By the Editorial Board
Chairman Gonzalo, also known as Dr. Abimael Guzman Reynoso, died on September 11 at the age of 86, following 29 years of a prolonged assassination by the old Peruvian State, backed by US imperialism. Chairman Gonzalo is the celebrated leader of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP, Partido Comunista del Peru) and the Peruvian Revolution. He is the greatest Communist of the modern era, who, through his leadership and thought, developed the highest stage of the ideology of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, a weapon which can never be taken away from the workers and oppressed peoples of the world.
The recently elected reactionary president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, carried out the final act of Gonzalo’s execution, which has been 29 years in the making since his capture on September 12, 1992. Since then, Gonzalo has been held in solitary confinement at the Callao Naval Base in a prison specially built for him. He lived there in subhuman conditions, constituting physical and psychological torture. Over time, his jailers allowed for an easily treatable skin cancer to metastasize in order to kill him in a manner that they believed would strip him of his dignity and diminish his stature.
In July, reports emerged that Gonzalo’s health was worsening and he had been transferred to a military hospital. This led to another surge of the international campaign to defend the life and health of Chairman Gonzalo, which has persisted since his capture. Across the world, revolutionaries and progressives have carried out actions and events to denounce the assassination plans of the US-backed Peruvian State. With his death, the campaign is flourishing to honor Chairman Gonzalo, his all-powerful thought, and the People’s War in Peru, which still continues undefeated against the Peruvian state.
A Defeat for the Reactionaries
Chairman Gonzalo was born on December 3, 1934, in Arequipa. He became a philosophy professor and took up the dialectical and historical materialism of Marxism, mastering it while teaching at the public university in Ayacucho, which became the initial stronghold of the PCP.
Gonzalo visited China during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) led by Chairman Mao, where he was inspired by the greatest mobilization of the masses in history as they bombarded the bourgeois elements in society, struggling with and without arms to continue the revolution under socialism. Gonzalo returned to Peru to continue the process of fighting as the red fraction of the PCP. He fought for the revolutionary line and expelled the 1st Right-Opportunist Line (ROL) from the Party in order to initiate the armed struggle on May 17, 1980.
In the reactionary media’s announcement of Gonzalo’s death, they called him a “terrorist” and used the occasion to spread anti-communist propaganda. Opportunists and revisionists (false Marxists) join in this, and seek to downplay or dismiss Chairman Gonzalo’s role and importance as the leader of the world proletarian revolution. To be attacked by the enemy is a good thing and shows that one is beyond co-optation and a line has been drawn. While the reactionaries of the world spit on Gonzalo’s grave, Gonzalo delivered a defeat to them upon his death. He died never once betraying the People’s War in Peru, and gave his life as part of the quota to pay for making revolution.
When asked by El Diario in 1988, “How does it feel to be the man most wanted by the repressive forces of the government?” Gonzalo responded:
“It feels like you are doing your job and working hard at it. What remains is to shoulder more responsibility for the revolution, the Party, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, for our class, the people and the masses. And to always understand that we carry our lives on our fingertips. If that weren’t so, we couldn’t be communists.”
Creatively Applying Marx, Lenin, and Mao to Peru
At the time of Gonzalo’s CIA-backed capture in 1992, the PCP controlled up to 60% of Peru and was on the verge of taking power throughout the entire country. Remarkably, they accomplished this feat without there being another socialist country in the world to assist them.
The People’s War in Peru began in 1980, four years after China had fully taken the capitalist path following the death of Chairman Mao in 1976, and long after the Soviet Union had become revisionist since Nikita Khrushchev’s rise to power in the 1950s. The imperialists used these setbacks to claim that Communism had ‘failed’, but Chairman Gonzalo proved the reaction’s evaluation was bankrupt, as the PCP waged struggle to reconstitute the Party and initiate the People’s War in these conditions. The People’s War in Peru is a self-sustained revolution fighting the odds against the biggest imperialist in the world, the United States, which has constantly provided the old Peruvian state with weapons and resources.
Chairman Gonzalo took the lessons of the international proletariat, beginning with Karl Marx and the workers struggles of the 1800s; from the Russian Revolution led by Lenin; and from the Chinese Revolution and GPCR led by Chairman Mao Zedong, and creatively applied these to the concrete reality of Peru. This process synthesized the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought, confirming its truth in the People’s War in Peru.
The reactionaries paint Gonzalo, the PCP, and the masses under their leadership as “terrorists,” however, it is the backwards, semi-feudal, semi-colonial system of the big bourgeoisie which commits genocide and brings poverty and misery to the people of Peru. The People’s War has mobilized the most exploited workers of the cities and the poorest people of the countryside–mostly indigenous peasants who live under a semifeudal, racist order.
While the megacities of Latin America crawl into the capitalist epoch, the countryside of Peru is even more backwards, where the only solution to the misery sowed by the big landlords is an agrarian revolution that will give land to those who live and work on it, and tying this fight to the New Democratic Revolution. The New Democratic Revolution is an alliance between the progressive classes, especially the proletariat which leads the revolution and the peasantry which serves as its principal force. Their goal is to expel imperialism, overthrow semi-feudalism by seizing the land from the big landlords and redistributing it among the poor peasants, and taking control of capital to develop the national economy.
Through his leadership of the PCP and its People’s War, Chairman Gonzalo championed those people who have nothing, but have everything to gain. He gave his life in service to the people and the fight for Communism. Chairman Gonzalo’s death is heavier than the Andes mountains, and revolutionaries worldwide are shedding tears and deeply mourning his passing.
However, it is not the time to pause or slow down the fight for revolution. When comrades are martyred, the most fitting tribute is to take up a post in revolution, to dedicate yourself to the study and practice of the scientific, proletarian ideology: Maoism. The task is left to the proletariat and people of the world, as directed by Chairman Gonzalo, to constitute or reconstitute militarized Communist Parties, based in Maoism, in order to launch People’s Wars against the old societies, whether in the imperialist countries or in the countries oppressed by imperialism.
Communists Fear Nothing
In his interview with El Diario, Chairman Gonzalo described courage as a unity of opposites, saying, “I believe that fear and lack of fear form a contradiction. The point is to take up our ideology, and unleash the courage within us.”
Chairman Gonzalo did not fear death, because he had faith in the masses of the world, who he knew would continue his work in their inevitable march towards Communism. This will take place through New Democratic Revolution in the Third World, uninterrupted towards socialism, while Socialist Revolution is necessary in the imperialist countries. Under socialism, societies require waves of Cultural Revolutions in order to reach the day that the state, money, and classes are obsolete. Only then, when this happens across the globe, will all of humanity enter Communism together. This process is what is meant by the slogan, People’s War Until Communism!
Tribune of the People joins the people of the world to salute Chairman Gonzalo as the greatest son of the Communist Party of Peru and the international proletariat, who will continue his fight for a new world. Chairman Gonzalo gave his life for the World Proletarian Revolution, never once dropping the red flag which represents the blood that he and many other sons and daughters of the masses have given and will continue to give–the red flag which leads us towards humanity’s Communist future.
In Chairman Gonzalo’s own words: “What remains is the satisfaction of contributing together with others to laying the foundation so that some day communism may shine and illuminate the entire earth.”
Eternal Honor and Glory to Chairman Gonzalo!
Long Live the Communist Party of Peru!
Long Live the People’s War in Peru!
Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Down with Revisionism!