A Hard Look at the Dangers
and Opportunities in the Two-Line Struggle in Peru
The following article
in a question-and-answer format was prepared with the help of reports
from comrades and friends in many countries who have been grappling
with this two-line struggle and the tasks it poses for those who
support the People's War led by the Communist Party of Peru. - AWTW
talk about "two lines" that emerged in the Communist Party of Peru
(PCP). What are these two lines, exactly?
The main point is whether
or not the People's War can and should continue. The Party's Central
Committee (CC) says it can and must. The line that has risen up
against that, what the CC calls the Right Opportunist Line (ROL),
argues that it has become impossible to pursue the war, basically
because of the capture of PCP Chairman Gonzalo in September 1992,
as well as other alleged changes in the situation in Peru and the
world. The ROL claims that without Chairman Gonzalo at the helm
of the Party, victory is impossible, and without the perspective
of victory, any military actions are meaningless. Therefore, they
believe, the Party should seek to negotiate a way out of the war
to escape the danger of being crushed.
then the question is whether or not the PCP should negotiate?
No. The question is
what is the pur-pose of these particular negotiations: what kind
of compromises are being offered, for what aim, under what
In October 1993,
when US-backed Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori claimed that
he had received letters from PCP Chairman Gonzalo appealing for
negotiations, the proposed peace accord had to be analysed in light
of an evaluation of the situation of this People's War in particular
as well as the laws of people's war in general. This analysis had
to go beyond the mere diplomatic language involved. If, for instance,
this proposal was meant to serve the People's War in some way, you
could hardly expect that to be explicitly announced in these letters
to Peru's President.
including the PCP, do not reject all negotiations and compromise
in principle. The PCP has used this tactic in the past. For example,
in May 1992, jailed PCP members and leaders seized Canto Grande
prison to thwart a government plan to murder them, then called for
negotiations through the International Red Cross to end the siege.
Their aim was to stave off the regime's assault if the negotiations
were successful, to expose its bloodthirsty hypocrisy if they were
not, and so in either case to deal it a political blow. Both Lenin
and Mao entered into full-scale negotiations with the enemy at different
moments and even offered important compromises when it was in the
interests of the revolution to do so.
The content of
this negotiations proposal turned out to be very different. The
thinking behind the letters was made explicit in a series of documents
the authorities allowed to leak out of Peru's prisons starting in
late 1993. They began circulating abroad in 1994. What was being
offered was the disbanding of the people's army and the base areas
where the people hold revolutionary political power, in exchange
for an accord with the Fujimori government that would lead to the
release of imprisoned Party members and legal status or at least
tolerated status for the Party. Later ROL documents declared the
proposed negotiations only a means to achieve the Party's going
over to what it called a "grand new strategy" - a long period of
leading non-armed struggles, instead of people's war. This basic
question of strategy is the heart of the matter.
was the stand of the Party leadership on this bid for negotiations?
The PCP Central Committee
(CC) had to respond quickly and decisively to the question of whether
or not the People's War should be halted. They did so in a Declaration
of 7 October 1993, expressing their determination to continue in
the strongest terms. That Declaration did not directly mention the
letters, although it stated that the enemy had concocted "a hoax".
In its February 1994 meeting, the CC characterized the letters as
a "counter-revolutionary plot" and "hoax" by the regime and the
imperialists. At the same time, they also analysed that a Right
Opportunist Line had arisen, and called for the struggle against
it to be "raised to the level of line struggle" - "attention must
be paid to the two-line struggle". The CC also declared that the
Party could never go against principles, and pointed out that one
such principle is that no one can lead a communist party from prison.
(Both these documents are in AWTW 1995/21) The CC's further
thinking on the Right Opportunist Line, especially in light of later
developments, has not been made public. However, the CC is actively
pursuing the People's War.
wrong with the idea that these negotiations may be necessary to
"save the life of the Party", as the ROL says?
First, the premise
on which it is based - the claim that the People's War can't continue
- is false. Conditions in Peru have not changed in a way that would
make the continuation of the People's War impossible. This has been
proven in practice since the ROL arose, as the People's War has
successfully held out against repeated full-scale enemy offensives
and hit back hard enough to repeatedly shock the reaction.
Second, no matter
what anyone might intend, the actual result of doing what the ROL
proposes would be the opposite of what it claims. Despite the difficulties
the Party faces today, giving up its army and base areas would mean
giving up any chance at all of solving these problems in the course
of people's warfare. In the oppressed countries, a protracted people's
war is the only way the revolution can go from weak to strong and
over time accumulate the forces to seize countrywide power. Giving
up because there is no immediate perspective of victory means giving
up any possibility of ever winning victory.
war cannot be turned on and off at will. Once those who are "supposed"
to toil and obey rise up in arms under the leadership of a proletarian
party whose goal is to turn society and the whole world upside down,
then even if the leadership surrenders the enemy will still seek
bloody vengeance on the masses and on their leaders as well, to
make sure the masses are taught a lesson. Experience has shown that
even where there has been no such people's war, such as Indonesia
in 1965 and Chile in 1973, when the reactionaries feel threatened
by the masses, then the fact that the people are unarmed only means
they are more easily massacred. Those who did not lead the masses
to prepare for people's war led them to the slaughterhouse.
If the PCP did
what the ROL calls for, it would throw away all that the revolution
has won at the cost of the people's sacrifice. No matter what the
risks are in continuing the People's War, if the Party betrayed
the people that would make a future revolution all the more difficult.
(Here all we can
do is summarize a few points taken from the major criticism of the
ROL written by the Union of Communists of Iran [Sarbedaran], and
the RIM Call, available in AWTW 1995/21.)
new or particular about all this? In any revolution, aren't there
always some people who just give up, especially when things get
What is new is that
a whole line has leapt out - a whole worked-out strategy, tactics
and ideological position - that is trying to overthrow the line
developed under the leadership of Chairman Gonzalo that guided the
People's War from the beginning. It is fighting all-out as an organized
force to shatter the present political and ideological unity of
the Party and the organizational structures built on that basis,
in order to create a different kind of party with a different political
and ideological line. The harm done by this destruction extends
far beyond the numbers of those who are won to become militants
for the new line.
This is particularly
complicated because this ROL claims to be led by Chairman Gonzalo
himself. This opposed line has not taken the form of open
capitulation, of renouncing violent revolution and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
(MLM), but rather of claiming to give an answer to the obstacles
now faced by the revolution, in the name of "applying MLM".
It may well be
that many proponents of the ROL do not necessarily see or refuse
to see that even if they have devoted their lives to fighting the
class enemy, by adopting and working for this line they are tumbling
down a slippery slope towards an enemy who is eagerly awaiting them,
with a wide sinister smile, open arms and sharpened knives.
In order to have
a correct orientation on this two-line struggle, revolutionaries
must grasp both aspects - the form and the essence of the ROL. Its
essence, its final result, is not the same thing as how it appears
on the face of it. The ROL has arguments. What makes them dangerous
is not just that some historic Party leaders are putting them forward,
but even more importantly that the ROL claims to give Maoist answers
to real burning questions facing the Party.
if this line arose in prison, can it really be said that a two-line
struggle emerged in the Party, or is it the result of torture, drugs
Peru's prisons are
notorious for their extreme cruelty. Fujimori himself was widely
quoted in the media crowing that no one, including Chairman Gonzalo,
could expect to stay alive very long in his prisons.
Still, under any
circumstances, no matter how extreme, what political and ideological
line people maintain or adopt determines what they do. Furthermore,
in this particular case, some people have become conscious and very
active organizers for a wrong line. The urgency of exposing and
denouncing the regime's crimes does not lessen the need to refute
that line in its own right. The idea that the ROL is just about
some individuals whose weaknesses the enemy has exploited to shatter
their will and manipulate them misses the point that what is happening
is a political phenomenon that cannot be explained away by the enemy's
that this is a question of line and not any individual frailty or
"human weakness" in general is provided by the PCP's experience
during the early years of the People's War. Although in retrospect
we can see this time as one of great advance, there were painful
twists and turns, including very difficult periods, especially when
the Armed Forces were sent in at the end of 1982 and the years following.
In defiance of capture, torture and murder in prison, PCP comrades
set a magnificent standard for turning the enemy's dungeons into
"shining trenches of combat" and heroism, based on a Maoist line.
This was witnessed in 1986 at El Frontón and other prisons when
revolutionary prisoners met the regime's ruthless repression with
an unforgettable rebellion that came to be known as the "Day of
Heroism". About 300 prisoners were killed in combat or murdered
in cold blood afterwards. No wave of capitulation to the regime
surfaced at that time.
In contrast, since
the ROL broke out, a number of people who were upper-level Party
leaders at the time of their arrest and other prominent Party members
have defended the ROL in television interviews. Several hundred
imprisoned members and fighters have signed petitions to the authorities
in support of the ROL. Accounts of family visits have confirmed
that each of the two opposing lines has a large following among
the thousands of jailed PCP members and fighters.
us that internal contradictions are the basis for change, and in
this sense the regime and its brutality cannot be considered the
cause of this line that arose within the ranks of the Party. However,
the authorities have done a great deal to promote and enforce the
ROL and forcibly suppress the CC's line. The ROL is not being organized
mainly through "free debate" or "the free exchange of ideas". Who
gets to see whom in prison and when, and who is allowed in to visit,
is one part of this. The ROL is allowed to have meetings, and prisoners
are shuttled around from one jail to another to strengthen the ROL
in those quarters where it is weakest, while prisoners who support
the Central Committee are repressed. (For instance, for some time
now certain prisoners have been brought from Puno to Lima to shore
up the ROL there, especially in the Chorrillos women's prison, while
at the same time the government sends prisoners from Lima to Puno,
where conditions are particularly harsh, as a form of punishment.)
Of course, the continuing fierce resistance of many hundreds of
Party people in prison who defend the People's War and the line
of the CC is blacked out of the media.
could this happen in a party like the PCP?
The Maoist understanding
of the question of the two-line struggle is explained more directly
elsewhere in this issue. (See "An Initial Reply to Arce Borja")
In a word, ideas
representing all the different classes contend within every communist
party. So this ROL did not arise out of nothing - there is a particular
material base for lines representing different classes to arise
in this Party and for the shifting political alignment and moods
of these classes to have influence within it.
ROL has roots in the Party's specific practice and history, which
only future struggle and review will fully reveal. Like everything
else in the universe, a basically correct line is contradictory;
it has within it incorrect or not completely correct aspects which
can come to the fore under certain circumstances.
But what made
this erupt now and in such a dramatically antagonistic fashion was
an external objective factor: the change in the situation for the
revolution that erupted with Chairman Gonzalo's capture.
was this situation that led to the outbreak of the two-line struggle?
On the eve of the capture,
the Peo-ple's War was advancing by giant strides. Panic swept Lima's
wealthiest neighborhoods. At cocktail parties held under the looming
shadow of revolution, families that had ruled for generations and
their hirelings made morose jokes about the "twilight of the gods".
The US Congress debated whether open intervention was in order.
Within the Party itself, meetings of its Central Committee in 1992
focused discussion on the need to take the revolution to a higher
level. The Party leadership was grappling with the question of what
strategy and what scenarios could lead to country-wide victory.
The possibility was discussed that the Party could unite ninety
percent of the people in a national war of liberation if US imperialism
Instead, the Yankee
imperialists tried a different tactic. They sought to avoid the
dangers of sending in massive numbers of troops by concentrating
their considerable resources on efforts to decapitate the PCP, with
painful results for the Peruvian revolution and the international
Maoist movement. (This doesn't mean that they would have refrained
from invading directly if that had proved the only alternative.)
The imperialists also threw their undivided backing behind Fujimori
and supported his efforts to unite the squabbling ruling classes
at gunpoint. Beginning with Fujimori's so-called "self-coup" in
April 1992, when he sent tanks to resolve the issue of opposition
in Congress and institute presidential rule, a reorganization of
the state overcame some obstacles hindering the regime's ability
to fight a reactionary war. Coming after these military and political
moves, a new influx of imperialist capital modified the economic
situation somewhat. A few sectors of the middle classes began to
entertain some hope for the system, even while others were driven
deeper into disaster.
the capture, the Party faced new questions and unprecedented difficulties
that had to be addressed. The People's War could not continue at
the same level and in the same way as before. Under these circumstances,
it was inevitable that debate and differences would exist in the
Party over how to proceed. Thus it is not surprising that a major
two-line struggle would break out. The ROL has given wrong and opportunist
answers to the problems facing the Peruvian revolution, but it did
not make them up from whole cloth.
The ROL exaggerates
and absolutizes changes by evaluating them one-sidedly. It sees
only the imperialists' gains and not the long-term instability and
volatility of the situation, only the obstacles faced by the People's
War and not that the reactionaries have been unable to crush it.
Above all, the ROL takes the great difficulties posed by the capture
of Chairman Gonzalo as unsolvable - as though his captivity were
an inexorable reason why the People's War has to be halted. It points
to an altered situation - what Chairman Gonzalo himself correctly
disparaged as only a "bend in the road" shortly after falling into
the hands of the enemy - to claim that a fundamental "turn" had
taken place, changing not only the situation of the revolution but
even the road it has to follow. As has so often happened in the
history of the international communist movement, in the face of
an acute change or crisis an opportunist line has jumped out to
claim that key principles that had guided the revolution are no
It says in the CoRIM
Call that "the greatest difficulty facing the Party is the Right
Opportunist Line itself". How can this be if the revolution faces
such ferocious enemies as the Fujimori regime and imperialism? Why
do you insist on the need for a two-line struggle?
Lenin argued that the
struggle against imperialism is "a sham and a humbug" if it is not
linked to the struggle against opportunism. Furthermore, experience
the world over has shown that it is revisionism and opportunism,
even more than the enemies' bombs and bullets, which have derailed
revolutions. It is certain that the ROL will continue to wage and
intensify its own struggle against the correct line. Without waging
the two-line struggle, the Party cannot defend itself. In order
to defeat and root out the ROL, its arguments must be analysed and
refuted directly and deeply.
Waging the two-line
struggle is key in enabling the Party to fully overcome the "bend
in the road" and succeed in its task of leading the revolution.
It is only in the context of a thorough demarcation with the ROL,
at all levels of the Party and its revolutionary activity, that
it can formulate the political, organizational and military policies
that can solve the challenges in continuing on the fundamentally
correct path the People's War has followed, and on this basis analyse
the roots of the two-line struggle and advance further. Of course,
this does not contradict the necessary taking of organizational
measures against those who unabashedly proclaim that they reject
the Party's basis of unity, the fundamental line adopted at the
1988-89 First Congress.
It is in the course
of repudiating opportunist lines that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism has
always achieved its greatest advances. The Maoist understanding
of the decisiveness of line and two-line struggle which alerts us
fully to the danger posed by the ROL also allows us to see the opportunities.
It is for both negative and positive reasons that accounts must
be settled with this line. The outcome of the two-line struggle
will have profound consequences for the course of the Peruvian revolution.
about the ROL's charge that the Central Committee is incapable of
The ROL claims that
only Chairman Gonzalo and not the present CC leadership is capable
of leading the Party. But why should that be? Since the Central
Committee has taken a correct stand against the ROL and has more
than proven its determination and ability to continue the People's
War, then why can't it overcome difficulties step by step? For its
part, the Fujimori regime seems quite convinced of the CC's capabilities,
which is why it has mounted campaign after campaign to hunt down
Comrade Feliciano and other leaders of the CC. In fact, with its
steadfast rejection of the ROL, the Central Committee has proved
that it is more capable of leading than those former Party leaders
in prison who have espoused the ROL.
it true, as Fujimori claims, that Chairman Gonzalo is behind the
From the beginning,
it has been impossible to know for certain whether Chairman Gonzalo
was involved. This is a factor that has given even more weight to
the vital importance of deep study and struggle around the line
being put forward in his name.
No one can say
with any certainty what Chairman Gonzalo's current position is.
Fujimori and the Yankee imperialists are manipulating the situation
and seeking maximum advantage from it. Since October 1993, when
Fujimori presented a short video purporting to show Chairman Gonzalo
reading the letters, he has deliberately maintained a certain degree
of ambiguity and confusion by keeping Chairman Gonzalo isolated.
It continues to be important that the people fight to break the
isolation, in order to win this battle, defeat the enemy's manoeuvres
and clear up the situation. This would help centre the debate even
more sharply on the question of line, and not author.
There are some
developments that have given more credibility to claims of Chairman
Gonzalo's involvement. Members of his family abroad claim that on
two occasions they were telephoned by Peruvian authorities who put
Chairman Gonzalo on the line. The main point of these lengthy conversations
was for the caller to issue appeals for the ROL. Almost a dozen
major documents have now filtered out of prison, also with the assent
of the authorities, polemicizing against the Central Committee's
stand and putting forward extensive arguments for a new, opportunist
line for the PCP. These writings may or may not be authored by Chairman
Gonzalo himself, but they cannot be considered a simple fabrication
by the likes of the Peruvian authorities or the CIA.
thing has been the prison conversion of Margie Clavo, a principal
CC member at the time she was arrested in March 1995 along with
other PCP members and leaders. When the police paraded her in handcuffs
before the media with bruises on her face, telling reporters that
"she was tougher than we thought" but that they would "wrench it
out of her", she denounced the ROL and called on the Party to "Persist!
Persist! Persist!" Then, some six months later, in a long prison
interview shown on TV, she made an about-face, proclaiming that
she had been won to the ROL as a result of conversations with Chairman
publicly discussing the possibility that Chairman Gonzalo could
be linked to the ROL give aid and comfort to the enemy? Wouldn't
it be more useful not to bring it up or even to deny it - why not
just point out that the imperialist media lie all the time anyway?
Such a pragmatic approach
could explode in our faces. It would be doubly short-sighted - short-sighted
in terms of what could happen in this specific battle and short-sighted
in terms of our long-range goals.
In the most immediate
sense, closing our eyes and gambling everything on the hope that
Comrade Gonzalo is not involved could be self-defeating. Our duty
is not only to recognize the truth but to act on it. In this case,
that means that even though conclusive proof is lacking we have
to prepare for the worst. Acting on that means arming the advanced
masses politically and ideologically to deal with what might happen
and not risk being caught by surprise and unprepared. Anything less
than this would mean instead of "fighting our way", drawing on our
strengths, we'd be fighting with one hand tied behind our back,
not to mention blindfolded. Furthermore, no matter what happens
in this battle, we want to fight in a way that will advance our
long-term goals. We must have confidence that the masses can be
won to understand a correct line, even if it includes a painful
and difficult process. The short-term expediency of fooling the
masses, or ourselves, about the real situation is no solution at
The PCP CC and
RIM both argue that one must base oneself on principles and not
do anything that goes against them. Concentrating on line, not author,
is itself a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist principle. There is no other
way to determine right from wrong. This is always true, but it is
particularly applicable here.
If we base ourselves
on MLM and if we use the struggle against the ROL to raise our own
level and that of the masses to the greatest extent possible, then
we will be in the best possible position no matter what. Otherwise,
if our understanding of the correct and incorrect line remains on
a superficial level and the masses are left unprepared, we will
fail to really get to the bottom of the ROL and repudiate it thoroughly.
We will throw away the opportunity to draw the maximum advances
out of this struggle so as to strive to turn a bad thing, no matter
how bitter, into a good thing.
Chairman Gonzalo does turn out to be involved in the ROL, what does
that mean about the line developed under his leadership?
The ROL claims that
its "grand new strategy" is the application today of the same
principles that have guided the People's War all along. The opposite
is true - the ROL is opposed to the basic thrust of these principles.
The ROL guts the MLM content of the PCP's line, while preserving
some of the same words and phrases and trying to patch over the
qualitative gulf that separates the two roads.
We cannot agree
with the ROL's wrong conception of leadership that holds that Chairman
Gonzalo's alleged championship of this line in itself constitutes
sufficient proof of its correctness. Nor, by the same token, can
we agree with the idea that if Chairman Gonzalo did turn out to
be behind the ROL, this would invalidate the PCP's basic line he
led in formulating.1 Both views confound Marxism and
religious faith. The truth or falseness of an idea does not rest
upon the thinker. It can and must be verified in light of practice
- historical and present social experience.
No matter who
is behind the ROL, the viability of the strategy that the Party
developed and carried out for sixteen years under Chairman Gonzalo's
leadership has been confirmed in practice and it remains essentially
We need that truth.
How can we do without it, even if it turns out to have been grasped
by someone who later dropped it? This was Lenin's attitude toward
Plekhanov, who was considered "the father of Marxism in Russia".
Lenin deemed Plekhanov's earlier works essential and insisted that
the Soviet government continue to publish them, long after Plekhanov
himself turned against the Bolshevik revolution.
develops in the struggle against its opposite. When a deep
two-line struggle erupts in a party, the correct line does not emerge
exactly the same as before, but rather advances.
could someone like Chairman Gonzalo possibly change his line? How
is it conceivable that such an advanced leader could possibly support
such a dangerous position?
In the absence of any
decisive proof of Chairman Gonzalo's authorship of the ROL, it would
not be helpful or correct to take up the question that way at this
time. However, there are some general points that are useful to
teaches us that all things in society and nature "divide into two".
This law of "one divides into two" also applies to revolutionary
leaders. So long as the proletarian political and ideological line
is firmly in command, leaders make great contributions to the revolutionary
cause. But no leader is immune from the danger of adopting a wrong
line. This question can never be settled once and for all in relationship
to anyone, because new problems and questions arise constantly to
challenge everyone, even those who hold the truth in their hands
at any given moment. As RIM wrote, "Chairman Gonzalo's farsighted
leadership in initiating and waging the People's War, his contributions
to the political and ideological development of our Movement and
the courageous stand he took upon his capture in no way lessens
our responsibility to make our political evaluation based upon the
concrete analysis of concrete conditions and in the light of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
History has shown that even important leaders of the proletariat
who had made real and lasting contributions to our struggle can
become champions of a wrong line." (See "Twists and Turns in the
Two Line Struggle")
responsibility assumed by leaders in an MLM party, their place in
the party's division of labour, is to play a key role in synthesizing
the correct ideas that arise from the experience of the masses,
in the course of leading them in class struggle. This is what Mao
meant when he said that "all correct leadership is necessarily "from
the masses, to the masses". A party's chain of command, its
organized discipline in the system of democratic centralism, is
based on this chain of knowledge. The Marxist theory of knowledge
holds that all correct ideas arise from the social practice of the
masses and are in turn tested and refined in that process, in "an
endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital
and richer each time". (See "Some Questions Concerning Methods of
Leadership", Mao, Selected Works, Vol III) We cannot agree
with the ROL's incorrect conception of leaders as geniuses from
whose heads the correct line springs full-blown.
Nor can we agree
with the ROL's conception of how leaders play their role, as individuals
standing apart from the party's chain of knowledge and command.
Like all leaders, Chairman Gonzalo played his role as part of a
collectivity, in this case as the head of the Central Committee,
a collective body that concentrates the process being carried out
by the whole PCP. (See "On Strengthening the Party Committee System",
Mao, SW, Vol IV) The principles of democratic centralism
are that the individual is subordinate to the collective, the minority
to the majority, the lower bodies to the higher bodies and the entire
party (including the party leader) to the Central Committee.
Any leader can
get arrested or "go bad", and all leaders will eventually die, which
is one reason the question of developing collective leadership and
successors is so important. But the main reason for collectivity
is that no matter how advanced any individual leader may be, no
one can have a sufficiently all-sided comprehension by themselves.
In the end their abilities, including their understanding and ability
to lead, depend on the collective strength of the Party and its
ties to the masses.
regardless of whether a person retains their individual qualities
in prison, the enemy keeps them from functioning as party leaders
in the sense of being fully part of this process. This would be
true even if the majority of members of a leading body were to be
thrown together into the enemy's dungeons, and there under his guns
"decide" to overthrow the party's line. The principle that no one
can lead a party from prison is an example of the opposition between
the proletarian and bourgeois conceptions of leadership.
he may have done to Chairman Gonzalo, Fujimori boasted that he had
been put on an "information diet" where Chairman Gonzalo only found
out what Fujimori wanted him to find out. The enemy violently ripped
Comrade Gonzalo out of the Party's chain of knowledge and isolated
him from the collective discussion and struggle through which the
masses' knowledge is synthesized. No one confined under such circumstances
could be in a position to correctly sum up the effects of major
changes in the situation, and still less to reverse the Party's
basic line. Even attempting to do so in the first place would be
a step in the wrong direction.
this experience mean that all revolutions are at the mercy of the
fate of their leaders?
If we understand that
leaders are a product of the masses and the party, then we can see
how difficult it is to produce them, how important they are, and
how much they must be cherished and safeguarded from the enemy.
The masses and the party cannot do without leaders. The most powerful
force in the world is the conscious activism of the masses, and
in a society divided into social classes, with all that means for
how different people are brought up and trained, we need leaders
to unleash that power to the greatest degree possible at every step
of the revolutionary struggle. The loss of a leader can be a big
blow, there is no doubt. But the fate of the revolution can never
be reduced to the role of a single individual, however important.
As the Internationale
says, "We want no condescending saviours/To rule us from their judgement
hall/We workers ask not for their favours/Let us consult for all."
The role of communist leaders enables others to use their heads
and assume their responsibilities to the best of their abilities.
Actually, no matter
who turns out to be behind the ROL, there have been glorious lessons
in Peru regarding this question of leadership. By applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism,
a correct line has been developed and has unleashed a mass uprising.
That line has become the property of a great number of masses, especially
the most downtrodden and despised of Peru, who have wielded that
science and their guns in a way that has served as a beacon to the
oppressed of the world and a source of horror to the world's reactionaries.
Despite the terrible blows the imperialists have rained down on
the Party's leadership, and despite the ROL that is perfidiously
seeking to capture the proletariat's fortress from within, at all
levels people have come forward, stepping into the breach and accomplishing
miracles. Old leaders have stood firm, new leaders are being forged,
and the whole Party is undergoing the difficult but heroic process
necessary to rise to the occasion.
is the real situation in Peru now?
There is a material
basis for the People's War to continue, especially the conditions
created by the People's War itself - a mature Party, with strong
ties to the masses, and an aroused people who have seen that another
kind of world is possible and have even begun to live in it, in
the base areas.
This Party has
been able to continue, despite the worst the enemy has been able
to throw at it. The People's War has not been defeated militarily.
If it is true that the greatest danger to the Party comes from the
wrong line, it is also true that the MLM weapon of waging two-line
struggle has proven to be very powerful.
The military news
has been very encouraging, even though it would be wrong to look
only at an abstract count of military actions, as "Senderologists"
often do. In the period after Margie Clavo's about-face, and influenced
by the reaction's own triumphalism, the ROL was all puffed up and
wrongly certain that "the war is coming to an end". Then, starting
around mid-1996, imperialist mouthpieces such as The Economist
and Newsweek declared, "Sendero is Back", as if the previous
period in which there were few spectacular actions in the capital
had meant that the PCP had gone away. No matter what the pace of
the People's War is at this moment, the most vital question for
the future is the progress of the two-line struggle.
give a glimpse of frustration and grumbling in the ranks of those
who have followed it, especially because the CC has refused to go
along as apparently expected and the government has sneered at the
idea of negotiating with prisoners who have no army. At the same
time, the regime has been releasing some selected ROL followers
from prison so that they can step up the struggle against the CC
in the shanty towns and on other fronts.
The line we've
seen so vociferously advocated by some people abroad, denying the
existence of the two-line struggle and crying, "It's all only a
hoax", has promoted denial about the real difficulties and dangers
the PCP faces. But it also flips into or even coexists with an unwarranted
pessimism - denial by day, dread by night.
Our optimism is
based on what the comrades and people in Peru have achieved and
on the Maoist understanding of the real opportunities the two-line
struggle presents to solve problems and move forward on that basis.
this two-line struggle emerged within the PCP, what is the role
of RIM? Why not let the PCP take care of itself and have RIM concentrate
on other matters?
This type of thinking
reflects a lack of understanding that the communist movement
is an international movement - as opposed to the view that every
nation should retreat to its own national tent. It is an extremely
favourable factor that RIM exists, because it can concentrate international
experience and lend assistance to the Peruvian revolution in this
way. Further, at stake in this particular two-line struggle are
burning questions that pose themselves in different but not necessarily
less urgent ways for many other RIM parties and organizations, both
questions specific to oppressed countries such as Peru and also
ones of vital significance for proletarian revolution in both the
oppressed and oppressor countries. Because of this, we can and must
find ways to bring our international strength into play to aid our
comrades in this two-line struggle, deepen the understanding of
the whole RIM and other Maoist forces on cardinal questions of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism,
and thus turn a bad thing into something that can help push the
whole revolutionary movement forward.
focusing on this two-line struggle distract from building support
for the People's War in Peru?
On the contrary,
the struggle against opportunism is essential to the fight against
imperialism, and should push this fight forward.
and varied number of people all over the world "came to the rescue"
in the campaign to Move Heaven and Earth in Defence of the Life
of Chairman Gonzalo at a decisive moment. Many of those people and
others who have more recently come forward are taking part in RIM's
current campaign around the two-line struggle and rally around the
defence of the correct line. Once again, our task is to turn a sobering
moment into an opportunity to deal blows to the enemy, to answer
the questions and concerns of the revolutionary masses, and to seize
the time to create a mass school of communism that will help rally
and train forces to fight for it.
in a number of countries has been very positive when this matter
has been dealt with correctly. The imperialists and reactionaries
and their allies would like to spread demoralization and demobilization
among the masses and turn back revolutionary efforts, but we have
already seen that this two-line struggle can have the opposite effect
and give the revolutionary movement new depth, breadth and enthusiasm.
The further grasping of the correct Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line
will serve as a motor propelling forward the support for the People's
War in Peru and help lead to breakthroughs on other fronts of the
world revolutionary struggle as well.
For example, the editor of El Diario Internacional, Luis
Arce Borja, has written, "Of what value could Gonzalo Thought be
if its own author would betray it?" ("Trappist Monks Turn into Village
Charlatans", 10 May 1995)