Revolution #161, April 12, 2009

Taking the Special Issue on Developments in Nepal into a South Asian Community

This past weekend a group of us went into a very multinational area with a large concentration of people from South Asia, as well as people from East Asia, Latin America and other areas of the world.

“Many people in the world today are wondering how to evaluate the recent developments with the revolution in Nepal—where, after 10 years of an inspiring People’s War led by the CPN(M), that war has come to an end, the CPN(M) is now the leading Party in the recently elected Constituent Assembly and the Party’s Chairman, Prachanda, is the Prime Minister of the government. Does the current trajectory in Nepal and the course taken by the CPN(M) represent an historic new thing, a victory and breakthrough in advancing the communist revolution in the 21st century, as some have claimed; or—as many others fear—does this represent a setback and betrayal of the goals of the revolution and of the heroic struggle waged to achieve them, and a serious departure from the communist cause that the CPN(M) claims to be fighting for?”

So begins Revolution newspaper’s introduction to the letters to the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and a reply from the CPN(M), in issue #160.

Our experience indicated the great importance of taking out Revolution to introduce many people to this exchange and to spread it to people from around the world, including people from South Asia. We found a deep reservoir of questioning and concern about these developments and desire to dig into the letters themselves.

From the moment we set up a table, it was a SCENE, with lots of people stopping to read the enlargement of the cover of the issue, and to ask about, take and buy the paper. People often were struggling through language barriers to understand what was being said in this major exchange over the direction taken by the CPN(M). Many people were not able or prepared (or, in some cases willing) to dig into all of this on the spot—but the atmosphere created by the introduction of this polemic, the curiosity and enormous concern, was electric.

A couple of people also went out through the surrounding community, and people we met “guided us” to various gathering points of Nepalese people—restaurants, record stores, and an employment center.

People stepped forward to try and bridge the language gap. In one restaurant, after we went through once with no one speaking to us or getting the paper, a young woman—there with her mother—saw the paper. She speaks and reads some English, and she looked at the paper, saw its importance and not only bought the paper herself, but went back with one of us to the tables where people had not engaged, speaking to them in Nepalese about the importance of the issue and getting one person from each table to buy a paper. Several indicated that they were going to find a friend who knew more English to help them read the issue and there was a general sense that one copy was going to get seen or read by many more than one person.

We had with us packets of the 120+ pages of the PDF printouts of the letters themselves from and often brought them out to show to people who were getting the newspaper. Some looked through them and indicated that they planned to go online and check them out.

Many expressed support of what the People’s War had achieved; some had apprehensions about the direction of things now. Some expressed a “watch and see” approach. For everyone, this issue of Revolution and the letter exchange represented a challenge to dig into the major questions of overall strategy and political line concentrated in the direction the CPN(M) is taking.

In fact, this engagement in a two-line struggle—the outcome of which will have enormous implications not only in Nepal, but all over the world—uncorked comments and discussion where some people from Nepal and other parts of South Asia used the phrase “two-line struggle” and spoke of the danger of revisionism. We got a sense of how widely the influence of Maoism has been felt in that part of the world from comments not only from people from Nepal, but also from India, the Philippines and other countries. After speaking to people in one restaurant, as we left, the owner called out, “Lal Salaam” (A Red Salute), a phrase widely used by revolutionary Maoists in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Several people expressed that it was a most pleasant surprise to learn this day that there is a revolutionary communist party right here in the U.S.! 116 copies of the paper were sold, with some giving additional donations.

Twelve of those sold were in Spanish. We found that most Spanish-speakers we met had very little prior sense of the history and recent developments in Nepal, but some quickly saw the importance of this two-line struggle. One raised what he saw was a possible parallel to what had happened in Chile, leading up to the horrific 1973 coup, with deep concern. And one got the RCP Manifesto, Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage and Away with All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian, in Spanish in addition to the newspaper.

We have now learned where people from South Asia “hang out,” and we aim to go back next week, once people have had some opportunity to dig in to the issue and the letters, to call on people to get bundles of papers to get out to friends here and “back home,” as well as subscriptions; to join an email list so that these documents can get to many others here in the U.S., throughout the world, and in Nepal; and to volunteer, and to develop an on-going network, for regular distribution of Revolution in this important area.

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