Nepal: Revolution in the 21st Century

At a recent packed meeting in London’s Conway Hall, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)’s international secretary Comrade C P Gajurel, gave a lengthy and detailed analysis of the current situation in Nepal of his party’s revolutionary strategy.


The meeting was organised by the British South Asian Solidarity Forum, which organises education and discussion on the struggles of the working people of South Asia.


Gajurel’s talk was given against a background of growing instability in Nepal since the accession of an interim assembly and government including the CPN(M), increasing mass pressure to declare a republic, and growing evidence of foreign interference. An account of his talk is given below.


“There is no socialist country providing support for revolutionary movements in the world today. There is an absence of a socialist camp in the world.


“In Russia in 1917 a very strong working class existed (and in Europe as well) and the First World War exacerbated the crisis in Russia. Nepal lacks a strong working class and there is no war situation.


“In the 1990s imperialism declared Marxism, and communist revolutions, over, and a relic of the 20th century, and claimed that only capitalism, not socialism could be sustained.


“We are trying to have a revolution in the 21st Century. In Nepal we were fighting against a monarchy and a feudal system, but actually the monarchy has already been abolished.


“Actually we are fighting US imperialism. The fight against the monarchy is almost finished. The king is no longer the head of state or the army and has no mass support, but he is backed by a reactionary class and by foreign reaction.”


“There is a need for solidarity with the ongoing revolution in Nepal and in the fight against imperialism. We aware of the weakness of the trade union and working class movement in the west, but we are seeking support from communists, Maoists, progressive and democratic forces, and liberal governments.”


“Even if we achieve the Nepalese revolution, imperialism will not allow it to be sustained. In all respects your support is necessary.”


“During the people’s war of the last ten or eleven years the army was effectively defeated and confined to their barracks, even though it was three times bigger than the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).


“The people’s war had entered the stage of going over to the strategic offensive. It was at this point that negotiations began with the CPN(M) and other political parties for a settlement.


“Eighty per cent of Nepal and most of the countryside was liberated and our own government set up, which collected taxes and provided security, and we were trying to capture Kathmandu.


“We were at the gates of Kathmandu and 2,000 of the Nepal Army had been eliminated, and at that time negotiations began. The peace process began when the CPN(M) was in a victorious position. In Lenin’s words, ‘What you have won on the field of war will be legalised at the negotiating table.’


“But the CPN(M) was not strong enough to seize power at the centre or a direct confrontation with the army. Success requires a general insurrection of the masses. Several efforts were made but they were not enough to win the war. Our strength was not enough.”


“During the war the enemies of the CPN(M) – the king and the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) – united against the revolution and colluded with the king. The CPN(M) was declared a terrorist organisation and bounties were put on its leaders “alive or dead”.


“Therefore it was necessary to divide this class. The CPN(M) adopted a strategy of dividing the opposing camp and unifying its own forces. We should thank King Gyanendra for arresting the leaders of the other parties and banning all parties and all political activities, driving them to the side of the Maoists.


“The eight point agreement between the CPN(M) and the SPA clearly mentions the organisation of a mass movement against the monarchy and for a republic.


“The successful joint movement arose against the background of the people’s war and could not have been possible without it. The Nepal Army could not use force against the mass movement because of the existence of the PLA.


“After the surrender of the king the SPA made a secret deal with the king: they would call off the mass movement and the king would call on them to form a government. But the road map agreed with the CPN(M) called for an interim assembly and government to prepare an election for a new constituent assembly.


“The US was opposed to this process as it contradicted the interests of US imperialism. When it was agreed that the CPN(M) would enter the interim parliament with 82 members, the US threatened to stop all assistance to Nepal.


“When the CPN(M) entered the interim government the US threatened to ask its allies to impose economic sanctions on Nepal. But the United States’ policy met with total failure.”


“Elections (to the constituent assembly) were scheduled for 15 June (2007), but all the parties attempted to use the elections to their advantage and against the continuation of revolutionary momentum and the CPN(M) achieving a majority.


“So there was a conspiracy to sabotage the elections. The Election Commission decided it was unable to hold elections on that day due to inadequate laws and preparation, and the election was postponed, first for seven days and then for six months.”


“Meanwhile arms and money have flowed into the Terai* to promote ethnic violence.


[* The Terai region runs along the Indian border through the densely populated plains of southern Nepal.]


“The US prepared two ambushes against the CPN(M), using all the knowledge and experience of its successes and previous defeats of communist movements.


“The first choice was for the CPN(M) to lose the elections, and if it didn’t accept this, they, and any mass movement supporting them, would be declared as ‘terrorists’.


“The second strategy was that if the CPN(M) won the elections, the US had prepared contras – the Terais – and would claim that the elections were rigged by the CPN(M) and that these forces were fighting for ‘democracy’.


“The CPN(M) saw these two traps ahead to be trapped and killed, but the CPN(M) was also working out how to win the revolution.”


“An expanded CPN(M) central committee meeting was held in August representing 75 districts and the PLA leadership and a total of 2,174 delegates. The meeting unanimously adopted a declaration opting for a mass movement, and recognised serious mistakes on two issues.


“The first was that a republic should be declared from the assembly – it should have been declared before the elections.


“The second issue was the CPN(M)’s decision to demand elections based on proportional representation.


“Thus the CPN(M) made a clear demand for a republic backed by a mass movement and decided to withdraw from the government and to refuse to participate in elections or to allow elections.”


“The Nepali Congress, the main party in the SPA, opposed these demands. After the mobilisation of a mass movement in the countryside the SPA retreated for two days for talks, then for five days.


“Then the CPN(M) proposed a motion declaring a republic. The CPN(M) said negotiations were no longer relevant and the motion should go to a vote.


“The UML**, which was previously part of the government was placed in a very difficult position. Supporting the motion would mean the motion would succeed, while opposing it would expose them as supporters of the king. The UML finally supported the motion along with the other left parties.”


[** The UML (Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist, CPN/UML) is regarded as a ‘mainstream’ communist party and is a member of the Seven Party Alliance.]


“Thus the motion was approved by the interim assembly. But under the agreement with the SPA, the declaration of the republic could only be made by a newly elected government.


“The CPN(M) is now demanding that the government put the proposal to declare a republic to parliament, but the Nepali Congress is in crisis and is unable to do so. If not, the CPN(M) would enjoy the most support in parliament, and the Nepali Congress would have to leave the government.


“The CPN(M) is now demanding that the government itself puts the republic proposal to the assembly. But the Nepali Congress is in crisis and is unable to do this.


“If they don’t it means the CPN(M) has majority support in the assembly, and the Nepali Congress should leave the government. The CPN(M) is now saying they will oust the Nepali Congress from the government via a mass movement, and a new government should be formed.


“This would make the US very angry as it opposes any CPN(M) participation in the government. The CPN(M) knows that if it becomes the head of the government the US will not tolerate this. Thus the CPN(M) cannot fulfil the people’s aspirations, so it has asked the UML to take power.


“Now the target is not the king; the target is now the Nepali Congress. Thus we are following the tactics of Mao: it is necessary to attack the enemy one by one, both in the military struggle and in the political struggle.


“The monarchy is abolished, but feudalism and the feudal class still exists, and it is necessary to fight the parties representing the feudal class, which includes the Nepali Congress.


“The UML consistently compromises with this feudal class. Both the Nepali Congress and the UML follow the US masters and the interests of imperialism and India. Now the CPN(M) is able to split the Nepali Congress and the UML through mass struggle, and now the two parties are fighting each other.


“In the present situation the needs of the people cannot be implemented without a revolutionary constitution and government. Now the CPN(M) is building up a mass movement.


“The definition of bourgeois democracy is the rule of the majority. US imperialism and Indian expansionism are opposed to this strategy and would not tolerate a revolutionary government. So the next stage will definitely be very difficult.


“The US is not interested in Nepal’s resources or in economic control, but is afraid of the world-wide impact of the revolution in Nepal.


“People are looking to the Nepali revolution, which supposedly cannot be successful without the support of a socialist camp, and cannot be successful in this world today because it would set a precedent for revolution for the oppressed, exploited and struggling people of the world.


“There is also a growing Maoist movement in India and the Indian ruling class is very afraid of the success of the Nepali revolution and is ready to take any action.


“So the situation is heading towards a climax. It is very difficult to predict what will happen in the next weeks or months. It is a life or death struggle we are working out in Nepal, and the situation is very serious, so at this point in time we think international support is very important.


“We are preparing our people for the worst eventuality, including foreign intervention. But ultimately the masses will decide everything.


“Previously the Nepali government was supported by the US, Britain, India, and China, but now the situation has changed. Britain is now supporting the peace process. We think this is a divergence between British and US policy.


“The CPN(M) has established relations with China, and the People’s Republic of China embassy in Kathmandu has issued a statement saying that China would not tolerate any interference in Nepal, including by India, after rigorous discussions between a representative of the CP China international department, Professor Wang, who met the CPN(M) leadership and visited the PLA’s camps.


“In an interview Wang said that if the US or India attempted to intervene in various ways in Nepal, if a limit was exceeded China would not tolerate this.


“We are confident that we will eventually see the success of the revolution in Nepal, the first successful people’s revolution of the 21st century.


“The CPN(M) will seek to develop relations with countries, for example in Latin America, who are resisting US imperialism, and wished to become a part of the anti-imperialist forces.


“If it comes to power the CPN(M) will end the agreement for the its citizens to serve in the British Army. The CPN(M) would not allow any Nepali citizens to be used as mercenaries.


“On the basis of national rights, the CPN(M) is in favour of establishing 11 regions in Nepal as part of a strong united Nepal in which the national minorities have been liberated.


“Nepal is the world’s richest country in hydro-electric resources – ‘white gold’ – and with the gifts of nature could develop tourism into a major industry. Nepal is rich in unique herbal and medicinal plants and is produces sufficient grain to export to India.


“Nepal can also export workers to rich countries where the population is no longer growing. We believe that in a few years we can create a wealthy society.


“Nepal was never a colony – it was never a British colony or under the rule of a foreign power.


“It is not possible to copy revolutionary processes. There is a theory that developed countries should follow the example of the Russian revolution, while developing countries should follow the example of the Chinese revolution. But the CPN(M) believes that every revolutionary process must be unique.


“Hinduism and casteism are very widespread in Nepal, but there are many different castes joining the revolution, and caste barriers are breaking down in the course of the struggle. Now inter-caste marriages are becoming accepted.


“At present it is not appropriate to hold protests at the Nepali embassy, but if the parties don’t follow the agreements they have made and try to suppress the mass movement, then all forms of support would be needed along with pressure on the British government to take a favourable position.”


(Nb: The meeting took place on 14 November 07 at the Conway Hall).

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