On February 13th, 1996 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) distributed the flyer reproduced below to announce the initiation of the people’s war in Nepal. In the subsequent 10 years the party would be able to capture over 80% of the countryside and win over the majority of the people. It had established dual power through the people’s courts and governments in the revolutionary base areas, and had undertaken projects to ameliorate the lives of the peasantry, including developing small hydro projects, building schools and hospitals, and breaking old feudal traditions and establishing new revolutionary ones. However, in the last 9 years since the beginning of the peace process and 19 years since the initiation of the people’s war, the peasantry has lost many of these gains. Furthermore, the “mother” party, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has completely adopted a reformist parliamentary path. In the pamphlet reproduced below, the CPN(Maoist) stated,
Today the biggest traitors of the people have been those so-called communists, the revisionists, who have gone after crumbs of reactionary state power by licking the boots of feudalism and imperialism. The Nepalese people and Nepalese history will never forgive those traitors who have sat on the chairs of the reactionaries by betraying the people’s faith in radical change and the Communist Party and by stepping on the blood of thousands of martyrs. Again if one talks of limiting oneself to the reformist struggle within the reactionary state, that will be merely another process of treachery. This has now been a historically verified truth.
This has been once again verified when one looks at the actions of the current UCPN(Maoist) leadership. This ostensibly was one of the significant reasons for the split by the current CPN(Maoist) from the UCPN(Maoist), however, they too have become little more than an external opposition to the UCPN(Maoist). Indeed, the tactics of the CPN(Maoist) have been less than inspiring inasmuch that they have largely constituted of making infinite demands on the reformist state, and dangling the carrot of reunification with the UCPN(Maoist) to win members from the latter organisation. One does not get the sense that the organisation actually has a strategy to get from its current quagmire to a revolutionary situation. The newly formed CPN-Maoist, led by Netra Bikram Chand, a “left-wing” split from the CPN(Maoist) has emphasised the return to the people’s war, although it is not clear from what one can read about their line what their strategy is. However, I will reserve judgment until I can properly read their political document, which I believe some comrades are in the process of translating into English.
The situation in Nepal whilst different than it was 19 years ago, in part because of the positive outcomes of the people’s war, is not so different from the analysis put forward in the document below. Semi-feudalism continues to persist, especially in areas which came under Maoist control much later in the revolutionary process and thus were unable to sustain the gains that were made. Capitalist exploitation continues unabated in the urban centres with a growing proletariat and reserve army of labour. Semi-colonialism, similarly, is well-rooted. Indeed, it is more clear today, than ever before, that Nepal has been “Bhutanized” by Indian sub-imperialism. Does this all mean that the time has come for people’s war? I would argue no. Indeed, any return to the people’s war without a proper summation of the experience of the last 19 years and a proper strategy for the path forwards is simply being callous with the lives of the very oppressed classes that the Nepalese revolutionary movement seeks to mobilise. Indeed, it is difficult to know which way to march, when the path itself is not clear. However, the goal remains the same: smash the reactionary state and establish a new democratic state. In closing, I would like to draw a parallel to another famous exhortation to arms, Machiavelli’s The Prince, where he similarly identified the dismissal state of affairs in Italy and the need for a Prince. Today Nepal needs a new Prince who is able to bring with it a new mode of organisation and politics. The situation is excellent, the question is whether there is a Prince with the prudence to make the necessary intervention and to invent new modes and orders.
Dear Masses of the People,
Today Nepalese society is in a state of grave crisis, whether economically, politically, culturally or otherwise. Where has the present state that has been harping about development and construction for the last fifty years landed Nepal economically? It has landed Nepal in the position of second poorest country in the world after Ethiopia. This state that does not manufacture even a needle in the name of a self-reliant and national economy has handed over the whole economy of the country to a dozen families of the foreign comprador and bureaucrat capitalists. Whereas this handful of plunderers have become billionaires, the real masters of this country and the national property, the toiling masses of Nepal, are forced to eke out a meager existence of deprivation and poverty. The sons and daughters of Nepalese peasants and workers reeling under unemployment and poverty are compelled to lead a miserable life of dishonour and neglect in India and different parts of the world to earn their daily bread. After piling a massive foreign debt burden even on the future generations of the Nepalese people, the feudal and comprador and bureaucrat capitalist rulers are making merry on it. In the name of privatization and liberalization under the guidance and for the benefit of the foreign capitalists, the process of mortgaging the whole country to the comprador and bureaucrat capitalists is now in full swing.
The burden of this economic degradation has to be basically borne by the peasantry, which constitute ninety percent of the population. That every new government formed under this state structure pushes and will push the country economically into a further state of bankruptcy has been historically verified.
To maintain hegemony of one religion (Hinduism), language (Nepalese) and nationality (Khas), this state has for centuries exercised discrimination, exploitation and oppression against other religions, languages and nationalities and has conspired to fragment the force of national unity that is vital for the proper development and security of the country. On the contrary, it has been prostrating itself before the foreign imperialists and expansionists and repeatedly mortgaging Nepal’s national honour and sovereignty to them. The present state has been shamelessly permitting the foreign plunderers to grab the natural water resources of Nepal and to trample upon our motherland. If this process is allowed to continue in the future, the patriotic, conscious and self-esteemed Nepalese have no doubt that the very existence of Nepal will be in jeopardy.
The present state has declared war against the development of the national culture of the Nepalese people by flooding the country with corrupt, licentious and distorted imperialist culture. The feudal and imperialist forces are doing their utmost to replace the democratic cultural values and ideals with Freudian, nihilist and anarchic values. This is a sequel to the conspiracy of the reactionary classes to corrupt the people culturally and preserve their own heaven of plunder. This corrupt cultural value is no less responsible for the burgeoning of drug-trafficking, smuggling, thievery, black marketeering, looting, murder and rape in the society today.
Within this moribund state structure, a coalition government of Panchas (royalists) and Nepali Congress, defamed in Nepalese history for their anti-national and genocidal deeds, is ruling right now. This government has forced not only the peasants and workers of Nepal but also the people of different categories and professions to live in a state of scarcity, injustice and terror. Whereas this state has been treating women as second-class citizens for a long time, now it has intensified rape, trafficking and the process of commoditization through advertisements against them. The whole educational system is tuned to produce slaves for this state and there is rampant anarchy in it. Thus, be they workers, peasants, women, teachers, students, small traders, lower-ranking civil servants, doctors, professors, or people of different classes including the national bourgeoisie, all are victims of this state of feudals and comprador and bureaucrat capitalists. Except for radical change in all spheres, any possibility of reform has now become a mere chimera.
Reactionary ruling classes, forever swearing by democracy, have been repeatedly using their guns against the political activists or the ordinary masses who hold political beliefs counter to the interests of the rulers. This state which regards itself as the custodian of “democracy” has been surviving on the blood of innumerable sons and daughters of mother Nepal, ranging from infants to the aged, whenever the people have professed and spoken in favour of nationalism, democracy and livelihood. Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese people fighting for justice have been subjected to inhuman physical torture, confinement in jails and mental torture. Not only during the partyless panchayat (absolute monarchy) period but even in the present monarchal parliamentary period, the fascist genocidal and repressive acts have been on the increase rather than decreasing. This is a bitter truth experienced by the Nepalese people in their real life. This process has now developed into an armed repression campaign against innocent people favouring truth and justice. The recent armed operation and state terror let loose in Western Nepal and different parts of the country has testified beyond doubt that the ruling classes have openly embarked upon an unjust war against the people. The heinous game of the reactionary state of enroling the sons and daughters of the poor peasants and workers into the police and the army as mercenaries and forcing them to use arms against their own parents, brothers and sisters, is now crystal clear. With the passage of time those in the police and the army will also come to know the realities. There is no alternative for the people other than to raise the banner of just war against this unjust war.
How did we reach this stage of the critical condition of nationalism, democracy and livelihood and a situation of open warfare of the state against the people? What is clear on the basis of historical and scientific materialism is that the seeds of this state of affairs were sown in Nepalese history a long time back. With the advent of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, as in almost all the oppressed nations, in Nepal too, a semi-feudal and semi-colonial socio-economic structure based on the alliance of feudalism and imperialism was established. This gave rise to a process of feudalism prostrating before imperialism and imperialism plundering the masses while protecting feudalism. In Nepal, this process was initiated in concrete form after the conclusion of the Sugauli Treaty of 1815-16 with British India. The inevitable consequence of this process was that it obstructed the development of national capitalism and instead opened the path to the development of bureaucrat capital in the interests of both landlords and imperialism. This long historical period has in fact been the period of the process of the birth, rise and demise of the same bureaucrat capital.
In Nepalese society, the 104 year period of Rana autocracy (between 1846-1950) existed under the same formation as the later partyless panchayat autocracy (between 1960-1990), and the current so-called monarchical multi-party system (since 1990) also continued and continues under the same dispensation. As a result of the struggle of the Nepalese people against this socio-economic structure, principally, and due to the changes in the international political situation, secondarily, the names of the system and the government have been changing, sometimes liberal and at other times conservative, to make a redistribution of the spoils of power. But the basic structure of the state has remained unchanged. The political developments of 1951, 1960, 1979 and 1990 can only be understood in this way. Looking at history just since 1951, it is amply evident that an ever greater crisis for the country and the people has been sprouting from within the womb of the petty reforms carried out within the reactionary state.
The Nepalese people have been constantly struggling against this state of affairs. In the process of such struggles, the Nepalese people have been a victim of not only the repeated repression and intrigues of the reactionaries but also of the betrayal and treachery of the reformists. Today the biggest traitors of the people have been those so-called communists, the revisionists, who have gone after crumbs of reactionary state power by licking the boots of feudalism and imperialism. The Nepalese people and Nepalese history will never forgive those traitors who have sat on the chairs of the reactionaries by betraying the people’s faith in radical change and the Communist Party and by stepping on the blood of thousands of martyrs. Again if one talks of limiting oneself to the reformist struggle within the reactionary state, that will be merely another process of treachery. This has now been a historically verified truth.
The other aspect which should not be forgotten at this point is that the negative recurrence of the reactionary repression and intrigue and reformist betrayal and treachery has given rise to the positive conditions of enhancing the political consciousness of the general masses of the people and of their attaining the sole revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism for their liberation, amidst the people’s class struggle and a long and intense ideological struggle against such reformism. Today, the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Party guided by this all-powerful revolutionary ideology has developed like a beautiful and blossoming flower, through the long struggle of the labouring masses of Nepal, irrigated by the blood of thousands of martyrs. Whereas all kinds of reactionaries and revisionists are madly after it to nip it in the bud, the revolutionary masses are taking care of its preservation and development.
Dear Masses of the People,
What is clear from the above historical and current facts is that the present crisis-ridden condition of the country is the result of the development of contradictions between the exploitation and oppression of the people by the state power of the feudals and comprador and bureaucrat capitalist classes, on the one hand, and the relentless struggle carried out by the people against it, on the other. To defend their moribund and crisis-ridden reactionary state, feudalism and imperialism have openly imposed an unjust war on the Nepalese people. If the Nepalese people cannot raise the banner of a just people’s war against this unjust war and become victorious in it, the Nepalese people and the Nepalese nation will be doomed to a prolonged darkness.
Conscious of one’s duty towards this historical necessity, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the proletarian party of the sons and daughters of the masses of the people, has resolved to initiate the process of forcibly smashing this reactionary state and establishing a New Democratic state. This resolve of ours is based on the feeling of service and devotion toward the people, on the commitment to the lofty ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to free humanity forever from the yoke of class exploitation, and on the study of the history of Nepalese society in that light. We are fully conscious that this war to break the shackles of thousands of years of slavery and to establish a New Democratic state will be quite uphill, full of twists and turns and of a protracted nature. But this and this alone is the path of people’s liberation and a great and bright future. This path will unfold by making use of all forms of struggle in keeping with the historical stage of development of Nepal and principally, as we have been saying all along, according to the strategy of encircling the city from the countryside, with agrarian revolution as the axis and from the midst of and in conjunction with the rural class struggle. This process of people’s war in the context of the present balance of forces will move forward through the process of people’s guerilla war within the stage of strategic defence. We are confident that the masses of the people of all classes and categories will extend active support and help to this revolutionary process and that it will be victorious. Besides this, we are conscious and confident that this struggle will win support and help from the communist revolutionaries and struggling masses the world over, and that this will in turn assist all those revolutionaries. Because this struggle of ours will be part and parcel of the world proletarian revolution undertaken with a view to ending exploitation and oppression of man by man and to ending war itself forever. In this context we would like to make special mention of the ongoing people’s revolution in Peru based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and revolutionary movements the world over based on the same.
Finally, we appeal to the workers, peasants, women, students, teachers, intellectuals and the masses of the people of all categories and trades to march along in the process of people’s war for establishing a people’s New Democratic state and to extend to it all forms of support and help.
It is Right to Rebel!
Long Live the People’s War!
Down With the Reactionary State!
Long Live the New Democratic Revolution!
Glory to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!
13 February 1996