U.S. Intervention in Nepal: Lies, Hypocrisy, and Reality

by Li Onesto

Revolution #015, September 25, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Planet Earth, right now, is really a totally messed up place. But is another world possible? Can humanity ever get rid of the oppressive inequalities between countries, nationalities, men and women? Is there a path for the future of humanity other than McWorld globalization or the jihad of religious fundamentalism?


I’d like to answer this question by responding to something Tim Robbins said at the big Not In Our Name anti-war rally in Central Park (October 6, 2002). In a speech against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, he referred to the Taliban, saying: “These people in Afghanistan, they’re not peasants fighting for liberation.”

The implication here was that, if that were the case—if there were a peasant movement fighting a genuine liberation struggle—then this would be worthy of people’s support.

So I want to say to Tim Robbins and others: In fact, there are peasants fighting a genuine liberation struggle in Nepal. And you and many others should take a stand in support of them. You should support the People’s War in Nepal which is fighting, in a secular way, not a fundamentalist religious fanatical way, to emancipate themselves. And you should oppose the increasing U.S. intervention in Nepal aimed at crushing this revolution.

The U.S. government and their mouthpiece media will say to you: “Yes, we know the regime in Nepal is brutally killing, torturing, and jailing thousands of people... but we have to stop totalitarianism and keep this country from becoming a failed state... we have to help the democratic process...”

When you hear this, stop and THINK.

“Stop totalitarianism” means: Crush the revolution. “Help the democratic process” means: Promote and enforce the process that keeps oppressors and exploiters in power to rule over a system that enforces a cruel caste system, crushing poverty, feudal women’s oppression and the systematic discrimination of ethnic minorities. “Preventing a failed state” means: Ensuring U.S. strategic interests in the region and the world AND making sure that a liberated country doesn’t emerge as a real model and alternative for the people of the world.

This is what U.S. intervention in Nepal is about enforcing.


In Nepal over 85% of the people are peasants living in the countryside. Most cannot feed their families and are constantly ripped off by landlords, corrupt officials, dirty politicians and moneylenders. Different castes and ethnic groups face systematic discrimination. Women are suppressed and treated as inferior and unequal in every facet of society. The whole country is subordinate to, dependent on, and dominated by India and imperialist countries like the United States. A corrupt and reactionary government has done little, if anything, to address basic problems of food, water, sanitation, and health care.

Addressing any one of these problems requires tearing up and discarding all the economic, social and political relationships within Nepalese society and between Nepal and other countries.

This is what the People’s War in Nepal aims to do. And you can see the outlines of a new revolutionary society in the territory controlled by the Maoists.

In liberated base areas, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is leading millions of people to radically change their lives and themselves. Land seized from corrupt officials and cruel landlords has been redistributed and there are beginning forms of collective farming. Women own land for the first time. Oppressed minorities have the right to practice their own languages and culture and participate equally in the new revolutionary governments. Laws and social practices that discriminate against lower castes have been done away with. Arranged marriages, polygamy, and other feudal traditions oppressive to women are no longer practiced. Wife beating and rape are severely punished by people’s courts. Women are given the right to divorce, inherit land, go to school, and fight in local militias as well as the People’s Liberation Army. There is a whole new culture and way of thinking among the people in these liberated base areas.

This is a living example of how a Maoist people’s war mobilizes the masses to fight with the aim of taking power into their own hands and building a whole new society that really digs at the deep economic, social, and political inequalities laid down and enforced by feudalism and capitalism.

All has all been possible because the armed struggle against the Royal Nepalese Army, has allowed the revolutionary forces to seize political power in liberated base areas—which has allowed them to establish new forms of people’s government. Now, to fully implement such revolutionary changes throughout Nepalese society, it will require overthrowing the current ruling class and seizing nationwide power.

The Maoists in Nepal now control about 80 percent of the countryside. But India, the U.S., the UK and other powers backing the Gyanendra regime and have said straight up that the Maoist revolution in Nepal cannot be allowed to win. And there is a real danger of invasion by the Indian Army, some kind of UN-sponsored troops, or even the U.S. military.

The U.S. has supplied the King Gyanendra government—a straight-up monarchy that is murdering, torturing, and unjustly arresting thousands of people—with millions of dollars, thousands of M-16s, night-vision and communication equipment, and special-forces counterinsurgency training. American soldiers have conducted joint training exercises in Nepal with the Royal Nepalese Army.

All those who oppose the madness of U.S. war and oppression around the world should oppose U.S. intervention in Nepal. And all those who dream of, and want a new liberated world should support the People’s War in Nepal.

Dispatches From the People’s War in Nepal by Li Onesto

(Pluto Press and Insight Press, 2005)

In 1999, Li Onesto traveled deep into the guerrilla zones of Nepal where a Maoist revolution has been raging since 1996. Allowed unprecedented access, she interviewed political leaders, guerrilla fighters, villagers in areas under Maoist control, and relatives of those killed by government forces. Illustrated with photographs, Dispatches provides a vivid picture of the new people’s governments and courts, the redistribution of land, new cultural and social practices, and the emergence of a new outlook among the people.

Dispatches is available from:

Pluto Press, 345 Archway Road, London N6 5AA, plutobooks.com

University of Michigan Press, 839 Greene Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, press.umich.edu/

Insight Press, 4064 N. Lincoln Avenue, #264 Chicago, IL 60618, insight-press.com

amazon.com and Revolution Books stores and outlets.

Go to lionesto.net for photos, articles, reviews, and speaking engagements.

Contact Li Onesto at: lio@lionesto.net