Support the People's War in Peru!
A very important new issue of A World to Win magazine (AWTW) has just been published. It is devoted to the life-and-death struggle now taking place over the direction of the most advanced revolution in the world today--the People's War in Peru. There is rich new analysis of this struggle and how the revolution is continuing under difficult circumstances.
The Communist Party of Peru (PCP), a participating member of Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), has led the People's War for nearly 16 years. This has been a time when the imperialists have boasted that communist revolution is dead and buried. A time when the so-called leaders of many struggles--from South Africa to Central America to Palestine--have cut sellout deals with the oppressors and told the oppressed it was the best they could hope for. Yet it has also been a time when, as the March 1995 statement by the Committee of the RIM (reprinted in this new issue of AWTW) says, the PCP has "led broad masses in Peru to rise up in arms, defy the rule of the reactionary classes and their imperialist overlords, and wrest political power, bit by bit, for the proletariat and the Peruvian people as part of the whole world proletarian revolution."
The ruling powers tell us their system of exploitation will last forever--but the PCP has fought persistently and tenaciously for a future without wage slavery, imperialism, or class divisions. The capitalists and their media put down the masses' dreams of a better world as hopeless illusions--but the People's War has been a bright beacon, piercing this reactionary darkness. It has aroused millions in Peru, shaken Peru's oppressive system to its foundation, and taught and inspired people worldwide who burn to see society sprung into the air and turned right-side up.
Today the revolution in Peru is facing its most critical moment. From its start in 1980, the People's War has faced and dealt with the most vicious brutality the U.S. government and its flunkies who rule Peru could throw at it--from wiping out whole villages, to massacring hundreds of revolutionary prisoners, to carrying out a massive manhunt to capture Chairman Gonzalo, the leader of the PCP. Yet today the greatest challenge the People's War faces does not come from such assaults by the enemy. It comes from a line, or strategy for the revolution, which emerged from within the ranks of the PCP, calling for peace negotiations with the U.S.-backed Peruvian government.
This line holds that the situation in Peru and the world is not favorable for revolution and that the difficulties confronting the PCP --mainly the 1992 capture of Chairman Gonzalo--are insurmountable. The only solution, according to this position, is negotiating a peace agreement with the Fujimori regime to end the People's War. This position goes against the basic line of the PCP, forged under the leadership of Chairman Gonzalo, which has led the People's War forward. The Central Committee of the PCP has denounced this line and has led in continuing the People's War in the face of these obstacles.
The Committee of the RIM (CoRIM) and others in the RIM have been closely studying these developments, and this new AWTW contains their analyses and important documents from the struggle. These materials dissect the peace negotiations position from beginning to end, using the revolutionary science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM) and drawing upon the rich experience of the proletariat and oppressed peoples worldwide. The CoRIM's conclusion: The peace negotiations strategy is a sellout of the revolution, a betrayal of the interests of the masses of Peruvians, and an assault on the principles of MLM. It would spell defeat for PCP and disaster for the people of Peru.
The revolution in Peru is part of the world proletarian revolution, and its development greatly affects the revolutionary movement worldwide. The CoRIM has called upon the people of the world to uphold the stand of the PCP Central Committee to continue the People's War, and for the RIM and the people of the world to intensify their support. An article from a RIM participant states, "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."
This new AWTW is a big step in carrying out this pledge. It is a powerful new weapon for revolutionaries in Peru and the world over in defeating the peace negotiations line and advancing the People's War to new heights. And the issues addressed don't only concern Peru--they are cutting-edge questions facing the world revolutionary movement and all who struggle against oppression and imperialist domination.
For the oppressed worldwide, the people's war has demonstrated the truth of the revolutionary principles developed by the great proletarian leader Mao Tsetung. One of those key Maoist principles is that the seizure of power through the revolutionary war of the masses is the essential first great leap in revolutionizing society. This means that the imperialists and their frontmen will never peacefully give up power or stop oppressing the people. In order to throw off the suffocating, life-killing chains of oppression and poverty, the masses must rise up in arms and militarily defeat them.
Doing this requires building a vanguard party--representing the revolutionary interests of the masses and guided by MLM and a correct strategy. In a country like Peru, it means launching a people's war against the landlords, reactionaries and the U.S.-backed regime--a protracted people's war with roots sunk deeply among the masses in the countryside. The revolution begins with small forces, but it gains strength through waging protracted war--building a people's army and new political power for the masses in the course of battle.
According to the peace negotiations position, it is no longer possible to carry forward this Maoist strategy in Peru. It says the Fujimori regime is now too strong militarily. It argues that new leaders cannot step forward to continue to lead along the path forged by the PCP. It says that the world imperialist system is entering a period of recovery and prospects for revolution are fading--and that even countries like Peru, with imperialist-dominated and crisis-ridden economies, are supposedly becoming "viable." And it claims that the Peruvian masses are tired of war and want peace. According to the peace negotiations line, the only option left is negotiating an end to the People's War--giving up revolutionary base areas and disbanding the people's army in return for amnesty and legal status.
The analysis contained in AWTW rips these arguments apart from start to finish, particularly their approach to revolutionary warfare. Of course revolutionary war is never a straight-to-victory affair. The attacks of the enemy are brutal and can cause serious damage, making twists and turns, partial setbacks, and temporary defeats inevitable. At times the revolution can face serious challenges to its ability to advance forward. This was the case for the Peruvian revolution following the 1992 arrest of Chairman Gonzalo, and this is when the peace negotiations line emerged.
But the Maoist solution to these difficulties is not giving up and capitulating. A key Maoist military principle is protracting--or stretching out in time--a people's war. As several AWTW articles deeply discuss, protracted war enables the people to ride out the ups and downs of war and accumulate forces. This is the opposite of the peace negotiations line of ending the war, or pretending it can be stopped and restarted at will.
This doesn't mean that Maoists never make compromises or negotiate with the enemy. But compromises or negotiations must serve the task of seizing political power through revolutionary warfare, not ending the revolution. And negotiations must safeguard the fundamental interests of the people--especially the essential core of people's power and the revolutionary armed forces.
The capture of Chairman Gonzalo and the loss of other leaders has been a very serious blow. But in the final analysis the collective strength of the revolutionary party and the masses is more important than the role of any individual. This is compellingly discussed in "It Is Right to Rebel!" a very important article written by the Leading Committee of the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran) (UICS), a participating member of RIM. For example, the Iranian comrades show--using their own experience and that of proletarian revolutionaries in Turkey, India and Peru--how new leaders can be brought forward, based on applying the revolutionary internationalist ideology of MLM.
Contrary to the claims of the peace negotiations line, the world is not entering a period of peace and prosperity. The various peace settlements imposed on the people--whether in Palestine, Azania, or Central America--legitimize imperialist domination, not self-determination. Whatever economic recovery has occurred around the world is partial and selective, and imperialist development can never be anything but a further source of misery and chains for the people. The CoRIM sums up, "The current world situation, despite contradictory features, is favorable for the initiating, developing and advancing of the revolutionary armed struggle for power."
The materials in AWTW show that prospects for revolution in Peru are far from bleak. Imperialism and its Peruvian frontmen have not relieved the grinding poverty that weighs so heavily on the masses. Indeed, imperialism's rape of Peru is more intense than ever.
Try as it might, the U.S.-backed Fujimori regime has failed to crush the revolution. As articles in AWTW analyze, it is extremely difficult for the reactionaries to root out a 16-year-long Maoist people's war. The oppressed have been aroused and led to take their destiny into their own hands. They have been given guns, and a real sense of power and a new life. And the PCP has armed many peasants with an ideology and program that they can wield in their interests to change the world.
The masses still thirst for liberation, and their fundamental strength lies in continuing to wage war in their revolutionary interests. In the face of big challenges, the revolutionary party must hold the red flag high and refuse to stop the struggle short of completely overthrowing imperialism and its Peruvian lackeys. Negotiated surrender would make Peru a hell on earth for the people.
How should we look at the outbreak of such a serious struggle within the world's most advanced revolution? AWTW's editorial sums up the Maoist approach: "Revolutionaries do not fear or regret the inevitable outbreak of struggle with the enemy forces--ideologically, politically or in any other sphere." This approach contrasts sharply with the attitude that sharp struggle is a shock, a sign of weakness, a cause for despair, or something to be avoided at all costs.
Discussion, debate, and struggle over how to advance to victory are constant features of any truly revolutionary organization. It can't be any other way, because the world is complex and constantly changing. And because proletarian revolutions seek to radically transform society, they must of necessity face many difficult challenges and obstacles.
It is also inevitable that at certain times this ongoing debate turns into something more--into "two-line struggle." This happens when two sharply opposed sides develop within the revolutionary movement, each proposing a very different line, or road forward for the revolution. In such two-line struggles, one line represents the proletarian road forward toward the abolition of exploitation and classes, and the other line represents the bourgeois road backward toward maintaining the old oppressive order.
Two-line struggle breaks out because society is divided into classes, and different classes have different interests and different outlooks. As Maoist revolutionaries in China summed up, "Class struggle in society inevitably has its reflection inside the Party."
Such major battles contain both dangers and opportunities. Dangers, because whether or not the correct line wins out is crucial--a wrong line can sidetrack the revolution and lead to defeat. Opportunities, because just as muscles are strengthened through the form of struggle called exercise, the science of MLM and revolutionary programs are strengthened through two-line struggle. Digging into and defeating wrong lines and ideas greatly strengthens the correct line and leads to new advances. As the UIC(S) puts it, "Transformations 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."
The RIM has called for an international campaign to "Rally to the Defence of Our Red Flag Flying In Peru." All who support the revolution in Peru, all who support the world revolutionary movement, indeed all who yearn to hasten revolution and break the suffocating bonds of oppression anywhere on the planet should wholeheartedly and actively take up this call.
The new AWTW is a powerful tool in support of the revolutionary line in Peru. Studying and circulating it is one crucial way to take up the RIM's call. In addition to "It Is Right to Rebel!" by the UIC(S), this AWTW also contains many other important documents--especially two statements from the Central Committee of the PCP repudiating the peace negotiations line.
In the tradition of our Maoist movement, the documents promoting the peace accords are also reproduced here so that readers can compare these poisonous weeds to the line of continuing the People's War and evaluate the two sides for themselves. And there is much more. As AWTW says, "The major documents of this struggle are gathered here so as to help turn this battle into a great school of revolution and to render the greatest support possible to the PCP and the People's War it is continuing to lead."
This two-line struggle in Peru concentrates key questions that confront revolutionaries the world over--such as how to evaluate the world situation, what is the correct military strategy in the oppressed countries, and how to build and preserve revolutionary leadership and organization. Exposing and defeating the peace negotiations line--while more deeply grasping the revolutionary Maoist line--is what turning this battle into "a great school of revolution" is all about. This will greatly strengthen the revolutionary movement worldwide.
Most importantly, taking up this great two-line struggle is key to building support for the correct line in Peru and stepping up our support for the Peruvian revolution. This can have a very important impact on the People's War itself. As AWTW states, "Never before has that international support been so strongly felt as it is today in Peru--and never before has it been as necessary."
To order this special issue of A World To Win on the Two-Line Struggle in Peru:
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