Social origin of PCP leadership

Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Wed Apr 3 00:13:38 MST 1996


Doug raises an interesting and not necessarily sectarian
question.

While many were laughing at me for paying any attention to what
supporters of the PCP said, I learned a lot.

I took advantage of Adolfo's, to be fair, highly qualified
recommendation of aspects of the book by Simon Strong, Shining Path,
which Michael Luftmensch has also got.

What comes out probably factually, is how a nucleus of students
and academics especially centred around the departments of
*anthropology* saw an interconnection between some of the nationalist
and romantic threads upheld by Mariategui and the anti-revisionist
polemic waged by the Chinese, who also had a record of combining
marxist ideas with the actual culture of the society. The fact that the
Chinese like the Peruvians has a claim to an ancient and proud culture
may also have predisposed them.

Now unless entrance to the Peruvian higher educational system was
unusually egalitarian, by definition it is likely that selective entrance
would have ensured that this group would have come from the sons
(and daughters?) of the provincial elite.

I am not in favour of taking cheap shots at the PCP or its supporters
on this count. Any more than I am in favour of them assuming that
any disagreement with what they say is automatically and mechanistically,
because of the class position of contributor.

But this is a revisiting of one of Marxism's oldest and most difficult
contradictions. Marx and Engels, writing of themselves, have a brief
line in the Communist Manifesto talking about how the [contradictions]
reach such a point that even some members of the bourgeoisie desert
and go over to join the proletariat. And this was their
explanation of how as arrogant pair of young men, one aged 30 the
other 28, had the ultra-left idiocy to announce that the
bourgeoisie of the world should tremble before the
virtually inevitable communist led revolution, without a word to
apologise for the violent and cruel excesses that the same bourgeoise
would attribute to the revolutionaries.

And again, later, it is a fact that  Stalin was almost
isolated as the most proletarian of the major Bolshevik leaders
with an ideology that said he should mistrust them. It is quite clear
he did.

So I think what Doug has heard must be factually correct about the
social origin of the PCP leadership. What to do about it is
more complicated, and not our responsibility to decide.

My best guess is that it would be in their mutual interests
if Adolfo had a *constructive* meeting with the equivalent of
his line manager in the near future.

Chris B, London


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