What the self-employed can do in Cuba

The Cuban government has published a list of the types of licenses which will be available to the self-employed under the economic reform. I’m not aware of any other English translation of this list. The translation below is very approximate: Some of the words aren’t used at all in Mexican Spanish. Others may be used differently. And many of the words have several possible meanings, so that, in the context of the list, it’s hard to tell which one is intended. But despite the shortcomings of the translation, it should serve to give readers an accurate general picture.

The Spanish-language list may be found here.

List of authorized activities for the exercise of self employment

Activities

1. Tuner and repairer of musical instruments

2. Waterer

3. Bricklayer

4. Renter of animals

5. Renter of suits

6. Sharpener

7. Party host, clowns or magicians

8. Mule driver

9. Craftsman

10. Sawyer

11. Child care provider

12. Barber

13. Embroiderer, weaver

14. Cart driver

15. Singer

16. Carpenter

17. Fork-lift driver

18. Locksmith.

19. Automotive dent repairer

20. Collector/payer

21. Providing a cart pulled by animals for children

22. Buyer and seller of music

23. Buyer and seller of used books

24. Builder/seller or installer of radio and television antennas

25. Builder/seller or repairer of wicker items

26. Breeder/seller of pets

27. Window installer

28. Caretaker of animals

29. Caretaker of public bathrooms

30. Caretaker for the sick, the disabled, or the elderly

31. Caretaker of parks

32. Tanner (except cow leather)

33. Decorator

34. Trimmer of palmtrees

35. Producer/seller of food and drink by means of gastronomic service. (Paladares). Exercises the activity in their home, through the use of tables, stools and so on up to a capacity of twenty.

36. Producer/seller of food and non-alcoholic drink in one’s home

37. Producer/seller of food and non-alcoholic drink on a retail basis in one’s home or as a street vendor

38. Procuer/seller of food and non-alcoholic drink on a retail basis from a fixed place of sale. (Cafeteria).

39. Producer/seller of charcoal

40. Producer/seller of wines

41. Producer/seller of yokes, yokepads and ropes

42. Electrician

43. Automotive electrician

44. Caretaker, cleaner and “turbinero” of real estate [I could find no translation for the word turbinero.]

45. Bookbinder

46. Coiler of motors, electrical coils and other equipment

47. Animal trainer

48. Maker/seller of wreaths and flowers

49. Sower of buttons

50. Photographer

51. Washer/greaser of automotive equipment

52. Travel agent

53. Engraver/writer of objects

54. Blacksmith for animals or maker/seller of horseshoes and nails

55. Automotive body repair person

56. Driving instructor

57. Sports trainer (except martial arts)

58. Gardener

59. Washer or ironer

60. Woodcutter

61. Shoe shiner

62. Cleaner and tester of spark plugs

63. Cleaner and repairer of ditches

64. Manicurist

65. Make up worker

66. Masseuse

67. Putty worker

68. Mechanic for refrigeration equipment

69. Typist

70. Messenger

71. Dressmaker or taylor

72. Miller

73. Sound operator

74. Air compressor operator, operator or repairer of pneumatic drills

75. Operator of children’s recreation equipment

76. Valet, caretaker of automotive equipment, cycles and tricycles

77. Hairdresser

78. Hairdresser for pets

79. Domestic worker

80. Automotive painter

81. Painter of furniture or varnisher

82. Housepainter

83. Sign painter

84. Fish farmer

85. Sculptor

86. Plumber

87. Well digger

88. Maker/seller of articles for home use

89. Maker/seller of rubber accessories

90. Maker/seller of pottery

91. Maker/seller or collector/seller of things made of ceramics or other materials, with a constructive purpose.

92. Maker/seller of religious articles (except items which have a cultural value according to the Ministry of Culture) and seller of animals for these purposes

93. Curtain rods, curtains and mountings

94. Maker/seller of costume jewelry of metal and other natural resources

95. Maker/seller of footwear

96. Maker/seller of brooms, brushes and similar items

97. Maker/seller of plastic figurines

98. Producer/seller of flowers and ornamental plants

99. Producer/seller of piñatas and other similar articles for birthdays

100. Producer/collector/seller of plants for animal food or producer/collector/seller of medicinal herbs

101. Instructor in music and other arts

102. Instructor in shorthand, typing and languages

103. Computer programmer

104. Metal polisher

105. Collector/seller of natural resources

106. Collector/seller of raw materials

107. Watch repairer

108. Repairer of leather articles and similar things

109. Jewelry repairer

110. Repairer of bed frames

111. Repairer of automotive batteries

112. Bicycle repairer

113. Repairer of costume jewelry

114. Repairer of fences and paths

115. Repairer of kitchens

116. Repairer of mattresses

117. Repairer of small implements

118. Repairer of office equipment

119. Repairer of electrical and electronic equipment

120. Repairer of mechanical and combustion equipment

121. Repairer of looking glasses

122. Repairer of sewing machines

123. Repairer of saddles and tack

124. Repairer of umbrellas and parasols

125. Repairer and recharger of cigarette lighters

126. Tutor. Not including active teachers

127. Restorer of dolls and other toys

128. Art restorer

129. Doormen for residential buildings

130. Solderer

131. Saddler

132. Upholsterer

133. Roofer

134. Book keeper. (Accountants and middle technicians in accountancy with a work connection to the specialty are excepted)

135. Dyers of textiles

136. Lathe operator

137. Roaster

138. Temporary agricultural worker

139. Translator of documents

140. Sheep shearer

141. Thresher

142. Seller of agricultural products in points of sale or booths

143. Repair cobbler

144. Contract worker (hired by the official self-employed worker to work with him)

145. Leaser of housing, residences, and spaces which are an integral part of the housing

146. Producer/seller of food and drink through gastronomic services with special characteristics of the Chinese neighborhood.

147. Service of trips in the colonial carriages

148. Private contractors

Customary figures

149. Habanera dancers

150. Card-reading fortune teller

151. Folkloric dance artist

152. Musical group “Los Mambises”

153. Cartoonists

154. Sellers of artificial flowers

155. Street painters

156. Dandy [This word appears as "Dandy" in the original. From the context it seems to be some sort of street entertainer.]

157. Hair braiders

158. Peeler of natural fruits

159. Dance duo “Amor”

160. Dance partnership “Benny More”

161. Shower of trained dogs

162. Musical duo “Los amigos”

163. Walk ons

164. Traditional hairdresser

Transport of cargo and passengers

165. Trucks

166. Pick up trucks

167. Panel trucks

168. Bus

169. Microbus

170. Cars

171. Rail methods

172. Jeeps

173. Boats for passenger transportation

174. Motorcycles

175. Tricycles

Animal and human powered

176. Small carts

177. Coaches

178. Bicycles

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Bolshevism and Menshevism in the Third International: Thesis

As is known, the struggle of the Leninists in the years between 1902 and 1917 was in large measure a struggle against opportunism and class collaborationism within the party. It was a struggle both against opportunists and opportunist ideas and also against forms of organization which were suitable only for an opportunist party. The Leninists also struggled resolutely against what has been called the middle ground, those who called for unity between revolutionaries and class collaborationists. As is also accepted by all who can fairly be called Leninists, if the Bolsheviks had not carried this struggle through to completion the bright dawn of the October Revolution would not have been possible. Although the October Revolution undoubtedly occurred in conditions which were conducive to revolution, Lenin made it clear that without an adequate revolutionary party a socialist revolution would not have occurred.

But even among the Bolsheviks, and even among the top leaders of the Bolsheviks, there were many opportunists, class collaborationists, and revisionists. While these people rarely dared to show their rotten politics openly during Lenin’s life, those politics burst forth repeatedly and more and more openly after his death. Chief among these traitors was, of course, Leon Trotsky. The role of Grigory Zinoviev, however, was nearly as destructive. That this is so is clear enough, but the full implications of it have not been widely understood.

In the years immediately following the October Revolution, the now successful communists in the Soviet union, led as ever by Lenin, put a high priority on passing on to comrades in other countries the lessons which had led to their success. One of the chief vehicles by which the Bolsheviks set out to promulgate their lessons was the Third International.

The Third International was to be an international for parties which, like the Bolsheviks, had made a break with opportunists and class collaborationists, with social pacifists, and with forms of organization which were suitable only for opportunism. Lenin wrote a set of rules of admission for the new International which were intended to guarantee that only truly revolutionary parties would be accepted. More than that, the rules were intended to show parties seeking to make a firm break with reformism the way to do so.

In most of the world, the parties which joined the Third International were formed by a process of splitting from the old parties of the decayed Second International. Few, if any, of these parties ever complied with the conditions for admission to the Third International. Put another way, few, if any of them ever followed the path Lenin set forth for them to break away from opportunism and class collaborationism. Few, if any of them, took the step of Bolshevizing themselves, a step which — Lenin taught — the October Revolution could not have occurred without.

This failure of the parties of the Third International to truly Bolshevize themselves is in no small measure explained by the fact that the Third International, from the start, was led by Grigory Zinoviev, himself a traitor and class collaborationist. The fox had been put to guard the henhouse and the results were only what should have been expected.

The Third International parties which were formed by splitting have a wretched record. Few of them ever achieved any notable revolutionary success, let alone the seizure and maintenance of power, without direct intervention by Soviet military might. It is common to say that this is a result of the objective conditions they faced. But Lenin has taught us that without a proper revolutionary party, even the most revolutionary situation may pass without an actual revolution occurring. And even without Lenin’s guidance on this, the mere fact that these parties have failed in such diverse conditions is enough to show that conditions alone cannot explain their difficulties.

In a few countries, however, the parties which joined the Third International were not formed by a process of splitting from the parties of the decayed Second International. They were instead formed in the years after the October Revolution by small groups of people inspired by the Third International. These parties were generally formed, from the start, along Bolshevik lines. Parties of this sort led successful socialist revolutions in China, Vietnam and Korea.

In short, much of the blame for the failure of communist parties in the developed world lies in their failure to construct communist parties on the lines which Lenin laid down. They never carried on within their ranks the struggles with opportunism and opportunist forms of organization which the Bolsheviks carried on. Without that process they could no more carry a socialist revolution than the Bolsheviks could have done.

On the other side of the coin, the opportunism of the communist parties breeds adventurism among disaffected revolutionaries who cannot properly grasp the errors of the parties and make the correct, limited corrections. These groups have been known to give up on organizing the proletariat in favor of other classes or to engage in terrorism. Many of their members inevitably exhaust themselves and retreat to a bourgeois liberal stance.

Now, particularly among communist readers in the first world, this thesis that subjective factors have had at least as much to do with the failure of first world communist parties as have objective factors will, I expect, go down somewhat hard. For this reason I propose to illustrate many points at somewhat greater length and to answer some of the objections which readers will have.

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What does Cuba mean?

In 1959, there was a change in government on a small island in the Carribean. This island had, at the time, a population of about 7 million. Its economy was based primarily on the export of sugar, although it also had gambling and tourism, including a great deal of sex tourism, from the United States, and some nickel mines. It was perhaps relatively wealthy as Carribean islands go, but on the whole it was small and insignificant. It had theoretically gained its independence from Spain a mere 61 years earlier, but in fact it had been ruled from Washington all that time.

There were numerous violent changes of government in the Carribean in the 1950s and 1960s. The leaders included Elian Wessin, Francisco Caamaño, Paul Magliore, Oswaldo López Arellano, Omar Torrijos Herrera, and Gustavo Rojas. Fifty years later, almost no one outside of the countries involved knows any of these names. None of these changes in government could possibly be ranked as a major event in the history of the world, the anti-colonial struggle, the Americas, or even the Carribean. None except that one in 1959.

This one particular change in government had very far-reaching results. In Africa, troops from this particular Carribean island were the main force which defeated the South African armed forces in Angola, securing South African withdrawal from Angola and the independence of Namibia, and creating a great deal of pressure towards multi-race elections in South Africa itself. Veterans of this one particular Carribean scrap would fight alongside Laurent Kabila, the man who would eventually oust Joseph Mobutu from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and at least threaten to free the Congo from U.S. imperialism before the CIA murdered him. One of then is now a national hero in Bolivia for his contribution to the anti-colonial struggle there.

The new leader of Cuba in the wake of this little scrap has been awarded the highest medal which the government of Ghana gives out for his contributions to the cause of African freedom. Others from this island have received similarly high awards in Ethiopia.

Today, portraits of leaders from this one little island can be found on the signs carried by protesters as far away as Russia.

As I write this in 2010, there is a strong anti-colonial current in Latin America. Leaders such as Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, and Hugo Chavez have provided the most serious challenge to U.S. domination of Latin America since the Monroe Doctrine was invented. All of these leaders are personal friends of this one particular man in this one particular little island who led this one particular change in government.

But from 1959 on, all the previous challenges to U.S. domination – in Cuba, in Nicaragua, in El Salvador – all had inspiration and various forms of material help from this one tiny little island.

Of course, the United States has pushed back, and it has pushed back hard. It has blockaded the island, invaded the island, used biological warfare against the island, funded bombing campaigns against the island, and, naturally, made literally dozens of attempts to kill the new leader of this island. And yet somehow they have failed to oust this one tiny little government.

The Cuban Revolution was, indeed, the single most important event in the history of Latin America in the 20th Century. There is no other event during that century which is even close.

What are we to make of it? What happened in Cuba in 1959? How could events on such an insignificant little island possibly be so important?

The Cubans will tell you that the difference between what happened in Cuba in 1959 and the other little changes of government in Latin America and the Carribean during that same time was that in Cuba there was a change in the class in power. That is, in most of the world, those who own the industry run the government, and those who work for a living have no meaningful say in how their country is run. In Cuba, the Cubans will tell you, the workers took over. Cuba in 1959 was the first socialist revolution in the history of the Americas. It was important because it was inspirational to the working classes of the entire world. It was strong because it had its base not among the divided, self-seeking owners of industry but among the broad masses of united workers.

And, indeed, what other explanation can there be for what has happened here?

It has been said by some that Cuba was simply a Soviet colony. But how could a tiny little island accomplish so much while under foreign domination? And if, indeed, the particular pattern of Cuban life was a result of the Soviets forcibly imposing themselves on Cuba, why did the Cubans not throw out this system once the Soviet Union disappeared? How, once the Soviet Union disappeared, did its former puppet government in Cuba survive, despite the enormous pressure from the United States?

And how did Cuba become a Soviet colony to begin with? The Soviets did not invade Cuba. they did not provide weapons or funding or any support of any kind to the revolutionaries of 1958. Are we to believe that the army risking their lives to fight Batista and his American masters during this time was volunteering to be exploited by a country none of them had ever visited and few of them had ever had any meaningful contact with?

Besides, countries take colonies to exploit them, to make money off of them. To be a colony is a costly business: To own a colony a rewarding one. Why is it then that when the Soviet Union disappeared, the Cuban economy was badly damaged? Liberated from Soviet exploitation, shouldn’t it have blossomed like never before?

Who runs the show in Cuba, if not the workers? Not the old capitalists: They and their children and grandchildren are here in the United States now as they have been for fifty years, doing everything in their power to convince the United States to invade Cuba and restore their old possessions — and their old slaves — to them.

And not the Castro brothers. Of course, they have been the heads of government now for many years, but as impressive as Fidel is as a personal figure, to think that he could impose his rule on an unwilling population of eleven million people is childish. Individuals do not make history. Individuals do not rule countries except with the consent of a class, an economic class, within that country, whose interests they are serving.

It is sometimes said that in the Soviet Union, there was at one time socialism, at one time a workers state without exploitation, but that over time a class of bureaucrats or administrators carved out their own personal fiefdoms and became in effect a new type of capitalist. But the revolutionary leaders in Cuba have not been replaced by self-seeking bureaucrats. Indeed, the highest posts in the country are still held by the very people who installed socialism to begin with.

There is no solution to this, no way to explain the amazing accomplishments of this tiny island and its brave people, other than by the explanation the Cubans themselves will give: The significance of the Cuban Revolution is that it is the first socialist revolution in the history of the Americas.

Any attempt to refute this quickly dissolves into absurdity. Any attempt to ignore it, to ignore the Cuban Revolution, results in schizophrenia, in a view of Latin America completely divorced from the reality of Latin American political life.

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A Lesson from Nepal: China is a Friend

Prachanda and Hu Jintao

Probably the most relevant lesson from Nepal for revolutionaries in the rest of the world is that China is a friend of revolutionary Nepal.

We know that India has a long history of involvement in Nepal. In fact, the modern era of Nepalese politics was ushered in when India took it upon itself to install a constitutional monarchy in Nepal, and to create a Nepalese Congress Party patterned after India’s own governing party. We know that the cancellation of unequal treaties forced on Nepal by its neighbor to the south has long been a demand of the Maoists. We know that Indian politicians make pronouncements on the situation in Nepal which speak of the Nepalese like children who must be educated by their parents to the south. In short, we know that India is a major imperialist power in Nepal.

We also know that the United States is a major player in Nepalese politics. To people who have not made a careful study of U.S. behavior in the world, this may seem very odd. Nepal and the United States do not exactly share a border. There are no major U.S. interests in Nepal. Other than American tourists visiting Nepal, there are few economic ties between the two countries. Nepal has never invaded the United States. Nepal is, so far as I can tell, entirely free of al Qaeda terrorists. No one seriously tries to make the case that Nepal, like Somalia in the 1990s, is in need of a foreign invasion to put an end to an urgent humanitarian crisis. There is not even any oil in Nepal.

Yet, we know that the United States is deeply involved in Nepalese politics. The Maoist prime minister of Nepal, Prachanda, was forced to resign when a right-wing general won a power struggle with him within his own government. During the course of this power struggle, a delegation from the United States visited Prachanda with the bizarre purpose of supporting the general. Also, during this power struggle, the United States announced it would continue to keep the Nepalese Maoists on its so-called terror watch list, despite that, far from being terrorists, at that time they actually headed the government in Nepal. These are two examples in many of the United States’ involvement in Nepalese politics, always, of course, on the side of the right-wing.

It cannot be seriously supposed that the U.S. interest in Nepal is mainly economic. There is very little in Nepal worth stealing, but as any homeless person knows, you are never so poor that there is not someone willing to rob you. The larger problem is that India clearly has first dibs on whatever wealth can still be extracted from Nepal.

The U.S. interest is surely simply this: A new socialist nation, in this era when we are told that socialism is dead, would be a bad example. In the U.S. view there is no number of Nepalese dead which would be too high a price to pay to convince the world that socialism will not work.

But, what, then, of Nepal’s giant neighbor to the North? Yes, that’s right: Nepal’s northern border is with China. China is widely regarded in the United States and indeed among U.S. leftists as a capitalist and even an imperialist power. It is said to be involved in the exploitation of numerous African nations, the Philippines, and wherever else. It is considered rapacious, dangerous, an enemy every bit as serious as the United States… Or perhaps a valued partner of the United States in subjugating smaller nations.

But Chinese behavior is entirely lacking from the list of complaints of the Nepalese Maoists. To the contrary, it seems that China is one of only a very few nations that was willing to deal on normal terms with the Maoists led government of Nepal. Prachanda visited China during his time in office, and characterized the visit as very important.

The Nepalese Maoists have shown incredible sophistication and ability in reaching the point that they have. They have confronted many of the problems that have confronted revolutionaries for years, and they have solved them, one after another, with a high degree of success. There is no doubt that they are quite politically astute.

Furthermore, they are the people on the ground in Nepal. They have a degree of information about life in Nepal that foreign observers simply cannot have.

There is no reason to question their judgment: If you are a nation in Asia on the verge of revolution, the most valuable friend you will find is the People’s Republic of China.

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Nepal: The Original Maoist Demands

Right now, as readers may or may not be aware, there is a revolution going on in a nation called Nepal.  Though Nepal is an isolated, impoverished country, it is not small.  The population of Nepal is about 30 million people.  That is about three times as many people as Greece, Sweden or Bulgaria.  The annual per capita GDP of Nepal is said to be $444 by conventional measures, or $1,144 by the so-called purchasing power parity measure.  This makes it one of the ten or fifteen poorest countries in the world, poorer, for example, than Haiti.  Outside of Africa, the only country poorer than Nepal is Afghanistan.

Geographically, Nepal lies at the foot of the Himalaya mountains.  A long, thin strip of the country lies on the plains just north of India.  North of that is an equally long, but much thicker strip of hills and low mountains.  North of that is a thin strip of the Himalayas.

Until the 1950s, Nepal had a peculiar and indigenous form of government:  A family of hereditary prime ministers held the real power, subject to the authority of a largely ceremonial monarchy.  In the 1950s, India brought about the end of this system, putting the monarch more firmly on the throne and setting up a Nepalese Congress Party to take part in the limited legislature.  The monarch, however, abolished the legislature in 1959 and ruled absolutely until 1991.  Social institutions in Nepal were equally behind the times:  It was not until 1924 that slavery was officially abolished.

From 1991, the main electoral parties in the newly “democratic” Nepal were the revived Nepalese Congress Party and the Communist Party of Nepal, Marxist-Leninist.  The CPN-ML, as it is known for short, was a communist party in name only:  Their program called for the establishment of a social-welfare system such as exists in France.  How they expected to fund such a system in one of the world’s poorest countries is a question for which they had no answer.

Today, the largest single political force in Nepal is the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).  The Nepalese Maoists launched a people’s war on February 13, 1996.  This war would see the “democratic” parties united with the country’s monarch, a massacre of the royal family apparently by one of its own members and the rise of a new king who would eventually abolish the country’s legislature and constitution.  Finally, the absolute monarch fell under a combined assault by the Maoists and the electoral parties.

The Maoists and the electoral parties, through a long process of negotiation, entered into a series of agreements.  These included the abolition of the monarchy — a point on which the electoral parties were very hesitant to agree — and the participation of the Maoists in elections.

The Maoists won the elections convincingly, but failed to secure an absolute majority.  The Maoist leader served as prime minister for some time, but was unable to make any progress in any of the reforms badly needed by the country’s poor.  The Maoists were handicapped not only by the lack of an absolute majority, but by strong opposition from the country’s army and courts.  The Maoist fighters, who were supposed to be integrated into the army, for the most part were not.  The army remains staunchly allied with the people who lost the last election, or even with the deposed king.

In light of these developments, and of a new wave of repression against the representatives of Nepal’s workers and small farmers, the Nepalese Maoists have started a nationwide insurrection, effective November 1, 2009.

Naturally, this event has received very little press world-wide.  Also naturally, when the Maoists are mentioned in the world press, the coverage is very, very one-sided.  The Maoists perspective is not readily available in the developed world.

I would like to help just a little bit to let the world understand what is happening in Nepal.  And to that end I have found the original demands that the Maoists presented to the electoral parties in the early 1990s before they began their guerrilla war.  This particular list was apparently presented to the Nepalese parliament in the very early days of 1996.  But lists differing only very slightly from it had been presented by the Maoists to the parliament for years before that.  They had never received any response:  The attitude of this “democratic” parliament was that the parliament ruled the country, and had no need to respond to the demands of the people.

This list was apparently translated by a woman named Barbara Adams.  I would like to thank her.  It first appeared in People’s Review

Maoists’ 40 Point Demands

These demands were submitted by the political front of CPN (Maoist) United People’s Front with the coalition gpvernment headed by Nepali Congress party. These are the same demands which were raised during the 1990’s people movement including the end of band of political parties. The UPF raised these demands for 5 years after the so-called democratic negotiation with the monarchy. But the successive government and Nepali Congress government acted just opposit of the demands. Thousands of supporters and workers of communist party and UPF were imprisoned or trapped in false charges and more than 100 sons and daughters of Nepalese were killed when peacefully they demanded. Now the government asking what were the demands of their. It means they through away the demend request in dustwin. Here the demands are reproduced. (INSOF-JP)

I. DEMANDS RELATED TO NATIONALISM:

1) Regarding the 1950 Treaty between India and Nepal, all unequal stipulations and agreements should be removed.

2) HMG should admit that the anti-nationalist Tanakpur agreement was wrong, and the Mahakali Treaty, incorporating same, should be nullified.

3) The entire Nepal-Indian border should be controlled and systematized. Cars with Indian number plates, which are plying the roads of Nepal, should not be allowed.

4) Gorkha recruiting centers should be closed and decent jobs should be arranged for the recruits.

5) In several areas of Nepal, where foreign technicians are given precedence over Nepali technicians for certain local jobs, a system of work permits should be instituted for the foreigners.

6) The monopoly of foreign capital in Nepal’s industry, trade and economic sector should be stopped.

7) Sufficient income should be generated from customs duties for the country’s; economic development.

8 ) The cultural pollution of imperialists and expansionists should be stopped. Hindi video, cinema, and all kinds of such news papers and magazines should be completely stopped. Inside Nepal, import and distribution of vulgar Hindi films, video cassettes and magazines should be stopped.

9) Regarding NGOs and INGOs: Bribing by imperialists and expansionists in the name of NGOs and INGOs should be stopped.

II. DEMANDS RELATED TO THE PUBLIC AND ITS WELL-BEING

10) A new Constitution has to be drafted by the people’s elected representatives.

11) All the special rights and privileges of the King and his family should be ended.

12) Army, police and administration should be under the people’s control.

13) The Security Act and all other repressive acts should be abolished.

14) All the false charges against the people of Rukum, Rolpa, Jajarkot, Gorkha, Kavre, Sindhuphalchowk, Sindhuli, Dhanusha and Ramechap should be withdrawn and all the people falsely charged should be released.

15) Armed police operations in the different districts should immediately be stopped.

16) Regarding Dilip Chaudhary, Bhuvan Thapa Magar, Prabhakar Subedi and other people who disappeared from police custody at different times, the government should constitute a special investigating committee to look into these crimes and the culprits should be punished and appropriate compensation given to their families.

17) People who died during the time of the movement, should be declared as martyrs and their families, and those who have been wounded and disabled should be given proper compensation. Strong action should be taken against the killers.

18) Nepal should be declared a secular state.

19) Girls should be given equal property rights to those of their brothers.

20) All kinds of exploitation and prejudice based on caste should be ended. In areas having a majority of one ethnic group, that group should have autonomy over that area.

21) The status of dalits as untouchables should be ended and the system of untouchability should be ended once and for all.

22) All languages should be given equal status. Up until middle-high school level (uccha-madyamic) arrangements should be made for education to be given in the children’s mother tongue.

23) There should be guarantee of free speech and free press. The communications media should be completely autonomous.

24) Intellectuals, historians, artists and academicians engaged in other cultural activities should be guaranteed intellectual freedom.

25) In both the terai and hilly regions there is prejudice and misunderstanding in backward areas. This should be ended and the backward areas should be assisted. Good relations should be established between the villages and the city.

26) Decentralization in real terms should be applied to local areas which should have local rights, autonomy and control over their own resources.

III DEMANDS RELATED TO THE PEOPLE’S LIVING

27) Those who cultivates the land should own it. (The tiller should have right to the soil he/she tills.) The land of rich landlords should be confiscated and distributed to the homeless and others who have no land.

28) Brokers and commission agents should have their property confiscated and that money should be invested in industry.

29) All should be guaranteed work and should be given a stipend until jobs are found for them.

30) HMG should pass strong laws ensuring that people involved in industry and agriculture should receive minimum wages.

31) The homeless should be given suitable accommodation. Until HMG can provide such accommodation they should not be removed from where they are squatting.

32) Poor farmers should be completely freed from debt. Loans from the Agricultural Development Bank by poor farmers should be completely written off. Small industries should be given loans.

33) Fertilizer and seeds should be easily and cheaply available, and the farmers should be given a proper market price for their production.

34) Flood and draught victims should be given all necessary help

35) All should be given free and scientific medical service and education and education for profit (private schools?) should be completely stopped.

36) Inflation should be controlled and laborers salaries should be raised in direct ratio with the rise in prices. Daily essential goods should be made cheap and easily available.

37) Arrangements should be made for drinking water, good roads, and electricity in the villages.

38) Cottage and other small industries should be granted special facilities and protection.

39) Corruption, black marketing, smuggling, bribing, the taking of commissions, etc. should all be stopped.

40) Orphans, the disabled, the elderly and children should be given help and protection.

We offer a heartfelt request to the present coalition government that they should, fulfill the above demands which are essential for Nepal’s existence and for the people’s daily lives as soon as possible. If the government doesn’t show any interest by Falgun 5, 2052, (February 17, 1996,) we will be compelled to launch a movement against the government. *** The above demands put forth by the Samukta Jana Morcha, led by Dr. Bhattarai, were handed over to the then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

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Poor Zimbabwe

The BBC reports that largely un-named activists and rights groups are attempting to get Zimbabwe banned from the international sale of diamonds.  The reason behind it is an alleged massacre of illegal diamond miners carried out by the Zimbabwean Army. The BBC’s examination of the evidence for this alleged massacre is limited and, naturally, one-sided.

The bigger question here, though, is this:  If one of the last remaining sources of cash for the Zimbabwean economy dries up, what do the activists and rights groups think will happen?  How will this benefit the people of Zimbabwe, diamond miners included?

Zimbabwe is already facing wide-spread food shortages.  Many world powers have hesitated to send food aid because they are hoping, more or less openly, that famine will lead to the fall of Robert Mugabe.

This is a modern version of the Vietnam-era policy of destroying the village to save the village.  As much as these same powers criticize Robert Mugabe for the suffering he has supposedly inflicted on the Zimbabwean people, their program is more and more suffering for the Zimbabwean people.  It can end, they promise, when Mugabe is gone…  in short, when the Zimbabwean people surrender completely to the dictates of their former colonial masters.

But even this promise is not to be taken seriously.  Years of bruising international sanctions and a increasing weather problems in Zimbabwe have caused long-term damage to the Zimbabwean economy.  If Mugabe and the ZANU-PF go, the sanctions may go with them, but so will any Anglo-American interest in the country.  Don’t expect the British and the Americans to rebuild Zimbabwe.  The country will be forgotten by the press, the “activists”, and everyone else outside of Africa the moment the Anglo-Americans accomplish their agenda.

At that point, Zimbabwe will be another broken third-world nation.  The only ways it could possibly get Anglo-American attention again would be to find oil or start harboring Al Qaeda.

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