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But when the local version of the IRS stops getting taxes from the peasants — that’s when the authorities really get grim. You can mess with the army and the cops, but don’t mess with the tax collectors. When the government stops getting taxes, they use the only leverage they’ve got: they send the army to get their money at gunpoint. The Maoists are doing the same thing to the villagers at night. Not a happy time to be a Nepalese villager, especially when the rebels are known to use some pretty extreme penalties for late payment of tax — such as crushing people’s arms and legs with big rocks.

Squeezing the peasants between two forces like this is part of Mao’s big plan. The idea is to drive the peasants so damn crazy they’ll finally be ready to fight. The soldiers actually help the Maoists at this stage by lame attempts at reprisal: they’ll almost always grab the wrong people, torture them, and end up radicalizing whole families, whole villages. The Maoist cadre won’t be touched; they’re hiding deeper in the hills. But every time the cops beat somebody to death, all his cousins become recruits. So the meaner the cops get, the stupider they get, the better for the revolution.

This is where that old commie line about making omelets and breaking eggs comes into play big-time. The more the cops and soldiers terrorize the locals, the more isolated the Army ends up in their sandbagged barracks. Nobody feeds them intelligence any more; they’re holed up, always on the defensive, no longer capable of choosing the time and place for combat.

That’s when the slow, boa-constrictor Maoist plan switches over to the offensive. The Maoists focus on numbers and surprise. A few months ago the Maoists attacked a police barracks in Gam, in western Nepal. There were at least a thousand of them, yelling, waving torches, shouting slogans. They overran the base and hacked to death every cop or soldier they found, at least 70 dead. The Maoists lost maybe 200 — if you can believe the cops — but that’s not important. A victory like that spreads through the villages instantly. The peasants — and remember, these people are used to being bought and sold like cattle — suddenly realize they can take on the army and win.

They’re riding high right now, but where do they go from here? That’s the problem. Suppose the Maoists beat the Nepalese Army. Would India let that happen? India thinks of Nepal as sort of a kid brother-annoying but part of the family. The Indian Army may not be good enough to fight a real war, but it sure as hell could squash the Maoists in Nepal. It’s had a lot of practice with this sort of war, in other hellholes like Bihar. It could easily bring in enough troops for the 25:1 ratio you need to flush out and destroy rural guerrillas.

And it’s not likely the original Maoists, the Chinese, are going to help the guerrillas. They’ve got other things on their minds: profit margins, export ratios — money, money, money. I kinda like imagining a meeting between one of these Nepalese gung-ho Maoist rebels and Zhiang Zemin. “You, the party of Mao, must help us overthrow the landlord elite!” “Um, sorry, but all our cash is tied up in short-term Citicorp bonds. How would your revolutionary peasants like to invest in our new Shanghai enterprise zone?”

It must be kind of discouraging to be a Maoist; who can you count on these days? The only real friends the Nepalese Maoists have are the leftovers of those crazy Peruvian guerrillas, the Shining Path. Remember them? They were like the one-hit wonder of eighties guerrilla warfare: dynamite-throwin’, machete-choppin’, Incas who made Peru a lively place.

And with friends like Shining Path, well…you ain’t got no friends. So the Nepalese Maoists are up against it in the long run. They may win inside Nepal, but their talk about “planting the red flag on Mount Everest” ain’t gonna happen. Where would Dianne Feinstein go trekking? The folks who run this world wouldn’t let anything get in the way of their expeditions up K2 or Everest. They’d bribe the Indian Army to waddle in like a big fat Sumo and squash the Maoists.

And there wouldn’t be a damn thing Shining Path, on the run down in Peru, could do to help. But that brings me to the last big mystery here, the same one I started out with: the hippies. I mean, what is it with hippies and hi-altitude peasant rebellions anyway? First it was Shining Path — remember back in the late 80s, all the hippies were wearing those wool Inca hats that looked like wool versions of 14th-c. man-at-arms helmets? And now, in all the little grimy coffee places where the local alternos hang in Fresno, they’re all wearing those ratty cloth over-the-shoulder bags you get from Nepal.

What is it with these people? Is there like some kind of romance to low-oxygen poverty and dirt?

There’s a punch line coming for all the hippie tourists who take the pilgrimage to Nepal, though. See, the Maoists haven’t touched a single tourist yet. Not one. Interesting, huh? Odds are they’re not sparing the scruffy guesthouse types out of softheartedness. Qualms ain’t on the menu when you’re running a Maoist insurrection. So they’re probably saving it up for something real, real big. And I have to admit, it cracks me up to think of a whole busload of hairy Californians playing hostage, shoved into a freezing cave in the Himalayas, guarded by lice-ridden crazy peasants whose idea of fun is bringing big ol’ rocks down on people’s arms and legs.

That’ll teach those hippie girls in high school to tell me I should “lose some weight.” I didn’t mind it when the white-trash skanks called me “Lardo” — that trash doesn’t know any better. But it got to me, I admit it, when the — whatever you’d call’em, grunge girls or neo-beatnik chicks or whatever — when they did it. I mean, their parents went to college and all, you sort of expected them to be a little better.

So I’m just kinda waiting here, for the day the Nepalese Maoists decide to go for the tourists, kidnap a bus of longhaired suburban girls looking for spiritual enlightenment. Talk about losing weight — yeah, they’ll lose some weight in that fucking cave. Did you see that [sic] letter from some girl named “Avril” who wanted me to read her peace poem and “think about it”? She’s just the kind I’m talking about it. Anybody want to chip in on a one-way ticket to Nepal for Avril? It’ll be real, real spiritual.

This article was first published in The eXile on November 27, 2002

Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to

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Add your own

  • 1. Iok Sotot, Eater of Souls  |  October 12th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Oh Gary, where are you? There are wars breaking out all over the place. We need your wit and wisdom now more than ever.

  • 2. Alex  |  October 12th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Great/fascinating essay. Any good articles I should look into as to the current situation in Nepal?

  • 3. cult of skaro 24  |  October 12th, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    “They may win inside Nepal, but their talk about “planting the red flag on Mount Everest” ain’t gonna happen. Where would Dianne Feinstein go trekking? The folks who run this world wouldn’t let anything get in the way of their expeditions up K2 or Everest.”

    November 27, 2002

    7 years later…

    Prime Minister Prachanda
    nuff said.

  • 4. DaShui  |  October 12th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    India is fighting their own Maoist revolution in 40% of their territory and not winning.

  • 5. cult of skaro 24  |  October 12th, 2009 at 6:10 pm


    eh, DaShui?

    Interesting side note.
    The same week that India decriminalized homosexuality they banned the Communist Party (Maoist). To me this symbolizes that the congress party is for the most part adopting US style liberalism.

    Thoughts from any experts, or people with some real knowledge of that area.

  • 6. jimmy james  |  October 12th, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    So, okay, I’m an ignorant American.

    Are the commies improving Nepal?

  • 7. xyz  |  October 12th, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Gary, you are falling behind. You have just ‘found’ about Maoists in Nepal. Just proves what I always knew and argued in the comments – you dont know shit about south Asia.
    Nepal is just a little piece in strategic game that China is playing. The Nepali Maoists are vehemently anti India and want to review all the special treaties Indo Nepal treaties. China pumps in arms, money and fake Indian currency through the porous Indo Nepal border to the Maoists in India. The Pakistani ISI with the encouragement of China set up bases in Nepal to support their jihad in India. Maoist terrorism is a serious threat, as serious as Islamic jihad. Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh are just launch pads for China’s covert ops against a very weak India.

  • 8. mmmm_cake  |  October 12th, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    You might wanna check the date when gary wrote the article.

    Good read. I guess the only part of the story gary got wrong is Westerners “letting” the Maoist take power, but maybe it’s because there were alot more pressing global issues at the time.

    I’d love to hear a brief explaination of the political climate that forced the monarchy to give up power? Something I would care to read about for a few minutes then don’t give a crap about for the rest of my life.

  • 9. xyz  |  October 13th, 2009 at 8:26 am

    @mmmm_cake I know it was written in 2002, still about a decade late. By 2002 the Maoist victory was inevitable.

  • 10. asking  |  October 13th, 2009 at 11:52 am

    What’s up with the Nerd? H1N1?

  • 11. John  |  October 13th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    By far the best political commentary on the entire internet; nothing else even comes close. Sane, rational Maoist analysis? On my internet?

  • 12. Allen  |  October 13th, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    It’s well past due for another Nerd’ article. What gives? Is the Nerd just trying to survive these days in the post-apocalyptic remains of Fresno? Or has he mysteriously vanished along with a number of other Exiled contributors/pseudonyms to parts unknown?

  • 13. cult of skaro 24  |  October 13th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Still haven’t heard from anyone about any context or anything.

    Maoists, making anything better. Also just found out Prachanda resigned after failing to sack the army chief.


  • 14. Paul  |  October 13th, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I love your articles for the political commentary, but do you really have to make it so obvious that you’re fat and friendless whenever possible?

    ‘haha, fuck those hippies for making fun of me, I hope they get kidnapped by rural guerrillas’


  • 15. aleke  |  October 13th, 2009 at 11:31 pm


    Woah, you mean the War Nerd has a schtick? No way!!!

  • 16. Iok Sotot, Eater of Souls  |  October 14th, 2009 at 6:51 am

    4 those guys that want more on the Maoists in India I found this very interesting.

  • 17. Chema Pino Suarez  |  October 15th, 2009 at 12:18 am

    How can you not want to root for a side called the Naxalites? X is a cool fucking letter and Naxalite sounds like some sort of bad ass alien civilization.

  • 18. cult of skaro 24  |  October 15th, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Yeah they’re pretty cool. And they actually have real power in a few states. Political I mean.

  • 19. Frank  |  October 16th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    That’s rehashed old shit, the Nepalese monarchy has been overthrown, Maoists part of the government, no big revolution as you predicted. But like every left wing radical, once they give you a piece of the action like they did in Nepal you play ball just like the old school. To wit, Brazil’s current “left-wing” government.

  • 20. orangeplus  |  October 17th, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Gary, my brother, your letting us down. Ok, sure, I understand, the Tigers going down can take a lot out of a war nerd. Those folks were always up for a fight and they held on for so long, but hey, the good times go, but they come back.

    You’ve got a big show going on in Pakistan, pushing the talibs north, and the continuing big show in afghanistan, pushing the talib south. All these folks talkin’ Al Queda has been destroyed in Afghanistan, which makes me wonder just how much they existed in the first place. You’ve got a good book, Afghanistan: A Military History, to play it off on, and any number of foreign nihilists, religious fanatics, global NGO do-gooders, Western hypocrits, European pansies wanting out, Clueless Americans and bored locals all pouring money and blood into a great big pot. You’ve got awesome characters from self-obssessed COIN experts, hard local warlords, and mixed bag of grunts galore. Will the wave crash on the mountains and everyone go home without accomplishing anything, or is this the Pashtu Gotterdammerung?

    Get up off your fat ass and write. I know way too much about Victorville than I ever wanted to know and you guys don’t post pics of pretty Russian party girls anymore, I need some blood to keep my interest! If you keep up this silence, we’re going to have to assume you have a girlfriend. And frankly, I don’t think your readership can stand the level of self-reflective shame that will kick off.

  • 21. Ajay  |  October 18th, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Gary seems to be a little out of touch. Maoists hold political power in Nepal much to India’s discomfort. They roam freely on the streets of Katmandu. The revolution never happened. It was a pre-mature delivery.

    Maoists in India are being handled by Central police force, and the maoists are losing whatever little ground they held.

  • 22. orangeplus  |  October 18th, 2009 at 6:59 pm

  • 23. AussieDrongo  |  October 21st, 2009 at 2:35 am

    Where are you Gary? We miss you :(

  • 24. WarNerd4prez  |  October 28th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    No more Reruns! We want Gary back!

  • 25. WarNerdReader  |  October 29th, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    dont make me go and register
    Get Your Fat Ass On The Chair n

    Stop reposting these old pieces, it ruins Gary’s refinement

  • 26. Pizza de Oveja  |  November 3rd, 2009 at 8:02 am

    While I think it would be great for Gary to get a chick so he finally start’s doing some “positive-reinforcement stuff.” I hope it is not the case that some hot hippie did finally found him and has turned him away from us readers.
    I would be happy for him but unhappy for us!

  • 27. אברהם  |  November 6th, 2009 at 11:45 am


    Definitely. I’d love to see Brecher’s take on Andrew Exum, Hakimullah Mehsud, McChrystal, hell, the whole cast of the shitshow

  • 28. Justin  |  November 13th, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Xyz, why the fuck do you still hang around if you find what gary has to say so bleeding useless? you literally fill these comments with pages and pages of shit that nobody reads and yet you are still here? what gives?

  • 29. orangeplus  |  November 18th, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Three months motherfucker! No new content in three months! Did peace break out and no one told me?!?!

  • 30. WarnerReader  |  November 19th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Guys, what is happening for fucks sake?
    I demand a moderator share with us whether Gary has found a chick or won the lottery and indulging heavy shit now…….

    Will he be contributing to exile again or what??????????????????????????????????

  • 31. Antonio B.  |  December 2nd, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Please. This is all I have to look forward to…. Please.

  • 32. Justin  |  December 3rd, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Gary! why have you forsaken us?!?!

  • 33. xyz  |  December 10th, 2009 at 9:18 am

    beacuse i have nothing better to do then say shit all day long what the fuck do u care anyways if u say no one reads my “pages” how wud u know about me say he has useless stuff

  • 34. xyz  |  December 10th, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Dear Justin you fat ass peice of shit because i have nothing better to do then to sit around all day long talking shit about gary’s fat ass and what the fuck do you care if you said no one cares about my “pages” how would you know that what i say about gary is useless

  • 35. Justin  |  December 21st, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    More indian/paki yapping. No one cares how butt-hurt you are about your country’s evident lack of balls and FFS learn to fucking spell, I thought your 2 dollar/hour telemarketer slut of a mother taught you some fucking English.

  • 36. Jack  |  August 22nd, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Jiang Zemin, not Zhiang.

    Sort your pinyin out, mate, arguments are lost over less. Good general outline of Maoist guerrilla tactics, though.

  • 37. anuj  |  September 12th, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    hey…that’s not complete.why don’t you(writer)try to write about the “muslim” countries involvement…did all money and arm’s really come from china or there were some other countries behind it ending the time of the last “hindu” country.

  • 38. anuja  |  September 12th, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    hey…that’s not complete.why don’t you(writer)try to write about the “muslim” countries involvement…did all money and arm’s really come from china or there were some other countries behind it ending the time of the last “hindu” country.

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