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

Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at jmu.edu
Wed Oct 2 09:32:14 MDT 1996

     Well, I probably shouldn't get into this, but...
     I have no idea whether or not Chiara was a police
agent or what.  But I am somewhat bothered by elements of
Adolfo's argumentation, which echoes things we have heard
before from him.  In short, how do "the masses decide" that
someone is a police agent?  Do they have a "mass meeting"
and vote?  Do a handful of activists report to a handful of
party leaders who then secretly decide to act?  I suspect
it is the latter, which does not exactly sound to me like
"the masses" deciding doodly squat.
     Needless to say, Adolfo's "synthesis" is absurd: if
someone was executed then they must have been a police
agent.  Sounds reminiscent of his argument regarding those
found guilty at the Moscow Trials....
Barkley Rosser
On Wed, 2 Oct 1996 01:20:55 -0700 detcom at sprynet.com wrote:

> <---- Begin Forwarded Message ---->
> 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
> >Secretaryship.
> >
> >(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
> >works.
> >
> >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
> >revolution.
> >
> >Fraternally
> >
> >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
> <----  End Forwarded Message  ---->
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Rosser Jr, John Barkley
rosserjb at jmu.edu

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