Revolution in South Asia

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Archive for September, 2011

Nepal: Reports from Winter Has Its End team

Posted by hetty7 on September 16, 2011

A few trekkers we found on our way to Thawang. Photo: Zack and Thomas (Winter Has Its End)

Winter Has Its End is a team of reporters traveling during the summer of 2011 to places in the world where people are rising up. Their statement says “We aim to give  on the ground reporting, telling the story of people who are fighting for a better world. We want to provide a picture as their struggle to realize their aspirations unfolds. Who are these people? What drives them to fight? What kind of world are they trying to bring into being? What stands in their way?”

The reporters have been in Nepal for weeks.  These are some of their early stories. As they now return, we will post their further essays and interviews.

Demobilized PLA Members Fight Back

Tonight, torch-carrying former members of the People’s Liberation Army held a highly disciplined and militant demonstration in Kathmandu. They are challenging the government has no future for them  other than basket weaving programs, and arguing against one view in the UCPN(M) that would ultimately mean the dissolution of the PLA.

When the Maoists entered the ceasefire of 2006, the United Nations was charged with the task of disqualifying any fighter  who joined the PLA when they were under the age of 18 or was deemed unfit for any other reason. About 2000 of the nearly 30,000 PLA fighters were disqualified. Many have spoken out that they will continue to be fighters for Maoist revolution.

Videos and interviews from this demonstration coming soon. Photos by Eric Ribellarsi.

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Interview: The Future of Nepal’s Revolution and People’s Army

Posted by enaadoug1982 on September 15, 2011

“If we were to integrate the Peoples Liberation Army and Nepal Army under the terms and conditions of the bourgeois army, then we believe the revolution will not be completed.”

Interview with Vice-commander in the Nepal Peoples Liberation Army. His nom de guerre is Tarzan.

This video interview first appeared on the blog of the Winter Has Its End team for revolutionary journalism.

The reporters wrote:

“While on our journey to Thawang, the village where Nepal’s people’s war began, we had the great opportunity to visit with Binprasad, (party name: Tarzan), a People’s Liberation Army member out on break from the cantonments (sites where the revolutionary army has been confined during the period of Nepal’s ceasefire).

“Tarzan spoke with us about his concerns about the future of the People’s Liberation Army, and the future of the revolution itself.”


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Nepal: Maoist soldiers in Rolpa want control over their weapons

Posted by hetty7 on September 15, 2011

This article is from

Maoists in Rolpa Dissatisfied Over Keys Handover

Rolpa, Sept 02: UCPN (Maoist) cadres close to party Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya in Rolpa district took reservations over the handover of the keys to the arms containers to the Special Committee.

Concluding that the handover of the keys was against the party and revolution, the Maoist leaders demanded the leaders correct the “mistake” they have made.

Issuing a statement on Friday, Maoist Secretary at the district, Chunamani Wali said that the handover of the keys at a time when discussions were underway regarding army integration was suicidal.

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Video: Maoist medical camp in Northern India

Posted by redpines on September 15, 2011

This short video narrates efforts of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) to build revolutionary medical camps in Bihar. One of the featured camp’s primary aims is to eradicate life-threatening diseases like malaria and diarrhea. 

Thanks to Sidhartha S. for pointing it out. 

Posted in India News, Indian Maoism | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

India in a State of Change

Posted by celticfire84 on September 15, 2011

This piece was originally posted at Guernica. Thanks to Selucha for pointing it out. This essay captures the contradiction in place in India: the expansive wealth of some and the dire poverty of so many, and the corrupt government trying to reconcile the conflict by taking authoritarian measures.

India is indeed rising. So why are more than three-quarters of the country living on less than fifty cents a day?

On Change in India

by Siddhartha Deb September 2011
India is indeed rising. So why are more than three-quarters of the country living on less than fifty cents a day? A snapshot of inequity, in four scenes.

1. Our author witnesses a roadside “encounter”
The highway out of Hyderabad towards Kothur village was still being worked on, with new overpasses and exits being constructed next to the lanes that were open to traffic. Vijay and I were halfway to our destination when we saw the man appear, standing in the middle of the road and waving us down. We were traveling fast, moving much too quickly to understand immediately what the man’s appearance meant. A few days earlier, on this same road, we had been stopped by two police constables. Assigned to guard duty at another point on the highway and left to fend for their own transportation, all the men had wanted was a lift. But the figure in front of us now was not in uniform, and his objective was far less clear, although I had the impression that he was part of the knotted confusion of people and cars that had sprung up suddenly on the smooth thread of the highway.

Vijay brought his tiny car to a halt, and the man loomed up in front of the windscreen, a dark, stocky figure dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. He put his right hand down on the bonnet of our car. In his left hand, he held an automatic pistol, its barrel pointing up at an acute angle. His gaze, as it swept over our faces, was intense, scrutinizing us carefully, meeting our eyes for a few seconds. Then he abruptly lost interest in us and switched his attention to a motorcycle coming up from behind, on our right. He advanced swiftly towards the bike, pointing his pistol at the riders. A policeman in uniform appeared on our left, tapped on our window, and asked us to move on. Read the rest of this entry »

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West Bengal, India: Maoists making gains, building hospitals

Posted by redpines on September 12, 2011

It seems that the CPI(Maoist) is strengthening its influence in West Bengal, and even the reactionary media is taking note.

The following report from The Hindustan Times gives the Maoists begrudging praise for their  work in the area —  for their health centers and infrastructure projects.

It should be noted that such initiatives are not a “change of face” for the Maoists, but consistent with their long-term strategy.

Thanks to Sidhartha S. for suggesting this piece. 

The invisible Maoist hand back in Bengal

by Snigdhendu Bhattacharya

September 10, 2011–From symbolising terror and subjugation, Maoists are now aiming for a change of perception. Or so it seems, at least in their strongholds in Jangalmahal area of Bengal.

In Maoist-dominated areas of West Midnapore, at about 130-150 km from Kolkata, which Hindustan Times visited recently, rebels have not only recovered lost ground, but are also running health centres and schools, building embankments and, repairing roads and ponds.

Posted in India News, Indian Maoism | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Maoist film on India’s revolution: Blazing Trail

Posted by redpines on September 11, 2011

This informative and inspiring documentary  narrates the Maoist revolutionary movement in India from the 60s to the recent past. It includes some especially wonderful footage of adivasi (indigenous) struggles in central India. Although it appears to have been released in 2006, it is still highly recommended viewing. Thanks to Sidhartha S. for suggesting it to us.

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Journey to Nepal’s Maoist heartland – Pt 1

Posted by Rosa Harris on September 11, 2011

photo: Jim Weill

This first appeared on Winter Has Its End.

by Jim Weill

In Nepali buses there are seats, and then there are seats. Reclining seats with cushioned headrests – and just about anywhere else a body will fit: in the aisles, on armrests, on benches in the driver’s area, in the doorway, even on top of the bus. One reason for this is, of course, money. Bus operators want to carry as many passengers as possible to acquire as many fares as possible. But Nepalis are also much less squeamish about bodily proximity than European-derived peoples. Complete strangers will lay their heads on each others’ shoulders and it is no offense to lean back against the legs of someone sitting above you.

Furthermore, it seemed that allocation of the proper seats was arbitrary. One could get a ticket for a proper seat, or one could claim a seat early enough, and it was likely the arrangement wouldn’t be contested. So these long bus rides became something egalitarian and communal, with people enduring mild discomfort together, both physically and socially. In a new society, I thought to myself, will everyone have their own cushioned seat, or will everyone share in these minute, everyday struggles together?

Our large coach bus bumped and jostled along the mountain roads, veered around switchbacks and, to my occasional horror, seemed to flirt with the steep edges of the river valley. But eventually, I gave myself over to a different sort of comfort.  The clouds hugged the tops of the green hills, terraced with rice paddies. The popular Hindi and Nepali music poured from the speakers, thick with percussion and broad, powerful voices.

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Photos: Remembering Martyrs of Nepal’s Peoples War

Posted by redpines on September 10, 2011

 On September 9, 2011, over 20,000 people gathered in Nepal’s Gorkha district to celebrate the Martyr’s Memorial Day.

The gathering commemorated the 1999 martyrdom of  Suresh Wagle, an alternative Politburo member and Bhimsen Pokharel, commander of a guerrilla group of the People’s Liberation Army. 

Thanks to Krishna Tamu for sharing these photos with us. 

photo: Krishna Tamu

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Arundhati Roy on the Jan Lokpal bill: “What Are You Doing This For?”

Posted by hetty7 on September 9, 2011

Recently, a popular anti-corruption movement has arisen in India around activist Anna Hazare’s support of the Jan Lokpal bill. This is a piece of legislation that proposes to institutionalize anti-corruption measures, protect whistleblowers and address the grievance of citizens. Arundhati Roy, who is one of India’s most consistently fierce and principled voices for justice, is opposed to the bill in its current form, and is skeptical about some of the dynamics of the movement it has generated. According to Roy, the Jan Lokpal legislation has support from dubious entities like the Ford Foundation and the World Bank, and could be used to bolster corporate interests in India. She also discusses the nature of corruption in India, and the difference between mass movements led by the people and those infiltrated by NGOs. This interview is from Sanhati, August 30,  2011.

India –  Jan Lokpal Bill is very regressive: Arundhati Roy

” For protest movements of the powerful, protest movements where the media is on your side, protest movements where the government is scared of you, protest movements where the police disarm themselves, how many movements are there going to be like that? I don’t know. While you’re talking about this, the army is getting ready to move into Central India to fight the poorest people in this country, and I can tell you they are not disarmed. So I don’t know what lessons you can draw from a protest movement that has privileges that no other protest movement I’ve ever known has had.”

In an exclusive interview, writer Arundhati Roy said there are serious concerns about the Jan Lokpal Bill, corporate funding, NGO’s and even the role of the media.

Sagarika Ghose: Hello and welcome to the CNN-IBN special. The Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement has thrown up multiple voices. Many have been supportive of the movement, but there have been some who have been skeptical and raised doubts about the movement as well. One of these skeptical voices is writer Arundhati Roy who now joins us. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepal: Biplab – The Main Thing is Revolution

Posted by hetty7 on September 8, 2011

Photo Credit: Eric Ribellarsi

This article is from the new Red Star.

Netra Bikram Chanda “Biplab”-  State, Transformation & Peace

“Debates and struggles are running inside and outside of the political parties.  UCPN-Maoist, NC and UML are passing through the process of intense debates. A strange situation has been created whether the running peace process can carry the debate in a smooth way or not. If not, we cannot deny that the struggle will enter into a stage for state transformation.”

3 September 2011: The debate of state, transformation and peace has widened the struggle in two spheres. The first one is among the political parties and the second one among the ideological factions within political parties. Struggle among the political parties is mainly amongst UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and UML.  Struggle among the political parties is amongst the ideological factions within Maoist, NC and  UML parties. However, the struggle  among the factions within Maoist party is very important and has historical significance. The struggle can give a new direction and a new mode to the political struggle and peace process.

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A different Bhattarai voice in 2009: “We will complete the revolution”

Posted by redpines on September 7, 2011

Baburum Bhattarai recently became prime minister of Nepal. However his program is in sharp contrast to the revolutionary program and history of his party, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). One way to bring that out is to compare Bhattarai’s own political statements from only two years ago with the program he is so energetically articulating and pursuing now. 

The following is a talk Bhattarai gave in 2009,  with the WPRM of the UK in 2009, which was later republished by Monthly Review. In it, Bhattarai praises China’s cultural revolution, unequivocally defends the need to push through to a New Democratic revolution in Nepal, affirms the tactic of urban insurrection–and strangely enough–mentions the need to maintain the PLA.

“The Peoples Liberation Army is still with us, and the arms we collected during that war are still with us within the single-key system, monitored by the United Nations team, but basically the key is with us and the army is with us and we have never surrendered. This shows we have not abandoned the path of PPW. What we have done is suspended that part of the activity for some time and focused more on the urban activities so that we could make a correct balance between the military and political aspects of struggle. After some time we will be able to combine both aspects of Protracted Peoples War  and general insurrection to mount a final insurrection to capture state power.”

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Urgent: Funds NOW for Winter Has Its End reporters

Posted by Rosa Harris on September 6, 2011

Reporting from rural Nepal (the revolution's Rolpa heartland) with Winter Has Its End. Support this work with funds!

Everyone reading this site enjoys and appreciates the tremendous reporting carried out by Winter Has Its End.

They need thousands of dollars.

Money is needed NOW just to eat and travel!

Much more is needed to organize future reporting.

Support this new generation of communist journalists!

Send $100 or $500 or more now!

Go to the WINTER HAS ITS END site and click on their PAY PAL link!

NOW. Please.

Eric Ribellarsi explained the needs and purposes in a comment on this thread:

Thanks to Kasama moderators for running this. We would like to make you all aware of just a few of the big things we have coming:

1. We are continuing to report on the rapid changes that are coming here in Nepal, including the resistance to the disarming of the revolution and the coming resurrection of the base areas in Nepal through the form of People’s Councils. We will be covering the details as revolutionaries here continue to shift and move on a new basis.

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Nepal’s Biplab: Nothing Will Stop the Coming Revolution!

Posted by hetty7 on September 6, 2011

Torch rally against surrender, photo credit: Eric Ribellarsi

The following interview with Biplab (Netra Bikram Chanda), a leading member of the Maoist party in Nepal, was conducted the week before Baburam Bhattarai’s election. At that momentarily the left and right wings of the Maoists were (briefly) working together to weaken the current party chairman Prachanda (obviously for different reasons). That situation ended when  Bhattarai moved to disarm and dissolve the People’s Liberation Army.

Things have changed and events have moved quickly in the days since this interview was given. However it still gives a sense of the struggle over the future of Nepal’s revolution within the Maoist party.

It first appeared on Winter Has Its End (WHIE).

WHIE: Very sharp differences have emerged in your party over army integration. Could you explain those to us?

BIPLAB: We have a two-line struggle going on in our party over the integration of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). This struggle has mainly been targeted at Baburam Bhattarai, but at the moment it has become focused on Prachanda. Prachanda is claiming that we can go forward by accepting the integration proposals of the reactionary forces in Nepal.

They are ready to dissolve, not integrate, the People’s Liberation Army which fought for 12 years, into the Nepal Army.

It is amazing that the Nepal Army has put forward proposal about integration. Their proposal gives them leadership and disintegrates the People’s Liberation Army under it. The PLA is treated not as soldiers of Nepal. It suggests that the PLA step aside into local bureaus, and become unarmed forest guards. Prachanda is accepting their proposal.

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Bhattarai comforts Indian capital, slams his Maoist party

Posted by redpines on September 3, 2011

This is a disturbing new interview from Baburam Bhattarai, who is vice chairman of the UCPN(M) and now Prime Minister of Nepal. He takes pains to insure Indian capitalists that their investments will be protected, despite the fact that Nepal has already suffered greatly from Indian economic and cultural expansionism. Unfortunately, he is far less generous to members of the UCPN(M).

 Bhattarai discusses the radical left  within the Maoist party, saying they will be outmaneuvered and marginalized:

“In a communist party, two line struggles are natural and we have successfully managed it so far and we will manage it in the future. I don’t see much obstacle. Even if some leaders and cadre may oppose or some splinter groups may move out, even then it won’t make much impact on the political line followed by the party.”

Bhattarai also claims that the recent decision to hand over the arms of the People’s Liberation Army to a Special Committee was undertaken at his “initiative”. Interestingly, he doesn’t claim that the decision was made through normal party mechanisms. 

The interview originally appeared in The Hindu

‘Nepal won’t jeopardize any genuine Indian interest’

by Prashant Jha

September 3, 2011

In the middle of negotiations over cabinet formation and the future of the Maoist combatants, Nepal’s new Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattaraitook time out for an exclusive interview to The Hindu on Friday afternoon at his office in Singha Durbar, the government secretariat. He spoke about the political challenges, the roadmap to achieve his stated objectives, and relations with India. Excerpts:

You had consistently argued for a consensus government, but are now heading a majority government. Why did efforts at forging a national consensus fail?

I am still for a consensus form of government because according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Interim Constitution, we need to take major decision through consensus. The Special Committee responsible for the integration process has to function through consensus and the constitution has to be adopted through a two-thirds majority. So to complete major tasks of peace process and write a new constitution, we need a broad consensus among the major parties. If we have a consensus government, it would facilitate those two processes. That conviction still prevails. But unfortunately, since that could not happen, the second choice was to start with a majoritarian and work for a consensus government. Even though I was elected by a majority, my efforts are directed towards forging consensus. Immediately after my election, I reached out to the Nepali Congress, UML and other parties. I hope it will bear fruit soon.

But how will this consensus come about?

I want the support of the major parties basically for the completion of the peace process, especially integration and rehabilitation of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cadres. We have already chalked out a time frame of one and a half months. If we reach broad consensus, we can implement it and stick to the one and a half month deadline. By that time, NC and UML will also join the government and this government will take the shape of a national consensus government. That has been my effort.

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