Revolutionary Worker #1187, February 16, 2003, posted at http://rwor.org
We received the following article from A World to Win News Service. It has been edited for publication.
A World to Win News Service. 3 February 2003. The government of Nepal announced a cease-fire on 29 January for the second time since 2001. In recognition of this government declaration of intentions to seek to resolve the problem through negotiations, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which has been leading a People's War for almost seven years, also issued a statement calling for a cease-fire and appealing to the Nepalese people to mobilise politically and struggle for a round-table discussion involving all political parties and institutions, the formation of an interim government and the election of a constituent assembly. The government of Nepal agreed to withdraw the "terrorist" label they had formally placed on the Maoists, and cancel both the international arrest warrants issued through Interpol and the bounties placed on the heads of Maoist leaders. The government also agreed to publicly clarify the situation of political prisoners and the revolutionaries who have disappeared or been killed anonymously.
The government's cease-fire declaration came shortly after the 26 January annihilation of the Inspector General of Police in the capital. Krishnamohan Shrestha, the highest-ranking government official killed in this war so far, was the head of the armed police who were for a long time the main force fighting the Maoist guerrillas and are now fighting alongside the Royal Nepal Army. As such, he was responsible for wanton killing, torture, rape and untold other crimes. This was in fact a head blow to the state and caused great consternation among the reactionaries. The US Embassy put out a statement lamenting the death of a "friend".
With the declaration of a cease-fire by both sides, many people, especially the urban middle classes, feel that a gateway to a political solution has been opened, and that this process should continue to its logical conclusion. Many of these same people have also expressed their desire for an end to the dark chapter of the centuries-old reactionary system. UN General Secretary Kofi Annan hailed the cease-fire, as did China and Japan.
Following these developments both sides are doing their homework and adhering to their own strategy and tactics. This is an extremely serious situation for the Nepalese who have been fighting to overthrow the reactionary system, and for the world revolutionary movement. The negotiating table represents a particularly intense form of battle at close quarters, and a great deal is at stake for the People's War.
The reactionary state of Nepal tried to dupe the revolutionary people in the last round of negotiations in 2001 by deliberately not coming to the table with a serious agenda of issues. This was the way they stonewalled the Maoists' demand that the talks center on the establishment of a republic following the abolition of the institutional monarchical system, as well as on the formation of an interim government and a popularly-elected constituent assembly to draw up a new constitution. Instead, the king and parliament engaged in intrigue and conspiracies against the revolution while reinforcing and resupplying their army and preparing a big offensive against the revolutionary base areas. The CPN (Maoist) put an end to this situation by calling off the cease-fire and mounting an assault in which the People's Liberation Army successfully destroyed the Royal Nepal Army barracks at Dang in western Nepal and district administrative headquarters in central and eastern Nepal.
The government did not declare this new cease-fire willingly. Rather, it found itself forced to take this step due to several factors.
First and principal is the strength of the revolution, which means the strength of red political power, of people's rule in the countryside, with the People's Liberation Army and the CPN(M) leading this process. The CPN (Maoist) has analysed that the People's War has reached a state of development called strategic equilibrium, where the domestic ruling classes and their armed forces cannot defeat the revolutionary war and the revolutionaries are preparing to go over to a strategic offensive to seize power countrywide.
Second is pressure from the regime's foreign backers, who consider the king dangerously weak and isolated. The US, Europe and India have begun to intervene against the revolution, to different degrees, but an interventionist build-up itself causes political problems. Gyanendra has lost credibility, especially after he imposed a state of emergency, dissolved parliament and sacked the government. This is true not only among the people, but also among the foreign powers on which he depends. This has gone so far that the World Bank stated that the Nepal state has lost validity--it has little legitimacy among the people and cannot rule at all in much of the country because of the Maoist insurgency. It has been reported that the European Union and the United Nations have also repeatedly pressured King Gyanendra to find a political solution.
Regardless of any disputes in the royal palace about whether or not to negotiate, the regime is united in wanting to smash the Maoists with help supplied by Europe and the US in providing modern weaponry and trying to strengthen the Royal Army. At the same time, the regime has utterly failed to defeat the People's Liberation Army on the battlefield and seems to recognise that they cannot hope to win through military means alone. The guardians of Nepal's outmoded system are not ready to hand over political power to the people. Rather, they are trying to use negotiations as an additional means to destroy the Maoists.
In 1980, following the nationwide mass uprising in Nepal against the system of absolute monarchy, Birendra, the king at that time, declared a referendum and then simply imposed his will through fraud. Gyanendra was the mastermind of that trick.
After the initiation of the People's War, the diehard feudal elements of Nepal's ruling classes were reportedly ready to kill 60,000 people to put down the Maoist-led popular upsurge. The Party, its PLA and the Nepalese revolutionary people defeated these attempts. When despite this brutality Birendra proved incapable of defeating the Maoists, he was slain in a palace massacre in June 2001. Then Gyanendra declared himself king and completely abolished all rights by imposing a state of emergency. The police and army killed more than 5,000 people in the period of one year alone, out of the total of 7,000 killed since the People's War began.
Once again, against the backdrop of pressure from all around, the feudal forces and bureaucrats of Nepal have been forced to come to the negotiating table. But no matter what their intention, there is every reason to predict that the result will be further turmoil and setbacks for them and advances for the People's War. The ball is in their court, and if they misplay it as they did in the previous negotiations they will be even more exposed, isolated and in trouble than ever.
Internationally there have been two kinds of experiences in regard to negotiations. There have been experiences in which insurgent forces lost in negotiations what they had previously won in battle. They failed to understand, as Mao warned when he agreed to talks with the US-backed Chiang Kai-shek, that the imperialists and reactionaries will never put down their butcher knives and become Buddhas. In contrast, because Mao sought to put all political power in the hands of the people and based himself on the strategy of People's War, which relies completely on their initiative and armed strength, in the Chinese revolution negotiations were a part of the process through which the Chinese people won complete victory.
As CPN(M) Chairman Prachanda explained in an interview in 2001, the Party's policy concerning negotiations with the enemy "has played a significant role in isolating the hard-line faction of the ruling class, educating the masses further against the parliamentary hypocrisy and raising the People's War to a new height of development. It is important to grasp that if the Party's policies and programme for negotiations were to be realised, if the situation so demands, it would draw the victory of the People's War in Nepal closer." ( AWTW no. 27 - visit www.awtw.org).
A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine (awtw.org), a political and theoretical review inspired by the foundation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic centre of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organisations.
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