Both the Asumir article and the other document claim that, "the people want peace"!
Which people? The people are divided into classes.
Who are the author's people? Most probably the middle classes who vacillate greatly when the enemy unleashes white terror, some of whom even desert to the side of the enemy. During setbacks and unbridled attacks by the enemy, many of the middle class forces sit tight, and the opportunists and rich peasants who had joined the party will desert to the enemy ranks. Workers, peasants and shantytown dwellers have been a strong base of the People's War and will continue to be; this does not rule out the possibility of some kind of war weariness among these strata. But it is also true that the enemy's assaults against the PCP have kindled the outrage of many of these masses to the point that they are going to be more determined than ever to rise to the occasion and carry the war to the end, no matter what.
We don't know the exact feeling and mood of different sections of the people (and it is remarkable how Asumir came to know about the desires of different strata of the people for peace through Fujimori's iron bars), but even if there is war weariness among sections of the people who are the base of the PW, the solution is not to stop the war and blow to the wind the fruits of the people's 13 years of sweat and blood. These problems have their own Marxist-Leninist-Maoist solutions. One thing is for certain: peaceful political struggle, proposed by the line under discussion, is not going to arouse and organize the millions of poor peasants in the countryside who are the main force of revolution under the leadership of the proletariat in the New Democratic Revolution.
The vanguard party initiated the war on the basis of the thirst of the enslaved to rebel against their slavery. Even if some people make compromises, this will not stop the struggle of the masses, and this struggle will break into armed struggle sooner or later. The war in Vietnam re-started in this way after the country had been divided and peace had been reached, following the defeat of the French imperialists. When the Saigon regime went wild in white areas, taking revenge on the masses, the masses could not take this and began to organize resistance, even though the party had not developed any plans to resist.
What will happen to the oppressed if "peace" is reached and they lose their PW and army? They will have more of the same misery they have always had, and, moreover, the enemy will unleash a campaign of bloody revenge against them with the aim of "teaching" them to "never tough a gun again"; such a campaign of terror and massacres will make all of the enemy's previous genocidal campaigns look innocent in comparison. This too is part of why you cannot stop the war once you have launched it.
Things have changed after 13 years of turning the society upside down, which is more than fine for the international proletariat and more than a nightmare for the international bourgeoisie. Now the proletarian party and the masses under its leadership in Peru have ascended way up the mountain towards the summit of victory, here both the opportunities and dangers are high. Remembering Mao's last letter to Comrade Chiang Ching in July 1976, we can see that to climb to the top is the only way: "In the struggle of the past ten years I have tried to reach the peak of revolution, but I was not successful. But you could reach the top. If you fail, you will plunge into a fathomless abyss. Your body will shatter. Your bones will break."
The existence of red political power and the ability to form and maintain a people's army are cardinal features of Mao's line of making revolution in the oppressed nations. Any proposed tactical or strategic readjustments (through negotiations or other means) must take these principles of Mao's line into account.
Mao put it very succinctly, "without a People's Army the people have nothing." Significantly, Mao made this most important observation in his article "On Coalition Government," when he was discussing the relationship between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang and even the possibility of long-term cooperation.
In this section, Mao refers to Chiang Kai-shek's demand of the "handing over of all of the armed forces of the Liberated Areas by the Communist Party, after which it would grant the Communist Party `legal status.' "
Mao answers: "These people tell the Communists, `Hand over your troops and we will grant you freedom.' According to their theory, a political party that does not have any army should enjoy freedom. Yet whatever freedom the Chinese Communist Party enjoyed during 1924-1927, when it had only a small armed force, vanished with the Kuomintang government's policies of `party purge' and massacre. And today, the China Democratic League and the democrats within the Kuomintang, who have no armed forces, have no freedom either. Let us take the workers, peasants and students and the progressively inclined people in cultural, educational and industrial circles under the Kuomintang regime--for the last eighteen years none of them have had any armed forces, and none of them have had any freedom." ("On Coalition Government," Selected Works, v 3, p.245)
It is not necessary to return to the distant early years of the Chinese revolution to find proof of Mao's point. The experience of the last few decades in the oppressed countries has shown that without armed forces, the people are not only unable to enjoy political freedom, but they are subject to policies of bloody suppression and massacre at the hands of the reactionaries. The Indonesia example of 1965, when hundreds of thousands of communists and workers and peasants were slaughtered, is a tragic and painful lesson. In Chile, tens of thousands of revolutionary-minded workers and peasants and progressive people were killed when the army overthrew the elected government of Allende in 1973. In 1981 in Iran, thousands of communists, revolutionaries and progressives were executed or imprisoned when the Khomeini regime turned on those forces who had fought to bring down the regime of the Shah. In 1982, when the forces of the Palestinian revolution withdrew from Lebanon under the supposed "guarantee" of U.S. imperialism, hundreds of masses were massacred in the camps of Sabra and Shatila in the days that followed. In short, the ability of the people to enjoy freedom, the ability of the people to advance the revolution, and the ability of the people to defend themselves against suppression by the class enemy requires a people's army.
What are the communist parties good for? For making revolution, a revolutionary party is required. One of the chief characteristics of people's war is that it must be led by a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist communist party. To have a red party is crucial for starting the people's war, and it is even more crucial for developing it through tremendous difficulties to the end. In preserving a party, its quality is the principal aspect--whether it represents the interests of our class against the opposing classes and concentrates its will, or not. Chairman Mao, in a struggle against a class collaborationist tendency which had arisen in the party, asked, "is the Communist Party to sink to the level of the Kuomintang dictatorship of the landlords and bourgeoisie, to the level of partial resistance?" ("After the Fall of Shanghai and Taiyuan," `Capitulation Must Be Combated Both Inside the Party and Throughout the County,' SW, v 2, p.65) And he stresses that, "In 1927 Chen Tu-hsiu's capitulationism led to the failure of the revolution. No member of our party should ever forget this historical lesson written in blood." (ibid, p.65).
Asumir warns against "paper parties,"* but its line does not seem to mind them at all; its strategy is to take the PCP through a transformation that at best will turn it into a paper party.
Asumir says to "defend it (the Party) against wind and tide, persist taking the ideological-political line as decisive for the people's war." Generally, this is a fine statement. But to persist taking the correct ideological-political line today in Peru means to defend and strengthen the people's war against wind and tide. Among the tasks of the Party, this is the main one. It is in the midst of carrying out this task, which is inseparable from fighting off the wrong lines, that the Party will be defended and strengthened.
The prison article states, "(P)osing that we put ourselves in the worst circumstances the ultra-left line of `MAINTAINING THE STRUGGLE' to the death carries the risk of the defeat of the PW and the revolution, it would be a blind woman without political sense, the product of the most crude and monstrous subjectivism, one-sidedness and superficiality."
It is fair to say that all of these adjectives could well be applied to this article itself. Even a "blind" person has political sense; the main question is, however, political sense of which class? To divorce politics from war in a country that has been in a civil war for 13 years--such a person is neither blind nor deaf and dumb, but has a bad line. Pretending that the regime and its Yankee boss will allow the PCP to simply slip back to the pre-1980 situation and repeat the experience of the 1960s and 1970s--if this is not "the most crude and monstrous subjectivism," then what is it? Disbanding the PW and dismantling the people's armed forces will totally violate the fundamental interests of the people, undo the accomplishments of 13 years of revolutionary warfare and bring about the worst kind of setback for the proletariat in Peru--politically and ideologically as well as militarily. It is total hypocrisy to pretend that this strategy will preserve the party....
If a party is defeated militarily for standing for the basic interests of the basic masses, it can arise from its ashes again. But if it fails to take this stand and throws to the wind the principles and the fundamental interests of the masses, then it will be destroyed forever and a new party must be formed, which will be a tremendously more bitter and difficult process.
Even in the most extreme cases (and we emphasize again this is not the present situation with the war led by the PCP), "...when things have become hopeless, in the military sense, one cannot separate politics and war; political objectives would still determine whether or not to continue fighting... Capitulation in the face of certain strategic defeat can add political defeat to military defeat." (Just Wars and Unjust Wars, A Maoist Study of War, by S. Leonard, p. 7)
As the Chinese comrades said, "if the party's line is correct, even if it did not have one solider at the beginning, it will find soldiers. However, if the line of the party is wrong, even if it has nationwide and regional powers and armies under its control, it will be crushed." (A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China, Shanghai, 1974) This is the only correct guideline for "preserving the party." Otherwise, even if the regime and its Yankee sponsors allow a party to preserve its forces physically and it is able to remain a big party quantitatively, that party will not be a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party like the PCP. It might have lots of people, but these people will have different class and political allegiances and will be "reintegrated into society."
As we said, correct political-ideological line is decisive in preserving the party. A line is correct if it represents the interests, the aspirations and the worldview of our class. And the correct line in Peru today is concretely expressed in the kind of attitude which is taken towards the People's War led by the Party.
A communist party is a product of class struggle and at the same time is its instrument. If the party loses its colour, it will cease to be an instrument of our class struggle.
* This phrase of a "hundred paper parties" appears right after Asumir mentions RIM. It seems likely that it is meant to be an attack on RIM parties and organizations. Given RIM's correct analysis of the revolutionary possibilities in the world and its efforts to help MLM forces to step up their struggles to start people's wars wherever possible and as soon as possible, Asumir's dislike of RIM may not come as a surprise. Today RIM is a bulwark of support internationally for the PW led by the PCP. From our own experience, we can say that our internationalist line has always met resistance from elements who are supportive of our struggle but who do not have an all-the-way revolutionary political and ideological line.