Approfondir > The OCML Voie Prolétarienne supports the Communist Party of Peru

The OCML Voie Prolétarienne supports the Communist Party of Peru

Declaration by the Steering Committee of OCML Voie Prolétarienne, May 1990

[NB : This declaration originally appeared at the end of the brochure entitled Ten Years of People’s War in Peru, Cahier N° 8 of La Cause du Communisme]

The first article on the PCP (also known as “Shining Path” as we said) appeared in our paper in 1984, marking the beginning of regular information on the guerrilla in Peru and the politics of the PCP.

This information was marked by new positions, in the light of different political events. At the time we refused to lend either blind, idealist support which has done so much harm to the revolutionary movement, or a lack of commitment based on real criticisms. This support by Voie Prolétarienne was and will always be political, based on main agreements regarding the political orientations taken in the class struggle. It took shape basically twice : mid-85 with the publication of a detailed analysis of the positions of the PCP ending with critical support published in our theoretical journal, and January 86 when, following a public meeting in Paris in support of the People’s War, the Steering Committee released an article severely criticising it and the lack of answers to the important questions raised there.

Today, the People’s War has entered its tenth year. Much more information is now available by the way linked to the development of the process itself. This anniversary is the opportunity to politically review where we stand regarding our agreements with the PCP.

Once again it is important to emphasise that it should not be taken as a closed position but one open to future reassessment.

The articles which have appeared recently in Partisan (April and May 1990) republished in this brochure have served to situate the current political and social context in Peru. Disintegration is advancing swiftly and a revolutionary situation is developing : the bourgeoisie can no longer command as before (as shown at the institutional level by the results of the first round of the elections) and the masses no longer wish to go on living as before, as demonstrated by the way the PCP guerrilla has developed together with the existence of the Guevarist MRTA. The imperialists are nervous and are becoming increasingly involved, from US drug operations to European social democracy through NGOs.

The bourgeois politicians are completely discredited, including the reformist opposition of the kind Lenin might well have had in mind when he came up with the phrase “parliamentary cretinism” : as the crisis deepens, the reformists of the United Left cling to à rickety bourgeois state.

Only the Communist Part of Peru proposes as different future. Over ten years of guerrilla war, it has gathered forces and widened its scope on the ground whereas the attempts by the Guevarists were cut short within the space of only a few months. Through the struggle it is waging, the PCP draws the line between the different camps and those who occupy them, not only in Peru but also in France, namely the camp of the exploiters versus the camp of the exploited.

In France the bourgeois press talks increasingly about the ‘Shining Path’. From the sensationalist story published in Paris Match to the vile book by Labrousse and Hertogue, the attitude adopted towards this Party is gaining in importance and even a number of journalists have started to take an interest, adopting a slightly different approach.

Everything seems to indicate that as the guerrilla continues to develop, the debate surrounding will intensify and become more heated. All militants who call themselves communists must prepare to respond to this offensive which is already well underway. That is the aim of this document, signed by the Steering Committee of Voie Prolétarienne and drafted following a debate within the Organisation [1]].


The first reason behind our support is the communist reference of the PCP. At times such as these when Communism is pronounced dead, giving up all hope of liberation for the working class and the exploited masses, it is heartening to see that on the other side of the Globe militants have taken up the torch of the revolution to make it live through armed struggle and by seizing Power.

But our support for the PCP is not limited to recognising that they belong to the camp of the exploited, the revolutionaries.

1) Acknowledging Maoism as a development of Marxism

The PCP sees Maoism as a qualitative leap in the development of Marxism, as does VP. Even if their discourse is not completely devoid of formalisms, the PCP appears to put Maoism into practice in a creative way within the context of Peruvian society as expressed in the orientative texts where it is seen as a necessity :

“[Lenin] taught us that [the Revolution] expressed itself in specific conditions which, while not refuting the principles and laws, involved new situations which Marxism could not ignore without exposing the revolution to failure. And despite the screams of the pseudo Marxist intellectuals puffed up with liberalism and all their pedantry and their bookishness when faced with all things new, the only just and correct thing is to apply Marxism to the concrete reality and to resolve the new situations and problems which every revolution faces and necessarily resolves.”

But we also find evidence of it in the ability of the Party to aliment its political positions in the course of the class struggle (see the documents included in this brochure) and to take full advantage of the reality of Peruvian society to carry out the People’s War successfully.

But if the PCP does define itself as Maoist, it’s not only for tactical reasons, sharing as it does the basic orientations. Here we will cite three which we consider to be decisive when drawing a distinction between all of the reformist orientations which lead the revolution to dead-end :

Criticism of socialist development in the USSR and the first assessment of it by Mao Zedong and the Chinese Revolution.

The PCP rejects the theory of ‘productive forces’ as revisionist and as one of the factors which led to the degeneration of the USSR. Mao Zedong is to be credited with having “applied dialectics to analyse the relationship between the base and the superstructure, carrying on the Marxist-Leninist struggle against the revisionist theory of ‘productive forces’, concluding that the superstructure and consciousness can alter the base and with power it can develop the productive forces […]. This leads to a true political economics direction, rather than merely an economic policy […]”.

In other words, the PCP puts politics in command of the economy, not the other way round, rejecting all thinking whereby politics should fall in behind supposedly absolute economic ‘needs’… as defined by the bourgeoisie ! The text continues :

“But the main thing is that Chairman Mao developed the political economy of Socialism. His criticism of the construction of Socialism in the USSR is of the greatest importance, as is his thesis regarding the development of Socialism in China […] However, despite its key importance, little is made of this development of Marxism political economics […]”

We consider these orientative elements to constitute the basic dividing lines between Marxism and the different varieties of reformism and revisionism. To that extent the orientation of the PCP is just. Although couched in general terms, it leads to a correct understanding of the so-called socialist countries in the East (including the USSR and China today) which the PCP see as capitalists.

Secondly, the defence of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. As a result of its vision of Socialism, just as we do, the PCP sees the Cultural Revolution as a political and practical break with the ideas which had dominated the Communist movement up until that point regarding the nature of Transition.

“From a historical point of view, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is the essential development of Marxism-Leninism by Chairman Mao. It provides the solution to the great unresolved problem of the continuation of the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat […]. The restoration of Capitalism in China following the counter-revolutionary coup of 1976 does not negate the GPCR, but actually forms an integral part of the struggle between restoration and counter-restoration and, on the contrary, demonstrates the fundamental importance of the GPCR in the relentless march of humanity towards Communism.”

The Cultural Revolution is an important reference for our Organisation which we see it as the only way to conceive the future of Socialism, the only way to attempt to thwart the restoration of Capitalism as we have seen happen in the Eastern Bloc countries. The Peruvian Communists and we ourselves have yet to conduct a full political assessment of the Cultural Revolution and its eventual failure. Just like the Paris Commune and the Bolshevik Revolution, it is an essential link in the history of the global proletariat from which lessons should be drawn for our struggle, both in times of success and failure.

Finally, the PCP’s view of the stages of the Revolution and the way they are related. The PCP adheres to the Marxist and Leninist conception of the continuous revolution carried out in stages, the latter proving essential owing to the level of development of the productive forces, especially in dominated countries, where each stage paves the way for to the next in the general movement of the march towards Communism.

“The Communist Party of Peru has Communism as its final aim. For that reason, given that Peruvian society is currently oppressed and exploited by Imperialism, bureaucratic Capitalism and semi-feudalism, the revolution necessarily begins with an initial democratic stage, followed by a second social stage and finally the successive cultural revolutions. At the current time, through the People’s War, the Party is developing the democratic revolution with the immediate aim of culminating in the take-over over Power in the whole country […]. Finally, it should be stated that while the New Democracy primarily accomplishes democratic tasks such as the democratic revolution, it also serves several complementary socialist tasks, thereby completely resolving the question of the two stages – democracy and socialism – corresponding to a country such as ours and ensuring that both democracy is achieved and that the revolution is pursued as a socialist revolution without interruptions, in an continuous manner.”

Why do we insist on this conception of the revolution ? Because it is what distinguishes the democratic revolution led by the bourgeoisie (seeking to consolidate its power-base and halt the revolution) from the democratic revolution led by the proletariat which, on the contrary, by inserting it in a historical perspective, effectively heads the permanent political and ideological struggle against the bourgeois tendency to conciliation, reinforcing the power of the elites as opposed to the masses and stressing economic rules rather than political mobilisation, reinforcing individualism rather than collectivism, etc.

The next stage, socialism, begins as soon as power is seized, even if democratic and anti-imperialist tasks remain incomplete in order to strengthen the role and the place of the proletariat in society, involving socialisation and the beginning of the transformation of the production relations.

These are the three key elements which justify our support for the PCP. At a time when State capitalism is crumbling in the Eastern Bloc, a program of this kind enables us to look to the future with optimism.

2) We support a democratic Revolution

While examining the positions held by the PCP in 1985 we were wondering on the stage of the Revolution in Peru. Bearing in mind the importance of urbanisation on the one hand and industrial development on the other, we all too quickly reached the conclusion that it was a “semi-capitalist and semi-colonial” country.

The PCP itself refers to a “semi-feudal and semi-colonial” country, stressing the political and economic importance of bureaucratic Capitalism which takes roots in such a context.

“Bureaucratic Capitalism is the kind of Capitalism created by Imperialism in backward countries, tied to an obsolete feudalism and subject to Imperialism, the highest stage of Capitalism. It serves the Imperialists, the upper bourgeoisie and the landlords, not the masses. Mariátegui had already shown, for example, how the creation of banks by the bourgeoisie created capital in the hands of Imperialism and tied to feudalism. Chairman Gonzalo magisterially demonstrated that the Capitalism under development in Peru is a bureaucratic Capitalism held back by the surviving remnants of semi-feudalism on the one hand and subject to Imperialism on the other, which prevents it from developing the national economy, in other words a bureaucratic Capitalism which oppresses and exploits the proletariat, the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie and holds back the middle bourgeoisie.” (Bases for Debate, Preparatory Documents for the Congress of the PCP, December 1987)

Above and beyond an accurate analysis of bureaucratic Capitalism and Peruvian society about which we may well not dispose of all of the information necessary, it is the political conclusions reached by the PCP that we see as being important : the PCP rejects the idea of ‘dependant Capitalism’ defended by the reformists who suggest that it would be enough to break up with dependence (for example, by changing the leaders) in order to carry out the democratic revolution. Thus, the PCP was alone in denouncing the project to nationalise the banks in 1988, stating that it was a formal measure and would do nothing to alter relations within society (not unlike our own criticism of the nationalisations which took place in France in 1981). On the other hand, all of the reformist parties, including the Guevarist MRTA, approved the project proposed by the García administration.

This position makes it possible to define the attitude to be adopted towards the different bourgeois factions. While reformists of all kinds are neutralised by the pseudo-nationalist discourse of those running the State, the PCP limits its alliance to the national bourgeoisie oppressed by Imperialism, whilst at the same time acknowledging that this alliance has yet to be formed owing to the fragility and instability of this bourgeoisie on the one hand and the current level of the revolution on the other, which would be considerably accelerated were there to be a US intervention, for example. As we have said, an unstable and fragile alliance which would cease to exist as the take-over of power gradually implements the tasks of socialism.

We support the PCP because we see their orientation as breaking away from the opportunistic interpretations of the democratic revolution.

Two additional elements before closing on this question : the need to seize State Power on the one hand, and the construction of the New Power of the Democratic revolution on the other, amidst the destruction of the old order.

“What is the basis of Maoism ? The basis of Maoism is Power. Power for the proletariat, Power through the dictatorship of the proletariat, Power based on an army led by the Communist Party. More specifically : 1) Power under the leadership of the proletariat during the democratic revolution ; 2) Power through the dictatorship of the proletariat during the socialist and cultural revolutions ; 3) Power based on an army led by the Communist Party, conquered and defended through people’s war […] Conquering Power in the country, today enshrined in the People’s Committees, Support Bases and the People’s Republic of the emerging New Democracy with a view to establishing the People’s Republic of Peru serves to set up the dictatorship of the proletariat in our country, because without it there can be no march towards Communism.”

We share these conceptions which serve at the time to draw a distinction with all of the reformists who seek to adapt to the status quo without questioning bourgeois power, as well as the revisionists who talk of seizing power, even of armed struggle, but postpone the building of a new society for later, thereby effectively handing it over to the petty bourgeoisie or even the bourgeoisie following a process similar to that seen in Nicaragua.

3) We support a proletarian Party

Five years ago we were wondering about the weakness of the political works of the PCP inside the working class. However, once the PCP itself had acknowledged this weakness (for example in the interview with Gonzalo in July 1988), the situation evolved considerably over the last two years with political work organised systematically around workers’ centres as reported in our paper Partisan (N°s 41, 44, 50 and 51), to which we shall return to later in this brochure.

The political work remains to be examined further because the dividing line with the reformists is often based on the means of struggle (pacific or violent, legal or illegal, self-organisation or delegation) or on support for the people’s war. While we do not deny the key importance of these boundaries, the education of the working class must not be neglected in order to provide it with the means necessary to play a leading role in the democratic revolution and beyond. Political debate is of vital importance in ensuring this education. The debate and education of the working class covers a range of issues, from economism and nationalism to the wage hierarchy and the nature of needs and production (the sort of struggle best suited to the weapon factories such as SIMA, INDUMIL, etc.).

It is true that the work conducted by the PCP with the workers is recent and as yet unsystematic, as evidenced by the criticism levelled against the reformists on the issue of wage indexation. Whatever the case may be, here we highlight the importance of this question which, to our mind, is one of the elements which will play a key role in the revolution at stake there. We will undoubtedly have the opportunity to return to it at a later date.

But the physical presence of the working class is only of secondary importance. We support the PCP because we feel that its evolution is positive on the whole, an evolution which grew out of the conception of the Party itself :

Firstly, a Party strongly linked to the masses like a fish in water :

“As far as the Party is concerned, Chairman Mao takes as the starting point the need for a Communist Party, a Party of a new type, a Party of the proletariat – today we would say a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Party – a Party whose aim is to conquer and maintain power and, therefore, a Party strongly committed to the people’s war, launching it, waging it and defending it ; a Party with the support of the masses, either through people’s war, in itself a war of the masses, or through the united front which, as a class front, is based on the majority of the masses.”

A Party which places ideology to the fore in order to light the way to follow, in constant transformation depending upon the conditions of the class struggle within the contradiction of the line struggle :

The Party evolves and changes in step with the stages of the revolution and the period in question. The driving-force behind this evolution is the contradiction expressed by the two line struggle between the proletarian line and the bourgeois or non-proletarian line in general, basically and essentially a struggle against revisionism. That leads to the decisive importance of ideology in the life of the Party, carrying out rectification campaigns designed to improve compliance with the just and correct political and ideological lines by the whole system of Party organisations and its members.”

A Party of the proletariat, for Communism :

“Based on the predominance of the proletarian line and maintain the iron-fisted leadership of the Party. The Party serves to establish the Power of the Proletariat, firstly as the class at the head of the New Democracy and above all at the start of the dictatorship of the proletariat and its strengthening and development in order to achieve the final aim, Communism, through cultural revolutions. For that the happen, the Party must be able to lead everything in all areas.”

We have seen how its political orientation has evolved over the last ten years, enriched as the result of the important political work undertaken, in line with political and practical activity, making it a dynamic, not a static, Party. The 1st Congress held clandestinely in 1988 gave rise to an important debate both inside and outside the Party. To the best of our knowledge, priority is given to training militants and sympathisers, conducted on a large scale all around the country through the ‘people’s schools’ (which actually existed long before the launch of the armed struggled) and the ideological struggle is continuous.

Criticism and self-criticism are more than mere words as we have seen for ourselves in the case of sympathisers more or less close to the people’s war. We have never sought to hide the criticisms and reserves we harbour regarding the orientation of the PCP, and while it has not always been easy, it has never prevented debate. For us this marks a step in the right direction compared with the disastrous practice of the Marxist-Leninist movement which stresses consensus while masking the underlying contradictions.

4) We support the armed struggle waged by the PCP

In principle, the armed struggle has never been rejected by all those who claim to be revolutionaries, but when it is raised in practice the words stick in many people’s throats. The line must therefore be drawn in concrete terms.

We have supported the armed struggle from the outset and recognise the historical role played by the PCP in launching it in Peru, sharing the PCP’s conception :

“The revolutionary army is an army of a new type, an army designed to accomplish the political tasks established by the Party in the interest of the proletariat and the people made up of three tasks : to fight, to produce in order to longer be a parasitic burden and to mobilise the masses. It is an army founded on political construction based on the ideology of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism (today) and the general and military political line established by the Party. It is an army based on men not arms, an army that grows up out of the masses and is forever bound to them, serving them wholeheartedly, thereby enabling it to move amongst the masses like a fish in water. ‘Without a People’s army, the people have nothing’, said Chairman Mao, whilst at the same time teaching us the need for the Party to exercise absolute control over the army, expressed in his great maxim : ‘The Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party’.”

This is an essential and absolutely fundamental point which calls for the need for an unerring political and ideological struggle in order to remain on course and avoid becoming cut off from the masses, because during the armed struggle the militarist tendency will always be present, reflecting the objective conditions of the struggle, no doubt heightened by the traditions of struggle in Latin America.

That is a basic summary of the reasons why we support the PCP. A main agreement regarding the orientation of the PCP involving both the march towards Communism as well as the current situation in Peru. This analysis is what lies behind the articles published in our Party paper as well as the importance we attach to the 10th Anniversary of the People’s War.

But agreement and support are not tantamount to idealising and following along uncritically and we have a certain numbers of albeit minor reservations and criticisms which we shall now go on to explain.


1) On reformism and revolutionary consciousness

In 1985 we remarked that the criticism of reformists was relatively superficial. Seen as agents of social-imperialism, the criticism rarely went beyond the level of “parliamentary cretinism” :

As far as so-called United Left is concerned […] what role does it play in the class struggle in the country ? Firstly, it is the continuation of electoralist positions, the only difference being that they are now more unrestrained and more closely linked to Soviet revisionism, as well as to Chinese revisionism, to hard-line bourgeois parliamentarianism and to nationalist or insubstantial revolutionary positions which seek to rally the people behind parliamentary cretinism, none of which are able to grasp the need for revolutionary violence, especially the forms that it has taken for the last ten blazing years. Day by day these revisionists become increasingly mired in the defence of the old order, its decrepit parliament, its electoral charades, its constitution and its laws and they live daunted by their fear of the Armed Forces and a coup d’état and even kneel before the APRA, especially García Pérez, who they see as their shield and democratic barrage.” (Develop the People’s War to Serve the World Revolution, August 1986).

This criticism is no doubt just as far as the reformist organisations and the parties themselves are concerned. However, that fails to explain the influence they have over the masses, nor indeed that of the APRA. No mention is made of the reasons behind their influence and their insertion amongst the masses who they lead in certain sectors. How is it be explained that in Puno and Cajamarca they are able – albeit perhaps only temporarily – to rally the peasant masses to the Rondas Campesinas against the people’s war ? What is the reason behind the reformist hold over the majority of the trade unions ? What are the material roots of this dominance and how, therefore, can they be fought correctly ?

In its documents, the PCP never addresses the question of the spontaneous reformism of the masses, reflecting their objective situation as a dominated class seeking to improve their material situation. The reformist parties take advantage of this spontaneous reformism to expand their influence. The PCP sees only the revolutionary character of the masses derived from the vicious exploitation they suffer. But, as Mao Zedong has shown, contradictions exist and it is impossible to plot a correct revolutionary course if all of the aspects involved are not first taken into account.

The main issue involves the PCP’s criticism of the reformists grounded essentially in the ideological field and very little in the field of what is at stake politically (except, of course, the people’s war !). The criticism is formal in nature and fails to address the causes of the widespread spontaneous reformism amongst the masses which can lead to an incorrect appraisal of the contradictions within the people. If we believe that erroneous positions are primarily ideological in nature, by failing taking to take into account their material motivations any adversary can all too quickly be deemed to be an enemy, whereas their positions may in fact simply reflect the actual contradictions within the situation at the time.

This brings us back to the relationship between the political and the military. The PCP’s position is just and is applied correctly (to the best of our knowledge) to everything involving the land and work in the countryside : a political maxim “The land for those who work it” guides the military action and the construction of the New Power, arms in hand.

However, as far as the work in the coastal areas, especially Lima, is concerned the situation appears to be somewhat different, with a clear rift between the level of political work (admittedly far more onerous) and armed actions, economic sabotage and selective eliminations. Political explanations and propaganda appear insufficient when compared with the scope of the armed actions, and large sectors of the population do not understand the PCP’s politics (even if it does enjoy a definite sympathy). A paper such as El Diario, now clandestine, plays an instructive role, which is all to the good. But this rift is real and it is essential for the PCP to take steps to overcome it.

On the whole, our reserves concerning revolutionary consciousness and reformism may well be explained by the evolution of the armed struggle itself, beginning as it did deep in the countryside where reformism is hardly present (if at all) and where peasant revolt was waiting to happen after centuries of oppression and massacres. The emerging orientation of the PCP on the question at the time did not hold back political work.

However, now that the guerrilla is expanding and the influence of the PCP is reaching the towns, this flaw regarding the working class is becoming notable. While we are confident that the PCP will be able to address this issue and define appropriate tactics, we nevertheless underline its importance because not to addressing it correctly would cause the revolution to fail by failing to grasp the origins of the bourgeois positions and how to combat them.

2) On the weakness of the reflections on Socialism.

We agree, of course, that Socialism is the second stage of the revolution. Nonetheless, the PCP itself underlines the speed of the move from one stage to the next. If this transition is to be swift, then the subjective conditions must already be under preparation. And yet we were not told, for example, what the famous “several socialist tasks” that the democratic revolution must accomplish are. While we completely agree with the statement of principle, we feel that it lacks substance. And as this reflection is completely absent from all of the documents currently available, we are reduced to nothing more than the formula itself together with the declarations regarding the theory of productive forces. In a similar vein, above and beyond the references to the Cultural Revolution, we feel it is also vital to draw the political lessons behind its failure. That is necessary for the world revolution to move forwards, including the Peruvian revolution in particular. However, we are unaware of any lessons drawn by the PCP on this matter.

We can’t speak of erroneous positions because nothing of what is said is untrue. Nevertheless, the weakness of this reflection, while not yet vital given the democratic stage of the revolution, could become so following the take-over of power.

3) On Chairman Gonzalo and the importance given to this leader by the PCP.

Let us begin by citing the positions of the PCP :

“During the process of its development through the struggle of the proletariat as its leading class and above all by the Communist Party which defends and never deserts its class interests, all revolutions produce a group of leaders and especially one in particular who represent it and lead it, a leader, an authority figure with a reputed trajectory. In our case, this is emerged through necessity and historical accident in the figure of Chairman Gonzalo, the leader of the Party and the revolution. Furthermore, and this is the basis of all leadership, revolutions also give rise to a thought which guides them resulting from the application of the universal truth of the ideology of the international proletariat to the concrete conditions of each revolution, a thought that is essential in order to achieve victory and conquer power and, even more so, to continue the revolution and always stay on course towards the single glorious aim : Communism. By arriving at a decisively important qualitative leap for the revolutionary process that it leads, this guiding thought is identified with the name of the person who embodies it in theory and in practice. In our case, this phenomena firstly arose as a guiding thought, then as the guiding thought of Chairman Gonzalo before going on to become Gonzalo Thought because it is the Chairman who developed it by creatively applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the concrete conditions of Peruvian reality, thereby providing the Party and the revolution with an essential arm which guarantees its triumph.”

[…] In a class society, consciousness will inevitably arise unevenly which is why in fact only a minority of the proletariat becomes organised into vanguard party and that even within the Party itself leaders emerge who clearly express the great trends in society and set out the aims and orientations of the Party. In that sense, we realise that Chairman Gonzalo may well have played an essential role in establishing the Party’s political line.

For the same reason, it is also inevitable that in the midst of the struggle the masses pin their hopes on a leading figure. But that is nothing more than a sign of their alienation.

The role of the Party is not to exacerbate any such personalisation but, on the contrary, to show that it is the masses who make history through their movement and their spontaneous revolts, and above all by raising their consciousness and their capacity to take the lead.

Communist leaders must play their leadership role to the full by reducing the contradicting between the leaders and the led for the masses themselves to gradually take over the reins of power in the political struggle between the old and the new, before finally disappearing all together.

Personifying the political line excessively in one single individual effectively depoliticises the masses. In Peru, over half of the PCP’s slogans mention Chairman Gonzalo. Outside Peru, the documents of the PCP are published in a book entitled Gonzalo Thought, belying the fact that they are actually documents developed by the Party as a whole regardless of who actually writes them up. We cannot agree with this vision of politics and the place of man in history.

4) On nationalism and internationalism.

Five years ago we already noted worrying formulations in the documents produced by the PCP concerning the defence of the Homeland, for example in the Bases for Debate regarding the “heroic resistance of the masses against the invader in defence of “territorial integrity” during the war against Chile in 1879, a war which, it is also made clear, was far from progressive, vying between the imperialists and the land-owners.

While the heroic resistance of the masses in their own interests and in the interest of the revolution and the people’s war is fully justified, including in the face of foreign invaders (Chile and Ecuador), it is essential to avoid mistaking this for a defence of the Homeland, further begging the question to what extent it remains in any way progressive at the current time, especially in the context of Andean America.

An eventual invasion by the US would be a special case, whose direct intervention would call for a tactical and temporary broadening of the Democratic Revolution alliances within the framework of the nation vs. imperialism contradiction. However, we still believe that the political accent in such an eventuality should be placed on anti-imperialism, not on patriotism.

Nationalism and patriotism had wrought extensive damage to the international communist movement, leading the revolution to a dead-end. However, we by no means claim that the PCP is nationalist, especially in the light of the fact that it has reinforced its internationalist focus over the last five years in all of its documents.

This ambiguous position may well be a remnant of the Three Worlds Theory, that bourgeois theory concocted by China in 1975. How else could the following statement be interpreted ?

“On the one hand, based on the historical importance of the oppressed nations and especially their perspectives, as well as the economic and political relations underway there thanks to the process of the disintegration of imperialism, the Chairman has formulated his thesis that three worlds are outlined, containing everything needed to implement the strategy and the tactics of the world revolution. Unfortunately we are far too unfamiliar with the writings and positions held by Chairman Mao on these essential issues. Nevertheless, the little that is known indicates the great outlines he indicated and the main lines to be followed in order to understand and serve the world proletarian revolution.”

All of that is rather too glib, ignoring the fact that the Three Worlds Theory was presented in the UN on 10 April 1974 by Deng Xiaoping, by then rehabilitated, only seven months after the 10th Congress of the CPC had sealed the victory of the ‘Gang of Four’, who never moved away from this Theory. All of which took place while Mao Zedong was still alive. While it is certainly difficult to determine what Mao Zedong’s actual stance was on the question, the Three Worlds Theory did indeed exist as conceived by the Communist Party of China and with well-known political consequences, for example alliances with the bourgeoisie of dominated countries, including ‘Second World’ countries such as imperialist France, support for the Shah of Iran, Pinochet in Chile and the reception of Nixon in Beijing in the midst of the US aggression in Vietnam.

The ambiguities regarding the Homeland are no doubt related to those regarding the Three Worlds Theory. At no time does the PCP uphold the Three Worlds Theory in any of its analyses destined either for internal or international consumption. But the problem of the positions adopted by China while Mao Zedong was still alive remains and the PCP appears to shy away from tackling them. Communists are never afraid of the truth and recognising that Mao Zedong was a great leader of the international proletariat does not mean that the Chinese experience should be examined uncritically, not least in order to understand why it failed.

The Three Worlds Theory must be unequivocally and completely rejected for what it is : a counter-revolutionary theory which puts the world revolution into the hands of the bourgeoisie.

5) Finally, to draw our main comments and criticisms to a close, we would like to return to the situation in Europe.

On two occasions an incorrect analysis has emerged :

“It is necessary to grasp the contradictions in order to analyse the global situation and to define its strategy and tactics and to identify the strategic areas of conflict. […] And Europe, where anti-imperialist military actions persist, make it necessary to study the ideology and the politics behind them, the class that they serve, their relationship with the ideology of the proletariat and the role they play in the world proletarian revolution as well as their position on modern revisionism. These movements reflect the existence of a revolutionary situation developing at different rates in the Old World.” (Bases for Debate, December 1987)

“As far as armed actions in Europe are concerned, we see protracted armed struggles. They are the expression of an objective reality. As a result, they are not to be rejected offhand, but should be understood, studied and analysed in order to determine how they too express the existence of a revolutionary situation in Europe, especially bearing in mind that they are people who have taken up arms in the knowledge that it is the only way to seize Power. It deals a hard blow to revisionism that even in Europe itself, which it sees as one of its bastions, revisionism is beginning to be spurned, regardless of the level achieved and the problems pending. This is undoubtedly an important move forwards.” Interview with Chairman Gonzalo, July 1988

We disagree with this analysis. While these armed actions are indeed the expression of an objective reality and there is no question of calling them out as terrorists, there is no revolutionary situation in Europe, not even an emergent one. There is indeed an economic, social and political crisis, but it has not given rise to a revolutionary situation. Otherwise every situation could be deemed revolutionary because by definition Capitalism is unstable, following an infernal cycle of crisis, restructuring and expansion. While the bourgeois political apparatus may well be in crisis, this is not the case for the bourgeois itself whose strong-hold remains undisputed. What these revolutionary actions do reflect, on the contrary, is the disarray of the petty bourgeoisie incapable of accepting the harsh situation of a workers’ movement in decline politically, ideologically as well as socially and therefore incapable of undertaking the painstaking task of politicisation and organisation needed today by the working class.

These actions do no deal a harsh blow to revisionism (making such a claim once again demonstrates the limits of their analysis of reformism, giving priority to the gun over politics). While it is true that they have broken the reigning climate of legalism, which is a good thing, these organisations have not broken with revisionism because the majority of them still view the USSR as a socialist country, from the PCE(r) and the Red Brigades to Action Directe and the RAF. They would lead the working class movement into a kind of armed revisionism going nowhere.

It is impossible to analyse these militarist currents in Europe here, suffice it to say that to claim that they are indicative of the existence of a revolutionary situation demonstrates a major misunderstanding of the true situation in Europe and no doubt an over-estimation of the revolutionary factors when analysing the global situation which could entail misjudging the social support for the PCP in the imperialist countries today and in the future.


This documents addresses what we see as the most salient points of the PCP at the current time which justify our political support because the positive aspects by far outweigh the reservations and criticisms we are duty bound to raise.

The evolution over the last five years can be assessed as positive overall : political and practical evolution, especially developing work with the workers, setting up a New Power in the countryside and the confirmation of a living and dynamic Party capable of adapting to change and enriching its orientation while maintaining a correct political line.

We will continue to provide support and coverage and to defend Communist unity around the world. Whenever necessary, we will return to the orientation of the PCP in order to take stock of our support. For the moment, in the face of the attacks by the international bourgeoisie and based on our analysis of the situation, we call upon all communist, revolutionary and progressive comrades to support the People’s War waged by the Communist Party of Peru.

The Steering Committee of Voie Prolétarienne
(May 1990)

[1This document is backed up by quotes taken (unless stated otherwise) exclusively from the texts approved by the Congress of the PCP in 1988 available on-line entitled Basic Texts, dealing mainly with Maoism and the programme of the PCP. In the case of more political positions, the appraisal of the APRA, the reformists, the state of the People’s War, the result of the elections in 1985 and repression, we refer to the document entitled Developing the People’s War to Serve the World Revolution dated August 1986. [N.B. Quotes are translated to English from the French text by ourselves.

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