A Sober Look at the Situation of the Peru Revolution
The trial of Abimael Guzman (Chairman Gonzalo) and 23 other accused leaders of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) for “aggravated terrorism against the state” that began in September 2005 is continuing as of this writing, May 2006. Yet according to both the government and the defence, there has never been any doubt that its only purpose is to have Peru’s current civilian courts confirm the convictions decreed, in most of the cases, by hooded military officers acting in great haste and secret in 1992. In advance of this new trial, various officials promised that the 70-year-old main defendant would never leave prison alive. The candidates in Peru’s current presidential electoral campaign seem to be competing as to who can pledge the worst fate for the imprisoned PCP leadership.
This is nothing but a flagrant act of revenge by the protectors of the old order. A mass upsurge, especially one on the scale of the revolutionary war in Peru that began in 1980, cannot be labelled terrorism. No one who believes in justice can accept this attempt by the US-backed Peruvian government to punish Chairman Gonzalo and others for having waged a people’s war, an armed struggle deeply rooted in and reliant upon the country’s scorned, poorest masses. That is what this trial and the inevitable sentencing are about, no matter what the current views of the defendants may be, and that must be opposed.
This frenzied lust for vengeance has a calculated political purpose: The conditions for the vast majority of Peru’s people are still desperate and outbursts of mass anger and even violence show that they have not become resigned to their fate. The waning of the people’s war cannot be explained mainly by any change in their circumstances. It’s not hard to understand why the country’s rulers want to crush and criminalise the very idea of mass armed rebellion and revolutionary change.
In the years since Chairman Gonzalo’s arrest in 1992, the people’s war has suffered very serious setbacks. The level and geographic extent of the fighting has declined dramatically, especially since the late 1990s. It is not clear how many if any Open People’s Committees – the revolutionary political power of the peasants the party established in the countryside during the high tide of the people’s war – and how many clandestine People’s Committees survive.
In December 2005, around dates when the PCP historically carried out major military operations, for the first time in several years there were successful ambushes of police patrols in the Huallaga jungle and Ayacucho. The first area has been considered a stronghold of PCP forces that seek a “political solution” to end the war – and threatened armed action to force the government to grant amnesty as a “way out” of the conflict. The second has been considered a focus of those who have sought to continue the war. Were these attacks coordinated, as the authorities claim? Since both actions were carried out in the name of Chairman Gonzalo, it is very difficult to understand which of these two contradictory political goals they were meant to serve. There have been no major political statements clarifying the party’s political orientation for years.
What makes this situation all the more complicated is that Chairman Gonzalo’s conduct in the course of this current trial has added even greater weight to the serious and concurring evidence from many different sources over the years that he is very likely to have been the source of the call to end the war. How the PCP faced this situation has been central to the development of the current state of affairs.
Chairman Gonzalo was captured in September 1992, as the people’s war seemed to be surging forward. But an even greater blow to the party was yet to come. In October 1993, Peru’s US-backed strongman Alberto Fujimori triumphantly announced that Abimael Guzman had written him a letter asking for negotiations to end the people’s war. Afterwards he released a video of the chairman and Elena Iparraguirre (a top party leader known as Comrade Miriam, Chairman Gonzalo’s companion) reading the letters. Still photos showed the two flanked by other prisoners, some known to be prominent leaders as well.
The party’s Central Committee, comprising those party leaders remaining free, rejected this call as a “Right Opportunist Line” (ROL). “What goes against principles cannot be accepted,” the party said, adding, “It is an international communist norm that one cannot lead from inside prison.” But they said more than that: The whole thing was a “hoax” concocted by the regime in collaboration with the US and a “black grouplet” of renegade imprisoned (and now expelled) party members. The idea that Chairman Gonzalo could be associated with it was a “plot”, part of US-sponsored “low intensity warfare” against the people’s war. The man who looked like Gonzalo, the party told people, was an actor.
Any revolutionary party would risk being shattered if its chair tried to reverse previous positions touching on basic questions of orientation and strategic concepts and advocated abandoning the revolutionary war. This was even more the case for the PCP. At the core of the party’s historical identity was the concept of jefatura, the idea that Gonzalo was more than the chairman of the party’s Central Committee, a jefe (literally chief, but here meant to designate a special category of leader) who played a role not only through the party but over and above it. Party members swore their unconditional subordination to him personally. Now the man who had led the launching and development of the people’s war seemed to be telling the party to struggle for a peace accord with the Fujimori government to bring the war to an end. In return for such an agreement, it was argued, the party should dissolve the People’s Committees, and disband the army led by the party.
The Central Committee’s “solution” to the problem, the idea that it was all a “hoax”, might have seemed like the only way out to those leaders determined not to surrender. But in fact, this idea turned out to be a trap. It worked against the party’s ability to persist in the people’s war for two reasons. First, because, if there was certainly unclarity at the beginning as to the circumstances of the call for peace accords, there was never real evidence that it was a "hoax". How could continuing the war be sustained on the basis of telling party members to shut their eyes as Chairman Gonzalo's call for peace accords seemed more and more likely to be the reality? Second, this approach tried to avoid the problem of analysing and defeating the arguments being given for why it was necessary to end the people’s war.
Chairman Gonzalo and the Peace Accords
The strongest argument for the “hoax” idea was that the calls for peace accords really did go against what Chairman Gonzalo had previously stood for. Shortly after his capture, when put in an animal cage to be presented to the media and a howling pack of police and other reactionaries, he mocked their triumphalism. The arrest was nothing more than a “bend in the road” of the people’s war, he said, shouting to be heard over the roaring motors of a hovering military helicopter. He called for the party to persist. Was it really true, however, that Chairman Gonzalo could never change his thinking and come to a different conclusion? Increasingly, the declared impossibility that such a thing could happen became the main line of reasoning. Tautologically (a circular form of argument in which the conclusion is taken as the starting point), any evidence to the contrary was discredited because given this impossibility, it couldn’t possibly be true.
When the video came out, it was natural not just to accept it without examination, given its source. Then Chairman Gonzalo’s relatives abroad reported that the Fujimori regime, for its own reasons, had let him and Iparraguirre telephone them and argue at length for why he believed that the peace accords were necessary. This could not be ignored or dismissed with the circular contention that since the relatives became supporters of the peace accords, they must have invented the phone calls to justify their stand.
The same reasoning was used to reject a political interpretation of an event that for many people turned the possibility that Chairman Gonzalo was behind the ROL into a strong probability: the “about face” of Margie Clavo (known as Comrade Nancy), a member of PCP’s central leadership who along with Oscar Ramirez (Comrade Feliciano, who assumed party leadership after Gonzalo’s capture), was a key leader of the opposition to the peace accords line. When she was briefly hauled before the media in handcuffs after her arrest in 1995, she was defiant, shouting “Persist, persist, persist!” in the people’s war. Yet six months later she appeared on television again, telling an interviewer that she had been taken to talk to Chairman Gonzalo and that he had convinced her of the necessity of the accords. She had agreed to this broadcast, she said, so that she could make public self-criticism for her role in leading the Central Committee to persist in the war instead of immediately accepting Chairman Gonzalo’s appeal.
Ramirez, captured in 1999, was put in a cell next to Chairman Gonzalo. He also said that Gonzalo argued with him for the peace accords line, although Ramirez’s conclusion was not the same as Clavo’s. In a letter to Peru’s president and in court in May 2004, he said he had decided that Peru’s present “democracy is the best system” and that it had been wrong to launch a revolutionary war in the first place, criticising Chairman Gonzalo more for that rather than for calling a halt to it. Comrade Artemio, who succeeded Feliciano as party leader and head of the forces that wanted to persist in the war, later turned into a staunch supporter of the ROL even though he remained free. He said that Chairman Gonzalo had talked to him from prison, over a radio transceiver provided to Gonzalo by the authorities, and won him to seeing that the war had to be brought to an end. Artemio was reported to have explained that no one can claim that he and others had not tried to maintain the people’s war, even though it was impossible.
All these party leaders had several things in common. When they had one understanding of the possibility and need of continuing the war, they acted bravely in defence of revolution, and when they were convinced of a different understanding, they acted differently. When the call to end the people’s war first came out, they argued that the call attributed to Chairman Gonzalo was a hoax and that the war could and should continue and that that was his real position. After speaking to him, they concluded that the war could not and should not continue because that was Gonzalo’s real position after all. (The important difference is that Ramirez [Feliciano] became a self-described anti-communist, while the others continued to argue in the name of Maoism.) Chairman Gonzalo’s personal involvement in the ROL is the most likely explanation of why the party’s entire known central leadership turned against the continuation of the people’s war.
Although they pale in comparison with what the actions of these party leaders have told us, there are other indications relating to public and private statements by prominent figures and others, including Iparraguirre’s mother (who has had regular contact with her daughter and at times Chairman Gonzalo since 1993) and Gonzalo’s lawyer Manuel Fajardo, who has visited him often since 2000. Alfredo Crespo, the lawyer who defended Chairman Gonzalo before a military tribunal in 1992 and was punished with almost 14 years in prison in retaliation, joined Gonzalo’s defence team in December 2005, shortly after he was released. He explained, “I have decided to accept the defence of Dr Abimael Guzman because Shining Path, also known as the Communist Party of Peru, now has a new political line. It stands for national reconciliation and a political solution to the problems derived from the war.”
What is remarkable is not the ever-accumulating body of facts but the stubbornness with which they have been continually dismissed by some people.
Chairman Gonzalo’s recent courtroom appearances do not contradict his role in arguing for a Peace Accord. At the televised opening session of his second trial in 2004, a public event witnessed by more than a hundred journalists, Chairman Gonzalo embraced all but one of his co-defendants, including Clavo – all publicly identified with the peace accords line. (The exception was Ramirez.) Then he led them in standing together, raising their fist and chanting, slowly and deliberately, while the authorities frantically tried to restore order, “Long live the Communist Party of Peru! Glory to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! Glory to the Peruvian people! Long live the heroes of the people’s war!”
Nothing in these chants is inconsistent with the ROL. This courtroom gesture, which a leader of Chairman Gonzalo’s calibre must have carefully thought out in advance, could not have contrasted more with the cage speech he gave in far more difficult circumstances. He failed to utter the one word that would have demarcated between the two lines in the party, the word “Persist!”, the word that Clavo had once shouted when she had only seconds to make her views known.
His stand at his current trial is no different. Although this time independent filming has been prohibited to avoid letting Chairman Gonzalo create another fiasco for the regime, a continuous audio feed is available to journalists. There have been many reporters in the courtroom itself on key occasions, although after nine months the media in general is no longer covering it much. Chairman Gonzalo’s courtroom strategy, his two lawyers have explained, is to refuse to recognise the legitimacy of this trial, maintain silence, await the inevitable conviction, and hope for an appeal before the Inter-American Human Rights Court in Costa Rica, which previously contested the legality of the military tribunal that sentenced Chairman Gonzalo to life in prison right after his arrest. If Chairman Gonzalo were opposed to the call for peace accords, he could certainly have seized the opportunity of the trial to denounce and dissociate himself from the other defendents. In the past, no one has been able to stop him when he wanted to speak. The man who managed to get his word out to the world even when caged is still communicating.
The Peace Accords Line and the Central Committee
Actually, the strongest indication that the ROL was not just something cooked up by the American and Peruvian intelligence services but that Chairman Gonzalo was behind it was the line itself and the documents that argued for it. They did not put forward a crude rejection of Maoism, revolution or the necessity for people’s war. Instead, they marshalled philosophical, historical and political arguments, purporting to uphold and apply the principles of what the PCP called Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought to the very real problems the party was facing.
They referred to two kinds of issues. The first was the objective situation. Even before Chairman Gonzalo was taken prisoner, the PCP had begun grappling with a changing international situation in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet bloc, which, these documents concluded, marked a “strategic ebb of the world revolution”. Further, there were theoretical and practical problems in terms of how – and under what conditions – the people’s war could hold on to its achievements, in the face of some setbacks, and advance beyond the level it had attained so far. There was the question of Yankee interference and even invasion – and whether this might provide the opportunity to broaden the united front and advance to the countrywide seizure of political power. There was also debate about how much semi-feudalism remained a factor. In short, there was a recognised urgent need to reassess the objective situation and its consequences for the future course of the people’s war. Chairman Gonzalo’s capture came at a time when the revolution faced a crossroads.
The second kind of argument advanced by these documents was the “problem of leadership”: Chairman Gonzalo had been snatched up and much of the rest of the party’s long-standing central leadership was dead or in prison. It was said that there were no leaders who could replace him in the needed timeframe to solve the first category of problems. The ROL’s conclusion was that for many reasons, chief among them the unfavourable international situation and above all the “problem of leadership”, the people’s war could not continue. Any attempt to do so would only lead to the destruction of the party, and given the circumstances, even if the people’s war could hold out it would eventually become a “war without perspective” – with no clear goal or possibility of seizing nationwide political power – and disintegrate into scattered “roving rebel bands”. By entering into negotiations to call off the people’s war now, the argument went, the party could save itself from destruction at the hands of the enemy and endure to relaunch the armed struggle under more favourable conditions in the future.
This was not the empty ranting of a police agency. It represented a coherent line. The questions it posed had to be analysed and answered. No matter who first propounded it, this line could take hold among party members because it offered answers – although wrong answers – to crucial questions thrust forward by life itself. The revolutionaries needed to start out by identifying, analysing and refuting these arguments on the level of political line, that is, as ideas to be examined and found correct or incorrect reflections of reality. This included an objective (not wishful) assessment of the balance of forces to determine whether or not it was in fact possible to persist in the people’s war and whether or not, in the concrete conditions prevailing at that time, entering negotiations was a viable way for the party to gain time to rebound or, in fact, a death trap.
Shortly after the call for a peace agreement arose, the Committee of the RIM (CoRIM), the leading body of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, examined the available information and documents in an attempt to understand and guide RIM in taking part in a momentous line struggle that would not only determine the future of the revolution in Peru but have great consequences for RIM and the international communist movement. The Committee argued ,“In these circumstances, it is incumbent upon RIM not only to continue its support for the People’s War in Peru but also to join this two-line struggle: to undertake the necessary investigation, study, discussion and struggle to achieve a correct and comprehensive understanding of all the questions involved and on that basis render the most powerful support to the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line and the comrades carrying it forward in Peru.” It established criteria for evaluating the call for peace negotiations: “Do they serve the task of seizing political power through revolutionary warfare” and “safeguard the ‘fundamental interests of the people’ referred to by Mao, that is, the essential core of the people’s power and the revolutionary armed forces?” After an intense process of investigation, evaluation and struggle, RIM adopted a position that the call for peace accords should be opposed and that a two-line struggle should be waged against the Right Opportunist Line in Peru and internationally. Regarding the role of the PCP chairman, it said, “It is important to continue to try to determine Chairman Gonzalo’s current views. The key question, however, is the line, not the author.” Furthermore, the Call said that those who had advocated the ROL should “repudiate this line... and retake the revolutinary road.”
As part of this process CoRIM had also asked the Union of Iran Communists – the predecessor of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) – to write a major analysis and criticism of the peace accord arguments. That document concluded: “The people’s war is far from over. Partial defeat is not absolute defeat.” The only way to preserve the achievements of the people’s war and solve the party’s problems was to persevere in it. It raised a clear warning: a people’s war, once launched, could not be turned on and off like a water spigot, including because the reactionaries themselves would use this to crush the revolutionary forces.
The importance – and courage – of the firm stand against the call to end the revolutionary war taken by the remaining PCP leadership cannot be overestimated. The ROL was very wrong in arguing that the most important thing of all was to save the party. In return, it was willing to surrender the red political power that Gonzalo had called the “bone marrow” of the revolution because of the way it brought about the conscious involvement of the masses, and to dissolve the people’s army, without which, as Mao said, “the people have nothing” to defend their interests or even their lives. Such a step would objectively mean betrayal of the hopes and sacrifices of the masses who had taken up the people’s war, those who supported it and those around the world who looked to it. This discrediting of Maoism would have led to a far worse setback and demoralisation than would have been produced by defeat alone. If it did this, instead of leaving a precious legacy the party would turn into an obstacle for the present and future generations of revolutionaries to push aside – even if the reactionaries didn’t tear it apart and kill as many of its members as they could.
However, it was not at all inevitable that the only choice was between glorious or inglorious defeat. One thing at stake was a point of basic orientation: whether or not to persist in fighting for the revolutionary interests of the masses, in line with communist objectives, which meant figuring out how to continue that under new and very difficult conditions. But this stand, however basic, had to be grounded in something more than moral commitment. In the end, as the actions of PCP leaders have told us, people act on the basis of how they understand things, what they think is possible and necessary.
The enormity of the problem can’t be denied: the leadership which had been responsible for developing the line and strategy for the revolution could no longer do so with a correct orientation, and instead was apparently calling for a reversal of the whole strategic direction and principles they had been basing themselves on. But the difficulty of what was required didn’t make it any less necessary. Of course, those remaining had to work out the answers to burning questions step by step and as required over time. To do that, it really wasn’t possible to say, “OK, our chairman has left our side, so let’s re-examine everything we ever believed before we do anything else.” Maybe this is what the revolutionaries thought they were avoiding with the “hoax” line. They had to persist, and figuring out how to do that was as necessary as breathing. But even if Chairman Gonzalo had turned out not to be behind the call to end the people’s war, it would not have been true that, as the Persist forces claimed, the thinking and line developed under his leadership to that point was sufficient to lead the people’s war to victory. Further, over time it would become impossible to persist in the people’s war without a review of the party’s line and practice – and theory and experience internationally – to find the roots of the ROL and formulate new analyses and strategic concepts. In other words, without making the breakthroughs in theory and practice ceaselessly required for the advance of this and any revolution.
This would have been very hard for anyone, and perhaps the remaining party leaders did not feel up to the task – especially since they were probably up against their party’s chairman. But what else could they do but use their heads and their grasp of Maoism and play a real leadership role as best they could? Communist leaders are not born. Leadership involves talents acquired in many different ways and takes time to develop. But it is fundamentally a matter of ideological and political line (orientation and method). It means wielding Maoism to lead the party in seeking to understand the world and change it. Ironically, the only way to refute the thesis that the remaining party leaders were incapable of continuing without Chairman Gonzalo was for them and new leaders who came forward to rise to the occasion, raising their level as party leaders on all fronts, including tackling and beginning to resolve the line questions involved. It should also be pointed out that the ROL’s charge that the remaining leaders were “incompetent” was particularly cruel when it was the ROL itself that was the biggest obstacle placed in the path of the revolution and those trying to lead it forward.
The “hoax” conception was tightly linked to and in fact became a vehicle for a particular conception of political struggle in a communist party. The CC adopted an attitude of trying to persevere through practice alone (“smash the ROL through people’s war”) and ignore the specific content of the ROL beyond generally denouncing it as “black vomit”. Although the February 1994 PCP CC statement said “pay attention to the two-line struggle”, it argued that the stand of the ROL had put its members “outside the party by their own free will”, as if there were no ROL inside the party itself and no real need to wage two-line struggle against it. To take up and attempt to refute the ROL’s arguments, some maintained, would mean falling for the enemy’s trap and giving credence to the hoax. Two-line struggle, it was said, should be waged among revolutionaries. The ROL and its “black heads” only needed to be “crushed” physically. PCP supporters abroad spread the attitude that the most serious problem was not the peace accords line but those who refused to accept the “hoax” theory.
One of the most vociferous proponents of this approach was the Peruvian journalist Luis Arce Borja. At the time RIM was adopting its position “Rally to the Defense of Our Red Flag Flying in Peru” and calling for a vigorous two-line struggle against the proposal for seeking a peace accord, Arce Borja launched a frantic attack on RIM and its Committee which, for a while, confused some of the friends and supporters of the PCP. Arce criticized RIM’s understanding of the two-line struggle in the PCP. He wrote, “To hold that the ‘peace agreement’ is part of a process of internal conflict within the PCP portrays it as an organisation corroded by a scandalous division, an organisation divided and undermined and on the very verge of destruction. This point of view is similar to that of the die-hard enemies of the revolution”. In reply, an article in A World to Win magazine pointed out that two-line struggle is a permanent feature of all communist parties, even though it has “high tides and low tides” in different periods, as a reflection of the existence of the contending classes in society and the resulting clash between ideas. What’s more, such two-line struggle “is absolutely necessary to educate and transform the outlook of party members and the masses.” Arce reacted to this polemic by even more rabidly casting RIM and any others who refused to accept the “hoax” thesis into the camp of Fujimori and the imperialists.
Arce is on record upholding this position regarding the “hoax” through June 2004. Suddenly, during the trial in November of that year, the great defender of the faith against all “doubt” was assailed by doubts. A year later, Arce explodes. Chairman Gonzalo is a “traitor” and has been since October 1993! He wrote the peace letters after all. But this journalist lets slip not a word of explanation or even mention of his previous position. The fault, Arce squeals, lies with RIM for not having denounced Guzman back then and for calling for his defence from the Peruvian state ever since!
Unwilling to confront the task of waging the necessary two-line struggle, the Persist forces were only digging themselves deeper and deeper into a pit. Especially if Chairman Gonzalo was the head of the ROL, but even if he were not, it was not the case that this line represented deliberate betrayal and conscious treason of the kind committed by someone who, for example, informs on comrades to save their own life. It could represent a horrible mistake, meant to save the revolution even while objectively leading to its death, a wrong understanding and a wrong line — which would not negate what was correct in the line associated with Gonzalo previously, nor the disastrously harmful nature of the ROL. The main question in determining whether a political line is right or wrong is not one of subjective intent – whether or not its proponents want revolution. Political lines need to be examined in terms of what they call for and carry out, and where that would lead, no matter what some people might want. At any rate, no matter who put it forward and why, the ROL had to be taken on as a line and refuted as such.
A major two-line struggle against the ROL’s political line and the orientation and method behind it and the beginning of a clear-eyed summation of the experience of the past period and the situation faced by the party and the revolution could lead to at least an initial idea of how to move forward. This would mean trying to work out how persevering in the people’s war could be linked to and serve the building up of revolutionary strength and both hastening and awaiting a change in the international and national situation, as Mao said during a difficult period in the Chinese people’s war, when countrywide political power could be seized as a base area for the world proletarian revolution.
There is no guarantee that if the Central Committee had taken this approach, the people’s war would have been able to advance or even hold out. First, there was no getting around the terrible fact that the bulk of the party’s leadership had taken a wrong road. Second, this was taking place on the stage of difficult objective conditions as well. But it is particularly tragic that despite the wrong assessment of the CC, there was a sharp two-line struggle – waged by only one side, the ROL. By acting as if nothing had happened – as if the ROL were not real, as if its emergence did not reflect real questions, and as if Chairman Gonzalo could not possibly have anything to do with it, the “hoax” line and the associated conception of two-line struggle led those who wanted to persist to act on the basis of an analysis and plan increasingly out of accord with reality. No matter what other problems they faced, the “hoax” line made a bad situation even harder to resolve in a positive direction.
The experience of the people’s war in Peru and the issues and lines involved need to be thoroughly studied. The great achievement in launching and carrying forward the People’s War and the subsequent setback constitute a very important experience of the Maoist movement in the period since the overthrow of socialism in China. This experience, in both its grandeur and its pain, are part of the common heritage of the whole international communist movement and especially RIM. A materialist examination of the whole complex affair, including the roles of all who took part in it, is necessary not only for the re-orientation and rebuilding of the PCP by the genuine Maoist forces in Peru but concerns all those who take seriously their responsibility to lead revolution in other countries and on a world scale. It is necessary to continue to defend the imprisoned Chairman Gonzalo and others who initiated and led forward this great uprising of the oppressed even if it is not possible to uphold their current political positions. Ideological and political assistance must be extended to those in Peru who seek to overcome the setback of the revolution. Nothing is more despicable than those who, seeing the value of their “capital” diminish, seek to cut their losses and look for new investments.
There are many aspects of political and ideological line that emerged in the course of the People’s War and the two-line struggle in the PCP that need to be studied, understood and debated more thoroughly. New advances in Peru will come in conjunction with and as part of the transformations and advances that are required of the international communist movement as a whole.
1. Huallaga Regional Committee and main PCP leader after 1999 Comrade Artemio. See La Republica transcription of radio interview, 16 April 2004, and its own interview with him, 28 August 2004. Also the British Channel 4 TV interview broadcast 7 January 2004.
2. CC statements of 7 October 1993 and February 1994. A World to Win magazine no. 21.
3. Cage speech, AWTW no. 18.
4. Later it was disclosed that the television programme had been made in cooperation with Fujimori’s right-hand man Vladimiro Montesinos, who supervised the filming. In fact, it seemed that Clavo had been following a previously-agreed script when she spoke. This is not surprising, given that the regime and Clavo had come to a temporary agreement in pursuit of different ends.
5. A copy of this unpublished letter sent abroad by a reliable source. Its content was substantially repeated in a 10 April 2003 written interview in Caretas magazine.
6. La Republica interview, 28 August 2004. After the fall of the Fujimori government in 2000, documents putting forward the ROL concluded that because the CC members remaining free had refused to take up the call to negotiate with Fujimori directly, a peace accord was no longer possible. Nevertheless, the immediate goal remained forcing the regime to accept a “political solution”, including amnesty for most prisoners and those like Artemio with a price on their heads. After carrying out an implicit ceasefire with the government for several years, in 2004 Artemio announced his forces would return to armed struggle if “a political solution to the war” were not achieved in six months
7. Agenciaperu.com, 18 December 2005. He has confirmed this stand in private letters as well.
8. If some revolutionary-minded people abroad took Chairman Gonzalo’s chants as proof that he was opposed to the peace accord line all along, it is because they have not understood the real terms of the two-line struggle in the PCP – that it has not been between some people who opposed revolution and others who condemned it, but between two currents of thought that both claimed the mantle of Maoism, even though they called for opposite policies. This is why lines have to be studied before Marxism can be distinguished from revisionism.
9. Radio Programas Peru interview with Manual Fajardo, Gonzalo’s attorney, broadcast 17 October 2005. This approach was confirmed in letters received in April 2006 by prominent supporters of the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Abimael Guzman (IEC) abroad, signed by Crespo and Iparraguirre, who repeated her references, written in other correspondence and statements over the years, to “the strategic turn and the political solution that we had been proposing since ‘92”.
10. This was discussed at the party Central Committee’s Third Plenum in 1992. In addition to mentioning other political, military and theoretical problems the party was facing, the Third Plenum report reflects the heavy toll taken by the prison massacre of previously captured party leaders in May 1992. The main document is unpublished (some shorter documents are available at www.redsun.org). But Chairman Gonzalo alluded to some main points in his cage speech, particularly the question of whether or not the war had exhausted the potential of anti-feudal revolution and had to go over to a national liberation struggle.
11. The foundational ROL document, purportedly a transcription of a speech given in prison by Chairman Gonzalo, “Take Up and Fight for the New Decision and the New Definition” (Asumir). There are several slightly different transcripts circulating. An early, relatively short version which appeared in a Lima daily in January 1993 was reprinted as a background document for studying the line struggle in Peru in AWTW no. 23.
12. “Rally to the Defence of Our Red Flag Flying in Peru”, AWTW no. 21. Also see the 11-point programme of the peace accord forces, reprinted as reference material in that same issue.
13. “It’s Right to Rebel”, AWTW no. 21. This document was first circulated internally in RIM as part of the process of investi!gation and study. It was published in October 1995 along with the aforementioned Call “Rally to the Defense of the Our Red Flag Flying in Peru”.
14. “Trappist Monks Turn Into Village Charlatans: Another Summersault of the Circus Acrobats of RIM”, El Diario Internacional, March 1995. About half of this article, including its main points, was reprinted as reference material in AWTW no. 22.
15. “An Initial Reply to Arce Borja: On the Maoist Conception of Two-Line Struggle,” AWTW no. 22.
16. “The Red Guards of Political Trafficking”, EDI, January 2006. Note that Arce Borja’s only constants are hatred for RIM and very special venom for Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, a founding party of RIM. Also see “Peru: The Remnants of a Betrayed Revolution”.