkha mercenaries with migrant labor is one where benefit accrues to the same high castes exercising state power, albeit under superficially different political systems by different means of extraction in different epochs.
Kiran’s Maoists, in this sense, expand the concept of patriotism beyond concern for territory and existing culture into one that includes the justice and welfare of the people. This criterion goes beyond but does not ignore traditional concerns: the defense of borders against constant Indian encroachments, ending the shameless political obedience to Delhi, the rolling back of foreign ownership in vital economic sectors, and protecting Nepal’s largely untapped vast hydro resources from continued Indian predation.
The CPN-M Dashists are equally quick to point out that they are only anti-Indian to the extent that they oppose the Indian government’s neocolonialist meddling in Nepal. The hatred of Brahminical expansionist policies does not extend to the Indian people, who they argue have and are beginning to make their own revolution against the same enemy.
This internationalist perspective is axiomatic for the patriotism of national liberation struggles in countries oppressed by imperialism and distinguishes it from bourgeois chauvinist nationalism that breeds racist hatred and jingoist aggression. This was the ideology that fueled rivalry between the nascent European states and then mutated into the racial superiority engendered by the subsequent colonization and subjugation of native peoples in Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Imperialism no longer requires direct colonial occupation but operates in neo- or semi-colonial form. Exploitation of peoples and resources continue, and even intensify, but are now fronted by local ruling elites, comprador upper castes and classes, conditioned and rewarded to front for and spare imperialist powers from the obloquy and resistance engendered by 19th century European colonial empires.
Mao described the modus operandi:

When imperialism carries on its oppression not by war but by milder means – political, economic and cultural – the ruling classes in semi-colonial countries capitulate to imperialism, and the two form an alliance for the joint oppression of the masses of the people.
– Mao Zedong, On Contradiction, Selected Works, Vol 1, p.331

The present Nepalese ruling class, in this respect, cannot represent the national interest, Maoists aver, as they constitute an anti-patriotic bloc sustained by and servant to international capital and great power geopolitics. Kiran concluded:

Both the King and the Nepali Congress Party represent the feudal, bureaucratic and comprador bourgeoisie.

Patriotism in Nepal and similar Third World countries, is not, argue the Maoists, ‘a refuge for the scoundrel’, but rather a home for the homeless and the hope of the hopeless. In this regard Pushpa Lal, when founding the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) in 1949, absorbed Mao’s definition of patriotism and learned how the Koumintang degenerated from the patriots of Sun Yat Sen into the quislings of Chiang Kai Chek. He also derived lessons from the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War against Germany’s virulent, fascist imperialism. Patriotism in the modern age was, by these examples, anti-imperialist by definition.
Therefore, in the epoch of imperialism, the mantle of patriotism falls upon the shoulders of the proletariat in the oppressed Third World. The bourgeoisie in the metropolitan heartlands invoke it to mask imperial aggression and aggrandizement, while the big bourgeoisie of monopoly financial and industrial capital have transcended the nation-state and its parochial ideology, instead pledging allegiance to the ascending global megalopolis of money.

Communist Politics: 1949-2014

Inspired by China’s liberation in 1949, the newly founded Communist Party of Nepal took up arms against the Rana regime, which was in power via an alliance with NC led by the Koirala brothers and royalist forces under King Tribhuvan (Nepal’s Ivan the Terrible to the Ranas’ Boyars) Together they forged a Mukti Senaa (Liberation Army) which invaded from India in 1950/51.
These activities were supported, with arms, funds and facilities and funded by Nehru’s Congress government, and even included providing officer staff from Bose’s recently demobilized Indian National Army. Nehru had already godfathered the creation of Nepali Congress in 1948 from progressive Nepalese democrats exiled in India, and wanted to settle accounts with the pro-British Ranas. In the final event India limited their support to the NC, forcing it into a three-way peace agreement with the Ranas and the King.
There followed a short-lived NC/Rana coalition government, the collapse of which signaled a decade of political struggle between the NC and the King, followed by thirty years of monarchial executive government, with New Delhi steering a seemingly contradictory ‘Two-Pillar’ policy of supporting the monarchy and the aspiring democrats of Nepali Congress.
Lal, who, in 1949 first translated the Communist Manifesto into Nepalese, linked armed struggle to a domestic program, principally advocating a ‘Land to the Tiller’ policy in tandem with breaking up big feudal estates and following the example of China’s ‘New Democracy’ also proclaimed the intention of promoting state-sponsored national capitalism.
The party also advocated a Constitutional Assembly, which was agreed among all the parties, foreign and domestic, but reneged on by Tribhuvan’s successor, Mahendra, who, following the 1960 coup, replaced the parliamentary system with a feudal Panchayat, a series of interlocked consultative committees, starting at village level and ending with the King as final arbiter.
It was in these conditions of a Shah/Brahmin autocracy and the international US-led post-1945 onslaught to roll back Communism that saw the Communist Party and movement grow, recruiting from the intelligentsia, disillusioned radical NC members, urban workers, Dalits and oppressed rural minorities.
However, aside from having to operate underground, it faced the same problem as that of succeeding communist parties and cadre in maintaining a united revolutionary line. Lal’s CPN split in the early 1960’s between pro-Moscow reformists such as Tulsi Lal Amatya and pro-Beijing revolutionaries.
There was a parallel split between the Rayamajhi faction which scuttled off to serve the Panchayat system and Puspha Lal, who remained committed to proletarian revolution against domestic reaction and international US imperialism, supported by Mao’s communist China,  at least until Deng Xiaoping’s 1976 Rightist coup left the proletariat at home and abroad to its own devices.
After the Japha Uprising in 1971, Nepal’s first communist armed struggle, the UML emerged. But by 1990, it was fully committed to multiparty democracy and conciliation with Delhi, following the lead set by its homologues in Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Its transformation into a comprador bourgeois parliamentary party epitomized when the short-lived 1994 UML Adhikary administration instigated the Integrated Mahakali Treaty, which, under its NC successor, signed after an orgy of corruption, ceded sovereignty of the river to India. The UCPN (Maoist) path from People’s War into parliamentary politics and accommodation with Delhi has already been noted.
However, Nepalese communism, while disputatious, has shown great vigor, and unlike the post-1945 Western communist parties has never surrendered intellectual or political hegemony to the bourgeoisie. Schisms and splits followed deviations, but the result always ensured that the torch of patriotic, anti-imperialist revolution was passed to a new generation and party. The CPN-M is the latest manifestation of this cycle of action and reaction and may not be the last, but it has inherited the legacy of Puspha Lal Shrestha at a time when Luxemburg’s historical option of ‘Socialism or barbarism?’ confronts with even greater urgency, a century after she coined her prophetic question.

Jo Chor Usko Thulo Sor (Proverb: ‘He Who Steals Shouts Aloud’)

The feudal system was by no means brought complete from Germany, but had its origin, as far as the conquerors were concerned, in the martial organization of the army during the actual conquest, and this evolved after the conquest into the feudal system proper through the action of the productive forces found in the conquered countries.
– K Marx, Feuerbach – Opposition of Materialist and Idealist Outlook, Selected Works, Vol 1, p.72)

Nepal was unified in 1769 when the Gorkhali warrior state subdued the three kingdoms in the Kathmandu Valley and created a myriad of fifty or more smaller principalities under the leadership of Prithi Narayan, who became its first Shah and centralized royal power in Kathmandu. It was not an organic process with common national identity evolving from a shared history, economy, language or culture but one of force majeure that involved conquest and subjugation over many indigenous ethnicities, each with their own language and customs.
Narayan Shah’s ruthless empire building was partly driven by desire to forestall the inexorable northeastern expansion of the East Indian Company, then easily colonizing small kingdoms in its path. The creation of a martial Greater Nepal did indeed halt the feringhees (foreigners) advance, which appeared unstoppable following Clive’s decisive victory at Palashi (Plassey) over the Nawab of Bengal in 1757. This battle secured Company rule over India until the precise centennial challenge of the first War of Independence in 1857, denigrated by the British using the euphemism, ‘The Indian Mutiny’.
However, a decade after Plassey, in 1767, Narayan Shah’s Gurkhali army routed a British expeditionary force under Captain Kinloch at Sindhulighadi and kept the greedy, expansionist British in the guise of the East India Company out of Nepal until the second decade of the 19th century and, many claim, helped ensure that the country was never formally colonized. It necessitated creating a domestic power imbalance with a minority ruling a majority that, apart from some cosmetic modification, exists to the present day and for a century was marked by Rana regimes so servile to British interests that invasion and colonization were rendered unnecessary.

1769 – The Dawn of the Hindu Kingdom

The extent of dominion had been acquired entirely during the last fifty years, by the systematic prosecution of a policy likened by the Goorkhas themselves, and not inaptly so, to that which had gained for us the empire of Hindoostan.
– HT Prinsep, The Goorkha War, p 9, 1825)

Prithvi Narayan Shah established a state in Nepal that in many way was analogous with those of European feudalism that emerged from the collapse of the Roman Empire and lasted until the rise of capitalism in the late Middle Ages. It also was an agricultural society presided over by a divinely ordained monarch, nobility and priesthood existing on the labor and produce of a mass of serfs. Even the manner of its inception by force of arms echoes Marx’s comments on the origins of feudalism in Northern Europe as a response to anarchy and decay of the times:

From these conditions and the mode of organization determined by them, feudal property developed under the influence of the Germanic military constitution. (Marx-Engels, Feuerbach – Opposition of Materialist & Idealist Outlook, p.23. ME Selected Works, Vol. 1)

In this respect, Narayan Shah’s unification of Nepal was similar to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, where advanced military forces involving disciplined infantry and cavalry in integrated battle tactics was decisive in sweeping aside patchy and ill-coordinated Anglo-Saxon resistance.
In terms of comparative logistics and technical support, it was complemented by Narayan Shah’s adoption of modern weaponry and training of a third of his army along British lines that proved crucial to eventual success in a grueling twenty-year campaign culminating in the declaration of Nepal as a Hindu Kingdom in 1769.
Gorkhalis and Normans conquered foreign lands and peoples, and Kings William and Narayan used countrywide grants of confiscated lands to their warrior and clerical castes as both reward for past service and to secure the future of the central regime. In each case repression was used to entrench the system and reduce respective populations to serf/Shudra servility. The speed and ruthless nature of Norman expropriations was such that by the end of William’s reign in 1087, 20% of the land was owned by the royal family, 25% by ten of his leading nobles and another 25% by the Church.
It was a more attenuated process in Nepal, but by the time of the Ranas in mid-19th century, similar patterns in ownership and access to land were firmly established that, despite some fragmentation and formal abolition of feudal land titles, remain into the 21st century for want of serious reform. A 2004 Human Development Report, UNDP, reported the top 5% owning 37% of the land, with the bottom 47% in possession of 15% (22). A decade earlier the Maoists presented more dramatic statistics calculating the top 10% as owning 65% of the cultivable land with exactly reversed percentages for poor peasant possession of land. (23)
From the birth of the new state, each of the subjugated peoples were subject to feudal rent in labor, goods or money in the case of Nepal where a sizable portion took immediate monetary form, while in Europe such remittance mode emerged gradually, attenuated by feudal society fragmenting under the impact of a growing urban society of flourishing markets and small-scale commodity production. In this situation money’s use-value as means of facilitating commodity exchange enriched and accelerated the rise of an increasingly prosperous merchant burger class that finally burst the constraints of European feudalism.

Land Tenure Post-1769

Should the direct producers not be confronted by a private landlord, but rather, as in Asia under direct subordination to a state which stands over them as their landlord and simultaneously as sovereign, then rent and taxes coincide, or rather, there exists no tax which differs from this form of ground-rent. Under such circumstances there need exist no stronger political or economic pressure than that common to all subjection to that state. The state is then the supreme lord. Sovereignty here consists in the ownership of land concentrated on a national scale.
– Marx, Capital Vol 3, p 791, New World edition)

Aside from the geopolitical considerations of blocking the feringhees, the Gorkha state was driven by hunger for land, and Narayan Shah particularly desired the fertile Kathmandu Valley. Brahmins and Rajputs who had settled across Nepal, having being uprooted from North India by Mughal invasion and settlement, were also instrumental in securing the new system established by Narayan Shah from the Kathmandu center.
They were particularly enthusiastic participants in the abolition of tribal land rights and the creation of a royal monopoly over all land under the Raikar Law. This allowed for individual/family use and transfer as long as taxes were paid to the King’s state treasury. Private ownership of land eventually mutated from this private use, creating a largely Brahmin landlord class.
When Raikar was abolished in 1950, the system accounted for 50% of cultivated land. Equally important for the Shahs and especially the later Ranas was Birta tenure where land was allotted to servants and soldiers of the King free of tax. When it was abolished in 1959, it accounted for 36% of cultivated land. (24)
The Guthi system further allowed for state or private grants of land to religious institutions and was free from tax and repossession by the donor. This continues to the present time but accounts for only 2% of cultivated land.
A specific subset of Birta was Jagir tenure, which was land in lieu of pay to army personnel, both officers and privates, which intensified expropriations of a scarce resource and entrenched the new order by, as one historian notes:

…granting of Jagir lands to such of them as received appointments in the government and army was an important factor contributing to the stability and organization of the newly established regime. Without the Jagir system it would have been virtually impossible for the government to distribute rewards to its nobility and military personnel.
Land Ownership in Nepal, p 74, MC Regmi).

Certain ethnic groups in Eastern Nepal had traditional rights to common land under the Kipat system. The Limbus in particular had these rights as quid pro quo for their agreement in 1774 to accept merger with Nepal under Narayan Shah’s sovereignty, which extracted a pledge that Kipat land would remain outside the Raikar system in perpetuity. This was never honored by succeeding shahs and particularly the later Rana regimes that relentlessly encroached upon these lands during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Limbus suffered especially as literate and legally informed Brahmins exploited their skills to dispossess them of their traditional lands. It was comparable to the enclosures of Tudor and Georgian England, where the gentry used Acts of Parliaments to dispossess an equally unwitting rural people of their common lands.
Rai Kipat land was largely untouched, reflecting the uneven development in the extension of royal autocratic hegemony mingled with deliberate divide et impera strategy. It shows how oppression was relative, with some national minorities eventually binding to and serving Narayan’s state, even applying stratification by caste among their own peoples, acquiescent in their deities’ acceptance as avatars of the Hindu God, &c.

Caste and the Feudal State

When born in the same way – all are one. None superior –none inferior. What is the use of caste that discriminates between human beings?
– From Basavanna’s Vachanas, written by a 12th century Indian philosopher/statesman.

The modalities of tenure imposed by the first Shah were pivotal in creating the economic and political sinews of a strong central state and went hand-in-hand with the imposition of the Hindu caste system throughout the country. This showed that feudalism in Nepal, while it shared features with the European variety, was deeply rooted in the culture of Indian tributary societies which flourished in the Middle Kingdoms between the first and thirteenth centuries.
The caste system originated as a means for a colonizing group of light-skinned Indo-Aryans to distinguish themselves from the indigenous dark aboriginal peoples (Adivhasis) they were colonizing by establishing three Varnas (Varna denotes color) – Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishaya in order of superiority.
However, according to scholars, by the time of Gupta Dynasty around 100 AD, this structure was recast as a socioeconomic hierarchy after large grants of land were given to the Brahmin priests, administrators, astrologers, temples and monastic institutions. This largesse had earlier been declared a sacred duty in the Dharmashastra, Hinduism’s foundational scripts where Brahmins are declared Pratigraha, the one caste entitled to receive gifts. There are further references along these lines in the epic poem Mahabharata.
The fourth caste, Shudras, were called forth during this period as an agricultural labor force in servile symbiosis with a rapidly expanding landlord class. Slaves at worst, chattel at best; a Shudra could be killed by a Brahmin with impunity. They were untouchables, subject to enforced endogamy and exclusion. The peasantry of contemporary village India are their descendants. Eventually a fifth category evolved, Dalits (Hindi for oppressed) which took over menial tasks connected with bodily waste, pollution and dirt – they and other tribal subgroups became the ‘Untouchables’.
This essentially was the system that Narayan Shah and his Gorkha warriors imposed upon Nepal, notwithstanding the Shah’s attempt at inclusivity by describing his Kingdom as ‘a garden of four castes and thirty-six subcastes’. No rosy description could, however, mask the reality of a ruthless struggle for land (intensified by salient, topographical fact that only 20% of the country’s area is cultivable) resulting in the new masters seizing the best land and extracting disproportionate produce as feudal rent.
Janjatis were accorded the same status as Shudras and Dalits, and aside from extractions of surplus and rent, had to provide free labor for specified periods and military service as necessary, under the Jhara Code, comparable to Corvee Labor in European feudalism. Hindu patriarchal law deprived Janjati village and farmstead women of property rights. This was accompanied by a sustained campaign to ban ethnic languages and culture that culminated in the Panchayat slogan: ‘One nation, one king, one language.’

Religion in Tributary/Feudal Society

In Kalikot, Hinduism has incurred into disfavor after the Maoist uprising, temples have been abandoned or even demolished. There was no use for them after the upper castes lost their land and moved to the city. In this place we had a temple of Dedhedu, and we were not allowed to enter the temple from this area onward. If we are not allowed to worship the idols that we ourselves made, then there is no point. We came to understand this and stopped maintaining the place.”
– Interview with Dalit Kalikot resident.

The Panchas did not add ‘One God’ to the attributes of the Khas nation as this was axiomatic to the state’s divine Hindu conception where religion was integral, functioning as means of ideological control over the laboring masses. It is strikingly similar to the role played by the pre-Reformation, Roman Catholic Church in European feudalism.
The Church of Rome preached that serfs were chattel, a property category introduced into the world as divine retribution for the original sin of Adam and Eve and carried from birth by their descendants. However, by virtuously accepting his/her lot and offering it up as penance in this life, a serf could attain a ‘state of grace’, ensuring admittance in the next life to Heaven at Dies Irae (Judgment Day). The Church was also a great land and serf owner and had a vested material interest in the temporal status quo. As is so often with organized religion, the basest of motives were tricked out as divinely inspired credo by ferocious, proselytizing clergy.
Their Hindu Brahmin homologues achieved the same end by teaching Shudras, Dalits, and other lower castes that their reward for accepting low caste in this life and creating good karma would be reincarnation into a higher one in the next. There is a potentially endless cycle of life, death and rebirth expressed in the concept of Samsara until the totality of Karma, achieved by soul’s migration through various physical manifestations is sufficient to achieve final mukti (liberation).
There are, of course, significant differences between Catholicism and Hinduism – one a transnational, centralized, corporate entity, the other a syncretic, subcontinental, decentralized network, but in credal terms of ‘justifying the ways of God to Man’ as mechanisms for strict hierarchical control, they were equally prescriptive. The Brahmins are as fanatical about  prohibiting intercaste marriage or upholding Sati as Catholic clerics were about burning heretics for denying the Trinity or Transubstantiation doctrines.
Each presented priestly castes functioning to reconcile the exploited and submerged masses to their inferior position by rationalizing the respective socioeconomic systems as ‘divinely ordained’ and eternal. The historian Kosambhi’s assessment below on role of caste in Hinduism could be equally applied to that of the Catholic Church in medieval Europe.

Caste is class at a primitive level of production, a religious method of forming a social consciousness in such a manner that the primary producer is deprived of his surplus with the minimum of coercion.
– D. D. Kosambhi, Combined Methods in Indology, p 59.

Consensus and Conquest

Whatever the arguments concerning the urban genesis of Indian feudalism (25) in the Gupta period (300-600 AD), there is no doubt that in Nepal it was driven from a central urban power in Kathmandu. Whereas towns and cities in Europe rose in opposition to the feudal countryside, in Nepal the city of Kathmandu was instrumental in superimposing a unified feudal system in a region, and the process was marked by an uneven impact upon urban and rural populations. For the former it was consolidation or even preservation, for the latter – a ’Big Bang’ whose reverberations, like the cosmic microwave background, are still detectable.
In this regard, the unification of the petty principalities, city states and major kingdoms within the Gandaki Basin of Central Nepal ranging from Pokhara to Kathmandu was facilitated by shared Indo-Aryan ethnicity, religion and language among the various protagonists. The regional ubiquity of Hindu upper castes – Brahmins, Chetris, Newaris, Thakuris and Rajputs – in various independent micropolities, petty principalities and kingdoms thus enabled Narayan Shah to develop a strategy that allowed for guile, diplomacy or force of arms to be juggled as necessary on a shared terrain as predominantly a manageable political or dynastic problem.
Most of the town and city statelets absorbed were, nolens volens, either feudal or proto-feudal, with rural lower castes and untouchables producing the agricultural surplus appropriated by urban higher castes.
Devout Hindus obviously welcomed the extension of the caste system that underpinned their privileged conditions of existence but were also roused by the Gorkhali King’s call to defend Hinduism against the Christian feringhees’ inexorable advance – Bible in one hand, rifle in the other. The warrior castes, forged in the wars against Buddhism and the later Mughal incursion, responded with particular fervor, ensuring them an influential position in the ruling elite thereafter.
For the Janjati Tibeto-Burman (26) peoples it was a military conquest by Indo-Aryans subjecting them to economic exploitation and cultural coercion. It created multifaceted oppression based on ethnicity, caste and gender that intensified under the Ranas who, led by Jonge Bahadur Rana, seized power in 1846. The Ranas were Rajput warriors (the name means, ‘field of battle’) raised originally by Narayan Shah, and their century-long rule was marked by persecution, corruption, and debauchery. In return for being left alone to plunder the country, a succession of mostly Shamsher Ranas developed a neocolonial relationship with the British that began seriously starting with the 1857 War of Independence.
Domestically, they used the Birta system extensively in order to seize more land, which increased rural deprivation and landlessness. Birta was particularly applied to award large tracts of the fertile Terai Plains to the Rana clan and other upper castes such as Thakhuris, Brahmins, Chhetris and Rajputs.
The 1854 Muluki Ain (Country/Civil Law) was essential to the process of freezing Nepal in the Middle Age. This set of laws derived from orthodox the Hindu sanctions and laws of the Dharmashastras, giving legal validation to the caste system by, inter alia, prohibiting intercaste mixing, regulating submission of peasants before landlords, and generally preserving the sociocultural and economic status quo. It also continued the tradition of Brahmins being exempt in law from capital or corporal punishment.
There was always resistance in some form to Rana autocracy – for example, the Gurung and Magar Risings in the 19th century and the mass movement inspired by a young widow, Yog Maya, a campaign for rural justice and against caste discrimination which lasted for two decades until the early 1930s. The response to any challenge to the existing order, whether socioeconomic or political, was always repression. In 1940 activists from the Prajaa Parisad (Citizens’ Council) Party were hung for daring to advocate a constitutional monarchy.
While the Ranas’ political grip was loosened after 1950, it has maintained military influence in the officer class and high command of the Nepalese Army, with the present Chief of Army Staff, J. B. Rana, one of the seven Ranas out of eleven occupants of the post since 1974.

Failure of Post-1950 Land Reforms

Towards the end of the uncertain 1950s’, Nehru’s duplicitous Delhi Compromise disintegrated, with the Ranas retiring from political, but not military, power. Nepali Congress and King Mahendra entered a struggle to determine ascendancy, as the democratically elected 1959 Koirala government tentatively began land reform with the twin aims of raising agricultural productivity and alleviating rural poverty.
This was undermined in 1960 by Mahendra’s military coup, proroguing parliament, banning political parties and trade unions, and beginning direct monarchical rule through a Panchayat system of ‘managed democracy’, and in 1962 implementing a pro-landlord program.
This provoked the American agronomist who had helped draft the previous NC administration’s progressive legislation complaining, in a 1963 letter,that landlords were an obstacle to reform because:

They opposed any attempt to improve the situation of tenants.
They were content with low productivity because it generated enough surplus that would be at risk from reform. They were pursuing narrow caste/class sectional interests at the expense of national prosperity and advancing the forces of agricultural production. (27)
Garibiko Bahas. Discussion on Poverty

However, by this time Mahendra had consolidated power with help of a ruling elite that included a significant tranche of landlords and therefore substantial reforms such as setting upper limits on land ownership, increasing access to land for marginalized groups, and greater legal protection for poorer tenants were rejected. Subsequently, his successors, kings and democrats alike, emulated this approach, paying lip service to land reform and radical transformation of the agricultural sector.
Probing Mahendra’s support for the landlords encapsulates the premise of this essay, limning a ruling elite that established its caste predominance by force majeure in 1769 and was still clinging to political power and economic privilege.
Looking at the composition of the landlord class extant at Mahendra’s accession provides a microcosm of Nepalese history, with soldiers and high civil servants from established Brahmin and Chetri castes forming a core of absentee landlords. This was leavened by in situ landlords who became the activists and officers (Panchas) of the Panchayat system and were instrumental in implementing the 1967 ‘Back to the Village’ campaign and generally eliminating rural opposition to the absolutist regime.
From 1964 on there were a succession of five Land Acts, none of which led to any perceptible change to the basic inequities suffered by the rural masses. Hopes for restructuring the sector were dashed when both NC and UML’s ‘Land to the Tiller’ policies failed to survive the transition from underground to legality, following the 1990 Andolan that humbled King Birendra and established for New Delhi a more amenable multiparty system.
The short-lived 1996 Adikhari UML-led coalition administration tried to pick up the pieces and set up the Badal Commission which recommended measures to increase access to land by hitherto marginalized rural peoples. Its recommendations fell with the government that commissioned it, and reform was off the agenda, as successive administrations preferred stasis to reform.
The NC-led Deuba regime, in 2002, did propose a program of radical change, ostensibly to aid poor farmers and tenants but which in reality turned out to be a political stratagem rather than a serious reform initiative, the purpose of which was to neutralize and outbid support for the Maoists’ truly radical rural agenda at the height of People’s War.
The only changes attempted by the many governments from 1990-2006 were guided by neoliberal policies enforced on loan-dependent Nepal by the IMF and World Bank. Permitting only market mechanisms, they enabled the landlord-moneyed class to acquire even more land through a Land Bank. Furthermore, land registration and government improvement grants were designed to benefit big Hindu landlords. Meanwhile, the governments resisted ceilings on land ownership aimed at sharing land more equably by creating tenancies among the hitherto landless and marginalized rural populations and also rejected improving rights and security of tenure for existing small and single family tenancies.

Failure of Post-1990 Land Reform

It was significant that the landlord class, following the collapse of the Panchayat system in 1990, flocked into the ranks of Nepali Congress, entrenching it further as a formidable conservative bloc, winning the 1991 election that, after a hiccup, saw the ferocious anti-communist GP Koirala installed as Prime Minister. He needed little urging to launch a harsh campaign of state repression against the urban Left and their Janjati allies in the countryside.
This commenced in April 1992 with police shooting demonstrators in Kathmandu and led remorselessly to the notorious 1995 Operation Romeo which subjected the western district of Rolpa to sustained police terror, lasting weeks and featuring arbitrary killing, rape and mass arrests, followed by detention and often torture. This insensate, brutal operation was decisive in swelling the ranks of a nascent Maobaadi (Maoist) PLA, and provided the spark that ignited a prairie fire of rural revolution marking the decade following 1996. Dr. Bhatterai provided an overview:

The most disadvantaged regions within the country include those inhabited by indigenous people since time immemorial. These regions, which were independent tribal states prior to the formation of the unified state in the latter half of the 18th century, have been reduced to the most backward and oppressed condition due to internal feudal exploitation and external semi-colonial oppression.
They have been left behind in the historical development process because of the blockade of their path to independent development and the imposition of sociocultural oppression along with economic oppression with the backing of the state, by forces that came from outside.
B. Bhatterai, Political Economy of People’s War, 1997, from PW in Nepal, Seddon-Karki, p 153)

It was no accident therefore, that the Maoists in 1996 chose to launch People’s War from rural West Nepal, beginning with the ransacking of an Agricultural Development Bank office located, with appropriate historical symmetry, in Gorkha District. Loan agreements lodged there, which extracted rent from tenant farmers by usurious repayments, were seized and torched, while ownership documents, held as collateral against the loans, were carefully retrieved and returned to respective titleholders.
It was no accident that land reform was a key element in 2006 negotiations for CPA, where Maoists wanted further confiscation of land from the big landlords without compensation and the application of ‘scientific management’ to agriculture. In so doing they were echoing longstanding communist aims of land reform, highlighted in the 40 demands promulgated in 1996 by CPN (M) and whose anticipated rejection was the trigger for People’s War.
Communists and anti-imperialists argue land reform is crucial for underdeveloped Third World countries if they are to gestate into modern genuinely independent societies. Forgetting the propaganda about it being the ‘world’s biggest democracy’, India is presently the world’s greatest failed state, with staggering levels of poverty and deprivation.
This stems from the failure to transform its inefficient feudal land system after independence, because, prior to it, Gandhi and Nehru had made an alliance with the feudal landlords and guaranteed their property and privilege. The much vaunted ‘Green Revolution’ of the 1960’s came and went without altering the systemic depressing reality noted by a leading economist:

Famines in India were very frequent during the period 1940’s to 1970’s. Due to faulty distribution of food and because farmers did not receive the true value of their labors, the majority of the population did not get enough food. Malnutrition and starvation were a huge problem.
Sen, A. Poverty and Famine, 1981

In 2008 the World Bank estimated the global poor at 1.29 billion, of whom 400 million were in India. Communist China by contrast expropriated its landlord class and created over 70,000 communes that overcame residual difficulties and not only eliminated famines by 1970, but also, against the background of the mid-1960’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, provided the springboard for Deng Xiaoping’s launching China in the direction of state capitalism (28) after 1976.
Other socialist countries have followed this path: DPRK, Vietnam, and Cuba. Even Japan, post-1945, under MacArthur’s US imperium – initiated land reform clearing away feudalism as precondition for a capitalist future and a bastion against the march of communism in Asia. In all cases it was intended as precursor to industrial development and national autonomy. It is the only way for semi-feudal (29) and feudal societies to advance beyond  subsistence agriculture – by planning, collectivization and ‘scientific management’ in order to expand reproduction and accumulate the surplus necessary to feed the urban populations.
It is especially crucial in supporting a growing working class engaged on infrastructural projects or in domestic industries that hopefully flourish when protected behind tariff walls.
The nature of the society shapes its revolution’s priorities; as Dr Bhatterai, then in camp of revolution, detailed:

In a semi-feudal agriculture based economy like Nepal, the New Democratic revolution means basically an agrarian revolution. Revolutionary land reform, is, therefore, the biggest and the most important economic program of the New Democratic revolution. (B Bhatterai, ibid, p 158)

Summary – Historical Constituents of Discord

The imposition of a feudal system from the urban center created unresolved contradictions in Nepalese society. These contradictions are intensifying under pressurized conditions effected by the modern global capitalist market, but their provenance lies in Narayan Shah’s successful, ruthless unification campaign. More conquest than consensus, it seeded the antagonisms that continue to flourish in a divided, heterogeneous society and are recapitulated below.
1). The urban and rural paradox, which saw an urban center dominating the countryside as was touched on earlier, was an inversion of European feudal experience where towns and cities grew in dynamic opposition to the stagnant nature of rustic society. This caused Marx to remark in the Communist Manifesto that the one thing you could thank the bourgeoisie for, was that they built cities and rescued the mass of the people from ‘rural idiocy’. On the contrary in Nepal, unification and comprehensive extension of Hindu feudalism/Brahminism was driven by an autocratic, central state that remains largely intact and unreformed.
As with many capital cities in the developing world, Kathmandu has also come to epitomize uneven development, with the city growing into a First World citadel, in a Third World society, a progression expedited because its ruling elites in politics, the civil service, the armed forces, business and, increasingly, the media have been suborned by global and regional imperialism, manifested in mixtures of military, economic and cultural Soft Power.
In today’s Nepal, continuing resentment of central power, even dressed up as ‘democracy’, is revealed in dissension between those defending it against federalists seeking to liberate national minorities in the regions.
The CPN (M) placed decentralization among its 40 demands in 1996, and it has since provided detailed policy necessary to establish a federal state. The major parliamentary parties are opposed, wanting to either retain power in the Kathmandu center or gerrymander a federal state that ensures continuing upper caste/class hegemony.
2). Narayan Shah’s triumph is echoed in the confrontation between Hindu Khas chauvinists and Janjati national minorities, with the former from the outset dressing up socioeconomic oppression of the latter in religious and linguist garb. The Rana record of attempting to stamp out the many ethnic languages and cultures is attested, but successive Shahs and soi disant democratic politicians were no better.
As late as 1994, the Adhikari UML administration launched a Sanskrit radio station and tried to make its teaching compulsory in schools. Something to note – Sanskrit, the root of all Indo-Aryan languages as Latin for the European ‘Romantics’, has no linguistic connection with any ethnic minority language in Nepal, and the strategy of its imposition was another cultural humiliation, provoking an anti-Sanskrit campaign led by Janjatis.
This event was a particularly salutary example of the gulf between the UML’s communist appellation and its political practice, which in this case was distinguished by arrogant, implicit Hindutvaism.
Reflecting back to the 1066 conquest of England, Marx, quoted earlier, noted that the Norman system was grafted onto a pre-existing embryonic form of Anglo-Saxon feudalism. It could also be said that the two peoples shared the Catholic faith, perhaps offset by the Papal blessing given to William, rewarding his Ultramontanist credentials and the Church’s temporal interest in extending this more efficient and proven pious Norman feudalism and its own theological-political hegemony.
However, even points of concurrence did not disguise a brutal invasion followed by a century of military oppression at the hands of a French-speaking army and a new nobility ensconced in castle, on expropriated land. The evolution of feudalism into the more benign form of manorialism and the consolidation of Royal and Papal power in England was greatly facilitated by fact that within four generations, the hitherto alien invaders, kings and nobles alike, had abandoned the French language for an evolving English one. This linguistic event was crucial to the formation of the modern English language and vital in establishing a cohesive national identity.
It was not, therefore, unification by force-of-arms at the behest of foreign invaders that has precluded a similar Nepalese national identity from appearing; rather it is the failure to heal the original divisions created between vaunting conqueror and resentful conquered.
3). Landlord and tenant antipathy is rooted in the appropriation and expropriation of land that continued until the second half of the 20th century. The abolition of feudal land tenure and its subsequent mutation from private use to private ownership under market conditions benefited upper caste landlords by enabling them to consolidate their lands, with access to capital giving them immediate preference in acquiring released former royal/state lands.
As shown previously, the pattern of land ownership has scarcely changed since the covetous Ranas and upper castes used the state and its repressive apparatus to monopolize swathes of it. Reforms such as setting ceilings on land holdings were either resisted or circumvented. Small tenants were given few protections, and they either fell prey to usurers or were driven into sharecropping and landlessness.
This last group have swollen to include almost 30% of the rural population, mainly Dalits, ethnics, Terai Muslims, and together they form a reservoir of cheap labor, first supplementing and then replacing Kamaiya bonded labor after its abolition in 2002. Thus the feudal landholders devolved into landlords, rentiers – often absentee – and usurers. Over 80% of this last category were drawn from this traditional rural elite (30) despite the Asian Development Bank’s attempts to break their monopoly of usury. Consequently feudal relations continue to dominate an increasingly proletarianized rural workforce.
4) The crucial component defining the relations of production in the tributary system established by Prithvi Narayan Shah was the rigorous application of the Hindu caste system and the enforcement of it on Buddhist, pantheist, or shamanist Janjatis. The ideas of the ruling class, as Marx observed, tend to constitute the dominant ideas in any society, and in the subcontinent, caste was the Brahmin elite’s mechanism for maintaining and rationalizing oppression and exploitation.
It expressed a fusion of ideological and economic function in a society characterized by the rigid hierarchy of caste and rendered immutable by divine genesis and command:

The rich man in his castle
The poor man at his gate
God made them high and low
And ordered their estate

This Christian hymn’s maxims are paralleled in the precepts of Hindu casteism as set forth, among other sources, by the God Krishna in the Bhavagad Gita:

“The caste system has been created by me…According to the differentiation of…Karma”
Ch 4, Verse 13
“…of (the castes) the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their nature”
Ch 18, Verse 41

The continuing grip of this system, however informal, is evidence of residual feudal mindset and practice. A contemporary Brahmin is just as likely today to be a newspaper editor, political boss, professional, or civil servant, as a Pujaari (priest) or Jyotisi (astrologer), but this has not diluted the influence of the caste; rather it has equipped it to expand into the many crevices of power in contemporary civil societies.
In all events, the secular opinion-former or the Thulo Hakim (party godfather/boss), laagered in Kathmandu, is no less the arrogant, prescriptive Brahmin, than is the cleric, functioning as interlocutor between humanity and God, under the gold roof of Pashupatinath Temple, on the banks of the Bagmati River that flows through Kathmandu and from where Dalits, as with all temples, are barred from entering.
Caste in Nepal often overlaps with class, with Brahmins and Kshatriya morphing into bourgeoisie, and Dalits in their designated laboring and semi-skilled occupations recalibrating as workers and forming unions. Whatever the taxonomy, caste discrimination remains deeply ingrained in a society dominated by upper caste Hindus, despite the advent of multiparty democracy. Dalits and their organizations and unions have consistently supported the Maoists, seeing the revolution as the means of consigning the system into the dustbin of history.
In this respect the CPN (M) were decisive in purging caste-discriminatory practices in liberated base areas, setting an example that stills cries out for general application.
5). The creation of Nepal under the auspices of deeply patriarchal culture was a qualitative setback for gender equality as post-pubertal females under Hinduism were regarded as domestic chattel to serve and gratify male needs and reproduce the species.
This conflicted with the more liberated mores of Janjati societies based the villages and valleys of the hinterland. They represented the close-knit, gemeinschaft ideal, where survival in a harsh, unforgiving environment, was problematic for both sexes, precluding prejudice and requiring cooperation and mutual respect. Consequently women were influential in the community and could obtain and inherit property.
This was prohibited under Hindu religion and law; women were also stopped from working in the fields under this rubric and generally subject to humiliation and constraints that marked their low status. They suffered the twin oppressions of class and gender, expressed in economic, social and political forms.
The Maobaadi slogan was:

Working Women of the World, Unite. You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Double Chains!!

There is also significant empirical evidence that discrimination has deleterious health effects, especially to lower-caste women. Nepal is unique because female life expectancy has always lagged a few years behind that of males, an inversion of the normative death rate gender differential obtaining in most societies. Up to 2000, the country had one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world – 875 per 100,000, and it is little better now.
Lower caste women suffer further sexual oppression, are subject to rape with impunity by high caste males and are forced into sex slavery and prostitution. Hindu women, especially in urban centers, are made to observe Teej (husband worship), and the fifth day Tihar (Nepal’s Deepawali) is set aside for Hindu sisters’ Bhai Tikka (brother worship).
However, People’s War raised a challenge to the subordination of women in Nepal; the CPN (M) was committed to female liberation, from Marx to Mao a consistent communist principle, and proved this in the red base areas. There were dramatic effects on women in these zones, both indirect and direct. In the first place the conflict caused male displacement into PLA and militia and accelerated the increasing flight of men into migrant work, leaving the work traditionally assigned to them, from plowing the fields to repairing roofs, to be carried on by females.
That many women enthusiastically took up these challenges and supported the revolutionary cause is further demonstrated by the fact that by the time of CPA, one-third of the 30,000 PLA ranks were women serving alongside men in the front line. As with caste, the Maoists promoted and enforced equality, in stark contrast to the patriarchal and chauvinist Hindu culture of towns and cities. Even these urban centers were affected, as there was an increase in women’s’ organizations and agitation which owed as much to the impact of cosmopolitan petit bourgeois feminism as it did to urban Maoist women engaging in those legal or semi-legal campaigns for women’s rights that were open to them.
However, there remains a long struggle for full equality between the sexes on the subcontinent. The appalling treatment of many, especially Dalit, women in India, highlights the worst effects of Hindu male chauvinism. It is also apparent in culture with the Soft Power of Bollywood and in politics with the election of a Hindutva BJP government showing that patriarchalism is systemic and pervasive on the subcontinent. For Nepal, it forms part of Narayan Shah’s enduring legacy, and for those of Indo-Aryan stock, secular or Hindu, male chauvinism is reinforced by cultural and political mores emanating from ‘Mother India’.

Patriots and Compradors

The major divide between patriots and compradors is not directly attributable to the first Shah but began with the deliberate neocolonialist turn taken by the military clan he had called forth as the monarchy’s Praetorian Guard, the Ranas. Following Jonge Bahadur’s precedent, their subservience to the British rendered direct colonization unnecessary.
In the light of the post-1857 rebellion which the Ranas helped the British put down, the new Raj was more concerned with consolidating what he held than advancing into new territory and he actually returned to Nepal parts of the Terai seized following the 1814-16 Anglo-Nepalese war and Sugauli Treaty.
While the Ranas suffered for their pro-British proclivities in 1950, with Nehru aiding the King and NC invasion, the returned Shahs from Tribhuvan to Gyenendra were always ambivalent towards India. Mahendra, for example, was quite willing to play the China card after its decisive military victory over India in 1962 by securing Peking’s aid in constructing a modern highway from the Tibetan border to Kathmandu. Birendra’s humbling in the events of 1990 Andolan was precipitated by an Indian blockade on Nepal that closed four out of the five major roads and quickly brought hunger to Kathmandu.
This was prompted by the King’s attempt to purchase anti-aircraft equipment from China without consultation with and the agreement of New Delhi. These and other royal stratagems were nevertheless exercises and attempts at national sovereignty opportunistically exploiting interstices in the bedrock of Nepalese general political, cultural and economic deference to India and pragmatic royal acceptance of India’s strategic interests as the regional superpower. This ambivalence continues today as even the two RPP royalist parties are divided by pro- and anti-Indian sentiment.
It is all the more surprising that, from Nehru onward, Indian administrations maintained a ‘Two Pillar’ policy towards Nepal following the collapse of the Delhi Compromise which supported the king and the political parties. It was never a rational option; attempting to balance the conflicting interests of Royalist absolutism and popular democratic sovereignty was destined to end with the victory of one group or another. Tigers want blood – not grass, and New Delhi appears naïve not to have understood this.
It was especially puzzling that it involved India, as mentioned, supporting frequently freewheeling monarchs and marginalizing its natural allies in NC, and latterly UML, who had followed their Indian CPI comrades onto the parliamentary road and establishment status.
New Delhi had a major geopolitical stake in ensuring a compliant regime in Nepal as a bulwark against the threatened proletarian expansionism of the PRC and yet tolerated often opportunist, awkward Nepalese monarchs who, in their turn, were trying to maintain neutrality and pursue and independent foreign policy. They were conscious of Narayan Shah’s warning that: ’Nepal was like a yam between two stones’, therefore, cunning and room for maneuver was required to avoid being crushed.
Why successive Indian administrations continued to tolerate an, at best, ambivalent monarchy, when it had much more congenial partners in waiting is puzzling, especially given that the policy was not abandoned until 2005, when New Delhi finally lost patience and facilitated talks in India allowing the prorogued seven parliamentary parties and the Maoists to forge an anti-Gyanendra alliance.
NC, after all, was created under Nehru’s aegis, and he effectively betrayed the party in the aftermath of the 1950 invasion, with first the Delhi Compromise and next with the subsequent Two Pillar policy.
It may be argued that as the supreme arbiter of power on domestic and international issues, Nehru’s quixotic and capricious nature – if not Brahmin presumption – led to unchallenged contradictions. But even that does not fully explain the persistence of this approach post-Nehru, especially after the 1990 Andolan, which New Delhi precipitated and again drew back from by agreeing to having King Birendra stay on condition of accepting constitutional status (yet crucially allowing him to keep control of the army) in a ‘parliamentary democracy’.
A former Indian diplomat turned critical establishment sage noted in exasperation in 2003:

“There is a serious inherent conflict between the interests of multiparty democracy based on the concept of popular sovereignty and the King’s political aspirations and self-perceived divine role to rule. Even in 1990 the coexistence between the King and the political parties was neither natural, nor sincere nor honest.” (31)
– S. D. Muni

As this essay has argued, it was obvious from 1990 on that the parliamentary parties, governments and upper castes were either supine or in active collusion with Indian interests against the interests of the nation. They stood in even greater neocolonial submission to India than the Ranas before the British Empire. Their anti-national character was reinforced by functioning as agents/functionaries/transmission belts for imperialism in all its manifestations.
There is no role for independent states under the present global imperium. The modern state was called forth by the European bourgeoisie during the early progressive birthing struggles against feudalism. These states later degenerated into a struggle between these new nations across the European continent. It was nationalism distinguished by a xenophobic hatred, intensified when rivalry spread from the continent to a world stage in the age of mercantilism and colonialism as each European power fought rivals for a ‘place in the sun’.
The aim of these various rampaging states was to either exterminate or exploit native peoples and by blocking independent development maintain their subjugation. The aim of the First World has always been to kick away the ladder of protection it climbed up, from under Third World countries preserving them as arenas for super-exploitation. If there are domestic capitalist sectors in underdeveloped countries, they are crushed by unfair competition or leveraged out by multinationals using the dominant financial and political institutions and instruments of international capitalism.
Since national capitalist sectors are not permitted in underdeveloped countries like Nepal, no national bourgeoisie can exist. Only one that is comprador can flourish. Individuals from upper caste/bourgeois backgrounds do at times betray their caste/class interest and join the struggle for national liberation, and their contribution is not negligible, but patriotism finds critical mass among the rural and urban working masses because it is materially intertwined with class interest and takes political counteroffensive against oppressive conditions created by international capital.
For the ‘wretched of the earth’, Fanon’s memorable, passionate characterization, in Nepal and other Shudra states of the present global dispensation, there is no ‘trickle-down’ from the engorging imperial heartlands. The much-touted benefits of capitalism are chimerical, a Coca-Cola sign on a Third World shanty mocking poverty inside.
The gap between a banker on Wall Street and a sharecropper in an Assamese paddy field is as wide and unbridgeable as that between a patrician Brahmin or Newari Thulo Hakim in the gated Lazimpat area of Kathmandu and a barelegged Dalit sanitation operative sifting city filth and inhabiting a hovel in a less salubrious quarter. Capitalist imperialism has overseen Brahmin and bourgeois class rule equalized by mutuality of greed and hierarchical praxis.

Material Basis of Social Contradiction

Just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history; the simple fact hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means of subsistence and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even on ideas of religion, have been evolved,…..”
– F. Engels, Speech at the Graveside of Marx, 1883, Selected Works, Vol 3, p 162.)
“…an economic rationale can be provided for the origins of the Indian caste system as it can for European feudalism. All the great Eurasian civilizations being dependent on plow intensive agriculture needed some institutional means to tie labor…..Serfdom, indenture, slavery and the caste system were all ways to do so.”
D. Lal, The Abuse of History, p. 2.

The genesis of Nepal’s divisions principally lies in the system imposed by Narayan Shah after 1769. This was an economic process galvanized by political means, with a ruling elite extracting surplus from downtrodden peasantry in an agricultural society through control of the land. Following Professor R. S. Sharma’s taxonomy (32) of this phenomenon in India during the first millennium AD, the appellation feudalism is used. Asok Rudra created the term ‘Brahminism’ (33) to emphasize the unique nature of the Indian system, rejecting parallels with European feudalism.
What unites them, however, is mutual recognition that, whatever its discrete mechanisms and subsequent nomenclature, this was a tributary society. In other words, a type of pre-capitalist economic formation marked Eurasian history in this period. It was characterized by two main classes – first, a peasantry deployed in communal production, and second, a ruling class comprised of a priesthood, a nobility/military and an absolute monarchy that appropriated the surplus product/labor through control of land by repressive and extra-economic mechanisms
There were marked divergences in the forms taken by these societies in Europe, India and China, but all instantiate the level of class struggle at this historical stage, albeit subject to differential momentum, development trajectories and cultural configurations.
This is applying the methodology of historical materialism, précised in Engels’ quote above, which posits a sociopolitical superstructure arising from and sustained by an economic infrastructure which is appropriate to specific historical stages and the development of the forces of production therein. These successive modes of production encompass therefore not just the technological level of the productive forces but the corresponding relations of production under which they operate.
The conditions under which social formations organize immediate physical necessities such as food and shelter shape their culture and provide a dominant worldview consistent with specific modes of reproduction. There have been qualitatively distinct historical stages in systematizing preconditions of physical existence, each sustaining its appropriate ideology. Marx reasoned:

“The hand mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill, society with the industrial capitalist. The same men who establish social relations in conformity with their material productivity, produce also principles, ideas and categories, in conformity with their social relations.”(34)
– Karl Marx.

Therefore European feudalism gave rise to Roman Catholicism with all souls subsumed in the Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) and with divinely ordained functions complementing hierarchical society.
Capitalism, for its part, produces bourgeois individualism as an appropriate ideology for a dynamic or even unbridled society that is in constant flux.
Similarly the caste system on the Indian subcontinent, as has been argued earlier and noted by Lal above, is a socioeconomic phenomenon brought forward by exploitative elites applying superstitious doctrine to rationalize and mask their extraction of surplus. It is, as Dr. Ambedkar rightly concluded, a mechanism for the ‘social division of labor’ within an ’unequal hierarchy’.
Just as Hindu metaphysics spawned numerous avatars and manifestations of Para Brahman (the Supreme Being), increasing refinement in allocation of fixed, discrete socioeconomic functions gave rise to a plethora of subcastes and Jatis that remain determinate to this day, despite the impacts of urban cosmopolitanism and the phenomenon of many Dalits and lower castes forming their own organizations and joining trade unions. Hinduism’s credal syncretism contrasts strikingly with the rigidity of its hierarchical stratification by means of caste.
Religion is an ideological component within a general culture and along with political and legal systems is a constituent element of the superstructure which consistently corresponds to the economic base. It is called forth and shaped by ruling classes to serve the base and changes accordingly as it does. It cannot be otherwise. It is not economic determinism, acknowledging there is a reciprocal relationship between the two.
So, for example, changes to the social relations of production in the base give rise to distinct world views; while conversely, political activity in the superstructure such as revolutionary upheaval can transform the base. Feudalism gave way to capitalism, which reduced religion to residual role and developed education as mode of enculturation.
These are Blake’s “mind-forged manacles,” prefiguring Gramsci’s concept of hegemony in civil society, showing how a dominant class maintains ideological control over exploited classes and thereby complements its monopoly of the physical means of repression. Human societies have always commingled consent and coercion in varying combinations according to circumstances and history, but all rest on specific, sequential economic infrastructures that are ‘determinate in the last instance’:

“… According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimate determining factor is the production and reproduction of life.” (Engels to J. Bloch, 1890. ME Selected Works, Vol 3, p.487)

Conclusion

The ideal for any ruling class is where its ideology takes root and is accepted by the subordinate classes as expressing normative, eternal human verities. The lower classes then, as Marx held, “…share the illusion of that epoch” (35). In this essay I have argued that the brutal genesis of modern Nepal continues to engender resistance that precludes mass popular consent to such ‘illusion’ because its inceptional arrangements remain largely intact.
The caste system therefore remains pervasive and influential, if sotto voce, because the upper castes it benefits retain political and economic power, despite changes in polities from monarchy through the Ranas back to the return of monarchy and finally culminating in the multiparty parliamentary system, with each in turn representing a different modality of Brahminical predominance. This elite has lasted nearly two-hundred and fifty years, and it has managed to preserve a feudal/tributary mode beyond its epochal termination elsewhere.
Although circulation of money, small scale commodity production and burgeoning private property penetrated this society assisted by inherent Brahmin avariciousness mediated as hucksterism, it did not produce a strong national capitalist sector. Therefore, it was easily sold out by entrenched upper caste interests ready to accommodate the socioeconomic and geopolitical authority and objectives of India’s Brahminical oligarchs and international capitalism’s power elites and institutions.
Consequently the heirs of Narayan Shah via the neocolonial Ranas have mutated into today’s comprador ruling class, equally marked by cupidity, corruption and cultural capitulation.
The Seven Party Alliance was squeezed between Gyanendra’s royal coup complete with dissolution of parliament and banning of parties on the one hand and the Maoists, strengthened by the gains of Protracted People’s War, on the other. The parliamentary parties in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement gave formal assurances to the latter in order to defeat the former regarding restructuring the state and army.
In the following years, re-energized as a reactionary bloc and assisted/prompted by New Delhi and Washington, the same parties, led by NC and UML, decisively reneged on those commitments which they had conceded in a moment of weakness. Those promises, if translated into effective policies, would have effectively ended their role as Nepal’s traditional governing class functioning from the Kathmandu center.
Thus discord continues to disfigure Nepalese society and is characterized by a plurality of contradictions reflected variously as antipathy between landlord and tenant, Brahmin and Dalit, Khas Hindu and Janjati, comprador and patriot, casteist and egalitarian, capitalist and worker, patriarchalist and feminist, centralist and federalist, Maoist and Status Quoist.
They are all aspects and expressions of fundamental class antagonism, with a ruling elite on the right confronting the interests of the popular masses on the left.
Finally, I will conclude with a quote from an assessment made just after the 2006 CPA outlining the steps necessary to avoid a repetition of Protracted People’s War. It encapsulates the arguments made at greater length in the preceding pages. It is not from class warrior ‘usual suspects’ or any of more erudite and equally committed Nepalese specialists, but it hails from a well-meaning and of course well-funded Norwegian ‘Conflicts Resolution’ NGO:

The long-term conflict trends in Nepal are linked to whether or not one succeeds in replacing social, political and economic exclusion with more inclusive institutions, processes and practices. Continued exclusion on the basis of caste, ethnicity, gender or other means of distinction will provide the basis for continued armed conflict, including the possibility for further violence.
In political terms the key issue revolves around the ongoing efforts to establish legitimate political institutions accepted by all groups in society. In socioeconomic terms, this system will also have to, over time, succeed in becoming more genuinely redistributive that the current system.
In the short term, several factors might trigger increased violence in Nepal, including:
Increasing poverty: As noted above, the poverty and exclusion issue will remain central, in particular for the new regime when it will be established. Meanwhile, the government should succeed in providing at least some symbolic progress on the economic front in order to encourage belief in the system and indicate the way forward.
Ethnic mobilization: With widespread exclusion and discrimination still the norm across Nepali society, the danger will remain that some groups may mobilize on the basis of violence. This danger will grow unless the government and Maoists succeed in driving the negotiations forward and ensure redistribution in broad terms. (36)

These aims, necessary for Nayaa Nepal (New Nepal), have been either ignored or had their implementation blocked by a revived Brahminical status quo that despite its rampant corruption and its inability to provide functional government or generally represent the national interest still clings to power and privilege. Meanwhile the country decays and the people grow poorer while a younger generation takes up the challenge of the unfinished revolution.

“The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.” (Gramsci, A. State and Civil Society, Prison Notebooks, p 276)

Gramsci’s apercu applies to the present right/left impasse in Nepalese society – for the moment.

Postscript

In these poor, underdeveloped countries, where the rule is that the greatest wealth is surrounded by the greatest poverty, the army and the police constitute the pillars of the regime; an army and a police (another rule which must not be forgotten) which are advised by foreign experts.
The strength of the police force and the power of the army are proportionate to the stagnation in which the rest of the nation is sunk. By dint of yearly loans, concessions are snatched up by foreigners; scandals are numerous, ministers grow rich, their wives doll themselves up, the members of parliament feather their nests, and there is not a soul down to the simple policemen or the customs officer who does not join in the great procession of corruption.
– F. Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 1961, p. 138)

At the turn of the millennium, the Royal Nepalese Army had a complement of approximately 35,000 front line personnel, and bolt-action 303 rifles (first issued to the British Army in 1892) were the standard infantry rifle. Now, post-2008, as the Nepalese Army is 105,000 strong the and standard issue weapon includes the much more deadly American M-16 fully automatic, state of the art, high-velocity, assault rifle, replacing the substandard, fault-prone INSAS light machine gun, India’s generic AK-47.
This results from Washington’s geopolitical strategy of encircling a rising China with a chain in which Nepal forms an important potential link. Egyptianizing the Nepalese Army was important in advancing this aim. Under the pretext of post 9/11 ‘War On Terror’, following the 2002 Powell mission to Kathmandu, Washington agreed to help Gyanendra by equating Maoist rebels with Jihadis in a spurious world ‘crusade’.
In the following years, except for the brief blip of Gyanendra’s absolutist rule, guns, guidance and greenbacks have flowed in to the army as US military advisors implemented a strategy of re-equipping the army. The US has supplied the army with improved weaponry. In the air, the US is supplying aerial reconnaissance and attack capability with helicopters and short take-off-landing aircraft (STOL). And the US has introduced counterinsurgency training. All of this for an army that, prior to being sent into serious action against the PLA following the pro-Maoist King Birendra’s assassination, was only experienced in UN peacekeeping duties in various hotspots.
Through the Office for Defense Cooperation, Nepal’s top military convene monthly at one of the two US Embassies in Kathmandu under the auspices of the US Commander in Chief – Pacific (CINPAC). (37) Many of the NA high command and officer class are Sandhurst trained, and like their Indian Army homologues are willing Koi Hais, the Indian colonial term for a native servant.
Collusion with Uncle Sam, allowing him a forward base in Nepal in return for practical assistance turning the NA into a primarily domestic counterinsurgency force, came easily with this pedigree.
Aside from the Pentagon’s infantry weaponizing of the NA, most of the army’s supplies have come from India. In 2013, India resumed its role of supplying most of the army’s other military requirements, including means for ground and air mobility. This followed an eight year break that had begun in protest against Gyanendra’s coup but was also motivated by suspicion and resentment at growing US presence in India’s traditional sphere of influence.
The recent unity of purpose between Washington and New Delhi in regard to Nepal is evidence of a broader and deeper economic and strategic partnership between the two countries. This has been extended into the military sphere with the Pentagon providing guidance for Operation Green Hunt, a counterinsurgency campaign launched in 2009 aimed at defeating Maoist and Adavasi rebels who are resisting the plunder of resources and destruction of their traditional lands by insatiable multinational corporations in the five states comprising India’s ‘Red Corridor’.
There is also a 40,000 strong paramilitary group, the Armed Police Force (APF). This group was originally set up under Deuba’s NC 2001 administration to offset Gyanendra’s NA monopoly of state repressive potential. With the advent of the republic, it morphed into common purpose with NA, giving the state nearly 150,00 armed personnel at its disposal. The UK, with twice the population of Nepal, has an army half its size of the NA.
Further, Britain’s imperial heritage marks it as a singularly bellicose state, permanently at war with someone somewhere, usually as faithful deputy in various American campaigns of international aggression.
Apart from the People’s War, the Nepalese Army fought a minor war in the 1970’s, routing a marauding Khampa rabble in Mustang Province that had been trained and primed by the CIA to cross into Tibet and continue America’s war-by-proxy against the People’s Republic. Nepal is not threatened by imminent military invasion from either of its neighbors and has a particularly casual arrangement of an open border with India without even a dedicated border guard. The Nepalese Army’s UN peacekeeping duties involve 4,000 personnel at most at any one time.
It is obvious that the NA and APF are primarily intended as forces for domestic repression; they are ostentatious and ubiquitous across the country, with six fixed army divisions straddling the regions, backed up by three mobile specialist brigades. They have used the years since 2006 to improve fortified positions and entrenchments in rural areas and are everywhere in urban centers. Katmandu City itself is like a military camp, with never less than 20,000 personnel in barracks dispersed across the City like chocolate chips in a cookie.
Soldiers regularly patrol streets and thoroughfares, man major chowks (public squares and intersections) and parade in Tudikhel Park, a private army marching ground in the center of the city which, apart from the national football stadium is the only grass covered area in Kathmandu. Strutting their stuff, the soldiery are designed as much to intimidate as impress.
The army is the elephant in the room in the Nepalese situation, and has been referenced throughout this paper for its role and influence at key points in Nepal’s history from its birth under Narayan Shah, to the early years of the 21st. century. In the last decade it has become bigger and better armed, equipped and trained than at any point in its history.
It proved politically decisive in forcing Gyanendra’s surrender that signaled the victory of the April 2006 Andolan, and crucially succeeded in overthrowing Prachanda’s administration when it attempted to enforce the CPA provision that the PLA regulars be integrated as a corps into the NA. The further seizure of PLA weapons from the UN cantonments in 2011 on paper cemented the Brahminical state’s monopoly of violence in Nepal.
Its comprador officer corps and high command, well-groomed by American and Indian patrons, have demonstrated in such interventions decisive executive ability; dumping a malfunctioning, hubristic King, blocking army reform, martialing the phony 2013 election, and holding an informal veto over policies or proposals inimical to the status quo.
The officer corps is dominated by Chetris and Thakuris and represents a military ascendancy formed under the banner of Narayan Shah. It stands ready for counterrevolution either as a state of emergency or military dictatorship as possible options should the existence of the state be problematic or in imminent danger of collapse. The State’s political class presents no coherent power, and in any event is presently sunk in corruption, paralyzed by the specific difficulty in getting the existing order ratified in a bogus constitution and its sheer general uselessness in providing clean, functioning government.

Unfinished Revolution

War hath determined us, and foil’d with loss
Irreparable: terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed, or sought: for what peace will be given
To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment Inflicted?
And what peace can we return,
But, to our power, hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance, and revenge though slow
Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 2, lines 330/40.

However, the People’s War may resume in some form based on the announcement in early December that barely two years after the CPN-M (Dashists) broke from the UCPN(M) (Cashists), the CPN-M (Dashists) haves also split, with a faction led by Biplav (Netra Bikram Chand) forming the CPN Maoist.
At the time of writing, the Two-Line Struggle’s policy differences that prefigured the rupture are not fully understood, but the new party is driven by what it perceives as the treachery and reversals of the eight wasted years since 2006 and declaring that if provisions given by SPA on behalf of the status quo are not honored then struggle will resume, and organs of dual power will be revived in re-established liberated zones.
The split does not appear as politically and ideologically rancorous as that between the Cashists and Dashists and may exhibit a generational difference regarding timing; Biplav and many around him are in their forties but have considerable battlefield experience from the People’s War. On the other hand, Kiran’s close comrades are in their fifties and sixties, and while many are primarily political figures, they also include active-service veterans.
Each party recognizes that the stalled revolution is certain to recommence at some point, but the lack of technical support makes any attempt in the short term to ‘go back into the jungle’ or resume any form of armed struggle against a new, domestically refocused, re-equipped, and expanded state repressive apparatus militarily inadvisable if not suicidal.
A more immediate likelihood is military and police repression of the party that, whatever its evident caution, has openly declared the task of completing the revolution, sooner rather than later. That is why its launch was held at a secure location in the Kathmandu Valley, but there was still a palpable sense of urgency behind Biplav’s opening statement that, failing the NC-led elite unblocking and implementing the reforms of the 12-point agreement of 2005 between the SPA and CPN (M) that were ratified the following year with the post-victory CPA, there would be a return to:

Armed struggle in order to protect national unity, integrity, sovereignty and rights of people. (38)

The Nepalese security establishment and its foreign advisers have every reason to take Biplav seriously. He was an effective military leader during the People’s War. With his close ally Khadga Bahadur Bishwkarma, Prakanda (Mighty) offered a vision of a reformed PLA with the creation of a youth wing in the CPN-M, the National Volunteers, that made a strong impression during the 2013 election boycott with uniform red T shirts and formation marching. It is a proto-army and significantly, most of its cadre have gone over to the new party.
State surveillance agencies will also note Kiran’s statement:

We will meet if Chand will raise arms and fight for people (39).

All of which makes a pre-emptive strike by security forces a rational option. It also demonstrates that the understanding that ‘political power comes out of the barrel of gun’ is the one point of agreement between implacable enemies. This is not only perceived in abstraction, an axiom that distills a precondition for establishment and maintenance of power in human society from its tribal origins to the contemporary nation-state, but it is directly informed and shaped by Nepal’s recent history since unification in the late 18th century.
The major and inescapable lesson is that violence was the midwife of the new state and has marked every significant subsequent upheaval since. From Prithvi Narayan Shah to Jonge Bahadur’s seizure of power in the Red Kot Massacre that established a century of brutal Rana despotism to the NC/Royalist 1950 invasion and uprising to Mahendra’s 1960 feudal coup to the People’s War and Andolans of the last decades to the 2001 assassination of Birendra which paved the way for Gyanendra – all of these events combine to confirm that there has never been any significant change in Nepal without the use of physical force.
All of the present political parties have their roots in violence; the RPP, NC, UML, UMF, and UCPN(M) all emerged sequentially from Nepal’s history through force of arms.
This paper commenced with Machiavelli’s comment on the right of the people to engage in struggle against the ruling class nobility of his time and so will conclude with an equally apposite rubric from the first great European political scientist. It expresses a truth understood by revolutionary communists everywhere on necessity for the revolution to have an experienced, disciplined, combat-ready armed wing, and is reflected in the author’s his rueful conclusion on witnessing the execution of the charismatic Florentine preacher Savonarola in 1498 following Rome’s condemnation of heresy:

That is why the visionary who has armed force on his side has always won through, while unarmed even your visionary is always the loser.
– Machiavelli, The Prince, p 23, Penguin ed.

Peter Tobin, December 2014

Citations/Footnotes

(1) Index Mundi, Nepal Economic Profile, 2014.
(2) Karobar National Economic Daily, 05/10/2013.
(3) Economist, “The Trouble With Ghee”, June, 2008.
(4) A political project to re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation and restore the power of economic elites.
See A Brief History of Neoliberalism, D. Harvey, p 19. Harvey provides further elaboration of neoliberalism’s elevation of market criteria over all aspects of life, particularly the shrinking of the state’s responsibility for welfare, economic planning, subsidies, &c. From the 1970’s on, it began dethroning Keynesian policies, with neoliberals believing that the Keynesians’ emphasis on state deficit spending as means of stimulating employment and production distorted the market and lacked fiscal rectitude. The phenomenon has also been described in popular parlance as, “Capitalism with its gloves off.”
(5) OPHI Country Briefing: Nepal,  2010.
(6) B. P. Bhurtel. 17/10/2013. “Rich Man’s World as Wealth Gap Grows in Nepal.” The Nation/Kathmandu Post.
(7) However, it can be argued that the link between bourgeois capitalism and bourgeois democracy is purely contingent, with neoliberal capitalism flourishing equally in dictatorships and democracies both. It is worth noting in this respect that Pinochet’s Chile was chosen by Washington as an experiment in extreme free market capitalism, dispatching Friedman monetarist acolytes of the ‘Chicago School’ to Santiago and placing them in charge of the Chilean economy.
This is not because contemporary transnational capital is neutral but because it has become a superior executive power reducing political systems and governments to irrelevance. A review in Le Monde, 10/10/2014, of the German scholar Wolfgang Streeck’s Du Temps Achete – La Crise Sans Cesse Ajournee Du Capitalisme Democratique (Borrowed Time – The Postponed Crisis of Capitalist Democracy) quotes his comment describing advancing global capital as class avatar:

“…elles est inapte a tout fonctionment democratique, par le fait qu’elle pratiquee en tres grande parti, en particulairement en europe, comme une politique international – sous la forme d’une diplomatie financiere interetatique.”
– Wolfgang Streeck. Borrowed Time – The Postponed Crisis of Capitalist Democracy.

A rough translation of which argues that it is incapable of functioning democratically, because it is, in fact a politically dominant power, especially in Europe, in the guise of interstate financial diplomacy. He uses the word ‘post-democracy’ to describe this stage of the present era.
(8) K. P. Prabhakaran Nair. February 2006. Grist for US Mills. GMWATCH. It is salutary to note that up until 2014, over 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide as a result of such policies reducing rural populations to immiseration and destitution.
(9) Republica (English language Nepalese daily newspaper) 07/09/2014.
(10) D. Gywali/A. Dixit. April, 2000. “How Not to Do a South Asian Treaty.” Himal South Asian.
(11) H. Yami/B. Bhatterai. 1996. Nationality Question in Nepal.
(12) ‘Kiran’ is a nom de guerre for Mohan Baidya. It means Ray of Light. All Maoist leaders adopted one during People’s War. ‘Prachanda’ (P. K. Dahal) means ‘Fierce’, ‘Biplav’, (N. B. Chand), means ‘Revolt’, &c.
(13) Colloquially known as ‘Dashists’ because of the –M in their name. Conversely, the UCPN (M), the party the Dashists split from, are called the ‘Cashists’ by their opponents because their leaders and many cadre were accused of falling before ‘sugar-coated enemy bullets’ after ‘coming out of the jungle’ and decamping to Kathmandu and corruption in 2006, following the CPA.
(14) 1991. “Caste and Ethnicity,” Ch. 7 in Nepal – A Country Study.
(15) R. Dangal. Administrative Culture in Nepal,  p.95, Table 9: Caste Distribution of Higher Civil Servants.
16) This needs an essay in itself! Briefly parliamentary/presidential, multiparty systems emerged as systems to meet needs of emerging bourgeois capitalist society in the West. The various parties represented class interests devising contingent institutional solutions. Part of Western hubris is claim their necessity in all circumstances.
It was applied unilaterally by an indigenous elite in many postcolonial situations. Apart from a democratic deficit, adoption of this project indicated loss of nerve and residual ideological colonization among otherwise resolute anticolonial political leaders of independence struggles such as Nehru, Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Kaunda, and Bandaranaike, &c).
But the main reason it proves ‘wholly unsuitable’ is total failure to provide effective governance in postcolonial situations anywhere and to have descended into nests of thieves and similar mechanisms of naked class aggrandizement when not replaced by sanctioned western ‘strongmen’ or red revolution.
Going hand in hand with capitalism and its contingent institutions demonstrated how indigenous elites were fostered and suborned by their colonial masters.
Marx, enthused, saw the inception of the program:

From the Indian natives, reluctantly and sparingly educated at Calcutta, under English superintendence, a fresh class is springing up endowed with the requirements for government and imbued with European science.
– Marx, Future Results of British Rule in India, 1853, M/E Selected Works p. 495.

Nehru is an exemplar of the success of this project:

“By education I am an Englishman, by views an internationalist, by culture a Muslim and Hindu only by an accident of birth.”

He epitomized Macaulay’s ‘Brown Englishmen’. His pretensions, along with his secularization of Hindutva, are set out in his 1943 magnum opus, The Discovery of India, (written in English of course) where he establishes the existence of a precolonial Hindu ‘golden age’ civilization and his particular ancestral call to restore its historic harmony expressed in language reflecting his Cambridge education in the classics with references to Pericles, Demosthenes, et al, although when required he could refer to:”..the old Vedantic spirit of the life force.”
(17) Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, p. 36. Marx benignly notes emerging use of education as conditioning and improvement mechanism, A hundred years later Fanon is responding to its deleterious postcolonial effect as the ideological component of a comprador class.
Vide (16) above re Nehru shows how this strata were eventually conditioned to reproduce bourgeois polity, albeit in ersatz, parodic form.
(18) WCPI, 2011. Transparency International,
(19):

…the peasantry constitutes the main army of the national movement…there is no national movement without the peasant army, nor can there be. That is what is meant when it is said that, in essence, the national question is a peasant question.
– J. V. Stalin, The National Question in Yugoslavia, Works, Vol 7, pp. 71-72.

(20) Prachanda’s short-lived 2008 administration might be excused, as it was forced out by a military coup orchestrated by New Delhi in league with NC & UML. But Bhatterai’s second ‘Maoist’ administration, 2011-13, had less excuse for being so supine.
(21) Ghurkhas are not an ethnic group but, according to their websites are a warrior caste claiming descent from the Hindu Rajputs and Brahmins of Northern India. Their valor, tenacity and loyalty deeply impressed the British enemy. After a successful invasion and defeat in 1814-16, the East India Company began recruitment into a specially created regiment that, in modern times, has been mainly drawn from the Rai, Limbhu, Magar and Gurung ethnic nationalities.
The added glory of Hindu provenance (possibly a retrospective embellishment), but their cry “Jaya mahakali – Ayo gurkhali!”  (“Glory to great Kali – Gurkhas are coming!”), shares an evocation of Kali as the goddess of destruction and death with the Rajputs, belonging to the Kshatriya warrior caste, spread across Northern India, many driven into Nepal by the Muslim invasion of North India.
In the Terai they became one of the ruling Bhadralok castes mutating into professional occupations as doctors, lawyers &c. Also Narayan Shah was from a Kshatriya jati, although he was pragmatic enough to recruit given national ethnicities into his army while raising up Hindu upper castes and establishing a divine Hindu Kingdom.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymological root of Gurkha as:

 ORIGIN name of a locality, from Sanskrit goraksa ‘cowherd’ (from go ‘cow’ + raks – ‘protect’), used as an epithet of their patron.
Oxford English Dictionary

This lends credence to Gurkhas’ claims of provenance from Hindu warrior castes.
(22) J. Adhikari. 2008. Land Reform in Nepal, p. 23.
(23)  CPN (M). 1997. One Year of People’s War in Nepal. GS’s Report.
(24) J. Adhikari. Land Reform in Nepal, p 39.
(25) The early Marx claimed centralized despotism as the essential feature of the Asiatic Mode of Production – a pre-capitalist form that he believed existed in static, ossified, oriental societies.
He infamously commented:

Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history.
Marx – Future Results…ME Vol 1, p. 494. 1853.

and, while acknowledging the base motives of the English colonizers, he thought that imperialist incursion would, nolens volens, drag it into the modern world. However, after the first War of Independence in 1857 and subsequent study he revised AMP and undermined the despotic, stagnant society premise by declaring the uprising a ‘national revolt’, and expressed support for the insurgents. Though he never accepted that India, precolonial incursion, was feudal, he conceded that it could be described as in transition to feudalism.
In this respect he wrote in 1859:

In broad outlines, Asiatic, ancient, feudal, and modern bourgeois modes of production can be designated as progressive epochs in the economic formation of society.
Marx – Preface to Critique of Political Economy, ME Selected Works, Vol 1, p. 504, 1859

The concept has been an issue for polemic and debate among Marxists and communists and survives more as an analytic than a descriptive term. Whatever the taxonomy, Marx, by looking at the relations of production, outlined how an elite could appropriate surplus using the state as a mechanism for generalized exploitation. Dalits and Sudras stood before their Brahmin masters in the same relationship as a slave before a slaveowner, a serf before a lord, or a worker before an employer.
(26) These are linguistic categories used by modern ethnographers, and while there were obvious physical differences between the two groups that added to perception in the case of Nepal, they are not a racial classifications. For example, the other linguistic group in South India is Dravidian, with minimal physical differences between its speakers and those of the Indo-Aryan bloc.
(27) J. Adhikari. 2008. Land Reform in Nepal, p. 25.
(28) ‘State capitalism’ is as fraught a term as feudalism, with multiple definitions, inspired by political polemics not only expressed between left and right but also a lively source of debate within the left denoting ultimate political allegiance .
For the right, it can mean any state intervention either through ownership or control such the post-1945 policy of Dirigisme in France where, apart from extractive and heavy industry, private ownership dominated in a free market but was subject to indicative planning from a government setting national objectives.
It could also be applied to the Scandinavian and British mixed economy model that was discarded after the 1980’s. In the case of France, state intervention predated capitalism and the rise of the bourgeoisie, and in the form of Colbertism, was initiated under Louis IV’s first minister, J. B. Colbert.
The concept of ‘state monopoly capitalism’ has also been applied by left wing and extreme rightwing free marketeers to describe the state protection and support for the big corporations in the USA. The Military-Industrial Complex that emerged in the new triumphal global imperium following the Second World War is often cited as example because huge contracts are awarded rather than won, characterizing a cozy symbiotic relationship between business and the political functionaries of the American ruling class.
For anarchists, Neo-Trotskyites and the Ultra Left, it is what happened after 1917 in Russia and 1949 in China, or indeed anywhere else there has been a socialist revolution. It assumes that party apparatchiks and bureaucrats inevitably become a new ruling class, owing to their control of the means of production and the appropriation and direction of the resulting ‘social dividend’ (surplus value).
For Marxist-Leninists/Maoists it is what occurred in the USSR after Stalin’s death with Khrushchev’s failed attempts to follow Yugoslavia’s ‘market socialism’ and re-occurred with a vengeance in the PRC after Deng Xiaoping’s seizure of power in 1976.
Apologists for China’s system describe it as a ‘socialist market economy’, where the commanding heights of the economy, the banking sector and land are state owned and where the state is responsible for macroeconomic policy with microeconomic decisions left both to management of state enterprises and licensed capitalists operating as private companies in designated Special Economic Zones.
Therefore the political decision to allow free market mechanisms to determine price and allocations of goods and services with retention of profit by private companies, commentators opine, is more indicative of state capitalism especially when set against the background of scrapping the egalitarian, ‘Iron rice bowl’, full employment guarantee from the heroic period of socialist construction and mass mobilization. Therefore, it should be said that, like feudalism and indeed semi-feudalism, the concept of state capitalism is often used subjectively, indicating class or political orientation. See following note.
(29) ‘Semi-feudal’ obviously relates to accepting the thesis of pre-existing feudalism on the subcontinent, Samantabaad is the Hindi and Nepalese word for feudalism and derives from the nobility of the Gupta Period, which some historians claim led the emergence of feudal society in India. The Samantas were also influential during the Licchavi Dynasty (400-750 AD) who established the first central state in Nepal.
Even those who do accept the taxonomy applied recognize that it was a tributary society of a type that flourished the early city states, empires and later, nascent nation-states. European feudalism was one type of tributary society, with the exception that it enabled the growth of classes and productive forces that eventually burst its integument and established the capitalist society and mode of production.
Marx did not recognize this dynamic in the Orient, and his AMP was his initial response in distinguishing its ossified despotisms with those of medieval Europe. It was this formulation that, while recognizing the utter venality and brutality of the British, nevertheless led him describe them as unwitting agents of progress, in breaking down the ‘Chinese Walls’ of societies incapable of generating internal change.
Subsequently it has been argued that Indian society, pre-colonization, was subject to change, but that compared to Europe’s historical transformation it was imperceptible (as indeed was most of its history at that time). This had important political ramifications for Indian communists because they refused acknowledging any positive results from imperialist incursion and applying the term feudal to describe periods of Indian history implicitly underpins this position. Plus ‘Down with feudalism’ is less of a mouthful than, ‘Down with the Asiatic Mode of Production!
The notion of semi-feudalism follows this thesis because it posits transitional developments. In the case of Nepal, it is marked by backwardness of the productive forces, sharecropping, increased tenancies and the growth of usury. The last are linked, representing the dominance of money payment in feudal rent, reflecting generally growth of a market economy but specifically the transition of feudal owners into capitalist rentier landlords.
Semi-feudal is also used to describe relations of production continuing after their originating conditions of existing have changed, as expansion of agricultural capitalism has led to increasing numbers of landless and sharecroppers, who are objectively proletarianized but are learning to recognize residual feudal deference as subjective flight from their objective class reality. As descriptive tools, these terms are a continued source of argument not only between Marxists and bourgeois, but also intestinal within these respective groupings.
As a slogan, however, ‘Down with Feudalism’ and the commitment to abolish ‘neo/semi-feudalism’ is a political call to the oppressed to break free of feudal/exploitative relations in order to confront the reality of capitalist modes of employment and exploitation in the agricultural sector. (cf: Pushpa Lal’s CPN’s program and Mazumdar’s for the Naxalite struggle in 1960s.).
(30):

The informal rural credit markets of Nepal seem to be characterized by an aggregate constraint at the village level and oligopolistic collusion on price discrimination. Entries of new lenders are likely to be rare, due to high initial information cost. Lenders need to interact with the borrowers for a long period to be able to screen the borrowers and enforce payments….
Although it is reasonable to target poor households, the analysis indicates that one may as well target the higher priced segments. The analysis thus supports credit programs that target low status castes. Examples from Nepal are programs that target ethnic groups living in Terai. These households pay real interest rates that are almost double of the rates paid by high castes living in the hills.
– M. Hatlebakk. 2000. “Will More Credit Increase Interest Rates in Rural Nepal?” Technical Report and Recommendations, pp. 42-43. Nepal Rastra Bank.

(31) S. D. Muni. 2003. Maoist Insurgency in Nepal, p.61. Muni is perhaps too close to see the Brahminical tree from the wood, he is a pragmatic, secular ex-diplomat critical of and puzzled by the ambivalence of Nepalese policy that allowed King Mahendra, e.g. to block: “India’s legitimate and enlightened interests in Nepal.” (ibid, p 62).
His views are an apologia for Indian expansionism, pitting progressive capitalism against residual feudalism, which synchronically informed the position of Dr. Bhatterai, earning him the sobriquet of ‘Mr. India’ in anti-revisionist Maoist ranks. I would also speculate that the attitude towards the last divine Hindu monarchy was schizophrenic, with even ostensibly Westernized secularists like Nehru acknowledging the weight of Brahminical Chaturvarna tradition and unconsciously deferring to caste supremacy, however apparently exotic and uncongenial to a Cambridge-conditioned cosmopolitan world statesman.
Nehru was a Hindutva with an occidental humanist face. Successive Indian administrations, particularly Rajiv Gandhi’s administration, elided further into more open Hindutvaism, which, mixed with growing accommodation with Western capitalism in triumphalist form following the suicide of Gorbachev’s USSR and collapse of Soviet Bloc, was Modiism avant la lettre.
(32) R. S. Sharma, Indian Feudalism, 1965.
(33) A. Rudra, Non-Eurocentric Marxism and Indian Society, 1988.
(34) Marx. 1847. The Poverty of Philosophy, p.105.
(35) Marx, Feuerbach. 1846. Opposition of Materialist and Idealist Outlook, ibid, p 43.
(36) NORAD. 2007. Report on Conflict Sensitivities, pp. 67-68.
(37) Tobin, P. 2011. “Balance of Military Forces in Nepal” Beyond Highbrow – Robert Lindsay, website.
(38) http://www.ekantipur.com, Chand Announces CPN Maoist, 02/12/2014.
(39) Republica, D. B. Chhantyal, 06/12/2014.

References

Adhikhari, J. Land Reform in Nepal – Problem & Prospects.
Bhatterai, B. Monarchy vs. Democracy & Articles, Essays from People’s War.
Dangal, R. Administrative Culture in Nepal, 1991.
Fanon, F. The Wretched of the Earth.
Karki/Seddon, (eds.) The People’s War in Nepal – Left Perspective.
Kumar, A. The Black Economy in India.
Lecomte-Tilouine, M. (ed.) Revolution in Nepal, Collected Essays.
Marx/Engels, Selected Works. 3 Vols, Poverty of Philosophy, Anti-Durhring, Capital, Vols 1 &2.
Maxwell, N. India’s China War. 1970
Muni, S. D. Maoist Insurgency in Nepal.
Nehru, J. The Discovery of India.
Prinsep, H. T. The Gurkha War – 1814-16.
Regmi, M. C. Land Ownership in Nepal. 1976
Sharma, R. S. Indian Feudalism.
Thapa, D. A. Kingdom Under Siege – Nepal’s Maoist Insurgency – 1996-2003.
Upadhyaya, S. P. Indo-Nepal Trade Relations – 1858-1914 .

General

Rough Guide to Nepal.
Studies in Nepali History & Society, Vol. 15.

Reports/Commissions

NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) Report on Conflict Sensitivities in Nepal – 2007.
Transparency International. “Nepal.” World Perception Corruption Index – 2011.
UN Human Development Report – 2014.

Articles

Ambedkar, R. B. The Annihilation of Caste.
Basnyat, P. S. Nepalese Army in the History of Nepal.
Dak Bangla, Nepal’s Civil and Military Relations and the Maoist Insurgency.
Habib, I. Kosambi. Marxism & Indian History.
Lal, D. The Abuse of History.
Puniyami, R. Hiding the Truth About Caste.
Rajan, V. ‘Dalits’ and the Caste System in India.
Tobin, P. Balance of Military Forces in Nepal – in Relation to PLA Integration – 2011.

Newspapers/Journals/ Periodicals/Websites

Dak Bangla – website.
Democracy & Class Struggle – website.
Economist – magazine.
Himal – South Asia – magazine.
Himalayan – newspaper.
Kathmandu Post.
Nepal Monthly – magazine.
Red Front – One-off English language version of Krambaddha (Continuity) Pro-Kiran 2012 journal, editor, Prem Darnal, Bikalpa (Alternative).
Republica, newspaper.
Worker, English-language journal of CPN (Maoist).

The Future According to ISIS

ISIS 5-year expansion plan. Parts of Europe are not included on this one.
ISIS 5-year expansion plan. Parts of Europe are not included on this one.

The map below includes parts of Europe.
Isisplan
This map labels the various vilayets of provinces of the future ISIS Caliphate. Yaman is Greater Yemen, Hijaz includes much of Saudi Arabia. Sham is Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Sinai and parts of Arabia. Iraq includes Iraq and parts of Arabia and Kuwait. Kordistan is Greater Kurdistan, in this case extending far down into eastern Iran. Anathol is the western half of Anatolia. The Maghreb is a well known term for northwestern Africa, usually applied to North African states such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria but in this case, also includes all of the Sahel and West Africa.

Andalus includes all of Spain. Khurasan is an old term for Iran and Afghanistan. On this map it also includes Tajikistan,Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal at the very least. I am not familiar with the terms Alkinana (northeast Africa), Qoqzaz (apparently means the Greater Caucasus as you can see in the spelling), Orobpa (southeastern Europe) and Habasha (much of Central Africa above the Equator. There is an unnamed province in Southern Iran.


I honestly do not see how they conquer India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Georgia, all of Eastern Europe, all of West Africa, Spain, Iran, Azerbaijan, or even Lebanon and Israel for that matter. I am just not seeing this, sorry. If I were an Indian though, I would be frightened of these maps.
 

Comrade Kiran's Answers to Journalists During the Press Conference on June 19, 2012

The Nepalese Maoists have been very successful. After waging a long revolutionary war, they hung it up with a peace settlement in an effort to try to obtain power peacefully. In recent elections, they got 40% of the vote.
However, since then, their leaders have been engaged in some major sellout activity, especially Prachandra, their leader. He has aligned himself with the US and India, and has praised unequal treaties signed by Nepal and India in the past in addition to supporting new treaties that India has lined up for its neo-colony called Nepal.
India has always treated Nepal like dirt, used and abused it in a neocolonial fashion. The traitor Nepali Congress Party went along with this treason by aligning itself with the establishment India Congress Party.
What this really is is Indian imperialism. In addition to being a reactionary state, we need to think long and hard about the extent to which India is also an imperialist power. India’s actions in the Northeast and in Kashmir nearly smack of imperialism. These are arguably occupied territories of Indian imperialism and Indian ultranationalism.
As a regional hegemon and a large capitalist state with a huge army, it was only a matter of time before India would start acting as an imperialist power. As Lenin pointed out in his seminal essay, modern capitalism is necessarily imperialist. A large modern capitalist state must be an imperialist state, and modern capitalism must inevitably lead to imperialism.
This is where the antiwar Libertarians have it all wrong. They envision a large ultracapitalist US or even world in which all states would be isolationist and noninterventionist. But if modern large state capitalism cannot be anything other than imperialist, this is simply not possible. Large capitalist states will not sit idly by while other nations take actions against corporate capitalist interests and in favor of their peoples.
The US has supported repeated coups and coup attempts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Honduras, Bolivia and most recently in Paraguay. There were recent imperialist interventions in Libya and now in Syria mostly to secure the interests of Western capital and Zionism.
Zionism itself has profound links with imperialism, and some argue that the Israeli state itself, while obviously a s colonial power, is also an imperialist power. I am not certain if Israel is actually a regional imperialist power.
I do not know what the BIPPA is, but it sounds like globalist World Bank IMF bullshit designed to privilege corporations and capital at the expense of sovereign nations, people and the Earth itself. It’s mind-boggling to think that Prachandra has gone along with this.
This split in Maoist parties is not a bad thing and was a long time coming. Let’s see where it all leads.
These questions and answers are from the press conference that was organized on the 19th of June 2012 by the newly formed Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which finally ruptured from the then Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) after a 2 day long National Convention held in Kathmandu, Nepal. Chairman of the newly formed CPN-M, Comrade Kiran (Mohan Baidya) answered the questions raised by journalists during the press conference.
Thanks to Comrade Pooja for taking her time to make this speech available in English.
Q: – How do you justify the formation of the new party? How should general people understand this?
A: – Communist party is a party for the benefit of the proletariat and the people. In the case of Nepal, the aim of a communist party remains to move forward, raising the issues of safeguarding national sovereignty; people’s democracy and livelihood then ultimately leap towards socialism and communism.
This is self-proven. In the process of attaining this aim we went through people’s war, and did considerable amount of work among and with the people. We built our base areas, practiced our newly formed people’s power but then conciliation took place amidst as we moved forward to build a new Nepal.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t compromise, we should, but while compromising, the act of abandoning our entire basis (achievements) has happened. The act of slipping down from our mission and objectives has happened. The dream we carried was of a constitutional assembly, but where is the constitution? How did the constituent assembly function? Talking about people’s livelihood, how has the corruption been mounting-up?
That fact is clearer. In the process of making a constitution there was an agreement to move forward institutionalizing the rights of the working class, indigenous people, ethnic minorities, women & Dalits; including the rights of all oppressed class, region and gender but ditching all these primary issues of constitutional thematic committees it is apparent that ex-chairman, Prachanda surrendered everything to Congress & UML by forming a dispute resolution sub-committee under the constitutional committee.
In the process of making a constitution the question of ethnic-identity-based federalism is extremely important. Our party takes the decision of an ethnic-identity-based federalism while in process of restructuring the state Prachanda & Baburam joined their necks together with Congress-UML and agreed up on eleven anonymous federal states.
The situation was that they were forced to take their decision back, as we and all others in the constituent assembly carried-out a signature collection campaign against their decision. They have failed to institutionalize ethnic-identity, it is important for us to do it.
Where are the perquisites for women and Dalits? There have been serious betrayals on these issues. That is why we want to raise all these issues again. Not only that, we are also talking about issues of national sovereignty. Since the bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement (BIPPA) was signed, now the issues of water resources agreement and extradition treaty have come to surface.
The main thing is that there has been a wrong tendency to maneuver our party as a puppet of imperialism and expansionism; along with this all the core concept of the party including the guiding principal has been distorted. We are against this. We cannot let our party function as a puppet of imperialism, expansionism and feudalism. We had to revolt in order to safeguard people’s rights, interests and benefit. This is the main justification of the split.
Q: – In the past we have witnessed vicious confrontations between two factions after the split of Naxalite struggle in India. How are you cautious about bloodshed happening after the party split? What is your view on the question of the government?
A: – You raised the question of possible confrontation between two parties and the question of the Naxalite struggle in India; we are very cautious about this. There won’t be any such confrontation from our side. We won’t go into confrontation. It has been proven even in the course of history of our two-line struggle that we never exerted any physical force anywhere. Instead we have heard many cases of exertion of force by Prachanda’s group in places. During that time we alerted the concerned party to be serious on the matter.
Therefore, firstly what I want to assure you is that we will not be exerting any physical force anywhere from our side. Secondly, we have to be extremely aware. There has been talk with Prachanda and other people within his circle that we have to be very serious in these matters after separation of the party. Therefore, how to move forward is primarily dependent on Prachanda’s group.
Not to become serious in this matter and exert physical force is against  democratic norms; it is a dictatorship to exert force instead of seeking a solution to the problem through discussions and debates in a communist party. That is fascism. No one accept dictatorship and fascism, including us. In such a situation the masses will resist these acts.
There are two things on the issues of how to move forward with other parties. Firstly we have to initiate talks with all the parties and reach an agreement in any issue that can be agreed upon. If anybody raises an issue that is in favor of the nation and the people, we must have to support that. We have been supportive so far, and that will continue.
It doesn’t matter whether the Congress-UML or a neo-revisionist camp, if they raise similar issues as we do, we support that, but again the other important thing is that we should neither merge in the coalition of Congress-UML nor in the coalition of Baburam-Prachanda’s coalition of neo-revisionism. We will carry forward an independent revolutionary line of Nepalese politics.
Q: – There are allegations that the monarchy assisted you to split the party, and you have close ties with Gyanendra, do you have RIM’s support or not? Who played the role from the international community to split the party? Has the president the right to dismiss the prime-minister, what is your say on this?
A: – Firstly, you raised the question of collaboration with Gyanendra, who told you this and where? Reveal the factual basis of this, substantiate and tell me. Secondly, in the process of a two-line struggle, Baburam accused Prachanda as pro-king, and Prachanda had accused Baburam as pro-expansionist. This was documented in writing.
Have you studied that written document or not? Did you understand that the pro-king and the pro-expansionist forces united together to attack us in the process of the two-line struggle? Thirdly, each and every political party has to have a capacity. That capacity means capacity of logical argument.
When it’s not possible to annihilate someone through the means of factual arguments and debates, then there will be malevolent attempts to label them as corrupt, to denigrate them through the means of conspiracy and deception.
Fourthly, if you look at our programs, we ask for establishment of a people’s federal republican state, emphasis on safeguarding the achievements of the ten years of the great people’s war. Let us look at things from a factual basis; when we look from this basis, those baseless allegations bear no truth at all. This isn’t anything but false allegations hatched by the pro-Indian-expansionist elements.
Yes, we are in the RIM. There are many different parties in the RIM. You may even know what sort of discussions there are. Do you raise a question with the knowledge or without? We used to be involved in decision making in the RIM. The RIM is actually not operative at this moment. Perhaps you are trying to point to a particular party, but we had fraternal relationships with all the parties involved in RIM, and that continues.
Fraternal parties reserve some rights. Our communist party is a proletarian internationalist party. If any party involved in such an umbrella organization slips into the quagmire of opportunism, then the other parties oppose this, and the international community has clearly said that the Prachanda-Baburam gang has slipped into the quagmire of revisionism. Therefore, let’s forget about RIM – any other genuine communist parties do not acknowledge that this gang is Marxist anymore. So, the issue of RIM etc. is total nonsense.
Again, power & greed; look at the agenda– the only and one agenda of Congress-UML is that Baburam has to step down from the government. Probably this is a major cause of the dissolution of the constituent assembly without forging any political resolution. On the other hand, the only agenda of Baburam is that he has to retain power. So, these two camps are ready to abandon anything and will abandon everything for power. Therefore, we are not in this controversy.
We are not in the row of their greed of power. As a tactic we have forwarded the agenda of multilateral roundtable conference. The so-called top leaders of these parties have become incapable of solving people’s problems.
We have put forward the agenda of the United Interim Government, and we have said that the problem can be solved from there. Therefore, we won’t involve ourselves in the corrupt power play of the government.
Q: – How will you make the constitution, you have claimed that there has been massive intervention by India, how have you scrutinized the new developments? In the past you formed COMPOSA, will it be continued?
A: – In the process of making the constitution the issue of Indian intervention has always been there since B.S 2007 (1951).
Firstly, making a people’s constitution is not possible by collaborating and wrangling day and night with feudalists, compradors and the bureaucratic bourgeoisie class. Secondly, making a new constitution involves the participation of all oppressed people. Now this has been clearly proven. Therefore, in such a situation, the constitution cannot be made.
So whether the agenda is of reinstating the constituent assembly or yet again another election, this is all incorrect. Now the political outlet has to be forged by conducting discussions and debates through a roundtable conference in a multilateral convention. Even if this process fails to make a new constitution, then those who are in the line of federalism should begin the process of establishing people’s government at a local level.
We have to move forward with the concept of establishing a people’s government even at the central level. It is complete nonsense to talk about making a constitution without forming a pro-people government. We are very clear in this issue.
We are also very clear about what we should do on the question of Indian intervention. Basically, it won’t be wrong to say Nepal is a neo-colony of India. The act of destroying border-pillars by the Indian side has been talking place on a daily basis, and the border has been encroached in many places including Sustaa, Maheshpur and Kalapanee.
Forget the other governments – even Prachanda and Baburam who led the government from our own Maoist party could do nothing to stop it from happening but instead just became hopeless spectators.
The intervention of Indian expansionism in all sectors – economic, political, social and strategic has been rapidly gearing up. Indian expansionism is fulfilling its self-interest by providing space to the Indian puppets in Nepal. Indian expansionism has no respect for the Nepalese. We respect Indian people, but the Indian government points its evil eyes on the Nepalese on a regular basis.
There have been many unequal treaties with India since 1950. Instead of nullifying these unequal treaties, arrangements are being made to sign even more unequal treaties including Upper-Karnalee and Arun-III. Baburam’s government has signed another water resource agreement with India.
Therefore, we have been relentlessly insisting on the nullification of all these unequal treaties. In an interview with The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, Prachanda claimed that we (Nepalese) have an exceptional relationship with India. Those who have exceptional relationship with India are parties like the Nepali Congress.
Now, Prachanda has also started to follow Nepali Congress. Therefore, we rigorously oppose all these trends. What we have said is that all the unequal treaties signed so far in this 21st century between India and Nepal have to be nullified, and new arrangements to sign new coequal treaties that benefits Indian and the Nepalese people need to be made.
If the intervention doesn’t stop, as we have been saying– we also have principal contradiction with Indian expansionism, we will target our struggle of national sovereignty against the bureaucratic bourgeoisie in Nepal as well as Indian expansionism.
Finally, you asked about COMPOSA (Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia), COMPOSA is not something to fear! This is an umbrella organization to struggle in the interest of patriots, leftists and all other pro-people elements in the South-Asian region. This organization has been weakened for sometimes now. We think about the ways to strengthen it again and carry on with it.
The main thing is that if the imperialists, expansionists and opportunists conspire to weaken the people of any countries, and then the people and the pro-people forces also have to unite in tactics and form a united front to struggle.
Q: – In the process of forming a new party there are allegations that the new party is reminiscent of old alcohol in a new bottle, what do you want to say on this? And, what is the assurance that you will also not deviate from the revolutionary line? What do you think of a unity with Prachanda? Now, what will be your relationship with the existing state, will you divorce with it and begin to declare people’s governments as in the past?
A: – You indicted the new party as an old alcohol, on this what I want to say is – please at least look at our decisions carefully. If you examine our decisions carefully, then you will be able to discern whether the new party is old or new alcohol. I think the word alcohol here has been fairly tainted, but it would be better to understand the crux of the matter. We didn’t separate without valid reasons. Many things justify the reasons for this divorce.
I have already said a lot about the issue of Indian expansionism– think about it, can patriots and genuine republicans progress work together with those who sign treaties like the bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement (BIPPA) and those who claim an exceptional relationship with India?
Can revolutionaries progress together with those who renounced all of the promises that were made to people in the process of the great people’s war and who cremated the constituent assembly by joining their necks together with the reactionaries and opportunists? We have to look at things from this prospective.
Talking about unity with Prachanda – unity is not feasible in such a situation. It is not possible at all. We have kept the door open if someone transforms themselves and comes to unite. This is the main thing. Even under this condition we will not go to Prachanda – he has to come to us.
On the question of separation with the old state, even a person with a very basic knowledge of Marxism knows that communists want to smash the old reactionary state and replace that with new people’s government. The great people’s war we fought, the agenda of socialism, the journey to communism – all this means smashing the old reactionary state and replacing that with new people’s government.
Not just this, beyond here we aim to abolish the existence of the state as a whole to establish a new world of humanism by creating a stateless, classless society that is completely free of all forms of exploitation and oppression. Our politics is fairly farsighted. We won’t stick to the government as a leech like other rulers here do. We will continue to struggle to establish a new state – this is our main goal.
In the current situation, we will carefully think about what can be done for the benefit the people and the country by restricting ourselves within the limitations of the current state and the existing law. Proletarians have utilized parliaments and elections in the past. We cannot detach ourselves entirely from the principals of Marxism. We will decide what to do and where by formulating policies through analysis of the concrete situation.
Q: – What is the decision of the National Convention on the question of dissolution of the constituent assembly? Now that the party has ruptured, which faction has the majority, the new party or the establishment faction? You have mentioned about united front, who would you unite with in united front?
A: – We have already said a lot about the dissolution of the constituent assembly. There is a direct conspiracy of national and foreign reactionaries in dissolving the constituent assembly. The greediness of Baburam and the Nepali Congress to hold on to the power has also played some role here. It is well known to all that the autocratic behavior of those who have been proclaiming themselves as top leaders of the main four political parties has played a vital role in dissolving the constituent assembly.
The autocratic behavior of these top leaders which completely mismatched with democratic practices and also bypassed the dignity of the 601 members of the constituent assembly is a major cause of the dissolution of the constituent assembly.
While talking about which party is smaller and which is bigger, the world knows who is in the majority and how.
Firstly, the issue of majority is transparent, those who came in the party through the unification process, some of the comrades are fine, no argument there, but the majority of them are total rubbish.
We would be in the majority in the Maoist Party– in this situation; the fact is that there had been malevolent attempt to change the color of the party through absolute unification.
Secondly, talking about which party is larger– we can evidently claim that even though we are in the minority in the central committee we have parallel party committees throughout the nation. If necessary we can demonstrate our strength. Thirdly, the issue of which party is bigger and which is smaller– perhaps this issue is not very significant.
Throughout history smaller parties have become bigger, and the big ones have diminished. This is the way we have to understand the dialecticism of party unity. We have come thorough a long history. UCPN (Maoist) was also tiny in the initial phase.
The issue of smaller and bigger– the party with correct thought, politics, ideology, which can substantiate politics in practice advancing resolutely in capacity of a genuine revolutionary communist party, acting in the interest of the country, people and proletarians expands. Those who betray the country and the people gradually evaporate.
I have already clarified with whom we need to form a united front. A united front has to be formed. And we advance ahead forming a united front including the patriotic republicans, leftists, federalists, women, workers and Dalits. Another thing, the issue of party registration is the issue of conditional necessity. We will think about whether we should register the party and if we deem it is important then, we may register.
If not we may not register at all because we are resolutely convinced that through parliamentarianism the people’s problems cannot be put to an end. Therefore, whether to register the party depends upon the situation.
On the question of comradeship with Prachanda and Baburam, we came throughout our life in comradeship with them. Now, we did not leave Prachanda and Baburam but they left us. We did not separate from the party as well but they split themselves ditching the political ideological line of the party. Therefore, now the issue of their class categorization is a real bizarre. An independent political line of Prachanda and Baburam has come to an end.
What should we label those who are the puppets of foreign reactionaries and expansionism? It is not possible to join neck together with the puppets. We cannot join our necks together with class capitulationists.
Our desire and proposal to them is that they have to break all ties with all sort of reactionaries, only then we can go ahead together. As long as they have ties with those reactionaries, we don’t trust them.
Q: – As heard, you are ambiguous about whether to go for people’s war or people’s revolt? What is your say on the question of corruption thought have been taken place in cantonments? How will you treat the journalists?
A: – We are not ambiguous about whether to go for People’s War or People’s Revolt.
Firstly, we will revolt for new democracy against parliamentarianism. We don’t acknowledge parliamentarianism. The democratic republic, the aged-decayed parliamentarianism of which all the parties here sing the retro song of democracy deafeningly, that democracy has completely failed, the Constituent Assembly has also failed.
Therefore, as an alternative, in the interest of the country and the people we move ahead to establish New Democratic Republic in Nepal against Feudalism, Imperialism and Neo-Colonialism. This is our key agenda. To attain this goal, if asked how we move ahead, both ways, legal and underground, a revolutionary party can utilize every essential method. We came to the peace negotiation honestly. When we arrived only the Maoists had to make all the compromises but now we don’t compromise up to this excess.
So, that is beyond doubt, if necessary – People’s War or People’s Revolt, anything can happen, this is the key issue.
And you talk about money and corruption in the cantonments; I’m not here to talk about that. This is not a place to investigate corruption. So lets not talk about these things here. People are finding out where there has been mischief; most definitely the revolutionary members of the people’s liberation army are investigating it. That space is there.
On your query about the role of Baburam-Prachanda while our arrest took place in India, but these are not things that only we look into. This can be a case of a serious investigation. This is also something that the masses and you people (journalists) can look at. Our journalist friends are very far-sighted, introspective and detail oriented. I am convinced that you will help us through this. We want to respect the media on how media is being treated. We will continue to fight for the rights of working class journalists; we will fight for the rights of the working class people.
What we are worried about is that in the veil of professional journalism, mission journalism happens, and that is not a good thing. Let this not be the main issue, and we will respect you. If any shortcomings on our part we are committed to self-criticism.

Red Front Magazine

Here.
New online magazine about the Maoist movement in Nepal. The movement won about 49% of the seats in the latest elections. Since then there has been intense debate within the movement about its aims and methods.
The leader, Prachandra, has been accused of being a sellout. He has quite a few folks in his “revisionist” camp. They are accused of selling out Maoism by adopting electoral politics instead of seizing power and by advocating capitalism. It’s true that the movement has advocated an electoral road to power, but the hardliners deride this approach as “parliamentary cretinism” (Lenin). They say the Maoists should just seize power and declare a Maoist state. The movement has also advocated a varity of forms of capitalist economics for the time being, and they say they want foreign investment.
Perhaps more outrageously, they signed an agreement with India that puts Nepal at extreme disadvantage. India has forced Nepal to sign these unequal agreements for decades. Nepal’s rulers since 1950 have been in effect Indian puppets. Most of these agreements center around water. What’s going on here is that India is stealing Nepal’s water. With regard to Nepal, since independence, India has been an imperialist state and Nepal has been one of its puppets, satellites or neo-colonies.
The other parties in power include Congress, a pitiful version of India’s Congress, and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist). The latter party is truly pitiful, being a puppet of India and the US and supporting neoliberalism. They have also supported all of the unequal treaties with India. They’re basically a joke as far as a Communist Party is concerned.
Another agreement was to disarm the Maoist army, which had previously been confined to cantons after giving up the civil war a few years back. The Maoists decided that they would have to take Katmandu, where they did not have a lot of support. Further, it would lead to a lot of bloody street fighting.
So they signed an armistice instead. A recent agreement calls for disarming the Maoist army but not the army of the state. Some of the Maoists will be integrated into the state army, but many others will not. This agreement is being decried as a gigantic sellout.
I don’t think we should tell the Nepalese Maoists how to go about running their revolution, but there is a lot of debate going on between the hardliners and the revisionists.

Journeys in Asian Prehistory

Repost from the old site.
In this post we will look at the prehistory of the Asian or Mongoloid Race and some its subgroups. After humans came out of Africa about 70,000 years ago, they moved along the coast of Arabia, Southwest Asia, South Asia and eventually to Southeast Asia.

One Asian man’s rendering of modern Asian expansion, contrasted with the typical model. I don’t agree with either model, but I like the one on the left a little better. For starters, the yellow line on the map to the left should be hugging the coast quite closely and the brown and red lines should be radiating out from a base somewhere along the yellow line. Unfortunately, my artistic skills are not good enough to draw my own map.

We think that these people looked something like the Negritos of today, such as those on the Andaman Islands.
At some point, probably in Southern China, the Mongoloid Race was born. The timeline, as determined by looking at genes, was from 60,000-110,000 years ago. As humans are thought to have only populated the world 70,000 years or so ago, it is strange that the timeline may go back as far as 110,000 years.
One thing that is very interesting is that there is evidence for regional continuity in Asia (especially China) dating back 100,000’s of years, if not millions of years. This is called the multiregional hypothesis of human development.
Though it is mostly abandoned today, it still has its adherents.
Some of its adherents are Asian nationalists of various types, especially Chinese and Indonesian nationalists. They all want to think that man was born in their particular country. Others are White nationalists who refuse to believe that they are descended from Africans, whom they consider to be inferior. The problem is that the Asians can indeed show good evidence for continuity in the skulls in their region.
A good midway point between the two, that sort of solves the conundrum, is that humans came out of Africa, say, ~70,000 years or so ago, and when they got to Asia, they bred in with some of the more archaic types there. The problem with this is that the only modern human showing evidence of pre-modern Homo genes in Mungo Man in Australia from 50,000 years ago.
There is evidence that as late as 120,000 years ago, supposedly fully modern humans in Tanzania were still transitioning from archaic to modern man. Ancient South African humans 100-110,000 yrs ago looked like neither Bantus nor Bushmen.
Nevertheless, we can reject the multiregional theory in its strong form as junk science. We also note cynically that once again ethnic nationalists and regular nationalists, including some of the world’s top scientists, are pushing a blatantly unscientific theory. Yet again ethnic nationalism is shown to be a stupidifying mindset.
There must be a reason why ethnic nationalism seems to turn so many smart people into total idiots. I suspect it lies in the fact that the basic way of thinking involved in ethnic nationalism is just a garbage way of looking at the world, and getting into it distorts one’s mind similar to the way a mental illness does.
We think that the homeland of the Asians is in Southern China, just north of the Vietnam border. This is because the people with the greatest genetic diversity in Asia are found in Northern Vietnam. Since the Vietnamese are known to have largely come from Southern China, we can assume that the homeland was just north of the border. From there, all modern Asians were born.
This means all NE and SE Asians, Polynesians, Micronesians and Melanesians came out of this Asian homeland.

School kids in Hothot, a town in Inner Mongolia. There is some question about whether China really has a right to control this area. These Northeast Asians originally came from a homeland in SE Asia near the China-Vietnam border. As this race is only 9,000 years old, NE Asians could not possibly have gone through an Ice Age that molded their brains for high intelligence, as the racist liar and scientific fraud Richard Lynn claims .

There is even evidence that the Altaics of Siberia originated from the SE Asian homeland. They are thought to have moved out of there to the west and north to become the various Altaic groups such as the Buryats. Later Caucasian lines came to the Altaics from the West.

A Mongolian man on the steppes with a grazing animal and possibly a yurt in the background. Yurts are conical structures that the Mongolians still live in. I believe that Mongolians also eat a lot of yogurt, which they cultivate from the milk of their grazing animals. Note the pale blue eyes and somewhat Caucasian appearance.
My astute Chinese commenter notes: “While Mongolians do have ‘Caucasian genes’, they look distinct from Uighurs, who are mixed. I’m thinking Mongolians and Central Asians lie in a spectrum between Caucasoids in West Asia and “Mongoloids” in Northeast Asians, while Uighurs were the product of Central Asian, West Asian, and Northeast Asian interbreeding.”
In fact, all of these populations are on the border genetically between Caucasians and Asians.
A Mongolian woman. Note short, stocky appearance with short limbs to preserve heat in the cold. Note also the long, moon-shaped, ruddy face, possibly red from the cold weather. Are those ginseng roots in her hand?
More Mongolians, this time with what look like grazing reindeer in the background. Mongolians herd reindeer? Note once again the long, flat, moon-shaped face, the almost-Caucasian features and especially the pale blue eyes of each woman. I cannot help but think that both of these women also look like Amerindians. Neither would be out of place at a pow wow.
More Mongolians, this time a Mongolian boy. Other than the eyes, he definitely looks Caucasian. He looks like a lot of the kids I grew up with in facial structure. Mongolians are anywhere from 10% Caucasian to 14% Caucasian.

From their Altaic lands, especially in the Altai region and the mouth of the Amur River, they moved into the Americas either across the Bering Straight or in boats along the Western US Coast. Another line went north to become the Northeast Asians. And from the Northeast Asian homeland near Lake Baikal, another line went on to become the Siberians.

An Evenki boy with his reindeer. Prototypical reindeer herders, the Evenki are a classical Siberian group. Strangely enough, they are related to both NE Asians and other Siberians and also to Tibetans. This indicates that the genesis of the Tibetans may have been up near or in Siberia.

From 10-40,000 yrs ago, the Siberian population was Mongoloid or pre-Mongoloid. After 10,000 yrs BP (before present), Caucasians or proto-Caucasians moved in from the West across the steppes, but they never got further than Lake Baikal. This group came from the Caucasus Mountains. They are members of the Tungus Race and are quite divergent from most other groups genetically.

More Evenkis, members of the Tungus Race, this time some beautiful women and kids in traditional costumes. But this photo was taken in some Siberian city, so they may have just been dressing up. They probably have some Caucasian genes, as the nearby Yakuts are 6% Caucasian. Many of the Evenki women have become single Moms, because the men are seen as violent, drunk and a financial drain.

Soon after the founding of the Asian homeland in northern Vietnam 53,000-90,000 yrs ago, the proto-Asians split into three distinct lines – a line heading to Japanese and related peoples, another heading to the North and Northeast Asians, and a third to the Southern Han Chinese and SE Asian lines.

A beautiful royal member of the Southern Han Dynasty in Hong Kong, member of the South China Sea Race. This race consists of the Filipinos, the Ami and the Southern Han from Guangdong Province. The Ami are a Taiwanese Aborigine tribe who made up the bulk of the Austronesians who populated much of island SE Asia over the past 8,000 years.
These Southern Chinese people never went through any Ice Age, and the SE Asian Race is only 10,000 years old anyway. So why are they so smart? Unlike some NE Asian groups, especially those around Mongolia, the Altai region, the Central Asian Stans and Siberia, the Han have no Caucasian in them.
A bright Chinese commenter left me some astute remarks about the South Chinese IQ: “Some possible reasons for high South Chinese IQ’s: Chinese culture is very… g-loaded. For example, understanding the language requires good pitch, recognizing Chinese characters takes visual IQ and good memory, Chinese literature and history span 3,000-4,000 years for references, etc.
For several thousand years testing determined your social position (and it still does to some extent in Confucian nations). Those left in the countryside were periodically left to famine and “barbarian” invasions (slaughter).
Likewise, when Chinese people interbreed, there is strong pressure to breed into the upper class of a native population. Whatever caused the high selection when Chinese and Mon-Khmer/Dai groups interbred probably gave the Chinese immigrants leverage to marry into the upper classes when they did. This is something the Asian diaspora still tends to do.”
Regarding South Chinese appearance, he notes, “Lastly, the Chinese in Fujian have distinct features. They have thicker lips, curlier hair, more prominent brow, less pronounced epicanthic folds, etc. I’m in Taiwan now and I do notice it. I was at a packed market a while ago and was noting the way people look.”

As a result of this split, all Chinese are related at a deep level, even though Northern Chinese are closer to Caucasians than to Southern Chinese. Nevertheless, we can still see a deep continuum amongst Asian populations.

A Northern Chinese man with distinctly Caucasian features. Although they have no Caucasian genes that we can see anymore, they are still closer to Caucasians than to the Southern Chinese.

The major genetic frequency found in Japan, Korea and Northern China is also found at very high levels in Southern China, Malaysia and Thailand, and at lower levels in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. Incredibly, even higher levels are found in Southern China, Malaysia and Thailand than in Northern China.
The proto-NE Asian or North Asian homeland was around Lake Baikal about 35,000 years ago. The Ainu and a neighboring group, the Nivkhi, are thought to be the last remaining groups left from this line. The Ainu are related to the Jomon, the earliest group in Japan, who are thought to have originated in Thailand about 16,000 years ago and then came up to Japan on boats to form the proto-Jomon.
The Jomon culture itself formally begins about 9,000 years ago. Japan at that time was connected to the mainland. Jomonese skulls found in Japan look something like Aborigines. Later, around 2,300 years ago, a group called the Yayoi came across the sea from Korea and moved into Japan.

The woman on the left is more Yayoi and the one on the right is more Okinawan. The Okinawans, members of the Ryukyuan Race, seem to be related to the Ainu, and they have a long history in the south of Japan. The Ryukyuan Race is a very divergent grouping.
Most Japanese are members of the Japanese-Korean Race (like the Yayoi woman at left) but there is a divergent group in the South called the Southern Japanese Race, made up of the Honshu Kinki (the people around Kyoto) and the island of Kyushu. They may be more Okinawan than the rest of the mainland Japanese.

Over the next 2,300 years, the Yayoi slowly conquered and interbred with the Ainu until at the present time, the Ainu are nearly extinct as a cultural and racial entity. The Ainu have always been treated terribly by the Japanese, in part because they are quite hairy, like Caucasians.
The hairy body is thought to be a leftover from proto-NE Asian days, as some other groups in that area also have a lot of body hair. Despite the fact that they look down on the Ainu, about 40% of Japanese are related to the Ainu, and the rest are more or less related to the Yayoi. Actually, Japanese genetics seems a lot more complicated than that, but that’s as good a summary as any.

The Ainu. Though despised by the Japanese in part due to their Caucasian-like “monkey hair” on their bodies (note the guy’s hairy legs), the Japanese themselves are about 40% Ainu. The Ainu are members of the Ainu-Gilyak Race and are one of the most diverse groups on Earth.
A photo of Ainu Yasli Adam in traditional garb. I love this photo. Note that he could be mistaken for an Aborigine or a Caucasian. For a long time, the Ainu were considered to be Caucasians, but recent genetic studies have shown conclusively that they are Asians.
The Ainu language is formally an isolate, but in my opinion it is probably related to Japanese and Korean and thence to Altaic, nevertheless I think that both Japanese and Korean are closer to Altaic than Ainu is. Genetically, the Ainu are closest to NE Asians but are also fairly close to the Na-Dene Amerindians. Cavalli-Sforza says they are in between NE Asians, Amerindians and Australians.

At this time, similar-looking Australoids who looked something like Papuans, Aborigines or Negritos were present all over Asia, since the NE Asians and SE Asians we know them today did not form until around 10,000 years ago.
There are still some traces of these genes, that look like a Papuan line, in modern-day Malays, coastal Vietnamese, parts of Indonesia and some Southwestern Chinese. The genes go back to 13,000 years ago and indicate a major Australoid population expansion in the area at that time. Absolutely nothing whatsoever is known about this Australoid expansion.

God I love these Paleolithic types. A Papuan Huli man, member of the Papuan Race, who looks somewhat like an Australian Aborigine. Although it is often said that Papuans and Aborigines are related, they are only in the deepest sense. In truth, they really do form two completely separate races because they are so far apart.
Once again, while Afrocentrists also like to claim these folks as “Black”, the Papuans and Aborigines are the two people on Earth most distant from Africans, possibly because they were the first to split off and have been evolving away from Africans for so long. I don’t know what that thing in his mouth is, but it looks like a gigantic bong to me. There are about 800 languages spoken on Papua, including some of the most maddeningly complex languages on Earth.
NE Asian skulls from around 10,000 years ago also look somewhat like Papuans, as do the earliest skulls found in the Americas. The first Americans, before the Mongoloids, were apparently Australoids.

The proto-NE Asian Australoids transitioned to NE Asians around 9,000 years ago. We know this because the skulls at Zhoukoudian Cave in NE China from about 10,000 years ago look like the Ainu, the Jomon people, Negritos and Polynesians.

Waitress in Hothot, Inner Mongolia. Zhoukoudian Cave is not far from here. Note the typical NE Asian appearance. Mongolians are members of the Mongolian Race and speak a language that is part of the Altaic Family.

We think that these Australoids also came down in boats or came over the Bering Straight to become the first Native Americans. At that time – 9-13,000 years ago, Zhoukoudian Cave types were generalized throughout Asia before the arrival of the NE Asians.

Northern Chinese prototypes from a photo of faculty and students at Jilin University in Northern China. People in this area, members of the Northern Chinese Race, are closely related to Koreans. Note the lighter skin and often taller bodies than the shorter, darker Southern Chinese. The man in the center is a White man who is posing with the Chinese in this picture.
My brother worked at a cable TV outfit once and there was a Northern Chinese and a Southern Chinese working there. The Northern one was taller and lighter, and the Southern one was shorter and darker. The northern guy treated the southern guy with little-disguised contempt the whole time. He always called the southern guy “little man”, his voice dripping with condescension.
This was my first exposure to intra-Chinese racism. Many NE Asians, especially Japanese, are openly contemptuous of SE Asians, in part because they are darker.

Native Americans go from Australoids to Mongoloids from 7,000-9,000 years ago, around the same time – 9,000 years ago – that the first modern NE Asians show up.

Prototypical NE Asians – Chinese in Harbin, in far northeastern China. This area gets very cold in the winter, sort of like Minnesota. Keep in mind that this race is only 9,000 years old. Note the short, stocky body type, possibly a cold weather adaptation to preserve heat.

Some of the earliest Amerindian skulls such as Spirit Cave Man, Kennewick Man, and Buhl Woman look like Ainu and various Polynesians, especially Maoris.

A Hawaiian woman, part of the Polynesian Race. Kennewick Man does not look like any existing populations today, but he is closest to Polynesians, especially the virtually extinct Moiriori of the Chatham Islands and to a lesser extent the Cook Islanders. Yes, many of the various Polynesians can be distinguished based on skulls. Other early Amerindian finds, such as Buhl Woman and Spirit Cave Woman also look something like Polynesians.
It is starting to look like from a period of ~7,000-11,000 years ago in the Americas, the Amerindians looked like Polynesians and were not related to the existing populations today, who arrived ~7,000 years ago and either displaced or bred out the Polynesian types. Furthermore, early proto-NE Asian skulls, before the appearance of the NE Asian race 9,000 years ago, look somewhat like Polynesians, among other groups.

An archaeologist who worked on Kennewick Man says Amerindians assaulted him, spit on him and threatened to kill him because he said that Kennewick Man was not an Amerindian related to living groups, and that his line seemed to have no ancestors left in the Americas.
Furthermore, most Amerindians insist that their own tribe “has always been here”, because this is what their silly ancestral religions and their elders tell them. They can get quite hostile if you question them on this, as I can attest after working with an Amerindian tribe for 1½ years in the US.
To add further insult to reason, a completely insane law called NAGPRA, or Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act, mandates that all bones found on any tribe’s territory are the ancestors of that tribe and must be returned to the tribe for reburial. This idiotic law is completely anti-scientific, but most Amerindians, even highly educated ones, get pretty huffy about defending it (Trust me!).
Hence there has been a huge battle over the bones of Kennewick Man. Equally idiotically, White Nationalists insist that Kennewick Man is a Caucasian, so that means he is one of theirs. They also use this to conveniently note that Whites occupied the US before the Indians, and therefore, that the Amerindians implicitly have no rights to the place and that the land-theft of Amerindian America by Whites was right and proper.
This is even more insane than Zionism by orders of magnitude. First of all, Kennewick Man is not a Caucasian! He just sort of looks like one. But that is only because Polynesians, the Ainu and even Aborigines look somewhat Caucasian. This is not due to Caucasian genes, but is instead simply a case of convergent evolution.
These dual episodes above, like the Asian paleontologist morons above, adds weight to my hypothesis that ethnic nationalism, and nationalism in general, turns people into dithering morons. Among other reasons, that is why this proudly internationalist blog casts such a wary eye on nationalism of all kinds.
The prehistory of SE Asia follows a similar storyline. Once again, all of SE Asia was inhabited by Australoids. They probably looked something like the Negritos of today. Skulls from 9,000-11,000 years ago in SE Asia (including Southern China) resemble modern-day Australoids.
The oldest skulls in Vietnam look like Negritos. 25,800 yr old bones from Thailand look like Aborigines and the genes look like the Semang, Negritos of Thailand and Malaysia. There are skulls dating back 44,000 years in Malaysia and these also look like Aborigines. Some say that the Semang go back 50,000 years in Malaysia.

Andaman Islands Negritos. This type was probably the main human type all throughout SE Asia, and a variation of this type was in NE Asia too. These are really the first people to come out of Africa. Afrocentrists like to say that these people are Black, but the truth is that these people are very far away from Black people – in fact, they are Asians.
Andaman Islanders have peppercorn hair like the hair of the Bushmen in Africa. This would differentiate this group from the woolly-haired Negritos in the Philippines. Genetic studies have shown that the Andaman Islanders are quite probably the precise remains of the first people to come out of Africa.
Genetically, they tend to resemble whatever group they are living around, with some distinct variations. In truth, this group here, the Andamans, is one of the “purest” ethnic groups on Earth, because they have been evolving in isolation for so long. This is known as genetic drift. At the same time, I think there is little diversity internally in their genome, also due to drift.
The Andaman Negritos are part of the Andaman Islands Negrito Race. Their strange and poorly understood languages are not related to any others, but there is some speculation that they are related to Kusunda in Nepal, a language isolate. I tend to agree with that theory.
One of the problems with genetic drift is after a while you get an “island” effect where the population lacks genetic diversity, since diversity comes from inputs from outside populations. Hence they tend to be vulnerable to changes in the environment that a more genetically diverse population would be able to weather a lot better.
Although racist idiot Richard Lynn likes to claim that all people like this have primitive languages, the truth is that the Andaman languages are so maddeningly complex that we are still having a hard time making sense out of them.
As in the case of Melanesians, Papuans and some Indian tribals, Afrocentrists like to claim that the Negritos are “Africans”, i.e., Black people. The truth is that Negritos are one of the most distant groups on Earth to existing Black populations. Negrito populations tend to be related, though not closely, with whatever non-Negrito population are in the vicinity. This is due to interbreeding over the years. Furthermore, most, if not all, Negritos are racially Asians, not Africans.
Another misconception is that Negritos are Australoids. Genetically, the vast majority of them do not fall into the Papuan or Australian races, but anthropometrically, at least some are Australoid. There is a lot of discrimination against these people wherever they reside, where they are usually despised by the locals.
White Supremacists have a particular contempt for them. As a side note, although White Supremacists like to talk about how ugly these people are, I think these Negrito women are really cute and delightful looking, but do you think they have large teeth? Some say Negritos have large teeth.

Around 8,500 years ago, the newly minted NE Asians, who had just transitioned from Australoids to NE Asians, came down from the north into the south in a massive influx, displacing the native Australoids. We can still see the results today. Based on teeth, SE Asians have teeth mixed between Australoids (Melanesians) and NE Asians. Yet, as noted above, there are few Australoid genes in SE Asians.

8,500 years ago, NE Asians moved down into SE Asia, displacing the native Australoids and creating the SE Asian race. If NE Asians are so smart though, I want to know what these women are doing wearing bathing suits in the freezing cold. Compare the appearance of these Northern Chinese to other NE Asian mainland groups above.

A prominent anthropology blogger suggests that a similar process occurred possibly around the same time in South Asia and the Middle East, where proto-Caucasians moved in and supplanted an native Australoid mix.
One group that was originally thought to be related to the remains of the original SE Asians is called the Yumbri, a group of primitive hunter-gatherers who live in the jungles of northern Laos and Thailand. Some think that the Yumbri may be the remains of the aboriginal people of Thailand, Laos and possibly Cambodia, but there is controversy about this.

Yumbri noble savages racing through the Thai rain forest. The group is seldom seen and little is known about them. They are thought to number only 200 or so anymore, and there are fears that they may be dying out. This paper indicates via genetics that the Yumbri are a Khmuic group that were former agriculturalists who for some odd reason gave up agriculture to go back to the jungles and live the hunter-gatherer way.
This is one of the very few case cases of agriculturalists reverting to hunting and gathering. The language looks like Khmuic (especially one Khmu language – Tin) but it also seems to have some unknown other language embedded in it. Genetics shows they have only existed for around 800 years and they have very little genetic diversity.
The low genetic diversity means that they underwent a genetic bottleneck, in this case so severe that the Yumbri may have been reduced to only one female and 1-4 males. It is interesting that the Tin Prai (a Tin group) has a legend about the origin of the Yumbri in which two children were expelled from the tribe and sent on a canoe downstream. They survived and melted into the forest where they took up a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
The Khmu are an Austroasiatic group that are thought to be the indigenous people of Laos, living there for 4,000 years before the Lao (Thai) came down 800 years ago and largely displaced them from the lowlands into the hills. The Austroasiatic homeland is usually thought to be somewhere in Central China (specifically around the Middle Yangtze River Valley), but there are some who think it was in India.
They moved from there down into SE Asia over possibly 5,000 years or so. Many Austroasiatics began moving down into SE Asia during the Shang and Zhou Dynasties due to Han pushing south, but the expansion had actually started about 8,500 years ago. At this time, SE Asia was mostly populated by Negrito types. The suggestion is that the Austroasiatics displaced the Negritos, and there was little interbreeding.
The Austroasiatic languages are thought to be the languages of the original people of SE Asia and India, with families like Sino-Tibetan, Tai-Kadai, Indo-European and Dravidian being latecomers. There are possible deep linguistic roots with the Austronesian Family, and genetically, the Austroasiatics are related to Sino-Tibetan, Tai-Kadai and the Hmong-Mien speakers.

There is an interesting paradox with the Southern Chinese in that genetically, they look like SE Asians, but they have IQ’s more like NE Asians, around ~105. There do not seem to be any reasonable theories about why this is so. It is true that NE Asians came down and moved into SE Asia, but they moved into the whole area, not just Southern China, yet SE Asian IQ’s are not nearly as high as Southern Chinese IQ’s.
Of relevance to the IQ debate is that Asians, especially NE Asians, score lower on self-esteem than Blacks, yet they do much better in school. This would tend to argue against the contention of many that Black relatively poor school performance is a consequence of them not feeling good about themselves.
This seems to poke one more hole in Richard Lynn’s theory that a journey through the Ice Age is necessary for a high IQ, as the Southern Chinese made no such sojourn.
As a result of the Northern and Southern mix in Southern China, groups such as the Yunnanese are quite a mixed group. Yunnanese are mostly southern and are extremely distant from NE Asians. The Wa are a group in the area that is almost equally mixed with northern and southern admixture.

Two pretty Laotian girls being starved to death by murderous Communist killers in Laos. The Lao are related to the Thai and are members of the Tai Race that includes the Lao, Thai, Aini, Deang, Blang, Vietnamese, Muong, Shan, Dai and Naxi peoples. The Lao language is a member of the Tai language family.
The Thai are related to the Tai group in Yunnan in Southern China. They evolved there about 4,000 years ago and then gave birth to a number of groups in the region. The modern Thai are latecomers to the region, moving into the area in huge numbers only about 700 years ago to become the Lao, Thai and Shan. The Lao are the descendants of recent Tai immigrants who interbred heavily with existing Chinese and Mon-Khmer populations.
Gorgeous Dai women in China. The Dai are an ethnic group in China, mostly in Yunnan, who are related to the Thai – they are also members of the Tai Race and speak a Tai language . It looks like the Thai split off from the larger Dai group and moved into Thailand in recent centuries.
The Dai were together with the Zhuang, another Yunnan group, as the proto-Tai north of Yunnan about 5000 years ago. They moved south into Yunnan and split into the Zhuang and the Tai. There were also Tai movements south into Vietnam via Yunnan.
More Dai, this time two young Dai men from Thailand. They do seem to look a bit different from other Thais, eh? They look a little more Chinese to me. The Thai are not the only ethnic group in Thailand; there are 74 languages spoken there, and almost all are in good shape. These people apparently speak the Tai Nüa language.
A proud Dai father in China, where they Dai are an official nationality together with the Zhuang. He’s got some problems with his teeth, but that is pretty typical in most of the world, where people usually lack modern dental care.
A photo of a Thai waitress in Bangkok getting ready to serve some of that yummy Thai food. Note that she looks different from the Dai above – more Southeast Asian and less Chinese like the Dai. The Thai are also members of the Tai Race.
Another pic of a Thai street vendor. The Thai are darker and less Chinese-looking than the lighter Dai. The Tai people are thought to have come from Taiwan over 5,000 years ago. They left Taiwan for the mainland and then moved into Southwest China, which is thought to be their homeland. Then, 5,000 years ago, they split with the Zhuang. The Zhuang went to Guangxi and the Tai went to Yunnan.
A Thai monk. Am I hallucinating or does this guy look sort of Caucasian? In Thai society, it is normal for a young man to go off and become a monk for a couple of years around ages 18-20. Many Thai men and most Lao men do this. I keep thinking this might be a good idea in our society. Khrushchev used to send them off to work in the fields for a couple of years at this age.

Nevertheless, most Yunnanese have SE Asian gene lines and they are quite distant from the NE Asians (as noted, NE Asians are further from SE Asians than they are from Caucasians).

More beautiful women, this time from Yunnan, in Communist-controlled China. Look at the miserable faces on these poor, starving women as they suffer through Communist terror and wholesale murder.
Yunnan was the starting point for most of peoples in the region, including the Tai, the Hmong, the Mon-Khmer, the Vietnamese, the Taiwanese aborigines and from there to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia.
In a sense, almost all of SE Asia was settled via a southward and southeastward movement out of Yunnan. Why so many groups migrated out of Yunnan is not known, but they may have being pushed out of there via continuous southward movements by Northern Han. Yunnan was seen as a sort of rearguard base and sanctuary for many Chinese ethnic groups who were being pushed out of their areas, mostly by Han expansions.
The terrain was rough but fertile. At some point, the Han started pushing down into Yunnan and that is when many southward expansions into SE Asia over the last 5000 or so years took place. A discussion of Asian racial features and their possible evolution is here.

Tibetans are close to NE Asians genetically, though they are located in the South. This is because they evolved in NE Asia and only recently moved down into Tibet. After coming into Tibet, they moved down into Burma. Many of today’s Burmese came from Tibet.

A Tibetan tourist in India. This woman has more of a classic Tibetan look than the younger woman below. Tibetans characteristically have darker skin than many NE Asians – Tibetans are actually NE Asians displaced to the south in fairly recent times. Although it is high and cold in Tibet, the region is at a more southerly latitude. Nevertheless, UV radiation is very intense in Tibet, which probably accounts for the darker skin.
It looks like all humans were pretty dark at the start and in some cases have lost melanin in cold climes where they needed to lighten to get Vitamin D. White skin in Europe is merely 9,000 years old, so European Whites never went through any brain-sharpening Ice Age either.
Tibetans are members of the General Tibetan Race, which includes the Tibetan, Nakhi, Lisu, Nu, Karen, Adi, Tujia, Hui and Kachin peoples. They speak a Tibeto-Burman language, part of the larger Sino-Tibetan family.
My observant Chinese commenter notes about the Tibetans: “As for the Tibetans, they seem to be primarily Northeast Asian (they look to be the most “yellow” of any Asians) with some other (South Asian-looking) element that interbred with them fairly recently. They tend to also be more ruddy, and have skin tones from reddish to yellow to brown.
You can see some similarities with Burmese, but they are distinct. Another thing to note is that the prevalence of colored hair and eyes is relatively higher in Tibet.
A gorgeous Tibetan woman, but to me she does not look typically Tibetan. Note that she seems to have put some whitening powder on her face – note contrast between her face and her darker hand.
Although this blog supports Tibetan freedom and opposed the colonial Chinese takeover and racist ethnic cleansing of the Tibetan people by the Chinese Communists, it should nevertheless be noted that the wonderful regime that the Dalai Lama apparently wants to bring back was one of the most vicious forms of pure feudalism existing into modern times, where the vast majority of the population were serf-slaves for the Buddhist religious ruling class.
Yes, that wonderful religion called Buddhism has its downside.
The Buddhist paradise of Burma, run by one of the most evil military dictatorships on Earth (No satire in that sentence). I thought Buddhists were supposed to be peace loving?
A Burmese woman with classic Burmese features. The Burmese, better known as the Bamar, are members of the General Tibetan Race. Boy, she sure is cute. And yes, I do have a thing for Asian women. I think I need to retitle this post Hot Asian Babes.

There are several interesting points in the sketch above. First of all, much as it pains them to be compared to people whom they probably consider to be inferior, all NE Asians were originally Australoids similar to the Australian Aborigines.
NE Asians like to accuse SE Asians of being mostly an “Australoid” group, an analysis that is shared by many amateur anthropologists on the web. We will look into this question more in the future, but it appears that both NE and SE Asians are derived from Australoid stock. Further, there are few Australoid genes left in any mainland SE Asians and none in most SE Asians.
It is true that Melanesians, Polynesians and Micronesians are part-Australoid in that the latter two are derived from Melanesians, who are derived from Austronesians mixed with Papuans. Any analysis that concludes that non-Oceanic SE Asians are “part-Australoid” is dubious.
If anything, NE Asians are closer to Australoids than most SE Asians. The Japanese and Koreans are probably closer to Australian Aborigines than any other group in Asia. I am certain that the ultranationalist and racialist Japanese at least will not be pleased to learn this.
Second, we note that all Asians are related, and that the proto-Asian homeland was in northern Vietnam. It follows that NE Asians are in fact derived from the very SE Asians whom the NE Asians consider to be inferior. A NE Asian who is well versed in these matters (He was of the “SE Asians are part-Australoid” persuasion) was not happy to hear my opinion at all, and left sputtering and mumbling.
NE Asian superiority over SE Asians is a common point of view, especially amongst Japanese – the Japanese especially look down on Koreans (Their fellow NE Asians!), Vietnamese, Filipinos (the “niggers of Asia”), the Hmong (the “hillbillies of Asia”) and the Khmer.

The beautiful, intelligent, civilized and accomplished Koreans. Tell me, the Japanese look down on these people are inferiors why now? Note the rather distinct short and stocky appearance, possibly a heat-preserving adaptation to cold weather. Note also the moon-shaped face.
The Koreans seem to have come down from Mongolia about 5,000 years ago and completely displaced an unknown native group, but don’t tell any Korean that. Koreans are members of the Japanese-Korean Race and the Korean language is said to be a language isolate, but I think it is distantly related to Japanese, Ainu and Gilyak in a separate, distant branch of Altaic.
My Chinese commenter adds: “I get the impression that Koreans are at least comprised two major physically discernible groups. Some of them have a shade of skin similar to the Inuit or Na Dene. But I think they have intermixed quite a lot during some relatively stable 5,000+ year period, which results in a fairly even spectrum.”

Third, Richard Lynn’s Ice Age Theory takes another hit as he can explain neither the Southern Chinese high IQ, nor the genesis of high-IQ NE Asians from lower-IQ SE Asians, nor the fact that NE Asians do not appear in the anthropological record until 9,000 years ago (after the Ice Age that supposedly molded those fantastic brains of theirs), nor the genesis of these brainy folks via Australoids, whom Lynn says are idiots.
Fourth, the Negritos, who are widely reviled in their respective countries as inferiors, are looking more and more like the ancestors of many of us proud humans. Perhaps a little respect for the living incarnations of our ancient relatives is in order.

Great Commie Blogs

Repost from the old site.
Two totally great Commie blogs – People’s Movement Support Group and Machetera .
PMSG is out of India with an emphasis on support for the Maoist revolutionaries in India along with the separatists in the Northeast (India’s armed Maoists tend to support the northeastern separatists), and it’s almost all translated stuff from the world press, but there is a strong emphasis on armed Leftwing revolutionary movements.
Thankfully, he is not a fanatic – he supports Cuba, the Maoists in Nepal and especially in India, the FARC in Colombia, the EPR and EZLN in Mexico, the MRTA in Peru and the NPA Maoists in Philippines. In Palestine, he supports the PFLP! What is interesting about this is that in many cases orthodox Maoists do not support non-Maoists like the FARC or Cuba or surely the MRTA on grounds that they are not Commie enough.
Yay!
He also supports armed separatists in the Basque Country, Kurdistan, Ireland ( IRA), Sri Lanka and in India’s Northeast.
If there are leftwing maniacs anywhere on Earth with guns and bombs, he backs them up 100% (other than Sendero Luminoso). That’s some real consistency and style.
Living here in the US, one thing you notice right away is that almost every single human being you meet (who has an opinion on the issue) absolutely hates all guerrillas anywhere on Earth. This is true even for almost all US liberals, and even, incredibly, for many US Leftists.
The line of the average American is clear: All guerrillas are evil. They are all terrorists. In particular, Americans seem to really hate any kind of armed separatists or separatists of any type. This is kind of odd in that we were birthed via revolution, and there is no reason to fear separatism here as there isn’t any armed separatism in the US (or anywhere in the Americas) and probably never will be.
So Americans have turned into some of the biggest state-fetishists on Earth. Only the state can have guns. Only the state must have a monopoly on violence. All guerrillas are terrorists, terrorists are evil, and they all need to be killed to preserve the civilized world. All separatists are scum, states alone have the right to draw borders, and self-determination will never be allowed to anyone.
Death squads are fine and dandy, and every state is a democracy, no matter how murderous. The people never have the right to take up arms against any state anywhere, unless I guess it is Communist.
In other words, Americans have turned their backs completely on the noble spirit of the American revolution and have become the philosophical heirs to King George’s colonists. We have also become Israelis. They are colonists too. See any connections yet?
Machetera is definitely a blog after my heart. I get called a Stalinist a lot on here, but that’s not necessarily true. I do defend Stalin in some ways, mostly just to counteract the nonsense about “the biggest murderer that ever lived”, by pointing out the many great, humanitarian and life-saving things he did. He also killed a lot of people, and I think it many cases that was just plain wrong or even flat out evil.
Honestly, I would really prefer that we Lefties stopped killing people once we got into power. Other than the obvious moral questions, it has given the Right a gigantic shot in the arm by portraying us a the biggest murderers that ever lived. This has been so successful that many people around the world are frightened to let the hard Left back into power due to fear that they may start killing people.
So it is that I am a big fan of Castro’s Cuba, a place where the state has hardly killed a single political prisoner since 1970. They put a few in jail, but that’s not the same thing. By the way, I think the Cubans should go out of their way to treat the jailed political prisoners well, if only to deprive the anti-Commies of their propaganda snacks.
On the Majority Rights (careful – very nasty WN blog) blog a while back I was called a Castroite. That’s not a bad portrayal of me.
There is such a thing, and the Castroite philosophy, a Left, and sometimes an armed Left, that is particular to Latin America, is quite well portrayed on Machetera. So if you want to see what a Castroite looks like, head on over. They’ve actually long had conflicts with anarchists, Maoists and even some Trotskyites.
The Castroite philosophy could be best seen in the revolutionary movements that arose in Latin America in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Prior to that, there were a number of small bands in Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela that were wiped out. These were often influenced by Regis Debray’s flawed foco philosophy of armed revolution. Che’s fated project in Bolivia in 1966 is another example.
The ELN and the FARC in Colombia are very much Castroite (especially the ELN), with the ELN having a very strong Catholic liberation theology flavor. The FARC is probably a bit more rooted in an indigenous Colombian Left with roots in that nation’s particular history.
There are now branches of the FARC in Ecuador (FARE), Brazil (FARB), Panama (FARC), Venezuela (FARV) and Peru (FARP). The FARC extend all the way to Guyana, where they tax the gold mines. In 1984, the MRTA Castroites arose in Peru, but were eventually eclipsed by the Shining Path.
The Sandinistas of Nicaragua, the FMLN of El Salvador and the URNG of El Salvador and various small guerrilla bands in Honduras in the 1980’s were all Castroites, and the FMLN and the Sandinistas still have Castroite roots, though they have moved to the Right.
Chavez in Venezuela, Correa in Ecuador and Morales in Bolivia are very much in this special tradition.
There are many aspects to Castroism, and it is hard to put it down succinctly. Typically, many are Catholics and there is a lack of hostility to religion. They are less anti-Semitic than most Latin American Catholics (anti-Semitism is big in a continent with few Jews), in part because some of their leaders have been Jewish.
They tend to be much more pragmatic than Maoists, and are often prone to be called revisionists by the latter. There is a strong anti-Yankee and anti-US strain. The cult of Che Guevara is very important. The role of the peasants is very strong, but not in a Maoist sense.
The role of urban workers is somewhat important but not crucial, in part because the area is not well industrialized. But the industrial and professional unions are strongly supported.
There is a lacks of sexual puritanicalism that typified many existing Communist states. There is a significant de-emphasis on the Indian Question (while it is recognized nevertheless. This in contrast to Sendero, who raised the Indian Question to prime status. There is a very flexible ideology that often incorporates electoral democracy and mixed economies.
Class is much more important than race or sex, though the Woman Question is important. Female guerrillas often make up very large percentages of fighters, and in guerrilla ranks all aspects of Latin American machismo that oppresses women are banned.
Machetera is characterized by support for Cuba. Along the way, there are also shout-outs for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. The PFLP in Palestine have always had a fondness for Che Guevara and Cuba, and Cuba has long supported the PLO. Furthermore, she is a fine writer, witty and smart.

In the Shining Path of Ann Dunham

Repost from the old site.
It’s a lie that Sendero Luminoso never had much support. Simon Strong’s 1992 book gives the lie to that quite well. In the 18 months following Fujimori’s seizure of power, an unbelievable 1.5 million Peruvians were arrested on charges of being members of or collaborating with the Shining Path.
Surveys done at the height of their power indicated that they had the passive support of about 50% of the very poorest in society, with the full support of 16%. Really, to win any revolution you probably need 30% support, but the Bolsheviks did it with a lot less.
In the American Revolution, few Americans know that only 1/3 of Americans support George Washington’s bands, another 1/3 were basically traitors supporting the English crown and another 1/3 were pragmatic fence-sitters waiting to see which side was going to win before they decided who to support.
Most people don’t realize that in most civil wars you have a huge percentage of fence-sitters who are mostly just trying to stay alive.
Sendero had support even in the churches and in the military. They completely blew it in a lot of ways though, and though they still operate, they are a shadow of what they formerly were.
In my post, Sendero Fades and FARC Rises in Peru, I elaborate how Sendero has faded in Peru only to be replaced by the FARC of Colombia, who have been moving far down into Peru for some time now, and have been doing well with peasants fed up with Sendero’s mad violence.
The remains of the MRTA (yes, they still exist also) are up in the far north of Peru in San Martin Province where they always had their main base. Many former rebels from Sendero and the MRTA have basically left those groups and marched off to Colombia for retraining as members of the FARC.
This is part of a FARC regional strategy to expand into the countries surrounding it – there is the FARE in Ecuador, the FARV in Venezuela (which may have 2-3,000 members), the FARB that operates in the Dog’s Head region on the Brazilian border of Colombia and I believe the FARP that operates in Peru.
This article from La Rouche Publications (no, I do not endorse them) while a bit over the top, has an excellent roundup and analysis of the Sendero phenomenon. Particularly interesting is the huge support they had in the Peruvian diaspora in Europe, the US and Mexico, with a mind-numbing array of organizations.
In the US, the support was run by the Maoists in the RCP, a large US Maoist group. RCP’s homepage is here, and they actually run some decent articles, though I don’t support Communism in the US or anywhere else in the First World at the moment – I support some variety of socialism instead, and that can even mean social democracy.
El Diario International is the international paper of Sendero, or at least what remains of it. What is amazing is that this Belgium-based paper still prints a lot of issues, at least on the Net. It’s chock full of brand-new raving articles all the time.
I don’t read Spanish very well, but maybe someone who does could check it out and come back and report to us in the comments. El Diario del Hoy was Sendero’s paper in Peru, but it’s long been shut down. I think it reappears clandestinely from time to time.
I have read tons of Sendero propaganda and position statements. These people are completely off the deep end. All existing Communist states are “revisionist” (not real Communists but instead reformist traitors to the movement), and that includes North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and of course China. They despise both Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia. Chavez is pegged as some sort of “corporatist fascist”.
Sendero does support other armed Maoists like the revolutionaries in the Philippines, Nepal and India (but their most recent editorial condemns the Nepalese Maoists for “capitulation”). The Nepalese revolutionaries have done very well, the NPA in the Philippines is a vast organization, and the Indian Maoists are expanding like mad in the east. I don’t have a problem with any of these three movements.
Their position statements, and regular publications of their Red Sun Magazine (both here) are some of the rantingest, ravingest Commie stuff out there (Red Sun (Sol Rojo) 29 in Spanish, Red Sun 29 English supplement). As Peruvian society is evil and the system is a pile of garbage, Peruvian reality drove Senderistas insane. The crazier and more wicked the society, the crazier and more wicked the guerrilla reaction.
The La Rouche link (forget the nonsense about how Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch support Sendero, and forget anything about the UK – LaRouchies have always been insane on the subject of the Crown) makes clear the link between Sendero and radical anthropologists and academics, in particular psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, historians, teachers and agronomists.
The role of anthropologists , both Peruvian and even foreign, as essentially the brainchildren of Sendero is especially glaring.
Just for the record, this blog supports the ELN and FARC in Colombia, and supported the MRTA in Peru, but cannot support the project of Sendero.
The link with anthropologists is especially interesting in that Obama’s mother was an anthro, and she has been decried as an America-hater, and this America-hatred of hers can be seen supposedly in both Obama and his wife.
Though I do not care about whether or not Obama and his wife hate America, I think these latest America-hating charges may well be fatal for his campaign, especially with White ethnic working class types (Reagan Democrats), independents and Republicans who were voting for Obama for some bizarre reason.
This Asia Times piece by Spengler is worth reading along those lines. Though I am not a big fan of Spengler, he is definitely worth reading. He tells it like it is all right.
I’m for whichever Dem, the Black or the woman, can beat the Republican clown. At this point it’s starting to look like the lady. Women all over the country are fired up and hopping mad about the sexist BS directed at Hillary all through this whole campaign. A bunch of yahoo alpha male dogs showed up at one of Hilary’s appearances in New Hampshire and yelped, “Iron my shirts!”
Jeez.
Good for American women for standing up to this sexist crap. Everyone should stand up for their rights, and I applaud my sisters. This blog will never attack Hilary on sexist grounds.

George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

Repost from the old site.
The following tribute to George Habash, leader of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was delivered to a meeting organized by the CPGB-ML in Central London on Saturday 10 February 2008. The Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, basically a hardline pro-Stalin group, last time I checked. This document is interesting for various reasons.
For one, it shows that hardline Communist rhetoric in the style of the former USSR is still popular. The PFLP are lauded for being a hardline Marxist-Leninist organization. It’s hard to say whether they still are or not, as they seem to be downplaying this in recent years, and no one really knows what Communism even means anymore.
It is true that there was a Communist state in South Yemen, but I am not sure if they accomplished much down there.
One of the biggest heroes of the Arab Left is Gamel Nasser, leader of Egypt. One great thing that he did do was to initiate a land reform. Most Arab states probably do not have feudal or semi-feudal land relations in the countryside anymore, but Egypt did in the 1950’s. 10% of landowners owned most land, and 25% of landowners owned almost all of the land.
The vast majority of the rural population was reduced to the status of landless laborers or sharecroppers in debt peonage on the land of the landlords.
Nasser was able to break up the large estates by buying them up via the government and giving the land to the sharecroppers. It was one of the great progressive events in modern Arab history. Back in the day in Yemen, you would go into the houses of the poor in South Yemen and see Nasser’s picture on the wall – they knew he was a hero to the Arab poor, and mostly for the land reform.
Unfortunately, land reform was not enough. Population was exploding and Egypt desperately needed to put more farmland into production. Hence the Aswan Dam, a necessary evil.
But even this did not solve the problems, as the rural poor continued to pour into the cities to look for nonexistent work. The landowners were bought off by assuring them a place in industry, which was and is heavily corrupt and tied in with the state. But the Egyptian economy was so shaky that the rich didn’t really feel like investing in it.
Socialism was and is a pretty easy sell across the Arab World, in part due to Islam. Islam is a pretty socialist religion, although fundamentalists will argue the point with you and point out that the Koran says that there are those who have more and those who have less and this is ok. Nevertheless, the Koran is hardly a raging individualist tract.
Nor are the deserts of the Arab World suited for individualism. In such an environment, the every man for himself libertarian is lost and probably dead quite quickly. One must form alliances or one will be destroyed. One must work cooperatively or the elements will take your life. In a world of perennial scarcity, mass hoarding by a few means death for many more.
Hence, in the past century, most independent Arab states have opted for some kind of socialism. Where the states could not do it, the religious or militant groups did. There is no hatred of welfare or government as we have it in the individualist US. Socialism is simply normal and free market libertarianism is seen as a bizarre and cruel aberration.
Nevertheless, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and probably other places, the clergy did resist land reforms on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. Iraq, newly emerging from semi-feudal relations in the 1960’s, saw the Iraqi Communist Party become one of the largest parties in the country. It was particularly popular with poor Shia who flooded in from the countryside and poured into what later became Sadr City.
At that time, the Shia clergy were widely regarded as corrupt. They were tied in with large landowners, often involved in money-making scams, and were noted for enticing women into sexual relationships with them.
One of the few great things that the Shah of Iran did was to institute a land reform to realign the semi-feudal relations in the Iranian countryside. It went off pretty well, but some ethnic groups opposed it and hence were persecuted.
The tone of the Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist in the statement below is what might be called Stalinist or anti-revisionist.
Anti-revisionists hold that the problems with Communist states came from them leaving the path of true Communism and diluting their economies with capitalist relations. I do not know how much there is to that, so I can’t comment on revisionism. But even staunch Marxist sites nowadays post long pieces stating flat out that the Soviet model failed.
The North Star Compass is a pretty interesting site. It’s run by former Communists from the East Bloc and the USSR, and it is dedicated to the reestablishing of the Soviet Union as a socialist state. For these folks, Gorbachev was enemy #1. There are quite a few interesting essays there, and for those who think that Putin is a Communist, these guys really hate Putin.
For those who think that Russian Communists are all racists and anti-Semites, note that the North Star Compass despises the newly emerging fascist threat in the USSR.
There are many Trotskyite sites on the Net. The Trotskyites used to be totally nuts on the question of “Stalinists”. Can you believe that they supported the German attack on the USSR and opposed the Soviet army’s war in Afghanistan?
Trotskyites seem to have calmed down a lot lately. Many of them are supporting the Nepalese Maoists and the Colombian FARC. They even support Cuba. Usually this is measured with a tone that these states and movements would be better off if they adopted Trotskyism. Truth is that it is possible that Trotskyism has hardly even be tried anywhere, except possibly in the USSR from 1917-1922.
Trotskyites have a reputation as the ultimate splitters, and in the Philippines they have, incredibly, taken up arms alongside the feudal and fascist state against the Maoist NPA. In Defense of Marxism is a good example of a Trotskyite site.
It seems that many Communists nowadays in the West are Trotskyites of some sort. No one really knows what to make of them, and many Stalinists just laugh about them and regard them as irrelevant. Western Trotskyites seem to have a lot of money for some reason, and often put up nice websites. Non-Trotskyite Communist sites often have mild critiques of Trotskyism as some sort of irrelevant hairsplitting movement.
Western Trotskyites were heavily Jewish in the West until 1967 or possibly earlier. World Trotskyism opposed Israel in the Six Day War and Jewish Trotskyites consequently defected en masse. Many seem to have made their way into the neoconservative movement.
There are a variety of reasons for the heavy Jewish presence in Trotskyism, and that Trotsky himself was Jewish cannot be ignored. Trots have tended to oppose both Stalinism and Maoism as horribly brutal ideologies that committed atrocious human rights violations. Trotskyism has been a serious movement only in the West and it has tended to flounder in the rest of the world.
One of the Trots’ main points is that a rapid buildup of urban industry is essential for the development of a modern socialist state. Trots are almost the opposite of the Maoists and their emphasis on the peasantry.
There are sites that basically uphold the former USSR and even Stalin, but they are often angry at Maoists, whom they accuse of adventurism. In India, Maoists are killing traditional Communists in the state of Bengal, a state that has been run by pro-Soviet Communists for about 30 years now.
Marxism-Leninism Today is an example of a pro-USSR, pro-Cuba, anti-Maoist site. They support the CPI-M (Communist Party India-Marxist) in Bengal and are not too happy with the Indian Maoists for killing their comrades.
Here is a cool site by a Georgian artist who is the grandson of Joseph Stalin, showing the Stalin family tree among other things.
Stalinism.ru is a site run by Russian Stalinists, but if you can’t read Russian, it’s not for you.
The National Bolshevik Party is some sort of a bizarre marriage of Stalinism and racial nationalism (I don’t want to say Nazism, but I fear that is what it is). It’s Russian too, but check out the scary party image, complete with Nordic lettering, and the background on the homepage. Lots of related links at the bottom – looks like they have chapters all over the place.
Another great site, coming from a somewhat different point of view, a Maoist one, is the Single Spark. Although Maoists are often described as ultra-Stalinists, Maoists and Stalinists are not necessarily the same thing.
The Maoists have always been the real bomb-throwers on the Far Left.
Despite Cold War rhetoric, pro-Soviet Communists often did not take up armed struggle until all peaceful avenues for change were blocked, and the Left was up against a death squad state. Otherwise, the idea was to try to gain power through parliamentary means, despite Lenin’s denouncements of “parliamentary cretinism”.
If the state was reasonably democratic and not killing the Left, the pro-Soviets often argued that “an objectively revolutionary situation did not exist”. On the other hand, Maoists tend to reject all bourgeois democracy as invalid, particularly in very backward societies with mass extreme poverty and accompanying disease, hunger and premature death.
Hence, Maoists have launched insurgencies against formally democratic states as Peru, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Philippines, Nepal and India in recent years. In most of these cases, the pro-Soviet Left decided to sit out armed struggle, and the Maoists were denounced as adventurists irresponsibly taking up arms in spite of a lack of an objectively revolutionary situation.
In Peru, the war launched by the Shining Path led to a state that was less and less democratic and soon became just another Death Squad State. Thus in 1984, the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took a vote and decided that “an objectively revolutionary situation existed” and opted to take up arms.
Another difference is that despite Cold War rhetoric, Maoists are often a lot more vicious than the Castroites and pro-Soviet rebels. Maoists have no qualms about killing “class enemies” – anyone prominent advocating rightwing politics or abusive landowners – whereas the Castroites often try to take the high ground in guerrilla war.
Examples in Latin America are the Castroite ELN in Colombia, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, FMLN in El Salvador, the aforementioned MRTA, and the FARC in Colombia. Despite crap from anti-Communists and the US government, all these groups have tried pretty hard to abide by the rules of war. At any rate, the overwhelming majority of grotesque human rights violations in each of these conflicts were committed by the state.
On the other hand, the Maoist Sendero Luminoso was a profoundly savage and cruel guerrilla group, though they almost seized power.
Communism doesn’t mean that much anymore. Cuba allows religious believers to join the party, and there are millions of liberation theology Leftist Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communists have introduced major elements of capitalism into their economies, while retaining a great deal of socialism at the same time.
Over the course of a few years, from 2003 to 2005 and 2006, the Nepalese Maoists underwent a sea change in politics. They went from hardline Maoists railing against revisionists and opposing anything but the dictatorship of the proletariat, to an embrace of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy and measured critiques of Mao, Lenin and Stalin as outdated for the needs and realities of today.
I think this is fantastic. I care nothing about dogma. I just want results, and I don’t really care how you get there – capitalism, socialism, communism or whatever. If Marxism is indeed an ever-evolving science (which, if it is a science, it must be) then there must be no treating its elementary texts as some sort of religious books.
The works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and others must be regarded as the works of men, not Gods, positing theories. These theories must be tested in praxis to see how well they test out, as in any empirical investigation. The theories of these mortals will either test out or they will not, and if not, we need to adjust them accordingly.
We know what our goals are; all that is at stake is how to get there.
Let us listen to top leader Prachanda and other Nepalese Maoist leaders, from the Single Spark site:

Since MLM is a progressive science, the people’s war calls for ideology and leadership that is capable to complete a new People’s War in the 21st century. Our Party’s CC Extended Meeting last September held that the ideologies of Lenin and Mao have become old and inadequate to lead the present international revolution.
The political and organizational report passed by the meeting says, ‘The proletariat revolutionaries of the 21st century need to pay their serious attention towards that fact that in today’s ground reality, Lenin and Mao’s analysis of imperialism and various notions relation to proletariat strategies based on it have lagged behind.’
As Marxism was born in an age of competitive capitalism, the strategies and working policy formulated during the times of Marx had become old when they arrived at Lenin’s times of imperialism and proletariat revolution.
Similarly, the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletariat revolution have become inadequate and lagged behind at the present imperialistic phase. Therefore, ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletariat strategy.1
The second [wrong trend] …is not to concentrate on how
revolutionary struggle can be developed in one’s country by developing correct strategy and tactics, but to talk more of world revolution, enjoy classical debate, eulogize strategy and tactic of the past successful revolutions, teach other fraternal parties as if they know everything about the concrete situation in that country and stick to what Lenin and Mao had said before. This trend represents dogmatism.2
What we think is that situation has undergone a considerable
change, so the communist revolutionaries must not stick to what Lenin had said about insurrection and what Mao had said on Protracted People’s War.3
Q. You have envisioned a people’s republic, no?
Prachanda: Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic cannot fulfill the needs of today’s world. It cannot address today’s political awareness appropriately. Mao said cooperative party theory; we called it competitive party theory. We have said let’s move ahead from the conventional People’s Republic and develop it as per the specialties of the 21st century.
Q. You do not follow the old concept of communism?
Prachanda: Definitely not. What happened without competition? In the USSR, Stalin gave no place to competition and went ahead in a monolithic way. What was the result?4
Does Communism make sense today?
P: It’s a big question, starting with Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who wanted to apply the Marxist teachings in semi colonial countries. Now, we still need Marxism, but in accordance to the needs of the 21st century. We have to apply Marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism.
We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody.
This will happen only if foreign investors trust a communist government…
P: Yes, I know. We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are not saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.5
Though Mao made some bold experiments to revive and develop socialist democracy, his efforts did not result in any qualitative advance. Why did socialist democracy ultimately fail? Why did it have to bear the stigma of ‘totalitarianism’ from its adversaries? If the revolutionary communists of the 21st century have ‘to win the battle for democracy’, as Marx and Engels had declared in the famous Communist Manifesto, we must dare to question the past practice in socialist democracy and take some bold initiatives.6.
All selections from this document7.

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

In his 1944 speech, “Serve the People”, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words:

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.

Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements.

Nice memorial poster of PFLP leader George Habash. In all of the obits in the US news, few detailed the reason for the radicalization of Habash. At university in Lebanon, he was apolitical and preferred to play guitar. He raced home during the “Israeli War of Independence” to his home in Lydda. Jewish militias attacked the town and forced 95% of the city to flee.
Most were Palestinian Christians. His sister died of typhoid fever during the siege of the town and Habash buried her in the backyard. He blamed the Jews for blocking access to the hospital that could have saved her. There were some notorious massacres of Palestinians during the attack on Lydda, including the execution of many young men in a mosque.
The Jews forced Habash and others to line up and leave their homes and all of their possessions. One man asked if he could return to get the keys to his house and for making this request, he was shot dead in front of Habash’s eyes. From that point on, the apolitical future doctor was transformed into a revolutionary.


Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda.
At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a Zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the Zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession.
At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the Zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe:

It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.

During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees.
Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Around this same time, he and his comrades founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), the first pan-Arab movement to take up armed struggle against colonialism and to win back the lost lands.
The significance of the ANM should not be underestimated. Not only was it to be the root of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); from its ranks also came revolutionary forces in many parts of the Arab homeland, including the National Liberation Front in Aden and South Yemen, which not only defeated British imperialism in a revolutionary armed struggle to win national liberation, but, later as the Yemen Socialist Party, leading the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, stood in the vanguard of to date the only real attempt to build an Arab socialist state on the basis of the scientific principles of Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the 1960s, Comrade Habash, like many other anti-imperialist fighters then, before and since, came to accept that the liberation struggle of the oppressed people, if it was to be crowned with success and carried through to the end, needed to be based on Marxism-Leninism. Lamis Andoni, an analyst for al-Jazeera, who knew Comrade Habash well, expressed matters this way in his tribute to his friend:

He belonged to a generation influenced by Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap and later by Che Guevara. In their views, colonialism epitomised systematic, institutional violence and subjugation of people under its control …
In the early 1960s, George Habash, already a paediatrician in Amman known for treating the poor for free, endorsed Marxism as he grew convinced that the national struggle should not be separate from the struggle for social justice.

After the founding of the PFLP in December 1967, following the Arabs’ bitter defeat in the June 1967 war, Habash declared that the struggle was “not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants” of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, “must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class”.
In a 1969 interview, he declared:

By 1967, we had understood the undeniable truth, that to liberate Palestine we have to follow the Chinese and Vietnamese examples.

Indeed, Comrade Habash paid close attention not only to the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions, but to the experience of all the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement in all parts of the world.
Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also two countries close to his heart and with which he and the PFLP forged tight bonds of active solidarity. In the memorial hall for Comrade Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, the Korean comrades proudly display the several awards and medals presented to their great leader by the PFLP over the years.
Under Habash’s leadership, the PFLP forged close and active ties of combat solidarity with national liberation movements in all parts of the world – the ANC in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Irish Republican Movement, to name but a few, embracing training, material assistance, joint operations and moral encouragement.
In the September 1970 hijackings that gave the PFLP worldwide fame, Leila Khaled was joined by Patrick Arguello Ryan, a militant of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the only martyr of those operations.
In 1983, after the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinistas commemorated Arguello by renaming the Geothermal Plant at Momotombo in his honour. A poster still available on the PFLP website describes Arguello as the “symbol of common Nicaraguan/Palestinian struggle”.
Comrade Habash sought to translate into reality, and himself embodied, these inspiring words of Che Guevara, which go to the very essence of proletarian internationalism:

Let the flag under which we fight be the sacred cause of the liberation of humanity so that to die under the colours of Vietnam, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil will be equally glorious and desirable for a Latin American, an Asian, an African and even a European.

Comrades, The Palestinian revolution is a complex and difficult one, throwing up many challenges and inevitably differences of view. Equally inevitably, Comrade Habash often found himself embroiled in internal controversy, particularly in terms of the sometimes painful compromises, concessions and retreats that have been forced on the Palestinian people at various times.
But what shines out is the fact that he never lost sight of the importance of unity in the national liberation movement.
In their own tribute to their leader, the PFLP put matters this way:

In 1987, with the outbreak of the great Intifada, Dr. Habash called for upholding Palestinian national unity, and convening the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988.
Comrade Al-Hakim always understood national unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the struggle and the national liberation movement, whether in Beirut during internal fighting among Palestinians and after as well, recognising that the internal contradictions among Palestinians could not be solved through military mechanisms, but rather through the democratic processes of the liberation movement.

Lamis Andoni, to whom we have already referred, wrote:

‘His message to the Palestinians was to restore our unity,’ Issam Al Taher, a senior aide, who saw him a day before his death said.‘Unity, unity, unity — that was his only message,’ said Al Taher.

Andoni notes of the relationship between George Habash and Yasser Arafat:

The two men never severed ties and continued a complex relationship of camaraderie and rivalry until the end.

Andoni continued:

Tall and handsome, Habash exuded a certain charisma that disarmed his distracters who admired his persistence but criticised what they saw as rigidity. A stroke that partially paralysed half of his body changed his appearance later but did not affect his ardour for the cause.It was that Habash that I saw and met for the first time in Tunis in 1983. The PLO was expelled from Beirut too and most its leaders moved to this northern Mediterranean capital of Tunisia. Habash moved to Damascus, Syria instead.
On that day the PLO was holding a meeting. Most of the leaders had arrived and then there was a stir and silence. Habash entered slowly on crutches, hampered and subdued by his physical disability.
The hall, filled with hardened fighters, stood on their feet while Arafat hugged Habash and escorted him to his seat.

Of the final period of Habash’s life, Andoni notes:

He would get so distressed during conversations discussing the events in Palestine and most recently in Iraq, that his wife, and closest friend Hilda, would interfere to stop it.When Israel besieged Arafat in 2002 in his compound in Ramallah, Habash stood by his rival. When Arafat died, amid Palestinian suspicion that Israel may have been involved, Habash deeply mourned him.
The few times I was able to see him over the last three years, he never stopped monitoring and learning every detail about Palestinian life. His physical ailment deepened the sense of soulful pain he internalised.
Those who were with him during his last days recall how disturbed he was by the rift between Fatah and Hamas. He opposed the strategy of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, of accommodating US and Israeli demands but did not endorse Hamas’ military take over of Gaza.
His main concern was the damage brought upon the Palestinians by the most serious internal rift in their history.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the mourning for Comrade Habash has transcended the differences in the Palestinian ranks. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning, noting that Habash had dedicated his life to struggling for his people. Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said, “Dr. George Habash spent all his life struggling for the cause of the Palestinian people.”
Islamic Jihad described him as a “real leader” and other Palestinian organisations paying their tributes included the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, who said that his path was and is one of liberation for the Palestinian and Arab people.
In its December 1967 Founding Statement, the PFLP declared:

The masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilise them as active participants and leaders …
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence …
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses.
Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons …
The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding … coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world.

Much more can be said on the life, work and legacy of Comrade Habash, but in summary these are some of the things he advocated and taught:
• That the fundamental way to liberation lies through armed struggle and people’s war based on the masses.
• That for the struggle to be successful and carried through to the end it needs to be based on Marxism-Leninism, the scientific world outlook of the working class.
• That the oppressed peoples must uphold proletarian internationalism in their struggle for liberation, based on militant unity within and between the three major currents of the world revolutionary process, the socialist countries, the national liberation movements, and the working-class movement in the imperialist heartlands.
• That the liberation of the nation necessitated the principled and democratic unity of all the forces of the nation, even though major differences will also exist and must be struggled over.
Clearly, all these are not just lessons for the Palestinian people alone.
In June 2000, age and ill health led Comrade Habash to step back from the day-to-day leadership of the PFLP. Giving an inspiring speech on that occasion, in many respects he wrote his own epitaph. He told his comrades:

What I have lived through over the course of these militant decades, and the rich experience I have acquired, is not a matter to be taken for granted. It is your right, and the right of coming generations to review the content and lessons of this experience with all of its many successes and failures.

As befits a man who gave all of his own life and strength to the revolution, Comrade Habash said of the martyrs, the prisoners and his comrades, and it is with Comrade Habash’s own words, from his farewell address, Palestine Between Dreams and Reality, that we conclude this tribute:

I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …
Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities.
They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies. Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind.
I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …
As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.
In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.
It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.
My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain.
The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.
And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.
You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.

Notes

1. Ashok. (May 2006). Our Experiences of Ten Tumultuous Years of People’s War, The Worker#10, pp. 68-73. On Lenin and Mao, p. 71.
2. Basanta. (May 2006). International Dimension of Prachanda Path. The Worker #10, pp. 82-90.
3. Ibid. On Models: Page 87.
4. Kishor Nepal. (June 2006). Prachanda Interview. Maoist Revolution Digest.
5. Alessandro Gilioli. (Early November 2006). Prachanda: Our Revolution Won . L’espresso, Italy. Excerpts.
6. Prachanda. (November 18, 2006). Democracy: The Forbidden Fruit or Nectar for Progress? Speech at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
7. MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. (Dec. 21, 2006). Assessing Recent Developments in Nepal: A Bibliography on the State, a Peaceful Transition to Socialism, Democracy and Dictatorship, Negotiations and Their Relevance to the International Communist Movement in the 21st Century.

The Real Reason for the Shining Path

Repost from the old site.
Rightwing anti-Communists (and for that matter, Centrist and liberal US anti-Communists also) have some very peculiar attitudes about Communism, shaped by the Cold War. Communism, it appears, is some strange, evil and insane system, a crazy, idiotic and totally failed economic and social system that brought nothing but misery, hunger, starvation and poverty to the world, while bringing nothing good.
The alternative was capitalism, which would at some point conquer hunger, poverty, starvation and all that. Capitalism is always supposed to conquer these things at some point in the future. Capitalist polemicists usually say, “Just give it some time…”
With the neoliberalism that has been pushed since 1980 and has brought nothing but misery and impoverishment to billions and caused many millions of deaths, we have always been told that it would start working pretty soon now…maybe next year…victory is right around the corner. The truth is that after 25 years of neoliberalism, the verdict is in and a long report has documented it quite well.
Nearly everywhere it has been tried, neoliberalism has benefited the top 20% of the population (often greatly) and screwed the bottom 80%.
Even in the US, from 1980-1992, the top 20% gained income (the top 1% had an incredible gain) while the bottom 80% (everyone with individual income of less than $56,000/yr) of the US population actually lost money. A similar scenario unfolded in Britain.
Neoliberalism, nearly everywhere, resulted in lowered economic growth rates, massive debt, plunging wages and living standards for the majority, reductions in access to health and eduction, and reductions in many health and education metrics like infant mortality, life expectancy and the percentage of children in school at various ages.
This is because neo-liberalism mandated massive cuts in all social services, especially education and health care. The outcome was foretold. The truth about neoliberalism is that it has always been a scam in which the West, especially Western banks, corporations and investors, ripped off the rest of the World blind and the people were always left holding the bag.
Nevertheless, the ripoff artists keep trying to sell their neoliberal snake oil around the world, but more and more nations are no longer buying. Most of the countries of Latin America have tired of the “checks in the mail” neoliberal snipe hunt, and collectively, they are trying, in their own often-limited ways, to dislodge themselves from the grip of the neoliberal plague.
Even mainstream economists admit that Latin America (macroeconomically) did not benefit from the neoliberal fad. Recently, Argentina paid off its foreign debt and said no more. In Venezuela, Chavez is trying to forge a completely new path that is, instead of the Communism his detractors libel him with, in truth nothing more than a reformation of capitalism.
President Lula in Brazil has been hampered by the death grip of both investor capital and the markets; he has not been able to do much at all. Uruguay has elected a strident Leftist, but it is not known what he can do given his restraints.
Chile, after the utter failure of Pinochet’s radical free market economics (something the free market crazies have never owned up to), has elected a socialist and a woman as President, Bachelet. It is not known what she can do in terms of progress, but Chile still has an education and health sector that is in pretty good shape and sports good metrics to show for it.
In Ecuador, Rafael Correa is President, and he has formed an alliance with Chavez. It remains to be seen what he can do in terms of progress, as his options, as usual, are limited.
In Bolivia, Evo Morales, an Indian, has won a very close election in a country where a small White elite has always run roughshod over the majority Indian population. His options are also limited, but Morales’ rhetoric has at least been almost as radical as Chavez’.
A major problem in Bolivia is the mestizos in the East of the country (Santa Cruz Province) who despise the Indians the West as inferior while they sit on top of Bolivia’s rich natural gas deposits. They are making noises about succession, but they will never try it.
In Mexico, AMLO (Lopez-Obrador), a Leftist, actually won the election, but due to the usual fraud, the PAN (a rightwing Catholic party that rose out of the religious hot war in Mexico in the 1920’s that left 70,000 dead) now holds the presidency. Felipe Calderon is the PAN President and he won’t do a damned thing to solve the problems that have caused an incredible 12% of Mexico’s population to move to the US.
As an example of such problems, the family of one man, Carlos Slim, the head of the private Mexican phone monopoly, controls 50% of the wealth in the entire country. That is why America is being overrun by illegal aliens.
There has been some resistance to this semi-feudal order.
A very radical movement has tried to overthrow the corrupt and brutal dictatorial government of Oaxaca state. The Zapatistas* are still alive, and recently a Leftist group, the EPL*, has started to blow stuff up again, after disappearing for three years.
In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega was re-elected, but he appears to have softened his rhetoric to the point where he cannot do much. Still, he has formed an alliance with Chavez. Nicaragua, now the second poorest country in Latin America, lies in corrupt ruins.
Support for the considerably neutered Sandinistas is higher than reported in the ruling class media – although Ortega had 35% support, his rival, a Sandinista attacking Ortega from the Left, had another 20% of the vote, so the whole Left vote was a 55% majority, not 35% as the corporate media would have you believe.
Under the Sandinistas, Nicaragua went from one of the worst to one of the best in Central America for literacy and health care figures. In 1990, Violeta Chamorro, adored by the whole US political spectrum, including the Cruise Missile liberals of the US Democratic Party, won the election.
Right away, she ended free education, requiring students to spend $35 a year on uniforms, a fee that immediately threw large numbers of kids out of school. Most have yet to return. She also got rid of free health care, so most of the population is without health care again. The health and education figures for the nation have shown the expected collapse.
It is interesting that Democratic Party liberals are apparently overjoyed about this situation, showing the bankruptcy of their ideology.
Most of the rest of the continent is collapsed in the usual ruins. 1 million people die every year from hunger in Latin America, and this has been going on for decades. How come this stuff never makes it to the “Worst Killers in Recent History” contests?
The anti-Communist line about Communism divorces it from its concrete realities in the sort of totally rotten social and economic systems that have spawned peasant revolutions for centuries before Karl Marx was even born.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s and the fall of the Warsaw Pact, rightwingers rejoiced. It was the “end of history”, said Francis Fukuyama. The era of peasant revolts was over. Never again would humanity have to worry about any Marxist, Leftist, worker, peasant, or even populist revolution.
Capitalism was here to say, in all of its forms, from most enlightened to most hideous, and no one could do a damn thing about it!
Well, that is nonsense. Anti-Communists say that revolutions happen for no reason at all, other than the insane desire of Communist madmen to seize power and impose their failed system on an unwilling population. They say that revolutions do not arise from horrible social and economic systems – they arise from sick Marxist pathology.
Get rid of Marxism, they say, and capitalism can run wild on humanity again. Perhaps we can even re-instate feudalism and slavery while we are at it. After all, they were both great for business.
Amidst the deafening racket of nonsense, a series of economic figures looms up at us like a ghost from the recent Peruvian past.
In back of those figures, 15 years later in 1980, like an Inca God rising up from the grave to slay the Spanish invaders 450 years after they waded ashore, is the frightening shadow of the Peruvian Shining Path*, another “totally insane” Marxist group that arose “for no reason whatsoever other than sheer evil”.
Yet the figures below show us why a revolution, even one as insane as Sendero Luminoso, was inevitable:
From the Peruvian National Planning Institute in Bejar, Peru, in 1965, we learn that the 24,000 families of the White ruling class in Lima had an income of $62,000/yr*.
The entire rest of the country had an average family income of $157.
The Indians of the Sierra, who even now have a life expectancy of only 45 years, had an average family income of only $10 a year.
*All figures in 1965 US dollars.
Most people agree that things have only gotten worse in Peru since then. Look at those figures above and tell that that is not kindling and kerosene for bloody revolution. The match was called Sendero, and someone was going to toss a match sooner or later.
There were centuries in Peru before 1965, four of them, and they build on our tale. From 1526 (when the Spaniards came to Peru) to 1630, the Indian population declined from 13 million to 600,000 – a loss of 95% of the population. It was a Holocaust, and I don’t care how many crazy Jews scream “anti-Semite” at me for stealing their pet word.
For the next three centuries, the Indians were tied to the land like serfs, bonded in debt peonage in a feudal estate society. This continued until well into the 1970’s. The jungle Indians were enslaved and killed for sport starting in the 1800’s and continuing until 50 years or so ago.
It is 1980. The bump and lurch of the dialectic, from Hegel to Marx to Mariategui to Guzman, has brought us here, to Sendero’s nightmare. The weight of 450 years of oppression, enslavement and genocide buckled the roof of the sick system and created the Sendero virus, which infected much of the country and nearly killed the host.
But given history, it could not have been any other way.

This is an example, from the city of Cherboksary, Russia, of the most failed economic system ever known to mankind – Communism. The fountains you see are inferior and worthless – totally failed fountains, if you will.
The buildings in the background as are complete failures as buildings, since they are dull and boring. Those buildings are called “socialist housing” and everyone in the West agrees that this type of housing does not work. What works much better are the capitalist slums in the pictures to follow.
The river is quite clean and this is another example of complete failure. Much better are the black rivers of capitalist slums, stinking with garbage, animal corpses and raw sewage. Why? Because diseases and smells are exciting! Who wants to be bored, anyway?
Even the bright greenery in the foreground in a total failure – it’s much better to have live amidst the mounds of garbage you see below. Capitalist slums, with their thrill a minute and constant search for food, are the only way to go.
A slum in Brazil. This is the successful system that works. Much better than that failed, dull socialist housing above, no? When are you moving in, reader?
Men pick through a garbage dump, probably in Nairobi. Slums in Nairobi make up 6% of the city yet house 60% of the population. In many parts of the capitalist third world, human beings actually live in these garbage dumps. They often suffer from continuous infections and sores.
Slums of Nairobi. This is the only viable system on Earth, capitalism. All of the alternatives, especially Communism, are failed and don’t work. As you can see, this system works great.
Communist housing fails because it is dull, boring and lifeless. It is much better to live in lively, exciting surroundings like this Nairobi slum, where I assure you there is never a dull movement. How dare those evil Commies try to move these people into “failed” Soviet-style high-rises!
An excellent example of capitalist education from Africa. Capitalism hates education, everywhere and at all times, because the capitalists can’t make any money off of it, and the capitalists all send their kids to fancy private schools, hence they resent paying for a system they do not even use. So capitalism, under neoliberalism, has predictably devastated education systems around the Third World.
Who needs to get educated anyway? The problem of the 3rd World is too many kids! Besides, Black people are so dumb that all attempts to educate them are a waste of time, or so The Bell Curve told me.
Slums of Brazil. The problem is these Brazilians have too damn many kids! Yet the evidence shows that Brazil’s birthrate is actually below replacement level. Never matter, in that case, the poor should quit having babies altogether!
Somehow, Westerners always find a way to blame the victim.
Of course, Brazil having the worst rich-poor gap on Earth could not have anything to do with this situation, now would it? By 2020, 40% of the world will live in these awesome slums. Cool! At least they won’t have to suffer from Communism or any of that failed stuff.
The charming slums of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is home to 12 million people – 4 million of them in 800 different favelas, or slums. All of these slums are run by gangs of drug dealers, who engage in continuous battles with each other and the police, that is, when they are not engaging in armed robberies, kidnappings and homicides. Recent articles in the Western press have hailed the dramatic improvements in these slums. As you can see here, they are so much better than they used to be!
Residents of a slum in Nairobi trudge through the garbage on their way home. Nairobi has an out of control crime rate, but of course that has nothing to do with the fact that these folks live in slums. It is because the criminals are evil and commit crimes for no reason at all. Furthermore, they are Black, and Black people are genetically natural born criminals. They’re just a race of Bad Seeds, and nothing can be done about them at all.
The wonderful slums of Mumbai again! This is the high tech economy that is taking the world by storm, the envy of the planet. Check out that high tech dishwasher this girl is using – I bet it was designed by those IT professionals down in Bangalore! Go, India go!
The truth about India is, of course, more tragic than Tom Friedman (see below) can figure out. By 1985, capitalism was killing between between 2.92 and 4 million every year in India, and 1.76 million were being killed in Bangladesh. That is 5.25 million people being killed by capitalism every year in just those two countries alone. But wait a minute! Capitalism doesn’t kill anyone. Stalin and Mao were the worst killers of the 20th century, dontcha know?
Since Communism doesn’t work, we have to go with the only alternative, the system that works, capitalism. This photo shows you just how great it works in Mumbai, India. Noam Chomsky reports that, comparing China and India, which had similar developmental figures in 1949, there have been 100 million excess deaths in Indian from 1947-1979.
This clearly shows the superiority of Chinese Communism, at least when it comes to saving lives. Note that China’s superior figures even include all of those killed by Maoism, which may number over 20 million people. But Maoism saved far more, and China set a world record with the fastest doubling of life expectancy by any country, going from 32 in 1949 to 65 in 1976, surpassing Joseph Stalin’s record set in 1956.
Now in China, gone heavily over to capitalism, millions are dying from lack of health care alone. Getting back to India, recent figures show that there are 4 million excess deaths in India every single year. Gideon Polya calculates that excess infant mortality alone, compared to a model of Sri Lanka, kills 2.7 million Indians per year.
Slums of Mumbai. 6 million people – 60% of the population – live on only 6% of the land. Pundits all across the West, especially Thomas Friedman in The World is Flat, rave about India’s booming economy . India’s capitalism is praised all across the West. As you can see here, it really works great!
Working backwards and forwards from Chomsky’s figures above of 4 million deaths per year in India from capitalism, which he got from Indian economist Amratya Sen, we can guess that capitalism may have killed 170 million Indians since 1949 as compared to the Chinese model. But wait, aren’t Communists the worst killers of them all?
Don’t like the way I do figures? Try these instead then. Capitalism kills 14 million people every single year just by starvation, mostly in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan).

*This blog does not support the project of Sendero Luminoso, as they kill people who are completely innocent. It does support the Zapatistas and the EPL in Mexico.

Problems of Leftwing Democracy

Repost from the old site.
In the comments section, astute commenter huy remarks on the conundrum of socialist democracy when capitalists retain control over the media and culture::

The only problem is that a socialist revolution would probably require a dictatorship and repression.
This is because without dictatorship and repression, rich capitalists would be able to prevent significant social services and state planning in a democracy via their control of the media and peoples’ thoughts.
I’m not for socialism as a long term thing, but only as a way to quickly develop a country’s infrastructure and economy, before gradual privatization of suitable sectors.

I respond:
huy is are correct as far as his first two sentences go. I will deal with the third sentence at the end.
This conundrum is why Communists opted for the dictatorship of the proletariat, not because they are lovers of repression and haters of freedom.
The rich capitalists, through their media control and also their cultural construction and fertilization creating Gramscian cultural hegemonies (what huy referred to as “control over people’s thoughts”), are typically able to prevent social services and state planning in a democracy.
This is why Communists say that you never really have a democracy in capitalism. You always have a dictatorship of capital. Be that as it may, most folks nowadays do not seem to want to live under a dictatorship of the proletariat.
Nevertheless, the roadblocks in the way of socialist democracy present a a serious problem.
Not only are the capitalists able to thwart significant progressive change via media and cultural control, but the same capitalists, via control over the economy, are able to stage lockouts and capital strikes, to send their capital out of the country, to artificially create shortages, and to send wealthy housewives out into the streets beating pots and pans in a middle and upper class strike, etc.
These housewife pot-banging strikes occurred in Chile under Allende, Venezuela under Chavez, and just recently occurred again in Argentina when President Kirchner tried to tax booming agricultural exports.
The big ag producers in Argentina responded by trying to starve the cities by staging ag strikes and refusing to ship produce to the cities so the people would have nothing to eat.
What is ominous about this is that these same rich housewife pot-banging demos and a latifundista (large landowner elite) strike presaged the coup that brought the death squads into power in Argentina in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
The generals stayed in power for several years, during which they murdered 30,000 leftwing Argentines, the vast majority of whom were just idealistic young people working with the poor and had not taken up arms at all.
The capitalists will usually try to stage a coup through their control over the military too.
That is why Hugo Chavez is correct in cleansing the corrupt bosses’ oil workers’ union, in cleansing the officer corps of the military of reactionary elements, and putting in some state media.
The corrupt state oil workers union was a white collar union of well to do managers who had been operating the state oil company as a personal ATM for decades. They were behind the owners’ lockout strike that followed the coup, and after Chavez fired those who had been behind the lockout and sabotage, they destroyed much of the records and paperwork of the oil company before they left. Clearly they had to go.
In the previous coup attempt, the middle and upper-class officer corps supported the coup, but the enlisted men, who came from the poor, did not. The poor rank and file military refused their officers’ orders, and the officers backed down. Hence, cleansing the officer corps of coup supporters was a must.
Getting a foot in the door of the Right’s media monopoly was also important. Previously, the rich had all of the papers, magazines and especially TV stations and they used these to wage continuous lying propaganda war against Chavez.
Furthermore, the entire rightwing media not only supported the coup attempt against Chavez but was actively complicit in it. For that treason, Chavez is perfectly within his rights to shut down the entire rightwing media. He only does not do this because of the international outcry it would arouse.
The Right did the same thing with their media control during the Allende regime in Chile, printing wild lies about Cuban armies offshore and hiding in Chilean bases ready to invade Chile and impose Communism at gunpoint.
Middle class and upper class capital strikes can be devastating to the economy, and most folks, no matter how revolutionary, just get tired of the economic pain after a while and vote to put the reactionaries back in power.
Sanctions work the same way. The US and UK and sometimes France and Canada (when those two latter states are in an imperialist mood) usually slap sanctions on democratic Left states as soon as possible.
Recent examples are Nicaragua, Haiti and Zimbabwe (at first democratic, now increasingly dictatorial), and this alone is enough to devastate the economy and cause the people to vote out the Left and put reactionaries back in power.
What happens is that in an effort to get some control of the country back and fight back against all of this US plots, the Left regime often starts becoming more authoritarian and less democratic. Then the US says it’s a dictatorship and needs to be overthrown on that basis.
If that doesn’t work, the US forms a reactionary contra counterrevolutionary army that goes around killing any civilian that is pro-Left, murdering teachers and health care workers, burning down schools, ag cooperatives and health care facilities and just making the place ungovernable. In order to fend off contras and coups, Chavez has built up his military and even armed the population.
One more thing the US does is to flood money into the democratic Left country to buy the election of the reactionaries via all sorts of fake civil society groups. A good way to stop this is to ban all money coming to political groups from outside the country, but that is easier said than done. The money seems to find its way in anyway.
The US and its reactionary allies also stage bombings, shootings, riots, etc, against democratic Left states, and then often blames them on the Left. This is what they did in Chavez’ Venezuela, Aristide’s Haiti and Mossadegh’s Iran.
If worse comes to worse and none of the above works, the Left regime is overthrown by a coup and replaced by a reactionary dictatorship. This dictatorship typically then institutes a reign of terror in which anywhere from 100’s to 1 million progressives are killed all over the land. This is what happened in Indonesia in 1965, when 1 million Leftists were killed in a CIA coup.
What is even creepier is that while the Left is in power, the CIA is usually running around the country making up lists of leftwingers. As soon as the coup comes, the CIA hands over the lists to the death squad Right now in power, and they use these lists to hunt down progressives and murder them.
So if a Left regime is in power, there is always the terror of a future coup followed by a murder spree against anyone politically active in the regime. This is enough to make people afraid to get politically active.
The reign of terror itself so so terrorizes the population that most people are afraid to get involved in progressive politics for years or even decades afterwards. Why get involved? Who is to say when the death squads will come back in power and try to kill you for being politically active in Left politics?
All of this makes socialist democracy or even social democracy in backwards states almost impossible to achieve.
On the other hand, lots of leftwingers are trying to figure out a way to have some sort of socialist or even Marxist democracy, despite all the challenges. The Sandinistas had a democratic socialist revolution, and Hugo Chavez is having one too. The Nepalese Maoists support 100% democracy. There’s new thinking with a lot of Communists nowadays that socialism is not really possible without total democracy.
When I look at Cuba and I think about a few dissidents getting thrown in prison, is that really worse than masses of people dying early from preventable death or not having enough food to eat, or living in shantytown hovels, or prostituting themselves, or homeless kids sniffing glue, turning into criminals and getting killed by cops as happens all over Latin America?
Third World capitalist nightmare states punish an awful lot of innocent people too. Doesn’t Cuba punish a lot fewer innocent people by clapping a few dissidents in prison than are harmed in these failing 3rd world capitalist states?
In India, capitalism is killing 4 million people a year. That’s a five-alarm fire right there. If we had a socialist revolution there even with a dictatorship and saved 4 million lives a year, would it be worth it for a few folks slapped in prison?
I do think that the new way of Chavez, the Sandinistas, the FMLN of El Salvador and the Nepalese Maoists is the better way to go. Nothing wrong with democracy. If the people reject socialism at the polls and go back to capitalism and lots of them go hungry, go homeless, drink sewage water, get sick, get crippled and start dying, I guess we can say that they made a choice to have that happen to themselves.
Most socialist countries did go socialist for a while (usually decades) to develop the economy and then go towards capitalism after they were pretty well developed.
People have no idea how much of China’s economic growth is based on the foundations laid by decades of Maoism. At any rate, most do not realize China is still a very socialist country in many ways.
The Communists in Russia built that place up from nothing. Without the USSR, Russia would probably be like India or Afghanistan. The Vietnamese and Laotian Communists are also putting in a lot of capitalism, and North Korea now has joint partnerships for foreign investors. I support Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela in their experiments at mixed economy. I also really like social market of Belarus.
Really what we ought to look at is does the system give us the outcomes that we want? If it does, it doesn’t matter what mixtures of socialist, collective and private ownership it has.
There are also all sorts of ways of enterprise ownership.
We can have nonprofits, labor collectives, family-run businesses, single owners and ownership by neighborhoods, towns, cities, states and nations. All of these forms of ownership are operating all over the world as you read this.
The cooperative sector in particular is a great way to go, and most do not realize it is a non-capitalist economic system. Worker-owned firms compete with each other, and there is no exploitation of labor as in capitalism.
One of the best examples of that is the Mondragon cooperatives in the Basque Country. Most Cuban agriculture is now run by cooperatives. In the cooperative model, you get away from the management-labor conflict you see in capitalism.

Why Don't Capitalists Compete with Each Other by Paying Higher Wages Than the Competition?

Robert Taylor, resident anarchocapitalist in the comments section, asks a fascinating question: Why don’t capitalists compete with each to attract workers by raising wages? Good question! I don’t know why they don’t. But they don’t. Generally.

Robert, you’re talking about evil people here. You say that if they have their way, they would lower wages to the subsistence level. Meaning that they could afford to pay higher wages, but choose not to.My question is: what’s stops an EVEN MORE evil capitalist from paying just a little more to take the business away from the current controlling Capitalist? If he pays just a little more, clearly the labor force will go to him, and without labor, the subsistence-level capitalist has nothing, no matter how low he can drive prices.

We shall take this apart bit by bit here.
Robert, you’re talking about evil people here.
Yes, I am talking about capitalists, correct.
You say that if they have their way, they would lower wages to the subsistence level.
There really is no wage level that is too low for the capitalist to pay. If you don’t believe that, check out how many US corporations shut down their US operations and head to whatever place is currently paying the lowest possible wage. If that place lowers its wage, they move to someplace even lower. How many US corporations have moved to places where they pay ~14 cents an hour? Lots.
In fact, many US corporations and of course businesses overseas deliberately pay people at wages that are not only at subsistence but are often below subsistence. I’m pretty sure they could afford to pay those folks more than subsistence or below subsistence wages, correct? Then why don’t they do so?
If slavery was legal, capitalists would take it up in a New York minute. Child labor is great for business too.
Slavery and child labor are epidemic forms of exploitation by capitalists in the 3rd World, in particular in South Asia – in Pakistan, India, Nepal, etc.
After all, Austrian economics is all about efficiencies. Wages being one of the biggest inefficiencies of all, of course. Surely slavery and child labor must be much more efficient than wage labor? What is scary is that this “efficiency talk” has now taken over world economics. Just about every country on Earth now is talking in terms of economic “efficiency.” Yet I just showed how slavery and child labor are incredibly efficient. I think it’s time we trashed this efficiency fetish once and for all.
My question is: what’s stops an EVEN MORE evil capitalist from paying just a little more to take the business away from the current controlling Capitalist?
Interesting argument. How come it never works that way then? I guess I will just throw that question right back at the anarchocapitalists then, since they are the ones who says that anarchocapitalism is the best way thing since sliced bread for workers, consumers, society, and, oh yeah, as an afterthought, business.
So…How come it never happens?
The labor market is deliberately tight. There are way too many workers than there are jobs. So workers don’t have a lot of mobility. Sure workers might leave Capitalist A paying $8/hour to go work for Capitalist B paying $10/hour. A few might. Maybe. But probably Capitalist B would just fill up all his positions with new folks. His costs would be so high that he would soon be driven out of business by Capitalist A.
Believe me, I would be overjoyed if capitalists competed like this. But they just don’t. I’ll leave it to the anarchocapitalists to explicate this thorny matter for us.
In some industries, labor is very highly valued, and companies actually do compete for labor. Putting aside for a moment Hindu 1-B job thieves, IT is a good example of this. IT companies sometimes actually compete with each other by trying to offer higher wages and better benefits in order to get scarce talented labor to work for them instead of the competition. But this is rare.
There is a hint of truth to Taylor’s comment, but it has to do with people  Libertarians hate worse than any other humans – labor union members. If one company in an industry is unionized, then the higher wages and bennies in that company will often fan out from that company to its competitors somehow. But this is increasingly rare now that unions are as rare as four leaf clovers, thanks to guys like Mr. Taylor.

Is Conservatism Always Bad?

Yes.
In my opinion, conservatism is always bad. Conservatism is always and everywhere at all times elite rule and only elite rule. Some support elite rule. I don’t. I support popular rule. I say elite rule is bad. Since elite rule is always bad, conservatism is always bad. Real simple.
In addition, conservatism is almost always dishonest. As an elite philosophy, you can either be honest about your goals and say you are working to better the elite and harm everyone else – say, the top 20% will benefit and the bottom 80% will be harmed, or you can lie and say you are out for everyone when you are not. It usually doesn’t work for conservatives to tell the truth, but now and then they do. Most people are not so stupid as to vote for an elite party when they are members of the non-elite group who will be harmed by the elite party. So conservatives, always and everywhere at all times, lie. They lie about their project. They have to, because often that’s the only way to get in.
But this continuous lying results in a destruction of Politics. There’s not much of a democracy left when almost the entire media is lying their fool heads off day and night. The population is bewildered at best or brainwashed at worst. This is the sort of “democracy” we have here in America. It’s hardly a democracy at all!
Erranter asks if we should not be bashing conservatives.

Doesn’t a conservative just mean someone who is fine with the way things are going, the status quo? There are places where the status quo is democracy and none of those above things. I don’t think it’s fair to attach “bad” to the very definition of conservative and “good” to progressive. That’s changing the definitions which people use to communicate and permanently attaching a moral judgment. It’s also unequivocal that conservatives are bad, because a part of this new definition is that they are bad.

Someone who is fine with the way things are going, the status quo – No, that is not what conservatism means.
Conservatism is elite rule. It always has been, it is now, and it always will be. Some things never change. Elites hate democracy. The Republican Party hates democracy. Notice how they are always trying to repress voter turnout. Heavy turnout is always bad for the elite Republicans. Given half a chance, sane electorates generally vote for popular rule (the Left) and against elite rule (the Right). Why would any electorate voluntarily vote against popular rule and for elite rule? They would have to be out of their minds (like the US electorate).
It’s hard to vote in elite rule. People don’t like it too much. So conservatives usually need to rule by dictatorship in one form or another. Once Latin America got rid of the dictatorships, the first thing the people did was vote in the Left.
There are only a few places on Earth where US style hard rightwing conservatives are actually voted into power, and those elections are problematic because the popular, anti-elite candidates of the Left are typically murdered.
The US
Guatemala
El Salvador (though the Left is starting to win now)
Colombia
Chile
Turkey
The Philippines
That’s about it.
The conservatives in El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Turkey and the Philippines all rule by terror. They all run death squads and slaughter the Left.
In the Philippines, conservatives run as populists who will fight and get rid of poverty, so that’s not really US conservatism.
In Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador, conservatives usually run on a platform of “kill the Communists (the Left).”
Everywhere else on Earth, people generally vote in some sort of a liberal to socialist type government.
All of Africa has generally been run by popular Leftwing parties, with a few exceptions in Zaire and Kenya. They haven’t done a very good job of popular rule, but US style conservatism simply does not exist there.
In North Africa, most of the governments are socialist. Morocco was always the outlier, as it was ruled by a rightwing king, but he’s a dictator.
All of the Arab World is generally run by some type of socialist party or other. US style conservatism never takes power there.
All of the former Soviet Republics are now run by some type of socialist government or other.
All of Europe is being run by some type of socialist government or other, with the possible exception of Great Britain. The UK was always the outlier. US style conservatism ruled under Thatcher, but she was probably the most hated ruler in the 20th Century UK, and she couldn’t get much done.
Russia is run by a socialist regime under Putin.
The Iranian religious government has always been socialist in nature.
It’s hard to characterize the Karzai regime, but it is not US conservatism.
The Pakistani government is very hard to characterize, but it is not US style conservatism. The recently assassinated leader, Benazir Bhutto, was a socialist. The President, her widower, is also a socialist.
Since Independence, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka have generally been run by socialist regimes of one type or another.
Myanmar is run by a regime that calls itself socialist.
Singapore has a social democracy.
SE Asia has been run by socialists since 1975. Thailand typically had rightwing military government. Recently, a progressive, Thaksin, was elected. He was extremely popular, but the conservative elite threw him out in a coup like they often do. At any rate, US style conservatism does not exist in Thailand.
China is run by a socialist party.
Mongolia is run by socialists.
Japan has been a social democracy since 1945.
True, South Korea was always a rightwing regime, but recently they elected a leftwinger.
Taiwan was always ruled by a rightwing dictatorship, but I am not sure who is in power since independence. They have had a social democracy for a while now.
Indonesia was always run by a rightwing dictatorship, but they recently went to democracy. The present leader has begun a number of socialist programs.

“You Can’t Be a Maoist and a Clintonite Democrat!”

I keep hearing this over and over from some of my friends. I just had a talk with a friend of mine about this. He’s like me. Basically a liberal Democrat on the left wing of the Democratic Party. However, he has long called himself a Communist. He now calls himself a democratic socialist. He has long supported Communism overseas, especially in the USSR. According to my critics, this guy can’t possibly exist. Neither can I.

And yet we do.

My critics are badly mistaken. My friend says they don’t understand politics in the US. For instance, in many countries, it makes sense to join a small Left party and vote for them. In a parliamentary system, you might just elect a deputy or two, and you won’t hurt the rest of the Left at all. In the UK, you can reliably vote Green and elect some folks here or there. In Abiezer Coppe’s town, nearly 50% of the City Council are Greens.

That’s not possible in the US. The Green Party never goes anywhere and can barely elect a soul to any office in the land. There’s no point voting Green.

Here in the US, voting Left third party is just throwing your vote away. At worst, you’re helping to elect Republicans. At best, you’re masturbating in a voting booth. There’s no point even getting involved in Left Third Party politics here in the US. Why bother? I could go join some kooky Commie sect, but why bother? I would spend the remaining 30 years of my life whacking off politically and not accomplishing a damn thing.

The truth is that in the US, the only action on the Left is in the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is truly a big tent party. It has everyone from rightwing unreconstructed racist Southern Democrats all the way to out and out socialists and Communists. I’ve known many socialists and Communists in the US who typically vote Democrat. Some were even active in Democratic Party politics.

So, our rightwing critics are right in a sense. A fair number of liberals are anywhere from soft on Communism to out and out Com symps and fellow travelers.

My father was an anti-Communist liberal Democrat all his life. He was furious at my politics and nearly regarded me as a deadly enemy politically. That’s because I was just too “Village Voice Left,” as he put it, for his tastes. Nevertheless, towards the end of his life, he was sympathetic towards the late USSR, East Bloc and Cuba. He was still an anti-Commie liberal, but he got more socialist in his old age.

My mother was similar. An anti-Communist Republican, she once told me philosophically that in many 3rd World countries they were probably better off Communist, as capitalism had largely failed there anyway. She’s lately moved to the Democratic Party. Comments like hers are fairly common among fairly liberal middle class Whites.

My point is, I am simply on the Left. Sure I support the Democratic Party. They aren’t exactly peaches and cream, but the US is a deeply reactionary country, and Democrats are the only vehicle for progressive change.

I also support socialists of all types, including social democrats. I have a soft spot for Communists and Chavez types, though I’ve never lived under a Communist regime, so I don’t know if I would actually like it or not. Perhaps given that experience, I might take a different stand on Communism.

People question how I can support Maoists in Nepal, India and other places.

Easy. All of the rest of Left politics in these places has failed. The Indian Congress Party is a socialist party. So is it’s evil twin in Nepal, the Nepalese Congress Party. Worse, revisionist Communism has even failed in India, looking at the experience of the CPI-M in West Bengal. Revisionist Communism has badly failed in Nepal, with a Marxist-Leninist party in bed with the worst of the Right in the present government.

There’s never been an effective Left party of any type in the Philippines. There probably never will be.

What’s the alternative in Colombia? The Left can’t even organize without getting massacred. Obviously, the Left needs to take up guns to defend themselves.

While I’m not a Maoist, it’s clear that rest of Left politics in the places above has failed, so it’s time to give the Maoists a chance. Let’s see what they can do. What the heck, nothing else has worked.

A History of Social Contracts Around the World in the Last Century

Sometimes when there is a real threat from the Left, the Rich consent to a “social contract.” This has happened in numerous places. The US in the Depression, with the threat of Communism hanging over their heads..

Western Europe, once again with a threat of Communism.

It never happens without a serious threat though. The rich only give up stuff as a compromise to fend off something a whole lot worse.

In places like Latin America, social contracts are more or less impossible. Most of the 3rd World is like that. Social contracts usually only happen in more modernized states. The 3rd World is characterized by backwards elites that never give up anything at all without massive violence.

Mexican elites did give up stuff, but it took a horrible revolution that killed 5% of the population to do so.

Same thing in El Salvador. It took 70,000 dead to get the rich to compromise a bit.

They compromised in Costa Rica too in 1947, but I don’t understand why.

There was also a social contract under Peron in Argentina for reasons that are hard to figure.

It’s notable that both Argentina and Costa Rica are White. Social contracts are much more likely in White than in non-White countries.

Social contracts occurred in the Arab World because the Arab-Islamic World is socialism-friendly. They don’t like the idea of massive wealth accumulations and people with nothing to eat. Something about evolving in the desert I guess…

A social contract took place in Taiwan as a way to ward off Communism from China. Similar thing in Japan. Asians are sort of natural socialists too, like Arabs. They don’t like the idea of folks starving. Guess they’ve seen plenty enough of that.

In addition, those are collectivist cultures, possibly due to Buddhism. Radical free market capitalism won’t fly to well in a Buddhist society. The Buddha surely would not have approved of neoliberalism. It’s against everything he taught. There is another thing. These are homogeneous and extremely ethnocentric societies. If a Japanese person is starving or homeless, this strikes at the heart of every Japanese person, as he is automatically your brother on account of ethnicity. That man on the street under a pup tent may as well be your cousin.

Thailand is one of the few Asian countries that has avoided wealth redistribution. The rest – Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China, did it with guns. The Thai Communists had a lot of support due to SE Asian culture, but they eventually quit. They were resurrected recently in the Red Shirt riots, which was a classic socialist movement led by many former Communist guerrillas.

The Philippines has avoided wealth redistribution due to a horrible Spanish colonial culture that turned it into Latin America in Asia. Nevertheless, there is a huge Communist insurgency going on.

The situation in Indonesia is awful for a Southeast Asian country, but they had a huge Communist movement that was massacred by the state and the CIA. 1 million people were killed in 1965 to put that down. As in Pakistan, Islam gets in the way of justice.

Social contracts have been impossible in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, probably due to Hindu culture with its caste system in which the poor feel that they are ordained by God to their place. Caste and vile Indian culture has cemented in feudal relations in the entire subcontinent, even in Islamic nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Where wealth redistribution is prevented by peaceful means, as in South Asia, efforts shift to guns and bombs. The Nepalese Maoists have 40% of the government. There is a vast Maoist insurgency in India and a smaller one in Bangladesh. Sri Lanka has seen some nasty Maoist insurgencies. Afghanistan saw a Communist government for 15 years. Pakistan is an outlier.

Sub-Saharan Africa seems quite hopeless. Tribalism and worship of kings who steal it all and leave their subjects with crumbs mean that Africans apparently think it’s their lot to starve.

There is a militant redistributionist effort in South Africa though. Zimbabwe confiscated White farms. But in these places, the race factor was important. Africans won’t tolerate White grabbing it all and leaving them with crusts and heels, but apparently they let they don’t mind their own people doing it to them.

African tribalism is the worst. One tribe gets in power and tries to grab everything in the country and leave all the other tribes without a thing. The tribe in power thinks this is completely normal. Those out of power probably think it’s normal too. Those on the outside mostly plot to overthrow the tribe that’s in now so they can get in themselves and steal it all for their tribe. There’s little sense of justice in the continent. Everything is a zero-sum game.

The Significance of the Refoundation of the Maoist Movement in Pakistan

This is an interesting document outlining the prospects for revolution in Pakistan.

If not for Islam, Pakistan would probably already be in a revolutionary situation right now.

Bangladesh, where objective conditions are just as bad as in India, if not worse, has seen little progress in an actual armed struggle by Maoist forces, mostly due to the presence of Islam. Islamic Bangladesh has recently seen a large movement towards Islamism, though the nation’s elites are still secular. The Islamic parties are very large and popular.

Your average poor, starving peasant, who ought to be on board with revolution, is instead wasting his time jerking off with Islamist reactinaries. The Islamist militias have attacked the Maoists many times, killing many cadres. The state is probably using them for this purpose. This is reminiscent of the situtation in Indonesia in 1965, when Islamist militias were used to kill 1 million Communists in less than a year, a massacre that the CIA was involved in from start to finish.

Every time revolution rears its head in the Islamic World, the Islamists immediately condemn them as “atheists” and slaughter them. I assume that your average religious Muslim supports this massacre of the apostates.

Since Islam is so embedded in the population, I am dubious at the prospects for revolution in Pakistan. The Islamists will quickly condemn the Maoists as “atheists” and will be free to slaughter them. Further, the state will use the Islamist militias, as it already does. For instance, the Pakistani state used the Islamist militias to kill Benazir Bhutto recently. Further, getting pegged as atheists will make it hard for the Maoists to get support.

The revolutionary situation in Hindu countries is much better for some reason. Maoism went over great in Nepal, and the Maoists are doing well in India. In Nepal, the Maoists simply asked, “What’s Hinduism done for you lately?” The answer in general was nothing. Hinduism was used via the caste system by local elites to repress the peasants in a feudal to semi-feudal manner. In India, most of the Hindu Maoists have not really given up Hinduism. I suspect that Hinduism is not as deeply embedded in your average peasant’s psyche as Islam is.

Nevertheless, I understand that the PMKP is already quite popular among peasants oppressed by semi-feudalism. They hold large rallies in favor of land rights and lots of peasants show up. I assume that they don’t directly attack Islam – that would be idiotic in Pakistan. I have a Pakistani friend who comes from a feudal landlord family, and even she supported the PMKP, saying they were good for the peasants.

At any rate, I don’t think a revolutionary situation exists in Pakistan right now, and it will be a while before one starts up. And that’s almost all due to Islam.

The Significance of the Refoundation of the Maoist Movement in Pakistan

August 12, 2010

A Statement to the Seventh National Congress of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party

From the General Secretary of Revolutionary Initiative

With our fists raised as high as our hopes for the future of the
Pakistani revolution, Revolutionary Initiative, a
Marxist-Leninist-Maoist pre-party formation in Canada, offers a red salute to the comrades convening the August 2010 7th National Congress of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party (Pakistan Workers and Peasants Party).

We understand that the 7th Congress will mark a return of the PMKP to the Maoist origins of the party, as established by its founders Major Ishaq Mohammed, Afzal Bungish, Eric Sperian, and Ghulam Nabi Kaloo in the 1960s.

The new program of the PMKP will effect a decisive break with the pseudo-alternatives currently being presented to the people of Pakistan: the perpetuation of a backward semi-colonial, semi-feudal society maintained by the pro-imperialist military and civil bureaucracy, comprador bourgeoisie, and feudal ruling elite; versus the equally backward social program offered up by the Taliban of
Pakistan. By breaking with the revisionist Left, which looks to U.S. imperialism for enlightenment through its brutal “War on Terror”, the PMKP is setting a course to truly rally the peasants, proletarians, and the progressive petty-bourgeois elements to the anti-imperialist cause.

Further, by exposing the program of the Taliban as fascism in a different form, the PMKP has truly placed itself at the vanguard of all the toiling masses in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s lackeys to the imperialists and the Taliban only appear to be irreconcilably opposing forces, but in practice they are two sides of the same coin. The world will never forget that it was U.S. imperialism, during the course of the Cold War, which helped create the Taliban with the unwavering support of the Pakistani state.

Due to the Pakistani ruling classes’ subservience to U.S. imperialism, the vast majority paid a steep price for the maintenance of the country’s incredible state of economic backwardness. Today, this relationship
has brought only new sufferings, with U.S. imperialism raining down drone attacks upon the heads of Pakistani civilians.

With a population of 170 million people, 48% of Pakistan’s labour force is involved in agricultural production. About 55% of the country’s population possesses no land at all. The vast majority of people in the countryside are exploited by landlords, usurers, merchants, and the religious institutions.

As the PMKP’s new draft program reads, it is the semi-colonial aspect of Pakistan’s countryside that remains the “main obstacle to the release of productive forces and the progress of our country”. This is what makes the heavily exploited and oppressed peasantry the “main force in the peoples democratic revolution carried out under the leadership of the proletariat.”

It is these conditions that make Pakistan ripe for People’s War. If the Maoists do not lead the struggle of the people, the Islamic forces will continue to prevail in their reactionary mobilization of the masses in their pseudo-opposition to U.S. imperialism.

The floods that are currently ravaging Pakistan, bringing great misery and dislocation to as much as 10% of the population and claiming thousands of lives, could be easily mitigated by a socialist society which places all the productive forces of society in the hands of the workers and peasants.

It is our hope that the floods do not derail the plans for the 7th Congress, but if they do, we know it will be because of the urgent need for the revolutionary vanguard to serve and guide the people in a time of great hardship. It is inevitable that the imperialists and the reactionaries in Pakistan will use the catastrophes to strengthen their legitimacy and order, just as the imperialists and reactionaries have done in Haiti with the great earthquake there in January 2010.

In addition to the great consequences that the rise of the Pakistani Maoist movement will have at the domestic level, the Pakistani revolution would also affect historic transformations at the regional and world levels.

Regionally, the revolution in Pakistan would carry the revolutionary tide sweeping South Asia deeper into the Muslim world, breaking the monopoly of the clerical fascists in the struggle against imperialism, which they do not fundamentally oppose and do so in appearance only for their own opportunistic and self-aggrandizing purposes.

At the world level, the rise of a revolutionary communist tide in Pakistan would deal a blow to the ideological basis of the imperialist ‘War on Terror’. In the Western imperialist countries, Muslims are being scapegoated to divert the rest of the masses from the true geopolitical and economic interests of the NATO bloc of imperialists: to plunder the world, exploit the toiling masses, and gain the upper hand in the inter-imperialist competition with the other imperialists and regional geopolitical rivals, especially Russia and China.

The masses in the West are blackmailed into supporting the imperialist war of aggression in Afghanistan through the specter of Taliban rule. But we know that the war against the Taliban, a war on domestic reactionaries and exploiting classes, can only be the class war of the toiling masses, not the imperialists. The world was reminded of this on May 1st, 2010 when the PMKP rallied and marched in North-West Frontier Province for the support of the revolution in Nepal.

We look forward, comrades, to the great feats that the people of Pakistan will achieve under the leadership of genuine communists guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and we will show the masses in our country that the people of Pakistan are our friends and comrades, and that they strive for genuine democracy, for socialism and for communism, just like ourselves.

If the PMKP, alongside our comrades of the Shola Jawid (Communist Party Maoist of Afghanistan) and Sarbederan (Communist Party of Iran-Maoist), successfully organize and arouse the masses for national democratic revolution by way of anti-imperialist People’s Wars in Central and South Asia, genuine communists all around the world will rally to your cause, learn important lessons from your struggle, and promote them amongst the proletarians of their home countries.

If the PMKP holds fast to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism after the convention of the 7th National Congress, deeply uprooting the revisionism of the past decades, and boldly applies MLM to the conditions of Pakistan, then a glorious future lays ahead for the people of Pakistan and South and Central Asia. The era of imperialism is the era of world proletarian revolution. In this phase imperialism’s strategic decline, the phase of the second great crisis of capitalist imperialism that has plagued the world since the early 1970s, the conditions for proletarian revolution are inexorably improving.

Finally, this message of solidarity would not be complete without our own organization clearly identifying Canadian imperialism as a leading enemy of the people of the world, including the people of your country. A leading player in the occupation of Afghanistan and NATO is Canadian imperialism, the basis of which is Canadian monopoly-finance capital. As the imperialist war in Afghanistan more and more spills over into your country, your connection to the Canadian proletariat’s revolutionary struggle deepens more and more.

The proletarian youth who are being sent to Afghanistan only to return to Canada in body bags are also the victims of imperialist war, but they must be driven from Afghanistan just the same. The ruinous war in Afghanistan sets the basis for revolutionary agitation amongst the soldiers, no less than the Korean War and the Vietnam War radicalized whole generations of youth and soldiers in the West.

Together, let us hasten the movement towards socialism and communism on a world scale before the imperialists drag us further into a hellish world of war, avertable disasters, ecological catastrophe, and the day-to-day grinding exploitation and oppression of capitalism.

Red salute to the PMKP for taking up the banner of Marxism-Leninism- Maoism!

Onwards with the People’s War in Pakistan!

From Canada to Pakistan, long live the international proletarian revolution.

An Evaluation of the Nepalese Maoists

Repost from the old site.

The news has been pretty confusing for a long time coming out of Nepal. The Nepalese Maoists laid down their guns and gave up armed struggle for a variety of reasons, after a brutal civil war in which 13,000 people were killed, 10,000 of them by the security forces.

The Maoists decided to try to seek power by peaceful means. They seem to have won 40% of the vote in the nation’s first real democratic elections. They got into power in a coalition with some other parties.

One of the first things this new government did was to get rid of the Nepalese monarchy. The next agenda was to call for a Constituent Assembly, apparently in order to rewrite the Constitution. This was their program toward the end of the war – an end to monarchy, a constituent assembly, a true multiparty democracy with the right to dissent.

They were since thrown out of power by what boiled down to a military coup. They quit the government in disgust after that, and have since been trying to bring down the coup government that sprung up in their place, with no success. Incredibly enough, one of the parties that participated in the coup is a Marxist-Leninist Communist party which has completely sold out and is now pushing neoliberalism, alliance with US imperialism and an alliance with India, which has always had neocolonial designs on Nepal.

I’ve been reading quite a few interview with these guys, especially with their leader, Prachandra. He has taken the position that Marxists need to toss out Stalin, Lenin and even Mao, or at least not follow them to the letter. He says that they all had some good ideas too, but Marxism has moved beyond them. In particular, he takes the fascinating position that modern Marxists should support full democracy.

His argument is that in Nepal, the Maoists’ program will be so popular that they hope to get re-elected over and over. It is true that this party has managed to get huge support on the ground. He also says that socialism has to be completely democratic, with civil liberties for all.

One of Prachandra’s arguments is that with the world in such a death grip of imperialism these days, Communists have to adjust themselves to that reality and try to make some sort of peace with imperialism, at least in order to survive.

This has caused quite a rift in the International Communist Movement. Most non-Maoists haven’t had much to say about it, but the debate in Maoist circles has never quit. There are supporters of the CPN-M and opponents of them.

The opponents take the line that the CPN-M should not take part in parliamentary politics (“parliamentary cretinism”, according to Lenin) and instead should have a dictatorship of the proletariat and a people’s republic. Prachandra seems to take the position that the dictatorship of the proletariat is through.

If it really is over, we can say goodbye to some of the harshest criticism of Communists for being cruel and wicked dictators who denied basic civil liberties and deliberately killed millions of people. I feel this is an albatross off the neck of the movement. Capitalism does such a great job of killing people as it is. Why should Communists be killing anyone once they get into power. Leave the killing to the capitalists. They do it so well.

The CPN-M seems now to have split into two lines – a hardline faction wanting to go straight to a people’s republic (And dictatorship of the proletariat?) and the more moderate faction surrounding Prachandra and his followers.

Prachandra has made some disturbingly pro-imperialist statements, including saying he wanted to work with the World Bank and the IMF. But maybe in today’s Nepal, if you blow off the World Bank and the IMF, you are screwed.

The people around Prachandra also want a positive relationship with China, and have taken tours to China to see Chinese socialism (or socialism with Chinese characteristics) in action.

The hardline Maoist position that China has reverted to capitalism is not correct. Chinese villagers still live much better than Nepalese villagers, and the differences are in large part due to the achievements of Chinese socialism. The countryside still retains a cooperativist and collectivist nature, and in general, private ownership of farmland is not yet allowed, although this may be about to change.

This article from a couple of years ago shows us just how much the Maoists have achieved in Nepal in the course of their revolution.

At the time, CPNM controlled 80% of the countryside in the country. The rural situation is dire because most Nepalese are cut off from trade, schools, hospitals, mostly due to the lack of roads. The monarchist regime in Nepal has had a century to build roads in the country and they have completely failed.

In an extremely sexist nation, the Maoist army had a very large number of female fighters – 40% of PLA was female. The All-Nepal Womens Association (Revolutionary) – has 2 million women members. The situation for women in Nepal is horrible -women cannot own land or vote, die 13 yrs sooner than men, and are routinely trafficked as sex slaves to India at age 10.

Prior to the revolution, land could not support the people, but due to the changes instituted by the Maoists, now it does. Previously, men had to migrate to other areas to work at day labor to survive.

The party has placed solar panels in many villages to wire them up for electricity, and has set up seven party radio stations that broadcast in different languages. Language rights is one thing that Communists have generally pushed better than most groups.

Nepali is the language of the feudal upper class (yes, Nepal still has a feudal to semi-feudal land tenure system) and languages other than Nepali are banned in Nepal for official purposes such as education. The Maoists have instituted mother tongue education and literacy classes. Literacy figures in Nepal are horrible – below 50%, much lower figures for women and in rural areas.

The Maoists have re-evaluated the many long-held Marxist tenets and are calling for a radical re-evaluation in Marxist thinking. Here’s hoping they succeed.

The Position of the Left on Western Culture, Whites, Judeo-Christianity and Islam

A little debate here. The first quote is me defending secularism, the second one is Abiezer Coppe defending the Western Left against my charges. I reiterate after the blockquote with evidence from around the world.

It is sickening the way that the Left is sucking up to Islam. Stop it right now! It’s all because Muslims are fighting European Judeo-Christian “colonizer-imperialist” types in Israel and now in Iraq, Afghanistan and even in Europe. To the Left, European Judeo-Christian civilization is evil, and hence so are all Whites. Jews are considered White. We are all racist colonizer/imperialist slavers.

The dark Muslim noble savages are fighting evil White Euros, and the Left cheers.

The Left hates:

1. Euro Whites
2. Euro Christians
3. Euro Jews
4. The West

The dark Third Worldist oppressed darkies are fighting a holy war against all four, the West can’t get enough of it. I’m not sure if the Zionists ever mention this, but I think they are right. The Left even dislikes the Jews because now they are the ultimate expression of the White Judeo-Christian Western Euro colonizer.

No Robert, stop spreading lies about the Left. The Left aren’t that racial. You’re just spouting.

A sane Left will support Christian values as highly progressive. See Slavoj Zizek on Christianity.

Support for Islamism. The Maoists and Trots do it, and that’s about it. It’s third Worldist Idiotism…if you convert to Islam YOU CANNOT LEAVE. The penalty for leaving the Islamic religion in Pakistan is six months in prison, according to a commentator on Radio 4. Is this true?

Of course it is true. That’s if they don’t kill you.

I am talking about the Western Left.

The real existing Left, the one that matters, is not anti-West or anti-Christian.

The Latin American Left is pro-West and pro-Christian. Many of them are Christians. Even the leadership of Sendero Luminoso were Christians, including Abimael Guzman, who is still a Catholic! The Filipino Left is pro-West and pro-Christian.

This is the Liberation Theology Left, and I love it. Jesus was a Commie! In those countries, priests pray alongside the rebels and in some cases even serve in rebel armies. The Sandinistas had priests in their cabinet. Hugo Chavez is very much a Liberation Theologian; this is the best way to describe him. There is a lot of good theory coming out of Cuba nowadays since believers can join the party. They are calling themselves Christian Marxists. Even Fidel says Christianity is compatible with socialism and Communism.

The Indian and Nepalese Maoists don’t mind the West or Christianity. If there is a beef with anything, it’s Hinduism.

The real existing Left in all Muslim states is not too wild about Islam! The Left in the rest of the world cares nothing at all about Western culture or Christianity.

This anti-West, anti-European, anti-Judeo-Christian, anti-White shit is mostly just rebellion on the part of Western Leftists against their own eeeeeeevil religions and cultures.

Maoists in general are not too wild about Islam. The Iranian and Afghan Maoists are some of the most Islam-hostile groups in the Islamic world. They’ve basically had it up to here with Islam.

The Filipino Left has made alliance with Muslim separatists on a strategic basis and gets along with them well. The Indian Maoists support separatists in Kashmir.

Trots are always pro-Islam anymore, but they are irrelevant outside the West, which means they are irrelevant in the Real World.

Nepal’s Former Ambassador to U.S.: What About a Military Takeover?

This is a very interesting article written by Nepal’s Ambassador to the US. What he’s doing here is throwing out a trial balloon of a rightwing military coup in Nepal to overthrow the civilian government, followed by the inevitable death squad terror that always follows in such cases. Note that towards the end he mentions Pinochet, Suharto and Chung Park Hee. All ran far rightwing anti-Communist military dictatorships, all three came to power via military coups at a time of a threat or reality of a Communist or Leftist takeover of the article.

This is what capitalism always does, and in a way, the Leninists have a point, which is that the capitalists never allow any substantial challenge to their power to come about legally. If it does or even threatens to, there’s usually a military overthrow of the state followed by years of death squad terror aimed at decimating the Left for decades to come. It happened in Haiti, Chile, El Salvador, Uruguay, Guatemala, Argentina, Peru and Indonesia. They tried it in Venezuela recently.

You can forget about the parts towards the end where he talks about how a fascist coup followed by a death squad regime is the only way to eradicate poverty and bring about prosperity and opportunities. Those are the last things this guy wants, and these rightwing coups never bring about any of that. Fact is, they’re designed to prevent just those sorts of things.

The coup would need the support of both the US and India. I’m sure it would be forthcoming from both places.

What happened in Nepal is that there was a negotiated settlement to the Civil War there. As part of the settlement, there were elections which the Maoists won with 40% of the vote, forming the biggest voting blog in Parliament. They then proceeded to carry out Constitutional reforms to move from a monarchy to a civilian state. Part of the settlement was to be the integration of the Maoist army with the Nepalese military, but the top general refused to do that. The Maoist President then fired him on grounds of insubordination, but then he refused to step down.

It would be as if the Head of the US Joint Chiefs refused to obey the Commander in Chief, then refused to step down when the President fired him. It was for all intents and purposes a military coup. It seems that India was involved up to their mitts in this. Then the Maoist President simply resigned, as the rule of civilian control of the state was being violated.

As you can see below, the Ambassador chides the whole notion of “civilian rule.” Apparently he thinks it’s a bad idea. Since then, I’m not sure what’s been going on on the ground in Nepal, except the Maoists have been involved in a lot of protests up and down the country, and yes, they have recently declared a few new states.

All in all, this is a pretty ominous proposal the Ambassador is tossing out there.

The original appeared here. La Republica is apparently the voice of the rightwing and business community in Nepal, best as I can tell.

Getting Out Of The Quagmire

by Sukhdev Shah

(Shah is Nepal’s ambassador to the U.S. He worked for the International Monetary Fund for two decades and is a U.S. citizen.)

As things have evolved over the past three years, Nepal has become a fertile ground for a military takeover of the government, independently or under the shadow of a constitutional authority.

Such a possibility has been talked about in a limited circle but been forced open by a delegation of some Nepali Congress (NC) leaders who recently urged President Ram Baran Yadav to consider imposing President’s Rule to help restore peace and enable the Constituent Assembly (CA) to complete writing the constitution before the expiry of deadline in five months. This is not an incredible or inappropriate suggestion, considering the marathon obstructions staged by Maoists to prevent the CA to open for business and carry out its mandate.

Even after losing the control of government in May this year over the enigmatic issue of civilian supremacy, Maoists have not softened their stance on the president’s action that re-instated the ex-army chief after his firing by the then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. In order to further press on this issue, Maoists have announced formation of autonomous states in several parts of the country in defiance of the wishes of government, which also seems to challenge the constitution- making authority of CA.

By doing so – unilaterally deciding to divide up the country into ethnic enclaves – Maoists have started the process of a slow dissolution of the State which they eventually would turn into an all-powerful proletarian dictatorship, making the country a one-party State. This particular perception of Maoists’ ultimate objective and long-term planning is not based on fancy or conjecture but comes straight out of their public declarations that claim the virtues of `fusion’ of ideologies and role of peoples’ war – jana yudhha – as means to capturing the State power.

The Maoist strategy of declaring autonomous states is probably the shrewdest means adopted until now to undercut the legitimacy of Maoist-version of a bourgeoisie State and assert people’s power under its own leadership. And this strategy would be highly appealing for the grassroots, who have had no great admiration for all-powerful Kathmandu-based governments doing the dictates of generations of family dynasties and self-serving corrupt politicians.

With the promises of self-rule allowed to ethnic majorities under the autonomous state system, ordinary people can see the benefits of localization of government authority, with a chance of liberating themselves from the tyrannies of centrist authoritarian rule.

Facing the challenge

Needless to say, government is at a loss on how to face up to the Maoist new challenge. The easiest course of action will be to ignore it – let them disrupt house-sitting, demonstrate on the street, put-up road blocks, spread anarchy, and declare more autonomous states, which can be viewed as no more than a symbolic defiance. However, by ignoring such threats to its authority, the government in power is unlikely to generate confidence and win sympathies, or hope that current impasse is going to end quietly and uneventfully.

If Maoists continue with its present strategy of making the central government look irrelevant, indifferent, and detached from the basic functions of the State, there will be no need for them to make a forceful entry into the capital to capture power. This will come to them naturally and effortlessly – from the growing irrelevance of government at the center, aided by gradual shift of state functions to regional, autonomous states.

There should be nothing wrong with the slow dissolution and eventual disappearance of the traditional State and its replacement by a grassroots entity that is built-up from grounds up. Indeed, by forcing the dissolution of the State, Maoists would be making a bloodless coup, which would be entirely legitimate in an environment of deepening conflict, lack of direction, heightened uncertainty, and loss of control over critical government functions.

There is not much that the Maoist-less current coalition government can do to stop or even slowdown the country moving in this direction except if it chooses to force-stop the process by making a last-ditch effort and take one extreme measure, similar to the one advocated by NC leaders noted above – presidential rule backed by the army.

Given the limited options the current government has in outsmarting the Maoists, it may be attracted to do just that and the army would, most likely, choose to go along. The army’s willingness to comply with such an option can be argued in two ways, the first being that it never got to use its full force to suppress Maoist rebels during their decade-old insurgency.

Reportedly, the army was held back by palace orders, which had to come to think of Maoist challenge more as a counter to political parties than a threat to itself. Second, by making civilian supremacy a battle-cry, Maoists, once in power, will seek a quick dissolution of the army, which they view as the last hurdle on the road to complete victory.

Maoists have been in sort of an undeclared war with the army for sometime now but it is becoming increasingly certain that the army will not just sit back and surrender. Rather, it may be getting ready for a showdown and final war with the Maoists – an opportunity it was looking for during king’s regime but was repeatedly denied. Army’s willingness to face up to the Maoists will be strengthened if its actions are given the legitimacy of enforcing presidential rule, which is allowed under the constitution.

A discouraging outlook

There are many ways in which the current conflict can get resolved and the much-lauded peace effort moved towards its logical conclusion – which is to get an agreement on the constitution, hold broad-based election, and usher in an era of constitutional rule that upholds people’s sovereignty. However, the outlook for consensus building and restoration of normal conditions appear increasingly dim, even non-existent.

The main reason for pessimism is that communism generally, and Maoism in particular, is now a ground reality in the country, reflecting not as much the smartness of ideology Maoists have brought to bear upon the population but the utter incompetence, lack of vision, and unabashed dishonesty of the regimes that have governed Nepal for decades and centuries.

In particular, all of them have failed to create glue that binds people together, encourage them to pursue a common goal, and motivate them to work for a better future, for themselves and their children.

The Maoists have taken advantage of this vacuum by creating grassroots organizations to bring the people together, partly by the force of their ideology but mostly by aligning people against the hereditary and traditional interests.

Of course, the record of nine-month rule by Maoists has caused much disappointment and helped cool down enthusiasm for its long-term sustainability but they continue to remain in public consciousness as the last hope for people who consider themselves dispossessed and have not much to lose from serious anarchy and breakdown of the law and order. At least one half of the country’s population would fit this category who seem united backing up Maoists’ intention of winning over and destroying the bourgeoisie democracy.

Presidential rule or army takeover can eliminate some Maoists and subdue their backers but it will be incapable of winning the ideological war. At the same time, if the ideologically- hardened comrades in hundreds of thousands face up to the army onslaught and engage them in running battles, the situation can easily get out of hand and millions will flee to take shelter across the border in India.

It is difficult to predict how India will respond to the emergence of calamitous situation across its 800-kilometer open border with Nepal, but it is hard to think that it will do nothing. Most likely, it will commit itself actively to prevent the spread of violence, including the stationing of its own peace-keeping force to keep order. Of course, such a move will have unknown consequences for Nepal’s separate and independent existence.

There is little or nothing to take a bet on how the events are going to unfold over the coming months and years, but the present cat-and-mouse maneuverings by political parties and Maoists are likely to move the conflict to center-stage for a showdown. If this comes to pass, army will have a greater chance of claiming victory, provided that the conflict involves mostly the leadership on the top.

Another big uncertainty is if Nepal has the good fortune of some strongmen rising to the occasion – the likes of Korea’s Park Chung-Hee, Chile’s Pinochet, Indonesia’s Suharto – to take up the challenge of suppressing dissent and mobilizing the machinery of the State to focus on only one mission: Building a strong and prosperous nation.

With so many options tried over so many years to eradicate poverty and catch-up on the bandwagon of growth, opportunities and prosperity, this last option may just have a chance to succeed.

China Turns Towards Maoism

This is an interesting article about a turn to the Left among some factions of the CCP in China, particularly a revival of Maoism. Though the article, as usual for Asia Times, has an anti-Mao bent, it’s nevertheless good news. Interestingly enough, much of the movement is coming from younger cadre. Another faction is the sons and daughters of the veterans of the Long March.

The turn towards Maoism takes many forms, and many are not necessarily economic. It’s interesting that in China now, privatization is working backwards. That is, state firms are swallowing up many private firms. And most of last year’s stimulus went to state firms.

What most people don’t realize is that much of China’s economic revival is being led by public firms of one type or another. These firms are often owned at least nominally by local municipalities, often smaller ones, and labor collectives.

The #3 manufacturer of televisions in the world, maker of TV’s for many multinational TV makers, is a publicly owned firm. At root is a Maoist practice whereby many or most public firms are actually formally owned by the workers, including this TV firm. Management is still relatively autonomous, but the profits from the firm go straight into the worker’s pockets as paychecks. However, my understanding is that they are required to reinvest 90-95% of the profits back into company. What’s left over is often a hefty sum though.

Firms run by small cities have been extremely successful. Cities compete with each other and build homes and other amenities for workers. The best firms make lots of money and the workers as formal owners get to take home a chunk of it. The most successful firms have long lists of workers wanting to move to these prosperous cities. Much of this manufactured material is also exported.

What’s funny is that that Made In China product you bought at the store may well have been made by a public firm. Oh, the horrors of socialism!

Although hardline Maoists decry China’s present economic project, saying that they have abandoned socialism for capitalism, that’s not really true.

If you go outside the cities into the rural areas, such as the wild areas, all of that land is owned by the state. Although the state has had problems in the environmental arena, in many cases the state stewards wildlands well. If that land were all privately owned, I assure you most of it would be developed with an eye towards profit or habitation. China’s wildlands and wild species would be in much worse shape than they are now, and on a worldwide scale, China is not a center of mass extinctions or endangered species.

It is capitalist countries, mostly rainforest ones, such as Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Philippines, Madagascar and Mexico that are leading the extinction and endangerment epidemic, not China.

The Nepalese Maoists have gone to China’s rural collectives and come back with smiles on their faces. Compared to Nepal, China seems like a socialist paradise. The same could be said for India. China’s people are much better off than India’s in a socialist manner of speaking.

Nevertheless, it is simply outrageous that in China, people are dying because they cannot afford healthcare. That’s really disgusting. The state has been trying to extend insurance to the masses, and state insurance is for sale that covers 85% of expenses, but it’s too expensive for most Chinese.

Much of the progress in education that was made during the Cultural Revolution, especially in the rural areas (and incredible progress was made) has, incredibly, been in a process of reversal. Schools are being shut down in rural areas all over China. This is the damned economic miracle you capitalist-lovers are raving about. Tastes more like crow to me.

Furthermore, China continues to support North Korea, and North Korea is the source of most of Iran’s missiles. This blog supports the efforts of both North Korea and Iran to obtain nuclear weapons as deterrents, but hopefully not to use them.

North Korea’s nukes are the subject of a lot of misinformation. Yes they have a working nuclear device, but I think it is only a small one, maybe 15% as large as the Hiroshima bomb. They’ve had a hard time detonating bigger bombs. They seem to have several of these, maybe 5-10. North Korea also has working missiles, but they’ve had a hard time making long range missiles that go much further than Japan. A lot of these are just failing. Furthermore, I do not believe that they have figured out how to put a nuclear device onto a missile and detonate it.

People don’t understand nuclear missiles at all. First, it’s hard as Hell to make one. Next, it’s very hard to make good rockets that go 1000’s of miles with good accuracy. Third and most important, once you get the bomb, it is a whole matter altogether to figure out how to stick the thing onto a missile in such a way that it detonates on landing when firing the rocket. This is called weaponizing the warhead. It’s a whole new ballgame. Many states have had nuclear programs that have aborted or run aground at one or the other of these phases.

All in all, the movement towards Maoism in China is great news!

Death Tolls For Western Imperialism, Colonialism and 3rd World Capitalism

Repost from the old site.

Via Gideon Polya. In general, the figures are post-WW2. He also takes to task the “incompetent governance” in South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan) over the massive deaths.

The Global Avoidable Mortality blog looks pretty interesting, and I have mucked around there a bit.

The part about 500 million dead Muslims post-1950 looks pretty interesting, but I haven’t looked into that yet.

More Polya here.

Total excess mortality per year as of 2004:

Iraq        122,000

Afghanistan 359,000

India       2.2 million

Pakistan    478,000

Bangladesh  288,000

In Iraq and Afghanistan, those are the excess deaths that are probably occurring due to Coalition activities (especially in Iraq). In Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, the excess deaths are probably due to the lack of socialism.

Interview with Ganapathi, Leader of India’s Growing Maoist Revolution

This is a great interview with the Supreme Commander of the Indian Maoists, Ganapathi. He is little known and almost never heard from or even seen. The Indian government supposedly does not even know what he looks like. They have only a grainy photo from some years ago.

The Indian Maoists are having spectacular success, and I support them all the way. Not because that’s my nature, but because all of the other parties, from Congress in the Center to BJP on the Right to the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) on the Left, have utterly failed the Indian people in every way imaginable. And they’ve had 72 years to get it right. It’s time to say enough is enough and look at some other alternatives. Hopefully, the Maoists could build India up like Mao built up China and then maybe they could transition to a mixed economy like the Chinese have now.

Lalgarh is an area of West Bengal, a state that has been ruled by the CPI-M for 20 years now. This party has completely failed the people in every way imaginable. One could argue that they are not even much of a Communist party anymore. The Maoists have taken over this region of western West Bengal and now control most of it. The people in this region are tribals, or adivasis, the indigenous people of India who are outside the caste system, but nevertheless on the bottom of the ladder. The tribals in Lalgarh are called Santalis.

Much of the state of Bihar is now controlled by Maoists and they hold sway over all of Jharkand. They are in many areas of Orissa, but do not control the whole state. Chattisargh is seriously overrun with Maoists and is almost Ground Zero for the rebellion. They are also in the far eastern part of Maharashtra.

They suffered a serious setback about a decade ago in Andhra Pradesh and this is what the reporter was referring to. I don’t know the details, but it looks like just a concerted counterinsurgency project by the state. The Maoists are starting to get a bit of a presence in Haryana, but it’s mostly the armed propaganda stage at this point. They are also organizing in Dehli and other big cities, but they have a lot of problems in urban areas and it’s going to be really hard to get an urban insurgency going.

Everywhere the Maoists have their most intense following with the tribals and adivasis, the lowest of the low. I am not sure to what extent they have support with Dalits and other low castes.  It’s true that they have lost some top leadership lately, but I figure they will just replace them with underlings. This interview took place in Dandakaranya, in Chattisargh.

People who oppose the Maoists are asked what precisely India should do instead, considering the failure of all of the attempted capitalist models so far.

It’s interesting, and tragic, that the Left are the only people on Earth other than some fellow successionists who support the nationalist struggle of the Tamils in Sir Lanka. The entire rest of the world, imperialist and statist, has lined up with the Sinhala-Nazis. And you people ask me why I’m a Leftist. What good are the alternatives?

We Shall Certainly Defeat the Government

The supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) talks to Open in his first-ever interview.

At first sight, Mupalla Laxman Rao, who is about to turn 60, looks like a school teacher. In fact, he was one in the early 1970s in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district. In 2009, however, the bespectacled, soft-spoken figure is India’s Most Wanted Man. He runs one of the world’s largest Left insurgencies—a man known in Home Ministry dossiers as Ganapathi; a man whose writ runs large through 15 states.

The supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) is a science graduate and holds a B Ed degree as well. He still conducts classes, but now they are on guerrilla warfare for other senior Maoists. He replaced the founder of the People’s War Group, Kondapalli Seetharaamiah, as the party’s general-secretary in 1991. Ganapathi is known to change his location frequently, and intelligence reports say he has been spotted in cities like Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kochi.

After months of attempts, Ganapathi agreed to give his first-ever interview. Somewhere in the impregnable jungles of Dandakaranya, he spoke to RAHUL PANDITA on issues ranging from the Government’s proposed anti-Naxal offensive to Islamist Jihadist movements.

Q Lalgarh has been described as the New Naxalbari by the CPI (Maoist). How has it become so significant for you?

A The Lalgarh mass uprising has, no doubt, raised new hopes among the oppressed people and the entire revolutionary camp in West Bengal. It has great positive impact not only on the people of West Bengal but also on the people all over the country. It has emerged as a new model of mass movement in the country.

We had seen similar types of movements earlier in Manipur, directed against Army atrocities and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in Kashmir, in Dandakaranya and to some extent in Orissa, after the Kalinganagar massacre perpetrated by the Naveen Patnaik government.

Then there have been mass movements in Singur and Nandigram but there the role of a section of the ruling classes is also significant. These movements were utilized by the ruling class parties for their own electoral interests. But Lalgarh is a more widespread and more sustained mass political movement that has spurned the leadership of all the parliamentary political parties, thereby rendering them completely irrelevant.

The people of Lalgarh had even boycotted the recent Lok Sabha polls, thereby unequivocally demonstrating their anger and frustration with all the reactionary ruling class parties. Lalgarh also has some distinctive features such as a high degree of participation of women, a genuinely democratic character and a wider mobilization of Adivasis. No wonder, it has become a rallying point for the revolutionary-democratic forces in West Bengal.

Q If it is a people’s movement, how did Maoists get involved in Lalgarh?

A As far as our party’s role is concerned, we have been working in Paschim Midnapur, Bankura and Purulia, in what is popularly known as Jangalmahal since the 1980s. We fought against the local feudal forces, against the exploitation and oppression by the forest officials, contractors, unscrupulous usurers and the goondaism of both the CPM and Trinamool Congress.

The ruling CPM, in particular, has become the chief exploiter and oppressor of the Adivasis of the region, and it has unleashed its notorious vigilante gangs called Harmad Vahini on whoever questions its authority. With the State authority in its hands, and with the aid of the police, it is playing a role worse than that of the cruel landlords in other regions of the country.

Given this background, anyone who dares to fight against oppression and exploitation by the CPM can win the respect and confidence of the people. Since our party has been fighting uncompromisingly against the atrocities of the CPM goons, it naturally gained the confidence and respect of the people of the region.

The police atrocities in the wake of the landmine blast on 2 November [in 2008, from which West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had a narrow escape] acted as the trigger that brought the pent-up anger of the masses into the open. This assumed the form of a long-drawn mass movement, and our party played the role of a catalyst.

Q But not so long ago, the CPM was your friend. You even took arms and ammunition from it to fight the Trinamool Congress. This has been confirmed by a Politburo member of CPI (Maoist) in certain interviews. And now you are fighting the CPM with the help of the Trinamool. How did a friend turn into a foe and vice-versa?

A This is only partially true. We came to know earlier that some ammunition was taken by our local cadre from the CPM unit in the area. There was, however, no understanding with the leadership of the CPM in this regard. Our approach was to unite all sections of the oppressed masses at the lower levels against the goondaism and oppression of Trinamool goons in the area at that time.

And since a section of the oppressed masses were in the fold of the CPM at that time, we fought together with them against Trinamool. Still, taking into consideration the overall situation in West Bengal, it was not a wise step to take arms and ammunition from the CPM even at the local level when the contradiction was basically between two sections of the reactionary ruling classes.

Our central committee discussed this, criticized the comrade responsible for taking such a decision, and directed the concerned comrades to stop this immediately. As regards taking ammunition from the Trinamool Congress, I remember that we had actually purchased it not directly from the Trinamool but from someone who had links with the Trinamool.

There will never be any conditions or agreements with those selling us arms. That has been our understanding all along. As regards the said interview by our Politburo member, we will verify what he had actually said.

Q What are your tactics now in Lalgarh after the massive offensive by the Central and state forces?

A First of all, I wish to make it crystal clear that our party will spearhead and stand firmly by the side of the people of Lalgarh and entire Jangalmahal, and draw up tactics in accordance with the people’s interests and mandate. We shall spread the struggle against the State everywhere and strive to win over the broad masses to the side of the people’s cause.

We shall fight the State offensive by mobilizing the masses more militantly against the police, Harmad Vahini and CPM goons. The course of the development of the movement, of course, will depend on the level of consciousness and preparedness of the people of the region. The party will take this into consideration while formulating its tactics. The initiative of the masses will be released fully.

Q The Government has termed Lalgarh a ‘laboratory’ for anti-Naxal operations. Has your party also learnt any lessons from Lalgarh?

A Yes, our party too has a lot to learn from the masses of Lalgarh. Their upsurge was beyond our expectations. In fact, it was the common people, with the assistance of advanced elements influenced by revolutionary politics, who played a crucial role in the formulation of tactics. They formed their own organisation, put forth their charter of demands, worked out various novel forms of struggle, and stood steadfast in the struggle despite the brutal attacks by the police and the social-fascist Harmad gangs.

The Lalgarh movement has the support of revolutionary and democratic forces not only in West Bengal but in the entire country. We are appealing to all revolutionary and democratic forces in the country to unite to fight back the fascist offensive by the Buddhadeb government in West Bengal and the UPA Government at the Centre.

By building the broadest fighting front, and by adopting appropriate tactics of combining the militant mass political movement with armed resistance of the people and our PLGA (People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army), we will defeat the massive offensive by the Central-state forces. I cannot say more than this at the present juncture.

Q The Centre has declared an all-out war against Maoists by branding the CPI (Maoist) a terrorist organisation and imposing an all-India ban on the party. How has it affected your party?

A Our party has already been banned in several states of India. By imposing the ban throughout the country, the Government now wants to curb all our open activities in West Bengal and a few other states where legal opportunities exist to some extent. The Government wants to use this draconian UAPA [Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act] to harass whoever dares to raise a voice against fake encounters, rapes and other police atrocities on the people residing in Maoist-dominated regions. Anyone questioning the State’s brutalities will now be branded a terrorist.

The real terrorists and biggest threats to the country’s security are none other than Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram, Buddhadeb, other ruling class leaders and feudal forces who terrorize the people on a daily basis.

The UPA Government had declared, as soon as it assumed power for the second time, that it would crush the Maoist ‘menace’ and began pouring in huge funds to the states for this purpose. The immediate reason behind this move is the pressure exerted by the comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and the imperialists, particularly US imperialists, who want to plunder the resources of our country without any hindrance.

These sharks aspire to swallow the rich abundant mineral and forest wealth in the vast contiguous region stretching from Jangalmahal to north Andhra. This region is the wealthiest as well as the most underdeveloped part of our country. These sharks want to loot the wealth and drive the Adivasi people of the region to further impoverishment.

Another major reason for the current offensive by the ruling classes is the fear of the rapid growth of the Maoist movement and its increasing influence over a significant proportion of the Indian population.

The Janatana Sarkars in Dandakaranya and the revolutionary people’s committees in Jharkhand, Orissa and parts of some other states have become new models of genuine people’s democracy and development. The rulers want to crush these new models of development and genuine democracy, as these are emerging as the real alternative before the people of the country at large.

Q The Home Ministry has made preparations for launching a long-term battle against Maoists. A huge force will be soon trying to wrest away areas from your control. How do you plan to confront this offensive?

A Successive governments in various states and the Centre have been hatching schemes over the years. But they could not achieve any significant success through their cruel offensive in spite of murdering hundreds of our leaders and cadres. Our party and our movement continued to consolidate and expand to new regions. From two or three states, the movement has now spread to over 15 states, giving jitters to the ruling classes.

Particularly after the merger of the erstwhile MCCI and People’s War in September 2004 [the merger between these groups led to the formation of the CPI (Maoist)], the UPA Government has unleashed the most cruel all-round offensive against the Maoist movement. Yet our party continued to grow despite suffering some severe losses. In the past three years, in particular, our PLGA has achieved several significant victories.

We have been confronting the continuous offensive of the enemy with the support and active involvement of the masses. We shall confront the new offensive of the enemy by stepping up such heroic resistance and preparing the entire party, PLGA, the various revolutionary parties and organisations and the entire people. Although the enemy may achieve a few successes in the initial phase, we shall certainly overcome and defeat the Government offensive with the active mobilization of the vast masses and the support of all the revolutionary and democratic forces in the country.

No fascist regime or military dictator in history could succeed in suppressing forever the just and democratic struggles of the people through brute force, but were, on the contrary, swept away by the high tide of people’s resistance. People, who are the makers of history, will rise up like a tornado under our party’s leadership to wipe out the reactionary blood-sucking vampires ruling our country.

Q Why do you think the CPI (Maoist) suffered a serious setback in Andhra Pradesh?

A It was due to several mistakes on our part that we suffered a serious setback in most of Andhra Pradesh by 2006. At the same time, we should also look at the setback from another angle. In any protracted people’s war, there will be advances and retreats. If we look at the situation in Andhra Pradesh from this perspective, you will understand that what we did there is a kind of retreat. Confronted with a superior force, we chose to temporarily retreat our forces from some regions of Andhra Pradesh, extend and develop our bases in the surrounding regions and then hit back at the enemy.

Now even though we received a setback, it should be borne in mind that this setback is a temporary one. The objective conditions in which our revolution began in Andhra Pradesh have not undergone any basic change. This very fact continues to serve as the basis for the growth and intensification of our movement.

Moreover, we now have a more consolidated mass base, a relatively better-trained people’s guerrilla army and an all-India party with deep roots among the basic classes who comprise the backbone of our revolution. This is the reason why the reactionary rulers are unable to suppress our revolutionary war, which is now raging in several states in the country.

We had taken appropriate lessons from the setback suffered by our party in Andhra Pradesh and, based on these lessons, drew up tactics in other states. Hence we are able to fight back the cruel all-round offensive of the enemy effectively, inflict significant losses on the enemy, preserve our subjective forces, consolidate our party, develop a people’s liberation guerrilla army, establish embryonic forms of new democratic people’s governments in some pockets, and take the people’s war to a higher stage.

Hence we have an advantageous situation, overall, for reviving the movement in Andhra Pradesh. Our revolution advances wave-like and periods of ebb yield place to periods of high tide.

Q What are the reasons for the setback suffered by the LTTE in Sri Lanka?

A There is no doubt that the movement for a separate sovereign Tamil Eelam has suffered a severe setback with the defeat and considerable decimation of the LTTE. The Tamil people and the national liberation forces are now leaderless. However, the Tamil people at large continue to cherish nationalist aspirations for a separate Tamil homeland. The conditions that gave rise to the movement for Tamil Eelam, in the first place, prevail to this day.

The Sinhala-chauvinist Sri Lankan ruling classes can never change their policy of discrimination against the Tamil nation, its culture, language, et cetera. The jingoistic rallies and celebrations organised by the government and Sinhala chauvinist parties all over Sri Lanka in the wake of Prabhakaran’s death and the defeat of the LTTE show the national hatred for Tamils nurtured by Sinhala organisations and the extent to which the minds of ordinary Sinhalese are poisoned with such chauvinist frenzy.

The conspiracy of the Sinhala ruling classes in occupying Tamil territories is similar to that of the Zionist rulers of Israel. The land-starved Sinhala people will now be settled in Tamil areas. The entire demography of the region is going to change. The ground remains fertile for the resurgence of the Tamil liberation struggle.

Even if it takes time, the war for a separate Tamil Eelam is certain to revive, taking lessons from the defeat of the LTTE. By adopting a proletarian outlook and ideology, adopting new tactics and building the broadest united front of all nationalist and democratic forces, it is possible to achieve the liberation of the oppressed Tamil nation [in Sri Lanka].

Maoist forces have to grow strong enough to provide leadership and give a correct direction and anti-imperialist orientation to this struggle to achieve a sovereign People’s Democratic Republic of Tamil Eelam. This alone can achieve the genuine liberation of the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka.

Q Is it true that you received military training from the LTTE initially?

A No. It is not a fact. We had clarified this several times in the past.

Q But one of your senior commanders has told me that some senior cadre of the erstwhile PWG did receive arms training and other support from the LTTE.

A Let me reiterate, there is no relation at all between our party and the LTTE. We tried several times to establish relations with the LTTE but its leadership was reluctant to have a relationship with Maoists in India. Hence, there is no question of the LTTE giving training to us. In spite of it, we continued our support to the struggle for Tamil Eelam. However, a few persons who had separated from the LTTE came into our contact and we took their help in receiving initial training in the last quarter of the 1980s.

Q Does your party have links with Lashkar-e-Toiba or other Islamic militant groups having links with Pakistan?

A No. Not at all. This is only mischievous, calculated propaganda by the police officials, bureaucrats and leaders of the reactionary political parties to defame us and thereby justify their cruel offensive against the Maoist movement. By propagating the lie that our party has links with groups linked to Pakistan’s ISI, the reactionary rulers of our country want to prove that we too are terrorists and gain legitimacy for their brutal terror campaign against Maoists and the people in the areas of armed agrarian struggle.

Trying to prove the involvement of a foreign hand in every just and democratic struggle, branding those fighting for the liberation of the oppressed as traitors to the country, is part of the psychological-war of the reactionary rulers.

Q What is your party’s stand regarding Islamist jihadist movements?

A Islamic jihadist movements of today are a product of imperialist—particularly US imperialist—aggression, intervention, bullying, exploitation and suppression of the oil-rich Islamic and Arab countries of West Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, et cetera, and the persecution of the entire Muslim religious community. As part of their designs for global hegemony, the imperialists, particularly US imperialists, have encouraged and endorsed every war of brazen aggression and brutal attacks by their surrogate state of Israel.

Our party unequivocally opposes every attack on Arab and Muslim countries and the Muslim community at large in the name of ‘war on global terror’. In fact, Muslim religious fundamentalism is encouraged and fostered by imperialists as long as it serves their interests—such as in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, and Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan.

Q But what about attacks perpetrated by the so-called ‘Jihadis’ on innocent people like it happened on 26/11?

A See, Islamic jihadist movements have two aspects: one is their anti-imperialist aspect, and the other their reactionary aspect in social and cultural matters. Our party supports the struggle of Muslim countries and people against imperialism, while criticising and struggling against the reactionary ideology and social outlook of Muslim fundamentalism. It is only Maoist leadership that can provide correct anti-imperialist orientation and achieve class unity among Muslims as well as people of other religious persuasions.

The influence of Muslim fundamentalist ideology and leadership will diminish as communist revolutionaries and other democratic-secular forces increase their ideological influence over the Muslim masses. As communist revolutionaries, we always strive to reduce the influence of the obscurantist reactionary ideology and outlook of the mullahs and maulvis on the Muslim masses, while uniting with all those fighting against the common enemy of the world people—that is, imperialism, particularly American imperialism.

Q How do you look at the changes in US policy after Barack Obama took over from George Bush?

A Firstly, one would be living in a fool’s paradise if one imagines that there is going to be any qualitative change in American policy—whether internal or external—after Barack Obama took over from George Bush. In fact, the policies on national security and foreign affairs pursued by Obama over the past eight months have shown the essential continuity with those of his predecessor. The ideological and political justification for these regressive policies at home and aggressive policies abroad is the same trash put forth by the Bush administration—the so-called ‘global war on terror’, based on outright lies and slander.

Worse still, the policies have become even more aggressive under Obama with his planned expansion of the US-led war of aggression in Afghanistan into the territory of Pakistan. The hands of this new killer-in-chief of the pack of imperialist wolves are already stained with the blood of hundreds of women and children who are cruelly murdered in relentless missile attacks from Predator drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And, within the US itself, bail-outs for the tiny corporate elite and attacks on democratic and human rights of US citizens continue without any change.

The oppressed people and nations of the world are now confronting an even more formidable and dangerous enemy in the form of an African-American president of the most powerful military machine and world gendarme. The world people should unite to wage a more relentless, more militant and more consistent struggle against the American marauders led by Barack Obama and pledge to defeat them to usher in a world of peace, stability and genuine democracy.

Q How do you look at the current developments in Nepal?

A As soon as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN(M)] came to power in alliance with the comprador-feudal parties through the parliamentary route in Nepal, we had pointed out the grave danger of imperialist and Indian expansionist intervention in Nepal and how they would leave no stone unturned to overthrow the government led by CPN(M).

As long as Prachanda did not defy the directives of the Indian Government, it was allowed to continue, but when it began to go against Indian hegemony, it was immediately pulled down. CPN-UML withdrew support to the Prachanda-led government upon the advice of American imperialists and Indian expansionists. We disagreed with the line of peaceful transition pursued by the UCPN(M) in the name of tactics. We decided to send an open letter to the UCPN(M). It was released in July 2009.

We made our party’s stand clear in the letter. We pointed out that the UCPN(M) chose to reform the existing State through an elected constituent assembly and a bourgeois democratic republic instead of adhering to the Marxist-Leninist understanding on the imperative to smash the old State and establish a proletarian State.

This would have been the first step towards the goal of achieving socialism through the radical transformation of society and all oppressive class relations. It is indeed a great tragedy that the UCPN(M) has chosen to abandon the path of protracted people’s war and pursue a parliamentary path in spite of having de facto power in most of the countryside.

It is heartening to hear that a section of the leadership of the UCPN(M) has begun to struggle against the revisionist positions taken by Comrade Prachanda and others. Given the great revolutionary traditions of the UCPN(M), we hope that the inner-party struggle will repudiate the right opportunist line pursued by its leadership, give up revisionist stands and practices, and apply minds creatively to the concrete conditions of Nepal.

Q Of late, the party has suffered serious losses of party leadership at the central and state level. Besides, it is widely believed that some of the senior-most Maoist leaders, including you, have become quite old and suffer from serious illnesses, which is also cited as one of the reasons for the surrenders. What is the effect of the losses and surrenders on the movement? How are you dealing with problems arising out of old age and illnesses?

A (Smiles…) This type of propaganda is being carried out continuously, particularly by the Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) of Andhra Pradesh. It is a part of the psychological war waged by intelligence officials and top police brass aimed at confusing and demoralising supporters of the Maoist movement. It is a fact that some of the party leaders at the central and state level could be described as senior citizens according to criteria used by the government, that is, those who have crossed the threshold of 60 years.

You can start calling me too a senior citizen in a few months (smiles). But old age and ill-health have never been a serious problem in our party until now. You can see the ‘senior citizens’ in our party working for 16-18 hours a day and covering long distances on foot.As for surrenders, it is a big lie to say that old age and ill-health have been a reason for some of the surrenders.

When Lanka Papi Reddy, a former member of our central committee, surrendered in the beginning of last year, the media propagated that more surrenders of our party leaders will follow due to ill-health. The fact is that Papi Reddy surrendered due to his loss of political conviction and his petty-bourgeois false prestige and ego. Hence he was not prepared to face the party after he was demoted by the central committee for his anarchic behaviour with a woman comrade.

Some senior leaders of our party, like comrades Sushil Roy and Narayan Sanyal, had become a nightmare for the ruling classes even when they were in their mid 60s. Hence they were arrested, tortured and imprisoned despite their old age and ill-health. The Government is doing everything possible to prevent them from getting bail. Even if someone in our party is old, he/she continues to serve the revolution by doing whatever work possible.

For instance, Comrade Niranjan Bose, who died recently at the age of 92, had been carrying out revolutionary propaganda until his martyrdom. The social fascist rulers were so scared of this nonagenarian Maoist revolutionary that they had even arrested him four years back. Such is the spirit of Maoist revolutionaries—and power of the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism which they hold high. When there are serious illnesses, or physical and mental limitations to perform normal work, such comrades are given suitable work.

Q But what about the arrests and elimination of some of your senior leadership? How do you intend to fill up such losses?

A Well, it is a fact that we lost some senior leaders at the state and central level in the past four or five years. Some leaders were secretly arrested and murdered in the most cowardly manner. Many other and state leaders were arrested and placed behind bars in the recent past in Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Haryana and other states.

The loss of leadership will have a grave impact on the party and Indian revolution as a whole. We are reviewing the reasons for the losses regularly and devising ways and means to prevent further losses.

By adopting strictly secret methods of functioning and foolproof underground mechanisms, by enhancing our mass base, vigilance and local intelligence, smashing enemy intelligence networks and studying their plans and tactics, we hope to check further losses. At the same time, we are training and developing new revolutionary leadership at all levels to fill up the losses.

Q How do you sum up the present stage of war between your forces and those of the Indian State?

A Our war is in the stage of strategic defence. In some regions, we have an upper hand, while in others the enemy has the upper hand. Overall, our forces have been quite successful in carrying out a series of tactical counter-offensive operations against the enemy in our guerrilla zones in the past few years.

It is true that our party has suffered some serious leadership losses, but we are able to inflict serious losses on the enemy too. In fact, in the past three years, the enemy forces suffered more casualties than we did. The enemy has been trying all means at their disposal to weaken, disrupt and crush our party and movement.

They have tried covert agents and informers, poured in huge amounts of money to buy off weak elements in the revolutionary camp, and announced a series of rehabilitation packages and other material incentives to lure away people from the revolutionary camp.

Thousands of crores of rupees have been sanctioned for police modernization, training and for raising additional commando forces; for increasing Central forces; for training Central and state forces in counter-insurgency warfare; and for building roads, communication networks and other infrastructure for the rapid movement of their troops in our guerrilla zones.

The Indian State has set up armed vigilante groups and provided total support to the indescribable atrocities committed by these armed gangs on the people. Psychological warfare against Maoists was taken to unheard of levels.

Nevertheless, we continued to make greater advances, consolidated the party and the revolutionary people’s committees at various levels, strengthened the PLGA qualitatively and quantitatively, smashed the enemy’s intelligence network in several areas, effectively countered the dirty psychological-war waged by the enemy, and foiled the enemy’s all-out attempts to disrupt and smash our movement.

The successes we had achieved in several tactical counter-offensive operations carried out across the country in recent days, the militant mass movements in several states, particularly against displacement and other burning issues of the people, initiatives taken by our revolutionary people’s governments in various spheres—all these have had a great impact on the people, while demoralising enemy forces.

There are reports of desertions and disobedience of orders by the jawans posted in Maoist-dominated areas. Quite a few have refused to undertake training in jungle warfare or take postings in our areas, and had to face suspension. This trend will grow with the further advance of our people’s war. Overall, our party’s influence has grown stronger and it has now come to be recognised as the only genuine alternative before the people.

Q How long will this stage of strategic defence last, with the Centre ready to go for the jugular?

A The present stage of strategic defence will last for some more time. It is difficult to predict how long it will take to pass this stage and go to the stage of strategic equilibrium or strategic stalemate. It depends on the transformation of our guerrilla zones into base areas, creation of more guerrilla zones and red resistance areas across the country, the development of our PLGA.

With the ever-intensifying crisis in all spheres due to the anti-people policies of pro-imperialist, pro-feudal governments, the growing frustration and anger of the masses resulting from the most rapacious policies of loot and plunder pursued by the reactionary ruling classes, we are confident that the vast masses of the country will join the ranks of revolutionaries and take the Indian revolution to the next stage.

Peter Tobin, “India and Nepal – Big Brother Little Brother Part 2″

This is the 2nd part of Peter Tobin’s excellent essay, India and Nepal – Big Brother Little Brother. He is a fine writer and I am honored to present his work on my site.

This post is very long, running to 115 pages on the Web. Nevertheless, it is not a difficult read, as I have read it several times already. Still, it would be best to print it out and read it at your leisure.

This article deals with the recent history of India and Nepal in a manner in which most of us are not familiar.

He also ties in Indian nationalism with Irish nationalism and compares and contrasts the two movements. Tobin’s analysis is interesting for a Marxist, as he negates the notion that the IRA is taking a progressive stance in calling for the unification of all of Ireland.

Instead, he sees it as opposed to the progressive axiom of self-determination. A proper Marxist POV, says, Tobin, would be for Irish nationalists to allow the right of self-determination to the counties of Northern Ireland. He compares this reluctance on the part of Irish nationalists to Indian nationalists’ refusal to grant the right of self-determination to Muslims on the subcontinent, a fascist project that led the violent partition of India, endless war in Kashmir and a very hostile reality between India and Pakistan.

Hence, Irish national unification nationalism, like Indian national unification nationalism, is a fascist project as is the case with most national unification or nation-building projects, not a progressive or Left one.

There are many other interesting tidbits here. Tobin notes that the Hindutva movement actually has its roots in normative Indian nationalism and the Congress Party itself and such heroes as Gandhi and Nehru can be seen as Hindutvas themselves. That India has always dominated Nepal in a brutal and callous way shows that India itself, like Israel, must now be recognized as an imperialist power in its own right.

I made quite a few edits in the text, but for style, punctuation, grammar and spelling only.

1947 INDIA SPRINGS FROM THE HEAD OF MARS

Over the past generation India has shed its non-aligned status and has formally placed itself in the Anglo-Saxon camp. For a number of reasons, some of which I will outline below, it has become a fully active member of the ‘War on Terror’.

To a large extent this has laid bare that which was previously obscured by the radical rhetoric and sometimes practice of the Congress leaders of the pre and post independence movement: that is the phenomenon of a Hindu Great Power chauvinism which lays claim to the entire subcontinent including the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas and what is now Pakistan.

It was initially conceived in the first decades of the twentieth century by the nationalist ideologue Savarkar who introduced the concept of Hindutva (Hinduness) to describe all movements and parties under the umbrella of Indian nationalism.

It is there in Nehru’s Discovery of India written from 1942 onwards while interned by the British. Published in 1946, it formed the Hindu response to those who would challenge the territorial assertions of Indian nationalists. The extreme form of Hindutva can presently be seen in the murderous cretinism of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian People’s Party) founded in 1980 and now the second largest party in the Lok Sabha.

It is salutary to note that Modi, the leading BJP minister in the Gujarat regional government, personally organized the massacre of over 2,000 Muslims in that state in 2002. The BJP is also pro-American and committed to the neo-liberal project.

There is therefore no substantial ideological or political difference between the BJP and the CI Establishment in this claim to the entire subcontinent. What they have, they hold; where they don’t have control, they have consistently followed expansionist policies of economic and military penetration to achieve that end.

Following independence, initial animus was directed against what were held to be the pretensions of Jinnah’s Muslim League in claiming national rights based upon majority Muslim populations in the North West and East of India. Jinnah rightly claimed that in a few years he had turned:

Muslims from a crowd into a nation.

The emergence of Muslim nationalism provoked the Indian Congress politicians and ideologues into the corrupt, anti-democratic inveigling of a large chunk of Kashmir into the nascent Indian state completely disregarding the wishes of the vast majority of the population there for integration with their coreligionists in an equally nascent Pakistani state.

It reflects, like Irish nationalists in their continued refusal to accept self-determination for the Loyalist population in the six counties, their rejection of a ‘two nation’ theory applying on the subcontinent.

That and the seizure of Hyderabad began India’s first, but by no means last, war of aggression in 1948.

As the largest power on subcontinent, India has always acted with impunity in defending and extending its border and influence. Besides the wars with Pakistan which culminated in the dismantling of that state in 1972 with the detachment of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), it had the arrogance to launch a war against China in the Askhai Chin in 1962.

Its military caste, inflated with hubris inherited from its former imperial master, expected a walkover. The military ignoramus, Mountbatten, who had been parachuted into the high command of SEAC (South East Asia Command) in 1943 over the head of the more competent General Slim, through his royal connections, claimed that India had:

A magnificent army, a capable air force, and a good navy brought up by the British. Look at the terrain and tell me how the Chinese can invade. (sic) I would hate to plan that campaign.

The only correct statement in the above was that the Indian Army was a British creation; its officer class was comprised of Koi Hais (Anglo-Indian Blimps) who, emboldened by all their wars and particularly the walk-over in annexing Portuguese Goa in 1961, were gung ho for war against China. L’appetite vient en mangeant.

In the final event, their army was outmaneuvered, outfought and outclassed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and the Indian government was forced to withdraw its troops and territorial claims which, significantly, were based on the British unilaterally imposed McMahon line. (Vide: India’s China War, Neville Maxwell, 1969.)

These territorial assertions were partly based on the fact that the Askai Chin is part of Kashmir, the whole of which Indian nationalists lay claim to, as detailed earlier, but significantly also on the basis that the new line was a secret provision of the 1914 Simla Agreement between the then Dalai Lama and Britain and followed upon the British invasion of Tibet a decade earlier. British historians euphemistically refer to this event as the ‘Younghusband Expedition’.

It was inspired by the adventurist Viceroy, Curzon, seeking to exploit the growing weakness of Manchu China by encouraging Tibetan separatism and to forestall the Russians from gaining influence in that region, reflecting the anti-Russian ‘forward’ school of Raj expansionism that had been evident in Afghanistan and North India throughout the 19th century.

The Chinese had never accepted this invasion or the agreement that resulted from it and which changed British policy, a policy which up to 1904 had recognised that Tibet was under the suzerainty of the Court of the Middle Kingdom. The emerging Kuomintang, from its progressive beginnings under Sun Yat Sen to the later years of the Bonapartist reaction of Chiang Kai Shek, upheld the ‘One China’ policy.

After China ‘stood up’ with the 1949 Liberation, there was even less likelihood of it accepting the spurious legacy of Curzon’s geopolitical cartography. It was not, therefore, as the deluded Mountbatten stated, an ‘invasion’ but a consistent policy of refusing to acknowledge imperialist borders aimed at fragmenting China. The Chinese Communists fought a defensive war against India in order to re-assert the acknowledged historical unity of their country.

Delhi’s aim of enforcing what had begun as a British land grab emphasizes how completely Nehru’s Congress government adopted the reactionary politics and territorial parameters of their former colonial masters. In this sense the war of aggression against the People’s Republic was not an aberration but was entirely consistent with India’s general expansionist policies on the subcontinent and particularly consistent with its attitude towards China.

A long standing animus towards the Communist country was previously seen in the comfort and aid given to the Tibetan Yellow Hat clique and their post 1914 attempts to secede Tibet from China.

Despite all the rhetoric of Third World solidarity that came out of Bandung in 1954 and the Panch Sheel (five points) agreement, where the two countries had agreed not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs, India allowed these separatists, fronted by the youth Gyatso, the Dalai Lama (a CIA creature then as now), a haven after the failure of their American-backed armed uprising in 1959 which the Indian government allowed to be organised from Kalimpong (Nehru himself admitted that the place was ‘a nest of spies’).

After the defeat of this Tibetan ‘Bay of Pigs’, they were allowed to resettle in Dharmsala, which was said to be the biggest CIA base in the world outside of Langley at that time. India essentially allowed the US to pursue its proxy war against China from its territory.

Its anti-colonial soul was further betrayed to a new, but equally expansionist, superpower, when Congress accepted its British inheritance from the instance of independence. For example, it took over with alacrity the policy of keeping Hindu rulers in majority Muslim areas; the British had pioneered this stratagem after the success of the first Sikh wars in 1846 in Jammu and Kashmir based on the principle of divide and rule.

Independent India inherited directly these petty princelings and through them disenfranchised the Muslim populations in those states.

Only lip service was paid to Gandhi’s pacifism. For years before his assassination, he had already been marginalized by the radical group around Menon and Nehru who were the real powers in formulating policy and strategy. Like the Dalai Lama, he has since become a saint to sections of a gullible, dim, historically ignorant Western petit-bourgeoisie.

Nehru put this more aggressive and hardheaded projection of the national interest very clearly in the Lok Sabha in 1959 in relation to the border dispute with China:

But where national prestige and dignity is involved, it is not the two miles of territory, it is the nation’s dignity and self-respect that becomes involved. And therefore this happens.

Yet he continued to delude himself, invoking Gandhi, that “basically we are a gentle people” who “emotionally disliked war,” that had been forced on them by the “warlike Chinese.”

The controversial but perceptive Bengali writer Chauduri, (Inter alia he argued that the Indians were originally Europeans who had been corrupted and denatured by an exotic, tropical environment.) in an acclaimed series of essays, saw through the hypocritical rhetoric, and penetratingly observed a few years after the war:

Hindu militarism is a genuine and powerful force, influencing Indian foreign policy…the conflict with China was inspired almost wholly by Hindu jingoism with the Hindu possessiveness as a second underlying factor. (The Continent of Circe, Niraud C. Chauduri, 1965. p. 107. Circe was a sorceress and weaver of spells from Greek legend.)

This bellicose militarism swept the country, reactivating the concept of the Dharma Yuddha (righteous war) but in a degraded and incompetent form. It demonstrated what a powerful force militarism had become since independence.

However the defeat in the Indian-Chinese War not only strengthened the position of the ‘capitalist roaders’ within Congress but led to one of the biggest defeats of the Party in the history of elections anywhere, when it was swept away in Jaipur in 1962 by a the victory in a ballot by the Swatantra party which championed the free market and was backed by business and many of the former princes.

It proved to be Nehru’s ‘last hurrah’ and effectively ended his political dominance. It was also the end of the experiment with socialism, and India began the sad trajectory that has culminated in its present junior partnership in transnational capitalism.

What this jingoist war did reveal was that the imagined form of an herbivorous Orientalized humanism could not conceal the real substance of a carnivorous and hegemonic bourgeois nationalism. The Gandhian hiatus was a thin varnish which tried to cover an historic Hindu martial spirit, that had as its ideological lodestone the aggressive ardor and warlike tales of the Mahabharata.

1950 INDIAN INTERVENTION IN NEPAL

This newly emergent Indian imperial policy can be clearly seen in the response to the crisis in Nepal in 1950 which saw an alliance of Nepal Congress and King Tribhuvan against the hundred and fifty year rule of the Ranas.

The Ranas were a feudal dynasty that controlled Nepal for that historical period. Unlike their earlier homologues, the Russian Boyars, they did not face a Ivan the Terrible until Tribhuvan, and they exercised a firm grip with a succession of Kings being more or less figureheads. After they seized power with the help of the British in 1846, they remained firmly allied to the East Indian Company and post 1857 Raj in defending British interests in Nepal.

It was the Ranas who facilitated the recruitment of Gurkha mercenaries into the British Indian army, for which they received a payment per head.

During the 1930’s and 40’s, Nepal was swept up in the growing and powerful campaign for independence in India, and there were attempts to set up a Nepalese Congress Party which drew support from primarily the Hindu populations in the Kathmandu Valley and the other major urban centers and from the Terai, which borders India.

The Ranas’ response was brutal suppression – activists were hung or imprisoned, and many driven into exile; principally to India, where they received asylum and support from the Congress Party and the government it subsequently formed in 1948. Nepali Congress was therefore launched in India in 1950 under the auspices of the Congress government.

It is of some significance that at its first conference, NC repudiated non-violence as a tactic in the struggle against the Ranas and began agitating for an armed invasion from India to coincide with an internal uprising in the towns and cities.

Though they were dependent on support from India, such was the situation in Nepal that they were prepared to take a position on the application of Gandhian passivity and its obvious uselessness to the Nepalese situation. The ‘saintly’ pacifist Mohindas consistently held firm to the principle of non-violence and had little sympathy for those who advocated armed struggle.

Thus he refused to intervene to save Baghat Singh, a revolutionary Communist who advocated and engaged in armed struggle, from execution in 1931. By his silence, Gandhi colluded in his execution. Gandhi also retained a dislike for the martial pretensions of Subhas Chandra Bose. For all his vaunted humanism, he was a social reactionary who resolutely defended the caste system.

This militant stand reflected the radicalism of the new born NC. Many of its early leaders, such as GP Koirala and his brother, BP Koirala had cut their teeth in the brutal struggles to establish trade unions in the jute mills of Biratnagar, Nepal’s largest industrial concentration close by the Indian border. GP became the first Prime Minister after the 1990 Andolan and remains an influential NC leader at the present time.

NC’s militancy was in stark contrast to the Congress Party of India which had undergone a process of embourgeoisiement and a growing attachment to Hindu chauvinism. This was reflected in its subcontinental strategy as regards to Nepal and similar neighboring states, as they were all considered as being within India’s sphere of influence.

The unruly Nepalese infant party was to find its interests subordinated to this world view, and this was clearly shown in the events between 1950/2. Nehru initially encouraged and assisted in preparing NC for an armed incursion into Nepal. The current Ranas, the Shamshers, were regarded by Indian nationalists as having been British clients and, as noted earlier, had proved ruthless in persecuting the embryonic nationalist movement. Nehru stated in the Lok Sabha in 1950:

In the inner context of Nepal it is desirable to pay attention to the forces that are moving in the world – the democratic forces, the forces of freedom and to put oneself in line with them, because not to do so is not only wrong according to modern ideas but unwise according to what is happening in the world today.

By late 1950, preparations for an incursion by the Mukti Sena (Liberation Army), as the armed wing of NC styled itself, were well advanced. Though its rank and file were mainly Nepalese, stiffened by a core of recently demobbed Gurkhas, it was largely officered by ex-Indian National Army Boseites.

That this was facilitated by an Indian Congress government demonstrated the schizophrenic attitude to Bose and his forty thousand strong Indian National Army (INA) recruited from Japanese prisoners of war. When they launched an invasion of India in alliance with their Japanese allies in 1944, their cry was ‘Chalo Delhi‘ (on to Delhi), the cry of the 1857 rebels. This consciously emphasized the continuity of the ‘long revolution’.

By declaring for armed struggle against the British, Bose repudiated the Satyagraha strategy (literal translation: ‘to maintain the truth’.) This was the name given to the program of civil resistance. Gandhi used this definition because he wanted to distinguish it from Thoreau’s concept of civil disobedience. That Bose allied himself with Japanese expansionism was a logical step; “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

It was the same conclusion that Irish nationalists, such as Pearse, Connolly and Casement, reached prior to 1916, in respect to Germany, and indeed a policy the rump of the IRA continued during the 1939-45 war. In respect to the struggle for Irish independence, this line of march succeeded in the years immediately following the 1916 Easter Rising and reasserted the physical force tradition over the parliamentary wing of Irish nationalism.

The charismatic Bose, however, while remaining on the margins of nationalist agitation and not able to shake the grip of the Gandhian Congress Party over the movement, nevertheless engendered, at least, posthumous respect for his patriotism and commitment. Such was his popularity with Indians in the closing years of the war that Gandhi and Nehru, albeit from different positions, were forced to oppose the British proposal to try ex-members of the INA. (Bose died in a plane crash in 1945 and so was beyond British lynch law.)

He became a hero, revered because he had frightened the British not just with the INA as a direct military threat but with the prospect that its very existence provided a mutinous pole of attraction to its own Indian Army. This reflected the nervousness evinced by the British that followed the first great War for Independence in 1857 with respect to internal security and, for example, was the reason the Raj refused to send Indian Army regiments to the Mesopotamia campaign in 1915 during the First War.

Eventually his martial spirit proved more attractive to Indians than the pacifist pieties of Mohindas. Satyagraha was replaced by Duragraha (to hold by force). The former, in the eyes of militant nationalists, demanded too much Dhairya (forbearance) in the face of the enemy. It was not surprising that Gandhi’s assassin, Godse, was a leading Hindutva militarist fanatic.

The incursion into Nepal from India succeeded in linking up with internal opposition forces, and within a month, the Ranas were destabilized. But India at this stage was concerned with stability on its border, and complete victory was snatched away from NC with India forcing a three way agreement between the Ranas, the King and NC.

The NP leader, GP Koirala’s, aim of a constitutional monarchy was dropped, and the issue of a promised constituent assembly was kicked into the long grass, Tribhuvan, his successor, Mahendra and the Indian government all reneged on it. Monarchical absolutism asserted itself, and within a few years the prisons were filled with Congress activists along with many Communists whose movement had grown since the founding of the CPN in 1949, a response to the failure of NC and its lack of radicalism.

The Party’s launch coincided with the first translation of the Communist Manifesto into Nepalese by its first leader, Pushpa Lal (also a veteran of the Biratnagar trade union struggle). The work had an immediate resonance among the radical intelligentsia, especially the sections on pre-capitalist social formations that were immediately relevant to the Nepalese situation.

In addition, there were the Manifesto’s political demands, many of which had already been achieved in developed bourgeois democracies, e.g. progressive taxation, free education and elections, which were revolutionary demands in the context of a authoritarian, feudal state.

In 1960, Tribhuvan’s successor, Mahendra, consummated this process by declaring an end to political parties and parliamentary government and instituting the Panchayaat system, a feudal talking shop convened under the King. This lasted until the first great Andolan in 1990 which relegalized the parties and reintroduced a Parliament complemented by, what was intended to be, a constitutional monarchy.

Thus for forty years, successive Indian governments did little to assist Nepalese democrats in their struggle against monarchical absolutism.

Nehru’s government had in fact used the crisis of 1950 to extract yet another unequal treaty, the first of which had been initiated by the British in 1816 with the imposition of the Sugauli Treaty, which made Nepal a captive market for industrial goods produced in India, followed by the later Nepali-India Trade Agreement of 1923 which created a ‘common market’ between the two countries.

The 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty extended that grip and gave the Indians monopoly control over Nepal’s commercial, industrial and finance sectors. This was reviewed every ten years, and the events from 1990 onwards have seen no change in India’s economic domination; it is presently estimated that 80% of Nepal’s industry and commerce is in the hands of Indian capitalists.

They also took over from the British the process of exploiting Nepal’s huge water resources initiated by the 1920 Sherada Dam Agreement and cemented by the further exploitation of the 1954 Kosi Agreement and 1959 Gandaki Agreement.

The Indian ruling class took further advantage of the 1990 upheaval to have all the Nepalese rivers declared a ‘common resource’ for Nepal and India in a ‘Joint Communique’ between the two governments. They added a qualitative twist in 1996 with the Integrated Mahakali Development Agreement which assumed control of the entire Mahakali River for India’s power and irrigation needs.

As Bhatterai, (now number two in the leadership of UCPN(M) after Prachanda) noted:

The Mahakali Treaty, however, has adopted a more devastating form of neocolonial exploitation and oppression by talking equality in theory but in practice ensuring monopoly in the use of water and electricity to the Indian expansionists and imposing trillions of rupees of foreign debt upon Nepal. (B. R. Bhatterai, The Political Economy of the People’s War, 1998, published in The People’s War in Nepal – Left Perspectives, editors A. Karki & D Seddon, p.128)

All of these agreements have progressively dispossessed Nepal of its greatest natural resource. They have particularly affected the Terai, the southern plains contiguous to India and Nepal’s ‘grain basket,’ in order to benefit Indian industrial and agricultural interests.

From the outset India has used its geographical, political and economic position over Nepal to ensure that its hegemonic interests predominated.

When it suited, they allowed Mahendra and his successor, Birendra, to expand and consolidate power, but when the latter attempted to take an independent position specifically by ‘playing the China card’ by buying and importing arms from the People’s Republic in the late 1980’s, they responded with a refusal to renew a trade and transit treaty in 1989 and effectively launched a economic blockade on Nepal.

This, on a country that by this time could not produce enough to feed its population, was devastating, and it caused tremendous deprivation in Nepal.

This crucially weakened Birendra’s Panchaayat and provided the nexus for the 1990 Andolan. (This was as important as the People’s War from 1996 to 2006 proved in creating the conditions for the second Andolan.) The thinking in Delhi with respect to the uprising was that Nepal was now so dependent on India they could manage and control any resulting democratic change as they had always done.

Not only was the major Nepalese party, NC, completely in their pocket by this time, but there was a growing Hindu comprador capitalist class which which would automatically respond to their influence without being urged to.

In the nineties and the first years of the new century they were content to allow the fledgling democracy under NC and its principal ally, the CPN(UML) to attempt to turn Birendra into a constitutional monarch. This changed when the PW grew in influence, and there emerged a strong connection with the Indian Maoists.

The crucial event which propelled them, yet again, to back monarchical despotism was the beginning therefore of the PW in 1996. There was a hitch with the murder of Birendra and his family, allegedly by the Crown Prince, Dipendra, in 2001. He somehow managed to shoot himself in the back of the head with an assault rifle and took two days to die. Thereafter he was referred a the ‘King in a coma’.

It has since emerged that the attack was carried out by an American trained special forces unit organised through RAW (cf. the CIA murder of Ngo Dinh Diem, the Vietnamese President, in 1963; of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1960; of Panama’s Torrijos in 1968; and the numerous bungled but hilarious attempts to assassinate Castro.)

It led to the accession of Gyanendra, who after 9/11 gave the US a pledge to reinvigorate the war against the Maoists, which Birendra had shirked, provoking American fury and his subsequent assassination. Gyanendra in return received armaments and dollars from the US. The fact that he could act autonomously in giving this assurance emphasized the crucial flaw in the 1990 settlement which had left the RNA subject to unilateral, monarchical control.

After a visit by Powell in February 2002 where this understanding was cemented between the Americans and Gyanendra, the Indian government found itself in a bidding war with Uncle Sam and their faithful British ally.

It was keen to see its previous influence restored with the belief that the Anglo-Saxons would undermine their former neocolonial control ceded to American interests and particularly their desire to encircle and monitor the growing power of China. The inclusion of the secular Maobaadi as ‘terrorists’ can be seen in this light.

The Indian government had been to the fore in supplying the regime with arms and logistical support. The supply of armaments was, however, suspended after Gyanendra’s dismissal of his government and the restoration of monarchical absolutism. Indian policy from 2002 onwards represented a break from the ‘two pillar’ strategy which supported both the parliamentary forces and that of the King. At the heel of the hunt, they did not care “what color the cat was as long as it caught the mouse.”

The reasons successive Indian governments had failed to make a objective evaluation of the Maoist movement related to the threat they represented to stability in the region and particularly their threat to abrogate such Indo-Nepalese agreements as the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950, the 1996 Mahakali Treaty along with all similar unequal treaties.

Also of significance to them was the Maobaadi’s networking with India’s own Maoists, which had finally led to the establishment of the Coordinating Committee of Maoist Groups in South Asia in 2001, creating a formal structure to expand revolutionary armed struggle in that region. It only confirmed Indian paranoia.

India had, from 1996 onwards, identified with the monarchy and the parliamentary forces, and along with the US, UK and Belgium poured in armaments to equip the growing Royal Nepalese Army, which by 2006 was approximately 70,000 strong. India provided 25,000 Insas combat rifles, the US 20,000 M16 carbines, South Africa and Belgium 2,000 machine-guns.

Britain further provided two Islander STOL (Short Take-off Or Landing) reconnaissance aircraft, which were adapted and fitted with 50mm heavy machine guns and 200mm mortar bomb racks which, along with two Russian M17 large helicopters, were used to massacre villagers in Maoist held territory as they gathered for political meetings.

The RNA was up against the PLA of 30,000 that had grown from half a dozen Maoist urban refugees which had gone “into the jungle” in 1996 armed with a couple of rusty Lee Enfields but which had built offensive and defensive capacity by expropriating arms and munitions from the police and the RNA.

The Indian government during this period abandoned its previous pragmatic policies which sought a stable Nepal. Their backing of Gyanendra and the reactionary parliamentary forces only exacerbated the crisis. The CPN(Maoist)s’ call for the ending of all the unequal treaties was not unique; it was shared by many in Nepal. The shrinking strata of national capitalists supported this policy as they resented the expansion of Indian domination of the Nepalese economy with the attendant rise of a comprador class.

On the question of solidarity among the Maoist parties on the subcontinent, the Indian government wrongly saw them as a monolithic and undifferentiated entity, which precluded them from showing any flexibility. Instead they resolutely refused to talk to the Nepalese Maobaadi. This was despite the fact the influence of CPN(Maoist) was on the rise (by the time of Jana Andolan in 2006 they controlled nearly 80% of the countryside).

If the Indians wanted a stability on their northern border, there was a necessity to engage with the Maoists at either a formal or informal level.

There is some evidence that CPN(M) recognised the strategic threat that India presented and were concerned that at some stage they would send in their army to forestall or overthrow any regime with pretensions to independence. They were also worried that the fall-out from 9/11 had placed them on the US list of ‘terrorists’ and were prepared to try and reduce their growing list of foreign enemies by exploiting contradictions among them and by attempting to detach India from the Anglo-Saxons.

To this end, the anti-Indian rhetoric of the Party was toned down in the few years after 2001 as they tried to establish some form of dialogue with the Indian government. They were comprehensively rebuffed.

India chose to stay aligned with the US, which regarded the Nepalese Maoists as a bloody and inflexible party; the US Embassy even raised the specter of a Khmer Rouge style takeover in Nepal. They accepted therefore Gyanendra’s argument that they should be included in the War Against Terror the US launched in 2001. What was significant in their inclusion was that the Maoists were secular and thus did not qualify for the nomenclature of Jihadist.

The Americans, with the acquiescence of the Indian government, therefore extended the original criteria to define a terrorist entity as where “…two or more people combine to threaten existing property rights.” This was a active policy which included US military ‘advisers’ training and equipping the RNA and flooding Nepal with CIA operatives.

Like the global phenomena of AIDS, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Avian flu, the Americans were everywhere in Nepal and so became hated by the Nepalese. I witnessed this first hand on both my visits to Nepal. They were so unpopular that many visiting American students used to stitch a Maple Leaf decal on their backpacks in a pathetic attempt to pass as Canadians.

Despite Indian worries regarding potential threats to subcontinental hegemony from outside powers, they looked on as the Americans and Gyanendra sabotaged the peace talks in January 2003 between the Maoists and the then Prime Minister Deuba. They even expressed anger at being marginalized by not being consulted beforehand by either of the two parties engaging in the talks exploring the possibility of peace.

The Maoists were acting in good faith, as they had long indicated a desire to ‘leave the jungle’ and enter the multi-party system.

Apart from suspending arms shipments, which by that time were surplus to the RNA’s requirement, they never seriously challenged Gyanendra’s suppression of all political parties in 2002 until 2005 when, alarmed at the growing success of the Maoists and the impact any victory would have in India, they relinquished the ‘Two Pillar’ policy in favour of the parliamentary parties.

Sotto voce they were equally perturbed at the growing US presence and influence in Nepal which threatened their traditional hegemony. At this juncture they ceased calling the Maoists ‘terrorists’ and facilitated peace talks between the seven parliamentary parties and the Maoists in India. It was obvious to them by now that Gyanendra was a busted flush.

How had a secular republic born in a bitter struggle against imperialism, within only sixty years, reached a fundamentally reactionary and chauvinist polity? This is I want to address in the next section – that and to contrast India’s weaknesses and strengths in the successful struggle against the Raj and the failure after 1947.

IRISH AND INDIAN NATIONALISM – A COMPARISON

The duplicities, antidemocratic maneuvering and aggression shown towards the Muslim League and Pakistan were underpinned by hostility to Muslim claims to self-determination wherever on the subcontinent they formed a majority.

Muslims were not granted any rights to a national identity, as they were seen as Indians under the skin (there is little racial difference) who needed to have their ‘false national consciousness’ stripped away to reveal their ‘true’ Indian identity.

It is very similar the ideological position that Irish nationalists use to deny Protestants in the six counties of Ireland a right to a national identity. Irish and Indian nationalists saw their respective Protestant and Muslim communities as settlements through conquest.

This concept of a national essence is bourgeois metaphysics; it falls into the category of historical idealism. From a materialist position, a nation is first and foremost an historically constituted stable community of people who share a common culture, language and mode of production from which arises a national consciousness. It is where an ideology becomes a material weight.

The other striking similarity between Hindu Indian and Irish nationalist assertions is the claim to hegemony over a defined geographical territory. In the case of the former, it is to the whole subcontinent, including the retaining arc of the Himalayas, and in the latter to all the island of Ireland.

In the case of the former, it arose from a determination to hold on to the territorial parameters established by the British and fortified by the ancestral Hindu belief that the ‘Land of Snows’ was in mystical counterbalance to the Gangetic Plains and Mount Olympus of the Indian gods.

For Irish nationalists, it was the myth that there had been an ‘historic Irish Nation’ prior to the arrival of the British. But the defeat of the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 by the armies of Leinster and Dublin effectively ended any maturation of the embryonic nation. Thereafter until the Anglo-Normans arrived in 1170, the island was a patchwork of petty tribal families engaged in semi-permanent warfare. It was these divisions which facilitated Strongbow’s incursion.

The failure of the Irish tribes to establish a recognized central kingship was noted four hundred years later by a Tudor agent, who reported to Henry VIII:

There be more than sixty countries inhabited by the King’s Irish enemies, where reigneth more than sixty chief captains, whereof some calleth themselves kings, some kings peers, and every one of the said captains makes war and peace for himself, and holds by sword and hath imperial jurisdiction, and obeys no other person.

That much is to the debit, and it exposes the ideological and political limitations of bourgeois nationalism, but it has to be set against the fact that whatever the negative features, the Irish and Indian struggles for independence were genuine anti-imperialist movements against their British imperial masters.

Each was an heroic and ultimately successful trailblazer for many subsequent anti-colonial struggles.

The tactics that eventually achieved the final expulsions of their respective British occupiers differed: the Irish, after the late 19th century parliamentary Home Rule campaign which collapsed in ignominy after 1916, successfully pursued a strategy of guerrilla war with the mass support of the agrarian Catholic population, while the Indian movement under Gandhi’s leadership pursued a policy of mass agitation and civil disobedience purportedly based on Ashima (non-violence).

Nevertheless, each of these national liberation struggles were bitter and bloody in strikingly similar ways. In the case of the former, for all the subsequent pacifist gloss emerging from the secular beatification of ‘Gandhiji’ about the campaign to drive out the British, we know that for every Robert Emmet, James Connolly or Kevin Barry there was a Mangal Pandey, Lala Lajpat Rai or Bhagat Singh.

The ‘Quit India’ movement organised at the height of the British empire’s life and death struggle with the Japanese Empire was no tea party. The notion that Congress achieved independence through nonviolence was a myth, fostered by the Congress Party and particularly Nehru to bolster his credentials as a principled international statesman working working for world peace and nuclear disarmament – India became a nuclear power post-Nehru.

There was genuine political and ideological support from Irish nationalists with the Indian struggle, a genuine sympathy with fellow anti-colonialists based upon the assessment that what the British first practiced in Ireland – famine, war, dispossession, exploitation, ethnic cleansing and genocide – they then visited on the rest of the World.

de Valera underlined that solidarity when he took George Washington’s words:

Patriots of Ireland , your cause is mine.

and in 1920 said that

the cause of Ireland is the cause of India, Egypt and Persia.

Fittingly he was an honored guest at the Indian independence ceremony in 1948.*

Stalin, the CPSU’s principal spokesman on the national question, noted the link between the two struggles:

Not only has bourgeois society proved incapable of solving the national problem, but its attempts to “solve it has inflated it and turned the national problem into a colonial problem and has created against itself a new front stretching from Ireland to Hindustan. (Marxism and the National Question, Tenth Congress CPSU, J.V. Stalin,1921, pp. 106/7)

In the postwar years, the two new states followed a similar domestic and foreign policy, and in this lay the seeds of their present vicissitudes. Early attempts by the Irish to develop an agrarian based economy free from dependence on British capitalism proved abortive. The endeavors of the newly elected Fianna Fial government of 1932 to pursue policies to protect and stimulate Irish agriculture and industry behind import taxes led to a tariff war with Britain.

This reflected the need of all newly independent countries, whether nationalist or Communist, to pragmatically follow the advice of the great German empirical economist, Frederick List. In opposition to the theology of Smith and his ‘hidden hand,’ he observed that newly emerging nations needed to protect their home markets and their fledgling home industries with tariffs against the predations of the existing dominant world economic powers of finance capital.

He further argued that the ‘visible hand’ of the state is necessary to stimulate and oversee the process. His prognostications led to establishment of the Zollverein, which drew the many German states and principalities into a customs union that laid the economic basis for Germany’s political unification in 1871.

Thus India and Ireland came to the conclusion that if they continued to allow unfettered access to their home market by more powerful and technologically advanced free trading imperialists, then so long would they be economically dependent, as they could not hope to compete on a level playing field.

In its own way, India initially followed List’s principles, with a socialist twist. Encouraged by the Congress leadership around Menon and Nehru, it launched a programme of nationalization and attempted to lay the basis of a planned economy with a series of five year plans.

Although they achieved a growth in GDP of 4%, it was not sustained, as there was no corresponding revolution in social and property relations as had happened in the Soviet Union and China, and which unleashed the energy and productive genius of their emancipated masses and led to the subsequent industrial take-offs in those countries.

As Lenin pointed out clearly and as was later developed by Mao, there needed to be both a cultural revolution and a radical transformation of extant property relations following the political seizure of power which involved the masses in a complete revolutionary challenge to the existing order.

The newly empowered Indian Congress government failed to grasp this post-imperial axiom, and thus the caste and the feudal land systems were left untouched.

In the intense political and ideological rivalry that existed between the two newly liberated countries of Communist China and Congress India, it was, however, the former who succeeded economically and lifted their people out of absolute poverty and immiseration with a commitment to the ‘cradle to grave,’ ‘iron rice bowl’ policy and by comprehensively taking the socialist road.

It was the Chinese Communists who saw that in Stalin words that:

…the national and colonial questions are inseparable from the question of emancipation from the power of capital… (Ibid, The National Question Presented, J.V. Stalin, p. 114)

It can be argued that in the final analysis, China has integrated itself into world capitalism, but its socialist, autarkic period up to the late 1970’s enabled it to do so on its own state capitalist terms.

Compare China, even in its Maoist period, to the squalor and degradation that the majority of Indians, both in town and country, continue to live in, and only a fool or a reactionary would not conclude that India has failed by any measurable criteria.

India, under the growth and influence of a bourgeois comprador class, has integrated itself into the economic neoliberalism of the Anglo-Saxon world.

Chaudari predicted with remarkable foresight this eventuality earlier when he wrote:

Working within the emerging polity of the larger Europe, the Anglo-Saxon can be expected to lay claim to a special association with India on historical grounds. In plain words I expect either the United States singly or a combination of the United States and the British Commonwealth to re-establish and rejuvenate the foreign domination of India. (Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, N.C. Chauduri, 1951.)

Later, in 1962, he observed:

In the fulfillment of their destiny the American People will become the greatest imperial Power the world has seen, and they will repeat their history by having the blood of the Dark Indian on their head as they have that of the Red. (The Continent of Circe, N.C. Chauduri, 1965, p. 85)

THE STRUGGLE FOR INDIA & NEPAL

This revolution has now reached India and here the minerals which it stands in need of are found for the most part in the territories of the aboriginals. Very powerful forces stand behind the movement: the policies, interests, money and technical skills of nearly all Western nations: and, above all, the all-consuming Hindu avarice.

All this in combination is breaking down the isolation of the aboriginal, threatening not only his security but existence. There is a Hindu push towards the wilds, which never existed before, and very large vested interests are being created for the Hindus in the homelands of the primitives. The white ants are on the march. (Ibid, N.C Chauduri, 1965, p. 76)

Given the failure of autarkism, India has increasingly adopted neoliberal economic policies, making India safe for international capital and expanding the wealth of the Hindu ruling class. This process was cemented during the 2006 meeting with Bush by the commitment of the Indian government where India agreed to ‘liberalize’ their economy by opening it to multinational companies looking for cheap labor and expanding the extraction of India’s natural resources.

Although as can be seen in the prescient quote above, notwithstanding that it was written in terms that would now be termed as passé or non-PC, the seeds were planted a generation ago. In doing so they have heightened the contradictions within Indian society and have led to campaigns of resistance springing up in opposition to a reactionary economic strategy enforced by state terror which is accurately defined as fascist by revolutionary Communists on the subcontinent.

In this respect the much heralded ‘economic miracle’ of the past few years is only confined to 10% of the population, mainly the city dwelling middle classes. It is based on hi-tech industries and insourced cheap labor through bilateral agreements for international companies seeking increases in absolute surplus value.

For the rest of the population in both town and country, living conditions have worsened considerably over this period. The majority of unfortunate rural Indians still eke out a primitive existence in Stone Age conditions. Most of these peoples live in conditions of deprivation, without regular access to decent nutrition, health care, education, clean water, etc.

The manic need of transnational imperialism to seize India’s resources to feed wasteful overconsumption in the developed Western World, as was noted earlier, has led to land wars against the indigenous Adivasis in India’s poorer regions like Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Madya Pradesh and Jharkand.

To enforce these policies, gangs of rightwing vigilantes, goondas, licensed by the regional and central authorities, are conducting what at best can be described as ethnic cleansing and genocide against these tribal peoples. The process noted by Chauduri in the 1960s has considerably accelerated over the past decade.

The three major parliamentary parties, CI, BJP and the CPI(M) or Communist Party of India(Marxist), are committed to expanding this reactionary program further, which can be clearly seen in the states where one or the other of them is in power. In Chhattisgarh, for example, where the BJP hold sway, there is an attempt to fast-track this process and allow voracious extractive monopolies to plunder resources following the dispossession of the tribal ethnics at the hands of vicious paramilitary Salwa Judum (Freedom Marchers, sic).

The only serious opposition to this neoliberal capitalist strategy are principally the Maoist groups, in alliance with the affected Adivasis, who are engaging in armed struggle in many states, forming a red belt that runs down the spine of India.

They have an armed presence in over 180 of the 600 departments of the country, and they have been described by the Indian CoS as presenting the ‘greatest menace to India’s internal security.’

The Indian ruling class is agitated by the threat of Maoists exercising any sort of power and enacting a radical programme in Nepal, which they have hitherto dominated and where their ‘mini-me’ Nepalese counterpart has so slavishly followed their path into even deeper reaction.

It is true that during the struggle against the King, culminating in his defeat, India facilitated peace talks between the Maoists and NP and the UML, which led to the Maoists declaring a cease fire. The alliance that arose between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists worked to overthrow the monarchy.

The Delhi government, for example, released Guarev, a UCPN(M) politburo member, and its principal spokesman on foreign policy, so that he could participate in these talks. But the depth of the ongoing hostility to the Maoists is reflected in the fact that he was interned along with thousands of indigenous Maoists and tribal resisters, without charge or trial for three years, under the draconian State Security laws inherited from the British. These are the same laws under which they martyred Baghat Singh.

The motives for this temporary change lie not in India reconfiguring its policy towards Nepal but because they expected that the Maoists would not prove up to the task of operating within a multi-party democracy and would fail any substantial electoral test.

They were not alone in this assessment; internal and external observers thought the Maoists would come a poor third in any such contest. To some extent this was not entirely a complete fantasy, as in the 1994 elections an earlier incarnation of the Maoists, the UPFN (United People’s Front Nepal) failed to win a single seat in a contest where the UML emerged as the winner with 88 seats, followed closely by NC with 83 seats.

What went against their 2008 expectations was the fact that the inspiration brought about by the PW dramatically increased the electoral appeal of the Maoists among a critical mass of the population. So it was that the Maoists confounded all the pundits gathered in Kathmandu by winning 40% of the electorate and emerging as the single largest party, with NP coming second with 30% of the vote and the UML in third place with around 20% in the April 2008 election.**

The key to the present crisis is the refusal to accept that the CPN(M) had a mandate for change and this is what provoked the subsequent plotting against the Prachanda led government.

The Americans played a strong role in the orchestration of the anti-Maoist campaign. The US has steadfastly refused to remove the designation of ‘terrorist’ from them, unlike Delhi which had not used the description since 2002.

The US State Department reinforced this scheming with a recently commissioned survey on the 2008 election in order to undermine the credibility of the electoral success of the UCPN(M) by alleging that it was the product of brute force and intimidation. They specifically singled out the Young Communist League for vilification and cited their defensive campaign against Indian inspired and separatist agitations in the Madesh bordering India.

Although the Party honored its word given during the peace talks with the SPA and put the 30,000 strong PLA into UN supervised cantonments, it had in reserve almost 300,000 YCL cadre for the electoral battle which for a number of reasons proved crucial to electoral ascendancy. A prominent bourgeois journal claimed that:

The YCL is just another name for Maoist guerrillas not openly carrying guns. (An Armless Army, The Nepali Times, 20/27th April, 2007)

Their relative numerical strength in a population of just over 23 million is a reflection of the appeal of the Maoists to the youth of a country where nearly 60% of people are under 30.

This US policy parallels with their policy towards Hamas in Gaza which had, at the behest of the West, called a cease-fire in 2006 and similarly entered an electoral battle.

When it proved similarly successful, it was similarly rubbished, and the goals for lifting the isolation of Hamas were moved further away. Here too, the leadership of the US was determinate and expressed the message to those it still regards as ‘terrorists’ that “however you play the game – you will lose!”

‘WAVING THE RED FLAG’ – THE CPI(M) & CPN(UML)

I have covered so far the role that India has displayed in relation to Nepal. I have also tried to outline how the NCs’ development and present objectives either coincide with or are determined by this neocolonial power. I now wish to turn to the UML, ostensibly a ‘left’ party, and show how it came to campaign in this ‘orgy of reaction’ that saw the Maoists driven from power. Although it was precipitated by right wing Army officers, the final blow against Prachanda and the UCPN(M) was the UML’s withdrawal from the coalition government and subsequent open support of Katawal’s actions.

How did this happen?

That a Communist party should sabotage a left government committed to radical policies in alliance with internal and external reaction came, initially, as a shock to many.

Notwithstanding the fact that many of members I was privileged to meet were sincere, dedicated comrades and which made the critical analysis I eventually reached all the more difficult, though I was impelled to do so by a sense of Communist commitment.

What misplaced use of dialectics by the UML leadership led them to such a clearly reactionary pass?

Was it unique, or did it mirror the drift of the CPI(M) away from revolutionary Communism and a capitulation to a pro-capitalist position?

I will argue the latter; that each party reached similar political and theoretical positions and modified, or even abandoned, socialism under the dead weight of reaction on the subcontinent and beyond. Their mentors and paymasters are drawn from those sources.

I first got involved in Nepalese politics through GEFONT/UML.

In October 2005 I went to Nepal for two reasons; the first to trek up the Khumbu to Everest Base Camp, and secondly, as a Communist, I had become interested because the People’s War had been raging there since 1996 against the unpopular American, British and Indian backed feudal monarchy and the supine, corrupt parliament.

I did not have to go far to establish contact, as UML’s trade union wing GEFONT was organised at the hotel where I stayed on arrival (which was owned by the King’s sister) and I met their shop steward – who was also its Maître’d’. Through him I visited their head office in Kathmandu on the wonderfully named Putali Sadak (Butterfly Road) and there met Chairperson Neupane and other members of the executive, among whom were Bishnu Rimal and Binda Pandey, and their research and international officer, Budhi Acharya.

I found myself more at home than in the UK, where Communists have to work within a single Laborite trade union movement, the TUC. The Nepali trade unions are organized like their French counterparts, with the main political parties each having their own union centre. The Nepali Trades Union Congress (NTUC) was, for example the trade union face of NC. GEFONT, in this respect, has the same relationship with the UML as the CGT has with the PCF, although, unlike the CGT, GEFONT’s 300,000 members are also Party members.

I was particularly impressed that pride of place, in a very busy, comprehensive and dedicated research department, was given to a shelf with Progress Publishers‘ forty two volume editions of Lenin. I could not imagine a British trade union head office being so equipped. I had a similar frisson when I visited the UML office in Pokhara and saw, proudly displayed, on the wall of the Regional Secretary’s office, posters of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.

The division between the two Communist parties is not parallel with the splits in the West: there is no anti-Stalinist crawling to petit-bourgeois liberalism or any reflection of the Sino-Soviet split in their mutual opposition. Trotskyism, as in any genuine revolutionary struggle in the developing world, has no purchase or relevance. Disagreements are fundamental and are not based on what Freud called “the narcissism of small differences.”

I was also struck by the wide range of activities GEFONT was engaged in; they were fighting battles against child labor, for literacy and numeracy programmes, campaigns to eliminate bonded labor (Kamaiyas), women’s rights, etc., battles which in the West we had long ago won. Alongside these endeavors, they were also occupied with the more recognizable free collective bargaining activities on behalf of diverse industrial and service groups that is part of our normal warp and weave.

In addition, health and safety is taken very seriously in a country where life is cheap, hard and short. For example: as a carpenter and ex-building worker for most of my working life, it was a shock to see masons and their laborers manhandling large blocks of dressed natural stone in flip-flops! The quality, however, of their tradesmen, including carpenters and joiners, was really outstanding, especially given the primitive conditions they work under.

The quality of GEFONT’S propaganda and research on this range of issues was excellent, detailed and exhaustive, equal if not superior to that of any UK union.

I was also informed that the following April, the population led by the SPA in the urban centre – principally in the Kathmandu Valley – together with the Maoists who were dominant in over 80% of the rural areas, were going to rise up against the monarchy by means of a nationwide Bandh in a repeat of the 1990 Andolan that had challenged Birendra. The fact that they could predict this six months in advance demonstrated how far and well the peace talks between the SPA and the Maobaadi, which were ongoing in India, were going.

I went home, but with my appetite whetted, and I resolved to come back the following April. I continued learning the language, studying its history and writing, and wrote what in retrospect was a naïve article which the Labour & Trade Union Review was good enough to print. In this piece I drew on the spirit of unity that was evident across the political spectrum and was particularly pronounced between the two Communist parties previously and literally at war over the difference in their respective strategies of armed or electoral struggle.

I also attempted to get my union, UCATT (Union of Construction, Allied Trades & Technicians), to establish fraternal links, but as with any labor organisation it balked at association with ‘Communists.’

I finally counted at least seven serious Communist parties, CPN(M) and the UML being the biggest, as opposed to the UK where the various organisations laying claim to being Communists amount in relative terms to three men and a dog, as opposed to these Nepalese parties which could count on the support of 60% of the population and which, if unity was maintained and developed, I opined, would make Communist advance unstoppable.

To this end, I went through dialectical contortions, arguing that the two principal parties, despite the profound differences between them over strategy, were each correct from the positions they occupied in a society where the unequal development between the urban and the rural was strongly pronounced.

Hence the UML flourished in the strong civil society of the towns and cities because they reflected the objective economic and political needs of the urban masses against the relatively advanced, though increasingly comprador, capitalist system which applied there. In any event, the Maoists proved surprisingly strong in the urban centers as the 2008 election showed. They even defeated the UML General Secretary of Nepal in the two Kathmandu seats where he stood!

The Maobaadi, advancing People’s War on the other hand, reflected those values of the rural masses in a struggle against a residual but still strong martial feudalism that had received a new lease of life from the backing of the Anglo-Saxon and Indian governments who advocated and promoted increased military repression against the ‘terrorist’ threat in the countryside.

That was then and this is now: with the alliance between the bourgeois parliamentary parties and CPN(Maoist) shattered and with the former backing the military against the political authority of the Prachanda government.

The UML support for the Katawal coup places them firmly in the camp of bourgeois reaction and counterrevolution. It provides a classic case that it is not what you call yourself but what you do that counts.

Neither is that position an aberration in respect of the UML but instead reflects a process that has been ongoing since the 1990 Andolan.

This was a turbulent period, with twelve changes of government in eleven years. The UML were enthusiastic participants in this parliamentary game and even provided a Prime Minister for nine months in 1994 with the UML General Secretary Adikhari replacing GP Koirala, the leader of an increasingly fractious NC.

This decade long charivari did much to discredit the parliamentary parties as more and more Nepalese became increasingly disenchanted with these displacement politics activated in lieu of necessary radical action. They had had high hopes that, following the success of the Andolan and the humbling of Birendra, Nepal would go through a transformation where the many problems that had gestated under the monarchy would be swept away with measures that, for the first time in Nepalese history, would favour the masses.

They expected programs to tackle poverty (Nepal is the 17th poorest country in the World), to deal with illiteracy, child labor and the caste system, to enact justice and equity for the Janjatis; of these, ending feudalism (especially on the question of land ownership) being the most prominent. It was also hoped this new democracy would expand and modernize Nepal’s lamentably underdeveloped infrastructure.

That these problems were not dealt with was not, however, solely due to the narcissistic political squabbling during these wasted years.

Another crucial factor limiting any room for a radical program was that from the launch of the ‘new democracy’ in 1990, GP Koirala’s NC government continued and expanded Birendra’s initiative in 1985, admitting the IMF and the World Bank as arbiters of Nepal’s economic and social destiny. These multilateral bodies are the economic arm of American imperialism and enforce neoliberal capitalist nostrums through the comprador class in whatever particular country they have either a foothold or full control.

The mechanism used is the euphemistically named the ‘Structural Adjustment Program,’ (I have retained the American spelling) which implements privatization and price-dictated market policies.

What semblance there was in Nepal of a mixed economy was dismantled; a process overseen by economic hit men dispatched there as IMF/WB enforcers. Thus subsidies on fertilizer, essential goods and services were abolished, and the few enterprises that were state controlled were privatized.

This meant that prices on such items as petroleum doubled overnight, causing tremendous hardship for the majority of the Nepalese people who were reliant on that commodity for domestic use and transportation. Privatization in its turn led to redundancies, closures, asset stripping and the slashing of wages and conditions for the employees kept on by their new masters.

This latter was carried out for purely ideological reasons even if the enterprise was a thriving, going concern. They were sold off at four or five times less than their extant value in the face of any commercial logic. It was similar to the legalized theft that was initiated during the corrupt, philistine Thatcherite period in the UK, although no scraps were thrown to the Nepalese masses as a bribe as happened there. All the plunder went either to Nepalese compradors or Indian capitalists.

The SAP also terminated the licensing system which had assisted those enterprises which were export-led and left them at the mercy of more powerful and developed external economic interests which have successfully penetrated the Nepalese market.

Also drastically affected were state expenditures in health and education. Even the minimum welfare provisions that did exist were reduced, and tariffs that protected Nepalese industries, particularly small scale manufactures, were ended.

These policies were enacted during the high water mark of triumphalist free market capitalism, and they were no different to those forced upon the countries of the former Soviet Bloc or indeed anywhere else the tentacles of this global octopus envelops. A similar breed of carpetbaggers to those that swept over Eastern Europe after 1989 poured into Nepal, with Indian capitalists to the fore.

In Nepal, as elsewhere, these destructive ‘Year Zero’ economics caused tremendous hardships for the respective peoples who fell under their aegis.

THE UML AND THE STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM

As has been noted, the NC government that took power in 1990 was an enthusiastic participant in the SAP, demonstrating the growing influence of a comprador bourgeois in its ranks. Politically and ideologically, it demonstrated that NC had become the Nepalese wing of CI.

How then did the newly formed UML respond to the SAP and its harsh effects on the mass of population? How did it respond to the phenomenon of globalized capital out of which the SAP stratagem emerged?

How did it address the fact that the dominance of international capital intensified the socioeconomic disparities between the developed and the developing world?

The answers to those questions reveal the crucial dilemma that lies at the heart of its political theory and practice and show how it occupies the same terrain already inhabited by its Indian homologue, the CPI(M). It also demonstrates the gulf between it and the CPN(M).

In regard to the first question, they did not fail to note the deleterious impact on the living and working standards of the Nepalese masses.

A prominent UML commentator summed up the results:

…the State after 1990 haphazardly followed neoliberal economic policy which did not actually suit Nepal’s constitutional vision and socio-economic reality. This produced a systematic race to the bottom dynamics, poverty, inequality, social alienation and political protest.

Analyzing the mistake of policy makers, a social scientist says – “The post 1991 governments, however, deviated from the welfare state and sought to create a subsidiary state where poorer people subsidized the rich and the powerful. It was actually the outcome of heavily increased pressure of Globalization in our national scenario.” (Challenging Globalization, World of Work, B. Rimal, 2005 p.214)

Given this recognition, what policies did the UML advance to oppose the negative effects of IMF/World Bank diktats on Nepal?

In this respect, I will concentrate on one major policy advanced in response to the demand of the IMF under the SAP for privatization of sixteen publicly owned enterprises, as it is indicative of the UML’s general politico/economic strategy. I will quote below from GEFONT policy statements, given that its policies are interchangeable with those of the UML.

In the first place, it acknowledges the role of transnational capital’s liberalization of the Nepalese economy but gives some role to the pressure from the indigenous capitalist class:

The business class, basically the big house bosses has high influence on the state power now. This kind of influence, although it was limited before 1990, highly expanded after the restoration of multiparty democracy. With a high volt emphasis on privatization after 1991, lobbying of big houses has increased manifold. (Study & Research, 2004, Section 14)

The principle driving this demand is that:

Instead of taking a long and arduous route for a new company, eases the prospective investors into a ready-made business enterprise. (Ibid, Section 4)

It also complains that:

With the blind and haphazard privatization of public enterprises, both production and employment have been adversely affected. (World of Work, 2005, p. 215)

However, this did not mean that there was a root and branch opposition to this reactionary program and its clear deleterious effects on Nepal’s people; instead, it promoted a policy of attempting to minimize those effects and making the process more efficient. The slogan therefore was:

Selective liberalization – selective privatization. (Ibid, p.47)

In other words; rather than the ‘blind and haphazard’ approach, it wanted one targeted on enterprises that needed ‘restructuring’ so they could compete better in the world market. So, for example, loss making, unproductive and technologically backward jute mills were among those where privatization was supported. It was even suggested that the Hetaunda cotton mill be added to the list; despite the fact that it had an adequate capital structure and modern machinery, it was ‘operationally inefficient’.

There was a complaint against privatization where enterprises were profit making and also when new private owners did not deliver the promised benefits or even where they were closed down; as in the case of an agricultural tool factory. They also complained where blatant asset stripping was evident, as in the case of the Bansbari Leather and Shoe Factory.

Generally they were concerned that the program, whether it showed successes or failures, had no provisions for either retraining or redeployment for the increased unemployment it created.

The most significant privatization that was supported was that of Nepal’s existing water utilities. The reasons given were that it was severely undercapitalized and operating with antiquated technology. It also had meager coverage of the country with 70% of Nepalese not having access to clean water. (This is one the principal causes of the high infant mortality rates.) I recall describing the privatization of our utilities, including water, in the UK as adding a qualitative twist to the legalized theft of all our nationalized and public enterprises and comparing it to the fate of Nepal’s water.

My GEFONT/UML comrades were extremely defensive and noted that it only contributed 15% of Nepal’s nugatory publicly owned industrial assets (which accounted for only 2% of the country’s GDP and 3% of its employment). Because I, along with nearly Nepalese, was swept up at that time in the spirit of the ‘Andolan,’ I accepted the argument at face value.

Later, in a spirit of ’emotion recollected in tranquility,’ it became clear that while it was an extant severely underdeveloped utility, it was perhaps Nepal’s greatest natural resource, with a truly massive developmental potential. Vide my earlier section on India’s long established recognition and exploitation of this resource through successive unequal treaties.

Furthermore, I noted that its commodification gave it an exchange value that overrode its use value as a basic necessity for all life, human or otherwise. It had instantly become a source of profit that devalued its crucial importance for day to day existence.

In the final analysis, however, the overarching criticism of privatization was that it was ideologically driven and not based on any economic rationality. The main reason that the entire program of liberalization was failing, GEFONT/UML argued, was because there was a failure to give an adequate role to the state.

It was argued that where SAP’s had been extremely successful, government intervention had played a dominant role, as in South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, where these programs had produced ‘high growth with equity’. (Ibid, p.47)

But these were singular exceptions in long established social and economic formations which were contrary to the anti-statist presupposition behind the neoliberal phenomenon which originated in the US and the UK during the Reagan/Thatcher years and was thereafter imposed on the rest of the world through the IMF, WB and WTO.

The state was, therefore, not a mechanism for solving social and economic problems; it was, as Reagan asserted, the problem. So the governments of developing countries were there to serve principally as facilitators of international finance capital.

This even applied within the imperial heartlands, as was noted by the Washington insider, Robert Reich, in his book, Supercapitalism :

Democracy and capitalism have been turned upside down.

In short, the political institutions of bourgeois society no longer regulate capitalism, but instead market forces regulate the political institutions. It is they who say what is and is not possible.

This naivete regarding prospects for the utilitarian state in the face of the dominance of monopoly capitalism ran through the UML like the print in a stick of rock. It informed their desire for tripartism, for industrial democracy, a mixed economy, Keynesian deficit spending and for an expanded welfare state when these have become anathema to the major world capitalist powers.

What they wanted was the type of social democratic settlement that had marked the postwar years in Europe until the 1970s, not realizing that this was a tactical contingency that Western capitalism had conceded to its labor movements and working classes not because it was some inevitable evolution of a humane economic consensus but simply to make the system more attractive to the peoples of the ‘Free World’ in the face of competition from a planned, ‘cradle to grave,’ full employed, socialist Eastern bloc.

America, while supporting this social democratic settlement among its European allies through, e.g., the Marshall Plan, was able to avoid these stratagems because its labor movement was comparatively weak, and its working class consciousness was underdeveloped and fragmented.

Therefore, despite the fact that the immiseration of the 1930’s was as pronounced in the US as it was in Europe, there was no equivalent pressure there to follow a similar course. This, plus the fact that the rapid expansion of its consumer culture began shortly after it switched to a fully employed wartime economy, as opposed to Western Europe where conspicuous consumption started fitfully and differentially, began a good fifteen or twenty years after the war.

What social change did come to the US as a implicit result of the existence of a USSR Soviet Bloc was in the granting of civil rights as demanded by a powerful national lobby, led by the NAACP, to the descendants of its black slaves. Similarly, the struggle against Apartheid only succeeded because of the direct support of the USSR.

With the gradual erosion of socialism following the de-Stalinization initiated by Khrushchev in 1956, free market capitalism began a process of reassertion. It was spurred on by the fact that the Keynesian solution to the problems of underconsumption and unemployment, which had distinguished capitalism before the postwar social democratic consensus, was coming to the end of its useful life as it had led to the rapid increase in the rate of inflation, creating social and economic instability.

Monetarism became one of the main free marketeers’ instruments for addressing this problem – a brutal policy of restricting the money supply would increase its value, not just by making it scarcer as a commodity in itself but by reducing government expenditures, specifically on welfare provisions. It also decreased overall consumption, although Thatcher’s regime added the additional measure of rolling back the hitherto strong British trade union movement that had flourished during the war and after.

It was, however, the suicide of the USSR in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Bloc that finally saw the end of this historically contingent postwar settlement. Capital now saw no need to keep its working classes mollified through the mechanisms of full employment and welfare statism. Social democracy proved to be a comparatively short hiatus in the history of capitalism and was replaced by the predatory neoliberal model which finds crude, brutal expression in contemporary world capitalism.

In the developing world, which had been drawn into the world market and where a growing proletariat is increasingly becoming the source of increased absolute value to expansionist transnational monopolies, the neoliberal model’s dominance could be maintained through either the neocolonial stratagems of creating and supporting comprador bourgeoisies in these super-exploited countries or by using the model’s superior military might either directly or indirectly by Western invasion or arming it’s comprador stooges to crush any progressive resistance to the hegemony of Western imperialism, or where necessary, an admixture of these modalities.

Iraq is an example of the former, Nepal of the latter.

The UML, like its sister party, the CPI(M), has not understood, therefore, that the social democratic dog has barked but the caravan of finance capital has moved on.

There is a similar naivete in the UML’s self-image on offering a middle way between the Scylla of capitalist imperialism and the Charbydis of Communist revolution. In this sense, its propaganda is replete with condemning the excesses of these oppositional forces, e.g.:

Today’s Nepal is in the quagmire of extreme Leftist and Rightist ideologies and, as such, (is) caught in the crossfire of violence and counter violence (of) these extremist ideologies. (Ibid , p.iii)

And again:

The “People’s War” launched by the CPN(Maoists), the Communist faction heavily marred with ultra Leftist thinking and terrorist activities, has been a serious concern of Nepali politics. The state is still under the control of reactionary and anti-worker forces. And the movement for the democratization of Nepali society still continues. (One Union, 2005, p.2)

The UML too thought that it could beat the Maoists electorally following the 2006 ceasefire and the subsequent April Andolan. In fact, it was humiliated and lost a third of its electoral support.

The UML has also promoted extreme military measures against the Maobaadi both before and after it became a member of Koirala’s NC government when it launched in the 1998 ‘Killer Sierra Two’ operation; a brutal army crackdown under the guidance of American and Israeli military advisers against the Maoists and their supporters over a more extended geographical area than Operation Romeo in 1996.

Throughout the period of the PW, it backed any repressive legislation against the Communist revolutionaries. Though still steeped in the idea of Communist opposition, the leadership was determined to play the role of a respectable parliamentary opposition, and the glaring contradiction gave it problems with its rank and file. It maintained this posture despite a drain of cadre who take their Leninism seriously which continues to this day. It has also led to a fierce debate withing the leadership.

The leadership’s re-branding has been described as an attempt to become a Eurocommunist style party and to move away from Leninist insurrectionist vanguardism. Gramsci, a great original Marxist thinker, became widely read among leading cadre. I was asked to send an English edition of Prison Notebooks to a Central Committee member, as it was difficult to obtain anywhere on the subcontinent. I was only too pleased to do so, and it made me realise how much we in the West take easy access to such theoretical works for granted.

The UML was attempting to give intellectual ballast within a Marxist spectrum as a means of justifying its embrace of reactionary politics. As was noted earlier, unequal development between the urban centers, particularly the Kathmandu Valley, and the countryside, particularly in the West where the Maoists flourished, was pronounced.

It meant that a strong civil society existed in the former, and therefore using a Gramscian conceptual framework was no mere fanciful affectation but could be accurately used as a tool of descriptive critical analysis.

The Maoists implicitly recognised how developed this urban civil society was. It was one of the reasons they modified Mao’s original PPW strategy in the context of Chinese conditions of “letting the countryside encircle the city,” realizing that any attempt to take urban areas by force would lead to a Pyrrhic victory at best and therefore a political defeat. The UML’s problem was the political line that was grafted onto this matrix that left it open to a charge of opportunism.

Whatever the new strategy, it steadily lost electoral support from the highpoint of 1994 when it emerged as the largest party with 31% of the vote, the biggest number of seats, and formed a short lived government under Man Mohan Adikhari, to the electoral humiliation of 2008.

The most crucial problem the UML faces is not its participation in parliamentary politics but its attempt to find a middle ground between two irreconcilable forces. In the developing world, the contradiction exists in its most antagonist form as the privileges of the Western World depend upon the increasing deprivation of the populations of the former.

War, famine, hunger, dispossession and superexploitation is the lot of the majority of the peoples in this Third World. The stark choice facing the twenty-first century is, to paraphrase Luxembourg, “Socialism or capitalist barbarism,” or as Arundhati Roy, the writer and activist, put it in relation to India, “either justice or civil war.”

There is no halfway house, and attempting to inhabit one will not only fail but implicitly gives support to a reactionary status quo.

It has also led increasingly to the UML, like the CPI(M), giving explicit support to, if not actually initiating, retrograde policies and stratagems. The Maoists have gone as far as claiming that the UML is in thrall to US and Indian interests, and that is borne out with its participation in the coup that provoked the resignation of Prachanda and the withdrawal of the then CPN(M) from government. It openly backed the CoS, Katawal, with one of its rewards being the installing of UML leader as Prime Minister.

What is also illustrative of the UML’s subservience to Indian interests is the failure to ever criticize the policies of successive Delhi governments. I have previously detailed, for example, how Indian administrations have used their economic and geographic dominance to force a series of unequal treaties on Nepal, following the example of their previous British masters. The Maoists have consistently called for their repeal, and this is a popular Nepalese demand.

Yet the UML is silent on the issue for the most part. In one instance referred to earlier, they were actually the government that facilitated and signed the 1996 Mahakali River Treaty (Mahakali River Integrated Development Treaty). This marked a new low, even by the standards of previous treaties, in giving India full control of the river in return for next to nothing. When it was ratified by the Parliament, it outraged many Nepalese who concluded all the parliamentary parties involved were Indian stooges, and rumors even circulated that the UML lead negotiators had taken money under the table.

Another measure which brought UML further opprobrium, especially from the Janjatis, was the decision to broadcast news in Sanskrit, which is spoken by no one in Nepal. This further fueled the resentment among those tribal groups already aggravated by the imposition of Nepali as the national language and the introduction of compulsory Sanskrit in schools which were controversial features of the 1990 Constitution.

Nepali, like Hindi, is a member of the Indo-Aryan group of languages which have their roots in Sanskrit (similar to the role that Latin played in Europe in relation to the evolution of the romance languages). Nepal is a multiethnic, multilingual society with over sixty ethnic groups, each with its own language, customs and religions.

For over two hundred years, these groups were excluded from political and economic power by dominant Brahmin castes who established Hindu dominance and sought to impose cultural and linguistic homogeneity upon all the peoples of Nepal.

In the Panchaayat era of Mahendra and Birendra, the slogan “One people – one language – one religion,” only intensified the resentment of the Janjatis against the phenomenon of Hindu domination. Unlike their Indian counterparts, the Adivasis, they form a sizable part of the population, and they supported the first Andolan by way of challenging Hindu hegemonic chauvinism. They felt betrayed however by the policies of the new democratic parliament which actually took steps to consolidate Hindu power.

This was especially true of the first NC government who dominated the shape of the new constitution and was controlled by the upper Hindu castes. What was surprising was the notionally progressive UML continued and even intensified the entrenchment of Hindu cultural and political control when they took over the reins of government from NC in 1994. The issue of the Sanskrit radio news emphasized this reactionary policy.

Consequently, many Janjatis flocked to the Maoist banner after the PW was launched in 1996 as the Maoists offered to reverse the domination of the minority Hindus in favour not only of the tribals but of the Dalits and the Terai Madeshi. The campaign against Sanskritism and the demand for cultural, political and economic freedom was an important part of the CPN(M) program.

It served to underline the fact that the UML, despite its residual Leftist rhetoric, was firmly set on a path of reaction first trodden by the CPI(M). How far this has taken the latter is shown by the recent events in West Bengal where a ‘Left Front’ government has been in power for over thirty years and now openly represents monopoly capitalist interests. It has gone, in the words of one local critic, “from Marxism to marketeering.”

This has been dramatically shown by its attempts to ethnically cleanse Adivasis from a 40 km square area around Nandigram, designated by the government as a Special Development Zone (SEZ), so that Salim, an Indonesian based multinational, can establish a huge chemical complex there.

Local resistance has been so fierce that the government dispatched 4,000 armed police, cadre and goondas to crush it. The violence and terror of this campaign led, in one notorious instance, to a massacre of 14 unarmed demonstrators. Consequently, leading CPI(M) cadre have been targeted and assassinated by Maoist guerrillas, acting as the armed wing of the CPI(Maoist).

It was mentioned earlier that this is prompted by the central government as part of the accommodation to a neoliberal strategy and is replicated in the individual states selected by whatever party is in power. The Left Front regime’s ruthless behaviour is in this sense no different from that of the BJP in Chhattisgarh, even to the extent of sending in CPI(M) cadre leading gangs of armed goondas against the Adivasi resisters.

That the UML is capable of such reactionary extremities is not in doubt; in its brief period of government, it proved that, far from establishing a progressive hiatus, it was indistinguishable from its NC predecessor, not only continuing its reactionary policies but formulating new ones of its own.

CONCLUSION

Like the NC, the UML has become a creature of Indian interests, and while each has developed by a different political route, they have arrived at the same destination. As they each largely draw support and membership from the Hindu segment of the population, they are culturally and linguistically homogeneous to India. Consequently they each find no great difficulty in pragmatically deferring to India’s economic and strategic power.

Like the Maoists, they recognize that, for example, Nepal is not self sufficient and is dependent on Indian imports to feed its population. Unlike the Maoists, however, this serves to bolster their pragmatism in the face of that power. Generally, again unlike the Maoists, they have no fear of Indian expansionism and would not even recognize the term. They rather see the growth of India’s influence as a natural reflection of its overall dominance in all the important spheres alluded to above, including its geographical position in relation to landlocked Nepal.

They are each willing agents, even if unconsciously, of the ‘Sikkimisation’ of Nepal. Sikkim voted in 1948 to stay out of India but gradually succumbed to Indian influence, a process stimulated by failure to produce an efficient government under its monarchy and which culminated in the 1975 occupation by the Indian Army and the subsequent referendum which a majority of the Sikkimese voted to ditch their King and become the 22nd state of the Indian republic.

They are each what could be termed ‘Indo-pendent’ parties, and thus, along with the reactionary pro-Indian officer class of the Nepalese Army, they found no difficulty in collaborating and scheming with primarily the Indian government but also with those of the US and UK in a campaign of sabotage against the Prachanda-led administration which culminated in the military coup recounted at the beginning of this article.

The weight of India’s actual and potential leverage on Nepal has also been implicitly recognised by the UCPN(M) and is one of the principal reasons behind its decision to move from the strategy of protracted People’s War and to the arena of multiparty democracy. It is, like freedom, a recognition of necessity; the realization that India could strangle any Nepalese revolutionary government at best or crush it by military intervention at worst.

It the understanding that there is no Socialist Bloc that can aid and support it, as was evident in the case of the Chinese Revolution, which could rely on the solidarity of the USSR to pursue its People’s War against a comprador Bonapartist Kuomintang clique and which led to victory in 1949.

Prachanda, in a recent meeting in London, said, in this respect:

The UCPN(M) cannot copy either the Bolshevik insurrectionist 1917 seizure of power in Russia or that of the CPC’s victory in China in 1949 but has to ‘develop’ its own strategy based on a concrete analysis of existing Nepalese conditions.

The looming and threatening power of Indian reaction is one of those conditions. The UCPN(M) has upset dogmatic Western Maoists by this adaptation to the existing reality and has developed a strategy to recognize the particularity of Nepal in the 21st century.

The acceptance of multi-party democracy by the UCPN(M) is such a ‘development’ and is not an opportunist stratagem to achieve power but is a long-standing principled policy to establish a ‘new democratic state’ in place of the present bureaucratic/comprador structure. It does not contemplate, therefore, establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat following a Protracted People’s War, Prachanda in a speech in 2002 articulated this position:

…we want to clarify once again we are committed to guarantee party freedom in the new state power to be constructed after the destruction of feudal autocracy. The state envisaged by us will not be a one-party dictatorship. The freedom to operate political parties according to one’s ideological convictions and contest elections will be guaranteed.

There only the activities of such elements upholding feudalism and inviting foreign domination will be curbed. We are committed to establish and develop a people’s democratic system of the twenty-first century. Such a democratic system won’t be a mechanical imitation of the traditional kind but will be guided by the people’s needs of the twenty-first century.

In this light the commitment to draw the previously oppressed and excluded classes and castes within Nepalese into this process is a part of extending and deepening this ‘new democracy.’

It also accepted that this stage of political transition will be dominated, in the words of Bhatterai in a 2008 interview, by a “capitalist revolution”who further gave the assurance that, “We will not nationalize large scale industry and we will respect free enterprise.” That this is not in contradiction with orthodox Marxist-Leninism, as he further said:

Marx, Engels and Lenin have already addressed this question. Between feudalism and socialism there is capitalism. But we have not yet had a capitalist stage in Nepal. It is therefore necessary to develop one.

The desire of the UCPN(M) was:

To go beyond Mao. We need to elaborate our own model. Marxism is not a religion, it is a science. We want to develop Marxism. (Le Monde, 11/04/2008, Author’s translation)

This capitalism will not be a comprador but a national one. It is a distinction that Mao himself made:

In the period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, the people’s republic will not expropriate private property other than imperialist and feudal private property, and so far from confiscating the national bourgeoisie’s industrial and commercial enterprises, it will encourage their development. We shall protect every national capitalist who does not support the imperialists or the Chinese traitors. In the stage of democratic revolution there are limits to the struggle between labour and capital.

The labour laws of the people’s republic will protect the interests of the workers but will not prevent the national bourgeoisie from making profits or developing their industrial and commercial enterprises, because such development is bad for imperialism and good for the Chinese people. (On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism , Mao Tse-Tung, 1935, pp. 168/9 Selected Works, Vol.1)

Following a recent Central Committee meeting which produced unity after a party sanctioned ‘two line struggle’ regarding this position, a member of the UCPN(M) politburo wrote:

And those who were in favour of restructuring the state explained that they too were engaged in a struggle, but it was a different type of struggle which may look Rightist and reformist in form but that in essence it was neither Rightist or reformist. This is because all these steps are being taken not to consolidate the old feudal and comprador/bureaucratic set-up but to achieve a new restructured state. (Thesis, Antithesis & Synthesis, Hsila Yami, Kantipur Times, August 2009)

This is a classic exposition of the “negation of the negation.” It demonstrates the subtlety and sophistication of the Nepalese party cleaving closely to Mao’s analytical methodology. It has been criticized by the Communist Party of India(Maoist) as Rightist deviation from the strategy of PPW which intends to culminate in the smashing of the existing state. They are rightly engaged in armed resistance the length and breadth of India against the forces of a social-fascist comprador state.

But they will find it even harder than in Nepal for the “countryside to encircle the city”, as civil society is even more entrenched in Indian urban centers than in Nepal.

It is certainly a qualitatively different application from the religio-dogmatic, karaoke forms that pass for Maoism among some Western anoraks.

Finally, there is no inevitability that the strategy of the UCPN(M) will be successful, any more than there is about the victory of the worldwide proletarian revolution, but it is certainly better equipped, intellectually and politically, to handle the twists and turns that are distinctly manifest and unique in Nepal as they are indeed in all revolutions.

*My grandfather,Gabriel Byrne, was typical in this respect; he was a volunteer with the 6th Battalion of the Irish Republican Army during the 1918-21 War of Independence. He took the Republican side in the civil war that followed and for a while was de Valera’s driver. He was interned for a time in the Curragh and remained a ‘Dev’ man until his death in 1969.

He came from the Dun Laoghaire working class and started life as a railwayman at the station there, from which many Volunteer operations were launched including a famous ambush on the Marine Parade, two hundred yards from Dun Laoghaire station, where several Black and Tans died in a bomb attack on their Crossley Tender. In peacetime, through hard work combined with a shrewd business sense he became a newsagent in Monkstown next door.

He never lost his republican radicalism or his antipathy to British imperialism. When I was twelve, he thrust E.M. Forster’s Passage to India into my hands and said: “If you want to know what the British were like in India – read this!”

**I was not surprised by the results, as during April 2006, I went on a solo trek around the villages off the Annapurna Trail, a region that was supposed to be one of the few rural areas left under the control of the God-King’s army. Equipped with some Nepalese language, I found ubiquitous evidence of Maoist activity and propaganda and that they had almost total support from the people thereabouts.

One of the few exceptions was an ex-Ghurka shopkeeper who by coincidence had been quartered at barracks in Aldershot where I had worked as a carpenter during the late sixties. The CPN(M) opposes the recruitment of Ghurka mercenaries into either the British or Indian armies.

If I gave the Maoist greeting, Lal Salam (Red Salute), to peoples in fields or villages, it was readily returned, and I made many friends. The commitment was genuine and heartfelt and shaped by years of oppression from a state which was only visible in a repressive military form. The PLA was stood down in that area as part of the CPA.

If you Google: “Peter Tobin – Bishnu Rimal,” you will find an interview I conducted with the latter (a UML Central Committee member) a few days after the victory of the Andolan which will confirm that I guessed right on the depth of Maoist support.

REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bhattarai, B. Monarchy versus Democracy.

Chauduri, N.C. The Continent of Circe.

Hegel, G.W.F. The Philosophy of History.

Karki, A & Seddon, D. The People’s War in Nepal – Left Perspectives.

Mao Tse Tung. On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism, Selected Works, Vol. 1.

Marx, K. The Future Results of British Rule in India, Selected Works, Vol.1.

Maxwell, N. India’s China War.

Misra, A. War of Civilizations – The Long Revolution (India AD 1857).

Muni, S.D. Maoist Insurgency in Nepal.

Rimal, B. Challenging Globalization.

Stalin, J.V. Marxism and the National Question.

Thapa, D. A Kingdom Under Siege.

Yami, H. Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis.

PERIODICALS & JOURNALS

Himal – Southasian

Kantipur Times

Le Monde

Nepal Telegraph

Nepali Times

The Worker, Journal of the UCPN(M)

UML/GEFONT PUBLICATIONS

One Union

Study & Research

Trade Union Rights

World of Work

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Kumar Sarkhar for his explanation of the term Bhadralok, and also for drawing my attention that any description of Indian civil society that does not represent its multiethnic, multilingual and multifaceted political culture and therefore exaggerates Hindu hegemony will be unbalanced. While I do not therefore resign myself from the ‘Two Nations’ theory in respect of Ireland, I do need to study the Indian experience further – after all comparisons might be odious.

He has also provided me with details of the position of the CPI(M) with regard to partition and their discussions with Stalin and Zhdanov representing the CPSU. This has pointed to a gap in the article relating to early history and development of the Indian CP.

I would like to thank Tongogara Tewodros for drawing my attention to Hegel’s views on slavery.

I would also like to thank Sudeshna Sarkar for correcting a Tourette’s grammatical tic I had developed by correcting my spelling of Hindu names, and by pointing out that KP Bhatterai was the first PM following the 1990 Andolan, and not GP Koirala. Her article on a sacred Hindu relic was helpful because it detailed the section of the Mahabharata where the Pandavas brothers flee to the Himalayas racked with guilt at the enormity of their victory over the Kuaravas brothers following the mythic battle of Kurukshetra.

This episode both bears out and challenges the notion of a historical martial Hindu spirit (which is proposed by Chauduri and which this article tries to confirm with the history since Independence); it confirms it in the battle, which although one among many, is pivotal, it modifies it with the anguished withdrawal of the victors. This rejection of the world finds its echoes throughout Hindu literature and history where powerful figures step down, practice virtue and find spiritual solace.

It was not particularly confined to Hindu myth – we have the historical figure of Siddhartha Gautama who relinquished his princely status in order to ‘become one with himself and the universe’ and become Buddha in the process.

Finally, I would like to thank her generally for a vigorous exchange on issues raised in the article.

Peter Tobin
September 2009

Peter Tobin, “India and Nepal – Big Brother Little Brother Part 1″

This is an excellent document that reviews the relationship between India and Nepal from a Marxist perspective. There are commenters on this blog who say that the market has proven superior to socialist economies. This was true in Europe, when one compared socialist economies in Eastern Europe with the social democracies (really another form of socialism) in Western Europe.
The social democracies definitely achieved better sustained economic growth, though I understand that socialism worked pretty well in Tito’s Yugoslavia. At the moment, all of Europe is pretty well developed, so I don’t see how Europe benefits from state socialism.
In the rest of the world, it’s another matter altogether. One can make a serious case that capitalism is failing in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Philippines and Indonesia. Furthermore, it seems to be failing badly in Latin America.
When you look at the horrible slums in this part of the world, when you count up all of those killed by hunger and disease every year, when you note all of those that lack even the most basic amenities of life, capitalism has disastrously failed in many places. At least socialism can build up an economy, get rid of slums, pave the roads, give everyone electricity, plumbing, clean water, schooling, health care, access to work, culture and transportation.
I look at the slums of Rio, Lima, Manila or Delhi and say the Hell with it. Are you kidding? This is the best we can do? Capitalist apologists look at that mess and say, “We are working on it.” They’ve been “working on it” forever. When are the heartbreaking shantytowns ever going to go away? Probably never in my lifetime.
Get rid of this system. At the least, socialism (or nowadays, some market socialism hybrid) can develop the country and meet people’s basic needs. At some point in the future, maybe it could morph into a Chinese-style system.
This piece is excellent on so many levels I can’t even begin to write about it. I will just leave it to the commenters to take it apart. It takes a while to read it, so just print it out and read it at your leisure.
Peter Tobin is a fine writer and thinker. He’s an Irishman and a lot of his thinking is watered with his Irish experience. Curiously, he’s opposed to the IRA and supports self-determination for the Six Counties.

INDIA & NEPAL – BIG BROTHER – LITTLE BROTHER

A CASE STUDY IN NEOCOLONIALISM

A MARXIST PERSPECTIVE

PETER TOBIN

When a great social revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch, the market of the world and the modern powers of production and subject to the common control of the most advanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous pagan idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain. (The Future Results of British Rule in India, 1853, Marx Engels, Sel.Wks. Volume 1, p.499)

INTRODUCTION

The alliance of the three principal parties, Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and the now renamed Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) that together overthrew the world’s last Hindu monarchy and established a secular republic following the Jana Andolan (People’s Uprising) in 2006 has finally ended.
In this article I want to examine the reasons for this turn of events and the role that India, in particular, the US and the UK have played in undermining the coalition government led by the UCPN(M) leader, Prachandra, which provoked his resignation and his party’s withdrawal from that government. The coup was organised by RAW (Research Analysis Wing) an arm of Indian intelligence in conjunction with the CIA and after four April days in Katmandu meeting NC leaders, with Yadev, the Nepalese president playing a Quisling role.
In relation to the first I will set out the policies of successive Indian administrations towards Nepal and see how it reflects their long-standing assertion of hegemony over the entire sub-continent. To provide a comprehensive analysis I will analyze India’s history since independence in order to show that its approach is consistent with this narrative and the world view that emerged from it.
In relation to Nepal I will detail the record of NC and demonstrate its subordination to the authority of Delhi. Also the part played by the CPN(UML) will be investigated to how it mirrors the politics and practices of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
In passing I will touch upon the limitations of bourgeois nationalist struggles against imperialism which become exposed after they have successfully challenged and ejected their colonial masters and argue that they view the completion of that stage as an end in itself, precluding only residual territorial claims. While they have developed a national antithesis to the colonial thesis they have stopped short of delivering a real autonomous synthesis.
In contrast I will advance the contention of revolutionary communists that they have only taken the first step on the road to genuine national liberation. Here I will cite the Indian and Irish experiences and contrast them with the Soviet and Chinese approach. That the latter followed a socialist direction which was ultimately more fruitful will be argued .
In relation specifically to China that it was this socialist path that was the foundation of that country’s present economic ascendancy, albeit following the state capitalist course initiated by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s.
I will also account for the use of the term social fascist by the Indian and Nepalese Maoists to describe the polity of the reactionary forces against the peoples of those countries. I will contend that it is manifestly not polemical abuse serving an emotive political function but an objective assessment which has arisen from historical experience in definite situations which in their contemporary recurrence support its continued applicability.
In order to fully understand how a formal bourgeois democracy, which has an imperialist or neocolonialist presence away from its metropolitan centre, can be classified as being social fascist, I will outline its historical provenance and the principal elements that constitute the ideology and practices of fascism.
To that end I will compare and contrast the explicit form exhibited by German national socialism, from 1918 to 1945 with that of the evolved and extant forms exhibited by the established European and American empires. In this respect I will detail the uniqueness of Germany’s historical development from its comparatively late appearance as a unified state in 1871 and why its subsequent history led to the national socialist Third Reich.
I will maintain that, in practice, there is no essential difference between the former and the latter; whether you apply the criteria of racist ideology, exploitation or wars of aggression and conquest, the distinctions are purely quantitative, or indeed, as in the case of Nazi genocide, purely a matter of geographical location.
In short; fascism arises from imperialism, albeit in a compressed historical form and that contemporary imperialism is leading increasingly to a fascist polity. That this theoretical understanding is already equipping the progressive forces engaged in anti-imperialist struggles to apply the correct political taxonomy, the better to identify the enemy accurately is a task that the Indian and Nepalese Maoists have addressed and answered.
Finally I will conclude that the Nepalese Maoists are correct in affirming that the present task is to complete the bourgeois democratic revolution and dismantle the bureaucratic, feudal, comprador state. Only then can a socialist stage be realised. But that in all events Nepali progressives room for maneuver will be circumscribed until the victory of communist revolution in India.
For the present the Indian ruling class, riding on it’s economic, military and geographical dominance in alliance with American expansionists, will ensure that an independent state, whether bourgeois or socialist, in Nepal will be either crippled or crushed.

GENESIS OF THE PRESENT CRISIS IN NEPAL

The forces of reaction in Nepal, among whom we must regrettably count the UML (especially the leadership faction around K.P. Oli) have consistently refused to accept the result of the 2008 election which saw the UCPN(M) emerge as the largest party with a 40% plurality of the vote with NC coming second with 30% and the UML third with 20%.
The maneuvering of, principally, the last two who since then have attempted to undermine the Prachanda led coalition government as it has sought to address the major problems in Nepali society.
Since its budget of late 2008 this administration promoted the need for greater female emancipation, land distribution to the peasantry away from the residual feudal classes, for necessary infrastructural development, a minimum wage to reduce poverty in one of the world’s poorest countries, disputing the historical Hindu oppression of the Janjatis (ethnic peoples) by the Babus Malikharu (Gentlemen Masters), the Dalits (untouchables, oppressed, similarly known as Shudras) and the Terai Madeshi (the peoples of the southern plain bordering India).
A key provision of the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was the integration of the People’ Liberation Army into the Nepalese Army (formerly the Royal Nepalese Army) advanced by the UCPN(M) in order to professionalize the PLA and democratize the NA. It was an important part of the CPA between the Seven Parliamentary Parties and the UCPN(M) which ended its ten year Jana Yuddha Lambyaunu (Protracted People’s War) by agreeing to declare a ceasefire and enter the arena of multi-party democracy.
Immediately following the Andolan the then NA Chief of Staff, Thapa, indicated that he was ‘comfortable’ with the proposed merger. Since then the NA officer caste guided by their new CoS, Katawal, have become increasingly reluctant to amalgamate the two forces fearing that the Maobaadi (Maoists) would spread the contagion of red revolution through the ranks of the NA.
Katawal’s foot-dragging led to Prachanda, as the elective authority, giving a direct order to Katawal to initiate the process and to cease fresh recruitment to the NA, which was again contrary to the 2006 agreement. His refusal to carry out a lawful order was the occasion for the present crisis.
It was significant that this mutinous behaviour was backed by President Yadav, an NC appointment, reflecting that party’s class interests and foreign influences. This cabal was joined by the UML. When they resigned from the coalition government Prachanda was left with no option but resignation.
Delhi was quick to rubber stamp this coup and sent its minister of defence, Bandari, scuttling to Kathmandu to tell the new coalition government, now excluding the Maoists, and whose Prime Minister was the UML General Secretary, M. K. Nepal, two things: firstly: that Katawal’s tenure as CoS should be extended “under any circumstances” (Nepal Telegraph, 22/07/2009), and to cancel his scheduled retirement.
Secondly: that India would resume arms shipment to the NA which had been suspended when Gyanendra prorogued the Parliament in 2002 and seized absolute power. This was the ostensible reason but it was influenced by Gyanendra’s post 9/11 success in courting the American government and getting it to put the Maoists on their list of ‘terrorists’ to be included in the ‘War On Terror’.
Gyanendra gave the US a foothold in Nepal and so threatened Delhi’s previous sole hegemony over that country. Conversely the Indian government supported the corresponding invasion of Afghanistan because they were amenable to the anti-Muslim strategy behind the WOT; particularly as it promised to destabilize the old enemy, Pakistan.
By prompting and backing the undemocratic tactics behind this plot India asserted it’s neo-colonial authority over Nepal.
Many Nepalese recognize this but the UCPN(M) is the only major political party that is committed to resisting and overcoming Delhi’s malign influence. It correctly reasons that the Nepalese should be masters of their own destiny. The latest events have only served to confirm it’s analysis and strengthen its resolve.
The immediate challenge brought about by the combination of external and external reaction has generated in party ranks a sanctioned ‘two line struggle’ (this is unique in the history of Communist parties who have often handled internal arguments with extreme antagonism).
The difference is whether to continue the ‘Prachanda Path’ of continuing the building of a new democracy and the restructuring of the state within the integument of a multi-party, parliamentary system or to go “back to the jungle”, (This term is common parlance in Nepal), and to resume the PPW?
After a month long meeting of the Central Committee during this August they have hammered out a unified position which is to continue the ‘Prachanda Path’ in conjunction with an increased campaign of popular agitation through demonstrations, Bandhs (strikes, shut-downs), the Gherao (sit-ins, occupations) and continuing land seizures from feudal control. The declared aim was stated by Prachanda as “the capture of state power” and the drafting of new constitution.
It is no surprise that NC organised and supported Katawal’s putsch, despite the fact that it has trade union roots and maintains residual links with the Nepalese labour movement and was launched on a explicitly socialist programme. It is now, however, the party of primarily the Hindu, comprador bhadralok* class.
It was further swollen after the 1990 Andolan with an influx of former Panchayaat activists, (a feudal talking shop introduced by King Mahendra in 1960 following his dissolution of parliament) who were seeking a new political home after the apparent collapse of the absolutist monarchy. Nepal is at the crossroads and critical months, if not years, lie ahead.
*The classification Bhadralok is a Bengali word and originally referred to the feudal strata prior to the rise of a bourgeois class. Now it is used pejoratively by class-conscious Nepalese to include both. I heard it often during the 2006 Andolan coupled with the epithet corharu (thieves).

FASCISM & SOCIAL FASCISM – TWO FORMS OF BOURGEOIS POLITY

Fascism in not a form of state power “standing above the masses – the proletariat and the bourgeoisie,” as Otto Bauer, for instance has asserted. It is not “the revolt of the petty bourgeoisie which has captured the machinery of the state,” as the British socialist Brailsford declares. No, fascism is not a power standing above class, nor government of the petty bourgeoisie or the lumpenproletariat over finance capital.
Fascism is the power of finance capital itself. It is the organisation of terrorist vengeance against the working class and the revolutionary section of the peasantry and intelligentsia. In foreign policy, fascism is jingoism in its most brutal form, fomenting bestial hatred of other nations.
(See The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class against Fascism, Georgi Dimitrov, Main Report to the 7th World Congress of the Comintern, 02/08/1935).
The phenomenon of social fascism arises wherever bourgeois order is threatened or it’s extension resisted. It originated in the Comintern’s ‘Third Period’ as a method of describing the attempts of succession of social democratic regimes to shore up the capitalist order initiated by Germany’s first socialist regime, under Ebert, which took power in the dying days of World War One when the country was in extremis; threatened by naval and army mutinies and the specter of red revolution driven by the Spartacists and led by Luxemburg and Liebknecht.
The left’s attempt to seize power and install a soviet system, inspired by the success of the Russian Bolsheviks in October 1917, was defeated by Ebert and his Minister of Defense, Noske (“The bloodhound of the revolution”), who in collaboration with the German General Staff created the Freikorps as an armed counter-revolutionary riposte to the embryonic communists.
Like the Black and Tans in Ireland, these right wing thugs were recruited from demobbed soldiers to initiate a reign of terror, torture and murder. They became the backbone of the fascist movement which finally took shape as the NSDAP (National Socialist German Worker’s Party), the Nazi Party.
It was the Scheidemann government in 1919 that resisted the demand of substantial sections of the labour movement to nationalize key industries and, contrarily, responded by dismantling the dirigistic, wartime planning mechanisms and state controls that did exist and returning the economic sector back to the free market.
The subsequent governments of the Weimar period built upon these counterrevolutionary foundations and so prepared the way for Hitler’s accession as Reichkanzler in 1933. The application of the term of social fascist to their political practice was the Comintern’s reaction to these circumstances.
The line changed when the Nazi regime proved itself to be a more corrupt and virulent form of bourgeois power. The strategy of the ‘Popular Front,’ developed and advocated by Dimitrov, through the Comintern argued for the unity of all classes and social forces from the proletarian to the bourgeois in the face of this unique threat.
The characterisation of the German bourgeois state during Weimar as social fascist was no longer applicable. The principal contradiction had changed in the new historical conjuncture. In this new situation the objective necessity was “To unite the many to defeat the few,” and this replaced the ‘class against class’ line.
It is currently relevant because it explains and defines the political activities of contemporary imperialism. In reality there is no qualitative difference between what the Anglo-Saxon imperialists are doing to the Iraqis and the Afghans and what the German Nazis did to the Jews and the Slavs.
The only distinction is formal as the bourgeois democracies retain the rhetoric of social democracy and the procedures of, what Lenin termed “parliamentary cretinism.” When he further advised against “making a fetish of democracy,” his object of derision was this bourgeois construct and its pretensions to egalitarianism and freedom.
Contemporaneously it is used by the Indian Maoists to account for the genocidal attacks on the Adivasis (India’s Janjatis) and describe the policies of all the major parties exercising state and central power in India. These are aimed at clearing the land of the aboriginal tribal peoples to facilitate the extraction of natural resources by Indian and foreign multinationals.
Hitlerite fascism was a distinct construct from the forms of bourgeois power that evolved in the democracies of Europe and the United States. It came out of the hothouse conditions of modern German history and it’s comparatively late unification occurred under the aegis of Prussian monarchical militarism which followed victory in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The Kaiserstaat came into being into being in January 1871 following the military defeat of France.
The impact of the shattering defeat in World War One, which arose from the antagonism of the other European powers against the brash expansionism of the new German Empire, was the event that added specificity to the extreme right wing configuration of German nationalism which took final shape in the Gothic and virulent form of Nazism.
Marx was particularly acute at recognizing the nascent elements of fascism in their individuation nearly a hundred years before the merged in the totality of Hitlerism:

These highfalutin’ and haughty hucksters of ideas (German post- Hegelian philosophers – PT.) who imagine themselves infinitely exalted above all national prejudices are thus in practice far more national than the beer-quaffing philistines who dream of a united Germany.
(The German Ideology, Marx-Engels, Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 45)

The Third Reich was both a product and a catalyst of these particular elements in Germany’s cultural and political evolution.
Marx is further prescient in identifying the incipient expansionism that lurked in the thinking of these new ideologues and their desire to impose Germanism on other peoples. For them it was a given that German kultur was the ultimate expression of Die Geistesgeschicte (Vide: The Philosophy of History, G.W.F. Hegel, 1805/6. The Spirit of History is the closest English translation of this term, in its German sense, however, Geist implies morale, motivation and intellect.)
Hegel used the term to contrast it with the materialist concept of Naturgewissenschaft, (the natural sciences). It was his method of elucidating the intellectual and spiritual forces that defined the uniqueness of German culture.
Hegel particularly identifies the Prussian State as the apotheosis of what he termed Der Weltgeist (World Spirit) in transcendent form. It represented Die letzt etappe im geschicte (the last stage in history)**.
Hitler’s promise of a ‘Thousand-Year Reich’ derives from, and vaingloriously articulates, this proposition.***
As with so much of Marx’s thinking he was, in this instant, scrupulous in classifying the ideological tap-roots of German chauvinism. We have become all too aware of its rightist manifestations but xenophobia also infected the evolving labour movement. Kautsky, for example, perfectly expressed this metaphysical belief in German cultural ascendancy when he asserted that the Czechs would finally succumb because:

the force of unfettered intercourse alone, the force of modern culture brought by the German’s alone would, without any forcible Germanization have transformed into Germans the backward petit-bourgeois, peasants and proletarians who could expect nothing from their shabby nationality.
(Kautsky’s preface to: Revolution and Counterrevolution, Engels 1896)

Kautsky was an active member of Ebert’s government where he served in the Foreign Ministry. This, no doubt, allowed him to demonstrate his kulturell uberlegenheit uber der menschlich auslander .
** Brecht has one of his characters say of Hegel:

…he had the stuff to be one of the greatest humorists among philosophers, like Socrates, who had a similar method. But he had the bad luck it seems to become a civil servant in Prussia and so he sold himself to the state.
(Fluchtlingsgesprache, – Refugees Conversation, Brecht, 1961 p. 108)

***Significantly the latest of Hegel’s epigones have emerged among American neo-conservatives who flourished in the triumphalist years following the suicide of the Soviet Union in 1989. Fukuyama, it’s leading ideologue, gave them their Mein Kampf in The End of History, (a title appropriated from Hegel) published in 1992, asserting that the collapse of the Eastern Bloc signified the final victory of liberal capitalism and that no other progressive socioeconomic development was either possible or necessary.
It was also a conscious riposte to Marx’s concept of “Das ende der prageschicte” (the end of prehistory, by which he means all history up to and including the capitalist epoch; prior to a proper civilized history which will begin with the establishment of socialism.)
There is only a quantitative difference between German fascism and the empires of Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland and America. The Nazis’ treatment of the Jews and the Slavs isn’t qualitatively dissimilar to what the latter did, and those who survive continue to do to countless other ‘inferior’ races away from their metropolitan centres. Genocide, dispossession, slavery, war and ruthless exploitation are routine to all empires, past and present, it is in their DNA.
German Nazism was unique in that it committed its crimes in Europe and opposed to other empires who painted their criminal images from the palette of the world outside. Marx drew this conclusion:

The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from it’s home where it assumes respectable forms to the colonies where it goes naked.
(The Future Results of British Rule in India, 1853, Marx-Engels Selected Works, Vol.1 p,498)

This was written four years before the 1857 Indian war of independence and it’s brutal, genocidal aftermath which recent Indian historians have estimated saw the physical annihilation of nearly ten million Indians, 7% of the population at that time.**** (Vide: War of Civilizations – The Long Revolution, (India AD 1857), A. Misra, 2007).
Dickens, the great avuncular, sentimental icon of British liberal culture somewhat blemished this persona by calling for the entire Indian race to be exterminated as punishment for rebellion and in expiation for their crimes. That his demented counsel was not followed was not from the want of trying.
The Nazis avoided ‘profound hypocrisy’ and explicitly reveled in racist barbarism.
German fascism was a specific form of imperialism whose development was accelerated and accentuated by frustrated national ambition.
The current crimes of imperialism are dressed now in the garb of ‘liberal interventionism’ which posits defending and extending ‘human rights’ and the ‘gift’ of ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ to those Kipling referred to as ‘lesser breeds without the law’. These are modish affectations which attempt to rationalize hegemonic oppression with the glib use of contemporary mores.
****Brecht in Die Dreigroschenoper, (The Threepenny Opera) accurately captures the casual racism and gratuitous butchery of colonial armies in Kanonensong (Canon Song) in duet sung by Macheath, the gangster, and Tiger Brown, the police chief as they fondly recall the good times when they served abroad together in the British Army.

Soldaten wohnen              Soldiers live
Auf den Kanonensong          Upon their canons
Vom Cap bis Cooch Behar      From the Cape to Couch Behar
Wenn es mal regnete          When a rainy day would come
Und es begegnete             And they met
Ihnen 'ne neue Rasse         A new race
'ne braune oder blasse       A brown one or a white one
Dann machen sie vielleicht   They'd probably make
daraus ihr Beefsteak Tartar. Raw mincemeat out of 'em.

They are a reconceptualization of what Kipling again referred to as: “The White Man’s Burden.”*****
The conception of liberal imperialism has its roots in the ‘profound hypocrisy’ of the Georgian era when British authorities launched a campaign against the Hindu practice of widow burning (Sati, rendered by English 18th century phonetics as Suttee) was advanced as proof of Britain’s civilizing mission in India. This order of rationalization reached exalted heights during the Victorian period with the foreign policy of the sanctimonious Gladstone.
The anti-Sati contingency initiated by the East Indian Company finds it’s echo in that one of the principal justifications for the invasion and continued occupation of Afghanistan is to emancipate females from a medievalist Taliban. But this a post hoc rationale designed to divert a credulous home front and mask the fundamental geopolitical aims of American imperialism.
It has led to a drive to extend women’s rights and involves specially trained teams (no doubt recruited through the Guardian job vacancies column) visiting Pashtun villages to raise ‘gender awareness’.
As part of the ‘profound hypocrisy’ represented by these torch-bearers for Western civilization it goes hand in hand with barely discriminate bomb and missile attacks on these same villages from Predator and Reaper unmanned aircraft guided by CIA operatives working out of Langley, stateside. The claim is that resistance fighters are the principal targets but the ‘collateral damage’ estimate is that forty villagers are killed for every one militant.
As with the Israeli Zionists, who pioneered this tactic against the Palestinians and who along with CIA advisers guided the RNA’s application against the Maoists it lays bare the racist tenet that the lives of those, other than white, are of little consequence. It demonstrates that the tactic of imposing a Western feminist ideology on Afghanistan is contingent to the pursuit of global ‘Ameranglian’ interests.
Consequently there is no pressure applied to the equally medieval Saudi regime on the same principle that Foster Dulles, Eisenhower’s Secretary of State observed of Batista the Cuban dictator before the 1959 revolution:

He may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard.

*****Kipling, the high priest of imperial doggerel, wrote this poem to celebrate the emergent American Empire’s successful invasion of the Philippines in 1899. This was its first major foray over the ‘blue water’ and was also the occasion of their first substantial genocide away from the Americas, resulting in the systematic extermination of over half a million Filipinos during a protracted ‘pacification’ campaign.
President McKinley saw it as a civilizing mission to help:

our little brown brothers” and claimed that the Philippines were, “a gift from the gods..there was nothing left for us to do but take them all and to educate the Filipinos…and by God’s grace do the best we could for them.

In truth it was a practical example of the newly minted Yankee credo of ‘Manifest Destiny.’ The current version is the neoconservative euphemism for global hegemony – ‘Full Spectrum Dominance.’
Therefore the racism, of the Nazi Reich, founded on the belief of the innate superiority of Anglo-Saxons uber alles, was not sui generis but reflected the ideology of those European powers who had begun serious colonial exploitation in the 16th. Century. The slave trade is the exemplar of this divinely ordered superiority but it was also accompanied by acts of genocide, subjugation, dispossession and exploitation against countless other native peoples wherever the European, and later, American colonial powers encroached.******
The system continues and imperialism remains a malignant force; those it doesn’t kill or maim, it exploits,pollutes and corrupts, whether it is the Indian compradors reign of terror against the adivasis, or Garcia’s regime in Peru attempting to ethnically cleanse ‘backward’ tribals so that their lands can be plundered in the name of ‘progress’.
It presently manifests itself in the activities of the IDF Einsatzgruppen in the killing fields of the Gaza Ghetto and the West Bank and in the war of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan where indiscriminate terror and destruction are visited on their respective populations.
The list is not exhaustive as the tentacles of imperialism have become more ubiquitous in a world shrunken by technology and the ever pervading global market, but what is constant are the racial assumptions that sustain the system. The notion that peoples can be deemed ‘uncivilized,’ ‘backward,’ ‘primitive,’ ‘barbarous’ & which excuses any treatment meted out to them is the functioning ideology and the beating heart of imperialism. Racism is axiomatic to imperialism; whatever the spin of its contemporary apologists.
The eccentric British historian A.J.P. Taylor used to shock his peers who argued that Hitler’s ‘evil’ was historically unique and the the crimes of Nazi Germany were a singular irrational aberration which traduced the continuum of Western civilization, by claiming that Hitler was “just another German statesman,” and that he was only different, for example, from Bismarck in promoting a Grossdeutsch (Greater Germany) against the the Iron Chancellor’s desire for a Kleindeutsch (Smaller Germany).
Their linking narrative was a belief in a strong, militarist, centralized state and carving out ‘a place in the sun’ in the wider world for a German empire. The imperialism of Das Dritte Reich, in the light of the above, was just another imperialism, with the proviso that its aggression and volatility for that particular historical period made it the principle imperialist enemy in a world where the basic contradiction was imperialism per se, and indeed remained so after its destruction.
In that context the principle imperial enemy became the US which inherited the anti-communist crusade of the Nazis and even their anti-Semitism, although they more pragmatically shifted from hatred of the diaspora to the indigenous Semites who occupied a strategic area which was rich in oil. The irony is that they used the returning European Zionists as their proxy Sondarkommando operating out of their Fort Apache colony – the artificial state of Israel.

****** Negroes are enslaved by Europeans and sold to America. Bad as this may be, their lot in their own land is even worse…for it is the essential principle of slavery, that man who has not attained a consciousness consequently sinks down to a mere Thing. An object of no value. Among the Negroes moral sentiments are quite weak, or more strictly speaking, non-existent.
(Philosophy of History, G.W.F. Hegel, P. 96)

More On Hinduism, Race, Caste and the "Aryan Invasion"

The comment below is from an Indian poster on this popular post. I agree with most of what he says. First of all, I don’t think that the Aryans pushed the Dravidians to the South. There are Dravidian types and mixed types all over North India.
Points 2 and 3 are self-evident.
I have always felt that Hinduism was nothing more than the ancient religion of India, and there is good evidence for this. Clearly it predates the Aryans. It’s not necessarily as old as India, since India is as old as dirt, but clearly it goes back so far that we can hardly even say when it begins.
Ancient Iran also had a caste system, and so did their ancient religion. Yazidism, one of the oldest major religions known to man, possibly dating back 10,000 years, has caste and origins in Iran. The suggestion is that caste is a regional phenomenon across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Iran and Northern Iraq. Afghanistan lacks caste, but until the Communist revolution was a semi-feudal society.
The fact remains that Aryan languages displaced Dravidian languages to the South, and all of North India is Aryan-speaking in general, and the people of the North are lighter than the people of the South, and this needs to be explained somehow. Obviously, prior to the Aryan Invasion, Dravidian languages were spoken all over North India. Either their speakers dropped Dravidian in favor of Indo-Iranian or they moved south. Possibly both of these occurred.

1) Vedas are not everything in Hinduism, though they form some of the core. There are many books written in ancient mathematics and science in the post-Vedic period which are as relevant to the history of Hindus, if not more than the Vedas. Look at the books written by Bhaskara (there were two Bhaskaras recorded in history), Aryabhatta, Apastamba, Baudhayana, Varahmihira and several other authors.
Some of them have had their base south of the Vindhyas, which indicates the migration of the culture of the Vedic people southward. I am guessing the actual migration of Vedic people might also have taken place either before or after the completion of the writing of the Vedas (500-1000 BCE). Read about the myth of Agastya and his followers and the Vindhyas.
2) Skin color depends on the climate and gradually over generations (maynot be 3 but lets say about 30 generations) it is sure to change.
3) People speaking different languages derived from a root language (or speaking the root language itself) need not share genetic origins or race. For example, I am an Indian, and if I speak or write in English, a European-originated language, that does not make me European. I bet the same applies to speakers of Indo-European languages.
4) Based on several references in the Vedas against dark-skinned tribes, one cannot assume that all the scriptures of the Hindus (the Sruti and Smriti) were written by the highly-advanced fair-skinned race-preserving cohort known as Aryans who came down from central Asia and pushed the locals down south.
One severe contradiction to this simplistic theory is how come there are references of lower-caste tribals getting upgraded to the higher caste of Brahmins (like Valmiki, Vishwamitra) in the epics written by these same racially-finicky people (the Aryans) that was allowed to be published without censorship. The racial references in the Vedas are at best ambiguous. If the Aryans were the vanguards of Hinduism and they were the creators of the scriptures, how did dark-skinned gods like Vishnu and Shiva find their ways into the texts.
More likely they should have been shown as demons given the benchmarks by which they would have decided. Given all these, there surely exists a possibility of a fair-skinned race coming down from Afghanistan or central Asia and contributing to the creation of Hindu scriptures and merging with the locals, in fact there could be several races of this type migrating in at different points of time. But to say that they did this at the expense of a dark-skinned race or an indigenous race is pure baloney, given the facts.
In fact the genesis of Hindu scriptures could have come from different parts (including the non-Indo-European parts which may include Sanskrit speakers of Dravidian origin) of the Indian subcontinent. Likewise, tribes that had originally entered from the northern borders of India (one of them being the Aryans) must have migrated all over the country giving an inseparable and indistinguishable genetic mixture that we know as the people of India today.
Also the caste system in ancient India up to a period must have been rather fluid and based more on occupation than ancestry as is the popular notion. Hinduism (at least the history and references from Hinduism) seems to have a much greater tolerance for skin color and caste than is touted to be.

Open Letter to UCPN (Maoist) – Politbureau, Communist Party Of India (Maoist)

This is a fantastic document and should be read by all serious Leftists and revolutionaries. This is a very long letter from the PCI-M of India, which is leading a huge revolutionary war in that country, to the UCPN-M of Nepal, who have entered into the Nepalese government after a very successful revolution in the countryside.
The PCI-M criticize the UCPN-M for many of its positions and policies from an orthodox Marxist and Maoist point of view. In a word, the Nepalese Maoists are accused of being sellouts and making too many rightwing compromises. I think I line up with the Nepalese Maoists on this question, but I also very much support the revolution that the Indian Maoists are leading in that country.
This document runs to about 112 pages on the Net and 65 pages printed out, so it is very long, I am warning you. It needed a considerable edit to make it more readable and high-quality to a US English audience, so I spent a long time editing it. This document will probably not be interesting to most non-Leftists unless you are interested in Marxist theory.

Open Letter to UCPN (Maoist) – Politbureau, Communist Party Of India (Maoist)

May 20, 2009 (Became available June 28, 2009)

Dear Comrades!
We have been keenly following the recent developments taking place in your country, Nepal.
With the CPN(M) emerging as the single largest party in the elections to the Constituent Assembly in April 2008 and the formation of the new government consisting of a coalition of several parties, some of which are known for their anti-people, pro-feudal, pro-imperialist and pro-Indian expansionist past, an ideological-political debate has arisen in the entire revolutionary camp in India and the world regarding the path, strategy, and tactics pursued by your party, the CPN(M), in advancing the revolution in Nepal.
There have also been reports in the media concerning the proposal of your party leadership to change the name of the party by removing the term “Maoist.” All these make it all the more urgent to conduct a deeper debate on the ideological-political line pursued by the CPN(M), particularly after it came to power through elections, after a decade-long People’s War and forming the government with some of the arch-reactionaries who had earned the wrath of the Nepalese masses.
Several issues need to be debated by Maoist revolutionaries in the context of the CPN(M) pursuing a line and policies that are not consistent with the fundamental tenets of MLM and teachings of our great Marxist teachers’ issues, such as proletarian internationalism; the stages and sub-stages of revolutions in semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries; the understanding of the Leninist concept of state and revolution; the nature of parliamentary democracy the in semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America; the meaning of rigidity of strategy and flexibility in tactics; and such other related questions.
There are also some specific issues raised by your party in the name of the creative application of MLM such as the concept of 21st century democracy or multi-party democracy, Prachanda Path, South Asian Soviet Federation, fusion theory and so on.
It is true that Marxism is not a dogma but a guide to action. Those Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries who followed it only in letter and discarded its spirit failed to understand the essence of Marxism and failed to understand what Comrade Lenin taught, that is, “concrete analysis of concrete conditions is the living soul of Marxism.”
Such dogmatists failed to apply MLM to the concrete practice of revolution in their countries and hence failed to make any real advances in the revolutions in their respective countries. Dogmatism, no doubt, has been a bane of the Marxist-Leninist movements and hence the struggle against dogmatism should be an inseparable part of the ideological struggle of the Communist party.
However, in the name of struggle against dogmatism, there have been serious deviations in the International Communist Movement (ICM), often going into an even greater, or at least equally dangerous, abyss of Right deviation and revisionism. In the name of creative application of Marxism, Communist parties have fallen into the trap of Right opportunism, bourgeois pluralist Euro-Communism, rabid anti-Stalinism, anarchist post-modernism and outright revisionism.
Right danger or revisionism in the ICM has emerged as the greatest danger in the period following the usurpation of the leadership of the CPSU and state power in the Soviet Union after the demise of Comrade Stalin. Comrade Mao and other genuine revolutionaries had to wage a consistent ideological-political struggle against revisionism and reformism in the ICM and also within the CPC.
However, despite the great struggle waged by Comrade Mao and other Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries all over the world against revisionism, it has been the revisionists who have temporarily won and dominated the ICM in the contemporary world. The ideological-political debate over the creative application of MLM to the concrete practice of the revolution in Nepal has to be conducted with a correct grasp of this international struggle ever since the time of Comrade Lenin.
“Fight against dogmatism” has become a fashionable phrase among many Maoist revolutionaries. They talk of discarding “outdated” principles of Lenin and Mao and developing MLM in the “new conditions” that are said to have emerged in the world of the 21st century.
Some of them describe their endeavour to “enrich and develop” MLM as a new path or thought, and though this is initially described as something confined to revolution in their concerned country, it inexorably assumes a “universal character” or “universal significance” in no time. And in this exercise individual leaders are glorified and even deified to the extent that they appear infallible.
Such glorification does not help in collective functioning of party committees and the party as a whole and questions on line are hardly ever raised, as they stem from an infallible individual leader. In such a situation it is extremely difficult on the part of the CC not to speak to the cadres, to fight against a serious deviation in the ideological-political line or in the basic strategy and tactics even when it is quite clear that it goes against the
interests of revolution.
The “cult of the individual” promoted in the name of Path and Thought provides a certain degree of immunity to the deviation in line if it emanates from that individual leader.
Our two parties, CPI(Maoist) and CPN(Maoist), have a considerably long period of fraternal relationship, a period going back to the late 1980s when the present leadership of your party was still a part of the revisionist party in Nepal pursuing a parliamentary line. We have been a keen and enthusiastic witness to the ideological struggle waged by your leadership against revisionism, its clean break with the revisionist line and its initiation of People’s War in February 1996.
High-level delegations of our two CC’s have exchanged our respective experiences of struggle against revisionism, discussed the universal significance and contemporary relevance of Maoism, the historic GPCR of China, the glorious Naxalbari uprising and the experiences of People’s War in India. We were enthused when finally your party made a firm decision to initiate People’s War in Nepal, made great strides and achieved highly significant achievements with considerable speed within a span of a few years.
Throughout this period – from the preparatory period for launching the People’s War through the initiation and development of People’s War – our party in India supported your party, condemned the intervention by the Indian expansionists and tried to build solidarity for the revolution in Nepal.
And as part of this, both our CC’s took the initiative in 2001 to set up the CCOMPOSA to wage a united struggle against Indian expansionism and imperialist intervention in South Asia. Also, as part of our proletarian internationalist duty, we rendered assistance in all possible ways to the People’s War in Nepal.
At the same time, while extending support to the revolution in Nepal, we also pointed out from time to time some of the mistakes we identified in the understanding and practice of the CPN(M), and also the possible deviations that might arise due to its wrong assessments and concepts. However, we never interfered with political-organisational matters concerning the internal affairs and inter-party struggles within your party.
But whenever called upon, or, when we felt there is danger of a serious deviation ideologically and politically, we gave our suggestions as a fraternal revolutionary party during the several bilateral meetings between our respective high-level delegations or through letters to your CC.
It was only when some of the ideological-political positions stated by your party publicly deviated from MLM, or when open comments were made by your Chairman Prachanda on various occasions regarding our party’s line and practice, or when open polemical debate was called for on international forums, that our party had gone into open ideological- political debates.
These open debates since 2001 were conducted in a healthy and comradely manner guided by the principle of proletarian internationalism.
But today there is a need to conduct a deeper debate and come to an overall assessment regarding the theory and practice pursued by your party, synthesise the experiences gained in the course of the People’s War in Nepal, and the lessons, both positive and negative, they provide to the Maoist revolutionaries in the contemporary world. We are sending this Open Letter to your party so as to initiate a polemical debate both within your party and the Maoist revolutionary camp worldwide.
This step has become necessary because of the very serious developments that had taken place in the course of development of the revolution in Nepal that have a bearing on our understanding of imperialism and proletarian revolution as well as the strategy-tactics to be pursued by Maoist revolutionaries in the contemporary world; there is also serious deviation from the ideology of MLM. Hence they are no more the internal matters concerning your party alone.
Moreover, such a debate is the urgent need of the hour in the backdrop of vicious propaganda by the revisionists as well as the reactionary ruling classes in India that the Indian Maoists should learn from the Nepali Maoists who were supposed to have realized at last “the futility of achieving their cherished goal of socialism and Communism through armed struggle.”
Sermons are being preached by the revisionists who have always acted as the strongest advocates of Parliamentary democracy in India, opened up their social fascist fangs wherever they have been in power ever since the days of the Naxalbari revolt, acted as a safety valve to vent the fury of the masses into peaceful channels, and played the notorious role of diffusing militant movements and depoliticizing and demobilizing the masses, thereby serving the Indian ruling classes and the imperialists most faithfully – all in the name of peaceful path to people’s democracy and socialism.
These revisionists have been writing articles claiming that at last the Nepali Maoists have come to the correct track and that it should serve as an eye-opener to the Indian Maoists who should, at least now, give up their “unrealizable dream of “capturing political power through the bullet” and, instead, try to achieve it through the ballot as their counterparts in Nepal are doing today.
We earnestly hope that the CC and all the party members of CPN(M) will evince keen interest in this ideological- political debate and take the correct revolutionary positions based on our guiding theory of MLM and the lessons provided by the rich experiences of the world revolution. We also hope that Maoist revolutionaries worldwide will participate in this debate and enrich the experiences of the world proletariat in advancing the world proletarian revolution.
In this context, we also regret to say that you have not cared to respond to our proposal to have a bilateral exchange of views with your CC after the April 2008 elections. Until December 2008 there was not even a reply from your CC to the letter we had sent on May 1st in this regard.
Nor was there any response from your side to our proposal to hold the meeting of CCOMPOSA in order to continue the united struggle of the Maoist forces and anti-imperialist forces of South Asia against Indian expansionism and imperialism, particularly American imperialism.
At last we received a letter from your International Department in December 2008 and a meeting of our two delegations materialized soon after.
Basing on the discussions we held with your delegation and the material that was available to us regarding the current developments in your party and the stands you had taken on various issues our PB held detailed discussions and drew conclusions based on MLM, the experiences of world revolution, and the actual situation prevailing in Nepal and the contemporary world.
First, we are glad that a serious inter-party struggle has broken out in your party on crucial issues related to advancing the revolution in Nepal.
Such a struggle within the party has been the need of the hour for a long time, at least from the time your party leadership began to pursue a disastrous course of “hunting with the hound and running with the hare”, i.e., striking alliances with the reactionary feudal-comprador political parties with the sole aim of overthrowing the King and the monarchy while at the same time speaking of advancing the revolution in Nepal through a “final assault” or insurrection.
Even prior to this, your party’s concept of multi-party democracy or 21st century democracy, the South Asian Soviet Federation, its non-proletarian stands on the question of assessment of Stalin, fusion theory, etc. were subjects of serious polemical debate. Our party has dealt with these issues through articles in our magazines and interviews by our spokespersons since 2002, and particularly since 2006.
We also pointed out the non-Marxist positions that you took on the question of state and revolution, on the question of disarming and demobilizing of the PLA by confining it to the barracks under the supervision of the United Nations, and on the question of integration of the two armies, demobilization of the CYL, abandoning the Base Areas and the great revolutionary achievements of the decade-long People’s War, the policy of appeasement adopted towards Indian expansionism, and so on.
However, there was no serious debate on these issues from your side. Hence it has been an encouraging sign to see the inter-party struggle within your party on some of these issues at last.
After the dangerous journey that your party traversed in the past three years, we earnestly hope that your party rank and file will review the dangerous reformist positions and the disastrous consequences that these have given rise to, and also reconsider and rectify the non-revolutionary line pursued by your party leadership headed by Comrade Prachanda.
Such a free and frank thoroughgoing review of the ideological-political line pursued by the party leadership and the serious deviations from the fundamental tenets of MLM that have taken place in the name of creative application of MLM will help in establishing the correct line that can advance the revolution to its final victory in Nepal.
We are confident that the correct revolutionary line will be re-established through such a serious, thoroughgoing ideological-political struggle within your party. In this context we also wish to express our strong disagreement on the so-called unity between your party and the breakaway group of Mohan Bikram Singh’s Mashal.
We think such a unity with a proven Rightist group will not help in furthering the cause of the revolution in Nepal but will take the party further down the path of revisionism and reformism. This unity based on the principle of “two combining into one” will further strengthen the hands of the reformists and Right opportunists within the CPN(M), or the UCPN/Maoism – Mao Thought as it is presently being called.
Now we take up the serious issues and reformist deviations that have come to the fore in the course of the development of the Nepalese revolution. Interestingly, some of these deviations from MLM have been theorised by your party as an enrichment and development of MLM and summed up as Prachanda Path.

Assessment of the Character of State in Nepal and the Prospects For Completing the Revolution

First, what is the class character of the state that the CPN(M) has taken over through the process of parliamentary elections in alliance with other comprador- feudal parties?
How does the CPN(M) intend to consummate the revolution that was stalled half-way?
What is the understanding of the CPN(M) regarding the nature of power that has fallen into their hands through elections? Does it think it can utilize this power to bring about a basic revolutionary change in the social system in Nepal?
How does the CPN(M) plan to bring about the radical restructuring of society and build a new democratic Nepal in alliance with the parties representing the reactionary exploitative classes that oppose tooth and nail any such radical changes?
Does the CPN(M) believe that the old state machine – principally with the same old bureaucracy and a major chunk of the old standing army – can act as an instrument in the hands of the proletariat to bring about radical changes in the existing semi-feudal, semi-colonial social system?
What will be the class character of the new army that will be formed by the proposed integration of the revolutionary PLA and the reactionary Nepalese Army?
Can the CPN(M), as a major partner in the ruling coalition in Nepal, ensure a pro-people character to the newly integrated Army of Nepal?
If the Maoists lose power due to withdrawal of support from the other major allies how will they ensure that the newly integrated army, with the major portion coming from the old reactionary army, will not be used by the reactionary forces to massacre the Maoists as we witnessed in Indonesia or Chile?
We have been continuously raising these questions, particularly during the past three years, through bilateral meetings, letters to your CC, our statements, interviews and other writings. We warned you of your serious deviation from the Leninist concept of state and revolution and cited the experiences of revolution in several countries.
In a statement issued in November 2006, our CC pointed out that even if the Maoists became part of the interim government or came to power through elections, they cannot alter the reactionary character of the old state or build a new Nepal on the old basis:

The agreement by the Maoists to become part of the interim government in Nepal cannot transform the reactionary character of the state machinery that serves the exploiting ruling classes and imperialists. The state can be the instrument in the hands of either the exploiting classes or the proletariat, but it cannot serve the interests of both these bitterly-contending classes.
It is the fundamental tenet of Marxism that no basic change in the social system can be brought about without smashing the state machine.
Reforms from above cannot bring any qualitative change in the exploitative social system, however democratic the new Constitution might seem to be, and even if the Maoists become an important component of the government. It is sheer illusion to think that a new Nepal can be built without smashing the existing state.

After your party emerged as the single largest party in the CA and was trying to form a government in alliance with other parties representing the old order, we warned once again in a statement issued on behalf of our CC on April 24, 2008 thus:

The one and only guarantee for carrying through the radical revolutionary programme is to raise the political class consciousness of the vast masses, mobilize them into class struggle, arm and train them to fight the exploiters and all reactionary forces and defend the gains they derived through the long period of class and mass struggle…
One must keep in mind that the gains that can be achieved through a government that has come to power by means of elections are very much limited. The survival of such a regime depends on taking a conciliatory stand on several crucial matters.
Hence to overestimate the prospects of radical restructuring of the society or economy by a Maoist government would be illusory and will dilute the possibility as well as the ability of the party to continue the class struggle.

Again in our letter sent to your CC on the 1st of May 2008, we pointed out:

It is a fundamental tenet of Marxism that no radical restructuring of the system is possible without smashing the existing state. It is impossible to make genuine changes in the system only through measures initiated ‘from above,’ i.e. through state decrees and laws. In fact, even drafting Nepal’s Constitution in favour of the poor and oppressed masses is itself going to be a very arduous and bitter struggle.
Nothing could be more dangerous at the present juncture than to become complacent and underestimate the prospects of a reactionary backlash. One must keep in mind that the gains that can be achieved through a government that has come to power by means of elections are very much limited.
To overestimate the prospects of radical restructuring of the society or economy by a Maoist-led government would be illusory and will dilute the possibility as well as the ability of the party to continue the class struggle.

Our party’s stand on the struggle against monarchy was made clear several times in the past. For instance, our party General Secretary said in his answers to questions sent by BBC in April 2007:

The real fight is not against Gyanendra and the monarchy which is but a symbol of the feudal-imperialist oppression and exploitation of the vast masses of Nepal.
Without throwing out the feudal forces, the imperialists, Indian big business and the local compradors, the mere ouster of Gyanendra would not solve any of the problems of the Nepali masses. And this can be done only by firmly carrying on the People’s War to final victory.
No Parliament can touch the seat of these reactionary forces who de facto rule the country.

Thus it should be clear that fighting feudalism is not synonymous with fighting monarchy. The monarchy is a part of the semi-feudal, semi-colonial system whose main aspect is in the semi-feudal land relations. In India, the rajas and maharaja were deprived of their power decades back, but that did not destroy the semi-feudal base in the countryside.
A correct assessment regarding the state was in fact given by your party itself two years before going into alliance with the SPA. In an article entitled UML Government: A New Shield of Feudalism and Imperialism Under Crisis written by the then Chairman of CPN(M), Comrade Prachanda, this was lucidly explained thus:

Marxism, on the basis of an historical materialist scientific outlook that severely attacks mysterious and idealist explanations of  to state power, declared with undeniable material of experience of class struggle that it is nothing but a weapon of one class suppressing the other.
A state power that simultaneously represents classes of two opposing interests has neither been possible in history nor in the future.
Marxism hates and rejects prattles of reform and class collaboration as bourgeois hypocrisy. State power is either the dictatorship of the proletariat in different forms or that of the exploiting class. There can be no other stupidity than to imagine a power acting in between these two.

Citing Comrade Lenin, you wrote:

“The State is a special organization of force; it is an organization of violence for the suppression of some class,”

Comrade Prachanda rightly asks:

Will now the state power stop becoming an organization of violence right after the UML has become a part of the government?

Quoting Comrade Lenin, he explained how no government can be pro-people as long as the two institutions of bureaucracy and standing army remain intact:

Two institutions are most characteristic of this state machine: the bureaucracy and the standing army.

Comrade Prachanda correctly pointed out:

It is evident that any government, which is compelled to function under the direction of the bureaucracy and standing army, the main two components of the state power, is impossible to become pro-people to the least.

Explaining the reactionary character of the UML government, Comrade Prachanda cites the famous proposition of Marxism:

To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament – such is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics. (Lenin, The State and Revolution )

That was six years ago, in 2003, when the People’s War was advancing in rapid strides. But how have these fundamental theoretical formulations changed after the CPN(M) emerged as the single largest party in the April 2008 elections?
Now we ask you the same question that you placed when the UML came to power claiming that it represented the people’s interests:

Is there any such particularity in Nepal because of which the class character of the reactionary state power has changed?

Can one describe the act of forming the government in alliance with comprador-feudal parties and attempting to bring revolutionary social change through the basically old state machine as merely a tactic? With what logic can one say it is not a path of revolution similar to the “peaceful transition to socialism” put forth by Khrushchev?
The pronouncements by the leaders of the CPN(M) on various occasions, particularly after their electoral victory in April 2008, remind us of the PKI’s revisionist theory of “a state with two aspects,” i.e., a “pro-people’ s aspect” and an “anti-people’ s aspect” proposed by its Chairman Aidit. According to Aidit:

The important problem in Indonesia now is not to smash the state power as in the case in many other states, but to strengthen and consolidate the pro-people’s aspect – and to eliminate the anti-people’ s aspect.

This peaceful transformation would take place by “revolutionary action from above and below,” i.e., by initiating revolutionary measures from above aimed at changing the composition of the various state organs on the one hand, and by “arousing, organizing and mobilizing” the masses to achieve these changes.
Then there are several issues where the stand of your party has already led to the abandoning of the basic requisites for bringing about a revolutionary change in Nepal.
The most important among these are the virtual decimation of the PLA by limiting it to the UN-supervised barracks for over two years, the return of the lands and property seized by the people in the course of the People’s War to the exploiters and oppressors, the demobilization of the Young Communist League, compromising with imperialism, Indian expansionism and other main enemies of revolution in Nepal, and so on.
Comrade Prachanda announced:

…the paramilitary modus operandi of the party’s youth wing, the YCL, would be scrapped, and public and private buildings, factories and other properties captured by the party will be returned to the owners concerned.

He also announced that all the party units established as parallel state units [the various levels of the former revolutionary government established during the People’s War] will likewise be scrapped, and assured:

These agreements will be implemented as early as possible after setting a time frame.

The above measures can have one and only one meaning: abandoning people’s revolutionary power and all the gains accrued in the decade-long People’s War at the cost of over 13,000 lives of heroic martyrs, the best sons and daughters of Nepal.

On Coalition Government

The proposal to form an interim coalition government with the arch-reactionary parties that represent the class interests of the feudal-comprador ruling classes in Nepal and serve imperialism and Indian expansionism was defended by your party citing some historical experiences such as the proposal of a coalition government with the enemy of the Chinese people, Chiang Kai-Shek, made by the CPC under Comrade Mao in China during the anti-Japan War of Resistance.
However, the understanding and practice of the CPN(M) under Comrade Prachanda is diametrically opposite to that pursued by the CPC under Comrade Mao at that time.
What was the basic foundation for such a proposal made by Comrade Mao? Where did the strength of the Communist party lie due to which it could venture to go for such a UF and become several times stronger by the end of the anti-Japanese War and ultimately defeat the reactionary KMT?
Only when we understand this most important and key aspect we can understand the serious deviation in the concept and practice of CPN(M) with regard to forming a coalition government with other comprador-feudal parties.
The most important and key aspect to be noted from the experiences in China is: CPC had kept intact its PLA and Base Areas in spite of repeated pressure by the KMT to abandon these as a pre-condition for a UF. Precisely due to this, CPC was able to dictate terms to the KMT, survive and defeat the brutal military offensive by the KMT, and expand rapidly and achieve countrywide victory within four years after the War of Resistance.
In the case of Nepal, the stand taken by CPN(M) under Comrade Prachanda has been qualitatively different from that of China. It is one of disarming the PLA and abandoning the Base Areas which had become a pre-condition for forging a united front with the comprador-feudal parties. The abandoning of the Base Areas and disarming the PLA are suicidal steps that have placed the party and the people at the mercy of the exploiting classes and the imperialists.
Comrade Prachanda himself exposed the anti-people character of the coalition governments formed in alliance with the bourgeois, feudal parties such as the UML-led coalition government formed in Nepal after the mid-term elections in 1991. He draws a parallel with the bourgeois democratic government formed after the 1917 February revolution following the fall of Czarism in Russia with the participation of the Mensheviks.
Citing Comrade Lenin, he wrote in the article UML Government: A New Shield of Feudalism and Imperialism Under Crisis:
The capitalists, better organized and more experienced than anybody else in matters of class struggle and politics, learnt their lesson quicker than the others. Realizing that the government’s position was hopeless, they resorted to a method which for many decades, ever since 1848, has been practiced by the capitalists of other countries in order to fool, divide and weaken the workers.
This method is known as a “coalition” government, i.e., a joint cabinet formed of members of the bourgeoisie and turncoats from socialism. (Lenin, From the Lesson of Revolution).
It is also interesting to note that your party had castigated the reactionary government of UML coalition by invoking the historical experience in Russia, where, in fact, Comrade Lenin had castigated the bourgeois democratic government even after the fall of Czarist autocracy in the following words:
He who says that the workers must support the new government in the interests of the struggle against tsarist reaction (and apparently this is being said by the Potresovs, Gvozdyovs. Chkhenkelis and also, all evasiveness notwithstanding, by Chkheidze) is a traitor to the workers, a traitor to the cause of the proletariat, to the cause of peace and freedom.
For actually, precisely this new government is already bound hand and foot by imperialist capital, by the imperialist policy. (Lenin: Letters From Afar).
What is wrong in applying the above-mentioned observation of Comrade Lenin which was made in the context of a victorious bourgeois democratic revolution and the fall of Czarist autocracy in Russia – a situation that is in essence similar to the one prevailing in Nepal after the defeat of the King?
Our main point here is not whether a coalition government should or should not have been formed in Nepal by the CPN(M) with the other ruling class parties, but that it should not be at the cost of the demobilization of the PLA and abandonment of the Base Areas as done by the CPN(M). Let us examine this most important and key issue.
On the Base Areas and disarming the PLA
The central question of any revolution is the seizure of power by armed force. In semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries power is seized first in the backward areas of the countryside by establishing Base Areas, then encircling the urban areas, organizing uprisings in the cities and finally achieving countrywide victory. Hence the importance of Base Areas and the people’s army needs no mention. These two aspects are crucial for victory in any revolution and these are non-negotiable under whatever pretext.
In China, even when Comrade Mao proposed a coalition government comprising all anti-Japanese forces including the chief enemy of the revolution, Chiang Kai-Shek’s KMT, he never gave a thought to the question of giving up Base Areas and the PLA. These were non-negotiable in the talks held with the KMT.
And it was based on the strength of the Base Areas and the Red Army that the CPC could gain advantage in the anti-Japanese united front and make the revolution victorious within four years after the end of WWII.
Our CC had been discussing this question with you in our high-level bilateral meetings right from the time you were working out plans for an interim government, elections to the CA and an end to monarchy. You had assured us that Base Areas would never be given up and PLA would not be
disarmed. But eventually it turned out that you had done both and had even invited the imperialist agency – the United Nations – to supervise the disarming of the PLA.
In November 2006 our CC issued a statement on the proposal of the CPN(M) to disarm the PLA and confine the fighters to the barracks. Entitled, A New Nepal can emerge only by smashing the reactionary state! Depositing arms of the PLA under UN supervision would lead to the disarming of the masses!!, the CPI(Maoist) statement warned:

The agreement to deposit the arms of the people’s army in designated cantonments is fraught with dangerous implications. This act could lead to the disarming of the oppressed masses of Nepal and to a reversal of the gains made by the people of Nepal in the decade-long People’s War at the cost of immense sacrifices.
Entire experiences of the world revolution have demonstrated time and again that without the people’s army, it is impossible for the people to exercise their power. Nothing is more dreadful to imperialism and the reactionaries than armed masses, and hence they would gladly enter into any agreement to disarm them.
In fact, disarming the masses has been the constant refrain of all the reactionary ruling classes ever since the emergence of class-divided society.
Unarmed masses are easy prey for the reactionary classes and imperialists who even enact massacres as proved by history. The CC, CPI(Maoist), as one of the detachments of the world proletariat, warns the CPN(Maoist) and the people of Nepal of the grave danger inherent in the agreement to deposit the arms and calls upon them to reconsider their tactics in the light of bitter historical experiences:
We also appeal to the CPN(Maoist) once again to rethink  their current tactics which are changing the very strategic direction of the revolution in Nepal and to withdraw from their agreement with the government of Nepal on depositing the arms of the PLA, as this would make the people defenceless in face of attacks by the reactionaries.

In his answer to questions sent by the media, mainly the BBC, in April 2007, our General Secretary, Comrade Ganapathy, pointed out:

The most dangerous part of the deal is the disarming of the PLA by depositing the arms and placing the fighters in cantonments. This will do no good except disarming the masses and throwing them at the mercy of the oppressors. Neither the imperialists nor big neighbours like India and China would allow any fundamental change in the socio-economic system in Nepal.
They cannot remain passive spectators if their interests are undermined by the Maoists whether through a People’s War or through the parliament. Hence the Maoists can never achieve their aim of putting an end to feudal and imperialist exploitation by entering the parliament in the name of multi-party democracy.
They will have to either get co-opted into the system or abandon the present policy of power-sharing with the ruing classes and continue  armed revolution to seize power. There is no Buddhist middle way. They cannot set the rules for a game the bourgeoisie has invented.

The move to deposit arms and confine the PLA fighters to UN-supervised cantonments, in practice, is tantamount to abandoning PPW and class struggle in the name of multi-party democracy and endangering the gains made during the decade-long People’s War. The first big deviation occurred when the CPN(M) decided to sail with the SPA by agreeing to abandon the Base Areas, demobilize its PLA, and participate in the elections in the name of fighting against the monarchy.
This line is a total deviation from MLM and the concept of PPW. To justify this, CPN(M) cited the example of the CPC under Mao which entered into a united front with Chiang Kai-Shek’s KMT and gave a call for a coalition government. It is a fact that CPC gave the call for such a united front. However, it is also a fact that it never proposed giving up the Base Areas or disarming the PLA. And it was precisely this which had made CPC’s position stronger by the end of the anti-Japanese War.
It was able to dictate terms to others mainly based on its independent strength in the Base Areas and its PLA. And when Chiang refused to act in the interests of China and continued his offensive against the Communists in collusion with the imperialists, the CPC was able to isolate KMT, expand the Base Areas and PLA rapidly, and achieve victory in the revolution in a short period after the end of anti-Japanese War of Resistance.
As a result, the CPC gained enormously from its proposal to make a UF with the KMT. But in the case of the CPN(M), although it achieved a big electoral gain, it  suffered a big strategic loss as it disbanded the people’s governments at the local level, abandoned the Base Areas and disarmed the people’s army. One clause in the agreement to deposit arms by the PLA even sounds ridiculous.
It says that while the PLA deposits its arms and confines itself to barracks, the Nepal Army too should deposit an equal number of arms! With this clause, while the PLA as a whole becomes disarmed, the reactionary army remains intact!! All that it has do is to deposit some arms.
Why did the leadership of the CPN(M) agree to such a ridiculous, and more importantly, dangerous, condition? Is it so naïve that it is not aware of the consequences? We can only say this has been done deliberately as the central leadership of the party has chosen to stay away from People’s War and pursue the peaceful path of multi-party democracy to build a new Nepal. Comrade Prachanda unequivocally asserted this in his interviews, speeches and on various occasions.
Now Prachanda’s path has placed the CPN(M) or what is now called, UCPN(M), the PLA and the revolutionary people’s power in the countryside in great peril and at the mercy of reactionary parties, Indian expansionists and imperialists.
It is now powerless to defend itself or the interests of the vast masses in face of attacks by the reactionary classes and imperialists. It has no Base Areas to bank upon and no army to fight against the reactionary coups and plots.
Moreover, after the formation of the Maoist-led government, the PLA is no longer under the CPN(M). The changed role and responsibility of the PLA was pointed out in clear terms in a speech delivered by Comrade Prachanda on the occasion of the 14th Anniversary of PW and 8th PLA Day at Hattikhor PLA Cantonment and published on February 26:

The most important question is that according to the spirit of interim constitution and the agreements held before between the political parties, the PLA will not be directly under the Unified CPN (Maoist). The PLA will be directly under the leadership of AISC. Theoretically the
PLA is already under it. We will be connected for a long time contemplatively; that is another thing.
However, the PLA will not be under the Unified CPN-Maoist anymore, morally and theoretically. In the situation of legal state power and a transition period, PLA will accept the leadership of the AISC and follow its directives. The PLA has been a part of the state legally since the day AISC was made.

Today, there is a peculiar situation in Nepal. The old Royal Nepal Army continues to be the bulwark of the present state structure in Nepal, while the PLA is a passive onlooker.
What would the Maoists do if a coup were staged by the Army with the instigation of the reactionary comprador-feudal parties and the backing of Indian expansionists and US imperialists? Or if an Indonesia-type bloodbath of the Communists is organised by the reactionaries? How would the Maoists defend themselves when they have demobilised and disarmed the PLA?
We raised the question in our bilateral meetings right from the time when such a proposal of the integration of the two armies was put forth by Comrade Prachanda. There has never been an answer to this crucial and fundamental question of revolution. By evading an answer and displaying eclecticism, your party has actually placed the future of the oppressed people of Nepal in grave danger.

On 21st Century Democracy

Your party claimed that its “decision on multi-party democracy is a strategically, theoretically developed position,” and that it is applicable even to conditions obtaining in India. You attributed universal significance to it and claimed that it is an attempt to further develop MLM. Hence there is a need for every proletarian party to take a clear-cut stand on this so-called “enrichment of MLM.”
The conceptual problem of democracy in the leadership of CPN(M) began at least by 2003. The 2003 CC Plenum of your party passed a paper on the development of democracy in the 21st century. In that paper you proposed that there should be:

…peaceful competition between all political parties against feudalism and foreign imperialist forces.

You said:

Within a certain constitutional provision, multi-party competition should exist as long as it’s against feudalism and foreign imperialistic interference .

You said also during our bilateral meetings that the peaceful competition you were talking about was in the post-revolutionary period and not before.
But later on you became evasive and vague on whether this multiparty competition was feasible before the seizure of power by the working class. Then with the conclusion of the 12-point agreement with the SPA, you made an about-turn and asserted that your party was ready to compete with the comprador-feudal parties! What democracy you aspire to develop through peaceful competition with such parties is beyond one’s comprehension.
In an interview with The Hindu in 2006, Comrade Prachanda said:

And we are telling the parliamentary parties that we are ready to have peaceful competition with you all.

Here there is no bungling of words. The CPN(M) leader has directly assured the comprador bourgeois-feudal parliamentary parties that his party is ready to have peaceful competition with all of them.
And by describing this decision on multiparty democracy as a strategically, theoretically developed position, Comrade Prachanda brought a dangerous thesis to the fore.
This was the thesis of peaceful coexistence with the ruling class parties instead of overthrowing them through revolution; peaceful competition with all other parliamentary parties, including the ruling class parties that are stooges of imperialism or foreign reaction, in so-called parliamentary elections; abandoning the objective of building socialism for an indefinite period; and opening the doors wide for the feudal-comprador reactionaries to come to power by utilizing the backwardness of the masses and the massive backing from domestic and foreign reactionaries or the bourgeois and petty bourgeois forces to hijack the entire course of development of the society from a socialist direction to capitalism in the name of democracy and nationalism.
Overall, Comrade Prachanda’s conclusions regarding multiparty democracy create illusions among the people regarding bourgeois democracy and their constitution. Comrade Mao pointed out:

Those who demand freedom and democracy in the abstract regard democracy as an end and not as a means. Democracy as such sometimes seems to be an end, but it is in fact only a means. Marxism teaches us that democracy is part of the superstructure and belongs to the realm of politics. That is to say, in the last analysis, it serves the economic base.
The same is true of freedom. Both democracy and freedom are relative, not absolute, and they come into being and develop in specific historical conditions. (Ibid)

Genuine democracy is achieved through a consistent and uncompromising struggle against imperialism and feudalism – both in the sphere of the base and superstructure – and accomplishing the tasks of the New Democratic Revolution. Freedom, at the individual level, as Marx said, is the recognition of necessity; at the political level, it entails smashing the chains that bind us to the imperialist system.
Your party says it has synthesised the experiences of 20th century revolutions by learning lessons from the positive and the negative experiences of the revolutions and counter-revolutions of the 20th Century. But what lessons has it taken, and Maoists should take, from the experiences of Communist participation in so-called parliamentary democracy in countries like Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador and others?
Would your party have pursued the same path as above if it had correctly synthesized and taken lessons from 20th century revolutions? Is there anything wrong if one concludes from your concept of 21st century democracy and multiparty competition on the one hand, and the practice of abandoning People’s War on the other, that you are following the same path tread by the revisionist parties in the above-mentioned countries?
In an article in our theoretical organ People’s War in 2006, we pointed out the futility of participating in elections and how it would ultimately help the reactionary ruling classes. We pointed out:

And even if a Maoist party comes to power through elections and merges its own armed forces with those of the old state, it can be overthrown through a military coup, its armed forces might be massacred by those of the reactionaries, its leaders and party cadres might be eliminated…
And if it wants to be part of the parliamentary game, it has to abide by its rules and cannot carry out its anti-feudal, anti-imperialist policies freely.
Even the independence of the judiciary has to be recognised as part of the game of parliament and can cause the obstruction of every reform that the Maoist party tries to initiate after coming to power through elections.
Then there will be several independent institutions like the judiciary, the election commission, the human rights commission sponsored by the imperialists, the media, various artistic, cultural and even religious bodies, non-government organisations, and so on.
If one declares one’s commitment to multiparty democracy, one cannot escape from upholding these so-called independent institutions. Many of these can work for counterrevolution in diverse subtle ways.
One cannot forget the subtle manner in which the western agencies infiltrated and subverted the societies in East European countries and even the former Soviet Union.

In the document On 21st century Democracy released in June 2003, your party correctly explained  the role played by the proletarian party after assuming state power in the following terms:

Experience has proved that after assuming state power, when various leaders and cadres of the party are involved in running state affairs, then there is strong chance that the physical environment may swiftly reduce the party into a bureaucratic, careerist and luxurious class.
With intensification of this danger the party will become more formal and alienated from the masses, in the same proportion.
This process, when it reaches to certain level of its own development, it is bound to be transformed into counterrevolution.
In order to prevent such danger as counterrevolution from happening, it is important to develop further organizational mechanisms and systems so that party is constantly under the vigilance, control and service of the proletariat and working masses according to the theory of two-line struggle and continuous revolution.
For this it is very important that there should be a mechanism to guarantee overall people’s participation in two line struggle.
One section comprising capable and established leaders and cadres should be constantly involved in mass work and another section should be involved in running the state machinery. After a certain interval there should be re-division of work, thereby strengthening the relationship between the whole party and the general masses.

The above-mentioned role assumes even greater significance in the present situation when your party is sharing power with the representatives of the old feudal-comprador class and has a servile relationship with imperialism.
It becomes even more important for the established leaders of the party to work among the masses and build class struggle to solve the problems of the masses and defend them from the brutal offensive of the enemy classes.
However, one is surprised to see most of the established leaders taking up the role of administering a state that remains an instrument of oppression of the masses and in no way represents the aspirations of the masses.

On the Path of Revolution in the Semi-colonial Semi-feudal Countries: Fusion Theory

This has been a much-debated issue ever since the victorious revolution in China. During the Great Debate between the CPSU and CPC in the early 1960s, the path of revolution in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America was firmly established by the CPC.
The document adopted by the CC of the CPN(M) in 1995 correctly formulated the strategy of Protracted People’s War after analyzing the specificities of Nepal:

The synthesis of all the specificities clearly shows that it is impossible for the armed struggle in Nepal to make a quick leap into an insurrection and defeat the enemy. However, it is fully possible to finally crush the enemy through the systematic development of the armed struggle in Nepal.
It can be clearly derived from this that the armed struggle in Nepal must necessarily adopt a Protracted People’s War strategy of surrounding the city from the countryside.

But in its second national conference held in 2001, after synthesizing the experiences of People’s War in Nepal, it brought forth the theory of the fusion of two different kinds of strategies that are applicable to countries with different characteristics.
Just after the Second National Conference of the CPN(M), the press communiqué issued in the name of Comrade Prachanda stated in unequivocal terms:

The rapid development of science and technology, especially in the area of electronics, has brought about a completely new model in regard to forwarding revolution in each country and in the world in the form of a fusion of the strategies of Protracted People’s War and general armed insurrection based on the above analysis.

While making clear that now:

…no model based on past proletarian revolution can be applied as in the past due to changes in the world…

it has brought forth a concrete methodology of the fusion with general insurrection into the strategy of PPW in Nepal.
Though the CPN(M) claimed in 2001 that this conclusion was drawn from a synthesis of the experiences of five years of People’s War in Nepal, there was no experience to prove this assertion. On the contrary, the successes achieved in the five years of People’s War had only vindicated the correctness of the strategy of PPW.
The changes that have occurred in the world situation after the 1980’s do not provide any new basis to “fuse” the two qualitatively different strategies into a “new” amalgamated strategy for the simple reason that no changes of a qualitative nature have occurred in the socio-economic systems of countries like India and Nepal.
In all of the backward countries like Nepal and India, the Maoist strategy of PPW never rejected the usage of the tactics of uprisings in the cities during the course of the revolution. This was also seen during the Chinese revolution. In fact, the importance of usage of these tactics has grown in the context of the changes that have occurred after WW II, particularly due to the tremendous growth of urban populations and the high concentration of the working class.
The Maoist forces operating in these countries should certainly give added importance to this question and prepare for uprisings in cities as part of the Maoist strategy of PPW. However, this does not mean that the two strategies should be “fused” into one by labeling PPW as an “old” and “conventional” model.
The 2005 CC Plenum:

Resolved that the very strategy of Protracted PW needs to be further developed to cater to the necessities of the 21st century.
In particular, several decades on, it is seen that the Protracted PW’s launched in different countries have either faced obstacles or got liquidated after reaching the state of strategic offensive, as imperialism has attempted to refine its interventionist counterinsurgency war strategy as a “long war.”
In this context, if the revolutionaries do mechanistically cling to the “protracted” aspect of the PW at any cost, it would in essence play into the hands of imperialism and reaction. Hence the latest proposition of “Prachanda Path” that the proletarian military also needs to be further developed is quite serious and of long-term significance.
It may be noted that this proposition is firmly based on the concrete experiences of the successfully advancing PW now at the stage of strategic offensive and is aimed at further advancing and defending it. (The Worker #10: p. 58)

Thus the question of the path of revolution has once again come into the agenda for discussion after the CPN(M) proposed its “fusion” theory in 2001. The question  assumed significance for revolutionaries everywhere not only in the context of the People’s War in Nepal but also because the CPN(M) had tried to give its fusion theory a universal character. It theorized:

Today, the fusion of the strategies of armed insurrection and Protracted People’s War into one another has been essential. Without doing so, a genuine revolution seems impossible in any country. (The Great Leap Forward, p. 20).

It had also argued:

On the theoretical concept of revolutionary war, this new theory of the fusion of two strategies has universal significance.
The theory developed by the fusion of Protracted People’s War and insurrection has special significance and it has become universal.”

In the paper submitted by the CPN(M) at the International Seminar on Imperialism and Proletarian Revolution in the 21st Century held on December 26, 2006, it repeated the 2003 thesis but with a very important change. It wrote:

…We came to a conclusion that sticking to a particular model, and the tactic based on it, would not address the new contradictions created by the aforesaid changes in the society and confining the path of revolution within the framework of a certain modality would hold down our hand to resolve them.
Taking all these ideological and political factors into account, our party from the very beginning tried to take up mass mobilization in the cities and guerrilla warfare in the countryside, i.e. political and military offensives, simultaneously, while making the latter as principal.
Everyone can notice ever since the initiation, which was in the form of a kind of rebellion, our party has been incorporating some of the insurrectionary tactics all through the course of Protracted People’s War.
That is why the course of revolution we are traversing resembles neither fully what Mao did in China nor what Lenin did in Russia.
We believe one of the reasons behind the development of People’s War in such a short span of time in our country was our success to keep ourselves away from the constraint of any model. In short, our position is no revolution can be repeated but only developed.
Almost after five years of the initiation of People’s War in Nepal, summing up its experiences in the Second National Conference in 2001, our party developed a politico-military strategy stressing the need to have a fusion of some aspects of insurrectionary tactics with those of Protracted People’s War from the very beginning.
Again, at the Kami Danda meeting in 2006, summing up the entire experiences of the ten years of People’s War, our party further developed and synthesized that only
politico-military strategy with a balanced sequence of People’s War, a strong mass movement, negotiations and diplomatic maneuvering can lead the New Democratic Revolution in Nepal to victory.
We think this synthesis of a revolutionary detachment of international proletarian army, the CPN (Maoist), could be useful to others as well.

Every country has its own specificities and the revolutionaries take these into account while drawing up their strategy and tactics. The world has seen two models of successful revolutions during the 20th century – the Russian model of armed insurrection and the Chinese model of Protracted People’s War. It is obvious that no revolution can be the exact replica of another.
However, basic similarities in the objective conditions can make a particular model more relevant for a particular country. No revolutionary would claim that every country should inevitably follow this or that model in toto mechanically. There are bound to be variations in strategy and tactics in different countries depending on concrete conditions. But the general principle, of course, is common to all revolutions as explained so clearly by Comrade Mao:

The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and highest form of revolution. But while the principle remains the same (for all countries), its application by the party of the proletariat finds expression in various ways according to the varying conditions.

Your politico-military strategy is nothing new as you claim. No revolutionary party would think that it can achieve victory in revolution through military strategy alone. Political strategy and tactics are an important part of the overall strategy and tactics pursued by a Maoist party.
Comrade Mao always gave importance to this aspect, and not just to the military aspect, in spite of the huge strength of the PLA. Isolating the main enemies, building the united front with all anti-imperialist and anti-feudal forces, organising the working class and other toiling masses in the urban areas and plain areas, were an indispensable part of the agenda of the CPC under Mao and several Maoist parties today. The documents of these parties prove this beyond any doubt.
The problem, therefore, does not lie in not realizing the importance of the work in the urban areas or in the lack of political strategy but in the nature of the politico-military strategy that is being implemented and the order of priority of the rural and urban areas in semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries.
If the chief task of smashing the state machinery, particularly the Army and other armed forces, is relegated to the background in the name of political strategy and tactics, if concessions are given to the enemy at the cost of the class interests of the proletariat and oppressed people for the sake of maintaining the united front somehow or other, then the actual problem comes to the fore.
The CPN(M) had achieved rapid gains in the decade-long People’s War and claimed to have control over 80 per cent of the country’s territory by 2005. But even this fact does not alter or dilute the strategy of PPW and lend priority to a political strategy.
The foremost task even after assuming control over 80 per cent of a nation’s territory would be to consolidate the mass base and organs of political power, increase the strength of the PLA and smash the centres of enemy power in the midst of your Base Areas. No doubt, the task is quite arduous and requires great determination and patience, since there will be an overwhelming expectation of immediate victory among party ranks and the people at large.
Serious mistakes are likely to take place in the period of strategic offensive if the protracted nature of the People’s War is not understood properly.
The fusion theory of the CPN(M) has undergone further changes in the five years since it was first proposed, and by 2006 it became the theory of peaceful competition with the reactionary parties and peaceful transition to people’s democracy and socialism. From a fusion of People’s War and insurrection, Prachanda’s eclectic theory assumed the form of negotiations and diplomatic maneuvering.
One of the major reasons for this change was an incorrect assessment of the contemporary world situation and the conclusion that the neo-colonial form of imperialism is now taking the form of a globalised state.
As mentioned in the seminar paper:

The fundamental character of imperialism hasn’t been changed in essence, but as said in our party document, imperialism in its course of development has been acquiring new forms and shapes.
The initial colonial form of imperialism changed its form into neo-colonialism. Now the neo-colonial form is taking shape in the form of a globalised state. Naturally this change in the form of imperialism should be taken into account while developing the path of revolution.

The conclusion regarding a globalised state goes against dialectics, as it relegates inter-imperialist contradictions to the background and attempts to transform imperialism as a whole into a homogeneous mass. This formulation was put forth for the first time by your party towards the end of December 2006 after striking an alliance with the SPA.
In fact, we can say that your 12-point agreement with the SPA, your decision to become part of the interim government sharing power with the comprador-feudal reactionary parties in Nepal, your participation in the elections to the Constituent Assembly and forming a government under your leadership once again with the reactionary forces, and theorizing on peaceful competition with these parties – all these arose from the above assessment of your party regarding imperialism and the conclusion that it has assumed the form of a globalised state.
It is only natural that such an assessment, similar to the thesis of ultra-imperialism proposed by Karl Kautsky in 1912 and which was laid bare by Comrade Lenin, cannot but lead to the conclusion of a peaceful path and peaceful transition to people’s democracy and socialism. The fusion theory has ultimately led to the theory of peaceful transition!
At the moment in Nepal, there is neither People’s War nor insurrection but instead peaceful competition with other parliamentary parties for achieving power through elections!!
The leadership and the entire party ranks of CPN(M) should at least now realize the reformist and Right opportunist danger inherent in the incorrect eclectic formulation of Comrade Prachanda regarding the path of revolution in Nepal. To put forth such an eclectic fusion theory in an extremely backward semi-feudal semi-colonial country where almost 90% of the people reside in rural areas shackled by semi-feudal social relations is really tragic.
It makes a mockery of the Maoist concept of PPW and negates the basic teachings of Comrade Mao. Prachanda’s fusion theory is a serious deviation from MLM and has created only confusion and illusion among party ranks about a quick victory instead of preparing the entire party for a Protracted People’s War.

On the Stage of Revolution in Nepal

The CPN(M), in its basic documents, came out correctly with its assessment of the present stage of the revolution in Nepal as new democratic and declared the programme to be implemented in this stage of revolution.
However, in an article by Comrade Baburam Bhattarai in March 2005, and in his 13-point letter in November 2004, the above understanding regarding the new democratic stage was changed in a drastic manner. It was declared that the Nepalese revolution was passing through a substage of the democratic republic:

As for as the sincere commitment of the revolutionary democratic forces, who aspire to reach socialism and Communism via a new democratic republic, towards a bourgeois democratic republic is concerned, the CPN (Maoist) has time and again clarified its principled position towards the historical necessity of passing through a sub-stage of democratic republic in the specificities of Nepal. (The Royal Regression and the Question of the Democratic Republic, March 15, 2005)

Our party pointed out in an article in our organ
People’s War:

No Maoist would say it is wrong to fight for the demand of a republic and for the overthrow of the autocratic monarchy. And likewise, none would oppose the forging of a united front of all those who are opposed to the main enemy at any given moment.
Needless to say, such a united front would be purely tactical in nature and cannot and should not under any circumstances determine the path and direction of the revolution itself.
The problem with the theorization by the CPN(M) lies in making the fight against autocracy into a substage of NDR and, what is even worse, making the substage overwhelm (dominate and determine) the very direction and path of the revolution.
The programme and strategy of NDR drawn up by the party prior to its launching of the armed struggle, the targets to be overthrown and even the concrete class analysis made earlier based on which the revolution had advanced so far, are now made subordinate to the needs of the so-called substage of Nepalese revolution. It is like the case of the tail itself wagging the dog.
The substage of bourgeois democratic republic has become the all-determining factor. It has subsumed the class war, set aside the strategy of Protracted People’s War, brought multiparty democracy or political competition with the bourgeois-feudal parties as the most important strategy, nay, path, of the Nepalese revolution.

The fight against monarchy or the King has become the be-all-and-end- all – the ultimate goal – for the leadership of CPN(M). The concepts of NDR, socialism and Communism have become relegated to a secondary position and are subsumed by the concept of sub-stage of fight against the King.
In fact, such an understanding was reflected in the statements and interviews given by Comrade Prachanda himself after the People’s War in Nepal confronted serious difficulties in the phase of strategic offensive and the final assault did not fetch the anticipated results. For instance, in his interview with the BBC in 2006, Comrade Prachanda spoke of a new Nepal without the need for smashing the old state:

We believe that the Nepali people will go for a republic and in a peaceful way the process of rebuilding Nepal will go forward.
In five years’ time Nepal will move towards being a beautiful, peaceful and progressive nation.
In five years’ time the millions of Nepalis will already be moving ahead with a mission to make a beautiful future, and Nepal will truly start becoming a heaven on earth.

He further asserted that a democratic republic elected in such a way will solve the problems of Nepalis!! See here:

We believe that with the election of a constituent assembly, a democratic republic will be formed in Nepal. And this will solve the problems of Nepalis and lead the country on a more progressive path.

In an interview to an Italian newspaper L’espresso in November 2006, Prachanda further elaborated his vision of a future Nepal as that of transforming it into a bourgeois republic like that of Switzerland:

In ten years we’ll change the whole scenario, rebuilding this country to prosperity. In 20 years we could be similar to Switzerland. This is my goal for Nepal.

And he intends to use foreign investment to achieve the above transformation of Nepal:

We will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.

The above lines do not go beyond bourgeois nationalist sentiment and lack a proletarian class outlook. How will Nepal start becoming a “heaven on earth” after becoming a bourgeois republic? How can the formation of a so-called democratic republic “solve the problems of Nepalis?” Why is Prachanda dreaming of making Nepal into a bourgeois Switzerland instead of a socialist paradise?
Even after Comrade Prachanda declared this to be his goal for Nepal in the next 20 years, it is a pity that hardly a voice was raised in the party. In fact, such pronouncements by Prachanda and other leaders of your party have only increased after the elections to the CA. The entire direction and programme of your party is towards the establishment and consolidation of a bourgeois democratic republic instead of a people’s republic.
Our People’s War article further pointed out:

Can Nepal free itself from the clutches of imperialism after becoming a (bourgeois) democratic republic in the present imperialist era? Does the CPN(M) really think that the “process of rebuilding Nepal will go forward in a peaceful way?” And is there a single instance in world history where such a peaceful process of rebuilding has taken place?
Does not the history of world revolution show that bitter class struggle, bloody and violent at times, continues even after decades following the capture of power by the proletariat? Then how can Comrade Prachanda envision such a peaceful process for rebuilding Nepal?
Do the parties belonging to the SPA really fight imperialism and feudalism in Nepal? Is there a guarantee that the CPN(M) will defeat the bourgeois-feudal parties, with which it wants to compete in the elections, and ensure that Nepal does not drift into the clutches of imperialism and Indian expansionism?
How could one be so naive as to believe that once the elections to the Constituent Assembly are over and Nepal becomes a republic, not under the leadership of the working class party but may be under an alliance of a hodgepodge combination of Parties i.e., an alliance of ruling class and working class under CPN(M), the country will free itself from feudalism and imperialism and become a “beautiful, peaceful and progressive nation?”

The same understanding of the sub-stage was reflected in the declaration by the Maoist spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara in November 2006 that the pact between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists should continue until the end of feudalism in the country, or at least for ten years.
Thus from the various interviews of Comrade Prachanda and other leaders of the CPN(M) we can clearly see a basic shift in the Maoist position from the immediate aim of accomplishing the New Democratic Revolution with the goal of fighting for socialism and Communism, to the establishment of a “multi-party democratic republic” through elections and bringing social transformation through peaceful means within the framework of the old state structure.
This goes against the Marxist-Leninist theories of the state as well as the stages of revolution.
The non-proletarian class stand of the CPN(M) and the confusion and deviation that had arisen concerning the people’s democratic republic arises from the above theory of the substage.

On the CPN(M)’s Understanding of Indian Expansionism

During Prachanda’s official visit to India, he used the occasion to hobnob with comprador-feudal parties like JD(U), Nationalist Congress, Samajwadi party, RJD, LJP etc., besides having informal meetings with Sonia Gandhi, Digvijay Singh, and some BJP leaders like LK Advani, Rajnath Singh and Murali Manohar Joshi. Perhaps his strategy was to cultivate good relations with the fascist BJP in case it wins in the next Parliamentary elections.
His remarks during his India visit reflected, at best, his underassessment about the danger posed by Indian
expansionism to Nepal and his illusions regarding the character of the Indian state. And, at worst, it shows his opportunism in making a complete turnabout with regard to his assessment of India after winning the elections.
This attitude can be seen in his lauding the role of India in assisting in the “smooth and peaceful” transition in Nepal and also his praising India for its help in arranging the meeting between CPN(M) and SPA in Delhi and in forging a common front of the eight parties against the King.
While talking to Rajnath Singh whose Hindu fascist party was responsible for the destruction of Babari Masjid and for inciting communal attacks against Muslims and Christians along with the genocide in Gujarat, Prachanda spoke of the common cultural heritage of the two countries and about Ayodhya. Hugging Manmohan Singh, he even requested that India should assist Nepal in drafting the new Constitution!
This is a great insult to the people of both Nepal and India and amounts to surrendering the sovereignty of Nepal to Indian rulers. He knows our party’s stand regarding the drafting of the Indian Constitution and its anti-people, pro-imperialist class content. Yet, he chose to seek the help of the Indian rulers in drafting the Constitution of Nepal!!
This is not just pragmatism but a clean and clear deviation from the M-L standpoint and even goes against the spirit of nationalism that he had been speaking of.
Failure to arrive at a correct objective assessment and understanding of Indian expansionism and its role in South Asia will have far-reaching consequences on revolutions in the countries of the region. The CPN(M) had, by and large, a correct understanding regarding Indian expansionism until it went into an agreement with the major comprador-feudal parties constituting the SPA in 2006.
There were, of course, some problems such as an over-assessment of the contradiction between India and US imperialism and the eagerness of CPN(M) to utilize this supposed contradiction.
Our party delegation warned about the danger of falling into the trap set by the Indian expansionist ruling classes and cautioned you against hobnobbing with the leaders of the various reactionary ruling class parties in India, particularly the BJP and Congress, but you continued to maintain relations in the name of utilizing the contradictions in the interest of the revolution in Nepal.
We warned you that the opposite would happen, and that eventually, it is not you but the Indian ruling classes who will utilize your soft approach to influence your ranks, including the leadership.
The counterrevolutionary intelligence wing of India, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), and the leaders of the various reactionary political parties in India have been very active in sowing illusions and ideological confusion among the rank and file of the CPN(M), but your party leadership continued to cultivate and maintain intimate relations with these reactionary forces.
The extent of the influence of these forces and the damage caused to the revolution could be gauged by the fact that several times your leadership pleaded that strong words against Indian expansionism be dropped in the statements issued by our two Parties as well as in the statements issued by CCOMPOSA.
However, in spite of these deviations, overall, until 2005, there had been a collective struggle by our two Parties and by other Maoist Parties in South Asia against Indian expansionism. The CCOMPOSA too was formed explicitly with the aim of fighting against Indian expansionism and achieving unity and collective effort for advancing the revolutions in South Asia.
But, after your 12-point agreement with the SPA, this struggle against Indian expansionism began to be blunted over time, finally reaching a stage where your leadership even went to the extent of showering praise on the Indian ruling classes and taking their guidance.
We appeal to the leadership and the entire rank and file of the CPN(M) to reconsider their stand towards Indian expansionism and to adopt a firm stance against it. The diplomatic relations between states should not run counter to the principle of proletarian internationalism.

On the South Asia Soviet Federation

The concept of South Asia Soviet Federation (SASF) was brought forth by the CPN(M) in 2001 and was described as a contribution of Comrade Prachanda to the theory of MLM. To cite from the document entitled Great Leap Forward:

Comrade Prachanda, in course of studying the particularity of Nepalese society and revolution, has paid necessary attention to the context of revolution in South Asian countries too.
Comrade Prachanda says, “Because of the distinct conditions of this region, it becomes clear that it is inevitable for the Communist revolutionaries to devise an integrated strategy against the Indian ruling class of monopoly bourgeoisie and their agents in various countries.
This inevitability has knocked at the door of the necessity of turning this region into a new Soviet federation of the twenty-first century.” (Great Leap Forward, p. 24)

Explaining the meaning and significance of this concept, your party wrote:

Here, special attention has been paid to the necessity of developing a unified strategy as a common responsibility of the revolutionary Communist Parties of this region in their struggle against Indian expansionism. The concept of a unified strategy and that of a New Soviet Federation carries special significance.
This concept is based upon the historic necessity of fighting jointly against Indian expansionism that has been a common enemy of the revolutionary Communist parties and oppressed masses of different countries in this South Asian region.
This reflects theoretically the common feeling of historical friendship and aspiration of liberation that has developed for a long time among the people of different countries in this region.

In an interview in 2002, our General Secretary, Comrade Ganapathy, expressed our party’s stand on the concept of SASF and the wrong understanding of the CPN(M) that it is extremely difficult to make revolution in Nepal and almost impossible to sustain the revolution after achieving a victory without the establishment of the SASF.
Your party made the formation of SASF as a pre-condition for the victory of revolution in Nepal. This concept is similar to the Trotskyite concept of permanent revolution that denies the possibility of the establishment of socialism in one country. Your party document specifically mentioned that it is almost impossible to sustain the revolution in Nepal without a revolution in the entire sub-continent.
The success of revolutions in India and other countries of South Asia has been made into a pre-condition for sustaining the revolution in Nepal. We think this too is a reason for the loss of conviction in advancing the revolution in Nepal to its final victory and, instead, taking the path of reconciliation and class compromise.

On Prachanda Path

Much has been written about Prachanda Path in your documents, articles and interviews in the past seven years. It has also been a topic of discussion during our bilateral meetings in the initial years of the initiation of the People’s War in Nepal.
When specifically asked by your delegation, we reiterated our stand in our bilateral meetings that building a personality cult will not help the party or the revolution in the long run. We cited our own experiences in India at the time of Comrade Charu Majumdar and advised you not to inculcate blind faith in individuals.
Our firm opinion had always been that isms, paths, thoughts, etc. get established over a long process after they are vindicated in practice and have a clear scientific basis. We advised you that it was too hasty to speak of a new path or thought in Nepal just because some significant victories were achieved in the People’s War.
You were not convinced, and proceeded with “enriching and developing” MLM in the form of Prachanda Path and giving it a universal character.
While asserting that it is the creative application of MLM to the concrete conditions of Nepal and assuring others that you do not attribute universal significance to it you at the same time tried to project it as a further development and enrichment of MLM with universal significance. Your document mentioned:

Prachanda Path has been termed in the historical Second National Conference of C.P.N. (Maoist) an ideological synthesis of rich experiences of five years of the great People’s War.
The party, in this conference, has taken up Prachanda Path as an inseparable dialectical unity between international content and national expression, universality and particularity, whole and part, general and particular, and has comprehended that this synthesis of experiences of Nepalese revolution would serve world proletarian revolution and proletarian internationalism. (The Great Leap Forward: An Inevitable Need of History).

You tried to explain the development of Prachanda Path theoretically as follows:

The development of Prachanda Path is advancing ahead in its third phase.
These phases can be thought of as the first phase: the political and military line of Nepalese revolution that was adopted in the Third Expanded Meeting of C.P.N. (Maoist) held in 1995; the second phase: the ideological synthesis of the rich experiences of five years of great People’s War that took place in the historical Second National Conference of C.P.N. (Maoist) held in 2001; and the third phase: the process of development following this conference.
Along with its grasp of MLM, Prachanda Path has been developing in the process of its defense, application and development, and this concept also carries specific international significance regarding the process of development of revolutionary theory.

Your party listed the contributions of Comrade Prachanda in the fields of ideology, dialectical materialism, political and military line, and so on. But after going through the documents and writings of the leaders of CPN(M), it is still not clear what has been developed anew in the real sense in the formulations made by Comrade Prachanda in these fields.
In the name of the creative application of MLM to the concrete conditions in Nepal and the further development and enrichment of the theory of MLM “in the conditions of 21st century”, your party and its chief, Comrade Prachanda, have brought forth several formulations that negate the fundamental teachings of comrades Lenin and Mao.
You have justified this by asserting repeatedly that dogmatism has become the main obstacle for advancing the revolutions in the contemporary world. For instance, Comrade Basanta, a CC member writes:

Our party, under the leadership of Chairman Comrade Prachanda, believes that the analysis of imperialism made by Lenin and Mao in the 20th century cannot scientifically guide Maoist revolutionaries to develop correct strategies and tactics to fight in the 21st century.
(“International Dimension of Prachanda Path”, The Worker #10, p. Page 84)

Your CC Plenum document of November 2005 goes on to show how globalised imperialism has caused some of the analyses of Lenin and Mao to lag behind, thereby implying that these have become outdated and irrelevant. It says:

An important preface that today’s globalized imperialism has caused some of the analyses of Lenin and Mao on the strategy of imperialism and proletarian movement to lag behind in the same manner that a number of Marx’s and Engels’ analysis of revolution in Europe, in the period of competitive capitalism, lagged behind in the situation when imperialism developed till the First World War.

How the analyses of Lenin and Mao on the strategy of imperialism and proletarian revolution are lagging behind is not clear. But for some rhetoric, there is no substantial reasoning or analysis on the part of CPN(M) to show the inadequacy of the analyses of Lenin and Mao or how their analysis of imperialism in the 20th century cannot scientifically guide Maoist revolutionaries to develop correct strategies and tactics to fight in the 21st century.
After witnessing the full flowering of the concept of Prachanda Path, one thing has now become clear to Maoist revolutionaries everywhere: Lenin and Mao indeed become an obstacle to Prachanda and the CPN(M) for carrying out their reformist, Right opportunist formulations.
They needed to discard the Leninist concepts of state and revolution, imperialism and proletarian revolution.
They needed to throw overboard Mao’s theory of New Democracy and the two stages of revolution in
semi-colonial semi-feudal countries, and to replace the path of PPW with an eclectic combination or fusion of People’s War and insurrection, and finally pursue the same old revisionist line put forth by the CPSU under Khrushchev against which Comrade Mao fought relentlessly.
Prachanda Path finally turned out to be a theory that negates the fundamental teachings of Lenin and Mao, and the essence of Prachanda Path is seen to be no different from the Khrushchevite thesis of peaceful
transition.

On Proletarian Internationalism

Another serious deviation in the leadership of CPN(M) lies in its abandoning the principle of proletarian internationalism, shelving the CCOMPOSA and the fight against Indian expansionism and US imperialism and adopting a totally nationalistic approach and sheer pragmatism in dealing with other countries and Parties.
We can describe this trend as Left nationalism or radical nationalism displayed by the bourgeois class during its incipient stage of development. That is, nationalism of the
national bourgeois class. Comrade Prachanda obliterates class content and class perspective, mixes up bourgeois democracy with people’s democracy and justifies all opportunist alliances as being in the interests of Nepal. When any tactic is divorced from our strategic goal of New Democratic Revolution, it ends in opportunism.
This is contrary to the principle of proletarian internationalism as envisaged by our great Marxist teachers, and is opposed to MLM ideology. This stand will not promote, but rather harm, the interests of Nepalese masses, undermine Nepal’s sovereignty in the long run, and create illusions about the reactionary parties inside Nepal and Indian expansionists outside Nepal.
It undermines the need for a united struggle by M-L parties worldwide against imperialism, particularly US imperialism.
What is surprising is that it was the same Prachanda who earlier spoke of South Asia Soviet Federation and attacked Stalin, accusing him of displaying a narrow nationalist attitude by subordinating the interests of the world proletariat to the interests of Russia. Whatever he spoke against Stalin then actually applies to his policies now after assuming power through elections.
It is a great paradox that a Maoist-led government has not even ventured to sever its ties with the Zionist Israeli terrorist state, particularly after its brutal blatant aggression in Gaza and the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians when even governments such as those in Venezuela and Bolivia dared to do so.
Even more disgusting is the manner in which the CPN(M) leadership has been trying to get into the good books of the American imperialists. To curry favour with the American imperialists, a section of the CPN(M) leadership had even assured that it would remove the Maoist “tail” from its party’s name.
It is high time the CPN(M) take a consistently anti-imperialist, anti-Indian expansionist approach and work to forge close, working relations with other forces worldwide to weaken imperialism and the reactionary forces.
Only through a resolute struggle against the Right Opportunist Line pursued by the leadership of the CPN(M) can a revolutionary line be reestablished and bring the Nepalese revolution to its consummation.
Lack of conviction in the ideology of MLM, a concept of quick victory and eclecticism with regard to the path of revolution in Nepal arising out of the series of successes in the People’s War, a wrong assessment of the impact of changes in the contemporary world leading to the conclusion that a qualitative change had occurred in the nature of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, and a lack of a strategic outlook to transform temporary defeats in a few battles into victories in the overall war led to a drastic drift in the stand of CPN(M) and its slide into Right opportunism.
The turning point in the People’s War in Nepal occurred when the PLA led by the CPN(M) failed to smash enemy fortifications and suffered serious losses in the second half of 2005.
The 2005 CC Plenum:

…resolved that the very strategy of Protracted PW needs to be further developed to cater to the necessities of the 21st century.
In particular, several decades on, it is seen that the Protracted PW’s launched in different countries have either faced serious obstacles or got liquidated after reaching the state of strategic offensive, as imperialism has attempted to refine its interventionist counterinsurgency war strategy as a “long war.”
In this context, if revolutionaries mechanistically cling to the ‘protracted’ aspect of the PW at any cost, it would in essence play into the hands of imperialism and reaction. (The Worker #10, p. 58)

Thus the reason for the present predicament of the CPN(M) and its change of strategy and path of its revolution lies in its inconsistency in adhering to the political line and the path of PPW enunciated in its own basic documents. While it correctly formulated the present stage of revolution in Nepal and the strategy and path of revolution in its founding documents, it landed into confusion regarding the strategy within five years of the initiation of the People’s War.
The series of victories in the first few years of People’s War were beyond the expectations of even the party leadership. These victories also created a wrong thinking in the party leadership that final victory could be quickly achieved, and instead of firmly adhering to the strategy of PPW which  brought about these successes, it began to develop new theories like fusion theory and began to develop new strategies not only for the revolution in Nepal but also for  world revolution.
Initially it expected to capture Kathmandu in a short period without a sober assessment of the support which the Nepalese ruling classes led by the King could get from the imperialists and Indian expansionists and also overassessing the contradictions between the imperialists and big countries like China and India.
The document entitled Present Situation and Our Tasks, presented by Comrade Prachanda and adopted by the CC of CPN(M) in May 2003, made the following assessment:

Had world imperialism, particularly American imperialism in today’s context, not helped the old state directly, the Nepalese revolution would have by today developed further ahead with relative ease and somewhat differently through the use of the thought, strategy and tactics synthesized in the party’s historic Second National Conference.
The Nepalese revolution has been affected by the activities of American imperialism, like bringing the most brutal and fascist feudal elements through the infamous palace massacre to take on the Nepalese People’s War, to intensifying its interventionist activities in Nepal with the declaration of the so-called war against terrorism after the September 11 event.
We can clearly and with experience say that had the old feudal state and its royal army not had direct involvement of American military advisers in planning, construction, training and direction in the post “emergency” period and had it not received financial and military assistance from foreign reactionary forces including America, the old rotten feudal state in Nepal would have had no chance of surviving in the face of People’s War.

In an interview with The Times of India in September 2005, Comrade Prachanda said that his party would have “captured Kathmandu by now if countries like the US, India and the UK had not extended military support to Nepal’s tottering feudal rulers.”
Is it not wishful thinking on the part of the CPN(M) and Comrade Prachanda to expect that revolution in Nepal can become victorious without fighting imperialist intervention?
Intervention in the internal affairs of every country is the very essence and nature of imperialism. Even to imagine that they could have rapidly achieved victory if other countries had not extended military support to the tottering feudal rulers of Nepal smacks of romanticism.
Thus, due to all these factors which are but natural in the course of any revolution, the People’s War in Nepal  became stuck in the stage of strategic stalemate or equilibrium in spite of tremendous victories and the formation of revolutionary organs of power in the vast countryside.
Although it declared that it entered the stage of strategic counteroffensive in August 2004 and even successfully implemented the first plan of the counteroffensive, which it finished a year later, it realized that it was not possible to capture the urban centres and Kathmandu in the immediate future. Its assessment of a quick victory did not seem feasible.
Presently, while it has control over the vast countryside it is unable to stage a general armed insurrection or to implement its theory of fusing the strategies of the Russian model of armed insurrection and the Chinese model of Protracted People’s War, or the so-called fusion theory.
The United Revolutionary People’s Council (URPC), which the CPN(M) formed as early as September 2001, has not been able to establish itself as a an organ of new democratic people’s power at the central level, nor is it likely to do so in the immediate future.
CPN(M)’s deviation from the concept of PPW and its longing for a quick victory did not allow it to think of tiring out the enemy in incessant war, accumulating its own strength further, and making long-term preparations for defeating the enemy and smashing the state machine at the opportune time.
It erroneously thought that the longer the war dragged on, the more difficult and unfavourable the situation would be for the revolutionary forces, as the reactionary forces and the armies of imperialist powers and India were bound to intervene militarily.
The CPN(M) became skeptical about the prospects of victory in a small country like Nepal when it is confronted by imperialism and there is no advancement of any strong revolutionary movement in other parts of the world. You said:

In the present context, when along with the restoration of capitalism in China there is no other socialist state existing, when despite objective condition turning favorable, currently there is no advancement in any strong revolutionary movement under the leadership of the proletariat, and when world imperialism is pouncing on people everywhere like an injured tiger, is it possible for a small country with a specific geopolitical compulsion like Nepal to gain victory to the point of capturing the central state through revolution?
This is the most significant question being put before the party today. The answer to this question can only be found in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and on this depends the future of the Nepalese revolution.

If the CPN(M) had a deep and thorough understanding of the strategy of PPW, it would have had adequate clarity on how to grapple with the situation in the event of external military intervention and thereby transform the war into a national war and capture state power.
But its lack of such an understanding of PPW and its desire for quick victory led it to the highly dangerous short cut method of coming to power through an interim government and participating in the elections of a so-called multiparty democratic republic following the elections to the Constituent Assembly.
Thus, instead of adhering to the Marxist-Leninist understanding on the imperative need to smash the old state and establish the proletarian state (the people’s democratic state in the concrete conditions of semi-feudal, semi-colonial Nepal) and advance towards the goal of socialism through the radical transformation of society and all oppressive class relations, it chose to reform the existing state through an elected Constituent Assembly and a bourgeois democratic republic.
It is indeed a great tragedy that it has come to this position in spite of having de facto power in most of the countryside.
The conclusion regarding the impossibility of achieving victory in the revolution through armed struggle is reflected clearly in Prachanda’s answer to a question by a correspondent of The Hindu in his interview with Comrade Prachanda in February 2006.
He was asked whether the decision was a recognition by the CPN(M) of the “impossibility of seizing power through armed struggle” and that “because of the strength of the RNA and the opposition of the international community, a new form of struggle is needed in order to overthrow the monarchy.”
Comrade Prachanda replied that his party had taken three things into consideration for arriving at the conclusion: the specificity of the political and military balance in today’s world; the experience of the 20th century; and the particular situation in the country – the class, political and power balance.
One is reminded of PKI (Indonesian Communist party) Chairman Aidit’s thesis during the 1960’s, according to which it was impossible to launch and carry out People’s War anywhere in the contemporary world.
The PKI announced the “Method of Combining the Three Forms of Struggle”: guerrilla warfare in the countryside, strikes by workers (especially transport workers) in the cities, and work among the armed forces. By putting forth such a combination, the focus of the work of the PKI  shifted from the foremost strategic task of developing People’s War in the countryside and establishing Base Areas towards other tasks.
In an article you rightly pointed out the reformist thinking in the Nepalese Communist movement in the following words:

In the Nepalese Communist movement a Rightist thinking has been dominant that accepts New Democracy as a strategy but follows reformism and parliamentarism as tactics, that sacrifices the totality of strategy for practical tactical gain and that regards strategy and tactics as mutually exclusive.
Against such thinking we should pay special attention to understand the relations between strategy and tactics in a dialectical manner and to adopt such tactics as to help the strategy.

Now your party itself has become a victim of such Rightist thinking by accepting New Democracy as a strategy but following reformism and parliamentarism as tactics.
Whatever be the tactics adopted by the CPN(M), the most objectionable part is your projection of these tactics as a theoretically developed position which you think should be the model for the revolutions in the 21st century. You consider the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletarian
revolution as having become inadequate and lagging behind at the present imperialistic phase.
And therefore you claim:

The main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletarian strategy.

But what is new in the so-called new tactics proposed by the CPN(M)? How is it different from the arguments put forth by the Khrushchevite clique in the Soviet Union after the death of Comrade Stalin? In the name of fighting against dogmatism or orthodox Communism, the leadership of CPN(M) had landed into a Right Opportunist Line.
Comrades!
Today the entire world is going through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. With American imperialism as the focus, every country in the world is engulfed in the crisis which is threatening to erupt into social and political explosions.
In such an excellent situation Maoist revolutionary forces in every country can grow in strength by properly utilizing the favourable objective situation created by the crisis and achieve great advances in the revolutions in their respective countries.
But unfortunately the Maoist party in Nepal has chosen to strike a deal with the reactionary anti-people forces in the country and form a government that can in no way address any of the basic problems facing the Nepalese people or achieve the basic programme of New Democracy and socialism. This peaceful path of Comrade Prachanda has already led the party and the PLA into a dark tunnel.
Our CC appeals to the leadership and ranks of the UCPN(M) to undertake a deep review of the wrong reformist line that the party has been pursuing ever since it had struck an alliance with the SPA, became part of the interim government, participated in the elections to the CA, formed a government with the comprador-feudal parties, abandoned the Base Areas and demobilized the PLA and the YCL, deviated from the principle of
proletarian internationalism and adopted a policy of appeasement towards imperialism, particularly American imperialism, and Indian expansionism.
All these are a serious deviation from MLM and only work towards the strengthening of the status-quoist forces and help imperialism in its hour of crisis. These have also created confusion among the revolutionary masses, weakened the revolutionary camp and gave the reactionary forces and imperialism a baton to attack Maoist revolutionaries and Communism ideologically.
A Maoist victory in Nepal, or at least the further consolidation of the vast Base Areas in that country, would have given rise to a new situation in South Asia, and a new democratic Nepal advancing towards socialism would have become a focal point, a rallying point, for the revolutionary forces in the region as well as all anti-imperialist,
genuinely nationalist and democratic forces.
It would have also played a significant role in the worldwide front against imperialism and assisted the various national liberation struggles and revolutionary struggles, thereby strengthening the cause of world socialist revolution. But the government led by CPN(M) under Comrade Prachanda, on the contrary, has not even condemned the Israeli Zionist brutal aggression and massacres of Palestinians in Gaza.
It is really distressing and alarming to see this narrow nationalism, a policy of appeasement towards imperialism and a non-proletarian approach on the part of the CPN(M).
The same approach of CPN(M) is seen in the relations with India too. Comrade Prachanda, soon after the electoral victory, was full of praise for the role played by the Indian ruling classes in forging the alliance between the Maoists and SPA and bringing about the “smooth, peaceful transition” from monarchy to parliamentary democracy in Nepal.
And when Comrade Prachanda visited India in September he went a step further by hobnobbing with the worst reactionary leaders of the Hindu chauvinist BJP, such as LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi and Rajnath Singh. Whose class interests would all these serve? Do not these point to a high level of opportunism on the part of the UCPN(M) and abdication of all proletarian norms in fraternal relations?
We call upon the entire rank and file of the UCPN(M) to immediately shed these bourgeois nationalist (if these even qualify for such a description), non-proletarian policies which totally deviate from MLM and proletarian internationalism.
Our CC has followed the deliberations at the national convention of CPN(M) in November 2008, gone through the two documents placed by Comrade Prachanda and Mohan Baidya and the various writings by your party leaders in the magazines and news papers.
While the inter-party struggle is an encouraging sign and a positive development in the life of the party, it is very important and vital to ensure that it is carried out in a more thoroughgoing, fearless and frank manner so that the initiative of the entire party cadre is released and a correct revolutionary line is established through collective participation of the entire party.
Now that the government headed by Comrade Prachanda has collapsed after the withdrawal of support by the UML and others at the behest of the Indian ruling classes, American imperialists and the local reactionaries, the party leadership should be better placed to understand how the reactionaries can manage the show either from the sidelines or from outside and obstruct even moves such as sacking of the Army chief by a Prime Minister.
This is a clear warning to the Maoists in Nepal that they cannot do whatever they like through their elected government against the wishes of the imperialists and Indian expansionists. At least now they should realize the futility of going into the electoral game and, instead, should concentrate on building class struggle and advancing the People’s War in the countryside.
They should pull the PLA out of the UN-supervised barracks which are virtually like prisons for the fighters, reconstruct the organs of people’s revolutionary power at various levels, retake and consolidate the Base Areas and expand the guerrilla war and class and mass struggles throughout the country. There is no short cut to achieve real power to the people.
If the party leadership hesitates to continue the People’s War at this critical juncture of history and persists in the present Right Opportunist Line, then history will hold the present leadership responsible for the abortion of revolution in Nepal.
With Revolutionary Greetings,
Politbureau, CPI(Maoist)
May 20, 2009

George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

Repost from the old site. On the George Habash, leader of the Palestinian PFLP, who died a little over a year ago.
The following tribute to George Habash, leader of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was delivered to a meeting organized by the CPGB-ML in Central London on last year, February 2008, soon after Habash’s death. The Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, basically a hardline pro-Stalin group, last time I checked. This document is interesting for various reasons.
For one, it shows that hardline Communist rhetoric in the style of the former USSR is still popular. The PFLP are lauded for being a hardline Marxist-Leninist organization. It’s hard to say whether they still are or not, as they seem to be downplaying this in recent years, and no one really knows what Communism even means anymore.7
It is true that there was a Communist state in South Yemen, but I am not sure if they accomplished much down there.
One of the biggest heroes of the Arab Left is Gamel Nasser, leader of Egypt. One great thing that he did do was to initiate a land reform. Most Arab states probably do not have feudal or semi-feudal land relations in the countryside anymore, but Egypt did in the 1950’s. 10% of landowners owned most land, and 25% of landowners owned almost all of the land.
The vast majority of the rural population was reduced to the status of landless laborers or sharecroppers in debt peonage on the land of the landlords.
Nasser was able to break up the large estates by buying them up via the government and giving the land to the sharecroppers. It was one of the great progressive events in modern Arab history. Back in the day in Yemen, you would go into the houses of the poor in South Yemen and see Nasser’s picture on the wall – they knew he was a hero to the Arab poor, and mostly for the land reform.
Unfortunately, land reform was not enough. Population was exploding and Egypt desperately needed to put more farmland into production. Hence the Aswan Dam, a necessary evil.
But even this did not solve the problems, as the rural poor continued to pour into the cities to look for nonexistent work. The landowners were bought off by assuring them a place in industry, which was and is heavily corrupt and tied in with the state. But the Egyptian economy was so shaky that the rich didn’t really feel like investing in it.
Socialism was and is a pretty easy sell across the Arab World, in part due to Islam. Islam is a pretty socialist religion, although fundamentalists will argue the point with you and point out that the Koran says that there are those who have more and those who have less and this is ok. Nevertheless, the Koran is hardly a raging individualist tract.
Nor are the deserts of the Arab World suited for individualism. In such an environment, the every man for himself libertarian is lost and probably dead quite quickly. One must form alliances or one will be destroyed. One must work cooperatively or the elements will take your life. In a world of perennial scarcity, mass hoarding by a few means death for many more.
Hence, in the past century, most independent Arab states have opted for some kind of socialism. Where the states could not do it, the religious or militant groups did. There is no hatred of welfare or government as we have it in the individualist US. Socialism is simply normal and free market libertarianism is seen as a bizarre and cruel aberration.
Nevertheless, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and probably other places, the clergy did resist land reforms on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. Iraq, newly emerging from semi-feudal relations in the 1960’s, saw the Iraqi Communist Party become one of the largest parties in the country. It was particularly popular with poor Shia who flooded in from the countryside and poured into what later became Sadr City.
At that time, the Shia clergy were widely regarded as corrupt. They were tied in with large landowners, often involved in money-making scams, and were noted for enticing women into sexual relationships with them.
One of the few great things that the Shah of Iran did was to institute a land reform to realign the semi-feudal relations in the Iranian countryside. It went off pretty well, but some ethnic groups opposed it and hence were persecuted.
The tone of the Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist in the statement below is what might be called Stalinist or anti-revisionist.
Anti-revisionists hold that the problems with Communist states came from them leaving the path of true Communism and diluting their economies with capitalist relations. I do not know how much there is to that, so I can’t comment on revisionism. But even staunch Marxist sites nowadays post long pieces stating flat out that the Soviet model failed.
The North Star Compass is a pretty interesting site. It’s run by former Communists from the East Bloc and the USSR, and it is dedicated to the reestablishing of the Soviet Union as a socialist state. For these folks, Gorbachev was enemy #1. There are quite a few interesting essays there, and for those who think that Putin is a Communist, these guys really hate Putin.
For those who think that Russian Communists are all racists and anti-Semites, note that the North Star Compass despises the newly emerging fascist threat in the USSR.
There are many Trotskyite sites on the Net. The Trotskyites used to be totally nuts on the question of “Stalinists”. Can you believe that they supported the German attack on the USSR and opposed the Soviet army’s war in Afghanistan?
Trotskyites seem to have calmed down a lot lately. Many of them are supporting the Nepalese Maoists and the Colombian FARC. They even support Cuba. Usually this is measured with a tone that these states and movements would be better off if they adopted Trotskyism. Truth is that it is possible that Trotskyism has hardly even be tried anywhere, except possibly in the USSR from 1917-1922.
Trotskyites have a reputation as the ultimate splitters, and in the Philippines they have, incredibly, taken up arms alongside the feudal and fascist state against the Maoist NPA. In Defense of Marxism is a good example of a Trotskyite site.
It seems that many Communists nowadays in the West are Trotskyites of some sort. No one really knows what to make of them, and many Stalinists just laugh about them and regard them as irrelevant. Western Trotskyites seem to have a lot of money for some reason, and often put up nice websites. Non-Trotskyite Communist sites often have mild critiques of Trotskyism as some sort of irrelevant hairsplitting movement.
Western Trotskyites were heavily Jewish in the West until 1967 or possibly earlier. World Trotskyism opposed Israel in the Six Day War and Jewish Trotskyites consequently defected en masse. Many seem to have made their way into the neoconservative movement.
There are a variety of reasons for the heavy Jewish presence in Trotskyism, and that Trotsky himself was Jewish cannot be ignored. Trots have tended to oppose both Stalinism and Maoism as horribly brutal ideologies that committed atrocious human rights violations. Trotskyism has been a serious movement only in the West and it has tended to flounder in the rest of the world.
One of the Trots’ main points is that a rapid buildup of urban industry is essential for the development of a modern socialist state. Trots are almost the opposite of the Maoists and their emphasis on the peasantry.
There are sites that basically uphold the former USSR and even Stalin, but they are often angry at Maoists, whom they accuse of adventurism. In India, Maoists are killing traditional Communists in the state of Bengal, a state that has been run by pro-Soviet Communists for about 30 years now.
Marxism-Leninism Today is an example of a pro-USSR, pro-Cuba, anti-Maoist site. They support the CPI-M (Communist Party India-Marxist) in Bengal and are not too happy with the Indian Maoists for killing their comrades.
Here is a cool site by a Georgian artist who is the grandson of Joseph Stalin, showing the Stalin family tree among other things.
Stalinism.ru is a site run by Russian Stalinists, but if you can’t read Russian, it’s not for you.
The National Bolshevik Party is some sort of a bizarre marriage of Stalinism and racial nationalism (I don’t want to say Nazism, but I fear that is what it is). It’s Russian too, but check out the scary party image, complete with Nordic lettering, and the background on the homepage. Lots of related links at the bottom – looks like they have chapters all over the place.
Another great site, coming from a somewhat different point of view, a Maoist one, is Single Spark (now offline but their materials were collected and are available at another site). Although Maoists are often described as ultra-Stalinists, Maoists and Stalinists are not necessarily the same thing.
The Maoists have always been the real bomb-throwers on the Far Left.
Despite Cold War rhetoric, pro-Soviet Communists often did not take up armed struggle until all peaceful avenues for change were blocked, and the Left was up against a death squad state. Otherwise, the idea was to try to gain power through parliamentary means, despite Lenin’s denouncements of “parliamentary cretinism”.
If the state was reasonably democratic and not killing the Left, the pro-Soviets often argued that “an objectively revolutionary situation did not exist”. On the other hand, Maoists tend to reject all bourgeois democracy as invalid, particularly in very backward societies with mass extreme poverty and accompanying disease, hunger and premature death.
Hence, Maoists have launched insurgencies against formally democratic states as Peru, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Philippines, Nepal and India in recent years. In most of these cases, the pro-Soviet Left decided to sit out armed struggle, and the Maoists were denounced as adventurists irresponsibly taking up arms in spite of a lack of an objectively revolutionary situation.
In Peru, the war launched by the Shining Path led to a state that was less and less democratic and soon became just another Death Squad State. Thus in 1984, the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took a vote and decided that “an objectively revolutionary situation existed” and opted to take up arms.
Another difference is that despite Cold War rhetoric, Maoists are often a lot more vicious than the Castroites and pro-Soviet rebels. Maoists have no qualms about killing “class enemies” – anyone prominent advocating rightwing politics or abusive landowners – whereas the Castroites often try to take the high ground in guerrilla war.
Examples in Latin America are the Castroite ELN in Colombia, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, FMLN in El Salvador, the aforementioned MRTA, and the FARC in Colombia. Despite crap from anti-Communists and the US government, all these groups have tried pretty hard to abide by the rules of war. At any rate, the overwhelming majority of grotesque human rights violations in each of these conflicts were committed by the state.
On the other hand, the Maoist Sendero Luminoso was a profoundly savage and cruel guerrilla group, though they almost seized power.
Communism doesn’t mean that much anymore. Cuba allows religious believers to join the party, and there are millions of liberation theology Leftist Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communists have introduced major elements of capitalism into their economies, while retaining a great deal of socialism at the same time.
Over the course of a few years, from 2003 to 2005 and 2006, the Nepalese Maoists underwent a sea change in politics. They went from hardline Maoists railing against revisionists and opposing anything but the dictatorship of the proletariat, to an embrace of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy and measured critiques of Mao, Lenin and Stalin as outdated for the needs and realities of today.
I think this is fantastic. I care nothing about dogma. I just want results, and I don’t really care how you get there – capitalism, socialism, communism or whatever. If Marxism is indeed an ever-evolving science (which, if it is a science, it must be) then there must be no treating its elementary texts as some sort of religious books.
The works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and others must be regarded as the works of men, not Gods, positing theories. These theories must be tested in praxis to see how well they test out, as in any empirical investigation. The theories of these mortals will either test out or they will not, and if not, we need to adjust them accordingly.
We know what our goals are; all that is at stake is how to get there.
Let us listen to top leader Prachanda and other Nepalese Maoist leaders, from the Single Spark site:

Since MLM is a progressive science, the people’s war calls for ideology and leadership that is capable to complete a new People’s War in the 21st century. Our Party’s CC Extended Meeting last September held that the ideologies of Lenin and Mao have become old and inadequate to lead the present international revolution.
The political and organizational report passed by the meeting says, ‘The proletariat revolutionaries of the 21st century need to pay their serious attention towards that fact that in today’s ground reality, Lenin and Mao’s analysis of imperialism and various notions relation to proletariat strategies based on it have lagged behind.’
As Marxism was born in an age of competitive capitalism, the strategies and working policy formulated during the times of Marx had become old when they arrived at Lenin’s times of imperialism and proletariat revolution.
Similarly, the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletariat revolution have become inadequate and lagged behind at the present imperialistic phase. Therefore, ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletariat strategy.1
The second [wrong trend] …is not to concentrate on how revolutionary struggle can be developed in one’s country by developing correct strategy and tactics, but to talk more of world revolution, enjoy classical debate, eulogize strategy and tactic of the past successful revolutions, teach other fraternal parties as if they know everything about the concrete situation in that country and stick to what Lenin and Mao had said before.
This trend represents dogmatism.2
What we think is that situation has undergone a considerable change, so the communist revolutionaries must not stick to what Lenin had said about insurrection and what Mao had said on Protracted People’s War.3
Q. You have envisioned a people’s republic, no?
Prachanda: Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic cannot fulfill the needs of today’s world. It cannot address today’s political awareness appropriately. Mao said cooperative party theory; we called it competitive party theory. We have said let’s move ahead from the conventional People’s Republic and develop it as per the specialties of the 21st century.
Q. You do not follow the old concept of communism?
Prachanda: Definitely not. What happened without competition? In the USSR, Stalin gave no place to competition and went ahead in a monolithic way. What was the result?4
Q. Does Communism make sense today?
Prachandra: It’s a big question, starting with Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who wanted to apply the Marxist teachings in semi colonial countries. Now, we still need Marxism, but in accordance to the needs of the 21st century. We have to apply Marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism.
We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody.
Q. This will happen only if foreign investors trust a communist government…
Prachandra: Yes, I know. We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are not saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.5
Though Mao made some bold experiments to revive and develop socialist democracy, his efforts did not result in any qualitative advance. Why did socialist democracy ultimately fail? Why did it have to bear the stigma of ‘totalitarianism’ from its adversaries?
If the revolutionary communists of the 21st century have ‘to win the battle for democracy’, as Marx and Engels had declared in the famous Communist Manifesto, we must dare to question the past practice in socialist democracy and take some bold initiatives.6.
All selections from this document7.

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

In his 1944 speech, “Serve the People”, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words:

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.

Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements.

Nice memorial poster of PFLP leader George Habash. In all of the obits in the US news, few detailed the reason for the radicalization of Habash. At university in Lebanon, he was apolitical and preferred to play guitar. He raced home during the “Israeli War of Independence” to his home in Lydda. Jewish militias attacked the town and forced 95% of the city to flee.Most were Palestinian Christians. His sister died of typhoid fever during the siege of the town and Habash buried her in the backyard. He blamed the Jews for blocking access to the hospital that could have saved her. There were some notorious massacres of Palestinians during the attack on Lydda, including the execution of many young men in a mosque.The Jews forced Habash and others to line up and leave their homes and all of their possessions. One man asked if he could return to get the keys to his house and for making this request, he was shot dead in front of Habash’s eyes. From that point on, the apolitical future doctor was transformed into a revolutionary.

Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda.
At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a Zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the Zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession.
At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the Zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe:

It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.

During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees.
Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Around this same time, he and his comrades founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), the first pan-Arab movement to take up armed struggle against colonialism and to win back the lost lands.
The significance of the ANM should not be underestimated.
It was the root of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Not only that, but from its ranks also came revolutionary forces in many parts of the Arab homeland, including the National Liberation Front in Aden and South Yemen, which not only defeated British imperialism in a revolutionary armed struggle to win national liberation, but, later as the Yemen Socialist Party, leading the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, stood in the vanguard of to date the only real attempt to build an Arab socialist state on the basis of the scientific principles of Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the 1960s, Comrade Habash, like many other anti-imperialist fighters then, before and since, came to accept that the liberation struggle of the oppressed people, if it was to be crowned with success and carried through to the end, needed to be based on Marxism-Leninism. Lamis Andoni, an analyst for al-Jazeera, who knew Comrade Habash well, expressed matters this way in his tribute to his friend:

He belonged to a generation influenced by Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap and later by Che Guevara. In their views, colonialism epitomised systematic, institutional violence and subjugation of people under its control …
In the early 1960s, George Habash, already a paediatrician in Amman known for treating the poor for free, endorsed Marxism as he grew convinced that the national struggle should not be separate from the struggle for social justice.

After the founding of the PFLP in December 1967, following the Arabs’ bitter defeat in the June 1967 war, Habash declared that the struggle was “not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants” of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, “must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class”.
In a 1969 interview, he declared:

By 1967, we had understood the undeniable truth, that to liberate Palestine we have to follow the Chinese and Vietnamese examples.

Indeed, Comrade Habash paid close attention not only to the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions, but to the experience of all the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement in all parts of the world.
Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also two countries close to his heart and with which he and the PFLP forged tight bonds of active solidarity. In the memorial hall for Comrade Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, the Korean comrades proudly display the several awards and medals presented to their great leader by the PFLP over the years.
Under Habash’s leadership, the PFLP forged close and active ties of combat solidarity with national liberation movements in all parts of the world – the ANC in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Irish Republican Movement, to name but a few, embracing training, material assistance, joint operations and moral encouragement.
In the September 1970 hijackings that gave the PFLP worldwide fame, Leila Khaled was joined by Patrick Arguello Ryan, a militant of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the only martyr of those operations.
In 1983, after the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinistas commemorated Arguello by renaming the Geothermal Plant at Momotombo in his honour. A poster still available on the PFLP website describes Arguello as the “symbol of common Nicaraguan/Palestinian struggle”.
Comrade Habash sought to translate into reality, and himself embodied, these inspiring words of Che Guevara, which go to the very essence of proletarian internationalism:

Let the flag under which we fight be the sacred cause of the liberation of humanity so that to die under the colours of Vietnam, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil will be equally glorious and desirable for a Latin American, an Asian, an African and even a European.

Comrades, the Palestinian revolution is a complex and difficult one, throwing up many challenges and inevitably differences of view. Equally inevitably, Comrade Habash often found himself embroiled in internal controversy, particularly in terms of the sometimes painful compromises, concessions and retreats that have been forced on the Palestinian people at various times.
But what shines out is the fact that he never lost sight of the importance of unity in the national liberation movement.
In their own tribute to their leader, the PFLP put matters this way:

In 1987, with the outbreak of the great Intifada, Dr. Habash called for upholding Palestinian national unity, and convening the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988.
Comrade Al-Hakim always understood national unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the struggle and the national liberation movement, whether in Beirut during internal fighting among Palestinians and after as well, recognising that the internal contradictions among Palestinians could not be solved through military mechanisms, but rather through the democratic processes of the liberation movement.

Lamis Andoni, to whom we have already referred, wrote:

‘His message to the Palestinians was to restore our unity,’ Issam Al Taher, a senior aide, who saw him a day before his death said.‘Unity, unity, unity — that was his only message,’ said Al Taher.

Andoni notes of the relationship between George Habash and Yasser Arafat:

The two men never severed ties and continued a complex relationship of camaraderie and rivalry until the end.

Andoni continued:

Tall and handsome, Habash exuded a certain charisma that disarmed his distracters who admired his persistence but criticised what they saw as rigidity. A stroke that partially paralysed half of his body changed his appearance later but did not affect his ardour for the cause.
It was that Habash that I saw and met for the first time in Tunis in 1983. The PLO was expelled from Beirut too and most its leaders moved to this northern Mediterranean capital of Tunisia. Habash moved to Damascus, Syria instead.
On that day the PLO was holding a meeting. Most of the leaders had arrived and then there was a stir and silence. Habash entered slowly on crutches, hampered and subdued by his physical disability.
The hall, filled with hardened fighters, stood on their feet while Arafat hugged Habash and escorted him to his seat.

Of the final period of Habash’s life, Andoni notes:

He would get so distressed during conversations discussing the events in Palestine and most recently in Iraq, that his wife, and closest friend Hilda, would interfere to stop it.When Israel besieged Arafat in 2002 in his compound in Ramallah, Habash stood by his rival. When Arafat died, amid Palestinian suspicion that Israel may have been involved, Habash deeply mourned him.
The few times I was able to see him over the last three years, he never stopped monitoring and learning every detail about Palestinian life. His physical ailment deepened the sense of soulful pain he internalised.
Those who were with him during his last days recall how disturbed he was by the rift between Fatah and Hamas. He opposed the strategy of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, of accommodating US and Israeli demands but did not endorse Hamas’ military take over of Gaza.
His main concern was the damage brought upon the Palestinians by the most serious internal rift in their history.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the mourning for Comrade Habash has transcended the differences in the Palestinian ranks. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning, noting that Habash had dedicated his life to struggling for his people. Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said, “Dr. George Habash spent all his life struggling for the cause of the Palestinian people.”
Islamic Jihad described him as a “real leader” and other Palestinian organisations paying their tributes included the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, who said that his path was and is one of liberation for the Palestinian and Arab people.
In its December 1967 Founding Statement, the PFLP declared:

The masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilise them as active participants and leaders …
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence …
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses.
Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons …
The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding … coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world.

Much more can be said on the life, work and legacy of Comrade Habash, but in summary these are some of the things he advocated and taught:
• That the fundamental way to liberation lies through armed struggle and people’s war based on the masses.
• That for the struggle to be successful and carried through to the end it needs to be based on Marxism-Leninism, the scientific world outlook of the working class.
• That the oppressed peoples must uphold proletarian internationalism in their struggle for liberation, based on militant unity within and between the three major currents of the world revolutionary process, the socialist countries, the national liberation movements, and the working-class movement in the imperialist heartlands.
• That the liberation of the nation necessitated the principled and democratic unity of all the forces of the nation, even though major differences will also exist and must be struggled over.
Clearly, all these are not just lessons for the Palestinian people alone.
In June 2000, age and ill health led Comrade Habash to step back from the day-to-day leadership of the PFLP. Giving an inspiring speech on that occasion, in many respects he wrote his own epitaph. He told his comrades:

What I have lived through over the course of these militant decades, and the rich experience I have acquired, is not a matter to be taken for granted. It is your right, and the right of coming generations to review the content and lessons of this experience with all of its many successes and failures.

As befits a man who gave all of his own life and strength to the revolution, Comrade Habash said of the martyrs, the prisoners and his comrades, and it is with Comrade Habash’s own words, from his farewell address, Palestine Between Dreams and Reality, that we conclude this tribute:

I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.
I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …
Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities.
They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies. Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind.
I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …
As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.
In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.
It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.
My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain.
The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.
And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.
You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.

Notes

1. Ashok. May 2006. Our Experiences of Ten Tumultuous Years of People’s War, The Worker#10, pp. 68-73. On Lenin and Mao , p. 71.
2. Basanta. May 2006. International Dimension of Prachanda Path. The Worker #10, pp. 82-90.
3. Ibid. On Models: Page 87.
4. Kishor Nepal. June 2006. Prachanda Interview. Maoist Revolution Digest.
5. Alessandro Gilioli. Early November 2006. Prachanda: Our Revolution Won . Italy: L’espresso. Excerpts.
6. Prachanda. November 18, 2006. Democracy: The Forbidden Fruit or Nectar for Progress? Speech at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
7. MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. Dec. 21, 2006. Assessing Recent Developments in Nepal: A Bibliography on the State, a Peaceful Transition to Socialism, Democracy and Dictatorship, Negotiations and Their Relevance to the International Communist Movement in the 21st Century.