On the Occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the People's War in Nepal
Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at revcom.us
I traveled to Nepal in 1999, when the People's War was in its beginning years. I remember crossing the border into Rolpa with much excitement--knowing this district had already become the stronghold of the revolution. In village after village, I was inspired by young guerrilla soldiers, party leaders, women organizers, peasant farmers, and martyrs' families--who told me they were fighting for liberation in Nepal as part of the world revolution.
When I left Nepal, a leader in the CPN(M) told me, "The first part of your trip is coming to an end. But ahead of you is the second part of your journey--to take all that you have seen, heard and learned and make it known to the world." And so I have worked since my trip, to let people know about the People's War in Nepal--and to counter all the lies and disinformation that has been thrown out in the media to try and discredit and distort the real character and aims of the Maoist struggle in Nepal.
My initial series of articles about my trip and the extensive interview I did with Prachanda, the Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), were originally published in the Revolutionary Worker (now Revolution newspaper). My book, Dispatches from the Peoples War in Nepal, came out at the beginning of 2005 and a Nepali edition of this book was recently published in Kathmandu. Dispatches, in its entirety, as well as selected chapters, and the Prachanda interview, have been translated and circulated in many languages throughout the world. I have given lectures throughout the United States and Europe and, wherever I have gone, people are truly inspired when I tell them what I have seen and how the Peoples War has grown and developed to the point where it now controls most of the countryside. People are given real hope when they hear about the transformations going on in the base areas and are tremendously inspired when they see how women have been unleashed to play a huge role in this revolution. They see a living example of the "hope of the hopeless" in how the Maoists are leading people to bring about real and liberating social, economic, and cultural changes in the base areas--and how the People's War is fighting to do away with women's oppression, the discrimination of minority nationalities, and the whole oppressive caste system.
Many people have also learned about the Peoples War in Nepal through my photographs. At one exhibit of my photos, an African American woman from the south side of Chicago said, "These people are really, really fighting for something. They're living primitively but I'm quite sure they're proud of what they have. You can look into their eyes and see they're proud, strong people. And the youth--the children, the young girls. It's just breathtaking to see them all fighting together for one cause instead of fighting each other, like we are over here. It's just beautiful. I wish I could go over there and see what it's like.... I know it's hard for those people. But it's good to see that they have that inner brilliance that outshines, so that they fight and go on."
In today's world, where a small handful of rich imperialist countries dominate and exploit poor, third world countries--it gives people great heart and joy to see a genuine liberation struggle in Nepal, determined to end foreign domination.
The People's War in Nepal is taking place in an intensifying world situation where the aims and ambitions of the U.S. crusade to attain unrivaled world hegemony have been setting the terms for much of international relations, including how the U.S. (and other powers) look at their necessity and freedom to intervene in Nepal. Under the so-called "war on terrorism" the U.S., UK, India, and other foreign powers have given political and military support to the reactionary state power in Kathmandu.
U.S. officials have arrogantly declared that they will not allow the Maoists to come to power in Nepal--even though it is clear the People's War has massive support from the overwhelming majority of people in the country. The U.S. government and mainstream media lie about the People's War in Nepal--distorting and slandering the aims and goals of the revolution, in order to justify their backing of a brutal regime that is carrying out horrible crimes against the people. This underscores the importance of people here in the U.S. exposing and opposing any and all U.S. intervention in Nepal.
As Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP,USA said, "The U.S. arrogantly proclaims that it will not allow the people of Nepal to liberate themselves and take control of their own country. And of course this has to be taken very seriously, not only by the people leading that revolution in Nepal, our comrades there. But also by all of us who want to see people liberated in the world. And there is a special duty for us here because this is our arrogant imperialist power, whether it works through India or with India, or in some other way or directly intervenes at some point, which is determined to drown that in blood...We cannot allow the U.S. imperialists to declare and to act on the declaration that the people of Nepal cannot carry through and achieve complete liberation there. It is our responsibility to let people know about this, to expose what theyre doing and to support politically on a massive scale this struggle in Nepal because its carrying the future for all of us."
When the Peoples War was launched in 1996, it defied all odds and bravely set out on the path of the Maoist New Democratic Revolution--a path that remains relevant for oppressed countries throughout the world. And in a "short" ten years, the Communist Party of Nepal has achieved tremendous success--not only in the military struggle against the reactionary Nepalese government, but in the building of peoples power and new forms of revolutionary power in the liberated base areas.
The mobilization of millions of people to exercise peoples power, to work at building the outlines of a future socialist society--even as the Peoples Liberation Army is battling the reactionary U.S. and India-backed Royal Nepalese Army--this is a breathtaking and historic achievement.
Many people in the United States are surprised when they hear about the success of the Peoples War in Nepal. The government here tells us all the time that "communism is dead"--that socialism was "tried and failed" and therefore capitalism is the "best of all possible worlds." But anyone can look around at the state of the planet and see how the system of imperialism causes tremendous misery and suffering for the masses of people. And the socialist revolutions in the Soviet Union and China represented the first historic efforts to build societies free of exploitation and oppression. While they were eventually defeated and reversed, the lessons from these revolutions, summing up their overwhelmingly positive achievements, as well as their shortcomings, are crucial to the advance of proletarian revolution throughout the world.
In this light, the Peoples War in Nepal is a real inspiration for all those who dream of a better world.
In Nepal, two futures are presenting themselves, and sharply colliding. One is a continuation, in one form or another, of the current society, dominated by backward class forces aligned with the whole international imperialist system and enforcing extremely oppressive and exploitative economic, political, and social relations. The other future is a path led by the proletariat, of breaking out of this whole order, of leading a New Democratic Revolution, establishing a socialist society, building new economic, political, and social relations, and continuing the revolution to do away with all exploitation and oppression.
I look forward to the day when I can return to Nepal--to a new revolutionary socialist Nepal, no longer dominated and oppressed by foreign powers, where the masses of people can be fully mobilized to consciously build a whole new liberating society, as part of the world revolution.