40 Years of People’s War in Peru – Long Live the Armed Struggle!

By the Editorial Board of Tjen Folket Media. 

The 17th of May is the anniversary of the initiation of the People’s War in Peru, and this years anniversary is special. It’s 40 years since the initiation of the People’s War in Peru in 1980 and we celebrate it at the same time as the International Communist Movement marches towards the proletariats new international organisation, united under Maoism.

We greet Chairman Gonzalo and the Communist Party of Peru on the historical 40th anniversary of the initiation of the People’s War in Peru. We greet the leaders, cadres, activists and masses in the Party, the People’s Army and the mass organisations. We greet the proletariat in Peru and the Peruvian masses, especially the poor peasants. We greet the International Communist Movement and each party and organisation apart of it on this historical day. 

We celebrate the People’s War in Peru and the unification of the International Communist Movement in the midst of the worst crisis of the imperialist system since the Great Depression during the 1930s, in the midst of a deadly pandemic – turned into a pandemic and mass death by the bourgeoisies mismanagement and hatred of the masses lives and well being.

The People’s War in Peru is an immortal red banner to unite around, a banner that is now raised higher and that will be raised so high that it can be seen all over the world where the proletariat and the masses who launches themselves into the struggle and resistance. The People’s War is the masses war, it is invincible, and it gives the proletariat their own military theory, valid and applicable in all countries no exceptions.

Maoism is the third and higher stage of the ideology of the proletariat, and the People’s War as the proletariats universally applicable military theory, that will say Maoism and People’s War. The two greatest gifts the Communist Party of Peru and the People’s War in Peru has bestowed to the world’s proletarians and masses.

The Communist Party of Peru was constituted on the 7th of October, 1928 under the leadership of José Carlos Mariátegui as a Marxist-Leninist party and as the Peruvian section of the Comintern. The rightists took over the Party after Mariáteguis death in early 1930. Mariátegui determined that no revolution is measured, balanced, calm or quiet, and that power is seized through the use of violence. The Party liquidated in the confusion and defenselessness under the new situation of the military dictatorship of Odria in Peru. 

In the 1950s the struggle for the reconstitution of the Party started. The struggle between the right line and the left line increased in intensity, strongly influenced by the international struggle between Marxism and revisionism, primarily symbolised by the struggle between Khrushchevite revisionism in the CPSU and the left line in the CPC led by Chairman Mao. 

In the congress of 1962 the Communist Party of Peru went in for a “compromise”, there the Party opened up for two possible roads, a peaceful road and a violent road for revolution. They were also open for that the revolution could encircle the cities from the countryside and that the countryside could be encircled by the cities. The praxis of the Party was still reformistic and election oriented even in the age of “compromise”. At this point of time started the political position of Chairman Gonzalo to creep forth so It could lay down the foundation of the red line. Chairman Gonzalo upholds the position of Chairman Mao in the struggle between Marxism and revisionism. 

The Communist Party of Peru writes that the period between 1945 and 1980 was the period for the struggle for the reconstitution of the Communist Party, and that this period is split in two. They write that the general line was established and the Communist Party was reconstituted in the second half of the period, from 1963 to 1980. They write that Chairman Gonzalo spearheaded this work by reconstituting the Party’s red fraction in an intense struggle that lasted more than 15 years. 

In this period the Party is shaken by the struggle between revisionism and Marxism, and Peru is struck by a mighty peasants movement, a magnificent wave of strikes in the working class and a higher level of struggle in the universities. Chairman Gonzalo established the red fraction in Ayacucho and ironed its understanding of the Party’s need to seize power, and that they must base themselves in Marxism. He leads a frontal assault on revisionism, which has its centre in the Soviet Union, and he upholds the position of the Communist Party of China, principally Chairman Mao’s position. He affirms that the Party must devote special attention to the countryside and the poor peasants, and also that the revolution in Peru will take the form of encircling the cities from the countryside. The Party becomes the world’s first communist party that breaks with and expels the revisionists. This happens on the Party’s fourth national conference, held in January 1964.    

Chairman Gonzalo centred the Party’s work around the countryside and started the consolidation of the Party in its Regional Committee in Ayacucho. They organised the poor people in the cities in a federation and reorganised the Revolutionary Student Front. But the Party affirms that it was of transcendental significance that Chairman Gonzalo, despite the opposition from the central leadership in the Party, organised the Regional Committee’s military work under the designation of “special work” and imposed three functions on the committee: political, military and logistics. Here he developed hard two-line struggle against the central leadership and also against numerous deviations to the military work. He also combatted the attempt to liquidate the Party into a tail for the petty bourgeoisie guerilla organisations.

During the extended meeting of the Political Bureau in September 1957, Chairman Gonzalo put forth a strategical plan for the construction of the three revolutionary weapons; the Party, the Army and the Front. He combated two right opportunist camps in the Party, the “Patria Roja”-camp and the Parades-group. The red fraction struggled against these to reconstitute the Party on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong thought and for the People’s War. The Party writes that Chairman Gonzalo now took the word for the necessity of reconstituting the Party and the expulsion of revisionism from the Party to achieve this. Further, he fought for the development of the work among the peasant masses and to construct the armed revolutionary forces. 

In May 1969 Chairman Gonzalo established the Party’s agrarian programme and in 1972 he establishes the strategical plan for the Regional Committee in Ayacucho. The Party writes that “He defeats the Right liquidationism, and in the Party two fractions remain: The red fraction fundamentally in Ayacucho, led by Chairman Gonzalo, and the “Bolshevik” fraction, acting primarily in Lima.” They write that the so-called “Bolsheviks” developed a “left”-liquidationist line and meant that it was impossible to fight under fascism, and that to have the correct line was enough. They were defeated in 1975.

After this, the Party worked to complete the reconstitution and to establish the foundations to begin the armed struggle. From 1977 the entire Party worked under the slogan “Construction serving the armed struggle!”. They struggle against the seeds of a right opportunist line that ignored the struggle of the peasant masses for land and power. These were also defeated and a number of cadres were sent to the countryside to construct regional committees and to establish the foundations for the future support bases. In 1978 Chairman Gonzalo put forth an outline for the armed struggle, where he formulated that the People’s War in Peru must take the form of a unified People’s War both in the countryside and the cities, but with the countryside as the main stage. Here he also takes consideration for the unique characteristics in Peru, the geography, social conditions and this history, as well as Peru in the context of South America, the international context and the world revolution. On the basis of this the Party went through a general reorganisation and the foundation of the construction of the three revolutionary weapons was made.

During the fourth extended plenum in June 1979 the Party decided to initiate the People’s War. The decision prevailed in a struggle first against the right opportunist line which went against the initiation of the People’s War because they claimed that the conditions were not ready for it, then in a struggle against a new rightist line that meant that the initiation was an impossible dream, and a third struggle within the left about how the People’s War should concretely be developed. The Party writes that in these struggles it was affirmed that the proletarian position was Chairman Gonzalo’s position and that the entire Party committed itself to be lead by Chairman Gonzalo.

The Party decided to prepare for the People’s War and on the 3rd of December, 1979 they adopted:

“Forge the First Company in Deeds! Let violence flourish towards the initiation and development of the armed struggle; we open with lead and offer our blood to write the new chapter of the history of the Party and of our people forging the First Company in deeds.”


Chairman Gonzalo developed the “Plan for initiation” accompanied by the slogan “Initiate the armed struggle!” and affirmed that the political tasks that needed to be done were to initiate the armed struggle, boycott the elections, promote the armed struggle to conquer the earth and establish bases for the new power. The forms of struggle were affirmed as guerrilla warfare, sabotage, propaganda and armed agitation, as well as selective liquidations. The organisational and military forms were armed groups with or without modern weapons. And there was set a date for the initiation, duration for the plan and specifications on concrete dates. The slogans that were now being put forth was “Armed Struggle!”, “A Workers’ and Peasants’ Government!” and “Down with the New Reactionary Government!”

17th of May 1980 the People’s War started in Peru: The Party wrote that: 

It “was a defiant political blow of transcendental significance, deploying rebellious red flags and hoisting hammers and sickles, that proclaimed: ‘It is right to rebel’ and ‘Power grows from the barrel of a gun.’ It summoned the people, especially the poor peasantry, to stand up in arms, to light the bonfire and to shake the Andes, to write the new history in the fields and hidden features of our tumultuous landscape, to tear down the rotten walls of the oppressive order, to conquer the summits, to storm the heavens with guns to open the new dawn. The beginnings were modest, almost without modern weapons. Combat was given, it was advanced and it was built from the small to the large and from the weak material and initial fire came the great turbulent fire and mighty roar that grows, sowing revolution and exploding into ever more impetuous People’s War.”

The Military Line

From May to December the Party worked with this milestone and solved the problems related to the initiation of the armed struggle, and how one goes from a time with peace and a time with war. The Party was militarised through actions, the Party views the “Plan for Initiation” as the key.

The Party writes that the most outstanding actions out in the field, was the guerilla actions in Ayrabamba and Aysarca (areas in Ayacucho), and the arson of the Municipal Building in San Martín (a district in Lima). The actions for election boycott in the city of Chuschi, which was the action that led to the beginning of the People’s War. In this action the ballots were burned in the city square of Chuschi.

This is how the People’s War in Peru was defined, prepared and initiated. The entire foundation was laid in an intense two-line struggle, in the struggle for the reconstitution of the Party, to combat and expel revisionism, through great plans, the work among the peasant masses and militarisation through actions. Everything through the patient leadership of Chairman Gonzalo, who himself had been to China in the midst of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, where he and other comrades were educated ideologically, politically and militarily.

For each step on the road the red fraction had to combat right opportunist and “left”-liquidationist positions and lines. It has never simply been a question of if “everyone” understood the necessity of the People’s War or when it should be initiated. It was never something that spontaneously grew from objective conditions. Each step forward happened in a struggle where the left imposed itself to prevail.

From this basis, from these struggles, the great People’s War in Peru grew. A People’s War that since 17th of May 1980 has never ended, not even for a second. A People’s War that has defied the genocidal massacres, forced sterilizations, sexual abuses, reactionary plots, extortions, threats and smear campaigns, everything enacted by the old state and its reactionary gangs.

The People’s War raised the red flag with a golden hammer and sickle over the Andes. In the midst of this Maoism was affirmed as the third and higher stage of the proletarian ideology. And the People’s War announced the strategic offensive of the proletarian world revolution, an offensive which will take new great leaps forwards, as imperialism is again shaken by its foundations by people’s struggles and encompassing crisis.

Currently there are four people’s wars that exist today, in Peru, in Turkey, in India and in the Philippines. They are the axis in the proletarian world revolution. In the international communist movement, the red banner for uniting the movement under Maoism and people’s war is being raised. This struggle started in Ayacucho, in the red fraction of the Communist Party of Peru, under the leadership of Chairman Gonzalo. 

Chairman Gonzalo still lives to this day. He has changed his prison cell on the marine base in Callao into a shining trench of Combat. He is the world’s greatest Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, leader of the Communist Party of Peru and the Peruvian revolution. 

The 17th of May, 2020 is the historical 40th anniversary of the initiation of the Peruvian People’s War. This is an important day for the entire International Communist Movement. It will be celebrated over the whole world even under a pandemic and huge economic crisis, where millions of people have been thrown into deeper distress simultaneously as their health is being worsened under imperialism’s contempt for the health and safety of the masses. 

Everyday affirms the necessity of going against the stream, that it is right to rebel, and that to be a Marxist is to be a revolutionary optimist. We know that the proletariat will be victorious, throughout all the trials and hardships, as we have seen been affirmed again and again, as we have seen it been affirmed in the People’s War in Peru.

Long live the Peruvian People’s War!

Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo! 

Unite under Maoism and the People’s War! 

Video from 2009 – It is right to rebel! 

Photos from 2018 and 2019:

Puente Piedra: PNP encuentra explosivo, bandera y panfletos de Sendero Luminoso

Action in Lima in 2018, A flag, flyers and explosives