the critical comment from PCm's comrade
Contropiano - an online newspaper that belongs to the "Network of the Communists"- associates itself with the regime press and infamous the memory of President Gonzalo and the Peruvian Revolution.
"One thing must be clear from the start: we are talking about the story of a failed and terribly tragic political and insurrectionary experiment, of which Abimael Guzmàn was the main culprit".
"Comrade" Bruscolotti says, not on the pages of "La Repubblica" or "Il Giornale" but on "Contropiano", in an article of 14th of September entitled "President Gonzalo dies in prison", but let's take a step back.
Notes on the historical experience of the People's War in Peru directed by the Chairman of the PCP Gonzalo
On 11th of September the last, after 29 years of imprisonment in solitary confinement, Comrade Gonzalo died, the chairman of the Communist Party of Peru under whose leadership in 1980 the revolution was launched following the strategy of Protracted People's War, led by the communist party and mainly by peasants and indigenous peoples and supported by proletarian masses in the cities, with many students and intellectuals who took part on it.
A revolution that until 1992 brought the Peruvian regime to its knees, which was subservient to mainly US imperialism. The CPP came to conquer large areas of the country. Against the armed masses, the regime did not hesitate to use the most inhuman counter-revolutionary practices with the full support of the CIA, causing tens of thousands of deaths.
For example, it did not hesitate to put down with the army a rebellion of the CPP prisoners in revolt in the El Fronton prison and in two others on June 18, 1986, where after a heroic resistance of two days to the assaults by the army that literally bombed the prisons to enter them, about 300 comrades fell fighting.
Meanwhile, in the countryside, in the liberated areas, the "nuevo poder" (the embryo of the new people's state) was being built, the landowners were driven out, and the peasants took possession of the land, the local speculators linked to the corrupt national ruling class, the comprador bourgeoisie that sells off national resources imperialism, they were expelled. The "revolutionary contagion" also reached the suburbs of Lima, the capital.
In September 1992, however, the regime managed to arrest President Gonzalo in Lima in a house where he lived with other comrades including some members of the central committee.
The golpist president Fujimori excitated by the arrest of the most wanted revolutionary in the world, on September 24, 1992, called a press conference in which President Gonzalo was shown with a prison coat inside a cage in an attempt to humiliate him and hit the revolutionary morale of the fighters of the People's Liberation Army and the PCP, but on the contrary that day will always be remembered for the "speech of the cage" in which Gonzalo contextualized his arrest calling it "one of the many turns of the Revolution, nothing more" appealing to the Peruvian people, to the party and the people's army to persevere along the revolutionary path.
Like other revolutionaries imprisoned around the world, since he never having bowed his head and not having renounced the revolutionary principles, the bourgeoisie made him pay for it by "burying him alive" in a cell of a few square meters in isolation in the maximum security military prison on the island of Callao for 29 years, that is, until his murder and in recent months he was denied the necessary treatment. An international campaign in defense of his life had already begun in various countries of the world, also supported by the largest communist party in the world: the Communist Party of India (Maoist) which directs the People's War in that country.
The Peruvian revolution broke out in a critical international context for the revolutionaries, in the '80s the USSR and China had by now abandoned socialism and no longer served as support bases for the World Proletarian Revolution, on the contrary the parties in power in those countries "exported" revisionism internationally by spreading theories such as those of "peaceful coexistence" with capitalism and thus discouraging the revolutionary path that was present at its initial stage in difficult contexts isolated from each other as in the Philippines, India and Turkey.
The beginning of the Peruvian Revolution was therefore an element of positive countertrend: its initial success year after year was a beacon that transmitted optimism to the peoples of the world, inspiring new revolutions such as the People's War in Nepal which broke out on February 13, 1996.
In a period of revolutionary and ideological reflux, from the Andes to the Himalayas the oppressed and indigenous peoples waved the red flag, favored by the birth of the Internationalist Revolutionary Movement, an international organization that united these experiences and the parties that animated them to which the CPP gave a great contribution.
In the dozens of messages published in recent days on the occasion of the assassination of Chairman Gonzalo, many revolutionary parties that today wage revolutionary armed struggles such as the Communist Party of the Philippines or the TKP / ML in Turkey, as well as the fighting communists in Rojava have underlined the contribution given by Chairman Gonzalo, the PCP and the People's War in Peru to their revolutions.
When the "communists" become the useful idiots of the dominant thought
We Communists have been learning in over a century and a half of proletarian revolutions how the bourgeoisie is capable of demonizing all revolutionary attempts, of slandering them, depicting them with horror and so on, the same fate befell the Peruvian revolution and the Chairman Gonzalo who is defined by the Peruvian bourgeois press in the service of his own regime and of imperialism as a "genocidal and bloodthirsty terrorist".
Nothing new and nothing strange, in a society divided into classes, this one is "branded" by the rules and ideas of the ruling class: "The ideas of the ruling class are in every age the dominant ideas; that is, the class which is the dominant material power of society and at the same time its dominant spiritual power" writes Marx in "The German Ideology", we Communists do the enormous work of countering the influence of such ideas with our means and conquering the hegemony in our class, using Gramsci's category.
What is especially interesting is to read articles of the same tenor, with similar epithets from the "Black Book of Communism", in press organs that pretend themselves to be "communists".
The first, apparently banal, issue that jumps to the eye in this article is the denigrating terminology used, typical of the bourgeois press: the leadership group of the CPP arrested in '92 is defined as the "dome of sendero", the comrades who adhered to Gonzalo's line are referred to as "his followers", implicitly portraying the CPP as a sort of mafia / sect group while the CPP was for over 12 years the most influential revolutionary party in Latin America, a party with a Bolshevik organization able to build during the years, dozens of mass organizations in the most disparate sectors of society from the countryside to the cities, is finally liquidated as a "Peruvian armed group".
And again in a disparaging way it is affirmed: "SL an anomaly in the history of the revolutionary left both Latin American and world", we agree on that but in the sense that perhaps never since the victory of the October Revolution, or since it was " tested "and verified the functioning of the Leninist party as an organizational war machine to overthrow the bourgeois state and that of the Chinese Revolution, when the "test" was also extended to the oppressed countries, a communist party, in Latin America and beyond, with its leadership managed in such a short time to structure itself, delimiting itself from the reformist swamp, to launch the revolutionary armed struggle and to achieve such results in terms of mass base, political viability, territorial control, military maneuver and so on.
To remain in South America, the "armed groups" (these are) that the "left" groups in Europe like such as the Farc-EP or the Zapatistas have never had a theoretical-ideological firmness, a clarity on the political-military strategy and above all on the revolutionary objective which is the conquest and destruction of the bourgeois state machine and its replacement by a proletarian state machine, such as the CPP. It is no coincidence in Peru, the referent of this self-referential "armed reformism" disconnected from the mass struggle, the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, was relegated to the background in the years of the People's War.
Describing the historical information about the theoretical-ideological formation of President Gonzalo and the birth of the Partido Comunista del Perù por el Sendero Luminoso de Jose Carlos Mariategui (the full name of the party) and the launch and development of the People's War in Peru, an attitude dominated by prejudices, petty bourgeois ideas and confusion about the Revolution is evident.
The author of the article dismisses this application of Marxism (already in the 1980s Marxism-Leninism-Maoism) free from any dogmatism to copy the Chinese experience (which Gonzalo had known directly while visiting the country during the first years of the Great Cultural Revolution Proletarian) as: "an eclectic intertwining of Mariateguism and Maoism with some Kantian element".
The confusion in the author's head mixed with notional knowledge brings out eclecticism where it does not exist: the analysis of Mariategui (the founder of the Communist Party of Peru) and not the "mariateguism" that does not exist, it is none other than the creative and non-dogmatic application of Marxism-Leninism to the Peruvian reality (and in particular taking into account the presence of indigenous peoples), Mariategui is defined by some as "the Latin American Gramsci".
Gramsci and Mariategui met in Italy and shared a lot in terms of theoretical analysis and political stands: the party founded by Mariategui also embraced the Third International stand before and the Comintern one, later.
The consequent Marxist-Leninist-Maoists in each country start from a historical balance of the most advanced political experience in their own country, in Italy for example we cannot ignore the enormous contribution made by Gramsci, the Anti-Fascist Resistance and the experience of the armed struggle in the 70s; and this would be eclecticism?
Finally, the fact that Gonzalo in one of his university theses analyzed Kant's theory of space from a Marxist point of view, makes our author think that Gonzalo has integrated elements of Kantian philosophy into MLM: such a ridiculous thesis has never been advanced by no detractor of the CPP, in Peru as in the world
On the contrary, an internationally recognized merit to Chairman Gonzalo is precisely the extreme subtlety and ability in assuming Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to understand its general laws and apply them to the reality of one's country in creative and non-dogmatic forms (in this sense also in the light of of Mariategui's analysis and developing it).
The confusion of the Contropiano article continues to emerge when it tackles the topic of the protracted people's war strategy, highlighting a real political illiteracy.
According to the author, Chairman Gonzalo thought it well to develop his own theory of the People's War as opposed to that of Mao's one, we quote verbatim:
"[...] succeeded in initiating the People's War of the 1980s, conceived as a 'war of movement from the countryside to the city' and considered at a strategic level even more effective than the 'protracted people's war' theorized and practiced by Mao."
If the "comrade" had bothered to consult Mao's military writings, perhaps he would understand that the theory of protracted people's war is divided into different strategic phases, moreover it is not a military strategy tout court but a global war against the enemy that also engages the production and cultural fronts for example, and that even in the Chinese revolutionary experience the final phase was a "war of movement from the countryside to the city" with the final conquest of political power.
The Peruvian revolution had the same objective but did not reach this advanced stage, rather, the CPP did not follow the Chinese experience dogmatically and taking into account specific factors of Peru of that period, one above all that given the presence of a megalopolis like Lima where 1/3 of the national population is concentrated, so it is not possible to simply "encircle the city from the countryside", besiege it and enter in it victorious, so it has developed in parallel the revolutionary movement among the popular masses and the urban proletarians, also establishing support bases in the city.
This is the dialectical application of theory to practice in the continuous and "infinite" praxis-theory-praxis cycle, the author affirms that "as Marxists we know very well when the theory / praxis link is fundamental, and that it can only descend from an aborted theory a bad practice, and vice versa ", but on the one hand it does not seem to grasp the mechanism of the Marxist dialectic, on the other it considers an extraordinary revolutionary experience "a bad practice" but then contradicts itself by describing in a specific paragraph of the article the effectiveness of the CPP in the formation of revolutionary cadres.
Revolution or reformism?
Continuing to read it is impossible not to highlight how the article is full of petty-bourgeois prejudices regarding concepts such as "democracy" and "revolutionary violence" as well as a bookish approach to the events and phenomena inherent in revolutionary movements:
- "The first act of the Popular War is traced back to May 17, 1980, when, in the small Ayacuchano village of Chuschi, a group of young people broke into the room where the ballot papers for the first free elections were deposited (underlining is ours) after 17 years of government of the Armed Forces. "
How does a consequent Communist consider bourgeois elections to be "free"? It doesn't matters about the form of the state that the bourgeois regime gradually assumes (civil or military, republican or monarchist, progressive or fascist). Even in the most progressive bourgeois state in the world, elections will never be "free" for the proletariat, let's imagine for the popular masses in an oppressed country like Peru!
Is it real how some of the historical experiences, even among the most disparate, such as Salvador Allende's Chile, the Weimar Republic, the Spanish Civil War, or the Russian February Revolution of '17 itself, not to mention the betrayal of the CPI of Togliatti, did not teach them anything about class power relations in the bourgeois regime and that the use of the instrument of elections can at best have a tactical and limited but never strategic utility? Evidently not.
How does a Communist blame a revolutionary party that, in order to affirm the revolutionary path as opposed to the "three card game" of the "free" elections, tactically and even symbolically starts the Revolution at the very moment in which the Peruvian regime at the height of its propaganda , spread among the masses the rhetoric of the "return to democracy" sanctioned by the electoral ritual after the period of military rule?
It is enough to look at what "Peruvian democracy" has been in recent years and today to understand what we are talking about.
The real problem is that the writer of 'Contropiano' fully assumes the "Bolivarian" position of support for the comprador bourgeoisie and Peruvian bureaucratic represented today by the former trade unionist and new prime minister Castillo as well as supporting the other Bolivarian regimes in the area that in the name of the struggle against US imperialism, are linked to Russian imperialism and Chinese social imperialism.
- "To prevent the 'counterinsurgency' from turning into almost total genocide, the various governments that followed one another (Alan Garcia in 1985, Alberto Fujimori in 1990) joined the Armed Forces with the Comitè de Autodefensas (CAD), peasants organized in teams licensed paramilitaries to kill."
In countries oppressed by imperialism during the revolutionary upheavals, the ruling class often uses sections of the "peasant people" organized in semi-paramilitary bands in a counter-revolutionary key with the attempt to, in the context of the contradiction between revolutionary force and state, interpose a buffer represented by "armed counter-revolutionary masses" as the first obstacle for the revolutionary armed masses, the revolutionary war in certain phases therefore takes the form of an unfolding civil war in which a part of the masses puts themselves at the service of reaction and the state.
This also happened in unfolding forms in the Indian People's War with the movement known as Salwa Judum failing miserably and repeatedly in the People's War in the Philippines.
The result is just the opposite: the genocidal forms are accentuated, the squads in the service of reaction are guilty of the worst crimes against the indigenous and peasants framed in the revolutionary ranks.
Fujimori, who for what he implemented clearly genocidal policies was also condemned by the Peruvian bourgeois justice, would even have the merit of having "attenuated" a genocide according to the author who sensationally assumes a specularly opposite attitude towards the revolutionary violence practiced by the CPP with a series of statements:
"Spectacularization of terror and brutal violence, this has been the hallmark of SL's Popular War right from the start." [...] The entry into the field of the Armed Forces, which acted with all the brutality of an invading army, was part of SL's strategy. It was necessary according to the press releases of the Sendero leadership group, 'pagar la cuota de sangre', 'inducing genocide' or, as Guzmàn himself expressed it without hesitation in an interview with the senderist newspaper il Diario internacional, in 1988 : 'el triunfo de la revolucion will cost a million de muertos'. [...] The popular war for Guzman had to have no limits, it had to be pursued to the bitter end and every obstacle had to be demolished. All those who did not submit to the Piensamento Gonzalo had to be annihilated, possibly in the most brutal way. However, it was mainly the indigenous peoples who ended up crushed under this war machine
(our emphasis, the famous bourgeois theory that in revolutionary conflicts "the people are between the two fires" denying that instead the people take part in the clash on one side or the other. The massacres were done by the Peruvian armed forces as it is known but the author prefers the official version of the Peruvian regime), but also important social leaders, including, Maria Elena Moyano, manager of the women's mutual aid network in the Villa San Salvador neighborhood, on the outskirts of Lima. After murdering her, the senderists also blew up her tomb, as is their custom."
As is well known, Sergio Leone's cinematic masterpiece "Giù la testa", which narrates the events of the Mexican Revolution at the beginning of the last century, opens with the famous quote from Mao:
"The revolution is not a gala dinner; it is not a literary work, a drawing, an embroidery; it cannot be done with as much elegance, tranquility and delicacy, or with as much gentleness, kindness, courtesy, respect and magnanimity. Revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence with which one class overthrows another."
The CPP directed by Gonzalo has put this principle into practice to achieve the goal, in the past precisely because the revolutionaries have used white gloves have suffered heavy defeats and were massacred, in this sense the compass to follow is represented by the balance of Marx and Engels on the extraordinary experience of the Paris Commune, a balance sheet which Lenin made a treasure of by contrasting some petty bourgeois prejudices similar to those expressed in this article against revolutionary violence even within the party. Gonzalo's CPP, being in a "privileged position" represented by the possibility of having been able to learn, study and internalize the experience of different and diversified revolutions, applied this principle with science and planning, this horrifies the "comrade".
Having said all this, we absolutely do not want to affirm that the experience of the People's War in Peru under the direction of President Gonzalo is free from limits and errors, like any real and developing revolutionary process.
However, thi is very different to shame a revolutionary experience and its top manager who gave most of his life to the revolutionary cause, leaving his comfortable post as a university professor that bourgeois society had granted him and finally resisting 29 years of isolation, we still remember it, without ever giving up, contrary to what the Peruvian regime falsely and infamously spread by building a frame on phantom "peace agreements promoted by Gonzalo in '93", a thesis that obviously Bruscolotti embraces, speaking in an equally infamous way of "an inglorious end".
The historical experience of Maoism applied by the CPP in Peru, once it will be fully understood and assimilated by the proletariat and the popular masses through a serious assessment of this Revolution after the arrest of President Gonzalo and part of the Central Committee in 1992, will put the locomotive of the revolution on its own tracks and it will sweep away imperialism and the governments enslaved by it, including those regimes that our homegrown reformists like so much, including those of "Contropiano".