Exhanges on the Maoist Movement

Erik Toren wrote,  "Knowing full well how we like to chismear (gossip) in this list group, I want to be clarified a bit on the current Maoist scene. Recently I was surfing the Partido Comunista de Peru (Shining Path) and reading their bizarre articles (yes, I get a certain masochist-Monty Python pleasure out of reading such dribble). From what I read, it seems they have a little war of words going between the PCP, the RCP, and Bob Avakian (anybody remember him?). What is going on? Am I reading the article wrong? Is there love lost between PCP and their US supporters in the RCP? I know there are other more important things that discussing such minutiae about ultra-sectarian activities, but I just can help myself."

I assume that you are referring to the Movimiento Popular Peru (MPP)-USA's homepage. You should know that that is not an official PCP web page. In fact, there is no official PCP web page. What there are is several competing groups which have web pages or some other internet presence. Each of these groups claims to represent the PCP and reflect its views. These claims are difficult to asses because, in theory, the MPPs are party-generated organs which subject themselves to the party's political line and leadership and seek to generate political support for the PCP abroad, but the Central Committee of the PCP has not spoken out in favor of any of these MPPs. At last count (mine), there were:

1) MPP-USA: which irregularly publishes The New Flag and is run out of New York by a Wilmer (or William or Walter, depends on whom you ask and when) Palomino and Marcelina Ccorimanya--which some suspect to be the same person-- and has a very good web site in terms of the ammount of documents it archives at <http://www.blythe.org/peru-pcp/>;

2) MPP-Denmark: which, through the Red Sun Study Circle, runs a very well presented web site <http://users.cybercity.dk/~dko8604/espanol/index.htm>. Although it hasn't had the exposure or the ammount of documents that the MPP-USA/New Flag has attained, this group does seem to have new PCP documents before the other groups;

3) MPP-Sweden: apparently smaller, and doesn't have a web site. Hurt by the presence and activities of Javier Esparza, a.ka. "the individual in Sweden", who was condemned by the PCP for "trafficking" with the party's name, and who has since been expelled;

4) MPP-Germany: a practically unknown group, which ran a small, disorganized web site, which went down last month and hasn't resurfaced. This was the only "PCP" group abroad to accept the "Peace Letters" as genuine and claims to have received phone calls from Abimael Guzman (Chairman Gonzalo) instructing it to work for a peace accord in Peru;

5) Committee Sol Peru - London: a group started, apparently without permission but since accpeted by the PCP, by Peruvian expatriate Adolfo Olaechea. It is very active and well-known, not least because of Olaechea's active internet presence --currently he co-moderates Marxism-International mailing list. It has no web site, but there is an archive of its documents (most by Olaechea)at <http://www.etext.org/Politics/Committee.Sol.Peru/>.

6) El Diario Internacional: Journal published in Belgium by Luis Arce Borja, former editor of the now-underground Lima PCP newspaper El Diario.

As for the war of words, there is one, and it goes way back a long way

In 1980 several communist parties met and issued a declaration. Three years later, in 1984, primarily through the efforts of Avakian and the RCP many of these groups met again along with some others and founded the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM). The PCP had been approached to endorse the I International Conference's statement, *To the Marxist-Leninists, Workers, and the Oppressed of All Countries*, but had refused. However, when RCP representatives got in touch with the PCP in 1984 asking it to endorse the II International Conference's document, the *Declaration of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement*, the PCP agreed. But, it also sent off a letter to the RIM in which it criticized it for using the term "Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought" instead of "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism", which the PCP insisted more accurately reflected the importance of Mao's contributions. It also pointed to "clear differences" regarding "the principal contradiction, the revolutionary situation of unequal development, on world war, and on some criteria on the role of the Movement, and other more important issues, such as the universal validity of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and in particular the general validity of People's War."

In the mid-1980s Avakian was aiming at becoming the main Maoist leader in the world at the head of a nascent Maoist international. In September 1987, the PCP made the letter public, and many thought it would signal a break between the PCP and the RCP-dominated RIM. Instead, the RCP, in 1988, issued a manifesto, adopting the terminology "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism." Although the PCP was not cited in the manifesto, it was a clear concession to Guzman by Avakian, and a tacit recognition of the former's position of pre-eminence in the Maoist firmament.

Everything seemed more or less patched up until after Guzmán's capture in September 1992. In September 1993 the Peruvian government published two handwritten letters bearing the signatures of Guzmán and his second-in-command, Elena Iparraguirre, asking for a peace settlement. At the same time other important jailed PCP leaders began to recruit support for a peace accord. The leadership outside the prisons rejected the peace proposal and continued fighting, thus setting up a two-line struggle in the PCP.

The RCP and the RIM adopted a wait and see stance, while trying to figure out who stood on what side in the PCP's internal fight. Regardless of who stood where, however, a peace accord ran counter to the PCP's historic program, and the RCP's failure to immediately condemn it put it afoul of the PCP groups abroad, except the MPP-Germany and the MPP-Denmark. The Committee Sol Peru had been at loggerheads with the RIM for some time, and now the dam broke, with Olaechea, in association with El Diario Internacional, publishing scathing condemnations of the RIM, the RCP, and Avakian for everything from "opportunism" to defaming Dimitrov. At the same time they desperately, but unconvincingly, tried to argue that the peace accord letters (and subsequent video of Guzmán signing them) were forgeries created by the CIA, or actions induced by mind-altering drugs or brainwashing.

The MPP Germany came out in support of the peace accord, and melted into inconsequence.

Quispe and the MPP-USA condemned the peace accords, and the letters as a police plot. However, in 1996, a flame war erupted on the Spoons Marxism List between Quispe, Olaechea, and others. Quispe basically lost the fight, and a lot of prestige with it, and now is mostly isolated, with his former Maoist confreres apparently believing him to be a cop agent.

The MPP Denmark, stayed more or less out of this whole mess, but joined up with an outfit called the Maoist Documentation Project, which has a web site on the same server as the MPP-USA.

In any case, I'm sure that's all as clear as mud. What is clear, is that the current PCP leadership (meaning outside of jail) has condemned the peace accords, and unfortunately continues the war. It has not openly recognized ANY of the groups abroad as its legitimate spokesgroup, but the MPP-Denmark does seem to get documents sooner than anyone else. Is that significant? Well…who knows? With the PCP, not much is clear.

Where does this all leave the RCP? At the helm of a derelict RIM which once had a chance to become the nucleus of a worldwide Maoist regroupment, and now is an embattled, rotting hulk.

- Juan Rafael Fajardo


Fajardo: " I assume that you are referring to the Movimiento Popular Peru (MPP)-USA's homepage. You should know that that is not an official PCP web page. In fact, there is no official PCP web page. What there are is several competing groups which have web pages or some other internet presence. Each of these groups claims to represent the PCP and reflect its views. These claims are difficult to asses because, in theory, the MPPs are party-generated organs which subject themselves to the party's political line and leadership and seek to generate political support for the PCP abroad, but the Central Committee of the PCP has not spoken out in favor of any of these MPPs. At last count (mine), there were"

There is only one organization, the MPP, which has bases in several countries. It is a democratic centralist organization which is united around the PCP's line and ideology. There are some who have split and tried to misuse the name, but they are dwindling into insignificance. Some of the old leaders of the MPP supported the "peace accords" hoax and were immediately expelled. Later there have been struggles over the question of RIM, which led to Luis Arce Borja trying to lead another split, which has largely failed.

Fajardo: "1) MPP-USA: which irregularly publishes The New Flag and is run out of New York by a Wilmer (or William or Walter, depends on whom you ask and when) Palomino and Marcelina Ccorimanya--which some suspect to be the same person-- and has a very good web site in terms of the ammount of documents it archives at <http://www.blythe.org/peru-pcp/"

These are people who seized the opportunity of the confusion created by the "peace accords" hoax to try to set themselves up as an "independent" MPP, something which the PCP will clearly not tolerate. Their bad politics has led them to be extremely isolated.

Fajardo: "2) MPP-Denmark: which, through the Red Sun Study Circle, runs a very well presented web site <http://users.cybercity.dk/~dko8604/espanol/index.htm. Although it hasn't had the exposure or the ammount of documents that the MPP-USA/New Flag has attained, this group does seem to have new PCP documents before the other groups;"

This page is the only one that accurately represents the view of the MPP and the PCP, which is why we have links to it. The reason they don't have alot of the documents that the New Flag has is that the NF has made many serious errors in their translation, some accidental and some deliberate. We have documented some of these distortions on our website. Eventually accurate translations of PCP documents will be published.

Fajardo: "3) MPP-Sweden: apparently smaller, and doesn't have a web site. Hurt by the presence and activities of Javier Esparza, a.ka. "the individual in Sweden", who was condemned by the PCP for "trafficking" with the party's name, and who has since been expelled;"

The Right Opportunist Line was rejected by the overwhelming majority of the MPP. A few cronies of some of these old leaders have tried to carry out propaganda with this line, but they have been unable to consolidate or unite people around this. There are a couple of people in Sweden who support Luis Arce Borja's line of opposing RIM who have tried to take the name MPP, but this has basically failed.

Fajardo: "4) MPP-Germany: a practically unknown group, which ran a small, disorganized web site, which went down last month and hasn't resurfaced. This was the only "PCP" group abroad to accept the "Peace Letters" as genuine and claims to have received phone calls from Abimael Guzman (Chairman Gonzalo) instructing it to work for a peace accord in Peru;"

There is no such thing as an MPP-Germany. The website in question was run by a relative of one of the capitulators in Peru. As we said, this line is unable to sustain itself and the web site has folded.

Fajardo: 5) Committee Sol Peru - London: a group started, apparently without permission but since accpeted by the PCP, by Peruvian expatriate Adolfo Olaechea. It is very active and well-known, not least because of Olaechea's active internet presence --currently he co-moderates Marxism-International mailing list. It has no web site, but there is an archive of its documents (most by Olaechea)at <http://www.etext.org/Politics/Committee.Sol.Peru/. 6) El Diario Internacional: Journal published in Belgium by Luis Arce Borja, former editor of the now-underground Lima PCP newspaper El Diario."

Both of the above represent a political line that wants to target RIM and RCP as the main enemy, rather than develop the Red Fraction within RIM as the PCP has long maintained. They have largely failed to unite others around their line. In essence the New Flag has the same line, but due to their opportunism they want to run the show themselves, hence their nasty war of words starting in early 1996.

Fajardo: "Everything seemed more or less patched up until after Guzmán's capture in September 1992. In September 1993 the Peruvian government published two handwritten letters bearing the signatures of Guzmán and his second-in-command, Elena Iparraguirre, asking for a peace settlement. At the same time other important jailed PCP leaders began to recruit support for a peace accord. The leadership outside the prisons rejected the peace proposal and continued fighting, thus setting up a two-line struggle in the PCP."

This negates the role of the Peruvian state in promoting the so-called "peace accords", in shuttling members of the ROL around from prison to prison to promote it, etc. It also ignores that most of the political prisoners have rejected the ROL, under very difficult conditions. It takes the "peace accords" at face value, and ignores the long time practice of the Peruvian state in making hoaxes about surrenders, "arrepentimientos", etc.

Fajardo: "anyone else. Is that significant? Well.who knows? With the PCP, not much is clear."

If you read their documents, things seem pretty clear to us. And as most of the problems of the international work are being overcome, it will become more clear to people what the PCP's position actually is.

--The Maoist Documentation Project


Yes, indeed there were official party-to-party relations between the PCP (i.e. "Shining Path") and the CPC (i.e. Communist Party of China). However, the PCPO did not hold a "franchise" on this. The CPC made it a practice to recognize groups who adhered to, or were supportive of, it line and of it against the CPSU, even when there were more than one in a given country. Thus in Peru, after the Sino-Soviet split the PCP-Bandera Roja [Peruvian Communist Party - Red Flag], the PC del P - Patria Roja [Communist Party of Peru - Red Homeland], and the PCP headed by Abimael Guzman (who in those days, by the way, went by "Alvaro" instead of the now-better known "Gonzalo") all had CPC recognition.

The PCP itself was so insignificant in the early 1970s that it was parctically invisible except in the context of student politics at two or three universities. In fact, all the trips made by PCP leaders Abimael Guzman, Osman Morote, Antonio Diaz Martinez, Luis Kawata, took place while they were still part of Bandera Roja's Ayacucho regional committee. If anyone in Peru can be said to have held a franchise on relations with the CPC, it was Patria Roja, which retained that relationship well after the fall of the Gang of Four, and sent cadres to China well into the 1970s and maybe later.

Juan Fajardo