By Tjen Folket, 12.12.2016.
Since 1992, the communist leader Chairman Gonzalo has been imprisoned and isolated in Peru.
It was not until after ten years of people’s war that the Peruvian state was able to find and arrest a large segment of the leadership of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP). The people’s war began on December 3, 1982.
It happened in a time of great crisis for the communist movement. Socialism in China fell after a revisionist clique took power and imprisoned revolutionary leaders. Around the world, parties fell into general confusion, revisionism, or dogmatic rejection.
But in Peru, the PCP raised the banner of Maoism and people’s war until communism. It became the inspiration for parties and groups in many countries, including the people’s wars in the Philippines, Nepal, and India.
On December 3, Tjen Folket arranged a Red Film in Oslo on the subject: “People of the Shining Path” is one of few documentaries produced on the people’s war in Peru and on the Communist Party of Peru that gives a neutral and more sympathetic insight into the epoch. The documentary was filmed in the time right before Chairman Gonzalo, founder of the PCP, was captured by the Peruvian state.
The PCP was the first party that declared that MLM (Marxism-Leninism-Maoism) was a new and higher stage in the development of communist theory. We have translated one of their founding texts on MLM [into Norwegian], On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
The people’s war was led by the party and had its greatest support in the country’s interior, among the poorest and most oppressed part of the people—first and foremost the indigenous population. Peru has a long tradition for brutal racism and oppression. It is white people who dominate the state and the economy. Indigenous Peruvians have been victim to ethnic cleansing campaigns, as other indigenous peoples in the Americas have as well. PCP and the people’s war become a tool for these people and their revolution against oppression, feudalism, and imperialism. Communists and the masses built fronts that became the core of a New State for new democracy and socialism. At some point in the 1990s, this red power became established in 40% of the country.
The arrest of Gonzalo was followed by confusion in the movement, both in Peru and in the international communist community. The party partially unraveled into rivaling factions. Some condemned Gonzalo, others simply became armed bandits, while others wanted to end the people’s war and invest in parliamentarianism and legal work. But shortly thereafter, propaganda emerged in Peru’s capital city—Lima—actions that were carried out by people who wanted to continue the people’s war and who today stand for the correct line of the party.
The PCP is often referred to as “Shining Path” in bourgeois media and they have been victim to the same kind of hate and demonization that all other revolutions and rebellions have faced—especially where the poorest and most oppressed rise up in a violent rage.