Revolution in South Asia

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Archive for April 28th, 2010

Jed Brandt from Nepal: Talking to the Workers

Posted by n3wday on April 28, 2010

photo: jed brandt

The following first appeared on jedbrandt.net. Jed’s other Kasama posts appear here.

by Jed Brandt

The workshops of Kathmandu’s broken-down trolley system are not far from the airport. The roar of jet engines flying low on approach contrasts with the strange silence of the idle repair barns.

Working men play cards beside the rusting hulks of street cars, partially dismantled, piles of machine parts laid along the zinc-sheet walls waiting for resurrection. Some street cars were torched during bandhs shutdowns. None have left the shop in years.

The only bustle is around the union office. Workers were fixing up the central room, while a few dozen machinists sat clustered in the building’s shade, eating lentils and rice. Electrical load-shedding blackouts have crippled the electrical system constantly for three years now, so the trolleys can’t leave their barn. Now the yards provide their sporadic electricity output to charge up battery-converted tuk-tuks – a fleet of three-wheel minivans that are now the scrappy backbone of the city’s chaotic mass transportation.

At the yard gates, and pasted across each of the workshops are Maoist posters calling for total mobilization on May First. The only words in English read “Workers of the World Unite!”

“The trolley needs constant electricity,” the shop steward told me. “They don’t fix the government. They can’t fix the load-shedding. The politicians do not change. They do not care that nothing works.”

He was excited when I mentioned I had worked for a transportation union in the United States.

“Are they Maoist” he asked. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

Nepal: Maoists Call Anti-Gov’t General Strike

Posted by n3wday on April 28, 2010

The following first appeared on jedbrandt.net. Jed’s other Kasama posts appear here.

“The government will fall or the people will rise. Thousands have already arrived in Kathmandu, occupying the private schools shut down by Maoist students last week. 500,000 villagers are expected to join the workers and students in the city. The Nepal Army is on alert, the People’s Liberation Army is, too. The people are coming to the seat of power. Rallies have started. All eyes are on May First.”

by Jed Brandt

Yesterday, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) called for an indefinite general strike starting May 2, should the current Prime Minister not step aside in the face of the May First mass mobilization.Sector by sector, business as usual is coming to a halt.

Wars and rumors of war

While rumors shoot around the city, the mood is uncertain. Only the Maoists have a resolution in mind, and only they are bringing the population into action. Their morale appears high, and they are busy.

The Maoists are raising money from workers, asking for ten days’ salary on a sliding scale and hitting businesses up for larger amounts. Unlike previous drives, part of the pitch for large donations is that this is their “final request.”

Families from the whole country are being urged to send at least one person to Kathmandu. The parliamentary parties allege coercion, but there have been no reports of violence against those who choose not to attend.

Most Nepali people live on farms in the countryside, and their entry to the city is causing visible consternation among the middle and upper classes. More than once I’ve been met with blank stares when I asked “What is the problem with country people coming to the city?”

The privileged have never accepted the Maoists’ 2008 national election victory. They are livid that the Maoists are bringing masses into a process they think should remain a matter of a few big men negotiating who gets what. To the elite, the very presence of Nepal’s masses in the city is a threat. Their attitude may help explain why Nepal is in the middle of a revolution. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

The Arrogance of Empire: U.S. to Judge Nepali Maoists?

Posted by n3wday on April 28, 2010

The following is a transcript of the press conference yesterday in Kathmandu by Robert O. Blake, Jr. Assistant U.S. Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. It is from the U.S. State Department website.

We hope it is not necessary to say that the views represented here are not ours. Rather they represent the arrogance of an empire that thinks it can dictate how the Nepali people should run their society — and even conduct themselves in street protests.

We present it here as evidence of both the seriousness with which U.S. ruling circles are taking the impending May Day demonstrations. Also interesting is the suggestion that the Maoists closed the private schools in order that they might be used to house demonstrators coming into Kathmandu from the countryside.

We demand: “Take the Maoists off the terrorist list!”

“We … say that the Maoists will be judged not by their words, but by their actions, and how they implement the pledges they have made. That will be the standard by which the United States and other members of the international community will judge the Maoist actions.”

********

“I think investment is constrained now by several things. First of all, by the absence of a peace process and by the instability that exists here in Nepal, but secondly by some of the electricity shortages, and some of the labor problems that exist in part because of these mentioned general strikes.”

Kathmandu, Nepal

April 26, 2010 Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

BBC Report: Nepal’s May Day Cracks into World Media Coverage

Posted by Mike E on April 28, 2010

Maoist rally in capital, April 6

The following is BBC coverage of the growing confrontation in Nepal. If and when these events start to be “handled” and broadcast by the official world media (and as anti-revolutionary narratives start to shape perceptions) our tasks and situation will change — in good ways and bad. There will inevitably be more developed questions and backward views on Nepal among the people, and there will be more interest (among many) to hear a communist analysis of the movement and its goals.

Maoists converge on Nepalese capital

Maoist supporters take part in martial arts training in Kathmandu
The Maoists say they have no alternative but to stage the protest

Thousands of Maoists have converged on the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, ahead of a planned May Day rally on Saturday.

Members of the Maoist youth wing as well as ordinary supporters are camping in hundreds of private schools that they shut down last week.

Maoist leaders insist that Saturday’s demonstration will be against the government and will be non-violent.

However, tension is mounting in the capital where the security forces have been put on high-alert.

On Monday Maoist leader Prachanda urged the public to support the nationwide street protest aimed at toppling the current government.

He said Saturday’s protest – to be followed by a general strike – would be a massive but peaceful show of popular will.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

Jed Brandt from Nepal: Talking to the Workers

Posted by Mike E on April 28, 2010

photo: jed brandt

photo: jed brandt

The following first appeared on jedbrandt.net. Jed’s other Kasama posts appear here.

by Jed Brandt

The workshops of Kathmandu’s broken-down trolley system are not far from the airport. The roar of jet engines flying low on approach contrasts with the strange silence of the idle repair barns.

Working men play cards beside the rusting hulks of street cars, partially dismantled, piles of machine parts laid along the zinc-sheet walls waiting for resurrection. Some street cars were torched during bandhs shutdowns. None have left the shop in years.

The only bustle is around the union office. Workers were fixing up the central room, while a few dozen machinists sat clustered in the building’s shade, eating lentils and rice. Electrical load-shedding blackouts have crippled the electrical system constantly for three years now, so the trolleys can’t leave their barn. Now the yards provide their sporadic electricity output to charge up battery-converted tuk-tuks – a fleet of three-wheel minivans that are now the scrappy backbone of the city’s chaotic mass transportation.

At the yard gates, and pasted across each of the workshops are Maoist posters calling for total mobilization on May First. The only words in English read “Workers of the World Unite!”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

Nepal: Maoists Call Anti-Gov’t General Strike

Posted by Mike E on April 28, 2010

The following first appeared on jedbrandt.net. Jed’s other Kasama posts appear here.

“The government will fall or the people will rise. Thousands have already arrived in Kathmandu, occupying the private schools shut down by Maoist students last week. 500,000 villagers are expected to join the workers and students in the city. The Nepal Army is on alert, the People’s Liberation Army is, too. The people are coming to the seat of power. Rallies have started. All eyes are on May First.”

by Jed Brandt

Yesterday, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) called for an indefinite general strike starting May 2, should the current Prime Minister not step aside in the face of the May First mass mobilization.Sector by sector, business as usual is coming to a halt.

Wars and rumors of war

While rumors shoot around the city, the mood is uncertain. Only the Maoists have a resolution in mind, and only they are bringing the population into action. Their morale appears high, and they are busy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | 2 Comments »