By the Editorial Board
May 17 marked the 40th anniversary of the Initiation of Armed Struggle (ILA) in Peru, a People’s War that continues to this day led by the Communist Party of Peru (PCP).
Forty years ago, the loyal servants of US imperialism in Peru announced the resumption of elections and in response, the PCP bombed polling stations and burned ballots. In particular, the people of the Andean highlands formed the support base for these actions and issued the opening salvo of the People’s War. The PCP had taught them that there would be no electoral road to national liberation from US imperialism, relying on the teachings of Chairman Mao Zedong, which state that “political power grows from the barrel of a gun.” Unlike many revolutions, the PCP initiated their armed struggle without any foreign financial support, and at a time when the old state was pretending to implement ‘democracy.’ Since capitalism had been restored in both the Soviet Union (1956) and China (1976), they only had their ideology and the masses to rely on, giving utmost importance to the event. The torch of Communism was held higher in Peru than anywhere in the world and its light still guides today.
The combatants of the People’s Guerrilla Army (EGP, now the People’s Liberation Army ELP), led by the PCP, relied on the Maoist method of using the enemy as a supply line, at first unarmed, but seizing dynamite from construction and mining projects, moving to the seizure of small and large arms from the ruling class military and police. Over a span of a few years, a small group of guerrillas blossomed into a mighty force. The guerrillas, led by the PCP and Chairman Gonzalo, relied upon another of Mao’s lessons: it is people which are decisive in war, and not technology or weapons.
By March 1982, the PCP and its EGP were able to black out the city of Ayacucho and launch a predawn raid on the prison, armed with Incan style slingshots and automatic rifles seized from the police. The maximum-security prison was besieged by around 150 guerrillas, who liberated all 250 prisoners, and raised the red flag above the emptied prison. This action early on in the People’s War drew the attention of the international ruling class media.
Actions like these would escalate and continue throughout the early years of the People’s War, and by 1983 the old, decaying Peruvian state would declare several emergency zones in a failed attempt to contain the war.
Of the utmost importance to the international working class is the ideology developed by the PCP and Chairman Gonzalo in the furnace of the People’s War, which is the ideology that guides the international proletarian revolution today: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism. They began operating on the understanding that the lessons of the Chinese revolution and the breakthroughs of Chairman Mao represented a new, third, and higher stage of Marxism. This understanding developed Marxism-Leninism into Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in 1982, but it would take several more years for the PCP to hold its First Party Congress which would allow this conception to be spread to the rest of the International Communist Movement (ICM) in 1988. The People’s War in Peru shines like a beacon across the world, and its ideological developments make it the single most important event since the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
Peru is a nation oppressed by imperialism, mainly US imperialism, making it part of the storm center of world revolution. As such, the road for the people is New Democratic Revolution, a revolution in which all the classes oppressed by foreign dominance can come together under the leadership of the proletariat to liberate their country and increase its independent capacity to construct socialism without hesitation. This is the path for all oppressed counties which remain semi-feudal in the modern age. This revolution has been led for 40 years by the great leader Chairman Gonzalo.
The revolution in Peru is guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought, the Communist Party leads the People’s War, and it is the people who carry it out. Throughout the war, the Party has generated many organisms which serve the specific needs of the people; organizations of students, youth, women, workers at the point of production, peasants, and legal defense are among the struggles carried out in the People’s War.
The Party Brings Solutions
Wherever the People’s War extends, the life and struggles of the masses improve. People’s Committees are set up, with various Commissions that administer to the needs of the people. The Party implements the rule of three-thirds, which incorporates one part peasant, one part progressive, and one part Communist, forming the leading body of the People’s Committees and, in turn, forming the New State while locked in tireless struggle to overcome reaction.
As the People’s War spread from the countryside of the highlands to the shanty towns (referred to by the PCP as “New Towns”) surrounding Lima, the revolution would come into inevitable contradiction with counter-revolution. Chairman Gonzalo and his Party led the struggles against pro-imperialist agents of the old-state, whether they appeared as corrupt politicians or non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). These types of pro-US imperialist organizations had earned the enmity of the Peruvian people, and the Party as their vanguard would give these enemies three warnings to stop harming the masses before selectively annihilating them.
Today, Chairman Gonzalo is the world’s foremost political prisoner and greatest living Communist. In 1992, the People’s War hit a bend in the road after he was arrested, followed shortly by the arrest of the Central Committee and the capitulation of a segment of the remaining Party members around the right opportunist line of liquidating armed struggle. This bend did not end the People’s War, which continues as the Party has entered a general period of reorganization around the red line. There are many traitors, such as the rat Jose, who has denounced the People’s War and Chairman Gonzalo. There is also the rat and traitor “Miriam,” who heads up the other Right Opportunist Line as the leader of the organization MOVADEF, which seeks to liquidate the People’s War under the auspice of amnesty for political prisoners of the war. Both of these Right Opportunist Lines back up the fabrications of the US CIA and their Peruvian equivalents, claiming that Chairman Gonzalo has capitulated and sought peace with reaction. There is no proof to any of this, and those involved with the drafting of fake peace letters have already confessed to their crimes.
Internationally, the Right Opportunist Line in Peru is repeated, reiterated, and treated as fact by the rats and revisionists like Bob Avakian of the ‘Revolutionary Communist Party USA,’ as well as Jose Maria Sison, the former leader of the International League of Peoples Struggle. Their respective distortions of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and their capitulationist nature seek to liquidate the question of power, as well as denounce the slogan “People’s War until Communism,” which is the slogan of genuine Maoists. It is only fitting that following revisionism has led to wholesale attacks on Chairman Gonzalo, and the red political line of the ICM. Revisionism can only prepare and brace itself for its own death, nothing and no one can protect it.
Revolution, on the other hand, is the promise of life, nothing and nobody can defeat it. The People’s War is invincible, and it will continue until revisionism, reaction, and class have all been swept from the face of the earth forever.
PCP leader and commander of the People’s Liberation Army, Comrade Laura, set the record straight in a 2013 interview with the Peruvian People’s Movement (Reorganization Committee): “It is worth remembering that the Party has always been present: our center is to fight. Our base is the proletariat and the people. Our path is People’s War. Our goal is the People’s Republic of Peru. Our ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought. Our final goal is the World Proletarian Revolution and Communism.”
“What did the so-called ‘defeat of sendero,’ ‘defeat of terrorism,’ ‘peace agreement’ mean? We firmly believe that all this is an infamy against the Party. With revolutionary fervor we spread the red flags of the rebellion in the wind. Long live the People’s War! It is right to rebel! Take the skies by storm! Our invincible weapon: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism Gonzalo Thought! The reactionaries say: surrender your weapons. We answered: Come and take them!”