Forwarded from Sue Tang (Shining Path)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Feb 16 18:04:51 MST 2001

Quagmire of the "Shining Path"…

There’s no end in sight to confusion that has gripped Peru’s
revolutionaries since 1992. The overseas Peruvian supporters of the
"Shining Path," the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) have split into three,
perhaps four, mutually antagonistic groupings, each vowing to "smash" and
"destroy" the other. These groupings seem to reflect the divisions within
the domestic organization. This is a far cry from the apparently monolithic
unity of the PCP that existed prior to the capture of Party leader Chairman
Gonzalo in 1992. One year after his arrest, what appeared to be Gonzalo was
on national television reading a statement calling for the PCP to struggle
for peace talks to at least temporarily halt the revolutionary war that had
raged since 1980. Immediately, the principle overseas PCP supporters
condemned this as either the result of an elaborate CIA hoax, or the result
of unseen tortures and druggings. Either way, this was declared not to be
Chairman Gonzalo in actual fact. It is true that his TV speech was not
consistent with his prior, steadfast conviction that Peruvian
"bureaucrat-capitalism" was consigned to an irreversible crisis, and that
armed struggle was the only hope.

Soon, news of factional struggles between PCP groups supporting and
opposing the peace talks proposition appeared in the Peruvian and
international press. There were rumors of violence between these factions.
Abroad, Luis Arce Borja, the publisher of the pro-PCP magazine El Diario
Internacional, and the Revolutionary International Movement (RIM) split.
The RIM is the international Maoist grouping that joins many parties,
including the PCP and the RCP, USA, led by Bob Avakian. Due to the war, the
PCP did not have ongoing, formal liaison with the RIM. Both Arce Borja,
headquartered in Belgium, and the RIM, whose leading spokesman was the
French-headquartered Avakian, agreed that "peace talks" were a hoax of
Fujimori and the CIA, but had an ideological falling out on other issues
concerning the guidelines for unity within the international movement. Arce
Borja was under the patronage of the rather large Belgian Labor Party
(PTB), a group that is more Stalinist than Maoist, and that maintains
support for China, Cuba, and North Korea. Opposed to these two
international groups are the supporters of the peace accord line.

The pro-peace faction has the least support among foreign Maoist parties;
they have official alliance only with the Communist Party of Spain (MLM).
Here’s the slogan of the faction that believes that Chairman Gonzalo
genuinely thinks that peace talks must be pursued with the Peruvian state,
so as to end the war: "Uphold our Strategic Ideological Weapon of Gonzalo
Thought, Specifically and Principally, Defend the Unity of the Party, Smash
the Revisionist Line and Demolish the Splittist Bloc!" The Arce Borja
faction networks through the PTB and its fraternal organizations,
attempting to not only promote its vision of the Peruvian situation, but
also promote unity among various forces, including those that were
supporters of the Soviet Union. The RIM networks through its sister parties
internationally, and through MPP (Peru People’s Movements, the name for the
PCP’s overseas organizations) formations. Each faction lays claim to the
name MPP, it should be noted. Additionally, there is a grouping around a
New York City magazine called New Flag, which for reasons unknown to me,
opposes all three other factions. Indeed, the situation is complicated!
With the fall of Fujimori, who I always thought of as Peru’s "Chiang
Kai-Shek," it will be interesting to see if fascism is maintained, or if a
"return to democracy" occurs. Either way, the PCP will have to struggle
very hard if it is to reestablish organizational and ideological unity,
which is the precondition for it once again becoming a potent political
force, military or not.

…Meanwhile, Nepal War Deepens

The RIM-affiliated Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN(M)] has steadily
increased its political influence and military strength since the
initiation of guerrilla warfare on January 1, 1997. The communist movement
in Nepal is very strong, in both the electoral and non-electoral arenas.
When a mass movement forced the Nepalese King Birendra to introduce
multiparty parliamentary democracy over ten years ago, the Communist Party
(Unified Marxist-Leninist) [UML] emerged as one of the nation’s two largest
parties, along with the liberal, social-democratic Congress party. For a
time, a UML member headed a communist government. The UML upholds some
aspects of Mao Zedong’s ideology, but generally considers Maoism to be a
leftist, adventurist deviation. The UML today has fraternal relations with
the Communist Party of China. The CPN(M) considers the electoral UML a
revisionist, counter-revolutionary group, while at the same time it vies
for the allegiance of UML-allied trade union and farmer activists, with
some success. The Indian "Naxalite" Maoist rebellion of the late 1960’s
resonated powerfully throughout the subcontinent, and laid a strong basis
in Nepal for the political appeal of Maoism as a revolutionary option. It
is perhaps, in part, for this reason that the UML and other self-proclaimed
are usually generally supportive of Mao Zedong.

The CPN(M) initiated guerrilla war in 1997, with extremely limited military
resources, against the Nepalese state, which itself was very weak
militarily, by regional standards. Since that time, the Party’s armed
forces have implemented successful armed strikes, and have developed
initial base areas, especially in the west, which is comparatively poor and
is home to national minority groups. The CPN(M) fights for the minimum
demand of abolishing the feudal monarchy, and of the establishment of a
republic. Its long-range plan is to create a people’s democracy, viewing
the foundation of the People’s Republic of China as a precursor. The Party
also has been inspired by the experience of the PCP’s war in Peru, and has
attempted to learn from it. The CPN(M) would seem to have a different view
of the united front than the PCP, it should be noted. In the 1980’s, when
Peruvian President Alan Garcia proposed peace talks with the PCP, the
response of the PCP was unequivocal: the PCP would only pursue negotiations
if the old regime were prepared to unconditionally hand over political
power. Of course, this was not the case. The CPN(M), on the other hand, has
been open to talks with the Nepalese state, and has a more nuanced view of
the differences between various factional interests within the state. The
Nepalese Maoists’ distinction between minimum and maximum programs has
allowed for a range of political freedom as to how best push forward the
Nepalese revolution.

Looking at communist historical experience, the Communist Party of China
(CPC) was continuously an armed organization from the late 1920’s, right up
until the seizure of power in 1949. At first the CPC was allied with the
nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) under Sun Yat-sen, then, after Chiang
Kai-shek’s anti-communist coup, it launched a revolutionary war. When the
Japanese invaded, the CPC fought very hard to force Chiang Kai-shek into an
anti-Japanese alliance; Chiang fought this all the way, but circumstances
forced him to formally accept this. After the Japanese were defeated, the
CPC fought to maintain the CPC-KMT concord. Chiang’s fascism would not
permit this, however, and he started a new civil war, the second
revolutionary war, which ended when he fled to Taiwan province. The CPC
adopted a flexible strategy and tactics, in response to a complicated set
of circumstances, the result being the military victory of the
revolutionary armed forces. It is only by implementing such a strategy and
tactics, guided by a "voluntarist" view of history, that a revolutionary
armed force in Peru, Nepal, or anywhere else, may seize power and implement
its political program.

Louis Proyect
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