Proletarians of all countries, unite!
We publish the second part of the polemic between two Russian communist organisations that we received.
Polemic of the Maoist Collective of Russia (MKR) and the Russian Maoist Party (RMP)
2nd polemic of the MKR
A brief introduction
We are publishing our response to the Russian Maoist Party’s (RMP) polemic, which is the second document from the Maoist Collective of Russia (MKR) and the third in the general polemic between the MKR and the RMP. This document is of particular importance to our collective because it is the one that, because of the wide range of issues in the polemic, marks the first time our general political line has been outlined. In this polemic, we will take a somewhat deeper look at the role of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) for the RIM, the question of Gonzalo’s supposed capitulation, the question of the current situation of the PCP, and the question of the universality of the protracted people’s war (PPW), as well as several other issues that require our comments.
In the final part of the polemic, we call on the RMP cadres to conduct a thorough and extensive campaign of criticism of the RMP’s centre, with a commitment to support and cooperation with all who, through open and democratic criticism of the revisionism of the RMP’s centre, will join in this campaign. Also at the end of this document, in an appendix, the readers will find the RMP’s polemic to which we are responding.
Ideology issues: Maoism, RIM, and the PCP
The RMP writes:
The main complaint of the MKR towards to us is that we do not accept Maoism as the third stage of Marxism. We don’t. Like them, we believe that Maoism is the next stage in the development of Marxism. What we do not accept is the line (“thought”, as you wish) of Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán). We treat him with respect as an outstanding theorist and practitioner of Maoism, and at the same time we criticize him, condemning the mistakes he has made.
Our polemic was written about Maoism. We don’t and have not spoken of any Gonzalo Thought internationally, because it is primarily the result of applying a universal ideology, Maoism, to the realities of Peru, as we wrote in our first polemic in the section “Ideology issues”:
The main difference between Thought and doctrine is universality. As we know, every revolution in a given country faces new problems and solves them; not solving new problems threatens to defeat the revolution. Thus, each revolution that has reached a certain level of development gives rise to a Thought that is mainly country-specific, although has universal aspects.
We are adherents of Maoism, not of Gonzalo Thought. That the RMP tries to label us as “Gonzaloists” only shows the amateurism of the RMP itself on the question of ideology, which it nevertheless tries to use against the MKR to create an impression that our ideology at the world level is isolated and specific rather than universal and widespread, that it is not the result of formulating the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) experience by the most successful movement since Mao.
When we wrote our polemic, we were well aware that the acronym RMP stands for the “Russian Maoist Party”; yet, as we have already noted, the RMP admits that it is not really the Communist Party, since it is not the vanguard of the Russian proletariat. This fact indicates that on a certain level the RMP understands that there is a difference between form and essence, that form and essence are in contradiction. The RMP’s leadership either does not understand or pretends that our arguments, which RMP for some reason calls “claims”, are primarily about the form, not the essence, of RMP’s version of Maoism, while individual cadres of RMP understand this. In our previous polemic we touched on the essential distinction between position, line, Thought, and doctrine, briefly examined why Communists today are Maoists, and who and under what conditions defined the essence of the ideology of Maoism. We noted the significance of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and its adoption of MLM, as well as the role of the PCP in imposing Maoism in the RIM itself and internationally.
Nevertheless, the RMP writes:
In other words, MLM today are the ideas that are recorded in the programmes of the major Maoist parties and the 1993 RIM’s document. They are close to Gonzalo’s ideas, but one does not say that the world Maoist movement has adopted Gonzalo’s ‘thought’.
Let us turn, however, to the same document from the RIM to which the RMP refers. The quote is from the first three paragraphs of the 1993 document in which the RIM accepts Maoism as the third stage of Marxism1: During this same period the parties and organisations of our Movement and RIM as a whole have been engaged in revolutionary struggle against imperialism and reaction. Most important has been the advanced experience of the People’s War led by the Communist Party of Peru which has succeeded in mobilising the masses in their millions, sweeping aside the state in many parts of the country and establishing the power of the workers and peasants in these areas. These advances, in theory and practice, have enabled us to further deepen our grasp of the proletarian ideology and on that basis take a far-reaching step, the recognition of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the new, third and higher stage of Marxism.
The document speaks for itself. The RMP is for some reason driving itself into logical circles:
1) In terms of the historical role of the formulation of Maoism, the RMP thinks that “one would think that there was nothing else but Peru, or that everyone else followed the example of the PCP”. But the RIM itself, in the only document to which the RMP refers as one of the most important documents for defining Maoism, refers not to “everyone else”, but specifically to the Peruvian Revolution, which was of paramount importance to the RIM. Meanwhile, it is quite obvious that the term Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (as opposed to Mao Tsetung Thought, which was promoted by the CPC) was spread internationally precisely with the development of the PPW in Peru – and as part of that, with the development of the RIM (within the international work of the PCP).
2) In terms of the primacy of practice over theory in the development of objective class theory, on the one hand, the RMP argues that the PCP is allegedly too small (the RMP does not specify what it is referring to or the time span in question, but instead constructs its argumentation in such a way as to contrast the PCP with the “major” Parties) to have any significant international influence, but on the other, the PCP is the only party after the 1950s to have entered the strategic equilibrium stage of the PPW, having reached mobilization by millions. Nevertheless, the RMP refers to the RIM and to the programmes of the “major Maoist parties” of today (to which the RMP’s leadership somehow even attributes the MLPD), which in their history have never reached the heights that the PCP has reached.
3) Regarding the aspect of the essence of the theory of Maoism itself as the third stage of Marxism, the RMP tries to downplay the importance of the PCP and so simultaneously says that the importance of both PCP and RIM is “greatly exaggerated”. But if we look at the arguments that the RMP puts forward in favor of Maoism being the third stage of Marxism, we see that these are the same arguments that already appeared in the 1993 document from the RIM and even earlier in the PCP’s document “On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism” from 1982. Speaking of the similarity of arguments, we are referring to points about what and how Chairman Mao developed in all three components of Marxism; there are significant differences between the definitions, the most key of which is the thesis of the universality of the PPW (we will examine this point later), which makes definitions of Maoism different from the PCP’s definition less developed since they do not treat Maoism as a theoretical whole.
The RMP, with its formulation “one would think that there was nothing but Peru”, tries to make the MKR look as if it subjectively “pulls the blanket” over [gives excessive importance – trans.] to the PCP, that the MKR ignores the development process of Maoist theory throughout the world and subjectively focuses on Peru. On the contrary, we consider this very point of view to be subjective because revolution always has an objective center at every particular moment in the development of the world revolution that rises above the rest of the movement in both practice and theory.
Of enormous practical and theoretical importance for the course of the revolution in any country is the correct definition of the existing center of the World Proletarian Revolution, which historically has been the PCP after the restoration of capitalism in China. And in fact our point about the importance of the practice and theory of the PCP has already been confirmed: the RMP, although it constantly talks about them, never refers in its polemic to the abstract “programs of the major parties” that they love so much, but refers to the concrete 1993 document from the RIM, which should be seen historically as a milestone in the international work of the PCP and not as an ideological impulse divorced from practice.
These contradictions in the RMP’s line indicate that it does not have a correct understanding of the significance of the PCP’s experience for the RIM, that the RMP does not understand why it is the adoption of Maoism in the 1993 document from the RIM that is primarily an aspect of the international work of the advanced PCP, and not an aspect of the international work of the undeveloped Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP-USA). The quote is from the 1988 document “Foundations of Discussion: The International Line”, from the PCP:
In the fall of 1980, thirteen Communist Parties and organizations signed to a declaration: “To the Marxist-Leninists, to the workers and the oppressed of all countries” by which they call the communists to unite around Marxism-Leninism and take Chairman Mao but without considering it a new stage and that it does not have universal validity, a work led by the Revolutionary Communist Party of the USA, mainly. In 1983 the RCP of the USA linked up with the PCP and invited it to sign the declaration of ’80, the PCP did not agree because Mao Tsetung Thought was not considered there and moreover we were already based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. In March 1984 the II Conference of these organizations was held where the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) was agreed upon and they approved a joint declaration in which they spoke of uniting around Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.
Our position on the incorporation of the PCP into RIM is condensed in a letter written to the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, October 1986: “Two questions we would like to reiterate on this point. Firstly, from the beginning of our links the starting point of our divergences was the substantial and decisive problem of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the only, true and new stage of the development of the ideology of the proletariat, of universal validity and mainly of Maoism as the key to the question; and, consequently, our disagreement with the nomination of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. However, we have thought and we think that to solve this, for us indispensable starting point, is complex, demands time and, especially to develop the revolution”.
“Secondly, when subscribing the Declaration derived from the II Meeting that created the RIM, we did it with observations and even clear counterpositions expressly raised in brief form, as well as reiterated in meetings, reports or communications that obviously show divergences on main contradiction, revolutionary situation of unequal development, world war and some criteria on the role of the Movement and, even more important points such as the universal validity of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and particularly the general validity of the people’s war, expression of the military theory of the proletariat that only with Chairman Mao Tsetung the class has fully and completely embodied, as well as our insistence on always raising the great slogan “Proletarians of all countries, unite”. However, we thought and we think that the Declaration contained and still contains a basis of relative unity whose development and overcoming would be demanded by the own advance of the Movement, as the facts are already clearly demonstrating it”.
What can be learned from this? First, that the PCP was indeed the only member of the RIM who from the very beginning promoted an understanding of Maoism as the third stage of Marxism, while the RCP-USA itself, which led the effort internationally, initially sought unity only at the level of Marxism-Leninism and then only at the level of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. Second, that the ideology of the class develops primarily through practice, that it took years of effort by the PCP itself to prove to the world through its successful actions in Peru that their ideology was correct. We have already noted in our previous work that this is not a coincidence, but a pattern: higher experience gives birth to higher theory. And, thirdly, that a striking example of the primacy of internal contradictions over external ones specifically for the definition of Maoism is the primacy of the internal practice and theory of the PCP over the external practice and theory of the RIM, which again points to a simple objective reality: the PCP defined Maoism.
These same points are reiterated in the 1991 document “Foundations of Political Ideology”, from the II Plenum of the PCP’s Central Committee, the same year in which PCP entered into strategic equilibrium, and two years before RIM adopted MLM:
In addition to the need to regroup in the International Communist Movement (ICM), we must consider the situation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM). It is moving forward along its path (1990), overcoming difficulties, but this is what happens with everything new. The PCP is part of RIM, as it should be. Our party supports RIM by using its influence on it, and is steadfastly fighting to transform the country through the People’s War. More needs to be done. This is what the revolution demands. We have not done all we can do to develop RIM. We must play a more active role, get more directly involved, support it ideologically. We must unite and better coordinate for three things: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, service to the world proletarian revolution, and the relentless struggle against revisionism. This could be a good basis of unity for a better and more developed RIM structure. We must communicate with other communist groups and try to unite with them on the basis of the right ideology. We must strive to convince them of the correctness of our ideology: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism. In addition, a New Declaration must be adopted. The Committee must establish the basics, perhaps only in general terms. The main thing is to present a Declaration of Basic Principles that will give maximum flexibility to the parties. The task of the PCP is to take control of the whole country. The PCP has increasing influence and must develop the People’s War. It is by developing our own power in Peru that we fulfill our most important role in the RIM. The World Proletarian Revolution means developing People’s War in every country. Success in Peru will change the balance of the class struggle throughout the world. A successful campaign here will greatly strengthen Communism, the ICM, the RIM and the World Proletarian Revolution (WPR). In short, we must support parties and revolutions all over the world, but our main responsibility and the way in which we can most help international communism is through success in Peru.
The issue is the contradiction between the objective position of the MKR and the subjective position of the RMP. A part of the RMP is unaware of the experience of the revolution in Peru and follows the leadership, while another part, mainly the RMP’s leadership, deliberately tries to hide its heights, using it as a tool to promote its reformism and subjective pessimism. This is evident in the following statement of the RMP:
In fact, what makes the People’s War in Peru interesting is that it began later than the others and in a highly inauspicious period, after the defeat of socialism in China. This gives Gonzalo honor and may have contributed to the fact that he began to advance the idea of singling out Maoism as a separate phase in order to thereby theorize the possibility and necessity of continuing the struggle under the new conditions.
As we can see, the RMP’s leadership believes that Maoism, as a phenomenon of our class theory, is not entirely objective. This is to be expected, since the RMP’s leadership deliberately ascribes a subjective character to the objective definition of the PCP. Herein lies the key difference between the RMP’s leadership line and that of the MKR: the MKR believes that the process of defining Maoism is complete, but the process of establishing Maoism as the only revolutionary theory of our class is not yet complete; the RMP evidently believes that neither the process of definition nor the process of establishment is complete, that the essence of Maoism is still “hanging in the air” and is the “dry residue” of all the contradictions in the “programs of the major Maoist parties”. We believe that in this ideological subjectivism lies the objective impossibility of the RMP’s leadership to develop the communist movement in Russia.
Here are our positions on Maoism again, now in the most systematic way:
1) Regarding the definition of Maoism in form: the essence of all aspects of the ideology of Maoism was nothing more than the theoretical legacy of the Chinese revolution, and already existed before the formal definition of Maoism. The same thing happened when Stalin defined Leninism: one can only define what already exists. This suggests that the essence of aspects of the theory of Maoism already existed before full form systematization.
2) Regarding the definition of Maoism in essence: the essential difference between Maoism before and after its definition is only that before its definition Maoism was not fully systematized. It existed as a collection of separate aspects not unified by a single theory, due to which important key aspects of Maoism were often either not addressed at all (such as the thesis of equal development of light and heavy industry under socialism or the “Three Worlds Divided” thesis) or not addressed in full (such as the military theory of the PPW).
3) Regarding what the definition of the new stage of ideology serves: the only thing that the definition of ideology and its new stages serves is the practice of the class, so that practice can be realized already at the level of theory at which it existed, so that no unnecessary mistakes are made. Thus the PCP, under Gonzalo’s leadership, was able to apply the ideology of the class and subsequently define it, theoretically showing the shortest path to achieving the practical heights that already existed.
4) Regarding the development of theory with practice: objective class theory develops along with the development of class practice, by synthesizing that practice. For the RMP’s leadership, however, Maoism at a certain level is only “a theoretical justification of the possibility and necessity of struggle”. The RMP’s leadership evidently believes that the definition of Maoism was provoked by subjective pessimism at the international level (quoted above), rather than by the application of an already existing, albeit fragmented, universal objective theory. The proletariat struggles always as long as class society exists, but somehow historically we see that it was Stalin who defined Leninism. Accordingly, we cannot speak merely of a subjective desire to struggle, we must speak of objective experience and the height of that experience. This alone suggests that the very understanding of Maoism by the RMP’s leadership is not objective, but subjective, because it does not understand the process of its development.
5) Regarding the development of subjective understanding of objective theory: subjective understanding of objective theory develops primarily by applying that theory in practice. Looking at the practice of the RMP, we see that it is disproportionately sparse in relation to the age of the RMP. We can state definitely that the ideas about Maoism as a partly subjective phenomenon come from A) the fact that the RMP’s leadership has not been able to confirm its ideology in practice for 20 years, since the entire development of the RMP can be described as “one continuous phase of stagnation” (because of which, for example, according to the RMP’s leadership itself, in 2018 only three people remained in the ranks of the RMP); and from B) that the RMP’s leadership, because of the failure of its policies, has a fundamental fear that it will not be able to promote the movement in Russia.
The result is a vicious circle: the RMP’s leadership pursues bad policies, its cadres burn out to no avail, the leadership loses confidence in its ideology, and blindly continues to pursue bad policies. Because of the combination of factors A and B, respectively the practice and theory of the RMP, a rigid pessimism takes root in the ranks of the RMP, which the leadership itself generates. First of all, this pessimism manifests itself in the reformist aspects of the RMP’s leadership’s policy (we will examine the RMP’s idea of renouncing democratic centralism in favor of creating a “party of the masses” and its frantic support for the reformist MLPD, ICOR, etc. in the following paragraphs). This is the situation in Russia, which the RMP does not help to change in any way, but only drags the working class down like a stone: the bourgeoisie, especially the big one, is squeezing the working class in the grip of inflation, repression, war corporatism; the working class, embittered as ever, generates more and more activists, who in huge numbers for such conditions take steps toward unification, but still get stuck in economism, reformism, see no results and burn out; the existing “Marxists” either in their majority preach tailism and the theory that the productive forces are underdeveloped and that it is necessary to ask politely for bread, or they do not go to the masses at all and become academic sectarians.
6) Regarding the reformist pessimism of the RMP’s leadership as an aspect of international pessimism: at the international level, the process of unification under the banner of Maoism is clearly not yet complete. The RMP’s leadership, instead of leading, prefers to mechanically follow the revisionists from ICOR, fragmented, reformist organizations without any basis of ideological unity, and MOVADEF and MLPD, ‘shining’ examples of failed reformist policies, which the RMP’s leadership still somehow tries to justify and lead itself after so many failures. This pessimistic trend in Russia is only an aspect of the pessimistic trend at the international level and represents the last stage in the development of the international communist movement.
It is no secret that with the fall of China, and then with the turn of the PPW in Peru, the communist movement suffered a setback. But the proletariat has not only survived as a class, but has become even bigger and stronger, so our class is preparing to strike back. The present stage, therefore, can only be compared with the period that began with the usurpation of the Second International and ended with the imminent victory of the October Revolution and the triumph of the Comintern, only under much more prepared objective conditions: when the crises of overproduction now have absolutely catastrophic consequences all over the world, when imperialism and its pocket states are generating fascism and are moving towards a third world war under the pressure of economic crisis, when imperialism has lost and continues to lose its power in the third world, which even without communists fights back the dying fascism, forcing it to use absolutely all means at its disposal.
The economic situation in the world and in Russia generates the rigid pessimism of the bourgeois classes. This rigid pessimism is followed by the people, since the people have no leadership. This great pessimism can be transformed into great revolutionary optimism through action based on the right political line. The working class is the last in history and has nothing to fear. The RMP’s cadres should adopt this class optimism against their pessimistic leadership, which indulges in the pessimism of the dying classes.
Looking at the unresolved contradictions of the RMP’s pessimism and reformism toward Maoism, we also see that specifically on the question of the revolution in Peru, the RMP does not understand the process of the bend in the road of the PPW that began with the 1992 capture of the CC of the PCP, which led to a return to the stage of strategic defensive. Because of this misunderstanding, which the leadership of the RMP spreads, a misperception is born, as if the MKR supports Gonzalo simply because of the empty military “aesthetics” followed by the “cult of personality” of the “Gonzaloists”, and not because of the enormous effect the PCP theory has on our practice and theory.
Since the revolution in Peru is of paramount importance for Maoism as a whole and specifically for the anti-reformist position in Russia, we will analyze the bend in the road process in the Peruvian PPW, taking the issue of Chairman Gonzalo’s capitulation as a basis to break down the reformist and pessimist positions of the RMP’s leadership.
The issue of Gonzalo’s “capitulation”
The RMP unfoundedly asserts a whole bunch of things:
1) That “Gonzalo himself made a self-criticism” (a euphemism for “peace letters”, i.e., capitulation);
2) That “a split in the PCP occurred precisely on the question of the peace letters. Those who accepted them then founded MOVADEF, those who refused are trying to continue the armed struggle”;
3) That the alleged “underground PCP” founded MOVADEF;
4) That “the underground PCP that founded MOVADEF never abandoned the people’s war in principle”, and that “they do not say so openly”;
5) That MOVADEF is “a powerful mass organization engaged in real economic and political struggle, located among the masses, having learned its lessons from the failure of the People’s War”;
6) That “in Peru we cannot speak of a people’s war now, although it is possible that there are some small armed groups there” and that the RMP “certainly does not believe that it [PPW] has ended definitively and irrevocably”, that the war is “on pause” and somehow simultaneously that the war has “failed”.
Let us first consider the facts of Gonzalo’s life. What do we see in the history of the life of the Chairman before the capture of the Central Committee of the PCP in 1992? We see that the life of Chairman Gonzalo is a life entirely devoted to the Party and the class. This assertion is not unsubstantiated: it can be clearly seen even in Gonzalo’s earliest aspirations to join the Party; in the ideological progression when the Chairman read Stalin and Mao; when Gonzalo went on a work trip to Ayacucho – in his desire to help the masses of peasants in Peru whom the existing “communists” rejected as backward, dead weight for the revolution; in the desire to destroy revisionism in the existing Party; in the creation of a fraction and in the destruction of the other revisionist factions – in the restoration of the PCP itself; in the early documents of the restored PCP, defining from the beginning in general terms the political and military line; in the political development of the PCP in the military direction; in the defeat of revisionism for the beginning of PPW and in the beginning of PPW itself; in the strategic plans for development, military and political; in the culmination of the historical task of defining Maoism as the 3rd stage in the development of Marxism; in the documents of the First Party Congress – the Interview with Chairman Gonzalo and the General Political Line of the PCP; in the continued success of the PCP until the early 1990s, when the PCP entered the strategic equilibrium and controlled a good half of Peru, preparing for the final process of the PPW – the seizure of power; and in the international importance of PCP’s experience, especially for the RIM. Despite all these merits, there are doubts that Chairman Gonzalo betrayed the revolution after a working incident in September 1992, when he and other members of the CC were captured.
Let us consider the little information that is available to us about Gonzalo’s arrest, as well as about Gonzalo’s political positions after his arrest and before his death. Here are the most important moments when the Chairman had a chance to express himself:
- Capture, 1992
- “Speech from the Cage”, 1992
- Interview with GEIN, 1992
- Interview with Vladimiro Montesinos, 1992
- Trial, 2004
- Chairman’s Cell Raid, 2014
- Trial, 2017, Tarata
- Trial, 2017, Health
Let’s review Gonzalo’s statements in order, using excerpts from them.
Arrest on September 12, 19922
On September 12, primarily because of the betrayal of trusted people who provided information to the American secret services, the Chairman and other members of the Central Committee of the PCP were detained by Peruvian secret services at their safe house. This is what the Chairman said to the face of the enemy:
In the end, everything can be taken from a man except what he has here [points to his head] – from no one; even if he is killed. And if one dies, it remains in others, and it will never be erased. And when it is analyzed, history will recognize it. You must remember, you must know the liberators: the persecuted, the executed, the destroyed, the exterminated. And look where they are now.
About a week after his arrest, the Chairman was taken to a cage to be brought before a military court by hooded individuals who tried to make him look like an animal. Instead, the President gave a speech for the partisans of the Communist Party of Peru, for the heroic Peruvian people and communists around the world, which we reproduce:
Comrades of the Communist Party of Peru! Fighters of the People‘s Guerrilla Army! Peruvian People!
We are living historic moments, each of us knows that this is the case, let us not fool ourselves. In these moments we must strengthen all forces to confront difficulties and continue carrying out our tasks. And we must conquer the goals! The successes! The victory! That is what is to be done.
We are here as children of the people and we are fighting in these trenches, they are also trenches of combat, and we do it because we are communists! Because here we are defending the interests of the people, the principles of the Party, and the people‘s war. That is what we do, we are doing it and will continue to do so!
We are here in these circumstances. Some think this is a great defeat. They are dreaming! We tell them to keep on dreaming. It is simply a bend, nothing more, a bend in the road! The road is long and we shall arrive. We shall triumph! You shall see it! You shall see it!
We should continue the tasks established by the 3rd Plenary Session of the Central Committee. A glorious plenary session! You should know that these accords are already being implemented and that will continue. We shall continue applying the 4th Strategic Development Plan of the People‘s War to Conquer Power, we shall continue developing the 6th Military Plan to Build the Conquest of Power, that will continue; that is a task! We shall carry it out because of what we are and because of the obligation we have with the proletariat and the people!
We clearly say that today the democratic road has begun to develop as a road of liberation, as a road of people‘s liberation! That is the circumstance in which we are unfolding. We should think with a great sense of history, we must stop closing our eyes. Let us look at reality, let us look at the history of Peru. Let us look at the last three centuries of Peru. We should think about it. Look at the 18th century, look at the 19th century, look at the 20th century and understand them! Those who don‘t understand them are going to be blind and the blind don‘t serve the country, they don‘t serve Peru!
We believe that the 18th century was a very clear lesson. Think about this. There was a dominator. It was Spain and where did that bloodsucking domination bring us? To a very profound crisis, as a consequence of which Peru was divided. From there come the origins of today‘s Bolivia. It is not our invention but facts.
Fine, the last century, English domination. Where did their rivalry with France take us? To another big crisis: the 1870s. The result? War with Chile. We must not forget it! And what happened? We lost territory. Our nation suffered a schism despite the blood shed by heroes and the people. We must learn from this!
The 20th century. How are we doing? In the 20th century we are dominated by imperialism, mainly North American, this is real, everyone knows it. And where has it brought us? It is reminiscent of the 1920s, here and now, in the worst crisis of the entire history of the Peruvian people. Learning the lesson of past centuries, what can we think? Once more the nation is at risk, once more the republic is at risk, once more our territory is at risk. It can easily be lost, and to interests. This is the situation; this is where they have brought us. But we have a fact, a Peruvian revolution, a people‘s war, and it is advancing, and will continue to do so. Where have we gotten with this? To a strategic stalemate. And we must understand this well. It is a strategic stalemate! It solidifies itself in an essential situation. What have 12 years served for? To plainly show before the world and mainly before the Peruvian people, that the Peruvian State, the old Peruvian State, is a paper tiger that is rotten to the core. That has been proven!
Things being that way, let us think of the danger that the nation, that the country, can be divided, that the nation is at risk. They want to dismember it; they want to divide it. Who wants to do this? As always, imperialism, those who exploit, those who rule. And what should we do? What is our task now? It is appropriate that we push forward the People‘s Liberation Movement and that we develop it through the people‘s war because the people, always the people, have been the ones who defend the country, who have defended the nation.
It is time to form a People‘s Liberation Front, it is time to form and develop from the People‘s Guerrilla Army a People‘s Liberation Army. That is what we must do and we shall do it! That is what we are doing and that is what we shall do! You gentlemen shall be witnesses.
Finally now, listen to this. As we see in the world, maoism is marching unstoppably to lead the new wave of proletarian world revolution. Listen well and understand! Those who have ears, use them. Those who have understanding — and we all have it — use it! Enough of this nonsense. Enough of these obscurities! Let us understand that! What is unfolding in the world? What do we need? We need maoism to be embodied, and it is being embodied, and by generating Communist Parties to drive and direct this new great wave of the proletarian world revolution that is coming.
Everything they told us, the empty and silly chatter of the famous «new age of peace». Where is it now? What about Yugoslavia? What about other places? That is a lie; everything became politicized. Today there is one reality; the same contenders of the 1st and 2nd World War are preparing a new 3rd World War. We should know this and we, as the children of an oppressed nation, are part of the booty. We cannot consent to this! Enough imperialist exploitation! We must finish with them! We are of the third world and the third world is the basis of the proletarian world revolution, with one condition, that the Communist Parties brandish and lead! That is what we must do!
We believe the following. Next year will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of Chairman Mao. We must celebrate these 100 years! We are organizing it with the Communist Parties. We want a new manner, a celebration which will be the conscious comprehension of the importance of Chairman Mao in the world revolution and we shall begin the celebration this year and we shall finish it the next. It will be a grand process of celebration.
I want to take advantage of this opportunity to salute the international proletariat, the oppressed nations of the world and the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement.
LONG LIVE THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF PERU! THE PEOPLE‘S WAR WILL INEVITABLY WIN! WE GREET FROM HERE THE FUTURE BIRTH OF THE PEOPLE‘S REPUBLIC OF PERU! We say: GLORY TO MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM! And finally we say: HONOR AND GLORY TO THE PERUVIAN PEOPLE!
Interview with GEIN (Special Intelligence Unit), 19925
In this interview, taken shortly after his capture, Chairman relayed his history of becoming a Marxist and the development of the struggle for Party reconstruction. In addition, Chairman talked about his experience in the existing Party during the period of revisionism, the importance of the people in shaping the red line, the importance of the fraction for Party reconstruction, the importance of the class position of leaders, the importance of the fighting spirit, the conceptual simplicity and practicality of politics, and the development of leadership and knowledge of a Communist.
On the importance of the communist’s determination to be with the people and the importance of class militancy:
There are many problems in politics, they are clear and simple, questions of simple reasoning, wisdom that the people understand, understand without many words. There a man said – where the peasantry is – “they wanted it, their eyes shone with joy, with strength as they conquered it and they were able to confront and defend it with their blood.” And [inaudible], what did he want? Long discussions? Hours of fun? Wasting time? One should discuss when the issues are controversial, but one should not idly waste time when there is nothing more to say, when the facts speak for themselves. And if the masses talk, ask, and feel, who knows better how to define the problem? The peasantry always knows what it wants. The rest of us make up all kinds of nonsense. And he told us a lot of things, but it was all the same: “study and be careful.” I think appearances are necessary, yes, but they can’t be the prize, can’t close your eyes or your mouth, much less your mind, never, that can’t happen. That’s how it was. Another important discussion, and I think on both counts we defeated them. I’m not saying that leaders have to be very enlightened, I don’t believe that. I think first of all there has to be a class position, that they have to be on the side of the people, because if they are on the side of the people, in their position, they sympathize with them, they have their own will, they want what the people want, and they think the way they think. You have to take all this and turn it into a criterion that takes the law of the process, that is, commitment. And make it political, turn it into reality in facts and in an organic apparatus, naturally… This left me with this criterion. And with this rich polemic of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, it gained more power. It made us more confident, more determined, more convinced of what we already knew, that we were communists, because you don’t become a communist overnight, it takes long work, that’s how it was. We made a little newspaper, a very small one, 16 pages, by a group of a few people; we made it ourselves, from the drawings to the printing, then we distributed it, we sold it…
Regarding the primacy of political action over political thought:
No one is born knowing, no one has brilliant and clear ideas from the beginning, no one is born a genius, this is absurd. There are those who think that just by seeing a problem, they have already seen to the end of time what will come of it. This is not the case. Every idea is born confused and vague at first; gradually it becomes clearer until it is accurate. It takes time, deeds, actions. Because the transformative action – however humble – is the one that generates the idea. Man, in my understanding – and this is what I understood from Marx. Man is action! …transforms the world. It is action… In this action, transforming the world, man generates ideas, generates thought. Man is not born this way. First comes the political act, then the political idea, and the history of Peru proves this; so does the [Spanish] Conquest, so does the Incanato, so does the Liberation. This has always been the case and will always be the case.
Regarding the inner-party struggle of the Red Fraction with the revisionist factions and their tactics:
As it happened at the Fourth Congress; at the Fourth Congress revisionism was defeated, they only told me that I was not there, I repeat. But the documents say the opposite; some will say, “But the situation is weighed there”, we have nothing to weigh! It says that the conquest of power in Peru can be by peaceful or non-peaceful means; we must prepare for both. Thus, that whichever way presents itself, we must accept it. To me this is a deception. It is an attempt to deceive people, because there is only one way – then we were talking about ways – today we are no longer talking about […] My point is that there was a victory at the Congress, but it was lost in the writing of the papers. The same thing happened in the Fifth, we agreed on transcendent things of great importance, but they wanted to change it when writing the documents. It would have been a reprisal, it would have led to separation. The truth is that they [the revisionists] believed that because of their marginalization [within the existing party] the world would collapse. The world will never collapse, the sky is always up, the earth will not shake and move out of its orbit; it will never happen. Don’t be embarrassed by false earthquakes. After all, in an earthquake you lose your home, clear away the rubble, and keep working. At the time, the faction said: the problem is to build the Party, to make the Party, and if they destroy the Party, we must build it again, period. If it is destroyed ten times, it is built eleven times; if eleven times, it is built twelve times. We had clear ideas that […] A firm resolution. I think it’s important… It has already been resolved, a man has a will – if he has a will that is being destroyed, a communist will be – like butter? – What is he good for, he is good for nothing. You have to have this attitude: if a wall opposes me, I will tear it down, nothing should stop you. That’s the school we developed. We fought hard…
And another short but important quote demonstrating the fundamentally materialistic conception of ideology:
The one who is not organized is not a communist, plain and simple.
Interview with Vladimiro Montesinos, 19926
The “academic interview”, which is actually an attempt to get a capitulation conducted by Vladimiro Montesinos, head of the SIN (National Intelligence Service of Peru) with Chairman Gonzalo, was conducted a little later than the “cage speech” and was not published until decades later. In this interview, the Chairman (P.G.) answers questions from Vladimiro (V.M.) and his partner (P.) about the Chairman’s role in the Party as well as the future of the armed struggle in Peru. We decided to include most of the excerpts (except those concerning the Chairman‘s political training in the People’s Republic of China) because even small statements are extremely important for understanding Gonzalo’s relationship with the state.
V.M.: The gentleman and I are here to visit you. First of all…before we begin this academic conversation, which will last several days, I would like to know what your needs are here, in order to meet them as much as possible. [Chairman smiles] Our overall goal is to make you feel comfortable, so that things are convenient. How can we contribute to your physical and psychological comfort?
P.G.: First of all, Doctor, I would ask you to take this off me [shakes his “prisoner’s” shirt]. What’s the use or reason for that? It’s absolute-ly illegal. And you know that very well, Doctor. What’s the point? Is there any good in it? I don’t think there is; it’s wrong. The last time I was dressed up, was it meant to be annoying, humiliating? I don’t think it serves any purpose, Mr. You say you come here for an academic conversation, but I don’t see it being academic.
V.M.: Well, we have nothing to do with… with that sort of thing [Chairman waves it off]. We just state the purpose of our visit. We cannot undo the decisions that have been made. These are decisions of another level and another expediency.
P.G.: In this case, doctor, please excuse me, to say the least…
V.M.: …continue… [unintelligible argument, video cuts off]
P.: And the famous Feliciano, about whom so much is said that he is now… heir? [inaudible]
P.G.: Well, as you know, parties, organizations… choose… [unintelligible].
V.M.: Do you think there could be another Abimael?
P.G.: I think there will be a lot of them and even better.
V.M.: We doubt it [laughs].
P.: And if it had been, it probably wouldn’t have been Feliciano?
P.G.: This is already beyond my knowledge… …I am still the chairman of the party.
P.: Of course, but the party cannot stop, no matter how much dynamism it generates.
P.G.: Well, there are mechanisms…
P.: There are problems of conjuncture, there are situations that require, well…decision-making.
P.G.: It seems to me that it has to do with organizational mechanisms. Not necessarily with the great leadership.
P.: Do you think that the line is already established, already formed? Or is it a line in the process of formation?
P.G.: It has already been created… .
A new series of trials began in the early 2000s. In 2004, due to a slight oversight by his guards, the Chairman was allowed to address the international press while shouting slogans “Long live Maoism! Long live the PCP! Long live the People’s War!”. As a result, the media was not allowed to be present at this or the following trials, probably until the trials in the second half of the 2010s.
Chairman’s Camera Raid, 20148
MOVADEF (Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights) is a reformist, revisionist organization founded in 2009. The organization was founded by Gonzalo’s lawyers. Some of these lawyers made public statements in connection with the creation of MOVADEF, in which they claimed to speak on its behalf, although there is no evidence of this. In connection with the creation of the organization, a book entitled “De Puño y Letra” was published the same year in 2009. The founders of MOVADEF (Gonzalo’s lawyers) claimed that the book was an essay written by the Chairman, written in captivity, which was later smuggled out of prison during the lawyer’s cell visit. The book allegedly contains Gonzalo’s autobiographical memoirs, the basic historical information from which does not match information from previously publicly and freely available party documents, such as the Interview with Chairman Gonzalo. The book also allegedly contains Gonzalo’s personal confession of the failure of the armed struggle and an admission of the need to pursue a peaceful path.
This 2014 videotape, the transcript of which we are providing below, shows police officers as well as several officials entering Gonzalo’s cell late at night, the day before his next trial. The officials (O.) announce that a court order has concluded that MOVADEF is a united front organization of the PCP, therefore Chairman’s (P.G.) cell must be searched. The officials enter into a long argument with the Chairman, demanding that he agree that MOVADEF is in fact a united party front organization. Chairman laughs it off and calls it a farce. Gonzalo, seeing that the only option offered to him is not to interfere in the search, agrees. The search allegedly uncovers a series of documents containing annotations to the book “De Puño y Letra”, which allegedly connects MOVADEF with the PCP and directly leads to the repression of MOVADEF.
O.: There is a court order issued by the third supranational criminal court concerning a restrictive measure of the law, which in your case is a search and seizure of documents related mainly to the organ… with the current front of the Communist Party of Peru, which is MOVADEF. There are documents that led DIRCOTE (Directorate for the Fight against Terrorism) to believe that one of the three instruments for the reconstruction of the party, in particular the front, is currently MOVADEF.
P.G.: Do you want me to laugh?
O.: No, no problem, you can laugh…
P.G.: Sir, you don’t know what you’re doing, as usual. I tell you with all the calmness, you must understand at least a little, sometime. You are a spokesman, don’t do what you’re told just because.
O.: In this case we have an obligation…
P.G.: And MOVADEF? That is is part of the party? Who said that?
O.: There are documents that are contained in the court decision…
P.G.: A court resolution can say whatever it wants! I have a resolution here that says a stupidity and a half.
P.G.: And what does that have to do with…
O.: We are in Peru, and unfortunately, here we are governed by the laws and regulations of the Peruvian authorities. In this case we comply with this, and we would be grateful if you would provide us with the conditions to do our work.
P.G.: What is your job?
O.: To come and conduct a search…
P.G.: At this time, sir?
P.G.: I have to go to the courtroom tomorrow, and I have to be up at eight o’clock in the morning…
O.: We’ll try to make it quick.
P.G.: No, sir, you don’t.
O.: We came with a court order…
P.G.: And what do I care?
O.: But you have to cooperate to do it… If you say you have nothing to do with what we’re talking about, then let us [conduct the search].
P.G.: First of all, why are you photographing me? Are you a prosecutor? A photographer? Who are you, sir?
O.: …In the event that the court order also authorizes a break-in [forced search] of your cell, please, we are trying to talk to you.
O.: So that you give us an opportunity not to go to such extremes.
P.G.: Ay, ay, ay… so late? [laughs] Don’t you think that’s absurd, sir? The proceedings have time.
O.: What should we do, sir…
P.G.: You’re a lawyer, don’t you know that?
O.: You are also a lawyer…
P.G.: Of course, that’s why I know [laughs]…
O.: You are also a lawyer, so you understand us.
O.: It just makes it easier for us…by not forcing you to submit to search and seizure, you make it easier for us, and if you have nothing to hide, fine…[inaudible]
P.G.: What am I going to hide?
O.: Exactly… .
P.G.: Are you going to turn everything around?
O.: No, we will comply…
O.: …We’ll start at once and finish as quickly as possible.
P.G.: [Inaudible] This is totally weird. Why are you taking pictures of me?
O.: No, it’s… just to see… and…
P.G.: Why are you taking pictures of me? Is it a photo shoot, what is it?
Trial, 2017 (I)9
Another trial took place in 2017 that focused on the Tarata Street terrorist attack and drug trafficking, both of which were attributed to the PCP. Gonzalo, given the opportunity to speak out in front of the international press, clearly defended the armed struggle, reaffirming the fundamental principle of “no militancy without the masses” and refuting the government’s constant attempts to present the heroic struggle in the colors of terrorism and criminality:
I have nothing to declare. Why should I? Because I have nothing to do with Tarata, when will you understand? Prove to me that I committed Tarata, prove to me! And I will believe you. This is a complete farce. I have nothing to do with it. The Central Committee does not agree with the specific actions. You do not understand what an armed struggle is. How will you judge us? Try to find a knowledgeable military man, and then he can give advice, gentlemen, as they do in other cases. As to the second question, the problem of drug trafficking: in all my life, Mr., I have never touched a drug substance. Because I was educated that way. I have a head. I don’t need to get drunk to think. I don’t need to humiliate myself and…that I’ve participated in one of these acts? Never! Why? I am not one to poison, I am the one who fights for humanity! That’s what I have proven myself to be, sir! The others – the poisoners – who are lining their pockets and who are at the helm in Peru, that’s who’s guilty! So I don’t know what to say, Mr. Director. What do you want me to say that I don’t know? Take a look at the records of the Congress, there you will see the vehement criticism with which we opposed this action in Tarata. And I’ll give you a political reason, sir. We reached a point in 1991 when we needed to win the national bourgeoisie. How, then, are we going to strike? How? It doesn’t make any political sense, sir. It was a monstrous mistake by those who made it. It’s a political reason, sir, prove otherwise. We are politicians, we are not profiteers, we are not paid adventurers, we are not this. We are militant communists, sir. What should I talk about then? Neither of these things has anything to do with me. That’s all, sir.
Trial, 2017 (II)10
In addition to the previous quote, at the 2017 meeting, the Chairman also went to court, asking for medical assistance, which he was being denied:
What I wanted to say was this. I’ve been sick for over a month now, sir. I can’t even eat, that’s obvious. The doctors came to see me yesterday, and, as they say, “how are the clothes?” and the clothes are hanging down altogether. I mean, I’m losing weight, that’s all. The question is, who’s going to see me? Doctors come in, they come in, sir, and ask me, “what’s the matter with you,” and I’m what, a doctor? They comply [with the regulations], but they don’t do what needs to be done. That’s my point, sir, otherwise why am I still sick? And how long am I going to be sick with this infection? I’m sorry, sir, I just came today to tell the court why I didn’t come sooner. I made an effort to come, sir. That’s the situation. And what I’m asking for is for a doctor to see me so I can experiment because I can’t get anything else.
Without referring to anything, the RMP’s leadership, in its usual manner, declares that Gonzalo has “most likely” capitulated. Nevertheless, we can still see the same militant communist every time he can speak out. The RMP’s leadership has a lot to remember, but in particular they should recall that the documents of the “peace letters” were published in 1993 by none other than the Peruvian government, namely the fascist state of Fujimori. Moreover, why would Gonzalo capitulate if, as he himself said in an interview with Montesinos, both the political and the military line of the Party had already been drawn before the takeover of the Central Committee? This was certainly not said just for the interview: Gonzalo could not have known exactly how it would go or whether it would be published at all; one can see at the beginning of the interview that it almost fell apart altogether.
Gonzalo’s position on the Party line is not the idealistic optimism of a lunatic, these are facts; during the entire development of the PPW in Peru 6 military plans and 4 strategic political development plans have been created. The 4 political plans: 1980 – strategic plan for the beginning, 1983 – strategic plan for the conquest of the bases, 1985 – strategic plan for the development of the People’s War and the development of the bases, 1992 – strategic plan for the development of the People’s War to win the Power in the whole country. As for the military plans, the sixth military plan was the penultimate plan to seize Power in the whole country. We talk about these plans because their historical success speaks for itself, because by studying them you can think for yourself and understand what is what. We, unlike the RMP, do not have the need to be unsubstantiated.
Also, we must remember that all the materials we have translated are the few that have reached us through the iron curtain of the counterinsurgency activities of both Peruvian fascists and social-fascists for the past 29 years. In other words, this is the best the RMP and everyone else has in their arsenal to prove Gonzalo’s capitulation. If reaction could erase Gonzalo’s political line and the historical significance of the PCP, the political line of the PCP would not belong to Gonzalo after his arrest and even after his death in 2021. If the line had been erased, we would not be writing this polemic. Not only the PCP itself wrote about it all, but also El Diario Internacional, the international newspaper supporting the People’s War, which was created by journalist Arce Borja abroad because the Peruvian newspaper El Diario, which he was behind and which published the party documents of the first Congress, was subject to repression11.
The RMP, as we see it, takes the same position as the RIM did at the time: that Gonzalo allegedly capitulated and that the “peace letters” are the product of a struggle between two lines in the Party, and not a fabrication of the Peruvian state. Moreover, while RIM cites the Peruvian state, the RMP’s leadership cites nothing at all. On the question of the CPPh, the RMP finds it strange that we refer to the German movement, which provides an excellent analysis with links to sources, while on the question of the PCP, the RMP somehow suddenly decides that we should not cite the PCP itself or its organs, and that instead it is better to cite nothing.
The question should be posed as follows: does the RMP’s leadership believe in the so-called “Lenin’s Testament” or not? When Lenin died, he was surrounded by the Party. The historical reasons for the “Lenin’s Testament” are nothing more than a struggle between two lines in the Central Committee. And what do we see? It was the same kind of imaginary capitulation that was most likely prepared by Krupskaya. Can we be 100% sure? No. Can we say with certainty that the authenticity of the document is highly unlikely? Yes. These are the tactics used by revisionism – imposture and deception.
In this age simply, not only documents, but all kinds of media are used. So what tactics does Peruvian fascism use? We believe that fascism is incapable of using any other tactics in the sphere of the ideological struggle against communism. And looking at the military struggle against communists, it could not be otherwise: throughout Peru’s civil war, the state carried out the genocide of entire settlements, using people as cannon fodder. It sterilized more than three hundred thousand indigenous women12, because the peasants were terrorists in the eyes of the state. It even went so far as to say that if the military found any item of red clothing in a rural area, an order was given and a massacre was carried out. Even if the RMP’s leadership tends to believe the document “Lenin’s Testament”, which even the most crusty, worthless Trotskyites do not believe today, why on earth would the RMP believe in documents produced by the fascists?
Further, if Gonzalo capitulated, why does he speak out for the People’s War several times immediately after his arrest and then in the courts in 2004 and 2017? It’s as if there are two Gonzalo’s – one has always existed and the other only in 1993. If the State of Peru really bribed him, why wasn’t he sent to every locality to spread revisionism? If the Chairman was bribed, why can’t we see what he was bribed with, why is he forced to ask for basic medical care – a diagnosis – in front of the international press, while saying that he understands that any other small requests will be ignored? If Gonzalo was ultimately a traitor, why was the Peruvian state even afraid to give him a dignified burial, citing that the burial site might become a site of mass disorder and “terrorist propaganda”? Why is it that when Montesinos, one of the highest ranking men of the state, goes to see Gonzalo, he has to lose a lot of time to get through a dozen locked doors, while a simple lawyer can visit the Chairman, Peru’s most dangerous war prisoner, at will, without passing any checks, and can allegedly afford to smuggle out an entire book written in captivity (we are talking about “De Puño y Letra”, published by the reformist MOVADEF)? Through its polemics, the leadership of the RMP has proven that it is unable to adequately address any of the contradictions of these questions.
To summarize the presented position of the RMP on Gonzalo’s “capitulation”, for us this approach of RMP’s leadership to the two-line struggle between the collectives is as toothless as their reformism. It is enough for RMP’s leadership to say “it is probably so” on a subject about which they know nothing, relying not on facts, but on their own invented authority that imbues every line of their amateurish polemics. The RMP makes a fundamental mistake in its analysis of the People’s War: the People’s War cannot lose if it is based on a correct communist policy. This is what Mao taught us, and this is what Gonzalo teaches us. Mao taught us that the Party rules the rifle, proving to everyone that politics takes precedence over military matters. Gonzalo, on the other hand, explained, repeating Clausewitz’s thesis, that war is nothing but “the continuation of politics in other ways”. Both Mao and Gonzalo agree on the following: The People’s War may suffer heavy losses or may even be lost, but only if the Party renounces Marxism. If the RMP’s leadership is still willing to insist blindly that the PPW in Peru is over, then why does the RMP’s leadership ignore the fact that the defeats the PCP suffered in the 1990s are nothing but the result of following this revisionism – the child of the revisionist Miriam and the fascist state of Peru – that the RMP believes in and supports? This approach reminds us of the position of many reformist losers for whom, on the question of the restoration in the USSR or China, it is sufficient to say “the revolution was lost”.
They, like the RMP’s leadership, are too lazy to understand that the revolution has gone astray not because of the continuation of Marxist politics, but because of the rejection of it. But instead of thinking about the essence of our arguments, the RMP’s leadership would rather think about the form and moralize that “…the PCP fraction quoted by the MKR does not inspire much sympathy. The very language of the document they quote about ‘Miriam the rat’ etc. speaks for itself”. We would love to see the RMP’s leadership criticize Mao for the words “running dogs of imperialism” with the same sucked-out-of-a-finger [invented, false, artificial – trans.] authoritative tone as it criticizes the PCP for using the word “rat” to refer to a traitor who sided with the fascists.
The issue of MOVADEF and the real situation of the PPW in Peru
We have just dealt with Gonzalo’s “capitulation”, with the fictitious truce between the state of Peru and the PCP, and briefly touched on MOVADEF. In addition to all the other useless praise for MOVADEF, the RMP, in a link from the polemic to its post about MOVADEF, states the following:
A commotion in Peru – someone made a huge sign on the hill “MOVADEF al 2021” (Movement for the Amnesty of Political Prisoners – by 2021). The police are patrolling the neighborhood, looking for intruders.
MOVADEF is a legal (before it was banned) political organization of former Senderists who have renounced armed struggle and want (following Gonzalo’s own call) to participate in politics by peaceful means. However, the Peruvian state is still terrified of them and has banned MOVADEF.
And the year 2021 is inscribed because parliamentary and presidential elections will take place in Peru this year. MOVADEF wants to participate with the following program:
– democratization of Peruvian society;
– the convening of a constitutional assembly to adopt a new constitution;
– national production and labor for the people;
– education, health, housing and labor policies in the interest of the people.
It is well known that one of Navalny’s main projects is the “smart elections” voting tactic, a program aimed at concentrating the opposition’s votes in order to defeat United Russia’s [the ruling party – trans.] candidates. As you know, Navalny’s bourgeois party, Russia of the Future, as well as himself, were not allowed to participate in the elections. It is well known that both Navalny himself and his organizations have been subjected to repression. It is well known that one of such organizations was the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). It is well known that FBK was declared a terrorist organization and banned. It is well known that Navalny himself and his organizations promoted liberal slogans about democracy, freedom of speech, nationalization of the economy, education, health-care, housing and labor policies.
So the question should be posed as follows: does the RMP think that Navalny is a working-class representative who leads a working-class party? If yes, then it is quite obvious to us why the RMP’s leadership supports MOVADEF. But if the RMP does not think so, then the question remains why the RMP’s leadership chose to support MOVADEF and not Navalny, the “Communist Party of Russian Federation” (KPRF), Yabloko, or others. All of these organizations and parties have been and are being repressed. All of them also participate in elections and put forward the same slogans. The amateurish leadership of the RMP is apparently unaware that the bourgeoisie, as a class, is not homogeneous and forms factions, which generate their own political organisms, which participate in the struggle not only against other classes, but also among themselves, but all for the same thing – profit.
In preparation for the elections, the bourgeoisie and its political representatives use slogans promoting inter-class unity and cooperation between the bourgeoisie and the working class. The question is not something complicated, the question is the fundamental positions of Marxism; the question is that the bourgeoisie will never give its Power to another class through peaceful elections. There is a way of organizing Power, and there is the class essence of Power: MOVADEF, like Navalny, does not have to serve the existing state in order to serve the Power of the bourgeoisie. Elections are a way of organizing Power. It is the class essence of the state that determines the class essence of elections in the first place, and not vice versa. And accordingly, in absolutely all bourgeois states without exception, elections are the instrument which the bourgeoisie uses against the proletariat. And since the big bourgeoisie in the age of imperialism will always use fascism when it can no longer effectively use parliament, so it turns out that the only thing universal in the strategy of parliamentary cretinism is the question whether sooner or later it will lose.
Returning to MOVADEF, however, and looking at its political ambitions, one can see the only basic point – the constituent assembly13. That is, elections, the bourgeois indulgence, which the proletariat saw in the Gotha program. MOVADEF in its reformism was always just another “Navalny”, who in Peru would simply not be a “terrorist” and a “foreign agent”, but a “terrorist” and a “PCP agent”.
The RMP’s leadership, without referring to anything out of convenience, says in the same breath both A) “Those who […] accepted [the peace letters] then founded MOVADEF”, and B) “the underground PCP, which founded MOVADEF, never abandoned the People’s War in principle”. So is MOVADEF for the People’s War or not? What is “in principle”? Judging by their policies, the RMP’s leadership believes that one “in principle” is enough for both the people and their cadres.
If MOVADEF is for the People’s War after all, then maybe there are some publications by MOVADEF itself about it? We see the opposite: in its entire existence, MOVADEF has never supported the armed struggle and has never promoted slogans either for the People’s War or for the PCP. What, then, can the RMP be referring to to claim this, if according to the RMP “they don’t talk about it openly”? Maybe the RMP has ties to this “underground PCP” that allegedly founded MOVADEF, whose proof of existence is exactly zero? In our eyes, the likelihood of this is close to the likelihood of Gonzalo’s capitulation. It is more likely that the RMP’s leadership draws this idea from nothing other than the Peruvian bourgeoisie itself and its charlatan historians (for example, the RMP phrase about the “political wing of the Senderists” is taken directly from the Peruvian yellow press), as well as from other reformists, such as the MLPD and ICOR, whose political line corresponds exactly to the reformist line of MOVADEF (that is, from the people who are just as used to leaning on their failures and imaginary authority as the leadership of the RMP).
If we take a look at what the founders of MOVADEF themselves say, we see that they present themselves as followers of the PCP’s faction that laid down its arms in 1992 and took a peaceful path. That is, they claim that Gonzalo is a reformist and that MOVADEF are followers of his reformist policies1415. But the videos and documents supposedly proving that Gonzalo capitulated, the authenticity of which even Gonzalo’s lawyers themselves oppose16, were not published by the Peruvian state until 1993. So it turns out that even according to MOVADEF’s version, they were the opportunists first, and only then did Gonzalo allegedly follow. Given the lack of any credible evidence, the only thing this fact points to is that the revisionists themselves were the origin of this conspiracy.
Further, what “real economic and political struggle” can MOVADEF talk about? Has the RMP’s leadership never heard of Lenin? Lenin taught us that the standard working-class consciousness under capitalism is trade union consciousness. MOVADEF in no way raises this consciousness to the level of true class consciousness, but only indulges this consciousness, that is, tailing the masses, not leading them. On the political-ideological level, the Party can never be built by revisionists; revisionist actions can only temporarily destroy the Party. On the economic level, however, the struggle of reformism ends when the word of the master begins, since revisionism does not build the political organs of Power and the army – it is unarmed. And the RMP’s leadership is trying to prove to us that the PCP, the warriors of our class, stood on such positions?
The RMP’s leadership should remember that the first military action of the PCP in Peru, when it first began the PPW, was to attack the elections in Ayacucho. Throughout the PPW in Peru, however, the PCP pursued a policy along the lines of the slogan “Elections no! People’s War yes!” and it also carried out the rectification campaign with the same name in the early 90’s, which was of paramount importance for the seizure of power. We have already proven that on an organizational level, MOVADEF has no ties to the PCP. Now, we have finished the last part of the proof that on the ideological-political level, MOVADEF are followers of a rightist opportunist line (ROL), not followers of militant communists.
Regarding the statement of the RMP that “in Peru now we cannot speak of a people’s war, although it is possible that there are some small armed groups there”, we see that, just as in the case of the other points, the RMP does not cite any evidence. The RMP’s leadership, relying on its own nonexistent authority, admits that there are “armed groups”, but that there is no Party, but only a “fraction”. We would like to know exactly what criteria the RMP applies to come to the conclusion that there is no PPW in Peru (or as the RMP’s leadership conveniently says, that the PPW “on pause”). Certainly none of the parties leading the armed struggle today agree with this position. Maybe the RMP needs to see the underground organization for themselves? We are absolutely certain that no one has this type of evidence at their disposal regarding the existence of either the CPPh, the CPI (Maoist), or the TKP/ML.
Since the RMP’s leadership, in its polemics, prefers to remain silent on this subject (regarding evidence and criteria) – obviously because it knows nothing about it – we would rather, as with Gonzalo’s alleged capitulation, outline the few facts that we have and analyze them ourselves.
On the ideological-political level, we see that at the international level the PCP works through its organ MPP (People’s Movement Peru), which regularly publishes the Party’s statements. First of all, and most importantly for the ideological level of struggle in Peru, the MPP follows the documents of the first Congress of the PCP, follows Gonzalo Thought, and also does a correct analysis of the opportunist lines that have led the PCP to the situation it has been in since the 1990s. We also see that the MPP never once denied the existence of the Communist Party leading the PPW17. From an interview with Comrade Laura conducted by MPP in 2012 and published in 2017, we see, in addition to the correctness of the most important ideological positions regarding Peruvian revisionism, that the PCP was in the process of reorganization at the time18. Reorganization is a political and military directive, serving to set the right strategy under a new balance of forces (under a new balance of forces, military and political, between the forces of reaction and those of the Party). Thus, reorganization is the only directive that can provide a response to the events of the 1990s, when the balance of power changed dramatically. It is worth recalling the historical significance of reorganization in the Chinese revolution: some of Mao’s most significant political and military ideas were materialized precisely when the reorganization of the remaining CPC army troops took place during the construction of the first base zone in the Jingang Mountains. Besides the correctness of the Party’s fundamental political organizational orientation towards the development of the armed struggle, we also see the importance of the international body of the MPP for the various movements in Europe (mainly because of the direct international work, but also partly because many of the PCP cadres fled to Europe) and also because the MPP consistently conducts Maoist analysis not only of national but also of international events, such as the war in Ukraine19.
On the military level, from direct evidence we see a number of photos of weapons from the document interview with Comrade Laura, obtained after successful military campaigns, as well as photos of PCP guerrillas. Also, directly from the mouths of the bourgeois media we can see a number of military actions, especially in the VRAEM region, which are attributed to the PCP and which have forced the state to declare states of emergency throughout Peru’s history. To give an example of one of these: a military action of agitation carried out in 2021, followed by a poster that read “WARNING! If you continue to threaten the masses of the party, you will be destroyed. The Party has a thousand eyes, a thousand ears. Long live the Communist Party of Peru!”20 As a consequence, the Peruvian state extended the state of emergency for several months in 33 districts of the 8 provinces of Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Junín and Cuzco21.
We have just cited a number of facts which are sufficient to make the following analysis:
On the ideological-political level: for any communist, the course of the war is determined, first and foremost, by the line of the Party, and not vice versa. It should also be remembered that no other political organism of the proletariat except the Party is capable of adequately developing not only itself, but also its organs in the right direction: ideological stability in the right ideas does not fall from the ceiling, but is born with practice, this is what Mao taught us. The PCP line, from the documents that are available to us, definitely demonstrates the correct analysis of the first, second and third opportunist lines, and therefore demonstrates to a certain extent the correctness of the Party line. In the same vein, it seems unlikely to us that, not being an organ of the Party, any organization can be correct and ideologically stable as the MPP is stable. It is not for nothing that we mentioned a consistently correct analysis of not only the national but also the international situation: the organs of the CPPh, for example, cannot boast the same. In addition to all the other problems with the international line of the CPPh, specifically here we are talking about how exactly the CPPh assessed the military actions of the Luhansk (LPR) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) at the beginning of “SVO” [Special Military Operation], first almost supporting Russia, and then again mischaracterizing the military actions of the (LPR) and (DPR) as national liberation actions, not as actions of Russian colonies with the goal of dividing and seizing the national economy of Ukraine.222324
On the military level: we prefer to hear about the war effort from the mouth of the Party, which follows a PCP policy of the early 90s. Until the time when the PPW in Peru gets to the point where we can hear about military news directly from communists and not from the bourgeoisie, in our proofs we must and will first of all cite Party documents and not bourgeois news, which will always try to present communists as either mad terrorists isolated from the masses or criminal drug peddlers. We are not afraid to say this, because this is exactly how proving the success of certain military actions – aspects of proving the existence of the PPW – happens with other Parties. It is worth remembering that strategic guerrilla warfare (as part of the PPW) is both hard to prove and almost impossible to exterminate. The People’s War, with the wrong policies, can suffer defeat after defeat, go completely underground for many years, but it can and must still go on. Are these not the facts? We believe that this is proved not only by the history of the Peruvian PPW, but also by the history of the Philippine, Indian and Turkish PPWs, where the People’s Wars, although they have undergone many turns, have not stopped “on pause”, but continue for many years.
In conclusion, it is a myth that in a PPW, warfare must be carried out with modern weapons, have a high intensity, and be directed against armed forces. People’s War, especially in the beginning, has a low intensity, and in the third world it evolves from guerrilla warfare to mobile and positional warfare. The history of the PPW in Peru proved both: the state troops did not enter combat until years after the beginning of the war (in December 1982), after which the People’s Army was created to move to a mobile and positional war. Accordingly, the decisive factor as to whether or not an PPW is going on, especially for the strategic defense stage, with even the most rudimentary modes of conflict management, is the ability of the organism of warfare to continue its development in the right political direction. That is, it all rests again on the class essence of the Party. We cannot pretend that there is no information shortage around the question of the current development of the PCP. Nevertheless, we believe that even in these conditions of informational scarcity, everyone can A) on a fundamental level support the armed struggle of the communists in Peru, because that is what our words serve and B) come to the only correct conclusion for the Communists: the PCP is leading the PPW in Peru. We believe that the bourgeoisie, as a class, will always try to hide the course of history from us, but that it will never succeed in doing so completely. The bourgeoisie is not omnipotent; it is already weak. Objectively and ultimately, whether or not the PPW goes to Peru can only be said by the Party itself.
The international line and the RMP’s rejection of democratic centralism
In discussing the international line, one cannot help but touch on the intellectual laziness of the RMP’s center. We have already explained that even if we refer to the political line of MOVADEF, it turns out that the rightist opportunist line preceded Gonzalo’s alleged capitulation, which can only indicate that it gave rise to it. But it is easier for the RMP’s leadership not to go into it, and it is more convenient to simply maintain reformism. Regarding the reformism of the MLPD’s program, the RMP assures us that we “don’t get it”, that we are simply trying to “pick on the wording because it’s not ‘Gonzalo’s way’”. It is easier for the RMP’s leadership to talk about the form than to think about the essence.
Apparently on all points of the polemic we are either “picking on” or “just didn’t get it” what should have been “clear from the context”. If we think of it that way, then it appears that any argument against RMP’s leadership is not an argument, but a “complaint”.
We see two explanations for this two-line struggle style: either the RMP’s leadership doesn’t understand what a polemic is and how it works, or the RMP’s leadership simply has nothing to say, but must say something after all. We see no other reason why it continues to pile up all sorts of variations of the “it’s all evident anyway” argument. Importantly, the RMP’s leadership is consistent in one thing: just as they are definitely not only uninterested and even scared to analyze and resolve the contradictions in the definitions of Maoism by various Parties and in the programs of various organizations, they are also absolutely uninterested and scared to look into the essence of their own reformism and resolve the contradictions in their own line.
On the issue of the RMP’s reformism, we must emphasize an important detail: the RMP’s leadership can only afford to openly follow parliamentary cretinism at the international level. If it were to follow it openly in Russia, rather than indirectly, as it usually does, it would be stuck head-on in the realities of the Russian electoral farce: Navalny, the KPRF, Yabloko, etc., are living representatives of the collapse of the unmet electoral hopes of millions, in which not even their own propagandists believe in today. There may be excuses for the RMP’s leadership, claiming that conditions in Russia are particularly undemocratic – which is an objective reality – but this does not justify supporting reformism, which is incapable of winning Power anywhere, regardless of whether it works in fascism or bourgeois democracy. This is why the RMP’s leadership is forced to pretend that they are not pursuing a reformist policy, that they are in fact Maoists, but that, denying democratic centralism, they are simply developing by way of a “party of the masses”, that supposedly the conditions in Russia are such that nothing else but their toothless strategy will work.
They admit this to themselves:
The complaint of the MKR to us in terms of conspiracy stems from the general political line. If the case is to start a people’s war, then yes, it is necessary to press the conspiracy among other things. If one seeks to become the “party of the masses”, as so distasteful to them, then one must conduct open political agitation, which is not compatible with conspiracy.
Our “complaint” derives not “in part” but entirely from the extent to which our political line (as well as the political line of many cadres of the RMP) is perpendicular to that of the RMP’s leadership. The RMP’s leadership uses a typical revisionist device: being rightist deviationists, to present the correct position as left-deviationist. They have devoted every single page of their lazy polemic to completely reject the possibility and success of armed struggle wherever they can, and then just pretend that they actually just “separate” it from legal work. “Conspiracy” is not only necessary for the People’s War, but for the seizure of Power in general, which historically can be seen before the PPW was invented.
Not just a Party, not even an adequate trade union in Russia can exist without “conspiracy”. The bourgeoisie always seeks either to destroy the leadership of the proletariat or to isolate it from the masses. These are universal facts. The toothless leadership of the RMP is constantly subjected to repression, talks about it openly, but apparently wants someone else to solve the problem for them. By putting it this way about legal and illegal work, the RMP’s leadership indirectly criticizes us as left-deviationists, saying that we focus too much on the illegal side while forgetting about the legal side.
Let’s assume that this is so, that we are left-deviationists and the RMP’s leadership are communists. Then what exactly from our previous polemics or from our writings in general indicates that we want to forget about legal work? In our previous polemic, we criticized the position of promoting exclusively legal type work, for example, the work of the MLPD. We even asked the RMP for an example of the development of MLPD in the military direction, but the RMP, for lack of such an example, once again reminded us that we “just don’t get it”. The RMP says we need open agitation. Well, we are writing this polemic for just that.
The RMP’s leadership has it “simple”, they have simply forgotten that right-wing opportunism is a major threat. And this is reflected not only in the ideology of the RMP, but also in their organizational structure. We believe that during the 20 years of its existence, the RMP has never worked and does not work now according to the principle of democratic centralism, as the RMP cadres have confirmed for us personally. Democratic centralism has also been “simply” forgotten.
The RMP’s leadership at this point is truly characterized by two things: laziness and fear. Quote from the RMP’s polemic:
As for the ICOR, yes, it is not a Maoist organization. The problem is that there is no Maoist international organization. The attempts now being made by the Gonzaloists to create one make no sense, because without the entry of the currently strongest Maoist parties, such an international would not be viable.
Consider the world from the perspective of RMP’s leadership. The RMP’s leadership sees a whole bunch of supposedly honest communist organizations in the ICOR, but for some reason does not take the opportunity to prove its own line in a democratic way through open polemics. The RMP’s leadership has not even attempted to do so. What does that tell us? Either the RMP’s leadership is afraid it won’t succeed, or all the organizations in the ICOR are not honest communist organizations. It just so happens that both the first and the second are true.
The RMP’s leadership tells us that “the attempts to create [an international organization] that the Gonzaloists are now making make no sense, because without the entry of the strongest Maoist parties at the moment, such an international would not be viable”. Apparently the attempt to create a Communist Party is not viable either, because the largest existing workers’, petty-bourgeois, intellectuals’ and other progressive organizations will not join it at the moment. If “nothing is already”, and “later there will be nothing”, why doesn’t the leadership of the RMP dissolve its organism and join the KPRF entirely?
In essence, these are exactly the same arguments, only on a different level, serving nothing more than to indulge in tailism. The RMP’s leadership does not even understand that unity, especially inner-party or international unity, is born only through hard and long struggle, for which it is not ready. “There is no international organization” – if there is no Maoist organization, then make one. It is easier for RMP’s leadership to sit on the couch and complain. Fortunately we don’t need to create such an organization, since we already have a vibrant Communist International (CI) newspaper. We also don’t understand the RMP’s idea that the CI, without the “entry” of the strongest existing parties, can do nothing. We can’t recall that the CPI (Maoist), CPPh, PCP or TKP/ML have been members of ICOR. Nor can we recall what ICOR served or has served for the movement in Russia. We can only remember how the RMP’s leadership must have felt the weight shift off their chests when activists from Chelyabinsk rode in an ‘avtozak’ [russian police car for transporting detained people – trans.] not with an RMP banner, but with an ICOR banner.
Ideologically, however, we have already said enough about what ICOR serves. They are not spreading Maoism, but following MLPD’s reformism. In stark contrast to this, CI publishes a whole series of crucial scientific documents for ideological construction, which have had a key impact on the development of our collective. Some of these are:
- For a Unified Maoist International Conference! – Proposal regarding the balance of the International Communist Movement and of its current General Political Line;
- The Manifesto of the Communist Party is the Programme of the Communists until Communism;
- A Nova Democracia: The Progressive Chimera of Opportunists and Revisionists and the National Liberation War of the Ukrainian People and Nation;
- ANNOTATIONS ON THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION;
- The electoral farce in Russia;
- KLASSENSTANDPUNKT: The Ideological Decay of Imperialism;
- The Inextricable Role of Comrade Stalin for Leninism;
- THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD – THE TURNING POINT IN WORLD WAR II.
We would go on to make universal arguments against reformism further, but it should be pretty obvious to everyone by now why none of the organizations in the ICOR have ever thought about armed struggle, and why a good half of them run in elections. It should be as obvious as it is that 20 years of disgraceful leadership of the RMP can only produce disgraceful politics.
Issue of the politics of the front – Feminism
A quote from the RMP’s polemic:
On the MKR’s anti-feminist rhetoric. Anti-feminism is a manifestation of a right-wing ideology, a nationalism that has not been fully extinguished. The line of real Maoists, and not just any more “’ruSSkiye’ socialists” [pun on the Nazi SS – trans.] on the women’s question is not that there is no patriarchy, but that the struggle against patriarchy must be connected to the class struggle.
What is patriarchy?
We asked ourselves this question in our first polemic because we found no answer in other works of the RMP or in the works of the classics of Marxism, and now that we have asked it directly, the RMP’s leadership once again has no answer. Certainly the term is not part of either Marxist terminology or Marxist theory. The RMP’s leadership does not delve into this question, but simply endorses the pop trend.
This can be clearly seen in the fact that instead of explaining that the cause of women’s double exploitation lies in the economic base, the RMP’s leadership shifts attention to the superstructure with its useless juggling of the word “liderka” [analogous to ‘leaderin’, replacing the normal ending of the word to make it feminine – trans.]. The RMP’s leadership claims that our ideological position on feminism is a sign of “not fully extinguished nationalism”. We do not recall giving any reason to be called nationalists: from the beginning we have taken an anti-imperialist stance toward Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and a position of revolutionary defeatism toward the Russian state. Moreover, when we heard the news about the mobilization, we published a brief analysis about it, saying that the mobilization would obviously affect much more than 300,000, and that the government had planned from the beginning to send the mobilized to the front, but simply had to lie to the people. Both of these simple theses were proved within a week from the news of Putin’s statements and the statements of the Ministry of Defense, because in the economic crisis in Russia, the state policy could not be different. And even if we were nationalists, we see no direct ideological connection between nationalism and anti-feminism, but only an indirect one.
Further, the RMP makes the argument by dividing the essence of feminism into class essences:
Of course, there is bourgeois feminism, which seeks to obscure the class nature of the exploitation of women. We are for proletarian feminism, which considers the oppression of women on the basis of gender to be connected with capitalism and class society. Without destroying them, the oppression of women cannot be ended.
In our previous polemic we already touched on this issue, explaining that there are two things involved:
1) In the politics of a united front: that is, the extent to which the policies of existing feminist organizations are correct;
2) In ideology: how we conceive of Marxism – eclectic or not.
We believe that the second follows from the first. Words change and so do their meanings, but the political content of the word is primarily reflected in practice in the programs of organizations. In other words, if there were a feminist organization in Russia that shared the fundamental Marxist positions and that led politics in the right direction by regarding the class contradiction as key rather than the contradiction between men and women, then there would be a material political need to use the term feminism. In a previous polemic, we explained that there is no such organization in Russia, which is why we see no need to use the term. The RMP, on the other hand, did not give us an example of such an organization.
Accordingly, first of all because of the question of the front, and secondly because of ideological reasons, we see no reason to ascribe to the word “feminism” the meaning in which the RMP’s leadership uses it, that is, “the theory of women’s liberation”. We believe that only Marxism can liberate women and only Marxism has proved this, we have already discussed this in the previous polemic.
We want to point out that our position is not anti-people, as the RMP’s leadership tries to present it. It is absolutely certain that there are proletarian organizations that use the term feminism the way the RMP uses it – for example, Tjen Folket. We support the Norwegians because they promote a Maoist politics that is based on the understanding that class contradiction is key, as the comrades openly state. We see no particular problem with the term, since the Norwegians have every chance of proving by their further development that they are pursuing the right front policy. The RMP’s leadership, on the other hand, is not initially based on Maoism in essence, but only comes from Maoism in form, because of which the RMP’s leadership is not a priori capable of leading a correct front policy, but will only be tailing the masses. This tailism in Russia, because of the openly anti-democratic conditions, manifests itself concretely in tailing behind the most everyday liberalism. And all the RMP’s leadership can say in response is to point out that this liberalism is being repressed, which somehow makes it right and proletarian in the eyes of the RMP’s leadership.
On the Communist Party of the Philippines
In a previous polemic, we wrote about political issues that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPPh) had not yet resolved. One of these was the issue of agrarian reform. The leadership of the RMP wrote:
It is not true about the agrarian program. The NPA has been implementing it for a long time; there are many documents about it, for example, a peasant’s memoir of his journey in the revolution. […] It is very strange that people extolling the people’s war refer to comrades from Germany who never fought it, rather than to comrades from the Philippines who have been fighting it since 1969.
It was inattentive of us not to specify that we meant a complete agrarian reform, not a minimal one. However, if the RMP’s leadership had read the words from Klassenstandpunkt, it would not have had any questions about which agrarian reform we were talking about, which it certainly did not. In their document, the Germans have done a tremendous job of analyzing the CPPh’s line, which is obvious even to those who are too lazy to read the document, if only by the fact that they refer to more than 30 texts from the CPPh25.
Apparently, the RMP’s leadership is so lazy to think that it has not only not read the document, but has not even bothered to look at it, so all the RMP’s leadership can do is just point their finger at the Germans. At the beginning of the Klassenstandpunkt’s document, they generally give the question of references a section of the document to consider the contradiction of the universal vs. the specific, to explain that one can always see revisionism directly, because revisionism at the ideological level always denies universal principles: one does not need to be in the Philippines himself to see the contradictions in the CPPh’s program.
Here is one of the paragraphs of the CPPh’s document “Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought as a Guide for the Philippine Revolution”, November 1993, which Klassenstandpunkt criticizes in light of similar recent CPPh’s statements on agrarian reform:
The basic content of the new democratic revolution is the solution of the land question, up to and including the confiscation of landed property and the free distribution of land under a maximum land reform program. But this program is best carried out after the implementation of the minimum land reform program on such a large scale that the potentially united landlord class and enemy troops can no longer effectively oppose land confiscation by massacre of peasant leaders and masses. Surely the best time for a maximum land reform program is when the enemy has been defeated in the vast liberated territories or when the whole country has already been liberated.
Speaking of Sison, however, we can say that we have never encountered a universal theoretical addition to Marxism in his writings. The comparison between Sison’s “doctrine” and Gonzalo Thought that the RMP’s leadership makes is inappropriate: as we mentioned in the previous polemic, the Chairman added two universal aspects to Marxism: the concentric construction and the militarized party. The RMP’s leadership has obviously not explored these aspects, although for the CPPh these two aspects are of particular importance. We think it would not hurt to examine them briefly. Two quotes from the PCP’s General Political Line section on the Party’s military line:
The militarization of the Party has its origins in Lenin and Chairman Mao, but it is a new problem developed by Chairman Gonzalo in view of the new circumstances of the class struggle, and we must see that new problems will arise which will be solved by experience… It was the militarization of the Party that enabled us to begin and develop the People’s War. We believe that this experience is of universal importance, and therefore the militarization of the Communist Parties of the world is a requirement and a necessity. The concentric construction of the three instruments is the organic fulfillment of the militarization of the party, and in synthesis it is expressed in what Chairman Gonzalo teaches: “The party is the axis of everything, it comprehensively leads the three instruments, its own construction, it absolutely leads the army and the new State as a joint dictatorship aimed at the dictatorship of the proletariat. […] Organic construction. Organic follows the political, given that one line is not enough, it is necessary to build organic apparatuses, seeing the organic structure, the organic system and the work of the Party. In its organic structure, the Party is based on democratic centralism, primarily centralism. Two armed networks of the Party are created: a territorial network, which covers one jurisdiction, and a mobile network, whose structure is deployed. The organic system is the distribution of forces according to the major and minor points where the revolution operates.
Any political organization has two aspects: the political and the organizational/organic. The organic aspect originates in the political line, which develops its own organic forms to serve the decree and development of the line. The political aspect has primacy over the organic aspect, but cannot work without it, just as a Party cannot lead a revolution without an army. The organic structure of any political organization – and especially of the Party – means that the most advanced take on primary tasks and the less advanced take on secondary tasks. Throughout the development of the CPC, we see a heavy struggle unfolding between Mao in the Jinggang Mountains and the Party center in Shanghai, which at the time took a “left-wing” line of “blind actionism”. This struggle must be examined in light of the concentric construction thesis, since the most advanced leader at that time was Mao, not the leaders in Shanghai.
The higher ideological line did not fall from the ceiling like heavenly manna, but was the result of the higher practical actions that Mao realised throughout the process of building the base area in the mountains, which he could do because his political apparatus was organically, concentrically constructed: the Party was surrounded by an army, which was surrounded by a united front. The concentric construction is Gonzalo’s universal addition, for it is the organic embodiment of the Party’s militarization, that is, the structure of the Party that is required for the successful conduct of the PPW. Although systematized only recently by the Chairman, it can be seen both in the history of the CPC and in the history and structure of other Parties. Specifically in the history of the CPPh, this can be seen in questions about the structure of the Party and the issues of building New Power and agrarian reform as aspects of this, for which Klassenstandpunkt criticizes the CPPh in its document.
As for Sison’s statements about “socialist” Cuba and the DPRK, he does so clearly for reasons of a united front, but we agree that he is wrong here. The CPPh in general has a certain… not opportunism, but omnivorousness in the spirit of Ho Chi Minh, whom they consider one of their teachers (which the Maoists do not do, by the way).
Regarding this paragraph, the RMP obviously believes that it is normal for communists to seek unity with revisionists to pursue a united front policy. All the RMP’s leadership is trying to do here is to use Ho Chi Minh’s centrism to obscure Sison’s revisionism, in whose unfortunately large shadow the RMP’s leadership finds it most convenient to hide the dimensions of its own revisionism.
The RMP accuses us of a “personality cult of Gonzalo”, although our view of Gonzalo’s importance is objective, not subjective: we uphold Gonzalo because he is objectively the last classic of Marxism and the great warrior of our class. If anyone can be accused of a cult of personality, it is certainly not us, but the leadership of the RMP, which indulges in the most negative aspects of Sison, which they cannot even defend, having to call them [politically] “omnivorous”, even though his policies are ruining the RMP itself26. “The MKR’s text is full of praise for Gonzalo that looks out of place and gives a non-serious impression.” What really looks out of place and gives a non-serious impression is the pretenciousness of amateurs.
On question of the universality of the PPW
We have come to the most important point of our polemic. The question of the universality of the PPW is a key one for all communists today, because a correct understanding of the military question is a kind of “guarantee” of a correct understanding of quite a few political questions. This is because the correct military line in practice means that the Party is doing politics right. Because of this, the military line is central to the general political line of the Party and should be of paramount importance in agitation: even if people do not understand fundamental political principles, propaganda of the military line helps with this as well, since it is the military line that best reflects the most important thing in Communist principles, namely A) that Maoists serve the people and B) that correct Maoist policy is indestructible.
Throughout this polemic we have examined the political line of the RMP, showing its errors and proving to a greater extent that the RMP’s leadership is hardened revisionists who tail the Russian masses, taking their example from the other “leading” revisionists of the world. Because of this, no “military” line, in the positive sense of the word, can be offered by the RMP’s leadership, since the ideology of the RMP’s leadership has room only for the repudiation of everything that is said on the question.
Historically, the proletariat has had two fundamental military experiences: insurrection and protracted war. On the one hand we are sure that the leadership of the RMP cannot be blind to the point of not seeing that the experience of the October Revolution uprising has not been repeated, but on the other hand, when it comes to the PPW, the RMP’s leadership tails the revisionists even in that rare case where they do have something to say about the military question:
In short, the main mistake of Gonzalo and the modern Gonzaloists is that they think it is possible and necessary to start a people’s war in any country, including the developed capitalist countries. José Maria Sison discussed this topic in detail in a polemic with the Norwegian group Tjen Folket. There can be no universal way of revolution for all times and peoples. Revolution is an absolute principle, that is true, but a socialist revolution is needed for developed capitalist countries, a people’s democratic or new-democratic revolution for less developed ones, and each country needs a different approach.
For some reason, the RMP’s leadership invokes exactly the same losing arguments that were addressed in Sison’s very polemic with Tjen Folket (we urge all our readers to study that polemic), in which Sison demonstrated the weakness of his line in all its glory. Given the importance of this issue for our line as a whole and specifically for the campaign to criticize the leadership of the RMP, we see merit in examining the issue dialectically and from the beginning, but touching only the most important aspects.
What is and isn’t a PPW
Let us begin with the definition. The RMP’s leadership, merging in one voice with all the other revisionists, assures us that PPW is either an exclusively Chinese revolutionary military theory of the first half of the 20th century, or an exclusively guerrilla war theory, which can only go with the support of a large peasant population, or exclusively in a huge and exclusively backward agrarian country. The RMP’s leadership assures us that this is the understanding propagated by the “Gonzaloists”, which in the eyes of the RMP’s leadership we are. Let’s examine the very definition of the PPW directly from the mouth of the PCP. Quote from the Fundamental Documents of the PCP:
The People’s War is the military theory of the international proletariat; in it are summarized, for the first time in a systematic and complete form, the theoretical and practical experience of the struggles, military actions, and wars waged by the proletariat, and the prolonged experience of the people’s armed struggle and especially of the incessant wars in China. It is with Chairman Mao that the proletariat attains its military theory; nevertheless, there is much confusion and misunderstanding on this issue. And much of it springs from how the People’s War in China is seen. Generally, it is considered derisively and contemptuously simply as a guerrilla war; this alone denotes a lack of understanding. Chairman Mao pointed out that guerrilla warfare achieves a strategic feature; but due to its essential fluidity, the development of guerrilla warfare is not understood as it exists, how it develops mobility, a war of movements, of positions, how it unfolds great plans of the strategic offensive and the seizure of small, mid-sized, and big cities, with millions of inhabitants, combining the attack from outside with the insurrection from within. Thus, in conclusion, the four periods of the Chinese revolution, and mainly from the agrarian war until the people’s war of liberation, considering the anti-Japanese war of resistance between both, shows the various aspects and complexities of the revolutionary war waged during more than twenty years amidst a huge population and an immense mobilization and participation of the masses. In that war there are examples of every kind; and what is principal has been extraordinarily studied and its principles, laws, strategy, tactics, rules, etc. masterfully established. It is, therefore, in this fabulous crucible and on what was established by Marxism-Leninism that Chairman Mao developed the military theory of the proletariat: The People’s War.
Next, a quote from the PCP’s General Political Line regarding the universality of experience:
A key and decisive question is the understanding of the universality of People’s War and its subsequent application to the different types of revolution and the specific conditions of each revolution. To clarify this key question, it is important to consider that no uprising like the Petrograd uprising, the anti-fascist resistance or the European guerrilla movements was repeated during World War II, and to consider the armed struggles currently being waged in Europe. In the final analysis, the October Revolution was not only an uprising, but also a revolutionary war that lasted several years. Consequently, in imperialist countries, the revolution can only be imagined as a revolutionary war, which today is simply People’s War.
Here we see a splendid synthesis of the issue. The RMP’s leadership, not having studied the PCP’s programme, again draws its definitions and theses from obscure sources. Maybe the other “major” parties that the RMP is so fond of have a different definition? Consider, however, an example from the documents of the “major parties” that the RMP’s leadership pointed their finger at at the beginning of the polemic. A quote from the Communist Party of India (Maoist) document “Urban Perspectives”:
The Protracted People’s War consists of a societal analysis, a revolutionary program, and a politico-military strategy, which consists of guerrilla warfare, movement warfare, and positional warfare. The strategic goal is to establish base areas that will expand during the protracted struggle and eventually surround the centers of the metropolises.
We can see that the PCP and the CPI (Maoist) do not take the PPW in the same dry way in which the leadership of the RMP views it. On the contrary: the quotations we have cited say the same thing, that the military theory of the proletariat has a political aspect and a military aspect, both of which certainly have specific and universal parts. The RMP’ leadership pays lip service to one over the other, treating things like the Cultural Revolution or the principle of the mass line as having not only specific but also great universal significance, but the fundamental political and military principles which led the CPC to victory are treated by the RMP’s leadership as having exclusively specific significance. We see this as metaphysics that the RMP’s leadership propagates for its own self-serving purposes. To respond to this metaphysic with a dialectic, let us examine the PPW in its aspects.
The Protracted People’s War bears in its name two strategic political principles: 1) that the people make history and the Party leads the people, and 2) that the path to victory, while protracted, is not a straight path, but has many twists and turns, but that the process of victory in a single country, just as the process of the world proletarian revolution taken as a whole, is imminent, just as the process of the feudal and bourgeois world revolution before it.
On the political level, the people make the history. The Party is the vanguard of the proletariat, which is capable of guiding the people, but it is the people who generate the effort for victory, not the Party. To say otherwise would be foolish: the Party in relation to the people is too small; it is physically incapable of winning the war itself against a multimillion enemy. Isn’t it a universal truth that it is always the policy of the class that can mobilize more people and consequently more resources that wins?
On the political level – duration. The main thing in the revolution of the new class is victory, and the secondary thing is defeat, which makes the path mostly straight, but only in particular a curve. Aren’t these the same political principles that we see in Marx and Engels, when they said that A) all workers cannot be organized, but that the proletariat needs its own political organism, and that B) revolution is imminent, although the proletariat at that time was just beginning to generate its own class vanguard? Do we not see these political principles in Lenin, who said that A) the Party is a new type of political organism, created to lead the working class to victory, and that B) the revolution in Russia is only the first significant link in the chain of the world proletarian revolution? Would our class have been able to walk this enormous distance from Marx to Gonzalo if its experience had not been primarily victorious and only secondarily losing?
On the military level – the dialectic of war. As long as class society exists, the state exists. As long as there is a state, there is war. As long as there is war, there is strategy and tactics, attack and defense, movement and immobility, front and rear, victory and defeat. None of these categories can exist without its opposite, and each side can become its own opposite under certain conditions. Any war is a set of campaigns and operations, which have different military characteristics, determined by the material development of war. Historically, along with the bourgeois revolution came the military theory of the so-called standard war – a combination of mobile and positional warfare. Mobile war corresponds to movement, positional war corresponds to position. Mobile warfare is more characteristic of small army, positional warfare of large army. Mobile war implies a fluid and changeable front, whereas positional warfare implies a viscous front. Mobile warfare tends to be the primary form of warfare for attack, and positional warfare for defense. The relation of one type of war to the other must be considered dialectically: war cannot take place either in constant motion on the battlefield or exclusively in one place in a trench.
Rather, the separation of these two modes of warfare is merely a scale on which any standard military operation will combine aspects of each of the two types of standard warfare, but will prevail in favor of only one. The theory of standard warfare was born of the bourgeoisie during the bourgeois revolution, mainly Napoleon and Clausewitz. The theory of standard warfare basically corresponds to a developed political organism which is able to create and direct its own army, making the political question of the state the key issue for standard army. The proletariat itself created a new theory, the theory of People’s War, which in addition to the strategy of the two standard-type wars has a third – guerrilla warfare.
Guerrilla warfare, in turn, is the dialectical opposite of standard warfare: guerrilla warfare does not require an army, nor does it require a highly developed political body at the state level. The people are the power of guerrilla warfare. Guerrilla warfare has no categories of front and rear, which makes many categories, such as defense-attack, look completely different. Guerrilla warfare lacks the standard military categories of maneuvering and holding position, because guerrilla warfare is not centralized (in command) on both at the strategic and tactical level, which is the necessary attribute of standard warfare. Naturally, what we are describing here is an “absolute” as well as with the two types of standard warfare; guerrilla warfare cannot be successful if it is “absolutely” guerrilla. Nevertheless, the dialectic of standard warfare-guerrilla warfare, the dialectic of army-people, and the dialectic of soldiers-partisans becomes evident. The novelty of People’s War, as a theory of the new, rising class, lies primarily in the strategic analysis and application of guerrilla warfare in combination with standard types of warfare, in which guerrilla warfare gives the Communists a decisive advantage over the earlier and less developed military theory of the old, dying class (the bourgeoisie). Is not the victory of the best strategy over the inferior strategy a universal fact of war?
The next thing to say is that these three types of warfare certainly existed long before the bourgeoisie. As long as there were cavalry, there was mobile warfare; as long as there were castles, fortifications, or even favorable natural terrain, there was positional warfare; as long as there was the will to fight, there were guerrilla tactics. We say this out of objective dialectical reasons: as long as any type of war existed, there was necessarily another, since the dialectic always has two sides, there can be no shadow without a sun. If there is war, then there is troop movement; if there is troop movement, then there are positions, the holding of which is more or less beneficial to the troops. As long as the category army-people exists, the army can become the people and the people the army. Isn’t this what communism teaches us?
We believe that the correct understanding is this: the bourgeoisie, during its revolution, simply discovered the laws of war which already existed, thus raising the level of military theory of standard warfare from the tactical to the strategic. The military theory of the proletariat was born in a similar way: Mao Zedong raised guerrilla warfare from the level of tactics to the level of strategy in order to create, together with the standard types of warfare, the most supreme military strategy.
Accordingly, what specificity of the military theory of the proletariat can the leadership of the RMP speak of, if it, being at the highest level, offers both the dialectical analysis of the military actions of the Roman Empire and the analysis of the war in Ukraine?
On the military level – the matter of insurrection and base districts. There are people who still believe that the 1917 uprising is the universal military experience of the proletariat. So it turns out that those people who think this way are often revisionists, because they preach the position of the accumulation of productive forces, arguing that the proletariat is supposedly too weak, that we should wait for the revolution to fall into our hands, supposedly just as it did in 1917 – by the force of the “40-men” uprising. Such people conveniently forget the military actions of the Party realised from 1905 to 1917, the 1905 revolution itself, the July struggle, the battles in the first weeks of the uprising, the White Army, the interventionists, the Polish-Russian war, etc., all those reasons which necessitated an army of many millions. Because of the obvious inadequacy of such arguments, we will not consider such a position further, but instead consider a couple of points of similarity and difference between the uprising and the PPW.
First, we want to point out that the argument that base areas supposedly cannot be built but must wait for an uprising is absurd, since in its essence an uprising serves to create a base area for the communists, since in any case a revolutionary war cannot be avoided. Accordingly, the question must be posed as follows: where exactly to organize the first base area? The answer is definitely in the part of the country where power is less strong and the people are deeper (poorer).
Second, that the path of revolution through urban to rural uprising is more “crude” because it does not involve a concise resolution of the question of people’s involvement in politics: uprising involves forced recruitment into the army, while the PPW does not.
Third, that eventually the Soviets would simply use the strategy of encircling the city from the village if they knew about it.
Fourth, that arguments along the lines of “urban guerrilla warfare is impossible” rely primarily not on material facts but on pessimism. Such views are extremely dangerous because, on the surface, they pretend to build an argument on the material impossibility of the logistics of guerrilla warfare, but in fact they are based on political pessimism. The most important thing here is not to forget the basic principle that politics is more important than war. If the masses support the Communists, then the Communists will win, this is a universal principle. And if we take this as a basis, that the people will be behind the Communists, then all logistical problems will vanish. What does this tell us? That guerrilla warfare in the city is possible, even if rebellion in the city is the preferred strategy. The logistics themselves and other questions are questions of practice – questions about which we think a great deal, and whose understanding is constantly being expanded by our practice – but the argument that PPW is impossible because we simply cannot give a detailed answer to every logistical nuance right now is absurd. The Russian communist movement is bound to have these answers, but it first requires more practice, more qualitative growth.
And so, fifth, we should discard the pessimism of metaphysical absolutism “the countryside in Russia is too small, so the revolution cannot be won”. We do not remember the classics of Marxism writing that there must be a certain percentage of the population in the countryside for the revolution to be viable. On the contrary, we need to think dialectically: any country has politically and militarily strengths and weaknesses. Our task is to focus on the weak sides and develop from them, and to bypass the strong points. Isn’t this what the dialectical approach teaches us?
Conclusion: a campaign of criticism of the RMP’s leadership
We believe that throughout this and previous polemics, we have provided enough evidence for the cadres of the RMP to mount an extensive campaign of criticism against the leadership and to abandon its political line. We say this because we believe that by its actions over the past 20 years, the RMP’s leadership it first has proven itself incompetent, and then by its lazy polemic has definitively confirmed this. This is evident even in the way the polemic of the RMP is constructed. One has to wonder why the RMP’s leadership would respond to our polemic if it repeatedly lies about the essence of our polemic and hangs labels on us (for example when it pretends that we follow Gonzalo Thought and not Maoism), if it has not even bothered to read the article with which it tries to argue (Klassenstandpunkt’s article on CPPh)?
What is the political point of the polemic if those with whom we are polemicizing do everything to derail the polemic? In the previous polemic, the RMP’s leadership wrote that they “do not agree with the Gonzaloists, but are ready to cooperate with them”. This is how their entire polemic is structured: “we treat [Gonzalo] with respect as an outstanding theorist and practitioner of Maoism, and at the same time we criticize him, condemning the mistakes he made”, “the MKR, despite all his merits, treats Sison contemptuously”, that we all “got it wrong”. But the RMP’s leadership has never once explained or defended its positions, from which we have now left no stone unturned. The same behavior is evident in the way RMP contacted us. The RMP offered us cooperation, to which we explained that a polemic was the only way to cooperate because of the difference of lines. The RMP agreed and we began working on the first polemic, which we sent out within two weeks. The original plan was to publish two polemics in a single document on both sides, but after we sent back our polemic, the RMP simply began to ignore us. For the next month, we waited, thinking we might get a response, but then, we decided to conclude the project and publish the polemic, explaining to the RMP that we couldn’t wait any longer.
We never heard back from the RMP and only two months later we discovered that the RMP had published a response to our polemic without publishing our polemic itself or a link to it. Only after we openly stated that the RMP’s leadership did not support the fundamental principles of open polemics did the RMP insert a link to our polemic in its publication. Such circumstances were characterized by the RMP in its publication with the words “as agreed”. We believe that the RMP’s leadership never planned to change its line on the principle of unity-struggle-unity. We believe that the RMP’s leadership initially contacted us only to try to cram its policies into our collective and make us its own cell. Now that the RMP has completely derailed the polemic, we call on the RMP cadres to take action.
We call for a campaign of criticism of the RMP’s leadership to separate ideologically and organizationally from those who are not interested in the revolution, who are ready to sell class interests and who reduce the security of their cadres to a joke. We should act on the principles of democratic centralism, so that the centralism of the new line is created through democracy, and democracy is centrally organized. Therefore, we call for criticism to be carried out openly and democratically by creating a collective publication of political dissent and publishing it. At the organizational level especially, we call for a focus on centralism as primary and on democratism as secondary. We urge the cadres of the RMP, in the essence of their criticism, to focus primarily on the wrong leadership practices, not forgetting theory, but simply giving it a secondary importance. Further ideological and practical unification must take place around the created documents of criticism, which should not only criticize the old political practice, but also propose a plan for a new one, which is essential. We especially urge the RMP cadres to follow basic safety protocols for conducting a critique campaign. In our documents, we urge the RMP cadres to be vigilant against the various tactics of the RMP’s leadership and to pay special attention to the question of form-essence in leadership arguments. We think the following quote from Lenin in “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” describes the RMP’s leadership:
When we speak of fighting opportunism, we must never forget a characteristic feature of present-day opportunism in every sphere, namely, its vagueness, amorphousness, elusiveness. An opportunist, by his very nature, will always evade taking a clear and decisive stand, he will always seek a middle course, he will always wriggle like a snake between two mutually exclusive points of view and try to “agree” with both and reduce his differences of opinion to petty amendments, doubts, innocent and pious suggestions, and so on and so forth.
On our part, we pledge to 1) publish every RMP cadre’s paper that will criticize leadership revisionism in an open and progressive manner, and 2) cooperate and support with all who join the campaign of criticism by accepting the basic theoretical premises of the polemic.
The RMP’s leadership itself, if it is really as good as they say it is, has nothing to fear. If the leadership’s position is strong, then it will create reciprocal documents and unite around itself even more strongly than before. If their position is weak, then it is not worthy of unity.
LONG LIVE THE UNIVERSALITY OF MAOISM!
DOWN WITH ECONOMISM AND REFORMISM!
DOWN WITH PESSIMISM AND ACTIVIST BURNOUT!
UNITE AROUND THE MAOIST LINE!
DEVELOP POLITICAL PRACTICE IN THE MIDST OF THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE TWO LINES!
Response to the Maoist Collective of Russia (MKR)
The Maoist Collective of Russia (MKR) offered us a polemic and published an article criticizing RMP in its Telegram channel. We are publishing our response on the website and on social networks, as agreed.
Gonzalo’s cult of personality
The MKR’s main complaint against us is that we do not accept Maoism as the third stage of Marxism. We do not. Like them, we believe that Maoism is the next stage in the development of Marxism. What we do not accept is the line (“thought”, as you like) of Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán). We respect him as an outstanding theorist and practitioner of Maoism, and at the same time we criticize him and condemn the mistakes he has made.
In short, the main mistake of Gonzalo and contemporary Gonzaloists is that they think it is possible and necessary to start a people’s war in any country, including developed capitalist countries. José María Sison discussed this topic in detail in a polemic with the Norwegian group Tjen Folket. There can be no universal way of revolution for all times and peoples. Revolution is an absolute principle, that’s true, but developed capital countries need a socialist revolution, less developed countries need a people’s-democratic or new-democratic revolution, and each country needs its own approach. Hence “Gonzalo’s thought” and “Prachanda’s way”, for example, came into being, but both were unsuccessful because they were left and right-wing, respectively. This is why Sison has always protested against “Sison’s doctrine” – it is both immodest and risky, although it was he who developed the theory of the Philippine revolution, founded the Maoist CP of the Philippines (actually recreated it from the squalor that the once powerful Philippine Communist Party had become by 1969) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
The MKR, for all its merits, is dismissive of Sison and accuses him of opportunism. Regardless of our disagreement with Sison, we do not agree with this assessment. No one denies Gonzalo’s merit, but he lost the people’s war in Peru (though he drew the right conclusions from his mistakes). Sison and his comrades started the People’s War in 1969, much earlier than Gonzalo (1980), and the guerrilla struggle in the Philippines continues to this day, while in Peru the People’s War has long been “on pause” (of course, we do not believe that it has finally and irrevocably ended). This fact cannot be ignored.
Why is Gonzalo’s line not the line of the world Maoist movement? Because: 1) none of the really leading people’s wars accept it (in Peru we cannot talk about a people’s war now, although there may be some small armed groups there); 2) Gonzalo’s line was largely wrong (see above), 3) Gonzalo himself made a self-critique (most likely true).
The question of the so-called peace letters, in which Gonzalo was self-critical, is related to the question of MOVADEF, which the MKR considers right-wing opportunists. The split in the PCP occurred precisely on the issue of the peace letters. Those who accepted them then founded MOVADEF, those who refused are trying to continue the armed struggle. What is MOVADEF today? It is a powerful mass organization engaged in a real economic and political struggle, located among the masses, having learned its lessons from the failure of the people’s war. And the underground PCP, which founded MOVADEF, has never abandoned the people’s war in principle (they do not say so openly). Our sympathies are with MOVADEF, which is being repressed by the Peruvian authorities. Note that the other faction of the PCP quoted by the MKR does not inspire much sympathy. The very language of the document they quote about the “rat Miriam” etc. speaks for itself.
The MKR’s text is full of praise for Gonzalo that looks out of place and gives a non-serious impression. In modern Communist practice, the cult of personality was long ago abandoned, and rightly so. Moreover, the glorification of Gonzalo as the “father” of Maoism completely ignores the contributions of such theorists as Jose Maria Sison, Charu Mazumdar, Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, Siraj Sikder, etc., the people’s wars in India, the Philippines and Turkey.
One would think that there was nothing but Peru, or that everyone else took the example of the PCP. In fact, the people’s war in Peru is interesting precisely because it began later than the others and at a very unfavorable time, after the defeat of socialism in China. This gives Gonzalo honor and may have contributed to his promoting the idea of singling out Maoism as a separate phase in order to theorize the possibility and necessity of continuing the struggle in the new conditions. At the same time, Gonzalo was not alone in this: in the same 1980s, a people’s war in India actually resumed and continues to this day, and in 1996, under its influence, a people’s war in Nepal began.
As for the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and Revolutionary Communist Party, USA’s leader Bob Avakian, their importance is greatly exaggerated. They played a certain positive role, it is true, especially in organizing an international campaign of support for the people’s war in Nepal. Alas, Avakian turned out to be a deranged sectarian who did more harm than good, and he ended up ruining RIM. Undoubtedly, the RIM contributed to the separation of Maoism into a separate stage of Marxism. But the major Maoist parties (and they were never part of RIM) adopted MLM without his direct involvement and far from immediately (the process has not yet been completed). If we look at the modern programs of the CP of India and the CP of the Philippines, they talk about MLM, but without the specific features that distinguish MLM in Gonzalo’s interpretation.
In other words, MLM today are the ideas that are recorded in the programmes of the major Maoist parties and the 1993 RIM’s document. They are close to Gonzalo’s ideas, but one does not say that the world Maoist movement has adopted Gonzalo’s ‘thought’.
On the MKR’s anti-feminist rhetoric. Anti-feminism is a manifestation of a right-wing ideology, a nationalism that has not been fully extinguished. The line of real Maoists, and not just any more “hand socialists” on the women’s question is not that there is no patriarchy, but that the struggle against patriarchy must be connected to the class struggle.
Of course, there is bourgeois feminism, which seeks to obscure the class nature of women’s exploitation. We are for proletarian feminism, which considers the oppression of women on the basis of gender to be connected with capitalism and class society. Without destroying them, the oppression of women cannot be ended.
American Gonzaloists, while resolutely refusing to be called feminists, try to separate themselves in this way from bourgeois feminism. How right this is under U.S. conditions is not for us to judge, but under Russian conditions, a highly patriarchal, machist country where feminism is under fire from the state, to join in a scathing critique of “femkas” [derogative to mean feminists – trans.]27 is to help reaction.
International line issues – MLPD and ICOR
The chapter “International line issues” in the MKR’s polemic begins with a criticism of the MLPD’s programme, although it puts the question of violence quite correctly and in a Marxist way. The MKR has missed the point and is trying to pick on the wording because it is “not Gonzalo’s way”. Well, yes. But the MLPD does not deny revolutionary violence or the vanguar role of the party. They formulate it differently, in their own words, not rewriting from Gonzalo.
They simply did not get the “party of the masses” in the MLPD’s programme. It is clear from the context that we are talking about the masses of the working class, not the reformist petty-bourgeois party.
As for ICOR, yes, it is not a Maoist organization. The problem is that there is no Maoist international organization. Attempts to create one, which the Gonzaloists are now making, make no sense, because without the entry of the strongest Maoist parties at the moment, such an international would not be viable. That is why it is better for us to be in ICOR, and at the same time to develop contacts with the Maoist parties (of which only the MLPD is in ICOR).
International line issues – CP of the Philippines
The CPPh “does not follow the principle of concentric construction and postpones the agrarian program until after the seizure of power”. It is not true about the agrarian program. The NPA has been implementing it for a long time, there are many documents about it, for example, a peasant’s memoir of his journey in the revolution.
It is very strange that people extolling the people’s war refer to comrades from Germany who never fought it, rather than to comrades from the Philippines who have been fighting it since 1969.
As for Sison’s statements about “socialist” Cuba and DPRK, he is clearly doing so for reasons of a united front, but we agree that he is wrong here. The CPPh in general is characterized by a certain… not opportunism, but omnivorousness in the spirit of Ho Chi Minh, whom they consider one of their teachers (which the Maoists do not do, by the way). That is why they published a generally positive text on Gonzalo’s death.
Safety and practice issues
The complaint of the MKR to us in terms of conspiracy stems from the general political line. If the case is to start a people’s war, then yes, it is necessary to press the conspiracy among other things. If one seeks to become the “party of the masses”, so distasteful to them, then one must conduct open political agitation, which is not compatible with conspiracy. More precisely, a division of legal and illegal work is needed here28. But this is a topic for a separate discussion. On the whole, we think that the claims of the MKR against us about the lack of conspiracy are fair in part.
We don’t agree with the Gonzaloists, but we are willing to cooperate with them, as we do with all other communist and democratic forces. We respect the Tribune of the People for their work with the masses (they regularly write about the problems of working people in the United States, help strikes, etc.) and hope that the MKR will follow this path.
1Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!, 1993.
24The particular irony lies in the fact that the current RMP’s leadership still defends Sison, even though he was absolutely one of the main proponents of this chauvinist line (already in 2021 he expressed exactly the same position that we discussed in the first polemic), when the split in the RMP between the current leadership and Torbasov (a founding member of the RMP) occurred precisely because the latter was tailing the erroneous CPPh position on the war in Ukraine.
26The particular irony lies in the fact that the current RMP’s leadership still defends Sison, even though he was absolutely one of the main proponents of this chauvinist line (already in 2021 he cited exactly the same position that we discussed in the first polemic), when the split in the RMP between the current leadership and Torbasov (a founding member of the RMP) occurred precisely because the latter was tailing the erroneous CPPh’s position on the war in Ukraine.
27Russian expression to express reference to feminists.
28There is no illegal work being done by the RMP. It is a classic position of Marxism-Leninism.