Thursday, April 19, 2007

Solidarity with the Nepalese revolution

by Rob Laurie

LAST WEEK the British South Asia Solidarity Forum held a public meeting in support of the Nepalese revolution at London’s Conway Hall. Despite the fact that the planned speaker from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) had to return to Nepal before the meeting, the audience enjoyed an inspiring range of speakers under the chairmanship of the Pan-Africanist leader Explo Nani-Kofi.
The main speaker was Peter Tobin from the journal Labour & Trade Union Review who gave the audience a detailed eye-witness account of the general strike early last year which saw the King of Nepal being forced to abandon his absolutist powers.
The strike saw even soldiers’ wives participate in anti-monarchical demonstrations. Such was the widespread opposition to the King the United States saw no point in continuing to prop him up. (At present His Majesty is struggling to maintain even his position as a constitutional monarch). He made the point that while the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist party of Nepal (Maoist) have been involved in often bloody conflict they, and other parties, have united to get rid of the King.
Theo Russell of the New Communist Party spoke next focussing largely on the Indian dimension to the events in its smaller northern neighbour. Reactionary forces in India fear the example of the workers and peasants of Nepal especially as the Maoist Naxalite movement has large support among the Indian peasant farmers.
Ella Rule of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) stressed the importance of the role of the Maoist party and said that the events in Nepal were a wonderful example for people here and in other oppressed countries. The evening was not solely dominated by the top table. While one member of the audience thought it was unwise for the Maoists to lay down their arms and go into government, most of the audience welcomed the recent course of events.

photo: Theo Russell makes his point