Nepal Communists Confront "Basic Problems"

Report by Miguel Figueroa, Communist Party of Canada, in People's Weekly World,
24 June, 1955, pg. 14

The following is part of a report given by Miguel Fiueroa, leader of the Communist Party of Canada , in Vancouver, Canada, following his return from the Fifteenth Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in April. While attending the Congress, Figueroa met with representatives of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist). This report is reprinted from the People's Voice, paper of the Communist Party of Canada.

We had a chance to meet with some Comrades from the Nepalese Party. They were doing two jobs: to attend the Congress, and also there was a special delegation coming right after that, from Kathmandu, to meet with the Indian government.

Nepal is sandwiched between China and India, with the Himalayas to the north. Relations with China and especially with India are of paramount importance. China isn't so much a problem, if only because the Himalayas are a natural boundary. There is only one natural land route through the Himalayas to the Chinese side.

Relations with India, on the other hand, are a big problem. Nepal is a landlocked country. The only access to the outside world is through India. In 1950, the then-feudal government in Nepal signed a treaty with India, a treaty that was one-sided, to say the least. The Nepalese Communists campaigned for many years on the need to change that treaty. Now they're the government, so they have to deliver. So they were coming to New Dehli to meet with the Indian government to try to reopen the treaty.

The treaty unfairly grants equal rights to Indian and Nepalese citizens. Nepalese citizens can get national treatment in India - they can vote, own property, get citizenship and so forth.

There are only about 20 million Nepalese. But Indians can do the same in Nepal, and they have come in a big way. The Nepalese government has no control over migration and private ownership and investment. So, they're trying to change this treaty.

Some delegates from other parties went to Nepal and we had the chance to talk. They saw first hand the base of the Party among the students, the trade unions, the community organizations. The CPN-UML has real mass support, and the people are with the Party.

Even though they're in a minority government, the reactionary parties are afraid to bring down the government, because the CPN-UML would win a majority in another election.

The Party has a very difficult task ahead. It's a poor country. Kathmandu, the capital, has been judged the most polluted city in the world. It has to do with very basic things - water supplies, lack of sewers, these kinds of problems. So they have very basic democratic things to deliver on, in the circumstance of a multi-party system.

They have crafted a minimal program, for basic education and health care and so on. They have a view of how, under those circumstances, they can get to socialism. They've been doing a lot of creative thinking in Nepal. They have to deal with these problems. It isn't just an abstraction for them, since they have government power, and they have to figure out how to get from here to the long-term goal of communists everywhere.

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