Applying the laws of dialectical materialism to the Communist
Party itself, Mao taught that the party was a "unity of opposites"
between the leading proletarian Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line and
party leadership on the one hand, and on the other, erroneous lines
and thinking which ultimately reflect other class outlooks. He pointed
out how this becomes particularly sharp in the period of socialism,
when the bourgeoisie is "right in the communist party", but the
basic feature of two-line struggle is true both before and after
the dictatorship of the proletariat is established.
Furthermore, Mao taught that it was precisely through waging
the two-line struggle that the party had to advance. In some passages
Arce cites some of Mao's writings on this subject, but fails to
understand the very words he is copying.
Mao argued that the two-line struggle is a constant feature
of the communist party and, indeed, that without the struggle against
erroneous ideas the "life of the party would come to an end". But
he analyzed that the struggle between Marxism and opportunism goes
through different phases and would necessarily call forth
different means to resolve it.
It is worth quoting at some length from A Basic Understanding
of the Communist Party of China published in Shanghai in 1974
(that is, under the leadership of Mao and the revolutionary headquarters
in the Communist Party of China), which reads like a direct answer
Quoting Mao: "opposition and struggle between different ideas
of different kinds constantly occur within the Party; this is a
reflection within the Party of contradictions between classes and
between the new and the old in society."
Interestingly, this is the same passage used by Arce in one
of his articles. But the Communist Party of China (CPC) textbook
goes on to correctly explain the point:
"Class struggle in the society inevitably has its reflection
inside the Party, and it appears in a concentrated fashion in the
form of the two-line struggle within the Party - this is also an
objective law. The reason why there can be no doubt that class struggle
in society has its reflection in the Party is that our Party does
not live in a vacuum, but in a society in which classes exist, and
it is possible for bourgeois ideology, the force of old habits and
international revisionist trends of thought to affect and poison
our Party organism. Moreover, imperialism and social-imperialism
make use of every possible channel in their attempts to overthrow
our state of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and therefore
they seek by every means to secure agents within our Party. It is
always possible that people in our Party will let themselves be
corrupted by the enemy, will let themselves degenerate to the point
of becoming agents of the class enemy. The ten big two-line struggles
which our Party has gone through in the course of its 50 year history
have all been reflections inside the Party of the class struggle
on the national and international levels....
"The protracted nature of the class struggle in society determines
the protracted nature of the two-line struggle within the Party.
As long as there are classes, class contradictions and class struggle,
as long as there exist the socialist and capitalist roads, the danger
of a capitalist restoration, and the threat of subversion and aggression
by imperialism and social-imperialism, the two-line struggle within
the Party, which is the reflection of these contradictions, will
also carry on. Possibly this struggle will manifest itself another
10, 20 or 30 times, and it is possible that individuals like Lin
Piao, Wang Ming, Liu Shao-chi, Peng Te-huai, and Kao Kang will once
again appear - this is something independent of man's will. Some
comrades are surprised by the appearance of important two-line struggles
inside the Party - this is basically a result of their not having
a clear enough understanding of the protracted nature of class struggle
and two-line struggle during the period of socialism. They do not
understand that the protracted nature of these struggles manifests
itself like the ebb and flow of the tide - now high, now low. High'
or low' are only the different appearances that class struggle
may take; they do not represent a distinction between the presence
and absence of this struggle. In the same way, ebb and flow' do
not mean existence and disappearance'. Only if we firmly grasp
the protracted nature of the class struggle and the two-line struggle
will we be able to understand the laws which govern their ebb and
flow, their high tides and low tides, and the twists and turns of
these struggles. Only then will we be fully prepared, will we be
in a position to take the initiative in the class struggle and in
the struggle between the two lines - no matter in what disguise
the class enemy cloaks himself - and will we be able to follow the
development of events, lead them, and thus ensure the victory of
the revolution." (NBI edition, Toronto, 1976, pp 51-52)
From this Maoist perspective on the two-line struggle we
can see that struggle is continual, but it most definitely has its
"high tides" when struggle erupts over the very line of the party
itself. Furthermore, we can see that the phenomenon of "degenerating
into class enemies" is a feature of two-line struggle and not,
like Arce argues, proof that no such struggle exists.
In fact, this is precisely the process that has taken place
in the PCP. The PCP Central Committee has analyzed the existence
of a "right opportunist line" (hereafter referred to as ROL) within
the Party whose roots go back well before the outbreak of the struggle
over the "peace accords". A February 1994 document of the Central
Committee of the PCP calls on the party "to raise the struggle to
the level of line" and writes in outline form:
"Pay attention to the two-line struggle, develop it to propel
the People's War forward which is principal and determinant. It
is necessary to go deeply into the antecedents, process and the
current situation in order to define the current level of struggle
throughout the Party."
Under specific conditions, long-standing differences have
emerged into an actual concrete political line opposed to the basic
line of the PCP (the "struggle for peace accords") championed by
people inside and outside the leadership of the PCP. This two-line
struggle is very much a reflection of the ongoing struggle in society,
most importantly the People's War itself, and it is the reason that
it is correct to stress that if the incorrect line were to dominate,
the very future of the war would be compromised.
Arce argues that "when one speaks of the 'two-line struggle'
the only thing it leads to is to neutralize the struggle against
the capitulators." What?! Carrying out a struggle against what the
PCP leadership has called a "right opportunist line" all of a sudden
weakens the struggle against capitulators?
In his article "A Response to the Investigators' of RIM",
Arce tries to explain that "two-line struggle" is something other
than a life-and-death struggle, something which only takes place
with comrades who have made mistakes but who have not developed
into enemies of the party and the revolution. Of course, as mentioned
above, two-line struggle exists at all times and does go through
transformations, as the contradiction between Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
and revisionism develops in the wave-like motion described above.
But Maoists emphasize precisely the high points of the two-line
struggle, exactly when it has been necessary to wage all-out struggle
over the fundamental line of the party. This is what the comrades
of the CPC meant when they spoke of "ten major two-line struggles".
Frankly, it is somewhat difficult to understand how Mao had "neutralized"
the struggle against Liu Shao-chi or Lin Piao or Deng Xiao-ping
by launching major two-line struggles against them!?
Arce misunderstands "two-line struggle" to refer only to
"non-antagonistic" contradictions which "can be resolved through
criticism and self-criticism. A form of struggle which has the task
of persuading and bringing comrades with pernicious and erroneous
ideas back to the correct line." When a contradiction "has become
antagonistic in that it expresses irreconcilable interests, its
resolution will take place through direct class struggle". He goes
on to argue that in such cases "it is imperative to use radical
means of struggle such as purging and a rigourous selection of members
Thus we see that in Arce's world-view, two-line struggle
is not part of the "direct class struggle". He wants to minimize
the two-line struggle and reduce its scope to being simply
a way to help basically good comrades overcome errors in their understanding
and practice. Once a contradiction has reached open antagonism,
it must, according to Arce, be dealt with by other means,
and "two-line struggle" is specifically excluded.
This is wrong and goes against the line and practice of Maoists.
For example, the PCP has often spoken about the important two-line
struggle that took place in the ranks of the Party on the eve of
the initiation of the People's War (referred to as the "ILA", after
the Spanish initials for "Initiate the Armed Struggle"). Without
that two-line struggle (which was by no means a mild and harmonious
affair and led to the departure of a considerable number of leaders
and members of the Party), there would have been no People's War.
In the years since the ILA there has not been, to our knowledge,
the eruption of a major two-line struggle within the PCP. To use
the term of the CPC textbook cited earlier, the two-line struggle
has been at a "low tide". The outbreak of a full-blown right opportunist
line in the PCP in October 1993 has been the occasion for a struggle
of even greater importance than the struggle against the wrong line
at the time of the ILA.
The Maoist conception of two-line struggle does not mean
that die-hard revisionists should be tolerated in the party nor
that the struggle against such revisionists should be limited to
criticism and self-criticism, as Arce seems to misunderstand. Once
a major two-line struggle erupts, it must be energetically fought
through by the proletarian headquarters in the party and resolved.
But resolution is nothing other than waging a fierce two-line
struggle. Didn't Mao "resolve" the contradiction with Liu Shao-chi
and Lin Piao precisely by mobilizing the whole party and the masses
to wage fierce ideological and political struggle? Isn't the Cultural
Revolution an example of "radical means of struggle" par excellence?
This is why a "two-line struggle" can continue even after
the main proponents of such a line have left or been removed from
the party. Again, the important two-line struggles in the Communist
Party of China (especially in the period of the Cultural Revolution)
are illustrative in this regard. The two-line struggle against the
lines of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao went on and gathered in strength
long after these revisionist chieftains had been smashed (and in
the case of Lin Piao, long after he was dead!).
This is because the purpose of two-line struggle, from a
Maoist understanding, cannot be reduced to simply removing this
or that revisionist chieftain from the party. There is the need
to thoroughly and deeply expose the revisionist line, strengthen
the correct line and train the communists and the masses in the
course of combatting this line and fighting to eradicate its influence.
Two-line struggle does not exclude the necessity of taking
firm organizational measures to protect the integrity of the party,
such as expulsion and so forth. Such measures are almost always
required in any major two-line struggle. But unlike Arce, Maoists
do not believe that political struggle and organizational measures
are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, Maoists believe that organizational
measures flow from political line and serve it and that organizational
measures can never be used as a substitute for waging the necessary
Long before Mao, there had been important struggles against
revisionism and opportunism. The struggle against Trotsky, discussed
later, but also Lenin's struggle against the revisionists of the
Second International, Marx's struggle against Proudhon, and so forth.
Even in China itself it had been necessary to "clear out" a number
of renegades from within the Party.
Mao synthesized the past experience of the international
communist movement and was able to understand why and how these
repeated struggles took place. In this regard he did have to subject
some past experience to criticism and analysis. Mao understood that
it is not enough to simply remove revisionist leaders from office.
The struggle between Marxism and revisionism has to be taken to
the masses and their attention has to be focused on the line,
not simply or mainly the crimes of the revisionist chieftains (although
revisionist chieftains do inevitably commit crimes).
Two-line struggle does not erupt "from nowhere" (and this
is one important reason why Arce's efforts to reduce it to a "police
plot" are disarming and counter-productive). Two-line struggle invariably
has its origins (or "antecedents", as the PCP CC document puts it)
in political differences and tendencies in the party prior to the
outbreak of a major two-line struggle. The outbreak of a two-line
struggle is the occasion, the necessity, for bringing into sharper
relief many political questions which existed earlier in a less
developed form. Two-line struggle represents a consolidation of
erroneous and opportunist tendencies in the party into an oppositional
line, but just as importantly it brings forward the opposite: the
heightened, deeper and more thorough-going mastery of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
on the part of the party leadership and the whole party. This is
how MLM develops - amidst storms and fury. When two-line struggle
breaks out, it is necessary to fight tooth and nail for the basic
revolutionary line of the party. Through this process the basic
line of the party can and does develop, not only to meet the immediate
challenges posed by the opportunist line, but also and more importantly
to meet the challenges of the revolutionary process and the certain
emergence of new opportunist lines in the future. Two-line struggle
is not a confession of weakness, it is a motor for pushing the revolutionary
work of the party forward.
The existence of two-line struggle between Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
and revisionism is an objective development independent of anyone's
will. It is also inevitable that from time to time revisionist headquarters
will emerge and fight to overthrow the proletarian character of
the party. These tests of strength will be closely connected to
developments in the class struggle, for example, when the vital
questions of the future of the revolution are concentrated in disputes
over political line.
The question is not whether it is possible to "prevent" the
emergence of such opportunist lines, any more than mankind can,
at its current level of productive forces and scientific knowledge,
prevent violent hurricanes. Rather, the question is how to prepare
the party and the masses for such political "hurricanes": to defeat
any such opportunist line, and to turn the defeat of a revisionist
line into a force propelling the revolutionary process forward.
The emergence of repeated two-line struggles does not mean
that the party is simply standing still, helplessly beating off
one attack from within its midst after another. As each opportunist
line is defeated this can and must lead to digging away at the ideological-political
roots of that line and leave the party stronger - literally tempered
- to carry on its revolutionary tasks. Again, this is exactly
what Mao did in the Communist Party of China and this is how we
understand the PCP Central Committee's call to "raise the struggle
to the level of line".
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
As stated earlier, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
was the decisive crucible in which Mao Tsetung's development of
Marxism-Leninism emerged as a new, third and higher stage of Marxism
itself. It is for this reason that correctly understanding the Great
Proletarian Cultural Revolution is at the heart of grasping Maoism.
The reactionaries and revisionists of all stripes have concentrated
their attacks on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and its
political and ideological lessons and underpinnings because they
want to deny the universality of Maoism. There are also forces claiming
to be part of the international communist movement today who pay
lip service to Mao's great revolutionary contributions and even
to his "struggle against revisionism" all the while fighting
tooth and nail against Maoism as a third stage of Marxism and
especially against Mao's line and practice of continuing the revolution
under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Of course, in this article it is possible only to touch briefly
and in passing on the world historic Great Proletarian Cultural
Revolution. We hope very much that our readers will restudy the
abundant material available on the GPCR from the revolutionaries
in China as well as from the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
and its participating parties and organisations with these questions
of the two-line struggle in Peru in mind.
Bourgeois scholars have often tried to slander the GPCR as
a struggle for power at the top of the CPC by a few individuals
or "cliques". According to this view, the masses in the GPCR were
cynically manipulated by Mao and the revolutionaries. This type
of an "interpretation" of the GPCR is to be expected from class
enemies and from bourgeois scholars whose own class outlook prevents
them from understanding the role of the masses of people.
This same line of attack, that the GPCR was nothing but a
bourgeois power struggle at the top ranks of the Party, is also
echoed by so-called communist critics as well. This was a hallmark
of Albanian Party of Labour leader Enver Hoxha's attack on Mao after
the latter's death and the reversal of proletarian rule in China.
Some others who did not agree with Hoxha's reactionary conclusions
that Mao was a "nationalist", a "populist" and so on, still tended
to share some of Hoxha's method of thinking, especially his inability
to grasp the real nature of the two-line struggle in China. They
speculated out loud about why Mao did not simply dismiss the revisionists
in the Party by administrative methods and be done with them.
In a remarkable interview in 1967 (given to the Albanian
military delegation), Mao answered the delegation's question, "What
do you believe is the goal of the Great Cultural Revolution?" [Voices
respond, "to struggle against the capitalist roaders within the
party".] Mao said:
"Struggling against the capitalist roaders is the principal
task, but in no way is it the goal. The goal is to resolve the problem
of world outlook; it is the question of pulling up the roots of
"The Central Committee has emphasized many times that the
masses must educate and liberate themselves, the world-view cannot
be imposed upon them. To transform ideology it is necessary that
external causes work through internal causes, although these latter
are principal. What would victory in the Cultural Revolution be
if it did not transform world outlook? If the world-view is not
transformed the 2000 capitalist roaders of today will become 4000
the next time." (Quoted in the PCP document, Elections No, Guerra
Popular, Si!, Ediciones Bandera Roja, 1990. The entire article
is reprinted in AWTW 1984/1)
Thus we see that for Mao, unlike Arce, there was no great
wall between the need to smash a counter-revolutionary headquarters
and the political and ideological struggle. The immediate political
objective - overthrowing the capitalist roaders - was a means and
a vehicle to carry forward the overarching struggle to pull up the
roots of revisionism.
Two-line Struggle or Police Plot?
Arce, in a revealing subhead, asks, "what is the difference
between two-line struggle and a police plot?" His argument is that
the "struggle for peace accords" line has no internal basis within
the Party and that it is simply a fabrication of the political police.
Again, Arce's starting point is his misconception of the
two-line struggle. Arce tries to muster the example of Stalin's
struggle against Trotsky as evidence that once a contradiction becomes
antagonistic, it is no longer a "two-line struggle". But this is
the opposite of the truth. The struggle of the Bolsheviks against
Trotsky was precisely an example of a two-line struggle, and a grand
one at that. Stalin mobilized the whole Bolshevik Party and the
entire international communist movement to thoroughly and resoundingly
defeat Trotsky, his followers, and above all his line. In fact,
it was through this great struggle that the whole international
communist movement consolidated a basic understanding of a number
of vital political questions that today we take for granted - for
example, the possibility of constructing a socialist society in
only one country if faced with that necessity, the two-stage character
of the revolution in the oppressed countries, and many, many more.
The Trotskyites did indeed aid the class enemy, and there
was more than a little evidence of their collaboration with the
enemies' counter-revolutionary apparatus. However, Stalin was not
content to label Trotsky as simply a "police plotter" and dismiss
it as that. Indeed, some of his most important works, such as Problems
of Leninism, were written in this major struggle.
But it was not until Mao that the international communist
movement came to a thorough and deep understanding of this phenomenon
of two-line struggle and the means to carry it through. In fact,
this great contribution of Mao has been under constant attack, and
not only from the revisionists in the USSR and those defeated revisionists
in China. After Mao's death his thesis on the two-line struggle
became a key point of attack by both the right in China led by Deng
Xiao-ping and also, from a seemingly "opposite" point of view, from
Enver Hoxha of Albania.
Hoxha argued that Mao "had permitted" the bourgeoisie in
the party simply because Mao recognized the objective existence
of the bourgeoisie and the revisionist line in the party and hence
the need to struggle to prevent the rise of revisionism. Like Arce,
Hoxha tried to pit the experience of Stalin against the more advanced
understanding of Mao and his practice in leading the Great Proletarian
Cultural Revolution. Like Arce, Hoxha tried to argue that waging
"two-line struggle" was a kind of liberalism or soft-pedalling of
the struggle against class enemies. Like Arce, Hoxha tried to argue
that to admit the objective existence of the bourgeois line would
be a confession of the weakness of the proletarian party. Hoxha
argued in terms of the party's "purity", with the corollary being
that revisionism could only be explained by the direct hand of the
enemy, and not on the basis of the internal contradictions of the
party itself. In making these arguments, Hoxha - and Arce - try
to base themselves on Stalin, but they base themselves on his weak
points and limitations, not his genuine and overwhelmingly positive
contributions (such as his struggle against Trotsky, correctly understood
from the higher plane of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism).
In fact, if we examine the various two-line struggles led
by Mao against revisionist lines in the Communist Party of China,
we can see that almost inevitably the struggle against a revisionist
headquarters in the party involves different degrees of intrigue
by the openly counter-revolutionary enemy.
This was certainly the case in the Lin Piao affair. In 1971
Lin Piao actually launched an attempt to assassinate Mao Tsetung.
He did this in collaboration with the counter-revolutionary revisionists
of the USSR and, when his plot failed, was killed in a plane crash
while trying to flee to the Soviet Union.
The CPC correctly denounced Lin Piao as a "super spy", and
indeed a more "open and shut" case of involvement with the enemy's
counter-revolutionary apparatus would be harder to imagine. But
did this mean that Mao and the Communist Party of China were content
simply to denounce him as an agent, although he clearly had become
one? Did this mean that any reference to "two-line struggle" against
Lin Piao and his clique should be banned as somehow "legitimizing"
Anyone with any knowledge of the history of the Communist
Party of China knows the answer. Mao and the revolutionary leadership
of the Party seized upon the Lin Piao affair to launch a deep-going
and all-round struggle against revisionism. Long after Lin Piao
had crashed into the desert of Mongolia, the masses of people in
China were being called upon to deepen the criticism of Lin Piao,
dead or not. This was because Mao and his followers understood that
more was at stake than simply the crimes of one renegade, that renegacy
itself has its material and objective basis which needs to be struggled
against in order to carry forward the revolution. The masses were
educated to understand why people like Lin Piao are produced and
how to struggle against them. An opposite approach of leaving the
struggle simply at a denunciation of his conspiratorial and criminal
behaviour would have left the Party disarmed politically.
There is no doubt that at least some of those advocating
"peace accords" are consciously working hand in hand with the class
enemy. The Central Committee of the PCP and all of the ranks of
the Party and the revolutionary masses are right to vigourously
denounce such activities and launch a ruthless struggle against
them. But that does not change the fact that these types of activities
are inextricably connected with the Right Opportunist Line itself.
The ROL leads to capitulation, and it cannot be otherwise.
It is wrong to want, as Arce does, only to denounce the "police
connection" while feeling it unnecessary to refute and struggle
against the actual content of the arguments and lines being put
forward by the advocates of peace accords.
In other words, the hand of the class enemy is generally
to be found in any major two-line struggle. Whether some leading
figures from within the PCP came up with the ROL and arguments for
the "peace accords" themselves or whether the original impetus came
from the political police is not the principal question. In either
case, the fact remains that the line of "fighting for a peace
accord" had, according to the PCP Central Committee, antecedents
in previous erroneous positions held by some in the Party, and the
ROL has attracted a significant number of PCP militants (and Arce
himself cites figures which would indicate hundreds of prisoners
supporting this line).
Deepen the Struggle
The purpose of carrying out the two-line struggle is, again,
not to "conciliate" with the Right Opportunist Line (any more than
Mao was guilty of Hoxha's charge of having "conciliated" with revisionism
in the CPC). The point is "to raise the struggle to the level of
line" (as the CC says in its February '94 document) and on that
basis to more thoroughly criticize, repudiate and defeat
the Right Opportunist Line. This is not only something to be done
in Peru. There are many political questions involved that are matters
of life and death for RIM and the international communist movement
as a whole. In the process of RIM (along with others) fully and
energetically taking up the two-line struggle, the whole movement
can and must come to a deeper and richer understanding of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
Arce's comments that a "two-line struggle" would be an "internal
affair" of the PCP are strange indeed. Was Stalin's struggle against
Trotsky an "internal affair"? Was the GPCR simply an "internal affair"
of the CPC? Did it not serve as a school for the whole international
communist movement? Didn't this struggle play a very important role
in spreading Marxism-Leninism-Maoism all over the world, including
in training Chairman Gonzalo, who lived in China for six tumultuous
months of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution? Fortunately,
neither Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and certainly not Mao ever looked
at the two-line struggle as an "internal affair", but as a vital
struggle for all of the world's communists.
Arce believes that to thoroughly examine a wrong line will
somehow lend it credence. He prefers rejection without analysis,
repudiation without criticism. But is this really a viable option?
And even if it were possible to short-circuit the political and
ideological struggle, would this really be the best means of aiding
the PCP and aiding the Maoist forces internationally?
Whatever the origins of the call for peace accords, the fact
remains that the ROL represents an internally coherent, opportunist
line based on a certain analysis of the situation in Peru and the
world. It will not be possible to defeat this line thoroughly by
simply dismissing it as a police ploy. Furthermore, important elements
of this line are to be found in other countries and other parties.
Rather, what is needed is a mass movement of criticism to
repudiate and criticize the ROL and on that basis strengthen and
consolidate the understanding of the correct Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
line. This is the method Maoists have always stood for,
and we should vigourously fight for it and apply it today.
Arce's Attack on Investigation
Because Arce fails to understand the need to wage a two-line
struggle, he rails furiously against RIM for engaging in a process
of investigation and study of the opposing lines and the situation
in Peru. After all, according to Arce's simplistic thinking, a police
plot is a police plot, so what is there to investigate? Arce sees
no need to refute the ROL, rather he considers that the very act
of refuting somehow "lends credence" to the "false" idea of a "two-line
In his struggle against the approach of RIM, Arce reveals
his own ignorance and/or speculates on the inexperience of some
of his readers regarding the history of the approach within the
international communist movement to major struggles between Marxism
and revisionism. For example, he argues in one of his earlier articles
against RIM that Mao criticized Khruschevite revisionism when it
emerged in the Soviet Union in 1956 with its unbridled attack on
Stalin. It is true that Mao did criticize Khrushchev, first privately
in the Party and later, beginning in 1960, indirectly but publicly
in a series of articles. Only in 1963 did Mao and the CPC launch
their all-out open polemics against Khrushchev and publicly split
from Khrushchev and the modern revisionists - more than six years
after Khrushchev's infamous secret speech against Stalin. In fact,
the Communist Party of China even signed two important international
declarations (the Moscow Declarations of 1957 and 1960) with the
Khruschevite revisionists (while at the same time developing the
struggle against the Khruschevite theses in a step-by-step way,
in addition to fighting against the inclusion of these theses in
these two Declarations).
It is also clear that through the struggle Mao did wage against
Khrushchev, dissecting his every argument and repudiating them on
the basis of proletarian ideology, the understanding of the whole
international communist movement advanced to new heights. The political
foundations of the new communist movement were laid to no small
degree in the series of "Open Letters" from the Communist Party
of China to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It should be
noted in passing that Mao and the CPC even went so far as to "circulate"
and in fact reprint Khrushchev's revisionist articles. In part,
this was out of respect for the established practice in the international
communist movement of printing the documents of those who are being
criticized. But more important than the mere formal aspect of this
is the political necessity of enabling the communists to really
examine and thus more thoroughly repudiate the revisionist arguments.
We can be thankful that Mao had not adopted the simple-minded approach
Arce is trying to insist upon.
The point is not to go into all the reasons why Mao adopted
his specific approach to struggling with Khruschevite revisionism.
In fact, every important struggle in the international movement
will have its own particularities, including over the best methods
and tactics to develop the two-line struggle. But taking a look
at Mao's masterful struggle against the Khruschevite revisionists
(including the tactics that he adopted) is useful not only to help
clear up confusion caused by Arce's falsification (or ignorance)
of the process of Mao's struggle (see Arce's "Silence of the Lambs");
it also helps put Arce's vitriolic attack on RIM's alleged "silence"
in the face of the two-line struggle in Peru in a bit more perspective.
First of all, it should be pointed out that even in the one
and a half years (and not "almost two years" as Arce claims) from
the emergence of the "call to fight for peace accords" to the issuing
of the statement "Rally to the Defence of our Red Flag Flying in
Peru", RIM was never "neutral". The December 1993 resolution of
RIM, issued on the Mao Centenary, at the same time as RIM's historic
adoption of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, is clear on RIM's support for
continuing the war. And, of course, during this whole period the
Movement continued to carry forward the historic Defend the Life
of Chairman Gonzalo campaign, which RIM had initiated in the days
after the arrest of Chairman Gonzalo when certain others were nowhere
to be found.
Furthermore, the guidance given by CoRIM for studying the
line struggle in Peru (which has been released to the public) makes
it clear that CoRIM never presented the questions involved in a
neutral or agnostic way. The criteria for judging the two-line struggle
were clearly based on MLM and specifically on the principles of
protracted people's war.
Not A Question of "Time"
At an earlier stage of the dispute between Arce and RIM,
some people felt that Arce's attacks could be explained because
of his "impatience" at what he felt was the "silence" of RIM in
the face of the two-line struggle. But in fact his reaction to the
RIM Committee's Call to "Rally to the Defence of Our Red Flag Flying
in Peru" is proof that "silence" or the "speed" in taking a position
is really a non-issue. Arce considers RIM's words far worse than
what he perceived as its "silence", and his level of malice has
The problem again is that for Arce, CoRIM's original sin
is to want to examine the lines which have emerged in this
struggle. Arce wants to dismiss the Right Opportunist Line as nothing
more than a police plot. But in fact there are a number of
vital, life-and-death questions for the revolution that are brought
into focus through this struggle. The difference between the tactic
Mao employed on some occasions of negotiating in order to persevere
in the People's War as opposed to the revisionist policy of fighting
in order to be stronger in a strategy of negotiations; questions
regarding the possibility of initiating, maintaining and carrying
through people's war to final victory in the face of today's international
situation; how can the leadership of a communist party be strengthened
in the face of serious blows; these are but some of the important
questions at stake in this debate. Questions which have emerged
not only in Peru, but in the course of revolutionary struggle in
other countries as well.
Is the revolutionary movement in Peru and the world strengthened
or weakened by addressing these questions? Is it really true that
the arguments of the Right Opportunist Line can be dismissed by
a simple denunciation of a police plot? Will this really help defeat
this line and minimize the damage it has created?
Instead of diving into these questions and assisting the
PCP and the whole international movement in combatting the
ROL, Arce declares that such a struggle is both unnecessary and
somehow grants "legitimacy" to that line. One is forced to ask who
benefits from outlawing the two-line struggle? Isn't it the
Right Opportunist Line itself? Doesn't this have the familiar ring
of those, like Lin Piao, in the Communist Party of China who argued
that the Cultural Revolution should be declared over and the attention
of the masses focused on production once Liu Shao-chi had been removed
from office? Doesn't this sound a bit like those such as Deng who
furiously resisted the efforts of Mao and the revolutionaries in
China to go ever more deeply into the struggle to criticize Lin
Piao and Confucius, for fear that the two-line struggle would singe
them as well?
Arce - False Spokesman for the PCP
In his polemics Arce tries very hard to imply, without ever
daring to actually say in print anyway, that he can represent the
thinking and viewpoint of the Central Committee of the PCP. He hurls
charges at RIM for approaching the two-line struggle differently
than the Central Committee of the PCP.
First of all, it was necessary and correct for RIM to address
the question differently than the Central Committee of the PCP itself.
RIM is an international movement linking together Maoist vanguards
around the world, and its responsibilities will necessarily be different
from those of any particular party, including the PCP; this is all
the more true in the case of a two-line struggle erupting in the
midst of the most advanced struggle in the world today. Furthermore,
RIM has never claimed to speak for the Central Committee of the
PCP, even though RIM has consistently supported the carrying through
of the People's War and in its Call "Rally to the Defence of Our
Red Flag Flying in Peru" offers its unreserved support to the Central
Committee of the PCP in leading the People's War forward and in
the struggle against the Right Opportunist Line.
But to claim that RIM has "ignored" the opinion of the Central
Committee of the PCP or has suppressed its documents is really absurd.
The methods RIM uses to circulate the documents and opinions of
the different parties and organizations participating in it are
naturally unknown to newspaper editors - friend and foe.
What is disturbing is Arce's frankly dishonest attempt to
imply that he is putting forward the line of the PCP
Central Committee. One will study high and low the documents of
Arce to try to find any mention of the "Right Opportunist Line"
(ROL) which the Central Committee of the PCP so vigourously denounces
(and indeed, since the whole idea is complete anathema to his approach,
the word "ROL" appears only in a quote from the Central Committee
used out of context, left in initials to ensure the reader will
have no idea to what it refers, and then promptly ignored).
Of course, Arce is free to argue, against all evidence, that
"no two-line struggle" erupted in the PCP. But he is not
free to imply that this is the view of the Central Committee of
Arce's approach is to spice up his articles with bits and
pieces of alleged "inside information" he claims to have gleaned
all in the hope of making him appear "in the know". Arce's quoting
(and deliberate distortion) of an internal RIM document is a case
in point. This is a typical professional deformation among certain
kinds of journalists. But it is dangerous when the journalist's
method masquerades as political argument. Let the reader beware:
the assertions of Arce are to be taken with more than a grain of
salt: they are often false, generally distorted and always ripped
out of context. They are typical of the voyeurism and gossip that
sometimes fascinate those who are on the fringes of the revolutionary
struggle but who recoil at taking real responsibility as part of
a disciplined communist vanguard.
For example, Arce, relying on what he alleges are unpublished
sections of his interview with Chairman Gonzalo, claims that a certain
Morote is not a leader of the PCP and that, therefore, it is wrong
to say that any leaders of the PCP had been involved in supporting
the struggle for peace accords. Actually, the RIM documents never
mention Morote or any other name as a "leader" supporting the peace
accords. But the fact of the matter is that among the leading exponents
of "the struggle for peace accords" are a number of people who have
been associated with the PCP leadership in the past. It will not
help the struggle against the ROL to argue differently in the face
of all evidence, nor is that argument offered by the Central Committee
of the PCP itself, even though they correctly emphasize that the
ringleaders of this line are but a handful.
The approach of RIM to Chairman Gonzalo has been clear and
consistent. RIM has led and continues to lead the international
campaign to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo.
Again, Arce would do better to examine what evaluation the
PCP Central Committee has made of RIM's role in the Defend the Life
campaign rather than offer his own subjective, wrong and individualist
evaluation in place of that of a communist vanguard (and Arce can
also explain his own inactivity and El Diario Internacional's
own deafening silence in relation to this great struggle). Furthermore,
RIM has struggled hard against the isolation of Chairman Gonzalo
and his conditions of confinement. The need to continue this struggle
is again stressed in the recent Call of CoRIM.
In relation to the two-line struggle and Chairman Gonzalo,
RIM's position has been clear. As long as his conditions of confinement
remain as they are, no one can say with any degree of certainty
what position Chairman Gonzalo has taken. In any event, the discussion
of political questions can and must be centred on the question of
line and not authorship, while struggling to win the battle for
an improvement in Chairman Gonzalo's conditions and especially to
establish access to him. To focus on what by its very nature is
impossible to verify (the question of Chairman Gonzalo's current
position) is really to turn attention away from the political
questions involved. The ROL argues that the peace accords approach
is correct because it is the opinion of Chairman Gonzalo
- but isn't Arce's approach just the other side of the same coin,
when he makes the beginning and the end of his argument that Chairman
Gonzalo cannot be the author of this line?
It is possible and necessary to prove that the line of "fighting
for peace accords" goes contrary to the line forged by the PCP under
the leadership of Chairman Gonzalo to carry the war forward (and
this point is made forcefully in the Call of CoRIM). It is necessary
to focus struggle against the regime and the barbaric conditions
of confinement in which Chairman Gonzalo is being held. But the
main point in this struggle against the ROL is to focus the struggle
around the cardinal questions of political line.
It is somewhat surprising that Arce takes CoRIM to task for
"separating Gonzalo Thought from the political life and praxis of
Chairman Gonzalo". After all, it was El Diario Internacional
which responded to the capture of Chairman Gonzalo with the title
"Gonzalo Thought is Still Free" and with a stunning passivity in
the face of the need to mobilize masses throughout the world to
defend his life. Furthermore, in his article "Operation Capitulation",
Arce writes that as soon as Chairman Gonzalo was captured "the only
choice was death or capitulation". He speculates that Chairman Gonzalo
is dead, but if he is not, the implication is crystal clear. If
the only choice is "death or capitulation", as Arce maintained,
why did the Central Committee of the PCP (and RIM as well of course)
raise the slogan "Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo!"? Is Arce
really so pessimistic, so disparaging of the strength of the masses
in Peru and throughout the world that he is willing to declare in
advance the impossibility of winning the struggle to defend
the life of Chairman Gonzalo?
The attack Arce wages against RIM is also an attack on the
line of the PCP itself, whose position on RIM is abundantly clear
in a whole series of public documents from 1984 when RIM was formed
onward, including a rather lengthy discussion of RIM in the 1992
Central Committee documents. Arce's attack on RIM should not be
misunderstood as an "overzealous", "clumsy" or "hotheaded" defence
of the PCP's position. It is a different line, a different
approach to RIM and to the international communist movement. It
is a line that opposes and attacks the regrouping of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
parties and organisations in RIM in order to promote Arce's own
different scheme to regroup the hodge-podge of Marxists and opportunists
that he so generously refers to as the "international communist
movement", and to do this on an opportunist basis. It is amusing
that Arce takes RIM to task by saying "anyone who claims to be part
of the left, but who doesn't take into account the position of the
PCP will fall into opportunist ground". Why doesn't Arce apply his
own criteria to himself when it comes to his attacks on RIM?
Of course, Arce's hatred of RIM is nothing new. Long-time
readers of El Diario Internacional will search high and low
for any reference to the fact that the PCP is a participating party
of RIM, or to RIM's call to "Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the
Life of Chairman Gonzalo" or, earlier on, to news of the worldwide
Yankee Go Home! campaign initiated by RIM and the PCP on an international
level. Nor is Arce afraid even to tamper with the words of Chairman
Gonzalo himself if it serves Arce's narrow aims. For example, he
censors the phrase in Chairman Gonzalo's magnificent speech from
the cage in which Chairman Gonzalo salutes the Revolutionary Internationalist
Movement (and just to clear up any confusion, Arce refused to publish
a correction even though the error was pointed out to him repeatedly).
Perhaps the journalist should let the comrades of the PCP
speak for themselves.
Arce's attacks on RIM and his violent attack on the Maoist
understanding of two-line struggle are part of efforts by himself
and others to erase the real lines of demarcation that have emerged
in the international communist movement and replace them with different,
non-Maoist criteria. This is why Arce can so easily assail the embryonic
political centre of the world's Maoist parties and organisations,
in which the PCP participates, while singing the praises of more
than a few opportunists, centrists, vociferous opponents of Maoism,
supporters of Deng Xiao-ping, and those who are nostalgic for the
old Brezhnev regime. Refuting Mao's great thesis on continuing the
revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, including
specifically his teachings on the two-line struggle in the party,
is a requirement for trying to bring together this mish-mash.
Whereas the PCP and RIM hold that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
is the dividing line in the international communist movement, Arce
argues unabashedly for other more earthshaking criteria - like whether
or not a party distributes El Diario Internacional!
The Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
has been correct to focus on the political and ideological questions
which emerged in the two-line struggle in the Communist Party of
Peru. Revolutionaries from around the world should not allow journalists
who are falsely donning the mantle of the PCP to stand in the way
of carrying the fight forward to expose and defeat the Right Opportunist
Line, win the fight to end the isolation of Chairman Gonzalo, and
unleash a mighty campaign of support for the PCP and the People's
War it is leading.