A WORLD TO WIN    #22   (1996)


An Initial Reply to Arce Borja

On the Maoist Conception of Two-Line Struggle

By KJA, a contributor to A World to Win (Summer 1995)

For some time now, Luis Arce Borja, the editor of El Diario Internacional, has attacked the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and its leadership, the Committee of RIM (CoRIM), with an ever increasing level of intensity, distortion and vitriol. The publication of the Call by the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement to "Rally to the Defence of Our Red Flag Flying in Peru" has led Arce to issue an article whose title speaks eloquently as to the depth of his political analysis and method of struggle, "Trappist Monks turn into Village Charlatans: Another Somersault of the Circus Acrobats of RIM".

It is tempting to respond to Arce's diatribe from a whole variety of angles: the history of his long-standing dislike of RIM; Arce's boycott of the Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo campaign, initiated by CoRIM, even while he attempts to pickpocket some of its achievements; Arce's services on behalf of those opportunists and centrists seeking to construct another "centre" in the international communist movement opposed to RIM and not based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM); Arce's efforts to present his own erroneous thinking as the line of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP), from which he has always jealously guarded his "independence"; Arce's insinuations concerning the "capitulation or death" of Chairman Gonzalo, while trying to wrap himself in the garb of an unqualified supporter of Chairman Gonzalo, and so on.

All of these deviations are not mere accidents; they do indeed stem from a common ideological and political root in Arce's thinking. But the thorough dissection of Arce's line and approach, not to mention unravelling all of the distortions, rhetorical gymnastics, misquotes, unfounded speculation and deliberate provocation is beyond the scope of this initial reply. Furthermore, such an effort might tend to divert attention from the central question at hand today, which is not Arce's own opportunism, but the life-and-death nature of the two-line struggle that erupted in the PCP with the call to "fight for peace accords".

In this light, it is more useful to focus on Arce's previous article, "A Response to the Investigators' of RIM", which has the merit, to a certain extent and a certain degree, of raising a number of significant political questions (even if Arce's response to them is, invariably, wrong) rather than his more hysterical and thus more easily refutable article in response to CoRIM's Call to "Rally to the Defence...".

This initial reply will thus centre on Arce's denial of the two-line struggle which erupted in the PCP, and his failure to understand the laws of two-line struggle generally.

*   *   *

Arce writes that to speak of a two-line struggle is "to portray the PCP as corroded by scandalous division and weakened almost to the point of destruction". This confusion is particularly strange coming from someone who refers to himself as a Maoist. He reveals that he has understood virtually nothing about the nature of two-line struggle in the party, despite the fact that this is one of Mao's most important developments of Marxism-Leninism-Maosim.

Even more than just a correct teaching, Mao's thesis on the two-line struggle in the party is inextricably bound up with the whole analysis Mao made of the nature of socialist society, the class struggle under socialism, the continuing existence of the bourgeoisie and the need to carry forward the revolution even under conditions of proletarian dictatorship. This understanding was the political underpinnings of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), the greatest revolutionary movement in human history and the cauldron from which Maoism emerged triumphantly as the new and higher stage of Marxism.

Arce's clumsy attack on the Maoist understanding of two-line struggle is really nothing but his incapacity to grasp Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as a third, higher and new stage of Marxism, which, as we will see later, is at the root of his hatred of RIM and his hopes to regroup the "international communist movement" on some basis other than (and in fact, opposed to) Maoism.

Maoist Understanding of Two-line Struggle

Applying the laws of dialectical materialism to the Communist Party itself, Mao taught that the party was a "unity of opposites" between the leading proletarian Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line and party leadership on the one hand, and on the other, erroneous lines and thinking which ultimately reflect other class outlooks. He pointed out how this becomes particularly sharp in the period of socialism, when the bourgeoisie is "right in the communist party", but the basic feature of two-line struggle is true both before and after the dictatorship of the proletariat is established.

Furthermore, Mao taught that it was precisely through waging the two-line struggle that the party had to advance. In some passages Arce cites some of Mao's writings on this subject, but fails to understand the very words he is copying.

Mao argued that the two-line struggle is a constant feature of the communist party and, indeed, that without the struggle against erroneous ideas the "life of the party would come to an end". But he analyzed that the struggle between Marxism and opportunism goes through different phases and would necessarily call forth different means to resolve it.

It is worth quoting at some length from A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China published in Shanghai in 1974 (that is, under the leadership of Mao and the revolutionary headquarters in the Communist Party of China), which reads like a direct answer to Arce:

Quoting Mao: "opposition and struggle between different ideas of different kinds constantly occur within the Party; this is a reflection within the Party of contradictions between classes and between the new and the old in society."

Interestingly, this is the same passage used by Arce in one of his articles. But the Communist Party of China (CPC) textbook goes on to correctly explain the point:

"Class struggle in the society inevitably has its reflection inside the Party, and it appears in a concentrated fashion in the form of the two-line struggle within the Party - this is also an objective law. The reason why there can be no doubt that class struggle in society has its reflection in the Party is that our Party does not live in a vacuum, but in a society in which classes exist, and it is possible for bourgeois ideology, the force of old habits and international revisionist trends of thought to affect and poison our Party organism. Moreover, imperialism and social-imperialism make use of every possible channel in their attempts to overthrow our state of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and therefore they seek by every means to secure agents within our Party. It is always possible that people in our Party will let themselves be corrupted by the enemy, will let themselves degenerate to the point of becoming agents of the class enemy. The ten big two-line struggles which our Party has gone through in the course of its 50 year history have all been reflections inside the Party of the class struggle on the national and international levels....

"The protracted nature of the class struggle in society determines the protracted nature of the two-line struggle within the Party. As long as there are classes, class contradictions and class struggle, as long as there exist the socialist and capitalist roads, the danger of a capitalist restoration, and the threat of subversion and aggression by imperialism and social-imperialism, the two-line struggle within the Party, which is the reflection of these contradictions, will also carry on. Possibly this struggle will manifest itself another 10, 20 or 30 times, and it is possible that individuals like Lin Piao, Wang Ming, Liu Shao-chi, Peng Te-huai, and Kao Kang will once again appear - this is something independent of man's will. Some comrades are surprised by the appearance of important two-line struggles inside the Party - this is basically a result of their not having a clear enough understanding of the protracted nature of class struggle and two-line struggle during the period of socialism. They do not understand that the protracted nature of these struggles manifests itself like the ebb and flow of the tide - now high, now low. High' or low' are only the different appearances that class struggle may take; they do not represent a distinction between the presence and absence of this struggle. In the same way, ebb and flow' do not mean existence and disappearance'. Only if we firmly grasp the protracted nature of the class struggle and the two-line struggle will we be able to understand the laws which govern their ebb and flow, their high tides and low tides, and the twists and turns of these struggles. Only then will we be fully prepared, will we be in a position to take the initiative in the class struggle and in the struggle between the two lines - no matter in what disguise the class enemy cloaks himself - and will we be able to follow the development of events, lead them, and thus ensure the victory of the revolution." (NBI edition, Toronto, 1976, pp 51-52)

From this Maoist perspective on the two-line struggle we can see that struggle is continual, but it most definitely has its "high tides" when struggle erupts over the very line of the party itself. Furthermore, we can see that the phenomenon of "degenerating into class enemies" is a feature of two-line struggle and not, like Arce argues, proof that no such struggle exists.

In fact, this is precisely the process that has taken place in the PCP. The PCP Central Committee has analyzed the existence of a "right opportunist line" (hereafter referred to as ROL) within the Party whose roots go back well before the outbreak of the struggle over the "peace accords". A February 1994 document of the Central Committee of the PCP calls on the party "to raise the struggle to the level of line" and writes in outline form:

"Pay attention to the two-line struggle, develop it to propel the People's War forward which is principal and determinant. It is necessary to go deeply into the antecedents, process and the current situation in order to define the current level of struggle throughout the Party."

Under specific conditions, long-standing differences have emerged into an actual concrete political line opposed to the basic line of the PCP (the "struggle for peace accords") championed by people inside and outside the leadership of the PCP. This two-line struggle is very much a reflection of the ongoing struggle in society, most importantly the People's War itself, and it is the reason that it is correct to stress that if the incorrect line were to dominate, the very future of the war would be compromised.

Arce argues that "when one speaks of the 'two-line struggle' the only thing it leads to is to neutralize the struggle against the capitulators." What?! Carrying out a struggle against what the PCP leadership has called a "right opportunist line" all of a sudden weakens the struggle against capitulators?

In his article "A Response to the Investigators' of RIM", Arce tries to explain that "two-line struggle" is something other than a life-and-death struggle, something which only takes place with comrades who have made mistakes but who have not developed into enemies of the party and the revolution. Of course, as mentioned above, two-line struggle exists at all times and does go through transformations, as the contradiction between Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and revisionism develops in the wave-like motion described above. But Maoists emphasize precisely the high points of the two-line struggle, exactly when it has been necessary to wage all-out struggle over the fundamental line of the party. This is what the comrades of the CPC meant when they spoke of "ten major two-line struggles". Frankly, it is somewhat difficult to understand how Mao had "neutralized" the struggle against Liu Shao-chi or Lin Piao or Deng Xiao-ping by launching major two-line struggles against them!?

Arce misunderstands "two-line struggle" to refer only to "non-antagonistic" contradictions which "can be resolved through criticism and self-criticism. A form of struggle which has the task of persuading and bringing comrades with pernicious and erroneous ideas back to the correct line." When a contradiction "has become antagonistic in that it expresses irreconcilable interests, its resolution will take place through direct class struggle". He goes on to argue that in such cases "it is imperative to use radical means of struggle such as purging and a rigourous selection of members and cadres".

Thus we see that in Arce's world-view, two-line struggle is not part of the "direct class struggle". He wants to minimize the two-line struggle and reduce its scope to being simply a way to help basically good comrades overcome errors in their understanding and practice. Once a contradiction has reached open antagonism, it must, according to Arce, be dealt with by other means, and "two-line struggle" is specifically excluded.

This is wrong and goes against the line and practice of Maoists. For example, the PCP has often spoken about the important two-line struggle that took place in the ranks of the Party on the eve of the initiation of the People's War (referred to as the "ILA", after the Spanish initials for "Initiate the Armed Struggle"). Without that two-line struggle (which was by no means a mild and harmonious affair and led to the departure of a considerable number of leaders and members of the Party), there would have been no People's War. In the years since the ILA there has not been, to our knowledge, the eruption of a major two-line struggle within the PCP. To use the term of the CPC textbook cited earlier, the two-line struggle has been at a "low tide". The outbreak of a full-blown right opportunist line in the PCP in October 1993 has been the occasion for a struggle of even greater importance than the struggle against the wrong line at the time of the ILA.

The Maoist conception of two-line struggle does not mean that die-hard revisionists should be tolerated in the party nor that the struggle against such revisionists should be limited to criticism and self-criticism, as Arce seems to misunderstand. Once a major two-line struggle erupts, it must be energetically fought through by the proletarian headquarters in the party and resolved. But resolution is nothing other than waging a fierce two-line struggle. Didn't Mao "resolve" the contradiction with Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao precisely by mobilizing the whole party and the masses to wage fierce ideological and political struggle? Isn't the Cultural Revolution an example of "radical means of struggle" par excellence?

This is why a "two-line struggle" can continue even after the main proponents of such a line have left or been removed from the party. Again, the important two-line struggles in the Communist Party of China (especially in the period of the Cultural Revolution) are illustrative in this regard. The two-line struggle against the lines of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao went on and gathered in strength long after these revisionist chieftains had been smashed (and in the case of Lin Piao, long after he was dead!).

This is because the purpose of two-line struggle, from a Maoist understanding, cannot be reduced to simply removing this or that revisionist chieftain from the party. There is the need to thoroughly and deeply expose the revisionist line, strengthen the correct line and train the communists and the masses in the course of combatting this line and fighting to eradicate its influence. Two-line struggle does not exclude the necessity of taking firm organizational measures to protect the integrity of the party, such as expulsion and so forth. Such measures are almost always required in any major two-line struggle. But unlike Arce, Maoists do not believe that political struggle and organizational measures are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, Maoists believe that organizational measures flow from political line and serve it and that organizational measures can never be used as a substitute for waging the necessary line struggle.

Long before Mao, there had been important struggles against revisionism and opportunism. The struggle against Trotsky, discussed later, but also Lenin's struggle against the revisionists of the Second International, Marx's struggle against Proudhon, and so forth. Even in China itself it had been necessary to "clear out" a number of renegades from within the Party.

Mao synthesized the past experience of the international communist movement and was able to understand why and how these repeated struggles took place. In this regard he did have to subject some past experience to criticism and analysis. Mao understood that it is not enough to simply remove revisionist leaders from office. The struggle between Marxism and revisionism has to be taken to the masses and their attention has to be focused on the line, not simply or mainly the crimes of the revisionist chieftains (although revisionist chieftains do inevitably commit crimes).

Two-line struggle does not erupt "from nowhere" (and this is one important reason why Arce's efforts to reduce it to a "police plot" are disarming and counter-productive). Two-line struggle invariably has its origins (or "antecedents", as the PCP CC document puts it) in political differences and tendencies in the party prior to the outbreak of a major two-line struggle. The outbreak of a two-line struggle is the occasion, the necessity, for bringing into sharper relief many political questions which existed earlier in a less developed form. Two-line struggle represents a consolidation of erroneous and opportunist tendencies in the party into an oppositional line, but just as importantly it brings forward the opposite: the heightened, deeper and more thorough-going mastery of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism on the part of the party leadership and the whole party. This is how MLM develops - amidst storms and fury. When two-line struggle breaks out, it is necessary to fight tooth and nail for the basic revolutionary line of the party. Through this process the basic line of the party can and does develop, not only to meet the immediate challenges posed by the opportunist line, but also and more importantly to meet the challenges of the revolutionary process and the certain emergence of new opportunist lines in the future. Two-line struggle is not a confession of weakness, it is a motor for pushing the revolutionary work of the party ­forward.

The existence of two-line struggle between Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and revisionism is an objective development independent of anyone's will. It is also inevitable that from time to time revisionist headquarters will emerge and fight to overthrow the proletarian character of the party. These tests of strength will be closely connected to developments in the class struggle, for example, when the vital questions of the future of the revolution are concentrated in disputes over political line.

The question is not whether it is possible to "prevent" the emergence of such opportunist lines, any more than mankind can, at its current level of productive forces and scientific knowledge, prevent violent hurricanes. Rather, the question is how to prepare the party and the masses for such political "hurricanes": to defeat any such opportunist line, and to turn the defeat of a revisionist line into a force propelling the revolutionary process forward.

The emergence of repeated two-line struggles does not mean that the party is simply standing still, helplessly beating off one attack from within its midst after another. As each opportunist line is defeated this can and must lead to digging away at the ideological-political roots of that line and leave the party stronger - literally tempered - to carry on its revolutionary tasks. Again, this is exactly what Mao did in the Communist Party of China and this is how we understand the PCP Central Committee's call to "raise the struggle to the level of line".

Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

As stated earlier, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was the decisive crucible in which Mao Tsetung's development of Marxism-Leninism emerged as a new, third and higher stage of Marxism itself. It is for this reason that correctly understanding the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is at the heart of grasping Maoism.

The reactionaries and revisionists of all stripes have concentrated their attacks on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and its political and ideological lessons and underpinnings because they want to deny the universality of Maoism. There are also forces claiming to be part of the international communist movement today who pay lip service to Mao's great revolutionary contributions and even to his "struggle against revisionism" all the while fighting tooth and nail against Maoism as a third stage of Marxism and especially against Mao's line and practice of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Of course, in this article it is possible only to touch briefly and in passing on the world historic Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. We hope very much that our readers will restudy the abundant material available on the GPCR from the revolutionaries in China as well as from the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and its participating parties and organisations with these questions of the two-line struggle in Peru in mind.

Bourgeois scholars have often tried to slander the GPCR as a struggle for power at the top of the CPC by a few individuals or "cliques". According to this view, the masses in the GPCR were cynically manipulated by Mao and the revolutionaries. This type of an "interpretation" of the GPCR is to be expected from class enemies and from bourgeois scholars whose own class outlook prevents them from understanding the role of the masses of people.

This same line of attack, that the GPCR was nothing but a bourgeois power struggle at the top ranks of the Party, is also echoed by so-called communist critics as well. This was a hallmark of Albanian Party of Labour leader Enver Hoxha's attack on Mao after the latter's death and the reversal of proletarian rule in China. Some others who did not agree with Hoxha's reactionary conclusions that Mao was a "nationalist", a "populist" and so on, still tended to share some of Hoxha's method of thinking, especially his inability to grasp the real nature of the two-line struggle in China. They speculated out loud about why Mao did not simply dismiss the revisionists in the Party by administrative methods and be done with them.

In a remarkable interview in 1967 (given to the Albanian military delegation), Mao answered the delegation's question, "What do you believe is the goal of the Great Cultural Revolution?" [Voices respond, "to struggle against the capitalist roaders within the party".] Mao said:

"Struggling against the capitalist roaders is the principal task, but in no way is it the goal. The goal is to resolve the problem of world outlook; it is the question of pulling up the roots of revisionism."

"The Central Committee has emphasized many times that the masses must educate and liberate themselves, the world-view cannot be imposed upon them. To transform ideology it is necessary that external causes work through internal causes, although these latter are principal. What would victory in the Cultural Revolution be if it did not transform world outlook? If the world-view is not transformed the 2000 capitalist roaders of today will become 4000 the next time." (Quoted in the PCP document, Elections No, Guerra Popular, Si!, Ediciones Bandera Roja, 1990. The entire article is reprinted in AWTW 1984/1)

Thus we see that for Mao, unlike Arce, there was no great wall between the need to smash a counter-revolutionary headquarters and the political and ideological struggle. The immediate political objective - overthrowing the capitalist roaders - was a means and a vehicle to carry forward the overarching struggle to pull up the roots of revisionism.

Two-line Struggle or Police Plot?

Arce, in a revealing subhead, asks, "what is the difference between two-line struggle and a police plot?" His argument is that the "struggle for peace accords" line has no internal basis within the Party and that it is simply a fabrication of the political police.

Again, Arce's starting point is his misconception of the two-line struggle. Arce tries to muster the example of Stalin's struggle against Trotsky as evidence that once a contradiction becomes antagonistic, it is no longer a "two-line struggle". But this is the opposite of the truth. The struggle of the Bolsheviks against Trotsky was precisely an example of a two-line struggle, and a grand one at that. Stalin mobilized the whole Bolshevik Party and the entire international communist movement to thoroughly and resoundingly defeat Trotsky, his followers, and above all his line. In fact, it was through this great struggle that the whole international communist movement consolidated a basic understanding of a number of vital political questions that today we take for granted - for example, the possibility of constructing a socialist society in only one country if faced with that necessity, the two-stage character of the revolution in the oppressed countries, and many, many more.

The Trotskyites did indeed aid the class enemy, and there was more than a little evidence of their collaboration with the enemies' counter-revolutionary apparatus. However, Stalin was not content to label Trotsky as simply a "police plotter" and dismiss it as that. Indeed, some of his most important works, such as Problems of Leninism, were written in this major struggle.

But it was not until Mao that the international communist movement came to a thorough and deep understanding of this phenomenon of two-line struggle and the means to carry it through. In fact, this great contribution of Mao has been under constant attack, and not only from the revisionists in the USSR and those defeated revisionists in China. After Mao's death his thesis on the two-line struggle became a key point of attack by both the right in China led by Deng Xiao-ping and also, from a seemingly "opposite" point of view, from Enver Hoxha of Albania.

Hoxha argued that Mao "had permitted" the bourgeoisie in the party simply because Mao recognized the objective existence of the bourgeoisie and the revisionist line in the party and hence the need to struggle to prevent the rise of revisionism. Like Arce, Hoxha tried to pit the experience of Stalin against the more advanced understanding of Mao and his practice in leading the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Like Arce, Hoxha tried to argue that waging "two-line struggle" was a kind of liberalism or soft-pedalling of the struggle against class enemies. Like Arce, Hoxha tried to argue that to admit the objective existence of the bourgeois line would be a confession of the weakness of the proletarian party. Hoxha argued in terms of the party's "purity", with the corollary being that revisionism could only be explained by the direct hand of the enemy, and not on the basis of the internal contradictions of the party itself. In making these arguments, Hoxha - and Arce - try to base themselves on Stalin, but they base themselves on his weak points and limitations, not his genuine and overwhelmingly positive contributions (such as his struggle against Trotsky, correctly understood from the higher plane of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism).

In fact, if we examine the various two-line struggles led by Mao against revisionist lines in the Communist Party of China, we can see that almost inevitably the struggle against a revisionist headquarters in the party involves different degrees of intrigue by the openly counter-revolutionary enemy.

This was certainly the case in the Lin Piao affair. In 1971 Lin Piao actually launched an attempt to assassinate Mao Tsetung. He did this in collaboration with the counter-revolutionary revisionists of the USSR and, when his plot failed, was killed in a plane crash while trying to flee to the Soviet Union.

The CPC correctly denounced Lin Piao as a "super spy", and indeed a more "open and shut" case of involvement with the enemy's counter-revolutionary apparatus would be harder to imagine. But did this mean that Mao and the Communist Party of China were content simply to denounce him as an agent, although he clearly had become one? Did this mean that any reference to "two-line struggle" against Lin Piao and his clique should be banned as somehow "legitimizing" his plotting?

Anyone with any knowledge of the history of the Communist Party of China knows the answer. Mao and the revolutionary leadership of the Party seized upon the Lin Piao affair to launch a deep-going and all-round struggle against revisionism. Long after Lin Piao had crashed into the desert of Mongolia, the masses of people in China were being called upon to deepen the criticism of Lin Piao, dead or not. This was because Mao and his followers understood that more was at stake than simply the crimes of one renegade, that renegacy itself has its material and objective basis which needs to be struggled against in order to carry forward the revolution. The masses were educated to understand why people like Lin Piao are produced and how to struggle against them. An opposite approach of leaving the struggle simply at a denunciation of his conspiratorial and criminal behaviour would have left the Party disarmed politically.

There is no doubt that at least some of those advocating "peace accords" are consciously working hand in hand with the class enemy. The Central Committee of the PCP and all of the ranks of the Party and the revolutionary masses are right to vigourously denounce such activities and launch a ruthless struggle against them. But that does not change the fact that these types of activities are inextricably connected with the Right Opportunist Line itself. The ROL leads to capitulation, and it cannot be otherwise. It is wrong to want, as Arce does, only to denounce the "police connection" while feeling it unnecessary to refute and struggle against the actual content of the arguments and lines being put forward by the advocates of peace accords.

In other words, the hand of the class enemy is generally to be found in any major two-line struggle. Whether some leading figures from within the PCP came up with the ROL and arguments for the "peace accords" themselves or whether the original impetus came from the political police is not the principal question. In either case, the fact remains that the line of "fighting for a peace accord" had, according to the PCP Central Committee, antecedents in previous erroneous positions held by some in the Party, and the ROL has attracted a significant number of PCP militants (and Arce himself cites figures which would indicate hundreds of prisoners supporting this line).

Deepen the Struggle

The purpose of carrying out the two-line struggle is, again, not to "conciliate" with the Right Opportunist Line (any more than Mao was guilty of Hoxha's charge of having "conciliated" with revisionism in the CPC). The point is "to raise the struggle to the level of line" (as the CC says in its February '94 document) and on that basis to more thoroughly criticize, repudiate and defeat the Right Opportunist Line. This is not only something to be done in Peru. There are many political questions involved that are matters of life and death for RIM and the international communist movement as a whole. In the process of RIM (along with others) fully and energetically taking up the two-line struggle, the whole movement can and must come to a deeper and richer understanding of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist principles.

Arce's comments that a "two-line struggle" would be an "internal affair" of the PCP are strange indeed. Was Stalin's struggle against Trotsky an "internal affair"? Was the GPCR simply an "internal affair" of the CPC? Did it not serve as a school for the whole international communist movement? Didn't this struggle play a very important role in spreading Marxism-Leninism-Maoism all over the world, including in training Chairman Gonzalo, who lived in China for six tumultuous months of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution? Fortunately, neither Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and certainly not Mao ever looked at the two-line struggle as an "internal affair", but as a vital struggle for all of the world's communists.

Arce believes that to thoroughly examine a wrong line will somehow lend it credence. He prefers rejection without analysis, repudiation without criticism. But is this really a viable option? And even if it were possible to short-circuit the political and ideological struggle, would this really be the best means of aiding the PCP and aiding the Maoist forces internationally?

Whatever the origins of the call for peace accords, the fact remains that the ROL represents an internally coherent, opportunist line based on a certain analysis of the situation in Peru and the world. It will not be possible to defeat this line thoroughly by simply dismissing it as a police ploy. Furthermore, important elements of this line are to be found in other countries and other parties.

Rather, what is needed is a mass movement of criticism to repudiate and criticize the ROL and on that basis strengthen and consolidate the understanding of the correct Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line. This is the method Maoists have always stood for,

and we should vigourously fight for it and apply it today.

Arce's Attack on Investigation

Because Arce fails to understand the need to wage a two-line struggle, he rails furiously against RIM for engaging in a process of investigation and study of the opposing lines and the situation in Peru. After all, according to Arce's simplistic thinking, a police plot is a police plot, so what is there to investigate? Arce sees no need to refute the ROL, rather he considers that the very act of refuting somehow "lends credence" to the "false" idea of a "two-line struggle".

In his struggle against the approach of RIM, Arce reveals his own ignorance and/or speculates on the inexperience of some of his readers regarding the history of the approach within the international communist movement to major struggles between Marxism and revisionism. For example, he argues in one of his earlier articles against RIM that Mao criticized Khruschevite revisionism when it emerged in the Soviet Union in 1956 with its unbridled attack on Stalin. It is true that Mao did criticize Khrushchev, first privately in the Party and later, beginning in 1960, indirectly but publicly in a series of articles. Only in 1963 did Mao and the CPC launch their all-out open polemics against Khrushchev and publicly split from Khrushchev and the modern revisionists - more than six years after Khrushchev's infamous secret speech against Stalin. In fact, the Communist Party of China even signed two important international declarations (the Moscow Declarations of 1957 and 1960) with the Khruschevite revisionists (while at the same time developing the struggle against the Khruschevite theses in a step-by-step way, in addition to fighting against the inclusion of these theses in these two Declarations).

It is also clear that through the struggle Mao did wage against Khrushchev, dissecting his every argument and repudiating them on the basis of proletarian ideology, the understanding of the whole international communist movement advanced to new heights. The political foundations of the new communist movement were laid to no small degree in the series of "Open Letters" from the Communist Party of China to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It should be noted in passing that Mao and the CPC even went so far as to "circulate" and in fact reprint Khrushchev's revisionist articles. In part, this was out of respect for the established practice in the international communist movement of printing the documents of those who are being criticized. But more important than the mere formal aspect of this is the political necessity of enabling the communists to really examine and thus more thoroughly repudiate the revisionist arguments. We can be thankful that Mao had not adopted the simple-minded approach Arce is trying to insist upon.

The point is not to go into all the reasons why Mao adopted his specific approach to struggling with Khruschevite revisionism. In fact, every important struggle in the international movement will have its own particularities, including over the best methods and tactics to develop the two-line struggle. But taking a look at Mao's masterful struggle against the Khruschevite revisionists (including the tactics that he adopted) is useful not only to help clear up confusion caused by Arce's falsification (or ignorance) of the process of Mao's struggle (see Arce's "Silence of the Lambs"); it also helps put Arce's vitriolic attack on RIM's alleged "silence" in the face of the two-line struggle in Peru in a bit more perspective.

First of all, it should be pointed out that even in the one and a half years (and not "almost two years" as Arce claims) from the emergence of the "call to fight for peace accords" to the issuing of the statement "Rally to the Defence of our Red Flag Flying in Peru", RIM was never "neutral". The December 1993 resolution of RIM, issued on the Mao Centenary, at the same time as RIM's historic adoption of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, is clear on RIM's support for continuing the war. And, of course, during this whole period the Movement continued to carry forward the historic Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo campaign, which RIM had initiated in the days after the arrest of Chairman Gonzalo when certain others were nowhere to be found.

Furthermore, the guidance given by CoRIM for studying the line struggle in Peru (which has been released to the public) makes it clear that CoRIM never presented the questions involved in a neutral or agnostic way. The criteria for judging the two-line struggle were clearly based on MLM and specifically on the principles of protracted people's war.

Not A Question of "Time"

At an earlier stage of the dispute between Arce and RIM, some people felt that Arce's attacks could be explained because of his "impatience" at what he felt was the "silence" of RIM in the face of the two-line struggle. But in fact his reaction to the RIM Committee's Call to "Rally to the Defence of Our Red Flag Flying in Peru" is proof that "silence" or the "speed" in taking a position is really a non-issue. Arce considers RIM's words far worse than what he perceived as its "silence", and his level of malice has increased accordingly.

The problem again is that for Arce, CoRIM's original sin is to want to examine the lines which have emerged in this struggle. Arce wants to dismiss the Right Opportunist Line as nothing more than a police plot. But in fact there are a number of vital, life-and-death questions for the revolution that are brought into focus through this struggle. The difference between the tactic Mao employed on some occasions of negotiating in order to persevere in the People's War as opposed to the revisionist policy of fighting in order to be stronger in a strategy of negotiations; questions regarding the possibility of initiating, maintaining and carrying through people's war to final victory in the face of today's international situation; how can the leadership of a communist party be strengthened in the face of serious blows; these are but some of the important questions at stake in this debate. Questions which have emerged not only in Peru, but in the course of revolutionary struggle in other countries as well.

Is the revolutionary movement in Peru and the world strengthened or weakened by addressing these questions? Is it really true that the arguments of the Right Opportunist Line can be dismissed by a simple denunciation of a police plot? Will this really help defeat this line and minimize the damage it has created?

Instead of diving into these questions and assisting the PCP and the whole international movement in combatting the ROL, Arce declares that such a struggle is both unnecessary and somehow grants "legitimacy" to that line. One is forced to ask who benefits from outlawing the two-line struggle? Isn't it the Right Opportunist Line itself? Doesn't this have the familiar ring of those, like Lin Piao, in the Communist Party of China who argued that the Cultural Revolution should be declared over and the attention of the masses focused on production once Liu Shao-chi had been removed from office? Doesn't this sound a bit like those such as Deng who furiously resisted the efforts of Mao and the revolutionaries in China to go ever more deeply into the struggle to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, for fear that the two-line struggle would singe them as well?

Arce - False Spokesman for the PCP

In his polemics Arce tries very hard to imply, without ever daring to actually say in print anyway, that he can represent the thinking and viewpoint of the Central Committee of the PCP. He hurls charges at RIM for approaching the two-line struggle differently than the Central Committee of the PCP.

First of all, it was necessary and correct for RIM to address the question differently than the Central Committee of the PCP itself. RIM is an international movement linking together Maoist vanguards around the world, and its responsibilities will necessarily be different from those of any particular party, including the PCP; this is all the more true in the case of a two-line struggle erupting in the midst of the most advanced struggle in the world today. Furthermore, RIM has never claimed to speak for the Central Committee of the PCP, even though RIM has consistently supported the carrying through of the People's War and in its Call "Rally to the Defence of Our Red Flag Flying in Peru" offers its unreserved support to the Central Committee of the PCP in leading the People's War forward and in the struggle against the Right Opportunist Line.

But to claim that RIM has "ignored" the opinion of the Central Committee of the PCP or has suppressed its documents is really absurd. The methods RIM uses to circulate the documents and opinions of the different parties and organizations participating in it are naturally unknown to newspaper editors - friend and foe.

What is disturbing is Arce's frankly dishonest attempt to imply that he is putting forward the line of the PCP Central Committee. One will study high and low the documents of Arce to try to find any mention of the "Right Opportunist Line" (ROL) which the Central Committee of the PCP so vigourously denounces (and indeed, since the whole idea is complete anathema to his approach, the word "ROL" appears only in a quote from the Central Committee used out of context, left in initials to ensure the reader will have no idea to what it refers, and then promptly ignored).

Of course, Arce is free to argue, against all evidence, that "no two-line struggle" erupted in the PCP. But he is not free to imply that this is the view of the Central Committee of the PCP.

Arce's approach is to spice up his articles with bits and pieces of alleged "inside information" he claims to have gleaned all in the hope of making him appear "in the know". Arce's quoting (and deliberate distortion) of an internal RIM document is a case in point. This is a typical professional deformation among certain kinds of journalists. But it is dangerous when the journalist's method masquerades as political argument. Let the reader beware: the assertions of Arce are to be taken with more than a grain of salt: they are often false, generally distorted and always ripped out of context. They are typical of the voyeurism and gossip that sometimes fascinate those who are on the fringes of the revolutionary struggle but who recoil at taking real responsibility as part of a disciplined communist vanguard.

For example, Arce, relying on what he alleges are unpublished sections of his interview with Chairman Gonzalo, claims that a certain Morote is not a leader of the PCP and that, therefore, it is wrong to say that any leaders of the PCP had been involved in supporting the struggle for peace accords. Actually, the RIM documents never mention Morote or any other name as a "leader" supporting the peace accords. But the fact of the matter is that among the leading exponents of "the struggle for peace accords" are a number of people who have been associated with the PCP leadership in the past. It will not help the struggle against the ROL to argue differently in the face of all evidence, nor is that argument offered by the Central Committee of the PCP itself, even though they correctly emphasize that the ringleaders of this line are but a handful.

Chairman Gonzalo

The approach of RIM to Chairman Gonzalo has been clear and consistent. RIM has led and continues to lead the international campaign to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo.

Again, Arce would do better to examine what evaluation the PCP Central Committee has made of RIM's role in the Defend the Life campaign rather than offer his own subjective, wrong and individualist evaluation in place of that of a communist vanguard (and Arce can also explain his own inactivity and El Diario Internacional's own deafening silence in relation to this great struggle). Furthermore, RIM has struggled hard against the isolation of Chairman Gonzalo and his conditions of confinement. The need to continue this struggle is again stressed in the recent Call of CoRIM.

In relation to the two-line struggle and Chairman Gonzalo, RIM's position has been clear. As long as his conditions of confinement remain as they are, no one can say with any degree of certainty what position Chairman Gonzalo has taken. In any event, the discussion of political questions can and must be centred on the question of line and not authorship, while struggling to win the battle for an improvement in Chairman Gonzalo's conditions and especially to establish access to him. To focus on what by its very nature is impossible to verify (the question of Chairman Gonzalo's current position) is really to turn attention away from the political questions involved. The ROL argues that the peace accords approach is correct because it is the opinion of Chairman Gonzalo - but isn't Arce's approach just the other side of the same coin, when he makes the beginning and the end of his argument that Chairman Gonzalo cannot be the author of this line?

It is possible and necessary to prove that the line of "fighting for peace accords" goes contrary to the line forged by the PCP under the leadership of Chairman Gonzalo to carry the war forward (and this point is made forcefully in the Call of CoRIM). It is necessary to focus struggle against the regime and the barbaric conditions of confinement in which Chairman Gonzalo is being held. But the main point in this struggle against the ROL is to focus the struggle around the cardinal questions of political line.

It is somewhat surprising that Arce takes CoRIM to task for "separating Gonzalo Thought from the political life and praxis of Chairman Gonzalo". After all, it was El Diario Internacional which responded to the capture of Chairman Gonzalo with the title "Gonzalo Thought is Still Free" and with a stunning passivity in the face of the need to mobilize masses throughout the world to defend his life. Furthermore, in his article "Operation Capitulation", Arce writes that as soon as Chairman Gonzalo was captured "the only choice was death or capitulation". He speculates that Chairman Gonzalo is dead, but if he is not, the implication is crystal clear. If the only choice is "death or capitulation", as Arce maintained, why did the Central Committee of the PCP (and RIM as well of course) raise the slogan "Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo!"? Is Arce really so pessimistic, so disparaging of the strength of the masses in Peru and throughout the world that he is willing to declare in advance the impossibility of winning the struggle to defend the life of Chairman Gonzalo?

The attack Arce wages against RIM is also an attack on the line of the PCP itself, whose position on RIM is abundantly clear in a whole series of public documents from 1984 when RIM was formed onward, including a rather lengthy discussion of RIM in the 1992 Central Committee documents. Arce's attack on RIM should not be misunderstood as an "overzealous", "clumsy" or "hotheaded" defence of the PCP's position. It is a different line, a different approach to RIM and to the international communist movement. It is a line that opposes and attacks the regrouping of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organisations in RIM in order to promote Arce's own different scheme to regroup the hodge-podge of Marxists and opportunists that he so generously refers to as the "international communist movement", and to do this on an opportunist basis. It is amusing that Arce takes RIM to task by saying "anyone who claims to be part of the left, but who doesn't take into account the position of the PCP will fall into opportunist ground". Why doesn't Arce apply his own criteria to himself when it comes to his attacks on RIM?

Of course, Arce's hatred of RIM is nothing new. Long-time readers of El Diario Internacional will search high and low for any reference to the fact that the PCP is a participating party of RIM, or to RIM's call to "Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo" or, earlier on, to news of the worldwide Yankee Go Home! campaign initiated by RIM and the PCP on an international level. Nor is Arce afraid even to tamper with the words of Chairman Gonzalo himself if it serves Arce's narrow aims. For example, he censors the phrase in Chairman Gonzalo's magnificent speech from the cage in which Chairman Gonzalo salutes the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (and just to clear up any confusion, Arce refused to publish a correction even though the error was pointed out to him repeatedly).

Perhaps the journalist should let the comrades of the PCP speak for themselves.

Arce's attacks on RIM and his violent attack on the Maoist understanding of two-line struggle are part of efforts by himself and others to erase the real lines of demarcation that have emerged in the international communist movement and replace them with different, non-Maoist criteria. This is why Arce can so easily assail the embryonic political centre of the world's Maoist parties and organisations, in which the PCP participates, while singing the praises of more than a few opportunists, centrists, vociferous opponents of Maoism, supporters of Deng Xiao-ping, and those who are nostalgic for the old Brezhnev regime. Refuting Mao's great thesis on continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, including specifically his teachings on the two-line struggle in the party, is a requirement for trying to bring together this mish-mash.

Whereas the PCP and RIM hold that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the dividing line in the international communist movement, Arce argues unabashedly for other more earthshaking criteria - like whether or not a party distributes El Diario Internacional!

The Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement has been correct to focus on the political and ideological questions which emerged in the two-line struggle in the Communist Party of Peru. Revolutionaries from around the world should not allow journalists who are falsely donning the mantle of the PCP to stand in the way of carrying the fight forward to expose and defeat the Right Opportunist Line, win the fight to end the isolation of Chairman Gonzalo, and unleash a mighty campaign of support for the PCP and the People's War it is leading.