Consists of One Thousand Truths, But in the Final Analysis They
All Boil Down to One:
Right to Rebel!
the Leading Committee of the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran)
“This people’s war has served the world proletarian
revolution from the very start and will continue to do so; it enjoys
the support of the international working class and the world’s
peoples, of the genuine revolutionaries and communists, and very
especially of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement to which
the party belongs...” (“Develop People’s War to
Serve the World Revolution”, Communist Party of Peru (PCP)
Central Committee, August 1986, in AWTW 1987/8)
with a deep sense of responsibility towards our internationalist
duty and our class brothers and sisters in Peru, in the memory of
our fallen heroes there - the valiant members and fighters of the
PCP - and with the commitment and determination that we must safeguard
the red flag they dyed with their blood and passed on to us, that
we take part in this crucial two-line struggle that has erupted.
honoured to present this document which has been prepared in response
to the request made by the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist
Movement (CoRIM) and hope that this small step will serve the task
that has been called for.
orientation set by the CoRIM has guided this undertaking. Contributions
of parties of the RIM have helped to deepen our understanding of
the issue. We believe CoRIM's assessment of the importance of this
two-line struggle, what is at stake, the responsibility and role
of our Movement in the face of it, and the line of approach that
it has formulated, are all important and correct.
struggle is inextricably linked to the development of our Movement
and the whole course of the world proletarian revolution. This is
not only because the communist movement has always been an international
movement, but also specifically because of the role that the PCP
and the People's War under its leadership has played in the development
of our Movement and the World Proletarian Revolution at this stage.
In the days when the reactionary Islamic Republic of Iran with the
aid of Yankee imperialists and Soviet social-imperialists were drowning
the revolution in the blood of the best sons and daughters of our
people, the initiation of the People's War in Peru gave us heart.
In the process of its ideological, political and organizational
restructuring in the aftermath of the defeat of the revolution,
and suffering severe blows at the hands of the comprador-feudal
Islamic Republic of Iran, the UICS has learned tremendously from
the experience of the PCP.
and our Movement have the responsibility of rendering the full political
and ideological assistance of the international communist movement
(ICM) to the PCP and the People's War. Our Movement has recently
arrived at higher unity, and our glorious Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!
document, and other resolutions of the Movement, such as the one
on the world situation, are invaluable aids in carrying out this
of this two-line struggle is to help keep our red flag flying in
Peru and open the way even further for other red flags to be raised
by other parties of our Movement. We must arrive at a deep grasp
of the nature of different alternatives which are presented as the
future course for the PCP and the People's War under its leadership
and give support to the correct line and fight the wrong line. If
the wrong line comes to dominate the process of revolution in Peru,
it will be a serious setback not only for the People's War but also
for our Movement. On the other hand, if the correct line can win
out and continue to determine the course of the Peruvian revolution,
it will be a great advance. In order to ensure a correct outcome,
it is essential to develop a two-line struggle, establish what is
correct and what is wrong, and give unwavering support to the correct
line and those forces who represent the correct line.
the guidance of the CoRIM, we have carefully studied different documents
and reexamined the proletariat's historical experiences, reviewing
available PCP documents, and deepening our own understanding of
MLM principles on relevant issues, while once again looking back
at our own experience. Within the limits of our abilities, we have
been following the objective situation in Peru in order to increase
our knowledge of the objective realities there - in this, we believe
the PCP comrades have a central role to play; without their efforts
it will not be possible to investigate the objective situation in
such a way as to enable us to arrive at a complete understanding
of what is a correct analysis of the specific situation there and
on that basis what is a correct line - not just what is a correct
strategic orientation overall but, more concretely, for waging the
People's War successfully under present conditions.
contribution to this process, we have taken up a critical evaluation
of a pro-peace negotiations line mainly reflected in an article
which is called, 'sake Up and Fight for the New Decision and the
New Definition" [Asumir - Combatir por la Nueva Decision y Nueva
Definicion, or Asumir, in Spanish]1. This was the first
major document that came to our attention which attempted to elaborate
on the "peace negotiations" line coming out of the prisons. We will
also refer to another document signed by the "Prisoners of the shining
trenches of combat" (for short we will call it 'she prison article")
as a complementary source for this line.2
to the task of criticizing the line reflected in these articles,
we have looked upon this as an opportunity to dig more deeply into
some of the important questions of revolution and deepen our understanding
IN PERU TODAY REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS MEANS REVOLUTIONARY WAR
touches upon many important points, lists many correct principles
and tries to address some real factors in the present situation.
Its completely different line on the world situation and bureaucrat
capitalism than what we know to have been the PCP's analysis is
striking. But the bone marrow of this document is its approach to
the question of revolutionary warfare in general and the People's
War in Peru in particular. This exposes its disturbing nature.
gives us a "new" reading of Chairman Mao's theories on war and peace;
it twists the relationship between war and politics and between
different forms of the class struggle in order to convince its audience
that it is permissible to slip back from armed struggle to political
struggle, with the expressed hope of "repeating" the People's War
later. This article claims that the whole process of the counter-revolutionary
war has succeeded and holds that under present conditions the People's
War can at best only be "maintained". The prison article takes the
line of Asumir to its logical conclusion, that the People's
War should be terminated; it claims that in order to save the People's
War from complete defeat and the party from collapse, the PCP should
shift back to "politics without bloodshed" and attend to the problem
of leadership that has been created by the capture of Chairman Gonzalo
and other top leaders. The fight for a "peace accord" is meant to
facilitate this "general pull back", as Asumir puts it. This
is the principal aspect of the line and program of these documents.
Other arguments, including Asumir's seemingly profound analysis
of the world situation, dubbed the "General Political Ebb" (stressing
that it is strategic and global), serve this aim. We also believe
that its analysis of the partial economic growth which is being
experienced by Peru now is meant to conclude that the material underpinnings
for continuing the People's War no longer exist.
if these documents repeat one thousand times that MLM is universal
or how great the achievements of the People's War in Peru are, their
unfortunate nature will not go away.
Centrality of Arms in Fulfilling the Proletariat's Mission
violence is the highest form of struggle in seizing power; this
has been a decisive question in the struggle between Marxism and
revisionism. Not grasping this firmly will help the revisionists.
Revisionism holds that power could be seized non-violently or that
it can be reformed bit by bit in the interests of the people, and
if violence is to be used, it is not to destroy the existing state
power and establish the state (revolutionary dictatorship) of the
proletariat and the oppressed, but rather as one means to pressure
the existing state to reach an agreement for sharing power.
and the people cannot seize power without the use of organized violence,
that is, revolutionary war. Because the class enemy rules by
organized violence (the reactionary state), this is true in
both openly dictatorial states and in the most "democratic" bourgeois
republic. The state (the army, the police force, the courts, etc.)
exist to enforce the system of exploitation and oppression, and
this reality is felt daily by the masses in their millions. Further,
history has shown again and again that the ruling classes will use
the full power of their state to crush the people whenever they
feel their fundamental interests (their right to rule over the people
and exploit them) are threatened.
is why our great leaders, especially Comrade Mao, paid special attention
to developing the military strategy of the proletarian revolution.
To emphasize this cardinal question, Lenin said, "An oppressed class
which does not strive to learn to use arms, to acquire arms, only
deserves to be treated like slaves." ("Military program of the proletarian
revolution", CW, v 23, pp. 77-83)
War in Peru led by the PCP has demonstrated strong support for this
principle in its practice of 13 years of revolutionary war.
on the Question of War and Politics
says: 'she class struggle is a great and constant class war directed
by political leaders. It has two forms: bloodless... and bloody.
Both are forms of the great political war", "politics is war without
bloodshed, just as war is politics with bloodshed"; "...and if it
breaks out, to oppose unjust war with just war, whenever possible".
"War is initiated and develops according to concrete conditions,
and as these change, the forms of struggle must change."
of course does not refrain from throwing in some correct statements
without elaborating or showing their connections to other ones.
For example, it says, "If the obstacle is not completely swept away,
the war will have to continue." The question is, when is that, and
how does this apply today? Does Asumir mean this People's
War which is going on, or some unknown and non-existent one? One
of the chief characteristics of eclecticism is to hide its rightist
nature by throwing some correct statements into the pot.
statement on war and politics - one bloody, the other bloodless
- is similar in appearance to what Chairman Mao has said. But any
similarities end right there. In essence, the difference is that
Comrade Mao is stressing the historical and social necessity of
the oppressed class to wage its political struggle through revolutionary
violence, while Asumir is trying to undermine this necessity
by equating the place and value of both violent and non-violent
forms in the struggle of the proletariat to advance towards communist
look at Asumir's line on war and politics up close.
Revolutionary Politics must be in Command of a Revolutionary War
Protracted War", Comrade Mao clearly states that all wars have a
political character, and he explains the dialectical relationship
between war and politics. Chairman Mao said: "When politics develops
to a certain stage beyond which it cannot proceed by the usual means,
war breaks out to sweep the obstacles from the way.... But if the
obstacle is not completely swept away, the war will have to continue
till the aim is fully accomplished." ("On Protracted War", "On War
and Politics", SW, v 2, p 153, Foreign Languages Press)
Every war is waged to achieve a definite political objective and
will need to continue until this objective is achieved. At the same
time, the relationship between war and politics is highly dynamic
- the two aspects constantly interpenetrate and influence each other.
In class struggle, only revolutionary politics could lead to a revolutionary
war, and once it is started only revolutionary politics could maintain
and develop it as such. Class collaborationist reformist politics
will neither lead to nor serve a revolutionary war.
From this interplay between war and politics, it follows that the
position of the oppressed classes and the political objective of
a revolutionary war decide the depth and scope of the war, how it
should be conducted in terms of strategy and tactics, and even its
macro and micro policies (political, economic, etc.), manoeuvres,
formations, and so on. For example, Comrade Mao pointed out that
the victory of the anti-Japanese war of resistance was not separable
from its political objective (to oust the Japanese invaders and
form a new China); nor was it separable from the general directive
of perseverance in the war of resistance, the united front, mobilizing
the whole people, the concept that people, not weapons, are decisive,
and so on. This is crucial to grasp, because on this basis we should
proceed to examine whether Asumir's policy of a "peace accord"
serves revolutionary war and revolutionary politics in Peru or is
antagonistic to both. In short, either reformist policies will be
renounced by revolutionary war or, if reformism prevails, it will
bring about defeats and finally will transform the revolutionary
nature of the war. From this dynamic relationship between war and
politics follows the great importance of a correct ideological,
political and military line for revolutionary warfare. The history
of our class has proven that at times the outcome of an important
two-line struggle can have a crucial impact on a revolutionary war.
at the pattern of some more recent counter-insurgency strategies,
we can observe that the imperialists have been using this interplay
of war and politics in wearing down the guerilla movements and in
finally dealing death blows to them: alternating between striking
them militarily, and on that basis trying to "mellow them down politically",
followed by dealing them further military blows. Today in Peru,
the reactionaries are trying to use this same policy. They have
intensified their operations against the base areas, and they are
trying hard to turn their success in capturing Comrade Gonzalo and
dealing other blows to the party structure into a political victory
in order, in turn, to fortify their military plans aimed against
the People's War.
Asumir says both war and politics are forms of the great
that war is the highest form of struggle and that seizing
power through revolutionary violence is the central task of the
communists everywhere. To eliminate these crucial points (highest
and central) in the relationship between the two forms of
struggle is pure eclecticism, that is, slick opportunism. In the
dialectical relationship between politics and war, in the overall
sense, it is politics which is the principal aspect - that is, it
is the political objective of the war which determines the nature
and circumstances of the war, and the way that it should be conducted.
From here it flows that politics should command the gun and the
party should command the army. But when we are talking about the
measures that must be taken by the proletariat and the people to
seize power, we must not forget that between the two forms of
struggle (political and armed struggle), armed struggle is principal
and all other forms should serve to prepare it, and when the war
is launched, they must serve to develop it and bring it to victory.
principle has been born out of objective reality, not simply out
of anyone's mind. The underlying basis for this profound truth is
that class antagonisms throughout the world overall have reached
a point where they can only be solved through war, in particular
in the oppressed nations where the conditions are generally already
ripe for starting revolutionary warfare. This basis has been further
strengthened in the era of imperialism and is continuously being
reinforced by the very workings of imperialism on a daily basis.
The fact that the struggles of the oppressed masses continuously
break into armed struggle is testimony to this truth. The fact that
the political forces of the revolutionary movements have been slaughtered
and are continuously chased and violently suppressed by the reactionary
states even before laying their hands on a gun has been and is strong
evidence that revolutionary warfare is on the agenda. The fact that
reactionary states in the oppressed nations rule by open violence
against the people and utilize short intervals of "openings" and
"peace" to temporarily calm down the oppressed and lure the revolutionaries
and their party structures into the daylight in order to hunt them
down even more savagely - and this story goes on and on - all this
cries out to say that war is on the agenda, and this is forcing
itself to the fore to be seen and recognized and acted upon consciously
by the revolutionaries.
Different laws govern war and politics
says, "politics is war without bloodshed, just as war is politics
with bloodshed... both are forms of the great political war that
is the class struggle, and the latter is the development of the
contradiction between revolution and counter-revolution...." "War
is initiated and develops according to concrete conditions
and as these change, the forms of struggle must change...."
demonstrated how Asumir distorts the relationship between
war and politics and how it muddies the centrality of armed struggle
in the struggle of the proletariat and the people for emancipation.
Asumir also does another thing: it treats the two forms of
struggle as though going over from political struggle to war does
not constitute a leap; therefore, for Asumir it is possible
and permissible to end the war before the basic contradictions which
gave rise to it in the first place are resolved or considerably
to accomplish political goals, and, for revolutionary communists,
this means the seizure of political power. But war has its own laws
of development and its own dynamics. Mao discusses this problem
at length in "On Protracted War", and says that "war has its own
particular characteristics and in this sense it cannot be equated
with politics in general."
law of all wars is to preserve one's own forces and destroy those
of the other side. To meet this end (preserve-destroy), the hostile
parties in all wars try to use strategy and tactics that are favourable
for them and unfavourable for the enemy. Mao explained this to the
representative of the PLO in these words: all military logic comes
down to "you fight your way, I"ll fight my way." (Mao Tsetung
Unrehearsed [UK edition]/Chairman Mao Talks to the People [US edition],
ed Stuart Schram)
does war have its own laws of development and its own dynamics,
but these laws take particular forms in particular contexts. Thus,
revolutionary war has its own particular laws. The fundamental principles
of war are applied with strategy and tactics which are specific
to the nature and conditions of the revolutionary class and its
enemies. For example, in revolutionary warfare, relying on the masses
is the key to victory. And in addition to the general laws of revolutionary
war, in the two types of countries (imperialist countries and semi-feudal
semi-colonial countries dominated by imperialism) revolutionary
warfare has its own particular laws. By applying these general laws,
the particularities of revolutionary war in each country must be
explored by the proletarian party that leads the war.
Chairman Mao who in a comprehensive way formulated the military
strategy of the proletariat and especially the military strategy
for the oppressed countries. Its cardinal points are, briefly: people's
war is necessarily protracted; this road follows an approach of
surrounding the cities from the countryside, which gives rise to
the step by step seizure of power, in particular through building
rural base areas in which the party leads the masses of peasants
(principally the poor peasants) to exercise political power, and
from there the red army draws its recruits, its supplies and its
superior intelligence, and is able to lure the enemy into an arena
of war that is more favourable than in the white areas.
with this, Mao's military thought contains a treasure house of rich
tactical doctrines that enable a numerically and materially inferior
force to prolong the war and in the context of a protracted war
to chop up its enemy by making maximum use of the conscious dynamism
of its troops and commanders and of other tactics such as mobility,
flexibility, superior intelligence, and so on. All these points
have been utilized skilfully in 13 years of the MLM-led People's
War in Peru, and the invincibility of the strategy of people's war
has once again been proven.
from revolutionary politics to revolutionary war requires a qualitative
leap in the existence of the party (this headquarters of the war)
and in the intensity and scope of the struggle, as well as a qualitative
change in the means being used. The specific features of war lead
to the creation of a series of specific organizations and methods
and a specific process of war. These organizations make up the army
and all that relates to it. The methods include the strategy and
tactics required for leading the war.
war starts, a new life starts. It is metaphysical to assume that
the previous stage can be resurrected and replayed.
the war starts, anyone who wants to get into politics must get engaged
in this war and take a stand on it. From here on politics is the
war; it is subjected to certain rules, rules which when neglected
will bring about the ruin of the party neglecting them.
War is Led to Victory Through Twists and Turns
Asumir see the present situation of the war going on in the
country and what does it propose?
facing new problems, resolve them by applying Gonzalo Thought...
fight for the New Decision and the New Definition."
'she principle is not in question. The question is its application
according to concrete conditions (keep in mind the experience of
the 1960s and 1970s)."
is initiated and develops according to concrete conditions and as
these change, the forms of struggle must change.... "whenever possible"
also applies to us when we face an unjust war as a reply to a just
war (including as a reply to our actions...)".
to be carried out: 1) No confrontations, neutralize and respond
measure for measure...."
party is strong in politics, but we are willing to have it that
only a few remain; we will be the most tested...."
other hill has the objective that... the people's war is never repeated"
[our emphasis UICS].
us trade a present of uncertain possibilities for a future with
real and certain perspectives."
PCP wants peace, no more repression."
represents the people in the elections? No one...."
though Asumir does not explicitly say that at this stage
the People's War should be terminated, it certainly implies it,
especially by saying that, "(T)he whole process of the counter-revolutionary
war led it to be successful." It is well-known that the goal of
the counter-revolutionary war is to put an end to the People's War.
Asumir gives a clear impression that the People's War has
been defeated, and what is left should be traded for a "future"
and for the possibility to "repeat" the People's War later, when
there is a "certain perspective". This should be done by fighting
for the "Great Decision" - to arrive at a peace with the Armed Forces.
From the section on "Slogans", one can conclude that in exchange
for terminating the People's War the author is asking for "no more
repression"! And how does Asumir want to use this "no repression"
situation? Asumir is proposing that the Party should return
to political struggle, which also includes elections!
article" is more explicit in calling for ending the People's War:
'she Peace Accord that we propose... will serve to maintain the
ideological, political and organizational independence of the party...
it is a class pledge...." And the article pledges that they will
fight 'so conclude the war which has endured more than 13 years
and to establish the peace which has become a necessity for the
people, the nation, and society."
in the face of the enemy's offensive and the setbacks that the PCP
and the People's War have suffered, a line has emerged that claims
the People's War has been defeated, the conditions for carrying
out the People's War do not exist, the Party should be saved through
a peace accord which will lead to terminating the People's War (accepting
formal defeat), winning a legal position ("no more repression")
for the Party in return.
line is wrong on many accounts, but we have focused on the main
ones, leading us to conclude that if this line is put into practice
it will have tragic results for the revolution in Peru and will
be a setback for the world proletarian revolution.
a. "Concrete conditions" and the PCP's Experience of the 1960s and
suggests that with fluctuations in "concrete conditions", the proletariat
can slip back and forth between these two forms of class struggle.
to what Asumir wants to imply, war does not erupt according
to "concrete conditions", by which it means immediate, punctual
and surface conditions, but according to the deep-rooted structural
and determinant conditions flowing from strategic contradictions.
Here Asumir takes a correct concept - Lenin's insistence
that concrete analysis of concrete conditions is the living soul
of Marxism - and reduces it to simple pragmatism in the service
of opportunism, as reformists and revisionists have been doing for
as "concrete conditions" are concerned, in the lifetime of a people's
war, they will change many times, because in the course of war both
sides of the war go through transformations. Furthermore, the People's
War takes place in the context of a changing world situation.3 Changes
in concrete conditions do require a new appraisal of the concrete
conditions and may require changes in the tactics and strategies
of conducting the war, but Asumir is proposing to stop and
start it each time!
Asumir says, "keep in mind the experience of the 1960s and
1970s", it is trying to get support from the party's history at
a time when it was not waging armed struggle. Asumir implies
that the reason for not starting the war during that period was
because the "concrete conditions" had not arisen. "War is initiated
and develops according to concrete conditions, and as these change,
the forms of struggle must change."
this is a distortion of the PCP's history. We do not think that
the PCP had waited for some "concrete conditions" to arise to start
the war. It had waited mainly for restructuring the party through
two-line struggle and preparing it ideologically, politically and
organizationally. Objectively, the contradictions based on which
the PW started had been ripe for a long time, and the concrete manifestation
of this was the struggles of the peasants and other sections of
the masses in the region where the PW was initiated, and even beyond.
Choosing the best possible moment (moment, and not decade) to start
the war (when the government was changing hands) was only a tactical
question, and it was neither strategic nor global. All throughout
the two-line struggle in the Party, the forces led by Comrade Gonzalo
had succeeded in struggling for the adoption of resolutions in the
Central Committee plenums in favour of waging armed struggle - of
course, the revisionists in the Party never let those resolutions
materialize. So it is an outright distortion to imply that the Party
did not start the war in the 1960s and 1970s because it was waiting
for "concrete conditions" or "whenever possible" objectively. This
goes against the correct line - which we believe the PCP firmly
held and still holds - that revolutionary conditions develop unevenly
in the oppressed countries, making it generally possible to initiate
the war in one or another part of the country. We have never seen
or heard a summation by the PCP that it was objectively not possible
to initiate a revolutionary war during the 1960s and 1970s. The
PCP never raised disagreements with the profound truth in the Declaration
of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement that, in the
oppressed countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, a revolutionary
situation generally exists - of course, with ebbs and flows, and
not in a straight line. (see Declaration, p. 34). When
in 1965 the MIR (a focoist pro-Cuba group) started a kind of armed
struggle in Peru, the previous leadership of the PCP condemned it
as adventurist; but summing up those years, Chairman Gonzalo affirmed
that if the proletariat does not lead the armed struggle, others
will; and that it is not enough just to condemn such forces for
their mistakes, we have to take up our responsibility.
Problems should be solved in the midst of war
take a brief look at how the revolution and counter-revolution have
confronted each other since the beginning of the People's War in
Peru, and especially during difficult periods in the life of this
was modest, almost without arms. Based on a correct strategy and
tactics, with a correct appraisal of the situation, plans were drawn
up to "initiate" the People's War. An initially weak fire grew to
become great, turbulent, raging fires through protracted war. This
was an extremely important achievement for the proletariat and the
oppressed in Peru and worldwide. What did the counter-revolution
do in the face of the People's War in Peru? They opened up their
hell and let loose their demons, plagues and horsemen of the apocalypse
they tried to minimize the problem. They sent in their police force;
and they committed tremendous crimes against the people, but suffered
humiliating defeats, while the first People's Committees arose.
In the face of the advance of the new state power, the regime sent
in the Armed Forces - the backbone of the state. A state of emergency
was imposed at various times, putting millions of people under military
authority. This was a new situation in the war. The Party had to
analyze the new situation and solve the problems. The Armed Forces
began to implement the policy of pitting the masses against each
other by forming vigilante bands and unleashing white terror in
the countryside. When this failed to check the People's War, they
resorted to the most evil crimes. They began to wipe out the peasants
along with their communities and small towns in Ayacucho. In 1984
this genocide reached its height.
trumpeted that the People's War had been smashed or held back. "Senderologists",
opportunists, and even some vacillating revolutionaries said it
was impossible for the People's War to sustain its bastion in those
three states which were under assault, and they proposed that the
revolutionary forces leave those areas and come back later at an
"opportune moment". But the PCP said, "we are convinced of the great
truth of what Chairman Mao said about how an area should not be
abandoned until it has been repeatedly proven impossible to defend."
("Develop People's War", PCP CC, 1986 in AWTW 8 and 9) The
People's War proved to be superior to the enemy's strategy and savagery.
The People's Guerrilla Army and the masses under the leadership
of the PCP proved to be capable of confronting persistent offensives
and genocides. 1983 and 1984 were years of struggle centring around
restoration and counter-restoration, that is, counter-revolutionary
war to smash the new political power and to restore the old, and
revolutionary war to defend, develop and build the newly
rising people's power. This was only possible through the People's
Guerrilla Army waging a series of hard-fought contests against the
reactionary Armed Forces. The People's War developed unevenly,
that is, it was marked with fluidity, with restorations and counter-restorations,
retreats and advances, and consolidations and expansions.
course of these years, the PGA under the leadership of the PCP came
to grips with the laws governing these encounters, became steeled
and spread roots among the masses. At each step of its development
the People's War was guided by plans that were based on an appraisal
of the two sides, the 'two hills" of the war. Each plan had defined
political and military objectives and dealt with the problems of
the consolidation and advance of the war.
People's War advanced, the US imperialists stepped up their hidden
intervention in the form of more aid to the Armed Forces, setting
up bases and so on, as well as preparing public opinion under the
pretext of the "war on drugs". But the US did not intervene openly.
They continued with their "low intensity warfare", one objective
of which was to cut the head off the People's War through utilizing
complicated covert activities.
they clearly saw the People's War as a "national security threat"
to US imperialism; they came up with elaborate plans to restructure
and tighten up the Peruvian state's repressive institutions in order
to carry out an all-round suppression campaign. This campaign resulted
in victories for the enemy: most importantly, the capture of Chairman
Gonzalo and the blows to the Party's structure. This was the most
important military victory that the old state achieved in its counter-revolutionary
war against the People's War. But what is to be done? It has never
been smooth sailing for the People's War in Peru. In 13 years it
has confronted difficulties, twists and turns and new situations.
But all were looked at and solved in the context of defending and
developing the People's War. In short, everything was solved and
built around the centre of combat guided by correct strategy and
tactics plus tenacity, striving and giving blood. This kind of orientation
can only flow from a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideological and political
line. It becomes a strategic orientation for people's war once it
c. The People's War is far from over. Partial defeat is not absolute
claim that the whole process of counter-revolutionary war has succeeded
is, to be polite, unfounded. Don's count chickens before they hatch.
Even the "Senderologists" and Yankee analysts do not make such a
claim of success; and if this were the case, why is the reactionary
Fujimori making desperate noises about this "peace" business, trying
to use it for "pacification"? Against whom is he launching the "little
Vietnam" operation? Why are they bombing the villages, why are they
desperately kidnapping students and lawyers and killing them? How
can anyone deny the resounding operations of the People's War, even
under the most difficult circumstances, carried out under the leadership
of the PCP CC? We think the capture of Chairman Gonzalo and other
leaders and cadres of the PCP and the blows to the Party structures
have been a setback for the People's War, but however great that
setback was, it cannot negate the whole process of the People's
War. It failed to deal the death blow to the People's War. It is
extremely difficult for the enemy to root out a 13-year-old
people's war led by a Maoist force. This has been a profound People's
War reflecting the masses" deep class hatred and their yearning
for liberation led by a thoroughgoing proletarian force. And the
People's War has many favourable factors in reserve to use in order
to beat back this offensive, defend itself, and on that basis develop.
in Peru today there is an aroused peasantry. This is an undeniable
military factor that the Peruvian regime and its Yankee boss
cannot afford to overlook. This aroused peasantry and people have
turned into a material force for people's war. The PCP has been
successful in arousing the women to break their chains and join
the revolution; it has been able to incorporate a great number of
women fighters into all levels and aspects of the People's War.
The PCP has also succeeded in mobilizing impressive sections of
important basis of the People's War (the people and especially the
poor peasants) are far more solid than ever in the modern history
of class struggle in that country, and it is not an easy thing for
the enemy to do away with. As their Rand Corporation report states,
"...(T)he movement is firmly entrenched in the highlands.... Sendero
now enjoys a substantial base of support in the countryside and
has begun actively recruiting from amongst the urban unemployed.
It has also proven to be a resilient, adaptable and ruthless organization.
These traits, together, have made Sendero a formidable adversary."
(Rand paper, cited in AWTW 16, "Our Red Flag is Flying",
centuries of being brutally suppressed and degraded by the ruling
classes, in the course of 13 years of People's War the oppressed
masses in Peru (the workers, the peasantry, especially the poor
peasantry, and intellectuals) have been boldly aroused by the PCP
and have been mobilized behind a programme representing their fundamental
class interests. The PCP unleashed their initiative and led them
to take their destiny into their own hands and to fight for their
liberation themselves. The PCP has put guns in their hands and has
given them a real sense of power to fight for a new life that they
could only dream of in the past. It has armed many peasants with
an ideology and programme that they can wield in their interests
to change the world. In addition to this, the PCP has organized
many of them into the Party, the army and other mass organizations;
it has taught them how to unite, isolate the enemy and fight to
destroy it. All this has changed the masses remarkably, and they
have the ability to bounce back from the inevitable suppression
campaigns by the enemy.
internationalist character of this People's War, the fact that it
has been carried out as a war in the interests of the proletarian
and oppressed masses of the world and has shown them the true road
to liberation, the fact that it is the most advanced revolutionary
struggle in the world today, and that the PCP is a detachment of
RIM, has aroused and inspired thousands of proletarians and oppressed
masses from around the world. This is also a material force that
the imperialists must deal with, and now they are trying to do so,
mainly by trying to crush the People's War.
to deal death blows to such a war is a very difficult job even for
the Yankees who got "special Vietnamese treatment" and claim to
before the capture of Comrade Gonzalo, the Yankee imperialists"
counter-insurgency analysts warned that the possibility of the seizure
of power by Sendero Luminoso (as the international bourgeoisie calls
the PCP) had appeared on the horizon, showing the stage the People's
War has reached.
imperialist analysts continue to suggest that this war is far from
over, despite the recent setbacks suffered by the PCP, implying
that they should persevere in their counter-revolutionary war.
all this we want to conclude that there is a tremendous material
basis for defending the People's War, and if it is not defended
by going all out, this will be a betrayal of the masses in Peru
and the oppressed masses around the world. To end the People's War
would only be in the service of semi-feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism
and imperialism, especially Yankee imperialism. We can see that
it is not easy for the enemy to bring about a complete defeat of
the People's War. In the history of class struggle, there might
be cases of setbacks experienced by revolutionary forces where there
would be no military strategies or tactics that could lead to a
reversal in the situation. But even in that case, once in the war
such an assessment should be left aside, because it cannot be an
operational principle: one's operational principle can only be to
do the best one can.4 However, the present case is not at all
one of those cases. In other words, there are great favourable
factors for the PCP to turn the tide around and preserve the People's
War and on that basis to develop it toward victory. As Chairman
Mao says, all defeats are relative and rarely is there an absolute
defeat; he says that from the strategic point of view we can speak
of defeat only when our operation against an "encirclement-and-suppression"
campaign fails; and he adds that even this is a partial and temporary
defeat. "For only the total destruction of the Red Army in the civil
war is counted as a complete defeat." As a result of the success
of Chiang Kai-shek's fifth campaign of suppression and encirclement,
the People's War in China lost vast base areas, and the Red Army
had to move to other parts of the county, the members of the
party, the Red Army and the size of the base areas were reduced
by 90 percent; even so, Chairman Mao says that 'she loss of
extensive base areas and the shift of the Red Army constituted a
temporary and partial defeat, not a final and complete one." ("Problems
of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War", chap. 4, p. 202)
if a revolutionary army faces a complete defeat, it should use maximum
efforts to wrench the most political victories out of it. It must
not let that military defeat turn into a political defeat by capitulating.
Accepting defeat easily before all the initiative and determination
of the fighters and masses are exhausted will have such an effect.
These efforts, if they don's create miracles, at least will be an
equivalent of a type of Paris Commune last-ditch battle, which was
necessary to provide the further schooling of the masses and their
training for the next struggle. However, again, we are not assigning
the PCP to defeat; in fact, we strongly believe that the opposite
is the case, that the difficulties can be overcome and victory is
possible. The People's War can and should be preserved and developed.
Asumir's approach cuts against the strategy of protracted
the great contributions of Mao Tsetung was his development, in theory
and practice, of protracted people's war. Mao was able to show that
in China (and he later came to hold this to be generally true of
the countries oppressed by imperialism), it was possible and necessary
for the proletariat to engage the reactionary classes in a lengthy
war, beginning from a position of weakness and gradually developing
to a position of strength. In the document Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!,
our Movement has united around the understanding that, in the oppressed
countries, armed struggle is the main form of struggle and the people's
army is the main form of mass organization.
war is imperative for being able to ride out the twists and turns
of the war and accumulate forces. Chairman Mao says that making
the war protracted is a strategic aim.
quality of the People's War in Peru under the leadership of the
PCP has been its success in avoiding being aborted by the enemy
or becoming diseased by a wrong line; thus, preserving and developing
the war, growing from small to big, from weak to strong, represents
a tremendous achievement. Chairman Mao stresses that the revolutionary
army must strive to gain the ability to prolong the war in order
to strengthen its forces step by step and help hastening/awaiting
the emergence of a favourable situation for the nationwide seizure
of power. A protracted war is a disadvantage to the enemy and an
advantage to the revolutionary army; it is crucial for the revolutionary
army for gaining and regaining initiative and for achieving the
aim of preserving-destroying. Pessimistic evaluations of the situation,
like what we can see in Asumir and the prison article, will
lead to adopting defeatist measures that are detrimental to the
objective of prolonging the People's War and therefore preserving
and developing the forces of revolution. When a revolutionary army
loses initiative because of any number of reasons (wrong analysis
and polices, or the enemy's all-around pressure that cannot be withstood),
it can only regain it through applying the laws of this revolutionary
the war in the face of difficult or even seemingly impossible conditions
would go against the laws of protracted people's war, because if
the objective of prolonging a people's war - through twists and
turns - is not achieved, then the forces of revolution will not
be able to gather enough strength and ability to defeat the enemy.
As comrades from Turkey have summed up: "In this manner, there is
no way to experience the accumulation of the forces of the armed
struggle, the development of a social and political base! Just think
about it, you build your army, your guerilla forces; then comes
peaceful struggle.... Such a point of view, what will it cost the
to preserve guerilla warfare and develop it, one can never underestimate
the role of the base areas. This is the vitally important factor
in making protracted war possible and building its armed strength.
Being able to keep the flame alive so long that it gave rise to
base areas (at any level) has been an invaluable achievement for
the revolution in Peru. This is to be used now in order to repulse
the enemy's advances and preserve the People's War and develop on
that basis. Anyone concerned with preserving the revolutionary forces
in Peru today must be concerned with consolidating and developing
the revolutionary army and the base areas. 'she concrete solution
depends, of course, on the circumstances", as Mao put it. ("Problems
of Strategy in Guerrilla War", chap. 6, p. 101) To argue that solving
these problems successfully depends upon taking new conditions into
account is one thing, and to argue that it is not possible to preserve
the core of these achievements is quite another. The latter will
go against the fundamental interests of the people.
Once the red flag has been raised, there is no bringing it down
and the prison article treat war as though it were a plaything.
Well, it is not! Especially because of its social content, a revolutionary
war is a passionate and furious war. As Comrade Gonzalo pointed
out, "Marx taught us you cannot play with insurrection, with revolutions;
once you have raised the flag of insurrection, once you have taken
up arms, there is no bringing it down; you have to hold it high
until victory and never bring it down. This he taught us and it
does not matter what price we have to pay." (Chairman Gonzalo, Interview
with El Diario, 1988)
is judged by its social content. The fundamental point of all wars
is 'so preserve your forces and destroy the forces of the enemy".
But these laws operate in interaction with social content and the
context in which the war is being waged. The more thoroughgoing
the political goal and deep-rooted the hostilities, the more comprehensively
this principle is embraced. "As policy becomes more ambitious and
vigourous, so will war, and this may reach the point where war attains
its absolute form." (Clausewitz, On War, p. 606) For example,
when the imperialists fight each other, they don's annihilate each
other because this is not in the interests of their capitalist base
of production. They just force capitulation and extract concessions.
But when it comes to people's war, they will not rest short of annihilating
it, and their activities to this end will cease only when they are
defeated and their state power is overthrown. Even after a proletarian
state is firmly established, the imperialists will try to overthrow
it. "When we say imperialism is "ferocious", we mean that its nature
will never change, that the imperialists will never put down their
butcher knives... till their doom". (Mao, Red Book, "War
power, the proletariat must destroy the old state, the heart of
which is the army, which must be defeated and subdued by the revolutionary
army. This is a sharply antagonistic war in which great social forces
come into play, and the stakes are very high for both sides. If
the proletariat could simply take over the old state machinery and
put it into use, this war probably would have been less ferocious
and intense. There are many kinds of just wars, but the social content
of all the rest of them is qualitatively limited in comparison to
proletarian wars. Proletarian-led wars have as their ultimate aim
shattering and sweeping aside the material underpinnings of imperialism
and all forms of oppression and exploitation, and they are able
to unleash the full energy of the masses. The reactionary states
will not stop at extracting capitulation and concessions from the
proletarian-led revolutionary wars; they will use any such concessions
to attain the political objective of their side of the war - to
annihilate the people's war. This is only natural, because war is
an instrument of policy and must necessarily reflect its character
and be measured by its standards. They also judge our war by its
Mao pointed out, "Mankind's era of wars will be brought to an end
by our own efforts, and beyond doubt the war we wage is part of
the final battle. But also beyond doubt the war we face will be
part of the biggest and the most ruthless of all wars." (Mao, "Problems
of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War", 'she Aim of War Is To
Eliminate War", SW, v 1, p.183) How could it be otherwise?
Communism, as Marx said, is the most thoroughgoing rupture with
the old property relations, with the social relations that arise
on that basis, with the political- ideological superstructure that
guards and enforces these, and with old ideas and habits. How could
a war with the goal of bringing such a society into being not be
the most ferocious and ruthless; how could the bourgeoisie not be
fired with passionate hatred towards this war and those who wage
it? No war in history has demanded so much audacity and sacrifice.
because of the nature of revolutionary warfare, once such a war
is started we cannot return to mainly peaceful struggle. However,
this is something that the armed revisionists and bourgeois nationalist
forces often do. Why and how is it possible for them, and not for
us? Because of the reformist nature of their "war"; because their
strategy is not to destroy the old state but to win a place in it.
This is nothing more than a kind of armed struggle or at best "minimal
or limited war", which consists in merely threatening the enemy,
with negotiations held in reserve. 'shey are not gambling high stakes
but haggling petty concessions", Clausewitz remarked, and he explained
this phenomenon: "When the motives and tensions of war are slight
we can imagine that the very faintest prospect of defeat might be
enough to cause one side to yield. If from the very start the other
side feels that this is probable, it will obviously concentrate
on bringing about this probability rather than take the long way
round and totally defeat the enemy.... Suppose one merely wants
a small concession from the enemy. One will only fight until some
modest quid pro quo has been acquired, and a modest effort should
suffice for that. The enemy's reasoning will be much the same."
(Clausewitz, On War, p. 604)
history shows that even the revisionist and bourgeois nationalist
forces should not always count on this. The imperialists and their
reactionary clients in the countries dominated by imperialism usually
do not take chances with anything that might become (even if its
initiators do not intend it that way) a spark in the powderkeg of
the masses and inflame the unquenched desire of the oppressed to
take revenge against them and set their house on fire. A good example
is the war led by the FLN for the independence of Algeria. At the
very outbreak of the war, the FLN called for negotiations with French
imperialism, and in fact in their programme they called for a negotiated
settlement. But the French responded with a counter-revolutionary
war that took one million Algerian lives. Only then did the French
agree to negotiate.
the world situation is a decisive element bearing on how the imperialists
would treat a revisionist armed force. For example, during the "cold
war" period the Yankee imperialists and their Western allies and
clients were ruthless against any attempt on the part of the revisionist
or bourgeois nationalist forces that would have opened cracks and
fissures for Soviet influence in the countries dominated by the
Western bloc imperialists.
f. "Know your enemy, know yourself" is a cardinal principle in revolutionary
warfare. It is opportunism to spread dangerous illusions about the
Mao stressed that the main way a revolutionary army can preserve
its forces is through destroying the forces of the enemy. Destroying
the forces of the enemy is central to the very idea of war. Once
the war is launched, either you destroy or get destroyed. This is
how the matter must be seen; anything contrary to this is a dangerous
illusion. This means that if the enemy uses force without hesitation
and is unfettered by the bloodshed it involves, and if you refrain
from using force, the enemy will gain the upper-hand and soon destroy
you. This is what the Fujimori regime is trying to do - while they
take advantage of the so-called "peace talks", they are carrying
out a military build-up. In war, there is interaction between the
two sides. As long as the enemy is not overthrown, it can cut you
in pieces. A revolutionary army must under no conditions - however
difficult and impossible things may look - let itself be fooled
by any illusions about the other side's intentions.
also learns. It is an illusion to think that they are going to refrain
from using all of their wits and reserves to destroy a Maoist war.
For them, engaging in peace negotiations is part of and subservient
to their military strategy of wiping out the revolutionaries and
potential revolutionaries (the mass base). As much as they
can, they will apply the fundamental principle of war with orthodoxy
against a revolutionary war led by Maoists. This is so because the
political aim of the revolutionary war is to destroy the old state
and wipe out the rule of the exploitative classes forever.6
the matter is looked at in this way, then it is easy to see that
a war - especially a revolutionary war - cannot come to its conclusion
before its political objective is achieved. If before this objective
is reached, one of the parties calls off the war (for the sake of
argument, let's say in a revolutionary war the weaker side, the
revolutionary side), it is highly unlikely that the enemy will follow
suit; it might change its tactics but most likely will earnestly
go for finishing the job. (This is why the revolutionary communists
must never hesitate to "beat the drowning dog to death" ruthlessly.)
Bitter historical examples since the time of the slave wars illustrate
this amply. These rules will apply to the People's War in Peru doubly,
because it is a proletarian-led revolutionary war and because it
is a war that has been going on successfully for 13 years. Even
though the reactionaries tried from the very beginning to nip the
People's War in the bud, nonetheless, now they are going to have
to work even harder because this war has changed the political landscape
of the country forever. If the Peruvian state and Yankee imperialists
get the chance - which the People's War in Peru and the revolutionaries
of the world should of course deny them - they will unleash a protracted
campaign of blood and fire to unearth the roots that the PCP has
driven deep into Peru's heartland.
Does this mean that any compromise is impermissible?
are called forth by the course of events in the class struggle (i.e.,
they are necessary), they should be made with these principles in
mind: the fundamental interests of the people should not be compromised.
This concretely means safeguarding the People's War, which is the
most important interest of the people in Peru at the moment. This
includes the party, the army and the new power. None of these can
be dissolved. Another point is that compromises should serve the
process of development of the war, not the other way around. When
two deadly hostile parties are at war, one of the rules that govern
their compromises (such as peace negotiations between them) is that
each looks at these as preparations for waging war again - soon.
If either side of the war overlooks this and does not keep itself
prepared or makes such retreats and compromises that would undercut
its ability to resume the war at any moment, it will be the loser.
When Chairman Mao declared that negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek
were necessary, before going to Chungking he drew up an operational
plan for the Red Army. Furthermore, he declared that the Red Army
would not accept the dissolution of the base areas. Therefore, we
do not deny the role of political manoeuvres and even compromises,
but whenever needed these must be subservient to the process of
war. When required, diplomatic notes can be exchanged, but they
cannot take the place of war.7
this mean that there could not be a pause in the war? War develops
in ebbs and flows, advances in one area and retreats in another;
it is marked with periods of tension and rest, heightened activities
and preparing/waiting, as well as retreats and advances. This is
especially true in protracted people's war. There might be a pause
or lull in the war, but it will break out again until one side is
completely swallowed by the other side and subdued. There could
even be disengagement or a ceasefire, but the revolutionary forces
should prepare seriously for the war to be resumed soon; as long
as the reactionary army is the superior force, the revolutionary
forces cannot count on the reactionaries to abide by ceasefire agreements.
And the revolutionary forces must not allow the temporary and exceptional
conditions of a ceasefire to undermine their fighting capacity and
to spread illusions among the masses. Even when a ceasefire is a
correct tactic, the revolutionary forces must calculate how the
enemy is going to use it and what will be the results of it.
these ebbs and flows in the state of war must not be confused with
starting and stopping the war.
the war with the hope of "restarting" it in a better position is
a pipedream and an extremely dangerous illusion. At best this means
not knowing anything about war, and especially revolutionary war.
Even if Asumir repeats a hundred more times that MLM is universal,
it won's do; the problem is how to apply our universal scientific
ideology to today's conditions: what is going to happen to the People's
War, to the people's army, to the people's new power? Asumir
is not using this ideology; this can be seen from the solution it
implies for the revolution. This solution cannot even be dubbed
a "strategic retreat" or "general retreat". If it is applied, it
will have only one result: capitulation and surrender.
PRESERVING THE ACHIEVEMENTS
people's war will necessarily be protracted, it will go through
twists and turns, advances and retreats, as it advances toward final
victory. The process of war will necessarily involve shifts in class
alliances and changes in policy by the revolutionary forces. Furthermore,
it is inevitable that differences in the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
party will emerge, and two-line struggle will periodically develop
over the life and death questions of strategy and tactics for advancing
is Good, Not Bad
says, 'she people's war cannot develop but only maintain itself.
There are six indispensable questions for victory in people's war...."
The prison article, which in many respects brings Asumir's
arguments to their logical conclusions in a more explicit way, denounces
the attempts by the leadership outside in persisting in people's
termination of this great and glorious stage of the World Proletarian
Revolution not only means the conclusion of this step, it is at
the same time the beginning and the gestation of another newer and
higher stage of the era of proletarian revolution which continues
and will continue the road and within which the termination of the
People's War begun in May 1980 is only exchanging a present full
of uncertain possibilities for a real and certain future, that is,
in the world and in the country what is at stake is not only the
present but the future of the class and the people, today it is
not fleeting and feeble but the solid decades of new and greater
and higher combats to come for every class but especially the final
one: the proletariat...."; "...but in the current situation, this
People's War (PW) cannot develop, triumph and still less conquer
power. Even more, continuing under the current circumstances runs
the increasing risk of defeat and destruction and could lead to
a collapse, it would be to "lose one's head and commit a monstrous
crime" against the party, the class, the people and the revolution...."
there should be no confusion that the two-line struggle is over
what conditions are required for "victory" (nationwide seizure of
power by the PCP)8; rather, it is over whether to preserve/maintain9
the PW and on that basis develop it, or to end it and become a non-warring
political party because supposedly the "whole process of counter-revolutionary
war has led to its success" and because "concrete conditions" do
not allow the PW to be maintained and developed.
we should dispel any confusion that there is something wrong with
maintaining the struggle. It is great and must be supported. It
is only through maintaining the war in the face of the assaults
of the enemy and wrong lines that the basis can be laid for future
leaps in the PW's development. Within the limitations that are imposed
by objective conditions, we must play a dynamic role in striving
for victory. Chairman Mao stressed that we must endeavour to achieve
everything which, objectively and subjectively, is capable of achievement,
by going all out and aiming high, "in a word, we must deal in abstractions,
too - revolutionary romanticism is a good thing." (Mao Unrehearsed,
article is attempting to set the terms of debate at the false level
that either leadership must come up with precise plans for advancing
now, or "call off the game!". But the real question is whether
to find solutions for the new problems with the objective of maintaining
and advancing the PW, or to give in to the difficulties and end
the war. The struggle is over whether to go all out, aim high and
"direct the performance of many dramas" within the limitations imposed
by the conditions, or demolish what is left and go home? Should
we defend what we have achieved, or scatter it to the wind and commit
a crime against our class and people in Peru and worldwide?
line itself is a dangerous menace to the PW and the PCP today. The
prison article's consolations about "bright future" and its warning
against the horrors of "collapse" are low religious stuff. If this
line dominates, the present and the future of the PCP will be destroyed.
This is not prophecy, but a profound truth drawn from the experience
of our class in more than a hundred years of tortuous and bloody
the problems facing the PCP and the PW might be very complex and
the conditions hard. But the approach proposed in Asumir is
On precise plans and quick decisions
article goes on to make the statement: "In opposition to this proletarian
party position of the left and of the red faction only are the rightist
position of negating and abandoning the revolution ... and the simplistic,
ultra-left line of "MAINTAINING THE STRUGGLE" without clear and
precise, solid political bases, lacking objectives."
also calls the comrades who are persevering in the People's War
"blanquists". To this we recall what Comrade Mao said, "We are criticized
for craving greatness and success. Well then, should we seek pettiness
and failure? Should we value the past and despise the future? We
must crave greatness and success. The people who say so are good
people. We must indeed keep up our fighting spirit." (Mao Unrehearsed,
p. 95) When the revisionists started to attack the Maoist cadres
during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), Chairman
Mao taught us: 'she revolutionary cadres must be protected and protected
with full justification and boldness." ("Mao Analyzes the GPCR",
appendix to Jean Daubier's A History of the Chinese Cultural
Revolution, p. 312)
argued that the leadership outside of prison should come up with
clear-cut plans now or they should be judged incapable and
should give up and go home! This arrogance towards the comrades
who are operating under extremely difficult conditions hurts, but
we will respond with cool heads. At times the leaders are slow not
because they lack dynamic brains, but because the nature of the
situation is such that it requires more time. And if they act hastily
without a solid basis - with a partial knowledge of essential factors
-- they might do the job less well. This is because the subjective
factor always lags behind the objective factor, and especially so
at times of important changes in the objective situation. Comrade
Mao said: "But it takes time to clarify thinking and to study policy,
and we still have much to learn".10
"clarifying of our thinking" sometimes inevitably goes through struggling
things out within the party leadership itself, and this process
cannot be pushed aside even under the conditions of war.
not arguing against the importance, and even the crucial importance,
of quick decisions by the leaders, especially when we are engaged
in struggle at close quarters with the enemy. Nonetheless, unfounded
hasty decisions will lead to subjective errors and rash advances
(or worse, "haste" in dismantling the accomplishments of
the war!). We are arguing for seeing the dynamic dialectics between
knowing and doing, taking into account the objective and subjective
factors, and going all out and aiming high.
it might be wrong to try to immediately sum up everything and to
fully develop the line and policies of the coming period, because
not all essential factors are known. This is materialism. We are
told that either the PCP must come up with precise plans and demonstrate
the capacity right now for developing the war, or it should
stop the war! What kind of logic is this? What is the "solid political
basis and objective" for this argument? With this logic, Mao should
not have organized the Long March. When he started the Long March,
he did not even know they were going to end up in the North. The
immediate goal of the Long March was to maintain the struggle
after the defeat that the forces of revolution suffered from the
fifth suppression campaign of Chiang Kai-shek as a result of the
dominance of a wrong "left" line which did not see the protracted
nature of the war. It was well into the Long March that the expanded
meeting of the political bureau of the CPC CC was convened in Tsunyi;
a new leadership led by Comrade Mao was established, and the meeting
was limited to taking decisions on the most urgent military and
organizational affairs. Only at the end of the Long March was the
CC able to study and lay out precise policies. (See footnote 1,
"On the Tactics of the Struggle against Japanese Imperialism", SW,
v 1) "If you mean did we have any exact plans", Comrade Mao
later told Edgar Snow, 'she answer is that we had none. We intended
to break out of the encirclement and join up with the other soviets.
Beyond that, there was only a very deliberate desire to put ourselves
in a position where we could fight the Japanese." (cited in China's
Revolutionary War, Dick Wilson)11
times it is possible and necessary to maintain even without
having a clear picture of what will be the course of developing
the war towards the seizure of power - although we must have that
perspective. If the PCP only maintains the PW even at a low level
today, then tomorrow it will be in a better position to advance
towards seizing power.
these things means not understanding the uneven nature of development
of the protracted people's war, which is full of twists and turns.
The dialectics of maintaining and developing
Mao stressed that "holding one's ground and extending it are inseparably
connected". ("After the fall of Shanghai and Taiyuan", SW,
v 2, p. 68) In 1930, he said, 'shey [the pessimistic comrades] seem
to think that, since the revolutionary high tide is still remote,
it will be labour lost to attempt to establish political power by
hard work." ("A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire," SW,
v 1, p. 117) Enver Hoxha tried to slander Chairman Mao's theory
of protracted war as "endless", "without perspective". This was
just self-serving revisionist slander. For Mao, it was clear that
the people's war would necessarily be protracted and that power
would be seized step by step. Also, Mao never said that armed struggle
should only be initiated if the prospect of quick victory exists.
No. He always said the Red Army is small and must gradually grow
from weak to strong, and moreover that the final victory depends
on many other national and international factors, factors which
can prolong or shorten the course of the war.
in the past has correctly criticized "eternalization of the war",
which leads to reformism and warlordism. On the basis of this correct
understanding and firmly grasping the objective of the PW (seizure
of power to establish New Democracy and Socialism), the PCP, through
its plans, has systematically developed the PW towards that objective
- establishing political power step by step and preparing each stage
of the war in such a way as to lay the basis for advance to the
next one with the perspective of the total seizure of power. However,
this must not be seen as a straight-line advance. This advance has
been wavelike and has involved restoration/counter-restoration,
and it cannot be otherwise. It appears that today the PW is facing
a difficult offensive by the enemy, and it should not be ruled out
that the counter-restoration this time will be more complex. In
similar situations the revolutionary forces, basing themselves on
a correct appraisal of the situation and objective possibilities,
and through perseverance, can overcome the odds and advance and
even reap unexpected fruit. This way is qualitatively more "certain"
than the promised future of "re-starting". War is full of uncertainties,
but surrendering is hopeless.
social activity of human beings is as full of uncertainties as war.
This does not mean that we should not have strategy and tactics.
Correct strategy and tactics based on a correct and precise appraisal
of overall and specific situations is the basis of our success -
but the only thing that can counterbalance the inevitable uncertainties
of war is perseverance, courage and boldness.
or preserving is a very dynamic process. It is not passive at all;
on the contrary, in order to maintain the war, the schemes of the
enemy must be defeated, the core of the gains must be consolidated,
and the grounds must be laid for future leaps.
March not only preserved the core of the army and the party through
the measure of retreat, but it also tightened the links of the party
with the masses on its way - it forged ties with the masses, was
able to continuously recruit them to the main forces of the Red
Army along the march as well as to local forces, and also prepared
the ground for future harvests.12
Analyzing new conditions in war
says, "...(T)hey [the leadership outside] do not analyze the new
problems, the direction...".
of course they should! And we assume they are doing just that. We
do not at all undermine the vital necessity of analysing the new
conditions and new problems in order to lay out plans which correspond
to objective reality. We also hold that it is wrong to insist that
nothing has changed, so there is no need to think hard and adjust
the plans. However, as the case of Asumir itself shows, the
main problem is not whether the new problems and conditions should
be analyzed; the main problem is how to analyze them correctly,
avoiding subjectivism in its right and "left" forms, and on that
basis develop correct strategy and tactics for successfully
carrying out the PW under today's conditions.
to accomplish this, the basic line of the party should be taken
as the key link. The relation between the basic line and the line
for concrete measures must be handled correctly. The basic line
must occupy a commanding position and guide concrete measures and
policies. It is the basic principle in everything. That is why Comrade
Mao said, "line is the key link; once it is grasped, everything
falls into place." Without this, the revolutionaries will lose their
clarity of thinking and orientation; they will risk having an increasingly
short-sighted view of things. This, indeed, will lead to looking
only at immediate interests and losing sight of the long-term interests
of the party and the people.
ground oneself on the basic line in no way means to neglect concrete
line for concrete conditions. Without this, indeed, the implementation
of the party's basic line does not mean much.
not able to be sure of exactly what new analysis the leadership
has made of the situation and whether any necessary adjustments
have been made in the pattern of the war or not. But even if they
have not done so, it does not make Asumir's wholesale pessimistic
analysis of the conditions and its new strategy (reaching
a peace accord with the Fujimori regime to end the PW with the hope
of "repeating" it sometime later) any more viable. What is the basis
for Asumir's own analysis and strategy? It is important to
take into account that it is difficult for a group of people who
have been torn away from the collectivity of their party and from
the masses in struggle, and whose supply of information is controlled
by the enemy, to develop a correct concrete analysis and on that
basis correct concrete strategy and tactics for the whole party.
A communist party's correct and unswerving tactics of struggle can
only emerge in the course of mass struggle, that is, through actual
comrade, even from prison, has the right to warn against mistakes
and shortcomings that would lead to weakening the PW. But these
shortcomings - real or imaginary - cannot be used as justification
for suggesting that the PW should be shut down.
"left" opportunist deviations (such as those in the Communist Party
of China which opposed making required adjustments in the policies
and the course of the war called forth by dramatic changes in the
conditions, or which opposed making necessary compromises and building
united fronts with sections of the exploiting classes) have also
done considerable damage on different occasions and have often helped
lay the basis for or even transformed into openly rightist, capitulationist
policies, experience has shown that historically the main danger
is revisionism - abandoning the revolutionary struggle for power
and the final goal of socialism and communism. Asumir and
the prison article's "concrete line" is alien to the PCP's basic
line for making revolution in Peru. Their analysis is wrong and
their proposed plan is deadly wrong.
Will be Hell on Earth for the Masses in Peru if the People's War
is Not Maintained
the Asumir article and the other document claim that, 'she
people want peace"!
people? The people are divided into classes.
the author's people? Most probably the middle classes who vacillate
greatly when the enemy unleashes white terror, some of whom even
desert to the side of the enemy. During setbacks and unbridled attacks
by the enemy, many of the middle class forces sit tight, and the
opportunists and rich peasants who had joined the party will desert
to the enemy ranks. Workers, peasants and shantytown dwellers have
been a strong base of the PW and will continue to be; this does
not rule out the possibility of some kind of war weariness among
these strata. But it is also true that the enemy's assaults against
the PCP have kindled the outrage of many of these masses to the
point that they are going to be more determined than ever to rise
to the occasion and carry the war to the end, no matter what.
know the exact feeling and mood of different sections of the people
(and it is remarkable how Asumir came to know about the desires
of different strata of the people for peace through Fujimori's iron
bars), but even if there is war weariness among sections of the
people who are the base of the PW, the solution is not to stop the
war and blow to the wind the fruits of the people's 13 years of
sweat and blood. These problems have their own Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
solutions. One thing is for certain: peaceful political struggle,
proposed by the line under discussion, is not going to arouse and
organize the millions of poor peasants in the countryside who are
the main force of revolution under the leadership of the proletariat
in the New Democratic Revolution.
party initiated the war on the basis of the thirst of the enslaved
to rebel against their slavery. Even if some people make compromises,
this will not stop the struggle of the masses, and this struggle
will break into armed struggle sooner or later. The war in Vietnam
re-started in this way after the country had been divided and peace
had been reached, following the defeat of the French imperialists.
When the Saigon regime went wild in white areas, taking revenge
on the masses, the masses could not take this and began to organize
resistance, even though the party had not developed any plans to
will happen to the oppressed if "peace" is reached and they lose
their PW and army? They will have more of the same misery they have
always had, and, moreover, the enemy will unleash a campaign of
bloody revenge against them with the aim of 'seaching" them to "never
touch a gun again"; such a campaign of terror and massacres will
make all of the enemy's previous genocidal campaigns look innocent
in comparison. This too is part of why you cannot stop the war once
you have launched it.
have changed after 13 years of turning the society upside down,
which is more than fine for the international proletariat and more
than a nightmare for the international bourgeoisie. Now the proletarian
party and the masses under its leadership in Peru have ascended
way up the mountain towards the summit of victory; here both the
opportunities and dangers are high. Remembering Mao's last letter
to Comrade Chiang Ching in July 1976, we can see that to climb to
the top is the only way: "In the struggle of the past ten years
I have tried to reach the peak of revolution, but I was not successful.
But you could reach the top. If you fail, you will plunge into a
fathomless abyss. Your body will shatter. Your bones will break."
a People's Army, the People Have Nothing
of red political power and the ability to form and maintain a people's
army are cardinal features of Mao's line of making revolution in
the oppressed nations. Any proposed tactical or strategic readjustments
(through negotiations or other means) must take these principles
of Mao's line into account.
it very succinctly, "without a People's Army the people have nothing".
Significantly, Mao made this most important observation in his article
"On Coalition Government", when he was discussing the relationship
between the CPC and the Kuomintang and even the possibility of long-term
section, Mao refers to Chiang's demand of the "handing over of all
of the armed forces of the Liberated Areas by the Communist Party,
after which it would grant the Communist Party "legal status.""
'shese people tell the Communists, "Hand over your troops and we
will grant you freedom." According to their theory, a political
party that does not have any army should enjoy freedom. Yet whatever
freedom the Chinese Communist Party enjoyed during 1924-1927, when
it had only a small armed force, vanished with the Kuomintang government's
policies of "party purge" and massacre. And today, the China Democratic
League and the democrats within the Kuomintang, who have no armed
forces, have no freedom either. Let us take the workers, peasants
and students and the progressively inclined people in cultural,
educational and industrial circles under the Kuomintang regime -
for the last eighteen years none of them have had any armed forces,
and none of them have had any freedom." ("On Coalition Government",
SW, v 3, p. 245)
not necessary to return to the distant early years of the Chinese
revolution to find proof of Mao's point. The experience of the last
few decades in the oppressed countries has shown that without armed
forces, the people are not only unable to enjoy political freedom,
but they are subject to policies of bloody suppression and massacre
at the hands of the reactionaries. The Indonesia example of 1965,
when hundreds of thousands of communists and workers and peasants
were slaughtered, is a tragic and painful lesson. In Chile, tens
of thousands of revolutionary-minded workers and peasants and progressive
people were killed when the army overthrew the elected government
of Allende in 1973. In 1981 in Iran, thousands of communists, revolutionaries
and progressives were executed or imprisoned when the Khomeini regime
turned on those forces who had fought to bring down the regime of
the Shah. In 1982, when the forces of the Palestinian revolution
withdrew from Lebanon under the supposed "guarantee" of U.S. imperialism,
hundreds of masses were massacred in the camps of Sabra and Shatila
in the days that followed. In short, the ability of the people to
enjoy freedom, the ability of the people to advance the revolution,
and the ability of the people to defend themselves against suppression
by the class enemy requires a people's army.
Forces Must Be Preserved, But First The Party's Colour Must Be Preserved
are the communist parties good for? For making revolution, a revolutionary
party is required. One of the chief characteristics of people's
war is that it must be led by a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist communist
party. To have a red party is crucial for starting the people's
war, and it is even more crucial for developing it through tremendous
difficulties to the end. In preserving a party, its quality is the
principal aspect - whether it represents the interests of our class
against the opposing classes and concentrates its will, or not.
Chairman Mao, in a struggle against a class collaborationist tendency
which had arisen in the party, asked, "is the Communist Party to
sink to the level of the Kuomintang dictatorship of the landlords
and bourgeoisie, to the level of partial resistance?" ("After the
Fall of Shanghai and Taiyuan", "Capitulationism Must Be Combated
Both Inside the Party and Throughout the Country," SW, v
2, p. 65) And he stresses that, "In 1927 Chen Tu-hsiu's capitulationism
led to the failure of the revolution. No member of our party should
ever forget this historical lesson written in blood." (ibid, p.
warns against "paper parties"13, but its line does not seem to mind
them at all; its strategy is to take the PCP through a transformation
that at best will turn it into a paper party.
says to "defend it (the Party) against wind and tide, persist taking
the ideological-political line as decisive for the people's war."
Generally, this is a fine statement. But to persist taking the correct
ideological-political line today in Peru means to defend and
strengthen the people's war against wind and tide. Among the tasks
of the Party, this is the main one. It is in the midst of carrying
out this task, which is inseparable from fighting off the wrong
lines, that the Party will be defended and strengthened.
article states: "(P)osing that we put ourselves in the worst circumstances
the ultra-left line of "MAINTAINING THE STRUGGLE" to the death carries
the risk of the defeat of the PW and the revolution, it would be
a blind woman without political sense, the product of the most crude
and monstrous subjectivism, one-sidedness and superficiality."
fair to say that all of these adjectives could well be applied to
this article itself. Even a "blind" person has political sense;
the main question is, however, political sense of which class? To
divorce politics from war in a country that has been in a civil
war for 13 years - such a person is neither blind nor deaf and dumb,
but has a bad line. Pretending that the regime and its Yankee boss
will allow the PCP to simply slip back to the pre-1980 situation
and repeat the experience of the 1960s and 1970s - if this is not
'she most crude and monstrous subjectivism", then what is it? Disbanding
the PW and dismantling the people's armed forces will totally violate
the fundamental interests of the people, undo the accomplishments
of 13 years of revolutionary warfare and bring about the worst kind
of setback for the proletariat in Peru - politically and ideologically
as well as militarily. It is total hypocrisy to pretend that this
strategy will preserve the party. Comrade Chiang Ching could have
adopted the "realistic" attitude championed by this article, but
instead she "maintained the struggle to the death", along with her
comrade-in-arms, Chang Chun-chao. The other two (Wang Hung-wen and
Yao Wen-yuan), however, did choose to test this article's
"wise" policy, with the result that they personally are alive and
well-fed today - but can this be said to have advanced the proletarian
cause in any way?
party is defeated militarily for standing for the basic interests
of the basic masses, it can arise from its ashes again. But if it
fails to take this stand and throws to the wind the principles and
the fundamental interests of the masses, then it will be destroyed
forever and a new party must be formed, which will be a tremendously
more bitter and difficult process.
in the most extreme cases (and we emphasize again this is not the
present situation with the war led by the PCP), "...when things
have become hopeless, in the military sense, one cannot separate
politics and war: political objectives would still determine whether
or not to continue fighting... (C)apitulation in the face of certain
strategic defeat can add political defeat to military defeat." (Just
Wars and Unjust Wars, A Maoist Study of War, by S. Leonard,
Chinese comrades said, "if the party's line is correct, even if
it did not have one soldier at the beginning, it will find soldiers.
However, if the line of the party is wrong, even if it has nationwide
and regional powers and armies under its control, it will be crushed."
(A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China, Shanghai,
1974) This is the only correct guideline for "preserving the party".
Otherwise, even if the regime and its Yankee sponsors allow a party
to preserve its forces physically and it is able to remain a big
party quantitatively, that party will not be a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
party like the PCP. It might have lots of people, but these people
will have different class and political allegiances and will be
"reintegrated into society".
said, correct political-ideological line is decisive in preserving
the party. A line is correct if it represents the interests, the
aspirations and the worldview of our class. And the correct line
in Peru today is concretely expressed in the kind of attitude which
is taken towards the People's War led by the Party.
party is a product of class struggle and at the same time is its
instrument. If the party loses its colour, it will cease to be an
instrument of our class struggle.
NEW CONDITIONS, NEW PROBLEMS
Problem of Leadership
writes, "We have problems with numbers 1 and 3 (proletarian leadership
and strategic centralization)."
obvious that communist parties face the "problem of leadership"
when they lose their leaders in the midst of fierce class struggle,
especially leaders of the stature of Chairman Gonzalo. This is not
a new phenomenon, and the ICM needs to deal with it better. Undoubtedly,
today the problem of leadership is one of the challenges that faces
the leadership of the PCP. However, we believe the "solution" implied
by Asumir and explicitly put forward by the prisoners" article
is wrong. We believe such a "solution" would lead to temporarily
putting an end to the existence of the vanguard itself or would
greatly harm its ability to continue.
of the ICM has shown that every time a crisis breaks out in the
movements as a result of setbacks, a tendency arises in favour of
liquidating the achievements. It has been especially difficult for
the movements to withstand the loss of their main leaders. Perhaps
our experience and some aspects of the experience of the Communist
Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPIML) (some of which we will
examine) will help to shed light on some of the questions involved
in the debate with the Asumir line.
Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran) (UICS)
briefly here the process of restructuring the Union of Communists
of Iran (UIC and later UICS) simplifies that process somewhat. But
the reality is that it was complex, and in no way followed a straight
line. It was a process in which every other step was paved with
the blood of our dearest comrades, every other turn witnessed desertions
of fellow travellers, and all along the way numerous internal struggles
point out that our experience was different in many important ways
from the situation our comrades are facing in Peru today, and this
must be taken into account. The most important difference and,
in fact, a crucial one, is that the PCP, under the leadership
of Chairman Gonzalo, had firmly established Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
and had successfully applied MLM to the concrete conditions of Peru,
thus developing a correct and comprehensive ideological and political
line. But in our case, the blow of the enemy came at a time when
major questions of ideological and political line were pending resolution:
most important of all, our organization was suffering from a centrist
line on Mao Tsetung Thought, a disease that the UIC had caught in
the aftermath of the coup in China and during the traitorous attacks
of Enver Hoxha against Chairman Mao.
for us it was not just restructuring our organization, its links
with the masses and its practice, but ideological and political
restructuring as well. Of course, we had just overthrown a right
opportunist line of tailing the bourgeoisie before the blows of
the enemy hit our organization. The initiation of armed struggle
against the Islamic Republic (September 1981 to June 1982) under
the name of the Sarbedaran Uprising (in the city of Amol) was a
result of this rupture. Although this uprising was defeated, its
initiation shook the whole country, drove the enemy wild, and gained
the lasting love and respect of the revolutionary masses throughout
Iran. This rupture established both the centrality of revolutionary
warfare for the seizure of power and the decisiveness of proletarian
leadership in the revolutionary process.
of the Amol uprising led to the loss of our key leadership and a
major portion of our fighting force. The nationwide assaults of
the enemy against the organization - which was mainly based in the
major cities of the country - started several months later (in the
summer of 1982). As a result of the defeat of the uprising, the
right opportunist wing had gone on the offensive and the organization
was in a state of disarray when the enemy started to attack the
organization. In these assaults, which had been carefully prepared
through months of intelligence work, the enemy succeeded in capturing
the whole leadership (which was based in the capital, Teheran) and
the major portion of our cadres, dismantling most of the organizational
structures and links with the masses.
happened almost one year after the regime had purged itself from
internal rival forces and had gone on a bloody nationwide campaign
of capturing and executing the communists, mass activists, and revolutionaries,
as well as crushing all of the mass movements and their gains in
the revolution and all forms of opposition. This whole bloody episode
once again glaringly demonstrated that the people have nothing without
an army of their own.
the capture of the leadership, a group of the most daring comrades
(of the left) who had not been in the central leading bodies (such
as the Politburo or the Standing Committee) stepped forward and
took the responsibility for leading. Since the centre had
been wiped out by the enemy and the organizational structures were
disintegrated, they formed a new centre. Driven by their communist
convictions and their sharp class sense of what needed to be done,
they moved in, picked up and hoisted the red flag, and rallied the
remaining comrades around it.
immediate task was to contain the blows of the enemy and save as
many people as possible in a short time, and on that basis regroup.
Some initial summation was done of the existing situation, and directives
were issued for this.
the main obstacle was liquidationism, which became rampant after
some of the imprisoned UIC leaders capitulated ideologically and
politically and denounced our ideals and struggles - these people
were mostly from the right opportunist wing, but also included some
with a better political history. While the Islamic Republic's torture
chambers and dungeons were full of the heroic resistance of our
comrades, the regime's propaganda machine was running full blast
about "communist repentance" and totally blacked out the communist
resistance. In short, in addition to direct assaults, the enemy
was trying to eat away at our forces in this way too. It put our
people out of operation in two ways: first, by directly striking
at us, through arrests and executions, and second, by using the
capitulation of some fellow travellers and broken people to demoralize
and confuse the forces of revolution. On the other hand, the perseverance
and daring of the new leadership, along with the heroic "resistance
until death" of many of our beloved leaders and comrades in prison,
was an inspiring, driving source of strength for regrouping and
restructuring - it really raised confidence and high morale among
both the masses who supported us and within our forces.
our forces, we had to smash the liquidationist trend in theory and
practice. In theory, to show the filthy bourgeois ideology and interests
behind all that, and in practice, to persevere in restructuring
the organization under the continuous and ruthless fire of the enemy.
This quote of Lenin became our credo: "We are marching in a compact
group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each
other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and
we have to advance under their almost constant fire. We have combined
voluntarily, precisely for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and
not to retreat into the adjacent cesspool.... And now several among
us begin to cry out: let us go into this marsh!..." (What Is
To Be Done?, FLP p. 30) Our leadership upheld to the comrades
that to keep our red flag aloft, we must nourish it with our blood.14
in essence wanted to liquidate our right to rebel, our right to
have a communist organization and persevere on the road of revolution.
To do this effectively, they were mocking our communist ideology
and revolutionary spirit, attacking our achievements and underestimating
our potential and abilities15, in order to dissuade us from re-taking
the "defeated road". The defence of our revolutionary heritage and
achievements was key to defeating this liquidationist trend in its
right and sometimes even "left" forms; we vigourously defended our
communist identity, our organization and its basically correct history,
and especially the rupture with the right opportunist line and in
defence of the subsequent heroic struggle of Sarbedaran. While we
recognized our mistakes as much as we could grasp them at that time,
we refused to go on an orgy of self-criticism in the face of the
defeated the liquidationist trend and united around a revolutionary
line and strong communist convictions. The convening of the Fourth
Conference of the UICS was the culmination of this period. But this
was not the end of the process of struggle for reorganization.
period of revolution and our line and practice going into it had
to be summed up and the way forward charted. The fact that UICS
still had not settled accounts with the long overdue key questions
of ideological and political line - questions of MLM and the Strategy
- was compounding this process. Without uprooting ideological and
political problems, neither could the task of fighting liquidationism
and revisionism be completed, nor could a correct summation of our
line and practice during the most tumultuous years of the country
be presented, and the future course charted.
process, we lost new layers of our leadership two more times in
"search and destroy" assaults of the counter-insurgency police,
who never gave up the task of totally uprooting UICS. Lack of continuity
of the leadership really harmed our development - we learned the
crucial necessity of preserving leadership the hard way.
our organization's internationalist traditions was one of the strongest
points in this process. It was essential in fighting against revisionism
and liquidationism and in the process of reconstruction overall.
Many revisionist and bourgeois forces were trying to lure us in
order to enlist the name of Sarbedaran in their fronts, and to do
this they were using our liquidators too. Our response was to shut
our ears to them and open them to our international comrades. Joining
RIM took another internal struggle and was a very important leap.
This was decisive in our ideological and political development.
This brought to us the accumulated theoretical and practical experiences
of our class worldwide, including the freshest experience - the
PCP and the People's War under its leadership.
out reorganization in close conjunction with striving hard to turn
our theories into practice and to increase our material force, and
this was the only way to develop an ideologically-politically correct
and steeled organization.
we united firmly around Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the strategy
of people's war - surrounding the cities from the countryside -
and around building an organizational structure that was overall
derived from this line and in the service of implementing it. This
is the highest ideological-political and organizational unity ever
arrived at in the long life of our organization. The emergence of
this new organization was the greatest leap in the process of forming
the proletarian party in Iran - the process which is coming to a
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
of the CPI(ML) is important to sum up in regard to the problem under
discussion, and we hope the comrades from India will carry out this
task. However, our current level of understanding allows us to mention
some points about a liquidationist trend that arose in the aftermath
of the capture and death of Comrade Charu Mazumdar in captivity
at the hands of the enemy in 1971.
split into many groupings. Different kinds of liquidationist tendencies
arose. Some completely liquidated the Party's line and its achievements,
saying that, "since we were defeated, everything must have been
wrong"! Others, pretending to discard the errors (either real or
invented ones), threw the baby out with the bathwater. Another type
of revisionism was to uphold the struggle of the 1970s (Naxalbari)
in name, but in reality practice reformism. Still another reaction
to the loss of Comrade Charu Mazumdar and the crisis in the Party
was to withdraw from the overall political and ideological struggle
in India and the world and to limit themselves in a narrow nationalist
way to the immediate problems of the armed struggle. Some of the
groupings of the CPI(ML) did maintain and continue the armed struggle,
but tended to rip it out of the proletarian internationalist context
as part of the world proletarian revolution.
of the ICM shows that it has been difficult to maintain what is
correct and discard what must be discarded in the situations where
main leaders are lost and a new situation has arisen. There have
been inspiring cases of forging ahead step-by-step and even achieving
new revolutionary leaps in this process. And there have been unfortunate
experiences, where instead of taking whatever had been achieved
and building upon it, people took a cannibalizing approach towards
their own line and achievements under the guise of, "we did not
succeed", 'shere is no leadership, no line, etc".
not saying that errors should not be identified and discarded. First
of all, mistakes are inevitable and, secondly, the world is changing,
so there are always certain elements of the line that should be
discarded. But this can only be done on the basis of defending and
upholding the correct line. In class struggle it is very important
to grasp the dialectic between preserving and examining the line,
in order to be able to divide one into two and determine the principal
aspect, and on that basis on the one hand to preserve what is correct
and the achievements and build the future advances upon them, and
on the other, to discard what is wrong or what does not hold any
more because of the changes in the material world.
the current loss of leadership presents the revolutionary process
in Peru and its vanguard with great difficulties. It is not easy
to develop leaders. Losing experienced leaders is a setback in our
revolutionary efforts. Therefore, protecting leadership from the
enemy's attack is one of the most important tasks. This is crucial
for maintaining the continuity of the revolution. At the same time,
in class war this can happen anytime. We should prepare for it beforehand
by developing strong collective leadership, Maoist successors, ready
to boldly shoulder the leading responsibilities. We believe the
principle that war can be learned through waging warfare applies
in this problem too - leadership can be learned through leading.
says that in the face of big crises some people bend and others
- the majority - become steeled. This is true in the present case
too. We have confidence in the PCP and are optimistic that in this
process it will become even more steeled. Our confidence and optimism
has a strong material basis: generally, because the PCP is an ideologically
strong party which has been steeled in 13 years of the highest form
of revolution; and, specifically, the resiliency that the PCP has
brought into play in the face of such a big loss has surprised both
friend and foe and has greatly elated the international proletariat.
The PCP has a large reservoir of experience and cadres; it has a
developed line for the revolution in Peru; it has strong ideological
and political ties with the ICM, and there is RIM which can concentrate
the whole experience of the ICM - including the best internationalist
traditions of the Comintern - and make this available to the PCP.
It is disturbing that Asumir does not see this tremendous
potential and achievement.
the case of the PCP, if it were true that leadership does indeed
have the problems that are claimed in the documents under discussion,
even in such a case the proposal they make is not only not
a solution, it is in fact dangerously wrong.
main leaders are lost, it is indeed difficult and will take time
to bring forward new leaders with a correct and unswerving ideological
and political line, capable of vigourously applying MLM to the ever-emerging
contradictions of the revolution and leading it forward. But again,
this problem can only be surmounted by taking a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
approach. Strong communist leadership can only be forged in the
process of solving, in theory and practice, the problems of the
revolution. Correct ideological and political line is decisive for
this process. What is the key problem for the leadership of the
PCP to solve today? Is it how to end the war in the most orderly
fashion? No. From an MLM point of view, the key problem is how to
preserve the People's War and develop it under the new conditions
through twists and turns. The real leaders are the ones who rise
to this occasion undauntedly. These comrades will become even more
tested in the heat of surmounting new problems and advancing the
revolution. They will be even more capable of leading real victories
and advancing to final victory. These leading comrades must be supported
and preserved. There is no other route - this is the only correct
one; the rest is marshland.
article says that there can be no Gonzalo Thought without the person
of Gonzalo! Does this mean that without Chairman Gonzalo, the basic
line for revolution in Peru that developed under his leadership
can no longer be carried out? What if Comrade Gonzalo had not been
arrested and had died of natural causes? Probably these people would
have demanded that the war be led by "divine" sources. This is not
serious; it is like a religious disorder. It goes against the materialist
conception of the process of development of leaders and of their
role. Chairman Gonzalo is a product of the class struggle internationally
and nationally, and specifically of the PCP. This can be seen clearly
in his interview with El Diario in 1988. This does not mean
that the revolution in Peru and the ICM do not need him in their
front ranks. On the contrary, they do; and it was the recognition
of this vital truth that led RIM to put out an urgent and powerful
call to the Maoists and revolutionary masses around the world to
"Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo",
and to declare the international importance of this task. Today,
RIM is calling upon all Maoist parties and organizations to persevere
in this crucial campaign. But the point is that the proletariat
cannot and should not become paralysed in the face of its setbacks;
rather, it sums up and learns its lessons and continues the revolution.
we think it is useful to stress two relevant aspects of the question
of leadership. On the one hand, it must be recognised that the revolution
in its course gives rise to a group of party leaders and to top
individual leaders. Experience has shown that it takes time and
political-ideological struggle to establish such a fact. On the
other hand, the relation between collectivity and individual responsibility
must be seen correctly. While the role of the top leaders has been
important and at times decisive in the history of our class and
in the life of communist parties, they themselves are the product
of collective struggle, and it is this collectivity that is the
principal aspect overall.
again, we do admit that a difficult and complex task has fallen
upon the shoulders of the PCP's leadership, but we are confident
that the PCP comrades are able to overcome this difficulty and carry
out this task. The fact that the recent loss does not coincide with
a completely new spiral of revolution in Peru, but has occurred
in the midst of the unfolding of the same one, gives ample room
and time for new leadership to develop its capabilities and strengths
further and to get prepared for future challenges. This does not
mean that today the leadership of the Party does not need to make
a correct appraisal of the new situation, to identify new contradictions
and provide solutions for them; of course it does, because revolution
gives rise to contradictions all the time. But contrary to the approach
of Asumir and the prison article, this must be done by vigourously
applying MLM and the Party's basic line. In short, we believe that
the heart of the matter in solving the problem of leadership is
to be able to preserve the proletarian class character of the People's
War, to maintain it as a material force, and on that basis to develop
it towards victory as a red base area for the world proletarian
revolution. As Marx said, here is the rose, dance here!
MLM party must be armed with a correct analysis of the world situation.
This is crucial for developing correct strategy and tactics for
carrying out the revolution in every country. Because the world
is the framework and context for every country, it shapes the objective
situation in every country and interacts with the regional and national
two-line struggles in the ICM have erupted in conjunction with dramatic
changes in the world situation. These changes influence the class
alignments at large, which in turn and in different times and circumstances
can give rise to struggle between lines in the communist parties.
One example in the more recent history of the ICM is how the shift
in the world situation had influence over the alignments of the
forces within the Communist Party of China. When there was a shift
in the world situation from the 1960s to the 1970s, and in that
context the USSR became a big threat to the People's Republic of
China, Lin Piao wanted to capitulate to the Soviet social-imperialists,
whereas Deng Xiao-ping and Chou En-lai thought the solution lay
in capitulating to the US imperialists. After the fall of the East
bloc, our movement witnessed the rise of K. Venu revisionism from
the CRC-CPI(ML). One of the important factors in the line of all
these revisionists was their analysis of the world situation and,
more importantly, their programme.
this in mind, we should look at Asumir's views of the world
a. According to Asumir, because of the fall of the East bloc,
we cannot make revolution!
says, 'she present GPE (general political ebb) derives from the
process of restoration, from the creation of unfavourable public
opinion of this whole stage of the revolution (140 years). So
far the GPE has lasted 3 years. In the light of Marxism, and this
is decisive and key in order to sketch out the strategy of the World
Proletarian Revolution in the New Great Wave, we understand why
this period is a hinge between the culmination of a stage of the
World Proletarian Revolution and the future Great Wave of the World
Proletarian Revolution. This is the argument for the general
political withdrawal, among other questions." (our emphasis
to Asumir's analysis of the world situation, there is a strategic
and global ebb, and this is the grounds for its proposal for a general
retreat for the world proletarian revolution.16
the situation, according to Asumir, unfavourable for advancing
the revolution? Chiefly because public opinion has become unfavourable
towards communism since the fall of the East.
opinion, in the sense of the moods and aspirations of different
classes of the people during each period, is an important factor
to be taken into account by a revolutionary party in its tactics
and policies. But we should ask Asumir: how does unfavourable
"public opinion" reflect the situation of the underlying contradictions
that give rise to revolution?
to the idealist approach of Asumir, whose appraisal of the
world situation is based on "public opinion", RIM's recent resolution
on the world situation is based on a study of the major contradictions
in the world. Its analysis sees that the major contradictions of
the imperialist system are going through changes, and that the contradictions
between the oppressed nations and the imperialist powers, and between
the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the imperialist countries,
are intensifying. The RIM resolution emphasizes that the crisis
of the imperialist system is deepening, and that the fall of the
East bloc was a resounding expression of that, even though it has
temporarily mitigated the contradictions among the imperialists.
It points to the upsurges of struggles in the oppressed nations,
particularly the People's War in Peru, as one of the main features
of the world situation. On the basis of this analysis, it calls
upon all Maoist parties and organizations and the masses to step
events of the world are not analyzed with this dialectical materialist
method, they will not be understood correctly. For example, let
us look at the mass rebellions in the East bloc countries: due to
the overall lack of revolutionary consciousness, anti-communist
slogans were chanted by sections of the masses - yet the masses"
rebellion was just! This situation arose partly because the masses
were up against repressive revisionist states, which for a long
time had wrapped themselves in filthy false "communist" flags, and
also because, if we look at the depth of the rebellion, we will
see that its content was anti-capitalist. It is also true that at
the end of the day their rebellion was mis-used by different factions
of the ruling classes for their own ends. But is it not true that
whenever the workers and oppressed masses are without a vanguard,
the fruits of their rebellion will be stolen and their movements
will be betrayed or drowned in blood and confusion? Has not the
PCP fought against a "mountain heap of garbage" among the masses
to rescue them from revisionist, religious, and other bourgeois
ideologies? In addition, as a result of these rebellions, the terrain
in the countries of the East bloc has become more favourable than
at any time since the restoration of capitalism for spreading the
influence of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and building Maoist parties
for making genuine socialist revolution. And it is one of the important
internationalist tasks of the Maoist parties and organizations united
in RIM to assist the CoRIM in attending to this task.
as public opinion in other countries goes, we should remind Asumir
that the Los Angeles rebellion was not an "anti-communist" rebellion
either in form or in content. It was a rebellion against the US,
who is the father of the world anti-communist crusade. In Iran,
one year after the L.A. rebellion, a mass revolt unprecedented since
1980 rocked Mashad, one of the most religious cities in the country.
There the masses in the shantytowns burned thousands of copies of
the Koran in the Islamic propaganda centre of the town, along with
other state symbols such as government buildings. This was a rebellion
against a regime whose propaganda machine, for 2 years since the
fall of the East bloc, gargled the anti-communist hysteria of BBC
and CNN word for word (modified only by the opening phrase "in the
name of god"). Or, more recently, the peasants of Chiapas heralded
a strong message that the downtrodden masses of Latin America are
not going to go along with the Yankee agenda. After the arrest of
Comrade Gonzalo, the most renowned communist in the world, a worldwide
mass movement in his defence was set into motion by RIM that caught
the enemy by real surprise. These are very favourable grounds for
revolution and communism!
it not true that the dominant ideas are always the ruling ideas?
Hasn's religion had a major influence among the masses who need
revolution? What has been the solution of the communists? Certainly
not abandoning the revolution or slowing it down with the hope of
a better situation in this regard. It is by going against the tide
that the cause of the revolution, led by the party of the proletariat,
can advance. Asumir's line is devoid of such a spirit altogether.
If it were not the case that the dominant ideas are those of the
dominant classes, making revolution would be much easier. Organizing
the conscious rebellion of the masses under the leadership of a
revolutionary party with a revolutionary ideology and programme
is the main solution for this problem. In Peru, along with the Party's
propaganda, mainly it is the People's War which cleans the minds
of the oppressed masses of the ideas and habits alien to their class
which classes does Asumir have in mind in Peru in regard
to this "problem" of unfavourable public opinion? Most probably,
certain strata of the intelligentsia who used to be "Marxists" in
the 1960s and 1970s and today have turned away from Marxism. We
are not suggesting that all of them have been or have become reactionaries.
No. The fact that at times some national bourgeoisie and petite
bourgeoisie claim to be "communist" or "Maoists" or even join the
communist party arises from the bourgeois democratic nature of the
revolution in the semi-feudal semi-colonial countries.
that the PCP always exposed Marxist imposters and today would not
be disturbed by the fact these kind of people do not call themselves
Marxists any more! But let us say, OK, probably the majority of
the intelligentsia who used to be "Marxist" and followers of the
United Left or others don's even want to hear a word about Marxism.
But how about the peasants and workers of Peru? Aren's many more
of them - compared to the 1960s and 1970s - eager to hear about
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism? Yes, definitely. Go to the University of
San Marcos! It is not like the 1960s. But also go to Ayacucho! It
is not like the 1960s either. It is much better than the 1960s in
terms of public opinion towards communism. Asumir does not
take this into account. It only sees certain classes!
as the powerful socialist state of China existed, its prominence
attracted many petit-bourgeois and even national bourgeois elements
who called themselves Maoist. Other strata of the same classes,
along with sections of the comprador bourgeoisie, cloaked themselves
in the garb of "Marxism" because of the attraction of an imperialist
superpower calling itself "socialist"; these forces wanted to rely
on one imperialist power - the USSR - to fight or draw concessions
from the dominant imperialist power, the US, and/or other Western
powers. Now in the new conditions, it is only natural that a sizeable
number of these forces have become "ex-Marxists" - so much the better.
On the other hand, with the death of false communism, a lot of people
and masses have been freed from the dead weight of revisionism,
and more ears have opened to real communism. In conjunction with
the death of false communism, today the influence of real communism
- Marxism-Leninism-Maoism - is growing in all four corners of the
world as a result of the People's War in Peru and the advances of
other parties and organizations of RIM as well as the work of RIM
itself. In addition, as the bankruptcy of the "Western market economy"
becomes obvious, even the type of "public opinion" that Asumir
is most likely referring to will start to doubt the advisability
of following the Western imperialists.
of the East bloc has created some opportunities for the Western
imperialists, politically, economically and militarily. But it has
also created opportunities for the camp of revolution.17 The red
flag was not lowered by the world's Maoists in the aftermath of
the fall of the East bloc; instead, they went on a counter-offensive
against the international bourgeoisie's anti-communist offensive.
In Peru, the People's War raged ahead with resounding victories,
and RIM became even stronger and more influential among the oppressed
of the world. All this showed the bankruptcy of the imperialists
and reactionaries of the world. They soon focused their attacks
on the Maoists and especially on the People's War in Peru and RIM.
They intend to crack this "hard nut" in order to later clamp down
on rebellions of the masses around the world with a freer hand.
This is because they know what they are doing to the masses of the
world, and that this inevitably will give rise to great resistance
against them. The winds in the towers portend the storms ahead,
and the imperialists and reactionaries are preparing for them in
of the East bloc has probably caused some tactical disadvantages
for the revolutionaries in some parts of the world, while creating
tactical advantages in other parts. It has given some temporary
room to the Yankee rulers to wield their hegemony in the imperialist
world in the service of their economic and political interests,
and specifically in tightening their grip on Latin America. Undoubtedly,
these changes must be analyzed carefully by our Movement in the
Americas, and especially by the PCP so as to help push the People's
War forward. But the fall of the East bloc is strategically advantageous
for the world proletarian revolution, both ideologically and also
in terms of weakening tremendously one of the bulwarks of imperialism.
b. The imperialists" "recovery" is partial and selective
quoting the third plenary session of the PCP CC, says that, "Slowly
but surely imperialism is dying". Then it adds, "but at the same
time there is a transitory recovery.... What are the material bases
of this situation? ...computers, electronic communication, these
are great processes of development, genetics, ...the privatization
of the means of production accumulated by the state... all these
are the questions that determine the bases for this transitory economic
is going on in the world economy can hardly be characterized as
'sransitory recovery". Because whatever recovery has occurred is
only partial and very selective - it does not cover the whole world
or even big areas of it. One example is the continent of Africa,
which, after decades of being raped by imperialist economic activities,
is now being left to rot. And any partial and selective recovery
that does exist is due far more to the savage exploitation of cheap
labour around the world, especially in Asia and Latin America, than
to computers and developments in genetics!
these recoveries are not in contradiction with the fact that
the world imperialist economy overall is gripped in a deepening
crisis. To say that imperialism is undergoing a 'sransitory recovery"
is to make an unfounded compliment to a world economy that has been
in the throes of a generalized crisis since the mid-1970s, with
no prospects of recovery.18
if there were such a transitory recovery, so what? Asumir
tends to draw a one-to-one relation between economic boom and ebb
in revolution - as if an economic boom prevents one from making
revolution. This is wrong theoretically, and it goes against history.
US imperialism was being rocked by Vietnam and national liberation
movements as well as mass revolutionary movements in the US itself
in the 1960s, when the US-led bloc was witnessing most vigourous
expansion. And this was the high point of the US imperialists" economic
strength inside the US and globally; it faced its most severe trial
of strength in Vietnam, and this defeat marked a major turning point
in the development of the imperialist crisis.
itself on this economic verdict of 'sransitional recovery", the
dramatic shifts in the world situation, some historical analogies
to the cycles of revolution, as well as a theory that "history measures
its steps in decades", Asumir predicts that the process of
sinking Yankee imperialism will take a long historical period. And
from there, Asumir proposes that the forms of struggles should
correspond to this new situation: since the enemy's demise cannot
be expected any time soon, why should we waste our time! Indeed,
if an Asumir type of line becomes dominant in the revolutionary
movements, the sinking of Yankee imperialism won's ever happen.
c. Advances in one country and advances of the world proletarian
implies that the so-called general political ebb is another reason
that the People's War in Peru should be terminated, and we think
it even implies that the whole revolutionary movement in the world
should launch a general political withdrawal.
if the world situation was as bleak as Asumir assumes, the
only conclusion that can be drawn is that the People's War will
become even more protracted. That was Comrade Mao's response to
Edgar Snow when he was asked how long it would take to defeat and
oust the Japanese imperialists. Mao said that it would depend on
several factors, and if they did not materialize the war would take
longer. At that time there were people who maintained that if China
continued the war of resistance, it would definitely be defeated
and subjugated by Japan, because China could not hold out any longer.
To this Mao replied that if such a line dominates, then the goal
of the anti-Japanese war will never be accomplished.
line on the relation between revolutionary advances in one country
and advances of the world proletarian revolution and the world context
overall is wrong. Grasping this point is a question of ideological-political
line. One of the strong points of the PCP has always been its view
of the revolution in Peru as a base for the world proletarian revolution.
The initiation of the People's War in Peru in the aftermath of the
restoration of capitalism in China has been an extremely important
contribution to the ICM towards keeping the red flag of genuine
Marxism (MLM) flying high and giving heart to our forces around
Mao made important summations on the relationship between seizing
power in China and the world context: " ...we can attain our goal
of strategic protractedness, which means gaining time to increase
our capacity to resist while hastening or awaiting changes in the
international situation and the internal collapse of the enemy,
in order to be able to launch a strategic counter-offensive and
drive the Japanese invaders out of China." ("Problems of Strategy
in the Guerrilla War against Japan", chap. IV, SW, v 2, p.
85) Mao also dealt with the problem of the lack of international
support for China, but emphasized that China could prolong the war
and in this way help to hasten a favourable situation.19
that revolution does not exist as a political trend is closing one's
eyes to the obvious expressions of it around the world. What about
Chiapas, right in US imperialism's Latin American showcase? How
about Los Angeles, Haiti, Turkey, Iran, Bangladesh, India, and other
places, where the reactionary regimes are constantly being rocked
by mass struggles and rebellions? Most important of all, there is
the People's War in Peru, which has won such broad support from
the oppressed around the world. Comrade Mao pointed out that in
the face of defeat or encirclement, some people in the Red Army
"often unwittingly generalize and exaggerate their momentary, specific
and limited situation, as though the situation in China and the
world as a whole gave no cause for optimism, and the prospects of
victory for the revolution were remote. The reason they seize on
the appearance and brush aside the essence in their observation
of things is that they have not made a scientific analysis of the
essence of the overall situation. The question whether there will
soon be a revolutionary high tide in China can be decided only by
making a detailed examination to ascertain whether the contradictions
leading to a revolutionary high tide are really developing." ("A
Single Spark Can Start A Prairie Fire", SW, v 1, p.
analysis demonstrates a wrong understanding of the epoch of imperialism
and its workings - capitalist expansions and crises, the interaction
of politics and economics, the relationship between revolution in
one country and world revolution. Asumir tries to explain
all these in the context of big cyclical waves, which is in contradiction
with the spiral motion of things in nature and society.
problem is that it violates dialectical and historical materialism;
it magnifies partial and relative truth into universal and absolute
truth. Its thinking does not correspond to the objective, actual
situation as a whole. It takes the superficial not as a door to
discovering the truth, but as the truth itself. It sees the part
as the whole.
of Points and the Bureaucratic Road Becomes Viable!
into this, Chairman Gonzalo had stated: 'soday they are laying the
basis for carrying out neo-liberal policies and are babbling about
how to advance a new "revolution". However, as we saw in the previous
phase of bureaucratic capitalism, the stage of laying a basis in
the third phase also will inevitably give rise to another crisis...."
(in "Elections, No; People's War, Yes!")
Asumir's reasons for the so called newly-found stability
of bureaucrat capitalism is its economic recovery. Asumir
says: "Economically, clearly they are establishing a basis.... Since
1988 there have been five years of recession. In 1993 the GDP grew
by 6% after 5 years of growing recession.... We must strive to see
the steps being taken, the increments obtained, as objective facts."
but we must strive to see all of the objective facts and not part
of them - and a trivial part at that. We must strive to see what
these economic measures have meant for the majority of the masses
in Peru, and how they have influenced the basic relations between
bureaucrat capitalism and the masses, the class antagonisms. As
Chairman Mao pointed out, the Kuomintang controlled large and medium-sized
cities and enjoyed the support of the imperialists, but it was divorced
from the masses.
and the so-called viability of bureaucrat capitalism
take a brief look at the current economic wonders of imperialism
in Peru. The regime of Fujimori under the direct auspices of the
U.S. imperialists has launched a new economic program. The imperialists
call it a "free market economy" and "privatization". In short and
clear terms, it is about squeezing even more profit out of the Peruvian
masses and plundering the country dry. Fujimori's economic plan
offers up the Peruvian masses as low-cost wage slaves to the multinational
capitalists, and has put the land and resources of Peru on the auction
the Peruvian economy is undergoing is part of the global counter-crisis
measures being taken by the imperialists, in which Latin America
plays an important role for the US in particular. In recent years,
most of new U.S. investments in the so-called Third World have been
in Latin America, while other Western imperialist powers have also
increased their investments there.
be said that today there is some kind of economic growth going on
in Latin America. The debt crisis, for example, has been temporarily
mitigated (but a $500 billion debt remains, which can become a big
source of instability in the absence of strong economic growth),
and foreign investments have increased considerably. But this growth
has been very uneven and unstable. It has led to extreme polarization
in different countries, and this is only the beginning.
result of free market capitalism and privatization, the number of
the "very poor" in Latin America has doubled. In Peru before Fujimori's
regime came to power in 1990, the real value of the workers" wages
had dropped 50% relative to 1980. Fujimori slashed wages even further.
Subsidies for food and fuel were eliminated, and prices for basic
necessities of life increased. By early 1991, the real value of
wages had decreased to one third of what they were when Fujimori
took over. 120,000 workers in the state companies and ministries
were fired. More peasants were driven into the cities under the
pressure of intolerable poverty. Fujimori's economic program relies
on tighter tax collection, which hurts the middle classes too. By
carrying out the new economic measures, the number of the "very
poor" almost doubled, from 7 to 13 million. This "economic development"
does not look a bit "viable" to the majority of the masses in Peru.
However, it definitely has fattened a minority of parasitic Peruvian
bureaucrat capitalists, landlords and officials and other imperialist
it serve the development of a coherent national economy? Not a bit.
On the contrary, it makes the Peruvian economy even more dependent
on the imperialists and their needs and wits. And it makes it even
more lopsided and crisis-ridden. This new programme of economic
development intends to eliminate inflation, to make the economy
efficient and competitive. It is squeezing the economy to be able
to repay its debts ($45 million per month) to the foreign, mainly
US, banks. The most important element of this "recovery" is an influx
of foreign capital to Peru. What is the character of these new investments?
The foreign capital that has flowed in has been mainly on a short-term
basis and in response to high domestic interest rates and new policies
allowing the full repatriation of capital. This influx is based
on the ability to shift money quickly. In terms of creating jobs,
the results are pitiful. Many of the new investments in Peru are
in the raw materials extractions sector, which is highly profitable
for the multinationals, but imparts little economic stability to
Peru. A large part of these new investments is speculative. The
old enterprises are sold much below their value to enable Peru to
pay back its debt. The only thing privatization really changes,
except for changing hands, is that the masses become the target
of ever more intense attacks. For one thing, these enterprises are
sold on the condition that massive lay-offs and wage cuts will follow.
Moreover, privatization is a one time only "jumpstart" to the economy
and is unable to provide the economy with on-going revenues. In
short, it can be seen that Fujimori's programme falls far short
of bringing dynamic and sustained economic growth to Peru.
us suppose that the economy is going through more sustained growth,
as in China, Thailand or Indonesia. Does this mean that it is no
longer possible to make revolution? The revolutionary upsurge in
Iran occurred at a time when, although the Shah's regime was gripped
with crisis, it was still one of US imperialism's showcases. Several
months before the revolution, the Yankee president Jimmy Carter
called the Shah's Iran "an island of stability and calm" in the
Middle East! The point is not that bureaucrat capitalism cannot
experience any growth or partial recovery. It is wrong to think
that bureaucrat capitalism will advance for a long period in a straight
line and then dive straight downwards to its grave. Even a deep
and long crisis does not proceed in a straight line. The imperialists
will always strive to keep bureaucrat capitalism going, especially
in areas of strategic importance for them, because the economies
of these countries are part and parcel of the world economy of imperialism.
Crisis-ridden third world economies are sources of crisis for the
world imperialist economy at the same time that they are and have
been vital for the overall profitability of the imperialist economies.
Imperialism is doing what it has to do to survive. Whether to look
at these efforts and analyze them with the perspective of abandoning
revolution or of stepping up struggle to destroy this man-eating
system is of course a matter of class outlook and interests.
growth in Peru is very uneven and unstable, and despite all the
fanfare, the GDP has not even reached its 1987 level. The few points
of GDP upon which Asumir builds its argument of "viability"
to support its strategy have been obtained at the expense of further
impoverishing the masses.
b. The so-called stability of the reactionary state in Peru
to economic growth, Asumir also mentions other aspects as
proof of the stabilization of the reactionary state in Peru: "...they
have elected their constitutional councils, worked out the constitution,
they won the referendum, the way is being opened for reelection.
This means establishing the basis for the restructuring of the state."
on the referendum is really laughable; only Fujimori himself and
his cohorts saw it as a victory. In any event, why would partially
reorganizing the governing of the state constitute a basis for short-
or long-term stability for a reactionary regime? In fact, the self-coup
of Fujimori is a cause for concern among some imperialist circles,
because it showed the regime has a narrow base of support even among
the reactionary classes themselves. Several attempted coups against
Fujimori revealed that not all of the army is fully under his control.
The Armed Forces themselves are riddled with contradictions. Once
in a while big generals come out and accuse each other and the regime
of drug trafficking, massacres like Cantuta, human-rights scandals,
and so on. They do not even fully agree on how to conduct their
war against the PCP.
reforms they have implemented have intensified the contradictions
among the reactionaries themselves. The economic measures are undermining
the interests of some factions of the ruling classes in favour of
others and are provoking more internal disputes among them.
conflicts in Peru's ruling circles do not mean that they have not
made their state more efficient in terms of fighting the People's
War and clamping down on the population. They have been doing both,
and this must be analyzed and dealt with by the PCP in leading the
PW to victory.
thing has not changed: this regime is divorced from the masses,
is hated by them and remains a paper tiger strategically. As the
principles of People's War tell us, this strategic weakness of the
old state must be brought into play, in order to deal with its tactical
strengths. In the process of carrying out a people's war, there
will always be two kinds of deviations: one, which takes the tactical
strengths of the enemy as its strategic strength, and a second,
which underestimates the tactical abilities of the enemy. Asumir
commits the first error.
makes the claim that 'shere is no powerful liberation movement"!
Some of Asumir's comments strike one as though these notes
are not coming from Peru. What is People's War then if it
is not a powerful liberation movement? Not to see this is really
disturbing. With this kind of statement, Asumir's list of
achievements of the People's War resembles some kind of eulogy that
belongs in an obituary column.
factor that Asumir presents to prove the "viability" of bureaucrat
capitalism is the "success" of the counter-revolutionary war. On
this question we have spoken before, and we won's repeat ourselves.
But we would like to point out just one thing: Marx said concentrated
revolution gives rise to concentrated counter-revolution. This means
that the old state will fight to its last breath to raise its capabilities
to deal with a revolutionary war that aims to bring about its downfall.
The old state also goes through transformation in the process of
of the points noted by Asumir can make bureaucrat capitalism
viable. It can, of course, temporarily become more efficient in
some areas of its functioning. However, if the People's War in Peru
were to follow the road that Asumir is proposing, then bureaucrat
capitalism would get a very important chance to achieve some long-term
Collaboration Is a Reserve for National Betrayal
the theoretical arguments of the pro-Asumir types (appearing
in papers written by pro-negotiation forces abroad) is that the
nation needs peace, because the principal contradiction has shifted
from the contradiction between the people and feudalism to that
between the nation and imperialism. In the oppressed countries,
right opportunist lines have often used the argument of the "principal
contradiction between the nation and imperialism" as a pretext for
class collaboration with the local comprador-feudal classes or for
tailing the national bourgeoisie. The problem is that this kind
of line does not see that the old state is the representative of
imperialism and that imperialism controls the country through it.
A feature of this line is that it separates the struggle against
semi-feudalism from the struggle against imperialism. It paints
imperialism as something separate from the internal relations of
production and something "external". On this basis, it separates
national liberation from the New Democratic Revolution, while both
national liberation and social liberation can only be achieved inseparably
and as part of the process of the NDR.
changes that the old state has gone through, its ties with imperialism
have been strengthened. And as of now, Yankee imperialism carries
out its interests through this old state. The anti-imperialist struggle
mainly means to overthrow this state. Today class collaboration
with this state is indeed national betrayal. As comrade Mao stressed,
class collaboration is a reserve for national betrayal.
the line is in question, when the overall situation is at stake....
When a wrong tendency surges towards us like a rising tide, the
only way to be able to stick to the positions of the proletariat
and resolutely struggle against this erroneous trend is with proletarian
revolutionary audacity and a mind free of fear." (A Basic Understanding
of the CPC, pp. 54-55)
a half years after the start of the GPCR, Mao made the comment:
we have been singing the International together for fifty years,
and still there are people in the Party who have tried ten times
to destroy it, and in my opinion they might resort to this ten,
twenty or thirty times more.
ideological and political struggles have occurred within the PCP,
especially over the question of the proletariat's central task of
seizing power through violence and over the concept that "power
grows out of the barrel of the gun"; both of these points have been
hammered home in the PCP through 13 years of war itself. But now
the most important two-line struggle since the initiation of People's
War is over these very same questions. As long as class struggle
exists, two-line struggle will erupt. As Chairman Mao said, 'she
wind will blow, the petals will fall, no matter what."
is always internal struggle in the party, and this is the source
of its liveliness and advance; but not always is this internal struggle
articulated into two major opposing lines with distinct protagonists.
Periodically, it breaks out as major two-line struggles, the outcome
of which will decide the upcoming course of the party and the revolution.
This is inevitable, because problems pile up as a result of advances
of the revolution, and they need sorting out. Both the fact that
there is no Chinese wall between the proletariat and other classes,
and that the world is ever-changing matter which requires the subjective
factor to catch up with it continually expose the proletarian party
to wrong influences, which, if not rectified, would cause a proletarian
party to degenerate. And there will always be people who will want
to stop in the middle of the road and preach going backwards.
matter is not grasped in this way, there will be confusion in the
face of outbursts of rightism. These conditions are serious, because
if the wrong lines win the colour of the party can change, but at
the same time within these conditions are the seeds of further revolutionary
leaps in the party.
of waging a thoroughgoing two-line struggle is far-reaching; it
goes even beyond overthrowing a wrong line and knocking down a group
of revisionists. In this process, even more transformation of the
revolutionary character and the capabilities of the party in leading
the revolution can occur; the whole body and base of the party go
through tremendous revolutionary changes in their ideology and political
understanding and abilities to carry out the revolution. These changes
are part and parcel of the class becoming prepared for seizing power.
class interests - petit bourgeois and even national bourgeois -
that engaged in supporting the People's War are reflected in this
struggle. Moreover, in the history of the communist parties, the
major struggles between the correct line and various erroneous lines
have been in essence the acting out within the party of the class
struggle in society.
expressed in Asumir and the prison article has its roots
in particular social and historical conditions. This line is not
an accidental nor isolated phenomenon, and uprooting it requires
delving into these conditions.
are some of the specific material conditions giving rise to this
kind of line? Peru is a semi-feudal country dominated by imperialism.
In order to make a socialist revolution, the proletariat first must
lead a New Democratic Revolution. The targets of this revolution
are the three mountains of imperialism, semi-feudalism and bureaucrat
capitalism. This revolution is in the interests of the popular classes.
It is carried out under the leadership of the proletariat and its
party with the peasantry (especially the poor and landless peasantry)
as the main force, but also with other strata of the people - the
petite bourgeoisie and sometimes the national bourgeoisie. Because
of these conditions, unremoulded bourgeois-democrats and petit-bourgeois
elements can find their way into the party. In addition, the outlook
of the broad strata of the petite bourgeoisie influences proletarian
revolutionaries and the party's line. All this becomes a source
for the emergence of particular wrong tendencies and lines within
a party that is operating under these conditions.
what kind of specific conditions do these tendencies and lines find
full expression? One example is the occurrence of dramatic events
and changes in the national and international situations; important
turns in the process of revolution and the life of the party are
the conditions which would nourish the emergence of these kind of
deviations. In these type of situations, the vanguard party comes
to face new questions and challenges. Correct and incorrect lines
can develop in the party in response to these questions and challenges.
The September 1992 blow by the enemy against the PCP was a dramatic
event. This has inevitably raised important questions, such as how
the new situation should be assessed and dealt with. What is the
correct line for developing the revolution under these new conditions?
These are very important questions to which different lines provide
different answers. Undoubtedly, the answer provided by the line
under discussion is not a proletarian one.
the arguments in these two documents flow from a certain class prism
that does not belong to the proletariat (or at best they tail the
desires of other classes). By this, we are thinking of their views
glorifying the past of the People's War and burying its future,
saying that bureaucrat capitalism is becoming viable, that the counter-revolutionary
war has succeeded, that people want peace, that public opinion is
not inclined towards communism as during the 1960s, and that the
world situation is bleak in terms of revolutionary possibilities.
Its method of thinking is subjectivism, one-sidedness in viewing
problems, and taking a single aspect for all aspects, and it fails
to rely on achievements to solve problems arising in the new conditions,
such as the leadership question. Its political-ideological tendency
is to overestimate the accomplishments of the enemy and to underestimate
the potential of the people and to stop in the middle of the road
under the pressure of difficulties.
final analysis, Asumir is a class phenomenon which has raised
its head in a concrete set of conditions and must be dealt with
two-line struggles are very important in the life of the communist
parties; at the same time, they are complex because they usually
involve big forces and big issues. In internal struggles, it is
important to go against a wrong tide. However, it is also necessary
to oppose the wrong line with a correct line. Also it is important
to pay attention to uniting the largest number of people possible.
It is necessary to differentiate between outright revisionism and
seriously wrong policies. (For example, we know that in the history
of the ICM there have been sad occasions in which the communists
have made disturbing mistakes. But all in all, to go against the
wrong tide and uphold the correct line is the principal aspect.)
that such an important line struggle has arisen from a corner of
the world in which the most advanced struggle of the proletariat
today is being carried out is at first shocking, but upon reflection
it can be seen that it is further testimony to dialectical materialism
and to its correct application by Chairman Mao to party life: one
divides into two. This two-line struggle carries with it the possibility
of further revolutionary leaps in our line and practice as a whole
for changing the world.
document is a contribution to this struggle. This struggle will
help our organization understand the contributions of the PCP and
the PW under its leadership deeper than before. This in turn will
serve to develop our struggle to initiate People's War in Iran as
soon as possible.
national bourgeois outlooks from amongst the forces who had and
have interests in supporting the PW in Peru might consider this
"interference". Our response is that the international proletariat
has the deepest interest of all in the victory of the PCP and the
war it is leading, and in the complete destruction of the old state
of Peru. That is why it is capable of seeing the problems of revolution
in Peru far better than such national bourgeois and petit-bourgeois
critics. This is true for all countries, and we have experienced
it in our case so clearly. Therefore, it is our internationalist
duty to engage in this struggle, as part of RIM. However, in keeping
with the MLM theory of knowledge, we have limitations on how much
further we can go here.
revolutions under the leadership of the proletariat are inseparable
parts of a single whole of the world proletarian revolution. We
are chained together. At times one, as the most advanced detachment,
should take the burden of pulling forward the rest; at other times,
others should rush to the aid of one. In short, either we will all
go to communism or nobody goes.
Live the Communist Party of Peru! Long Live the PCP Central Committee!
Live the People's War!
Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo!
Live Proletarian Internationalism!
Live the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement!
1 The Asumir
article first appeared in the bourgeois press, so we did not rule
out some distortion. But since it has been upheld by the pro-negotiations
line forces, we will accept it at face value.
as "Struggle for a Peace Accord and Lay the Bases for the Second
Congress!", reprinted by Comité Sol Peru, Paris, France.
Asumir tries to use the dramatic changes in the world situation
in the service of its implied programme of ending the People's War.
We will look into this later. But we should emphasize that these
changes in the "concrete conditions" have not led to a change in
the contradictions between the people and the three mountains of
imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, which are the
basis on which the PW has been initiated and developed.
4 Even in
the case of the Paris Commune, Marx and Engels made the assessment
that it probably would fail, but they paid a lot of attention to
it politically and militarily, and their main criticism of it was
that it did not go far enough and was not ruthless enough.
5 It is extremely
enlightening to cite from one of the experiences of our Movement.
The following is taken from a polemical document of the two-line
struggle in the Communist Party of Turkey (Marxist-Leninist) (TKP/ML)
an armed struggle, the armed struggle promoted by the CC, cannot
be waged comrades!... Armed struggle, then peaceful struggle, then
again armed struggle, again renewed peaceful struggle! It is not
possible to carry out such anarmed struggle! At least it is not
possible to wage this kind of armed struggle for Marxist-Leninist
targets; this runs against the very dynamics of armed struggle itself.
interruption or ceasing of armed struggle is a very important issue.
It brings serious things onto the agenda. It brings onto the agenda
collapses, important phenomena, even on a world level, tremendous
events nationally, such as the disintegration of the party. In other
words, this kind of interruption occurs in accordance with this
kind of conditions.... It is not possible to establish the continuity
of armed struggle in this way. This is armed economist logic. Once
it is launched, there are many kinds of tactics in waging the armed
struggle. But all of them are based on carrying out armed struggle
principally, to overcome difficulties in all conditions. After commencing
this work, the task of the party, the task of a party waging armed
struggle, is, under all circumstances to render armed struggle continuous.
It is a must to maintain the continuity of the armed struggle in
spite of changing conditions, to make the effort to keep its continuity
as a whole and to strive for its development; if it is impossible
to develop it, then to maintain it and sustain it at the current
level, or, under much worse conditions, to maintain armed struggle
as the main task even if it has to be narrowed down, while still
keeping it as the main activity. Let's not be confused. This is
not the logic of heroic dogmatism; once you fall out of this logic,
then armed struggle is ruled by the existing conditions, not by
the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. The circumstances
keep pushing you around, here and there, to the driver's seat, to
the back seat. These conditions go away, others come. Now peaceful,
now armed. The end of all this is crisis. Political, ideological,
organizational crisis. There is no way that the communist party
will not see the initiative slip out of its hands. It definitely
TKP/ML (Maoist Party Centre), "On Strategy and Tactics: Armed Economism
A Caricature of Ibrahim Kaypakkaya's Views"
6 'she more
powerful and inspiring the motive for war... the closer will war
approach its abstract concept, the more important will be the destruction
of the enemy, the more closely will the military aims and political
objectives of war coincide...." (Clausewitz, On War, pp.
7 The line
reflected in Asumir and the prison article is the only position
arguing for negotiations that we are aware of at this time. Of course,
it is possible that a different "negotiations line" could exist
which envisions negotiations not as a way of bringing the People's
War to a conclusion, but as a diplomatic manoeuvre with the aim
of dealing with problems facing the PW. Were such a position to
exist, those arguments also would have to be examined concretely.
[However, in the light of the conclusions reached through the investigation
carried out by RIM, we firmly uphold the statement in the RIM Call
that: 'shere is no basis - in terms of the freedom and necessity
of the revolutionary camp on the one hand and the reactionary camp
on the other - for achieving a peace accord that would not represent
abandoning the revolutionary road and compromising away the fundamental
interests of the people. Under these circumstances, the only kind
of peace accord which would be accepted by the Fujimori regime -
and more generally by the ruling classes in Peru and their imperialist
masters - is an agreement to end the war on a basis that could not
benefit but would harm the revolutionary process in Peru. Therefore
a proposal for peace accords to end the war could only lead to opportunism
and must be combatted." - UICS, May 1995]
does not explain what things the people's side will lose and gain
in this so-called "peace accord". What are the conditions put forward?
What can be compromised and what cannot? In the cases of both the
Brest-Litovsk and Chungking negotiations, Lenin and then Mao put
forward very clearly the conditions for the compromises and argued
for them. Instead of doing this, Asumir has contented itself
with some scattered quotations that are difficult to take seriously.
8 Even though
we do not know enough about the present state of the war, it is
safe to assume that the final victory of the People's War or the
nationwide seizure of power is a question for the future when the
overall forces and abilities of the People's War have developed
to a point where they can forcibly defeat and subdue the forces
of the old state, and it is likely that this will require a longer
and probably even bloodier process. If Asumir expected quicker
victory, then this is a problem in their thinking.
9 We should
make clear when we are talking about "preserving" or "maintaining"
that we are not talking about maintaining every single plan. No.
We understand that a war situation is an evolving process and must
be led as such.
also not proposing that every single base area should be preserved.
We understand that base areas - or the people's power are themselves
a reflection of the material development of the war; and it is likely
that in the course of the protracted people's war, the revolutionary
army would abandon some areas and deploy its forces with utmost
flexibility, all in the service of preserving and developing the
war. However this is totally different to voluntarily dismantling
10 The whole
quote reads: "But it takes time to clarify thinking and to study
policy, and we still have much to learn. Our party is not yet sufficiently
strong, not yet sufficiently united or consolidated, and so cannot
yet take on greater responsibility than we now carry. From now on
the problem is further to expand and consolidate our party, our
army and base areas in the continued prosecution of the War of Resistance;
this is the first indispensable item in our ideological and material
preparation for the gigantic work of the future...." ("Our Study
And The Current Situation", section II, SW, v 3, p. 172)
11 The Long
March was a necessity that had been imposed by the defeat that the
Red Army suffered at the hands of Chiang Kai-shek; Chiang had finally
succeeded in carrying out a campaign that pinned down the communists,
destroyed many of their achievements and all of their base areas
in the mountainous region of Kiangsi province and halted their advance.
But his continual inability to strike the final death blow to the
communists haunted him and undermined his political power. As a
result, the communists had to make a strategic retreat, the Long
March, which, far from having the air of a funeral march, became
one of the most celebrated military feats in modern warfare. (See
March started in October 1934. The eventual destination was unknown
initially. After travelling 6000 miles through 12 provinces, over
18 mountain ranges and crossing 24 rivers, the First Front
Army arrived on the borders of the new soviet base area in Shensi,
in October of 1935. Other armies would join with them a year later
(the Red Army was not marching together as one whole body). By the
time they reached Shensi, only 8000 men were left, one in twenty
of those who started the march. Many were lost in the march and
many others had been left behind deliberately to carry out guerrilla
warfare and impede the movements of the Nationalist army. The survivors
had travelled for 13 months an average of 15 miles a day, with one
skirmish with the enemy per day, including 15 days of major
battles. All in all, there were 150 days of no movement for different
reasons, including for resolving leadership crises.
March was a grand fighting retreat, but more than that it was a
test of endurance and perseverance. It demonstrated how dedicated
the fighters of the Red Army were. The remnants of the force of
the Red Army who had been left behind also showed tremendous heroism:
"For nearly two years... I slept with even my shoes on. So did most
of our men... We were like wild men, living and fighting by instinct."
(China's Revolutionary War, p. 62) These are all military
qualities that flowed from the class character of the Red Army and
the ideology leading it. Chiang's army, which was tenfold its size
and possessed lots of iron, was no match for even the shadow of
the Red Army's iron will.
March was like a big propaganda tour, sowing the seeds of revolution
in many new areas where the struggles of the CPC had not yet reached.
It was through this march that the CPC became a truly national party.
In many areas the masses welcomed them as liberators. The Party
worked among the minority nationalities. The Long March embodied
and reinforced the intense desire of the Chinese people for change.
Even though it was a retreat, it really empowered the Chinese masses,
and filled them with pride and even greater power of will to go
all the way.
within the leadership over the conduct and course of the march continued.
In December, Comrade Mao regained his position in the political
bureau, and it was in the conference of Tsunyi in January 1935 that
the authority of the correct line of Chairman Mao and his leadership
were established. This was a decisive victory for the People's War
and the revolution.
12 Here we
would like to make a comment on our frequent reference to the Long
March: we do not by any means intend to imply that a Long March
or something like it is required for today's conditions in Peru.
But we feel it is important to study it carefully and learn its
relevant lessons for today. Whether a retreat on that scale is needed
or not should be determined by the Peruvian comrades themselves,
based on concrete analysis. And even if something like that were
necessary, it is obvious that it would not look like the Long March
because of the specific features of Peru. Just as "initiating" war
in Peru had its own particularities.
13 This phrase
of a "hundred paper parties" appears right after Asumir mentions
RIM. It seems likely that it is meant to be an attack on RIM parties
and organizations. Given RIM's correct analysis of the revolutionary
possibilities in the world and its efforts to help MLM forces to
step up their struggles to start people's wars wherever possible
and as soon as possible, Asumir's dislike of RIM may not
come as a surprise. Today RIM is a bulwark of support internationally
for the PW led by the PCP. From our own experience, we can say that
our internationalist line has always met resistance from elements
who are supportive of our struggle but who do not have an all-the-way
revolutionary political and ideological line.
14 Our Fourth
Conference, which was convened in the spring of 1983 under the leadership
of the provisional centre a year after these blows, declared: 'simes
like this, in order to keep the red flag of our principles and the
cause of the working class and revolution flying, require that the
most sacrificing and steadfast communists give their lives selflessly.
It is in these kinds of conditions that the genuine communists and
real revolutionaries and the most advanced elements of the working
class and the people are tested and the real leaders of the masses
are forged and steeled in the fire of unequal and bloody battles."
15 For example,
they moaned, "we should not have resorted to arms"; 'she regime
has stabilized"; 'she masses are backward and do not want revolution";
"we need a protracted process of slow political work"; "we need
a long period of studying and reviewing Marxism"; "we cannot trust
anybody to form an organization, so we should only form circles";
"we should individually go through a process of proletarianization
in factories"; 'shere are not enough theoreticians, leaders, etc";
'shose experienced leaders were not able to succeed, so certainly
you infants cannot succeed".
16 In order
to construct an analogy to today's situation, Asumir makes
an analysis of the ebb situation at the time of Marx and Engels
and says that, "for 30 years it was not possible to seize power...."
Here we are not going to delve into this, but we would like to make
a couple of points.
time of Marx and Engels, capitalism had not reached its highest
stage, the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution, in
which for the first time the proletarian revolution really became
worldwide. Lenin says, 'There had been an epoch of a comparatively
"peaceful capitalism", when it had overcome feudalism in the advanced
countries of Europe and was in a position to develop comparatively
tranquilly and harmoniously, "peacefully" spreading over tremendous
areas of still unoccupied lands, and of countries not yet finally
drawn into the capitalist vortex. Of course, even in that epoch,
marked approximately by the years 1871 and 1914, "peaceful" capitalism
created conditions of life that were far from being really peaceful
both in the military and general class sense. For nine tenths of
the population of the advanced countries, for hundreds of millions
of peoples in the colonies and in the backward countries, this epoch
was not one of "peace" but of oppression, torture, horrors that
seemed all the more terrifying since they appeared to be without
end. This epoch has gone forever. It has been followed by a new
epoch, comparatively more impetuous, full of abrupt changes, catastrophes,
conflicts, an epoch that no longer appears to the toiling masses
as horror without end but is an end full of horrors." (Lenin, "Introduction
to Bukharin, Imperialism and World Economy", cited in America
in Decline, by Raymond Lotta with Frank Shannon, Banner Press:
Chicago, p. 168)
last 40 years of imperialism, there has hardly been a situation
in which, if the subjective factor had been prepared, power could
not have been seized in one or another oppressed nation. We believe
that there has been a relative ebb in the revolutionary trend in
the world in the late 1970s and 1980s, but even this has been only
relative to the 1960s. And during this same period, we witnessed
the revolution in Iran, which shook US imperialism even though it
was eventually aborted and did not succeed. And most important of
all was the initiation of the People's War in Peru. We do think
that even during times of relative ebb, the revolution can and must
advance, but it will advance unevenly - while in some parts of the
world there is an ebb, in other parts there is a revolutionary high
tide. From this we can conclude that in the era of imperialism,
the ebbs are very relative, and at these times the revolutionary
advances in parts of the world can help to create a more favourable
situation in the world as a whole.
also presents us with a metaphysical interpretation of Comrade Mao"s
quotation on 'she next 50 to 100 years", and a related diagram.
First, it is clear that Comrade Mao was talking about the time starting
from the same period he himself was living in and about general
features of the era of imperialism; he was dialectical materialist
enough not to try to predict the next 100 years, beyond the general
thrust of developments. Asumir's arbitrary interpretation
of this quotation just cannot be taken seriously. Why can's Asumir
understand the world without trying to force things into 50-100
year cycles? We at least know one thing: a quotation cannot be a
substitute for an informed dialectical materialist analysis of the
world situation. Our approach should be that which Chairman Mao
taught us in "On Practice" and "On Contradiction".
also unable to fully understand the basis for Asumir's explanations
on the strategic offensive of the world revolution and the corresponding
periodization. Since the PCP in the past has held the position that
there is a strategic offensive of the world proletarian revolution,
we would like to learn more about that thesis first. But in any
event one thing is clear: the world proletarian revolution has not
yet gathered enough material strength to be able to go over to the
offensive and seize worldwide political power. As far as Asumir's
thesis on the general political ebb is concerned, we believe it
does not correspond to the world situation at all. It is our firm
view that the world proletarian revolution is advancing and that
the world situation is increasingly favourable for initiating and
developing people's wars and seizing power.
opportunities are analyzed in AWTW 15, and we will not enter
into them here. But our Movement should seriously take up analysing
the fall of the East bloc from different aspects - economic, political,
geo-strategic, historical, etc., and draw relevant conclusions for
our revolutionary work. Already too many revisionists are using
this dramatic event to sow seeds of capitulation and demoralization.
Although the very workings of the imperialist system worldwide throw
people into the field of revolution and cut against these trends,
an MLM analysis is needed to both clear the field of confusion and
to set out a concrete appraisal of the world situation in order
to carry out our battles successfully.
18 We will
not enter into this here but recommend a careful study of America
in Decline, by Raymond Lotta with Frank Shannon, for
an MLM understanding of the workings of imperialism and the nature
of the present crisis. We believe this work is an extremely important
contribution to the MLM movement and is indispensable for a correct
grasp of the workings of imperialism and in developing a correct
analysis of the world situation.
19 In this
section, Asumir also ponders on some changes in the "state"
system as part of changes going on in the world. "If we look at
the question of the state in particular, we see a tendency to decrease
its social functions. Who will assume its functions... insurance...
health and education.... All these pose the question of various
situations that form the context of the processes of the reactionary
state of the dictatorship of the big bourgeoisie...."
this we must stress that in regard to the question of the state,
the main thing that should occupy the centre of our attention is
Lenin's teachings on the state. The main social function of the
state is to keep down the masses through reactionary violence, through
its armed forces, police, courts, etc. The state in the countries
dominated by imperialism is groomed to guard by any means necessary
the interests of the imperialists, big bourgeoisie and landlords
against the masses. Further, the state and the private monopolies
are interwoven; it is the reformists who divorce them from each
20 Here we
have used an important article in the Revolutionary Worker
(the voice of the RCP,USA), no. 751, called, 'she Buying and Selling
of Peru", as well as a research paper done by the RCP,USA.
21 To draw
conclusions about wrong views and the class nature of the line reflected
in these two documents does not mean that we are drawing conclusions
about the class nature of the people who are putting forward the
line in the Asumir and prison articles. To do so will require
more knowledge about them, including their persistence in practising
this line. What we have done so far is to take them at their word
and analyze the nature of their line.