High Stakes, Great Challenge
do not yet have a dictatorship of the proletariat, but we do have
a New Power that is developing in accordance with the norms of
new democracy, the joint dictatorship of the workers, peasants
and progressives. In our case they seek to rob this process of
leadership, and the reactionaries and those who serve them know
very well why they do this, because it is not easy to generate
revolutionary leaders and Leadership."
battle to defend the life of Comrade Gonzalo, Chairman of the
Communist Party of Peru (PCP), the stakes are very high both for
the revolutionary movement and for the imperialists and their
The reactionaries are well aware of this and are acting accordingly.
For years the international media tried to minimize the importance
of the People's War led by the PCP and imposed a news blockade.
But in the wake of the capture of Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán),
the media could not help but reflect the importance given to this
event in Washington and other world capitals. Chairman Gonzalo
was declared the "last communist leader of the twentieth
century", "public enemy number one in Latin America"
and "the world's most dangerous man".
First of all, because he is responsible for what is happening
in Peru. "Decent society" - the imperialists and their
local lackeys, the landlords and bureaucrat capitalists - is in
a rage. In what they consider the most backward areas, the countryside,
the peasants who for so long belonged to the owners of the fields
are seizing political power and are gradually but steadily advancing
towards the fortress of state power itself, the capital. Women
are breaking the bonds of all the old and modern forms of their
subjugation. The country's despised, oppressed majority, its workers
and peasants, its maids and peddlers and men and women who do
the labour otherwise done by horses and trucks, are fighting to
become the masters of all Peru on their way to liberating humanity.
To the Peruvian reactionary ruling classes, this means the sky
is falling; to the imperialists propping them up, it is an intolerable
affront. Even more terrifying and incomprehensible to them is
that women have stepped forward as fighters, commanders and political
leaders of this revolution.
Secondly, they fear the masses of people of the world as well.
The People's War in Peru has emerged as a major challenge to the
new world order the U.S. and its allies have sought to impose
in the wake of the collapse of their Soviet arch-rivals. For twelve
years the People's War has been surging forward without the slightest
aid from any imperialist power or reactionary state. Now, when
movements that depended on the phoney "socialist" USSR
have been forced to capitulate, the People's War in Peru has become
so strong that no reactionary military analyst can dismiss the
possibility of its complete victory in the near future. In today's
world, it is the Maoists who are coming to the forefront as the
most thoroughgoing enemies of the imperialist system, and the
People's War in Peru is the most advanced expression of that at
The imperialists may underestimate the power of Maoist ideology.
But the character and success of the war waged under Chairman
Gonzalo's leadership would be enough to make them understand the
difference between this line and the revisionism whose collapse
they are celebrating as "the death of communism". They
also know that Chairman Gonzalo has played an outstanding role
in fighting for and strengthening Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology
in the ranks of the international communist movement. That is
what they mean when they call PCP "fanatical". The intensity
with which they hate the People's War, the PCP and Chairman Gonzalo
comes from the fact that this is an opponent with whom there can
be no compromise and no quarter.
This is why, on a global level, the imperialists are turning the
spearhead of their whole worldwide counter-revolutionary anticommunist
crusade on the Maoists in general and most specifically and ferociously
on the PCP and its Chairman Gonzalo.
In the propaganda sphere, this means attempting to discredit the
PCP and all those in the world who support the People's War. They
use the media to label the PCP "terrorist" and "not
a real liberation movement". It is ridiculous to charge that
people in other countries who support the People's War are also
"terrorists" whose services have been bought and paid
for with "drug money". But the fact that these charges
are contrary to all evidence hasn't stopped the imperialists'
leading news organizations from repeating them.
This propaganda barrage, however, is not just talk. The world's
media are being used in a campaign to create public opinion for
practical steps to silence the Maoists. The propaganda barrage
and the CIA covert aid pouring into Peru are two sides of the
same counter-revolutionary offensive.
Today all these efforts are focused on one man: Comrade Gonzalo.
The threat to the life of Chairman Gonzalo is not only an attempt
to rob the Peruvian revolution of its leader and prevent the masses
from seizing state power. They also want to isolate and kill Chairman
Gonzalo in order to hit hard internationally at the only forces
- the Maoists - who can challenge the imperialist "new world
order" with a vision of a genuinely new world. Ultimately
the target is the masses of people of the world, whose anger is
growing more explosive everywhere.
The U.S. has just revamped Peru's secret police, deploying both
public and secret resources to identify, locate and wipe out the
PCP leadership. Like all of Peru's armed forces, the secret police
are directly run by Valdimiro Montesinos, the CIA's man in Peru,
once convicted of treason to Peru for being an American spy. With
his help, Alberto Fujimori, a politically unknown professor of
agriculture just two years ago, became Peru's military dictator.
The U.S. government advised, paid for and defended this regime
every step of the way. Anyone who wants to deny the obvious but
unspoken relationship between Fujimori and the U.S. has to explain
why the U.S. chose to ignore the Amnesty International report
that labelled his regime "the world's worst human rights
violator", why the U.S. squashed attempts to condemn Fujimori's
May 1992 coup in international bodies, and why, unlike its predecessors,
Fujimori's government enjoys the fullest funding from the International
Monetary Fund and World Bank. This regime that convicted Abimael
Guzmán of "treason" to Peru is nothing but a convenient
sleeve for the long arm of the U.S.
This is why the Fujimori government had little need to disguise
their "trial" of Comrade Gonzalo as anything but a naked
lynching. Fujimori's Foreign Minister could announce that there
would be no international criticism of the trial because he already
had been assured of the international opinion that counts the
most for him - the U.S. ruling class and its allies. On September
24th, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution declaring that it "supports
the Government of Peru in its determination to fight the violent,
anti-democratic terrorist group known as the Shining Path"
and congratulating the DINCOTE for capturing Chairman Gonzalo.
This was reiterated October 20th by a spokesperson for the U.S.
State Department, who said "Mr Guzmán is the leader of the
most vicious terrorist movement in the Western hemisphere... We
have no comment on the judicial proceedings by which he was tried."
This is also why, even after Chairman Gonzalo was sentenced, Fujimori
has reopened the question of executing him, in violation of Peru's
constitution. What weight can Peruvian and international law and
the treaties to which Peru is bound have next to the support of
Now both the swords of "legal" and extra-legal execution
hang over this comrade's head. The imperialists organized or approved
the prison murders of Azanian leader Steve Biko; Charu Mazumdar,
Maoist leader of the Naxalbari peasant rebellion in India; the
Maoist leader Ibrahim Kaypakkaya in Turkey; the Bangladeshi Maoist
leader Shiraj Shikdar and the suspicious "suicide" of
Chiang Ching. In the U.S.'s own prisons, Black Panther leader
George Jackson was shot in a staged "escape" attempt,
and Puerto Rican nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos was killed
by radioactive material placed in the walls of his cell. They
must not be allowed to hand any kind of death sentence to Chairman
Even in the absence of a legal death penalty, the majority of
Peruvian prisoners accused of "subversion" have been
murdered. Comrade Gonzalo is being held on the island of San Lorenzo
in the naval base next to the ruins of the Fronton prison. In
1986 Peruvian armed forces and police killed 300 prisoners at
Fronton and two other jails. In May 1992, after Fujimori staged
his coup, he sent his murderous troops into the penitentiary where
survivors of the 1986 massacre and new PCP suspects were being
held; after they subdued the prisoners, they selected out 40 women
and men suspected of being PCP leaders and shot them. How can
the revolutionaries, the world's people and anyone with a shred
of regard for justice accept such a fate for Chairman Gonzalo?
As Comrade Gonzalo himself says in the interview with him reprinted
in this issue, even in the most negative situation one must look
for positive elements in order to transform it.
Chief among the positive factors has been Chairman Gonzalo himself.
When sadistically presented to the press in a steel cage, he made
a dramatic and historic speech in which his unbreakable commitment
to the cause of the masses and communism reverberated powerfully
far beyond the walls of the enemy's dungeons. His conduct in the
clutches of the enemy has had thundering impact not only on those
who hold their breath every time Peru is on the news, but far
more broadly as well. People want to know why the People's War
in Peru has advanced while revolutions elsewhere are defeated
or sidetracked, how it is that the Maoist movement can produce
such steadfast leaders while international revisionism crumbles,
and why the world's rulers are so frightened by this man whom
they present as having almost superhuman powers.
Perhaps the CIA and the U.S. government thought that if instead
of having Chairman Gonzalo killed at once, as they did to Che
Guevara, they could gain more by first reducing his stature in
the eyes of the people by presenting him in a cage to television
cameras. If so, they miscalculated badly. Chairman Gonzalo turned
his forced "press conference" into a powerful counter-blow
that created further difficulties for the enemy.
The strength and advance of the People's War itself and the very
widespread support it enjoys among the Peruvian people has created
a dilemma for the regime and its imperialist backers. The fact
that millions of Peruvians feel that Chairman Gonzalo speaks for
them is part of why the forces of reaction need to silence him,
but it also prevents them from murdering him without carefully
weighing the consequences. Fujimori is holding Chairman Gonzalo
hostage against the People's War, but this sword can cut both
ways. The forces of reaction know very well that the Peruvian
masses will never forgive any harm that might befall Chairman
Gonzalo. The U.S. cannot escape being held fully responsible by
the masses of the whole world.
In Peru the slogan "Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo"
has been taken up with all the armed strength of the People's
War. Following the Sixth Military Plan formulated by Chairman
Gonzalo, the People's War has continued to advance in several
major battles in September and October in which comparatively
large enemy units were wiped out. PCP has made unmistakable its
resolution to continue following his line until the People's Republic
of Peru is established, and more, until communism shines worldwide.
The Peruvian masses have expressed their support in a myriad of
ways, including during the resounding September armed strike against
the regime that totally shut down the city of Ayacucho and the
Immediately following Chairman Gonzalo's capture, the Maoists
abroad grasped and acted upon the urgency of this situation. The
Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, of which the PCP is a
part, accepted the challenge that was thrown before them. No class
can fail to go all-out to defend its leaders. This is especially
true for the revolutionary proletariat, because it is not easy
for an oppressed class to give rise to men and women who can lead
the slaves in successful battle, who can lead the masses because
they have given their hearts to them and on that basis mastered
the theory and practice of the science of revolution. The battle
to defend the life of Chairman Gonzalo is now the centre of all
work to support the People's War in Peru. The masses in many countries,
especially proletarians, were quick to understand the cardinal
importance of this battle, not only in terms of supporting the
People's War but in terms of how it affects all other revolutionary
efforts as well.
This approach has broadened the opposition to imperialism's aims
in Peru to an unprecedented extent. It is a concrete counter-thrust
to the imperialists' attempt to isolate the Maoists from the masses
and keep the middle forces in society separate from the revolutionary
poor masses. People from all walks of life, including people with
major divergences with the Maoists and other revolutionaries,
have come forward. A united front has emerged of people who agree
on the urgency of defending the life of this man who is claimed
by millions of Peruvian workers and peasants as their own leader.
New forms of organization and new forms of struggle have arisen.
The basis for their existence is the strength and influence of
the People's War, the sharp danger its leader faces and the growing
desire of people from different classes to oppose a world of towering
The way this movement is built among the poor masses is having
a powerful impact on people from other classes and will determine
the solidity and strength of the solid core of the united front.
At the same time, the participation of prominent personalities,
professional and academic figures and others is helping to draw
the broader masses into struggle and to create a favourable political
atmosphere for the emergence of this movement.
All these factors have stayed the hand of the imperialists and
their flunkies for the moment. Further, the Peruvian ruling classes
have been rent with internal contradictions. Despite their temporary
euphoric unity following this important success, their failure
to crush the People's War and the increasing political complexity
of the situation can only lead to new outbreaks of in-fighting.
Time is not on their side.
These are desperate times for the Peruvian regime, which has lashed
out with all the fury a beast threatened with death can muster.
And they are perilous times for all those who sit on top of the
present "world order". Neither these imperialists nor
their puppets can be expected to rest content with having won
a life sentence from a kangaroo court, and both have shown a lust
for blood that knows no bounds.
So far, the danger to Chairman Gonzalo has not diminished in the
slightest. The battle so far has opened up broad possibilities
which must be persevered in and fought through.
The RIM put forward the slogan "Move Heaven and Earth to
Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo". Though heaven and earth
have already begun to tremble, it has become increasingly clear
that no lesser effort will do. The RIM also declared "We
need Comrade Gonzalo at his post, at the forefront of the revolution
in Peru and of the international communist movement - Fight for
his liberation!" The revolutionary masses will never settle
for anything less.
By capturing Chairman Gonzalo, the enemy has dealt a bitter blow
to the masses and the revolutionary forces. His contributions
are precious to the world's people and his work is not yet done.
The enemy seeks to turn this military victory for their side into
a political and moral victory as well. But as Comrade Gonzalo
said in his caged "press conference", "We are here
in circumstances which some people think to be a great defeat.
They are dreaming." The masses in Peru and their Party will
certainly overcome all obstacles to defend the life of Chairman
Gonzalo and carry the People's War to victory.
On a world level, too, this is a great and complex challenge.
In the face of the enemy's attack, the Maoists have counter-attacked,
and in the process further united their ranks, strengthened their
resolve and heightened their ability to lead the masses to fight
for revolution and the liberation of humanity. The way this battle
is carried out will affect the immediate outcome. It will also
have a far-reaching impact, in Peru, where it has already helped
give heart to the people in difficult times, and on the world's
revolutionary-minded people, the international communist movement
and the development of the world revolution.
The stakes are very high. Much can be lost, but much can also
be gained. By centring on the battle to defend Chairman Gonzalo's
life, uniting broadly with others in this battle while developing
the movement among the basic masses and paying attention to bringing
out the political and ideological line he represents, the Maoists
are fighting to transform the present situation so that they can
win this battle and save his life. Victory is possible. The situation
can be turned into a political and moral defeat for the enemy.
The imperialists and reactionaries have picked up a big rock to
hurl against the people but an increasing number of people are
fighting to force them to drop this big rock on their own feet.