Revolution in South Asia

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Archive for April, 2010

Updated w/hi rez: Jed Brandt’s High Noon in Nepal

Posted by n3wday on April 26, 2010

Jed Brandt’s recent report from Kathmandu is now available in a printable/readable pamphlet. Share it. It first appeared in web form on Kasama and Jed’s own blog.

Pamphlet:

May First: High Noon in Nepal (b-&-w)

May First: High Noon in Nepal (color)

Excerpt:

APRIL 21 — There are moments when Kathmandu does not feel like a city on the edge of revolution. People go about all the normal business of life. Venders sell vegetables, nail-clippers and bootleg Bollywood from the dirt, cramping the already crowded streets. Uniformed kids tumble out of schools with neat ties in the hot weather. Municipal police loiter at the intersections while traffic ignores them, their armed counter-parts patrol in platoons through the city with wood-stocked rifles and dust-masks as they have for years. New slogans are painted over the old, almost all in Maoist red. Daily blackouts and dry-season water shortages are the normal daily of Nepal’s primitive infrastructure, not the sign of crisis. Revolutions don’t happen outside of life, like an asteroid from space – but from right up the middle, out of the people themselves.

Passing through Kathmandu’s Trichandra college campus after meeting with students in a nearby media program, I walked into the aftermath of bloody attack. Thugs allied with the Congress party student group had cut up leaders of a rival student group with khukuri knives leaving one in critical condition. Hundreds of technical students were clustered in the street when I arrived by chance. The conflict most often described through the positioning of political leaders is breaking out everywhere.

Indefinite bandhs are paralyzing large parts of the country after the arrest of Young Communist League (YCL) cadre in the isolated far west and Maoist student leaders in Pokhora, the central gateway to the Annapurna mountain range. The southern Terai is in chaos, with several power centers competing and basic security has broken down with banditry, extortion and kidnapping are now endemic. Government ministers cannot appear anywhere without Maoist pickets waving black flags and throwing rocks. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal Background, Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

India: Important Interview with Azad on the Ceasefire Proposition, Armed Struggle, and the Crimes of the Indian Government

Posted by n3wday on April 26, 2010

This article was sent out on the Maoist Revolution e-list.

Important Interview of Communist Party of India (Maoist) Spokesperson  

Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:07 am (PDT)

In an exclusive interview with The Hindu, Azad, spokesperson of the Communist Party of India(Maoist), answered in writing questions about the party’s proposal for a mutual ceasefire and talks with the Union government, how the party views the necessity of meeting the violence of the State with the revolutionary counter-violence of the masses, the issue of the role of schools in combat zones, and the building of a united front of all revolutionary and democratic forces against the Indian state.

Edited text of 12,262-word response by Azad, Spokesperson, Central Committee, CPI (Maoist)

1. In recent weeks one has seen statements by the Government of India and leaders of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) saying they are in favor of dialogue and talks but each side seems to lack seriousness. There has also been an element of drama or more precisely, theatre, with Kishenji and P. Chidambaram exchanging statements through the media. Our first question is whether Kishenji’s statements can be treated as authoritative pronouncements of the CPI (Maoist) central leadership in pursuance of a national strategy? Or are these tactical announcements by him keeping only the specifics of the Bengal situation in mind.

Azad: It is true our Party leadership has been issuing statements from time to time in response to the government’s dubious offer of talks. But to generalize that there is lack of seriousness on both sides does not correspond to reality. To an observer, exchanging statements through the media does sound a bit theatrical. And it is precisely such theatrical and sensational things the media relishes while more serious things are swept aside.

Now the stark fact is lack of seriousness has been the hallmark of the government, particularly of the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram. It is Mr. Chidambaram who has been enacting a drama in the past four months, particularly ever since his amusing 72-hour-abjure-violence diktat to the CPI (Maoist) in the course of his interview with Tehelka Magazine some time last November.

As regards Kishenji’s statements, they should be seen with a positive attitude, not with cynicism. Though our central committee has not discussed our specific strategy with regard to talks with the government at the current juncture, as a Polit Bureau member, comrade Kishenji had taken initiative and made a concrete proposal for a ceasefire. Whether comrade Kishenji’s statements are the official pronouncements of our Central Committee is not the point of debate here. What is important is the attitude of the government to such an offer in the first place. Our central committee has no objection to his proposal for a ceasefire. But as far as the issue of talks is concerned, our Party will pursue the guidelines given by our Unity Congress-9th Congress held in early 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India Background, India News, Maoist Theory | 3 Comments »

Nepal Video: Young Communists’ Martial Arts Training for May 1

Posted by Mike E on April 25, 2010

Thanks to Alastair Reith for pointing this out. It is hard to evaluate of this video from afar —  clearly this piece is claiming to document that Maoists’ Young Communist League is preparing its ranks for street-fighting. This charge of “Maoists secret big operation” is being used by the right to justify and prepare armed military attacks on the people.

Posted in Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

Nepal: Young Communists Preparing for Storms

Posted by n3wday on April 23, 2010

This article was published on Telegraph Nepal. This charge of “Maoists secret big operation” is being used by the right to justify and prepare armed military attacks on the people.

‘Nepal-Maoist provide Military Training to YCL in Nawalparasi’

TGW

Reports coming from district of Nawalparasi have it that the Unified Maoists’ party is providing Military training to some one hundred fifty YCL (Young Communist League) cadres at six different locations of the district.

“The weeklong Military Training to YCL’s fully armed cadres is being conducted by the Maoists’ Militias”, it has also been reported.
However, Unified Maoists’ Party District deputy in-charge rejects the allegation and says that “the Training is being provided to pressurize parties to draft the Constitution in the stipulated time frame.”

Posted in Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

India: With Oppression Comes a Hotbed of Revolution

Posted by n3wday on April 23, 2010

This article was published on Revolutionary Frontlines.

Malkangiri: Maoist Stronghold in India

Malkangiri district, in Orissa, is back of the beyond. It borders both Andhra Pradesh and the Dandakaranya region of Chhattisgarh. Of its six lakh population, 80 per cent belong to the Bonda, Bidai, Gadwa, Poraja, Kumbhar, Kamaar, Kondh and Karia tribes, and live on the margins—no roads, no electricity, no hospitals, no drinking water supply, and a very poor public distribution system.

No wonder this hilly, forested region has been a Maoist hotbed for decades. The police and the special forces call this forbidding area the AOB (Andhra-Orissa border) with the sense of a place they’d rather not be in. The locals have never seen any government working for them; and therefore, the Maoists are both their government and their police. A senior police officer says at least 30,000 tribals of the district openly support the Maoists; the rest do so tacitly.

The hardship is all too evident in villages like Guntawada. Many young men, like Kanakaraju and Indrakarama, work as casual labourers at APGenco’s Upper Sileru power project. When they come home, they bring kerosene the supervisor hands out and use it to light lamps. His generosity means the world to them: the village has never had electricity.

In village after village in this district, this dark irony repeats itself. Inaccessibility and deprivation are the norm. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India Background, India News | 3 Comments »

U.S. Left Group Accuses Nepali Maoists of “Revisionism”

Posted by Mike E on April 22, 2010

As revolutionary forces in Nepal are mobilizing for possible confrontations on May First,  and as efforts are made in the U.S. to build supprt for this revolution, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) has published the following anonymous  polemic aimed at the UCPN(Maoist) leadership. The RCP is a small post-Maoist group in the U.S.

This new RCP polemic closely follows their critical “challenge” of writer Arundhati Roy — as she was being targeted by reactionaries and authorities for her support of Maoist revolutionaries in India.

Though this is a purely textual critique of  a 4-month old Nepali document, the RCP chose not to also publish the Nepali document they are denouncing. In fact they did not  provide any link to that  document or even quote any passages. This naturally makes  it difficult for their readers to compare and contrast. And it departs from the RCP’s own previous long-standing principle of publishing both sides during confrontations over ideology and policy.

For readers wanting to study the Nepali leadership document,  Kasama has made it available here.

On the Critical Crossroads in the Nepal Revolution, and the Urgent Need for a Real Rupture with Revisionism

Observations by a Supporter of that Revolution
From a Communist Internationalist Perspective

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Maoist Theory, Nepal News | 37 Comments »

Nepal: General Threatens Army Attacks

Posted by Mike E on April 22, 2010

This first appeared on Nepal News, April 9, 2010

Army will come out of barracks if there’s bloodshed after May 28: Katawal

Former Nepal Army (NA) chief Rookmangud Katawal has said the army will not remain silent if there is bloodshed and turmoil in the country because of the Constituent Assembly failing to promulgate the new constitution within the May 28 deadline.

Speaking to the Reporters Club members at his residence in Khumaltar, Lalitpur, Friday morning, the controversial former army chief said democratic forces have become weaker after the demise of former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

Katawal, who is allegedly close to the pro-monarchist camp, said issues such as secularism, monarchy and federalism must be decided through referendum. He said the people should be given the right to speak directly on these grave national issues if parties are committed to democratic culture and people’s sovereignty.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | 1 Comment »

Bhattarai in Nepal: Hundreds of Thousands Will Take the Streets

Posted by Mike E on April 22, 2010

From Nepal News

Thousands will take to streets if constitution not drafted on time, Bhattarai warns

Unified CPN (Maoist) Vice-Chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai has warned that his party will bring hundreds of thousands of people in the streets to establish the “people’s federal democratic republic” in the country if the constitution is not drafted as per the people’s aspiration within May 28 deadline.

Dr Baburam Bhattarai

Speaking at a programme organised on the occasion of Lenin Day in the capital on Thursday, he, however, claimed that the constitution as per the aspiration of the people is not possible in the current circumstances.

Dr. Bhattarai, who is also considered the Maoist ideologue, said that the party has demanded the dissolution of the current government to pave way for a national unity government under the leadership of his party after concluding that the current government cannot give the country a new constitution on time and take the peace process to a logical conclusion. nepalnews.com

Posted in Nepal News | 1 Comment »

May First: High Noon in Nepal

Posted by n3wday on April 22, 2010

The New PowerThis eyewitness reporting  first appeared on Jed Brandt’s blog. Its importance speaks for itself. Join us in circulating this account widely — starting today online.

by Jed Brandt

“You must come to Kathmandu with shroud cloth wrapped around your heads and flour in your bags. It will be our last battle. If we succeed, we survive, else it will be the end of our party.”

— General Secretary Badal of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

APRIL 21 — There are moments when Kathmandu does not feel like a city on the edge of revolution.

People go about all the normal business of life. Venders sell vegetables, nail-clippers and bootleg Bollywood from the dirt, cramping the already crowded streets. Uniformed school kids tumble out of schools with neat ties in the hot weather. Municipal police loiter at the intersections while traffic ignores them, their armed counter-parts patrol in platoons through the city with wood-stocked rifles and dust-masks as they have for years. New slogans are painted over the old, almost all in Maoist red. Daily blackouts and dry-season water shortages are the normal daily of Nepal’s primitive infrastructure, not the sign of crisis. Revolutions don’t happen outside of life, like an asteroid from space – but from right up the middle, out of the people themselves.

Passing through Kathmandu’s Trichandra college campus after meeting with students in a nearby media program, I walked into the aftermath of bloody attack. Thugs allied with the Congress party student group had cut up leaders of a rival student group with khukuri knives leaving one in critical condition. Hundreds of technical students were clustered in the street when I arrived by chance. The conflict most often described through the positioning of political leaders is breaking out everywhere.

Indefinite bandhs are paralyzing large parts of the country after the arrest of Young Communist League (YCL) cadre in the isolated far west and Maoist student leaders in Pokhora, the central gateway to the Annapurna mountain range. The southern Terai is in chaos, with several power centers competing and basic security has broken down with banditry, extortion and kidnapping  now endemic. Government ministers cannot appear anywhere without Maoist pickets waving black flags and throwing rocks.

With no central authority, all sides are claiming the ground they stand on and preparing their base. It’s messy, confused and coming to a sharp point as the May 28 deadline for a new constitution draws near with no consensus in sight. The weak government holding court in the Constituent Assembly can’t command a majority, not even of their own parties. Seventy assembly representatives of the status quo UML party signed a letter calling on their own leader to step down from the prime minister’s chair to make way for a Maoist national-unity government. He refuses, repeating demands that the Maoists dissolve their popular organizations and return lands seized by the people who farm them. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal Background, Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

In Nepal the Revolution WILL be Televised

Posted by n3wday on April 21, 2010

This article was published on My Republica.

Maoists plan to launch TV, papers

REPUBLICA

KATHMANDU, April 18: Maoists have planned to launch their own television channel and a national broadsheet daily to disseminate “correct information” about the party.

Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai presented a concept paper in this regard during a training session at party headquarters, Paris Danda on Sunday. Maoists have already formed two committees – editorial led by Dr Bhattarai and managerial by Dinanath Sharma — to study if launching a television channel would also be viable.

Dr Bhattarai, who heads department, also proposed to uplink the Maoist FM radio Mirmire to satellite.

According to a participant of the training session, the party also classified the Maoist publications into three categories — central, regional and local. “While the central publications will be directly monitored by the party’s top body, the regional and local publications will be handled by the corresponding committees,” he said.

He said the party took the decision as various publication houses have been found collecting advertisements in the name of the party and the party expects the new move would discourage the trend.

The meeting has categorized Janadisha daily, Janadesh weekly, Red Star fortnightly and Samsleshan monthly as central publications under the direct monitoring of the party. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | 2 Comments »

Maoist Gains in India Force Reassessment of Counter-Insurgency Strategy

Posted by n3wday on April 21, 2010

The overwhelming victory of the Indian Maoist forces over counter-insurgency forces resulting in the death of 76 members of the Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) is forcing a discussion in Indian ruling circles of the effectiveness of the India’s counter-insurgency efforts. The battle has been described widely as a massacre as if the CPRF members were civilians and not part of a counter-insurgency effort aimed at physically exterminating the Maoist guerrillas and their civilian supporters. But the event has shaken the sense of certainty that the Indian state will prevail over the Maoists. The following article, obviously written from the perspective of how to wage a more effective counter-insurgency appeared in The Hindu. While we do not share its perspective it is an interesting window on the effectiveness of the Maoist challenge.

Key to India’s failure in combating Maoist insurgency is an ahistorical, one-size-fits-all security doctrine. In essence, state responses have consisted of pumping in forces for conventional, ground-holding operations in the hope of displacing guerrilla forces; maintaining high force levels over sustained periods of time; and, using this military presence to push forward with developmental and political initiatives to deprive insurgents of their political legitimacy.

For a review of counter-insurgency doctrine

by Praveen Swami

Key to India’s failure in combating Maoist insurgency is an ahistorical, one-size-fits-all security doctrine.

Eric Hobsbawm wrote: “There is nothing in the purely military pages of Mao, Nguyen Giap, Che Guevara or other manuals of guerrilla warfare which a traditional guerrillero or band leader would regard as other than simple common sense.”

Last week, after the massacre of 76 police personnel in Dantewada, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram urged Indians to “remain calm, keep your nerve, and do not stray from the carefully chosen course that we have adopted since November 2009.”

The last of those recommendations may prove profoundly misguided. Few of the strategists charged with executing the Minister’s ambitious counter-Maoist offensive appear to have grasped its doctrinal and tactical demands. Premised on the belief that counter-insurgency campaigns must be population-centric — in other words, dominate territories and thus deny insurgents contact with the population — the strategic foundation of India’s war against Maoist insurgents is flawed. The bottom line is this: Indian forces are losing. Last year, 312 security personnel were killed to 294 Maoists. This year, too, the figures are grim. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India Background, India News | 1 Comment »

Nepal,Former PLA Commander “There is No Alternative to a Revolt”

Posted by artemi0 on April 20, 2010

The interview below originally appeared on Monday 4/12/10 in ekantipur with Janardan Sharma- a former commander in the Peoples Liberation Army.

Monday Interview

  • No UNMIN, no peace process

The Maoists have announced a ‘decisive movement’ to topple the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led government. In the meantime, the tenure of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) expires on May 15 even while the modalities for integration and rehabilitation of ex-Maoist combatants are yet to be worked out. Biswas Baral and Pranab Kharel talked to former Deputy-Supreme-Commander of the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army and current Maoist representative in the Special Committee for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants, Janardan Sharma, about the current political scenario, integration issues and UNMIN’s role in the peace process.

There is a lot of confusion regarding the process of integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants. At which stage is the process?

The process of integration cannot be analysed by keeping it separate from the current political climate. If you try to analyse the issue in isolation, there will be no ready answers. The question of integration is the backbone of the peace process and one that is closely related to constitution drafting. A lot of progress has been made in discussions on the issue of integration in the Special Committee, but there has so far been no agreement on its implementation. For instance, even the modality of integration has not been fixed. But even if the modality was decided, there is no guarantee that the process will move ahead. For the issue of integration cannot gain momentum unless there is progress in constitution making and the peace process.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | 3 Comments »

India: Police Consider Charges Against Arundhati Roy

Posted by n3wday on April 18, 2010

The following appeared in Outlook (April 12). The implications, danger and urgency of this should speak for itself. Arundhati Roy has just publicly stepped out in defense of the tribal people and Maoist fighters targeted by the Indian governments Operation Green Hunt.

Chhatisgarh Police Mulls Action Against Arundhati Roy

First came the report in today’s Hindi daily Nai Duniya, published from Bhopal, with the dateline Raipur, that the police in Chhattisgarh was considering action against author Arundhati Roy under under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act-2005. And then came the corroboration from various police sources.

Apparently, one Vishwajit Mitra, has lodged a complaint at the Telibanda police station in Raipur, pointing out that the contents and photographs of Arundhati Roy’s essay Walking With The Comrades, published in the March 29 issue of Outlook could attract action as an offence under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act-2005.

The complaint has also been sent to the governor Shekhar Dutt, Chief Minister Raman Singh and Director General of Police Vishwaranjan, demanding legal action against Arundhati Roy.

Nai Duniya had earlier reported that DGP Vishwaranjan had confirmed receipt of the complaint and asked the State Intelligence Bureau to enquire into the merits of the case against the Booker prize winning author.

The Indian Express quotes the police as saying: “We are examining it to find out whether any offence has been committed”.

The complainant, Vishwajit Mitra, told The Indian Express that Arundhati’s essay had sought to not only “glorify” the Maoists but also denigrate the country’s established system, including the judiciary. “Referring to a Maoist ‘Jan adalat’, she says in her essay that “in most jan adalats, at least the collective is physically present to make a decision. It’s not made by judges who’ve lost touch with ordinary life”, he pointed out, alleging that the writer also sought to justify Maoist other activities. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India News | 1 Comment »

Arundhati Roy Among India’s Naxalbari: A Debate, Part 1

Posted by n3wday on April 18, 2010

This was originally posted on kafila.org.  H/T to J. Ramsey.

Arundhati Roy’s powerful article Walking with the Comrades touched off an intense debate within India.  To provide a snapshot, we are posting a critique and a response to Roy’s piece.

“…[A]re we seriously supposed to believe that the extraordinary tide of insurrection will wash over the messy landscapes of urban India and over the millions of disorganised workers in our countryside without the emergence of a powerful social agency, a broad alliance of salaried and wage-earning strata, that can contest the stranglehold of capitalism?  Without mass organisations, battles for democracy, struggles for the radicalisation of culture, etc., etc.?  Does any of this matter for her?”

Response to Arundhati Roy: Jairus Banaji

This is a guest post by JAIRUS BANAJI

Arundhati Roy’s essay “Walking with the Comrades” is a powerful indictment of the Indian state and its brutality but its political drawbacks are screamingly obvious.  Arundhati clearly believes that the Indian state is such a bastion of oppression and unrelieved brutality that there is no alternative to violent struggle or ‘protracted war’. In other words, democracy is a pure excrescence on a military apparatus that forms the true backbone of the Indian state. It is simply its ‘benign façade’. If all you had in India were forest communities and corporate predators, tribals and paramilitary forces, the government and the Maoists, her espousal of the Maoists might just cut ice. But where does the rest of India fit in? What categories do we have for them?  Or are we seriously supposed to believe that the extraordinary tide of insurrection will wash over the messy landscapes of urban India and over the millions of disorganised workers in our countryside without the emergence of a powerful social agency, a broad alliance of salaried and wage-earning strata, that can contest the stranglehold of capitalism?  Without mass organisations, battles for democracy, struggles for the radicalisation of culture, etc., etc.?  Does any of this matter for her? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India News | 4 Comments »

Arundhati Roy Among India’s Naxalbari: A Debate, Part 2

Posted by n3wday on April 18, 2010

This was originally posted on kafila.org.  It’ was a comment to a piece originally written by Jairus Banaji.

“Only a “civic” anxiety could have mis-read what Arundhati painfully tries to make us see. That certain people are not living under conditions we can even imagine unless we witness and hear it. Does human life have to carry as complex a message that intellectual discourses carry?! What the hell do we mean by “social change” when all that it can mean is something of a middle-class passport to “conscious political” livelihood?! Whereas, the SOCIAL itself is UNDER THREAT in certain societies and CHANGE can only mean either daily annihilation or resistance?!”

A response to Jairus Banaji

By Manash

I must confess I found the highly reputed Jairus Banaji’s response to Arundhati utterly disappointing and irrelevant. I will simply raise a few questions against his reading of Arundhati’s article and leave it there.

Banaji asks, “But where does the rest of India fit in? What categories do we have for them?” –

Well, the irony is, the rest of India does “fit in” somehow, somewhere, in the scheme of things, unlike those hungry tribal boys who eat up their bananas on their way to meet a “kaamraid” and understand defending life with guns. Unless these tribals are psychopaths, I don’t understand any meaningful explanation for them to live the way they are doing. And as far as the “rest of India” is concerned, the “categories” of civil society and all such civil discourses keep the academia, the media, the law, and the government going. Why should civil-society suddenly, deliberately feature in a debate which is precisely about people who are forced to lead an un-civic life?! Why should pro-civil society intellectuals behave like judges in their suggestive remarks about the tribals being innocent victims of (Maoist) politics? Are we to believe that the whole debate which involves the life and death so many poor people needs a kind of judge-versus-vanguard quarrel?! I feel “Who are with the Maoists?” isn’t the question we face. The question we face is: Who are with the tribals?

Says Banaji, “In Arundhati’s vision of politics the only agent of social change is a military force.” –

This is a totally misguided misrepresentation. I don’t think Arundhati means it at all. Only a “civic” anxiety could have mis-read what Arundhati painfully tries to make us see. That certain people are not living under conditions we can even imagine unless we witness and hear it. Does human life have to carry as complex a message that intellectual discourses carry?! What the hell do we mean by “social change” when all that it can mean is something of a middle-class passport to “conscious political” livelihood?! Whereas, the SOCIAL itself is UNDER THREAT in certain societies and CHANGE can only mean either daily annihilation or resistance?! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India Background, India News | 1 Comment »