“From Marx to Mao Tse-Tung”


The only member of the Communist Party’s Executive Committee to vote against the Party’s programme, `the British Road to Socialism’, because “the dictatorship of the proletariat was missing”. [Morning Star 9th January 1989] George Thomson was the author of “From Marx to Mao Tse-Tung” (London: China Policy Study Group, 1971).

Though written over 40 years ago, this is still a fine, if dated, introduction to a Mao-influenced Marxism-Leninism. Subtitled, “A Study in Revolutionary Dialectics “ it includes a great many quotations from Marx, Lenin, Mao and others, all arranged in a way to illustrate the overall coherence and unity of MLM theory. It was translated in many languages and received a wide circulation in the international communist movement, the first volume of three books written for the China Policy Study Group by the renowned British Marxist activist intellectual, George Thomson – From Marx to Mao Tse-Tung: A Study in Revolutionary Dialectics; Capitalism and After: The Rise and Fall of Commodity production.

This is a Marxist study of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Chinese Revolution of 1949, designed to demonstrate their unity and continuity as two successive stages in the world socialist revolution. Their common theoretical foundation is expounded by means of extensive quotations from the Marxist classics, especially the writings of Lenin and Mao Tse-tung. These enable the reader to follow the two revolutions through the minds of those who led them, and at the same time they provide him with an introduction to the basic principles of dialectical and historical materialism; for that theory can only be understood in the light of the revolutionary struggles out of which it has grown and in which it finds its fullest and clearest expression

Pdf available https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/uk.secondwave/thomson-1.pdf

THOMSON, George Derwent (1903–1987)

George was a leading academic, a Cambridge graduate, who pioneered a Marxist interpretation of Greek drama. His first scholarly commentary, published in 1932, was on the Aeschylean Prometheus Bound. His Aeschylus and Athens and Marxism and Poetry won him international attention. He became a professor at Birmingham University in 1936, the year he joined the Communist Party. Thomson had a leading role in the CPGB internal party education programme in the Forties, a member of the CPGB Cultural Committee and also it’s Executive Committee.

Sharpening of Ideological Battle in Britain by George Thomson.

He resigned from the Party in the early Fifties in protest at the British Road to Socialism, but this was not much more than an act of an individual. He was around loose anti-revisionist circles, Thompson’s musician wife Katherine Thompson worked with Ewan MacColl, another anti-revisionist communist member, and A.L.Lloyd on ‘Singing the Fish’. And Thompson continued to write and was active in the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding and other pro-Chinese societies; public lecture he gave Marxism in China Today by George Thomson.

He never lost his political beliefs and his commitment to working-class education, which included giving lectures to factory workers at Birmingham’s Austin car plant, encouraging study groups in Birmingham that saw the formation of the Birmingham Communist Association.


English translation of a paper delivered in commemoration of G. Thomson organized by the Classics Department of the University of Ioannina

His Wikipedia entry notes Thomson as “English classical scholar, Marxist philosopher, and scholar of the Irish language.”

Thomson first visited the Blasket Islands off the west coast of Ireland in 1923.He spent several years with the people of the islands studying their language, history and culture. He maintained a special study of the now extinct community in Ireland, in which he perceived elements of surviving cultural resonances with historical society prior to the development of private property as a means of production. Thomson became a champion of the Irish language, writing and translating a history of Greek philosophy up to Plato written in Irish in 1929.

Thomson went on to become professor of Greek at Galway University before moving back to England in 1934 where he continued a successful academic career, including over 30 years as professor of Greek at Birmingham University. Academically he produced a stream of publications which were informally blacklisted at Oxford University, but very widely read outside the Classics establishment in Britain, and indeed were on the syllabus of many departments of Anthropology and Sociology as well as the reading lists circulated by workers’ educational organisations.

In 1938 he published his impressive two-volume commentary on Aeschylus’ Oresteia, which still needs to be consulted by any scholar working on that text. But the work of classical scholarship with which he will always be primarily associated was his 1941 Aeschylus & Athens, a Marxist anthropological study of early Greek tragedy, published by the press most closely associated with the CPGB, Lawrence & Wishart. In 1949 he followed this with The Prehistoric Aegean, and, making a kind of ‘trilogy’ of Marxist interpretations of ancient Greek civilisation from the Bronze Age to Periclean Athens, in 1954 with The First Philosophers based on a 76 page book written in Irish for the common reader in 1932 and published in 1935 under the title: Tosnú na Feallsúnachta. source

Maggie Burns produced a study, George Thomson in Birmingham and the Blaskets 0709302339 that tells the story of his life and is illustrated with photos from Ireland, Birmingham, China and Greece.

In 2003, at the Galway Conference “Irish involvement in Greek Culture, Literature, History and Politics” organised by the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens (that included Professor Margaret Alexiou on the life and work of her father, George Thomson), the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre reminisced:

“I began to read George Thomson, a professor of Greek first at Galway and then at Birmingham and a member of the Executive Committee of the British Communist Party. He played a part, I believe, in my joining the Communist Party for a short time. In 1941, he published “Aeschylus and Athens,” which came after a history of Greek philosophy up to Plato written in Irish, entitled Tosnù na Feallsùnachta, as well as the translation of some Platonic dialogues into Irish. It was through thinking about the problems of translation involved in rendering Greek philosophy into modern languages as different as English and Irish that I had my first inklings of two truths: that different languages as used by different societies may embody different and rival conceptual schemes, and that translation from one such language to some other such language may not always be possible. There are cultures and languages-in-use that one can only inhabit by learning how to live in them as a native does. And there are theories framed in different languages-in-use whose incommensurability arises from their partial untranslatability. These were thoughts that I only developed fully some thirty-five years later in Relativism, Power and Philosophy and in Whose Justice? Which Rationality?”

Of George Thompson, it was said that “he was a noble person, he loved the people” (“Bhi se usual iseal” – Maire Guiheen).

Works by George Derwent Thomson

Aeschylus and Athens: A Study in the Social Origins of Drama . A Marxist anthropological study of early Greek tragedy, published by the publishing house most closely associated with the CPGB, Lawrence & Wishart

  • Studies in ancient Greek society 1949
  • The First Philosophers 1954
  • From Marx to Mao Tse-tung: A study in revolutionary dialectics
  • Marxism and Poetry 1946
  • The Greek language
  • Capitalism and after: The rise and fall of commodity productions
  • A manual of modern Greek
  • The Blasket that was: The story of a deserted village
  • Greek Lyric Metre
  • Os primeiros filósofos
  • Τὰ Ὁμηρικὰ Ἒπη
  • An Essay on Religion
  • Aeschylus: The Prometheus Bound y
  • La filosofía de Esquilo
  • Les premiers philosophes.
  • The human essence : the sources of science and art
  • Greek lyric metre

Ancient Philosophy and the Class Struggle | Marxism Today, February 1963, pp. 54-57

Communication | The Labour Monthly, March 1950, p. 139

Engels’ Masterpiece (Review) | The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, by Fredrick Engels

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State | The New Masses, July 22, 1941, pp. 22-23

Engels’ Masterpiece on Social Evolution (Review) | The Labour Monthly, March 1941, p. 142

The Modern Prince and Other Writings | Marxism Today, November 1957, pp. 61-62

The Flight from Reality by Hector Hawton | The Labour Monthly, April 1942, p. 128

From Lenin to Mao Tse-tung | The Monthly Review, April 1970, pp. 115-130

Greetings from Friends in Britain | The Labour Monthly, July 1961, pp. 351-354

History by V. Gordon Childe | The Labour Monthly, May 1948, p. 157

Ireland Her Own by Thomas Alfred Jackson | The Labour Monthly, March 1947, p. 95

Marxism and Spiritual Values | Marxism Today, August 1961, pp. 234-239

Class Struggles in Ancient Greece by Margaret O. Wason | The Labour Monthly, July 1947, pp. 223-226

Concerning Marxism in Linguistics by Joseph Stalin | The Labour Monthly, June 1951, p. 284

Translator, various editions:

  • The Oresteia: Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Eumenides (Penguin)
  • Prometheus Bound (Translator, some editions)
  • An Anthology of Greek Drama: First Series (Translator, some editions)
  • An Anthology of Greek Drama: Second Series (Translator, some editions)
  • Aeschylus, the Laurel Classical Drama (Translator, some editions)


To keep our red flag flying in Peru 4

Part One              Part Two              Part Three


1992 Chairman Gonzalo The People’s War Will Be Victorious, ‘You Shall See It!

1993 IEC Committee to Defend the Life of Dr. Abimael


 1995 LAB RIM Revolution or Counterrevolution

1997 MIM replies to CoRIM

1997 Luis Arce Borja RIM Clique Despicable Opportunist Chameleons





 2014 Without President Gonzalo – Extract from the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation  Commission (2014) English Edition.


 2017 OCML On People’s War in Peru, the betrayal by the leadership of the PCP and



1998- 2006 | A World To Win

A World To Win #18 (1992) http://bannedthought.net/International/RIM/AWTW/1992-18/index.htm

This special issue is devoted entirely to Peru, and especially to the capture of Chairman Gonzalo, and the worldwide protests about his treatment. Now included is the very long (43 pages) 1988 interview with Chairman Gonzalo and the 1991 statement “The Revolution Continues” by the PCP, which were not posted on the old AWTW website.

A World To Win #19 (1993) http://bannedthought.net/International/RIM/AWTW/1993-19/index.htm

A World To Win #21 (1995) http://bannedthought.net/International/RIM/AWTW/1995-21/index.htm

“Rally to the Defence of Our Red Flag Flying in Peru!” — A special issue devoted to the two line struggle within the Communist Party of Peru.

A World To Win #22 (1996) http://bannedthought.net/International/RIM/AWTW/1996-22/index.htm Includes Anti-RIM Critics from the Cyberswamp: ‘Virtual Maoism’ and Real Opportunism

A World To Win #32 (2006) http://bannedthought.net/International/RIM/AWTW/2006-32/AWTW-32-2006-compressed.pdf Includes A Sober Look at the Situation of the Peru Revolution


impose maoism

To keep our red flag flying in Peru 3

Part One             Part Two         Part Four





MLM Line Struggle concerning the struggle in the International Communist Movement on the role of Chairman Gonzalo



Documentary material on radical themes & occurrences


The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement – RIM – broke when the two-line struggle that had been raging inside the RIM was made public. The principle issues of the debate have been known for a while: the conflicting assessment of the situation in Nepal and the controversy regarding Bob Avakian’s “New Synthesis”. Surprisingly RIM had survived an earlier line struggle the previous decade that was equally significant to the international movement of the day, the political summation of the situation in Peru, the Peace Accord and the Right Opportunist Line (ROL). When PCm Italy, provided a political summation (published in Maoist Road #1) of the RIM starting with its foundation in 1984, they make it clear that the beginning of the end for the RIM was the division that was fermented in the RIM regarding the situation in Peru. It is also clear that the RCP,USA played an especially factionalizing role in the RIM, especially by organizing the CoRIM on factional lines rather than on the basis of political experience, which only hardened the divisions within the organization.

pg_discursosmallThe confusion and uncertainty that arose international, and the contested status of “Gonzalos Thought” was never really resolved and while nobody should charge chairman Gonzalo with the simplifications of many of his supporters in Peru and abroad today, the movement continues to grapple with its relationship with the imprisoned Guzman.


In hindsight, Guzman’s arrest on September 13th 1992 begun the disintegration of the organisation’s struggle. Prior to this there was speculation of when Lima would fall.

Dr. Guzman, there was a greater use of the former philosophy professor’s academic title after his military trial, and other militants, were convicted on October 7th 1992 by a military tribunal in Peru and sentenced to life in prison without parole and fined $25 billion.

Adolfo Olaecha was sadly mistaken when he commented on the capture of the leader of the Sendero Luminoso: “it is a big blow, of course, losing the Chairman. It will delay a few things, but in the end it will change nothing.”

The party had claim “strategic equilibrium” in the struggle against the Peruvian state, the arrests of the Chairman and seven members of the Central Committee, but the lack of contingency proved decisive. The loss of centralised leadership – the charismatic personality and bureaucratically dominant role of its leader – was not something the organisation could absorb and adjust as what followed was a period of confusion and political dissention and factional claims for ascendancy.

Initially supporters abroad responded with protests and mobilisation: A World to Win, magazine of the Maoist Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) published the call to

Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo!

We Need Comrade Gonzalo at His Post, in the Forefront of the Revolution in Peru and the International Communist Movement! Fight for His Liberation!

— Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, 15 September 1992


National sections of the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzmán were set up with a founding congress in Duisburg, Germany although its co-ordinating Headquarters was London, the same location for CoRIM.

IEC reached out across a broad range to publicise the imprisonment of Guzman arranging delegations to Peru, producing leaflets, petitions and pamphlets, protests and embassy pickets. A 1994 production , You must tell the world ~ told the story of Dr. Guzman’s capture and imprisonment, in a video-documentary, in Spanish with English subtitles and the international campaign which arose to defend Dr. Guzman’s life and to stand with the struggling people of Peru.

Committee Formed to Defend Abimael Guzman. Prison Legal News November, 1992 p8

Abimael Guzman (also known as Chairman Gonzalo), the leader of the Communist Party of Peru, was captured by Peruvian government troops on September 14, 1992, in Lima, Peru. Mr. Guzman had been sought by government troops since 1980, when the PCP initiated the military aspect of the current people’s war to liberate Peru. The Peruvian government has a long history of torturing and killing PCP members (real or accused) it captures [see Prison Legal News Vol. 3, Nos. 4 and 9]. The Peruvian government is ranked as the leader in human rights violations involving the murder and disappearances of anti-government activists, according to human rights groups.

It is under these circumstances that the International Committee to Defend the Life of Abimael Guzman has been formed. Mr. Guzman is to be tried by a military tribunal where he faces life without parole when he is convicted of “treason”. In April of this year the Peruvian government suspended its constitution and abolished its judiciary. Guzman will not receive anything close to a fair or impartial trial. The government had earlier filed murder and subversion charges against Guzman but the Supreme Court of Peru dismissed the charges for lack of evidence. This led to the Supreme Court being abolished, accused of being soft in the “war on subversion.”

The Committee is urgently seeking to raise funds to help pay the expenses of sending a delegation of lawyers, human rights activists, professors and religious figures to Peru to meet with government officials to ensure Guzman’s physical safety and well-being are assured.

Guzman is in poor health and suffers from serious medical problems. To date he has not been allowed to meet with his physicians. Despite his upcoming show trial he has not been allowed to meet with his lawyer. These will be issues raised with the government.

The Committee is circulating a petition requesting that Guzman not be tried before a military tribunal and that he be allowed access to his lawyers and doctors. Guzman has also demanded that he be treated in accordance with international law concerning the treatment of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War.

The Black-Hooded Justice of the Fujimori Dictatorship ~ A World To Win  #18 1992

— Statement by the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzmán on the October 7th Verdict

The “trial” and verdict of Dr Abimael Guzmán represents the trampling of internationally established treaties and conventions governing the treatment of political prisoners. The “trial” took place at break-neck speed, without the opportunity to call witnesses or present a defence. Dr Guzmán was denied the right to consult his attorney, [added text Peruvian Political Prisoners Mistreated – Copy.] All press and observers were banned and an international delegation of attorneys refused admittance. The faces of the judges and prosecutors were hidden behind black hoods. The “trial” and verdict are and must be considered null and void!

From the day of the arrest of Dr Guzmán on September 12th, the Fujimori dictatorship has had only one concern: to permanently silence the leader of the twelve-year insurgency as quickly as possible. Initially Fujimori had threatened to impose the death penalty on Dr Guzmán, though it is banned by the Peruvian Constitution. In the face of widespread opposition in Peru and worldwide, Fujimori has abandoned ideas on an official execution, but there is still every reason to fear an extra-legal execution under the cover of “escape attempt”, “suicide”, or “death by natural causes”. Details of these sordid plans have already appeared in the world press (see the Economist, 19 September).

The notorious record of the Peruvian regime for murdering political prisoners is well known and well documented, from the massacre of hundreds of prisoners at El Fronton prison in 1986 to the cold-blooded murder of more than forty women and men, unarmed prisoners at the Canto Grande prison, as recently as May of this year. International public opinion must help stop the hand of the Peruvian regime from adding Dr Guzmán to their endless list of murdered political prisoners.

The Western powers and the world media they dominate have played a despicable role in aiding and covering over the Fujimori regime. First Dr Guzmán was portrayed all over the world as a dangerous “terrorist” and the “most dangerous man on earth”, while the kangaroo “trial” was organised and every established legal principle was trampled, the “guardians of democracy” remained deafeningly silent.

Despite this worldwide orchestra of lies and hysteria, in the past three weeks a movement has developed around the world with remarkable speed against the threats to Dr Guzmán’s life. It has brought together a broad array of jurists, defenders of human rights, political activists, journalists, and many tens of thousands of ordinary people in countries on every continent. One international delegation has already been in Lima to express the worldwide opposition to this railroad and a second is now assembling there. This movement is expanding daily, and will continue to do so as long as the life, health, humane treatment and that Dr Guzmán are not guaranteed. This movement hold that Dr Guzmán must benefit from the broad international support from which imprisoned opponents of imperialism and reactionary regimes have always benefitted.

Oct 19, 1993

PCP leader gave a speech to his members calling for a peace accord and an end to the violence. Many were sceptical of this speech and either blamed the government for faking it, or forcing Guzman to make such a speech.

When news of the peace accord broke there was a tested solution: the bifurcation between a person of flesh and blood and his/her abstract intellectual contribution solved a problem for the post-Mao leadership; it could work for admirers of President Gonzalo. The man could make mistakes but Gonzalo Thought remains valid and true. However, the Gonzaloists position that emerged was to deny the weight of evidence, and declare not only the hoax of the ‘Peace Accords’ [which is valid on one level as no negotiation or settlement ever occurred] but that subsequent meetings, letters, books , court appearances and organisational developments like Movadef [The Movement for General Amnesty and National Reconciliation] were state-staged. Hence the demand for unfettered public appearance of the imprisoned Guzman to speak unencumbered. The RIM analysis that emerged was unacceptable in part because it criticised the man, raising questions about the leadership that had been raised to a mystical level in the movement. The person become a political cypher to be defended.


Going beyond a call for a peace accord, a letter signed by four of his lieutenants on Oct. 28, called on guerrillas across the nation to suspend armed actions, “making a maximum effort to avoid such acts and denouncing them roundly and immediately.” It raised the spectre that saving the life of Guzman would become the first priority taking precedence over continuing the insurgency. Most of his followers laid down their arms, but nevertheless, even after Guzman’s capture, PCP factions, notably one known as the Red Path, sought to continue the armed struggle, it appeared that a low-level guerrilla war might persist in isolated areas of Peru for years.

The inability to accept that Guzman had recalibrated his political analysis so that the actions of 1980 had not been on the wave of advance but a period of retreat indicates the dominance of the symbolism of ideology over the notion of ideology as informed by practical theory. The narrative – the ideological stream predating 1992 – was maintained at the cost of a fractured solidarity movement glorious in its sectarian isolation and irrelevance.

In September 1992 President Alberto Fujimori has ordered a propaganda campaign against groups in Europe and the United States that support Peru’s Sendero Luminoso, described as its propaganda and support network abroad. Lima newspapers published an official list of organizations and “terrorist delinquents” accused by Fujimori of representing Sendero in nine foreign countries. Peruvian officials were talking to the governments of friendly countries to see how they can be controlled and countered. In a press conference Fujimori called Guzman’s followers overseas “ambassadors of terror” identifying Luis Arce Borja and Adolfo Olaechea – both in exile, whom assumed the mantle of the leaders of the support movement for the Communist Party of Peru outside of Peruvian borders.

To counter overwhelmingly negative coverage of what was inevitably referred to as the Shining Path / Sendero Luminoso in the American and European press, the solidarity groups tried to present a counter-narrative to the mainstream media reporting. While in exile in Europe, Luis Arce Borja started publishing El Diario International (EDI), an international edition of the sympathetic Lima newspaper, joining a stable of newsletters produced by other solidarity groups.

In labelling the advocacy groups and solidarity activists, the authorities demonstrated the inability of Peruvian diplomats to counter the groups, and second, the unwillingness of host countries to shut them down. A U.S. official stated that the listed groups and people in the United States were not regarded as a problem by U.S. authorities because “as far as we know they haven’t broken any laws.”

The growth in solidarity groups post-date the imprisonment of Chairman Gonzalo; however the Peruvian government’s presentation of an international support network with its “ambassadors of terror” belies the hostility that fractured the solidarity camp with internecine fighting amongst PCP supporter factions abroad. Scathing attacks and accusation made without proof masquerading as forthright criticism and initiating line struggle in its wake. From individuals like Luis Arce Borja, and  ADOLFO OLACHEA   to the militants in Scandinavian exile in Peru People’s Movement the political attacks upon differences with comrades occurred with each organisation swearing fidelity to the PCP- but critical of other groups, each seemingly equally sectarian in outlook, all against a background of shared opposition to what one group insisted was “CIA/SIN “peace letters” hoax” and “the traitorous campaign of capitulation under the guise of “peace talks”.

The solidarity movement did not take on a mass character.

In the United States, the cause of the PCP had been embraced as an internationalist duty by the Revolutionary Communist Party, a Maoist organization that distributes books, leaflets and posters through Revolution Books, a nationwide network of radical bookstores. It was instrumental in the formation and work of the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru. There was significant overlap between the CSRP and the Revolutionary Communist Party; the organizer was RCP member, Heriberto Ocasio, a Puerto Rican-born doctor, who indicated that there are chapters in Berkeley, Chicago and New York. Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru. They produced the newsletter, Peru Action & News.

The CSRP, Headquarters in Berkeley, San Francisco, where a local press article commented: “about a dozen activists called the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru work in a small office under the eye of Mao Tse-tung, who from a poster on the wall exhorts all to follow his leadership.”

Fellow Americans, the Maoist Internationalist Movement had little regard for the “crypto-Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist Party-USA” but then were also hyper-critical of the “MPP-USA, publishers of New Flag magazine, and castigated them as a “cop outfit”:

“MIM has documented, the New Flag editor has engaged in splitting and wrecking, intelligence-gathering, forgery, double-dealing, snitch work, political inconsistencies, defense of capitulation, and defense of the CoRIM. When pieced together, these facts constitute proof that Agent Quispe is a police provocateur.” MIM replies to CoRIM, 8/6/97

In west London-based exile, Adolfo Olaechea, working first around Red Star Information Bureau and agitating by means of the Yenan Society, later grouped in the Maoist London Committee (of Supporters of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement), and settled on the Committee Sol Peru .Independently trying to represent the interests of the PCP, He enjoyed a certain prestige: regarded as a long-time (unofficial) ambassador of the PCP. Doing little to counter that impression that his actions and statements, whichever opinion one may have of them, to a certain degree reflected the standpoint of the PCP – but were not universally acknowledged not even within the marginal realm he operated. He was known for his involvement performing music in a London band called the Musical Guerrilla Army which in 1991 performed at tourist hot-spots (like Covent Garden) and concerts in such places as the Old White House in Brixton and the Emerald Centre in Hammersmith, west London. Typical lyrics were: “The people’s blood has a beautiful aroma…. Chairman Gonzalo, Light of the Masses…. The blood of the armed people nourishes the armed struggle.”

The development of the support movement in Britain was hampered by the earlier experiences that shaped the relationship between activists. There was a small and diverse collection who identified as Maoists to draw upon. Within that number was missing the orthodox anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists like the RCLB, tainted by its pro-China stance, and other groups who were now politically aligned elsewhere like the RCPB (ML) under the Albanian sway of the Internationalist trend and the CPB (ML) pro-Soviet anglocentric politics. The natural activist consistency that remain were small groups, organisations based in national minority exile communities and non-aligned individuals, amongst the Peruvian militants.

According to Olaechea:

“The representatives of the RCP USA line in this country responded to this initiative by proposing the formation of a local committee in London to support the RIM. This invitation was accepted by the revolutionaries and a series of meetings and contacts with the aim of setting up the London Supporters Committee of the RIM took place.”

Activists based in Britain proved incapable of collaborating in developing the campaign in support of the Peruvian People’s War partly because personal antagonism that were not contained and on the question of strategy there were opposing views on the 7th Congress of the Communist International, holding that the line of the United Front that emerged from this Congress was a ‘revisionist line’!

However political disagreements were aired early in the development of the support movement at the public meeting in London on November 30, 1984. This confrontation saw the International Committee of the RIM continued to function in London refusing to recognise the London Support Committee. Having the administrative centre for RIM in London may have contributed to a lower profile by activists wishing to maintain their freedom of anonymity but the lack of solidarity amongst activists contributed to lack lustre campaigning.

Luis Arce BorjaLAB

The Peruvian journalist “LAB” fled Peru, after the closing of El Diario, settled in Brussels (Belgium). Here he launched El Diario International (EDI), and where he worked with the Party of Labour, MPP-France and Co-RIM and IEC. He grew disenchanted with the working relationship and in March 1996, issued the World Mobilization Commission Call for Mobilising for Struggle, which stated:

“…The opportunist leadership of Co-RIM, is the main cause of immobilism
in the international movement of support for the People’s War in Peru.
Since October 1993 their nefarious activities have been geared to
paralysing any show of support for the People’s War and to cast doubts upon
the revolutionary condition of Chairman Gonzalo. Both bureaucratic
organisms, the Co-RIM and the IEC, are not in any way politically and
morally capable to call upon the masses and political organisations to the
defence of the Peruvian revolution.

“No working class individual would listen to or follow the calls of an
eclectic leadership who took a conciliatory position towards the police
fraud for over a year and a half and kept during that time secret relations
with the promoters of the police and capitulators’ plot abroad, a
leadership, moreover, that took steps to pigeonhole documents of the PCP.

“No political organisation abroad can take seriously the proclamations of
the International Emergency Committee (IEC), while the bureaucracy in
charge of that organism is the same bureaucracy in charge of the Co-RIM. No
one with elementary political sense would want to offer their support and
solidarity to Chairman Gonzalo if this must pass through the IEC, an
organism in whose ‘leading body,’ three individuals who are working and
coordinating actions with the Peruvian government remain….Given the
ideo-political considerations above, we issue this call to set up and
organise a WORLD WIDE MOBILISATION COMMISSION (WMC) to defend the Peruvian revolution.”

The wider response was not to rally activists in an organisation but deepen the existing divisions. As one active participant in the cyber-maoist scene recalled of the WMC

“whose creation we both supported, comrade Adolfo Oleachea being one of the initiators of the call for it and I being one of its individual endorsers, but which was later formed in a manner which I found to be quite impermissible and protested against.” Rolf Marten naturally in the summer of 1996. In years to come disillusionment set in with LAB changing perspective [ see 2006 Luis Arce Borja Remnants of a Betrayed Revolution ]

The New Flag also carried its criticism of Luis Arce Borja and Adolfo Olaechea for being two self-serving opportunists who attempt to impose their own bourgeois individualist line over the international solidarity movement. (Volume 4, No. 1, January 1997, p.45)

Internet postings saw Quispe describe El Diario Internacional as “fake” condemning “the opportunists snitches Olaechea and Arce Borja!” while asking “IS OLAECHEA A PLANT OF THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICES?” [Capitals in the original]

Co-thinkers in the Peru People’s Movement (MPP) of Switzerland were equally dismissive of the action and critical of all involved.

         “What are LAB and his World Commission of Opportunism after? Looking at this individual’s characteristics, we think LAB, together with his accomplice, the British provocateur Olaechea, aim at spreading confusion and splits between individuals and organizations that honestly support the People’s War in Peru. He focuses his attacks on the PCP-generated abroad, and mainly against the brave comrades of the MPP (USA) who exposed his treacherous position, and who at the same time, have been conducting the struggle against the opportunism of Co-RIM (mainly the “arribista” Avakian.) To this end, LAB launched the call to the World Commission of Opportunism, and gathered (in paper only) the most rotten garbage pile of revisionism (PTB) and reaction (MIM), where he would become the “maximum leader.”                                                        (March 1997)

Following the analysis by RIM that Guzman was probably the source of the “Peace Accord” the attack dogs were unleashed to repudiate such traitorous statements:

       “the Committee of the RIM (Co-RIM) have been using subterfuge and deception against the People’s War, first by remaining silent in public for about two years in the face of the blatant imperialist psychological operation against the Peruvian revolution and President Gonzalo, while subtly distributing the materials of the intelligence services, the Fujimori call for “peace negotiations” (the Fujimori line) as a “two line struggle within the PCP.” The RCP-USA has distributed these materials widely as “study packs” for a purported “investigation and analysis.” They paid no attention to the public statements and directives of the PCP’s Central Committee denouncing such CIA/Fujimori’s counterfeit materials as counterrevolutionary hoax. Co-RIM’s disguises then and now have had the same purpose: Provide credibility to the low intensity warfare carried out by the intelligence services. Co-RIM stubbornly claims: “It is clear that a struggle of two leadership has surged in the ranks of the Communist Party of Peru.” [Co-RIM’s circular, November 1994.]

The MPP and The New Flag grouping questioning the political claims advanced by RIM:

“The clique in Co-RIM and RCP-USA even attempts to negate that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the ideology of the international proletariat. They state: “People are taking up the revolutionary science of the RIM: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.” (Revolutionary Worker No. 737, December 26, 1993, center page.) People know that it was in December 1993 when the Co-RIM announced to the world it upheld Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and called it “revolutionary science of the RIM.” However, the reality is that the PCP, through the People’s War, has been upholding and applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, (principally Maoism), and its creative development Gonzalo Thought, since 1981. That is, more than 12 years before RIM! This truth cannot be suppressed any longer. (Volume 2, #1, p.14)

On weaker grounds, loyalists advanced a defence of Great Leadership inherent in their positions on Gonzalo Thought asking whether they were to “spread the same old story of “authoritarianism” or “personality cult”? The position was consistently held:

      “To us, Chairman Gonzalo is the Great Leadership of our revolution in Peru, center of Party unity and guarantee of triumph until communism, because he is a Great Leadership based on Gonzalo Thought, the creative application of Maoism to our reality in Peru – based on the whole practical experience of our revolution. It is not, and it has never been the PCP’s position that Gonzalo Thought has universal validity. However, we do insist that 1) Chairman Gonzalo and Gonzalo Thought have had, and continue to have today, a decisive role of undeniable importance in the struggle to defend and apply the principles of Maoism and impose it on world level and 2) Chairman Gonzalo and Gonzalo Thought give contributions to Marxism, like the militarization of the Communist Parties, and “we consider this experience to have universal validity, which is why it is a demand and a necessity that the Communist Parties of the world be militarized”. – Main speech of the Peru People’s Movement at the International conference in Madrid, October 27 2012


The response of RIM was a public polemical piece naming its critics, refuting the “campaign of vicious attacks” by a “the hard core … anti-RIM cabal includes Luis Arce Borja, a Peruvian exile who edits El Diario Internacional, published in Belgium; Adolfo Olaechea, a close ally of Arce, who distributes his publications on the Internet and usually signs himself as the Committee Sol Peru, London; New Flag, an occasional magazine also edited by a Peruvian exile, which comes out in New York City; and a small group in the US called the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), which,   despite its name, has nothing to do with RIM. There are a few other groups and individuals scattered around Western Europe and North America who are more loosely associated with this hard core.”   A World To Win (#22, December 1996)

In publishing an article attacking its critics, RIM was drawing lines of demarcation and distancing themselves from what they saw as disruptive fringe elements that had not contribute to building solidarity or support. Those elements were amongst the most vocal in raising the issue of the imprisonment of Guzman.

The response to “Anti-RIM Critics from the Cyberswamp: ‘Virtual Maoism’ and Real Opportunism” from this “hard core” included the observation that demonstrated how divided the potential solidarity forces were, or as RIM described it: “Even while joining   forces to attack RIM, they savagely turn on each other from time to time like crabs scrabbling to be top of the heap.” The invective could be entertaining even if not effective in resolution of the disagreements.

        “Voina’s statement that “There are in fact no PCP representatives abroad at this time” is actually a stunning admission. If there are no PCP representatives abroad, then that only serves to underscore how the RCP/CoRIM have sought to take advantage of the arrest of Gonzalo to put new organizations in place in Europe to replace those sanctioned while Gonzalo was still free, namely the El Diario of Luis Arce Borja. We instead choose to rally around what was already in place before the arrest of Gonzalo. The RCP/CoRIM’s attempts to do otherwise are a continuation of the split-and-wreck activities that the Peruvian police initiated.”

Accusations continued to fly through cyberspace with the Peru People’s Movement arguing that:

      “The RCP attempted to fool international public opinion by presenting themselves as “defending the life of Doctor Abimael Guzman” while simultaneously distributing propaganda in favor of the reactionary call for “peace negotiations.”

The Yankee revisionists, in special those infiltrated in the leadership of MIM and the RCP-USA, believed that they could fool people; these mercenaries believed that the masses of poor and oppressed people are easy to deceive. They believed that they could actively promote “peace negotiations”, presenting President Gonzalo as a traitor capitulating, and distributing counter-revolutionary propaganda, all under the phony cover of “investigating”, upholding the bourgeois sophistry of “peace negotiations are not always bad”, and manipulating “defend the life of Dr. Guzman” for their own selfish interests (collecting money, showing off as “radical revolutionaries”) and thus trafficking with the revolutionary feelings of the masses.”

However the effectiveness and impact of such charges was questionable, not only for the lack of evidenced argument and consistency, but the opposition to RIM was so divided amongst itself, indulging in sectarian rhetoric, hitting out in all directions, creating a confusion that substantiating RIM’s original charges, as missives and counter-charges continued to appear in the warp cyber space they operated.

           “Some individuals in Europe use the fight against the opportunists of Co-RIM as a Trojan horse to advance individualistic ideas that are nothing more than revisionist trash. Others follow the Co-RIM to sustain that the two line struggle undertaking by the Party amongst the masses in the midst of the armed struggle is principally the issue of “peace talks” and not the Conquest of Power and the smashing of imperialism and the genocidal regime. That’s also right opportunism. Both are the two sides of the same coin that must be combated based on the principle of Unity-Struggle-Transformation.”               The Revolutionary Storm in a CO-RIM teacup. Marxmail List May 10 1996

Both the Peru People’s Movement (PPM) and their support organization in the US, the New Peru Friendship Association, USA, criticized both the Revolutionary Communist Party and later the Kasama Project, operative from 2007-2015, and took the attitude that there is no organized movement for the US proletariat at the time.

However, the PPM has continued to support both Guzmán and the “people’s war.” Guzmán had called for an end to the people’s war and condemn those who continue it as ‘mercenaries for criminal organizations.’ This is totally inconsistent with the stand that the PPM has taken. So if El Diario had it right, to support the people’s war was to support the People’s Guerilla Army that meant supporting Quispe and his leadership even though have made little if any contact with the outside world?

When the Peru People’s Movement claimed representative status, describing itself as generated organization of the PCP for the Party work abroad, the questions was raised whether : “The homepage “solrojo.org” and the Swedish “maoistiskforum.org” publish documents from a “central committee” that does not exist”

      “The writers behind the website SR36_frontSol Rojo – http://www.redsun.org/ – and produce Red Sun Magazine – mainly in Spanish with English translations – pretend to have a functioning central committee fighting for the political line chaired by President Gonzalo. In statement after statement, they have stated that the People’s War is strong and that the party leadership works satisfactorily. That way, people in Peru wonder as “waiting for the party to come back” instead of taking up the struggle to rebuild the party. The conclusion was “Through these lies, the website solrojo.org is politically entirely in the service of US imperialism and the Peruvian reaction.”

The Peru People’s Movement doubted all, operating in the sphere of cybermaoism oblivious to what occurs IRL. Their analysis reflects a blinkered sectarianism at odds with the verifiable evidence at hand so condemned the activities of Guzman’s legal representative as part of the hoax that enveloped the imprisoned leader.


         With the collaboration of the rats of the ROL and through a supposed replacement of the scoundrel so-called lawyer Crespo, they have appointed another lawyer, one Carl Peter Erlinder, for the “defense” of Chairman Gonzalo in the Interamerican Human Rights Court. As the masses and the people know, the felon Crespo is today the head of the plan for “amnesty” and an electoral cretin. With these “visits” and with this new lawyer, they aim to wipe themselves clean, to say that the Chairman is sick, among other sophisms and lies, to continue to avoid the public presentation and go on with the hoax of the “peace accords”, a hoax that has been blown to a thousand pieces over and over again by the very development of the people’s war led by the CC of the PCP……, when we celebrate the birthdays of Chairman Mao and Chairman Gonzalo, we take position and say to imperialism, reaction and revisionism, that …….., that once more their tricks shall be crushed and disemboweled; we reaffirm ourselves in that no matter how many farces and malicious stories they invent, no matter how much they want to lead the masses away from the road of the revolution and the people’s war, the people and the class are clear: only with Communist Parties of a new type, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, militarized, that all-embracingly lead people’s wars without wavering in the principles, will we reach the society without classes, the golden communism.                       PPM December 26, 2013

The more marginal the existence, the more hectoring and grandiose the propaganda claims produced, the more insistent on the entitlement to leadership was made and maintained. The position is that:

    It is necessary that each Party and organization analyze and synthesize not only their internal struggles, their whole history of crushing revisionist lines within their ranks, but also that they take position on the history of the struggle within the ICM and the RIM. As part of this process, we point out that the main problem of the RIM has been the problems of the leadership, that is the CoRIM and the hegemonist positions and the destructive role of the RCP (USA) in it. We reject the obscure work of the RCP and its followers to isolate and slander the PCP and its Great leadership Chairman Gonzalo, and their collusion with imperialism and reaction in spreading the hoax of the “peace accords” in Peru. The campaign of isolation against the PCP and its Great leadership, that continues to have repercussions today, objectively forms part of the plans of imperialism, mainly yankee imperialism, against the revolution in Peru. One may agree with the positions of the PCP or not, but what the communists of the world must do today to combat this reactionary plan is to recognize the leadership of the PCP, its Central Committee and the whole Party, that today continues leading the people’s war under difficult circumstances, applying Gonzalo thought.


On Gonzalo thought unproven claims abound,

“In the application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism, to the reality on a world scale and within each country, it is necessary to refer to what is now the spearhead of the international communist movement: the Communist Party of Peru and the Gonzalo Thought. The elements of the Gonzalo thought are finding verification in the theoretical and practical advances of Maoist parties and organizations. The “critical assimilation” of them is a necessary condition for the application of Maoism to today’s reality.”

There is also a fundamental question raised by, amongst others, Jose Maria Sison, and repeated in his 2019 interviewed on the 50th Anniversary of Communist Party of the Philippines:

“The CPP has opposed the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) seeking to impose the principle of democratic centralism on communist parties in violation of the principle of equality and independence among them.

At the same time, RIM exaggerated the status and role of the RCPUSA. Since the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943, communist and workers’ parties have become equal to each other and independent from each other.

There has been no Comintern Executive Committee to treat them as national sections of a world party.”

Others from within the broadly defined international communist movement have also raised criticisms and objections of the paean of praise e,g Stefan Engel of the MLPD. The contributions of Chairman Gonzalo, uncritically evaluated (the revolution in Peru had lost momentum), presented as a Universalist checklist, divorced from analysis of concrete conditions, means what can be applicable can be lost in a mantra of learnt reiteration unthinkingly repeated and lifeless in homages in anniversary speeches. If the contribution of Guzman seems ill-served by those who praise him, former advocates, long spun out of any Maoist orbit with its advocacy of the “new synthesis”, had their own AVAKARIANIST view of the developments:

“These past fourteen years have seen major developments, including the collapse of RIM itself. Not only are some of the forces previously united in RIM now sharply opposed to each other, the previous understanding of revolutionary communism itself has, to borrow Mao Zedong’s term, “divided into two”. One strand of the old Maoism has wound up in a social-democratic liquidation of the core revolutionary principles of Marxism, exemplified tragically in the capitulation of the Maoist leadership in Nepal and the termination of the revolutionary war there. Others from the previous MLM movement are stuck in a dogmatist, religious-like upholding of sterile “Maoist” formulas that are equally devoid of revolutionary content. In opposition to this, Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism has fully emerged, rescuing the scientific kernel of communism while criticizing and repudiating those secondary aspects in the past understanding and actions of communists that have actually gone against communism’s liberatory nature.”

— Editorial: Introducing a transformed AWTWNS on http://aworldtowinns.co.uk/

What can be said concerning the struggle in, what consisted itself, the International Communist Movement on the role of Chairman Gonzalo was that it was inconclusive, failing to address some of the issues raised in the theory and practice of the Peruvian revolution. It continues to provoke responses as the Steering Committee of the French organisation OCML-Voie Prolétarienne   [Marxist-Leninist Communist Organisation – Proletarian Way] noted in May 1990 expressing support for the Communist Party of Peru because the positive aspects by far outweigh the reservations and criticisms we are duty bound to raise.” When such reservations were critically raised in its 2017 article “On People’s War in Peru, the betrayal by the leadership of the PCP and the capitulation of Gonzalo”, they argued:  “The way we understand the world is guided by dialectical materialism, not romantic idealism!”

An unrelated posting (in August 2018) by frequent commentator on the Democracy & Class Struggle website, Harsh Thakor, Resurrecting Flame of  Gonzalo Thought and Peruvian Peoples War, provides a brief survey of some elements that contributed to the reversal in fortune for the Communist Party of Peru at the end of the last century. He begins by stating that:

No doubt Chairman Gonzalo is the greatest Marxist-Leninist-Maoist leader after Chairman Mao…… I disagree it was Gonzalo who wrote the peace letters in Jail after 1992….

In September 2018 a joint declaration from a dozen organisations entitled “In defence of the life of Chairman Gonzalo, hoist higher the flag of Maoism!” stated accurately that:

“RIM was liquidated by revisionism’s handling of the two-line struggle. The maneuver of Avakian was, to state – as a starting point of his “criticism” of the second Right Opportunist Line, revisionist and capitulationist, in Peru – that supposedly “the author would not matter, only the line”, which precisely led to centering the debate on who “the author” was. Or did this miserable not know that the communists of the world would rise when their Great Leadership was questioned? This is how the two-line struggle was derailed. The Problem for the left in the ICM was the hard and complex situation in which the PCP entered after the arrest of Chairman Gonzalo.”


P.S. Gonzalo and Ultra-left deviation

Recent argument on the internet have focused less on Gonzalo/Guzman and more on those who raise the banner of Gonzalo Thought and how they interpret and what applies in their struggles. It started with an article on the Norwegian blog MLM thoughts commenting on the demise of a small American activist group, raising criticisms of political puritanism and encompassed the position that nobody should charge Chairman Gonzalo with the simplifications of many of his supporters in Peru and abroad. So what it initiated was polemical exchanges on the understanding of the contribution of Chairman Gonzalo and the interpretation and application by some of those activists who identified and support that contribution e.g  maosite1917 with counter thesis from the US Red Guard associate, Struggle Sessions. See political puritanism




To keep our red flag flying in Peru: 2 Chronology

To fly our red flag in Peru 2: Chronology
1980 The PCP , referred to as the Shining Path began military operations in Ayacucho (May)
1982 PCP declaration that Maoism was a new stage of the ideology of the proletariat


1986 PCP inmates riot in Lima prisons; military kills 287
1992 PCP prisoners uprising in the Canto Grande prison. In May of 1992 the Peruvian government stormed the Canto Grande maximum security prison killing and wounding dozens of PCP prisoners; many were killed after surrendering to government forces (May)
1992 On July 16, 1992, PCP guerrillas detonated a car bomb in Lima’s district of Miraflores, killing 25 and injuring dozens known as. The Tarata bombing.
1992 On September 12, 1992, El Grupo Especial de Inteligencia (GEIN) captured Guzmán and several Shining Path leaders in an apartment above a dance studio in the Surquillo district of Lima.

(October) “Sentenced to life imprisonment” by a military court in a summary trial shortly after his arrest. Guzmán to serve his term in solitary confinement in a specially built naval prison in El Callao, west of Lima.

When he was exhibited in a cage by those who had captured him two weeks earlier, Guzman Supporters of maintaining PPW reaffirm, as the international Maoist movement has always affirmed, that the last valid instructions of Chairman Gonzalo concerning the People’s War in Peru are those given in his speech from where he was caged on September 24, 1992. In this he affirmed the need to continue and intensify the People’s War, and he stated that his arrest did not constitute a defeat but just a bend in the road.


“The People’s War Will Be Victorious, ‘You Shall See It!'” Speech from Headquarters of the Anti-terrorist Police of Peru, September 24, 1992

1992 The International Committee to Defend the Life of Abimael Guzman formed (November)

The mobilizing cry was: Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo!

We Need Comrade Gonzalo at His Post, in the Forefront of the Revolution in Peru and the International Communist Movement! Fight for His Liberation!

1992 On October 20, 1992, in the prison on El Frontón Island, Guzmán asked the Navy officers guarding him to tell the government that he wanted to begin peace negotiations. (October)
1993 Oct 19, in prison Sendero leader Guzman gave a speech to imprisoned PCP militants calling for a peace accord and an end to the violence. Outside many people were sceptical of this speech and senderistas blamed the government for forcing Guzman to make such a speech as a reactionary hoax of psychological warfare.

“Take Up and Fight for the New Decision and the New Definition” [Asumir – Combatir por la Nueva Decision y Nueva Definicion or Asumir in Spanish].

1993 Revolutionary Internationalist Movement in 1993 adopting Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. (December)




Other PCP leaders, after meeting Guzman, wrote Letters going beyond a call for a peace accord, in a letter, signed by four of his lieutenants on Oct. 28, called on guerrillas across the nation to suspend armed actions, “making a maximum effort to avoid such acts and denouncing them roundly and immediately.”

Public emergence of so-called Peace Accord condemned as revisionist and capitulationist ROL, Right Opportunist Line, by those who rejected the thesis that the author of the political line advocating the quest for a peace agreement was Chairman Gonzalo himself. (October 1993)

Comment: in any revolutionary movement is it not standing orders that those outside should reject the proposal made by the imprisoned party leaders. That rank is lost when captured?

Some PCP-SL supporters abroad spread the attitude that the most serious problem was not the peace accords line but those who refused to accept the “hoax” theory. That there wasn’t a two line struggle within the PCP as the Right Opportunist Line went against all the party had previously taught and acted upon.

Imprisoned PCP leaders supported the initiative started by “President Gonzalo” and his partner, Elena Iparraguirre:

“As militants of the Communist Party of Peru, subject to its leadership and the Central

Committee, and with full awareness and understanding of the undeniable historic need, we support the letters written by President Gonzalo and Comrade Miriam that were sent to the President of the Republic, Engineer Alberto Fujimori Fujimori, asking him to reach a Peace Accord whose application would end the war that the country has lived through for more than thirteen years. We accept this petition as our own and reiterate it.”

Two-line struggle forced a schism within the PCP-SL divided into three groups: prisoners and activists who followed Guzman and see the war as a glorious but finished, with large parts of the organization acceding to the call for peace talks, due to the arrest of the central committee; there are those in the Jungle Huallaga and are led by Artemio and others located in the Apurimac Ene River Valley (VRAE) and are led by “Joseph”, Víctor Quispe Palomino. Those headed by Joseph in the VRAE, eventually reject the authority of Guzman or the PCP. Sometimes referred to as the Left Opportunist line. Whereas Artemio, proclaiming loyalty to the pre1992 positions and writings of Guzman, including his speech from the cage.

1994 Some 6,000 “Shining Path guerrillas” surrender to the authorities.
1995 The Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (CoRIM) issued a call to “Rally to the Defence of Our Red Flag Flying in Peru!”

This call made public the conclusions of a investigation and study of the two-line struggle in the PCP and put forward support for the Central Committee of the PCP in carrying forward the People’s War and its opposition to the call for a peace accord which would have “represented a compromise of the fundamental interests of the people and an abandonment of the People’s War and the revolutionary road.”

1995 Magie Clavo Peralta, a.k.a.”Nancy” arrested March 22, 1995. In September, TV broadcasted an interview with Clavo from inside her cell. In that interview she issued a call to “struggle for the peace agreement,” denouncing the leaders of the People’s War as “traitors and usurpers.” Simultaneously, Clavo “self-criticised” her former position, and also alleged having “met with Chairman Gonzalo.”

Guzmán sent a message to militants by way of his father-in-law, Carlos La Torre Cassrdenas, who lived in Sweden, proclaiming Clavo’s change of position as “a success of the Party, of the proletariat line led by President Gonzalo and the Central Committee,” and calling for “the Party to officially and publicly ask the government to begin direct talks.

1995 Peru grants amnesty for members of the police and military implicated in human rights abuses since 1980
1999 José and Raul Quispe brothers, staged a coup in July 1999 and take over the PCP VRAE-based Central Committee.

This “left opportunistic line” is condemned ~ “which handed over to the reactionary Armed Forces the Central Committee responsible and other of its members in July 1999, headed by the Quispe Palomino clan, true” warlords” and which usurping part of the Main Party Committee had established their “own fiefdom” and with the pretext of carrying out a “national resistance war” they capitulate to imperialism, the great bourgeoisie and landlords.”

1999 Feliciano was arrested in 1999. Oscar Ramirez (Comrade Feliciano, who assumed party leadership after Gonzalo’s capture), was a key leader of the opposition to the peace accords line.

In a letter to Peru’s president and in court in May 2004, Oscar Ramirez said he had decided that Peru’s present “democracy is the best system” and that it had been wrong to launch a revolutionary war in the first place, criticising Chairman Gonzalo more for that rather than for calling a halt to it.

2002 The demands raised by CSRP are:





2002 Peruvian authorities accuse exiled former president Alberto Fujimori of treason.

Former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos sentenced to nine years in prison for corruption. (July)

2003 Vladimiro Montesinos sentenced to further five and eight-year jail sentences for abuse of power, embezzlement (March-May)
2003 Guzmán’s conviction was overturned by a constitutional court
2003 Truth and Reconciliation commission report published
2006 Guzman retried by a civilian court that likewise sentenced him to life in prison
2006 The last issue of A WORLD TO WIN #32   (2006)   carried the most extensive explanation from the RCP,USA dominated RIM, including its analysis of the two line struggle ;

Sober Look at the Situation of the Peru Revolution and Its Needs.

“Chairman Gonzalo’s conduct in the course of this current trial has added even greater weight to the serious and concurring evidence from many different sources over the years that he is very likely to have been the source of the call to end the war.”

2006 Letters received in April 2006 by prominent supporters of the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Abimael Guzman (IEC) abroad, signed by Crespo and Iparraguirre, repeated references, written in other correspondence and statements over the years, to “the strategic turn and the political solution that we had been proposing since ‘92”.

While the Shining Path had carried out scattered attacks since 2000, the organization’s threat to the state was much diminished. In 2006, the guerrillas’ ranks were estimated at 300 members and located in remote rural Peru.

2009 Former President Alberto Fujimori is sentenced to 25 years in jail for ordering killings and kidnappings by security forces. (April)
2009 De Puno y Letra, its title has a double meaning of both “Handwritten” and “By Word and Fist,” written by Abimael Guzmán compiled by Elena Iparraguirre, and smuggled out of prison.

Iparraguirre, 62, serving a life sentence said that “war behind us” and Guzman now seeks “a political solution to the problems of people’s war, the general amnesty and national reconciliation.”

Publication of this book was on the seventeenth anniversary of his capture (12 September 1992), in an edition of 1,000 copies. This book contains 408 pages of documents, part of his autobiography and his legal defense, a defense politically conceived, and included are the letters he sent to former President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) requesting the start of “peace talks”. (October)

2010 Guzmán was finally allowed to marry his longtime lover and former high-ranking member Elena Iparraguirre


2011 Guzman’s lawyers submitted 360,000 signatures to register as a new political party, Movadef. The Movement for General Amnesty and National Reconciliation that calls for the release of Guzman. The electoral authority denied the registration on the grounds the organization advocated terrorism.
2012 Soldiers capture the last Central Committee member Comrade Artemio, who was badly injured in fighting with government forces. Artemio, 50, whose given name was Florindo Eleuterio Flores-Hala operated out of the Upper Huallaga Valley.

“Artemio wanted a truce and a general amnesty for both sides, he told us. After 30 years of armed struggle he would be prepared to sit down with the government of the Peruvian president, Ollanta Humala, and negotiate a unilateral ceasefire. “We just want to do political work, we’d keep a small force for our defence and we would not attack as long as we’re not attacked. .. the sticking point is his demand for the release of the Shining Path’s supreme leader, Guzman .” (The Guardian December 8th 2011)

2013 Artemio was sentenced to life in prison
2014 MOVADEF is not supported by all those who self-identify as supporters of the Peruvian revolution.

“The Movement for General Amnesty and National Reconciliation (MOVADEF) is an organization set up by the right opportunist line (ROL). The ROL is composed of former members of the PCP who rejected the prolonged People’s War and called for disarmament; they are the liquidators of the People’s War. The ROL generated MOVADEF thanks to the work and support of the SIN. The only lawyer associated with Chairman Gonzalo today heads MOVADEF. MOVADEF is directly a tool set up and put in place by the imperialists in their counterinsurgency program.”

PCM: To defend the life of Chairman Gonzalo is to defend Maoism! October 25, 2017

Finally, the reaction with the ROL´s help infiltrated an agent in the PPM – Peru People´s Movement – and tried to usurp it, but after a long struggle the reaction was crushed, denounced and condemned, it has only been able to usurp the “red sun” website, from where they are trying generate confusion regarding the task that corresponds to the Communists in Peru, cynically repeating that it represents a supposed “Central Committee” and their “Regional committees”. They even have the nerve to publish the “actions” made by rats of the ROL in the Huallaga that are to pressure for better surrendering conditions and the “actions” of ROL headed by “the rat Jose”, as actions of the CPP. This aims to show a false CPP, the non-existence of leadership problems, etc.., this means blinding the eyes of the revolutionary. All a reactionary hoax of psychological warfare in order to prevent the completion of the pending task of the general reorganization of the CPP and prevent the people´s war from conquering new heights overcoming definitively the inflection and the bend on the road.



2017 Guzman speaks out when in court again over the Tarata bombing trial. (June)

Jailed former president Alberto Fujimori is pardoned on health grounds, prompting protests. (December)


To keep our red flag flying in Peru





MLM Line Struggle concerning the struggle in the International Communist Movement on the role of Chairman Gonzalo



Documentary material on radical themes & occurrences



The inspirational struggle unleashed in Peru last century still reverberates, and for all its complexities, it generates debate and confrontations that shape contemporary revolutionary politics. The Communist Party of Peru were commonly referred to as the Shining Path. That struggle did not begin with its armed phase in 1980, nor 1970 when independent of the Communist Party of Peru — Bandera Roja (red flag), itself formed in 1964, from a split in the revisionist Peruvian Communist Party. Its origins and period of preparation contain valuable experiences to draw upon, however these postings singularly focus on exploring the contentious evaluation of the role of the imprisoned Chairman Gonzalo. Using participants’ contributions, it illustrates the issues and positions that set the polemical texture as they sought “to keep our red flag flying in Peru.”

In a sense, the international communist movement had had a Peruvian shadow, having to address questions it raised. The 21st century legacy of the armed struggle initiated in the remote countryside of Peru in 1980 was that it raised major questions for revolutionaries throughout the world.

  • It raised the ideological threshold for what constituted Mao’s contribution
  • It suggested a Peruvian template for preparation and laying the foundations for a higher stage of struggle
  • It renew consideration of what constituted the strategic line of protracted people’s war
  • It provided a contentious model of a militarised party organisation
  • It evaluated the idea of leadership with the concept of Guiding Thought
  • It tangentially inspired a minor Third wordlist/Lin Biaoist revival
  • In its disintegration it provides assessment and evaluation to correct the practice of ongoing struggles

To keep our red flag flying in Peru: Word & Web (Part one) 

preidente gonzalo

Access to the writings from the revolution launched in 1980 for an English language audience was limited until two avenues allowed for a wider distribution of translated material. Prior to these developments, small groups of sympathisers and internationalists had to seek out information about the struggle in Peru from specialist outlets and marginal groups, with the development of alternatives lines of communication information was democratised in the access and availability to an interested audience. These were the magazine A World To Win which published statements  issued by the Communist Party of Peru and the emergence of an internet presence in 1996.


It was relatively late into the struggle that translated printed material became available to a wider audience outside that of the academics and Spanish-speaking activists.

Luis Arce Borja – from El Diario Internacional published in 1989 [reprinting in 1994] the Spanish language volume, Guerra Populae en el Peru, El Pensamiento Gonzalo that collected the most important works of the CPP however some important text like the 1988 El Diario’s Interview of Chairman Gonzalo was missing from the selection, however it was circulated in pamphlet form. It was published by Committee to Support Revolution in Peru, Berkeley (1991). An earlier 156-paged English translation was produced (1989) by Red Banner Editorial House by the People’s Movement Peru of France but had a limited distribution. Likewise with the compilation CPP and Mao Tsetung published in December 1987 – the 95 paged booklet printed in the house-style using red ink.

The London-based Committee Sol Peru had Adolofo Olaechea translate a lecture given by Chairman Gonzalo and published in 1991 the pamphlet, “On the Rectification Campaign based on the study of the document ‘No to Elections! Yes to people’s War!”.

The American solidarity group, the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru, published English translations of Develop Guerrilla Warfare issued nearly two years after the initiation of the armed struggle in May 1980, and Don’t Vote! issued in 1985 prior to the Peruvian elections. It was not until 2016, that the Utrecht-based Foreign Language Press publishing house produced the first volume of the Collected Works of the Communist Party of Peru covering the years 1968-1987. Three subsequent English-language volumes were planned. The associated website Redspark has the online access at http://library.redspark.nu/Communist_Party_of_Peru.

Promoted as the foremost MLM theoretician, Dr. Abimael Guzman Reynoso, was better known (before his arrest) by his nom de guerre President Gonzalo, chairman of the Central Committee of the CPP. Here Gonzalo Though was described as “the creative application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in Peru, and is, so far, the greatest attempt to develop the fourth stage of Marxism.”

While Redspark notes that “All writings of Communist Party of Peru between 1968 to 1992 are attributed to Chairman Gonzalo” since his arrest there have been internet statements and English-language pamphlets attributed to the Communist Party of Peru. Those produced by Ediciones Bandera Roja, and Français textes de langague are available from Les Éditions Soleil Rouge at http://www.bibliomarxiste.net/documents/perou/.

With “The Andes Roar” in its first issue in 1985, the RIM associated magazine, A World to Win, carried news, statements and commentary on the PCP up until its last edition in 2006. In print, this source was, as explored in part three, not so much as supplementary, but  more contentious in relationship with small circulation newsletters of the various solidarity organisations – New Flag in the USA, the London-based Committee Sol Peru, Borca’s Brussels relaunch of El Diario International (EDI), the Spanish and English language editions of MPP’s Sol Rojo / Red Sun. Especially when much of this solidarity material migrated to find expression on sympathetic websites. A World to Win , the bulletin of the IEC and Peru Action and News were produced by the same stable of activists and publication ended when the patronage of the RCP, USA was eventually withdrawn.

A contemporary feature arose as a distinctly international Gonzaloist trend is now coalescing based partly on a common position expressed in the joint statement , Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo ( Dec 31st, 2013) issued to mark the 21th anniversary of the speech, pronounced from a cage:

prof-ab“In all these years, we have never given up the defense of this speech and of Chairman Gonzalo, the support to the PCP, and even today, while the People’s War in Peru suffers a phase of flexure and the Party struggles to overcome it, we support the Peruvian comrades who in Peru and abroad carry on the ideology and practice and the line of the People’s War pointed out by Chairman Gonzalo, as established in the 1st Congress of the Party”

However this trend does not embrace all who express support in defence of Gonzalo as theoretician of Maoism, as is the position of Marxist Leninist Maoist Center of Belgium, and Communist Party of France (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist), co-publishers of the online journal, Communism.

And there has been the recent appearance of PPM (RC) in opposition to Red Sun magazine of the Peru People’s Movement.

Among the multitude of English language websites providing news of the struggle in Peru, the question of authorial authenticity for pronouncements attributed to the Communist Party of Peru was far from settled.


Following Guzman’s capture, supporters created the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr. Abimael Guzman (IEC) to raise awareness of his condition as a political prisoner with good reason given the Peruvian state’s murder of Sendero Luminoso prisoners.

The emergence in April 1996 of a website associated with a US –based solidarity group, New Flag meant that official documents of the Communist Party of Peru became instantly accessible worldwide, and distributors and readers would not risk reprisals. It provided a means to combat the state’s psychological warfare. What was publicised on the site showed that Party documents confirm, for instance, that the spokespeople for the PCP believed that Guzman’s letters and videoed TV appearance in 1993 — when, in an extraordinary jail cell volte face, he appeared to admit defeat and call for peace talks — were an elaborate hoax.

An interested author observed of a visit to the (now defunct) website http://www.blythe.org/peru-pcp

“Portraits of Marx, Lenin and Mao emerged like faded ghosts on to my aged black-and-white screen. Five buttons offered routes to “Frequently Asked Questions” about the “People’s War”, as well as to the party’s documents in Spanish and English, to back issues of New Flag and information on “President Gonzalo” — the nom de guerre of Shining Path’s founder and leader, Abimael Guzman.”  [Simon Strong, Shining Path wages flame war. Financial Times, London: May 13 1996 p. 13]

This site emerged as an alternative source of information (and analysis) to the established Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru (CSRP) based in Berkeley, California, publishers of Peru Action & News and seen as a front for the RCP, USA headed by Robert Avakian.poster

While not an official site as such, Maura Conway’s study noted it had the aura of a “quasi-official nature…founded and maintained by supporters who appear to have no direct ties to the groups for whom they cheerlead.” [Maura Conway | Terrorist Web Sites: Their Contents, Functioning, and Effectiveness in Philip Seib (Ed.), Terrorism and the Media. New York: Palgrave (2005).]

Sympathizing Websites

As noted above, over the years, there have been a proliferation of Sendero related websites. There used to be just two. As internal disputes developed the dynamics of the Internet let many flowers bloom however some information and documents scanned were put on line by, say the « Maoist Document Project », on a website that does not exist anymore. There is an archive afterlife for some like the Maoist Internationalist Movement, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The CSRP site contained a section for ‘Documents of the Communist Party of Peru,’ which included numerous reports and declarations of the Central Committee, and issues of its own publication Peru Action and News, earliest available issue dated from summer 1997. Each newsletter was six to ten pages in length and contained political commentary, statements of the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru (CSRP), news, and other information.

The site also had a large section devoted to the activities of the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr. Abimael Guzmán (IEC) which contained reports, conference proceedings, published advertisements, leaflets, and emergency bulletins, while elsewhere on the site the text of Dr. Guzmán’s 1992 ‘Speech from a Cage’ was reproduced along with accompanying photographs.

Elsewhere on the Net in the 1990s, solidarity activists engage in flame wars — verbal lacerations — that range from the farcical to the deadly. These occur mainly on high-volume Marxism discussion lists managed from the University of Virginia in the US.

“Harriet” , one of the main protagonists  signed her letters with his real name, Peruvian exile Adolfo Olaechea. According to Olaechea — who in absentia has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Peru — his country’s intelligence service participates, too. “They have used an account in Germany to send death threats in my name to try to create rifts.”

The high-velocity Net communication  fanned endless splits among PCP’s international supporters and still to be found on mail archive sites are the contributions and acrimonious exchange on Marxism-General list dating from the mid-1990s onwards.

In September 1992, the Peruvian government issued a list of 49 people (many labelled “terrorist criminals”) and 39 organizations network in the United States and Europe As reported Lyndon LaRouche. What it did not discuss in its accompanying commentary on alleged PCP militants, highlighting the overall importance of the Paris-based exiles, were the animosity between the various individuals and often competing organisations. A major analytical flaw was in the assertion that the PCP “actually leads the RIM” whereas the dominance of the RCP USA was shortly to be clearly demonstrated.

One group of supporters abroad the (PPM) Peru People’s Movement’s claim the status of the only generated organ for the party work abroad, with the authority to be able to centralize any kind of support, or materialize a support work for the People’s War in Peru. Its main focus initially being calls the defense of the life of Chairman Gonzalo and later the exhortations to “Impose Maoism” as expressed in Gonzalo Thought and the practice of the Peruvian revolution. PPM’s statements adhere to Gonzalo’s pre-arrest positions and acts as publicist for statements from the Central Committee of the PCP.

The claim to sole leadership was in a confused environment when activists thought “it is not known which one is the Communist Party of Peru, much less who their representatives are abroad”, there are so many “MPP’s”, there are so many “Support Committees”, there are so many “movements who claim to support the people’s war”.

Via its website and publication of the same name, Red Sun, http://www.redsun.org, the Peru People’s Movement criticises

“grouplets of renegades and degenerates that in some cases join together and others of them who want to reestablish their fiefs with merely personal interests… these individuals and grouplets created their different fiefs and called themselves defenders or representatives of the Revolution in Peru: “MPP USA, New Flag”, “MPP Germany”, “MPP Sweden”, “MPP France”, “MPP Switzerland”, the RCP’s “Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru”, etc. Even LAB [Luis Arce Borja] failed to make his own “MPP” and afterward he also wanted to replace the RIM with his” World-wide Mobilization Call.”                                    [Peru People’s Movement COMMUNIQUÉ August 2011]

Such division, PPM explained, “It is the plan of imperialism, the reaction and the new revisionism. And some infiltrators promote this, others want their fiefs like in the old days and others want to satisfy their low desires with trafficking.”


Part Two                      Part Three                  Part Four