Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of Power!
INTERVIEW WITH CHAIRMAN GONZALO
Communist Party of Peru
|Red Flag Publications||Reproduced by The Red Flag|
INTERVIEW WITH CHAIRMAN GONZALO
THE DAILY: Chairman Gonzalo, what prompted you, after a lengthy silence, to do this interview? And why did you choose „The Daily“?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Let us start by saying that the Communist Party of Peru, which has been leading the People’s War for more than eight years now, has expressed itself publicly in a number of different documents. We have always considered the pronouncements of the Party itself to be much more important, because that way it is crystal clear that it is the CPP that has dared to initiate the People’s War, lead it, and carry it forward.
The reason we are taking this occasion to speak in a personal interview like this one, which is the first time we have had the pleasure to do so, and specifically with you, has to do with the Party Congress. Our Party has accomplished a long-awaited historic task with the convening of its Congress. For decades we struggled hard to bring this about, but it’s only the People’s War that has given us the conditions to actually accomplish it. That’s why we say that the 1st Congress is the offspring of two great parents: the Party and the People’s War. As the official documents state, this Congress marks a milestone, a victory, in which our Party has been able to sum up the long road traveled, and has established the three basic elements of Party unity: its ideology, which is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought; the Programme; and the General Political Line. Furthermore, this Congress has established a solid basis for advancing towards the prospective seizure of Power. The Congress, then, is a great victory, and it is one of the main reasons for giving this interview. Other reasons have to do with the profound crisis that our country is going through, and the ever-growing and more powerful development of the class struggle of the masses, and with the international situation and how revolution is the main trend in the world.
As to why we are doing this interview with „The Daily“, there is a very simple reason. „The Daily“ is a trench of combat and today it is the only tribune that really serves the people. We believe that though it would have been possible to be interviewed by others, including foreigners, it is better, and more in accord with our principles, to be interviewed by a paper like „The Daily“, which is really struggling every day under difficult conditions to serve the people and the revolution. That is the reason.
THE DAILY: Chairman Gonzalo. have you weighed the possible implications of conducting this interview? Let me ask you — don’t you run some risk talking publicly at this time?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Being Communists, we fear nothing. Moreover, our Party has steeled us to challenge death itself, and to carry our life on our fingertips so that we may give it whenever the revolution demands it. We believe that this interview has overriding importance: it serves our Party, serves the revolution, serves our people and our class, and also — why not say it — serves the international proletariat, the peoples of the world, the World Revolution. Whatever risk then, is nothing — especially, I repeat, forged as we are by the Party.
1. IDEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS
THE DAILY: Chairman, let’s talk about one of the ideological foundations of the CPP, Maoism. Why do you consider Maoism the third stage of Marxism?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: This point is crucial, and of enormous consequence. For us, Marxism is a process of development, and this great process has given us a new, third, and higher stage. Why do we say that we are in a new, third, and higher stage, Maoism? We say this because in examining the three component parts of Marxism, it is clearly evident that Chairman Mao Tse-tung has developed each one of these three parts. Let’s enumerate them: in Marxist philosophy no one can deny his great contribution to the development of dialectics, focusing on the law of contradiction, establishing that it is the only fundamental law. In political economy, it will suffice to highlight two things. The first, of immediate and concrete importance for us, is bureaucratic capitalism, and second, the development of the political economy of socialism, since in synthesis we can say that it is Mao who really established and developed the political economy of socialism. With regard to scientific socialism, it is enough to point to People’s War, since it is with Chairman Mao Tse-tung that the international proletariat has attained a fully developed military theory, giving us then the military theory of our class, the proletariat, applicable everywhere. We believe that these three questions demonstrate a development of universal character. Looked at in this way what we have is a new stage — and we call it the third one, because Marxism has two preceding stages, that of Marx and that of Lenin, which is why we speak of Marxism-Leninism. A higher stage, because with Maoism the ideology of the worldwide proletariat attains its highest development up to now, its loftiest peak, but with the understanding that Marxism is — if you’ll excuse the reiteration — a dialectical unity that develops through great leaps, and that these great leaps are what give rise to stages. So for us, what exists in the world today is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and mainly Maoism. We think that to be Marxists today, to be Communists, necessarily demands that we be Marxist-Leninist-Maoists and mainly Maoists. Otherwise, we couldn’t be genuine Communists.
I would like to emphasize a situation that is rarely taken into account and definitely deserves to be studied closely today. I am referring to Mao Tse-tung’s development of Lenin’s great thesis on imperialism. This is of great importance today, and in the historical stage that is presently unfolding. Again simply listing his contributions, we could point out the following: he discovered a law of imperialism when he said that imperialism makes trouble and fails, makes trouble again and fails again, until its final doom. He also specified a period in the process of development of imperialism, which he called „the next 50 to 100 years“, years, as he said, unparalleled on Earth, during which, as we understand it, we will sweep imperialism and reaction from the face of the earth. He also pointed to something that today more than ever can’t be ignored. He said that „a period of struggle against US imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism has begun“. In addition, we all know of his great strategic thesis that „imperialism and all reactionaries are paper tigers“. This is a thesis of enormous importance and we must keep in mind that Chairman Mao applied this thesis to U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, both of which we have no reason to be afraid of. But also, we must keep in mind how he saw the development of war, following exactly what Lenin had stated about the era of wars that had opened up in the world. The Chairman has taught us that a country, a nation, a people, no matter how small, can defeat the most powerful exploiter and dominator on Earth if they dare to take up arms. Moreover, he has taught us how to understand the process of war and how never to fall for nuclear blackmail. I believe that these are some questions that we must keep in mind in order to understand how Chairman Mao Tse-tung developed Lenin’s great thesis on imperialism. And why do I insist on this? Because we understand that just as Lenin’s contributions are based on the great work of Marx, Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s developments are based on the great work of Marx and Lenin on Marxism-Leninism. We would never be able to understand Maoism, without understanding Marxism-Leninism.
We believe that these things are of great importance today, and for us it has been decisive to understand Maoism in theory and practice as a third, new, and higher stage.
THE DAILY: Chairman Gonzalo, do you believe that if José Carlos Mariátegui were alive he would uphold the theories and contributions of Chairman Mao?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: In synthesis, Mariátegui was a Marxist-Leninist. Beyond that, in Mariátegui, the founder of the Party, we find theses similar to those that Chairman Mao has made universal. Thus, as I see it, today Mariátegui would be a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. This is not speculation, it is simply the product of understanding the life and work of José Carlos Mariátegui.
THE DAILY: Moving on to another question, what is the ideology of the proletariat and what role does it play in the social processes of the world today? What do the classics, Marx, Lenin and Mao, mean to the CPP?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Today, tomorrow, and in these stormy decades in which we live, we can see the enormous and overriding importance that proletarian ideology has. First, although I’m emphasizing something that is well known, it is the theory and practice of the final class in history. The ideology of the proletariat is the product of the struggle of the international proletariat. It also comprehends the study and understanding of the whole historical process of class struggle that went on before the proletariat, of the struggle of the peasantry in particular, the great heroic struggles they have waged — it represents the highest level of study and understanding that science has produced. In sum, the ideology of the proletariat, the great creation of Marx, is the highest world outlook that has ever been or ever will be seen on Earth. It is the world outlook, the scientific ideology that for the first time provided mankind, our class mainly, and the people, with a theoretical and practical instrument for transforming the world. And we have seen how everything that he predicted has come about. Marxism has been developing, it has become Marxism-Leninism, and today Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. And we see how this ideology is the only one capable of transforming the world, making revolution, and leading us to the inevitable goal of Communism. It is of enormous importance.
I would like to emphasize something: it is ideology, but it is scientific. Nevertheless, we must understand very well that we cannot make any concessions to the stand of the bourgeoisie which wants to reduce the ideology of the proletariat to a simple method. To do so is to debase it and deny it. Please excuse my insistence, but as Chairman Mao said, „it isn’t enough to say it once, but a hundred times, it isn’t enough to say it to a few, but to many“. Basing myself on this I say that the ideology of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and today mainly Maoism, is the only all-powerful ideology because it is true, and historical facts are showing that. It is the product aside from what has already been said, of the extraordinary work of extraordinary historical figures like Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Chairman Mao Tse-tung, to point out the most outstanding. But among them we give special emphasis to three: Marx, Lenin, and Chairman Mao Tse-tung as the three banners that are embodied, once again, in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and mainly Maoism. And what, precisely, is our task today? It is to raise up the banner of our ideology, defend, and apply it, and to struggle energetically so that it will lead and guide the world revolution. Without proletarian ideology, there is no revolution. Without proletarian ideology, there is no hope for our class and the people. Without proletarian ideology, there is no Communism.
THE DAILY: Speaking of ideology, why Gonzalo Thought?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Marxism has always taught us that the problem lies in the application of universal truth. Chairman Mao Tse-tung was extremely insistent on this point, that if Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is not applied to concrete reality, it is not possible to lead a revolution, not possible to transform the old order, destroy it, or create a new one. It is the application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the Peruvian Revolution that has produced Gonzalo Thought. Gonzalo Thought has been forged in the class struggle of our people, mainly the proletariat, in the incessant struggles of the peasantry, and in the larger framework of the world revolution, in the midst of these earthshaking battles, applying as faithfully as possible the universal truths to the concrete conditions of our country. Previously we called it the Guiding Thought. And if today the Party, through its Congress, has sanctioned the term Gonzalo Thought, it’s because a leap has been made in the Guiding Thought through the development of the People’s War. In sum, Gonzalo Thought is none other than the application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to our concrete reality. This means that it is main specifically for our Party, for the People’s War and for the revolution in our country, and I want to emphasize that. But for us, looking at our ideology in universal terms, I emphasize once again, it is Maoism that is main.
THE DAILY: What role is revisionism playing, and how does the CPP struggle against it?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: First, we should remember that every advance of Marxism has beenmade amidst fierce struggle. And in this process of development of Marxism, old-style revisionism emerged and met its downfall in the 1st World War. But since then, we communists have confronted a new revisionism, modern revisionism, that began to develop with Khrushchev and his lackeys, and which is now unleashing a new offensive against Marxism. Its main centers are the Soviet Union and China.
Revisionism arose as a complete negation of Marxism. Modern revisionism, likewise, is always aiming to substitute bourgeois philosophy for Marxist philosophy, going against political economy, particularly denying the growing impoverishment and the inevitability of the downfall of imperialism. Revisionism strives to falsify and twist scientific socialism in order to oppose the class struggle and revolution, peddling parliamentary cretinism and pacifism. All these positions have been expounded by the revisionists, who have aimed for and continue to aim for the restoration of capitalism, the undermining and blocking of the world revolution, and to denigrate the conquering spirit of our class. But here I feel it is necessary to spell out some points to make this concrete: revisionism behaves like any imperialism. For example, the Soviet Union, Soviet social-imperialism, preaches and practices parliamentary cretinism. It mounts and conducts armed actions for the purpose of gaining world hegemony. It carries out aggression, pits one people against another, sets masses against masses, and divides our class and the people. In a thousand and one ways Soviet revisionism fights against everything that is truly Marxist and everything that serves the revolution. We are an example of how they do this. The social-imperialists of the USSR have developed a perverse worldwide plan to become a hegemonic superpower using all the means at their disposal. This includes setting up phony Parties, Communist in name only, „bourgeois workers‘ Parties“ to use Engels’ words. And this is how Chinese revisionism and all revisionists act, differing only with regard to their particular circumstances, according to who pulls their strings.
Therefore, for us, the task is to fight revisionism and fight it relentlessly. We must keep in mind the lesson that we can’t fight imperialism without combating revisionism. And our Congress has declared that we must wage a relentless and uncompromising struggle against imperialism, revisionism and reaction worldwide.
How should we carry out this struggle? In all spheres: the ideological, the economic, and the political — we must fight them in each one of these classic spheres. For if we should fail to carry out the struggle against revisionism, we wouldn’t be Communists. A Communist has the obligation to combat revisionism, untiringly, and implacably.
And we have fought against revisionism. We’ve fought against it since it first came on the scene. We were fortunate in this country to have been able to contribute by expelling them from the Party in 1964, a fact they always try to hide. I want to make it very clear that the vast majority of the Communist Party united behind the banner of struggle against revisionism which Mao Tse-tung had unfurled, and they took aim at and struck blows against revisionism in the ranks of the Communist Party of that time until they expelled Del Prado and his gang. From that time up to the present we’ve continued fighting revisionism, not only here, but beyond our borders as well. We oppose it internationally, we oppose the Soviet social-imperialism of Gorbachev, the Chinese revisionism of the perverse Teng Hsiao-ping, the Albanian revisionism of Ramiz Alia, follower of the revisionist Hoxha, just as we oppose all revisionists, whether they follow the line of the social-imperialists, the Chinese or Albanian revisionists, or anyone else.
THE DAILY: Chairman, who is the main exponent of revisionism in Peru itself?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The so-called Peruvian Communist Party, the one that publishes, or published, „Unity“, the fifth column of Soviet revisionism, headed by the crusty revisionist Jorge Del Prado, who some consider to be a „time-honored revolutionary“. Secondly there is Red Fatherland, an agent of Chinese revisionism whose party hacks worship Teng.
THE DAILY: Do you think that the influence of revisionism among the Peruvian masses creates an adverse situation for the revolution?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: If we keep in mind what Lenin taught us and what Chairman Mao in turn emphasized and continued to develop, we see that revisionism is an agent of the bourgeoisie in the ranks of the proletariat, and so it provokes splits. It divides the Communist movement and Communist Parties, it divides the trade union movement, and it breaks up and divides the people’s movement.
Revisionism obviously is a cancer, a cancer that has to be ruthlessly eliminated. Otherwise we won’t be able to advance the revolution. Remembering what Lenin said, in a concise way, we must forge ahead on two questions, the question of revolutionary violence, and the relentless struggle against opportunism, against revisionism.
I believe that in our country, in considering the situation of the masses, we must see not only this question, but what Engels called the „colossal pile of rubbish“. He taught us that when a movement lasts for decades, like the movement of the proletariat, and even more so the movement of the people, in our country, a great deal of rubbish piles up that needs to be swept away bit by bit. Our view is that this is something that has to be considered as well.
How much can it influence the masses? Among the masses, what revisionism does is serve the cause of capitulation to internal reaction, concretely to the big bourgeoisie and the landlords, to the landlord-bureaucratic capitalist dictatorship which is the Peruvian State of today. Internationally, it capitulates to imperialism and serves social-imperialist hegemony or the desires for the same among certain powers evolving in that direction, like China. We believe that as the revolution and the People’s War develop, as the class struggle sharpens, the people and the proletariat heighten their understanding more and more. And at the same time, as they are forced to witness the betrayal of the revisionists and opportunists of all kinds on a daily basis, and as they see even more of this in the future, the proletariat and the people will have to carry out their mission of sweeping the revisionists out of all the corners as best they can. Unfortunately, as Engels has taught us, they can’t be eliminated all at once, as they are part of the „colossal pile of rubbish“.
THE DAILY: Do you believe that revisionism is being decisively defeated in this country?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: To reiterate what the founders of Marxism have taught, to the extent that revisionism acts in concert with the reactionary State, the masses will come to understand its despicable role. As they see its actions, to the extent the people as a whole and the class see how they act, it’s inevitable that they will more and more come to understand the pernicious role of the revisionists, as traffickers, sellouts of the workers, opportunists and traitors. The revisionists are heading for their demise and have been for some time now, not only because of the People’s War, but rather this process began when revisionism was expelled from the ranks of the Party, because at that point another batch of serious Communists began to come forward, and later became those who today, under the guidance of the Communist Party of Peru, are leading the People’s War. And we think that the masses, with the class instincts of which Mariátegui spoke, will increasingly come to understand this, as they have already begun to do.
Revisionism has already lost out, it’s only a matter of time. The problem is already defined, the rubbish has begun to be swept away, burned away; as I said, it’s only a matter of time. The process of their demise began years ago. And if we go back further, to the beginnings, the ball game was lost when they became revisionists, when they abandoned their principles — at that point. What remained to be seen was how the class struggle would develop, and how a Party like ours would be capable of carrying out its role, and how the masses would sustain it, support it and carry it forward, how they would come to see that it is their Party, that it defends their interests. And it is the masses themselves who will settle accounts, giving a just punishment to those who for decades have sold out and who continue to sell out the proletariat’s basic interests, and they will also condemn and sanction those traitors who try to do so or begin to do so.
THE DAILY: What is your opinion of the New Evangelism put forward by the Pope?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Marx taught us that „religion is the opiate of the people“. This is a Marxist thesis which is completely valid today, and in the future. Marx also held that religion is a social phenomenon that is the product of exploitation and it will be eliminated as exploitation is swept away and a new society emerges. These are principles that we can’t ignore, and that we must always keep in mind. Related to the previous point, it must be remembered that the people are religious, something which never has and never will prevent them from struggling for their basic class interests, and in this way serving the revolution, and in particular the People’s War. I want to make it absolutely clear that we respect this religiousness as a question of freedom of religious beliefs, as recognized by the programme which was approved by our Congress.
So the question you asked really has to do, in our view, with the ecclesiastic hierarchy, with the Papacy, that old theocracy that had succeeded in developing as a powerful instrument in Roman times. Later, adapting itself to the conditions of feudalism, it gained a vast power, even greater than before. But it always tried to rein in the struggle of the people, and defended the interests of the oppressors and exploiters, acting as an ideological shield for the reactionaries, changing and adapting itself as new situations emerged.
We can see this clearly if we think about the relation between the Church and the bourgeois revolution, the old bourgeois revolution, I’m referring to the French Revolution, for example. The Church fiercely defended feudalism, and later, through a lot of struggle and after the defeat of feudalism — let me repeat, through great struggle it adapted itself to the bourgeois order and became once again an instrument at the service of the new exploiters and oppressors. In the present situation, what we see is a historical process which is unstoppable. The era of the Proletarian World Revolution, the new era begun in 1917, presents the problem for the proletariat of how to lead revolutions to change the old decadent order and create a genuinely new society, communism. In the face of this, how has the Church responded? As in previous times, it seeks to survive, and this is the basis of the 2nd Vatican Council, where the Church sought to develop conditions that would permit it, first, to defend the old order as it has always done, and then, adjust and adapt itself in order to serve new exploiters, to continue to survive. This is what it seeks, this is the essence of the 2nd Vatican Council.
The question of the „new evangelism“ refers explicitly to how ecclesiastical authority, the Pope in particular, sees the role of Latin America, where, as they themselves say and the current Pope said in 1984, half the world’s Catholics live. They are, consequently, trying to use the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America to push forward a so-called movement of „new evangelism“. In sum, this is what they hope for: since evangelism officially began in 1494 following the discovery of America, with this new centennial they want to develop a „new evangelism“ in defense of their bastion, this half of the „parish“, half of the bastion that sustains them in power. This is their goal. In this way, the hierarchy and the Papacy aim to defend their position in America and serve US imperialism, the dominant imperialist power in Latin America.
But we have to understand this plan in the context of a campaign and a worldwide plan, linked to its relations with the Soviet Union on the occasion of the millennium of its Christianization, the ties with Chinese revisionism, the actions of the Church in Poland, the Ukraine, etc. It is a worldwide plan and the „new evangelism“ operates within it. As always they are attempting to defend the existing social order, to be its ideological shield, because the ideology of reaction, of imperialism, has become decrepit. In the future they will again seek to adapt in order to survive. But the prospects will be different, not like things were before. Marx’s law will assert itself: religion will wither away as exploitation and oppression are destroyed and eliminated. And since the Papacy serves the exploiting classes and what will follow is not an exploiting class, the Papacy will not be able to survive, and religion itself will wither away. In the meantime the freedom of religious belief has to be recognized until mankind advancing through new objective conditions, comes to possess a clear, scientific and world-transforming consciousness. We must therefore, analyze the „new evangelism“ in the context of this plan of the Church to survive under new conditions, a transformation that they know must come.
THE DAILY: Chairman, according to what you’ve said, could we conclude, or would you say that the frequent visits of the Pope to our country have some relation to the People’s War and the support the Pope is giving to the García Pérez regime?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: I believe that is right, that s the way it is. In general, his visits to Latin America have to do with the importance of Latin America. And his visits to Peru have to do with how he called on us to lay down our arms while blessing the weapons of genocide as he did various times during his two visits to Peru.
THE DAILY: Now, Chairman, what will be the attitude of the CPP towards the religious theocracy when this Party assumes State Power?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Marxism has taught us to separate Church and State, this is the first thing we will do. Secondly, I want to repeat, we respect the freedom of religious belief of the people — applying fully the principle of freedom to believe, as well as not to believe, to be an atheist. That is how we will handle it.
2. ON THE PARTY
THE DAILY: And moving to another subject of great importance in this interview, the Party. What are the most important lessons to be drawn from the CPP’s development?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: On the development of the Party and its lessons, we can understand its history by dividing it into three parts which correspond to the three periods of contemporary Peruvian society. The first period, the first part, is the constitution of the Party, in which we were fortunate to have José Carlos Mariátegui, a thoroughgoing Marxist-Leninist. But, inevitably, Mariátegui was opposed, negated, his line was abandoned and the Constitutional Congress that he left as a pending task was never held. The so-called Constitutional Congress that was held approved, as we know, the so-called line of „national unity“, which was totally opposed to Mariátegui’s theories. In this way the Party fell headlong into opportunism, suffering from the influence of Browderism, which Del Prado was linked up with, and later, modern revisionism. This whole process takes us to the second period, that of the reconstitution of the Party. This is, in sum, a struggle against revisionism. It is a period that we can clearly see beginning to unfold with a certain intensity in the beginning of the ‘60s. This process leads the members of the Party to unite against the revisionist leadership and, as I have said before, to expel them in the 4th Conference of January 1964. The process of reconstitution continues to unfold in the Party until 1978-1979, when it ends and a third period begins, the period of leading the People’s War, which is the one we are living in now.
What lessons can we draw from this? The first lesson is the importance of the basis of Party unity, and its relation to the two-line struggle. Without this basis and its three elements, there would be no basis for building the Party ideologically and politically. But without two-line struggle there would be no basis for Party unity. Without a firm and thorough two-line struggle in the Party, there is no way to firmly grasp the ideology, nor establish the Programme, nor the General Political Line, much less defend, apply and develop them. For us the two-line struggle is fundamental, and that has to do with our view of the Party as a contradiction, in accordance with the universal law of contradiction. A second lesson is the importance of People’s War. A Communist Party’s central task is the seizure of Power for the proletariat and the people. Once constituted, and basing itself on the concrete conditions, the Party must strive to carry out the seizure of Power, which it can only do through People’s War. The third important lesson is the need to forge leadership. Leadership is key, and it does not develop spontaneously but must be forged over a long period of intense and arduous struggle, particularly in order to provide leadership for a People’s War. A fourth lesson we can sum up is the need to prepare the ground for the seizure of Power. Just as the People’s War is necessary to seize Power, it is necessary to prepare the ground for the seizure of Power. What do we mean by this? We must create organizational forms superior to those of the reactionaries. We believe that these are important lessons. A final one is proletarian internationalism, always developing the struggle as part of the international proletariat, always viewing the revolution as part of the World Revolution, developing the People’s War, as our Party’s slogan says, in the service of the World Revolution. Why? Because in the final analysis a Communist Party has an irreplaceable final goal: Communism. And, as has been established, onto that stage all must enter, or no one will. We believe that these are the most crucial lessons that we should sum up.
THE DAILY: Chairman, what is the significance of José Carlos Mariátegui for the CPP?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: For the CPP, Mariátegui is its founder. He built the Party on a clear Marxist-Leninist basis. Consequently, he provided it with a clear ideological stand. For him, Marxism-Leninism was the Marxism of his era, of his time. He provided the Party with a General Political Line. Mariátegui, the greatest Marxist that America has produced until now, left us his greatest work, the formation of the Communist Party of Peru. We understand very well what his loss meant for the Party, but we should be clear on the fact that he gave his very life to fulfill this great work. What we mean is that founding the Party took up his whole life. So he didn’t have time to consolidate and develop the Party. Just think about it, he died less than two years after its founding. A Party needs time to consolidate, to develop, in order to carry out its historic task.
We would like to point something out. As early as 1966 we stated that Mariátegui’s road must never be abandoned, and that the task was to reclaim that road and develop it further. I want to emphasize, develop it further. Why? Because on a world level Marxism had already entered a new stage that is today Maoism. In our own country, bureaucratic capitalism, in particular, had developed right alongside of the inexhaustible struggle of the proletariat and the Peruvian people, who have never ceased to struggle. For that reason, we set out to reclaim Mariátegui’s road and develop it further. We have made the contribution of rediscovering Mariátegui and his validity with regard to the general laws which are the same and only need to be applied in the new national and international context, as I’ve explained. This has been our contribution.
A lot could be said, but it is more worthwhile I believe to emphasize a few things. In 1975, „Retake Mariátegui And Reconstitute His Party“ was published. In this brief document we showed, in opposition to many who today call themselves Mariáteguists, that Mariátegui was „guilty as charged“, an avowed Marxist-Leninist as he himself correctly said. We have stated the five elements that constitute his General Political Line. We showed that theories similar to those of Chairman Mao are found in Mariátegui. Here it’s enough to point to questions regarding the united front or the important question of violence. Mariátegui said, „Power is seized through violence and is defended with dictatorship“, „today revolution is the bloody process through which things are born“ and throughout the years of his glorious life he persistently upheld the role of revolutionary violence and class dictatorship. He also said that no matter how big a majority you might have in parliament, it could only serve to dissolve a cabinet, but never to do away with the bourgeois class. What is absolutely clear, and must be emphasized because it is key to his thought, is that Mariátegui was antirevisionist.
We have, in sum, struggled to reclaim and develop the road of Mariátegui. But allow me to say something more. It would be good to ask some of those who now call themselves Mariáteguists what they used to think of Mariátegui — they rejected him, clearly and concretely. I am referring to those of today’s Unified Mariáteguist Party (PUM), yes, to those who come from the so-called „New Left“, who proclaimed Mariátegui outdated, a thing of the past, essentially that’s all there was to their argument. But even more importantly, these and others, are they really Mariáteguists? Let’s take Barrantes Lingán. How can he be a Mariáteguist if he is the complete negation of the clear Marxist-Leninist theories that Mariátegui, in his time, firmly and decisively upheld? Mariátegui was never a parliamentarian, he proposed using elections for the purpose of propaganda and agitation. It was revisionists like Acosta who, in 1945, held that this view was outdated and that the task was to win seats in parliament. And this is what the phony Mariáteguists, out and out unrepentant parliamentary cretinists, do today.
In sum, this is how we view Mariátegui: he is the founder of the Party, his role is etched in history so that no one will ever be able to deny it and his work will not perish. But it was necessary to continue on his road, to develop it further. The only logical way to carry through on the teachings of a Marxist-Leninist founder like Mariátegui, whose thinking, I repeat, contained theories similar to Chairman Mao’s, is to be Marxist-Leninist-Maoists as we, the members of the Communist Party of Peru, are. We think the founder is himself a great example and we are extremely proud that he was the one who founded our Party.
THE DAILY: Chairman, what was José Carlos Mariátegui’s influence on the development of the class consciousness of the Peruvian workers?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Mariátegui accomplished a great deal in the midst of intense struggle, and excuse me if in answering your question I get into some other things as well. He was already a Marxist before going to Europe. This is the first thing we would like to insist on, because it is always said that he became a Marxist there. The fact that he developed there is another thing. Obviously, the European experience was extremely important to him. Mariátegui waged a very important struggle in the ideological sphere, a struggle on behalf of what he called socialism. This is the term he used, as he explained, because here the term had not been prostituted as it had been in Europe. But what he upheld and propagated was Marxism-Leninism.
He waged a political struggle of great importance in order to form the Party. And this has to do with the debate between Mariátegui and Haya de la Torre, which today is being bandied about and cynically and shamelessly distorted. The essence of this question is very clear: Mariátegui proposed the formation of a Communist Party, a Party of the proletariat, while Haya de la Torre proposed the formation of a front similar to the Kuomintang, claiming that the proletariat in Peru was too tiny and immature to be able to give rise to a Communist Party. This was nothing but sophistry, and it is important to keep that in mind. But furthermore, the American people‘s Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) Party, when it was founded in Peru, was similar to Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang, that is, the executioner of the Chinese Revolution who carried out the counter-revolutionary coup in 1927. This is something we should always bear in mind. Why do I emphasize this problem? Because now they are talking about an Haya-Mariáteguism, even an Haya-Leninism. Ridiculous! Mariátegui indeed was a Marxist-Leninist, Haya was never a Marxist or a Leninist. Never! He always opposed Lenin’s theories. It’s necessary to emphasize this because we can’t let them get away with shameless distortions like these which, in the final analysis, are nothing but a mess, a hodge-podge thrown together in order to promote an alliance between the present day APRA and the United Left. This is really the bottom line. The rest, cheap hoaxes.
Well, but to answer your question. Mariátegui did all this linked to the masses, to the proletariat, to the peasantry. He was theoretically and practically involved in the formation of the General Federation of the Workers of Peru (CGTP) which is the product mainly of his work. But the CGTP that he founded in the latter part of the ‘20s is not the present-day CGTP, which is the complete negation of what Mariátegui had established. He also developed work with the peasantry. The peasant question was a central one for him. He saw it as the agrarian question, and essentially the Indian question as he explained so well. Likewise he worked with the intellectuals, as well as with women and the youth. Mariátegui developed his work in connection with the masses, showing them the way, establishing concrete forms of organization and acting decisively to further develop the organization of the proletariat and the people of Peru.
THE DAILY: Continuing on the same theme, why does the CPP give so much importance to the Faction that reconstituted the Party?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: This is an important subject that is not well known outside the ranks of the Party. Let’s begin with this: Lenin set forward the concept of the Faction, conceiving of it as a group of like-minded persons solidly united in action around principles in their purest form, and that a Faction must openly state its political positions in order to carry out the struggle and develop the Party. It is this Leninist conception that we adopted to build the Faction in our Party. The Faction began to form in the early ’60s and its formation was related to the worldwide struggle between Marxism and revisionism which was obviously reflected in our country. The Faction began to pose the problem of how to develop the revolution in Peru, and found these issues dealt with in Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s works which had by then begun to arrive in our country. What issues did we focus on? We put forward that the revolution in Peru needed a Party with a solid ideological and political foundation, that the peasantry was the main force in our society while the proletariat was the leading class, and that the road we must follow was from the countryside to the city. This is how we unfolded things. The Faction contributed to the struggle against Del Prado’s revisionism and we were part of all those who united to sweep the Del Prado clique from the ranks of the Party and expel them.
The Faction continued to evolve within a framework in which there were several Factions in the Parry, a Faction headed by Paredes and two others that didn’t act openly, but went against the Leninist criteria for a Faction, and acted instead as a Party within a Party. I’m referring to Red Fatherland, with its so-called „Chingkang Group“, and the self-proclaimed „Bolshevik Group“. And then there was our Faction centered in the Ayacucho region. The Faction concentrated its efforts — the line having already been set in the 5th Conference of 1965 — on raising for consideration the question of the three instruments of the revolution. This gave rise to a poorly led internal struggle. Because it lacked sufficient cohesion, the Party exploded. Thus, first Red Fatherland left the Party, expelled for following a Right-Opportunist Line, negating Chairman Mao, negating Mariátegui, negating the existence of a revolutionary situation in Peru. Three Factions remained.
Later at the 6th Conference held in 1969, we agreed on the basis of Party unity and on the reconstitution of the Party, two issues that the Faction had raised; just as in 1967 it had raised fundamental questions in a meeting of the Expanded Political Commission of that time. Paredes and his group weren’t in agreement with the reconstitution of the Party, nor with the basis of Party unity, and mounted a plan to destroy the Party since they could not control it. This was their sinister plan. A sharp struggle was waged against this right-liquidationism, leaving two Factions, ours and the self-proclaimed „Bolshevik Group“ which was developing as „left“-liquidationist. They held for example that there was stability in society and therefore a revolutionary situation did not exist. They said that fascism would wipe us out, that mass work wasn’t possible, that we should concentrate on training cadres through study groups, etc.
As a result of this struggle the Faction had to assume the task of reconstituting the Party by itself. Lenin said that there comes a time when it’s necessary for a genuinely revolutionary Faction to rebuild the Party. This is the task that the Faction assumed. Here one might ask, why did the Faction shoulder the task of reconstituting the Party? Why didn’t it found another Party as was the fashion, and still is today? The first reason is because the Party was founded in 1928 on a clear Marxist-Leninist basis, and so it had a great deal of experience, experience drawn from both positive and negative lessons. What’s more, Lenin said that when one is in a Party that is deviating, moving off course, or falling headlong into opportunism, one has the duty to strive to put it back on the right course. Not to do so is a political crime. So the importance of the Faction is that it carried out this role, contributing to the reconstitution of the Party, beginning with laying the ideological and political foundation. We based ourselves on Maoism, which at that time was called Mao Tse-tung Thought, and on the establishment of a General Political Line. The Faction has the great distinction of having reconstituted the Party, and once that was done, the instrument then existed: the „heroic combatant“; the Communist Party of a new type, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist; the organized political vanguard — and not a „political-military organization“ as it is often incorrectly put, but the Party required to launch the struggle to seize Power with arms in hand through People’s War.
THE DAILY: How has the Party changed through the People’s War?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: First, and most important, the work leading up to the People’s War helped us to come to understand Maoism as a new, third, and higher stage of Marxism. It has helped us develop the militarization of the Party and its concentric construction. Through the People’s War, a People’s Guerrilla Army has been forged. It was formed not long ago, in 1983.
The People’s Guerrilla Army is important. It is the main form of organization corresponding to the People’s War which is the main form of struggle. The People’s Guerrilla Army which we have founded and which is developing vigorously, is being built based on Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s theories, and on a very important thesis of Lenin’s concerning the People’s Militia. Lenin, concerned that the army could be usurped and used to bring about a restoration, held that a People’s Militia should assume the functions of the army, police and administration. This is an important thesis and the fact that Lenin was not able to put it into practice due to historical circumstances does not make it any less important and valid. It is so important that Chairman Mao himself paid a lot of attention to the task of developing a People’s Militia. So our Army has these features and it was formed by taking those experiences into account. But, at the same time, it has its own specific features. We have a structure composed of three forces: a Main Force, a Local Force and a Base Force. We have no independent militia, because it exists in the ranks of the Army itself, which was formed according to this criteria. It was the above-mentioned principles which guided us, but we also think it’s correct to say that the People’s Guerrilla Army could not have been built in any other way given our concrete conditions. This Army, all the same, has been able to act in every situation and can be readjusted and reorganized as necessary in the future.
Another thing that has come out of the People’s War, its main achievement, is the New Power. We see the question of the New Power as being linked to the question of the united front, basing ourselves on what Chairman Mao said in his work „On New Democracy“. We’ve also kept in mind the long and putrid experience with frontism in Peru where they’ve bastardized and continue to bastardize the united front, yesterday with the so-called „National Liberation Front“ and today mainly with the self-proclaimed United Left and other monstrosities in formation like the much cackled-about „Socialist Convergence“. In other words. we always take into account the principles and concrete conditions of our reality. That is why we don’t understand why they call us dogmatists. In the final analysis, paper will put up with whatever is written on it. This has led us to form the Revolutionary Front for the Defense of the People. Here is another point. We were the ones who formed the first Front for the Defense of the People in Ayacucho. Red Fatherland appropriated this heroic example, but deformed it in creating their „FEDIP“. Even the name is wrong. If this is a front for defense of the people, why doesn’t it defend the interests of the people? We build the Revolutionary Front for the Defense of the People only in the countryside, and in the form of the People’s Committees it becomes the basis of Power. And those People’s Committees in an area form a Support Base, and all the Support Bases together we call the New Democratic People’s Republic in formation. In the cities we have established the Revolutionary Movement for the Defense of the People which also serves to wage the People’s War in the city, gather forces, undermine the reactionary order and develop the city, gather forces, undermine the reactionary order and develop the unity of class forces in preparation for the future insurrection.
Other changes have to do with the forging of cadres. Obviously war forges in a different way. It steels people, permits us to imbue ourselves more deeply with our ideology, and forge iron-like cadres who dare to challenge death, to snatch the laurels of victory from the clutches of death. Another change in the Party that we could point to, but on a different plane, has to do with the World Revolution. The People’s War has enabled the Party to demonstrate clearly how, by grasping Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, we can develop a People’s War without being subordinate to any power, beit a superpower or any other power — how it’s possible to rely on our own strength to carry forward People’s War. All this has given the Party prestige on an international level that it never had before, and this is not vanity, far from it, it’s just a simple fact, and it has also allowed us to serve the development of the World Revolution as never before. In this way the Party, through the People’s War, is fulfilling its role as the Communist Party of Peru.
THE DAILY: How do the workers and peasants participate in the People’s Guerrilla Army?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The peasantry, especially the poor peasants, are the main participants, as combatants and commanders at different levels in the People’s Guerrilla Army. The workers participate in the same ways, although the percentage of workers at this time is insufficient.
THE DAILY: Chairman, where has the New Power developed most, in the countryside or in the city?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We are developing the New Power only in the countryside. In the cities it will be developed in the final stage of the revolution. It is a question of the process of People’s War. I think that when we analyze People’s War we’ll be able to deal with this point a little more.
THE DAILY: Chairman, moving on a bit, the documents of the Communist Party establish you as the Great Leader of the Party and the revolution. What does this imply, and how is it different from the revisionist theory of the cult of the personality?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Here we must remember how Lenin saw the relationship between the masses, classes, the Party and leaders. We believe that the revolution, the Party, our class, generate great leaders, a group of great leaders. It has been like this in every revolution. If we think, for instance, about the October Revolution, we have Lenin, Stalin, Sverdlov and a few others, a small group. Similarly, in the Chinese Revolution there’s also a small group of leaders: Chairman Mao Tse-tung, and his Comrades Kang Sheng, Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao, among others. All revolutions are that way, including our own. We could not be an exception. Here it’s not true that there is an exception to every rule because what we’re talking about here is the operation of certain laws. All such processes have great leaders, but they also have a Great Leader who stands out above the rest or who leads the rest, in accordance with the conditions. Not all Great Leaders can be viewed in exactly the same way. Marx is Marx, Lenin is Lenin, Chairman Mao is Chairman Mao. Each is unique, and no one is going to be just like them.
In our Party, revolution and People’s War, the proletariat, by a combination of historical necessity and coincidence, has brought forth a group of great leaders. In Engels’ view, it is necessity that generates great leaders, and a top Great Leader, but just who that is is determined by chance, by a set of specific conditions that come together at a particular place and time. In this way, in our case too, a Great Leadership has been generated. This was first acknowledged in the Party at the Expanded National Conference of 1979. But this question involves another basic question that can’t be overlooked and needs to be emphasized: there is no Great Leadership that does not base itself on a body of Thought, no matter what its level of development may be. The reason that a certain person has come to speak as the Great Leader of the Party and the revolution, as the resolutions state, has to do with historical necessity and coincidence and, obviously, with Gonzalo Thought. None of us knows what the revolution and the Party will call on us to do, and when a specific task arises the only thing to do is assume the responsibility.
We have been acting in accordance with Lenin’s view, which is correct. The cult of personality is a revisionist formulation. Lenin had warned us of the problem of negating leadership just as he emphasized the need for our class, the Party and the revolution to promote our own leaders, and more than that, top leaders, and a Great Leadership. There’s a difference here that is worth emphasizing. A leader is someone who occupies a certain position, whereas a great leader and Great Leadership, as we understand it, represent the acknowledgment of Party and revolutionary authority acquired and proven in the course of arduous struggle — those who in theory and practice have shown they are capable of leading and guiding us toward victory and the attainment of the ideals of our class.
Khrushchev raised the issue of the cult of personality to oppose Comrade Stalin. But as we all know, this was a pretext for attacking the dictatorship of the proletariat. Today, Gorbachev again raises the issue of the cult of personality, as did the Chinese revisionists Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping. It is therefore a revisionist thesis that in essence takes aim against the proletarian dictatorship and the Great Leadership and great leaders of the revolutionary process in order to cut off its head. In our case it aims specifically at robbing the People’s War of its leadership. We do not yet have a dictatorship of the proletariat, but we do have a New Power that is developing in accordance with the norms of New Democracy, the joint dictatorship of the workers, peasants and progressives. In our case they seek to rob this process of leadership, and the reactionaries and those who serve them know very well why they do this, because it is not easy to generate great leaders and Great Leadership. And a People’s War, like the one in this country, needs great leaders and a Great Leadership, someone who represents the revolution and heads it, and a group capable of leading it uncompromisingly. In sum, the cult of the personality is a sinister revisionist formulation which has nothing to do with our concept of revolutionary leaders, which conforms with Leninism.
THE DAILY: What significance does the convening of the 1st Congress of the Communist Party of Peru have for you and your Party?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Coming back to this we would like to mention some points. We would like to reiterate that it is a landmark victory. It is the fulfillment of an obligation set forth by the founder himself. We have held the 1st Congress of the Communist Party of Peru. What does this imply? We reaffirm that none of the four Congresses that took place up until 1962 — during a period in which we were developing within the existing Party — none of these was a Marxist Congress. None of them adhered strictly to the outlook of the proletariat. This Congress of ours, to underline what I have just said, was a Marxist Congress, but taking place at this moment in history it was a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Congress. And because Maoism is the third, new and higher stage, it is, in the final analysis, the main of the three. But there is also Gonzalo Thought, because the Congress was based on this Thought which has crystallized in the process of applying the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to our concrete conditions. For all these reasons it was a „Marxist Congress, a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, Gonzalo Thought Congress“.
This Congress has allowed us to make a summation of our whole process of development and to draw positive and negative lessons. This Congress has allowed us to affirm the Basis of Party Unity made up of its three elements: (1) the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought, (2) the Programme, and (3) the General Political Line and at its center, the Military Line. Another achievement of the Congress is that it has laid a solid foundation for the prospective seizure of Power, I reiterate, prospective.
Being in the midst of People’s War is what has enabled us to carry out the Congress. And we say this because as far back as 1967 we proposed holding a 5th Congress, and in 1976 we proposed a Reconstituting Congress. For a number of years we made attempts, but we were not able to pull it together. Why? This speaks to what has happened in many Parties that are preparing to take up arms, to enter into armed struggle. They become entangled in big and explosive internal struggles that lead to divisions and end up short-circuiting the development of the struggle to seize Power by force of arms. This led us to postpone the Congress in 1978 and to wait until we were in the midst of People’s War to hold it. We simply reasoned that once we were at war, who would be able to oppose the People’s War? A Congress and Party with guns in hand, waging a powerful People’s War, how would anyone be able to oppose developing the People’s War? At that point they wouldn’t be able to do us any real harm.
The Congress has pushed forward our development in other aspects. It has made us see and understand the process of People’s War more deeply, and in particular, the need to prepare for the seizure of Power. The Congress has also brought about a leap in the struggle, and this is good. It is necessary to say it clearly, although some may want to misinterpret it, but, in short, we are not bothered anymore by misinterpretations or by alien and non-revolutionary elements. The Congress clarified that with respect to the two-line struggle in the Party, revisionism is the main danger.
This deserves a little explanation. At this time there is no Right-Opportunist Line in the Party, only isolated rightist attitudes, ideas, approaches and even some isolated rightist positions. But precisely by delving into this question the Congress concluded that targeting revisionism as the main danger is the best way the Party can ward off and prevent the emergence of a Right-Opportunist Line, which would be a revisionist line.
Chairman Mao emphasized that we must always be concerned about revisionism because it is the main danger facing the World Revolution. So we also take into consideration the situation outside our ranks, since any rightist tendency in the Party, expressed in attitudes, ideas, approaches, and positions of a rightist nature, has to do with ideological processes, with the repercussions of the class struggle, and the campaigns of the reactionary State, with the actions of revisionism itself in our country, with the counterrevolutionary activities of imperialism, especially the contention between the two superpowers, and the sinister role of revisionism on a world scale. So the Party prepares us and we raise our guard. And thus by waging a firm and farsighted two-line struggle among the people — because I repeat, there is no Right-Opportunist Line — we can avoid the emergence of a revisionist line. What we’ve said may be misinterpreted, but it’s necessary to say things plainly and teach the people. The Congress has armed us and demands that we: Look out for revisionism! And combat it relentlessly! wherever it should present itself, beginning with preventing and combating whatever form it might take within the Party itself. And in this way we will also be better armed to fight revisionism outside our ranks and on a world scale. This is one of the most important points of the Congress.
The Congress has given us great unanimity. Yes, unanimity. We adhere closely to what Lenin demanded, that a Party, in order to face complex and difficult situations like those we face daily — and will face even more in the decisive moments that are unfolding and will unfold — has to have unanimity. We must carry out struggle in order to have a clear and defined line, a common understanding, in order to have iron-like unity and to strike powerful blows. So the Congress has also given us unanimity, but attained, I insist, through two-line struggle. This is how we do things. Why is this so? I repeat again, the Party is a contradiction and every contradiction consists of two aspects in struggle. This is the way it is and no one can escape this.
So today our Party is more united than ever, and more united because of the lofty tasks that must be undertaken with firmness and determination. On another level, the Congress obviously selected a Central Committee, and since it is the 1st Congress, we have the 1st Central Committee. The Congress has given us all these things and, finally, as we well know, since this is the highest level of a Party, what has been sanctioned there has been ratified at the highest organizational level. Today, all this makes us stronger, more united, more determined, more resolute. But there is something that is worth emphasizing again. The Congress is the offspring of the Party and of the war. Without the People’s War this historic task, which had been pending for nearly 60 years since the Party’s constitution in 1928, would not have been accomplished. But what is important is that the Congress strengthens the development of the People’s War. It returns to the People’s War a hundredfold what the People’s War contributed to the realization of the Congress. The People’s War is stronger now and will gain even greater force, much more than before.
For all these reasons, the Congress is for us, the members of the Communist Party of Peru, an immortal milestone of victory, and we are certain that it will be imprinted in the history of our Party forever. We expect the Congress to lead to great things in the service of the proletariat of Peru, the Peruvian people, the international proletariat, the oppressed nations, and the people of the world.
THE DAILY: Some people say that the convening of the 1st Congress of the CPP dealt a big blow to the reactionary forces because it took place under conditions of an intense People’s War. What do you have to say?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: It seems to us that this is an accurate assessment and it shows that there is a class and a people in this country who understand what we are doing, what the Party is doing. For us this is an important expression of recognition which compels us to strive harder in order to be worthy of such confidence, such hope.
THE DAILY: Was it necessary to carry out a struggle to purify the Party before the Congress was held?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: No. In our case the all-out struggle took place at the 9th Plenum in 1979 in order to initiate the People’s War. There we waged a fierce struggle against a Right-Opportunist Line that opposed the initiation of the People’s War. It was there that expulsions and purification of the Party took place. But as is well established, such purging strengthens a Party, and so it was in our case. The proof is that we initiated the People’s War and have been carrying it out for eight years. At the Congress, there wasn’t this kind of struggle to purify the Party.
THE DAILY: Many people wonder where the strength and determination of the CPP cadres come from. Does it have to do with solid ideological training? What is this process like?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The strength of the Party members is based on ideological and political training. It is fortified through embracing the ideology of the proletariat, and its specific application, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought; the Programme; and the General Political Line and its central element, the Military Line. The strength of the cadres develops on this basis. One thing that we concerned ourselves with a great deal in initiating People’s War was the cadres. The preparation for People’s War raised the question for us of how to forge the cadres, and we imposed high demands on ourselves: to break with the old society, absolute and complete dedication to the revolution, and to give our lives. This is well expressed when one recalls the 1980 Plenum of the Central Committee and the Military School. At the end of those events all the cadres made a commitment, we all took responsibility for being the initiators of the People’s War. It was a solemn promise that later everyone in the Party made.
How does this process take place? It starts with how each of the future cadres is forged in the class struggle before joining the Party. Each one participates in the class struggle, advances, and begins to work more closely with us until the time comes when that person on their own makes the big decision of asking to join the Party. The Party analyzes the person’s situation, their strengths and weaknesses — because we all have them — and if worthy, accepts them into the Party. Once in the Party, systematic ideological training begins. It is in the Party that we transform ourselves into Communists. It is the Party that makes us into Communists. A characteristic of the situation in recent years is that the cadres have been forged in war. Moreover, those who join become part of a Party that is leading a war, and therefore they do so first and foremost to develop as Communists, as combatants in the People’s Guerrilla Army, or administrators, in some cases, in levels of the New State that we are organizing.
So the People’s War is another element of great importance that contributes to forging the cadres. In sum, while we take ideology and politics as our starting point, it is the war itself that forges the cadres. In that fiery forge we are molded in accordance with the Party. And in this way we all advance and make a contribution. Nevertheless, there is always a contradiction between the revolutionary line that is main in our thinking and the opposing line. Both lines exist, since no one is a hundred percent Communist. In our minds a struggle between two lines is waged, and this struggle is also key in forging the cadres, aiming always at keeping the revolutionary line main. This is what we strive for.
This is how our cadres are being forged, and the facts show the degree of revolutionary heroism that they are capable of, just like other sons and daughters of the people.
THE DAILY: Do you think that one of the highest expressions of the heroism of the CPP cadres took place in the prisons on 19th of June, 1986?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: This was a high expression of it, yes. But we believe that the highest expression of revolutionary heroism, a raging torrent of heroism, occurred when we confronted the genocide of 1983 and 1984, as we battled the armed forces that had just entered the fray. This has beenthe most massive genocide so far. And it brought forward, as a main and vital aspect, great examples of the people’s fighting spirit. Beyond this, it was a mass expression of heroism, of devotion, of sacrificing their lives — and not only on the part of the Communists, but also the peasants, workers, intellectuals, the sons and daughters of the people. This was the greatest demonstration of mass revolutionary heroism to date, and the experience that has steeled us the most.
Then why do we honor June 19th as the „Day of Heroism“? The 19th is a day that shows our people and the world what steadfast Communists and consistent revolutionaries are capable of, because it was not only Communists who died. The majority were revolutionaries. It has emerged as a symbol because there is a specific date, while the general genocide lasted for two years and involved many scattered events. The 19th was a single event, an example whose enormous impact shook Peru and the world. For this reason we honor June 19th as the „Day of Heroism“.
THE DAILY: Chairman, how does the CPP sustain the huge Party apparatus, including the People’s Guerrilla Army?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: I think this deserves a detailed explanation. Concerning the Party, Chairman Mao teaches us, as did Marx, Lenin and all the great Marxists, that the Party is not a mass Party, though the Party has a mass character. It has a mass character in the sense that while being a select organization — a selection of the best, of the proven, of those, as Stalin said, who have what it takes — being numerically small in proportion to the broad masses, the Party defends the interests of the proletariat, and takes responsibility for the class interests of the proletariat in taking responsibility for its emancipation, which can only come with Communism. But since other classes that make up the people also participate in the revolution, the Party defends their interests as well, in accordance with the fact that the proletariat can only emancipate itself by emancipating all the oppressed. There is no other way it can emancipate itself.
Because of this, the Party has a mass character, but it isn’t a mass Party. The mass Party, of which so much is said today, is nothing but an expression, once again, of rotten revisionist positions. Such Parties are Parties of followers, of officials, organizational machines. Our Party is a Party of combatants, of leaders, an instrument of war like the one Lenin himself would demand. I believe we can understand this more deeply if we remember how many Bolsheviks there were when the October Revolution triumphed: 80.000 in a country of 150.000.000 inhabitants.
The Party is a system of organizations and obviously has its necessities. The formation of an Army that is numerically much larger, more vast, also has its necessities. Marxism, and especially Chairman Mao, has taught us how to resolve this problem, too. The Communist Party of China, based on Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s teachings, concluded that giving economic aid to Parties was corrosive, and that it was a revisionist policy, because a Party must be self-reliant. This is what we have followed: self-reliance. Self-reliance has to do with economic necessities, but mainly, as we understand it, it has to do with ideological and political orientation. With that as our starting point we can see how to deal with the economic necessities which are always present — it would be an error to say they don’t exist.
Basing ourselves on these criteria we have resolved the problem and we will continue to resolve it by relying on the masses. It is the masses of our people, the proletariat, our class — because this is our class — to which we owe our existence and which we serve; our peasantry, mainly the poor peasants; the intellectuals; the petty bourgeoisie; the advanced; the revolutionaries, those who want a radical transformation, in a word, revolution — that’s who sustains the Party. It is mainly the peasantry and the proletariat who sustain it. And taking it further, the poor peasants especially are the ones who go without to give us food from their tables, who share their blanket with us, and make a little place for us in their hut. They are the ones who sustain us, support us and even give us their own blood, as does the proletariat, as do the intellectuals. This is how we are developing. This is what we base ourselves on.
This problem brings us to the following questions. Since we start from this basis it allows us to be independent, to be under no one’s command. Because in the International Communist Movement it became the habit to obey commands. Khrushchev was a champion at issuing commands, as is Gorbachev today, or that sinister character Teng. Independence, because each Communist Party must decide for itself since it is responsible for its own revolution, not in order to separate it from the World Revolution, but precisely in order to serve it. This allows us to make our own decisions, to decide for ourselves. Chairman Mao said it like this: we were given a lot of advice, some good, some bad. We accepted the good and rejected the bad. But if we had accepted some erroneous principle, the responsibility would not have belonged to those who gave the advice, but to us. Why? Because we make our own decisions. That comes with independence, and it leads to self-sufficiency, to self-reliance.
Does this mean that we don’t recognize proletarian internationalism? No, on the contrary, we are fervent and consistent practitioners of proletarian internationalism. And we are confident that we have the support of the international proletariat, the oppressed nations, the peoples of the world, the Parties or Organizations that remain loyal to Marxism whatever their degree of development, and we recognize that the first thing that they give us, their primary support, is their own struggle. The propaganda or celebrations that they carry out are a form of support that is creating favorable public opinion and this is an expression of proletarian internationalism. Proletarian internationalism also underlies the advice they give us and the opinions they express. But, I insist, we are the ones who must decide whether we accept these or not. If they are correct, we welcome them, obviously, because between Parties we have the obligation to help each other, especially in such difficult and complex times.
Then, to reiterate, all the struggles waged by the proletariat, the oppressed nations, the peoples of the world, the Parties and Organizations steadfast and loyal to Marxism — all that struggle is the primary concrete form of proletarian internationalist help. Nevertheless, the greatest assistance we have is undying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the ideology of the international proletariat, which has been generated by the working class through long decades and thousands of struggles all over the world. This is the greatest assistance we receive because it is the light, without which our eyes would see nothing. But with this light our eyes can see and our hands can act. This is how we see this problem, and this is how we advance.
THE DAILY: Chairman, perhaps the answer to this question is obvious, but we would like to know your opinion of the revisionist Parties that are financed by international foundations, and the big imperialist powers and by social-imperialism.
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: They have betrayed the World Revolution, betray revolution in every country, and betray our class and the people, because to serve imperialist superpowers or powers, to serve revisionism, especially social-imperialism, to dance to their tune, to be pawns in their game of world domination is to betray the revolution.
3. THE PEOPLE‘S WAR
THE DAILY: Chairman, let’s talk about the People’s War now. What does violence mean to you, Chairman Gonzalo?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: With regard to violence we start from the principle established by Chairman Mao Tse-tung: violence, that is the need for revolutionary violence, is a universal law with no exception. Revolutionary violence is what allows us to resolve fundamental contradictions by means of an Army, through People’s War. Why do we start from Chairman Mao’s thesis? Because we believe Mao reaffirmed Marxism on this question, establishing that there are no exceptions whatsoever to this law. What Marx held, that violence is the midwife of history, continues to be a totally valid and monumental contribution. Lenin expounded upon violence and spoke about Engels’ panegyric praise of revolutionary violence, but it was the Chairman who told us that it was a universal law, without any exception. That’s why we take his thesis as our starting point. This is an essential question of Marxism, because without revolutionary violence one class cannot replace another, an old order cannot be overthrown to create a new one — today a new order led by the proletariat through Communist Parties.
The problem of revolutionary violence is an issue that is more and more being put on the table for discussion, and therefore we Communists and revolutionaries must reaffirm our principles. The problem of revolutionary violence is how to actually carry it out with People’s War. The way we see this question is that when Chairman Mao Tse-tung established the theory of People’s War and put it into practice, he provided the proletariat with its Military Line, with a military theory and practice that is universally valid and therefore applicable everywhere in accordance with the concrete conditions.
We see the problem of war this way: war has two aspects, destructive and constructive. Construction is the main aspect. Not to see it this way undermines the revolution — weakens it. On the other hand, from the moment the people take up arms to overthrow the old order, from that moment, the reaction seeks to crush, destroy and annihilate the struggle, and it uses all the means at its disposal, including genocide. We have seen this in our country; we are seeing it now, and will continue to see it even more until the outmoded Peruvian State is demolished.
As for the so-called dirty war, I would like to simply point out that they claim that the reactionary armed forces learned this dirty war from us. This accusation clearly expresses a lack of understanding of revolution, and of what a People’s War is. The reaction, through its armed forces and other repressive forces, seeks to carry out their objective of sweeping us away, of eliminating us. Why? Because we want to do the same to them — sweep them away and eliminate them as a class. Mariátegui said that only by destroying, demolishing the old order could a new social order be brought into being. In the final analysis, we judge these problems in light of the basic principle of war established by Chairman Mao: the principle of annihilating the enemy’s forces and preserving one’s own forces. We know very well that the reaction has used, is using, and will continue to use genocide. On this we are absolutely clear. And consequently this raises the problem of the price we have to pay: in order to annihilate the enemy and to preserve, and even more to develop our own forces, we have to pay a price in war, a price in blood, the need to sacrifice a part for the triumph of the People’s War.
As for terrorism, they claim we’re terrorists. I would like to give the following answer so that everyone can think about it: has it or has it not been Yankee imperialism and particularly Reagan who has branded all revolutionary movements as terrorists, yes or no? This is how they attempt to discredit and isolate us in order to crush us. That is their dream. And it’s not only Yankee imperialism and the other imperialist powers that combat so-called terrorism. So does social-imperialism and revisionism, and today Gorbachev himself proposes to unite with the struggle against terrorism. And it isn’t by chance that at the 8th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania, Ramiz Alia dedicated himself to combatting terrorism as well.
But it will be very useful for all of us to remember what Lenin wrote:
Long live the pioneers of the people’s revolutionary army! It is no longer a plot against some detested individual, no act of vengeance or desperation, no mere ‚intimidation‘ — no, it was a well thought-out and well prepared commencement of operations by a contingent of the revolutionary army. […] Fortunately, the time has passed when revolution was ‚made‘ by individual terrorists, because people were not revolutionary. The bomb has ceased to be the weapon of the solitary ‚bomb thrower‘ and is becoming an essential weapon of the people.
Lenin taught us that the times had changed, that the bomb had become a weapon of combat for our class, for the people, that what we’re talking about is no longer a conspiracy, an isolated individual act, but the actions of a Party, with a plan, with a system, with an Army. So, where is the imputed terrorism? It’s pure slander.
Finally, we always have to remember that, especially in present-day war, it is precisely the reactionaries who use terrorism as one of their means of struggle, and it is, as has been proven repeatedly, one of the forms used on a daily basis by the armed forces of the Peruvian State. Considering all this, we can conclude that those whose reasoning is colored by desperation because the Earth is trembling beneath their feet wish to charge us with terrorism in order to hide the People’s War. But this People’s War is so earthshaking that they themselves admit that it is of national dimensions and that it has become the main problem facing the Peruvian State. What terrorism could do that? None. And moreover, they can no longer deny that a Communist Party is leading the People’s War. And at this time some of them are beginning to reconsider; we shouldn’t be too hasty in writing anyone off. There are those who could come forward. Others, like Del Prado, never.
THE DAILY: What are some of the particularities of the People’s War in Peru, and how does it differ from other struggles in the world, in Latin America, and from the Revolutionary Movement Túpac Amaru (MRTA)?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: That’s a good question. I thank you for asking it, because it gives us a chance to look at the Party’s so-called „dogmatism“ a bit more. There are even those who say that we incorrectly try to apply Chairman Mao in an era where he is no longer applicable. In short, they babble on so much that we feel perfectly justified asking whether they have any idea what they are talking about. This includes the much-decorated senator who is a specialist in violence.
People’s War is universally applicable, in accordance with the character of the revolution and adapted to the specific conditions of each country. Otherwise, it cannot be carried out. In our case, the particularities are very clear. It is a struggle that is waged in the countryside and in the city, as was established as far back as 1968 in the plan for the People’s War. Here we have a difference, a particularity: it is waged in the countryside and the city. This, we believe, has to do with our own specific conditions. Latin America, for instance, has cities which are proportionately larger than those on other continents. It is a reality of Latin America that can’t be ignored. Just look at the capital of Peru, for example, which has a high percentage of the country’s population. So, for us, the city could not be left aside, and the war had to be developed there as well. But the struggle in the countryside is main, the struggle in the city a necessary complement. This is one particularity, there’s another.
In the beginning of the People’s War we confronted the police. That was the reality because only in December 1982 did the armed forces enter the war. This is not to say that they had not been used in a support role before then. They had, in addition to their studying the process of our development. It is a particularity because we created a Power vacuum in the countryside and we had to establish the New Power without having defeated large armed forces — because they hadn’t come into the war. And when they did, when they came in, it was because we had established People’s Power. That was the concrete political situation in the country. If we had applied the letter and not the spirit of Mao we would not have established the New Power and we would have been sitting, waiting for the armed forces to come in. We would have gotten bogged down. Another particularity was the structure of the Army which I’ve already talked about.
All these are particularities. We have already spoken to the countryside and city, to how to carry out the war, to the Army, to how the New Power arose; and the militarization of the Party itself is another particularity. These are specific things that correspond to our reality, to the application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, of Chairman Mao’s theory on People’s War, to the conditions in our country. Does this make us different from other struggles? Yes.
Why do we differ from others? Because we carry out People’s War this makes us different from other struggles in Latin America. In Cuba, People’s War was not carried out, but they also had their own particularities which they have intentionally forgotten. Before, they said Cuba was an exceptional case — Guevara said this — the fact that US imperialism didn’t take part. Later they forgot this. Aside from this, there was no Communist Party there to give leadership. These are questions of Cubanism and its five characteristics: an insufficient class differentiation which demanded that saviors save the oppressed; socialist revolution or a caricature of revolution; United Front but without the national bourgeoisie; no need for Support Bases; and as noted, no need for a Party. What we are seeing in Latin America today is just the development of these same positions, only more and more at the service of social-imperialism and its contention with Yankee imperialism for world hegemony. We can see this clearly in Central America. The MRTA, from the little that we know of it, falls into the same category.
Finally, another issue that makes us different — and forgive me if I’m insistent — concerns independence, self-reliance, and making our own decisions. Because others do not have these characteristics they are used as pawns, while we are not. And one far-reaching difference: we take Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as our guide, others do not. In sum, the greatest difference, the fundamental difference, is in the point of departure; ours is the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism, applied to the specific conditions of our country, and I insist here again, that this is with clear particularities which show the falsehood of the so-called dogmatism they accuse us of — which they do at the behest of their masters.
THE DAILY: Chairman, would you say then that the MRTA is playing a counter-revolutionary role in this country?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The MRTA has positions that should make one think. For example, the truce they granted to APRA until, as they said, APRA attacked the people. But we all know that the same day that García Pérez assumed the presidency, he repressed the masses in the very capital of the republic. In October 1985 there was a genocide at Lurigancho prison. Were the people being attacked or not? And how long did they wait to put an end to their truce? These are things one must ask oneself.
THE DAILY: Since you consider the Support Bases to be so important, could you tell us how they are being built? What do you think about insurrection and how are you preparing the cities?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The Support Base is the essence of People’s War. Without it, People’s War cannot develop. I have already talked about the specific circumstances that we confronted in the second half of 1982. We were developing the final stage of the campaign to unfold guerrilla warfare, aimed at destroying the semi-feudal relations of exploitation. We took aim against gamonalism, which is the basis of State Power, and will be, until we sweep it away. We continued to strike blows and we dealt the police devastating and humiliating defeats. You don’t have to take my word on this. Journalists from „Express“, for example, have said this, and I think it’s safe to say that their judgment was not colored by revolutionary sympathies. Thus having generated a Power vacuum in the countryside, the problem was posed to us, what is to be done? And we decided to create People’s Committees, that is, a joint dictatorship, a New Power. We set out to make them clandestine, because the armed forces would have to enter the battle shortly, this we knew. Those People’s Committees have multiplied a hundredfold. Those that are in a given locality form a Support Base, and all these Support Bases taken together constitute the New Democratic People’s Republic in formation. This is how the Committees and Support Bases came into being and how the New Democratic People’s Republic is being formed.
When the armed forces did come in we had to wage an arduous struggle. They fought to re-establish the old order, and we fought to counter this re-establishment in order to again set up the New Power.
An extremely bloody and absolutely merciless genocide took place. We fought fiercely. In 1984, the reaction, and in particular the armed forces, believed they had defeated us. Here I’m referring to documents that they are very familiar with, because they are theirs, in which it was even said that we were no longer a danger, but that MRTA was the danger. But what was the outcome? The People’s Committees and the Support Bases multiplied, and later that led us to continue the development of Support Bases. That is what we are doing today.
As for insurrection, I believe this is an extremely important question. The developing revolutionary situation in a country like ours allowed us to initiate the People’s War, having already reconstituted the Party and established a clear ideology. The actual development of the Support Bases, the development of the People’s Guerrilla Army and of the People’s War, are giving impetus to the further unfolding of the revolutionary situation.
Thus, keeping in mind what Chairman Mao has said, all of this is leading to what he called a high tide of struggle, or what Lenin termed a revolutionary crisis. When we reach that point the insurrection takes place. This is the theory of People’s War, and this is what we are taking up, and the basis upon which we are developing. Therefore, because the process of our People’s War must bring us to a high tide, we must prepare the insurrection that in synthesis comes down to the seizure of the cities. We are thinking about and preparing for this insurrection because it is a necessity. Without it we cannot win country-wide victory.
What does the problem of the cities pose for us? We have developed our work in the cities and in the countryside for many years. This work has undergone a shift and a change with the People’s War, it is true. Our situation now leads us to consider how we are going to prepare the city, or the cities, to generalize it. This has to do with developing our mass work, but within and for the People’s War. We have done this, and we continue to do it. The point is that we have begun to develop it more. We think that our activity in the cities is indispensable and it must be pushed forward more and more, because that is where the proletariat is concentrated and we cannot leave it in the hands of revisionism or opportunism.
The barriadas are in the cities, the shantytowns with their vast masses. Since 1976 we’ve had guidelines for work in the cities. Take barrios and barriadas as the foundation and the proletariat as the leading force. This is our policy and we will continue to apply it, now, under conditions of People’s War.
What masses do we direct our work at? This you can see. From what’s already been said, it’s clear that the vast masses of the barrios and barriadas are a belt of steel that is going to encircle the enemy and hold back the reactionary forces.
We have to win over the working class more and more until they and the people acknowledge our leadership. We fully understand that it will take time and repeated experience in order for our class to see, understand, and reaffirm that this is their vanguard — for the people to see that they have a center that leads them. They have that right, given how much the masses have been swindled! The proletariat, the masses of the barriadas, the petty bourgeoisie, the intellectuals — how many hopes frustrated! We must understand that they have the right to demand it, clearly they have it, and we have the responsibility to work to make them see, to show them, that we really are their vanguard and that they should acknowledge us as such.
We differentiate between being a vanguard and being an acknowledged vanguard. Our class has that right and no one can deny it to them. The people have that right and no one can deny it to them. That’s what we think. We don’t think that the proletariat and the people are going to acknowledge us overnight as their vanguard and only center, which is what we have to be in order to carry out the revolution as it must be carried out. So we have to persevere and develop different forms as an integral part of our mass work, different forms so that the masses learn from the People’s War itself, so that they learn the value of weapons, the importance of the gun. Chairman Mao says that the peasantry must learn the importance of the gun, this is a fact. So we do our work in this way. We create new forms and in this way we unfold our mass work within and for the People’s War.
This is related to something else, to the Revolutionary Movement for the Defense of the People (MRDP), whose very key is the Center of Resistance. We say this very frankly. These are other organizational forms, other forms of struggle which correspond to a People’s War. They cannot be the usual ones, they cannot be, they have a different character; this is the concrete reality. Consequently, we develop the Party, the People’s Guerrilla Army, and the MRDP, as well as organizations created for the various areas of work.
We need to spur on the masses’ fighting spirit so that the potential of the masses and our class can be realized. Let’s look at something. Today we have huge price increases. Why is there no popular protest? Who is holding the masses back? Lenin said protest makes the reaction tremble; when our class marches in the streets the reaction trembles. This is what we want to apply, what Marxism-Leninism-Maoism teaches us. Our class is born and develops in struggle, and so do the people. What we need to do is synthesize the masses’, the people’s own experience, to help them establish their own organizational forms, forms of struggle, taking into their own hands ever more developed and expanding forms of struggle in the cities. This is the way they will be trained.
What do we think? It is clear that the center of things is in the countryside, but for the insurrection the center changes, the center goes over to the city, and that even means that, just as in the beginning we moved combatants and Communists from the cities to the countryside, later we must move them from the countryside to the city. This is the way it will be and this is how we shift our weight in preparation for the insurrection. We have to be looking for the conditions that permit the actions of the People’s Guerrilla Army to converge with insurrectionary actions in the cities, in one city or in several. This is what we need.
The insurrection aims at capturing the cities in order for the People’s War to win country-wide victory. But we have to try to preserve the means of production, which the reaction will want to destroy, and protect revolutionary prisoners of war or known revolutionaries, who they will want to annihilate, as well as to hunt down our enemies, to put them where they can’t do any harm. This is what we’ve been taught about insurrection. And this is what an insurrection is. Lenin taught us how to build towards an insurrection and Chairman Mao taught us the role of insurrection in People’s War. This is how we see insurrection and how we are preparing for it. This is the road we must follow and are following.
We must be very clear on one thing. Insurrection is not a simple, spontaneous explosion. No, that would be dangerous. Nevertheless, this could happen, and that’s why we must and do concern ourselves with insurrection, starting right now. We think there are those who might want to use the People’s War for their own benefit. Some time ago, in a Session of the Central Committee, we analyzed the possibilities. And one of them is that the revisionists or others may provoke „insurrections“, either to abort the process of development or to gain positions and serve their social-imperialist master — or whatever power directs them, since many centers could want to use us this way.
THE DAILY: Chairman, what would the Party do in those circumstances?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: In those circumstances, we would do what Lenin did: tell the masses that this is not the moment, but if the masses launch an insurrection, fight alongside them, so that together we can make an orderly retreat and so that they suffer as little as possible. And if we die with them, our blood will be merged with theirs to a greater extent. This is what Lenin taught us in the famous struggles of July 1917. Because we cannot just tell the masses they are wrong and let events make them understand. No, we can’t do that. The masses are the masses, our class is our class, and if they are not heading in the right direction, and the conditions make them desperate and push them into situations, or even if there are those who push them on purpose, we have to be with them so that alongside them we can help them see the unfavorable situation, and fighting alongside them, help them retreat in the best way possible. And then they will see that we are with them through thick and thin. This is the best way for them to understand and be convinced that we are their Party. This is what we would do.
THE DAILY: Chairman, another question. When you speak of the forms of struggle in the city, what role do you ascribe to the unions?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The same one Marx ascribed to them in „Trade Unions. Their Past, Present And Future“. 100 years ago, Marx said that the trade unions began as simple associations for the economic defense of the workers. That is their past. Their present is to become more organized and to develop politically. And their future is to serve the seizure of Power. This Marx has already told us. So then, what is the problem? How to combine the two struggles. The economic struggle is, as Marx said himself, a guerrilla war — the struggle that our class, the proletariat, and the people develop for wages, hours, working conditions and other rights. When a strike is launched, it is a guerrilla war in which people not only fight around concrete economic or political questions, if it is of general interest, but also prepare for great moments to come. And this is its fundamental historic essence. So the question for us is how to relate the economic struggle to the seizure of Power. This is what we call developing our mass work within and for the People’s War.
THE DAILY: Chairman, you spoke of the revolutionary crisis. Do you believe it’s on the horizon in the short term?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The issue is the triumph of the People‘s War and this has to do, mainly, with how much more and how much better we fight. And the insurrection, as I’ve already said, is the knock-out punch we must prepare to deliver, and we’re seriously preparing to deliver it. We have to anticipate the possibility that others may wish to use it to their advantage. But the main problem is the timing of the insurrection, determining the opportune moment.
THE DAILY: Why did the Communist Party of Peru initiate the People’s War in 1980? What is the military and historical explanation for this? What social, economic and political analysis did the CPP carry out in order to launch the war?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We studied the country, particularly from the 2nd World War on, and we saw that in its process of development Peruvian society was entering a complex situation. The government’s own analysis showed that critical questions would present themselves in the ’80s. In Peru it can be seen that there is a crisis every 10 years in the second half of the decade and each crisis is worse than the one before. We also analyzed bureaucratic capitalism, which makes conditions more ripe for revolution. In 1980, the government was to change hands through elections, which meant that the new government would need a year and a half to two years to fully put in place the operations of its State. So we concluded that bureaucratic capitalism had ripened the conditions for revolution, and that the difficult decade of the ’80s approached — with crisis, an elected government, etc. All this provided a very favorable conjuncture for initiating the People’s War and refuted the position that armed struggle, or in our case People’s War, cannot be initiated when there’s a new government, events have demonstrated the incorrectness of that position. Such was our evaluation, and such was the situation as the new government took over, that is, the military, having left the government after ruling for 12 years, could not easily take up the struggle against us right away, nor could they immediately take the helm of the State again because they were worn down and had become discredited. These were the concrete facts, the reality.
Prior to that time, we had already put forward that participation in the Constituent Assembly was incorrect, that the only thing to do was to boycott it, because to participate in the Constituent Assembly was simply to serve the restructuring of the Peruvian State and to produce a constitution like the one we have. All this was foreseeable, there was nothing that could not be foreseen in this case. Therefore, we had planned for some time to lay the basis to initiate the People’s War, to make our move before the new government took office, which is what we did. We began the armed struggle on the 17th of May, the day before the elections.
We thought that under these conditions we could initiate our actions and even unfold them broadly and advance to the greatest extent possible — and that is exactly what we did. We were also thinking that in the second part of the decade there would have to be a more serious crisis than the previous one and therefore, better conditions for advancing. The initiation of the People’s War was planned based on these considerations. But it’s been said that we didn’t think but only acted dogmatically. In what way? Some people preach about dogma while swallowing anything they’re told.
For these reasons we chose that moment, and the correctness of our decision has been borne out by events. It was obvious that Belaúnde — and this is something we discussed openly — would fear a State coup and therefore would restrain the armed forces. Was that difficult to foresee? No, because of the experience he had in 1968. These things could be calculated, and we’ve been taught to evaluate, analyze and weigh things — that’s how we’ve been taught. The Chairman was very exacting with regard to these problems, especially in regard to preparation. We believe that events have confirmed our analysis. For two years the armed forces could not come in. Was that the case or not? Now they are saying that they burned the intelligence information that they had. In short, the new government had problems setting up its administration and the facts have shown that. Then came the crisis. The military has entered the battle with ever larger contingents and in fighting them for a number of years we are more powerful, we continue to flourish and develop. These were the reasons for initiating the People’s War in 1980, and the facts show that we were not wrong, at least not in the broad outlines, which is where one must not be wrong.
THE DAILY: Taking into account that there are two strategies in conflict in this war, could you explain the process of development of your military plans, advances and what problems you’ve had?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Our starting point is this: each class has its own specific form of war, and therefore its own strategy. The proletariat has developed its strategy, People’s War, and it is a superior strategy. The bourgeoisie can never have a strategy superior to this. Moreover, there will never be a strategy more developed than that of the proletariat. It is a question of studying military processes in the world. Each class has always brought forth its own form of waging war, and its own strategy. And always, the superior strategy has defeated the inferior strategy, and the new class always has the superior strategy and that’s what People’s War is. There is evidence to prove this. There are military analysts who put it like this: Communists, when they have applied their principles, have never lost a war; they have only lost wars when they have not applied their principles.
Therefore, our starting point was that we have a superior strategy, a universally proven theory. Our problem was how to wield it to make our revolution. Therein lies the problem — and the possibility of making errors. The first thing that we established was the need to avoid a mechanical application of People’s War, because Chairman Mao Tse-tung warned us that a mechanical application leads to opportunism and defeat. In 1980, which is when we decided to initiate the People’s War, we decided in the Party Central Committee to pay strict attention to developing a concrete application, not a dogmatic or a mechanical one. This is how we formulated it. This was our starting point. Well, here we can point out the first problem that we had. The first problem that we had was an antagonistic struggle against a Right-Opportunist Line that opposed starting the People’s War. This is the first problem that we had. We settled this question fundamentally in the 9th Plenum, and the remnants were swept away completely in the February 1980 Plenum. That was the first problem we had, and from there we had the struggle to purify the Party that we talked about before. And we had to struggle fiercely to weed out elements from the Central Committee itself. That’s the way it is, but that is how we strengthened ourselves and were able to enter the process of initiating the People’s War. We already had a plan for waging war in the countryside and the city.
The first plan that we proposed was the Plan to Initiate. The Political Bureau was asked to determine how to develop armed actions, and it was this body that presented the plan, based on detachments as the military form. This plan was brought to its conclusion in 1980, but it is important to note that two weeks after initiating the armed struggle there was a meeting of the Expanded Political Bureau in order to analyze how it had gone, and it concluded that a new thing had been born, and this was the People’s War, armed actions, detachments. Then we developed the Plan to Unfold. This was a longer plan, comprising two years, but it was accomplished through several Campaigns. It was at the end of this plan that the new forms of Power crystallized and the People’s Committees arose.
At the end of 1982, the armed forces came in. The Central Committee had anticipated this for more than a year. It had studied the involvement of the armed forces, and concluded that it would increase until the army had substituted for the police, who would then assume a secondary role. This is how it has been, and given the situation it could not have been otherwise. We had prepared ourselves, but nevertheless, we had a second problem. The introduction of the armed forces had its consequences. They came in applying a policy of genocide from the beginning. They formed armed groups, called mesnadas, forcing the masses to join and putting them in front, using them as shields. This must be said clearly: here we see not only the policy of using masses against masses, an old reactionary policy already seen by Marx, but also a cowardly use of the masses, putting the masses in front of them. The armed forces have nothing to boast about — with good reason we have called them experts at defeat, and skilled at attacking the unarmed masses. These are the armed forces of Peru. Faced with this we convened a Session of the Extended Central Committee. It was a large meeting and it lasted a long time. It was one of the longest Sessions we’ve ever had. That’s when we established the Plan to Conquer Base Areas, and the People’s Guerrilla Army was created to respond to a force that was obviously of a higher level than the police. It was there that we also raised, among other things, the problem of Front-State.
Thus arose the second problem, the problem of confronting the genocide, the genocide of 1983 and 1984. It is in the Party documents. It’s not necessary to go into it a lot, but we do want to stress the fact that it was a vicious and merciless genocide. They thought that with this genocide „they would wipe us off the map“. How real this was is shown by the fact that, by the end of 1984, they began to circulate among their officers documents concerning our annihilation. The struggle was intense, hard, those were complex and difficult times.
In the face of reactionary military actions and the use of mesnadas, we responded with a devastating action: Lucanamarca. Neither they nor we have forgotten it, to be sure, because they got an answer that they didn’t imagine possible. More than 80 were annihilated, that is the truth. And we say openly that there were excesses, as was analyzed in 1983. But everything in life has two aspects. Our task was to deal a devastating blow in order to put them in check, to make them understand that it was not going to be so easy. On some occasions, like that one, it was the Central Leadership itself that planned the action and gave instructions. That’s how it was. In that case, the main thing is that we dealt them a devastating blow, and we checked them and they understood that they were dealing with a different kind of people’s fighters, that we weren’t the same as those they had fought before. This is what they understood. The excesses are the negative aspect. Understanding war, and basing ourselves on what Lenin said, taking Clausewitz into account, in war, the masses engaged in combat can go too far and express all their hatred, the deep feelings of class hatred, repudiation and condemnation that they have — that was the root of it. This has been explained by Lenin very clearly. Excesses can be committed. The problem is to go to a certain point and not beyond it, because if you go past that point you go off course. It’s like an angle; it can be opened up to a certain point and no further. If we were to give the masses a lot of restrictions, requirements and prohibitions, it would mean that deep down we didn’t want the waters to overflow. And what we needed was for the waters to overflow, to let the flood rage, because we know that when a river floods its banks it causes devastation, but then it returns to its riverbed. I repeat, this was explained clearly by Lenin, and this is how we understand those excesses. But, I insist, the main point was to make them understand that we were a hard nut to crack, and that we were ready for anything, anything.
Marx taught us: one does not play at insurrection, one does not play at revolution. But when one raises the banner of insurrection, when one takes up arms, there’s no taking down the banner, it must be held high and never lowered until victory. This is what he taught us, no matter how much it costs us! Marx has armed us then, as Lenin has, and, mainly Chairman Mao Tse-tung taught us about the price we have to pay — what it means to annihilate in order to preserve, what it means to hold high the banner, come what may. And we say that in this way, with this determination, we overcame the sinister, vile, cowardly and vicious genocide. And we say this because someone — he who calls himself president — makes insinuations about barbarism, without blushing, when he is an aspiring Attila the Hun playing with other people’s blood.
Have we gone through difficult times? Yes. But what has reality shown us? That if we persist, keep politics in command, follow our political strategy, follow our military strategy, if we have a clear and defined plan, then we will advance, and we are capable of facing any bloodbath. We began to prepare for the bloodbath in 1981 because it had to come. Thus we were already prepared ideologically, that is main. All this brought about an increase in our forces, they multiplied. This was the result. It turned out as the Chairman had said: the reaction is dreaming when it tries to drown the revolution in blood. They should know they are nourishing it, and this is an inexorable law. So this reaffirms for us that we have to be more and more dedicated, firm, and resolute in our principles, and always have unwavering faith in the masses.
Thus we came out of it strengthened, with a larger Army, more People’s Committees and Support Bases, and a larger Party, exactly the opposite of what they had imagined. We have already talked, I believe, of the bloody dreams of the reaction. They are nothing but that, bloody dreams that, in the final analysis, end up being nightmares. But I insist: by persisting in our principles and fighting with the support of the masses, mainly the poor peasants, we’ve been able to confront this situation. It is here that the heroism of which I have already spoken, the heroism of the masses, has been expressed.
Subsequently, we developed a new plan, the Plan to Develop the Support Bases which we are unfolding now. What can we say about it? Looking at another aspect, I believe that we must keep a lesson in mind: all plans are approved, applied and summed up in the midst of two-line struggle. And that struggle is more intense when a new plan has to be approved. That’s the reality, it’s a lesson that we keep very much in mind. It has been very instructive for us and taught us a lot. That’s the way it is. In the end, People’s War generates an extremely high degree of unity, but amid intense struggle. Yes, because in spite of the problems, the complex and difficult situations we face, in spite of external influences, the ideological dynamic is that those who are engaged in People’s War have given their lives over to the revolution. A Communist has his life dedicated to Communism although he will not see it, because really we aren’t going to see it, at least I am not going to see it. But that is not the problem. Not seeing the goal for which we struggle only leads us to reflect, to take hold of the great examples that Marxism has given us. In Marx’s time he knew that he would not see the triumph of the revolution, and where did that lead him? To redoubling his efforts to advance the revolution. Those are lessons we’ve drawn, and we’ve been guided by those tremendous examples. Let me insist once again, this is not to imply any comparison, it is only to fix on the pole star, to set the course, as a guide.
Well, if we think about the armed struggle and People’s War, we can say that the initiation allowed us to develop the guerrilla war, because in this period we went over from detachments to platoons, and in this way we extended guerrilla warfare. The Plan to Unfold gave us the People’s Committees, the Plan to Conquer Support Bases gave us the Support Bases and a broad zone of operations. We should remember that we conceived of the highlands as the backbone for developing the war and conquering Power throughout the country. Yes, the highland of our country — and we’ve covered an area that goes from one border to another, from Ecuador to Bolivia and Chile. But we’ve also developed work in the brow of the jungle, in the mountainous areas leading down to the coast and in the cities as well. Today we can say that we have hundreds of People’s Committees and numerous Support Bases. Of course there is a main one, and each Zone has its main one as well.
Finally, we could say of the plans that we’ve learned how to direct the war with a single strategic plan, applying the principle of centralized strategy and decentralized tactics. We direct the war by means of a single plan with different parts, through campaigns, with strategic-operative plans, tactical plans and concrete plans for each action. But the key to all this is the single strategic plan which allows us to direct the war in a unified way, and that is key in leading a People’s War. I think that is what I have to say about it.
THE DAILY: Chairman, in these eight years of People’s War what has the anti-subversive strategy accomplished, and what are its present problems?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: It is a question that I would prefer to answer in this way: the reactionaries themselves say they’ve failed and continue failing; they know this very well. To use a lawyers’ saying, „When someone confesses, no more proof is needed“.
THE DAILY: When do you think the conditions will exist for the People’s Guerrilla Army to develop conventional war, defend territorial positions and openly confront the armed forces? Is this kind of struggle in the CPP’s plans?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We’ve pondered those problems, discussed them and established Party policy. We dealt with this in 1981, we’ve also done so on other occasions. We’ve started from how Chairman Mao Tse-tung conceived of People’s War, starting from contradictions. There are two aspects in contention. One is weak and the other is temporarily strong. There needs to transpire a period of Strategic Defensive, a second one of Strategic Stalemate, and a third one of Strategic Offensive. We are still developing within the Strategic Defensive. And in these conditions, guerrilla war continues to be our main form, a generalized guerrilla war, waged broadly, both in the countryside and the city, with the countryside being main and the city complementary. And we are fighting in almost the entire country. This is in regard to the period we are in.
We are beginning to develop mobile warfare, as conceived of by Chairman Mao, and will develop it further in accordance with the fact that the reaction will necessarily have to wage a more developed counter-insurgency war. But even as this happens we will have to continue waging guerrilla war as main, and mobile warfare as complementary, and within that, some specific kinds of positional warfare as talked about in „On Protracted War“. We think that an intensification of the Peoples’s War must also produce an escalation of the counter-insurgency war, and this is going to be based on genocide. Looking ahead, this is going to lead to the stage of Strategic Stalemate, with the understanding, of course, that we persist in a correct ideological and political line and therefore maintain a correct Military Line, which we have to do. So Strategic Stalemate will result from our persisting in all this, coupled with the sinister plans that they are preparing, that will lead to genocide — which they want to impose upon the Peruvian people because they feel powerless. But the people cannot follow them because the people cannot go against their own class interests. This will lead to Strategic Stalemate, let me repeat, with the understanding that we maintain the correct course in ideology, politics, in military and all related matters. It’s at that point that we’ll have to address the problem of how to develop People’s War to take the cities and prepare the part that corresponds to the Strategic Offensive. That’s all we can say for now.
THE DAILY: To strengthen the war, as you said, is it going to be necessary to strengthen the weaponry of the People’s Guerrilla Army? How do you intend to resolve this?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Yes, this is one aspect. Allow me to take a question of principle as my starting point. We are accustomed to and persist in taking our principles as our starting point. In this way, guided by our principles, we can solve our concrete problems. Chairman Mao Tse-tung has told us that the main thing is mankind. Weapons are useful. So our task is to aim especially at people, at strengthening them ideologically and politically, at building the Army ideologically and politically in this case, as well as building it militarily. This is our point of departure.
With regard to weapons, the Chairman says that the enemy has them and so the problem is to seize them from him, and this is main. Modern weapons are necessary, but their performance depends on the ideology of the man who wields them. Lenin taught us that. We can assert that we are carrying out ambushes and the armed forces know very well how this is developing and the powerful blows they’ve been dealt. I’d only like to mention the one related to Cayara, the ambush of Erusco. 25 soldiers were annihilated. Only one survived and he was wounded. That is why they responded with vicious genocide. The facts are not as they’ve portrayed them. The truth is that they moved large forces and were not able to hunt us down. And let’s be clear also that we seized their arms. They know this very well. And we didn’t blow up just one car, but two, because a whole kilometer of the road was mined and they had no way to escape. What was shown on television and in the newspapers by he who calls himself president, and those who’ve gone to Cayara from this so-called „Commission“ are, as they say „castles in the air“, „drawings in the water“. So it has been some time since the growing transfer of arms from them to us began. And they are obligated to bring them to us, it is their obligation to bring them to where we are. And we have to recognize that they’ve begun to do so. Why do we put things this way? Because we’ve forced them to spread out, to open different fronts, and have made them sit and wait passively. They’re like an elephant stuck in the mud, and therefore easier to attack. This is something the army and the armed forces in general must seriously think about.
What I am talking about is none other than the application of what Chairman Mao Tse-tung taught us when he said that Chiang Kai-shek, by the end of the war, deserved a medal because he acted as a good quartermaster, a good arms supplier. So that has already started, and the armed forces know it very well. And the plan they are cooking up, all their scheming, the great offensive they want to carry out, is all welcomed. It will not hinder the transfer of arms, and they will fail because they will not succeed in getting the Peruvian people to go against their own interests. And they are the blackest, most rotten of reactionaries, led today by this fascist, corporativist, Aprista government headed by a vile and miserable mass murderer. History has shown that the Peruvian people do not follow fascism, and will not allow themselves to be corporativized. That has already been established and this is not just an issue in Peru today, but has been one for decades. So the enemy’s weapons, which we seize from them, are our main source.
Furthermore, humble dynamite will continue playing an important role, and mines are weapons of the people. As for us, our principle is to look for the simplest weapons that everyone from among the masses can wield, because our war is a war of the masses. Otherwise, it would not be a People’s War, and ours is. This leads to a second question, the manufacturing of weapons. We are striving to advance in the manufacture of arms, which the other side also knows very well by now. Direct notice of this was given to the Presidential Palace, launched with mortars made by our own hands, by the hands of the people. They don’t say so, but we know.
The other common way is to buy them, because there are three ways. The main one is to seize them from the enemy, the second one is to manufacture them, and the third one is to buy them. The last one is a problem because of the high cost of weapons, and we are carrying out the most economical People’s War on Earth. It’s that way because we have very few resources and those that we do have are those that the masses provide us with. To reiterate one more time, how is the problem solved? Lenin said that large quantities of arms must be seized, at whatever cost. And I have already talked about what Chairman Mao taught us. This is what we are putting into practice.
THE DAILY: Can you foresee that the triumph and advance of the revolution that you are leading will provoke a US military invasion? What would the CPP do in that case?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Although Yankee imperialism is already intervening, on this question I would concretely say the following. The United States can mobilize our neighboring countries. We should not forget, I insist, that there are even pending territorial claims and border disputes, even though they are silent on this; and we all know the role that Brazil has been assigned. They could intervene directly, with their own troops; they already have people training here.
Some time ago we decided in the Central Committee that whatever enemy comes to trample on this land, we will confront him and defeat him. In those circumstances the contradiction would change, the oppressed nation-imperialism contradiction would become main, and that would give us an even broader basis on which to unite our people.
THE DAILY: Reactionaries, revisionists and opportunists of the United Left all say that you are isolated from the masses. What can you say about that?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: I believe that from everything we are saying it can be seen that there is support from the masses. To those who say such things, to the revisionists and opportunists, we would ask: how can they explain the existence of a movement that has developed a People’s War for eight years without international aid if it doesn’t have the support of the masses?
THE DAILY: For eight years, the groups and Parties of the right, the revisionists, the opportunists, and all the reactionaries have said and even screamed that the CPP is a „demented“, „messianic“, „blood-thirsty“, „Pol Pot-ian“, „dogmatic“, „sectarian“, „narco-terrorist“ organization. The PUM adds that you have trapped the peasantry in the middle, between two fires, that you are militarists. Recently, Villanueva has said you are „genocidal terrorists“ and other things. What do you have to say about these charges? What’s behind them?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: To me they represent lies and the inability to understand People’s War, and I understand that, the enemies of the revolution will never be able to understand People’s War. With respect to the charge that the peasantry is caught between two fires, this is an elaborate invention because it is precisely the peasantry that makes up the vast majority of the People’s Guerrilla Army. What must be understood is that the Peruvian State, with its armed forces and repressive apparatus, wants to drown the revolution in blood. This is our understanding, and we would recommend that these gentlemen study a little about warfare in general, revolutionary war, and mainly about People’s War and Maoism. Although I doubt that they would understand it, because to do so requires a certain class position.
With regard to what Mr. Villanueva says about „genocidal terrorists“, it seems to me an obscene travesty and parody to want to apply to us a term like genocidal, which fits them like a glove. Before our country and the world it is perfectly clear who is committing genocide. It is they, it is the APRA government which is leading this reactionary State, it is the reactionary armed forces, the forces of repression — they are the vile mass murderers. Distortions will never change the facts. History has already been written, tomorrow it will be confirmed. Besides, how long will Villanueva last? What will his future be like? It would be better if he thought about that.
THE DAILY: What changes do you think have taken place in Peruvian politics, in the economic base of society and among the masses as a result of eight years of People’s War?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The first change is the development of a People‘s War that is advancing irrepressibly; which means that, for the first time, the democratic revolution is really being carried out in our country. This has changed all the terms of Peruvian politics. Hence, the reaction itself, their accomplices, beginning with the revisionists and their supporters on duty, whoever they may be, have concluded that the first and main problem facing the Peruvian State is the People’s War. Thus, we are changing the world in this country. Out of this comes the most important and main thing we’ve accomplished, the emergence and development of a New Power which marches forward and will end up extending itself throughout the country.
In the economic base, under the New Power we are establishing new relations of production. A concrete example of this is how we apply the land policy, utilizing collective work, and the organization of social life according to a new reality, with a joint dictatorship where for the first time workers, peasants and progressives rule — understanding this to mean those who want to transform this country by the only means possible — People’s War.
As for them, the reactionaries, without mentioning the economic drain of fighting the People’s War, we are destroying bureaucratic capitalism, and for some time we’ve been undermining the gamonal basis for the semi-feudal relations that sustain this whole structure, while at the same time strong blows against imperialism.
For the masses of our people, these heroic masses, mainly for the proletariat, the leading class that we will always recognize; for the first time they are taking Power and they have begun to taste the honey on their lips. They will not stop there. They will want it all, and they will get it.
THE DAILY: How do you see the present situation, and the perspectives for the People’s War in Peru? What destiny awaits the Peruvian people if the revolution that you’ve been leading for more than eight years doesn’t triumph in the short run? Do you believe that this government or another one can find a way out of this crisis? In the document „Bases for Discussion“, the CPP indicated that we are entering decisive years in which APRA continues to be without a strategic plan. Could it be that we are on the threshold of the victory of the revolution, and of the seizure of State Power by the CPP?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The Peruvian people are increasingly mobilizing themselves, and the class struggle is sharpening. This is directly linked to the People’s War, which is nothing but the continuation of the class struggle with arms in hand. What destiny awaits the Peruvian people? I believe that the heroic destiny of destroying the old State and the glorious destiny of beginning to build a new society will be a monumental effort. These will be times of sacrifice and difficulties, but the people will emerge victorious. In the end it should be enough to reflect on this: without the People’s War, would 60.000 children under one year of age stop dying each year, as is the case in Peru today? No. Therefore, the people will continue making every effort and will go through difficulties, but each day more consciously, they will pay the necessary price, knowing that they will win.
A way out? We believe that they have no way out. Our understanding of the process of contemporary Peruvian society is that starting in 1980 bureaucratic capitalism has entered into its destruction, and as a result the whole system is falling apart, and they have no way out. And if we look at it, there’s a serious crisis, but also the two decades have come together back to back, the decade of the ’80s and the decade of the ’90s, both of them critical. They have no way out at all.
In regard to the decisive years, we understand by decisive years a more powerful storm between People’s War and counter-revolutionary war, and we believe, once again, that from this will emerge the stage of Strategic Stalemate.
As for time, Chairman Mao said the more and better we fight, the less time will be needed. For our part, it is our obligation to do this. We are doing it and we will do it; on the other hand, we have extraordinary objective conditions. The conditions of general crisis which the decrepit system of Peruvian society has entered into reveals to us that things can accelerate in these decisive years, and in fact these decisive years will powerfully accelerate the conditions and develop the revolutionary situation.
What are our tasks today? In sum, more People‘s War, more New Power, more Army, more involvement of the masses, and this is how we believe our victory will come.
THE DAILY Finally, could you lay out your position with regard to World People‘s War? In the case of a world war between the superpowers, what would be the results for humanity?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Could there be a world war? Yes, there could be. The conditions for this will exist as long as we do not eliminate their roots. The superpowers are obviously preparing for war and making big plans. But we believe that Communists and revolutionaries, the masses, the people, those who can no longer accept so much injustice in the world, must not focus our attention on war between the superpowers because our liberation cannot come from that — because it would be a war of plunder, for a redivision of the world. World war among the big powers is for hegemony, nothing else. What can we expect from them? Huge massacres, large-scale genocide, hundreds of thousands of deaths. But certainly the immense majority of humanity will survive. We cannot accept the sinister ideas of today that worship atomic weapons and all the sophisticated weaponry they brandish. Nor can we allow them to use them as blackmail to paralyze us. Many times in the world the reactionaries have talked about decisive and definitive weapons and the disappearance of humanity. But it has always been to restrain and stifle people, to maintain their old domination. That’s why we believe that we must focus our attention, our efforts, our passion, our will, on developing People’s War — because from that will certainly come the emancipation of the people and the proletariat, the definitive and true emancipation. We think that a World People‘s War is the answer to an imperialist world war. We think that the task is to prepare for it, and we conceive of it as follows: those who are already waging People’s War should develop it more; those who have not initiated it should start developing it; and through this process we will demolish imperialist domination, the domination of reaction. And we will wipe them off the face of the Earth.
We don’t conceive of a World People‘s War as an action that will take place simultaneously on a certain day and at a certain hour. We conceive of it as unfolding in the future, and related to the „50 to 100 years“ that Chairman Mao Tse-tung predicted. We see it as great waves of People’s War, until finally all of them converge like the legions of steel of a great worldwide red army, as Lenin himself said. This is how we see it. We think this is the only road to follow. The problem, I insist, is that there is a risk of world war and it would be a huge massacre, from which could only come misery, injustice, pain and death, and more reasons to put an end to them. The only solution, therefore, is People’s War, which, conceived of in waves, will lead to a World People’s War and the coming together of the legions of steel of the international proletariat, of the people, who in the end will carry out our historic mission. We have the great fortune to live in these decades in which imperialism and reaction will be swept away, because what Chairman Mao foresaw will be attained. If we do not see it ourselves, others who follow us will, because the legions are increasing more and more.
What is the problem? What is the key? To place Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in command. And with Maoism mainly, take up People’s War, which is universally applicable, taking into account the character of each revolution and the specific conditions of each country.
4. ON THE NATIONAL POLITICAL SITUATION
THE DAILY: Chairman, what is the CPP’s analysis of the Peruvian State and where it is headed?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We have an understanding of the workings of contemporary Peruvian society, by which we mean the society which came into being in 1895. We believe that the process we are living through began then and that there have been three stages. The first stage laid the basis for the development of bureaucratic capitalism; the second stage, which deepened the development of bureaucratic capitalism, began after the 2nd World War, because the first stage lasted until then. This deeper development of bureaucratic capitalism ripened the conditions for revolution. With the beginning of the People‘s War in 1980, we entered the third stage, of the general crisis of bureaucratic capitalism. The destruction of contemporary Peruvian society has begun because it has become historically outmoded. Therefore what we are witnessing is its end and the only correct course is to battle, to fight, and to struggle to bury it.
THE DAILY: Why do you consider the thesis of bureaucratic capitalism to be fundamental?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We consider this thesis of Chairman Mao Tse-tung to be key, because without understanding it and wielding it, it is not possible to carry out a democratic revolution, much less conceive of its uninterrupted continuation into the socialist revolution. It is really very wrong for this thesis of Chairman Mao’s to be disregarded. Plainly, they jumble his analysis all up by talking to us about the development of capitalism in backward countries or dependent capitalism, which leads to nothing but changing the character of the revolution. We believe that it is by taking Chairman Mao as our starting point that we are going to really understand Peruvian society and those societies that they call backward.
We understand that bureaucratic capitalism began to emerge in Peru in 1895 through the three stages that I previously outlined. We conceive of it this way: capitalism developed on top of a semi-feudal base, and under imperialist domination. It is a capitalism born late born tied to feudalism and subordinated to imperialist domination. These are the conditions that produce what Chairman Mao Tse-tung has called bureaucratic capitalism. So, bureaucratic capitalism develops bound to big monopoly capital which controls the economy of the country. This capital is made up, as Chairman Mao said, of the big capital of the large landowners, the comprador bourgeoisie, and the big bankers. Thus bureaucratic capitalism emerges, bound, I repeat, to feudalism, subordinated to imperialism, and it is monopolistic. We must keep this in mind, it is monopolistic. At a certain point in its development this capitalism is combined with State Power and uses the economic means of the State, uses the State as an economic lever and this process gives rise to another faction of the big bourgeoisie, the bureaucratic bourgeoisie. This gives rise to a further development of bureaucratic capitalism which was already monopolistic and becomes, in turn, State-owned. But this whole process gives rise to conditions which ripen the revolution. This is another important concept, politically speaking, that the Chairman laid out about bureaucratic capitalism.
If we understand bureaucratic capitalism, we can understand very well how Peru has semi-feudal conditions, bureaucratic capitalism, and imperialist, mainly Yankee, domination. This is what we must understand, and what allows us to understand and lead the democratic revolution.
Now, what other importance does bureaucratic capitalism have? The Chairman says that the democratic revolution realizes some socialist advances which, he says, were already expressing themselves, for example, in the mutual aid teams in the Support Bases of the countryside. To move from the democratic to the socialist revolution it is key, from an economic point of view, to confiscate all bureaucratic capital, which will permit the New State to control the economy, to direct it and, in this way, serve the development of the socialist revolution. We understand that this strategic concept is of great importance and, I reiterate, it is unfortunately being disregarded, and as long as it is disregarded, it will not be possible to correctly understand what a democratic revolution is under the present circumstances in which we struggle.
It is erroneous to think that bureaucratic capitalism is the capitalism that the State develops with the economic means of production that it directly controls. This is erroneous, and it does not conform to Chairman Mao’s thesis. Just think of it like this: if bureaucratic capital were only State-owned capitalism, and you confiscated this State-owned capital, in whose hands would the other, non-State-owned monopoly capital remain? In the hands of reaction, of the big bourgeoisie. This view which identifies bureaucratic capitalism with State monopoly capitalism is a revisionist concept and in our Party it was upheld by the „left“-liquidationists. Hence, we understand this problem to be a very important one.
Furthermore, politically it allows us to differentiate very clearly between the big bourgeoisie and the national or middle bourgeoisie. And this gives us the means to understand, so that we don’t pin ourselves to the tail of any faction of the big bourgeoisie, either the comprador or bureaucratic bourgeoisies, which is what revisionism and opportunism have done and continue to do in Peru. There have been decades of this perverse policy of labeling one faction of the big bourgeoisie the national bourgeoisie, hence progressive, and supporting them. Grasping bureaucratic capitalism permitted us to more clearly understand the differentiation, I repeat, between the national bourgeoisie and the big bourgeoisie, and grasp the correct tactics to carry out, taking up again precisely what Mariátegui had established. For this reason we consider the thesis on bureaucratic capitalism to be of utmost importance.
THE DAILY: How would you sum up your political and economic analysis of the present conjuncture and its prospects? Is this situation perhaps favorable for the CPP? What does it pose for the reaction, revisionism and opportunism?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We believe that bureaucratic capitalism has entered into a general crisis. Moreover, we believe that this bureaucratic capitalism was born sick, because it derived from semi-feudalism (or is tied to it) and from imperialism. Semi-feudalism is obviously outmoded, and imperialism is moribund. What kind of child could come from these two parents condemned to death by incurable disease? A sick, stunted monster that has entered its phase of destruction. We think that the crises will become sharper and sharper, that, even as some economists say, there have been more or less 30 years of crisis from which we have not emerged except for some small ripples of recovery. Or, as APRA says in its own internal documents, this is a crisis that has existed since the middle of the ’70s.
We can see that each new crisis is worse than the previous one. And if we add to this the two critical decades of the ’80s and ’90s, back to back, the situation becomes clear. What do they themselves say? That this government will leave behind an extremely grave situation, and that those who follow, supposing that others do follow through their electoral renovation, will have to seek some way to overcome the problems left behind, and consequently, not until 1995 can they even think about any kind of development — and this is being said in a country which is already 20 years behind. Because of all this we think the prospects for them are extremely bleak. Is this favorable for the revolution, for the People’s War, for the Party? Yes, it is. First and foremost for our class and the people, because all our work is for them, so that our class can rule, lead, so that the people can exercise their freedom and satisfy their centuries-old hunger. We see no prospects whatever for revisionism and reaction. We believe that they are united, they are like Siamese twins, and they will march together to the grave. This is what we think.
THE DAILY: Why do you characterize the APRA government as fascist and corporativist? What do you base this on? What is your opinion of Alan García Pérez’s speech at the APRA Youth Congress in Ayacucho and the one he gave in Paita? What is your opinion of the economic measures of the new cabinet?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Concerning the characterization of the APRA government. Without looking at its historical aspect, which has other implications that we don’t need to examine today, the concrete situation that APRA was faced with, when by agreement it was given leadership of the Peruvian State, was one full of dilemmas. There existed two tendencies within it. One was fascist and the other was demo-liberal. This is what was going on in APRA, and we understand that in this case the demo-liberal position meant the maintenance of the reactionary constitutional order established in 1920, in 1933, and in 1979. That’s what we mean by the demo-liberal order.
APRA had a problem — its need for investments to be able to push forward the economy, or more exactly, to showcase some successes. This is what they have done, use up what little they had in order to present us with a showcase of successes as fragile as glass. And we are seeing the proof of this today. So there is no way you can say that APRA’s plan was a good economic plan, because if it was such a good plan, why are the results so bad? It doesn’t make sense. So APRA had to resort to using capital from the comprador bourgeoisie and they, obviously, demanded certain conditions. In APRA’s own documents they say that by the end of 1985 the big bourgeoisie, particularly the comprador bourgeoisie, was already beginning to recover and to cash in. The year 1986 was like paradise for them. They made billions of dollars in profits, as they themselves have said, thinking that later they would reinvest. But this plan was not going to work, the economy was bound to go into crisis and fail, and therefore they could not reinvest. Since then the conflict between them has sharpened further, hence the struggles between the two factions of the big bourgeoisie.
On the other hand, APRA, with regard to the people, was confronted with the immense, unsatisfied needs of the masses. Demagogically, as always, they made promises to everybody; demagogically, because what APRA sought to do was simply try to develop, to unfold the reactionary economic process which could not be carried out without restricting the income of the people, because, where do profits come from? From surplus value. So they had a problem with the masses and they knew it, hence, their repressive, anti-people, anti-union, anti-worker policies. This could be seen from the beginning. But there were other circumstances, the People’s War. Even though they did not want to, APRA had to confront the People’s War, which was already a central problem.
All these conditions are the ones that determined that changes had to take place inside APRA in order to resolve their dilemma. But when did they resolve it? The dilemma got resolved with the genocide of 1986. The class struggle of the masses, the People’s War mainly, and the genocidal actions pushed APRA to choose fascism and brought about the triumph of the fascist faction. We believe that it was then that it happened, and so began what everyone now recognizes as the loss of prestige and a setback for APRA, not only in Peru, but in the whole world.
Why do we call it fascist? The fascist faction that already existed in APRA took political measures to implement corporativization, although it was already contained in the first speech by García Pérez in July 1985. What do we understand by fascist and corporativist? For us fascism is the negation of liberal-democratic principles, the negation of the bourgeois-democratic principles which were born and developed in the 18th Century in France. These principles are being abandoned by reactionaries, by the bourgeoisie world-wide. So it was that the 1st World War that made us see the crisis of the bourgeois-democratic order, that’s why later fascism emerged. So, in APRA what is going on is this negation of the principles of the bourgeois-democratic order and we see daily proof of the negation of all the constitutionally established rights and liberties. We see fascism also on the ideological plane as an eclectic system without a defined philosophy. It is a philosophical position made up of fragments chosen from here and there according to what’s most useful. This is clearly expressed in García Pérez. When he goes to Harare in Africa he’s an African and he salutes the Africans, salutes Kenneth Kaunda. When he goes to India he salutes Gandhi, he’s a Gandhian. When he goes to Mexico he hails Zapata, he’s a Zapatista. When he goes to the Soviet Union, if he ever does, he’ll be the champion of Perestroika. He’s like that because this is the ideological and philosophical training of fascism, it does not have a defined stand, it is eclectic and it takes what is at hand.
With regard to its corporativism. We understand corporativism as the setting up of the State based on corporations, which implies the negation of parliamentarism. This is an essential point that Mariátegui gave emphasis to in „History Of The World Crisis“. He said that the crisis of bourgeois democracy expresses itself clearly in the crisis of parliamentarism. Looking at the parliament here, while it is true that in the last decades it has been the executive branch that has produced the most important laws in this country, it is during this APRA government that the executive has monopolized the creation of all the fundamental laws for its own purposes. No important laws have come from the parliament. This is a fact, and everything has been aimed at giving powers to the executive so that it can do and undo as it pleases. Everything is a negation of parliamentarism.
The problem of corporativism in our country is not a recent one. Already in 1933, during the second restructuring of the Peruvian State in this century, when the Constitution was being debated, Víctor Andrés Belaúnde put forward the corporativization of Peruvian society. Villarán, who was the chairman of the reporting committee of the Constitution, opposed it stating: how are we going to corporativize if there are no corporations? It was a way of dodging the issue. Those are precedents. Now that they are talking so much about Mr. Belaúnde, whose works have just been published, it is fitting to remember his position: in the face of liberalism — which focuses on money — and Communism — which negates the individual — what we need are corporativist systems modeled after those of medieval times. It is good to keep this in mind in order to see corporativism’s affiliation and its roots, and also keep very much in mind that it is intimately linked to the positions set forth by the Papacy starting in the past century.
Velasco also tried to corporativize the country. That’s why he started the formation of corporations of agricultural producers, for example. His own agrarian law 17716 had the political aim of establishing corporativist bases. The industrial law did, too. How? Through the industrial community. His famous political organization, which was never consolidated, also put forward positions which were clearly fascist and corporativist. But they didn’t succeed in carrying it out in Peru. And what are they trying to do? What do they want? They want the formation of corporations, that is to organize the producers and all members of society along corporativist lines. Let’s assume that the small factory producers, the agricultural producers, merchants, professionals, students, the Church. the armed forces, and the police forces all name their delegates and, in this way form a corporative system. This is what they are seeking to do and what APRA is doing. And the regions and micro-regions, what is their significance? This whole plan for establishing regions today serves the corporativization of our country, that is why we have to oppose it openly — not only because it represents political maneuvering by APRA for electoral advantage, but because it is a corporativist system, and furthermore, it is putting a country which doesn’t even have a consolidated national unity at risk. These are extremely serious matters. For these reasons we say it is a fascist and corporativist government. The road they are trying to promote explains their great preoccupation with the regions that they want to impose, no matter what it takes. This is what we are seeing and hence all these extraordinary parliamentary assemblies which have failed to fulfill what García has called for. Last year he stated, either the regions are formed or I’ll stop calling myself Alan García Pérez. A year has passed and I don’t know what he is calling himself today, because the regions have not been formed. Now they say by the end of this year. We’ll see.
With regard to identifying fascism with terror, with repression, we think that this is a mistake. What’s involved is the following: if one remembers Marxism, the State is organized violence, that is the classic definition. All States use violence because they are dictatorships. How else would they assert themselves to oppress and exploit? They couldn’t do it. Consequently what happens is that fascism develops a broader, more refined, more sinister violence. But to identify fascism as being the same as violence is a crass error. These are ideas that have developed here in Peru since the 2nd World War and they are ideas that Del Prado often promoted and spread. These same ideas were also put forward by Dammert.
Identifying fascism with terror means not understanding Mariátegui, who in „Figures And Aspects Of World Life“, when talking of H. G. Wells, tells us that the bourgeois State goes through a process of development and that it is this process that leads to a fascist and corporative system. This can be understood very well if we study Mariátegui’s works, the previously mentioned „History Of The World Crisis“ and „The Contemporary Scene“. Let’s not forget that he lived it, studied it, and came to know it directly.
In this country, we have to look at fascism in its different aspects beginning with its ideology, its politics, and its organizational form, how it uses violence, its terror. Today we see how it practices a skillful violence, more developed, broader, more brutal and vicious. This is what is called terror. But apart from this, white terror has always been practiced, has it not? The reactionaries, when they have encountered difficulties, have always applied white terror. So we should never identify and reduce all fascism simply to terror. We must understand that fascism means a more refined violence, and the development of terrorism, yes, but that is not the totality of it but a component, it is fascism’s means of unfolding reactionary violence.
As for García Pérez’s speech at the APRA Youth Congress: in sum, there is an intense struggle in APRA, which has to do with their next Congress, and the problem consists in whether Garcia Pérez will maintain his control over that Party or not, while keeping himself in power in collusion with the armed forces. For some time it’s been apparent that the APRA youth have questioned the work of the government, and this expressed itself in a big way at this Congress in Ayacucho. And Garcia Pérez had to make a desperate trip in order to explain, to explain himself and to present himself as the savior. This is what he wants, because he sees the importance of winning over the youth in the interest of his appetite to be Führer. I believe this gets to the essence of it. Concerning what he said about our Party, and the supposed admiration he says he has for it, this simply reveals the struggle inside APRA, because someone who is a genocidal assassin, who daily murders the people, the combatants, the Communists, can’t have admiration for us. This is demagogical posturing, uncontrollable appetites linked to the APRA Congress and related to his political prospects, because he can still play many cards. The man is quite young.
Concerning Paita, the „Paita speech“, essentially it was a fascist speech, openly fascist. It was not, as some say, to give the parliamentarians who were raising a ruckus a slap on the wrist. That kind of thing is commonplace among them and there is nothing extraordinary about it. But that was not what this was about, it was a strictly fascist speech. Garcia Pérez wants to become Führer. There’s a reason why they call him „conductor“ Many times Congressman Roca himself has called him „conductor“. Isn’t „conductor“ the same as Führer? It means the same thing in German. Therefore I think it’s correct when some call him „theFührer‘s apprentice“.But in the end what he is showing us is that he’s just a cheap demagogue with a big, unrestrained appetite, ready to do anything to satisfy it. I think self-idolatry is one of his characteristics.
As for the economic measures of the new cabinet, as was inevitable, no one agrees with them. Of course no one agrees with them, and the people least of all, which is what interests us. So a double contradiction emerges. The first one is with the comprador bourgeoisie, because the economic measures are insufficient. They ask the APRA government for more measures and they demand a definition of the plan, because this plan is for 18 months, but consists only of a general outline, without dealing concretely with important problems. For its five years in office, APRA is going to proceed like this, from one emergency plan to another and yet another. From emergency to emergency, which amounts to the total unraveling of the plans it had thought to implement during its term. I am referring here to their own documents. And the second contradiction is inevitably with the people, whose belts are being tightened in the interest of generating new capital. How and from where can capital be obtained? By reducing salaries. These are, in sum, the measures, and that’s why they have created more problems for APRA than they already had. Meanwhile they continue, demagogically, postponing what the very order within which they operate imposes on them and what they themselves bring on by being puppets, because they have long been in collusion with the United States, with imperialism. Their ties with the World Bank and the International Development Bank are extremely clear, and these are the instruments that the imperialists are using more now due to the discrediting of the International Monetary Fund — although the prospects are that APRA will return to the fold. So those economic measures are not resolving the situation, they are worsening it. And we are going to have an extremely grave and critical economic situation which will develop even further, becoming a tremendous burden on the backs of the masses.
THE DAILY: Chairman, how do you see the upcoming elections shaping up, and the possibility of a coup or a coup backed by the government itself?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: If you’ll allow me, I’d like to say that the main thing about the elections is the need to boycott them, and if possible, prevent them. Why do we say this? What do the people have to gain? Nothing. The people won’t gain anything through an electoral renewal. I think this can be seen very clearly in this country’s history. In the document, „Develop The People‘s War, Serving The World Revolution“, we pointed this out, we showed this to be the case and no one has disproved it. We showed how the percentage of votes for the United Left was what prevented the majority from expressing their opposition to the elections. I believe this has been shown. We have therefore put forward, and the facts have borne out, that the tendency in Peru is to expect nothing from elections or from a new government. The tendency is to reject elections. Where does the problem lie? In the way revisionism and opportunism continue promoting elections, that’s where the problem lies. So what is the key point here? To strike blows and expose what the electoral process means, that it means nothing except allowing the renewal of the authorities of this old and rotting order, that it means nothing else. Because they won’t be able tell us that it means maintaining the democratic arena. This is an old story that no one is going to believe any more. This is the story that those who today belong to the PUM told us at the time of the Constituent Assembly. And then, in 1980, they said that there was democratic space, that we were in a pre-revolutionary situation, and that by using the parliament as a tribune we could go over to a revolutionary situation — only to tell us later that we had to focus on defending the existing order. I think that this is the main thing for the people, that the majority express their repudiation of the elections,even if by simply casting a blank vote, even if it is just by doing that. This is important because that is how the will of the masses of people, the immense majority who already understand that the electoral road offers no solutions, will be expressed.
I think they have wanted to make use of the elections, putting forward the electoral campaign, in order to get the people to focus their attention on the elections. But we see that this plan has failed for two reasons. The first is the serious problems that the people have, and how their fighting spirit is growing daily, which the People’s War serves to push forward. Secondly, the very contradictions that have thrown all the existing political institutions into great turmoil. The United Left is a jumble of contradictions, so is the so-called FREDEMO, and APRA is a pot brimming with party hacks. That’s how it really is. And if their eager plans to divert the attention of the people have failed. and if the conditions are those of a People’s War with great prospects, as is really the case, all revolutionaries who want to see this country transformed must push for the people to reject this process. Let them figure out how to replace their authorities. It’s their problem, not ours. That’s how we see it.
About a possible State coup, well, in this country the possibility of a coup always exists. And we understand that the army itself is already alarmed, pointing out that they don’t see any political force capable of confronting the People’s War. If the army is saying that, then it means that a coup could occur at any moment. But it could occur in many different ways, and that’s another question. It could be something similar to what happened in Uruguay with Bordaberry, which would be García Pérez in this case. It could be a self-engineered coup. That’s another card that García Pérez has up his sleeve because a coup would remove him, as a victim and not as the political failure that he is. And since he’s young, some time later he could come back as a martyr and defender of democracy. That’s why this is another card this demagogic expert in sleight of hand might pull from the deck. And looking deeper, the armed forces really do have to more and more unfold an increasingly developed counter-revolutionary struggle that strengthens their power. That’s the way it is. And we think that the movement of the contradiction is in such a direction that we will have to confront each other — the revolutionary forces, the Communist Party of Peru leading the People’s War, on the one hand; and on the other hand, the reaction, the armed forces leading the counter-revolutionary war in Peru.
THE DAILY: Chairman, would you accept talks with Alan García?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The idea of talks is being bandied about, and it is also part of the superpowers’ game, especially the social-imperialists. We see the situation this way: there is a time in the development of a People’s War when relations and diplomatic dealings become necessary and do occur. For example, the meeting between Chairman Mao and Chiang Kai-shek. This is something people are familiar with. We also saw it in the case of Vietnam. It is a facet in the development of a revolutionary war and, even more so, of a People’s War. But we must start from the understanding that in diplomatic meetings agreements signed at the table only reflect what has already been established on the battlefield, because no one is going to give up what they have not obviously lost. That is understood. Well, one could ask, has that moment arrived in Peru? That moment has not arrived. So why raise the issue of talks? Such talks are simply aimed at halting or undermining the People’s War, that’s what they are aimed at and nothing more. So I repeat, the truth is that the time for meetings and diplomatic dealings has not arrived, it makes no sense.
As for the rest, I think it is a demagogic matter that they have been stirring up since the time of Belaúnde’s government, when due to a proposal from someone from the United Left that was accepted, the then-president stated that there was no suitable interlocutor. Words! At bottom it was nothing but cheap demagoguery without rhyme or reason, and it’s still the same today. And who talks about talks? The revisionists, the opportunists, and those who have hope for APRA, for this demo-bourgeois order, for this reactionary order. They are the ones. But are they not at the same time the ones who are promoting pacification, our destruction? Are they not the same ones who make proposals about how to pacify better, which means how to sweep us away, because such are their sinister dreams to satisfy their appetites? They are the same ones. What a coincidence! So then, these talks are a sinister betrayal. Furthermore, one could ask: how can they talk about dialogue, those who even made an amnesty pact with García Pérez, which he never honored?
So for me all this jabbering about talks is nothing, I repeat, but looking for a way to undermine the People’s War, because it doesn’t correspond to reality. When the time comes, the People’s War will necessarily have to undertake diplomatic dealings. But our diplomacy will be aimed at seizing Power countrywide, fully and completely. We don’t want a North Vietnam and a South Vietnam, we don’t want a North Korea and a South Korea. We don’t want a North Peru and a South Peru, we want only one Peru. This is our condition: full, complete and absolute surrender. Are they ready for that? No. What they are plotting is our destruction, and so talks are nothing but a part of that same plan despite all their demagogic and philistine cackling.
THE DAILY: What do you think of the United Left and its political line? What destiny do you foresee for this revisionist front? And what is the CPP’s stand on the National People’s Assembly?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Concerning this I would like to be very brief. First, because what is the line of the United Left at this time? We don’t know. In earlier documents they state that the United Left is „a mass front of the socialist trend“, and it has focused, as is evident, on parliamentary cretinism. What is at the heart of their positions? A very simple matter, they think they can take over the government, and then, as they say, take over Power. Well, they must understand that they cannot take over one without seizing the other. Moreover, first you seize Power and then you set up your government, because the essential problem of State is what system of State, which means: what class does the dictatorship that you exercise correspond to? And from this is derived your system of government. The rest are cheap inventions of putrid revisionists. If you look at their statements, they are not for the destruction of the reactionary State, but for a government that would permit them to continue evolving this outmoded and rotting order. This is what they are after with their proclamations about how, with this government and reforms, they can advance toward socialism. And all this is simply the unrestrained revisionism already criticized by Lenin.
On the other hand, we should look at their political theses and their Congress. Regarding their political theses, they are yet to be published. I believe that in the United Left — which is a front — let’s not forget what we see is a re-creation of the old opportunist electoral frontism that we have seen many times in Peru. Such a front is the negation of a Party that leads, and if there is no Party of the proletariat to lead, there is no transformation, no revolution. Revolution has never been made through parliament, nor will it ever be. They are giving a facelift to old arguments already discussed in the 1965. The United Left, to be concise, how do I see it? As a jumble of contradictions, of collusion and struggle. What unites them? Collusion, greed, following the road of parliamentary cretinism, reviving old failures, or using them as a card for the reaction to play, to perform a sinister role like Ebert in Germany, that vile and perverse assassin of the revolution of 1919. I believe that is what unites them. And what divides them? Their struggles, their rank and file, their appetites, and the fact that they have different masters. Therefore, they subordinate themselves to how their masters define the situation, because there are revisionists in the United Left who serve the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and revisionists who serve Teng, and they are subject to what their masters and the intermediaries of their masters say. Not to mention their ties with other centers of power.
That’s the crux of the problem. There are things that should make those who really want revolution think. These are those who have the duty to think if they really are for revolution. They have to break with this useless, groveling electoral front which is an obstacle, and assuming their class position, according to the class that they defend, converge in a really revolutionary front. Let them do so, and come together for real. It is not enough to call others sectarian, you have to show that you are not, and in order to do so you must first quit being an opportunist, cease being a revisionist. And forothers, they must stop trying to take us down the dead-end road of Christian Socialism. If they want revolution, let them prove it, and express it in deeds by abandoning the erroneous road they are following. Let them stop being the tails of Soviet and Chinese revisionism; that is the first thing they would have to do, aside from, I repeat, not coming to us with positions based on the road of Christian Socialism. They should really come to understand Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism; so long as they do not understand it they will not advance. Let them understand what it means to make revolution through People’s War. And let them understand and open their eyes, because the truth is irrefutable, they cannot deny what all the world except them sets. They must stop being so power hungry and must explicitly accept their class limitations and accept that it is the proletariat as a class that leads through a Communist Party, and this is what mainly interests us.
Regarding the National People’s Assembly (ANP), the ANP is a peculiar thing. On the one hand they say it „is the germ of Power“. Very well, „germ of Power“. I ask, are they trying to form Soviets? Are they recreating the Bolivian experience at the time of Juan José Torres? Can power be created this way? To raise this supposed „germ of Power“ is simply and plainly to oppose the New Power that we are actually forging in the real world. On the other hand, they also say that the ANP is a „mass front“. So is it a competitor of the United Left, which is also a „mass front“? Okay, let them define what it is then. Is it a „germ of Power“ or is it a „mass front“? What is it really? Let them clearly state how Power can be forged. What do we see here? Simply that the ANP is run by revisionism. There’s lots of evidence. Their strikes follow the same mold and even the dates are the same as those established by the revisionists through the CGTP. Therefore revisionism is the leader here, and revolutionaries cannot follow revisionists. And those who really want revolution, I repeat, let them demonstrate it in their actions, and let them understand, first and foremost, the authentic revolutionary process of People’s War that is taking place here in this country. Because as long as they don’t understand it they will not be able to play the role that many of these people could very well play, people who simply have good intentions, but totally lack clarity, even though they believe the opposite is true.
THE DAILY: Chairman, how do you see the situation in regard to the class struggle of the masses? What do you think of the existing organizations?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: As to how we see the class struggle of the masses, I’d like to start from this basic point: our people are heroic, our class, the proletariat, even more so. Since the people and the proletariat in general are persistent protagonists of the class struggle, they have never let up, nor will they ever let up, until we reach Communism. I think the first thing that we must do is recognize the greatness of our people, of our proletariat. And secondly, we must recognize and be grateful for — see clearly and say firmly — that without their support, without their sustenance, we would have done nothing! Absolutely nothing! Because the masses are the ones who make history, and we believe this fervently. Just like we believe that „it’s right to rebel“. This is another key principle of the masses.
How do we see the masses? With the deep rejoicing of a Communist, my greetings to this growing flood of arising masses who are beginning to recapture past glories, and write new pages in history. The masses have begun to participate in and will continue participating in an intense process of class struggle, and the pessimism that reigns in the United Left, as Mr. Moreno, who leads the Red Fatherland, himself recognizes, will not take hold among the masses, because the masses are not pessimists. Let’s remember that Chairman Mao said: only the revisionists and opportunists are pessimists, the proletariat and Communists are always optimists, because the future is ours — it is historically determined so long as we keep to our course. The masses will not fall into pessimism, nor have they ever done so. That is absurd, it is a slander. The masses fight, but in order to fight they need leadership, a Party, because there is no mass movement that can unfold and sustain itself, much less develop itself, without a Party to lead it.
We are filled with revolutionary joy when we see how these masses are fighting and, as their own actions show, learning from those masses already involved in the People’s War. And how the masses begin to put into practice the great slogan, „Combat and Resist!“. This is not a time to just receive, we must be gracious and give in return, and do so doubly, so as to be doubly gracious. And I think that the masses are doing that, giving really outstanding examples that make us see the brilliant future, the future the masses themselves will see. Because they are the ones who make revolution, the Party only leads them. I think this is a principle that we all know, but it’s useful to repeat it.
In regard to your question about the organizations, we believe that today more than ever we have to seriously study what Lenin taught us in his work, „The Collapse Of The 2nd International“, Chapter 8. He says that the State of the exploiters, the bourgeois State, the reactionary State, allows the existence of organizations that sustain and serve it so that it can maintain itself and survive. And what do these organizations do, in order to maintain themselves? They sell out the revolution for a plate of lentils. I believe this saying fits them like a glove. But Lenin tells us more, that the revolution can expect nothing from these organizations. The revolution has to create its own organizations in times of war and revolution like the ones we are living in now and will live in from now on. And in the future, the revolution will triumph. So Lenin tells us that we have to create new organizations that serve the revolution, even though we have to go over the heads of those who sell out the workers, of the traitors to the revolution. I believe that those are Lenin’s words, they deserve immense respect from us, and should move us to profound and serious reflection. Otherwise we would not be serving our class, or the people. And we have to emphasize the urgent necessity to help everyone acquire more and more class consciousness so that they live as what they are, as the working class or as the people, with interests that are opposed to and antagonistic to the exploiters. And they should feel clearly the power that they have when their strikes stop production. And let them understand and feel and carry forward a strike as a school of warfare, as a school of Communism, and continue unfolding their strikes as the main form of struggle in the economic sphere, because that is what they are. But under the present circumstances, these struggles must be inseparably linked to the conquest of Power. So let’s unite the struggle for economic demands with the struggle for the seizure of Power — with the People’s War. Because it is in the defense of their class interests, of the interests of the proletariat, of the people. That is what we need and that is what we believe the masses are pushing forward evermore.
In our Party, we came to the conclusion a long time ago on what we call the law of the masses, the law of incorporation of the masses into the war and into the revolution, like the one we are unfolding. And this is what applies here. The masses are joining the struggle in surges, bigger and bigger surges. This is the course that we are following and we will unite 90% of the Peruvian people. What for? So that the masses bring about the victory of the revolution and the culmination of the work that they initiated eight years ago, and have been carrying forward with their own blood. Because the revolution is theirs, it has arisen from them, from their depths. They, the masses, make history, I repeat, the Party only leads them. I believe this is true.
THE DAILY: Chairman, in what political and social sectors does the CPP seek its allies? Do you have any affinity with political groups in the country? The opportunists claim that you are sectarian. How do you determine your United Front policy? What is the strength of the Party in the countryside, in the workers’ movement, among the people as a whole?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: If you will allow me, I will start from how we see the Front. We have already explained how we are carrying it forward, but what we need to state clearly here is how we conceive of the United Front which Chairman Mao spoke of. While I’m on the subject, let me say that it was Mao who established the laws of the front, the six laws of the Front. There were no such laws before him. In accordance with these criteria of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, our goal is a Front of classes, with the proletariat as the leading class, the peasantry as the main force, the petty-bourgeoisie as an ally which we must pay attention to, and in particular the intellectuals, because they are necessary to the revolution, as Chairman Mao also taught us. And in this Front, under certain circumstances and conditions, even the national bourgeoisie can and does participate. This is what we understand by the United Front. This front has a foundation, which is the worker-peasant alliance, forged in the countryside. We are forging it today, and have been for eight years with arms in hand. Why is the worker-peasant alliance necessary? Because without it the proletariat would not have hegemony, and this Front requires a Communist Party to lead it. This is our position. We are absolutely opposed to the revisionist theory being applied in Central America, and that they want to spread elsewhere, that „everyone is revolutionary“, „everyone is Marxist“, „there’s no need for the leadership of a Communist Party“, „it’s enough to simply unite everyone and base oneself on a Front in order to lead a revolution“. That is the negation of Marxism. It is the negation of Marx, of Lenin, and of Chairman Mao. No Marxist has disregarded the need for the leadership of a Party. Without it, how can the hegemony of the proletariat be concretized? Only through a really genuine Communist Party, that is, a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Party that firmly and consistently serves the interests of the class and defends the interests of the people. This is how we see it and this is what we are forging and developing. For us the issue of the Front has to do with the aforementioned thesis, that the Party is the selection of the best elements, and is the necessary leadership, but it does not make the revolution, because it is the masses who make it. Therefore, there is the need for a front to bring together 90% of the population, the immense majority. This is what we are seeking, what we are pursuing, and what we are doing.
As far as groups, we’ve had, at different times, links with organizations. And when we’ve had them, we have treated those organizations as they should be treated, as equals, and we have exchanged experiences. In some cases they have asked that the Party help them politically, and we have done so. There are various cases like that, but it is better not to mention names now.
About whether we are sectarian, please let me read what is in the document, „Develop The People‘s War, Serving The World Revolution“. These are the words of our founder, and we use precisely these words because those who claim to be Mariáteguists must truly be just that. But you cannot be a follower of Mariátegui without being a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. Mariátegui said:
We are living in a period of total ideological war. Those who represent force for renewal cannot, either by accident or chance, unite or merge themselves with those who represent conservatism or regression. There is a historical abyss between them. They speak different languages and have a different understanding of history.
I think we should unite the like-minded, and not those who differ. We should bring together those whom history wants together. There should be solidarity between those of whom history requires solidarity. This, it seems to me, is the only possible alliance. A common understanding with a precise and effective sense of history.
I am a revolutionary. But I believe that men who think clearly and definitively will be able to understand and appreciate each other, even while struggling against each other. The political force with whom I will never reach an understanding is the other camp: mediocre reformism, domesticated reformism, hypocritical democracy.
We adhere to this. We are not sectarian, nor are there any actions on our part that indicate that. What no one can demand of us is that we march into the swamp. Lenin taught us: if someone decides they want to head into the swamp, they have the right to do so, but not to call upon us to go into the muck with them. Lenin said, we must follow our steep and difficult road all the way to the summit, or, in other words, we must face the enemy’s fire, but we will continue to advance. We are not, then, sectarians or dogmatists. We are simply Communists, and we adhere to those wise words of Mariátegui. And what’s more, we demand that those who claim to follow Mariátegui really follow him, and that they prove it.
As to the strength of the Party in the countryside, what I can say concretely is that the majority of our members are peasants, the vast majority. And a limitation that we have is the insufficient number of workers. This is a serious limitation, but we are making, and will continue to make, more efforts to correct it, because we need proletarian Communists. The workers offer forging, their steel-like quality, because this characterizes them as a class.
Moreover, we know how our strength and influence is growing among the people as a whole. We can say that the People’s Guerrilla Army is made up of masses, of peasants, of workers, intellectuals, people from the petty-bourgeoisie — we are talking about thousands of people. We have hundreds of People’s Committees organized in Support Bases. And we exercise Power over tens of thousands of people. This is our reality. The influence of the Party is growing. We are gaining more and more influence among the masses. We are applying what Marxism espouses, teaching the proletariat, the people, the masses, by means of powerful actions that drive home the point. We believe that our growth among the masses has begun to make a big leap. This is what we can say to you. We want, and it is our task and part of our plan, to make a big leap in our work among the masses. The masses in this country need the leadership of the Communist Party. We hope that with more revolutionary theory and practice, with more armed actions, with more People’s War, with more Power, we can reach the very heart of our class and the people and really win them over. What for? To serve them. That is what we want.
THE DAILY: Chairman, other organizations either don’t define or talk vaguely about socialist revolution in Peru. Why does the CPP say that the Peruvian Revolution has stages? What is the democratic revolution? What will the socialist revolution be like, and what will the proletarian cultural revolutions that the CPP will lead after the defeat of the counter-revolutionary forces be like? Will they be like the ones Chairman Mao led in China?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Defining the character of a revolution is a key question. For us, in keeping with what was established in our own Party Congress, the revolution is a democratic one. Adhering to Maoism, we have been able to develop a more complete understanding of the situation in our country. We think that Peru is a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society in which bureaucratic capitalism has developed. Therefore, the revolution is a democratic one. We think that the democratic revolution must confront three mountains: imperialism, mainly Yankee imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism, and semi-feudalism. This democratic revolution demands that we undertake a People’s War. That is why we have insisted on this course. This People’s War is what will allow us to destroy these three mountains and seize country-wide Power, in our opinion, in the not too distant future. That depends, in the end, on the increased effort that all of us who fight in the People’s War exert, and on the masses rallying more and more to the People’s War. This democratic revolution must be followed immediately by a socialist revolution. I want to spell this out. Basing ourselves on what Chairman Mao taught us with great farsightedness, thinking of the situations that might arise, he tells us that the democratic revolution ends the very day that Power is seized country-wide and the People’s Republic is founded. That very day and hour, the socialist revolution begins. And in the socialist revolution we have to unfold a proletarian dictatorship and thus carry forward fundamental transformations in order to develop socialism.
We think that there is a third kind of revolution. By studying Chairman Mao Tse-tung and the resolutions of the Communist Party of China, we are increasingly understanding the importance of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution as the continuation of the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is indispensable — without it the revolution cannot continue its march towards Communism. We believe there will be successive cultural revolutions, but we think that those cultural revolutions will have to be forged in practice. While we should base ourselves on the Chairman’s thesis and the monumental experience of the Communist Party of China, we have to apply them to our own reality — in this we are also anti-dogmatic. We cannot be mechanical, that would be going against Maoism. We think that as a Communist Party we have one goal: Communism. But to get there — excuse me for reiterating — either all of us on Earth will get to Communism, or none of us will get there. We are totally opposed to Khrushchev’s revisionist thesis, in which he talked about Communism in the USSR by the year 1980. Chairman Mao reaffirmed once again that either everyone or no one will enter the stage of Communism. That is why our revolution is unbreakably linked to the World Revolution. That is our final and definitive goal. Everything is stages, steps, moments. We believe that the prospect for arriving at Communism is a long way off. We believe that Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s outlook on this is correct.
THE DAILY: They say that when the CPP seizes Power in this country, it will confiscate all kinds of property. Is this true? How will it deal with the foreign debt?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We’ve already seen that the Party Programme clarifies these matters. A democratic revolution like the one we are carrying forward has its targets, the three mountains we’ve already talked about. That is to say, that we are for breaking with imperialist, mainly Yankee, domination. But at the same time, we struggle to prevent social-imperialism or any other imperialist power from ever exercising domination over us. We are for the destruction of semi-feudalism, implementing the great slogan that is still valid: „land to the tiller“. It is good to emphasize this, because many things are said about it. Chairman Mao stressed this slogan again and again, which for us means the destruction of semi-feudal property and the distribution of the land as property to the peasantry, mainly the poor peasantry. And we are for the confiscation of bureaucratic capital, and I repeat again: this is very important because it gives the New Power an economic foundation from which to direct the economy and lead the way toward socialism. We are against those three mountains. As for the national, or middle, bourgeoisie, the policy is to respect their rights, and we adhere to this. Further than that we cannot go without changing the character of the revolution. The idea of „confiscating all property“ is nothing but one of the tales, one of the lies, that they have always spread against Communists, as Marx so masterfully explained. To oppose Communism, the reaction and the enemies of the revolution have always concocted falsehoods and lies. Since the great founder of Marxism endured all these slanders, lies, and distortions of his sagacious teachings, we believe that what is being said against our Party is nothing but a continuation of that old reactionary school and of the enemies of the revolution.
THE DAILY: What will the Party do about the foreign debt?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Since it is imperialist property, it will be confiscated. And I think we can add that it is the only way to really get rid of this immense weight which is oppressing so many countries, and impoverishing nations and peoples. Only through revolution can this be done — there is no other way. All the other means and approaches that they raise are only aimed at getting imperialism off the hook. Furthermore, we believe historical experience bears this out.
THE DAILY: And the Communist Party, how is it solving the land problem? And what plans are APRA and PUM implementing?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The land problem is fundamental, because this problem is really the one that is resolved through democratic revolution, apart from the other questions we’ve already discussed. What we carry out is the destruction of semi-feudal relations of production, and the distribution of the land to the peasantry, mainly the poor peasants, then the middle peasants. On the condition that there is some land left, or if it is judged to be correct, land can be given to the rich peasants, and likewise, if it is correct or necessary, we can take land from them if there is not enough land to go around. Even the landlords, as the Chairman taught, if they want to work, can earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, as the saying goes, and learn what it is to till the land and not live from simply collecting rent. This is the policy we follow.
The policy of the Party on this question has been developing. One of the important things that we have done has been to promote a movement of land invasions, a very important one was in the department of La Libertad where more than 300.000 hectares were distributed, and 160.000 peasants mobilized. Looking at all the mobilizations that we have had, this one succeeded in mobilizing the most masses. This movement was promoted in order to undermine APRA’s plans, and we also carried it out in Puno; we were the ones who started the land invasions in Puno, while PUM was arguing with APRA about what to do and how to do it. This is the plain and simple truth. Later, the government was obliged to issue decrees for Puno in particular, decrees that they have not enforced. In this case, as in others in the Andean region, APRA has aimed to carry out the redistribution that Morales Bermúdez proposed when he was president. The dispute with PUM has been over how to do it, whether the government should do it alone or if other organizations would take part.
What have the government and PUM sought to do? To keep the river from overflowing its banks. This is what they’ve tried to do, and once more we see them doing what they did in 1974, when they were the „Revolutionary Vanguard“, with the „land seizures“ in Apurímac where thousands of peasants were mobilized. And for what? To negotiate based on Law 17716, a corporative law of Velasco’s fascism. The famous Acts of Toxama and Huancahuacho stand as proof of this. Someone should answer for this, and it would be good to refresh their memories. Did they help the regime or not? They helped it, because their analysis then was that law 17716 was a good one, and that its only shortcoming was that it was not a socialist law. This is political stupidity, because the land problem is an elementary democratic demand. And if it were not, Marxism would have to be modified on this question. This is what they are resuscitating today in collusion with APRA. Well, there are some things that get said a lot. But it would be good if, being what they are, they would put their hands on their chests and make an act of contrition and come clean as to whether they have served the enemy, even serving as informants with the result that our forces were attacked. It would be good if they thought about this. It has been proven, and we’ve known since the ’60s, and also through a new study that we carried out in the ’70s, that the simple act of getting land, if it is not linked to a People’s War, to the struggle to seize Power, simply produces an incorporation into the system, and becomes a prop of the system, and the same stagnant semi-feudal process continues. There is proof everywhere, Pomacocha and Ccaccamarca, in the department of Ayacucho, for example. I think that those are things we have to think about. The experiences in Apurímac in 1974, the „land seizures“ by „Revolutionary Vanguard“, what ends did they serve? The setting up of a corporative system, the development of the associative forms. Was this or was it not what Velasco wanted? Consequently this represented consolidation into the system, the evolution of feudalism, when the point is to demolish it, to destroy it. This is what PUM still does not understand today. Nor will they understand it. It requires analyzing things from another ideological viewpoint, from Marxism, in order to understand how to take and how to defend the land, with guns in hand. That’s the point.
Furthermore, APRA has other plans. We must pay a lot of attention, especially to the plans they have for the uncultivated land of the coast, with the recent decrees, and „development plans“ for those who have the ability to invest for the purpose of generating export products. And this is leading to a sham distribution and a scramble for land in Lambayeque, La Libertad, Ica, and in the Peruvian coastal region as a whole. With their recent decrees it is lawful to allot up to 450 hectares to one person. Will the poor be the ones who acquire these lands? With what money will they be able to dig wells, for example, in order to have access to water? Impossible. These are greedy plans whose results are already clear, a sham distribution. Why else are they in La Libertad? For whose benefit, if not for APRA’s, and for its leaders and associates, outstanding among whom is Minister Remigio Morales Bermúdez, a partner in several big monopolist enterprises, who plays an important economic role. This does not benefit the peasantry, and on the coast there are also peasants who need land, and the land should be for them. And that’s why we saw an uproar not long ago in La Libertad, condemning the plans to irrigate the land.
Other problems: the distribution of land in the jungle region, 30.000 hectares. Who will be able to administer this land? Dionisio Romero or someone similar. A poor peasant will not be able to oversee it, much less receive it. But the land is for those who work it, mainly for the poor peasantry. On the other hand, APRA has been handed a resounding defeat in their counter-revolutionary plans in the so-called Andean Triangle. And we openly say to them, as others have even said to them, that we made them see that the Andean Region exists in Peru. It is because of this that García Pérez has rediscovered his Andean Triangle in order to make his own showcase. But his perverse plans have failed, they have fallen apart, are paralyzed. If that’s not true, what happened to the Cachi plan in Ayacucho? This plan was inaugurated by the man who calls himself president, who flew there in a helicopter, and with a lot of fanfare explained from the punas what he neither knows nor understands. Or the plan for Rasuwilca? We destroyed it because it was a counter-insurgency plan, and because we insist that the lands be given to the peasants who need them, mainly the poor peasants.
I also believe that mention should be made of a few other things, the rondas, the peasant patrols. What have they done with these organizations the masses created to defend themselves? These organizations are now under the control of the State, the armed forces, and the police. This is clear and concrete. And it is they, the United Left, who proudly approved that famous law, and today are throwing a fit over the regulations in this very law. But the regulations are derived from the law, so if you approved the law, you have to put up with the regulations. Basically, what they have done is simply facilitate what the army and the armed forces were demanding, a law to sanction the mesnadas or „defense committees“ set up by them. They said that there was no legal protection for what they were doing. Well, such a law did exist, it was called the law of the peasant night patrols. Do the police use them or not? Does the army use them or not? Do the gamonals use them or not? This is the reality. They owe us an explanation for this. That much they owe us, not to mention their statutes. What are they like? Are they really Marxist? Were they drawn up based on the position of our class, of the people? Don’t they involve the outmoded ideology of the Incas? Don’t they express a position of Christian personalism? Don’t they work in close connection with the Church? If not, why does the Church publish their documents? And when I talk about the Church, I mean the ecclesiastical hierarchy. It would be good, when you have time and you need a little diversion, to read over these regulations. They are extremely revealing.
We also denounce APRA’s plans in Upper Huallaga where, under the pretext of fighting drug trafficking, they permit the use of the deadly pesticide „Spike“, which the Yankee monopolies themselves say is like a series of small atomic bombs.
THE DAILY: Chairman, what will be the main characteristics of the New Democratic People’s Republic that you and your Party propose?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Its characteristics are essentially those of a joint dictatorship. I insist on this, because in Peru we must think seriously about the problem of the State, and analyze it from the position of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. And the first thing that the problem of the State raises to us is the question of the State system, or the kind of class dictatorship that is exercised. In our case, it is a joint dictatorship. Presently it is a dictatorship of only three classes, the proletariat, the peasantry and the progressives (the petty-bourgeoisie). The national bourgeoisie is not taking part, but we respect their rights, this we do. The government system derived from the above is a system based on People’s Assemblies. How do we carry this out in practice? As Committees. And these People’s Committees grouped together form Support Bases, and the sum of the Support Bases constitutes the New Democratic People’s Republic. This is what we are unfolding and will be unfolding until the end of the democratic revolution. What I would like to stress is that the Party has decided „to sow the seeds of Power“ so that the people begin to exercise it, and to learn to run the State. Because once they learn to run the State they learn that this State can only be maintained by force of arms, as it is conquered so must it be defended. „Sowing the seeds of Power“ requires that we sow in people’s minds the need for the New Power and that people see it in practice. This is what we are doing. The people perform the overall functions of leadership, construction and planning as part of the New Democratic People’s Republic. I think that’s enough on this subject, because other things have already been explained in the Party’s documents.
5. INTERNATIONAL POLITICS
THE DAILY: Chairman, let’s talk now about international politics. Since Communism is your goal, how do you see the conditions for World Revolution? And what problems do the Communists have to resolve?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We start from the understanding that revolution is the main trend, and this continues to be so, this trend put forward by Mao continues to develop. In our view, there has been no stability since the 2nd World War, not even relative stability. The whole world has been shaken by great revolutionary storms. They’ve come in waves, of course, because it couldn’t be any other way.
We hold that there are three fundamental contradictions in the overall situation that is unfolding. The first and main contradiction is between the oppressed nations on one side, and the imperialist superpowers and other imperialist powers on the other. Although it may be redundant, we prefer to list them this way for the sake of clarity. This contradiction is resolved through democratic revolution, through People’s War. A second fundamental contradiction is the one between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. This is resolved through socialist revolutions and proletarian cultural revolutions, but also through People’s War, bearing in mind, I repeat, the type of revolution and the specific conditions of each country. A third contradiction is the inter-imperialist one, between the superpowers, between the imperialist superpowers and the imperialist powers, and among the imperialist powers themselves. These contradictions among them are resolved through aggression, and imperialist wars, and tend toward defining who will have world hegemony through a 3rd World War.
Why do we put the contradictions in this order? Because we consider this to be their order of importance. We insist that the contradiction between the oppressed nations on one side, and the imperialist superpowers and imperialist powers on the other, is main and of great importance for the World Revolution. It has to do, in our opinion, with the weight of the masses in history. It is obvious that the great majority of the masses who inhabit the Earth live in the oppressed nations. It is also evident that their population is increasing four times as rapidly as the population of the imperialist countries. We apply the principle that the masses are the makers of history, and we take into account the fact that the 2nd World War caused the masses to stand up politically (something that even reactionary US analysts recognize). We think that should the inter-imperialist contradiction generate a World War, it would be a new inter-imperialist war for world hegemony and redivision of the world; and therefore it would be to divide up the spoils of war, and the spoils are the oppressed nations. They would therefore have to proceed to occupy our countries in order to rule us. And so, once again, the contradiction between the oppressed nations on one side and the imperialist superpowers and imperialist powers on the other would become main.
We firmly believe in this, and it is not because of chauvinism or of being, as some say, inhabitants of oppressed countries or nations. It is not. This is the trend that can be seen in history, and this is the weight of the masses in history. And, moreover, facts continue to demonstrate that where imperialism is more and more being defeated and undermined is in the struggles that are being waged in the oppressed nations. Those are irrefutable facts. Therefore, we consider this main contradiction to be of great importance, and think that it is going to be decisive in eliminating imperialism and reaction from the face of the Earth, provided that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is put in command of the World Revolution, that Communist Parties develop based on this ideology, and that they take up People’s War again, in accordance with the type of revolution and the specific conditions.
This is the way we understand the great importance of the main contradiction that we uphold. There are some who don’t agree, and think that what’s really going on is that we don’t believe in revolution in the imperialist countries. We believe that these revolutions are a historical necessity and that the development of the main contradiction provides them with more favorable conditions, and that even a World War will provide more favorable conditions for them to make revolution. And revolution will be made because it is a necessity. In the end, the two great forces, the two great revolutions, the democratic revolution and the socialist revolution must converge so that revolution may triumph in the world. Otherwise, it would not be possible to eliminate imperialism and reaction from the whole planet. That’s what we think.
The question poses itself: what is the key point? It is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, because it is a question of having a correct ideological and political line, and you can’t have a correct political line unless you have the correct ideology. For that reason, we think that the key to everything is ideology: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism. Secondly, the development of Communist Parties. Why? Because the masses thirst for revolution, the masses are ready and crying out for revolution. So the problem does not lie with them. The proletariat cries out for revolution, the oppressed nations, the peoples of the world cry out for revolution. So we need to develop Communist Parties. The rest, I repeat, will be done by the masses, they are the makers of history and they will sweep imperialism and world reaction away with People’s War.
THE DAILY: What role is US imperialism playing in the world? What do you think of „Star Wars“? What about the so-called disarmament plans of the US, USSR and other European countries?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: In sum, US imperialism arose after the 2nd World War as the gendarme of world reaction. But later it entered into a contest for world hegemony with social-imperialism. Thus, both of them make big plans to win hegemony. The issue of „Star Wars“, or the „Strategic Defense Initiative“, which is its official name, is related to this.
The US government, particularly with Reagan, has started to elaborate big strategic plans that encompass decades of the next century. That is, they are thinking of their survival, and how to maintain hegemony and defeat social-imperialism. Within this, „Star Wars“ is nothing but a plan that seeks to deploy a shield that would prevent missiles with atomic warheads from reaching their cities, and in turn allow them to protect themselves if they carry out an atomic attack against social-imperialism. But these are only plans and wishes, because up against one plan is another. Not long ago the Soviets retaliated by saying that there were ways to overcome this would-be shield, and consequently the supposed invulnerability of the US would not exist.
As to the issue of disarmament plans between the superpowers, the US and the USSR, we have to start from what Marxism as well as our own founder teaches us: the more they talk of peace, the more they prepare for war. A lot of empty talk, a lot of deceptive demagoguery is being made in relation to the disarmament agreements they’ve signed for the withdrawal of medium range missiles from Europe. What is being disarmed is the missile, that is the vehicle, but they keep the warhead in order to use it for whatever suits them. That is the essence of the farce.
The European powers are obviously in the line of fire of both superpowers, and if there is a World War, they would like to prevent it from taking place in Europe. That’s what they want, because at bottom they are eager, as is Japan, that the two tigers fight each other so that later one of them can emerge as a great power, as the supreme ruler. Such are the dreams of Japan, West Germany, etc. But a World War would also be waged in Europe, and the two superpowers are very aware of the Europeans’ desires. So the situation creates contradictions among the powers and the superpowers, which unfold as a complex process involving collusion and contention. It could not be otherwise. How these powers fight to fulfill their dreams is also evident: Japan for dominance over Asia and South America, Europe over Africa and Latin America. And they don’t restrict themselves to these regions, hence their bustling about and mediations, their separate and conflicting policies, because they each defend their own interests.
We believe that these are all demagogic debates that only serve to conceal big plans involving contention for world hegemony. That is what we believe, because imperialism will not cease to exist until we sweep it away. Its essence won’t change — its essence is to exploit and oppress, to reduce nations to the state of semi-colonies and, if possible, to colonies. While I’m on the subject, it’s high timethat we go back to using these terms, because they are terms scientifically established by Lenin. But the point is that in the face of these plans the main thing is not simply exposing them, but getting prepared to take them on. And there is but one way to prepare, and that is by means of People’s War. Chairman Mao said: we have to prepare ourselves and prepare ourselves right now against an imperialist war, and mainly against a nuclear war. How will we respond? Only with People’s War, in no other way. That is the most important thing. Exposing them is part of carrying out a propaganda campaign that shows the world their sinister and hideous plans for mass genocide. But this will never stop a war, as Stalin clearly stated. These campaigns never stop wars, so the only thing to do if we want to prevent war, is to develop revolution. As the Chairman taught us: either revolution will prevent World War, or World War will give rise to revolution. This, I believe, is how we should view the situation.
THE DAILY: Chairman, what do you think about the Soviet State? Lately they’ve been talking a great deal about Perestroika. How do you see this question? What is your opinion of the attacks on Stalin?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Lately, the subject of Perestroika has been bandied about. Perestroika, as far as I have been able to see, because I think it is necessary to study it carefully and understand all the revisionist filth it contains, is part of this new offensive of modern revisionism that we Communists are facing. Gorbachev is thoroughly revisionist, a revisionist from head to toe. He claims that the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was a historical event of enormous importance in the USSR. That was the fateful Congress in which the dictatorship of the proletariat was attacked under the pretext of attacking Stalin. He admires Khrushchev, and portrays him as a great man, bold, determined, whose problem, he says, was that he fell into subjectivism, that he didn’t elaborate correct plans, but overly ambitious plans that couldn’t be carried out. Khrushchev was Gorbachev’s teacher. And Gorbachev learned lessons from him, as well as from his other teacher, Brezhnev, even though he would like to distance himself from Brezhnev.
We have to focus on a key question with regard to Perestroika. Gorbachev himself says that Perestroika may be defined in many ways, but if we focus on „the key that expresses its essence most accurately, then we can say this, perestroika is a revolution“. But there are those who don’t see it that way. We have to pay very close attention to this. It is not a revolution, but a development of the counter-revolution, a more unrestrained unfolding of capitalist restoration aimed at eliminating what little remains that might serve the proletariat and people in combating social-imperialism. He says it is a revolution because it proposes an acceleration in the socio-economic sphere, a radical change, and an advance to a new type of State. What would that new type of State be? A more shamelessly bourgeois State, structured in a new way that they have not yet found a way to define, because it has not been defined, not even in their most recent conference. So Gorbachev is completely unabashed. That’s why it is useful to call attention to this term, because it is generally said that „Perestroika is a restructuring period“. But Gorbachev says that the term that corresponds perfectly is „revolution“, and that is a mockery, an irony, an outrageous joke.
What else does this individual put forward? He is developing Khrushchev’s positions. Let’s look at the question of war. He says that a World War will lead to the disappearance of humanity. In his own words: „In this war there will be neither victor nor vanquished. There will be no survivors“, „If a nuclear war breaks out all living things will be obliterated from the face of the Earth“. And, „In a global nuclear conflict there will be neither winners nor losers, world civilization will inevitably perish“. But what does he add? Allow me to read, „Politics must be based on realities. And today the most formidable world reality is the vast military arsenals, conventional as well as nuclear, of the United States and the Soviet Union. This gives our two countries a special responsibility in relationship to the whole world“. What is this? Unabashedly he is telling us that his might is based on military superiority, and he brandishes it alongside the military power of Yankee imperialism, clamoring that they are all that matters in the world, and as a result, we are dependent on them. This is what he espouses, the most shameless, blatant superpower politics that we have seen. But according to him, it is not only a nuclear war that puts humanity at risk, but conventional war as well: given the sophisticated and deadly weapons that exist today, it could bring the same results. Thus Gorbachev tries to impose on us the most monstrous policy of subjugation. Faced with this, we raise even higher Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s banner, „It’s right to rebel“.
This high Russian official’s revisionist inventions lead him to propose „a new thought“. Listen clearly! A „new thought“ that „takes into consideration, beyond ideologies and differences, the highest interests of humanity“. What happened to the formal mention of a class viewpoint? Isn’t this a revival on a higher level of Khrushchev’s preachings? Clearly it is. And an essential part of this „thought“ is that war is no longer the continuation of politics by military means. In his own words, „Clausewitz’s maxim that ‚war is the continuation of politics by other means‘, which was classic in its time, now turns out to be ever more desperately outdated. It is destined for the libraries“. But this thesis was upheld by Lenin and reiterated by Chairman Mao in this century and it is key in the military theory of the proletariat, and we are guided by it in the People’s War. Thus, Gorbachev clashes openly with Lenin, as did Khrushchev. And the so-called „new conditions“ that lead to the revision of Marxist principles is an old story that has been used since the days of the old-style revisionists, so it shouldn’t serve as any type of comfort to this new revisionist standard bearer according to whom, „So much the better that in the West just as in the East new thoughts and new men are emerging, men who are beginning to see how they can reach agreement, because cooperation is the only thing possible“. But we say that this collusion between the two superpowers goes on so long as the conditions have not yet emerged for fighting a 3rd World War — if we do not sweep them away first. That is the essence of things, and I believe that it is necessary to point out clearly how Gorbachev, who perversely opposes Lenin, is so brazen in his deceit that he calls himself a „follower of Lenin“ who is bringing about a „return to Lenin“ and „has learned a lot from Lenin“. This is what he tells us, and I believe these things are very corrosive.
On the other hand, after he advocates „basing international politics on moral and ethical norms common to the whole human race“, Gorbachev says, „What will happen to the military-industrial complex, they ask […] to begin with, each job in the military-industrial complex costs two or three times more than in civilian industry. In place of one, we could create three jobs. In the second place, the present military sectors of the economy are connected with the civilian economy, and they do a lot to help it. This is a starting point to using their potential for peaceful purposes. In the third place, the Soviet Union and the United States could carry out extensive joint programs, pooling resources, and scientific and intellectual know-how to resolve the most diverse problems for the benefit of humanity“. Thus he swaggers like Khrushchev and opposes Lenin’s conception of imperialism and its economic process. Here also, as in everything, he is anti-Leninist, as is clear from his positions, similar to Teng’s, separating the Party from the State and promoting economic growth more and more in the service of the bourgeoisie and imperialism.
Like the other imperialists, the social-imperialist Gorbachev proposes to combat so-called terrorism. He commits himself to this and to the use of the United Nations for this purpose as well.
Finally, I think something deserves to be said about how he sees Latin America, and Nicaragua in particular. In Nicaragua he thinks that because a dictatorship, that of Somoza, was overthrown by a people‘s revolution, this proves the correctness of the outlook that has guided and still guides the Nicaraguan Revolution. This is extremely revealing. Concerning Latin America, his view is that the Soviets have no interest in disrupting the empire, or as they say, the relations between the US and Latin America. This concerns us directly.
What do the social-imperialists of the USSR want? They are in a stage of trying to see how to resolve urgent problems. It is a moment when collusion is main, and so they look to contain or cool off points of conflict in order to devote themselves to the development of their economic systems, while they continue making big plans to contend for world hegemony. Collusion is temporary, conflict and struggle are absolute.
In conclusion, Perestroika is a perverse plan to continue with the modern revisionism that Khrushchev initiated. It is a new counter-revolutionary offensive of revisionism.
In regard to the attacks on Stalin, Khrushchev attacked him and so does Gorbachev, but Gorbachev has gone even further, rehabilitating those whom Stalin condemned. One of the things that should really make one think is the rehabilitation of Bukharin, as well as others. They’ve even recognized his status as a Party member. You have to ask yourself, who’s left? Only Trotsky, now he’s the only one left. The attack on Stalin remains, as it has been, a pretext for deepening capitalist restoration, developing political plans to wipe out anything that may remain, and that might be of some service to the people in once again making revolution. That is their dream, but it will amount to nothing but a dream, pure and simple.
Concerning Comrade Stalin, the revisionists say a lot about him and attack him. What is deplorable is that others should do the same, accusing him of all kinds of errors and maligning him. We believe that Comrade Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist. What Chairman Mao said about him is correct: his errors amounted to thirty percent, and the root of these errors was in his limitations in grasping dialectics. But no one can deny that he was a great Marxist. The attacks on Stalin by Gorbachev and his henchmen should make others, who claim to be Communists and who also attack and denigrate Comrade Stalin, think. They should really think about these coincidences there is something important behind these attacks.
THE DAILY: How do you see the present leaders of China? Are they in the counter-revolutionary camp? What is the way out for the Chinese people?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The present leadership of China is revisionist, and is really led by a perverse character, an old and rotten revisionist, Teng Hsiao-ping. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution he was thoroughly exposed and the world saw what he was and continues to be, an out and out revisionist, a lackey of Liu Shao-chi. It’s Teng who is leading China, once a socialist country, in a rapid and all-out restoration of capitalism. It is pertinent to point out that positions espoused by Gorbachev were previously espoused by Teng, in accordance with his own conditions.
What camp are they in? China acts like a world power. This is the political road they are following, one of collusion and struggle with powers and superpowers. Their dream is to be a superpower in the next century, that’s their dream. The way out of this, as in other cases, is revolution, People’s War. Let’s remember that Chairman Mao, towards the end of his brilliant life, said to Comrade Chiang Ching that she could carry the flag of revolution to the summit, pointing out to her, if you fail, you will fall, your body will shatter, your bones will break and then once again guerrilla war will have to be waged. He gave us the answer. It’s part of a poem. I don’t remember the text very well, but that’s the basic idea. The central point here is that guerrilla war will have to be waged again — People’s War.
THE DAILY: Chairman, do you think there are socialist countries in the world today?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Frankly no, I don’t think so. There are those who believe, for example, that Albania is a socialist country. I’d say to those who believe that Albania is socialist that they should study carefully, for example, the documents of the 8th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania. That would be a good thing to study, because it says there that the center of world reaction is US imperialism. And Soviet imperialism? What happened to the two enemies we have to fight? It was always just words. With Hoxha himself it was just words because he always wrote more about fighting Yankee imperialism than social-imperialism.
The same Congress also said that humanity has never been closer to its extinction than now. They repeat this just like the others, which is no mere coincidence. But what do they propose that we do? Concretely, expose imperialism. That is not the solution. Exposing imperialism will not stop a World War. The solution is to make revolution by carrying out People’s War.
And if one looks at everything that is said there about the serious economic problems they have, one can see quite clearly the road that Albania has taken. However, it was not Ramiz Alia, the present leader, who chose this road, but Hoxha himself, who in 1978, in a speech before the electorate, stated that in Albania there were no antagonistic classes. We know very well what that means, because this question has been thoroughly explained by Chairman Mao Tse-tung. And if we add to this his deceitful attacks on Chairman Mao, on the development of Marxism, what is he but a revisionist? Therefore Albania is not socialist.
If we look at Vietnam, the road it is following is that of an instrument of the Soviet Union that today clamors for imperialist aid with an economy in crisis and ruin. So much blood, for what? It’s because there, there was Ho Chi Minh, a centrist, as can be seen in his famous testament, where he says he regrets seeing conflict within the International Communist Movement, when the question was which side he would take in the struggle between Marxism and revisionism. A Communist has but one solution, to stand on the side of Marxism. Ho Chi Minh never did. Later came Le Duan, a rotten revisionist. Hence, the present situation in Vietnam.
This is why I hold that there are no socialist countries today. All this makes one reflect seriously, and come to understand the problem of restoration and counter-restoration. It’s not a question that calls for lamenting or whining, as some try to promote. The point is to confront reality and understand it. And we can understand it if we grasp the question of restoration and counter-restoration that Lenin himself had put forward and that Chairman Mao masterfully developed. Historically, no new class has established itself in Power all at once. Power was seized and lost, reseized and lost again until, in the midst of great contests and struggles, that class was able to win and hold Power. The same thing is happening with the proletariat. But we’ve been left with great lessons, including in socialist construction. And so it has been a monumental experience.
In the final analysis, it is a historical process, and what we must be concerned about is how to prevent the restoration of capitalism. And every revolution that is in progress must think, as we’ve been taught, about the long years ahead, the long years to come, and be confident that the process of development for the proletariat in seizing Power and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat and defending it and leading the revolution has already been defined. There have already been great historical milestones achieved in this process, and so the prospects are that our class, learning its lessons, will seize Power and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat throughout the world, and the proletariat will not be overthrown anymore, but will continue along this road of transformation until the State is brought to an end when we enter Communism.
THE DAILY: Chairman, with the triumph of the revolution, what kind of international relations will the New State have with bourgeois governments, especially with the Yankee State and with social-imperialism?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: The situation is clear. We must put an end to the domination of Yankee imperialism over our country. At the same time we must prevent the social-imperialists from introducing their domination, as well as warding off domination by any other power. In synthesis, that’s the answer to your question.
THE DAILY: Chairman, wouldn’t the danger of total isolation put the New State in a precarious position?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We believe the following: that we must keep to the path that will lead us to the emancipation of our class, the path that will take us to Communism. And this path demands that we maintain our independence, so as to fulfill the interests of the proletariat in the World Revolution. We believe, as is known, that there are disputes and contradictions among the imperialists, and these can be made use of, for example, to acquire certain resources. Since the market is getting tighter and tighter, and there is a real trade war, we may find those who will sell to us. Of course, they will demand an exorbitant price and, as Lenin said, we will pay them with our curses. But at the same time, there are oppressed nations, revolutions in progress, there is the international proletariat, there arethe people throughout the world, and Communist Parties — they will help us and we will have to learn, because based on proletarian internationalism they will respond to our call and they will be well received. We are already seeing how ties between backward countries have been initiated, even how barter is used. We will find the appropriate forms.
We have not studied this question sufficiently, because it involves problems that will pose themselves in the future. We have general guidelines, but we agree with what Lenin said: You want to know what war is like? Wage it. And let us have inexhaustible confidence in the international proletariat, in the oppressed nations, in the people of the world; and most particularly in the Communists, in the Parties and Organizations, whatever their level of development. Holding fast to our ideology, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, we will advance, even if we begin by feeling our way in the dark, finding temporary solutions for certain situations or for brief periods of time, until we find the definitive one. As Lenin taught us, no revolution can be planned out completely ahead of time. And many times it must grope its way forward uncertainly, finding temporary or momentary solutions but that’s how it advances. This is our approach, because our fundamental weapon is our ideology. We take what Marx said as our starting point: how easy it would be to undertake a revolution if we were absolutely certain of winning and having the whole problem resolved it would be easy, but revolution is not like that. The question is to commit ourselves to it and carry it forward, no matter what the cost. Since the masses are the makers of history, our people will rise to the occasion, and since it falls to us to arm them with the overall weapon Marx has given us, then we will defend our State by force of arms, because no revolutionary State can maintain itself on the good graces of imperialism and reaction. And in this way, with this firmness, with this determination, with the conviction that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism, gives us, we will find the way, and we will find new roads.
Chairman Mao has taught us that we must think in new ways and generate new forms; this is a fundamental question. He laid out that, in economic matters, the question comes down to a clear political line, organizational forms, and great efforts. In regard to all problems, especially those we face that have not yet been resolved, we begin with a firm Maoist conviction that while there are Communist Parties and masses all manner of miracles will be achieved.
THE DAILY: How does the CPP see proletarian internationalism today, and in the future?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: First of all, we see it as a principle, a very important principle, because, as I’ll say again, the proletariat is an international class and we Communists are internationalists, because in no other way can we serve Communism. Our Party has always been concerned with training its members, its combatants, and the masses in proletarian internationalism, concerned with educating them in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, to serve the World Revolution and to fight untiringly and unswervingly so that Communism may flower on Earth.
For a time we lost our links with other Parties. Later on, those ties were reestablished, and we are contributing in struggling for the International Communist Movement, which is why we are members of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement which we consider to be a step in the regrouping of the genuine Communists. We think that this is a complex task, because, if it is complex and difficult to form a Party and carry it forward, how much more complex will it be to struggle so that the Communists, through their different Parties and Organizations, can unite. We know that this is an enormous but indispensable task. We believe there are those who concur, who struggle; and we are struggling, with all the limitations we might have, to see that proletarian internationalism may again bring together the Communists in the world to struggle jointly for the realization of our final goal. We understand that the problem is extremely complex and difficult, but we Communists are made for this kind of task.
THE DAILY: How do you, Chairman Gonzalo, analyze the different struggles being waged today in the oppressed nations? How do you analyze the armed actions in Europe, and the various national movement?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: There are numerous struggles in the oppressed nations. There are struggles in Africa, in Latin America, and in Asia, a region of such importance and weight in the world. Asia always deserves our very special attention because of the weight of the masses in history, and because of what Marxism itself has taught us. We think that the problem with the struggles in the oppressed nations lies in the lack of or insufficient development of the Communist Parties. Yes, some Parties really are going to have to make great contributions. We believe, on the other hand, that the question is that People’s Wars are not being developed. Consequently, we see the need to persevere in contributing to putting Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in command of the World Revolution, so on that basis powerful Parties can be formed and lead People’s Wars. We see this as the biggest limitation.
There are nationalist movements in the Middle-East, Palestine concretely, in South Africa, etc. But we believe that these revolutions, in order to really follow the path opened up by the new era initiated by the October Revolution, must develop Communist Parties, because without them the revolution cannot go all the way. Africa has given us several examples of this. In Algeria, for example, there was an armed struggle, and a very fierce one, but socialism was never built because they had no Communist Party to lead a real revolutionary struggle. Without Communist Parties, nationalist movements develop that seek simply to be recognized as nations, in order to change from being colonies to being semi-colonies, while remaining dependent on imperialism, or, in other cases, changing masters. We have seen this in various movements tied to England and France, for example. In other cases, armed struggles are developed that the United Nations resolves, deciding what will happen, like in Cyprus. So the point is not simply waging armed struggle. The heart of the matter is People’s War, a Communist Party and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Nevertheless, all these movements give strength to the struggle against imperialism, but they will only serve to completely wipe it out if they are led by a Communist Parry waging a People’s War.
As for the armed actions in Europe, we’ve seen protracted armed struggles. They are an expression of objective reality. Therefore, the task is not to condemn them, but to understand, study, and analyze them to see how they are an expression of the fact that there is also a revolutionary situation in old Europe. And beyond that, that there are those who have taken up arms, understanding that that is the only way to seize Power. This is a powerful blow to revisionism, because in Europe itself, considered to be one of their bastions, revisionism is beginning to be abandoned. Regardless of the level reached, and the problems that remain to be solved, this is undeniably an important advance.
In some cases, the national question is involved, as in Ireland. In other cases, the issue of how to make their revolution is raised. We believe that these struggles must be studied seriously. The problem is in understanding what their ideology is, what politics guides them, what class they serve, and how they approach the question of the superpowers. We believe that they deserve a lot of attention, especially when there are organizations that propose taking up Mao Tse-tung again, or that are starting to raise the need for a Party, or that the armed struggle alone is not enough. We must look at this as a new awakening and understand that they might make a lot of mistakes when you get right down to it, who doesn’t? But they themselves will sum up lessons from their errors, as they are doing, they’ll advance, grasp Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and form Parties and wage People’s War in accordance with the socialist character of their revolution and in accordance with their specific conditions.
In sum, to repeat, it is proof that in Europe, too, there is a revolutionary situation developing unevenly. There are people who are sick and tired of rotten revisionism who, in such difficult conditions, within the belly of imperialism where the struggle is complex and difficult, are taking up arms to change the world, which is the only way it can be done. This provides more hope, and helps us see that the main trend is revolution, and to see how Europe is also turning toward revolution. Let’s also recognize that, after having been pioneers in the past, they are opening up a path and, in the end, providing more hope. And they deserve greater understanding from us since there are already those who are concerned about the Party and are taking up Mao Tse-tung again. That is, they want to return to Marxism and to grasp it completely as Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. These struggles being waged in Europe also have their limitations and errors, as all struggles do, but we should see them as an expression of the irrepressible advance of revolution and how more and more countries and peoples are coming forward to take up arms to overthrow the existing order. They are summing up experience, and setting their course toward the Party and the ideology of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism.
For me, seeing revolution begin to open a path in Europe is reason to rejoice. And regardless of possibly stumbling and falling along the way, we must have confidence in the masses and in the peoples — confidence that, as in other places, they will make revolution with arms in hand, following Marxism. They will do it there as well, that is how we must think. I emphasize that we must see this in historical perspective, take a long-term view, study these movements seriously, and encourage everything that tends towards Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, forging a Party and developing People’s War.
THE DAILY: What is your opinion of Nicaragua and Cuba?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: I would like to state what I said once when I was talking about these problems with some friends. Nicaragua carried out an incomplete revolution and their problem is that they didn’t destroy the Power of the whole big bourgeoisie. They focused on being anti-Somoza. I believe that is one problem. A democratic revolution must wipe out the three mountains, and in Nicaragua that has not been done. Another thing is that the revolution has developed within the Cuban framework, readjusted in recent years. And this simply leads, in the end, to dependence on the Soviet Union. How can we prove this? Because the fate of Nicaragua, like Afghanistan or the Middle-East, is discussed, manipulated, and dealt with in conversations between representatives of the two superpowers. The moves and countermoves they have made are indicative — the measures that are adopted in Nicaragua with regard to the „contras“ coincide closely with meetings and agreements between the superpowers.
We believe that Nicaragua, in order to follow the correct path that the heroic Nicaraguan people certainly deserve, must develop the democratic revolution completely, and this demands a People’s War. They must break with dependence on the Soviet Union, take their destiny in their own hands, and defend their independent class interests. This requires a Party which, of course, adopts a proletarian outlook. Otherwise, they will, lamentably, continue being a pawn. We believe that the Nicaraguan people have demonstrated a great fighting spirit, and their historic destiny can lie nowhere but in developing the revolution as it must be developed, with a Party based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and People’s War, developing independently without the tutelage of any power, whether it be a nearby or distant one.
About Cuba, I can only say this concretely, they play a role in the service of the Soviet Union, not only in Latin America, but also in Angola, for example, and in other places. Cuba changed hands, from one master to another, by a process that the Cubans themselves call exceptional. One must recall clearly the basis that they laid out to guide their struggle: that there is no clear differentiation of classes, and what is needed, in sum, is a collection of saviors to redeem the oppressed. We’ve seen this along with the four following points in documents that are circulating in Peru. The problem here is not taking the class struggle as their starting point: „socialist revolution or a caricature of revolution“, which means upholding a one stage revolution in the oppressed countries; a United Front of three classes without the national bourgeoisie; no need for a Communist Party, which means dismissing the leadership of the proletariat; and the negation of People’s War starting with rejecting the need for Support Bases. These ill-fated principles are propagated by the Cubans.
Cuba has a big responsibility in America, because it provided hope. But we must remember very clearly what happened in 1970. Fidel Castro said that the strategy of armed struggle had failed, and he sought to abandon what he had encouraged and supported. Douglas Bravo confronted him, countering that the strategy had not failed, but Castro’s tactics had. But, unfortunately later Bravo chose to accept amnesty. We believe all of this has generated a lot of problems in the Americas, but today these same criteria, readjusted to the dictates of the social-imperialist master, are being propagated and presented as a new revolutionary development being applied concretely in Nicaragua. This is false. What we must and do affirm is that Latin America is (and has been) ripe for People’s War, and that is its road. Latin America has an important role to play. Let’s not forget that it’s „the backyard of the US“ according to the arrogant Yankee imperialists. Latin America also has an importance for the world which it will realize if it grasps the ideology of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism, forges Communist Parties and carries forward People‘s Wars as part of the World Revolution.
We Latin Americans will number over 500.000.000 at the end of this century. There is much that unites us, and we must work together because of this closeness, which doesn’t mean that we can detach ourselves from the World Revolution, because we can only carry out our task as part of the World Revolution. Latin America is not enough. Communism is for the whole world or for no one.
THE DAILY: What is the Communist Party of Peru’s contribution to the World Revolution?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Our main contribution is to uphold Maoism as the new, third, and higher stage of Marxism, committing ourselves to help put this ideology in command of the World Revolution, and as part of this to demonstrate the validity and all-encompassing perspective of Maoism. Also, to demonstrate that if one sustains oneself by relying on one’s own efforts, maintaining independence from the superpowers or any other imperialist power, it is possible to make revolution, and what’s more, it is necessary to do it that way. And to demonstrate the power of People’s War, which makes itself felt despite all our limitations. And if possible, to provide, as some have said, hope, which implies responsibility — to be a beacon for the World Revolution, an example that can serve other Communists. In this way we are serving the World Revolution.
THE DAILY: Chairman, we have come to the end of this interview. We’ve been talking with you for more than 12 hours. Now we’d like to talk about you personally, about Dr. Abimael Guzmán Reinoso. Was there anyone among your family or friends who influenced you in the development of your vocation and ability in politics?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: I’d say that what has most influenced me to take up politics has been the struggle of the people. I saw the fighting spirit of the people during the uprising in Arequipa in 1950 — how the masses fought with uncontainable fury in response to the barbarous slaughter of the youth. And I saw how they fought the army, forcing them to retreat to their barracks. And how forces had to be brought in from other places in order to crush the people. This is an event that, I’d say, has been imprinted quite vividly in my memory. Because there, after having come to understand Lenin, I understood how the people, how our class, when they take to the streets and march, can make the reactionaries tremble, despite all their power. Another thing was the struggles of 1956, when the people fought, while others betrayed them — well, that is what the opportunists and reactionaries do — but the people fought and carried the day, and there were mass movements, powerful ones. These events, for example, helped me understand the power of the masses, that they make history.
I also had the occasion, going back a little further now, to see the uprising in Callao in 1948, to see with my own eyes the people’s courage, how the people were brimming with heroism, and how the leadership betrayed them. And going back even further in my memory, I believe that the 2nd World War affected me profoundly. Yes, I remember, if that’s possible, not very clearly — but as if in a dream — when the war began in September of 1939, the uproar and the news on the old radios. I remember the bombing, the important news. I remember the end of the war too, and how it was celebrated with the blast of ships’ horns, loudspeakers, a great clamor and happiness because the 2nd World War had ended.
I had a chance to see the so-called big five in the newspapers, and Comrade Stalin was among them. So I’d say that these events left their mark on me, and impressed upon me in an elemental and confused way the idea of Power, of the masses, and of the capacity of war to transform things. All these things exerted an influence on me. I believe that like every Communist I am the child of the class struggle and of the Party.
THE DAILY: At what age did you take up Marxism? Were you still in school, or were you at the university?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: My interest in politics began to develop at the end of high school, based on the events of 1950. In the following years, I remember forming a group with my schoolmates to study political ideas. We were very eager to study all kinds of political ideas. You can probably understand what kind of period that was. That was the beginning for me. Then in college, the struggle at the university, I experienced firsthand big strikes, confrontations between Apristas and Communists, and debates. And so my interest in books was sparked. Someone saw fit to lend me one, I believe it was „One Step Forward, Two Steps Back“. I liked it, I began to study Marxist books. Then the figure of Comrade Stalin made a big impression on me. At that time people who were drawn to Communism and those who became Party members were trained using „Problems Of Leninism“. It was our mainstay and I studied it as it deserved to be studied, seriously, given its importance. Stalin’s life interested me. He was, for us, an example of revolution. I had problems getting into the Communist Party. They had an absurd policy. To become a member, you had to be the son or daughter of a worker, and I wasn’t. But others had different criteria and so I was able to join the Party. I participated in the defense of Stalin. At that time, taking him away from us would have been like taking away our soul. In those days, the works of Stalin were more widely propagated than those of Lenin. That’s what the times were like.
Later I made a trip to Ayacucho for work reasons. I thought it would be a short stay, but it lasted for years. I thought it would just be for a year, because that’s what the arrangements were. I had my plans, the proletariat had others. The masses and the people change us in many ways; Ayacucho helped me discover the peasantry. At that time, Ayacucho was a very small town, mainly countryside. If you go to the poor sections, even today, you find peasants there, and if you walk towards the outskirts, in 15 minutes you’re already in the countryside. There too, I started to understand Chairman Mao Tse-tung, I advanced in understanding Marxism. The conflict between Marxism and revisionism has been very important in my development.
Some unlucky soul lent me the famous Chinese Letter, „A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement“. He lent it to me on the condition that I’d return it. Obviously it was an understandable theft. The letter led me to get more deeply into the great struggle between Marxism and revisionism.
I committed myself to work within the Party and to wipe out revisionism, and I believe that together with other Comrades we achieved it. We gave up on one or two who were too far gone, they were dyed-in-the-wool revisionists. Ayacucho was of enormous importance for me, it has to do with the revolutionary road and Chairman Mao’s teachings. So through this whole process I was becoming a Marxist, and the Party was molding me, resolutely and patiently, I believe.
THE DAILY: Many people know that you’ve been to China. Did you ever meet Chairman Mao?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: I was not that fortunate. I was only able to see him from a distance. But I saw the recognition and deep affection of the people for a Great Leader, an extraordinary Marxist, a pinnacle of Marxism. I didn’t have the good fortune of meeting him, as I said. The delegation I belonged to made a lot of errors and demonstrated some foolish arrogance. I think that kept them from granting us that privilege.
Yes, I’ve been to China. In China I had the chance, which I’d like to see many have, of being in a school where politics was taught, from international questions to Marxist philosophy. They were masterful lessons given by proven and highly competent revolutionaries, great teachers. Among them I can remember the teacher who taught us about open and secret work, a man who had devoted his whole life to the Party, and only to the Party, over the course of many years — a living example and an extraordinary teacher. He taught us many things, and he wanted to teach us more but some didn’t accept it — after all, there are all sorts of people in this life. Later, they taught us about military questions. But here they also began with politics, People’s War, then the forging of the armed forces, strategy and tactics. And then the practical part that went with it, like ambushes, attacks, military movements, as well as how to assemble explosive devices. When we were handling delicate chemicals they urged us to always keep our ideology first and foremost, because that would enable us to do anything, and do it well. We learned to make our first demolition charges. For me it is an unforgettable example and experience, an important lesson, and a big step in my development — to have been trained in the highest school of Marxism the world has ever seen.
Well, if you’d like an anecdote, here’s one. When we were finishing the course on explosives, they told us that anything can explode. So, at the end of the course, we picked up a pen and it blew up, and when we took a seat it blew up, too. It was a kind of general fireworks display. These were perfectly calculated examples to show us that anything could be blown up if you figured out how to do it. We constantly asked, „How do you do this? How do you do that?“. They would tell us, don’t worry, don’t worry, you’ve already learned enough. Remember what the masses can do, they have inexhaustible ingenuity, what we’ve taught you the masses will do and will teach you all over again. That is what they told us. That school contributed greatly to my development and helped me begin to gain an appreciation for Chairman Mao Tse-tung.
Later, I studied some more and I have tried to apply it. I think I still have a great deal to learn from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, from Maoism, as well as from Mao’s practice. It isn’t about trying to compare myself to him, it is simply using the highest pinnacles as a reference point for achieving our objectives. My stay in China was an unforgettable experience. I was there on another occasion as well, when the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was beginning. We asked them to explain what was then called Mao Tse-tung Thought. They taught us some more and that helped me understand more, a little more I should say. One thing that seems ironic is that the more I understood Mao Tse-tung, the more I began to appreciate and value Mariátegui. Since Mao urged us to apply creatively, I went back and studied Mariátegui again, and saw that we had in him a first rate Marxist-Leninist who had thoroughly analyzed our society. It seems ironic, but it’s true.
THE DAILY: How does it feel to be the man most wanted by the repressive forces of the government?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: It feels like you‘re doing your job and working hard at it. What remains is to shoulder more responsibility for the revolution, the Party, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, for our class, the people and the masses. And to always understand that we carry our lives on our fingertips. If that weren’t so, we couldn’t be Communists. So they have their reasons. Mine are those established by the Party, to which I wish to be more and more true and useful, because life can become entangled anywhere along the road, moreover it has a beginning and an end, more time, less time.
THE DAILY: Is there anything you’re afraid of?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Fear? I believe that fear and lack of fear form a contradiction. The point is to take up our ideology, and unleash the courage within us. It is our ideology that makes us brave, that gives us courage. In my opinion, no one is born brave. It is society, the class struggle, that makes people and Communists courageous — the class struggle, the proletariat, the Party, and our ideology. What could the greatest fear be? Death? As a materialist I know that life will end some day. What is most important to me is to be an optimist, with the conviction that others will continue the work to which I am committed, and will carry it forward until they reach our final goal, Communism. Because the fear that I could have is that no one would carry on, but that fear disappears when one has faith in the masses. I think that the worst fear, in the end, is not to have faith in the masses, to believe that you’re indispensable, the center of the world. I think that’s the worst fear and if you are forged by the Party, in proletarian ideology, in Maoism mainly, you understand that the masses are the makers of history, that the Party makes revolution, that the advance of history is certain, that revolution is the main trend, and then your fear vanishes. What remains is the satisfaction of contributing together with others to laying the foundation so that some day Communism may shine and illuminate the entire Earth.
THE DAILY: What do you do when you’re not busy with politics and the war? What books do you read?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Many times I don’t have time to read what I’d like to. What do I like to read? I read a lot of biographies. I think that literature is a great form of artistic expression. For instance, I like to read Shakespeare, yes, and to study him. When you study Shakespeare you find political issues. There are very clear lessons in „Julius Caesar“ for example, and in „MacBeth“. I like literature, but politics always wins out with me, and leads me to look for the political significance, what is behind it. After all, behind every great artist there is a political leader, there is a man of his time who is waging class struggle. I have also read Peruvian novels and sometimes I reread them.
I once read a short work by Thomas Mann about Moses. Afterwards, we used it to help us politically interpret a struggle in which we were involved at the time. One part of this work says that one can break the law, but not negate it. How did I interpret this? To break the law is to go against Marxism, to deviate, to have wrong ideas. That is permissible, but one cannot allow Marxism to be negated. I think it is possible to learn many things. I read „Broad And Alien Is The World“, and „All The Races“, and I have studied them as well. I like literature and music. Before I liked music more, now I enjoy it less. What other interests? I like science, books about science. In my early days at the university, I studied law because I had to have a profession. But I liked philosophy and I devoted myself to it. Through philosophy I discovered science. I spent a lot of time studying questions of mathematics and physics. In my opinion, physics is an extraordinary science. It is quite fitting to call it „an adventure of the mind“. The problem with science is that scientists, whose starting point is a materialist one, are good so long as they stay within the realm of science, but when they start to get into philosophy or other areas, if they are not materialists, they fall into idealism. This happened even with Einstein. I like science, I think it is extraordinary. This inclination for science can be seen in the thesis that I wrote for my degree in philosophy. It is an analysis of time and space according to Kant, from a Marxist point of view, using mathematics and physics. I would like to read it again, because there’s no time now to go back and study all that again. But I don’t even have a copy.
THE DAILY: Do you like poetry as well?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Yes. At one time I was surveying world poetry in an anthology. And I studied it before, too — there were some works at the university library that I had access to. I like poetry. It is another one of the things I admire about Chairman Mao, who was an extraordinary poet. As to Peruvian poetry, for me, Vallejo. Yes, he is ours, and besides, he was a Communist.
THE DAILY: Some say that your speeches, „The Flag“ and „Initiate the Armed Struggle in 1980“ are beautiful political poems of war. What do you say about that, Chairman?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: I’d say that sometimes in politics you have to let yourself go, so that the passion, the deep feelings, can strengthen our determination. At such times, so they say, the heart speaks and I believe that the revolutionary passion which is indispensable for war expresses itself. What literary value it might have I couldn’t really say.
THE DAILY: Do you ever get depressed?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: No. I believe that I’ve got an almost built-in optimism. And I occupy myself more with problems of understanding and conviction than with problems of feelings or depression. On the contrary, I think that I am quite optimistic. It is Marxism, Chairman Mao, who has made us understand that people, especially Communists, are optimists. Whenever I find myself in a difficult situation I strive to look for its positive aspect or for what potential for development may still exist within that situation, because nothing is completely black, nor is anything completely red. Even if there were to be a big defeat, even though we have not had one yet, there would always be a positive aspect. The point is to draw out the lessons, and continue to do our work based on the positive aspect. You will always find someone to support you, to lend their ardent enthusiasm and assistance to the struggle, because Communism unites people.
THE DAILY: Do you have friends?
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: No, I don’t. I have Comrades. And I am very proud of having the Comrades I have.
THE DAILY: Chairman, we have reached the end of this interview.
CHAIRMAN GONZALO: We have worked very hard and I thank you for your efforts. I very much appreciate the difficulties you’ve had to go through in order to meet with me and be able to publish this first interview, which will reach the people through „The Daily“, a newspaper that has fought tenaciously to serve the people. Thank you very much.
THE DAILY: Thank you, Chairman.
Peru, July 1988
Communist Party of Peru