The Problem of Masses, the Struggle for Daily Demands, and People’s War

The following is an unofficial translation of “El problema de masas, reivindicaciones y guerra popular” by the Peru People‘s Movement

By way of introduction:

Think about these questions to read the document

The question is how it is conceived and how it is handled.

The question is that we must see according to the conditions and necessity (…); if the Party does not begin to see and to demonstrate through deeds that it serves the masses and that it can lead in its struggles, how will they trust that we will emancipate the people?

The problem is whether what is done in fact serves principles and the war, if not, then we correct and rethink it.

Why do we go to the shanty towns (to the masses)? We win over the frontline for the war and the masses ask us, what do I do now? If we say I am not in charge of that, the masses will tell us, how is this comrade! Why did you come! We have to worry about all these things and have to understand how we can resolve them, to resolve definitively, that is, the problem is to break the vicious cycle.

The problem of the masses, the struggle for daily demands and the People’s War

This relationship has to do with the united front to conquer power. What does the communiqué for the masses of the shanty towns state to us? Wage and salary increases, that’s good. Should we fight for that? Of course, how can we not fight for that! Discussing that we have to fight for salaries is useless, however, how would we carry out guerrilla war on the union level, how would we prepare the class for the conquest of power? How would we form new unions, creating class conscious unions or readjusting others?

Here the problem posed to us is of the People’s Canteens and ‘Glass of Milk,’ of food subsidies. Are we fighting for subsidies? Of course we are fighting for subsidies! If we in the New State put subsidies in place because we want food products to be cheap and the same price everywhere, how can that be bad, the matter is that we with the New State will be able to implement it, but for now, while and where we still do not have the New Power, we fight for that and as far as possible we uproot it. The question of the People’s Canteens and the Glass of Milk are apparatuses that we have not created, but they exist, the government is disregarding them, revisionism can no longer ride on the backs the masses as before, and society is plunged, without exaggeration, into a crisis that is worse than that of the famous great world crisis of the 1930s, so for the masses today it is a much more pressing need than yesterday and that is why they are demanding it, even more so they are demanding the Party to lead them to obtain even what little they had yesterday. Besides, they know that we are not leading them to vote for “a” or “b” but to take in their hands what belongs to them, which means to uproot it with struggle and with People’s War, they demand it, then, because it is a benefit for their scarce alimentation, a glass of milk serves the children, if not, why do the masses organize to obtain and prepare it? Why do they make People’s Canteens? Because they need them, additionally it is a development from the “common pot” that the proletariat has always organized in its strikes. So it makes sense, that’s why they are putting forward these demands to us. We insist on the fact that the question is to link the struggle for the daily demands in service of seizing Power, on the other hand, that these organizations have created this or that revisionist or reactionary apparatus, first that is false and second that they have mounted on the needs of the masses to traffic in their interests and ride on them, to use them in their electoral endeavors, in their parliamentary cretinism, and above all to contain their explosiveness and to sustain the order, not to educate the masses to destroy the order and to conquer the power that belongs to them through war.

It says: Health Center, is it something they feel? of course they feel it; … there are problems of water, drainage, electricity, reduction of the contingency fund, they are problems derived from the needs of the neighborhoods and the shanty towns, they raise therefore what they need: completion of electricity projects, reservoirs, that Sedapal (the water company for Lima) complies. Should one ask Sedapal to comply? How can one not ask? No payment contributions to the fund for the development of facilities, etc., here we see specific claims of the shanty towns;

It goes on: “Free water,” this seems to us like a good campaign, that’s what we have raised: to demand free water, to demand that the militias bring water, instead of repressing, that they invest their effort and money, to wear them out more, but the water is distributed by us, the masses themselves because it is part of their rights, not a gift, that’s why they pay so many taxes to the State and the Municipality, so the municipality, what the hell is it for? At the same time unmasking that what the cachacos (the reactionary army) are doing today is nothing but the so-called “civic action” that has a counter-revolutionary character, part of the so-called Yankee low-intensity strategy, which is eminently a military, repressive action, aimed at creating informants, agents of “a sol” (the monetary unit of the country at that time, our note), which aims to annihilate leaders, cadres, militants, combatants or supporters in order to separate the guerrilla from the masses, to annihilate the People’s War; not to accept anything in return; that their action is reduced to handing over food to the mass organizations, is an occasion to create new organisms, the Committees of Leaders, Struggle Committees, or Committees of Distribution, that they distribute it, that the organized masses should do it, we educate the masses in the tactics, aiming at the poorest, those who need it most, conjuring up benefits for a few or their agents.  This is not in opposition to the assaults on food carts by major traders, nor the ambush of military delivery trucks.

These are necessities of the masses, if not, why are they being raised by the masses? “Public cleaning” how can this be wrong? It’s good, since garbage piled up in the streets gets many children and the elderly sick, cholera is a result of this, etc.; “against the oppressive municipal taxes,” to the Cisa (town hall, our note) the so-called informal workers, the street vendors pay more taxes than all the businessmen or traders, that is raised by the deputy for Liberty (the front of the compradors led by the hack writer Vargas Llosa) who worked at the ILD, Ghersi, in the magazine Caretas, it is an exorbitant tax, we are against these taxes.

“No to the privatization of education,” there is no way around it. We are for free education and how can we allow cuts if it is part of of their so-called neoliberal plan, to make education more elitist, that fewer children of the people are educated and they are so blind that they do not even see what their own masters are demanding of them, that for their capitalist restructuring they require qualified labor, future scientists, managers of their economy, specialists, if not what modernization of their State are they talking about? They want to end free education and exempt themselves from another one of their functions by placing it on the shoulders of the already agonized and starving father of the family of the people.

There they are putting forward the necessities of the masses and necessities derived from a sharpened crisis and the hardest one in our history, how could we only put forward the conquest of power through the People’s War without linking that political struggle to the struggle for their daily demands? We know well that the struggle for daily demands is one side of the coin and the other side is the war, isn’t that what we said when we initiated the armed struggle? They can not be unlinked, doing so is opportunism. If the masses are not moved in search of benefits, how are they going to struggle? Doesn’t Chairman Mao Tse-tung say: “be concerned with water and salt,” that’s how he has taught us, that’s good and it’s good that it’s raised in these documents.

Now, this leads to a problem: how are these things accomplished?

The central question is this: only we, the New Power, can guarantee, no one else can guarantee, only we with New Power and with the Army aiming at satisfying those needs by moving the masses, that is essentially our means, there is no other way to do it, it is the only guarantee, hence the need to fight for the establishment of the People’s Republic of Peru, that this has been proven by the People’s Committees in the countryside and the People’s Struggle Committees in the cities, with all the complexity that this implies in a city, conscious that we have to learn every time to manage it better, but here it is being shown how the people find direct benefits, satisfaction of their elemental needs even if in small quantities, but they find even a crumb, torn from its garden by their effort, or find even a roof to shelter themselves and support, cover, protect the Party and serve the People’s War, here is a small display and as power develops more rights will be guaranteed, insisting more, only the New Power guarantees them. But in the face of the struggles for daily demands that we are seeing, fighting for salaries I think it is obvious, nobody is going to argue about it; then the question up for debate would be “People’s Canteens,” we were already talking about that as a result of these problems of the crisis the reactionaries themselves say that every economic readjustment plan they make against their inflation, is accompanied by a compensatory plan to avoid explosiveness, that’s how it is, why do they want to avoid it? Because we use explosiveness. The concrete fact is that there is this objective reality, it is a necessity, therefore our problem is that just as reaction wants to utilize it and does utilize it, we have to utilize it to develop the struggle of the class and the people, because if we don’t do that, then we either let reaction continue to exploit and oppress them, or we allow them to traffic in opportunism or revisionism, so that the growing explosiveness and the basic, minimal needs of the masses are totally utilized by reaction for its own evil purposes of counter-subversive war; we cannot do that, we have to wage our struggle in all kinds of organisms, in yellow organisms, in gray organisms. So if we go in there, for what are we going to fight? Do we tell them these things are useless, the present State cannot fulfill them for the sake of fighting? Absurd! They would tell me then, why did you come to lead me? That’s why one has to ask like this: look, when we are in power these rights will be guaranteed, for now we fight to uproot them in a hard fight until we break the vicious cycle and this fight is not in vain but rather it forges and prepares you for the new contentions, that’s what we tell them, but insist that this is guaranteed by the New Power.

Then, in spite of all that we fight for, nothing is seized, or they want to control but because the proletariat refuses control, it doesn’t want to be tied down, but rather that they fulfill their obligation to contribute to their nutritional needs, of the children or pregnant women or to the people’s canteen. Here explain why they do not give them what they conquer or why they give them less and less despite so much struggle, because in order for the old society to survive, it reduces the capacity to work, from 100 to 20, they relegate 80 in order to survive. Doesn’t the report by Hurtado Miller say that? That means that out of every 100 only 20 are given adequate work and 80 are condemned either not to work, to full unemployment or to under-employment. That’s the obsolete society, therefore I have the right to demand that they don’t control me because of that. What I fight for is nothing but the compensation that even its own laws establish because I have nothing but labor power and I have to maintain it because they are destroying the people themselves, the creative power, the most revolutionary class because it is the productive class; the people themselves are the ones that do everything, it is making the very capital of society, because those are its laws and I cannot allow it, because its plan is to physically destroy the class.

Since the reconstitution, before the initiation of the armed struggle, haven’t we fought for the cost of living and didn’t we raise its relation to the physical and moral destruction of the class? Didn’t we expose how this system engenders abandonment of children, prostitution, delinquency? And today all that is worse, the class can’t conquer and lose at the minute what it has conquered, so how are we going to teach, then? We have to see for unemployment, for wages, for the cost of living, for children, for women, for the weakest part of the class, there the reactionary class that does not even look for its children, even less for that of the people, to see for the needs of a roof to live under, especially in the cities to impulse the invasions, etc.; all this is in the document of the Preparatory Session of the II Plenum when it deals with the masses, it was established there.

So, first I combat, I struggle, I use all the forms of struggle I know; secondly, but in spite of everything I do not impose, but, because of this I do not stop fighting; thirdly, but to fight I have to have a crumb in my mouth at least, why would it be bad for us to organize food production? It’s easier for the masses of people to have 10 kitchens than to have 100 kitchens–you can even save up, and you can better organize to bring something to them, or to make something out of their very limited, very difficult lives; fourth, but the question is to organize and to do this on the margins of the state and against this state, to serve the revolution, to organize ourselves with class independence for the class interests of the proletariat and the people for the revolution; fifth, but as soon as we develop this, the reaction will not like it and will combat us, as soon as we develop this in a campaign against them, the repressive forces will be sent, of course because we will be undermining them more, there the question is in resisting and learning how to handle this, but if the masses see that under this struggle and this organization they satisfy some of what they need, they will have more and more just reason to combat to uproot or defend what has been conquered; sixth, it would be erroneous for us not to do that independently, not to link it to preparing the big contentions, if we didn’t understand it as developing the struggle in terms of People’s War to seize power, if we didn’t understand with class independence, if we understood it simply so that the Old State would not have problems; Seventh, only with the New State, the People’s Republic of Peru, are these rights and needs guaranteed, in the meantime it is a contention, a class struggle taking up the struggle for daily demands to propel the People’s War, in service of the People’s War, fighting the Old State, struggling to wrest from it what it owes us, what it squeezes and sucks out of us like a lemon, and developing independently, with class independence, in the perspective of the revolution; otherwise it would be leaving everything in the hands of opportunists, revisionists and the government to tie them up or continue to annihilate them and undermine them physically and morally.

Synthesis:

The problem is how it is conceived, how it is organized, and what its goal is; again, it is an objective reality that each part, revolution and counter-revolution, is striving to lead the masses toward their course. Doesn’t the Strategic Equilibrium document, when it deals with Chairman Mao’s article on democracy and war, say that? Doesn’t it say there that the masses are increasingly the arena of contention and now in war with both armed sides, the question is armed contention? And isn’t the contention in the mind, in the very needs of the people? The error would be in not making it clear that the solution lies in the People’s Republic of Peru, that we do not link it to the People’s War and that we do not develop the independent action of the people; that we did not fight the Old State and its governments, revisionism and opportunism, here would be the bad things, and that we wanted to consent that tomorrow we solve the situation of the general crisis of the Peruvian society with those crumbs or that we are going to destroy the three mountains simply with elemental questions, these forms of struggle must be to gather energies and to forge us spiritually and in the class struggle for the fight for power, thus the problem is in how it is conceived and how it is managed.

Another question is that our energies should not be unleashed and focused as the principal thing on this, because between the struggle for daily demands and People’s War, the People’s War is principal, the struggle for daily demands is a means, an instrument for it, which means that if I am contending and fighting for daily demands at a moment’s notice that’s precisely where I support with People’s War, which is what gives strength to the confrontations. But since there are new tasks and new forces presented, we will draw from these new forces the elements that can fulfill these new tasks, so that we will have more contingents that will be forged for higher tasks and we ourselves will lead both, without in any way subtracting but increasing the principalities. That there is a possible deviation of right and left, in everything this is a given, have we not seen the limitations? In everything this is a given. The point is that we must see according to the conditions and the necessity of polarization; if the Party does not begin to see and to demonstrate through deeds that it serves the masses and that it can lead in its struggles, how will they trust that we will emancipate the people? In this way we can deal with these questions. At least in this way we can analyze, seeing the practice, we must investigate reality, see what problems there are and where it clashes, derive orientations, directives, policies, and then once practice proves and guards the correctness of the line, we must never unravel and always link ourselves to the war, and if we are wrong? We have already seen, only those who do nothing are not wrong, but they already made the mistake of doing nothing, sometimes one says “but we have never done this before” oh wow! We have never done the People’s War before, only since 1980 we have done it, so that’s not a problem. “I have never done” is not a problem. The problem is whether what is done in fact serves principles and the war, if not, then we correct and rethink it, if there is a strong contention, then it is applied as a pilot plan even if it is, there are many ways to do things, the problem is to not tie your hands, and to think about what Lenin says: “New tasks with new forces” because they are revolutionary, why are they asking us this? Why do we go to the shanty towns? We gain contingents for the war and the masses tell us, what do I do now? If we say I am not in charge of that, the mass will tell us, how is this comrade! Why did you come! We have to worry about all these things and make it clear that we can resolve it, and how to resolve ultimately, that is, the problem is to break the vicious cycle.

FROM THE DOCUMENT OF THE THIRD PLENUM MEETING WITH THE COMMITTEE OF THE PEOPLES HELP PERU (CSP)