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Nepal: The Martyrs Road.

category international | anti-capitalism | feature author Friday June 30, 2006 16:46author by pat c Report this post to the editors

An Interview With An Irish Based Maoist On A Visit To Nepal

featured image
Working On The Martyrs' Road

An Irish based Maoist and member of World Peoples Resistance Movement recently visited Nepal as part of an International Brigade to construct roads in the Rebel Maoist held areas of Nepal. As well as observing the protests in the cities and villages as he made his way to the Red areas he also worked alongside rebel soldiers, farmers and workers on the Martyrs Road.

During our time in Nepalgunj, we met a young man from Kathmandu who was working for a human rights group. One evening, this man who was unaware of our political affiliations, told us of the day that the PLA had attacked the town only several weeks previously. Greatly shaken by the experience, he was to tell us that together with the uniformed soldiers of the PLA, large numbers of local Maoists with guns also appeared, some firing from rooftops in support of the guerrilla fighters.

In the revolutionary strongholds people's courts have been established where along with other issues, cases against women's exploitation have been brought to book with the combined efforts of Village Defence Committees, women's mass organizations and the people. Many cases of land usurpation of widows or single women have been restored to the injured parties through such courts. Not only those guilty of sexually exploiting women, but also many defaulting husbands who have taken to drinking and beating their wives or practicing polygamy, have been disciplined through such courts.

Forty percent of PLA soldiers are women (the largest representation of female combatants in any army), 80% are party members, and all of them are volunteers. In practice, this “thinking army” is one where everybody knows whom he or she is fighting for, and why. They are fighting for the people, and so, they are fighting for themselves.

There have however, been instances whereby exclusively female guerrilla squads have been organised, most often taking on the task of dealing with feudal tyrants that have been guilty of sexually exploiting women.

PC: Why did you choose to visit Nepal? ,

WPRM Ireland: The Chinese are said to have a curse that masquerades as a blessing: ‘May you live in interesting times’. Right now Nepal is going through an interesting and pivotal period of its history. It is a time where, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)'s liberated base areas extend to over 80% of the national territory, including most rural areas, which are home to 85% of the Nepalese people. Landlocked between China and India, the Nepalese interior is largely inaccessible other than by foot, having only an estimated 8,000km of road suitable for motor vehicles in the whole country. Consequently, distances are measured in the number of hours or days it takes to walk, and the majority of Nepalese are cut off from health facilities, schools, and national trade, despite astronomical amounts of foreign aid that had peaked in 2001 to around one-third of the national budget.

In the liberated base areas, the CPN (M) has been engaged in building the new People’s Republic of Nepal. An important element in this in recent times has been its project for the construction of 91 kilometres of what is known as the ‘Martyrs Road’. Organised by the people-elected Magarat Autonomous People’s Republican Government in the main base area, mass organisations have been engaged in building what will, on completion, be a motorable road. With the moral and material support of the masses helping to create the infrastructure of the new people’s society, the MAPRG called for international volunteers to come to visit the Martyrs’ Road, participate in its building and take the opportunity to learn from the ongoing revolutionary process that was taking place there, on the ground.

PC: So have International volunteers taken part in the road construction?

As the Nepalese people’s struggle against the feudal monarchy to establish a democratic republic hit a high point during the month of April, it coincided with the arrival from India of the Second International Road Building Brigade of which I was a member. Drawing its members from several countries, including Afghanistan and Iran, the brigade was gathered with the aim of journeying to Rolpa to work on this road.

The Martyr’s Road on completion, will eventually link the town of Nuwagaon to Thawang and Chunwang, and connect many of the villages in the interior of Rolpa with the main district capital of Dang, the city of Gorahi. It is believed that the road will greatly improve travel within the district, making it easier for young people to enter higher education and enable better access to the likes of medical treatment. We were impressed by the general enthusiasm of the majority of the road workers and spoke to two volunteers who told us that they had come to work on the road, “for the development of the region and the country”.

It is widely recognised, even among non-Maoists, that the road is an important step in this development. Built purely by the people with no outside help, using basic tools such as pickaxes and spades, the road-building project consequently avoiding most of the main developmental problems associated with such a project. These include the tendency towards over-reliance on capital-intensive techniques, and the mindset that if modern technology is unavailable the job cannot be done. A country swamped by ‘foreign aid’, the people of Nepal are well placed to recognise the problems inherent in such solutions. Given that under such a scheme, labour would normally be paid to build the road, such a project tends to be open to wide-scale corruption. This however, is not possible in this project, the people seeing the immediate results of their labour.

As for the frequently made accusations by western media that the road-building project depends on forced labour, workers are required to work no more than 15-20 days, once a year. Carried out during the slack agricultural seasons, people work for 8 hours a day, a fact confirmed by people we spoke to who were working on the road itself. There were also frequent breaks, the working days broken up by occasional cultural activities. Party leaders, cadres and Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) members also do voluntary work on the road throughout the year.

PC: How does this tie in with the CPN (M)s development plans?

WPRM Ireland: The CPN (M)’s attempts to develop the country without depending on imperialism are due to these international forces having their own agenda that doesn’t coincide with Nepali interests. The peoples’ interests therefore lie in the development of the country for all, while the imperialist agenda lies in keeping countries that they call, “developing” underdeveloped and dependent on foreign aid, loans, technology and expertise. Using their own strengths to develop their own methods the CPN (M) has utilised the road-building project to raise consciousness among the masses. Working under the slogan, “Our Development, Our Effort”, this process involves the finding of what can be achieved collectively, increasing the self-confidence of the people, as their own techniques are developed to overcome problems as they emerge.

The Nepalbandh however, extended for far longer than we had expected and although it was a beautiful thing to witness an unbreakable strike, it certainly presented problems with regard to our wish to travel to the liberated zones, and indeed to the Martyr’s Road. Although it was both interesting and exhilarating to participate in the people's movement, every day we were meeting to discuss ways in which we could fulfil our task of reaching the Maoist-held areas. In our eagerness, it must be said, our ideas at this time were approaching desperation and eventually, there appeared to be no alternative but to cross the border into India to buy bicycles so that three of us could continue. Cycling across the flat plains of the Terai and up into the mountainous district of Dang, we eventually reached Gorahi, the last city garrisoned by the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) before Rolpa. Here, our group encountered more large protests. As in all such protests, villagers were coming in from Maoist areas to increase the protestors’ numbers, playing a decisive role in the successes of the people’s movement. From Gorahi, cycling was impossible due to the mountain roads and we were forced to trek on up into the mountains, a journey of over 50km. What most surprised us here was that the RNA and police influence ended abruptly outside the exit from the city. From then on, the villages were hung with the banners of the Maoists, people we met on the mountain trails greeting us with calls of “Lal Salaam!” (Red Salute).

PC: Did you have preconceptions?

WPRM Ireland: Certainly the western media had always suggested that the monarchist structure was very popular among the Nepalese people, a claim that Michael Palin was also to make in his ‘Himalaya’ book and TV series. While I have never rated Palin as any kind of a worldly wise individual, and I have never trusted the Western media, naturally the doubts remained. Reactionary propaganda, when continuously churned out, does tend to be absorbed passively by anyone that is exposed to it. When our group arrived in Nepalgunj however, the country was in the grip of nation-wide, anti-monarchist protests and a bandh (general strike) that not only closed all the shops and commercial outlets but also cleared all motor vehicles from the roads.

PC: Did you join in any Anti-Royalist demos?

WPRM Ireland: Trapped in Nepalgunj across the border from India, we were ideally placed to witness one of the many anti-monarchist protests outside of Kathmandu. Containing large numbers of women, these protests drew many from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities. As well as workers, peasants and students, civil servants, including doctors, lawyers, teachers and bank officials marched through the streets. At most of the intersections, the remains of burning tyres were a constant feature, new fires breaking out at regular intervals. A major focus for mass anger was Gyanendra Square, the central monument dedicated to the king that was frequently surrounded by such fires in spite of having been given 24-hour paramilitary police protection.

In joining the daily protest marches, we found that the slogans chanted by the protestors left little room for reconciliation. As one of these marches approached the statue of Gyanendra’s deeply unpopular grandfather, Tribhuvan, a man with a loudhailer called out, “What does Arayghat want?” the crowd responding with, “Arayghat wants Gyanendra”. This was a reference to the royal cemetery. Also popular was the call to “Hang Paras from a tree”. Gyanendra’s son, Prince Paras is also much hated as a man who has committed both rape and murder but who has so far proved immune from legal action. These minor protests, the crowds becoming increasingly antagonistic, were set to rise in both numbers and militancy as the campaign intensified. After our work brigade had left, we were told on returning to the town by people that had been there, that a child had been shot dead and a woman had died after having first been beaten and then having a tear gas canister explode next to her. This occurred during a large protest that saw the destruction with lump hammers of both the Gyanendra monument and the statue of Tribhuvan.

PC: Did the visit change your views?

WPRM Ireland: It would be wrong to say that I had any ‘Road to Damascus’ conversions, as I was already fully supportive of the Maoist project when I arrived there. Rather than say that my views were changed, I would be more conscious of having gained a deeper understanding of the revolutionary process that is going on in Nepal. As Mao Tse-tung once said, “All true knowledge comes from direct experience”.

Reaching the town of Tilla Bazaar deep within the liberated zones, nine days after we had been due to rendezvous there and afflicted by blisters the size of Denmark, the District Secretary of Rolpa, Comrade Kamal, on hearing of our arrival, walked for two hours across the mountain roads (on flip flops) to meet with us. A man who in spite of his high rank, displayed no airs or graces, Kamal had no hesitation in bedding down in the same dormitory room that the local cadre had billeted us in.

Announcing that he would remain with us throughout our stay in the liberated zone, Kamal was to accompany us to the Martyr’s Road, introducing us to Comrade Surya, the Co-ordinator of the road-building project. In the short time that we were there, we spent much time in the company of these two men. Although as I said, my views were not changed as such, I was by no means certain that our group would be treated in such a comradely manner.

PC: How important was the Maoist insurgency in bringing down the King?

WPRM Ireland: The People’s Movement was distinctly anti-monarchy, retaining a general line of being anti-Congress. This is due to the Nepal Congress party being perceived as both too close to the monarchy and renowned for its corruption and its inefficiency in previous governments. Most of the protestors by far appeared to be in favour of a republic, this being recognised as a more modern form of government in contrast to the existing feudal autocracy. Many of those that we talked to in the cities, spoke of achieving a British-style constitutional monarchy, although the cultivation of a constituent assembly and a republic were infinitely more popular. Within these protesting crowds, it was acknowledged that the Maoists were very much a part of the peoples’ struggle and therefore part of the democratic agenda. As I have said, the CPN (M) strategy at this time was to mobilise people in the villages around the major towns, organising them to swell the protests in the urban centres. In this way, the protests in the towns and cities tended to swell by tens of thousands as the campaign escalated.

With the current two-state situation, the emerging revolutionary state based in Rolpa and the dying monarchist regime in Kathmandu, the signing of a 12-point agreement between the seven parliamentary parties demonstrated that the latter had come to recognise this situation. Outside the major cities, the RNA controls little other than its barracks in the district headquarters and some parts of the Terai region along the Southern border with India. Even in government controlled areas, support for the revolution is evident in massive support for bandhs (general strikes) that are frequently called.

PC: What sort of government exists in the liberated zones?

WPRM Ireland: The new red power is exercised throughout the liberated zones in the form of People’s Committees, co-ordinated at the central level by the United Revolutionary People’s Council (URPC). These People’s Committees, elected in general elections called by the Party, practice what is known as the three-in-one system. This organisational style was developed in China under Mao. Bringing together different sections of society, this system combines representatives of the Party, PLA, and other democratic and nationalist elements, representing the petit-bourgeoisie. Also present are local rebel cadres from the Nepali Congress Party and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninists). Those who go against the reactionary policies of their parties are therefore eligible for election to the local committees. The committees carry out political, economic, social, cultural and educational activities at local level. In Nepal’s western region, Journalists from all over the country are frequently invited to the red zones to report on the massive open rallies there.

Party cadres will often point out that such remarkable progress has been made possible by the political awakening of millions of people within the country. The masses are defined as the base for the people's war, the CPN (M) declaring that, “Unless they are politically conscious and actively participating in the revolutionary process, our program will fail.” Without the Maoist Peoples’ War and the widespread mobilisation and raising of consciousness that this brought with it, there is little doubt among those that honestly analyse the situation, the people’s movement and the king’s compromise would not have occurred.

PC: Did the Maoist Guerrillas have the Army on the run or was there a stalemate?

WPRM Ireland: The Maoist armed struggle began by using the principle of encircling the enemy, utilising the strategy of luring them into red bases, encircling their forces and delivering death blows at their weakest points. The Maoist strategy of Prolonged Protracted People’s War is greatly suited to semi-colonial countries such as Nepal, the revolutionary fighters surrounding the cities from the countryside by establishing rural base areas. Beginning as a guerrilla struggle, what was to become the PLA operated in squads and platoons, pursuing mobile and positional warfare, the red fighters advanced towards the creation of company, battalion and brigade strength capable of large engagements with the forces of the state.

At this time there exists a military and political stalemate the CPN (M) now “making preparations for the Strategic Offensive through tactical offensives.” The reactionary state itself however, attempting to regain lost ground, continues being inevitably drawn into increasing contradiction with the revolutionary forces. During our time in Nepalgunj, we met a young man from Kathmandu who was working for a human rights group. One evening, this man who was unaware of our political affiliations, told us of the day that the PLA had attacked the town only several weeks previously. Greatly shaken by the experience, he was to tell us that together with the uniformed soldiers of the PLA, large numbers of local Maoists with guns also appeared, some firing from rooftops in support of the guerrilla fighters.

A key component in this revolutionary process is the development of the PLA itself. Soldiers must seed, plough, dig, sing, dance, teach, learn, and, of course, fight. Declaring that, “Our weapon is our ideology”, the PLA perceives itself as a thinking army, their successes in the past ten years being from more than just their military strength: they began with two rifles, only one of which worked. Forty percent of PLA soldiers are women (the largest representation of female combatants in any army), 80% are party members, and all of them are volunteers. In practice, this “thinking army” is one where everybody knows whom he or she is fighting for, and why. They are fighting for the people, and so, they are fighting for themselves.

It is commonly stated, most often by the Western media, that 13,000 people have been killed in the civil war. It is rarely clarified however, that of these deaths, 10,000 have been at the hands of the RNA and the police. Many of these are people who have been murdered in fake “encounters” in which dozens of “Maoists” are killed, but no weapons are captured.

The CPN (M) however, has taken the decision on many occasions, to participate in peace talks with the Kathmandu government, as a means to win public opinion and destroy many of the myths promoted by the monarchy. This front of struggle is one that the CPN (M) believes most revolutionary forces must face. Historically, reactionary forces have rarely been able to defeat rebels by purely military means. However, the Maoists have pointed out, whenever rebel forces are brought to the negotiating table, it is usually there that they are vanquished.

PC: What role did the traditional Trade Union movement play in the resistance in the cities?

WPRM Ireland: Trade Unions have existed in Nepal since the All Nepal Trade Union Congress was formed in 1947, although this group only really came into power after the collapse of the Rana dynasty in 1951 and the movement towards democracy. The current line-up of Nepalese unions tend to be linked to the political parties both parliamentary and revolutionary and played a frontline role in the Peoples’ Movement, their flags much in evidence on all protests. Among these were the Nepal Congress linked, Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and the CPN (UML) linked General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT). The latter is a confederation of seventeen national trade union federations, declaring its goal to be "Socialism for the dignified working class and prosperous life". The Nepal Independent Workers Union, the Independent Transport Workers Association of Nepal, the Nepal Independent Hotel Workers Union and the Trekking Workers Association of Nepal established GEFONT itself in 1989. At the time of its foundation it functioned as the trade union wing of the then underground Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist).

The trade union movement in general, has proved itself to be quite powerful due to the wider revolutionary situation, the bandh remaining unbroken until it was called off. In response, the monarchy called a nighttime curfew backed up by the threat that members of the RNA would shoot any who broke this. So far as I could see, all unions participated in the Peoples’ Movement.

PC: Was there a more radical Union, which took a different perspective?

WPRM Ireland: It would be fair to say that the trade union affiliated to the CPN (M), the All Nepal Trade Union Federation (Revolutionary) would be the most radical of the unions. It did however; also participate fully in the two-week general strike and blockade of Kathmandu despite the ANTUF(R) being an underground organisation in the areas still held by the monarchy.

PC: What other left organisations exist in Nepal and what is their current strength?

WPRM Ireland: Of the seven parliamentary parties, four of these can at least be termed nominally communist. The largest and most significantly influential non-Maoist party is the aforementioned Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninists). On leaving Nepalgunj and cycling out onto the Mahendra Highway our first stop as night was approaching was the village of Agaiya, around 54km from where we had set off. A CPN (UML) stronghold, the people appeared to be preparing to walk to Nepalgunj the following day to join the protests there. As darkness fell, the village children, sitting in a ring singing songs, suddenly decided to play a different game, that of protestors. Influenced by the events that were going on around them, a knot of children marched around the houses chanting, “Gyanendra is a thief, he must leave the country!”

PC: It has been reported that some leading members of the Maoist organisation left due to the agreement with the opposition parties. Was this a significant split?

WPRM Ireland: It would be wrong to categorise the recent expulsion of two former leaders, Rabindra Shrestha and Anukul from the Party as any kind of significant split. These were expelled due to, among other things, their going public with their dissent accusing senior leaders, Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai of political deviation as well as lodging, personal attacks against them. Though the Party leadership had been trying to sort out the differences with them through inner-party debate and "had instructed them to present their discontents in a disciplined way ", they chose instead to attack the party and the revolution blatantly showing utter disregard of Party discipline and demeanour.

The duo had been previously "suspended from the central committee only a few days before". Chairman Prachanda has issued a Press Communiqué on 14 March 2006 to this effect, denouncing them as "traitors", "collaborators of the reactionaries" and deserters of the revolution.

PC: Do you see problems ahead after an election is held?

WPRM Ireland: I reckon that there is clear evidence of problems set to emerge long before any elections appear on the horizon. Talking to protestors in both Nepalgunj and Gorahi, there appeared to be a distinct concern among the protestors that the Seven Party leadership would compromise with the monarchy allowing the people’s demand for a democratic republic to fall short in its ambitions. In discussing the issue with Comrade Kamal later, he was to remark that the Seven Party Alliance leadership lagged behind the forward momentum of the masses in their opposition to the monarchy. The masses therefore are more progressive than the aspirations of their parliamentary leadership.

PC: What is the position of women in Nepal?

WPRM Ireland: Women have historically in Nepal, had no land or voting rights, tending to live around thirteen years less than the average Nepalese man. Realising therefore, the double exploitative state of women, the CPN (M) has rightly targeted them for the unleashing of their doubly repressed energy to attack the system, which has been ultimately responsible for their present state. Added to the three mountains of oppression weighing down on the Nepalese masses, women are recognised as suffering a fourth mountain of patriarchy that is especially harsh upon those of lower castes, the Brahmin and Chetries castes being dominant.

Many Nepalese women have been trafficked to India as prostitutes from ages as young as ten and it is currently estimated that up to 300,000 Nepalese women and girls currently work abroad as prostitutes. Marginalized from education and denied a share as heir to family property, women are often married to much older men before the age of thirteen. Those that are widowed are forbidden to re-marry and are obliged to slave for their husband’s family. It is this oppression that continues to bear women to the front ranks of the PLA and the CPN (M).

PC: To what extent are women involved in revolutionary organisations?

WPRM Ireland: Now, more than two million women participate in the All-Nepal Women's Association (Revolutionary), which is spearheading many of the drastic changes that are taking place in Nepalese society, mobilising women and men alike around the issues of women's liberation. At all village, area and district levels, women have been mobilised under the women's mass organisations. In the revolutionary strongholds people's courts have been established where along with other issues, cases against women's exploitation have been brought to book with the combined efforts of Village Defence Committees, women's mass organizations and the people. Many cases of land usurpation of widows or single women have been restored to the injured parties through such courts. Not only those guilty of sexually exploiting women, but also many defaulting husbands who have taken to drinking and beating their wives or practicing polygamy, have been disciplined through such courts.

With the provisions of these people's trials women now tend to feel more secure within and outside their homes as defaulting husbands and roving men are duly punished. Also the women have become more aware of their legal rights and the realities of the feudalist state, the repeated rape and molestation by members of the police force and the protection given by the state to such people has exposed the class character and gender bias of the regime. Because culturally women have been associated with household work, women activists have been most effective in mobilising masses in new areas as they are easily accepted at household level. It has been generally observed that in areas where local women have been mobilised, such places eventually become stable bases for sustaining the movement.

PC: Did the war have an effect on womens involvement?

WPRM Ireland: It was only after CPN (M) started the People's War that women from grassroots, mainly rural women, started to mobilise. Historically, whenever women have been called upon to make a contribution to political movements they were looked upon as a reserve force, whose function was merely to act as “helpers”. Today however, there are many leaders, commanding guerrilla squads that are made up of both men and women. Each guerrilla squad, consisting of around 9-11 members, due to Maoist policy, contain at least two female guerrillas. There have however, been instances whereby exclusively female guerrilla squads have been organised, most often taking on the task of dealing with feudal tyrants that have been guilty of sexually exploiting women.

The Maoist movement has found that women tend to take time to decide whether or not to join the movement, but once they have made the commitment are inclined to be much firmer than many of the male cadres. This is demonstrated by the fact that there have been fewer cases of surrender or fleeing under fire among the PLA’s female combatants. Women have also been found to be less likely to disclose party related secrets when captured and are also found to have greater perseverance and patience than men. This reality is thought to be due to the fact that women have more to gain from the revolution than men, i.e. for them it is not only the question of escaping away from class oppression but also gender oppression.

The revolutionary process in Nepal has certainly brought an alternative life to many young and aspiring men and women. In the case of women's lives, particularly in rural parts of the country, the daily existence is highly monotonous, set in a repeated pattern of reproductive activities and with marriages being arranged at much younger ages, they have no way of escaping from this beaten track life cycle. Thus for aspiring women, the Peoples’ War offers them challenging opportunity to work side by side with men on equal terms and to prove their worth both mentally and physically.

The Peoples’ War, vilified by a short-sighted Western media as a “terrible thing”, has in Nepal given an alternative and dignified life to many socially abandoned women, women abandoned by their husbands, and women who could not afford to get married. For them a heroic death in the course of PW is more attractive than the living death that is imposed on them by the society.

In discussing this issue with Kamal, he was to recall, “When we rebelled against the feudalist and the semi-colonialist system here, women, that means our sisters and mothers, were with us from the beginning. These came to our rebel group, and they worked very hard with us. Now they are with us in our military formations, in our party organisation and in our mass organisations. Although as women, the old traditional, conservative society rejects them as leaders, we accept them, and they can work freely without hesitation. They take commanding roles and are very good in the field. They are also taking leadership roles in the war fronts.”

PC: What were your own observations on womens involvement?

WPRM Ireland: Attending a cultural activity for the road workers on the Martyrs’ Road itself, which was also arranged as part of our welcoming ceremony to the liberated areas, Comrade Surya explained the reasons behind such events. “Under our policy and program we do not only make a timetable for work but we give recreation and enjoyment to the people. We give our ideology through this, by dance and song. We want to raise their consciousness and people are very eager to grasp ideology through art. We try to give our ideology through our cultural programs. If we want to take something from the people then we must give them something back, what we give them is ideology.” Having set up a stage surrounded by brightly coloured drapes, we were all invited to address the crowd before the entertainment began. Performing traditional dances, interspersed with revolutionary songs, girls stood with boys, their fists raised in the Lal Salaam at the beginning of each performance.

What I found interesting was that when we met female comrades here they would Lal salaam and shake our hands like the men, showing a degree of confidence that we hadn’t seen previously. On our journey through the Terai, we had met and talked with many men who were eager to share their views and opinions with us, women tending to remain in the background. As we left the celebrations, which were continuing, some of the performers, who were changing from the traditional dress of the Magarat people into PLA uniforms, saluted us as we passed. The boys, displaying wide smiles, punched the air enthusiastically, the girls, sombre and unsmiling raised their fists to their temples. The difference was slight but tangible.

On our return journey to Gorahi, we encountered a group of elderly women returning from the protests there. One of these, on seeing the three of us in the crowd and being told why we were there, insisted on coming over to salute and shake our hands, declaring that, “The police used to come from Gorahi to suppress us, now we go to Gorahi to encircle them”. These of course are but two isolated perspectives but I would argue, food for thought nonetheless.

PC: In the field how have the Maoists dealt with the issue of equality?

WPRM Ireland: The Maoists' popular support is founded on their proven ability to lead the people in making radical, practical and much needed changes. Historically, the land has not provided enough food for subsistence, and men have had to migrate seasonally or indefinitely to cities in search of work. When the CPN (M) seized control of the Rolpa District from the monarchist regime, it drove out the local tyrants and carried out widespread land reform. In more recent times, experimental co-operatives and communes have been implemented and new co-operative banks have replaced usurers. At one point we were introduced to Comrade Birat, the head of the People’s Cooperative Bank in the Rapti Zone who proudly showed us the bank’s documents and talked to us of the oppression of people during the old pre-liberation era.

Based on principles of “land to the tiller”, the party’s rural policy is to expropriate land from the landlords, redistributing it to peasants. This policy is designed to develop a self-reliant economic system with a view to domestic production being geared to the immediate and basic needs of the people. Alongside the application of the co-operative farming method, the People’s Committees have also begun instituting collective production and collective farming. In the base areas, small industries have also been set up and supplied by the raw materials of the countryside that would otherwise be exported to India. This land reform has led to the implementation of new agricultural techniques and the creation of people's communes has made agriculture sustainable. Also, “cottage industries” such as cloth and bag making have sprouted from the extra time created through distribution of labour.

Within the liberated zones, many reactionary traditions, such as arranged marriages, have been done away with. Under the new power, widows can now remarry and also inter-caste and love marriages are permitted. New festivals are also being celebrated, including, 1st May, the birth anniversaries of Communist Leaders, the initiation date of the People’s War (13th February), the Martyrs Day and International Women’s Day. As both genders are granted rights of inheritance, the reactionaries tend to complain. Campaigns have also been launched for the teaching of hygiene, health and literacy. Special attention has further been made to the concerns of national minorities (janajatis) that collectively make up the majority of the country’s population.

The official language, Nepalese, is spoken and enforced by the upper caste Hindu elite, who have prohibited the use of minority languages in any official capacity, including within education. Literacy rates are less than 50% nationally, Surya explaining that, “In Rolpa, under the old power, there were few schools and the children were not able to go to school because they were very poor. About 50-60% of children go to school at primary level but they cannot go to school at secondary level or upper level because they cannot afford it.” This is being tackled in the liberated areas by the creation of “model schools” that teach mother languages, as well as Nepalese and English, within a curriculum based on the needs of the people, as well as through the establishment of adult literacy classes. On this issue, Surya was to continue, “Now new republican schools are being built and the children are able to go to school.”

When we first met Comrade Kamal, we had a lot of questions for him due to all that we had seen and experienced. This was largely as a result of our pretending to be tourists to all that we met until we reached Tilla Bazaar. Consequently, this was our first opportunity to ask questions freely and so we talked into the night. As darkness fell, Kamal broke off from what he was saying to ask me to flick on the light switch. This came as a surprise to me as I hadn’t expected electricity in such a remote area. On asking Kamal about the electricity sources he told me to look up on the roof. Sure enough, all the houses in the area seemed to have solar panels on the roofs. This green-power has allowed local people not only to light their homes, but also to charge their torches and radios.

PC: How could Irish people support left / progressive forces in Nepal?

WPRM Ireland: Ultimately the CPN (M) has promoted Lenin’s declaration that, "There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism, and that is -- working whole-heartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one's own country, and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy, and material aid) this struggle, this, and only this, line, in every country without exception". Admittedly this is a somewhat daunting task given the current political situation in Ireland.

The CPN (M), sees itself as part of an international struggle, affiliated as it is to the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), an embryonic Maoist international that includes among it’s fighting contingents, that of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) and the Maoist Communist Party – of Turkey and Northern Kurdistan (MKP).

“The CPN (M) argues that in the present context of world development, that is, the maximum polarisation of property through the International Monetary Fund, globalisation and structural adjustment programmes, the unhealable gap between rich and poor, the development of electronics and communications, and, along with the internationalisation of capital and the capitalist class, the internationalisation of the working class and the poor people, and in essence at a time when the whole world is squeezed into a small village, the application of a single strategy is not sufficient to make revolution in today's world.”
(A World To Win, 2002/No. 29)

It is this consciousness that has led the CPN (M) to affiliate itself to the Co-ordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations in South Asia (CCOMPOSA) whose function it is to help co-ordinate Maoist forces in the region. The fact that Nepal borders some of India’s most inflammatory regions and with strong discontent boiling up in the country, the Indian Home Minister LK Advani has expressed some alarm over the prospect of a South Asian Soviet Federation. War with India’s own Maoists it is believed, would be far more costly to the Indian government forces than those currently being waged against the Kashmir and Bodo national movements. As fellow contingents of the RIM, the Indian Maoists would see victory in Nepal as having the potential to provide a red beacon to the Indian masses. Such a victory, it is hoped, will introduce clarity into the line struggles currently advancing within the Indian movement. With such high stakes, India may soon see it as necessary to intervene in Nepal directly having already sent arms and helicopters to the RNA

The 12th May, 2002 issue of the British Independent newspaper, riding the tidal wave of emotion that followed in the wake of September 11th, attempted to slander the Maoists by claiming they had links with al-Qaeda. The basis for this is the oft-used “suspicions of Western intelligence agencies”. In June of that year, Britain, hosted an international consortium that included the US, Russia, China, India, Australia and several European countries with an interest in aiding Gyanendra in defeating the Maoists. The British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs responsible for South Asia, Ben Bradshaw, speaking in Kathmandu said, “Britain will certainly help Nepal. We have also experienced in Northern Ireland a similar kind of problem for 35 years. There is a need for a robust attack on this type of terrorism…. After the 11 September attacks, there has been a greater obligation to stop terrorism in the world. We have already passed legislation to stop terrorist propaganda.”

It is important therefore, that progressives in Ireland and indeed the West should remain vigilant against the falsehoods and distortions that the increasingly reactionary Western media has been promoting. Before we left the liberated areas in Rolpa, Kamal had said to us, “We from our party request heartily to the people, to democrats from foreign countries, to come here and see the ground reality here with their own eyes, and to describe it materially, and expose such illusions and propagandas, false sayings. We give our solidarity to the people and request their solidarity to our movement here. Now we are fighting to establish a democracy here and we request you all to convey our red salutes to all the people, to our beloved people, to democratic people, and the people who are supporters of the WPRM. Lal Salaam!”

PC: Can you provide some contact addresses, email adds, relevant websites?

World Peoples Resistance Movement

Local email: Wprm_Ireland@yahoo.com
Brigade Organiser Email: aroadtothefuture@yahoo.com

author by pat gpublication date Thu Jun 29, 2006 16:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is Maoism such a good tag, the more you think about it? If the peasants did overthrow the government they'd hardly want to be starving and producing useless steel in their backyards. Famine, collective farms, denounciations, destruction of culture, etc. Bad as the situation of Nepalese peasants is, wouldn't "Maosim" make it worse?

The CP of China certainly don't seem too enamoured with their Nepalese compatriots.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Jun 29, 2006 17:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm not a Maoist myself. However going on the reports here and elsewhere there is no evidence to suggest that the Nepalese Maoists are intent on carrying out massacres or implementing deranged agricultural policies. In the liberated areas the peasants have got what they didnt have before: land. The position of women has been greatly enhanced from a feudalistic existence to genuine rights.

The struggle continues and the Trade Unions and the urban proletariat and intelligentsia will play an important role in the forging of the new Nepal.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Jun 29, 2006 18:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) website:

A World to Win website:

Revolutionary Worker website:
http:// www.rwor.org

author by Barry - 32csmpublication date Thu Jun 29, 2006 18:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

32CSMs been in touch with the maoists for the last 4 years . A number travelled to an open day we held on their behalf in Conway Mill a couple of years ago and since then our cummann in particular has received daily updates on the situation . We got a very interesting DVD sent over there a while back showing a number of their guerilla attacks ,their training camps , the methods they use to organise the rural population , the attacks by police on demonstartors in Kathmandu and a lot of their speeches at rallies . It was heartening too to see the guerillas organise themselves one day per month to build local infrastructure projects with the peasants . The feudal landlords did absolutely nothing for these people save abuse and exploit them . They have absolutely nothing .
Interesting to to see the revival of left wing forces in nearby Afghanistan who are assisting in the Nepalese project .. Although its been a centre for hardline islamism it should be remembered there was always a strong left wing movement in Afghanistan and its confidently predicted the revolution will begin there again . Leftist prgressive forces are getting themselves very well organised in Afghanistan and may yet prove to be a major thorn in the side of capitalism and imperialism there .
Accross the border in India Maoist guerillas are performing much as they did in Nepal . About half a dozen Indian states are in the grip of major Maoist insurgency and the state forces are barely able to maintain a presence in many rural areas much less control them . The Indian Maoist tactics have followed the Nepalese experience with pretty impressive results . Entire barracks , prisons and military training camps overrun and hundreds of weapons and political activists liberated . Guerillas are able to move through the areas in large numbers to surround garrisons and attacjk without warning . This means very simply that the rural peasantry fully support them . Such large numbers of guerillas on the move are easily spotted by locals but their successful attacks indicate nobody is passing on information as to their movements to the state forces . As a result the Indian state is facing a growing crisis . Nepals Maoists have pledged that the territory they now control will be used to export successful revolution to India , Afghanistan and accross the globe .
Unsurprisingly the yanks have reacted with horror at yet another left wing uprising . The NCAFP has indicated that NEPALS revolution must be defeated . Sickeningly this same organisation invites Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness out to New York for fancy dinners and speeches and photocallls with Henry Kissinger .
This tells us all we need to know about Sinn Feins scoialist and revelotionary credentials and ambitions . They have the seal of approval from the worlds wordt imperialist interests simply because the dont threaten iimperialist and capitalist interests in Ireland . In fact they pretty much act as a safety valve , corralling impressionabl youngsters who might have ideas in that direction into safe , constitutional posturing and upholding the state as opposed to attempting to smash it .
America , Britain , China and India have been propping the Kings forces up with plentiful supplies of modern weaponry , technology and helicopters . It would be no surprise to learn theyve also assisted with satellite images of large scale guerilla movements in the hinterlands . However that material assistance served only to hinder the revolution form completing its final push , not defeating it . Royalist and feudal forces lost control of basically everything outside Kathmandu . Inside they relied purely on brute force and faced mass protest after mass protest .
Anyway if anyone is genuinely interested in the situation in Nepal and wants a copy of the DVD get in touch with ourselves at


Its a bit out of date now with the Kings withdrawal but an extremely interesting record of an up till now successful revolution and guerilla insurgency . An insurgency that hasnt stopped in that global region despite the ceasefire in Nepal and may well escalate into a growing leftist insurgency in neighbouring countries , including Afghanistan . Ive got some updates on the situation here the Maoists have e-mailed me with so Ill post them up too shortly .

author by Barry - 32csmpublication date Thu Jun 29, 2006 19:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Their report on US intervention against the growing insurgency

The Octopus is Afraid
U.S. offers India help to fight Maoists

The US made this offer a couple of weeks ago

RAIPUR, India, May 26 (Reuters) - The United States has offered to help an Indian state remove thousands of mines planted by Maoist rebels and train its police force to battle the insurgents, a senior Indian official said on Friday.

Two American diplomats made the offer to the government of the central state of Chhattisgarh during a visit on Thursday, said B.K.S. Ray, senior state official for home affairs.

"They offered assistance in demining and counter-insurgency training of p.
olice personnel and they also offered humanitarian relief to the camps for tribals," Ray told Reuters.

A U.S. embassy spokesman denied an offer of help had been made but said American officials had discussed law enforcement among other issues during the trip.

David Kennedy said Washington was already coordinating with India, an increasingly close friend, in law enforcement and counter-terrorism."All cooperation is coordinated at the federal level in New Delhi," he told Reuters.

Chhattisgarh is the worst affected of at least 13 Indian states battling armed Maoist rebels who say they are fighting for the rights of millions of impoverished peasants and landless labourers.

Human rights groups say many people are being coerced into joining the Salwa Judum (Campaign for Peace) and have condemned the state government for putting civilians in the firing line.

The U.S. diplomats also visited a police jungle warfare school in Kanker town in southern Chhattisgarh.

More than 150 people, including policemen and dozens of Salwa Judum members, have been killed in Chhattisgarh since the start of this year. Most were killed in land mine blasts.

Any U.S. offer to help Chhattisgarh would be the first known foreign proposal of aid in India's fight against Maoist rebels.

"We welcome anyone who supports us in the fight against terrorism," Ray said.

Indian police say there are about 20,000 armed Maoist fighters across the country, with hundreds of thousands of supporters.

Last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Maoists were the biggest threat to the country's internal security.

This meddling by the US in the internal affairs of India is the first signs that
India has lost its sovereignty. ""

author by red menacepublication date Thu Jun 29, 2006 21:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Being from Ireland I find it moving to read such an interview in 2007.

please keep me posted

author by pat cpublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 15:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Photos from Nepal.

Artists entertain the road workers
Artists entertain the road workers

Road Workers
Road Workers

Working on the  Martyrs Road
Working on the Martyrs Road

The Martyrs Road
The Martyrs Road

Town of Holeri
Town of Holeri

author by pat cpublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 17:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Protest photos.

Gyanendra monument before the riots
Gyanendra monument before the riots

Gyanendra monument  after the riots.
Gyanendra monument after the riots.

Women at the  front.
Women at the front.

Gorahi Protest.
Gorahi Protest.

Gorahi Protesters.
Gorahi Protesters.

author by Conor J. McGowan - ISN (p.c.)publication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 18:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The situation in Nepal is often overlooked by activists on the left, but it is truly inspiring. In particular, the involvement of Women in the Maoist insurgancy is unparallelled. I would have a couple of criticisms of Prachanda, and consider it a pity that the Maoists arent properly analysed by the western left. The movement in Nepal is important - only a couple of months back, the King called a national emergency. I can imaging transcribing the above interview was time-consuming, but it was worthwhile. All aboard the train to Nepal!

author by Red incpublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 18:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anyone calling themselves a Maoist or promoting the name or polices of this monster is deluded.

Mao was the greatest Mass murderer in our planet's history.

Shame on you.

Get China out of Tibet!

Leave Nepal alone!

author by pat cpublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 18:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i agree with you about tibet, china should leave. the tibetans have the right to national self determination.

but the Nepalese also have the right to decide their destiny. the maoists have no connection with china, they get no support from the state capitalist regime in bejing. they are fighting against feudalism in the nepal. they have the support of the peasantry and sections of the proletariat..

if you have any evidence of any atrocities carried out by maoists in nepal , then please produce it. NB killing Nepalese soldiers, policemen and landlords does not count as atrocities.

author by Barrypublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 20:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

China was one of the main arms suppliers to the Monarchy the Maoists have been fighting against . It was one of the main people propping him up by pure force . Maos principles are a different matter from what he actually practiced and further still from the dynamics of modern china . One of the main maoist principles the guerillas adopted was the tactic of liberated zones and mass attacks on the enemys outposts , while working to help the rural peasantry with their infrastructure and needs . There is no evidence whatsoever of the guerillas harming the peasants or exploiting them .

author by Red Adarepublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 20:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Barry from the 32's praises the Maoists but forgets to remind readers that the 32's also support the Islamic Chechen butchers who would skin alive any Maoists they could find. Poor deluded 32's...still chasing other peoples "action".
Finally, Tibetans are Chinese and should be regarded as so.

author by radical jonnypublication date Sat Jul 01, 2006 01:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Finally, Tibetans are Chinese and should be regarded as so."

It might be nice to ask the Tibetans what they regard themselves as. I live in Belfast; trust me, no one likes a nationality imposed on them, particularly by people sitting far, far away.

author by Barrypublication date Sat Jul 01, 2006 03:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Unless the maoists were invading chechnya I doubt theyd have much of a problem .Why do you think theyd want to kill people whove never harmed them simply for their political beliefs ?

And Tibetans arent Chinese . Theyre from Tibet .

author by iosafpublication date Sat Jul 01, 2006 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The bloomsday June16th 2006 return to Nepal by helicopter of Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, (alias Prachanda) really seemed to up the optimism stakes. The king gone, the prisoners released. & there were a lot of prisoners since the period of absolute rule began in early February 2005.

It is very interesting that in some circles the deification of Prachanda has been suggested.
& that would be continuity - The last King got the job because his nephew the then crown prince Dipendra went on a drug fueled rampage through the palace on the 1st of June 2001 killing his dad King Birendra, his mammy Queen Aishwarya and anyone else who got in his way. The reason for this was a longstanding family disagreement about his future marriage plans. Dipendra naturally was declared regent but didn't last long, his uncle got the job.
All very normal royal family stuff, until you ponder the "deity question". The Kings of Nepal were believed for many centuries ( & still are by many ) to living incarnations of Vishnu much in the same way that the former titular heads of government of the neighbouring country Tibet were thought ( & still are by more ) to be living incarnations of the Buddha of compassion.
This really fascinated me. Some people suggested that King Gyanendra (the last King) was a perfectly normal human being in most respects until he became the King and only then did Vishnu come into it ( or to be more precise "him" ). Vishnu thus not being like Christ or our Merrovingians a heriditary matter, its more like a sudden shock & you get used to it. Gyanendra's Vishnu experience was different from his brother's - whereas his brother had grown up expecting to be Vishnu (coz his dad was Vishnu) and was all in favour of "democratic reforms", Gyanendra who became Vishnu after his drugged up psychotic nephew was Vishnu for a only little while - was an absolutist. Not so surprising, we know the great grandchildren of Jesus weren't meek or gentle and kept slaves to do the heavy lifting and stuff that needs lots of saliva.
Speaking of heavy lifting an awful lot of that gets done up the mountains, or to be precise the mountain (it being the biggest mountain on earth). More than 500 people have climbed to the top of the "bloody big mountain" since May 29, 1953 when the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Norwegian Sherpa Tenzing both dressed in tweeds brought a small and select group of Erse speakers to the summit of "Everest / Chomolungma / Qomolangma / Sagarmatha" each named westerner or to be more precise" caucasian" needs a team of sherpers to carry thier watercolours and get richly rewarded with a pair of country knit stockings at the end.
Well it was all downhill from there really...


The Chinese government have just opened the Qinghai Tibet rail-road. It is the highest railroad ever built is 1140km in length and will allow for Chinese job seekers to travel to Tibet and take all thier jobs.

I await to see if Prachanda the leader of the Maoists is declared a god. I wonder do the solidarity groups in Ireland have any thoughts on that.

author by Drew - wprmpublication date Sat Jul 01, 2006 18:13author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The revolution in Nepal is being carried out by the people of Nepal. No gods have been sighted.

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by James Cpublication date Sat Jul 01, 2006 18:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tibet is in fact only one of 55 national minorities in multinational China and the country was reassimilated back into China in 1950 and not invaded. This was because at the time of the Liberation China had broken up temporarily under the pressure of the civil war. No one really cared at the time and it wasn't until slavery and serfdom was abolished that the Dalai Lama (whose own family were in possession of around 4,000 slaves), openly backed by the CIA (they claim that this was their most successful counter-revolutionary war they have run so far), called for a rebellion. This would have got nowhere but for the Nehru government that saw this contra war as a means to sieze control of parts of China. Chinese expansionism has had a major effect on the region, including in Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim. The latter is now a part of India.
Of course, the Tibetans, like any national minority, should have the right to secede itself from any country that is dominating it, but a sobre look at Tibet reveals that there has never been any rebellion against the central government from the grass-roots level.
In 1905, the British, hoping to set Tibet up as a buffer between India and China attempted to take Tibet from China. Ultimately the Dalai Lama collaborated, being set up as a puppet of the British. However, in the initial stages of the incursion, he was handing out amulets to his serf army telling them these would protect them from bullets. They didn't. It was hardly surprising therefore that, years later, this serf army defected en masse to the Chinese PLA who were in Szechuan at the time.
The futer of Tibet therefore should be decided by the Tibetan people themselves, and not Richard Gere, the Dalai Lama, the CIA or any other such interested parties.

author by pat cpublication date Sat Jul 01, 2006 22:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nepal and Ireland share some similarities. They have both been oppressed by a larger neighbour for 800 years. Nepal has the right to self determination. At present it is militatily occupied by the army of State Capitalist China. Supporting the right of Nepal to sdelf determination does not mean that you have to support the Dali Lama. Supporting the right for Irish Self Determination does not mean that you have to support the Pope.

author by The Dilly-Dally Llamapublication date Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Surely you mean Tibet ? Nepal is a (nominally) sovereign state and has been for quite some time. Even the Brits didn't manage to take it over (or weren't interested).

Related Link: http://internet.cybermesa.com/~rotto/hist4.html
author by cropbeye - Nonepublication date Sun Jul 02, 2006 17:16author email cropbeye at yahoo dot comauthor address Cork Cityauthor phone Report this post to the editors

It's a sorry pass for the people of Nepal . All they have to choose between is Monarchists or Maoist's.
So eventually will the above cheerleaders embrace a future Nepalese Maoist Govermnent enter into a massive export drive to
the United States including clothing and shoding most Americans. Will they continue to support massive spending on the military
including developing deep water nuclear submarine facilities. Will they support the imprisoning of journalists and trade unionists
the massive use of child labour and sharp practices. Will the new Nepalese Maoists hold hands with Bejing as the supression of
the Ughirs continue as well as the marginalisation of the people of Tibet.Will a Maoist government go on to join the World Trade
Organisation and retain all power of judiciary and governmetal authority with the one party?

Red Flag how are you!

author by wachynski@yahoo.compublication date Sun Jul 02, 2006 20:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's pleasing to see this interview has attracted such a lot of interest. The interview itself was fascinating, a real mine of information (I must declare an interest here, I am a Maoist and a supporter of the revolution in Nepal).
Some of the comments posted about the interview are a little ill-informed. We are seeing some of the well-worn stories about Mao 'killing millions' again. It is important to note that all the figures that supposidly show that Mao killed millions in the Great Leap Forward (that began in 1958) only appeared over twenty years after the event , when Deng Xiaoping was running a campaign against the ideological legacy of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Figures of '30 million dead' in the Great Leap Forward are ridiculous. There were problems during this period, but most of the peasants believed natural disasters were mainly to blame not Mao.
During the period of Mao's rule from 1949-1976 life expectancy increased from 35 to 65. Agricultural production leaped ahead of population growth and industrial production increased by 11.2% a year.
It's because of the stunning successes of the Maoist model that Maoist movements from Nepal to India to Turkey to the Phillipines are striving to repeat the advances of Mao's China. For an alternative view of Mao visit www.re-evaluationmao.org.

author by pat cpublication date Sun Jul 02, 2006 21:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i prostrate myself before you oh great exaled one. i made a mistake. for Nepal read Tibet. The Yeti made me do it.

author by Jerome - Road to the Futurepublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 16:27author email aroadtothefuture at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, a very good and well-written interview and surely an invaluable personal experience into a revolutionary movement.

If anyone wants more information about the Road to the Future Brigades, or if you want to join the next brigade which is due to leave in November, contact us at:


author by Historianpublication date Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How refreshing to read a defence of the legacy of the Great Helmsman. I look forward to similar threads on the magnificent acheivements of the third reich or perhaps a paean to Pol Pot and the Khmer revolution?

author by Williampublication date Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Historian, you have obviously been reading too much Jung Chang. Please try to get over the reactionary historical rubbish so-called academic works and actually read some Mao yourself.

author by historianpublication date Tue Jul 04, 2006 13:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Top of my list as soon as I finish 'Mein Kampf', 'The Foundations of Leninism', 'The Myth of the 20th Century' and other such classics.

author by Mr. T.publication date Tue Jul 04, 2006 16:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Words are bullshit - deeds are the true measure of a man's cut. Mao's little red book contains nothing more than quaint, homely aphorisms for the illiterate classes to rally behind as they exalt in the luxury of their state-sponsored daily bowl of rotting rice.

Instead of reading these bogus homilies for the mentally challenged, examine Mao's actual deeds:
-Starved through failed collectivisation or forcibly worked to death about 20 million during the truly savage and idiotic Great Leap Forward
-Elimination of education for nearly 2 entire generations of Chinese as a result of the Cultural Revolution - resulting in intellectual, economic and social retardation that is still felt today.
-Institutional and collective persecution, mob rule through "self criticism", and outright slaughter that totals between 40 and 60 million innocents over Mao's term.
-His philosophies are the central core blueprint behind such social atrocities as the Khmer Rouge and North Korea's Juche.

These deeds stand on their own regardless of what Mao's ghost writers may have penned in his name. But if you need some words about Mao to fill your head, there's at least one non-reactionary memoir of life under the psychotic Mao that's a must-read: Jan Wong's "Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now". Jan was a former true Maoist believer and the book describes her first hand experiences living under Mao's malignantly savage and brutal rule during the Cultural Revolution.

author by historianpublication date Tue Jul 04, 2006 16:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent book. Indeed, whatever the political bias of the author there are sufficient accounts of the reality of life in Mao's China to place any excuse for him on the same par as Nazi apologists for Hitler.

author by tom eilepublication date Tue Jul 04, 2006 16:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"They have to change their action before we could provide assistance to the Maoists in any way or to a government which they will be part of,” US ambassador James Moriarty

“We will not go back to war....” Prachanda

“We have already called the Maoists to talks and once the dialogue process starts rebel leaders detained in various prisons will also be released.” Cabinet Minister Man Shrestha

“We are ready to put our army under the new prime minister. Then the guerrilla army would become the national army and no longer remain the Maoist army,” Prachanda

The Maoists even have their own dissidents - Rabindra Shrestha and Anukul . You couldn’t make it up !

"It would be wrong to categorise the recent expulsion of two former leaders, Rabindra Shrestha and Anukul from the Party as any kind of significant split. These were expelled due to, among other things, their going public with their dissent accusing senior leaders, Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai of political deviation as well as lodging, personal attacks against them. Though the Party leadership had been trying to sort out the differences with them through inner-party debate and "had instructed them to present their discontents in a disciplined way ", they chose instead to attack the party and the revolution blatantly showing utter disregard of Party discipline and demeanour."

author by James Cpublication date Wed Jul 05, 2006 18:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There have been many biographies of Mao and autobiographies of those whose parents were corrupt officials (a common problem) during the revolutionary period of Mao's China, Jung Chang being the favourite among the western intellectual set. By Chang’s own admission, during the Cultural Revolution that was inaugurated to root out “capitalist-roaders”, her own brother was involved in the black market and her other brother was a criminal gang member. Not surprisingly therefore, like herself, all her siblings are currently doing well through their own capitalist enterprises. What Chang and her ilk fails to point out however, is that the Cultural Revolution sought and succeeded in bringing widespread education to the rural areas of China, admittedly at the expense of many of the urban elite, greatly improving the overall education within the country. The writers of the hysterical anti-Mao rants, almost exclusively come from this better-off section of Chinese society. While their self pity is consumed by an eager middle class western audience that loves its foriegn victims to be non-threatening and in love with their own insipid liberal philosophies, it does not help us correctly analyse actual events in history and the lessons that they might bring.

Although there have been numerous outrageous charges leveled against Mao, one of the more serious is that the Chairman was directly responsible for the deaths of around 70 million people, an apparently randomly generated estimate by Jung Chang. Most of these were apparently accrued during the Great Leap Forward of 1958-60. Hostile western scholars have in the past, estimated that between 16.4 million and 29.5 million people died in the Great Leap, a common argument being that this was due to executions ordered by the Chinese Communist Party. However, in more recent times it has become accepted that the deaths at this time were due to famine, natural disasters and starvation. Halliday/Chang however, attempt to attribute these starvation deaths to malicious programs and mismanagement of industrialisation and the distribution of goods. As always, the first problem with such myths is that they are based on inaccurate statistics that compare projected population size with actual population size. This method assumes constant population growth, which is far from reality during tumultuous periods in history such as revolution and population displacement.

In reality, the deaths attributed to the Great Leap were mostly due to starvation in the Great Leap's aftermath (1960-1), when flooding and drought seriously affected over half of China's landmass. The Soviet Union further aggravated this situation when it withdrew its technological aid in 1960, causing a virtual halt in most of China’s industry. Thousands of Soviet technicians who were in China to assist with industrial development left within the period of a month, taking with them their blueprints and stopping supply shipments.

author by Dantepublication date Wed Jul 05, 2006 19:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr T wrote: "Elimination of education for nearly 2 entire generations of Chinese as a result of the Cultural Revolution - resulting in intellectual, economic and social retardation that is still felt today".

China is going through a major economic boom. Whatever you think of the cultural revolution, education did improve greatly. The Chinese themselves admit this and their current leaders were largely the cultural revolutions enemies.

author by Dantepublication date Wed Jul 05, 2006 19:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr T wrote: "His philosophies are the central core blueprint behind such social atrocities as the Khmer Rouge and North Korea's Juche"

Actually Mao Zedong's theories and practice are completely different from both the philosophies of Kim Il Sung and Pol Pot. It just takes a little bit of non-aligned study to arrive at this conclusion.

author by hmmmmmmpublication date Wed Jul 05, 2006 19:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Without apologising for the cultural revolution, its real term effects are not very much appreciated out of sinology circles. Many intelligent but often indulged people were sent to the provinces to engage in farm labour, something which rarely really harms anyone, and despite the official propaganda a cross-poliniation occured. There is a wonderful movie (state funded and approved) in the PRChina which tells the story of several such young academic bourgoise types, one of whom continued to play western classical music on his violin & then teaching peasant children to perform the same music. Each piece of repetoire just got renamed. So he knew as did his possibly effette pals that the music was Mozart, but the kids who learnt it called the same music -"Mozart's 5th song in praise of chairman Mao". This explains the curious titles still to be seen in Beijing music stores for much of the western repetoire.

Of course there were elements of the "gulag" about much the cultural revolution, but there were positive elements as well. & it would help many to understand the rigid class & caste structure of China and its provinces before that period. Fact is very few people who write about China & the Chinese have even the most basic notion of Chinese civilisation, history or culture.

author by Topperpublication date Wed Jul 05, 2006 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Oh god, this has degenerated into a "Mao is great, he never killed nobody, he loved children and small animals" discussion. Don't think we'll get much rational discussion from now on, but before the argie-bargie carries on, I'd just like to make a couple of points:

1) The vast majority of people on the Left I've ever met despise Mao, consider him to be a tyrant and a butcher, and would regard the Maophile on this thread as a deluded crank. This is just for the benefit of "historian", before he works himself into a frenzy about the evil murderous totalitarian Left again.

2) I can't claim to be any kind of expert on the Nepalese Maoists, or Nepal in general. But I'm inclined to distrust any movement that cites Mao as its main inspiration. Pat C may be right, that the Nepalese Maoists have no intention of carrying out any of the crazy, murderous policies of the Great Helmsman.

Still, I wouldn't trust them to be in power on their own. I see from the article above that they are part of the same organisation as Peru's Sendero Luminoso, who would certainly have carried out a Khmer Rouge-style slaughter if they had ever taken power (their behaviour while fighting against the Peruvian government made that clear). I'd want a bit more reassurance about their long-term goals before offering them any kind of support.

I'd say this is why most progressive activists outside Nepal have been very wary - having seen the experience of foolish radicals who supported Stalin or Mao in the past, they don't want to make the same mistake.

Still, I wouldn't demonise the Nepalese Maoists either, and I'm willing to be proved wrong if the evidence is there. Whatever else you might say, the revolution against the monarchy this year was a hugely positive development.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 16:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maoists denounce UN arms approach

The Maoists rigorously defend their right to bear arms.

Maoist rebels in Nepal have angrily denounced a government move to ask the UN to monitor the number of weapons held by both sides ahead of elections. They say that the move should not have been made without consulting them.

Both sides clinched a landmark power-sharing deal last month after the king abandoned direct rule in April.

Full story at link.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5153280.stm
author by Joe - WSM - personal capacitypublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 17:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Halliday/Chang however, attempt to attribute these starvation deaths to malicious programs and mismanagement of industrialisation and the distribution of goods.

Just finished their book and although it is pretty flawed by a pathological hatred of Mao this is not a fair summary of their argument at all.

Their argument is that during the GLF the ridiculous claims that were made for agricultural productivity gains were not taken seriously by Mao. Rather such claims were promoted so the state could greatly boost the claim for food it levelled on the countryside. The state needed to greatly raise its demands in order to
1. Curry favour with radical movements elsewhere by providing loans, gifts etc. They make a big deal of this but I suspect in percentage terms it is more symbolic - the idea of China providing 'aid' to East Germany for instance.
2. Get the foreign currency it needed in order to massively build up the arms industry and in particular China's development of a nuclear weapon.

The end result was that in the years of the GLF the state was taking most food from the peasants on the basis of the (false) claims of bumper harvests. Halliday/Chang point out that the cost of developing the bomb in those years was sufficent to buy 500-600 calories a day per person on the world market. Hence they say the development of the bomb cost 30 million Chinese lives - their estimate for the deaths due to famine in the GLF period - these extra calories would have saved all of them.

You can 'see' the reality of the GLF deaths in the population graph based on official Chinese government figures. The enormous gap is of those who were born between 1959 and 1963 - famine drastically reduces both fertility and the rate of infant survival.

It is quite weird to see modern day 'maoists' justifying Mao's policy on the grounds that it somehow help the peasantry when in fact the victims of starvation were for the most part peasants rather than city dwellers.


author by Joepublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 17:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry forgot to post the source for the graph. It is from http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/LUC/ChinaFood/data/pop/...m.htm but you will find similar ones anywhere including on official Chinese sites.

author by Drew - World People's Resistance Movementpublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 18:41author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Topper writes: "Still, I wouldn't trust them to be in power on their own. I see from the article above that they are part of the same organisation as Peru's Sendero Luminoso, who would certainly have carried out a Khmer Rouge-style slaughter if they had ever taken power (their behaviour while fighting against the Peruvian government made that clear). I'd want a bit more reassurance about their long-term goals before offering them any kind of support."

The Peruvian Communist Party (PCP) - known in the western media as Sendero Luminoso - is another organisation that recieves much unwarranted negative propaganda but the frequent allusion to the khmer rouge has no historical basis, the latter having declared Maoism to be "outdated". But, it certainly provides a useful bogeyman in place of reasoned analysis. In response to such claims in which the PCP was accused of being, "demented, messianic, blood-thirsty, Pol Pot-ian, dogmatic, sectarian, etc", Chairman Gonzalo was to reply:

"To me they represent lies and the inability to understand peoples war, and I understand that, the enemies of the revolution will never be able to understand peoples war. With respect to the charge that the peasantry is caught between two fires, this is an elaborate invention because it is precisely the peasantry that makes up the majority of the Peoples Guerrilla Army. What must be understood is that the Peruvian state, with its armed forces and repressive apparatus, wants to drown the revolution in blood. This is our understanding, and we would recomend that these gentlemen study a little about warfare in general, revolutionary war, and mainly about people's war and Maoism. Although I doubt that they would understand it, because to do so requires a certain class stand."

One of the most sinister claims made against the PCP was that they were antigay and had murdered nine homosexuals as a result. The reality was that the killings had been carried out by the MRTA and even though they claimed it, the west was only interested in blackening the Maoists. To be fair, the MRTA may now have repudiated their actions, reactionary and brutal as they were. I just don't know if they did.

One of the reasons that the NCP(M) has not recieved such vitriolic attention is that the country depends on tourism, 90% of the dividends going into the pockets of western middle-men. If the west began ranting about khmer rouge style maoists in Nepal tourism might suffer and revenue would decrease. Big businness hates communism but it loves money even more.

If the current Maoist project were to fail, we can of course expect to hear tales of massacres that, as always, Maoists seem to be able to carry out in retrospect.

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by James Cpublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 18:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually I was referring to claims made in Wild Swans (please don't make me dig them up and quote them). Although it is a study in self pity and sefishness, it is still worth reading for much of its early commentary. The latest book is so bad that they would never have got a publisher had not the swans book been so popular. It really isn't worth the paper its printed on. What was Halliday thinking?

As to the rural question, certainly mistakes were made and because the countryside is always poorer than urban centres, the peasants took the brunt of any disasters. This however, was the last of China's many major famines which should be important in itself. Famines before the Liberation never seem to get mentioned, do they?

Either way, I can't believe you brought a graph to this debate.

author by tom eilepublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 20:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is nothing on that BBC link to suggest the Maoists are rigorously defending their right to bear arms. What they are denouncing is not being adequately consulted about the decision to refer the issue of arms to the UN ahead of an election .
"Our correspondent says that the objections of the Maoists seem to be more a matter related to procedure rather than an issue of principle."
The Maoists agreed as far back as last autumn to place their army under international supervision in the event of elections . I think they are just arguing about modalities.

author by Mark Grehanpublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 20:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat was quoting the caption underneath the photo on the BBC article your issue is with them not him. Good article though, well done Pat C.

author by Topperpublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 21:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Either way, I can't believe you brought a graph to this debate. "

I'm afraid that sums up the concern shown by Mao's latter-day admirers for the cold, hard facts about his regime.

And I stand by what I said about Sendero Luminoso - while still in opposition, they murdered their opponents on the Left, assassinating trade unionists, radical priests (whom they dubbed "clerical fascists"), peasant organisers and other "enemies of the people". I'm basing this on what I've read from progressive journalists based in Latin America who have no motive for smearing Sendero Luminoso with false claims.

The other major Maoist guerrilla force, the Filipino NPA, has been issuing death threats in recent times against left-wing activists who don't follow its line.

Whether the Nepalese Maoists are just as bad, I don't feel qualified to say. But the track record of movements that placed Mao on their banner isn't very promising, so caution is advisable.

Oh, and regarding the Khmer Rouge abandoning Maoism - this was a pragmatic adaptation to international politics, one the Great Helsman himself surely would have admired. After all, not only did he align himself with Richard Nixon while the bombing of Indo-China (including Cambodia) was ongoing, he supported Pinochet's coup in Chile and ordered the Chinese embassy in Santiago to hand over Chilean Maoists to the secret police. A true hero of progressive humanity!

author by Philip Eaglespublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 10:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An interesting debate about Mao and China, but let's get back to the main subject - Nepal.

Take a look at the different forces in Nepal:

1. The monarchy now represented by King Gyanendra and a few diehard reactionaries. What have these people ever done for the people of Nepal? They lord it around their palaces thinking they are hindu gods, Prince Paras murders Nepali citizens in cold blood and they have never ever done anything for the development of the masses in the countryside. Now it looks like this force is being sidelined, though with some loyalty from the army it could still come back to the forefront.

2. The Seven Party Alliance with the Congress and UML parties at the head. Again, what have these people done for the people of Nepal? In short, they are mainly the representatives of keeping Nepal a dependent state, in unequal treaties with India which rapes it of its natural resources (especially water and timber) and keeping the countryside in a state of underdevelopment by hoping for foreign aid and NGO projects which inevitably end in failure or being siphoned off by the bourgeoisie in Kathmandu. The Nepali people also keenly remember Congress's role in Operation Romeo and Operation Kilo Sera II when they tried to destroy the Maoists but ended up killing and raping numerous innocent civilians and thus making the Maoists more stronger.

3. The CPN(M). What have they done for Nepal? Well, there is no bloodbath to talk of. Although 13,000 have died as a result of the people's war so far the vast majority of these were killed by the state forces not the Maoists. Instead the countryside has REAL rural development for the first time ever. The Martyrs Road is a very good example of this. Can you imagine living on steep mountainsides where you have never even had a road! If the Maoists were given a chance to develop the whole country with no interference from outside, no worry of brutal attack by the royalist forces, and no worry of brutal occupation by a US/Indian army then we would all see clearly the only real positive force in Nepal at the moment.

At the moment the SPA can be considered progressive because it is generally against the outright reactionary pro-feudalist and pro-imperialist monarchy. This is why New Democracy is uniting the people of Nepal in their struggle.

Delve deeper than the bourgeois media does, seek the truth from the facts.

author by James Cpublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 16:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Either way, I can't believe you brought a graph to this debate."

Actually that was a throwaway remark that you chose to find sinister. I use statistics myself. The relevance of the PCP is that much learning afround political line and military strategy was gleaned from the PCP war and is now being applied in Nepal.

What you say about the khmer rouge is a lie. They never declared themselves to be maoist so therefore had no reason to renounce this ideology. You either knew this or "just heard it somewhere and decided to believe it".

As Mao said, "seek truth from facts", but you just seem to want to defend a corner. This is of course quite normal in cyberspace. The beliefs are so radical because the stakes are so low. Here it is really difficult to get people to go to a protest march in the centre of town, so when people walk for miles to oppose the king and support the maoists, we can safely assume that they are thinking hard about the road they have taken.

author by pat cpublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 16:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Do you have more info about the piece I posted above from the BBC site: Maoists denounce UN arms approach? If so, please post an extract and a link.



author by Drew - World People's Resistance Movementpublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 16:17author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mao said it better than I could:

"The most ridiculous person in the world is the "know-all" who picks up a smattering of hearsay knowledge and proclaims himself "the world's Number One authority"; this merely shows that he has not taken a proper measure of himself. Knowledge is a matter of science, and no dishonesty or conceit whatsoever is permissible. What is required is definitely the reverse - honesty and modesty. If you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself... If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution."

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by Cormac Eilepublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 16:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The funniest thing of all is that all you Maoists here would be the first "intellectuals" to be worked to death in the fields, or shot for being able to read.

Hilarious to see people actually defending Mao in this day and age. Hey you lot, allow me to introduce you to cuddly ole Uncle Joe. He's great crack, and a hell of an engineer...

My other uncle Kim is great with the oul fireworks, but d'you know, he spends all his housekeeping on them, and keeps forgetting to get the grub in for his slaves, ooops, I meant "Workers".

Careful now, you might commit a thought crime. Have a quick two minute hate and it'll be alright.

author by Cormac Eilepublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 16:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a load of bollox to say that if you want to know about revolution you have to take part in one. You can learn all you want about revolution to be an innocent victim of it, or in suppressing a revolution.

Wait and see, this revolution in Nepal will be, as The Who put it "Meet the new Boss, same as the Old Boss". The people are getting fooled again!

author by Joepublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 17:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

James the purpose of posting the graph is that it is a very clear visual indicator that the period of starvation was the period of the GLF and not as had been claimed a couple of years afterwards.

Your right of course that there is not so much discussion of the famines that proceeded the maoist period but then it is also true that you don't get fans of the Gunxi clique or the other warlord gangs of that period suggesting they serve as some sort of model for today. As to the GLF being the last famine in China - well yes but this only underlines its root in maoist policy rather than natural disaster.

Anyway if its any comfort to you I acknowledge that the general method mao used of building industry based on super exploitation of the peasantry wasn't that different from that used by Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and even the US backed regime in South Korea. Nor in proportion to population is the death toll of this method in China greater then it was in the Soviet Union.

On Nepal - I guess it would be possible for the Nepalese maoists to distill some sort of political method from his early writings (which are not bad) that wouldn't automatically intend to ape his later methodology. But that their supporters in the west are led by people who as we have seen here not only have no problem with mao but still stand over the Shining Path would not fill me with hope on that score.

author by Pucapublication date Sat Jul 08, 2006 00:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is easy for you armchair warrior trotskyites and social democrats tapping away furiously on your keyboards commenting on all others who do not fit into your purist forms of untested ideologies. While professing in your smug self importance that all others are wrong and if only we all just listened to you, the whole world would be perfect. In reality all you lot have shown us from history is that when the communists were fighting and dying in China against the imperialist Japanese army the trotskyites were cosying up to the Japanese trying to do deals and sell out their people. In Germany when the German Communist Party (KPD) were struggling and fighting againat the Nazis calling for a united left front surprise, surprise the social democrats were doing deals behind their back, is it any wonder that real revolutionaries would not take you lot seriously. Revolutionary Maoism has been tested from the jungles of Peru to the mountains of Nepal and from the vast expanse of China to the streets of the United States of America. It has not been found wanting which is more than I can say about you lot, so on a final note I would like to say, I respect the revolutionary Maoists who put their principles into action and go to the ends of the world to bring their ideals to fruition.

author by Topperpublication date Sat Jul 08, 2006 16:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ok, having read over the contributions of the various Maoists on this thread, I'm satisfied that we're dealing with deluded fanatics who are willing to excuse any crimes in the name of "revolution". If the endless piles of corpses generated by their creed aren't enough to make an impact on them, clearly no arguments from me, Joe, Cormac Eile or anyone else will. You might as well try convincing a Christian fundamentalist that human beings evolved from apes.

Anyway, back to the original point I made - these deluded cranks are a miniscule minority, the vast majority of people on the Left I've ever met despise Mao. It remains to be seen how the Nepalese Maoists will develop, whether they can be a liberating force in Nepal or just end up creating a new form of tyranny.

As Joe said, you might be able to come up a fairly harmless ideology by taking some of Mao's political writings at face value without trying to imitate the practice of his regime - it wouldn't be my starting-point, but there are a few examples of radical organisations that started off with sympathy for Mao without ending up like Sendero Luminoso (the Manifesto group in Italy and the Dutch Socialist Party are two example; the Black Panthers also liked to quote Mao). It's possible the Nepalese guerrillas could follow the same path, but I don't know enough to say how likely that is. The further they drift away from orthodox Maoism (which has always meant hyper-Stalinism) the better.

author by James Cpublication date Sat Jul 08, 2006 18:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Someone wrote: "The people are getting fooled again!"

Luckily there are always plenty of intelligent people on this web, unaffected by extreme poverty, to put them right. Luckily, the peasants in Nepal don't have to listen to these armchair lectures on how foolish they are.

For the record, the graph you posted cannot be treated as reliable around the GLF period as there are no reliable figures from that time. As I pointed out in a previous posting, all information from the time were based on inaccurate statistics that compare projected population size with actual population size. If I am not mistaken the figures that this graph is making reference to were gathered in Szechuan province and projected over the whole country. This was at a time when over half of China's land mass was afflicted with major flooding. At the time of the Black Death in Europe a similar problem is acknowledged when it is recognised that around 70% of the population were on the move throughout the century due to the catastrophes of the time. There are no reliable figures on population growth for this time either. The fact that the current Chinese regime is ideologically opposed to communism ensures that they have no reason to admit that they "don't really know".

The people in such countries as Nepal and Peru, it is at least acknowledged, are poor and oppressed, but when they resist, they are manipulated by forces that are somehow 'far worse'. This shows the class-bias inherent within much of the western European left, they admit that things are bad, but mutter darkly about how things could get worse if "the mob", that's ordinary people to you and me, should take over, ultimately finding security in the status quo.

Also, just because there are very few Maoists in the western left, that doesn't mean Maoism is not a powerful international force. The Indian Home Minister recently admitted that 350million people in India live in Maoist controlled areas of the country. Check this for yourself, they call it "The Red Corridor". Because politics is a matter of life and death over there, they probably wouldn't have much time for the Irish left.

author by Drew - World People's Resistance Movementpublication date Sat Jul 08, 2006 18:34author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is this the normal nature of a debate here on indymedia? A few wild claims, some random insults and then a hissing tantrum declaring the opponants "fanatics".

The reality of political struggle is that you have to make mistakes to advance. This is what we term the, 'Theory-Practice-Theory' approach, the second theory being based on what we have learned from putting the first theory into practice. This is why none of the international Maoist organisations have attempted a three-day sparrow killing policy.

Many of the more popular ideologies here in the west don't get beyond the theoretical stage and it is therefore easy to be self-righteous about an idea that has made no mistakes. Theory always looks better than concrete reality and it is not surprising that the hottest vitriole of the theorising left is dumped on the heads of the practicing left. As Engels pointed out, however, "the working classes are practical men", theory is for students.

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by Joepublication date Sun Jul 09, 2006 13:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm as little impressed by one lot of European lefties calling another lot of European lefties, 'Europen lefties' as I am with the 'middle class' equivelent in trotskyist circles.

That aside James C's For the record, the graph you posted cannot be treated as reliable around the GLF period as there are no reliable figures from that time. misses the point of why I posted that particular graph. It is not based on figures from the period of the GLF but on a survey of the age groups in the population in 1990.

It shows that in 1990 there were far fewer 28,29,30 and 31 year olds in the population than you'd expect. The only plausable mechanism for this is a starvation induced decline in fertility across most of the population in the years when the missing people were not born. Counting back from 1990 this is the period from 1959-63, exactly the years you would expect if the starvation was due to the policies of the GLF.

In 1990 the Chinese state was well capable of accurately surveying its own population.

author by Topperpublication date Sun Jul 09, 2006 19:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As I said, fanatics. No possibility of any kind of discussion with these cranks. This is degenerating into self-parody very quickly ("theory is for students", god help us).

Here's my "theory" (student or otherwise): mass murder is a bad thing. Millions of avoidable deaths are a bad thing. Banning opposition parties and sending your opponents to labour camps is a bad thing. And so on. I'd imagine there are quite a few peasants in Nepal who would sympathise with this "theory".

author by James Cpublication date Mon Jul 10, 2006 17:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm only going to answer Joe here for obvious reasons.

Again you are making the error of assuming that because the population fell around the time of the GLF, that it was due to starvation. This is not automatically the case. Birthrates fall in times of major upheaval, and, as I have said the natural disasters that afflicted China at the time, not only cause death but also force people to move on. The old imperial system by which the mandarinate monitored the general Chinese population, was only effective so long as people remained where they were. A normal state of affairs in rural areas until a major catastrophe hits. There is no denying that large numbers of people died during this period, but this was due to the country that the communists had inherited rather than to any of the major changes for the better made after the Liberation.

Anyway Joe, kudos for arguing on something concrete rather than the familiar scare tactics we've been getting from other quarters. Would you not rather argue ideology rather than numbers?

author by Joepublication date Mon Jul 10, 2006 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think once the facts are straightened out a bit we can look at interpretations of the facts.

Look at the graph again, the 3 year GLF drop in birth rate is not small, it is massive. In some years it is half the normal birth rate. Particularly in a population of hundreds of millions this means you are dealing with massive, widespread and prolonged starvation, nothing else could have produced such a drop in fertility (well short of a King Herod but if Mao played that role we'd have heard about it by now!). Further up you'll see the effect of the much talked of 'one child policy' and it is very, very much smaller then the fertility collapse of the GLF.

Yet the period of the GLF was supposidely a period of bumper crops, of increases of 50, 100 and 200%. So in this period when according to offical claims China was awash with food at least half of the population were on the edge of starvation for a prolonged period. The only conclusion is that the production claims of the GLF were not only a lie but that actual food available to the population sharply dropped in that period.

In terms of Nepal if maoists today continue to stand over a lie this big what space is there for any discussion of the facts on the ground in Nepal? Why would I give you the benefit of the dougbt? The best hope would seem to be to hope that the rebels are not very 'good' maoists so that they will kick out the old regime but not carry on with an eqivalent disaster.

author by Dantepublication date Mon Jul 10, 2006 17:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A population doesn't only go into decline due to starvation. In times of economic hardship, especially during a revolutionary situation, the birth rate goes down due to practices adopted by the population themselves. Regrettably, this is thought to have involved an upsurge in the practice of 'infanticide', euphemistically called "bathing the infant" in China for many centuries. Essentially it was a time when the peasantry are believed to have avoided childbirth where possible, as a means to staving off hardship in the short term. No one is claiming that there were no deaths during this time, rather, these were not due to executions (as was first claimed in the west), nor by mismanagement of the economy. Given that China was emerging from both the Qing Dynasty regime, and a short-lived KMT-fascist regime (not to mention the Japanese occupation), it is difficult to swallow the idea that a few socialist policies managed to kick off such a catastrophe.

It is precisely because China was experiencing such hardship that the Chinese people embraced the Chinese Communist Party, in the same way as the Nepalese now are embracing CPN(M).

author by Joepublication date Mon Jul 10, 2006 18:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think I'm wasting my time as ideology is preventing you accepting the obvious but here goes anyway

Dante: Regrettably, this is thought to have involved an upsurge in the practice of 'infanticide', euphemistically called "bathing the infant" in China for many centuries.

But for some reason this practise just lasted for the years of bumper harvets during the GLF? I can see no mechanism for this - did you just make it up to cover you ideology?

Dante: these were not due to executions

A claim I haven't made - anyway for these figures (for birthrate in the years of the GLF) executions could not be an explantion as it would mean executing say half the people aged 19,20,21 in 1980 but not those aged 18 or 22.

Dante: nor by mismanagement of the economy.

Mismanagement is a pretty weak term for a policy that seems to have killed between 15m and 30m through starvation. All the more so when the official line was one of bumper harvests.

We are talking of a process through which the state took so much food off the peasants that average fertility halved. This isn't mismanagement.

Dante: Given that China was emerging from both the Qing Dynasty regime,

The maoists had won the civil war a decade earlier, whatever happened in the GLF was down to Maoism and not the relics of a historical process. After all the birth rate is much higher both before and after the GLF.

Dante: it is difficult to swallow the idea that a few socialist policies managed to kick off such a catastrophe

I can see you are finding it difficult to swallow but it shouldn't be so hard. Here is how it probably went

Under pressure from the party bureaucracy People Collective No1 announces that thanks to the genius of the great Helmsman they have produced 250 tons of grain rather than their usual 100 tons.

In reality they have only produced 90 tons, (the GLF commonly caused wastage).

Using the false claimed figures the Chinese state says that rather than taking 50 tons of grain this year it will take 150 tons. The peasants should be pleased as in theory this will leave them with twice as much grain.

In reality there is only 100 tonnes so it make up the shortfall the seed stocks and the stores also have to be handed over.

Result - starvation.

Multiply that across China and you see the reasons for the decline in fertility in those years.

The key here is to ask if a food policy that starves the peasentry can really be called socialist at all. Once you take that word out then it all becomes easier to understand as we are all familar with famines during which food continued to be exported because profits mattered more than lives.

author by Topperpublication date Mon Jul 10, 2006 19:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Would you not rather argue ideology rather than numbers?"

Again, the concern for facts stated with disarming honesty. The degeneration into self-parody continues apace.

"I'm only going to answer Joe here for obvious reasons. "

Why on earth do you imagine that I'm obliged to show you any courtesy, when you come onto this site and defend one of the greatest mass murderers in history with such transparently bogus arguments? Then dismiss anyone who questions those bogus arguments as "ignorant", "ill-informed", or a "know-it-all".

The current dominance of free-market capitalism all over the world owes a great deal to the disastrous results of so-called "socialist" regimes in Russia, China and Eastern Europe. If any socialist challenge to capitalism is going to be rebuilt, the radical left has to make it absolutely clear that we detest these brutal, murderous dictatorships and would never dream of repeating their practices, even if we had the opportunity. And that means challenging any self-proclaimed "socialists" who still defend Mao or any other tyrant.

Indymedia has a large audience of people who aren't from the radical left. I've no idea how many of them might be following this thread, but I'm certainly not going to let people gather the impression that the Mao-lovers on this thread are in any way representative of those of us who oppose capitalism. As the slogan goes, not in my name.

author by James Cpublication date Mon Jul 10, 2006 21:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's funny how, when you disagree with some people, you are "blinded by ideology". No matter, this thread has about run its course.

Joe seems unable to question his bright shiny graph even though it came from the chinese government. (Now that china has turned capitalist he seems to deem them trustworthy). These statistics however are also based on figures supplied by the bourgeoisie and revisionists, which were enemies of the Great Leap and so therefore they are quite dubious.

So, if you put aside this hostile piece of evidence that you are so fond of, allow me to reiterate. In reality, the deaths attributed to the Great Leap (1958-60) are mostly due to starvation, particularly from the Great Leap's aftermath (1960-1), not executions. Flooding and drought seriously affected over half of China's land in that famine. The Soviet Union withdrew its industrial aid in 1960 causing a virtual halt in most of China's industry. The Soviet Union had agreed to provide about 300 modern industrial plants but only 154 were completed by 1960. Thousands of Soviet technicians who were in China to assist with industrial development left within the period of a month, taking with them their blue-prints and stopping supply shipments.

Mao did claim government responsibility for 800,000 executions between 1949 and 1954. These were popularly sanctioned executions done in people's trials against the most hated landlords and pro-Japanese (pro-imperialist) elements who had terrorized the masses during World War II and its aftermath.

Neither Mao, nor the Chinese Communist Party claimed that the Great Leap Forward had been without mistakes. Self-criticism is an important part of Maoism, and Mao himself wrote self-criticisms on some practices of the Great Leap. Unlike the Soviets, the Chinese admitted when the goals they had set for themselves had been too high, and were unreasonable.

It is not surprising that these myths are so actively propagated by capitalist countries, which are far more deserving of the label "butcher." Fourteen million children, mostly from capitalist Asian countries, die each year from starvation. Using the same methods that the bourgeois scholars and media use, in the United States in 1986, 75,980 Blacks died from having inadequate health care. If the United States were the same size as China, that would mean the death of over 300,000 Black people annually! (2.5 million people dead each year if there were as many Blacks as Chinese.)

With a quarter of the world's children, if China hadn't been liberated by Mao and the Chinese Communist Party, that situation would be much worse today. As it was, 22 million Chinese died of starvation during World War II, thanks to Japanese imperialism and the U.S.-backed regime. Under Mao and the Chinese Communist Party, the life expectancy of the Chinese people doubled from 35 under the capitalist Kuomintang to 69. In contrast, the starvation in capitalist countries and the inadequate health care for Blacks in the United $tates is so routine and whitewashed that no capitalist politician bothers to make self-criticism or mention the problems.

It was James Connolly who once said that anarchists (of whom Joe is one), are men whose ideology "is but an extreme form of that which we are in revolt against".

Hardly surprising therefore that he feels so comfortable with the practitioners of the status quo.

author by Klimenti Voroshilovpublication date Tue Jul 11, 2006 01:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting story, but what worries me is the fact that an Irish citizen became part of a conflict, could he be charged with a "War Crime"?, Does he violate Irelands Neutrality in any way? If Captured by Nepal Government Forces could he be declared a Mercenary? or just a Foreign Terrorist by their government?

Strictly speaking, did he Violate International law (Hague Conventions, Geneva Protocols) by his actions? by that I mean that by putting himself as an Irish citizen into a civil war, did he go too far in his support by becoming party to the conflict?

author by Mr. T.publication date Tue Jul 11, 2006 01:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If Mephistopheles provided only these two options, from a strictly healthcare point of view only an idiot or a brainwashed Maoist would choose being mystically transported into the body of a sick average Chinese national rather than a sick black man in America.

What you deem "inadequate" healthcare in America for blacks is infinitely better than what 99% of the Chinese could ever dream of. Even today, people in China are still dying from regular bubonic plague outbreaks (black death) and WHO estimates that there are 1.2 million Chinese people presently infected with leprosy. There is absolutely no concept of preventative medicine in China aside from what's available in private clinics for the newly rich. When was the last time there was a bubonic plague outbreak in America where anyone died? You reckon there are substantial numbers of infected untreated Hanson's disease suffers in America? Only in the cloud cuckoo land Maoist upside down utopian universe of your dreams. You should probably go visit rural China before you spread this sort of nonsensical shite around Indy again.

And for your information in the USA it's the uninsured working poor that are really fecked with respect to access to health care - be they black or white or brown. You probably don't want to hear this but black and white Americans on the dole get better access to health care through Medicaid handouts than privately insured people in Ireland do. And that's a situation that someone like yourself should get good and wound up about because it's actually within your domain to do something about rather than just talk empty shite about yanks.

So much for your relativistic Maoist wet dreams.

author by Gary - Revolutionary Union of Socialistspublication date Wed Jul 12, 2006 19:03author email revunisoc at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

This debate, what I have read of it, appears to have degraded into some kind of fetishistic worship of a graph. It occurs to me that some people have way to much time on their hands and not enough experience of the outside world. That Tipper fellow really does get rather excited when he is being ignored, doesn't he?

Although it does somewhat stick in my throat, speaking up for Maoist leftists, I should like to point out that the above graph is as they have been saying, quite unreliable.

Although the the Great Leap Forward was a Maoist project and consequently it is not surprising that it failed, it has to be acknowledged whether or not we want to believe it, that much of the early population figures were gathered by conducting a census in one province and conflating it over the country. Joe seems unable to accept that there are problems with his early figures (or indeed his lovely graph). The graph isn't a lie as the maoists claim, it just isn't accurate and there really aren't any reliable figures from this time. Joe, I noticed, didn't seem too concerned about dismissing the Great Leap figures out of hand even though he obviously made these up off the cuff.

Of course it is a nice graph Joe, and it certainly seems to have non-plussed the maoists, but I'm afraid it cannot be trusted and I think it is more wishful thinking on your part to indignantly proclaim a famine, not to mention all the other niggling little charges that you carelessly cast up that owe more to Orwell than to history.

As to Nepal, I would have more faith in the CPN(UML) than the maoists, who continue to base their support on the peasantry. I would have liked to know more about the UML people the interviewee mentioned, and their participation in the latest protests there. Are there still any maoists on this thread?

I believe that maoism was one of the greatest distortions of Marxism-Leninism and it was Deng Xiaoping who took China out of the chaos of the cultural revolution, guiding the country towardds conditions that are more conducive to creating a genuinly proletarianised country. There was a period of malaise under Zhang Zemin, but Hu Jintao is very much a leader in the Dengist mould, efficient yet underlit.

Also Mr T, I've been to rural China and I'm afraid you are wrong. I suspect however, that you already know that.

Long live Deng!

author by Joepublication date Wed Jul 12, 2006 19:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Gary I've already explained that this particular graph is useful precisely because it does not use figures gathered in the period of the GLF (which would be unreliable). It is from the 1990 census a period when the Chinese state was quite capable of gathering accurate date. It is not a direct measure of births in the years of the GLF, no reliable figures exist. It is a very exact measure of how many people born in those years were alive in 1990.

The only reason we are still discussing it is because the various maoists are still denying the obvious, that there were mass starvation in the years of the GLF. Their frustration is down to this particular graph being immune to the normal methods they use to dismiss proof of the deaths in those years. As Mao himself might have said 'if you want to argue the politics, you first need to establish the facts, no investigation, no right to argue'.

The graph is explained at http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/LUC/ChinaFood/data/pop/...m.htm but seeing as people are having such problems understanding what it shows I'll reproduce part of the explanation here

China's Total Population by Sex and Age, Census 1990
Source: State Statistical Bureau (1992): 1990 Population Census of China. Beijing

This population pyramid from the 1990 census tells the dramatic story of China's population history for several decades. For instance, one can see China's "baby boom" which peaked in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It started in the 1950 with those generations that - in 1990 - were 35 to 40 years of age. Then the demographic disaster of the "Great Leap Forward" cut down the cohorts to half their size. The number of people that were 28 to 31 years of age in 1990 (that is, they were born between 1959 and 1963) is substantially smaller than the generations before and afterwards. This severe "cut" in China's age structure is due to the deficit of birth during the Great Leap Forward. It is well known that during severe famine years fertility declines sharply. After the Great Leap Forward births rapidly increased again.

The one positive that we can take from this is that it also shows that from right after the maoist victory in '49 the population started to increase. So those who suggest that the old regime were worse than the maoists are wrong, at least outside of the GLF period. Mao can reasonably be claimed to be the lesser evil for those whom choosing the lesser evil is a central part of their politics. I would imagine that same is true of the maoists in Nepal today

author by Topperpublication date Wed Jul 12, 2006 20:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can only presume your post is ironic, Gary. Otherwise the only conclusion we can draw is that you are quite, quite mad

author by Gary - Revolutionary Union of Socialistspublication date Thu Jul 13, 2006 18:51author email revunisoc at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

You misunderstand me Joe, what I am saying is that because the early figures cannot be relied upon, we cannot claim that there was a substantial drop in the population from the time of the GLF as you call it. The deaths are still more likely to have occurred in the years succeeding the GLF years. But again we are only guessing in the dark. Now, are there still any maoists on this thread?

author by Mr. T.publication date Fri Jul 14, 2006 01:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Also Mr T, I've been to rural China and I'm afraid you are wrong. I suspect however, that you already know that. "

I had the great privilege of living and working in Shanghai China for 18 months about 5 years ago. I made several visits to rural areas, and travelled by train to Beijing and onward to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. I saw a lot of rural China and met many real, unrehearsed rural Chinese. What I saw with my own eyes confirmed to me that there is no truth to the myth of classlessness in post-Mao's China, and I imagine classlessness was bogus during and after Mao as well. Rural folks in China in 2001 still lived in a feudal society with the only difference being that warlords are replaced by block or party activists who dole out favours to their favourites or flog their enemies with no more compassion than the uncivilised scum they replaced.

During my time in China I saw people walking barefoot even in cities through snow, wearing what would be light clothing during the summer. Police, policicians and foreign investors drive around in government cars - high spec mercedes were typical - with specically identifying reg plates that permit them to blast through traffic lights without any caution (they cannot be pulled over or penalised), or run over bicyclists or pedestrians with the only potential penalty being a few thousand dollars fine.

Rural China is a place untouched by any moderising forces for several hundred years. Most of it has no electricity, plumbing or other modern essentials. Farm automation is unseen - I've seen old women dragging plows through rock-hard dirt in harnesses designed for oxen or mules. I've seen children seemingly at least 10 years of age running around towns without a stitch on - I reckon it wasn't because they were nudists. It was a truly depressing experience.

According to the many rural folks I spoke to through my Chinese companion, there is - simply put - no proper medical care in the rural districts. In rural China the lucky villages got visits from roving medical practitioners - nurses not doctors - about once a week or once a fortnight. The really ill are taken to hospital in far away cities on the backs of carts, on bicycle handles, or trains (they were always full of very ill people). There are no ambulances or technicians to pick them up and drive them to acident and emergency wards. They use traditional chinese medical methods using herbs and other primitive treatments not because it's more effective but because they either don't know any better or because they can't get access to modern medical care.

I've been in Appalachian america - the poorest district in the country, as well as rural missisippi and florida and louisiana backwoods. These are some of the most backwards and deprived places I've been in the western world, the people live very difficult lives, but even the poorest in these impoverished areas still have the basic fundemenatals of plumbing, electricity and access to emergency medical care. The same was not the case in any of rural China I visited in 2001. In fact the district of Shanghai I lived in had a block of shacks nearby where the inhabitants had no central plumbing - early morning was a bad time to walk down their street - and they cooked their meals over open pit fires in their squalid courtyards. And that was in Shanghai in 2001 - China's wealthiest, most cosmpolitan and most modern city.

Gary, I really don't know what you meant by suggesting I was wrong (how? about what?) or that I know it (fuck you for questioning my integrity). But you sound like you've been on some sort of chinese-disneyland tour of Mao's great contributions to civilisation tour... must have been quite an amusement ride. I hope you got good value for money.

author by historianpublication date Fri Jul 14, 2006 09:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent post. I had a similar experience in rural Cuba. Unfortunately some people do not want to hear the truth. The sooner people realise that a classless society is a myth on a par with the novels of CS. Lewis the better. If the Nepalese Maoists take power the only consequence for the people of Nepal will be horror on the scale that EVERY other Marxist revolution has brought.

author by Peterpublication date Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You both are so laughable. Oh I really respect your going down to experience the real life of the chinese peasant. I bet you were there for all of 5 minutes before you felt the need for a bigmac back in shanghai.

Why do you think Mao's China was a classless society? Have you never read anything about it? The New Democratic revolution in China and the subsequent contiuous socialist revolution until 1976 never ever made China into a classless society. Mao himself said it may take hundreds of years to realise that goal.

Just because there was still poverty in China in 1976 does that mean everything went wrong? You certainly can't claim that poverty in China now has been continuous for millenia. Next you'll be blaming Mao for the creation of migrant labourers working in sweatshops in Shenzhen. China before 1976 and after 1976 are fundamentally different places.

You don't even bother to consider what life was like before 1949. I'm not saying everything was fucking perfect in Mao's time, but you will always be unable to understand the liberating leap made in people's minds under Mao. Can you imagine in the 1940s, the peasants watching one of the revolutionary operas and literally storming the stage when the actor playing the landlord is on!

Don't judge Mao's China by what you see now, try and look at the bigger picture and stop echoing the bourgeois media and writers. I dare you to go and live in the base area in Nepal and see firsthand the liberation of millions of people. Until you need to go back to Kathmandu for a rest anyway.

author by Mr. T.publication date Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My post was in response to the lies put forth propagating the bogus claim that black Americans are dying due lack of access to medical care as a result of capitalist class inequity, with the suggestion that Chinese have a much better and more equitable health care policy as a result of Mao's class struggle. My challenge of this ridiculous lie was mocked, and hence I replied with my personal observations about health care in rural China in comparison to impoverished, black America.

About the peasants' hatred for landlords, warlords, etc. - the present peasants now feel the same way about the elite block activists who have stepped into their shoes and who oppress with even more zeal than their medieval counterparts. Unfortunately today the peasants have no stage to storm because that type of dissent results in either "re-education through hard labour" (translation: Torture) or a quick bullet to the brainpan with invoice for said bullet sent to next of kin. Oh, and by the way, from my ("big-mac" as you mock) travels through China I found that the modern neo-Maoist cult's hero "Little Bottle" is dispised almost as much by rank-and-file Chinese than even Mao... so much for your new, improved cult of personality.

Your weak-hearted acknowledgement that Mao was not perfect is a small but meaningful step towards re-embracing reality. I hope you someday pull your nose out of your little red book and travel around China and talk to its people - even if only to a Shanghai McDonald's. If you are not blind and deaf or completely brainwashed you'll be confronted with a reality very different than the one promoted by Maoist propaganda.

author by Joepublication date Fri Jul 14, 2006 13:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Gary you need to go back and read over the responses I had already made to your point. There is no mechanism that could explain the 'missing' birtths in any years other than that of the GLF, short of, a King Herod like order at some point to kill everyone in a 3 year age group. If that had happened we would have heard of it!

A later famine would not result in the 1990 population structure we see because it would also have killed similar numbers of people in other years.

In case it is not clear (although it should be if you read the posts) the observed shortfall is not a measure of deaths but of a massive drop in birth rate. This happens at times of famine. The graph tells us nothing about how many died during the GLF, if does tell us that it was a time of mass starvation across a majority of the population. Nothing else could leave that pattern. BTW it it was a measure of deaths it would tell us that half the population of those ages had died, a pattern that would require a famine that killed hundreds of millions rather than 'just' 15-30 million.

author by Peterpublication date Fri Jul 14, 2006 13:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Again you fail to see a difference between Mao and Deng. You fail to see that things have changed in China since 1976. You fail to see that the exploitation of the people now is based on capitalist exploitation and is nothing to do with what Mao envisioned, in fact he spent a good ten years of cultural revolution warning people that this might happen. People hate Deng because he ripped away all the gains of the revolution from the people. The fact that people could actually eat and not die from easily preventable diseases for the FIRST TIME EVER in China. Of course now they have made health care the domain of the urban elite, affordable only to the few. But this was not the case in Maoist China!

I have spent many months living in the countryside in China, mostly in Anhui and Shandong, two very poor provinces. Did you ever see the huge Mao portraits on the mud halls of the peasants huts? If you did I expect you would dismiss it as a cult of personality and testament to their fear of such a dictator. But I challenge you to talk to them, and find out the huge enthusiasm they have for remembering a time when they could hold their heads up high, work together towards smashing old culture and traditions and build a new future for their whole communities. It is really inspiring to hear them talk, and to realise just how much the defeat of the revolution in China has meant for the huge majority of its population.

author by Topperpublication date Fri Jul 14, 2006 13:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The sooner people realise that a classless society is a myth on a par with the novels of CS. Lewis the better. "

Nah, I won't be drawing that conclusion "historian". Mao did talk about building a classless society, it's true, but he never seriously attempted to do anything of the sort. Any child can see the contradiction of trying to build an egalitarian society through a top-down, bureaucratic dictatorship headed by a man who enjoyed the same status as the emperors he replaced. Mao may have talked about equality, but he never had any intention of establishing equality between himself and the Chinese people.

Whether or not a classless society can be achieved, it's not discredited by the example of Stalinist dictatorships that deliberately created their own structures of inequality and privilege. The USSR and the PRC also claimed to be democratic societies under Stalin and Mao - does that mean democracy is a "myth on a par with the novels of C.S Lewis"?

author by pat cpublication date Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Seventeen bodies have been recovered after a landslide swept away several houses in the western Nepalese district of Kaski on Friday, officials say. The Chief District Officer in Kaski, Badri Nath Ghimire, told the BBC that rescue teams have reached the area and their work is continuing.

He said up to 15 more people had been reported missing. Mr Ghimire said heavy rain triggered the landslide, and that the hilly terrain made the rescue effort harder.

Reports say local villagers, Red Cross officials, political party activists and Maoist rebels are also helping in the search and rescue operation. But officials say that the chances of finding survivors are slim.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5183740.stm
author by Max Millerpublication date Tue Jul 18, 2006 19:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There has been a lot of argument about the census information showing a large shortfall of those born in the Great Leap Forward years. The facts are that famine occured in some areas of China around 1960. There was a general shortfall in food rations at the time that western visitors (e.g. Felix Greene) noticed although they did not see evidence of countrywide mass starvation. The shortfalls in numbers born in that year could be explained by a drop in fertility caused by people not wanting to have more mouths to feed at a time of shortage. Just because a 50% drop in fertility occured, it does not follow that 30 million people died in a famine in the same year. During the Bangladesh famine of the early 1970s there was a 50% drop in fertility but a maximum of 100000 died out of a population of about 76 million. Very tragic but in no way equivalent to the figure 30 million deaths (out of a one year population of about 650 million) that is bandied about for the Great Leap Forward. China was a very poor country in the late 1950s and early 1960s and natural disasters did kill people. Yes, some of Mao's policies made things worse but the evidence is he did not bear the main responsibility. We also have to look at the great successes of Mao's policies in terms of raising life expectancy during the period of his rule and developing agriculture and industry.

For a more balanced view of the Great Leap Forward go to www.re-evaluationmao.org.

It is ridiculous and offensive in this context to call Mao a 'mass murderer' and say that Maoists should not be posting on Indymedia. Why on earth do so called radicals swallow bourgeois propaganda and then repeat it with such passion, when all they are doing is robotically repeating a lot of tired old cold war anti-communist cliches. Part of being a radical is having a critical faculty and not just believing everything you hear in the media.

Let's get the discussion back to where it belongs-Nepal. Here we see a revolution in progress that could act as a beacon to oppressed people across the world. I have no doubt that middle class liberals will carry on forecasting doom and telling us that the revolution is led by mass murderers. But then would these people genuinely want a revolution carried out by the poor and oppressed under any ideological label? I doubt it-that might threaten their own priviliges.

Related Link: http://www.re-evaluationmao.org
author by Topperpublication date Tue Jul 18, 2006 20:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Part of being a radical is having a critical faculty"

You couldn't make it up. There's nothing sinister about this stuff anymore, it's just too comical.

author by Mr. T.publication date Tue Jul 18, 2006 23:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Let's get the discussion back to where it belongs-Nepal. Here we see a revolution in progress that could act as a beacon to oppressed people across the world.

That's quite a beacon you Maoists have erected... I suppose as a "radical" posting to Indymedia I should at least feign some enthusiasm for the teachings of the little man who wrote the little red book. Ok, here goes my best effort:

I'm really looking forward to seeing 10 hectares of corn replanted into a crowded single hectare of farmland as a joyous proclamation of superior Maoist agricultural technology. As long as the plants look healthy long enough for photo's to be taken they can die right aftwards. And the ecological damage is insignificant in relation to the photos, books and "revolutionary evidence" espousing the Maoist miracle. The resulting famine would have happened anyway...right?

I'm really looking forward to mass arrests of every educated and productive person, shipping them off to "re-education by hard labour" camps to serve penance for the fact that they have essential skills or "capitalist roader" tendencies. It's a brilliant idea to remove from an economically retarded society all who can produce or teach - peasants with needless education in their heads start to question established policy, and the revolution can't abid individual thought...

I'm really looking forward to the school teachers of Nepal either dispatched with a quick bullet to the brain or attacked and beaten by their adolescent students. Or even better - let's hand over the administration of the entire educational sector to 9, 10 and 11 year olds. Who better to manage schools and establish their educational standards than those who are at the receiving end? And after all peasants don't need to learn many idiograms - just enough to read the little read book, which even a slow 10 years old can teach... And I just love the name for those cute little homicidal spragues: "Red Guard". Such an evocative brand name!

I'm really looking forward to seeing every single person - be they infants, hunched over grannies, or physically or mentally ill - forced to produce several kilograms of "steel" daily in their backyard or courtyard foundries or even on their kitchen hobs, only to have the worthless shit they produce be thrown away because it is too inferior to use for any purpose other than landfill. Idle hands are the devils playground, right? Gotta keep the peasant busy making useless shit to throw away later so they don't realise how debased their existence has become. Or so they don't spend their time fucking which leads to even more mouths for the revolution to feed.

I'm really looking forward to Nepal exporting all its harvested food for hard capitalist currency so its leaders can drive around their palace compounds in big Mercs and to pay for the tin-pan soldiers that march proudly along side their nuclear tipped missiles. The video evidence of the heroic worker warrior army with their big powerful military toys will inspire Maoist revolutions the world over...

And finally, I can hardly contain my "radical" tears of joy over the fact that Nepal's starving people won't have the energy or even the body chemistry to sustain a proper fuck which means fewer mouths to feed which means more money for Great Leader's military toys and goosestepping tin soldiers and especially more palaces and Mercedes for driving the great leader through streets piled high with decaying corpses of his jubilant and "classless" minions.

Actually, I'll stop now because I don't have the stomach to feign enthusiasm for Maoism. I cannot for the life of me fathom how any sane person even marginally acquainted with non-party literature about GLF and CR could consider Maoism as anything less than an abomination not worthy of inflicting upon your worst enemy. But, hey, I also have trouble understanding how seemingly intelligent people become heroin junkies or serial killers...

author by pat cpublication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As you know I am not a Maoist and I dont feel I am under any obligation to defend previous Maoist actions. What you are describing though seems to be more the actions of the Khmer Rouge than anything else. A genocidal bunch of freaks if ever there was one.

The Nepalese Maoists are not showing any signs that they intend to kill all intellectuals or engage in insane agricultural practices. No one, not even neo-cons claim that the Maoists have committed atrocities. So far they have dispossessed the feudal landlords and actually liberated women in the countryside.

Any future government will be a coalition between the Maoists and the other parties. There is not going to be one party rule. But the other parties would be very naive if they think the peasants are going to hand the land back to the feudal landlords. This is a case of peasants for the first time being given their own land not forced collectivisation.

author by Mr. T.publication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

when their leaders glorify the genocidal policies of Mao and Stalin it is hard to believe it is anything more than spin.

And Pat, the examples that I list in my post are based not on Khmer Rouge but on factual reports of atrocities perpetrated during Mao's rule of China - specifically the atrocities committed during the Great Leap Forward (GLF) and Cultural Revolution (CR). My own travels have connected me with the truth about Maoism and its tragic results. When I lived in China most of the people I worked recounted very sad personal stories about the CR - in one case, for example, how a grandparent was a top university mathematics professor who during the CR was arrested and redeployed to the rural district for hard labour - his academic career was ended. Another spoke of having no schooling beyond indoctrination sessions for the first 10 years of his life. Yet another spoke of his mother and father forcibly separated and sent to separate hard labour camps because a rival jealous neighbor turned them in as capitalist roaders - my colleague was raised in a communal "orphanage" run by Red Guards who were barely teenagers - again, no education of any sort except political brainwashing through to adolescence. A trusted Chinese colleague once explained to me why there were virtually no people older than 40 in private sector managerial positions or public policy leadership roles - it is because an entire generation of educated people were removed from their positions and replaced by barely teen-aged uneducated Red Guards - he suggested that this policy resulted in the total collapse of PRC's educational system and created a culture of incompetence from which PRC was only emerging from in the late 90's. Virtually all private sector management in China have been educated abroad - universities in the US, Canada, UK, EU, Singapore, Australia, NZ are all brimming with PRC exchange students.

I certainly have no love for the monarch or his oppressive rule, but as for the Maoists in Nepal, but I wouldn't want to replace the existing government with based on Nazi 3rd Reich or Pol Pot, and I don't find Maoism to be any more attractive. However, ff the Maoists will really support implementation of democratic republican structures as they say, I certainly support their efforts as long as they verifiably demilitarise. This would represent a huge policy shift from those established by Maoist insurgents in Peru and Philippines, as well as the Nepalese own human rights track record that includes thousands dead resulting from UN & NGO verified reports of Maoist village massacres and other terrorist atrocities. The true test of just how committed the Maoists are to democracy will come when they're voted out of power - will they accept the will of the people or will they resume their bloody insurgency? Frankly, I think that's a rhetorical question.

Critical thinkers need only read the words of one of the Nepalese Maoist leaders interviewed by Kevin Sites in order to get a sense of the Maoists serious duplicity and obfuscation: elevating Stalin and Mao as champions should ring alarm bells for any sensible person.

Relevant extract of the interview is below, with link to the full text article provided...

SINGH-BHANDARI: [...] The final point, and most importantly, we want to implement Marxism, Leninism and Maoism so we can have real social justice in Nepal.

SITES: How will that bring about social justice?

SINGH-BHANDARI: Marxism, Leninism and Maoism give people a different solution after domination by a market-oriented society.

SITES: But the 20th Century is filled with failed communist states. And in this century, North Korea's people are starving and China has fully embraced capitalism in all but name.

SINGH-BHANDARI: There's an illusion that there's a communist system in North Korea, China and Cambodia. There's no communism in these countries though the world thinks so. But the base of the development of Russia was established under Lenin and Stalin.

And Mao provided the real basis for the development of China, with his polices before 1976.

The current reformists that are revising China's policies are a deviation from the real communism. We have learned from that and have to implement the original Marxism in a new way.

That is why our ten-year's people war has been successful.

SITES: But why model yourself after movements in which millions were killed, both under Stalin and Mao's Cultural Revolution?

SINGH-BHANDARI: That's a fraud. That's a kind of defaming of communism — the massacres of Tiananmen Square were done in the name of communism but it was not communism.

As far as the Cultural Revolution, it was good since it was only the rich that were dealt with.

SITES: People were killed for completely negligible reasons.

SINGH-BHANDARI: No, people weren't killed during the Cultural Revolution, but yes, during Tiananmen.

SITES: People were killed during Mao's Cultural Revolution. A member of my staff's own father was killed as a result of the Cultural Revolution. But I think the point here is, once in power, will you use violence to achieve your social goals and economic goals?

SINGH-BHANDARI: There were limitations during those times (Stalin) and you can't find examples of so many people being killed during Mao. But after Mao there were leaders and rulers that carried out those actions. And [during the] time of Stalin more people were killed because of the Second World War.

But our party in Nepal is moving ahead, reforming and learning lessons from those past limitations.

Related Link: http://hotzone.yahoo.com/b/hotzone/blogs4485
author by Max Millerpublication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 13:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I get a bit weary of trying to have a debate about Maoism on the basis of facts when people just repeat exaggeratted anti-communist propaganda about the Maoist era in China in a state of heightened emotion. It's interesting that in the last post the person who visited China found many people who complained about the consequences of the Cultural Revolution. Why did he not find people telling him about the awful horror of the Great Leap Forward when Mao supposidly starved millions to death deliberately? It's because people in China have a more sensible approach to the Great Leap Forward than the 'Mao is worse than Hitler' rubbish we keep hearing in the West. Why not consider some of the facts about the Great Leap Forward before working yourself up into a frenzy about it?
The fact is that when Chinese people are asked to describe the negatives of the Mao period they always talk about the Cultural Revolution (in which according to the Chinese government 10s of thousands died) rather than The Great Leap Forward (in which according to western sources 10s of millions died). Doesn't this strike people as a bit strange?
The Cultural Revolution was an attempt to stop Deng Xiaoping and those of his ilk restoring capitalism in China. It failed, and as a result Chinese people lost free education and health care and the right to participate in the running of their agricultural communes or factories. We hear a lot about middle class people being beaten in the Cultural Revolution but not much about workers in capitalist enterprises in China today being beaten and humiliated by their overseers. As far as being sent to the countryside goes-no-one ever asked hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants if they wanted to live in the countryside-they had no choice.
Revolutions are very traumatic events. This doesn't mean we should be uncritical about the traumas and suffering that people endured in the Chinese Revolution. An important part of Maoism is being self-critical so we can avoid repeating errors. However we must realise the Chinese Revolution was traumatic as was the American War of Independence, the American Civil War, the English Civil War and so on. This doesn't mean we should be uncritical about the traumas and suffering that people endured in the Chinese Revolution. An important part of Maoism is being self-critical so we can avoid repeating errors. Is anyone seriously saying that these revolutions should not have happened and the world should have stayed under the domination of feudalism or that the slave trade should not have been abolished? The Chinese people stood up and overthrew imperialism and feudalism. If they had not have done this their country would not have developed and they would be in the mess that India is in today. The people of Nepal are now following their example and the Maoists are playing a leading role. Thank God they are doing this and they are not listening to western liberals whose real agenda is to maintain a status quo that is unacceptable to the oppressed peoples of the world.

Related Link: http://www.re-evaluationmao.org
author by Mr. T.publication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 14:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why did he not find people telling him about the awful horror of the Great Leap Forward when Mao supposedly starved millions to death deliberately?

You must be kidding, right? Or you haven't read my post. I wrote that when I was in China I met virtually no one in positions of authority who was over the age of 40. The people I was close enough to in order to develop the trust necessary for serious, illegal political discussions were all too young to have witnessed any of the effects of the GLP atrocities first hand. I did meet older people in the rural districts but they're hardly likely to open up and commit thought crimes after a couple hours friendly chat with a gweilo.

Younger Chinese people are far more candid about their experiences and opinions but it was only after several months of close contact that they opened up about their personal experiences with the horrors of Maoism. Their opinion of Deng was far more complicated: he was hated with great venom for what he did to the students in Tiananmen Square but his economic reforms were unanimously supported by everyone I spoke to.

author by Garypublication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 17:16author email revunisoc at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are you sure you were in China? I myself have spent a lot of time in China and your diatribe owes more to western interpretations than the way Chinese talk about their past. I suspect your postings on this thread are more to create mischief than for any constructive reasons. No one can truly be as deluded as you.

author by Mr. T.publication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 18:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

how long were you in china? A few weeks at party indoctrination / "friendship"camps?

I worked shoulder to shoulder with western-educated chinese in an english speaking shanghai private sector office, with a few months in beijing, for a total of just over a year an a half. My social life was mainly the ex-pat bars and outings with chinese colleagues, and occasional hash harriers. My mandarin skills are less than basic, so it was primarily through a chinese companion that I was able to communicate with non-english speaking chinese.

As for who I am, I choose to remain anonymous until Indymedia policy requires that everyone posting or reading their site presents accredited credentials.

You suggest I'm lying or deluded. If you feel that way don't bother to read my contributions.

author by Max Millerpublication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 19:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Rather than getting in silly discusssions about who's a liar let's think about reality. It sounds like Mr T. mixed mainly with middle class Chinese people who are more likely to have benefited from economic reforms and less likely to notice the loss of free public services and working class power over communes and workplaces after capitalism was restored. Even if everyone he met was under 40, surely they would have heard about this awful famine from their parents, if 30 million did indeed die and if the Jasper Becker stories of national apocalypse were true. I don't think people would have been more scared about talking about this issue than any other political issue with Mr T. as official government ideology is that the Great Leap Forward was a bad policy. When Deng launched his political campaign against the legacy of the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward was right there in the firing line alongside it. If people were able to talk relatively freely about the Cultural Revolution, then the Great Leap Forward should not have been taboo.

Let's try and look at things in a more complex way than the 'Mao is worse than Hitler' western stereotype. It just won't wash. Chinese people, on the whole, do not think that Mao was worse than Hitler. Yes, some are much more critical of policies like the Cultural Revolution than I, as a Maoist would be. But let's have a discussion based on a realistic grasp of history. Even if you believe The Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution were wrong policies there is no reason to make offensive comparisons between Mao's regime and the Nazi regime. Mao did not round up millions of men, women and children and have them gassed simply because of some insane personal prejudice. Mao left his country far more economically advanced and his people far healthier and better off than they were in 1949. Hitler left his country in ruins after dragging it into a war that resulted in 50 million deaths worldwide. There is no comparison. Let's start exploring our differences on a sensible basis rather than on one based on cheap right-wing propaganda.

Let's look at the situation in Nepal and India. Maoists in Nepal are on the verge of joining the government, Indian Maoists are operating in a third of the country. All this stuff about Maoists being Nazis just plays into the hands of imperialist powers like US and UK who are desperate to find a 'humanitarian' excuse for intervening in South Asia against Maoists (no doubt with the support of the same kind of well-meaning liberals who supported the reduction of Iraq to rubble on the grounds that this would help the Iraqi people and spread 'democracy').

author by Mr. T.publication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 00:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and I'm not trolling. My contacts with Chinese were primarily educated (to masters degree level or higher) - if this means middle class to you then so be it.

- you offered to have a polite discussion of the complex issues relating to Maoism, and I'll take up the offer and discuss Maoism in purely economic terms.

You offered this claim:
"Mao left his country far more economically advanced and his people far healthier and better off than they were in 1949."

The term "economically advanced" can mean many things - what metrics are you using to justify this claim? Are you looking at inflation adjusted GDP? Export output? Industrial or agricultural productivity? The term is a very elastic and subjective.

Finally, can you name a single country that did not achieve some level of "economic advancement" between 1949 and 1976? Only post-colonial Africa comes to mind, which had its own very special problems The post-war period represented a world-wide economic expansion on a level never recorded before or since.

Why not compare Taiwan's economic growth to PRC's for a contextual background? Their economic states were identical in 1949 - they were the same country then - so shouldn't we expect the PRC's economy to be significantly more robust in 1976 than the ROC's? The two countries have very different structural economic parameters, granted it's easier to manage 39 million rather than 700 million, but the two were both rural agrarian economies with identical cultural contexts. So do you have any idea how the PRC growth stacks up against the PRC?

I have located ROC economic growth figures: "Over the last half century, real GNP and real GNP per capita have grown from approximately US$6 billion to over US$300 billion and from slightly more than US$700 to almost US$13,000 (2000 prices), achieving rates of growth of more than 8% and 6% per annum respectively." -> http://www.stanford.edu/~ljlau/Presentations/Presentati...4.PDF
For meaningful comparative analysis of China v. ROC economic advancement, look at page 7 -

"Real GDP per Capita of Selected Countries and Regions, 1970 and 2001":
China in 1970: appears to be less than $100
ROC in 1970: appears to be around $2000

China in 2000: appears to be less than $1000
ROC in 2000: appears to be about $23,000

So if Maoism is the answer, why does it stack up so poorly in economic terms against its capitalist roader renegade province? Surely if Maoism is such a successful socioeconomic platform, its economic growth should produce better results than the lacklustre numbers above, no?

author by Philippublication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 13:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems Mr T is becoming more and more isolated, and not surprising considering the position he is trying to hold.

Firstly, the comparison between PRC and ROC is a typical example of his position, politically prejudiced. Have you hunted around on the web to find out just how many trillions the ROC received from its good friend US imperialism, not to mention Japan? How was the PRC doing at this time? It had US imperialism surrounding it from nearly all sides, and from 1960 Soviet social-imperialism as well, as well as the two-line struggle within the Communist Party!

In 1949 the ROC was a bankrupt government, hated by the people on the island of Taiwan, which only survived with imperialist help. It is not a good comparison! Much better is comparing India and China, which at least have a broadly similar population size and economic conditions. China raced ahead of India after 1949 up to 1976, pioneering health care for the peasants as well as near-universal education, as well as economic leaps forward.

Anyway, restricting your arguments to a purely economic basis is fatuous to say the least. On the whole, the people under Mao were liberated in so many different faculties, economic, social, political, cultural etc. The people who you spoke to in China will have never known what it is like to sell your daughter to your landlord, to go hungry when there's a poor harvest, to have NO access to education, health care or even culture. The people you described in China are an absolute minority, even today!

I suggest you yourself go down to the countryside and try to think of things from someone else's perspective, rather than your own completely removed one. You may not like the dictatorship of the proletariat, and you may enjoy living under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie which gives YOU the chance to live comfortably and spew your spurious arguments around the internet, but fortunately not everyone is like you.

author by Mr. T.publication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 15:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You're unable to produce any facts to sustain your arguments so you go back to name-calling and spewing party slogans. So much for having an intelligent debate, eh?

I challenged a previous post's claim that Mao's policies improved China's economic standing. The empirical evidence I have found through research suggests otherwise. So in 1970 at the peak of Mao's leadership over China - 20 years after he took charge - as a result of his psychotic social and agricultural experiments China's economy was a basketcase with an inflation adjusted GDP less than $100 (1995 dollars). Sure - Taiwan got about $100M per year in US aide and I don't know how much else from other capitalist countries, but the aide dried up completely by 1961, so it was not the only factor sustaining Taiwan. The fact is that in less than 20 years the KMT managed to turn a sleepy, backwards island lacking in natural resources and no more sophisticated than the mainland, into a global economic export giant. And over the past couple of decades, ROC's KMT "land-lords" and "robber-barons" became PRC's key investors and economic partners. Can't you Maoists see the irony? It must burn Maoists up to see China becoming successful and shaking off its historical poverty for the first time in its history only as a result of partnership with CKS' legacy.

Russia pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into China as well - but it all came to naught when Mao's paranoia and loony agrarian theories led to the Sino-Soviet split. The Soviets thought Mao was a nutter and an abject failure! They also rejected Mao's call for direct armed conflict (even suggesting the use of nukes) with the west - the Soviets had far more respect for their peasants than to use them as cannon fodder in what would have been nothing short of suicide.

Oh, and by the way, what difference does it make to a peasant if he sells his daughter to a landlord or to a block activist? Does the block activist smile more pleasantly when he rapes her? Maoism didn't change much of rural china - it was and still remains a feudal, provincial backwater. If you have empirical evidence to suggest otherwise, let's see it.

So you go on ahead and keep spewing your cute little red book slogans. And I'll continue challenging that nonsense with facts and empirical data.

author by Dantepublication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 19:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr T, did you not know that among the first laws to be introduced into China after the Liberation were those that demanded the death penalty for rape, woman-selling and indeed pimping? Although you and your ex-pat friends in Shanghai might like to believe otherwise, China left its feudal past behind. But keep talking however, you are further exposing your class background and indeed your class bias with every smug, self-righteous rant. The corporate myths that you are so happy to recite are nothing more than the party-dogma of China's emerging capitalist elite.

author by Drew - WPRMpublication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 19:21author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is just a reminder to those interested in joining a future work brigade to the liberated zones in Nepal, please contact the email address below:


Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by Mr. T.publication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 20:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr T, did you not know that among the first laws to be introduced into China after the Liberation were those that demanded the death penalty for rape, woman-selling and indeed pimping?

Official corruption and bribery is also illegal, and punishable by death sentence, but not a single private business in Shanghai or Beijing does not pay bribes to some public official at some point. Any that refuse to pay the bribes in the form of "official fees" for made up nonsense are harassed or put out of business. Receipts for these "fees" are delivered with pounding a fancy coloured paper with ridiculous array of official stamps for dramatic effect - I guess so the extortion victim feels they get their value for money. Every so often the authorities execute the mayor of a major city just to make noise about how the party is serious about enforcing anti-corruption laws, but I can't help but wonder if these poor bastards just pissed off the wrong party apparatchik on some unrelated matter.

So if bribery and extortion by public officials takes place regularly and so brazenly, why would I expect block and party activists to keep their willy's in their trousers?

By the way, how does a Maoist live a classless existance in Ireland?

author by Mr. T.publication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 21:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apologies to Drew.

author by Philippublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Mr T.

I am surprised you couldn't back up your arguments on rape with "empirical evidence" this time, just some assertion of when you were in China as though you know exactly what goes on.

Of course there were isolated problems after 1949, but you fail to see the hugely liberating step forward that was the marriage law that was quickly promulgated. Of course, when something is made law it does not get accepted overnight. The Maoists in China worked overtime to destroy this backward thinking, probably against people like you.

Unfortunately, they were defeated. And your arguments about rape in China now (which I am sure has made a great comeback) as well as the one about China now growing rich on the back of Taiwan, don't apply. Do you not get it? China now is not developing, a small urban elite (which you yourself got to know) is racing forwards, while the masses of people in the countryside (and the cities if you bothered to have a look) find themselves worse and worse off. The revolution was defeated in 1976, which is something we should learn from.

author by Mr. T.publication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

China now is not developing, a small urban elite (which you yourself got to know) is racing forwards, while the masses of people in the countryside (and the cities if you bothered to have a look) find themselves worse and worse off.

Whatever your opinion on the recent economic growth in China - and as I've reported previously I myself saw pockets of unbelievable poverty in urban and rural modernj China - the answer does not lay in converting the entire Chinese population into impoverished simple rural peasants.

Maoism didn't lose a battle - China rejected Maoism because in the whole its policies were dramatic failures that were increasingly difficult to hide from their population. Any of the Maoist "successes" you speak of - e.g., your marriage laws - could have been implemented witih even more succesfully by a liberal democratic government.

author by Philippublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 13:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..."converting the entire Chinese population into impoverished simple rural peasants"

Umm, correct me if I am wrong. But wasn't China a nation of impoverished simple rural peasants a long, long time before Mao was around?

You fail to comprehend that Mao's China created the atmosphere for the conditions of these people to improve. have a read of William Hinton's book Fanshen if you want to know what life was like before 1949 and what Maoist China was fighting against.

Now the peasantry, in the idividualistic, capitalist environment of recent decades, is forced to leave the countryside to become slave labourers in factories for the new capitalist class and foreign imperialists, whereas before 1976 they actually at last had the means to develop in their own hands. Like in Nepal now.

author by Max Millerpublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 13:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The situation with the relative economic success of Taiwan is a bit more complicated than Mr T suggests. Taiwan developed mainly with Japanese foreign direct investment, like the other 'Asian tigers'. This happened with the 'approval' of the US that had-and has political hegemony over Japan. The 'Asian Tigers' were allowed to use methods such as protective tariffs and state direction of investment in order to develop. These countries were also allowed to undertake land reform, which provides a real boost to economic development in oppressed countries by clearing away obsolete, feudal economic and social relations.
The US has not historically allowed other oppressed nations to use such methods. When governments in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America tried to adopt such 'economic nationalist' policies the US has always done its best to isolate them, destablise them, starve them of capital and aid etc. Noam Chomsky has done a lot of good work on this (I don't endorse his political views). Examples of such destabilisation occured with the ceaseless US/Israeli harrassment of Nasser's government in Egypt, the coup against Nkrumah in Ghana, the IMF's veto on Zimbabwe's industrial development in the 1980s and the whole neo-liberal program of 'free trade' and privatisation forced on poor countries around the world.
Why were the Asian Tigers different-because they were next to communist China. The US allowed the development of these countries in order to 'kill communism with kindness'. The aim was to dampen down people's grievances and stop communism spreading. Thus rapid development was encouraged in South Korea in competition with North Korea. Rapid development was encouraged in Taiwan in competition with mainland China.
Imperialism had more money than socialist countries like the USSR and China, that established socialism when their societies were at a fairly low level of economic development, so the 'Asian Tigers' tended to do somewhat better than the socialist nations they were in competition with. However, this was not completely clear cut. The period of industrialisation in these countries was marked by the complete suppression of workers rights and human rights. And these are hardly perfect socieities today. There is much poverty in 'Asian tigers' like Thailand and workers in South Korea are angy and militant about their treatment by their capitalist bosses.
It was just such problems that Mao wanted to avoid by industrialising China under socialism. The difficulties of industrialisation would be alleviated by workers rights, free health care and education and general egalitarianism.
If you want to see another country trying to develop in a new and innovative way why not take up Drew's suggestion of visiting the road that is being built in Nepal. Here you can see people developing their own country in areas that imperialism has ignored. If you go there, you will see that there is a real alternative socialist road to development.

Related Link: http://www.re-evaluationmao.org
author by Mr. T.publication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 13:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You say:
Umm, correct me if I am wrong. But wasn't China a nation of impoverished simple rural peasants a long, long time before Mao was around?

What's your point? Before the Chinese were rural peasants they were nomadic hunter-gatherers. If older ways are so fucking better why not revert China to a nation of cave-dwellers?

author by Max Millerpublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 13:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry, forget to say how you can get in touch with the Nepal road program. Email: aroadtothefuture@yahoo.com. Please support this important project.

author by Catherinepublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 13:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I must say, I found this debate to be quite fascinating and informative. So far my only knowledge of the era under Chairman Mao, had come from reading 'Wild Swans' and what many people have been posting here has given me a new viewpoint. I have heard most of what T is saying before in the mainstream media, but the arguements that are being put forward by the communists have really given a new perspective.


author by Tank Girlpublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 14:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Like you I am enjoying the debate. I share Mr Ts mistrust of Maoism but in the Nepalese case I am impressed at the role played by women in both the political and military spheres. 40% of the Maoist Army is female! It wont be easy to take rights away from armed women.

Its a pity though that the leading ideologues of the Nepalese Maoists repeat what can only be described as fairytales regarding the conduct of Stalin and Mao.

author by Catherinepublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 14:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But are they really fairytales? I am inclined to wonder if it is not because China and the USSR are so UNFAMILIAR that many of the claims that are so carelessly made, are so easily accepted. I was watching Newsnight recently, in which Jack Straw faced a hand-picked audience who questioned him on the war in Iraq. In one of his answers he stated that Sadam Hussein had been responsible for the deaths of 200,000 of his own people. However, around five minutes later, in response to another question, he said that Sadam had killed 300,000 of his own people. In the space of around five minutes, Sadam had killed 100,000 people in his Baghdad cell.

author by Mr. T.publication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Catherine" - it's certainly helpful to get a "new" voice into this debate. The Maoists cadres were starting to flag and revert to the typical name calling that signals frustration, using words like right-wing and propaganda, etc. So it's really helpful when a "disinterested" party like yourself joins the debate to add a "moderating" voice of reason.

Much of what was "unknown" about the USSR has been revealed since its collapse and subsequent opening of secret archives. There is little doubt among anyone but die-hard Party activists that the USSR orchestrated monumental state-directed human rights abuses over much of that country's history, but most particularly during Stalin's time.

"Unknown", with respect to Soviet history, is an obfuscation - you don't need to believe what western politicians spin, just read the Soviet archives for yourself - much of this information is available online.

Unfortunately, the same level of transparency of data is not yet available for China - they still have their archives completely locked up and only make available highly suspect information that is likely manufactured to support some policy or another.

author by Catherinepublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 15:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually, I thought that the Maoists were very polite compared to many on this thread. You seem to take their arguments very personally and get angry when they denounce your arguements. A person is more than just their viewpoints and condemning an opinion is not the same as condemning a human being.
I'm glad you brought up the issue of the USSR archives as a measured historical assessment of the 1937 purges seems to put the figures of those that died around 700,000 people. A terrible number that should not be devalued by wild stabs in the dark.

author by Philippublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 15:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, the achievements in women's rights in Nepal are astounding at the moment. People in the West might think that it would be rather better if women didn't have to join the PLA, but when you consider the huge numbers of women trafficked to the cities and to India to work as prostitutes and the widespread oppression and physical abuse of women you can see how a woman with a gun suddenly becomes a different prospect. It is through ways like this that the CPN(M) are really creating a different world.

Of course Mr T probably thinks the CPN(M) cadres spend their time raping and pillaging, he probably has empirical evidence from the CIA to prove his theories, and no doubt spent a week in Kathmandu learning how the people really feel about their society.

Anyway, it is not only women who are being greatly advanced in Nepal, but also people of lower caste (so-called untouchables / dalits) who have never had any rights, as well as national minorities who have had their cultures and traditions repressed for centuries.

The United Front against imperialism and feudalism in Nepal is growing daily, offers a real hope to the oppressed peoples of the world. And funnily enough, Mr T, I haven't seen any "liberal democratic" government ever achieving such things for the people of Nepal!

author by Tank Girlpublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 15:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its not just those directly killed in the purges, millions more died in Gulags. They were worked and starved to death or froze to death. Millions also died in famines, famines which were artificially created or made worse through the application of the Stalinist political , agricultural and economic theories of day. This should not be defended. I dont believe that 60 million or 90 million died under Stalin. Pat C produced figures on population trends in the former USSR (from a reliable source) some time ago which showed that the 60 - 90 million claim could not be upheld.

I havent come here for a fight with the Maoists, I think they should accept that wrong things happened in the past. But it is not predestined that the Nepalese Maoists are going to become psychotic.


author by Catherinepublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 15:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually I don't think that is true. The gulags were never really claimed to have been death camps and only around 20% were political. The NKVD kept highly detailed records and even through the war years fatalities were very low. In fact, someone pointed out to me once that even during 1942, statistically speaking, it was safer to be a political prisoner in a gulag, than a black inmate in a US penitentiary. Malcolm X wasn't exagerating it seems.

Also, the maoists have many times on this thread been admitting to past mistakes and although I am feeling a little uncomfortable about defending them (they should do this for themselves), we really have to be fair-minded and acknowledge the fact that they have many times made reference to these errors.

author by Tank Girlpublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 15:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sadly I think you are dissembling. Its very likely that you are a Stalinist. No honest person would suggest that black inmates suffered worse in US prisons than people did in Gulags. So what if only 20% of the prisoners were political? Are "criminals" not entitled to be treated decently as well?

author by Max Millerpublication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 19:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't want to get too much into the issue of Stalin as this seems to be taking us a world away from the situation in Nepal. However, its worth noting that the population increase between 1926 and 1939 in the Soviet Union was quite healthy (western figures are lower than Soviet figures for this period but they still show a fairly healthy increase-population went up from 146 million to approx 164 million). During the war the Soviet population decreased 27 million. If the Nazis had won they would have enslaved the entire Soviet people and killed tens of millions more. So was Stalin worse than Hitler as liberals tend to claim?I think not. I know its claimed that the Soviets had so many losses because of Stalin's bad policies, purges in the army etc. But this does not stand up to scrutiny. Before Stalin, every time the Russians fought imperialism they did poorly. They lost the Crimean War, they lost the Russo-Japanese war (1904-5) and they completely collapsed in the First World War. If Russia had carried on with this losing streak Hitler would have won the Second World War (90% of all German losses were on the Eastern Front-the Soviets won the war for us).

In order to win this pretty grim victory some pretty grim things happened in the Soviet Union both in the run up to the war and during the war. Of course, these negative occurences have been greatly exaggerrated by the bourgeois media and we get ridiculous stories of 10s of millions killed by Stalin. However executions and imprisonments did occur and the Soviet people were called on to make great sacrifices to build the military-industrial complex that won the war.

The Maoist line on Stalin is: he created the world's first socialist economy and this socialism enabled the Soviet people to defeat Hitler. However, during the late 30s especially, excesses occured which Maoists do not support. Due to his great achievements in building socialism and defeating Hitler he was still 70% right.

Mao want to create a 'kinder, gentler' version of socialism than Stalin's version. There was meant to be greater emphasis on getting the agreement of the people for policies like collectivisation. Rather than executing people who oppossed the socialist political line there was meant to be an emphasis on convincing people and getting people to think critically about their own ideas and behaviour.

This is why Mao criticised Stalin but then Mao's China did not face a threat of the magnitude of Hitler's Germany (although it did face a fairly significant threat from imperialism obviously.)

As far as being polite goes-well I used to parrot the line about Stalin and Mao murdering millions until I actually bothered to study the subject and found out that the evidence for all this was not there. So I don't want to get personal about any of this although I would urge people to make up their own minds about the history of communism rather than just following what they read in the media.

author by Mr. T.publication date Fri Jul 21, 2006 21:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A detailed discussion of Stalin is available in another article -> http://www.indymedia.ie/article/75799

The referenced article provides plenty of evidence that Stalin was not the benign Uncle that his latter day henchmen suggest. I don't feel it's necessary to compare him to Hitler - Stalin's horrendous crimes and failed policies provide enough evidence to establish his mass murderer credentials.

Mao had no ambitions of implementing a "kinder, gentler" version of Stalinism. Although he admired Uncle Joe his treatise was that the socialist society be based on a rural peasant agrarian policy rather than the USSR leaders' view that it be built around urban industrialisation (which included the collectivisation - or industrialisation - of its agricultural infrastructure). In practice Mao probably did not exterminate as many of his political enemies as Stalin so in a rather twisted sense he was kinder and gentler.

In my youth I flew the red flag as well, and aligned myself with marxist causes. Over the years I've read mountains of volumes on marxiism and its variants, visited the USSR, a couple of its colonies in Eastern Europe, Deng's China, and 3 independent post-Soviet states. As a result my political views evolved and I rejected marxism as purely a philosophical instrument that is unworkable in the real world. Replacing one set of elites with another is the equivalent of rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. For marxism to work, innate human nature must fundamentally transform. And that won't happen for many hundreds of lifetimes to come if at all.

author by Mr. T.publication date Sat Jul 22, 2006 03:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

According to an Amnesty report from Nov 2005:
During the first four weeks of the ceasefire, it was reported that a total of 8,057 people had been abducted by the CPN (Maoist) from at least nine districts in rural areas. Many of these were children and teachers. Schools are still reportedly being forced to close. On 16 October, it was reported that over 600 students were forced to leave private schools from the Arghakhanchi district following intervention by the CPN (Maoist)-affiliated All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union (Revolutionary) [ANNISU-R]. Reports also indicate that the recruitment of children by the CPN (Maoist) continues.

So much for your mocking me that Nepalese Maoists cadres aren't raping and pillaging. What do you reckon they're using the thousands of abductees for? Mending their socks? Some of them will certainly be child slave soldiers, some will be work slaves, while still others will be abused in various manner. So precisely what part of this "kindlier, gentler" Maoist policy you keep chirping on about do attacks on and forced closure of schools and abduction of children and teachers play in their objective to "vastly improve" the lives of peasants?

Oh, and by the way, I've never been to Nepal. It still doesn't preclude me from finding enough information about the Maoist atrocities as reported by reliable sources who have.

Related Link: http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/nepal/document.do?id=ENGASA310862005
author by Max Millerpublication date Sat Jul 22, 2006 14:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Amnesty International should not be talking about 'child abductions'. In the west this makes it sound like they are carrying out child abuse. What the Maoists are being accused of is making children attend political meetings. I can't comment on whether this is happening because I don't know. But this is hardly 'child abduction' in the sense that we might understand it here-abducting children to sexually abuse them.
I seem to remember I was 'abducted' as a child and 'forced' to go to school where I was 'forced' to attend religious assemblies where I was told to believe in Christianity. In the history lessons I was 'forced' to attend I was told that communism was evil and Mao and Stalin had killed tens of millions of people. When I was free to find things out for myself I discovered that my 'abductors' had not told me the truth.
Don't you see a pattern here? Yes communists do a lot of things that people feel uneasy with. They are engaged in a struggle against imperialism is and capitalism. They are involved in class war and people's war. Terrible things happen in war. But what happens is any negative aspect of communism is exaggerrated a hundred fold wheras the media always makes excuses for the atrocities of the imperialists-they're fighting terrorism or spreading democracy-they mean well even if they make 'mistakes' sometimes and kill innocent people.
I know that people in the West do find it hard to accept the militant and combative side of communism. But isn't it better to fight a war for freedom and equality than the kind of wars that Britain, America and Israel fight-wars to seize the oil resources and land that belong to other nations. If there was a peaceful way of ending imperialism, I would take it. In fact I spent 19 years as a radical who oppossed the strategy of guerrilla war and armed resistance to imperialism. The disgraceful behaviour of the West in Iraq forced me to change. I realised there were two sides in the conflict. On one side are those resisting imperialism, with Maoists as the most advanced force. On the other side are the imperialists led by the US who just spread poverty, chaos and terror whereever they go. You have to pick one side or the other. If you go for some 'third way'-liberalism, trotskyism or anarchism you end up just doomed to irrelevance or tacitly accepting imperialism.
By the way Mao didn't just believe in a rural economy. His strategy was 'walking on two legs' i.e. developing rural industrial projects alongside heavy industry. As well as the infamous backyard steel furnaces very many useful rural industries were developed-such as factories producing cement for flood defences, fertilizer factories etc. These really helped the development of China. Indeed these rural and township enterprises are celebrated by the current Chinese government as an important part of the country's growth-although they exist now only in a degenerated, capitalist form.

Related Link: http://www.re-evaluationmao.org
author by Mr. T.publication date Sat Jul 22, 2006 16:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm sure you would object if the monarch's security forces stole children for "re-education". Perhaps your experiences were different but I didn't have heavily armed militia break down the door to my parents home and drag me off for school. I look forward to hearing your lame excuses for the kidnapping of teachers. Maybe it's just a sabbatical?

Unlike the fairy-tales recited in your email, not all children are returned after their "education" as you suggest. Read from another Amnesty report on enslaved child soldiers, beatings, torture and murder perpetrated upon children by Maoists:

Children are not safe in their homes, or at school. Many schools have been forcibly closed by the CPN (Maoist) forces. It is estimated that since the beginning of the conflict, the CPN (Maoist) forces have abducted tens of thousands of schoolchildren, along with their teachers, for "political education" sessions. While most of the abducted children return home after a few days, a few do not and it is suspected that such children may have been recruited by the CPN (Maoist) forces.

Even after the CPN (Maoist) declared a unilateral cease-fire on 3 September, new abuses are being reported and hundreds of students and teachers continue to be abducted or to be subjected to indoctrination campaigns by the CPN (Maoist).

In February 2003 AI delegates met two 15-year-old boys who had been forcibly recruited by the CPN (Maoist) forces and severely beaten by their commander. The boys told AI delegates that they had been involved in committing extremely violent acts. The managers of the residential home where the boys were living informed AI that they were very disturbed and had to be kept away from the other children.

Even the very youngest are vulnerable. On 14 June 2005, it was reported that two women and a one-year-old child were abducted by CPN (Maoist) forces. Their mutilated bodies were found in a forest two days later. Chandra Malla told AI how in 2001, after her husband was killed by security forces, the police came to her home and arrested her 10-year old son. He was pistol-whipped and, during six days in custody, beaten with a plastic pipe. In February 2005, an 11-year-old girl was reportedly raped by three members of a state-sponsored "village defence force" during an attack in which one person died and 600 homes were burned down.

Amnesty provides plenty of evidence for abuses by the monarchy's security forces. Are Amnesty also mistaken about that? If you are serious about improving the life of the Nepalese peasants - and based on what you say here I have serious doubts about your voracity - then you would be working to eliminate the Moaists inhumane and abusive practices rather than making up convoluted, twisted, nonsensical, excuses that only a feeble mind would accept as truthful.

The inconvenient truth appears to be that the Nepalese Maoists are just as brutal, violent, murderous, unethical and commited to total domination and brainwashing as were the original Maoists. Maoists committed to democratic reform? My arse! Same fucking butchers, different day.

Related Link: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGNWS210102005?open&of=ENG-NPL
author by Catherinepublication date Sat Jul 22, 2006 16:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A short while ago you were admitting that your knowledge of Nepal was quite sparse now you have returned as some kind of expert. You can't blindly take the word of any organisation, Amnesty included. Just because they say they are independant, it doesn't mean that all their members are. How could you possibly know that militia are breaking down people's doors and kidnapping them. Surely the people, including the 40% of previously oppressed women in the Maoist army would not stand for such theatrical villainy.

author by Mr. T.publication date Sat Jul 22, 2006 17:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If Amnesty is not a genuine enough source for the Maoist apologists, then there are plenty of other unaligned organisations that have documented the Nepalese Maoists crimes against humanity: the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs details the Maoist (and equally - the Monarchist security force) atrocities. A few key points from their report are extracted below:

Maoist Leadership has little control over Grass-roots cadres who commit the crimes:
"When it comes to the Maoists, there is a huge gap between the leadership and their local cadres, say observers. Public statements and commitments by the leaders of the insurgency to observing human rights, are often not respected locally.

Investigating Maoist abuse is said to be particularly difficult. “Firstly, we don’t have enough meetings [with them] as we don’t know where they are. Second, we’ve seen them, especially the grassroots workers, almost drunk with the sense of power they have. There’s a sense of impunity because they think they are untouchable, can do anything with reckless abandon and get away scot-free,” says one human rights activist.

Local human rights groups have struggled to document incidents of abuse. They have also been at risk, often harassed by both sides in the conflict."

This personal report doesn't sound like a school outing any sane person could condone:
In 2002, Bapita witnessed her father being dragged out of her home and stoned to death by local Maoists as retribution for allowing his eldest son to join the army. Since then, her brother has been sent away. She says she lives in fear with her mother.

At school she is unable to concentrate on her studies. “When I’m in class, I’m constantly watching for strangers coming to school. The Maoists came once when my brother was at school, but he managed to run away. If I see them coming, I will run away too.”

And then there are those doubly-fucked by Maoist extortion and Monarchist torture:
But even relatively wealthy individuals can suffer as a result of the conflict. During a Maoist blockade in July 2005, one local businessman, Prem Malla, was asked to negotiate access with local Maoists by the chief district officer. The insurgents he met made him sign a pledge that he would give them the equivalent of US$900.

The pledge was later found on a dead Maoist rebel by members of the government’s security forces, and Malla was arrested on suspicion of collusion. He was eventually released, having been subjected to what he described as “traumatic interrogation”.

I must thank Drew for raising the public's visibility into the Nepalese Maoist insurgency. I have as a result learned much about their so called "struggle" and now conclude that both the Monarchy and the Maoists must be toppled if the Nepalese are to have the slightest hope of a peaceful life. I am truly affected by their plight and the fact that they're caught between two bloodthirsty absolutist unethical warring factions.

Related Link: http://www.irinnews.org/webspecials/nepal/50552.asp
author by Dantepublication date Sun Jul 23, 2006 16:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Trolling (i.e., playing the player, not the ball), edited out here - as per Editorial Guideline No. 11

As the revolutionary war intensified, human rights organisations like Amnesty International, in report after report, have had to point out that the waves of violence inflicted on the masses has been by one side, that of the reactionary state. Amnesty itself has documented hundreds of cases where the Royal Nepal Army has “disappeared” people, many of whom are thought to have been killed in custody. Furthermore, thousands have been the victims of “arbitrary arrests and detentions” often under laws that Amnesty describes as “in clear breach of the constitution, as well as international treaties to which Nepal is a state party”.

Groups like Amnesty however, are not known for sympathising with revolutionary struggles, attempting to balance evidence of human rights abuse by the state with hints at similar outrages by the revolutionaries. These vague footnotes to their reports are intended to make the overwhelming condemnation of the government more palatable to powerful Western reactionaries. This refusal to differentiate between reaction and revolution ensures that the arrest of a reactionary agent acting in the interests of the monarchy by revolutionary forces will be defined as an “abduction”. This denial of the two-state system that now exists also ensures that the conviction of a revolutionary by a royal court passes without comment. The likes of Amnesty therefore, in their claims of neutrality have an inherent bias towards accommodating with the established order however fascistic.

The examples that you cite, as far as I can make out are merely unsubstantiated claims that some human rights organisations have been insisting on making public. Am I surprised that Mr T has absolute faith in such claims? Well no.

author by Mr. T.publication date Sun Jul 23, 2006 17:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Human Rights Watch also provides similar compelling accounts and evidence of Maoist torture, murder, kidnapping and use of children (including girls) as child soldiers. I guess every NGO is kowtowing to the imperialist west? Pish-posh! It is a well-worn tactic of totalitarians to selectively use and "interpret" human rights abuse statistics and reports to further their objectives and disparage those reports that don't support their lies and propaganda.

Yes, there are many accounts of Monarchist atrocities and I'm not defending them or hiding them - the Monarchy must be overthrown and replaced by a democratic government. But suggesting that Maoism is the only option available besides the Monarchy is a nonsense. Replacing one tyrant with an even more dysfunctional, oppressive and bloodthirsty one is not the answer.

Anyway, don't take my word for it - or that of my Maoist antagonists - read it for yourselves and decide:

The Maoists’ Use of Child Soldiers

I was fourteen. The Maoists came to my village saying one person from each family must join them. I don’t have any brothers, and my sister is just nine years old—it was either me or my mother.… When the two-month program was over, I wanted to leave, but they said they would shoot me if I tried. I was carrying bags and was given a grenade—the Maoists taught me how to use it and how to throw stones.
—fifteen-year old “Parvati P."
One of the most troubling aspects of Nepal’s civil war is the Maoists’ ongoing recruitment, often forcible, of children for military purposes. While there are no specific figures on the number of children within the Maoist forces, the Asian Human Rights Commission (in its 2003 report “Children and the People’s War in Nepal”) estimated that children may comprise up to 30 percent of Maoist forces.

Data collected by Nepali human rights organizations INSEC and Advocacy Forum shows that during the ceasefire the Maoists abducted thousands of children. In its December 2005 report “Three Months of Ceasefire” INSEC suggested that from September to December 2005 the Maoists abducted 8777 persons, most of them students and teachers. Although most of the children were released after participating in political indoctrination programs, it is clear that a significant number joined the Maoist forces.

During its mission, Human Rights Watch interviewed fifteen young people—eleven girls and four boys—all of whom had been recruited by the Maoists while they were under eighteen. The majority of them had been recruited against their will–abducted from schools for an indoctrination program and then forced to stay, taken from homes under the Maoists’ “one family, one member” recruitment campaign, or simply kidnapped. Their subsequent requests to be released or efforts to flee proved futile and in some cases resulted in beatings and other punishments. The children—recruited mostly in the far western region of Nepal—were captured by the RNA in late February 2006 after their participation in the clashes between the Maoists and security forces in Palpa district.

While the Maoist leadership has repeatedly denied training and using children for military activities, the young people interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that as children they had served in the Maoist forces as porters of ammunition, cooks, stretcher-carriers, and sentry guards; some received more substantial military training. Almost all said they were given hand grenades or socket bombs and taught how to use them.

Related Link: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/28/nepal13078.htm#8
author by Mr. T.publication date Sun Jul 23, 2006 17:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm not an expert on Nepal, but I know a bit about Maoism so I have been reading the works of Nepali and other experts for better understanding of the present situation there. A couple of months ago an article was published by a Nepali Expert / Journalist and Peace Activist. She is not a western imperialist outsider, is not a monarchist supporter, is not a reactionary. Her condemnation of Nepalese Maoists is honest, scathing, passionate and deserves a read by anyone trying to make sense of what's really going on in Nepal (like myself).

Provided below are a few excepts of her article:

Nepali journalist, Kamala Sarup is an editor of peacejournalism.com. She has also been invited as a speaker at a number of peace and women conferences. She is specialising in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace Resolutions, Anti war, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, Development, Politics and HIV/AIDS. Some of her publications are: Women's Empowerment (Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women for prostitution through media, (Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in Women & Girls - A Pre-Study for Media Activism. Ms. Kamala Sarup has been nominated as Universal Peace Ambassador [2006] in the framework of the Universal Peace Ambassadors Circle, Geneva Switzerland.

Nepali people love democracy rather than to communist dictatorship. Considering our believe and those presented by Nepali people, I'd make a preliminary evaluation of the causes in the democracy and Maoists communists violence as follows. We will agree with democracy that benefited Nepali people, development and freedom or our national interests, and since something like Maoists dictatorship in general benefit its leaders and workers but suffer from them to ordinary Nepali people and the nation.

However, we don't accept the Maoists regime. The Maoists who are in control of the some districts in Nepal were actually supporting war to maintain and increase the money they were receiving from the poor people. The industrialists and the people wanted the Maoists should not be increased at no expense to themselves.

The first our believe intuitively correct: we wanted to maintain the democracy to get more international support. But Maoists cut off that source of our respect because they kill the people and terrorise our children.


It is true Indirectly poverty was a cause of the Maoists war. Maoists the problems of poverty, exploitation, this created a fertile ground for some politically disgruntled Communist ideologues to sow the seeds of dissent and rebellion in the Nepalese society. And, this is how the Maoist insurgency cropped up in Nepal in early 1996.

In this sense, every cause was indirect. But we definitely do not want to give the appearance of recognizing the Maoists.


Maoists have not been able to prove their ultimate commitment to peace. Due to their past actions and history, there is much doubt in Maoists' vow to peace without reservation. Under this situation, even though the UN acted as a professional, dispassionate and an honest broker/facilitator/guarantor, how do we believe UN meditation/intervention could actually help solve the problems and not merely complicate them? Do we recommend any change in our Geo-political relationship with neighbouring countries? Do we know how strong radical communists like Maoists are getting in South Asia?

Because of the Maoists violence people and especially women are getting the short end of the economic stick. This has lead to unrest in the countryside. The disparate distribution of influence throughout Maoist represents a glaring weak point. Maoists, while appearing roust and invincible at present, is already in the throes of an inevitable decline. Why? Because Maoists is Maoists and the world is the world. There is literally nothing them Communist Party of Nepal can do about it.

Maoists are still engaged in extortion, kidnapping, terrorizing people. In other words, this meant conceding the installation of a universally discredited and outdated system of one-party Communist dictatorship in place of multiparty democracy.

Nepalese people love peace, security and true democracy.

Related Link: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0605/S00155.htm
author by Philippublication date Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is really sad to know that you once considered yourself a "Marxist" Mr T. However, I guess that Tony Blair, Jack Straw etc all once considered them Marxists. Now they're overseeing imperialist wars.

To be honest Mr T, giving evidence from such a wide range of sources as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN and a journalist from Peacejournalism is pretty poor. They are all founded on the basic understanding that war is wrong (unless it's an imperialist war) and certainly that revolution is wrong. What do you expect them to say?

It reminds me of Jung Chang in her recent biography of Mao. I'm sure she'd have loved delving into the Amnesty reports to uncover abuses of human rights, but then her dad was a warlord and she was part of the intellectual elite. So she would be against revolution for the peasants! Among other things, she tries to prove the famous battle at the bridge over the river Dadu didn't work, and her evidence was the Guomindang archives from Taiwan and an interview conducted in 1999 with a 93 year old lady who was adament the battle never took place! What great evidence.

What you described is not pillaging, it's certainly not rape. You have to remember that it is a war, so the PLA do kill people; soldiers and some civilians, mostly informers. But they pale into comparison with the brutality of the other side. I'm sure you'd be happier if these informers or RNA solders weren't killed, and the Nepali masses live in feudal conditions for the foreseeable future, so that you can spend your time reading amnesty international reports that say "everything is fine, there's no killing, no bad feeling, everyone's friends, don't worry yourselves, go make yourself a cup of tea and sleep comfortably tonight."

author by Max Millerpublication date Mon Jul 24, 2006 14:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Until very recently 16 year olds were allowed to fight in British armed forces (this only changed this decade). The policy of the Maoists is that under 18s should not serve in the People Liberation Army as soldiers. Under 18s are allowed to work for the Maoists in other capacities.

When I was in Nepal I saw armed police (part of whose job is to fight the Maoists in armed confrontations) who looked under 18 to me. I did not meet any PLA but there is no way the Maoists would be using actual children (as oppossed to people in their late teens) as soldiers in the PLA. This is just another exaggerration.

As far as your atrocity allegations go. Firstly, there are always atrocity allegations in war (remember 'the babies being ripped out of their incubators in Kuwait' story that turned out to be complete rubbish). We shouldn't automatically accept that all such stories are true.

Secondly, Mr T does his usual thing of making exaggerrated generalisations from a few examples. He has found some allegations of human rights abuses against the Maoists so this proves that all Maoists are evil and they will be Nazi dicators etc. etc. There may be examples of some Maoists failing to follow their orders and carrying out unjustified actions. Unfortunately, this happens in all wars. However, the difference in a People's War is that the army strives to win the support of the people by ensuring that, as much as possible, this does not happen.

This leads onto the next point. Why is it that so much attention is given to allegations against Maoists with these allegations taken to blacken us all. Let's look at another example. If I had gone onto this discussion saying I was a 'social-democrat' would I receive loads of emails from people denouncing me because the British Labour Party has invaded Iraq and British troops have committed some well-documented atrocities? Would I be accused of being a Nazi, an apologist for murder and torture etc. etc. It's funny that this sort of language is only used against those who are fighting for liberation and equality and are doing their best to ensure the People's Army acts in a respectful way towards the ordinary people.

Related Link: http://www.re-evaluationmao.org
author by Drew - WPRMpublication date Mon Jul 24, 2006 16:50author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Relax Dante, don't let yourself be provoked. We have seen all this propaganda before and by now it is quite old. One journalist who claims to be speaking for the whole Nepali nation (she keeps using the word we when referring to the whole country). Such arrogance.

With regard to the "Maoist extortion", this is actually taxation for the liberated zones. While we were travelling towards the Liberated Zones, we met a teacher who was cycling towards the town of Lamahi where he worked. When we asked him about the Maoist taxation policies (we were still pretending to be tourists), he told us that it was actually less than the taxes imposed by the monarchy and of course, people living in the Liberated Zones don't have to pay taxes to the king. Those who do not recognise the two-state situation ultimately call this more lenient tax, extortion.

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by Philippublication date Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yeah, that's a good story Drew. I heard that the Maoist "tax on teachers" is about 5% of their salary and I hear all sort of claims of extortion and forcing people to pay this tax. Er, sorry, but I wish I was only taxed 5% and I wonder what would happen if I, in an imperialist country, decided this tax was "extortion" and chose not to pay.

It's a good example of how people see something happening in Nepal, seize it, fail to look at it from all sides and then use it as anti-Maoist propaganda.

author by Drew - wprmpublication date Tue Jul 25, 2006 14:35author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The claims that the CPN(N) is closing down schools and abducting teachers and school children comes more from the field of cartoon villainy that from reality. It wouldn't make sense for Maoists to behave in such a way, depending as they do on the Nepali masses at every level. In fact, this kind of activity can only hope to bring any short-term dividends among organisations that operate within only one ethnic group, allowing them to prey on another. As it is widely acknowledged, the CPN(M) organises among all Nepal's ethnic groups.

But we must ask ourselves, did this reactionary propaganda come out of thin air or was it inspired?

Nepal is home to the worlds most sought after and expensive afrodisiac, the yarchagumba, a mysterious parasitical mushroom that grows on the heads of caterpillars before the monsoon season. Found in the Dolpa region of Western Nepal. The poorest and least developed area of Nepal, around 50,000 people travel along its trails, some walking for over seventeen days to camp on the mountainside to gather this prescious herb. Entire villages are said to migrate for this harvest. The price of Yarchagumba has soared in the last ten years by 4,000%. In Japan, soup made from yarchagumba can fetch around 100 dollars a bowl.

In Nepal, therefore, during the harvest, a families wealth can be measured by the number of children it has that can pick yarchagumba. There are only two governmeent strongholds left in Dolpa, including the district capital, Dinai. The government however, refuses to acknowledge that it is not in complete control of this district, or indeed the whole country so therefore, when asked why the schools were temporarily closed, Jaya Bahadur, the government District Education Officer in Dolpa admitted, "There are 503 students in 19 schools, but now there are no students in any of the schools. All of the students have gone to collect yarchagumba, because its an important source in Dolpa". More dishones elements might have claimed that the children had all been kidnapped by the Maoists to bring in the harvest, however, the fact of the governments position avoided such a falsehood being utilised.

The CPN(M) policy is not to brainwash (if this were possible the CIA, with all its resources would do it), but to provide a republican education, free from the caste system and the country's dying feudal past.

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by Mr. T.publication date Tue Jul 25, 2006 17:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've read the many replies to my postings that provided widespread international human rights communities' concerns and condemnation of documented war crimes committed by Nepalese Maoists. Credible reports published by well established and highly respected unaligned NGO's and independent journalists, peace and women's rights advocates have been dismissed out of hand and mocked as fantasies or propaganda of reactionary, imperialist forces.

Given a choice between blindly trusting nothing more than the word of Nepalese Maoists that their tactics are legal according to international law and that they shall not plumb the depths of depravity of their Chinese Maoists and Stalinist role-model fore-bearers versus believing the mountains of published reports, research and opinions of NGO's and peace activists condemning their actions as illegal and depraved I'll choose the latter.

Perhaps I'd choose to support the Maoists after gorging on those mystical mushrooms that have surrealistically crept into this debate. With a belly full of said mushrooms I would probably find it plausible to raise and rule my own "revolutionary" army comprised of local children that would travel around "taxing" local AIB branches and pubs and the odd hapless drunk walking home from their local. What a psychedelic Dickensian pipe dream! For the moment, however, with my faculties sharp, my wits about me, I choose to focus my attention upon mundane facts and empirical evidence that are firmly rooted in reality.

To paraphrase an earlier observation: my Maoist "comrades" have crossed the boundary into self-parody - no serious person could make this shit up while keeping a straight face... I can't help but suspect that they're taking the piss.

author by Max Millerpublication date Tue Jul 25, 2006 19:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr T has a fine talent for satire however his humour is based on the kind of false premises which his arguments have relied on throughout the debate. Firstly, he claims that we Maoists accept that Mao did terrible things in the past but we'll do better next time. Obviously, Mao made mistakes like any other human being but on the whole his policies were sound and I would like to see them built on in the future in other societies.

I too have looked at this 'mountain' of reports about Maoist atrocities and what I have found, on the whole is descriptions of individual allegations. In a war there are always atrocity allegations on both sides, some true and some not true and I have dealt with this in an earlier post. The only serious general allegations are the nonsense about 'child abductions'. There is also the question of 'child soldiers' that I have dealt with before.

Mr T uses the word 'depraved' to describe how NGOs have described Maoists. I would challenge him to find an example of NGOs using this word. Also I would repeat an earlier challenge. If Maoists are depraved does this also apply to the great majority of those who voted in Britain who, either voted Labour or Conservative-two parties that supported an unjustifiable, imperialist war in Iraq in which far more people have died than have died in 10 years of People's War in Iraq. And don't forget-we've actually got the pictures of the atrocities carried out by British troops in Iraq.

Still I'm glad I found out about those aphrodisiacs growing all around in Nepal. Next time I go their I'll bring some back for Mr T. It might help him relax a bit and stop spending so much time worrying about communist depravity.

Related Link: http://www.re-evaluationmao.org
author by Mr. T.publication date Tue Jul 25, 2006 20:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You don't like NGO's? Don't trust the UN? Think that peace activists and women's rights proponents are on the Imperialist's payroll? There are still many many others who are simply democracy activists in Nepal who condemn Maoists with far stronger words than "depraved".

How about Bhishma Karki, who was born in eastern Nepal and was imprisoned for his pro-democracy activities? He is now able to speak from the US about both Monarchist and Maoist atrocities. He is, however, a proponent of constitutional monarchy, strongly activist in favour of reestablishing a parliamentary democracy, and praises mainstream communist parties in Nepal.

Bhishma recently published a particularly venomous anti-Maoist piece in Alexander Cockburn's "Counterpunch" leftist journal that describes Maoists with stark terms such as "plague", "wanton" and "scourge".

The first few sentences of this article are presented as excerpt below, with a URL to the entire piece provided:

The attraction for communism has faded to zero globally, but strangely the plague of Maoism is blighting Nepal and has for the last decade. The Maoist terror in Nepal presents a grave cause for alarm. In order for Nepal to save herself from a red terror, it is important for Nepali people to understand the devastation and suffering in countries that practiced communist dictatorship. In contemporary Nepal, however, moderate communists have always been central players trying to achieve power through democratic processes. They call themselves communists but follow moderate socialist policies. More importantly, they shun violence as a political weapon and can coexist as partners in democracy.

The rise of the Maoists with their blind devotion to violent insurgency poses the most serious challenge to Nepal. If even China discards Maoism, how is it going to help Nepal? If communism has failed everywhere, how can it succeed in Nepal? Only the worst of worse case scenarios will materialize for Nepal if the Maoists are ever to succeed. In this ongoing struggle are pitted the democratic forces plus the Monarchy versus an ill assorted gang of Maoists. Only five years ago the Maoist threat seemed unreal and faraway. Despite a series of incompetent governments and chronic instabilities, Maoists were marginal feature on the political canvas of Nepal. Some press and intelligentsia saw in the Maoist uprising an expression of undercurrents of neglected and deprived communities of remote villages.

Through their wanton destruction of development infrastructure and physical elimination of opposition, Maoists show the same tendnecy to barbarism that befell Cambodia in the seventies. They even dream of reviving the corpse of communism on a world stage. At the core of Maoist leadership is a blind fanaticism that Nepal can copy Chinese leader Mao Zedong's success. The closest inspirations of Nepal's Maoist guerilla are Peru's Scendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and some Maoist outfits in India.

I shall continue posting on Indy those relevent and insightful external resources that provide a view of Nepali Maoists that is more balanced than the one cadre's would have us swallow...

author by Mr. T.publication date Tue Jul 25, 2006 20:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The URL was unintentionally left out of the previous post... apologies.

Related Link: http://www.counterpunch.org/karki03052005.html
author by Philippublication date Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr T,

That last posting was rubbish even by your standards. Full of such shit, like "the maoists want to blindly copy Mao's success in China" - if you ever bothered to read what the CPN(M) is saying (if you get past the idea they are all maniacs who just want to kill and loot) then you would find that the CPN(M) are actually saying they have learned from Mao but are advancing from his experience. Especially related to this is their use of democracy, which even if you think is a tactical ploy, it is amazing that the Seven Party Alliance is actually on the side of the Maoists and not the monarchy!!! Also, throughout the Marxist-Leninist tradition no true followers would ever want to blondly copy from a situation in a different time and place.

The article is so shit I don't know what you expect it to prove. It's just wrong. Zero interest in Maoism globally??? What about the Maoist control in 1/3 of the states in India? Why do you think People's War in Nepal has advanced? Have you heard about Maoist parties all around the world including in the heart of the beast the USA? And please don't think that Amnesty, Human Rights Groups and other such organisations are non-alligned, they are quite clearly controlled by western governments and the idea of 'liberal democracy' and they certainly don't give a shit about the wretched of the earth.

By using this article which states the Maoists are wantonly destroying infrastructure, committing atrocities etc you are really showing your true colours. Jung Chang would be proud. A pro-imperialist, so-called liberal living in a dream world so far detached from the reality of life for most people in the world.

author by Max Millerpublication date Wed Jul 26, 2006 14:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What about the 91KM road that has been built under Maoist organisation that I have seen with my own eyes? This road has been of vital importance in an area where people typically go have to go everywhere on dangerous mountain paths. What about the Maoist efforts to develop agriculture and provide credit to people in rural areas to enable them to develop agricultural production? Everyone I spoke to in Nepal, even those who were not Maoist supporters, said that the Maoists were helping the development of the country. The houses I saw in Maoist areas were certainly in a better state than the ones I saw in non-Maoist villages. I saw building work and renovation work going on in these houses that I did not see elsewhere. Of course middle-class 'liberals', Nepalese or otherwise, condemn the Maoists. These people have run the government of Nepal and the NGOs their for 50 years and they have done nothing but line their own pockets. Now their parasitical postion is under threat from the Maoists they are all bleating about their 'rights'. They never gave a toss about the rights and welfare of the peasants and workers in Nepal in the past but despite this the Nepalese Maoists are willing to grant these people democratic rights and the right to form their own parties and enjoy freedom of expression.

Mr T stated earlier that he doesn't believe there is an alternative to the current world economic system. He is therefore adopting the 'depraved' position that we should support a system which leads to world poverty, the deaths of millions every year from hunger and endless wars of imperialist plunder against the oppressed nations.

Related Link: http://www.re-evaluationmao.org
author by Drew - WPRM (ireland)publication date Wed Jul 26, 2006 16:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think a lot of the "evidence" that you cite is made for the international market as we never heard any of this sort of talk inside the country. There was certainly plenty of opportunity for this as we actually became quite friendly with a human rights observer while we were stranded at the border and although he was highly critical of the king he was very reassuring towards us about how the Maoists "wouldnt harm us". We were at this time still pretending to be tourists and he wanted to allay any fears he thought we might have. It was he who told us of the Yarchagumba (I can't understand why Mr T found this important Nepali natural resourse "surreal"). Also, on our travels, we spoke to anyone who would give us their opinions, including a woman who was married to a British soldier, several teachers including one school principal and, at one point, we were invited to attend an NGO meeting. The NGO in question was actually engaged in planning for the following day's anti-monarchy demonstrations as they themselves were going to protest. The NGOs in that area were largely under the control of the CPN(UML), which was no bad thing, but it does fly in the face of the myth that the NGOs are non-aligned. Some, we were told also work in the liberated zones themselves.

When you are actually on the ground in Nepal you get a far clearer picture than you would from the internet (useful as it certainly is). As the man said, "All true knowledge comes from direct experience", and you have to put in some effort if you genuinely want to educate yourself. It's sad that the interest in Nepal only came about when the poorest sections of society rebelled. For years the desperate plight of the Nepali masses was ignored by those who would shrug and say, "that's the way the world is". The Nepalese at least have decided that this doesn't have to be the way the world is. The Maoists are not some foriegn, invading entity that suddenly deposited the thousands of Maoist fighters, activists and supporters across the country. The Nepalese, whether you like it or not, have taken up Maoism as an ideology that will set them free. Because the Maoists are largely made up of the people that were previously at the bottom of society, the masses, it is wrong to characterise them, not as the engine that drives the revolutionary process but as apparent bystanders, caught in the middle of two warring factions. It was Mao himself that said, "Sooner or later every communist must learn, that political power grows through the barrel of a gun". Now the question you have to ask yourself is, who is holding the Maoists' guns?

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by Drew - wprm (Ireland)publication date Thu Jul 27, 2006 15:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The thing about human rights is that it is never properly defined. Back in 1996, a group of human rights activists that believed, among other things, that land should be used for the benefit of all, women should not be trafficked and that no other country should interfere in the internal matters of Nepal began their campaign. The fact that these human rights activists were Maoists should not devalue in any way, their commitment to these human rights.

author by historianpublication date Thu Jul 27, 2006 15:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With due respect, given the history of Maoism, they are wrong. The people of China and Kampuchea were similarly deceived.

author by Max Millerpublication date Fri Jul 28, 2006 15:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I haven't got time to retread all the arguements over the history of China under Mao that were addressed in earlier posts. Suffice to say that there were unprecedented increases in life expectancy
under Mao's rule, the country was industrialised and workers and peasants gained the right to participate in the running of their factories and agricultural communes. Stories about Mao killing 30 million people or 70 million people are simply rubbish. Check our www.re-evaluationmao.org for the real facts about Mao.
As for Pol Pot. I can't comment too much on his regime as I don't have the evidence in front of me. However, it was not really a Maoist regime. In 1976 the Communist Party of Kampuchea welcomed the arrest of the Gang of Four. They were therefore revisionist. If they had followed Mao's path they would have established New Democracy before trying to establish socialism. From what I have seen many of their policies were a rather paniced and extreme reaction to the very chaotic situation that existed in Kampuchea when they took over (millions had fled the countryside, food aid was cut off etc.) Apparently they were trying to end food being sold to Vietnam so it could be eaten by Kampucheans, hence they closed peasant markets, stopped the grain trade etc. This was not a 'Maoist' policy, it was their own policy and they were quite proud of this fact, as they were not copying China but coming up with something 'authentically Kampuchean'. Apparently, Mao criticised their policies and argued that they had to accept that some capitalist elements would be needed in their economic system for some time. I am not sure of the authenticity of this story.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) accepts New Democracy and the idea that initially the revolution will be about developing capitalism but will there will also be a struggle to establish socialism. I don't really see much relation between this policy and the Pol Pot regime.

Related Link: http://www.re-evaluationmao.org
author by Drew - wprm (Ireland)publication date Fri Jul 28, 2006 15:26author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually, people aren't that easily taken in. When your livlihood and the future of your children depends on it, you tend to be a bit more careful about who it is that you give your support to. The fact that the Chinese people still greatly admire Mao should tell you more than western propaganda. If Mao was a tyrant, surely the people would have noticed.

While I am here, the latest Fourthwrite (available in Dublin, in Books Upstairs, Connolly Books and some of the stalls on O'Connell Street) carries a report on the 2nd Road Building Brigade to Nepal.

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by pat cpublication date Thu Aug 17, 2006 13:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Latest developments in Nepal, looks like theres not going to be a Coalition Government with the Maoists just yet. Full article at link.

pat c

Nepal rebel not to join power now

The rebel chief Prachanda says they are in no hurry to join the government. Maoist rebels in Nepal will not join the government unless "structural changes" of the state are put in place, their leader Prachanda has said. The rebels are known to favour an interim parliament to replace the present assembly in which they have no representation.

They also want a federal republic to replace Nepal's ceremonial monarchy. The rebels called a truce after King Gyanendra ended direct rule and restored parliament in April. The Maoists and a seven-party alliance of political parties clinched a landmark power-sharing deal in June.

Prachanda told the BBC that the rebels are in no hurry to join the government. He did not elaborate on the kind of changes that the rebels wanted in the state structure.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4800729.stm
author by pat cpublication date Tue Aug 22, 2006 17:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Nepalese Maoists have confronted Hindu Rightwingers who are enraged that Nepal is no longer a Hindu State. Many of these protesters believe that the Nepalese king is the emperor of all Hindi.

Full story at link.

pat c

Nepal Maoists disrupt Hindu meet
By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu

Maoist rebels in southern Nepal have disrupted a meeting of the right-wing Hindu Shiv Sena organisation, resulting in a tense standoff between the groups. Shiv Sena members had gathered to protest against the removal of the country's Hindu status after 40 years.

The standoff was probably the first of its kind since parliament declared Nepal no longer a Hindu nation in May. Nepal is at least 80% Hindu, but the religion is often closely intertwined with Buddhism or traditional faiths.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5270688.stm
author by pat cpublication date Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nepal mourns 'mother of protests'

The death has been announced in Nepal of an 88-year-old woman who became a symbol of protests against King Gyanendra for nearly four years. Chhaya Devi Parajuli's death, confirmed by her daughter, came five weeks after she was knocked over by a motorcycle.

Chhaya Devi Parajuli was a remarkably consistent and visible presence in street demonstrations here. She was seen by opposition supporters as an icon in a country often thought to lack visionary political leaders.

Full story at link.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5293540.stm
author by pat cpublication date Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A panel in Nepal says that it will question King Gyanendra over his role in the crackdown against pro-democracy protesters earlier this year. It would be the first time a monarch in Nepal has faced such questioning. Twenty-one protesters were killed and another 5,000 injured in three weeks of protests in April against the king's direct rule.

The panel was set up by the seven-party alliance which took power after King Gyanendra gave up his absolute powers.

Full story at link.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5294312.stm
author by pat cpublication date Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A demonstration by pro-Maoist protestors demanding information on Nepal's missing rebels has entered its second day in the capital, Kathmandu. At least 30 protestors were injured on Monday when the police used batons to disperse the demonstration near the army headquarters in the capital.

More than 1,000 rebels are said to have disappeared during operations by security forces over the past 10 years.

Full story at the link.

Related Link: http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5314812.stm
author by Drew - WPRM - Irelandpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 17:20author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

[The following is a distillation of the content of three articles taken from issue number ten of The Worker, organ of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist): 1. "International Dimension of Prachanda
Path," by Comrade Basanta; 2. "Epochal Ten Years of Application and Development of Revolutionary Ideas," by Comrade Baburam Bhattarai; 3. "Hoist the Revolutionary Flag on Mount Everest in the 21st
Century," an interview with CPN(Maoist) Comrade Chairman Prachanda.
My aim in writing this article is to synopsize the contributions of the Nepalese Maoists to the international communist movement and to the development of Marxist-Leninist- Maoist theory. Any italics are mine. - K.G.]

http://klementgottw ald.blogspot. com/2006/ 09/on-main- ideological-
contributions- of.html

The CPN(Maoist) refers to the application and development of Marxism-
Leninism-Maoism in the flames of the Nepalese revolution
as "Prachanda Path." Comrade Basanta writes that the Nepalese
Party "does not claim that Prachanda Path has already become
universal. Nor do we think it is the time to debate whether or not it
has attained universality. Nonetheless, we believe that the new
concepts and ideas that it has put forward encompasses ideological
and political strength to help develop revolutionary struggles all
across the world." There are several areas in which the Nepalese
communists have made ideological breakthroughs, the validity of which
have been tested, and will continue to be tested by practice.

Combat Revisionism… and Dogmatism

The CPN(Maoist) has stressed, that although revisionism of basic
Marxist-Leninist- Maoist principles and right-wing opportunism are the
main danger to the communist movement, there cannot be a qualitative
leap forward without challenging certain ossified, dogmatic
tendencies among the communists. Comrade Basanta says: "Our Party
believes that although right revisionism is the main danger in the
contemporary ICM, sectarianism and dogmatism also have been creating
impediments for the smooth development of revolution from within the
Maoist camp in the world"; however, it is clear that "(n)o ideology
other than MLM and no form of struggle other than People's War can
wipe out imperialism. "

It is understandable that sectarianism and dogmatism have emerged as
problems, since the very future of the communist movement was
endangered following the loss in China in 1976. After the death of
Mao, says Comrade Prachanda, "the revolutionary Maoist movement, in
the name of defending the basic principles of MLM against right
revisionism, happened to fall prey to sectarian dogmato-revisionism
that repeats old things only and overlooks the analysis of the
development of an object."

What is called for is the creative development of communist
ideology. "Creative development" is a term that has been sullied by
renegades like Khrushchev, but a reflexively dogmatic response to
revisionism will not enable a leap forward in the world revolution.
Comrade Basanta states that "the usual business of clinging on to
what Lenin and Mao said in their life time will not help the Maoist
revolutionaries change the face of the globe" and that "the analysis
of imperialism made by Lenin and Mao in the twentieth century cannot
scientifically guide the Maoist revolutionaries to develop correct
strategy and tactic to fight in the twenty-first century." He quotes
Comrade Prachanda: "This February, Comrade Prachanda stressed the
importance of `struggling against the problems like those of
preferring to analyze and eulogize the experiences of old proletarian
revolutions but hesitating to develop courageously the strategy and
tactics based on mass line by carrying out concrete analysis of the
concrete condition.'"

Specifically, Comrade Prachanda calls for "struggle against Hoxhaite
dogmato-revisionism that eulogizes even some of the metaphysical
weaknesses of Comrade Stalin and its negative consequences. " This
sort of contention has been a source of controversy, with Indian
comrades in particular expressing opposition to criticism of Stalin.
He further called for learning from Marxist thinkers that have been
previously criticized by communists for their errors: "Our Party is
definitely opposed to discarding the great revolutionaries like Rosa
(Luxemburg) and Che (Guevara) into a different camp by distancing
them from the mainstream Marxism and revolution; rather, we are for
respecting them and learning from their contributions. " This is the
communist broadmindedness that is characteristic of the giants of the
revolutionary movement.

Strategy and Tactics

One of the hallmarks of the Nepalese Revolution has been its
combination of strategic firmness and tactical flexibility. Comrade
Prachanda says that "tactical flexibility without strategic firmness
leads to a quagmire of reformism and revisionism and while strategic
firmness without tactical flexibility leads to a marsh of mechanical
tendency and dogmatism, only a proper implementation of dialectical
interrelationship between strategic firmness and tactical flexibility
can propel revolutionary movement in a proper and dynamic way."
Comrade Baburam Bhattarai affirms that "it is evident that the policy
of strategic firmness and tactical flexibility practiced with success
during the past ten years is an important component in the
development of MLM and Prachanda Path."

The CPN(Maoist) has been criticized by Indian comrades for some of
its tactics, including utilizing peace talks as a route of war by
other means. Answering critics, Comrade Basanta states that "(i)t is
true, we had gone too far before and we should be ideologically
prepared to go far again if necessary for revolution. We had united
with parties which were revisionists. Our Party had 11 members in the
parliament that can nowhere be seen in the history of revolutionary
communists after Lenin's Dumas. We were in table with the enemy twice
in the history of People's War. We declared unilateral ceasefire when
we were achieving military victory one after another." Yet the
Nepalese Revolution has, in the process of implementing flexible
tactics on the basis of strategic firmness, moved from one victory to
the next.

It is the view of the Nepalese Maoists that a lack of tactical
flexibility has been at the root of setbacks to the communist
movement. Comrade Bhattarai proposes: "There has been discernible
sectarian and mechanistic deviation from both the right and left
perspectives in the understanding and application of the dialectical
interrelationship between war and politics inherent in the scientific
formulation of 'War is politics by other (i.e. violent) means'
developed from Clausewitz through Marx and Lenin to Mao. Rectifying
this, the PW was initiated and after the initiation various types of
negotiations and political initiatives were constantly and
successfully undertaken in the service of the war.

Comrade Prachanda points to the case of Peru, attributing what must
be admitted to be the failure of the People's War in Peru to "the
imbalance in the use of strategic firmness and tactical flexibility
(unilateral emphasis on strategy), in the question of developing
ideas through concrete analysis of concrete condition in the changed
context of today's world as well as idealistic thought of glorifying
the leadership." (1)

Party and Revolutionary State

The CPN(Maoist) aims to create a situation after nationwide victory
in which revolutionary successors continuously regenerate the Party,
and the revolution continues under the revolutionary class
dictatorship. The fact that socialism was destroyed in the Soviet
Union and in China following the demise of Stalin and Mao presents a
serious problem for communists. Comrade Basanta asks: "(W)hy does the
absence (death or capture) of the main leadership, who personally had
led the revolution, become the cause of counter-revolution? How can
we generate revolutionary successors, who are capable of
uninterruptedly sustaining and developing revolution, while the main
leadership is still alive?" The Nepalese comrades have attempted to
address this question through proposing new organizational frameworks
for the proletarian dictatorship. Perhaps most provocatively, this
February, Comrade Prachanda said that "the Party firmly believes that
only by organizing Partywise competition, even in the socialist
society, within the constitutional framework against feudalism and
imperialism and making lively the supervision, control and
intervention of the masses in the state power, can the proletarian
dictatorship be consolidated and the counter-revolutiona ry force be
prevented from raising its head."

a. Multi-Party Competition

Comrade Bhattarai refers to the "historic Plenum of the CC of the
Party was held in Rolpa in May-June 2003. This Plenum adopted a
document of monumental significance on 'The Development of Democracy
in the 21 It Century'. After making a critical review of the
experiences of revolution and counter-revolution in the 20th century,
the document advocated the need to ensure the supervision,
intervention and control of the masses over the Party, army and the
state in order to march along the path of continuous revolution after
making the revolution, and for this advanced the concept of
practicing a multi-party competitive system within the stipulated
constitutional framework. This was a new milestone in the development
of revolutionary ideas." This decision, according to Comrade
Prachanda "prepared the ground for concluding the 12-point
understanding with other parliamentary political parties to spearhead
the anti-monarchy mass movement."

The rationale for this decision is laid out by Comrade Basanta: "(I)n
the course of exercising dictatorship upon the class enemies, no
constitutional provisions were developed to ensure people's
democratic right to supervise, control and intervene upon the
communist Party, people's army and the people's government if they
turn against the people." Comrade Prachanda elaborates, contending
that "within the anti-feudal and anti-imperialistic constitutional
framework, only through multi-Party competition even in a socialist
society can counter-revolution be prevented and proletariat' s rule be
strengthened by making effective the people's control, monitoring and
intervention in the governance."

Delving into the practical implications of multiple parties under new
democracy and socialism, Comrade Prachanda states that "the political
parties that represent various classes and ideological beliefs will
not need to set up separate armies because there interests will not
be antagonistic. Instead, there begins a people's democratic
competition under people's dictatorship, which only further
strengthens people's state." He makes clear that the competition
between parties under socialism would be non-antagonistic in nature.
It must be asked: What, from an institutional perspective, is to
assure that this will be the case? While Comrade Prachanda makes
clear that multiple parties must abide by the constitutional
framework established by revolutionary victory, stating that "(n)o
one should forget the limit of people's democratic and socialist
constitutional system," it is not clear how this multi-party system
will look in practice - specifically, how it will differ from
previous multi-party people's democratic states. New China always had
multiple parties, as did many East European states like the German
Democratic Republic. In sum, it is unclear at this point what CPN
(Maoist) means by multi-party competition. However, it should be
pointed out that Comrade Prachanda stated that "UML's (the main
revisionist party –K.G.)multi-party people's democracy expresses
class coordination and a reformist line of bourgeois
parliamentarianism while our slogan of democratic republic expresses
transitional revolutionary slogan that helps propel class struggle in
a special condition of power balance."

b. Separation of Party Cadres from Administrative Work; No Life Tenure

Comrade Prachanda refers to the proposal "that the chief leader and
the core team of the leadership should focus on ideological works by
keeping themselves away from the day to day administrative works and
provide a physical environment for the revolutionaries of the new
generation to be trained as successors." It is important to maintain
a ruling Party as a revolutionary Party, and the experience of the
socialist states has shown that parties may become bogged down with
administrative work; in essence, the communist organizer can in such
a case become a "technocrat, " removed from conscious political
activity. The danger in separating Party and state work is that
politics will not be the lifeblood of economic work; that is, "reds"
will occupy the sphere of public opinion while "experts" will occupy
the state management of the economy. While it is commendable that the
Nepalese comrades seek to maintain their revolutionary character
through defining the distinction between administrative and
ideological spheres, in no case should the administrative sphere
become "off-limits" to communist organizers. Quite the contrary,
communists must play a leading role in the management of all spheres
of state and economic work.

With regard to official tenure, Comrade Bhattarai refers to the Party
decision that after nationwide victory it is important to "handover
responsibilities to the revolutionary successors in time, rather than
the main authoritative leadership running the Party and the state
throughout his life…"; thus, the Nepalese comrades have rejected the
practice of life tenure in organizational leadership. The transition
to new generations of revolutionary leaders must occur while the
veteran comrades are still alive. Mao stressed the need for combining
old, middle-aged, and young comrades in leadership, but did not break
with the life tenure concept. The principal leadership must be
periodically regenerated through measures adopted by state law and
Party statute.

c. No Standing Army

Comrade Prachanda proclaims that a revolutionary Nepalese state will
not require a formal standing army. After nationwide victory, "when
the same people's liberation army, instead of being confined in the
barracks; goes to the people and creates an ocean of armed people and
dissolves itself in it, it will truly reflect the balance between
people's democracy and dictatorship and dissolution of the state." In
view of the current realities and balance of military power in the
world, the strongest national defense for a country like Nepal is
indeed a people's militia, both popular in character and disciplined,
which is politically capable of waging people's war. Imperialist
aggression will not be repelled with conventional warfare in the case
of countries like Nepal, but rather guerrilla warfare. As regards
standing armies under socialism, Comrade Prachanda further says that
in Russia and China, "the extremely powerful permanent armies could
not ultimately prevent counterrevolutions, rather the permanent
armies themselves turned into the police of the counterrevolution. "
It is true that, after the revolution, the professional armies in
many cases were never able to break with the culture and ideology of
the defeated classes; instead, they were breading grounds for anti-
socialist conspirators. For example, one may look to Marshall Zhukov
in the Soviet Union, who enforced Khrushchev's coup against
revolutionaries like Molotov. In China, Marshall Ye Jianying provided
logistical support to the coup by Deng Xiaoping and his puppets
against the Maoist revolutionaries.

d. Right to Self-Determination

Nepal, like many countries, is a prison house of nations. The Maoists
place a high premium of leading the liberation movements of the
oppressed nations and peoples of Nepal - they recognize that the
right to national self-determination is an indispensable prerequisite
of national liberation. Comrade Prachanda states that Nepal "will not
disintegrate because of right to self-determination or autonomy.
Rather it will become a united and powerful," and that "reactionary
forces who spread such rumours that the nation will disintegrate
because of right to self-determination and autonomy are people of no
less feudal mindset than those who feel that 'all women will start
leaving their husbands if they are given the right to divorce'." On
the other hand, it should be stressed that some wives who are abused
by their husbands will indeed leave their husbands, especially if
these men will not reform! Likewise, some oppressed nations will want
independent states, particularly if the oppressor nation will
not "reform" by changing its ways through revolution.

Imperialism and Revolution

a. Implications of Globalization

Comrade Basanta points out that the "counter-revolution in China in
the 70s, the collapse of Soviet social imperialism in the 80s and
inability of other imperialist powers to compete with the US military
strength created a temporarily 'favorable' situation for the US to
escalate its all-round and unchallenged offensive against the nations
and people all across the world." Formulating a correct understanding
of the operation of imperialism is crucial to maximizing the capacity
of communists to lead and develop revolutionary struggle.

Comrade Bhattarai spells out the need for new analysis of imperialism
in the current period: "Following the Second World War, the inter-
imperialist rivalry and Lenin's analysis on the nature of war that
continues among them to divide and redivide a certain part of the
world and the proletarian strategy built up on its basis, and
following the Cold War, the situation of the analysis of Three Worlds
made by Mao, even though in a tactical sense, do not basically exist.
The condition of the US imperialism, which is advancing as a
globalized form of state, has caused Lenin's and Mao's analyses on
this to lag behind in the same manner as the development of
imperialism in Lenin's time had made Marx's the then analysis and
strategy, based on his analysis of capitalism, that revolution will
take place firstly and simultaneously in the developed capitalist
countries of Europe, to lag behind."

The Nepalese communists have developed the view that imperialist
globalization has necessited the closer integration of world
revolutionary movements, while still recognizing that revolution may
occur in one or several countries at a time. Comrade Basanta states
that the "globalized imperialism developing in the form of a single
state and unprecedented revolution in the information technology has
now made this world a small unit." Quoting Comrade Prachanda, he
reiterates "Comrade Prachanda writes in the document of CC meeting,
2005, `The main specificity of today's imperialism has been to
exploit and oppress the broad masses of people of the earth
economically, politically, culturally and militarily in the form of a
single globalized state.'"

Comrade Basanta makes two propositions: (1) "(R)evolution in any
country must be carried out as a part and parcel of the world
revolution," and (2) "revolution in any country can neither be
accomplished nor defended unless masses are mobilized
internationally. In this regard, the Nepalese Maoists emphatically
affirm that "(c)onstituting a new Communist International has
definitely become essential for the proletariat to fight against
globalized imperialism and globalized revisionism, especially in the
context of today's world situation."

b. United Front Against Imperialism

Comrade Prachanda calls for a broad international front against
imperialism. Rather than making the main point of departure the
criticism of revisionism or "social-fascism, " Comrade Prachanda
states that "(a)s far as the question of Cuba is concerned, we have
taken it in the form of a united front against US imperialism. " In
the current period, the revisionist states like China, Vietnam, Laos,
and the DPR Korea must be won over to a united from against
imperialism. They are a part of the third world, are often in sharp
contention with imperialism, and as such are in a position to support
just democratic demands for national sovereignty and freedom from
interference in the internal affairs of third world countries,
regardless of social system. The CPN(Maoist) has taken this stand
with regards to China (and India), and is engaging in diplomacy for
the new, embryonic revolutionary state, assuring Nepal's neighbors
that it seeks peaceful relations on the basis of the Five Principles
of Peaceful Coexistence, as upheld by Mao.

Modern People's War

The Maoists of Nepal have sought to fuse the conception of protracted
people's war as developed by Mao with insurrection as a revolutionary
military strategy. Comrade Bhattarai points out the problems faced by
communists waging people's wars: "(I)t is seen that the protracted
PWs launched in different countries have faced obstacles or got
liquidated after reaching the state of strategic offensive and
imperialism has attempted to refine its interventionist counter-
insurgency 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 lands of
imperialism and reaction."

Comrade Prachanda criticized "the tendency to narrow down the war by
erecting a Chinese wall between the two 20th century military
strategies (general armed struggle and a Protracted People's War) or
being imprisoned in one or the other model. In the present contexts
of the world that is getting smaller due to revolution in information
technology and a modem, unified and centralized exploitation-
oppression of globalized imperialism, the Party on the basis of an
analysis of positive and negative experiences of the past century
concluded that it is necessary to move ahead by having a fusion of
the strategies of long-term People's War in armed struggle and the
strategies of armed struggle in People's War." As summarized by
Comrade Bhattarai: "(I)n keeping with the ever changing world
situation and the specificities of Nepal it was decided to fuse
certain aspects of the strategy of armed insurrection to the military
strategy of protracted PW from the very beginning."

Further stressing the tactical flexibility of the Nepalese
communists, Comrade Basanta says that the CPN(Maoist) has "put
forward a new concept of fusion of two strategies - the protracted
People's War and insurrection. But this fusion does not mean a
mechanical amalgamation of two kinds of strategies and creation of a
new mixture but what it means is to flexibly apply the one that goes
well with the given condition. The essence of fusion is not to abide
by specific model but to remain ideologically unrestrained to apply
any suitable tactic to confront the pressing challenge in the given
concrete condition." In terms of developing revolutionary military
tactics, this "ideological unrestraint" as regards tactical questions
is fully in accord with the practice of Mao Zedong during the course
of the Chinese Revolution. If Mao had instead followed the orthodox
dictates, nationwide victory could never have been achieved.

(1). Comrade Prachanda specifically points to the case of the losses
suffered in the Peruvian Revolution: the PCP made the mistake "of
idealizing Comrade Gonzalo as a supernatural leader who never makes a
mistake and of placing him above the whole Party and the Central
Committee by asserting his leadership as Jefetura…" and, furthermore,
there are "(s)ufficient indications that Chairman Gonzalo himself is
the main spokesperson of the two-line struggle developed within the
Party after his arrest, as well as of the right opportunist line that
argues for peaceful conciliation with the enemy by abandoning war,
reveal the seriousness of the situation."

Related Link: http://www.aroadtothefuture.org
author by pat cpublication date Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Rightwing Hindu sectarians attempt to stymie progress towards a secular state in Nepal. Full story at the link.

pat c

Hindu fears over secular Nepal

At the moment protesters wanting to keep Nepal officially Hindu only number a few dozen. Young and old, some dressed in saffron, some wielding tridents, Hindu nationalists march in the streets of Kathmandu, letting out a cry of indignation. "Bring back the Hindu kingdom," they shout.

It is a pattern being regularly repeated, mainly in the capital and the plains bordering India, by Hindus incensed by parliament's recent declaration that Nepal should be secular. But at the moment, Nepal remains the world's only officially Hindu country.

Krishna Bhattachan works for an umbrella organisation of 59 indigenous ethnic groups, most of which have never enjoyed much power in Nepal. He says the Hindu state has held back democracy and development and wants secularism to be followed by removal of the monarchy and recognition for minority cultures and languages.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5355816.stm
author by Drew - WPRM-Irelandpublication date Sat Sep 23, 2006 17:06author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

An article has been published on the website of the US Monthly Review magazine http://www.monthlyr eview.org/ 0906ball. htm which rigourously questions the idea that Mao 'killed millions' in the Great Leap Forward. The article finds that all the demographic 'evidence' for this was released 20 years after the event by Deng Xiaoping during a political campaign against the legacy of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

It finds that where famine did occur in that period the peasants blamed natural disasters much more than government policy and that far less than the ridiculous figure of 30 million are likely to have died in this famine. The article indicates that the policies pursued in the Great Leap Forward were correct and had far-reaching benefits for China, despite the initial set-backs.

You may also want to check out the authors website at www.re-evaluationma o.org
The article is freely available and therefore not subject to copywrite, so there do not seem to be any restrictions on reproducing it elsewhere.

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by pat cpublication date Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Talkshave taken place between the Nepalese Prime Minister and the Maoist leader, Prachanda. Full story at link.

pat c

Nepal PM meets Maoist rebel chief

Nepalese Prime Minister, Girija Prasad Koirala, has met the top Maoist leader, Prachanda, to speed up the peace process in the country. The meeting took place ahead of the planned talks between the governing seven-party alliance and the rebels.

The talks were due on Thursday. They have been put off to allow more time for preparation by both sides. The rebels have said they were willing to hold a round of substantive peace talks with the government.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5387676.stm
author by pat cpublication date Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Heres an update on the situation in Nepal from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) via A World to Win News Service.

Full story at the link.

pat c

The revolution in Nepal has been going through an intense period since the April people’s movement known as Janadolan 2, coming on top of ten years of people’s war, rocked Nepal and forced the king to abandon direct rule. (Janadolan 1 was the mass movement that first forced the monarchy to retreat from open absolutism in 1990). Since then a precarious situation has existed as the country’s political situation continues to boil.

We received the follow report from Purna, a supporter of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), putting forward the party’s understanding of the current situation.

A World to Win News Service

Public intolerance against the government in Nepal has reached a climax. People want a political solution to the prevailing reactionary system, now on the verge of collapse due to the decade-long people’s war led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). People want peace, progress and prosperity. The peace that people want is not the peace of the dead, as the local and foreign enemies are advocating, but a peace with comprehensive political rights and the complete political and economic restructuring of Nepalese society. Contrary to the wishes of the masses of people, the bourgeois government of the parliamentary parties has repeatedly been resorting to conspiracies against the interests of the people. Instead of agreeing to peace through a political solution, it is preparing another vicious war.

Related Link: http://reibiliun.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_reibiliun_archive.html
author by tom eilepublication date Thu Nov 23, 2006 15:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Maoists are coming in from the cold now. They have agreed to be disarmed by the UN and to integrate their guerrillas with the country’s armed forces . A great victory for democracy according to the US. There’s a picture in today’s Guardian of Nepalese celebrating in the street with what look like bodhrans . Ihttp://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,195469....html

author by pat cpublication date Thu Nov 23, 2006 19:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually the US are not at all happy with the Maoists taking part in Government. It should be remembered that it was the Guerillas insurgency which forced the Feudalist King from office and made a return to democracy possible.

This is what Prachanda had to say; full story at the link.

"This moment marks the end of the 238-year-old feudal system," Maoist leader Prachanda declared.

"Our party will work with new responsibility and new vigour to make a new Nepal."

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6171586.stm
author by pat cpublication date Sat Dec 09, 2006 17:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

King Gyanendra of Nepal and his son, Crown Prince Paras, have been forced to pay tax - for the first time in the history of the monarchy. Officials at Kathmandu's international airport say the king and the prince were charged customs duties on imported goods this week.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says the tax payment is the latest in a series of humiliating blows for the king. His extensive lands are to be nationalised. Parliament has also taken on the right to decide who succeeds to the throne if the monarchy survives.

A constituent assembly is due to be established next year that will decide on whether the monarchy should be abolished.

Full story at link.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6161181.stm
author by pat cpublication date Mon Dec 11, 2006 13:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

KATHMANDU (AFP) - Two top rebel Maoist leaders imprisoned in India for three years arrived in Nepal's capital Kathmandu to scenes of rejoicing. Some 2,000 Maoist supporters and the rebel leader Prachanda attended the welcoming celebration held for the two men Friday evening.

"The fusion of the armed conflict and the people's movement has opened new doors for establishing a new Nepal," said Mohan Baidya, one of the two men released from prison Thursday.
Baidya had been a chief advisor to rebel leader Prachanda prior to his imprisonment in 2003, and told an ecstatic crowd Friday that he planned to again be "actively engaged in politics."

Chandra Prasad Gajurel, the other senior leader released Thursday said he also intended to return to politics after 40 months in Indian jails. "Nepal's revolution is heading towards a turning point. I feel there is a greater role for me to fulfil my responsibilities," said the senior leader.

During the two-hour welcoming ceremony, rebel leader Prachanda placed garlands of white flowers on the two men, to extended applause by the crowd in a large conference centre in Kathmandu.

Full story at link.

Related Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061201/wl_asia_afp/nepalindiamaoists_061201155658
author by tom eilepublication date Tue Dec 12, 2006 01:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We are not fighting for socialism ,we are just fighting against feudalism. We are fighting for the capitalistic mode of production. We are trying to give more profits to capitalists and industrialists.”


author by Sawney Beanpublication date Fri Dec 15, 2006 13:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Easy to quote something out of context. The link is to site run by a two man and a dog "Trot" outfit who despise any National Liberation struggles. Prachanda is making the point that the Capitalist mode of production does not exist in Nepal at the moment; Nepal is a Feudal society.

Perhaps there are those who will provide a plan for Nepal to leap over the Capitalist stage straight to Socialism. Please post it here. Pay particular attention to how Nepal can ignore the fact that on this Earth, Capitalism rules at present.

author by tom eilepublication date Fri Dec 15, 2006 20:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They may be a two men and a dog trot outfit Sawney ,but there's nothing to suggest that they quoted the maoist demi-god Prachanda out of context :
"We are fighting for the capitalistic mode of production. We are trying to give more profits to capitalists and industrialists.”

It's a clear enough statement surely .

author by Sawney Beanpublication date Sat Dec 16, 2006 15:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its one sentence taken from a long interview and taken out of context. I repeat: do you have a formula for jumping from a Feudal mode of production to Socialism, therby bypassing Capitalism? Call Prachanda a Stageist if you will, but he is dealing with reality, Not supporting Capitalism.

author by pat cpublication date Sat Dec 16, 2006 16:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nepal's ruling parties and communist rebels reached an agreement on an interim constitution Saturday, a crucial development in the country's peace process. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, leaders of the seven ruling alliance and Maoist rebel leader Prachanda reached the agreement Saturday morning after meeting all night, said Arjun Narsingh of Koirala's Nepali Congress.

The interim constitution would be in place until a permanent one is prepared by a special assembly to be elected next year. Besides creating a new constitution, the assembly would also decide how Nepal's political system will operate.

Narsingh said the ruling parties and rebels agreed that all executive powers would remain with the prime minister, and that King Gyanendra, who was stripped of most of his powers and command of the army earlier this year, would have "absolutely no power."

Full story at link.

Related Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061216/ap_on_re_as/nepal_peace_process
author by tomeilepublication date Sat Dec 16, 2006 18:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"We are fighting for the capitalistic mode of production".
Sawney ,you wrote that the above statement from Prachanda was taken out of context from a much longer interview . Whatever the context ,I find it difficult to see how the statement could be anything other than an endorsement of capitalism . Do you have the text of that much longer interview ?

author by Sawney Beanpublication date Sun Dec 17, 2006 21:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You were able to find that sentence, so I have full confidence in your abilities to find the entire article. As I previously stated: if you know of a means to leap from feudalism to capitalism then please post your plan here. Otherwise, desist from repeating yourself; its getting a tad tedious.

author by tom eilepublication date Mon Dec 18, 2006 18:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I read Prachanda's endorsement of capitalism on wsws Sawney . As they never seem to source their articles at that site , I have no way of knowing whether the quote was taken out of context or not . But let's not go into that matter anymore seeing as you find it tedious.
What do you mean about leaping from feudalism to capitalism though - or do you mean leaping from feudalism to socialism ? I am an opponent of the capitalistic mode of production myself so ,even if I did have a plan about how to leap to it , I wouldn't tell you or Prachanda.

author by pat cpublication date Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nepal's Maoist rebels have called a general strike in the capital, Kathmandu, to protest against key government appointments in the country. On Monday, the government announced a number of appointments, including ambassadors to 14 countries.

The positions had fallen vacant after King Gyanendra ended his direct rule after a popular uprising in April. A Maoist leader warned that the appointments may endanger the current peace process to end the insurgency.

The one-day strike disrupted normal life in Kathmandu and the neighbouring Lalitpur and Bhaktapur towns.

Full story at link.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6192119.stm
author by Cogsypublication date Tue Dec 19, 2006 14:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

One of the important internationalist duties of socialists at home too is to speak bluntly about the ideological problems facing our brothers and sisters in arms in Nepal and elsewhere. If we believe there is a fundamental problem that will negate the appeal of revolutionary Marxism to the oppressed in these countries, then we ought to say so.

And it is not only the “Trots” that have come out critical of the CPN(M) in recent times. Relations between the Nepalese Maoists and their fraternal organisations in the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and CAMPOSA have sharply deteriorated. The RIM and CAMPOSA have been criticising the CPN(M) for abandoning the revolutionary movement, entering into government and giving up their guns.

Check this press release from the CPI(M) criticising the political line of the CPN(M):

author by Cogsypublication date Tue Dec 19, 2006 14:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I forgot the link.


author by Drew - WPRMpublication date Wed Dec 20, 2006 17:00author email wprm_ireland at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The reality on the ground is that there are fierce debates going on with regard to Nepal around the way forward, but these are symptomatic of the need to develop new forms of resistance in the 21st century. The CPN(M) is still a fully functioning member of the RIM and the recognition that there is a need to meet the challenges of the world we are now in. It would be a real cause for concern if these debates were not going on as there are no god-like entities around to give us the 'one true way to victory'. These 'non-antagonistic contradictions' are part of politics and should always be encouraged.

Also, of course the CPN(M) hasn't sold out to big business. One sentence from a dubious source can be met with all the official statements made by the CPN(M) themselves. All I will say is, don't trust second-hand information, be it from Trotskyites or the Guardian. Go to the source and work it out for yourself.

Related Link: http://www.wprm.org
author by tom eilepublication date Wed Dec 20, 2006 18:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here's the source from the Daily Telegraph. It wasn't such a long interview with Prachanda and I don't think that the wsws quote was taken out of context . The Telegraph could have just made it all up of course ;perhaps that's what Drew is implying .But what would be their motives for doing that?

author by Sawney Beanpublication date Wed Dec 20, 2006 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are flogging a dead horse at this stage. Its been pointed out to you numerous times that its not possible to jump from a Feudalistic means of production to a Socialist one. If you have a means of doing so then publish it here. You may even win the Nobel Economics Prize.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Dec 20, 2006 19:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

PLA fighters protest govt decision

Meanwhile, Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) fighters came out of the PLA First Division camp at Chulachuli in Ilam district to protest the government decision to appoint ambassadors.

Talking to ekantipur over the phone, commander of the PLA First Division Shantu Darai "Parwana" said some 800 PLA fighters with their weapons left the cantonment site for an hour this afternoon to protest the government decision.

"We were forced to stage a protest demonstration from 12 pm to 1 pm this afternoon within our perimeter after the government began to make decisions without our party's consent, breaching all agreements reached in the past," said Parwana.

Full story at link.

Related Link: http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?nid=94873
author by pat cpublication date Wed Dec 20, 2006 19:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some of the guerillas are not prepared to let the States bodies of armed men function in the old manner.

BANKE, Dec 20 - Maoists Tuesday afternoon looted a recently re-established police post at Dhanauli of Khajura area. They took away everything including nine rounds of ammunition and some cash from the post, police said.
After turning up with two tractors by around 2:00 pm, over 50 Maoists stormed the police post and immediately started to load everything they could find onto the vehicles, according to eyewitnesses.

Fifteen policemen led by Sub-Inspector Satya Narayan Chaudhary were stationed at the post at the time of the incident. However, they did not retaliate against the rebels. The post was re-established on November 25.

The Maoists took the two tractors fully-loaded with their loot toward Bardiya district, DSP Pramod Kumar Kharel said after returning from the incident site. "They took away the goods in looters' fashion," Kharel said. "They took everything except the uniforms that the policemen were wearing at the time."

Pity they didnt take the uniforms. Full story at link.

Related Link: http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?nid=94997
author by pat cpublication date Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a piece on the changes adopted by the CPN-M at their
4-day central committee meeting . Full story at link.

On the eve of its foray into open and competitive politics, the Communist Party of Nepal - Maoist (CPN-M) has made major changes in the party's war-time structure. The Maoists have said that the party ranks have been restructured to reform its organization so as to make it easier to run peaceful activities in the wake of the formal end to the decade-long conflict.

As per the reconfiguration plans, the CPN-M set up central, regional, and zonal political bureaus.

In the central bureau, a secretariat body under the chairmanship of party Chairman Prachanda has been set up. Five unified regional commands in the five development regions as well as an international command and zonal bureaus.

A central front under the leadership of senior CPN-M leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has been set up, he will head the people's council, spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara the parliamentary front and Dev Gurung the racial front.

Related Link: http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=95171
author by fellow travelerpublication date Sat Dec 23, 2006 18:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's a pretty intense discussion happening in the US-based website RedFlags about what's happening in Nepal.


Related Link: http://burning.typepad.com/burningman/2006/12/concern_among_m.html
author by Sawney Beanpublication date Tue Feb 27, 2007 17:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Members of the Third Brigade came from all over the world to be able to see for themselves the revolutionary process unfolding in Nepal and to extend solidarity to the struggle of the people of that country. All in all we were 10 people from nine different countries: Britain, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Germany, America, Canada, Italy, India, and Iran. For some, travelling to Nepal meant going half-way round the world, a geographical reality which corresponded to a more symbolic trip – from some of the richest countries in the world to one of its very poorest, from countries on the receiving end of the benefits of the world’s current political/economic set-up to one on the receiving end of little more than poverty and exploitation.

The website of the Brigades is www.aroadtothefuture.org and a website created by members of the 3rd Brigade is www.nepalliberation.com

For more info about volunteering for future brigades send an email to aroadtothefuture@yahoo.com

PLA Soldier
PLA Soldier

Related Link: http://www.nepalliberation.com
author by tomeilepublication date Sun Jun 24, 2007 12:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The prospects for Nepalese women are certainly looking up since the Maoists signed up for the peace process last year. Women can now join the Ghurka Regiment of the British army as many of Prachanda's veterans have been doing recently. Remember the Ghurha regiment is an equal opportunities employer.

author by Himadri Shekhar Roy - http://www.nepalbandh.compublication date Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:48author email himadri.s.roy at ansysoft dot comauthor address Kathmandu, Nepalauthor phone +977-1-4437780Report this post to the editors

Really Nice I liked it very much dude. Anyway the political turmoil and economical instability ruined normal people's life. Every alternate day some party will call for a strike. Check out http://www.nepalbandh.com for truth.


Another Day of Protest
Another Day of Protest

Empty Bus park
Empty Bus park

Related Link: http://www.nepalbandh.com
author by Norman Bethunepublication date Fri Jun 27, 2008 19:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, there is a lot happening in Nepal and strikes may inconvenience some people but not everyone. The times they are a changing.

Nepal's veteran prime minister announced his
resignation Thursday in a move that paves the way for a new Maoist-
led government following the abolition of the monarchy.

The announcement by centrist politician Girija Prasad Koirala, who is 83 and in failing health, resolves a political stalemate over
powersharing that followed the declaration of a republic on May 28.

The Maoists have positioned their leader, Prachanda, to replace him
as leader of the landlocked Himalayan nation and one of the world's
poorest countries.

The prime minister, whose Nepali Congress party was soundly defeated by the Maoists in the polls for the 601-member assembly, called on the CPN Maoists to form the next government.

Source AFP.

author by Norman Bethunepublication date Sat Jun 28, 2008 21:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Heres an example of the Maoists keeping the bus fleet going. Public transport must have priority over capitalist roaders.

Activists of the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Transport Workers' Association (ANTWA) on Friday seized two diesel tankers and distributed the fuel to the locals here. The tankers were heading to Kathmandu from Raxual.The Maoist cadres distributed 32,000 litres of diesel to local buses, trucks, tempos and microbuses, ANTWA leader Ram Chandra Bartaula said"We have already deposited money with the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) depots. We had been waiting in queues for the fuel but didn't get it," chairman of Narayani Transport Entrepreneurs' Association Gokarna Parajuli said, adding, "Vehicles have not been running due to the lack of fuel and that's why we seized the diesel."

Related Link: http://www.nepalhorizons.com/beta/news.php?newsid=3035
author by JustANepalipublication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 17:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is very true that monarchy has almost played a pivotal role in bringing this country to a brink of an existence and so, has all the political parties. There is not a single person out there who would readily lay their lives for teh country. Honestly, Nepalese politics has always been Indian boot-licking, Chinese favourism and a hell lot of money from anyone -- Ireland??

Talking about feudalism, etc, etc, is just a road map to get yourself on the bandwagon towards the land of financial success and material wealth. I very much doubt the very people who took up arms for the rebellion against the then government, would stick to the end, because even as of right now 06 Aug 2008, there has been plenty of instances of maoist and other parliamentarians taking in huge sums of money and giving favours for what ever reasons...

We have witnessed the downfall of a King and dynasty but fear a neo dynastic ruler under Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. I gather the Indian Ambassador is a true power behind the now interim parliament. Why? Because:

The PM seems to run to Delhi every now and then.
The CPN (UML) leaders to do not waste their time and have frequent visits to Delhi.
Prachanda (Chairman of CPN(M) ) gets summons to the Indian Embassy for political tactical maneuvers??

Nepal is indeed just down the drain... Thank you Ireland. And thank you world community..


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