(FWD) Re: 'armed strikes' and workers' democracy : notes of a

detcom at sprynet.com detcom at sprynet.com
Wed Oct 2 02:20:55 MDT 1996

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Date: Wed, 2 Oct 1996 00:36:45 +0100 (BST)
From: hariette at easynet.co.uk (hariette spierings)
Subject: Re: 'armed strikes' and workers' democracy : notes of a liquidator


>Adolfo takes sharply worded exception to my objections to the 'armed
>strike' policy, and proposes I take steps to ameliorate my ignorance.
>I post below the text of a letter we published in Revolutionary
>History Vol 5 No 1, Autumn 1993. The facts and analysis have been in
>the public domain and on the public record in english for 3 years and
>in spanish for longer. Some similar material was published by the
>Spartacists about the same time. This has also gone unchallenged. It
>addresses the 'armed strike' question from the point of view of trade
>unionists in the factories, somewhat different from the material
>Adolfo has been posting recently (interesting though that is). This
>post is for information, I do not support every detail of the
>descriptions of decisions by Trotskyist groups in it. Nevertheless,
>it provides a view from the workplace, which has not been previously
>available, and which, in my view, is central to an analysis of the
>situation in Peru.
>Adolfo regards discussing this major difference over revolutionary
>strategy as 'obnoxious' and an example of 'back seat driving'. I have
>been called worse in recent months on this list. But let's avoid the
>smokescreen of rude language Adolfo. Behind all your huffing and
>puffing and waving of iron brooms, you have not answered me on
>whether Lenin called for the removal of Stalin from the General
>(In a few places accents have not been properly transcribed because
>my editor will throw them out when emailing.)
>Dear Comrades,
>Over the last decade 'democratic' Peru has had the worst record in
>the world for political disappearances, with around 30,000 people
>being assassinated in the last decade. Revolutionaries in Peru are
>under fire not merely from the police, military and paramilitary
>forces, but from the Stalinist guerrillas of Sendero Luminoso. One
>victim of the Sendero's terror campaign is Roberto Chiara, a
>longstanding Trotskyist and union leader. Although he was killed
>three years ago, in April 1990, it seems that the news of his
>assassination did not reach Britain at the time.
>Born in 1950, Chiara started work at the age of 17, and joined the
>Revolutionary Left Front (FIR) in 1969, just after the start of 12
>years of 'left' bonapartist dictatorship in Peru, and the recognition
>of the FIR as the Peruvian section of the United Secretariat of the
>Fourth International. He became the Secretary of the union at the big
>Diamante shoe factory, which was noted for its militant workforce. He
>led several indefinite all-out strikes and workers' occupations of
>the plant, and fought on street barricades. Sacked several times, his
>workmates managed to get him reinstated.
>In the late 1970s Chiara helped form the Revolutionary Workers Party
>(PRT), and fought against Hugo Blanco and Nicolas Luccar who, with
>the support of USFI leaders, liquidated the PRT into a reformist
>party (the PUM) in the mid 1980s. He then helped form the Comite de
>Unification Socialist a (CUS), although he was not very active within
>it, as he concentrated upon trade union activity in the Diamante
>In the late 1980s the Sendero Luminoso started to develop factory
>work. Their lawyers would offer legal advice to workers, and their
>armed apparatus would terrorise both the bosses and other political
>tendencies. As Chiara was trained in the USFI during its guerrillaist
>period, and as the CUS considered the Sendero Luminoso was a
>revolutionary party, at first he collaborated with its activists, and
>even supported their 'armed strikes', which were not decided by the
>workers but were imposed by the guerrillas. However, as a Trotskyist
>who supported workers' democracy and transitional demands, he started
>openly to criticise the Sendero Luminoso, as it tried to turn the
>union at the Diamante works into a body completely subordinated to
>it. The Sendero Luminoso is a Stalinist, heavily militarised,
>petit-bourgeois and lumpen sect. It may fight imperialism, but it
>also represents a counter-revolutionary force against the working
>class. It opposes workers' councils, openly advocates the smashing of
>trade unions, assassinates working class and community activists
>whether reformist or revolutionary, disrupts the movement of the
>oppressed, and provokes state repression. Revolutionaries should
>defend Sendero militants against state repressions, but be prepared
>to defend workers' organisations from them, militarily if necessary.
>The Sendero Luminoso started a slander campaign against Chiara,
>accusing him of making a corrupt deal with the management. Its
>activists would not allow the workers to discuss the matter, as they
>knew it be rejected as a lie. One evening in April 1990, Chiara was
>ambushed not 100 metres from the Diamante works and was stabbed and
>shot. He left a widow and several children.
>We worked with comrade Chiara for many years, and after his death
>several comrades on the left wing of the CUS left this disintegrating
>organisation, and have become close to Poder Obrero. Comrade Chiara
>made serious mistakes, but he was one of the few union activists from
>the 1970s who did not capitulate to opportunism or the bourgeoisie.
>He was an honest fighter. The best homage to him is to build a
>revolutionary party that can defeat Stalinism and lead a Socialist
>Anibal Robles

I will suggest to Mr. Plant that he familiarises himself more with the
People's War in Peru before he comes out in such a blatant defense of a
blackhead and scab like Chiara.  He will only understand the real terms of
the class struggle in Peru from the most glaring fact in evidence from any
fair minded  analysis of the situation:  In Peru the armed revolution is
facing the armed counter-revolution.  There is no room for those who play
both sides of the divide, insinuating themselves to the workers and then
betraying the leaders of the same workers to the bosses and the police.

The fact that slander against the revolution is dressed by agents of the
regime - who are totally despised by the people (Trotskysm in Peru has
always been riddled with police agents and has no influence in the Unions,
in the masses or anywhere except as "correspondents" with intellectuals
abroad like Mr. Plant) in the garb of a "innocent independent minded
revolutionary who only wanted to built a "Trotskyst alternative" cannot
obscure that many such bosses snitches approach the revolutionary people and
then inform on them.

The position of a true revolutionary - as oppossed to that of the sectarian
- is to hear FIRST the voice of those leading the revolution and not to
reproduce the views of their sect (as tiny and insignificant and tied to the
security services and the bosses as Poder Obrero has always been) as if
these reflected the truth.

It is evident that in the case of Chiara - like in all cases where snitches
have been executed - it was the workers themselves who demanded that the PCP
would implement the people's justice in that case.

To present Chiara - only because the gentlemen who Mr. Plant regards as his
"comrades" in Peru say so - as an "innocent" only trying to implement a
"different program than that of the revolutionaries, only goes to show the
usual role of Trotskysm in a revolution - pretending to support the
revolution in order to better betray it.

Fortunately in Peru, Trotskysm is a total non-starter.  The actions of
Chiara in incurring the wrath of the working people - it will become evident
in the course of many more testimonies - from the Peruvian "Leftists" too -
that the PCP NEVER executes anyone who the masses have not demanded be
punished - and the use that Plant makes of the life of this enemy of the
people in order to slander the revolution and play up the reactionaries and
imperialist absurdities against the PCP, only goes to show how low the
Trotskyst of his school have sunk, and how they accept to be manipulated by
reaction by mere sectarian reasons.

In synthesis:  If Chiara was executed it was because the working people saw
through his phoney support and discovered his actions as a police informer.

And, most serious of all - even assuming that Chaira may have been innocent
of the charges against him - that because of that Plant ends up accussing
the armed strike as a weapon of compulsion against the workers, only goes to
show how remote from understanding a revolutionary situation the TRotskyst
of Mr. Plant's inclination really are.

The case of Chiara, like the case of the Moyano woman (who also paraded
herself and was paraded as such for many years as a true Left wing vicrtim
of Shining Path by her "comrades abroad" are very similar.  People who act
on behalf of the security services to spy and interfere with the
revolutionary movement of the masses.  Normally, in countries whre there is
no armed revolution confronting the armed counter-revolution, this political
differences are settled by political debate and other means.  But when the
life of the masses is directly threatened by these snitches there is no room
for contemplation.

Mr. Plant should study the history of revolutions before he acts as a voice
for imperialism under the complete and utter illusion that "Poder Obreo"
represents anything but a snitches group within Peruvian working class politics.

Adolfo Olaechea

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