A WORLD TO WIN    #21   (1995)


Marxism Consists of One Thousand Truths, But in the Final Analysis They All Boil Down to One:

It Is Right to Rebel!

By the Leading Committee of the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran) (UICS)

“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)


It is 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.

We are 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.

The general 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.

This 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.

The CoRIM 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 task.

The goal 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.

Under 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.

As a 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

In addition 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 of them.


Asumir 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.

Asumir 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.

Even 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.

The Centrality of Arms in Fulfilling the Proletariat's Mission

Revolutionary 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.

The proletariat 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.

That 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)

The People's War in Peru led by the PCP has demonstrated strong support for this principle in its practice of 13 years of revolutionary war.

Eclecticism on the Question of War and Politics

Asumir 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."

Asumir 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.

Asumir's 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 society.

Let us look at Asumir's line on war and politics up close.

a. Revolutionary Politics must be in Command of a Revolutionary War

In "On 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.

Looking 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.

b. Asumir says both war and politics are forms of the great political war

Mao emphasized 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.

This 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.

c. Different laws govern war and politics

Asumir 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...."

We already 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 mitigated.

War exists 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."

The fundamental 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)

Not only 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.

It was 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.

Along 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.

To go 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.

When war starts, a new life starts. It is metaphysical to assume that the previous stage can be resurrected and replayed.

Once 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.

People's War is Led to Victory Through Twists and Turns

How does Asumir see the present situation of the war going on in the country and what does it propose?

"We are 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)."

"War 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...)".

"Policy to be carried out: 1) No confrontations, neutralize and respond measure for measure...."

"...(T)he party is strong in politics, but we are willing to have it that only a few remain; we will be the most tested...."

'she other hill has the objective that... the people's war is never repeated" [our emphasis ­ UICS].

"Let us trade a present of uncertain possibilities for a future with real and certain perspectives."

'she PCP wants peace, no more repression."

"Who represents the people in the elections? No one...."

Even 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!

The "prison 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 short, 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.

This 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 1970s

Asumir suggests that with fluctuations in "concrete conditions", the proletariat can slip back and forth between these two forms of class struggle.

Contrary 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 decades.

As far 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!

When 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."

We believe 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.

b. Problems should be solved in the midst of war

Let us 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 war.

The beginning 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 against it.

First 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.

The regime 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.

In the 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.

As the 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.

In 1990, 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 is launched.

c. The People's War is far from over. Partial defeat is not absolute defeat

Asumir's 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.

For example, 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 shantytown proletarians.

The most 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", p. 71)

After 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.

The proletarian 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.

In short, 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 be "seasoned".

Shortly 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.

And these 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.

From 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)

Even 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.

d. Asumir's approach cuts against the strategy of protracted people's war

One of 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.

Protracted 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.

An important 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 warfare.

Terminating 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 party...?"5

In order 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.

e. Once the red flag has been raised, there is no bringing it down

Asumir 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)

Our war 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 and Peace")

To seize 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 social content.

As Comrade 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.

Exactly 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)

However, 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.

Also, 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 enemy

Comrade 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.

The enemy 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

Once 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.

g. Does this mean that any compromise is impermissible?

If compromises 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

Does 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.

Nevertheless, these ebbs and flows in the state of war must not be confused with starting and stopping the war.

To end 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.


Protracted 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 the war.

Maintaining is Good, Not Bad

Asumir 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 war:

'she 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...."

a. Dispelling confusion

First, 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.

Secondly, 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, p 106)

The prison 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?

This 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 class struggle.

Today the problems facing the PCP and the PW might be very complex and the conditions hard. But the approach proposed in Asumir is not Maoist.

b. On precise plans and quick decisions

The prison 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."

Asumir 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)

It is 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

This "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.

We are 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.

At times, 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

So at 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.

Not understanding these things means not understanding the uneven nature of development of the protracted people's war, which is full of twists and turns.

c. The dialectics of maintaining and developing

Comrade 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.

The PCP 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.

No other 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.

Maintaining 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.

The Long 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

d. Analyzing new conditions in war

Asumir says, "...(T)hey [the leadership outside] do not analyze the new problems, the direction...".

Well 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.

In order 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.

To firmly 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.

We are 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 experience.

Every 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.

Although "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.

It Will be Hell on Earth for the Masses in Peru if the People's War is Not Maintained

Both the Asumir article and the other document claim that, 'she people want peace"!

Which people? The people are divided into classes.

Who are 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.

We don't 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.

The vanguard 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 resist.

What 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.

Things 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."

Without a People's Army, the People Have Nothing

The existence 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.

Mao put 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 cooperation.

In this 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.""

Mao answers: '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)

It is 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.

Party Forces Must Be Preserved, But First The Party's Colour Must Be Preserved

What 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. 65).

Asumir 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.

Asumir 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.

The prison 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."

It is 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?

If a 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.

Even 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, p. 7)

As the 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".

As we 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.

A communist 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.


The Problem of Leadership

Asumir writes, "We have problems with numbers 1 and 3 (proletarian leadership and strategic centralization)."

It is 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.

The experience 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.

a. Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran) (UICS)

Recapitulating 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 were required.

We must 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.

Therefore 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.

The defeat 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.

This 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.

After 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.

The most 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.

Soon 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.

To save 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

The liquidators 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 liquidationists.

The organization 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.

A whole 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.

In this 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.

Resurrecting 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.

We carried 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.

At last 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 conclusion.

B. Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)

The experience 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.

The CPI(ML) 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.

The experience 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".

We are 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.

c. The PCP

Undoubtedly, 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.

Lenin 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.

Now in 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.

When 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.

The prison 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.

Here 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.

Once 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!

The World Situation

Every 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 contradictions.

Important 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.

With this in mind, we should look at Asumir's views of the world situation.

a. According to Asumir, because of the fall of the East bloc, we cannot make revolution!

Asumir 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  UICS)

According 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

Why is 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.

Public 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?

In contrast 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 up revolution.

If important 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 far 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!

But is 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 interests.

Now, 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.

We know 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 long 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.

The fall 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 this way.

The fall 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

Asumir, 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 recovery".

What 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!

Moreover, 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

Even 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.

Basing 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 revolution

Asumir 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.

Even 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.

Asumir's 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 the world.

Comrade 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

To say 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. 120)

Asumir's 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.

Asumir's 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.

Growth Rate Jumps

a Couple of Points and the Bureaucratic Road Becomes Viable!

Looking 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!")

One of 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."

Yes, 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.

a. Fujishock and the so-called viability of bureaucrat capitalism

Let us 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 block.20

What 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.

It can 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.

As a 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 lackeys.

Does 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.

But let 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.

The economic 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

In addition 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."

The point 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.

Most 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.

These 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.

But one 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.

Asumir 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.

Another 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 the war.

None 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 stability.

Class Collaboration Is a Reserve for National Betrayal

One of 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.

Whatever 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.


Two-line Struggle

"When 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)

Two and 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.

Important 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."

There 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.

If the 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.

The impact 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.

Different 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.

The line 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.

What 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.

But under 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.

All of 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.

In the final analysis, Asumir is a class phenomenon which has raised its head in a concrete set of conditions and must be dealt with as such.21

Major 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.)

The fact 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.

Last Word

The present 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.

Some 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.

Different 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.

Long Live the Communist Party of Peru! Long Live the PCP Central Committee!

Long Live the People's War!

Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo!

Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!

Long Live Proletarian Internationalism!

Long 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.

2 Translated as "Struggle for a Peace Accord and Lay the Bases for the Second Congress!", reprinted by Comité Sol Peru, Paris, France.

3 Interestingly, 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) in 1985.

"Such 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.

'she 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 will!"

 From the 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. 87-88)

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]

Asumir 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.

We are 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 them.

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 Wilson)

The Long 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.

The Long 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.

The Long 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.

The struggle 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.

At the 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)

In the 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.

Asumir 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".

We are 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.

17 These 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...."

Against 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 other.

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.