Revolutionary Worker #1208, July 27, 2003, posted at rwor.org
We received the following from A World to Win News Service:
30 June 2003. A World to Win News Service.On 23 June, the Nepali daily Kantipur reported a painful news item, that a Nepalese woman gave birth to a child alone on her way back home from her work at Suveva village in Taplejung district, eastern Nepal, and as she tried to clean the child in a stream, it was swept away by the flood. She could not find the baby no matter how she searched in the muddy water. The sad woman came home, having lost her newborn baby en route. On the same day, the same paper reported that more than 350 children were infected with cholera virus in Ramechhap district, eastern Nepal, and schools are to be closed for 45 days due to the epidemic in Syanja district, central Nepal. And also on the same day Kantipur reported the very odd news that a team of doctors from the Royal Army killed eight Maoists in Jajarkot district, western Nepal. Another team of army doctors arrested 10 more Maoists in Kailali and Doti districts, far western Nepal.
All three of these news items say a lot about Nepal today.
First of all, this is the country the Nepalese reactionary feudal monarchy ruled as a unified state for the last 234 years, leaving the people in a horrible situation. If the woman who lost her baby had lived in a country where the regime took even a minimum responsibility for the people's welfare, she would not have had to work right up to the birth of her child. She would not have had to give birth on the way home from work. Instead of having a hospital bed and nurse or midwife, she was forced to clean the baby herself; instead of sterilized water, she had a flooded stream that swept the baby away. The flood that carried away the baby might be an exceptional natural occurrence, but the rest of the story represents the everyday life of the majority of Nepalese poor people.
The second point is that while it appears like the army is distributing medicine, dozens of children in the eastern district are dying every week for lack of proper medicine. And the epidemic is growing day by day. A huge number of jobless medical graduates from the Kathmandu teaching hospital and several private medical colleges are fanning their certificates on the street, looking for work, but the gun-toting army, with a handful of paracetamol pills, is running through the Maoist base areas and opening fire, killing people almost every single week.
Furthermore, the whole nation is on strike against the present reactionary system. The most important strikes are by the student movement. The students have demanded free and universal higher education. The government says that it doesn't have the money to provide cheap, let alone free, higher education. But it does have money to buy sophisticated guns from the USA and Belgium to kill anyone who demands an education, a proper livelihood and the fundamental rights of the people. This army is not in the service of those who have been forced to work their fingers to the bone; instead it has been mobilized to arrest and kill the revolutionaries who have been fighting to change this reactionary society. Why are the children not getting doctors and medicine while the army roams the base areas disguised as doctors? Why are these state-sponsored charlatans searching for Maoists? Another interesting part of the drama is that it is a doctor's business to ask whether a patient has any health problems. But these military doctors ask patients questions like, "Where are the Maoists in this village? Where do they live? How do they dress? What time do they come home?", and so on.
There is presently a cease-fire between the Maoists' new political power and the old state of Nepal. In the specific condition of strategic equilibrium, a balance of power between the old state and the new revolutionary state, a cease-fire was declared on 29 January. A cease-fire means, by definition, a standstill by the armies of both sides, staying wherever they were. Nevertheless, the Royal Army violated that and intruded into different parts of the revolutionary base areas until a code of conduct was agreed to by both sides. This code of conduct was developed after serious homework--back-and-forth struggle and negotiations over several months. Even so, the government violated this by opening fire on and killing Maoist cadres in the far western and eastern regions of the country. Many cadres were arrested. Many of them are still either in custody or in jail. In the meantime, there was a first round of negotiations between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the government. In this meeting, the government again promised to strictly follow the code of conduct, to make public the whereabouts of disappeared revolutionary cadres, and to release its political prisoners. But the government did nothing to comply with that agreement. Instead, it had the army pretend to be doctors to collect information.
At the same time the Royal Army has declared that because of the new weapons and training it has received, now it has gained enough strength to fight against the Maoists. The Nepalese press are reporting that the Royal Army has changed its uniforms to resemble those of the Indian army exactly. This may be a vicious conspiracy to disguise an intervention by the Indian army against the Nepalese people. The old state had agreed in the second round of dialogue to limit the Royal Army's movements to within a periphery of five kilometers (3.2 miles) of its barracks. Reactionaries raised a hue and cry when it came out that this restricted the RNA to only 18 percent of the country. The next day, it claimed the agreement did not take place. Instead of complying with the agreement the king had approved, the Army violated it.
The picture is clear. In Nepal the old state machinery is now completely in the hands of the Army, and the Army has the complete backing of U.S. imperialism. With U.S. support, it has been repeating the same business of arresting people and killing Maoist revolutionaries. For instance, a woman commander of the People's Liberation Army was killed in Okhal Dhunga, and there have also been killings in Ramechhap, Kailali, and recently, eight revolutionaries were killed in Jajarkot. The CPN (Maoist) has so far been patient, calling the old state and all parliamentary political parties to take the negotiations to their logical end. But neither the old state nor the parliamentary parties are moving in this positive direction.
Why is this political disintegration continuing in Nepal? There are several factors behind these phenomena. First, the government was forced to declare the cease-fire because it received heavy blows from the PLA. It was forced to ask for negotiations. The reactionary old state hoped that the Maoist revolutionaries would be defeated in the negotiations. Now the government has virtually withdrawn from the negotiations process.
Secondly, the forces of the old state, as well as the reactionary elements in servitude to international power centers including U.S. imperialism, have realized that they are completely isolated from the masses. Thirdly, the dogfights of the parliamentarians have been focused on who would occupy the prime minister's chair, putting aside all the grave questions of national interests, the people's livelihood and democracy. Fourthly, the king has been forced to wage a life-and-death battle to safeguard the feudal monarchy.
In consequence, the old state has virtually withdrawn from the cease-fire and the code of conduct, but it has not declared this openly for two reasons. The first is the Maoists' determination to take the negotiations process to what it calls the logical end. Secondly, the old state is completely isolated politically from the masses of Nepalese people, because they want forward-looking, thoroughgoing political changes.
There have been important developments in the meantime. Since the cease-fire, U.S. imperialism, the number one enemy of the oppressed people of the world, has played ugly games by interfering in Nepalese politics. It issued several statements affecting the negotiations process and put the CPN (Maoist) on its "terrorist" list. The U.S. forced the Nepalese government to sign a five-year anti-terrorist agreement and provided arms and training to the Royal Army to fight against the Maoist revolutionaries. More than 200 U.S. soldiers are stationed in Nepal as "advisors." The U.S. also brought an obedient puppet into the prime minister's post in Nepal.
The king sought to kill two birds with one stone by bringing in a new prime minister. This successfully marginalized the parliamentary parties. It was also meant to push aside the political agenda put forward by the Maoists, especially the demand for a constituent assembly, which would open the door for a New Democratic revolutionary state, as well as to buy time to prepare a massive military operation against the Maoists.
These are the factors that have been leading the Nepalese reactionaries to seek military confrontation rather than to find a solution through negotiations. If the democratic, patriotic and progressive forces do not unite with the Maoist revolutionaries and force the feudal autocrats, royalist parliamentarians and ossified royalist "communists" to rally to the political agenda put forward by the CPN (Maoist), war is unavoidable. Objectively, the old state, with the backing of U.S. imperialism, has violated the cease-fire and already resorted to war.
What the reactionaries and imperialists have not realized is that the People's Liberation Army, based on the masses of the people, fighting for the interests of the people, is equipped with a powerful ideology, politics and military doctrine. At first, the PLA had no weapons, only ideology and politics, but now it has the modern arms that it seized from the Royal Army. While recently the Royal Army has been equipped more with powerful weapons from abroad, those few weapons, as CPN (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda said, "will quickly be in the hands of the people" if the old state refuses to recognize the interests of the masses of Nepalese people.