I support the PCP
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
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
"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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