CP Gajurel is the Head of the International Bureau of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). He spoke on November 15th, 2007 at Goldsmith College, University of London. A resume of the talk is given below.
In Nepal, we developed the People’s War from 1996 to 2005. We went from strategic defensive to strategic offensive. Back in 1996, we had neither army nor weapons, but we launched a people’s war.
Today, our People’s Liberation Army is confined to seven camps or cantonments and 14 satellite camps. The UN has registered 31,000 fighters in our army. Yet when we started we had no army at all. We were our own army.
Nobody had military training or weapons. There was one old rifle that did not fire which we used for training. We called it our full-time rifle as it was passed from one area to the next for full-time use. We now have very sophisticated weapons which are locked up in the cantonments.
We also have a YCL militia of almost 400,000 people. They arrest corrupt people, expose scandals and punish criminals who otherwise would enjoy impunity. They give terror to the reactionaries, but are friendly to the masses.
In 1996, we had a strong organisation in only 20 of the 75 districts of Nepal. We had smaller organisations in another 50 departments. But now we are strong all over the country. We have liberated 80 percent of the population and we were running a parallel government.
Actually, we ran the country. The enemy was
confined to big
cities and we governed the rest. The People’s War followed the theory
Zedong, going from strategic equilibrium to strategic offensive. The
stage of this offensive was the capture of
We captured the main gate to Kathmandu without suffering any loss. This led the enemy to agree to a peace process. Comrades have asked us why we agreed to participate in a peace process. The reason is that we were not strong enough to capture Kathmandu or to destroy the Royal Nepalese Army.
This army spent most of its time confined to
would occasionally come out and encircle a village, kill all its
and then claim they had killed Maoists, when in fact they had only
ordinary people. The Royal Nepalese Army could not defeat us, but we
capture their barracks either, because they had been fortified by US
experts and were surrounded with land mines. The RNA also had very
weapons, including helicopters supplied by
The political situation was that we had the support of the urban population, but not enough to be able to call for a general insurrection. The masses were politically divided. Because of this, we decided that in order to increase our mass support it was necessary to take other initiatives. A war cannot carry on indefinitely in a static situation. It was essential to find a way forward.
Some people think that waging a people’s war always means confrontation between two armies, but that is simplistic. We must confront the enemy on all fronts – cultural, economic, political, etc.
In 2001 and 2003, we entered into negotiations but we were ignored so we returned to the war. But in 2005 the situation was different. The political situation (which had been created by the 10 years of people’s war) was that there were seven political parties working with the king to smash the People’s War.
It was necessary to split the enemy camp because they were united. We called the various parties to join an alliance to overthrow the monarchy, but in 2001 and 2003 they turned us down. Then Gyanendra staged a coup d’état and arrested the leaders of these parties and put them behind bars and their political parties were declared banned. We give our heartfelt thanks to King Gyanendra for that. We again offered an alliance to the seven parties – and this time the situation compelled them to join with us. Hence the alliance that was forged.
It was a concrete demand of the alliance that it should fight the monarchy, for a republic. This was a common point of agreement. A road map was drawn up and signed by the seven parties, according to which an interim constitution and government were set up and a constituent assembly election was to be held. We agreed to this.
Of course, US imperialism was dead against it.
Under the agreement, we Maoists were entitled to
in parliament. The
India allowed a meeting to take place on its
between ourselves on the one hand and the seven parties on the other –
meeting that would have been impossible to organise in
These talks gave rise to a 12-point and an 8-point agreement, a common programme for our various parties.
Following this agreement, there were 19 days of
against the monarchy in
Some people say that it is wrong to participate
reactionaries in government. In
We think it was right to have participated. There
reasons for this. We knew that the government would not resolve the
But our first reason for participating was to develop international relations. Previously, we had been totally isolated as a ‘terrorist organisation’ and most of our leaders were being sought by Interpol.
The second reason is that we Maoists are not
compared to the reactionaries so we need allies if we are to capture
then hang on to it. We need to use the contradictions between the
forces so that they do not join forces against our revolution. Unity of
forces is necessary, but we should also get support from non-Maoist
It is also useful to have the support of
Quite recently a delegation visited
It is difficult for us, just as it was for the
1917. They at least had the support of a very strong working-class
Dividing the enemy
You must use contradictions among the
reactionaries. It is
the aim of political tactics to create splits in the enemy ranks and to
the revolutionary forces. We succeeded in this. We split the monarchy
political parties. Now the monarchy in
Our present task is to isolate the Nepali Congress Party, and we are splitting it from the UML [Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist)]. We put forward two proposals in parliament: (1) that it should declare a republic, and (2) that future elections should be fully proportional. On these two issues, we split the Congress from the UML. Claiming to be a communist party, the latter cannot openly support the monarchy, and it was therefore afraid of voting for the monarchy, although it didn’t want to offend the Congress. On proportional elections, the UML also had to compromise, because otherwise the choice was between our proposal and their political exposure.
UML had to vote with us, and with the support of UML our proposals have been passed by a majority. This issue will now isolate the Nepali Congress.
An amendment of the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority. To ask the government to put forward a proposal in parliament, it is sufficient to have an ordinary majority. So we are trying to compel Congress to put forward the question for discussion. But the Congressites are in a dilemma. If they put this proposal forward for discussion, this is a problem for them because they voted against it. If they do not put it forward, they will be defying the majority and we can ask them to resign.
We are not worried about when the Nepali elections
held. We will use the election as long as we can. Five years ago, the
for a constituent assembly was our tactic alone, but now everybody has
it. The other parties used to refuse to discuss the issue with us on
We will not give our arms to the enemy. We know the Nepali Congress will never accept our two proposals because it would be seen as a victory for Maoists. They are afraid of the elections because they know they will lose out to the Maoists. For reactionaries, elections are decisive and they cannot accept losing them. This is good because it will expose them in the eyes of the masses.
Our parliamentary majority will stand us in good stead. Our aim is to seize power – that’s the aim of the mass movement.
Victory for the Nepalese revolution would be a
boost for the
revolutionary movement everywhere, which is why
Our fight against the
In reply to questions
There followed a question and answer session, during which CP Gajurel answered many questions. In particular, he made it clear that the reason the two armies are confined to barracks and cantonments is so that the military does not influence the outcome of the election in any way.
He went on to say that, contrary to agreement of equal treatment, the People’s Liberation Army was not paid for six months. The reactionaries hoped this would cause the PLA to disintegrate, since it lacked food. But its ranks did not desert, in spite of all the hardship. The government last week finally coughed up three months’ salary because the PLA threatened to leave the cantonments unless the troops were paid so that they could go to the masses who would maintain them.
Organ of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
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