Question for a Leading Comrade

When you were in the street
You spoke revolution
When you were in the slums
You spoke liberation
When you were with the people
Like the fish in the water
You spoke Marxism
You spoke Leninism
You spoke Maoism
You spoke so much
Socialism and Communism
And what not…

But now Comrade!
When you are in the chair
You do not hear
What the street is to say to you
But now Comrade
When you are in your heavenly kingdom
You do not make the visit of the slums
Even just to confirm
Whether they are happily dead
Or still alive
But now Comrade!
When you are in the palace
You do not face the people
Even just to ascertain
What the complaint they are to place
Frankly speaking,
If you don’t mind
What you were, Comrade, in the past
You are not in the present
You are wonderfully changed
When nothing is changed
With your kind permission
May I ask you a crucial question?
O Comrade!
Are you still a Comrade,
Except a Comrade?

This poem, written by a long standing member of the Maoist Cultural Front, states clearly and simply what has happened to the revolution in Nepal. The poet, who must remain nameless for the time being, sent the poem to the Red Star just after the CA elections. It could not be published in the Red Star, but I believe it is worth publishing. The poem stands alone, and there is scarcely any need to mention such details such as the Peoples Liberation Army, in UN monitored cantonments, getting paid by the World Bank, nor the agreement to set up four to six SEZs (Special Economic Zones) etc. etc.

Roshan Kissoon is an international freelance journalist who has worked with the Maoists in Nepal. Read other articles by Roshan.

20 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said on March 16th, 2009 at 9:34am #

    what a great, touching poem.

  2. Atiya said on March 16th, 2009 at 2:17pm #

    Is anyone thinking of Obama?

  3. Ron Horn said on March 16th, 2009 at 2:45pm #

    The capitalist ruling class has always been very adept at co-opting union leaders and other dissidents by lavishing on them big desks, offices, titles, perks, wealth, and even power when they feel the co-opted can be trusted. And even in so-called socialist/communist countries, that is, those countries ruled by a bureaucratic class as in China and Nepal, one finds the same phenomenon. This occurs wherever there exists a ruling class . Only in a libertarian socialist organized society will things be different. [See

  4. Garth said on March 16th, 2009 at 3:09pm #

    Only the people know what’s best for the people. Communist revolutions have relied on anarchist uprisings to clear the way for their own brand of authority.

    It’s like Bush or Obama preaching for freedom and democracy, isn’t it?. Preach for what everyone wants, give them something else. Classic, tried and true. Works for established power like it does for revolutionaries.

  5. Barry99 said on March 16th, 2009 at 3:57pm #

    I’m not sure even the people know what’s best for the people. They haven’t really gotten it right yet. And I don’t know what galvanizes a population to act in their own best interests – and in concert. I do know there are a lot of obstacles in the way. I guess we all have to keep trying. But things seem to be sliding away.

  6. Deadbeat said on March 16th, 2009 at 4:16pm #

    I’m not sure even the people know what’s best for the people. They haven’t really gotten it right yet. And I don’t know what galvanizes a population to act in their own best interests – and in concert. I do know there are a lot of obstacles in the way. I guess we all have to keep trying. But things seem to be sliding away.

    Take a look at what is happening in Latin America. The people there are at least forging ahead. The same cannot be said of the U.S. Perhaps that is where folks can look for some lessons.

  7. bozh said on March 16th, 2009 at 4:52pm #

    some people wld know what’s better for all people if we wld eliminate education.
    i mean, the ‘education’ now controled and invented by the ruling class.
    but it is people who know what is better for them that are in control.
    when their ‘education’ becomes our education, then we wld raise lotsof people who wld know better than others what is best for all of us.
    enlightenment, education, cessassion of lying/corruption is a sine non qua for escaping from our slavery.

    armed uprising/terrorism cannot ever work in US. even mass protests wld not alter situation.
    education along with passive resistance/protests, etc. appears to me at this time as sole tool we have to conquer once and for all forces of darkness; with us now for at least 8T yrs.

  8. Barry99 said on March 16th, 2009 at 5:33pm #

    With regard to Latin America – certainly people know when they’ve been effed over one too many times – or far too many times. The movement to the left in the region is a welcome change – let’s hope it sticks and grows – and grows elsewhere around the world. I do think we have to look at these movements circumspectly though, there are large minorities that would just as soon have it the other way – and in this they will be aided by very powerful conservative forces. Latin America has swayed from left to right and back many times over the years.

    But when we say the people know best we have to ask if the Hutus knew best, or the Janjaweed, or Israeli-Jews, or 3rd Reich Germans, or the some 99% who backed Bush after 9/11. Didn’t they also know best? Certainly, most of these people are for all practical purposes brainwashed – but that goes with the territory.

  9. Barry99 said on March 16th, 2009 at 5:34pm #

    That would be 90% who backed Bush – not 99%.

  10. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 16th, 2009 at 8:44pm #

    Whoever opposes Chairman Mao is an enemy of the people

    The following is my translation of a poem posted on the Chinese language “China Red Travel” website on February 26, 2009. The broad masses of the Chinese people love Chairman Mao and revere his memory. With the restorationists having the upper hand, the masses who have lost the right to free education and health care, and who are suffering as a result of China’s integration into the crisis-ridden system of world capitalism, are increasingly voicing their anger at the new system.

    The original poem has a strict seven character per line structure which is impossible to replicate in English, and difficult to translate from as it jettisons conventional grammar. If any Chinese speaker would like to correct my translation, I would very much appreciate it so that my learning of Chinese improves.

    Whoever Opposes Chairman Mao is an Enemy of the People


    The clowns who oppose Mao must be struck down
    Their hatred of communism has not disappeared
    Monsters and demons want to overturn the heavens[1]
    The moneybags and landlords want to stage a comeback


    Capitalist-roaders have emerged from within the Party
    An evil wind rises to oppose Lord Mao[2]
    Lord Mao conquered the world for the people
    And restored the cool breeze to Heaven with his hands


    Lord Mao held power for thirty years
    The workers and peasants of the whole country beamed with joy
    Everybody had a bowl of rice
    And you didn’t need money to go to school or to a doctor


    The workers and peasants managed things and were the masters of the house
    From that time on, they had the right to speak
    The broad masses of the people supported Chairman Mao
    Capital and Self have given us the Word of Deng[3]

    [1] Literally “Cow monsters and snake demons”, a traditional epithet used widely for counter-revolutionaries and capitalist-roaders during the Cultural Revolution.
    [2] The Chinese original has a strict 7-character per line structure. Referring to Mao as “Lord Mao” (2 characters) rather than “Chairman Mao” or “Mao Zedong” (both three characters) allows greater flexibility within the line. The character for the feudal term “lord” or “duke” has passed into common parlance as an indication of respect or reverence for an elderly male. Mao is more often referred to as “laorenjia” (a bit like “the old man”) in everyday speech, which has the same meaning, but the more formal term of reverence is appropriate to the poetic form.
    [3] Deng Xiaoping eventually succeeded Chairman Mao. Deng’s reforms, centering on a “socialist market economy” have opened the door for the reemergence of capitalist economic practices and capitalist relations of production in China.

  11. Jeff said on March 17th, 2009 at 7:09am #

    Barry99, you may have missed bozh’s point. Your references point to the “education system” of the time. When education became an industry (private, public, or military), you could move opinion in any direction. This has happened over the millennium and will continue to do so.

    Modern devices for “educational purposes” has only enhanced this march to total serfdom.

    Soon we will have no time for modern education as our labour will be required full time to enhance the elite. At such a juncture we will have no time for any type of education.

    The Dark Ages attest to this. How long will the next recovery or “discovery” take?


  12. Barry99 said on March 17th, 2009 at 11:44am #

    Jeff – I don’t think I missed Bozh’s point – I was addressing Deadbeat’s point. But yes, we have an educational system that is largely designed to inculcate us with the master’s narrative.

    And they may soon find even this too costly and unnecessary to the workings of the system. So we will see the increasing dumbing down of public schooling, elite education for elite children in private schools, and the good jobs in the new economy taken by foreigners who are educated at another country’s expense. The non-educated Americans will just have to fit into this new economy at a lower level. And if they don’t read or count well, then so be it. There’s likely no revolution coming out of this group.

    On the heels of the Shock and Awe campaign, some ‘education’ honcho from New Mexico went to Iraq with the notion of making over their educational system (i.e. bringing it into line with the needs of US capital). So this is a guy coming from a US state which had something like a 54% full literacy rate, going to remake the educational system of Iraq which under Saddam had an 85% – 89% literacy rate. All part of the big plan.

  13. Shabnam said on March 17th, 2009 at 1:02pm #

    This shows the degree of stupidly of ‘empire’ builders and their citizens who supported the neocon’s Plan with the leadership of an illiterate president, George Bush, to invade Iraq by sending their son and daughter to kill Iraqis and other Muslims. The illiterate American army personnel were surprised to discover Iraqi with PhD in Chemistry working at the Police station. The literacy rate amongst Iraqi women have reduced from 85% to less than 35% after the massacred of Iraqi population supported by majority of Americans and Its illiterate working force. Now, the uncivilized American elite wants to do the same and drag the country into another war with a zionist puppet sitting as its ‘president’ who cannot face a fifth column, the lobby, where just brought down his choice of NIE by his own party yet he said NOTHING. How American people are going to stop Obama’s war expansion all over the world? Why don’t you shake your behind and do something? How long do you want to accept the status quo? In majority of cultures, being silent means you agree with it, otherwise, you should show your disagreement. Excuses are not accepted anymore.

  14. Jeff said on March 17th, 2009 at 1:53pm #

    Many want to destroy the work accomplished in the last 50 years.

    I speak of Cuba.

    Good Americans need to get their heads out of the sand and realize something!

    Americans proper need to travel more. Even out of their own county.

    Should you think I am condescending, please travel America.

    Many good people, but simple. In todays world simple no longer gets it done.

    Unfortunately the many hear have the wherewithal to conceptualize. Barry99 is probably correct in the premise of “fitting in”. Problem is, that makes my life less productive. This will lead to ‘my dumbing down’ and perpetuate the spiral to oblivion.

    The day will come that scholars and wise men within the masses will be far and few between. Are you preparing ‘your’ future for this coming event?

    This has happened over eternal time. One dissident was raised on a cross. Many were silenced. Easy to pick out the dissidents in such these environments.

    Are you a dissident? Are you prepared to be silenced.

    How are we to stop this madness?

  15. Shabnam said on March 17th, 2009 at 6:57pm #

    American people must sacrifice a little bit for the sake of their children and the world that they have destroyed. Organize workers in areas where intervene with activities of everyday life and work. Workers should be organized to go on Strike in areas such as transportation, food delivery, education, for example, to involve people in the process and gain information about what the elite is doing around the world by bringing people together. American people can stop the madness through strike one day a week until all military personnel are back home and all the secret centers of torture and killing are closed down and the war is not profitable for the elite anymore. Otherwise, people of the world are tired of empty slogans for most of the time.

  16. Green Red revolutionary said on March 19th, 2009 at 10:32am #

    This is for Garth.

    Your saying is clearest nonesense i’ve seen for a long time.
    ” Communist revolutions have relied on anarchist uprisings to clear the way for their own brand of authority”

    where you’ve got that from? How many of those workers strikes, long, tedious mass working in the countrysides in anywhere were works of anarchists? I happened to stop by here to make sense of a comrade’ pointing it out but, seeing people who want to make a fictional perfect freedom out of nowhere by uprising instead of protracted struggle fighting feudalism, capitalism and imperialism (and various reviosinism and anarchy) is easy to say. Look at the conditions of women in China before and after revolution. Look at the number of people who couldn’t read and write before and revolution in Cuba, what sort of fruit hava anarchists brought about in the world?

  17. DanE said on March 20th, 2009 at 2:04pm #

    hmm: did I post a comment on this thread earlier? Yes? Wonder what happened to it?

  18. DanE said on March 21st, 2009 at 3:55pm #

    apparently my comment has been “moderated”. hmm: not enough respect for The Great Red Sun In Our Hearts aka Lord Mao?

    Hurry, Bargain Great Leader Week! Mail in your mind Today!

  19. danny ray said on March 21st, 2009 at 4:21pm #

    Good God Jeff.
    A million Americans go on a trip to Afganistan and Iraq and it makes all here angry, but now you want Americans to travel more?

  20. parbat kumar said on March 29th, 2009 at 9:54pm #

    ok, this poem can publish in solidarity magazine from nepal