Monthly Archives: February 2013

Nepal: Maoists neither revisionists nor rightists, says Chairman Dahal


February 13, 2013

Chairman Dahal of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist

Addressing a mass meeting in Tundikhel of Kathmandu, February 12, 2013, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal of Unified Maoists spared much of his time trying to justify his party’s fresh stand adopted through the party’s national convention held in Hetauda of Makwanpur district.

He said, “We would have been standing at the same position had we not made timely adjustments in the political line adopted by the party.”

“The party would have been in the same state as that of Mohan Bikram Singh if we had not gone through timely adjustments”, he reiterated.

But where is the mention of the support of NOIDA in such an adjustment Mr. Chairman? And what about Muni’s support for this transformation?

“In the last 25 years since I took over the charge of the party by making continuous experiments in Marxism we have arrived at this stage. Marxism is not a religious text. It is rather a science. Whereas others only read the text, we made several experiments to arrive at this stage.”

Dahal in the course of his speech also said that to amass weapons for a revolutionary party is not a difficult proposition.

“I would like to remind that we had no weapons before 2052 B.S. If required then we have the capacity to provide military training to the entire population.”

“I am aware that some so-called revolutionary parties are terming us as revisionists and rightists but they are not putting efforts to institutionalize the changes”, he said criticizing the Nepal Communist Party-Maoist led by Chairman Mohan Baidya Kiran.

The Party deputies Baburam and Narayan Kaji also spoke at the mass meet.


How The Nuclear Test Affects Ordinary People in South Korea


The following article below was originally published by

A look at how North and South Korean citizens are reacting South of the DMZ

By Markus Bell & Geoffrey Fattig
February 12, 2013

The latest North Korean nuclear test has scholars, analysts and journalists scrambling to hammer out something, anything, now that the other shoe has fallen.  Yet, most of the analysis will focus on the political reactions to the test while failing to address how the grinding cogs of the superstructure affect the lives of real people. Numbers will be crunched – payloads, productivities and potential loss – statistics will be pumped out, great scholars will prophesize a new arms race in Northeast Asia, but most will not, perhaps cannot, cast an eye on what might be happening at ground level. In an attempt to offer balance to the mountains of analysis being churned out, it is required we give a voice to the people of South Korea, including North Koreans living south of the border.

For South Koreans, the annoyance of having a much shortened Lunar New Year holiday this year was hardly made more enjoyable by news of the North’s successful nuclear test. If history is any guide, however, most South Koreans will simply shrug their shoulders and go about their business. It may come as a bit of a shock to westerners who obsess over Pyongyang’s every move, but South Koreans, for the most part, try their best to ignore the antics of their northern brethren. According to polling from the Asan Institute, inter-Korean relations ranked far below issues such as job creation, income inequality, and rising education costs in the recent presidential election. Furthermore, December’s successful missile test had very little impact on the election itself, with less than three percent of voters identifying it as “the most important issue.”

In contrast to the weeks following the 2010 shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, when there were civil defense drills throughout Seoul, and, according to the East Asia Institute, nearly 70% of the public supported retaliatory military strikes, the prevailing response to the third nuclear test is much more likely to be a “there they go again” resigned acceptance.  A large part of this is down to the widespread perception that the North Korean nuclear and missile programs are primarily directed at the United States, and as such, South Korea has very little control over what actions the leaders in Pyongyang decide to undertake.

One area where this could have an impact is in South Koreans’ attitudes of how strongly President Park should attempt to engage with the North. A post-election poll in the Dong-a Ilbo, found that a majority of South Koreans supported renewed dialogue with the North and favored providing humanitarian aid “regardless of the political situation.” Might this support diminish in light of the latest nuclear test?

The answer to that question, while not entirely clear, suggests a major shift in public opinion is unlikely: An analysis of South Korean public opinion conducted by Stephan Haggard and Jaesung Ryu found little change in attitudes regarding supplying humanitarian aid to the North after the DPRK detonated its first nuclear device in 2006. More interestingly, there was actually an increase in public support for the additional supply of humanitarian aid in the months immediately following the second test in 2009. Taken together, and given the fact that this test was telegraphed weeks in advance, South Koreans would most likely be willing to give President Park the benefit of the doubt if she chose to overlook the recent provocations and give renewed engagement a try. Given that North Korea has followed up both of its previous nuclear tests with a renewed push for dialogue, this is clearly something that the leadership in Pyongyang is banking on to happen.

As for the 24,000 North Koreans currently living in the South, what effect will Tuesday’s action have on them? A comment we often heard while working with North Korean migrants in Seoul, was that they felt the past always followed them. Most had traveled so far and risked so much, yet, each time the North would threaten Seoul with the “lake of fire”, or the South would promise to “strike back with all its military capabilities” (personally we prefer lakes of fire as a more colourful threat), our North Korean friends would shrink a little lower in their seats. One instance in particular comes to mind; in 2009, following a group meeting, we were having lunch with friends from North Korea. As we shoveled bibimbap into our mouths, the news was humming in the background. All of a sudden, the table went silent and all heads locked on the TV.

Pictures of North Korean military flashed up on the screen, interspersed with stock images of exploding nuclear devices – these were reports on the second nuclear test. An almost palpable silence descended on the table and we must admit we were not in a rush to break it, curious as to what would be said next. The eldest of our three friends calmly placed his spoon on the table and declared, “These crazy bastards make it so hard for us to be here. Every time this happens, we feel some guilt.” On reflection, it would have been interesting to know if this young man was also pointing his finger at the sensationalist reporting of the South Korean media (although, admittedly, the testing of a nuclear device in a neighbouring country that openly declares its displeasure at your existence is already quite sensational).

Concerning the North Korean community in South Korea, the collective guilt felt each time the two governments clash, has several effects; firstly, it once again reminds South Korean society they are threatened, and alerts them to the possibility of a fifth column in their midst. Secondly, it hinders the settlement process for North Korean migrants as the weight of imagined responsibility is carried like a cross for many North Koreans. Thirdly, it emphasizes the marginalized status of North Koreans in South Korean society: if you imagine you share a portion of responsibility for catastrophic events, you will be more conscious of your inherent difference and outsider status, a feeling compounded by the real discrimination experienced by North Koreans.

The point is, for the North Koreans living in South Korea, the reported upcoming nuclear test represents yet another challenge to their existence and their loyalties. For many it is a moment when they may feel obligated to prove themselves once again, to practice their Seoul accents a little harder and, perhaps, think seriously about re-migrating to somewhere they can find some peace – and anonymity.

How The World Will Respond To North Korea’s Nuke


The following article below was originally published by

This test will be the first of many challenges for Park Geun-hye and could dictate South Korean policy towards the North for the next five years.

By Markus Bell & Geoffrey Fattig
February 12, 2013

Following the news today that North Korea has successfully tested another nuclear device, the international community is currently working to implement measures to ensure it is Pyongyang’s last.

Under the aegis of the UN, the international community is preparing to voice its condemnation while imposing fresh sanctions on Kim Jung Un’s regime – but this is where the truth ends and unfounded optimism begins. As with the previous two nuclear tests and the ineffective – yet rhetorically pleasing – response on the part of the international community, this round of “sanctions and tightening of existing measures,” to quote American UN ambassador, Susan Rice, will have led to a great deal of ink being spilt while doing precious little to alter North Korea’s present course of action.

The 2006 nuclear test brought near unanimous condemnation from the global community. The economic effects were instantly seen, as a ripple of instability coursed its way through the Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese stock exchanges. Statements expressing ‘deep concern’ were issued from the most unexpected corners of the globe, including China, North Korea’s closest ally. Nevertheless, condemnation stopped short of calling for military intervention and, after a brief period of finger wagging, things returned to the status quo of unceasing missile and nuclear weapons development by the DPRK, and half-hearted engagement efforts on the part of the United States through the Six Party Talks.

In 2009 a similar sequence of events played out; following the nuclear test, the international community roundly condemned the actions of North Korea, condemnation was concomitant with further sanctions.  Meanwhile, stock exchanges took a tumble, weapons were sold in larger quantities to South Korea, and Japan started investing in some hardware of its own in the form of a satellite early warning system.

In a game of swings and roundabouts, what factors could mark the aftermath of this test and its fallout (excuse the pun) as any different from what has come before?  Two important questions need to be examined:  first, will the Chinese finally decide to take the kind of tough steps that will get the attention of leaders in Pyongyang? Secondly, will the election of Park Geun-hye lead to any significant change in the inter-Korean relationship?

There are hopeful signs that China may be nearing the limit of its patience with its recalcitrant dependent. A recent editorial in the state-run Global Times called for reductions in aid should the North press ahead with its nuclear test. # Given that China supplies roughly 90% of the DPRK’s fuel and energy, it is the sole player in the game that has real leverage over the North. # While the present warnings suggest that times may be changing, if fears of regime collapse continue to trump worries over a nuclear North Korea, counting on the Chinese government to maximize its influence is a risky proposition at best.

The real catalyst for change could come from south of the DMZ.  On February 25th, Park Geun-hye officially enters the Blue House; while campaigning, the President elect was reported as offering “hopeful generalities” in regards to relations with the North. “I plan to break with this black-or-white, appeasement-or-antagonism approach and advance a more balanced North Korea policy,” Park is reported as promising. The operative word here, of course, is “hopeful.”  Until the latest back-and-forth invective following the missile test and UN sanctions, there were actually some positive signs coming from Pyongyang about re-engaging with its brethren in the South, including a prompt announcement of Park’s victory in North Korean media and Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s speech calling for “reconciliation” between the two sides.

The third nuclear test will be the first of many challenges for Park’s administration and could, for better or for worse, dictate South Korean policy towards the North for the next five years. Almost from the day he took office, outgoing President Lee Myung-bak painted himself into a corner in regards to North Korea, pursuing the misconceived idea that squeezing North Korea would force the regime to choose between weapons development and survival. Increased economic engagement with China on the part of the North rendered this strategy completely ineffective and ensured that many of the positive achievements of the ‘Sunshine Policy’ era were rolled back. The worst thing possible would be for President-elect Park to make the same mistake as her predecessor. In terms of inter-Korean dialogue and a possibility of seeing some concrete action towards the much idealised idea of reunification, an idea which persists despite the turmoil of the past 60 years, now is the time for engagement rather than stonewalling.

Given there is so much at stake in terms of peace and co-operation in Northeast Asia, let us hope the variable in how events play out this time will be the ‘balanced approach’ of Park. Let us hope the new South Korean leadership can break five years of stalemate with positive engagement, rather than empty saber-rattling. Let us hope “hopeful generalities” are more than they appear at first sight.

BREAKING: North Korea Tests Nuclear Device


Large seismic activity reported near known nuclear test site

February 11, 2013

Update 1300EST: North Korea’s offiicial state mouthpiece the KCNA said the nuclear explosion ‘great, stronger and higher’ than last time, and had ‘no negative impacts’.

Update 1248EST: The Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary said in a press conference at 1330 local time they would take “all possible measures to prepare for any contingencies in order to ensure safety and peace of mind of the public” and asked that people “carry on with their normal lives and activities as normal.

Update 1245EST: South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye received an emergency briefing from transition team officials Tuesday on what appeared to be North Korea’s third nuclear test, officials said.

Update 1237EST: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said Minister Kim Sung-hwan spoke with U.S. Sec of State John Kerry after nuclear test reports.

Update 1205 EST: USGS upgrades report of 4.9 magnitude test to 5.1.

Update 1203 EST: Earthquake of 4.6M reported in China just two minutes before suspected North Korean nuclear detonation. Earthquake took place near Tibet. (

Update 1148 EST: CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth makes a statement on activity:  ”The event shows explosion-like characteristics and its location is roughly congruent with the 2006 and 2009 DPRK nuclear tests…If confirmed as a nuclear test, this act would constitute a clear threat to international peace and security.” 

Update 1142EST: Steve Herman at Voice of America reports that a source in Yanji, China, reported that a swaying motion was felt for 10 seconds around the time of the blast. Yonhap add that 163 nationals residing in the Kaesong Industrial Complex are reported to be safe.

Update 1139EST: Reports suggest the test could have been anywhere between 6-10 kilotons. South Korean authorities are currently warning of the potential for a second test imminently. 

Update 1114EST: United Nations Security Council will convene at 9AM tomorrow to discuss the test. South Korea holds the current presidency of the Security Council. 

Update 10:58 EST: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announces emergency meeting with the National Security Council at 1300KST, while other reports suggest North Korea already warned U.S. and China of test


Reports suggest that North Korea may have conducted a third nuclear test following reports of a 4.9 magnitude earthquake in DPRK territory.

The U.S. Geological Survey (UGCS) has reported large seismic activity in northern North Korea on 02:57:51 UTC Tuesday, not far from the site of the secretive regime’s two previous nuclear tests.

The area around the reported epicenter of the magnitude 4.9 disturbance has little or no history of earthquakes or natural seismic hazards, according to U.S. Geological Survey maps. The disturbance took place at a depth of about 1 kilometer in Punggye-ri, the USGS said, 24km ENE of Kilju County, North Hamkyung Province.

Pyongyang gave “advanced notice” of the test to the U.S. and China, a South Korean official told theYonhap news agency. John Swenson-Wright, Chatham House fellow and Senior Lecturer in East Asian studies at the University of Cambridge said:

“The test is no surprise, although reports from South Korea that the North had informed the US and China a day before the test are unusual. This may indicate a desire (perhaps misguided and naive) on the part of Pyongyang to minimize the political consequences of having tested.”

“A key question now will be determining the size and nature of the test. Expect governments and scientists to be looking for evidence of radioactive isotope gas traces, alongside signs of seismic activity, to gauge nature of tests.”

In terms of the yield, North Korea nuclear expert Jeffrey Lewis said on Twitter that the seismic reaction would mean a nuclear device of,

Current estimates put the yield of the device as 6 to 7 kilotonnes. The first device detonated by North Korea in October 2006 produced an explosive yield at less than 1 kiloton of TNT. A second test in May 2009 was believed to be approximately in the range of 2-4 kilotons.


American Blowback: Cop-on-Cop Crime in LA


By George Ciccariello-Maher and Mike King
February 9, 2013

Christopher Dorner

Yesterday was not simply a day like any other, and yet an entire system is grinding into motion to ensure that the peculiarities of the day be promptly forgotten: another crazy person lost it and committed unthinkable acts. The act of killing stands in and speaks for the person: look what he has done, of course he must be crazy. Case closed.

What they want you to see is just another Adam Lanza, just another inexplicable act, and when the act speaks for the assailant, words are secondary and there is no need to listen. But this is not, and has never been, a good way to understand reality.

What they want you to forget is the sheer strangeness of what is happening in Los Angeles. Christopher Dorner allegedly killed a police officer and two civilians. This was not a random shooting by a right-wing gun-nut mourning the loss of the “Real America.” Here is a man with good things to say about liberal democrats, a supporter of heightened gun control, a former LAPD officer and Navy reservist, targeting his own institution, which he accused of racism, violence, and corruption.

Dorner’s “Last Resort”

We know all of these things because what is most peculiar about this entire case is the written testament that Dorner has left us. In a letter titled only “Last Resort” and addressed to “America,” he makes clear his grievances, his objectives, and the rationale behind his actions – a chilling declaration of war on the Los Angeles Police Department.

The press is busy citing only those bits of the statement which make Dorner seem crazy: when he addresses Tim Tebow or Larry David, for example, or when he laments the fact that he will not survive to see The Hangover 3. (See for example, Buzzfeed’s “Everything You Need to Know,” which conspicuously says very little). But the vast majority of the letter paints a picture of someone who, while clearly undergoing some sort of mental break, is astonishingly lucid as to the causes and candid as to what he intends to do about it. These causes and these intentions, regardless of what you may hear on MSNBC or Entertainment Tonight(both will essentially carry the same message), begin and end with the LAPD.

The LAPD has long played a vanguard role in white supremacist policing in the United States. Whether it be the conscious recruitment of racist cops from the south in the 1960s under William Parker (sparking the 1965 Watts Rebellion) or the continuity of well-worn brutal methods under Darryl Gates (sparking the massive 1992 L.A. Rebellions), there has been little new under the sun. Even after 1992, when change seemed for a moment inevitable and when the Bloods and Crips had, themselves, laid down arms and put forth a plan to rebuild the city, this long-needed transformation didn’t materialize. Instead, South Central became South L.A., Gates was canned, and the LAPD forcibly destroyed the gang truce. Nothing had changed.

It wasn’t long before the next scandal. Toward the end of the 1990s, what many had already known became public knowledge: that the LAPD, and especially the Rampart Division, routinely brutalized suspects and planted evidence. As a result of this revelation, the LAPD was charged under the RICO Act (as a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) and placed under the federal oversight of a consent decree that would only be lifted in 2009.

Not coincidentally, “Globocop” Bill Bratton, currently en route to advise the Oakland Police Department, amidst widespread public opposition, is credited with cleaning up the LAPD, and Dorner’s statement appears on many websites alongside a picture of the former officer beaming alongside Bratton (it has emerged that Dorner mailed evidence to Anderson Cooper last week, including a gift from Bratton, on which he wrote “Thanks, but no thanks Will Bratton”).

According to Dorner’s statement:

“The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions… Are you aware that an officer… seen on the Rodney King videotape striking Mr. King multiple times with a baton on 3/3/91 is still employed by the LAPD and is now a Captain on the police department? … As a commanding officer, he is now responsible for over 200 officers. Do you trust him to enforce department policy and investigate use of force investigations on arrestees by his officers?”

One indication of this is the fact that, during the course of more than a decade of investigation of the Rampart case, only five officers were terminated, which suggests just how shallow the investigation efforts were. Dorner ominously adds that “I will correct this error,” and deems his actions a “necessary evil” not only to clear his own name, but to force “substantial change” within the LAPD.

According to Dorner, he was suspended in 2008 after reporting a superior for use of excessive force against a suspect, and eventually terminated in 2009. Dorner goes on to describe the prevalence of white supremacy in the police force: from anti-Semitic taunting to openly anti-black sentiment. After one incident involving use of the n-word, Dorner recalls confronting other officers physically, for which he was reprimanded. In retrospect, he reflects, with regard to the speaker of the word, “What I should have done, was put a Winchester Ranger SXT 9mm 147 grain bullet in his skull.” On the day that his fellow officers were given what were effectively paid suspensions, “That day, the LAPD stated that it is acceptable for fellow officers to call black officers niggers to their face and you will receive a slap on the wrist.”

A Bloody Fight for Honor on the Other Side of the Blue Line

“I am an American by choice, I am a son, I am a brother, I am a military service member, I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me. I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North. I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It’s in my DNA.”

–Christopher Dorner

It is clear from Dorner’s communiqué that he feels that he is following a code of honor against an unlawful body that has sullied his name; his objective being to reclaim his honor. Through his spectacle of violence he is also overtly drawing attention to his self-identity – as a black man, as an “honest officer”/ conscientious worker, and as a veteran – counter-posed against institutions of corruption, deceit and abuse. In an effort that he clearly self-defines as terrorism, Dorner invokes old-West, rugged individualism: “Unfortunately, I will not be alive to see my name cleared. That’s what this is about, my name. A man is nothing without his name.” At length, Dorner goes through ideal-types of various officers’ grouped by race, and explicitly cites their role in reproducing white supremacy. He makes clear that he is patriotic and loves the government (and Chris Christie); his war is with the LAPD.

Not unlike many mass killers, Dorner’s writing exhibits a hyper-vigilant(e) feeling of betrayal and unwavering need for revenge. His writing reflects a self-conscious awareness of this role, a self-forged morality that invokes clear Zarathustra-like qualities of the Overman imposing his will on weak and vile petty tyrants. Dorner says:

“I am here to change and make policy. The culture of LAPD versus the community and honest/good officers needs to and will change. I am here to correct and calibrate your morale (sic) compasses to true north.”

Dorner’s writing also features a list of thanks to everyone from George H.W. Bush to Charlie Sheen. The following quote has extensively repeated in the press, and bears some interrogation: “If possible, I want my brain preserved for science/research to study the effects of severe depression on an individual’s brain.” To dismiss this as simple madness, is to individualize this man and his actions (however they are interpreted) as apolitical and random, another tragic coupling of broken people with fully-functional weapons. It is clear, through his chronicling of long-past slights un-avenged, interspersed with calls for more gun control and an endorsement for Hillary Clinton for President, that he is troubled. Dorner writes, “Ask yourselves what would cause somebody to take these drastic measures like I did. That’s what is important.”

This is surely a discussion the LAPD would not pine over if it did not happen. It is a discourse that is foreign to the press, even the likes of liberals like Chris Matthews, that Dorner lauds. Soldier-Officer Dorner sits, using his training against the force that trained him, waiting to unleash his next attack. The extent to which we go to Dr. Drew for helpful insights in the next few days and not victims of police brutality or whistle-blower cops or to analyses of race and policing in our cities, the extent to which we talk about gun control and not how and why the men who beat Rodney King got to run the LAPD instead of being run out of it, is the extent to which we sit and wait, feeding ammunition to the next Christopher Dorner.

A Defection in the Occupation Forces

Now Dorner has declared war on the LAPD and he has named targets: “The enemy combatants in LA are not the citizens and suspects, it’s the police officers.” To a list of different offenders, he adds the ominous promise: “You are a high value target.” The parameters of the violence he has seen meted out to everyday poor residents of Los Angeles structures his own response, such as when he urges:

“Citizens/non-combatants, do not render medical aid to downed officers/enemy combatants. They would not do the same for you. They will let you bleed out… don’t honor these fallen officers/dirtbags. When your family members die, they just see you as extra overtime at a crime scene and at a perimeter. Why would you value their lives when they clearly don’t value yours or your family members lives?”

He has studied the new counterinsurgency doctrine, as rewritten in 2006 by General David Petraeus, and he turns its language against its authors, comparing himself to insurgent forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. “I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty. ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] is my strength and your weakness. You will now live the life of the prey.”

Frantz Fanon argued pointedly that exploitation, occupation, and colonization simply cannot exist without racism and torture of one form or another. As a result, it is useless to oppose the violence of occupation, or the torture made so palpable in Zero Dark Thirty, without opposing the occupation itself, of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of South Central L.A. Yes, something similar could be said of the LAPD, and here we begin to grasp why this most violent of institutions has so rigidly resisted change: because its historically brutal and terroristic tactics, the daily oppression and humiliation exerted most directly at poor black and brownAngelinos, are merely symptoms of the LAPD’s structural function.

When Fanon resigned his post as a psychiatrist to join the Algerian Revolution, he was merely putting into revolutionary practice what he had practiced in the analyst’s chair for years. For Fanon, mental neuroses, especially among people of color, were the result not of any inherent trait or familial trauma, but of the profound trauma imposed by white supremacist and colonial society. And since social structures generate many mental illnesses, we cannot hope to cure these without destroying the institutions that make people sick in the first place.

It was this imperative that led Fanon to throw himself into the armed struggle, and when he did so, he wrote that: “A society that drives its members to desperate solutions is a non-viable society, a society to be replaced.” There can be no more powerful symptom of desperation, no more direct indicator of the non-viability of existing institutions, than this hunted man named Christopher Dorner.

There’s nothing pretty about the desperate actions of a soon-to-be-dead man, but we owe it to ourselves, and to the world, to at least attempt to understand. To be clear: Dorner’s statement is not a revolutionary manifesto, and he certainly didn’t grasp the structural relationship between occupation and LAPD brutality, but his statement and his actions are deeply symptomatic of a social illness that it does not name. If the adage “you reap what you sow” were not already the slogan of the week when unrepentant Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who embraced the murderous dehumanization of his profession, was killed at a Texas gun range last Saturday, this is now undeniable.

Shoot to Kill: Counterinsurgency and Collateral Damage

Given its social function, the LAPD simply cannot be anything but racist and brutal, and as though attempting to prove Dorner’s point, the response to his attacks has been as brutal as anything. The thin blue line of secrecy among officers has been replaced by a thick blue line, protecting officers and their families while unleashing unrestrained violence on southern California. In only the most infamous incident of yesterday, two women delivering newspapers were shot by trigger-happy officers who, it seems, mistook their royal blue truck for Dorner’s gray one. Dozens of bullet holes riddled the back of the pickup, their clusters suggesting a clear intent to kill without identifying. Within the context of legitimate, open threats to officers, the “shoot anything that moves” approach is perhaps an accentuation, but hardly an aberration, from the norm.

The application of a counterinsurgency model of urban policing in cities like Los Angeles is longstanding. In Los Angeles alone, from bulldozed houses in “Operation Hammer” and the invention of gang injunctions in the mid-late 1980s, to the racialized use of checkpoints, and the routine abuses Dorner points to today, the “War on Crime” is a war in every sense of the word. The LAPD gang unit trains troops headed to Afghanistan in how to develop informants and use counterinsurgency tactics to control “hostile” populations and spaces. The abuses that Dorner lists are the effects of this logic of occupation, a term officers themselves use to describe their work. As with criminal Ramparts officers getting promotions, Dorner sees the daily routines of abuse as morally wrong, but without seeing the logic of the broader structures in which those practices are embedded.

The violent overlap between modern warfare and domestic policing, of which Dorner is a strange byproduct of, is especially acute among police officers that are returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq. The increased levels of PTSD and violence among veterans in general, is amplified, not only by holding a job that empowers, and sometimes requires, the use of deadly force, but because the current methods of contemporary urban policing have become enmeshed with the overall objectives, strategic logic, and daily practice of counterinsurgency.

As Oakland brings on former LAPD Chief William Bratton to add a play or two to Oakland’s counterinsurgency manual, the OPD, City Council, and District Attorney continue to refuse to fire and criminally charge Miguel Masso, an Iraq veteran who had previously tortured a man in custody when with the NYPD, before shooting and killing 18-year old Alan Blueford in East Oakland last May, as he laid on the ground and cried “I didn’t do anything.” Despite Masso’s account of what happened seriously conflicting with the coroner’s report and witness accounts, Masso still has his job. Without pathologizing veterans it is clear that there are serious concerns here. For the time being, Masso is another one of those cops who gets paid leave, who gets to walk the streets, who may get a medal or a promotion down the line – though there are many people in Oakland continuing to try and see otherwise. It is the commonness of excuses for police abuse/murder, the erasure of the victims as collateral damage that should be highlighted when trying to make sense of this broken, rogue former-LA cop.

A Gravedigger in Uniform

“I am the walking exigent circumstance you created.”

– Christopher Dorner

Much like Dan Freeman, the main character in Stan Greenlee’s classic book and film, The Spook Who Sat By the Door, Christopher Dorner is the dialectical gravedigger of a dying system: armed, trained, and prepared by a system which prizes cop culture, which massively arms the police and unleashes them on the poor and racialized, and which in its late stages demands that black people do the work of white supremacy. In this circumstance, those skills are being utilized against the police. Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said, “This is a somewhat unprecedented, or at least rare occurrence – a trained, heavily armed person who is hunting for police officers.”  LAPD Chief Charlie Beckadded, “Of course he knows what he’s doing; we trained him. He was also a member of the Armed Forces… It is extremely worrisome and scary.”

For Marx, capitalism would sow the seeds of its own destruction and produce its own gravedigger, the proletariat. Fanon recognized, however, that this gravedigger might be characterized more by the “desperate solutions” to which they turn than by their class consciousness. In the United States today, late capitalism is equally shot through with white supremacy and upheld by brute force by increasingly heavy-handed police. It should not surprise us when the gravediggers assume an ominously different form.

George Ciccariello-Maher is assistant professor of political science at Drexel University. He is the author of We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution and can be reached at gjcm(at)

Mike King is a Ph.D candidate in sociology at UC Santa Cruz, and can be reached at mikeking0101(at) Both study policing and counterinsurgency.


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UCPN (Maoist): ‘Socialism through Social Democracy, not New Democracy’


Ed. Note: Here on The Prison Gates Are Open… this blog has taken on a specific, one-sided view of reporting on Nepal’s internal events, particularly that of the breakaway Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) and their campaign of “people’s revolt”. As according to the CPN-M, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M) have since abandoned socialism in the country, due to their abandoning the path of New Democracy, as laid out by the late Chairman Mao Zedong. The UCPN-M don’t hide the fact that they’ve abandoned New Democracy, but remain adamant that they’re continuing a path which leads to socialism in Nepal. 

As a result, as editor of this blog, I feel that it’s important in covering both sides of the Maoist political spectrum taking place in the country. On one side, you have a group declaring New Democracy as their means of reaching socialism via a militant revolution. On the other, you have a group declaring capitalist social-democracy as their means of reaching socialism via a more peaceful revolution. Whichever side is correct, both appear to be dedicated in their correlating goals: to achieve socialism-communism! Which is why The Prison Gates Are Open… will start, from here on out, reporting on both sides’ activities in the country. 

The following article below was originally published by Daily News & Analysis India:

Prime Minister of Nepal and vice-chairperson of the UCPN (Maoist) Baburam Bhattarai

Nepal Maoists to change ideology, hint at giving up anti-India stance

By Shirish B. Pradhan
February 1, 2013

In a major policy shift, Nepal’s ruling Maoists will adopt a new path to socialism through capitalism and may also give up their anti-India stance at the upcoming national convention of the party.

Some 2,500 delegates of the ruling UCPN-Maoist will attend the six-day general convention, to take place after a gap of over 20 years, starting on Saturday in central Nepal’s Hetauda Municipality in an attempt to revamp the guerrilla group-turned-mainstream political party.

“We will follow ‘the path of capitalism’ to achieve communism instead of pursuing ‘New Democracy’ as propounded by chairman Mao Zedong,” said Narayan Kaji Shrestha, vice-chairman of UCPN-Maoist and deputy prime minister.

“Opposition to India cannot be a basis of national politics,” Shrestha said, hinting at a change of the Maoists’ anti-India stance of the past.

“Good relations with our neighbours India and China could be maintained without compromising national independence and securing our authority to decide our fate by ourselves”, he said.

The Maoists took up arms in 1996 to fulfill their 40-point demands. Their demands included scrapping of the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 and banning Indian vehicles and Hindi cinema in Nepal.

Shrestha underlined the need to reorient the ideological course of achieving “socialism through new-democracy” as propounded by Mao in China to achieving “socialism through capitalism”.

“We have come to the conclusion that it was not possible to achieve socialism via the model of new democracy in the current global political context,” Shrestha said.

As the society has preferred capitalism the party has decided to change its ideological course, he said.

“To achieve this national policy and programmes should be framed and implemented as per the social democratic way while maintaining the spirit of communism,” Shrestha said.

“We need to maintain the communist spirit, but programmes should be social-democratic so that we can achieve socialism through capitalism,” the Maoist vice-chairman said.