Maoism and El Salvador

Matt D. afn02065 at afn.org
Wed Sep 13 12:47:30 MDT 1995


Louis wrote:

>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
>instructive:
>
>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.

Would appreciate info as to the details of the "alliance" here.  Also, who
is the Ungo of Peru that CPP has dealt with bureaucratically and violently?

Was Ungo in the government?  Was he funded by U.S. imperialism?

>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.

The Peru solidarity movement has certainly not come close to the exemplary
broad-based organizing of groups like CISPES.  To an extent this is no doubt
a reflection of the organzations that are prevalent in it.  Of course this
is also related to the politics and strategy of the CPP.

>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.

Well, that's a relatively new perspective on the Peruvian situation.  Prior
to the capture of Gonzalo, official odds were against the government making
it to the end of the century without massive U.S. support.  Sendero still
controls 1/3+ of the countryside, and can act at will anywhere including the
metropolis.  This with almost all it's 1991 CC imprisoned (can anyone
confirm or correct these figures?).

I'm think it's not so much that you think they can't win, as that you don't
think you'd like it if they did win.  Which, of course, perhaps you wouldn't.

>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

But the creation of these new organizations is precisely what is happening
in the Base Areas.  It's what has happened with the People's Guerrilla Army.
Your formulation -- "a revolutionary movement ... would" -- misses the point
that a revolutionary movement *exists right now* in Peru.  The fact that
they're not doing what you'd like doesn't turn them into something else.  A
revolutionary movement might do any number of things, some of which you'd
approve and others which you wouldn't.  Wearing blinders doesn't help us
analyze the situation.

>By counterposing new bodies totally under the control of Sendero to existing
>"reformist" bodies, they make a classic sectarian mistake.

Or by aligning themselves with putatlively reformist and practically
impotent historically compromised organizations, they lose their credibility
with the masses and put their eggs in the basket of potential reactionaries
(ala China 1927).

Were a classic U.S. sect to make mistakes that present a direct challenge to
the regime and establish significant territorial control where  goverment
forces can't operate, we'd probably reevaluate whether they were a "sect" or
"mistaken", no?

-- Matt D.



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