The following joint statement of solidarity has been signed by a number of left and progressive organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. If your organisation would like to sign on, please email email@example.com
On May Day, international workers’ day, a huge demonstration of between 500,000-1 million people took place in Kathmandu. Called by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), people came from all over Nepal to make their voices heard. It was the largest demonstration since the fall of the centuries-old monarchy and was the culmination of a growing series of mass demonstrations and strikes aimed at restoring civilian supremacy and democracy.
Despite right-wing rumours and slanders, the marchers were unarmed and there was no violence. The demands of the demonstration were for the illegitimate government of Prime Minister MK Nepal to resign and allow a government based on the will of the people to take its place. MK Nepal, who has never won an election, has refused to stand aside. In response, an indefinite general strike began on May 2 that aims to continue until the demands of the people’s movement are granted. In the 2008 constituent assembly, the Maoists won the largest number of seats — more than twice their nearest rivals.
The Maoists have pushed for a transformation of the Nepalese state inherited from the monarchy to grant previously unheard of rights for the poor, workers, peasants, national minorities, lower castes and women. They have carried out widespread popular consultations to seek to create a genuinely pro-people constitution.
The elite, terrified of the growing power of the poor majority, sabotaged the Maoist-led government. The heads of the Nepalese army, supporters of the deposed king, refused to implement the peace accords that ended Nepal’s armed conflict. The army chiefs, backed by the parties of the status quo in the assembly, refused to subordinate themselves to the elected government. Unwilling to accept military rule, the UCPN-M was forced to leave government — in violation of the people’s will. The UCPN-M has now received two powerful mandates: the 2008 constituent assembly election results and the massive May 1 demonstration. The deadline for a new constitution is May 28, which the existing government says it will not meet. Through the general strike, the people are fighting for the key demand of the pro-democracy movement that overthrew the king — a new, democratic constitution. Having overthrown a king and won a republic, the Nepalese people are now fighting for a “New Nepal” that advances their interests. The signatories to this statement: • Support the struggle, led by the UCPN-M, to restore civilian supremacy and democracy, and to continue the process of creating a pro-people constitution, and seek to publicise and build solidarity with Nepalese people’s struggle. • Call on the Nepalese army and the parties in government to abide by, and implement, the peace agreements that ended Nepal’s armed conflict.
The people’s will should be respected; there must be no violent suppression of the people’s movement fighting for democracy and social justice. • Call on all foreign powers, especially the United States and India, to cease interference in Nepal’s internal affairs. The Nepalese people must be allowed to determine their own fate. The long-oppressed people of Nepal are making their voices heard. The red flag is flying in Kathmandu. A new revolutionary front is developing in one the world’s poorest nations, with Asia’s lowest life expectancy. As the posters by Nepalese unions calling for the mass demonstration on May Day declared: “Workers of the world unite!” If your organisation would like to endorse the statement, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines)
Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party, Philippines)
People’s Democratic Party,Indonesia (Partai Rakyat Demokratik – PRD)
Resistance Socialist Youth Group, Australia Socialist Alliance,
Australia Socialist Aotearoa,New Zealand
Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia – PSM)
Socialist Worker, New Zealand
Workers Party of New Zealand
Working People Association, Indonesia (Perhimpunan Rakyat Pekerja – PRP)