Maoism and El Salvador
Louis N Proyect
lnp3 at columbia.edu
Wed Sep 13 07:43:34 MDT 1995
That the electoral left in Peru is impotent at best and not unlikely a wolf
in sheep's clothing: We need only recall the example of Duarte in El
Salvador. This valiant champion of legality and human rights, who was
himself imprisoned under the first junta, went on to become a pliant tool of
the psychopathic Salvadoran military and the Reagan administration. The
legal "left" in Peru also collaborates with a regime that has proven beyond
any shadow of a doubt that it is unwilling and unable to curb the most
horrific human rights abuses perpetrated by a government against its own
people in the hemisphere if not the world. How "left" is that?
A systematic comparison of the struggles in Peru and El Salvador and the
solidarity movements that sprang up to support them is, in fact, very
1. A more meaningful example of how to deal with the "enemy" in El
Salvador is Guillermo Ungo, the social democrat who was publicly associated
with the FDR in El Salvador, and not Duarte. The Salvadoran
revolutionaries, unencumbered by Maoist sectarianism, were able to make
alliances with reformists such as Ungo. The Sendero would deal with
Peruvian versions of Ungo bureaucratically and violently.
2. CISPES developed in the United States as a broad-based solidarity
movement. I was a member of it for several years and it was my re-entry
into sane politics after 11 years of Trotskyite cultism. The solidarity
movement around Sendero is tightly controlled by Maoists and is mostly
a recruiting ground for their cults.
3. The tragedy about Sendero is not that it is ineffective. It is, on the
other hand, that they have actually tapped into the bitter resentment of
indigenous people who face class and racial oppression on a daily basis
but do not know how to lead this struggle to victory.
Hugo Blanco tapped into this powerful reservoir in the early 1960's, but
was hobbled by Trotskyite sectarianism. A revolutionary movement in Peru
would be forging links with established peasant's and worker's
organizations instead of building the equivalent of "united fronts from
below", the strategy of 3rd period ultraleft Stalinism. The reason
working people and peasants tend to orient to established organizations
is not simply that these organizations have "control" over their lives.
Until the oppressed have the wherewithal to create new institutions like
soviets, etc., they will tend to orient to existing bodies. By
counterposing new bodies totally under the control of Sendero to existing
"reformist" bodies, they make a classic sectarian mistake.
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