The Maoist Wars 2/2

Chris, London 100423.2040 at
Sun May 5 14:36:26 MDT 1996

So, stepping over the unnecessary abuse about decent
self-respecting reptiles and rodents, and getting to the issue
of negotiations with the Peruvian government...

Some while back Jay forwarded a statement by Guzman on negotiations
which sounded rather undialectical but was after all a public statement.
As a reader of Lenin and Mao, Guzman would know that negotiations are
sometimes part of struggle. A war like the Vietnam War, or a struggle
like the anti-apartheid struggle has a phase of negotiations.

It is obvious too that the enemy will only propose negotiations
for their self-interest and on their terms. Although Fujimori
has been trying to false foot a Maoist organisation in this case,
every subscriber to this l'st knows that such a ploy might
be used whatever the ideology of the revolutionary movement.

One of the purposes of proposing negotiations is to split the
revolutionary forces. If the leader is a prisoner, that is potentially
easier. It became apparent that towards the end of his 27 years in
capitivity, Mandela was negotiating with the apartheid government
and not always solely on the terms set by the party.
On the other hand if the regime is so sure it is not merely pulling
a media manipulation, why does it not produce Guzman at a press conference?

Adolfo might be thought to look very undialectical in saying the story is
"100%" hoax. If there were no contradictions within the PCP the hoax could not
have caused some problems. Nor is it dialectical to say that a party like the
PCP is 100% truthful with the masses. Ordinary people know well enough there
are some things you do not talk about to everyone.

If the PCP has indeed resisted the Fujimori repression, and is
fighting back, it has achieved a lot in its terms. But the squabble on this
l'st suggests it has not handled the question of negotiations quite right.

Lenin is very clear in the Chapter "No Compromises?" in "Left-Wing
Communism - An Infantile Disorder" that of course compromises are
sometimes necessary and even desirable. "One must use one's brains and
be able to find one's bearings in each separate case."

This does imply
that if the government challenges the PCP to suspend people's war,
that if the PCP is given enough concessions, it might think it in the interests
of the struggle to do so - eg Guzman given full civil rights, all other
political prisoners released, suspension of government missions in the state of
emergency areas, right of PCP members and other people's militia
members to carry weapons reaffirmed etc.

In fact Lenin argues, (it may be worth dipping into) not just that the
revolutionary forces might have to take part in compromises, but that
the revolutionary forces should be actively "taking advantage of every,
even the smallest, opportunity of gaining a mass ally, even though
this ally be temporary, vacillating, unstable, unreliable, and

For example on the right terms it could be the opposite
of unprincipled for the PCP at this stage to offer to suspend the armed
struggle to form a government of national unity, with those
opposed to the privitization of Petro Peru and the other neo-
classical impositions. The catch is that while the PCP would wish to
continue to see armed people's war as the main method of the revolution,
it would have to have in principle an alternative to People's War.

This question seems to have been incorrectly posed as whether
the PCP should compromise or not with Fujimori, because he has its
leader captive. The important question is when or how it is in the
interests of the revolution for the PCP to compromise with middle
elements in the population. The PCP and its supporters can
have a policy of no compromise of principle with the government
totally pat. The more central question is what compromise is
it worth making with sections of the people to win them over
in the teeth of the government's manouvres.

I would suggest the unilluminating squabble on this l'st could be
avoided if the whole question were totally reframed.
Neither Lenin on compromises, not  Mao on People's War should seem to
be ruled out for supporters of the PCP, I would have thought.

I am going to grasp the nettle: under what conditions would the
PCP agree to talk to the Fujimori government? Why doesn't it name
them, as high as it likes, having adjusted its initial ideas to get the
maximum amount of credibility from the many progressive sections of the

Chris B, London.

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