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Newsday Lies about the Revolutionary Road in Nepal

Revolution #014, September 18, 2005

Newsday, a liberal newspaper in New York, recently ran a special nine-part series by Matthew McAllester on the Maoist revolution in Nepal (August 14-17, 2005). Like recent articles in Harper’s 1 magazine and Rolling Stone, McAllester echoes the U.S. State Department, arguing that the Maoist revolution is a horrible and totalitarian thing that must be stopped at all costs. And like most mainstream coverage of the People’s War in Nepal, this Newsday series is based on disinformation, outright lies, and extreme anti-communist hysteria.

There is much to expose about this series and McAllester should really be forced to publicly debate and defend this rather crude piece of reactionary “journalism.” But right now, I want to focus on McAllester’s attack on the revolutionary road being built by the Maoists in Rolpa.

As A World to Win News Service reports, tens of thousands of people have been involved in building a much-needed roadway to be known as Sahid Marg, Martyr’s Highway ( Rolpa, Nepal: Building the road to the future). King Gyanendra’s Royal Army has tried many times to disrupt this project—dropping bombs from helicopters and firing on people working on the road.

But as a 75-year-old man working on the road said, “The new [Maoist] regime has responded to our sentiments, and has tried to make our dreams real, so we are ready even to give our blood for this great campaign.”

This kind of revolutionary enthusiasm and sacrifice is something McAllester can’t understand and cynically attacks. After talking to people in Rolpa he claims this project is nothing but “forced labor.” His capitalist outlook of dog-eat-dog individualism can’t comprehend how people would walk for two days to do volunteer work and that some people would do this, even though the road is “not even routed through their village.” To his way of thinking, if someone is working for no money, if someone is helping to build something that doesn’t directly benefit them—then this must be coercive, forced labor.

When “old women, young men, -mothers, grandfathers, boys and girls” tell him they “were only too happy to help the region’s development,” McAllester can only respond by claiming these people are “repeating a party mantra.” With such cynical contempt for the people McAllester cannot believe—even when he sees it with his own eyes—that the masses of people can consciously remake themselves and the world around them.

McAllester warns that “The scene on the Martyrs Road is a snapshot of what Nepal might look like if the Maoist insurgents ever came to power...” and then talks about how the Maoists could turn Nepal “into the world’s next killing fields.” He doesn’t offer a shred of evidence to support this but poses the question, if the Maoists win, will they “spill oceans of blood”? He hopes this will convince people of the “horror” of communist rule. But what horrifies McAllester is the fact that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) now controls most of Nepal’s countryside and that they are leading millions of people to radically transform their economic, political, and cultural life.

The Maoist revolution in Nepal is bringing into being a whole new revolutionary way of thinking and acting—a revolutionary spirit where thousands of poor peasants are willing to sacrifice their very lives to get rid of the system oppressing them; where people are consciously working to bring into being a whole new way of running society; where people are working together to redistribute the land, get rid of women’s oppression, abolish caste distinctions and give equality to oppressed national minorities.

As a schoolteacher working on Martyr’s Road said,

“If the Maoists seize power centrally, I believe that within ten years Nepal will be changed dramatically. The work the Maoists have initiated in the base areas involving agriculture, industry, education and health is novel, scientific and positive. One cannot underestimate this great work...”

 

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolution Online
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