FWD : Poder Obrero on Peruvian Workers Organisations

Jj Plant jplant at cix.compulink.co.uk
Wed Oct 9 23:57:00 MDT 1996

The following is forwarded from Poder Obrero :

Jorn from Denmark wrote correctly:

> I think we have had much more information on the
>state of the *mass organizations*, especially *workers'* organizations >from
their quite few posts than we have had from the *hundreds* of posts >of
Oleachea. I *have* read a lot of his posts - too many - but *very* >little is
said about the state of the workers' mass organizations.

>What I find most provoking is the (Oleachea line of) argument that if >you
criticize the PCP_SL then you are objectively an agent of Fujimoro.

We just received an e-mail re-sent from somebody in the marxist list in
which is published two journal of another PCPSL faction (The Red Flag). In none
of their multiple articles is there any reference to the workers'

Olaechea replied to Jorn:

"The state of the Peruvian "working class organisations" under fascism!
Under conditions of fascism, such unions, which in Peru, at the best of
times, congregated only about 15% of the work force, are not fighting unions
and cannot be fighting unions, irrespective of the wishes of some or even the
majority of its members."

This is simply fantastic misinformation.

For the PCPSL *everybody is "FASCIST"*:

- The nationalist Nasserite junta in 1968-75;
- All the democratic parliamentary civic bourgeois regimes since the 1980s
(including the APRA, member of the second [social democratic] international)
 - All the regimes in the so call socialist countries (from the former USSR to
China, Vietnam and Cuba).
_ All the left, the trotskyists and the workers unions.

Peru lives under a bourgeois democratic parliamentary system with strong
bonapartist and militaristic characteristics. We are not living in
conditions like Hitler, Mussolini or Franco in which one single mass party
smashed the unions and the parliamentary institutions.

We have a regime which has many legal parties and unions. Fujimori was
elected with more than 50% in 1990 and later in 1995. Of course "our" democracy
is much different than in Europe. We have state of
emergency in half of the country. There are masked military tribunal which can
judge "terrorists" and sentence them to be in jail all their lives. There are
terrible anti-union laws. It's a militarised pseudo-democracy.

Olaechea condemned the Peruvian unions as bosses unions which supported
fascism. That's *completely false*.For him there "are not fighting unions
and cannot be fighting unions".

Lets see some examples. In 1976 a strong fishery workers strikes started a
process of workers regroupment. On 19 July 1977 tens of national unions plus
the CGTP (main national union confederation led by the pro-Moscow CP) launched
a 24 hours massive general strike. The workers made barricades and they pushed
the junta to return to the barracks. In May 1978 several regions were in
general strike, in May a 48 general hours strike shaken the country and massive
miner, teacher and student strikes happened after. In 1978 the state workers,
who were not allowed to have unions, created the CITE, a single union with more
than 1/2 million members which also organised demonstrations with tens of
thousands. In 1978 in Moquegua, Pucalpa and other regions the population
started to created people's assemblies and defensive fronts as proto-soviets.

The trotskyists became the MAIN force in the left. We were particularity
strong amongst the metallurgical, iron, miners, shoe, chemical, bank and
textile workers. Nevertheless, the pro-Moscow CP led the industrial unions, the
pro-China CP unions  led the students and teachers and the "new left" (later
the PUM) led the peasant unions. The PCPSL was COMPLETELY ABSENT from that
process. They openly advocated the destruction of all these organisations and
to BOYCOTT the general strikes.

In the 1980s the Peruvian, Ecuatorian, Bolivian, Argentinean and Chilean
unions made several general strikes. The most radical point in Peru was 1988 in
which we had 4 general strikes. In november 1987 3,000 delegates for most of
the workers, peasants and shanty towns organisations created a proto-soviet:

In the late 1980s the PCPSL modified its tactic towards the unions. They
started to penetrate into them. Nevertheless, they opposed the general
strikes. They called for "armed strikes" which were not convened by the
unions but by secret elites. In reality they were massive lock outs in which
the small bosses closed their business because they were afraid to be bombed or

In the late 1980s the miners made two big general strikes. The PCPSL adopted a
very provocative attitude. They destroyed electricity posts and
miner/industrial plants. They killed MANY union leaders in the middle of
rank and file assemblies. They told the miners that their assemblies have to
take no action except orders from their party.

Saul Cantoral, the general secretary of the Peruvian miners union, was
killed and his corpse there was a sign of the PCPSL. He was much more
radical than Scargill. he claim to be marxist-leninist and he openly had some
sympathies with the MRTA, another guerrilla groups which the PCPSL also tried
to destroy.

We don't support the union bureaucracy. In every union congress the
trotskyists fought against the stalinists and the United Left. Nevertheless, we
think that it is possible to influence the unions. In fact, different
trotskyist forces led very important union : from the two main banks, from some
mines, from the biggest iron, from the textile union, two of the biggest
metallurgical factories, etc.

Olaechea said that the Peruvian unions "are not fighting unions and cannot be
fighting unions". So, what they are? For him there are "fascist" and "bosses"
union incapable of being reformed and for that reason they have to be SMASHED.

In Peru in the late 1980s it was possible to see some graffiti in the walls
which said "Smash the CGTP", "Smash the People's assembly; fascist body".

Olaechea said;

"Moreover, what the Fujimori flunkeys are defending is not the rank and file
workers who are memebers of the Unions, but the Union bosses, such as the
Peruvian Willis, and what - an insult to the miner's leader who under British
conditions stands apart from the run of the mill Union bosses in many aspects
Scargill - they call the "peruvian Scargill".

Olaechea is justifying the assassination of union leaders (from very
combative ones to stalinist bureaucrats).

Olaechea wrote :

"the question of the character of the "General Strikes" called by the Union
bosses and the role these play in the counter-insurgency strategy of the

As every body can see, Olaechea characterised the general strikes against
the regime and the bosses as part of the "counter-insurgency strategy of the
reactionaries". The conclusion, the PCPSL have to fight ARMS IN HANDS
against such strikes!

In one e-mail Olaechea said that 90% of Peruvians are unemployed. Now he
decided to change. He put a quotation of a left reformist which said:
"I am sure not to be mistaken in saying that FROM 1975 to 1992 THE WORKING
we are going backwards as a result of an economic crisis which EVERY-DAY
generates more recession, more PARALYSIS OF THE PRODUCTIVE APPARATUS, producing
millions of street hawkers just eking the most meagre living".

Olaechea's conclusion is that the workers class is not an important factor.
With neo-liberal policies the percentage of the industrial workers in all the
imperialist world diminished and the workers in services increased in number.
The combative British mines are almost all closed. We recognised that the
working class suffered a defeat and is in organisational and numerical retreat.
There are new laws which nearly
prohibit the right to strike. The level of unionisation is very low.
Nevertheless there are thousands of new companies with new super-exploited
workers who have to work more than 8 hours every day for weekly wages that are
less than one hour work of a German worker.

We want to be part of the reorganisation process of the Peruvian workers
movement. The PCPSL is responsible for the disorganisation and destruction of
many unions. They defend the small property which is against the wage workers.
The PCPSL is against the big companies but also against the industrial workers.

As every body can see Olaechea openly described the Peruvian workers
organisations as "fascists", "not fighting unions and cannot be fighting
unions", etc. He also said that the general strikes played a "reactionary" role
in the counter-insurgency strategy.

Poder Obrero

jplant at cix.compulink.co.uk

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