Lima 1963 and Adolfo O.
hariette at easynet.co.uk
Wed Oct 2 11:53:42 MDT 1996
>I was asked to forward this to the list.
>Questions to Adolfo:
>Hugh sent me a document from you. In that message you said that in Lima, in
>1963, there was a soviet which you were one of the leaders at your 20-21
>years old. You compare yourself with Trotsky when he had 26 years old and
>led the Petrograd Soviet.
>I am a Peruvian and much younger that you.I am a modest militant whithout
>such record. I like to study history and specially from the workers
>movement. I have to confess to you that I had *never* read nothing about a
>soviet in Lima in the entire 1960s.
>I never read nothing about a liberated zone in Lima in the 1960s. The most
>radical working class action in Lima where the general strikes of 19 July
>1977 and May 1978.
>Could you enrich my knowledge of history and write more about that Limean
>1- Which factories and shanty town were around it?
>2- Which was their main base?
>3- Who were their leaders? Whiuch was their programme and platform?
>4- In which date it happened?
>" Do you know what I was doing at the age of 20 or 21? You do not!
>I never blow my trumpet Vladimir, nor have I ever encouraged anyone to blow
>any trumpets on my behalf.
>But if personal achievements interest you so much, you could look into the
>records of the Peruvian police and Military Courts who at that time (1963)
>instituted a Military trial (Second Police Zone Supreme Military Tribunal,
>Lima Peru - Corte Suprema de la Segunda Zona Judicial de Policia) against me
>for basically the same reasons you think Of Trotsky as so dizzy with his own
>historical role and personal genius.
>At that early age, I too had been propelled by the actions of the labouring
>masses and revolutionary students to be head of such an organ of seizure of
>power as a Soviet is, and we then held liberated territory for a number of
>days, and defended it with the force of arms in the capital city of my own
>country until we were defeated and had to go underground.
>True, I was not born a mighty Russian nor was I alive in 1905, nor these
>events - among many which are but quite frequent occurrences in countries
>like Peru got so much attention from historians or even left intellectuals.
>That only goes to show the Eurocentrism which people now are finally
>beginning to find rather tiresome, and essential part and parcel of the
>social-chauvinistic mentality of the bogus Left of the imperialist
>However, after the ruling classes managed to defeat - like they did in
>Russia with the 1905 Soviet - by superior force the heroic resistance OF THE
>WORKERS, STUDENTS AND OTHER REVOLUTIONARY PEOPLE of Lima, and after I
>remained underground for some months, and was finally captured while trying
>to continue the struggle, I too stood accussed of organising armed groups,
>rebellion against the constituted power, seizure of public property, treason
>to the motherland and insult to the flag and the symbols of the motherland.
>Why? For very much the same thing, seizing power and confronting the state
>with the power of the armed revolution (that is all a Soviet is) and raising
>the red flag of the proletariat vis-a-vis the symbols and flags of the state
>of the ruling classes.
>However, unlike Trotsky, or malecki, the fact that it befell to me the duty
>to preside over this heroic attempt of the oppressed classes in Peru - which
>may not be mighty Russia, but is my own country nevertheless - does not give
>me any illusions of personal grandeur like Trotsky seems to have had and
>transmitted to fools like you. It is the masses who are the real heroes and
>who do all the real fighting, and anything you do as a person, is just as
>mere part and parcel of a class action of which you are just another fighter
>How is your coffee tasting now, Bilenkin? I think that rather milky-white?
Aha! They bit the hook already? I see that Hugh is dying to know and as
always expecting to see Cossacks and Red Army soldiers playing cowboys and
indians! Since the mentality of this gentleman Rodwell is that of the
ruling class historian, no wonder that his outlook and mine about the
character of events in the past is so divergent.
These gentlefolk - the Trotskysts - who mostly have no experience of any
class battles or real peoples movements except from the sidelines
(particularly in Western countries), wanted communists to "eat their hearts
out" because Mr. Trotsky - in 1905 just a progressive and middling Marxist
journalist (a semi-Menshevik wind bag, in Lenin's own words) - was then
promoted by the great movement of the labouring masses in Russia in 1905 to
head the organ of power of the labouring people in Petrograd, the now famous
What the gentlemen Trotskyst of course forget - since for them "individuals
make history" - that this Soviet movement was famous because it is seen as a
precedent for the great October Socialist revolution.
It was the regime of Lenin and Stalin, the regime of proletarian
dictatorship and LENINIST SOCIALIST CONSTRUCTION IN ONE COUNTRY that justly
propagandised this important event in the history of the international
movement of the working class. Should there not have been an October
revolution, it is unlikely that the 1905 movement would have been remembered
in the same manner and probably would have been subsumed under the heading
of "workers insurrections and agitation".
At the time it happened, the bourgeois commentators gave it far less
"historical significance" than socialists ever did. In their press, it was
merely reported as "workers unrest and revolutionary agitation in Russia"
and the Czarist press and history books never spoke of it but in the most
derisory terms as an action from the "rabble".
However, because Trotsky was elected to head this seizure Committee at the
age of 26, the gentlemen of Hugh Rodwell's persuasion allege that such is
proof of Trotsky's genius as a revolutionary leader. I hold that it is
nothing of the sort.
That for the actual mechanics involved in being elected head of an organ of
seizure of power no special genius was necessary, and that - as is the case
everywhere - in any event, it is THE MASSES THAT ARE THE REAL HEROES.
The modest incident - in our modest history - I was referring to, is the
seizure and armed defence of the Peruvian Universities which took place
under a Committee of Seizure organised in Popular Assembly under the
leadership of the PCP led Front of Revolutionary Students.
These actions gave rise to nationwide agitation and struggle which acquired
in many places, particularly in Lima, an insurrectionary character. As
usual, these actions counted with the participation and the protagonism of
the masses of workers and labouring people in Lima and many parts of Peru.
Of course, those actions, which lasted several weeks, and included veritable
battles by working class detachments and student masses against the armed
might of the semi-feudal and semi-colonial state of the Peruvian ruling
classes, are something quite remote in the past now, and have never been
described as a Soviet by bourgeois historians. What I said, and has so much
irked the windbag in Hugh, is that, in essence, "I had been propelled by the
masses to be the head of an organ of seizure of power SUCH AS A SOVIET IS".
Hugh, as an specialist in poring over the emphasis of word constructions,
can hardly fault me for teasing his tendrils with the same feather too!
However, what I said about this organ of seizure being equivalent to a
Soviet, from the standpoint of Marxist theory, is perfectly true.
"The Soviets were a a new revolutionary form of the creative initiative of
the people. They were set up exclusively by the revolutionary sections of
the population, in defiance of all laws and prescripts of Czardom. THEY
WERE A MANIFESTATION OF THE INDEPENDENT ACTION OF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE RISING
"The Bolsheviks regarded the Soviets (which is but the Russian word for
Council - Council of workers deputies in Russia's case, but Soviets of the
labouring people were later advocated for the oppressed countries by Lenin,
and in China workers and peasants Soviet republics were set up, for example)
AS THE EMBRYO OF REVOLUTIONARY POWER. They held that the strenght and
SIGNIFICANCE of the Soviets would depend SOLELY on the strenght and success
of the uprising"
"The Mensheviks regarded the Soviets neither as embryonic organs of
revolutionary powers nor as organs of uprising. They looked upon the Soviets
as organs of local self-government, in the nature of democratised municipal
(Quotations are from History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (b))
As it can be seen, nothing much has changed. The semi-Menshevik Rodwell
would deny the "Sovietic character" of our "organ of uprising", of our
"embryonic revolutionary power" on that occassion, which also - however
modest - a "manifestation of the independent action of the people FIGHTING
against our Peruvian "Czardom". And our modest Genral Assembly and Seizure
Committee too was made up "exclusively of the revolutionary sections of the
As Mensheviks always do, Rodwell will claim metaphysical trappings for the
concept of a Soviet, and in the end, his Soviet will end up looking like a
liberal-democratic fringe or "loony lefty" glorified, fur-hatted, and
red-starred English County Council, or, in other words, an "organ of local
self-government, in the nature of a democratised municipal governing body"!
However, for a Marxist, what we had then in essence was no more and no less
than a Soviet of the labouring people, which unsung as it may be, was
perfectly understood by the reactionary classes in Peru which threw against
it not only the weight of its repressive organs, but also the full force of
In our case, modest as it was in historical terms and meagre in results in
comparison to THE "STRENGHT AND SUCCESS" of the Petrograd UPRISING in terms
of the scope of the movement, the numbers involved, and the lenght of its
duration, power was indeed seized, armed squads were organised, working
parties of all kinds were set up to implement the tasks of supplying,
obtaining mantaining and producing the necessary elements for the defence of
the power seized, dictatorship was implemented over police spies and
infiltrators, coordination with the working class movilizations and
agitation was displayed to the full, and during 8 days (in so far as my own
direct participation as "elected officer" in this movement lasted, although
the movement continued during several weeks in other places and it is
impossible to separate it from other movilizations and similar struggles up
to 1965) - the territory (the various University campuses) were completely
under our control, under seige by armed forces and defended with all kinds
of weapons too.
In the course of these actions casualties were suffered on our part and also
inflicted, both in war material and personnel to the armed forces of the
Peruvian state. The red flag was hoisted against daily battles with police
and fascist Apra thugs.
One of the first actions of that Committee was to expel the Trotskyst
provocateurs and the known police agents with a kick up their behind. Why
have a 5th column behind your back? In any case there were only but half a
dozen or so of these well known and hated elements. This is part of the
history of the class struggle in Peru and one day the people will remember
its true heroes too, the masses - at least I do - and seen in historical
perspective, it took place also during the period leading up to the guerilla
struggles of 65.
It befell to me - as Secretary General of San Marcos University's
Revolutionary Students Front and as a ranking member of San Marcos
University Students Union and the Federation of Peruvian Students, to act as
President of the Seizure Committee.
A Soviet is NOTHING MORE than a mass political organ for the seizure of
power by the labouring people and democratic masses. I have already noted
the differences between the events in Russia in 1905 and those in Peru in
1963 (or 64? - Look it up because I have no time for historical research at
present and memory is not always exact). In Peru, for historical reasons,
University campuses played many times the role that factories and public
buildings played in Russia leading to 1917. This has to do with the
different composition of the various social forces and the character of our
country as an oppressed nation, as you should know well.
That is why the 1905 Soviet was in essence the same as any seizure of power
by the working class. As to the programme of struggle, ours was also
directed against the undemocratic character of the ruling class state, for
democratic freedoms, liberation of political prisoners, and for the undying
anti-imperialist demands of our people. The demand for the overthrow of the
regime and for a workers and peasants goverment was also raised.
However, in essence, my point is to prove that having been appointed
Chairman of a Soviet (which is a but a Council led by a Committee with a
responsible Commissioner, Chairman of whatever you may call that position -
just like we had a General Assembly and a Seizure Committee as organs of
power there where our writ run (and THERE it did run completely) at the age
of 26 is no proof of genius or anything of the sort. Just an indication
that that person had the confidence of those carrying on the struggle who
are always the real heroes. The masses make history and not individuals.
I repeat, unlike Trotsky, I did not feel I was "on top of the world"
"contemplating history" and what may become of our "historical role". I
could not care less then, nor do I care less now. The question, then, and
now, was how to widen the scope of our actions, how to spread to more and
more places in our country the spirit of rebellion.
And it did spread to Huancayo, Arequipa, Puno, Cuzco, Trujillo. There too
similar seizures were implemented and people paid with their blood too for
raising the banner of rebellion against the reactionary Peruvian state.
Today, in our country Peru, there are thousands of People's Committees -
which are organs of power of the New State (part and parcel of the worldwide
movement of Soviets and continuation of that movement of Committees and
Commissions that was the Paris Commune too), some are rural, some are
clandestine (in the cities - where at times too have existed above ground as
you should now).
There too are many modest and unassuming people who receive commissions from
the masses to exercise the new power of the proletariat and the labouring
people. Many are younger than Trotsky was, and they deserve much more than
him to be considered revolutionary heroes. However, people of the ilk of
Hugh, will consider Trotsky a genius because he "led a Soviet at 26" - and
these heroes of today, are considered by him as "deformed peasants"! The
only deformed and degenerated minds are the minds of those who try to build
straw personalities in the base of personal curriculums which many times
have nothing to do with any special sort of heroism.
You will look in vain in bourgeois or "leftie" history books for an
extensive account of these unsung events - just as unsung as most of the
great proletarian and popular actions are - since these kind of incidents
are all subsummed under "communist agitation" and "student troubles" in the
ruling class version of our history - althought that is never simply the
case, since the student movement acted then under leadership of the
proletarian party and the working class actively participated in such
seizures, provoking always many sympathy strikes and great agitation among
the working class too, who were always in the forefront of the struggle.
However, if you too are infatuated with historical events and the personal
curriculum of people - you can indeed look up the records of the Segunda
Zona Judicial de Policia - as I said before - and there you will find that
charges for armed rebellion, organising armed groups, treason and insult to
the motherland, etc. - as usual - were indeed brought against me in
conjunctions with that period of my early participation in the class
struggle in our country.
The Trotskyst demagoges wanted to BOAST AND TRUMPET such a simple thing as
being appointed to head an organ of seizure of power of the labouring people
as if this was something only a genius could do. Thus, they make their bid
for claiming genius like qualities for the wind-bag Trotsky, just because he
was 26 when it happened to be his responsability to assume a commission from
Thanks to my Peruvian fellow countryman for giving me the pleasure, once
again, to beat Hugh at his own game of Trotskyst bluff and bluster!
Just a question? As a modest "young militant", how many Soviet actions of
the type I have described have you taken part lately? It is to your
generation that the most decisive part of our revolutionary history has
fallen. Some of us could just only be at the early stages of the opening of
the road and play now a different role in this long process. There are
plenty of opportunities for these "embryonic forms of the revolutionary
power of the working people and for "modest young militants" in particular,
everywhere in Peru.
BYTW: The PCP, as such, did not support Belaunde! "Unidad" (Del Prado's
anti-Stalin, anti-Mao revisionist publication usurped the Central
Committee's authority to endorse Belaunde) and many Trotskysts also did vote
for Belaunde too.
It was due to that usurpation of the Party name that Del Prado was expelled
>from the Party. Your history seems to be much influenced by the bourgeois
outside observer school or that of the Military High command run United
Left. Maybe a closer militancy IN THE REVOLUTION is not uncalled for in
That is, supposing you are really a revolutionary, and not just one of those
3 recently acquired subscribers accounts emanating from Peru who have been
honouring with their silent presence this modest marxism list (one
originating from an account at the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the
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listo Carlos, ahora si los recibi.
Why so much secret downloadings? We are - with a few exceptions - rather
civilized by now here. Maybe it is time for everyone here to be introduced,
don't you think?
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