The Peruvian Revolution
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Khrushchev’s denunciation of Comrade Stalin at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1956 caused chaos in the International Communist Movement. For a few years this issue was ‘played out’ quietly within individual parties and internationally, in bi-partisan meetings.
However, by 1960 the Revisionists, ideologically weak as they were long before the death of Comrade Stalin, had gained supremacy in various parties of the world. This came to a head at the Moscow Meeting of 81 Workers and Communist Parties on 16th November 1960 where Comrade Enver Hoxha delivered a blistering attack upon the unprincipled opportunism and pusillanimity of the leadership of the CPSU and those lackeys, lickspittles and sycophants in virtually all the other Communist and Workers Parties who just fell in line.
At the time the Communist Party of China (CPC) still seemed to think that the renegades and opportunists could be convinced to return to the revolutionary path – a stance that ultimately led to a bitter denunciation of some of China’s policies in the international realm by the Party of Labour of Albania in 1978.
As the 1960s wore on it became obvious that there was no way that the rift between the revisionists and revolutionary Marxist-Leninists could be healed and this led to the splitting off of various size groups from the traditional Communist parties and the formation of parties that re-affirmed the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism. This was accompanied by what was termed ‘The International Polemic’ at the same time as the development of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China but also, on a less frenetic scale, of the fight against revisionism in the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania.
However, within weeks of the death of Comrade Mao Tse-tung in September 1976, the revisionist and ‘capitalist-roaders’, deep within the Communist Party of China and at all levels, were able to gain control by a vicious coup d’etat and started to take China along a road that led to the full scale introduction of capitalism in the country.
This failure of the revolutionaries (denigrated as the ‘Gang of Four’) within the CPC caused yet another rift within the now much smaller revolutionary International Communist Movement with some still holding to the ‘Maoist’ line but others maintaining that such a stance was inherently wrong and favouring the stance taken by Enver Hoxha and the Party in Albania. (The argument of following the Hoxhist line itself was challenged when Albania dissolved into unimaginable chaos in the early 1990s, although only happening more than five years after Comrade Hoxha‘s death.)
Whereas most Parties worldwide seemed to move around like chickens with their heads cut off, no longer having a society which was attempting to build Socialism on which they could hang their hats. the Communist Party of Peru (Sendero Luminoso) (CPP(SL), on 17th May 1980 declared the beginning of the ‘People’s War’.
From small beginnings yet with intelligent, clever and ideologically sound political leadership this struggle against the Peruvian State was able, in the short period of twelve years, to really pose a viable threat to the old order.
Then, for reasons which I, at least, don’t understand, the leadership of the CPP(SL) made a series of serious mistakes which effectively destroyed that amazing revolutionary movement in less than a couple of years. There were some who continued (and still continue) to fight on but the momentum was lost.
At some time in the future it might be useful for someone to look at what exactly went wrong in Peru. The People’s War had given a great deal of hope not only to the people of Peru but to those who are oppressed and exploited throughout the world. In that sense the failure in Peru didn’t just effect Peruvians. The failure there had a knock on effect worldwide and viable Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Parties lost their own forward development.
As a small contribution to what I think is an important debate the aim on these pages is to reproduce as much of the material as possible which has been published by the CPP and its leader, Comrade Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán).
Also here will be material that was produced in the 1990s by the International Committee to Defend the Life of President Gonzalo (IEC) – an historically unprecedented movement that involved many people on many continents to ensure he wasn’t summarily killed by the reactionaries in Peru (supported by the most vicious and vindictive of forces, United States Imperialism).