Friday, May 25, 2007

Revolution in the Himalayas

by Andy Brooks

Hoist the Revolutionary Flag on Mount Everest in the 21st Century: Second Wave Publications, London 2007, pbk, 43pp £3.50. Democracy, multi-party system and the withering away of the state under proletarian leadership: Second Wave Publications, London 2006, pbk, 88pp £4.00.

IN FEBRUARY 1996 the Nepalese masses took up the gun to end the feudal monarchy that had enslaved them for centuries. The revolt was led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), one of the wings of the Nepalese communist movement that rejected the parliamentary road that had briefly led to two minority communist governments in the 1990s, which proved powerless in the face of the intrigues of the bourgeois parties and the determination of the royal family to retain autocratic power.
The Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army rapidly established popular control over much of the Himalayan kingdom but their fight was largely ignored by the British communist movement partly because the CPN (Maoist) only maintained international links with communists who had a dogmatic and often sectarian attitude to the rest of the movement and largely because so little information about the struggle was available in English.
That all changed last year with the momentuous events in Kathmandu which forced the King to abandon autocracy, at least for the moment, and agree to talks with the Maoists and the other democratic parties of Nepal. Now there is a ceasefire and the Maoists are part of the provisional government and the King is desperately trying to fend off demands for his abdication and the establishment of a democratic republic. But who are the CPN(Maoists) and what do they want? Second Wave Publications has gone some way to answering this by publishing a series of pamphlets on the Nepalese revolution over the past two years.
The latest, Hoist the Revolutionary Flag on Mount Everest in the 21st Century, is an interview with Maoist leader Chairman Prachanda given in 2006 that covers their tactics, theory and practice during the armed struggle.
The second is a collection of theorectical articles by Prachanda and other Maoist leaders on the state and democracy together with two commentaries by Stalin. Both pamphlets are detailed specialist works but they are essential reading to anyone studying the Nepalese revolution.

Some Second Wave publications including Hoist the Revolutionary Flag on Mount Everest are available from Housman’s Bookshop in London. All can be obtained directly from:
Second Wave Publications & Distribution, BM Box 2978 London WC1N 3XX
Please add 50p for postage and packing if ordering by post.