Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMhotmail.com
Sat Aug 28 23:25:14 MDT 1999

>Macdonald, As once I asked Louis, I do it now with you. Why do you insist
>this defence of Sendero?

I can't speak for Louis, but I will speak of Louis. In fact, his one piece
on Sendero that he wrote awhile ago was one of the first times I saw
anything that seemed to ring true for me, when I found it some year ago.
Seeing the way in which others have written of the PCP made me feel instinct
gravitation towards them, in fact. The worst sort of denunciations came
forth, ones that sounded like typical liberalism in their crude
anti-communism. The Trotskyists fared no better, being bogged down in a
position that seemed even more seething than anything from the NYTimes. I
found the few stories that changed my perception coming mostly from the
refugees who were also supporters, and not some of the more stridently weird
"generated organisms". These all were such extremities it was absolutely
impossible to get any information from any left-ism. I can only take this, I
hope instinctive stance. If they were able to galvanize people as to the
point of being on the edge of destroying a rotten system/state, then I
believe it had enough positive qualities to warrant my solidarity. What else
would be true, that I, in my apartment know better than the Peruvians?
Something very powerful was at work, especially considering two factors that
I find tremendously exciting. The group had pulled this out of nothing, and
was sustaining it entirely on their own. As well, I also consider a
revolution that is roughly 50 percent female cadre to be of tremendous
significance. This has stuck in our collective revolutionary craws- why are
we so poor in galvanizing the female population.  This is of massive
positive consequence.

>You havn´t answered my last email on this issue. And you repeat here some
>arguments that I wrote against.
>What Juan, I think, has been trying to explain is the isolation of Sendero.
>You speak on a "seige of Lima" what is the propagandistic name for a
>terrorist action, without the participation of the masses. And I insist in
>my affirmation: "La posicion ultraizquierdista, antiurbana y abstractamente
>anticapitalista de Sendero determinaba que, en los hechos, tuviesen como
>principal contradiccion la de "capitalismo - socialismo" y no la de
>"independencia nacional - imperialismo". The ultraleftist, anti-urban, and
>abstractly anti-capitalistic politics of Sendero did that, in fact, they
>as principal contradiction "capitalism vs. socialism" and not "national
>independence vs. imperialism".

I am trying gather an answer to a question now. Are you to say that a PCP
victory would (have) be(en) a bad thing?
> > >Macdonald Stainsby wrote:
> > >
> > >- Juan
> > I'm not wxactly sure what you are asking for. If you mean targets, I
> > certainly am not here to deny that they have been often reckless. That
> > not the point. The targets are selected on the basis of making the
> > ungovernable for reaction.
>The country was not managed by reaction at that time, but a petty bourgeois
>nationalistic movement in struggle against the imperialism. The principal
>target of Sendero was this government. And they get the target. This
>government lost the election and Fujimori came. If Fujimori hadn´t winned,
>the president would have been the incredible Vargas Llosa, an man who was
>truely worried on the human rights during Garcia´s government.
Is he prefferable to you than the PCP? I can not buy the argument that goes:
There is someone inside the system trying to improve our situation, it would
be better to not come at this from the outside and scare down the whole
house of cards. If such an argument is true, it states that power could not
be taken, so why try. I reject this answer, and applaud that decision by the
PCP as well.
   Any movement that has any real power can sustain "two fronts", one that
is a political without weapons wing, and one that is not. I do agree that it
can be a divisive and weakening position to attack the government top to
bottom and not distinguish between any faction of the state apparatus, but
it is still the state we are talking about.

> > Fortunately (in this
> > scenario) for many of the revolutionary movements that have employed
> > the states are often straight up dictatorships, such as Vietnam or
> > the case of "window dressing" elections, as in Peru, when a decision is
> > to attack (physically or through propaganda) such institutions, you will
> > up with a scenario of armed members of a revolutionary army vs. an array
> > revolutionary speakers (who can have been working with real passion and,
> > indeed proper motivation).
>Nonsense. This is not to know what one is speaking about.
> >    In Peru, these conflicts have occured during the seige of Lima in
> > particular. The attacks on infrastructure has resulted in a number of
> > indiscriminate deaths. Lamentable, but is it condemnable? Only if we can
> > convince ourselves of several factors:
> > 1. There is absolutely no way that such measures are actually weakening
> > state apparatus to the brink of collapse on other fronts.
> >
> > 2. The stories of "madmen" are accurate to the point where the size of
> > army and it's ability to trust sectors of the population are not in any
> > commensurate with a revolutioary force (which is the option, we either
> > believe thay are crazy terrorists and that their sustaining and growing
> > power over a space of time is a tremendous fluke, or we believe that the
> > same group trhat started the "People's War" has slowly and
> > terrorized the polulation into joining it. This second role belongs to
> > far more powerful foe- Fujimori's US backed government)
> >
> > 3. The world could somehow be better off by asking a revolutionary
> > to disband and leave Peru in the US/Capitalist grip. This option appears
> > have been forced upon us, and anyone who celebrates this should
> > consider the long-term consequences for the country of Peru, the
> > of South America and the world at large which is in desperate need of
> > knowledge that, yes, Imperialism can fall. Not likely, however, when we
> > attack our comrades.
>Sincerely I don´t understand this points. I mean, I understand the words
>not the sense. Can you explain it for me.
In a nutshell, it is better that this far from perfect group succeeds than
to hope for a vacuum.

> >
> > 4. We also need to be able to prove that there is a true and tested
> > that WILL succeed, which is impossible through mere theory. What is
> > is solidarity!
> >
>Yes. But the solidarity can´t forbid us the critique about the estrategical
>and tactical errors.

Very much agreed, and it is the biggest critique that no such argument could
be made to the inner ring of power in the PCP. However, knowing how
tremendously powerful the medias propaganda is here, I have to take a
different stategy. Here inside the beast, it is better to not lie about
anything, but moreover discuss the gross distortions that are prevalent
among the few who have actually heard of the PCP (almost everyone call them
Shining Path, newspapers to civilians) . To explain why a revolution is/was
taking place is to discuss the situation in Peru, and to expose US
Imperialism. It is otherwise similar to the "both side critique" that I find
so loathsome in situations like the NATO bombing.
          For yourself, I imagine a very different scenario, you organize
among those who already have at least some understanding of Imperialism from
daily life. That is all I can really say on this matter.

Solidarity is not to applaud each shot that is
>triggered in the world by people who consider themselves as comunists. As
>you self has written, in a better english: "It is not enough to say
>"communist"  to merely get off the hook".

Very true, but a peasant army is very different than a cell of, say, the Red
Brigades in Italy.


>With regards
>Julio F.B.

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