Point by point, backatcha

Chris Faatz cfaatz at teleport.com
Wed Apr 3 10:16:24 MST 1996

On Tue, 2 Apr 1996, Matt D. wrote:

> Chris Faatz wrote:
> >1) I am for the revolution in Peru.
> OK.  So far so good.

How kind of you.
> >2) From all that I've read, I'm opposed to the PCP-SL.
> Oops!  I'm afraid you've moved from Marxism to idealism here, C2.  The
> revolution in Peru is being made by the masses under the leadership of
> the PCP.

How can I move to idealism through making an objective assessment in
accordance to facts as they are presented to me? A broad assertion such
as that you make above is empty and meaningless, to quote a famous
conservative (who was a much better writer than either of us).
> >3) I don't believe in terror as communist politics.
> And?  What's your point here?

The PCP does. Emphatically. Whether it's threatening loss of life to
workers who don't take part in their "armed strikes," or killing peasants
who have reservations over PCP policies in "liberated" areas rather than
discussing with them, or eliminating their opponents in other left
groups--that's terror. And, hey, guess what? Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, and
Mao all polemicized against it. Maybe Mao most slendidly of all. Didn't
he say, in the context of the Cultural Revolution, something to the effect
of "when you cut off their heads, it's much more difficult to change
their minds?" And, it's their heads, hearts, and commitment that any real
revolution needs.

> >4) I don't take Nueva Bandera, El Diario, or any of the other pro-PCP
> >mouthpieces as being objective elements in this discussion.
> You prefer the New York Times?  NACLA?  What do you mean by an
> "objective" element?  Does the fact that the New Flag and El Diario are
> committed to the struggle mean that the information contained in them
> is untrue?  It seems to me that one could make a case for just the
> opposite proposition.

No, Bub. I prefer *independent* verification. I don't think NACLA is in
Fujimori's pocket. I don't think Latin American Bureau is either.

Look, one of the powerful things about the Chinese Revolution--not to
mention the Russian--was that people who were not closely identified
with those revolutions gave verification of their progressive course
and their benefit to the people. I've yet to see *one* such report
coming out of Peru.
> >5) I await
> >the appearance of a '90s Edgar Snow to help demonstrate to me that the
> >revolution in Peru is something more than a pseudo-marxist, pseudo-maoist
> >terror show, implemented from above, whose idea of putting politics in
> >command is exemplified by a) calling a general strike, then b) threatening
> >to kill (rather than debate) any worker who violates it.
> Your Edgar Snow comment helps to illuminate (4) above, but not, I'm
> afraid, to your credit.  Why does the metropolitan master have to give
> the nod to the People's War?  Is not the movement of the masses an
> endorsment a million times more powerful than a bourgeois journalist?

This is really quite a silly thing to say. The nature of your argument
makes it--voila!--impossible to argue with you. It's along the lines of:
"The Peruvian "Peoples' War" exists. Therefore, it has a mass base. But,
there's not independent verification of its progressive and revolutionary
direction. But, again--it has a mass base. Therefore, everyone else in
the world is in the pocket of Fujimori, *or* in league with imperialism.
Because, the mass base tells me so."

Now. There's no denying that the PCP-SL has a base. And, there's no
doubt that one of the reasons for that base is that it's consistent
in its confrontations with the Fujimori regime--or at least creates the
illusion that it is. And, there's no denying that conditions in Peru,
both under Fujimori and prior to his, uh, accession to power, are horrible
for the masses.

But, my study leads me to believe that it's a mixture of despair and
force that bring people into the PCP camp. And, they're as likely to
abandon those they've "liberated" in the face of Fujimori's army--leaving
them to be slaughtered, btw--as they are to stick around and actually
create "red zones." No, let me re-phrase that--they're *more* likely
to split than they are to stick around.
> You also completely misunderstand the nature of the armed strike, but
> I suspect you know that.

Maybe so. What I don't understand is how you can win someone to the
correct line after you've killed them.
> >6) I emphatically
> >*don't* think that the Peruvian revolution is the world-center of the
> >revolution today. I agree that it's a backwater country, wholly owned
> >and subsidized by US imperialism. I'm much more interested, for strategic
> >and global reasons, in, for example, the revolution in the Philippines,
> >or the progress of the Zapatistas in Mexico.
> Your would-be "realpolitik" has blinded you to the development of the
> authentic communist revolutionary tide active in the world today.  Perhaps
> you could clarify what "strategic and global reasons" motivate you here.

Sure. The Phillipines lies at the center of imperialist dominion of the
Pacific. Mexico lies, like Cuba, at the very edge of the imperialist
beast--and, though NAFTA, is capable of actually delivering some blows
to it.
> >and, lastly, 7), I find it
> >highly amusing that the "victors" of this list find it necessary to gauge
> >someone's politics by her or his position on the key question of the day:
> >are they pro- or anti-PCP.
> Ironically, that became _the_ dividing line issue because of the vicious
> attacks of the Trotskyists and revisionists.  Their vile slanders against
> the Peruvian revolution revealed quite clearly their stance -- against
> revolution in general.  And I say this as someone who considered some
> of them potential comrades.  I actually was surprised that many of them
> lined up w/ the bourgeoisie and imperialism, against the masses and
> communism.

Your comment illustrates once again my whole reason for laughing at this
"Marxism" list. The question is *not* whether you're pro- or anti-PCP.
The question is whether you're pro- or anti-revolutionary activity on
the part of the masses, through the use of democratic centralism, and
without the necessity of cults of personality, sundry executions, and
the use of coercion rather than politics. Your argument here, like your
argument regarding objective verificatin of your claims regarding Peru,
are specious: you're either with us, or you're a revisionist or Trot.

Marxism is an open, changing, and critical-minded approach to analyzing
the world in order to change it. It's not the vapid and glazed-eyed
repetition of empty slogans, and the execution of those who don't agree
with you.
> >I stand with Rahul. In the absence of anything equating objective
> >evidence, I oppose the PCP-SL, although I'm willing to learn more.
> >
> >As for the revolution in Peru, I have much more confidence in the self-
> >activity of the masses and of their organizations then I do in the
> >mechanistic fervor of MLM-GT.
> The "self-activity of the masses and their organizations" _is_ the substance
> of the People's War under the leadership of the PCP.  What do you think
> it is?

I think it's an authoritarian, top-down, petty-bourgeois gang that attacks
the actual interests of the working class and peasants in defense of its
own program. "Pol Pot, Pol Pot" keeps singing in my ears, actually, when
I read of the antics of the PCP-SL.

It's too bad, really--Mao had, and has, so much to offer.


P.S.: please cc me directly should you choose to respond to this. Thanks

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