"Supporting" the PCP

Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Sat Apr 6 01:18:47 MST 1996

There is some confusion about "supporting" the PCP which the
fireworks obscure. Louis has made it clear why he is not in a
position to "support" the PCP. Nor am I.

As information comes clearer to me, I agree that the PCP have
been waging one of the most important guerrilla wars in the whole
of Latin America and that the terrain does make peoples war a
possible strategy. (Terrain does not always permit this.)

It is also clear at the very least on the basis of information
that the State Department feels it has to acknowledge to maintain
its credibility, that there is a totally democratically unacceptable
situation in Peru.

None of this can mean for me *on the basis of my limited information*
that I could support the PCP as such. In the one sided nature of the
development of practice, there are major areas on which friends as
well as enemies may wish for further information. It is also completely
unavoidable in waging a revolution or a liberation war to avoid
excesses and even atrocities by at least some participants. If anything
the evidence is of an unusually high level of discpline by PCP fighters,
but I assume as a statistical certainty that with the amount of torture
the government forces are using, there will be enough scarred members
of the revolutionary forces who at times will lash out in a brutal
violent way, that will also be torture.

What I am not prepared to do is to say that the particular line of
the present leadership of the PCP is the only correct or possible line.

I doubt that truth lies solely on one side if there has been a split
between those supporting the continuation of armed struggle and
those willing to negotiate with the government, just as I assume
that not all members of the Chinese Communist Party were
totally confident when Mao Zedong flew to Chungking to negotiate with
the KMT.

In reality the PCP has clearly adjusted its tactics so that in
some areas there is "no war, no peace" - eg 4 members of the PCP
were reported to have been walking around Villa El Salvador to be
denounced by Azcueta.
What exactly *is* "Peoples War" at any one time
it is presumptuous for someone several thousand miles away to decide.
This will be decided by the people of Peru through countless arguments
and discussions. There are many specific shades of the mix of armed
struggle and political struggle.

The supporters of the PCP on this l'st have said slightly different
things if they are listened to carefully and not simply denounced.
Luis Quispe as editor of New Flag has said he has not asked for support
for the PCP but only for people to consider the facts he draws to
their attention and to do their internationalist duty.

Others, including if I recall correctly, Gina, Jay, Adolfo, regard
support fot the PCP and its current policy of Peoples War not only
as an anti-imperialist duty but as a touchstone between marxism and
revisionism. On this Luis Quispe probably agrees with them, but they
go this step further and call for support for the PCP.

Now while anybody can call for whatever they like on this l'st, for the
sake of some orderly management of this hot conflict, I would
suggest that any calls for support of the PCP are
unlikely to achieve overwhelming endorsement, and will only
cause major flames if they are heard in that spirit. A number of
individuals may well respond, and be convinced by these calls.
As individuals that should not cause any antagonistic contradictions.

But someone like myself, [and now Louis Proyect, who has said once
again he is prepared to consider the evidence] am not prepared to
"support" the PCP. What I suggest is there must be a distinction between
an appeal to this l'st as a wider grouping of *democrats*, (including
all our motley shades of "revisionism" and "anarchism" and other
ideological weaknesses) as to whether we oppose the
imperialist backed repression of the Peruvian people as a whole,
independent of a view of which group or sub-group is best [or least
at fault] in trying to forward the resistance to that repression.

If this forum can provide any service in aiding that anti-imperialist
democratic solidarity then that will be valuable. In addition as
my post has indicated I assume in the heat of battle there must be
some conflicts between Peruvian people that have taken on an
antagonistic character, which should really be contradictions among the
people. I personally doubt whether these are best resolved by
a life and death struggle against "revisionism" but even if some
people think they are, perhaps this forum can help to
clarify the underlying nature of the contradictions.

In this respect I do not think Hans Ehrbar's suggestion that this
forum could be a resource for the people of Peru, is out of place,
startlingly optimistic though it sounds in terms of the recent

But if we are to proceed the debate must largely move on from
whether the majority of this l'st (individuals are another matter)
support or do not support the PCP. The overall question we can address
is do we oppose imperialist backed oppression and exploitation
in Peru, and from our different countries how can that best be opposed,
alongside all the other campaigns?

Chris B, London.

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