Friday, January 25, 2008

WPRM-Winnipeg is dead.

The WPRM Winnipeg is no more. It's not a sad occasion, but it is a time for reflection. The WPRM Winnipeg brought a breath of fresh air to politics in Winnipeg, infusing it with some much needed youthfulness and a radical, uncompromising spirit of internationalism. It helped train a new generation of activists in this city with this outlook, and those effects will last for many years to come. Overall, there is much to be proud of, and little to regret.

There is much to mull over and sum up. Questions of what was done right, and errors made. It's unlikely that there will ever be a neat and tidy verdict from an experience that was so rich and contradictory. For its activists, the WPRM Winnipeg was like a university of struggle, and like any university, some students have dropped out, and some have graduated - ready for the next challenge.

It is for this reason that although we will close up the Winnipeg chapter, we do not feel defeated. Movements come, movements go. What is important is that we learn from each period of struggle to better prepare ourselves for what comes next.

Today, new forms organization, new thinking, and new styles need to be developed to help blaze the path ahead. And there's lots of us around that will be working hard to blaze this path. We encourage all of our friends and supporters who continue to be fed up with this system to hook up and get down for what comes next. After all, imperialism hasn't given up, so why would we, and why should you?

See you at the barricades.

With love,

The (former) WPRM - Winnipeg.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

New Document Now Out!

Our new document is now on the web.

Notes on Afghanistan is the WPRM-Winnipeg's new document on the topic of Afghanistan and Canada's involvement in the Caspian Sea Region in general. One article is more broadly based on the history of Canada's so-called 'peacekeeping', while other articles discuss Afghanistan more directly.

Check it out for yourself & let us know what you think.

[Link is back to working again. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Downloading may take a few minutes. You may have to save the file to your computer first in order to be able to open the document.]

Click here to download the PDF.

If you are having trouble with that link, try here:

Need Acrobat reader? Download it here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

We received the following message. We encourage all of our readers and supporters to attend this event. The war on Iraq remains the fulcrum for much of the struggle against imperialism, and all those opposed to the current global offensive led by the US, opposed to Canada's occupation of Afghanistan, or opposed to the fucked-up state of things in general should be out, loud and in numbers. - WPRM-Winnipeg
March 17 Rally

On the Fourth Anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq the Peace Alliance Winnipeg participates in the Cross Canada Day of Action with two events:
· 12:30 p.m. Legislature: March Against the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - Canadian Troops Out Now!
· 2 p.m. Broadway Disciples United Church (Broadway and Kennedy): Following the march there will be a panel discussion with Lesley Hughes (journalist), Cindy McCallum (National Director, Prairie Region Canadian Union of Postal Workers) and Dr. Khelil Assil

END the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
BRING Canadian and US troops home immediately.
REJECT the Canada-US military partnership

Friday, February 02, 2007

Does the World Need More Canada?

[We received the following from the winnipeg chapter of the New Socialist Group - WPRM (Winnipeg)]

Does the World Need More Canada?

Was Bono right? Does the world need "more Canada"?

Join us for panel presentations followed by discussion on Canada's role in Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti and beyond -- and about what supporters of peace and social justice can do about it.

Thursday, February 8th
Mondragon Bookstore and Coffeehouse
91 Albert St (in the Exchange District)

Esland Osland (Canada Palestine Support Network and International Solidarity Movement)
A speaker from Winnipeg Canada Haiti Action Network
A speaker from the New Socialist Group.

Organized by the Winnipeg branch of the New Socialist Group.

For more information, contact winnipeg@newsociali
Childcare subsidy available with advance notice.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

[We received the following release on this upcoming action. This is an extremely important issue and we encourage our supporters to attend - WPRM(Winnipeg)]

Winnipeg Public Vigil:
Monday, January 15 - 12:15 p.m.
391 York Ave, Winnipeg
(Citizenship & Immigration Canada ­
between Kennedy & Edmonton)

* Wear orange to symbolize persons unfairly detained
* All invited to join a 24-hour solidarity fast
* Dress WARMLY!

www.scmcanada. org/manitoba

WINNIPEG - Join us on January 15, Martin Luther
King Day, to show solidarity with Canada's secret
trial detainees and the demand the closure of
'Guantanamo North' prison in Kingston, Ontario.

January 15 marks day 51 of a hunger strike by
secret trial detainee Mohammad Mahjoub, currently
being denied medical care at Kingston, Ontario's
Guantanamo North facility. Fellow detainees
Mahmoud Jaballah and Hassan Almrei will mark 40
days of their hunger strike, protesting their
conditions of detention under Canada's draconian
"anti-terror" legislation. (See background info on page 2).

Winnipeg's vigil is part of a national day of
action calling for an end to indefinite detention
and deportation to torture faced by the detainees
and by many in our flawed immigration system.
Join us in the loving spirit of radical,
transformative justice that served as a
cornerstone of the nonviolent civil rights movement!

Contact David Ball (SCM Manitoba) 204.779.9176

In solidarity with the Campaign to End Secret
Trials & vigils in BC, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick & Newfoundland

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Message to the Canadian Revolutionary Congress

The world situation is being shaped by the furthering of already acute contradictions and conflicts. On the one hand, the imperialists have launched an offensive against the world’s poor and oppressed, through their ‘war on terror.’ On the other, the world’s people have resiliently stood up to confront imperialism, and deal it heavy blows.

In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, Bush and company, with the support of Canada , declared the right to attack whoever they want, for whatever reasons they concoct, and however they choose to do so. This has led to the increased normalization of atrocities, such as the use of torture, arbitrary detentions, and gross human rights violations in the wars they’ve unleashed. They have launched a crusade, spreading “democracy” in the tradition of brutal imperialist foreign policy. First was Afghanistan , then Iraq , and now they are preparing for Iran .

The ‘war on terror’ has caused incredible hardships and misery for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq . Additionally, through the U.S. ’s regional attack force, Israel , the imperialists have committed terrible massacres in Lebanon and Gaza . While the murders in Afghanistan , Iraq , Lebanon , Palestine are deplorable enough, the U.S. led offensive continues to increase this global rampage. It is within the context of this new phase of world imperialism that the U.S. and its allies like Canada have struck out so viciously.

Far from accepting the new world order – the world’s people have defiantly raised their heads to fight back – to demand an alternative to the McSweatshop world and Jihadist polarization taking place. In France , only a year ago, tens of thousands of youth rebelled justly against the discrimination and hardships imposed upon them by the racist rulers of that country. In Iraq and Afghanistan , although led by Islamic fundamentalist forces, the armed resistance has dealt devastating blows to the imperialist occupations.

In Nepal , a ‘third pole’ has emerged, a genuine liberating alternative to imperialism and reaction in the rural base areas, compromising 80% of the countryside. In these areas gender oppression and oppression of poor peasants are being destroyed while new liberating institutions and forms of government are being created.

These contradictions are burning more fiercely in Canada as they are around the world. First Nations continue to openly rebel – demanding their right to self-determination and land, in some cases defiant to intimidation and violence of police and RCMP. This is a major thorn in the side of Canadian imperialists, who thought they had taken care of the “Native problem” with their assimilation efforts, land thefts, residential schools, and armed force.

Canada ’s participation in the occupations of Haiti and Afghanistan has not been spared the discontent of the people in Canada either, as more and more are demanding Canada Leave Now from both countries! There is a real basis for this to lead to further and determined resistance.

Standing in solidarity with resistance movements worldwide, World People’s Resistance Movement – Winnipeg sends greetings to the formation of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada, and to the efforts of its activists to increase opposition to the world system of imperialism. We especially warmly welcome the RCP’s opposition to Canadian involvement in Afghanistan and Haiti , as well as its support for revolution in Nepal .

We look forward to a bright future of resistance and rebellion, and anticipate the time when common dreams shared by so many for a world without oppression and exploitation can become real.

North, East, South, West,

World People’s Resistance Movement – Winnipeg
La situation internationale est marquée par l’approfondissement des contradictions et conflits qui étaient pourtant déjà aiguisés. D’une part, sous le couvert de la « guerre au terrorisme », les impérialistes ont déclenché une grande offensive contre les pauvres et les oppriméEs. D’autre part, les peuples du monde se lèvent sans cesse et confrontent l’impérialisme en lui infligeant de durs coups.

Au lendemain des événements du 11 septembre 2001 et avec l’appui du Canada, George Bush et ses acolytes se sont arrogés le droit d’attaquer qui ils veulent, pour quelque raison que ce soit, et de la manière qui leur convient. Depuis, les pires atrocités comme la torture, les détentions arbitraires et d’autres violations grossières des droits de la personne se sont accrues. Bush et ses alliés ont lancé une véritable croisade visant supposément à répandre la « démocratie » dans la plus pure tradition de la politique étrangère impérialiste la plus brutale. Ils ont d’abord attaqué l’Afghanistan ; puis, ce fut l’Irak ; et maintenant, c’est l’Iran qui est dans leur ligne de mire.

La « guerre au terrorisme » a causé d’incroyables difficultés et accentué la misère pour les peuples de l’Irak et de l’Afghanistan. En outre, par l’intermédiaire de cette force d’attaque états-unienne qu’est l’État d’Israël, les impérialistes ont commis de terribles massacres au Liban et dans la Bande de Gaza. Comme si les assassinats massifs qu’ils ont commis en Afghanistan, en Irak, au Liban et en Palestine n’étaient pas suffisants, les États-Unis poursuivent leur offensive, aggravant d’autant ce saccage global. C’est dans le contexte de cette nouvelle phase de l’impérialisme mondial que les États-Unis et leurs alliés comme le Canada ont choisi de frapper de manière encore plus vicieuse.

Loin d’accepter ce nouvel ordre mondial, les peuples du monde ont levé la tête avec défi et contre-attaqué ; les peuples exigent une alternative à la polarisation qui se développe entre les « McSweatshop » d’un côté, et les partisans du djihad de l’autre. En France, il y a à peine un an, des dizaines de milliers de jeunes se sont révoltéEs contre la discrimination et les difficultés de tous ordres que les dirigeants racistes leur imposent. Bien qu’elle soit dirigée par des fondamentalistes islamistes, la résistance armée en Irak et en Afghanistan a su porter des coups dévastateurs aux occupants impérialistes.

Au Népal, un « troisième pôle » a commencé à émerger dans les bases d’appui rurales, qui s’étendent sur près de 80% du pays ; ce pôle représente une alternative authentiquement libératrice à l’impérialisme et la réaction. Dans ces régions, l’oppression de genre et celle des paysans et paysannes pauvres sont mises en déroute, au fur et à mesure que de nouvelles institutions et de nouvelles formes de gouvernement sont mises en place.

Ces contradictions, qui caractérisent le monde actuel, brûlent de plus en plus férocement au Canada. Les Premières nations se révoltent de plus en plus ouvertement, exigeant le droit à la terre et à l’autodétermination, et elles n’hésitent pas à confronter l’intimidation et la violence de la GRC et des autres corps de police. Il s’agit là d’une épine importante dans le pied des impérialistes canadiens, qui croyaient s’être débarrassés du « problème autochtone » grâce à leur politique d’assimilation, au vol des terres autochtones, à la mise sur pied des pensionnats indiens et au recours à la force armée.

La participation du Canada à l’occupation d’Haïti et à celle de l’Afghanistan n’a pas été épargnée elle non plus. Le mécontentement de la population canadienne ressort de plus en plus fortement, alors que monte l’exigence du retrait immédiat des forces canadiennes de ces deux pays. Il existe une base réelle pour que se développe une résistance solide et déterminée.

En solidarité avec l’ensemble des mouvements de résistance à l’échelle internationale, le Mouvement de résistance des peuples du monde – Winnipeg (World People’s Resistance Movement) transmet ses salutations à l’occasion de la formation du Parti communiste révolutionnaire du Canada, et salue ses militantes et militants qui œuvrent à renforcer l’opposition au système impérialiste mondial. Nous tenons à souligner plus particulièrement l’opposition du PCR à l’implication canadienne en Afghanistan et en Haïti, de même que son soutien à la révolution au Népal.

Nous prévoyons avec vous un brillant avenir de résistance et de révolte et anticipons déjà le jour où nos rêves communs, qui sont partagés par tant de gens souhaitant vivre dans un monde sans oppression ni exploitation, deviendront enfin réalité.

Nord, Est, Sud, Ouest,

Mouvement de résistance des peuples du monde (World People’s Resistance Movement) – Winnipeg

Comrades Gaurav and Kiran released from prison!

We received the following from WPRM Europe

Dear Comrades and Friends,

We have received the following additional information about the release of Comrades Gaurav and Kiran.

According to press reports they were released from theJalpaiguri Central Jail in India at 7.45 pm onThursday (30 Nov.). In addition it is being reportedthat 13 other people who were arrested along with themwere also released. Press reports further state thatthey were met by "jubilant crowd" of "hundreds ofpeople" (Reuters) "shouting 'Down with Nepal'smonarchy'" as they left the jail.

It is being reported that "The West Bengal StateGovernment had Tuesday ordered the local authoritiesto expedite the release. Following the order, policewithdrew the cases filed at three different policestations in Jalpaiguri and Matigarha police station ofSiliguri against them." This once again showing thatthe cases against them were politically motivated fromthe start and not based on any "violation of the law".

After leaving the jail they traveled to Kakarvitta, onthe Nepalese side of the border with India. Accordingto the Hindustan Times, "hundreds of people waited fortheir 'national heroes'" as they arrived in the town.Upon arriving in Kathmandu on Friday they were greetedby CPN(M) Chairman Prachanda at a public gathering andreceived "extended applause" from a crowd of "2,000people" (AFP News) in attendence.

Both comrades have stated their intentions ofreturning to active revolutionary politics and thankedthose who supported them during their period ofimprisonment.

Welcome Back Comrades Gaurav and Kiran!Free All Nepali Political Prisoners Still Held inIndia and China!Imperialists and Reactionaries: Hands Off Nepal!

“The chain of violence against women goes back thousands of years and is long enough to cross every border and encircle the world”

27 November 2006. A World to Win News Service.

A very wide range of forces in a growing list of countries marked 24 November as International Stop Violence Against Women Day. The Women’s 8 March organization (Iran-Afghanistan) put out the following leaflet on that occasion:

Just as US soldiers gang-raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl named Abeer and then burned her alive, in Neka, a small village in northern Iran, the heart of Atefeh’s aunt burned too. Atefeh was only 15 when the Islamic murderers hanged her after raping her.

At a time when Islamic warlords in Afghanistan stoned Amina to death, the horror of the rain of stones made Hajieh’s heart tremble in Jolfa prison in Iran. In another Iranian prison, Khyrieh cried, “Don’t stone me, just hang me”.

At the same time as patriarchal young men in a Paris suburb set 18-year-old Sohane on fire, 16-year-old Marjan in Iran burned herself alive to avoid marrying a man as old as her grandfather. A little later Sumara in Pakistan died because she had been burned over most of her body. She died without saying that it was her husband who had done this.

At a time when Kolsum, a 7-year-old girl from Somali was circumcised, her cry was intertwined with the sorrowful cries of 9-year-old Maryam on her wedding night, when her doll was taken away from her and she became a bride.

Sindisou has AIDS. Men have raped her many times. When she was 3 years old, her grandfather raped her. At the same time, Fadima in Sweden was killed by her father and brother.

Marie Trintignant died after being beaten by her boyfriend, a famous French singer. A little later, Nadia, an Afghani poet, was murdered by her husband. Around the same time Lisa and Joyce in the US were raped and then murdered by unknown men.

As Natalie was waiting for a client in an Amsterdam brothel window, a ship carrying a regiment of sex slaves was harbored in Hamburg.

At a time when hundreds of thousands of Iraqi women lost their lives during the years as the US and its allies imposed sanctions, millions of women in Africa lost their lives due to war or the consequences of war, and their sisters were raped in the thousands by soldiers in Bosnia.

The international chain of violence has joined together millions of women. The violence that more than three billion women in all corners of the globe experience daily. In cities, in villages, at home or at work, in the streets… A chain that is welded at one end to the state and at the other to domestic violence.

The chain of violence against women goes back thousands of years and is long enough to cross every border and encircle the world.

If the struggle and resistance of the women all over the world has shaken the shackles of violence, the uncontrolled belligerence of capital and the new world order has increased their reach and intensity. Poverty, death, sickness, hunger, illiteracy, slavery and unemployment in the present world have ever more tightened the shackles of violence around our hands and legs.

But as this violence is increasingly globalized, the struggle and resistance of women is also taking on an increasingly international dimension. We hear the echoes of the struggle and each other’s resistance from far in the distance, and our hearts beat faster. We draw inspiration from each other’s struggles, and we feel proud and are encouraged by our victories. Any advance women make in any part of the world is our own.

As we women become more conscious, we understand that this violence is a tool in the hands of the patriarchal and class system in order to consolidated and establish our subjugation. We also understand that this violence is not controllable, unless women’s subordinate status is overthrown. Domination over women will not disappear peacefully, because standing guard over it is the power of the patriarchal and class system. The liberation of women depends on overthrowing the dominant reactionary system in the world.

Here we are in our millions, with the strong ties between us, ready to shatter the shackles of our historic oppression and slavery and lay the foundations on which a society without oppression and exploitation can be built. We must quicken our steps forward, because we are late. Time is knocking at our door.

(For more information:

Why is there civil war in Iraq?

part 2: Did US deliberately foment this civil war?

27 November 2006. A World to Win News Service. The existence of similar situations in countries victimized by imperialism has led some journalists and political organisations, and a broad section of people, especially in the oppressed countries, to believe that the US has deliberately fanned the civil war in Iraq. There are reasons and unanswered questions that lend credit to these theories.

Despite their present pious protestations to the contrary, the US and other imperialists involved in the occupation of Iraq were not taken by surprise when the civil war started. They were not completely unaware of the consequences of their policies. Some imperialist strategists had predicted such an outcome long before the invasion. As Stephen Zunes documents ( , “Some of the war’s intellectual architects acknowledged as much: In a 1997 paper, prior to becoming major figures in the Bush foreign policy team, David Wurmser, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith predicted that a post-Saddam Iraq would likely be ‘ripped apart’ by sectarianism and other cleavages but called on the United States to ‘expedite’ such a collapse anyway.”

How did they plan to expedite it?

The well-known London-based journalist John Pilger wrote, “The real news, which is not reported in the CNN ‘mainstream’, is that the Salvador Option has been invoked in Iraq. This is the campaign of terror by death squads armed and trained by the US, which attack Sunnis and Shias alike. The goal is the incitement of a real civil war and the break-up of Iraq, the original war aim of Bush’s administration. The Ministry of the Interior in Baghdad, which is run by the CIA, directs the principal death squads. Their members are not exclusively Shia, as the myth goes. The most brutal are the Sunni-led Special Police Commandos, headed by former senior officers in Saddam’s Ba’ath Party. This unit was formed and trained by CIA ‘counter-insurgency’ experts, including veterans of the CIA’s terror operations in Central America in the 1980s, notably El Salvador.” (The New Statesman, 8 May 2006)

Among the permanent advisors to the Special Police Commandos is James Steele. An interview with him reveals he is “one of the United States military’s top experts on counter-insurgency. Steele honed his tactics leading a Special Forces mission in El Salvador during that country’s brutal civil war in the 1980’s. Steele’s presence was a sign not only of the Commando’s crucial role in the American counterinsurgency strategy but also of his close relationship with Adnan. Steele admired the general.” The reference is to the head of the Special Commandos, Adnan Thabit, a Sunni and former Baathist cadre – and, according to the interviewer, a man who doesn’t mind admitting a taste for torture and murder. (“The Way of the Commandos,” by Peter Maass, The New York Times Magazine, 1 May 2005)

Referring to the civil war in Iraq, British journalist Robert Fisk quotes a security official from Damascus whom, Fisk says, “I have known for 15 years”. The man reported, “One young Iraqi man told us that he was trained by the Americans as a policeman in Baghdad and he spent 70 percent of his time learning to drive and 30 percent in weapons training. They said to him: ‘Come back in a week.’ When he went back, they gave him a mobile phone and told him to drive into a crowded area near a mosque and phone them. He waited in the car but couldn’t get the right mobile signal. So he got out of the car to where he received a better signal. Then his car blew up.” (Independent, 26 April 2006)

Fisk continues: “Just who these ‘Americans’ might be, my source did not say. In the anarchic and panic-stricken world of Iraq, there are many US groups – including countless outfits supposedly working for the American military and the new Western-backed Iraqi Interior Ministry –who operate outside any laws or rules. No one can account for the murder of 191 university teachers and professors since the 2003 invasion.”

This can be connected to controversy about counterinsurgency tactics some two years ago, when some U.S. strategists began to suggest that the occupation adopt the “Salvador option”. A “senior military officer” told Newsweek, “We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing the defensive.” This very clearly shows Washington’s desperation in the face of a war that was going worse and worse. The US-based magazine continues, “The Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still secret strategy in the Reagan administration’ s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s.” (14 January 2005) ”

According to Newsweek, following the Salvador model, the Pentagon “would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria”. In May 2005, similar details were revealed in a New York magazine article entitled “The Salvadorization of Iraq?”

American Congressman Denis Kucinich took these reports seriously enough to write a letter to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “This program in El Salvador was highly controversial and received much public backlash in the U.S., as tens of thousands of innocent civilians were assassinated and ‘disappeared’ ...According to the Newsweek report, Pentagon conservatives wanted to resurrect the Salvadoran program in Iraq because they believed that despite the incredible cost in human lives and human rights, it was successful in eradicating guerrillas”. The letter also refers to an article in Prospect magazine (1 January 2004), which according to Kucinich says, “$3 billion of the $87 billion to fund operations in Iraq was designated for the creation of a paramilitary unit manned by militiamen associated with former Iraqi exile groups. According to the Prospect article, experts predicted that creation of this paramilitary unit would ‘lead to a wave of extra-judicial killings, not only of armed rebels but of nationalists, other opponents of the U.S. occupation and thousands of civilian Baathists.’ The article further described how the bulk of the $3 billion program, disguised as an Air Force classified programme, would be used to ‘support U.S. efforts to create a lethal, and revenge-minded Iraqi security force.’ According to one of the article’s sources, John Pike, an expert on classified military budgets at www.globalsecurity. org, ‘the big money would be for standing up an Iraqi secret police to liquidate the resistance.’” (Taken from “Civil War in Iraq: The Salvador Option and US/UK Policy”, by Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and now a prominent critic of British and American foreign policy, 18 October 2006, available at www.craigmurray.

Here it’s worth pointing out a striking fact: in the early and mid 1980s, when the US government funded and organised the death squads called “Contras” who killed civilians in a campaign to overthrow a pro-Soviet reform government in Nicaragua, as well as similar death squads which carried out horrendous mass murders in El Salvador, John Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras. That country, neighbouring both El Salvador and Nicaragua, is where the Contras were armed, trained and based. In a later US Congressional investigation, he was accused of personally running the Contra operation. In June 2004, John Negroponte became US ambassador to Iraq. He served there until the following year when he became Bush’s Director of Central Intelligence (which includes heading the CIA), where he serves today.

The basis for a civil war in Iraq goes back to the formation of the country as a British colony, when the UK instituted the policy of relying on the minority Sunni elite to rule over the Kurds and Shia. Saddam Hussein simply took over that power structure. That cannot be blamed on the US. What the US did do was to deliberately exacerbate the material conditions in Iraqi society that made this civil war possible, in the decade before the US-led invasion, and then set up a political structure that handed power to narrow nationalists (the Kurdish organizations) and the narrowly-based, reactionary Shia religious leaders. It re-empowered traditional ethnic and religious-based forces and encouraged a life-and-death power struggle between them. It created a situation where many people saw little chance for survival except by embracing “their” respective ethnic/religious militias.

In any kind of chaotic situation where there is a fierce contest for power on a vast scale, all sorts of violence among the people inevitably gets unleashed, even in the best of circumstances. In the conditions of Iraq today, where identity politics predominate and none of the main political forces even seeks to unite the people against their real enemies, and where the most reactionary ideas are the best-organized, armed and promoted by the occupiers, both directly and indirectly, then the situation is bound to be especially horrific. It would be wishful thinking to believe that this civil war has no basis and no logic and life of its own independent of the occupation. What is driving this madness is not the spontaneous impulses of the masses but the political goals and nature of the forces contending for power. It may be that the US finds itself in the position of having unleashed forces beyond its control. But the US did act knowingly and deliberately in fomenting this situation.

It might not be possible to verify the extent to which these reports reflected reality or how much of the “Salvador” scheme has materialised, but we can be certain that this pattern of operations has been carried out by US imperialism in many countries where it encountered difficulties in breaking the back of insurgencies.
(Next: The civil war and the US’s proposed solutions)

Nepal Maoists and government sign peace agreement

27 November 2006. A World to Win News Service.

“This ends the 11 years of civil war in our country,” declared Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda as he and Prime Minister G. P. Koirala signed a “Comprehensive Peace Agreement” at midnight 21 November. The CPN(M) and the seven-party alliance currently governing the country agreed to form a transitional government by 1 December and hold elections for a constituent assembly to establish a new constitution and governmental system by next June.

The government declared the following day a legal holiday and asked people to carry out the traditional Deepwali lighting ceremonies. The CPN(M) called for victory rallies and mass meetings that day.

Friends of the revolution in Nepal around the world are asking how to view this agreement in light of the CPN(M)’s stated objectives when it launched the people’s war 13 February, 1996 – the carrying out of a New Democratic Revolution as the first step toward socialism and communism.

After ten years of people’s war the great bulk of Nepal’s countryside had been liberated by the CPN(M)-led People’s Liberation Army. In areas under the control of the PLA, organs of people’s power were created and real transformations have hammered away at the centuries-old backward social system headed by a king who claimed to be the reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. The poor peasants, oppressed nationalities and victims of the vicious caste system stood tall and helped exercise power together with those from the upper castes who broke with Brahmanism. In a few years the formerly horrendous position of women in Nepal went through astounding changes, with women playing a vital role in the revolution, enrolling in the PLA in vast numbers (35 percent of the troops) and starting to create a new democratic culture where more and more women and men married whom they wanted, going against barriers of caste or family.

The armed protectors of the old state known until recently as the Royal Nepal Army has been more and more holed up in the capital and a few major towns and a few heavily fortified barracks in different parts of the countryside, unable to travel except by helicopter or in large convoys. The RNA received substantial support from the US, India, Britain, China and other reactionary states, but is widely hated by people in city and countryside alike. Almost all Nepalese consider the king himself guilty of the murder of his brother and much of the rest of the royal family in a 2001palace massacre. In April 2006 the monarchy in Nepal was further battered by a massive movement in the capital and other cities demanding the end of the monarchy. As a result of this movement and the on-going people’s war, the king was forced to take a back seat and he restored the previously dissolved parliament. The Royal Nepal Army was rebaptised the Nepali Army but the old murderous commanders stayed the same. A ceasefire was declared between the Nepali Army and the People’s Liberation Army. What kind of society, what kind of state, will be established throughout Nepal has been the uppermost question on the mind of the whole society.

Arrangements for the two armies

Under the new agreement, the People’s Liberation Army is to be confined to seven cantonments (designated areas), with three smaller camps within each cantonment. Most PLA members were reported to have arrived in a cantonment by the time the agreement was signed, and the rest were expected shortly. These areas were chosen by a joint committee of the PLA, Nepali Army and UN.

The agreement states, “After placing the Maoist combatants within the Cantonments, all the arms and ammunition except those required for providing security to the Cantonments shall be securely stored and the keys to the single lock shall remain with the side concerned [the PLA]. The UN shall monitor the process of placing the weapons under a single lock by keeping records and fitting a device along with a siren. In case of need to examine the weapons placed under the single lock, the UN shall do so under the presence of the concerned side. All the technical details along with camera monitoring shall be prepared under the joint agreement of the UN, CPN (Maoist) and the Government of Nepal.”

The Nepali Army (ex-Royal Nepal Army), for its part, “shall be confined within the barracks. Guarantee that the arms shall not be used for or against any side. The Nepali Army shall store the same amount of arms in accordance with those of the Maoists and seal it with a single lock and give the key to the concerned side [the Nepali Army].” The rest of the arrangements are the same as for the Maoists, according to the unofficial English translation provided by the Kathmandu daily Kantipur. (Both that translation and the one posted by are used in this article. They differ slightly.) According to the media, the PLA has some 35,000 members and the Nepali Army almost three times as many. Since both sides would lock up the same number of arms, this implies that the Nepali Army would not put most of its weapons under lock and key.

The Council of Ministers, which is to be formed by 1 December and include CPN(M) ministers, is to “control, mobilise and manage the Nepali Army as per the new Military Act. The Interim Council of Ministers shall prepare and implement a detailed action plan for the democratisation of the Nepali Army by taking suggestions from the concerned committee of the Interim Parliament. This shall include tasks such as determining the right number of [soldiers in] the Nepali Army, preparing the democratic structure reflecting the national and inclusive character and training them as per the democratic principles and values of the human rights. The Nepali Army shall be giving continuity to tasks such as border security, security of the conservation areas, protected areas, banks, airport, power houses, telephone towers, central secretariat and security of VIPs.” Another section states, “The government shall be taking care of the security arrangements of the Maoist leaders.”

This new government is to provide rations for the PLA members in the cantonments, which is no small matter since it involves concentrations of thousands of soldiers in each one. “The Interim Council of Ministers shall form a special committee in order to inspect, integrate and rehabilitate the Maoist combatants,” the agreement continues. Both armies are forbidden to wear combat uniforms or carry arms “illegally” while travelling outside their confinement areas, or at public gatherings, and to recruit soldiers and procure new weapons. However, “the security forces deployed by the interim government shall have authority to conduct routine patrols, explore in order to prevent illegal trafficking in weapons, explosives or raw materials used in assembling weapons, at the international border or customs points, and seize them.” Further, the Kantipur translation says, “The Nepali Police and Armed Police Force shall give continuity to the task of maintaining the legal system and law and order, as well as criminal investigation as per the norms and sentiments of the Jana Andolan [the April mass demonstrations that forced the king to abandon direct rule] and the peace accord as well as prevailing law.”

UN involvement

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Personal Representative Ian Martin and other UN officials have been closely and directly involved in the process. The next step after the Comprehensive Agreement and a precondition for further steps, Martin said, is a tripartite agreement concerning the details of the management of arms and armies between the government, the Maoists and the UN team he heads. Although high US and EU officials have been on the spot and the US, UK, India, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and Israel have issued statements welcoming the agreement, the UN Security Council has yet to meet to formally consider the subject. Once it issues a mandate, arrangements can be finalized to send UN personnel – 60 monitors to start with, Annan said – tasked with ensuring that neither side can access its stored arms without setting off alarms, being filmed by surveillance cameras and otherwise detected.

A letter sent to the UN by the prime minister and Maoist party chairman in August, reaffirmed by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, asks the UN to play a continuing role in Nepal in terms of five issues: monitoring the human rights situation, helping monitor the 25-point Code of Conduct between the two sides, confining the two armies to their camps and barracks, monitoring the locked-up weapons and acting as observers during the election of the constituent assembly. With the signing of the peace agreement, the UN High Commission for Human Rights has said her organisation would focus on Nepal’s districts and step up monitoring in rural areas.

The interim government, legal system and the king

Prachanda and Koirala reached an extensive draft agreement at a summit conference 8 November that was to be finalized and signed by 16 November. Why this did not happen has not been fully explained, although the 21 November Comprehensive Agreement reaffirms that draft and contains it as an annex. Nor is there any word yet about the interim constitution that was to be finalized and signed by 21 November. That constitution is to be the basis and guide for the new government and its measures. The Comprehensive Agreement states that the existing legal system and constitution will prevail until an interim constitution is adopted, and after that the old laws will continue in force unless they are “inconsistent” with the new constitution. The Agreement also says, “Both parties agree not to operate parallel or any form of structure in any areas of the state or government structures as per the letter of the decisions of 8 November.” Those decisions specify that “The people’s government, people’s courts run by the CPN(Maoist) would be dissolved on the day of the formation of the interim parliament. Interim bodies will be formed at the district, city and village level.”

According to the 8 November document, the interim government to be formed by 1 December will be headed by a cabinet to include Maoists. In addition to 209 current members of parliament from the seven-party alliance, the interim single-chamber parliament is also to include 73 new Maoist representatives. There will also be 48 new seats apportioned to members of “civil society” from among supporters of all of the different political formations in the country. Of the new total of 330 seats, the CPN(M) would have only a few less seats than the biggest party, the Congress Party, and the same number as the second biggest, the UML. Some former members of parliament – 11 according to a newspaper report – deemed “pro-regression” because they “opposed the people’s movement” are to be excluded.

The Comprehensive Agreement strips King Gyanendra of “any authority regarding the governance of the country”, but not of his crown. The property of the former king (Gyanendra’s brother) and his wife is to become a state trust. All properties Gyanendra personally acquired since he took the throne (palace, forests, parks, heritage and archaeological sites) are to be nationalized. The continuation or ending of the monarch is to be decided by a simple majority vote at the first meeting of the constituent assembly, which is to decide the country’s future form of government.

Social issues

Speaking at a gathering of politicians, diplomats and other prominent people after signing the agreement, Chairman Prachanda said, “This moment marks the end of the 238-year-old feudal system,” referring to the date when the monarchy began.

The agreement expresses “determination for the progressive restructuring of the state to resolve existing problems in the country, based on class, cast, religion and sex; reiterating the full commitment towards democratic values and acceptance, including the multiparty democratic system of governance, civil liberty, fundamental rights, human rights, full press freedom and the concept of the rule of law; keeping democracy, peace, prosperity, economic and social change, and independence, indivisibility, sovereignty and self-respect of the country at centre… declaring the beginning of a new chapter of peaceful collaboration by ending the armed struggle throughout the country since 1996, through political consensus between the two sides to ensure the sovereignty of the Nepali people through a constituent assembly, a forward-looking political solution, the democratic restructuring of the state and economic, social and cultural transformation.”

Later, it pledges these specific goals: “To adopt a political system that complies with universally accepted fundamental human rights, a multiparty competitive democratic system, sovereignty inherent in the people, the supremacy of the people, constitutional checks and balances, the rule of law, social justice, equality, an independent judiciary, periodic elections, monitoring by civil society, complete press freedom, people’s right to information, transparency and accountability in the activities of political parties, people’s participation, and an impartial, competent and fair concept of bureaucracy.

“To address the problems related to women, Dalits, indigenous people, Janajatis, Madheshi, oppressed, neglected, minorities and the backward by ending discrimination based on class, caste, language, sex, culture, religion, and region and to restructure the state on the basis of inclusiveness, democracy and progression by ending the present centralised and unitary structure of the state.

“To keep implementing at least programmes of common consensus for the economic and social transformation to end all forms of feudalism.

“To adopt the policy to implement a scientific land reform programme by ending the feudalistic system of landholding, follow the policy for the protection and promotion of national industries and resources. To adopt policy to establish rights of all citizens in education, health, housing, employment and food reserve. To adopt policy to provide land and other economic protection to landless squatters, Kamaiya, Halia, Harwa, Charwa and economically backward sections. To adopt policy to severely punish people amassing properties by means of corruption while remaining in government posts. To form common development concepts for economic and social transformation and justice and to make the country developed and economically prosperous, at the earliest time. To follow the policy to increase investment in industries, trade and export promotion in order to increase opportunities for income generation by ensuring professional rights of the labourers.”

Both sides are to immediately return all seized property, including public and private buildings and land, release all people detained and political prisoners, provide details on the disappeared, allow displaced people to return home without obstacles and “not to discriminate or exert pressure” on people because of the political affiliation of family members. Measures for the relief of those harmed or displaced during the war are to be taken up by a National Peace and Rehabilitation Commission. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to “probe about those involved in serious violation of human rights and crime against humanity in course of the armed conflict and develop an atmosphere for reconciliation in the society.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

WPRM meeting on Afghanistan - Oct 19

Thursday, October 19th • 7pm
University of Winnipeg • Room 0R06 (basement of Bulman Centre)

Come discuss Canada's role in Afghanistan with us.

Come discuss the US led offensive for world hegemony and the Greater Middle East Initiative.

Come discuss the future with us.

World People's Resistance Movement - Winnipeg

Speaking in Winnipeg - International Road Building Brigade Participant

Saturday, October 21st • 7pm
University of Winnipeg • Room 4M47 (4th floor, Manitoba Hall)

Who are the Maoist rebels leading revolution in Nepal? What are there goals, methods, and aspirations? What has revolution in the countryside meant for Nepal, and where is it headed?

Come listen to a Canadian who participated in the International Road Building Brigade to Nepal in 2005 (with powerpoint presentation.)

Working side by side villagers and People's Liberation Army members, he had the chance to talk with the people making revolution in the Red Base Areas. These are areas inaccessable to the brutal monarchist's army, and where new Autonomous governments have been formed. Come hear Francois Thibault's take on what the decade long 'People's War' means for the world.

A link to a report from the First Road Building Brigade.