Nepal: When the enemy’s army enters the people’s base camp
Posted by redpines on April 12, 2012
Peter Tobin writes from Nepal about the recent takeover of the PLA cantonments by the reactionary army. His comments originally appeared at Democracy and Class Struggle.
This decision of the party establishment indicates either stupidity or treachery
by Peter Tobin
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I am among the many international supporters of the Nepalese revolution. Ever since the UCPN(M) took the heroic decision in 1996 to launch the People’s War we have watched in astonishment as this party made an important and unique contribution to proletarian history when it appeared that globally communism was on the retreat. The Soviet Union, in Comrade Castro’s words had: “committed suicide’ and China had decisively become state capitalist and so there was no socialist support base to turn to.
Everywhere it appeared that capitalism was triumphant and yet against this tide of reaction Nepalese comrades stood up and launched the first communist revolution of the 21st century. That a small, landlocked country in SE Asia within a matter of years would become the crucible of revolution, that would set an example to oppressed people everywhere was inspirational.
Let us be clear the odds against success were formidable, starting from a small guerilla band in the west of Nepal, where exploitation was most intense and multi-faceted, it transformed into a professional, battle-hardened army that consistently bested the much larger and better armed RNA, even after it was further swollen after 2002 by American dollars. By 2005 it controlled 80% of the country with the RNA confined to the urban areas.
Without the PLA the systems of dual power, people’s courts, expropriation of feudal lands &c could not have survived. Just as the bourgeoisie have a repressive apparatus which protects and guarantees their class interests then so must the proletariat have an armed wing to defend and extend its interests. As Mao put it:
“Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun.”
Nepalese comrades always understood and applied this maxim and it is a plain fact that without the PLA, without the sacrifices of its combatants and supporters among the people nothing could have been achieved. Nepal would still be living under a despotic, feudal monarchy in thrall to Indian and increasingly American imperialists in an unchallenged neo-colonial dependency.
That is why the status quo parties and their foreign backers have been so remorseless in first trying to destroy and failing that to dissolve or dilute the PLA. What they could not win on the battlefield they have sought to gain at the negotiating table or through clandestine ‘gentlemens agreements’ with an increasingly compliant party establishment.
This last scenario appears to be most likely as we have been softened up progressively in the last year seeing the gains and systems of dual power eroded and dismantled culminating in the awful decision yesterday to hand the cantonments and the weapons to the NA and to put the ex-PLA combatants effectively under a form of military arrest.
It is a military and political axiom that weapons are never surrendered before the war is over. Protracted People’s War did not end in 2006, the armed phase was suspended and the struggle re-located to the terrain of the political as a tactical move to enable the urban masses to be brought into the revolution.
Thus this decision of the party establishment indicates either stupidity or treachery. It certainly makes the task of enacting and implementing an ‘anti-imperialist, anti-feudalist constitution more difficult if not impossible.
And to see NA soldiers entering the cantonments fingers on triggers prior to taking charge of the weapons containers symbolizes a dramatic set-back for the Nepalese revolution and the aim of building Naya Nepal.
11th April 2012