I support the PCP

zodiac zodiac at interlog.com
Sun Apr 7 16:15:42 MDT 1996

Two interesting developments here:

1. Lou Proyect has taken some heat for stating his April 5 post supporting
the revolutionary movement of the oppressed of Peru.

2. On April 6, Hans Ehbar condemned the PCP -- and admited to some
psychological weakness whereby he fears Senderos are paddling up the
Pacific Coast toward Utah with his name on their murderous lips.

Who strikes you as more rational in this?

Lou gave his reason for his "shocking turnaround" has having read Simon
Strong's book. I, too, picked it up yesterday.

Read this stuff. This ain't Marx's history lesson on the genesis of capital
in 1500s Europe or 1800s Scotland. This is right now. This is happening in
our lifetimes.

Out of the textbooks and into the country:

    "When Abimael Guzman [Chairman Gonzalo] arrived in Ayacucho [the lower
    third of Peru], that department's [province's] total population was about
    450,000. Three-quarters of them scraped a living by subsistence
    agriculture. A fifth of the peasants belonged as serfs to haciendas. In
    exchange for every half hectare of land, a peasant would be expected to
    labour three days a week on the land of the 'patron' and provide him with
    a house servant or 'pongo' for a couple of months a year. The servants
    would usually be the peasants' younger sons and daughters since they were
    the least useful in the fields. If a girl 'pongo' entered the house
    of the 'patron' as a virgin, she rarely remained so; any subsequent
    offspring would reside in the cramped straw-roofed, mud-and-stone
    huts of their mothers. It would be the child's privilege to have the
    'patron' as its godfather and even, if she were a girl, in due course
    possibly as a lover once more. Feudal relationship ridiculed those of
    the family.

    "Those peasant communities which were housed on their own land were
    still mainly dependent on the haciendas for animal pasture and
    irrigated, arable fields. Their rent was also paid in labour. When
    haciendas were divided up and sold, incumbent peasants had no
    protection. Often perceived as parasitic colonists, they would be
    evicted by force. Local court rulings in their favour were easily
    overturned by the landowners' influence over higher courts further
    away, beyond the reach of the original plaintiffs. The peasants'
    homes were then burned down and their harvests trampled on and eaten
    by the hacienda's cattle. The families would be left to join the
    steady stream of migrants to the towns and coast. They would arrive
    in an alien culture, unable to read or write, and with just a
    smattering of Spanish.

    "With the grinding poverty, the absence of schools and medical posts,
    the malnutrition and forty-five year life expectancy and its
    contempt of central government, Ayacucho was a rich breeding ground
    for the Marxist idealists who took the city by storm after the
    University of San Cristobal de Huamanga was reopened in 1959.
    Ayacucho was also a region whose indigenous Huari population had
    stubbornly defied the expansion of the Inca empire before being
    militarized under the Spanish; it was the site of the last battle
    against Spanish rule; a strategic base for repelling the Chilean
    invasion during the War of the Pacific in 1879-83; and, of late, had
    nurtured sporadic peasant uprisings in protest over illegal land
    seizures. No other part of Peru had such a militaristic tradition."

Out of the country and into the cities:

    "Indian relationships with whites in Peru are on an almost
    exclusively servile footing. They and the poorer mestizos are forced
    to work for a pittance in order to survive because of chronic
    unemployment and under-employment. They are the house servants of the
    urban rich, the army of street sellers who hawk everything from
    plastic coathangers to smuggled wine and Amazon monkeys. They are
    the tiny, dirty, bare-footed boys who jump on to car bonnets to wipe
    the windscreen at traffic lights; who sell their places in cinema
    queues; who beg as mercilessly as their benefactors offload last
    year's worthless banknotes. They are those who form endless lines for
    buses which never come or buses which are already packed, their
    passengers bursting out through the oily, broken windows to inhale
    Lima's humid and smog-laden fumes of fishmeal, rubbish and urine. The
    wounded shock of those such as the rare, well-to-do Indian, probably
    on a short visit to the capital and turned out smartly for the
    occassion, after being pushed off a minibus in an upper-class
    district because of the jealous snobbery of a mestizo conductor, can
    only turn to rage.

    "The Andean and Amazon Indians are valued as tourist curios and
    little else. Until recently, tourism was one of Peru's biggest
    foreign currency earners after cocaine paste and copper. Otherwise,
    for the dominating white oligarchy which tends to secure contracts
    and monopolies by bribery and corruption of government and judiciary
    officials, driving up prices to produce profit margins three times
    as high as the average European country and closing down companies
    when faced with reducing prices in times of recession, the Indians
    are seen as 'dumb animals.'"

Out of the cities and into the heart of the oppressed:

    "The racial resentment is integral to Indian myths and fiestas. In a
    country where nearly forty per cent of children under six years old
    suffer from chronic malnutrition and one in nine die by the age of
    five, the myth of the 'pishtaco' who extracts human grease [body fat]
    for a profit is a nightmarish metaphor for how the Indians see
    themselves exploited and oppressed. The pishtaco is seen as an
    outsider, mostly white or mestizo, and often a businessman,
    government representative or priest. In the past he was often a

    "His victims' grease is said to be used either to make products such
    as soap for sale in the towns; to make church bells ring louder so
    they can be heard farther away -- and thus summon more people to
    church; or to be sold to the government for export. Occassionally it
    is said his flesh is sold off and eaten in Lima restaurants or the
    grease used to lubricate machiens. In some cases the image of the
    exploited worker is explicit: the pishtacos simply feed people to the
    ore grinders in the mines. The myth moves with the times: the
    pishtacos, who are perceived as human, not supernatural, beings, are
    also believed to sell off the peasants' blood to blood banks and the
    oil or grease to oil companies in a bid to pay off Peru's national

Well, I am damn glad the people of Ayacucho have that "militaristic
tradition" Strong mentions, because it is probably the only thing that
gave them the ability to fight back -- when fused with the cultural
importation of Guzman and his application of foreign ideas (Mao).

In that disorganized hell-on-earth, there seems to me one movement that
is morally right -- the Communist Party of Peru. You seriously expect
these people to be impressed with parliamentarism and weak-kneed
dishwater-left solutions to the hell they call life? Or handwringing
over Joan Robinson's opinion on Marx's definition of value?

If they are sometimes brutal, it is because theirs is a brutal world.

And if my children were born into that world, I would not hesitate to
pick up a rifle and march. And I would encourage them to do likewise,
for what other self-respecting fate could they remotely call _their own_?

Power to 'em.


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