El presente articulo, que publicaremos dada se extensión en diversas partes es una critica a las posiciones expresadas por el National Democratic Front of the Philippines, en un artículo firmado por Andy Belisario.
Den Volkskrieg ablehnen ist die Proletarische Revolution abzulehnen
Wir veröffentlichen diesen Artikel (ursprünglich in zwei Teile aufgeteilt) von der Seite Tjen Folket Media und raten allen Genossen, ihn zu studieren:
To discard people’s war is to discard the proletarian revolution
By Ard Kinera and the editorial group of Red Flag
By Ard Kinera and the editorial group of Red Flag
“At present, the modern revisionists are opposing Marxism-Leninism under the pretext of opposing dogmatism, are renouncing revolution under the pretext of opposing “Left” adventurism, and are advocating unprincipled compromise and capitulationism under the pretext of flexibility in tactics. If a resolute struggle is not waged against modern revisionism, the international communist movement will be seriously harmed.”
Editorial in Renmin Ribao, December 31, 1962
“While the leaders of the CPSU and their followers talk about the use of all forms of struggle, in reality they stand for legalism and discard the objective of the proletarian revolution on the pretext of changing forms of struggle. This is again substituting Kautskyism for Leninism.”
Editorial Departments of Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) and Hongqi (Red Flag), 1964
“Epistemologically speaking, the source of all erroneous views on war lies in idealist and mechanistic tendencies on the question. People with such tendencies are subjective and one-sided in their approach to problems. They either indulge in groundless and purely subjective talk, or, basing themselves upon a single aspect or a temporary manifestation, magnify it with similar subjectivity into the whole of the problem. But there are two categories of erroneous views, one comprising fundamental, and therefore consistent, errors which are hard to correct, and the other comprising accidental, and therefore temporary, errors which are easy to correct. Since both are wrong, both need to be corrected. Therefore, only by opposing idealist and mechanistic tendencies and taking an objective and all-sided view in making a study of war can we draw correct conclusions on the question of war.”
Mao Zedong, On Protracted War, 1938
The cat is out of the bag. On the 3rd of september, the web page of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines published an article signed Andy Belisario with a clear position against the universality of people’s war. First published by PRISM, “People’s Resource for International Solidarity and Mass Mobilization”, the article has been promoted actively by the ILPS chairman Sison in social media.
The article is named ‘On the so-called universality of Protracted People’s War’ and in an editorial the PRISM editors calls this a ‘major response by Andy Belisario to the simmering debate on the “universality of people’s war”’. It is directed against two articles signed Ard Kinera, published by TFM. The articles was published in june, in response to articles by the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, José Maria Sison – now chairperson of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS). [Edit: This is an error, since june 2019 he is only Chairperson Emeritus in the ILPS, TFM editor.]
Belisario is letting the cat out of the bag. He is letting out all of the cats. And Sison is crossing a metaphorical Rubicon by promoting this article. We find this to be an occasion to celebrate, for it is making the contradiction clear and outspoken. There is two lines, and these lines are mutually exclusive.
The draft of this our article was made mainly by Ard Kinera, as the two first articles. But this one has been criticised, edited and rewritten by the editorial group of the new theoretical magazine Red Flag. The finished article is thus the result of a collective effort, and the subject pronoun of this text is then “we” and not “I”.
In finishing the text, it was divided into two parts, where the second part is of lesser importance in our view. This was done to make this first part more available for the readers. Still, we hope comrades will read both parts and find the whole article helpful. Even though it addresses the concrete article of Belisario, and the stance of Sison, the positions and questions raised are the same in debates and twoline-struggle in many countries. If we address them correctly, our article will be of help to Maoists in any country, especially in the imperialist ones.
The article is dedicated to the Unified Maoist International Conference and the comrades fighting for its realization, but the content and form is our own through and through.
– Editorial group of Red Flag, september 2019
People’s war is protracted war
“Take note that in his two articles, Kinera sometimes uses the term “protracted people’s war” and at other times simply “people’s war”. But it’s clear (…) that he treats the two as interchangeable terms in the context of the theory’s “universality.”
This is a crucial weakness in Kinera’s arguments, since the protracted character of the people’s wars that liberated China and Vietnam has a precise socio-economic context and political-military meaning for agrarian or semifeudal countries that are oppressed by imperialism as colonies or semi-colonies. It is not merely expressed in numbers of years that armed revolutions in industrial countries could quantitatively measure up to.”
It is true that we understand people’s war as protracted in its essence, and thus uses the words Protracted people’s war and people’s war as interchangeable. We do not simply or dogmatically claim this, but argue from facts and historical experience. No revolutionary war, that is people’s war, has ever been ‘brief’. They have always had a protracted character, not only in the agrarian countries. The revolution in Russia must be understood as beginning, also its military side, prior to 1905 and not conquering All Russian power before 1921. Still, we would agree the most precise is simply people’s war.
The Communist Party of Peru (CPP) writes in its Military Line:
“Mariátegui indicated and outlined fundamental ideas on revolutionary violence. He said: “There is no revolution that is moderate, balanced, calm, placid.” “Power is conquered through violence… it is preserved only through dictatorship.” He conceived war as being protracted in nature: “A revolution can only be fulfilled after many years. Frequently it has alternating periods of predominance by the revolutionary forces or by the counterrevolutionary forces.”
Thus, before Maoism was synthesized, great Marxists understood this to be fact – revolution must be protracted. Even Rosa Luxemburg in ‘Reform or revolution’, long pre-dating both Leninism and Maoism, both the Russian revolution and the people’s war in China, makes a similar point when she writes:
“In the first place, it is impossible to imagine that a transformation as formidable as the passage from capitalist society to socialist society can be realised in one happy act. (…) The socialist transformation supposes a long and stubborn struggle, in the course of which, it is quite probable the proletariat will be repulsed more than once so that for the first time, from the viewpoint of the final outcome of the struggle, it will have necessarily come to power “too early.”
In the second place, it will be impossible to avoid the “premature” conquest of State power by the proletariat precisely because these “premature” attacks of the proletariat constitute a factor and indeed a very important factor, creating the political conditions of the final victory. In the course of the political crisis accompanying its seizure of power, in the course of the long and stubborn struggles, the proletariat will acquire the degree of political maturity permitting it to obtain in time a definitive victory of the revolution. Thus these “premature” attacks of the proletariat against the State power are in themselves important historic factors helping to provoke and determine the point of the definite victory. Considered from this viewpoint, the idea of a “premature” conquest of political power by the labouring class appears to be a polemic absurdity derived from a mechanical conception of the development of society, and positing for the victory of the class struggle a point fixed outside and independent of the class struggle.”
In its essence, this points to the necessity for the proletariat to be politically matured through struggle and to grasp for power, even though the right opportunists hold it to be “too early”. This do not only apply generally to political struggle, but specifically also to revolution, that is revolutionary war of the masses, thus making this protracted in its character.
In the Military Line of the Communist Party of Peru, which is the center of the General Political Line of the Party and the concentrated expression of Gonzalo Thought, section 3 of the chapter on ‘People’s War’ is called ‘The Protracted War’. Here they write:
“The People’s War is protracted because it derives from the correlation between the enemy’s factors and our factors that are determined by the following four fundamental characteristics: The first is that Peru is a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society in which a bureaucratic capitalism is unfolding; the second is that the enemy is strong; the third is that the People’s Guerrilla Army is weak; and the fourth is that the Communist Party leads the People’s War. From the first and fourth characteristics we can derive that the People’s Guerrilla Army will not grow too rapidly and will not defeat its enemy soon. These peculiarities determine the protracted character of the war.”
Only one of these four characteristics has to do with the semi-feudal, semi-colonial character of Peru. The three other characteristics will apply in all people’s war, that is all revolutions, and thus, by these standards, makes the people’s war a protracted war also in imperialist countries.
We argue the point, that the people’s war must be protracted because it cannot be quick. Everywhere, the enemy is strong. Everywhere, the People’s Army is either weak or non-existing. Everywhere, the Communist Party must lead the people’s wars. The people’s war must be developed from the limited, relatively simple and low level, to the higher, more complex and advanced level. The People’s Army cannot pop up into existence. The forces cannot be accumulated in total legality. The enemy will not allow it. Revisionism will corrode every attempt in this direction. One cannot learn war without waging war, and the red power, proletarian power, must mature over time. It cannot wait for “ripe” conditions, it must always be “too soon” as Luxemburg stated.
On the necessity of particular strategy and a guiding thought
“Kinera also implies that the application of this universal theory of people’s war in different countries is a matter of simply “being flexible in tactics,” ergo, is not a question of difference in strategic line.”
Here we encounter what is typical for his whole texts, and which is typical for many opportunist writers. Belisario does not quote and he is inaccurate to serve his own agenda. He even put quotation marks on claims that are not quotes, giving the impression they are…
We do not claim that each revolution does not need its own strategy. This is quite ludicrous. True, we uphold the strategy of people’s war to be universally applicable. Just as Maoism as a whole is so. Just as we uphold the contributions of Chairman Gonzalo of universal applicability. But applying people’s war to a specific country does not only demand specific tactics but also specific strategy. And not only a strategy for the entire process of revolution, but for parts of this; a strategy for a phase or a stage, a strategy for a campaign etc.
The strategy of the Communist Party of one country must be part of the strategy of the International Communist Movement. And thus, the revolution of one country must be guided as part of the World Revolution.
But, as we have stated as clearly as we think possible, we uphold people’s war to be universally applicable and the sole path to communism. People’s war is the only road to power for the proletariat in each and every country, and in the world as a whole.
Belisario writes, on the basis of the mentioned non-quote of ours:
“This is another flaw, because it implies that CPs need only to concern themselves with tactics and no longer need to define their own strategies based on the particularity of their own countries—because, after all, their dear Gonzalo has already defined the Maoist “sole military strategy” of PPW for them!”
A rubbish claim. On contrary, Chairman Gonzalo, and the Communist Party of Peru explain in their ‘Fundamental Documents’ that every revolution must develop not only their own strategy, but even their own guiding thought:
“Moreover, and this is the basis upon which all leadership is formed, revolutions give rise to a thought that guides them, which is the result of the application of the universal truth of the ideology of the international proletariat to the concrete conditions of each revolution; a guiding thought indispensable to reach victory and to conquer political power and, moreover, to continue the revolution and to maintain the course always towards the only, great goal: Communism; a guiding thought that, arriving at a qualitative leap of decisive importance for the revolutionary process which it leads, identifies itself with the name of the one who shaped it theoretically and practically.”
The concept of Guiding Thought is masterly explained further in the article ‘Regarding the thought of Lenin’ in the magazine ‘El Maoista’, and translated and published in english by the comrades of ‘Dem Volke dienen’. In other words, the position of the Communist Party of Peru, Chairman Gonzalo and the Left of the International Communist Movement, is that the universal truth of Maoism must indeed be applied to the concrete conditions of every revolution. This should be known by Belisario, as he has written a quite extensive reply to our articles. He cannot have written this without reading the Fundamental Documents of the Communist Party of Peru, since this is most important to this debate. He then must know that the line of Gonzalo and the Maoists, is that there cannot be universal applicability without concrete application. There cannot be universality without particularity. If people’s war is universal, it must be concretely and particularly applied. If it cannot be applied particularly, it is not universal. So this has to be our stance, our position, and Belisario has to know. Thus his claim must be sinister for polemical reasons.
The right opportunists and the particularities of imperialist countries
They claim we do not concern ourselves with strategies based on the particularities of each country. But does Belisario and Sison bring forth any useful lessons on the particularities and strategies in the imperialist countries? The right opportunists does not engage in practice with this task with the revolutionary optimism it demands of us. Not with the conviction that we are in the strategic offensive of the world revolution, imperialism being rotting capitalism and the world being ripe for revolution.
Instead the task they seem to focus all energy on, is finding “particular” difficulties of making revolution. Only particular strengths of the enemy and weaknesses of the communists, and the negative assertions they have made have often been proven wrong. While we should know our weaknesses and the enemies strengths, we also know the famous words of Mao:
“All reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance, the reactionaries are terrifying, but in reality, they are not so powerful. From a long-term point of view, it is not the reactionaries but the people who are powerful.”
This long term point of view is rejected by Sison and Belisario in fearmongering on behalf of the tiger. Sison spreads fear that any guerilla “will be overwhelmed by the huge army” and this fear is reiterated by Belisario.
They spread this attitude, because they have not taken upon themselves to look at the particularities of the imperialist countries with true revolutionary optimism and a dedication to make revolution. Maoists have addressed the particularities of the proletariat in these countries, making class analysis of their countries and they have addressed the particularities of armed struggles in imperialist countries. They have creatively used the particular situations of these countries to find opportunities for struggle. Sison and Belisario have failed to do this.
Their analysis of the particularities of these countries is so weak that they write that they are “industrialized urbanised capitalist countries” instead of pointing out imperialism as the principal characteristic of these countries. They have not creatively used these particularities for developing revolutionary struggle. And Sison’s interest of the particularities of armed struggle is not based in the experience of actual armed struggle in imperialist countries, but merely his own imagination of the huge army smashing any insurrection.
On using Lenin’s ‘Left-Wing Communism’ as justification
On the basis of his “misunderstanding”, Belisario seek to give a lecture on “The revolutionary situation”. And he tries to use Lenin’s work on ‘Left-Wing’ Communism.
In 1964, the Editorial Departments of Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) and Hongqi (Red Flag) answered similar attacks from modern revisionism against the Communist Party of China:
“The leaders of the CPSU often make use of Lenin’s great work, “‘Left-Wing’ Communism, an Infantile Disorder”, to justify their erroneous line and have made it a “basis” for their attacks on the Chinese Communist Party.
This is of course futile. Like all his other works, this book of Lenin’s can only serve as a weapon for Marxist-Leninists in the fight against various kinds of opportunism and can never serve as an instrument of revisionist apologetics.
When Lenin criticized the “Left-wing” infantile disorder and asked the party of the proletariat to be skilful in applying revolutionary tactics and to do better in preparing for revolutions, he had already broken with the revisionists of the Second International and had founded the Third International.
Indeed, in “‘Left-Wing’ Communism” he stated that the main enemy of the international working-class movement at the time was the Kautsky type of opportunism. Lenin repeatedly stressed that unless a break was made with revisionism there could be no talk of how to master revolutionary tactics.”
It is no coincidence that Belisario tries to make use of Lenin’s work. We have seen it before. But we maintain that the main danger is from the right. From Khrushchev – in disguise of Leninism – to Hua-Deng – disguised as Mao Zedong Thought – and today the right opportunist line in Peru and in the international movement disguised of Maoism. The main danger is not ‘Left-Wing’ Communism. It exist, it is a danger first and foremost in the form of dogmatism which really serves the right, but the main danger is right opportunism.
It is no coincidence that Gonzalo and those who adhere to his line, is called secterians and dogmatists. But the real dogmatist is Belisario himself, when he turns to a quote by Mao in 1938 to prove his point. He quotes Mao saying:
“The one war they want to fight is the civil war for which they are preparing. But this insurrection and war should not be launched until the bourgeoisie becomes really helpless, until the majority of the proletariat are determined to rise in arms and fight, and until the rural masses are giving willing help to the proletariat. And when the time comes to launch such an insurrection and war, the first step will be to seize the cities, and then advance into the countryside’ and not the other way about. All this has been done by Communist Parties in capitalist countries, and it has been proved correct by the October Revolution in Russia.”
Firstly, we unite with the Communist Party of Peru when they understand the October Revolution as people’s war. This is a new understanding, but true. Secondly, is it true that “all this” has been done by Communist Parties in capitalist countries? Has there been any revolutions where insurrection and war has been launched when “the majority of the proletariat is determined to rise in arms and fight”? We do not know of such revolutions. It is simply dogmatism to repeat such a quote as it was a factual description of history. Chairman Mao was eternally great, but this quote is not proof that people’s war is not universal. Neither is other potential quotes by Mao or the Chinese Communists. We know that this was their line also in other documents of later dating, but it does not prove the line of people’s war is wrong. This question is not decided by “he said”, but the content of what is being said and if it is correct in the light of practice, especially revolutionary practice and revolutionary war.
The protracted legal struggle resulting in urban insurrection and civil war has not led to revolution. Not in Russia, nor in any other country. It is simply not the experience of our class. On the other hand, our experience is people’s war being victorious. It has been synthesized by Mao Zedong and Chairman Gonzalo has made clear that this synthesis is a integral and universally applicable part of Maoism.
Let us dwell also with the fact, that not only we argue the point of the Communist Party of Peru, that the Russian revolution should be understood as people’s war, we argue this was not precursed by ages of legal work to accumulate forces. The communist party was mainly organized clandestinely. They combined legal work with illegal work. The party was well drilled in secrecy. This should also be included when we learn from this experience. The right opportunists tend to neglect also this part of our history.
Is revolutionary theory even important?
“Quite the opposite, Kinera says this “Petrograd model” is a “tired old strategy.” “
Again, as we have noted, this speaks to Belisarios rotten method of debate. It is the same as Sisons. He does not quote us, but here he gives the impression of doing so. Neither of our two articles include the phrase “Petrograd model” or “tired old strategy”. We did quote the Communist Party of Peru writing:
“To understand this key question it is helpful to keep in mind the fact that since the Petrograd insurrection this model has not been repeated (…) and to see that in the end, the October Revolution was not only an insurrection but a revolutionary war that lasted several years. Consequently, in the imperialist countries the revolution can only be conceived of as revolutionary war and today this can only mean people’s war.”
Why does Belisario make up quotes? Why does he put together different claims and statements? Again, it must be to serve his agenda. Or he is simply lazy. In any way, it is the typical Right Opportunist way, being lazy and inaccurate in the realm of revolutionary theory. It is simply not that important to them.
Belisario quotes Mao from his 1938-speech “Problems of war and strategy” stating that the main form of revolutionary organizing in the imperialist countries is one of protracted legal struggle leading to insurrection and war, and thereby concludes:
“Mao says that PPW does not apply to capitalist countries, while Kinera insists it does. … On this point alone, Kinera’s entire house of cards about the “universality of protracted people’s war” collapses into a heap. He claims to be Maoist but doesn’t really get Mao’s teachings. He is shown up to be an infantile Maoist, or worse, a fake Maoist.“
It is worth dwelling on this point. Firstly, all Maoists need to pay attention to what Belisario says and Sison promotes; if you defend, promote and apply people’s war as universal, you are an infantile or fake Maoist who do not understand the teachings of Mao. This is a clear position. Sison and the web page of NDFP has promoted this stance, and with no modifiers.
The second thing worth dwelling on is Belisarios apparent view that one Mao-quote, in a speech on the specific character on revolutionary war in China from 1938, is enough to settle the question of revolutionary strategy in the imperialist countries today, or for that matter provide a conscientious portrayal of Mao’s teachings and theory on people’s war. Why does not Belisario instead quote Mao on the “three wrong views” on “How to study war” (“Problems of strategy in China’s revolutionary war”, 1936)? Because Belisario would then openly place himself among those who “cut the feet to fit the shoes” by only studying revolutionary war in this or that particular country, and never the general laws of revolutionary war. Why not quote from Mao’s later summaries of the history of the Communist Party of China (‘Some experiences in our party’s history’, 1956)? Because Belisarios “analysis” of the Chinese revolution as a kind of “Russian opposite” would turn into thin air confronted with the actual historical experiences summarized by Mao, emphasizing much more the similarities than the “crucial differences” supposed by Belisario. However, if one follows the hermeneutical method of Belisario, then a carefully picked quote will suffice, distorting Mao to promote legalism and parliamentary cretinism at all cost and argue against universality of armed struggle. What a spectacular and unabashed form of scholasticism that here poses as “Maoist analysis”. Hence Belisarios conclusion that a synthesis made in 1980, refined during the development of people’s war in Peru, propagated and elaborated up until today and beyond, is a mere “house of cards” because this synthesis was not fully developed by Mao already in 1938. What an extreme form of dogmatism!
Everchanging development in both practice and theory
In 1928, Mao wrote the article ‘Why is it that Red Political Power Can Exist in China’. Also a favorite of the types of Belisario, setting out to topple ‘houses of cards’ and dismiss the universality of people’s war. The comrade editors of the selected works of Mao including this article has added an interesting footnote reading:
“(…) Thus, much as in China, it has become possible for the peoples of all, or at least some, of the colonial countries in the East to maintain big and small revolutionary base areas and revolutionary regimes over a long period of time, and to carry on long-term revolutionary wars in which to surround the cities from the countryside, and then gradually to advance to take the cities and win nation-wide victory. The view held by Comrade Mao Tse-tung in 1928 on the question of establishing independent regimes in colonies under direct imperialist rule has changed as a result of the changes in the situation.”
Let us dwell with this important reminder, that the great Chairman Mao was able to change his view as a result of changes in the situation. Not a surprise to us, but still worth noting. We hold that the theory has to develop even further on the basis of the everchanging concrete situation, and also our enriched understanding of the history.
On objective factors and failures of armed groups in imperialist countries
Belisario dismiss our position on why most armed groups of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s disintegrated in Europe and North-America. Belisario writes:
“In short, Kinera focuses exclusively on subjective factors for the failures, e.g. “loss or morale” or “lack of ideology and political leadership” by a “militarized Maoist CP.” He avoids giving weight to the objective factors, which were stressed by Lenin and Mao.”
It is true the focus was on the subjective factors. The experience of Ireland is proof neither the objective factors, nor the counter revolutionary enemy, defeated these armed organizations. Belisario does not propose a counter-explanation to this, he simply state that this is something to be figured out. Ofcourse, our articles did not pretend to have the full and final analysis and synthesis of the experience of armed struggle in the imperialist countries. Far from it! And Belisario knows this, and yet again fall into dishonesty. Our position is simply that protracted armed struggle has been proven to be possible in imperialist countries. And this is proof against the claim that any such attempt would be smashed by the “huge army” of the reactionaries.
As opportunist always do, Belisario throws around the word “failure”. In their vocabulary, all the greatest achievements of revolutionary struggle seem to be “failures”. But how do real communists sum up an enormous “failure” like the Paris Commune of 1871? Karl Marx wrote:
“Working men’s Paris, with its Commune, will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class.”
This is the attitude of the founder of Marxism, today Maoism, towards a failure of great magnitude. The armed struggles in the imperialist countries is not for Belisario to wave off as simple failures of no great relevance when we discuss the road to revolution. No Maoist claim these groups waged a people’s war, we simply claim they prove the position of Sison/Belisario to be wrong. Sison claim “As soon as that army [a revolutionary army in a capitalist country, authors note] dares to launch the first tactical offensive, it will be overwhelmed by the huge enemy armed forces”, and we hold the very real experiences of groups like RAF, Red Brigades (Italy), ETA and IRA to prove this wrong. Sison tried to wiggle by redefining the term tactical offensive, but the proof is still there.
On the social and geographical terrain of our people’s war
“If it is to be a protracted people’s war, as in Mao’s China and Ho’s Vietnam, then where in the social and geographic terrain of a capitalist country, and how exactly, will the organs of revolutionary political power be organized and sustained?“
One great addition to the treasure chest of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, is the forms of New Power in the people’s war of Peru. In the rural theatre of war “[the] new Power, the clandestine People’s Committees (…) are the backbone of the Support Bases.”. In the urban areas, in the slums of Lima, revolutionary mass organizations was established and developed even there into the embryonic new power.
The social and geographic terrain in the imperialist countries is mainly the poor and proletarian neighbourhoods of the big cities, but in general the marginalized areas of the countries. Not only urban, but mainly urban. New power has to be built, and must be built in clandestine forms of organization, like the clandestine People’s Committees of Peru. Organs of revolutionary power must be established by mass organizations and sustained only by the help and support by the deepest and broadest masses. This is the road of people’s war, in general. The concrete application in concrete revolutions will differ, but in essence it is the same, and it cannot be any other way if it is to be victorious.
Both Belisario and we understand there are major differences between mainly urban and developed capitalist imperialist countries on the one hand, and the semi feudal and semi colonial third world countries on the other hand. These differences gives birth to different characteristics, and thus different concrete application of the universal theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
Firstly, imperialist countries are imperialist countries. This is the most important defining characteristic. This makes a larger strata of relatively well paid labour aristocrats and thus creates a deeper split in the proletariat, as mentioned by Lenin in his work ‘Imperialism’. This is the objective socio-economical root of social patriotism and right opportunism, reformism and legalism. These tendencies are thus very strong in these countries, even amongst the masses.
Secondly, these countries are not semi-feudal or semi-colonial, thus the revolution is not new democratic but socialist in character. There is no basis to build a new democratic class alliance and there is no basis of a worker-peasant alliance for revolution.
Thirdly, the main force of revolution is the proletariat, which is the largest class in all these countries. Thus, the proletariat is not only the leading class but also the social mainstay of the revolution, and not the poor peasants like in the third world. The war is thus not an agrarian war.
Fourthly, the countries is mainly urban, so the main theatre of war is the urban areas, especially the proletarian neighbourhoods. This is the main place of organizing new power, but the main enemies of revolution is situated other places, and thus military work will in now way be restricted to these areas.
These are four characteristics, but there is many more. And each country also has its own particularities.
But how come only we are put on some metaphorical trial? We can refer to several revolutionary wars being waged in this moment, all taking the theory of people’s war into account. Why not turn the burden of proof? Where is the successful protracted legal accumulation of forces, followed by insurrection and civil war? Does Belisario and Sison have any such examples, that is in either imperialist countries or the third world? Even if they do not acknowledge the Russian revolution as People’s War, but maintain it to follow the “orthodox model”, has there been any such revolution after 1921? Any such revolution in the imperialist countries? The models and programs and roads for this has been made in plentiful. Belisario could find lots of books on the british/american/norwegian/italian road to socialism. In all variants of opportunism, this road has been presented in so much detail, one can get lost in it. A prime example is Trotskys transitional program. Another is the soviet brand of “anti-monopolist united front strategy”. The “Euro-communists” Togliatti and Thorez might help. Or the backwood of dogmatist, hoxhaist and trotskyist groups. So much dual power on paper, so little new power in practice. All the time, the answer is quite simple people’s war.
Belisario “reminds us” that people’s war is about “mobilizing the masses in the armed struggle in order to dismantle the bourgeois-reactionary state machinery (especially its armed forces) step by step and in likewise fashion to build the revolutionary state machinery and use it to defend the people’s gains.” He ask us what main form the war is going to take, what types of military formations will be built and and from which social class. He want to give us a “chance to explain [our] own version of “Maoist military strategy and tactics” in detail” and he says “My guess is that it will be a revised edition of Gonzalo’s Peru ca. 1988, transplanted to current-day Europe. But Kinera should further expound”.
We uphold, as the Communist Party of Peru, that the essence of people’s war is new power, is base areas. We thus agree – as Belisario writes – that dismantling the bourgeois state and building the revolutionary state is essential in people’s war. But here Belisario makes a leap, when he says “the essence of protracted people’s war is not simply to maintain fighting teams that use guns—which the fascists, the Mafia, and conspiratorial terrorists also do”, which is interesting. Armed fighting groups is possible in imperialist countries. They need not be smashed by the “huge army”, as claimed earlier by Sison and Belisario. Even isolated groups, groups without a mass base, can fight is the conclusion. Why not within a revolutionary mass movement? In Belisarios world, something changes qualitatively when such fighting groups is led by a Communist Party and part of a revolutionary war. If this is tried, then the fighting groups will be smashed. It does not make sense.
On his other questions, this article will not answer in depth, but we agree it should be done. It is part of a military line, necessary for each and every people’s war. But this article is not such a line. But we will answer very briefly:
1) The main form of people’s war in the imperialist countries are urban guerilla warfare, but in many countries the operations in rural areas will be an important addition.
2) The types of military formations will be the squads, troops and other formations of the people’s guerilla army.
3) The revolution in the imperialist countries is a socialist revolution, a proletarian revolution, and the party, the army and the front will be mainly proletarian.
4) The strategy and tactics must be informed by the military theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and by the contributions of universal validity from Gonzalo Thought
Who was first and what is principal?
Belisario writes: “Despite Kinera’s misplaced flattery, Mao was not the original proponent or first theorist of people’s war as ‘the military theory of the international proletariat.’” and he then moves on to mention Marx, Engels and Lenin. Again, Belisario does not quote! Where have anyone claimed Mao to be the first theorist of revolutionary war? Again, this is pure opportunist and sinister claims.
In the introduction to the ‘Line of Construction of the Three Instruments of the Revolution’ the Communist Party of Peru writes:
“Marx said that the working class creates organizations in its image and likeness, that is, its own organizations. In the XIX century, with Marx and Engels, we started off endowed with a scientific conception, our own doctrine, our own objective, our common goal—how to take Power and the means to do it—revolutionary violence. “ and “by the end of the XIX century, Engels came to the conclusion that the class did not have either the proper organic forms or the proper military forms to seize Power and hold it, but he never said we should abandon the revolution, rather we should work for revolution, seeking a solution to these pending problems.”
All Maoist will acknowledge the contributions of other great communist leaders. Mao stood on the shoulders of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, as he underscored many a time, and as is underscored by Chairman Gonzalo. It is a rubbish claim by Bolsario, and speaks on his methods, as copied by the playbook of Sison.
But, who else than Mao systematized people’s war? Would Bolsario claim that Marx, Engels or Lenin did this? It would be a really unique claim, one we haven’t heard before. Then Belisario goes on:
“Mao of course made immense contributions to proletarian military theory based on his vast leadership experience in the long years of Chinese revolution, as did Ho Chi Minh, Le Duan and Vo Nguyen Giap in the case of the Vietnamese revolution, and Sison in the case of the Philippine revolution. All of them successfully applied proletarian military theory to practical questions of people’s war in their respective countries, and in the process enriched such theory.”
We encounter here the arch typical right opportunist reasoning. Mao was not first, because Marx, Engels, Lenin. And then, Mao was not alone, because Ho Chi Minh, Le Duan, Giap and Sison. What is typical here? The unwillingness or inability to tell what is principal. Is Sison of the same importance to the proletarian military theory as Chairman Mao? We do not think Belisario would claim this. What about Ho, Le Duan or Giap? In his eagerness to strip Mao of “misplaced flattery”, he reduces Mao’s contributions in military questions to one of many. The bourgeois Thomas Marks is wrong, Mao was not to irregular warfare what Clausewitz and Napoleon was to regular warfare. He was simply “one of many”, is how Belisario sees it. We know this reasoning from how stale dogmatists and opportunist the same, refuses ‘Maoism’. Mao was simply a marxist-leninist, a great revolutionary of China, or even, as hoxhaists claim, just a bourgeois nationalist.
Further on, who was first? The concrete application of people’s war in Vietnam and the Philippines happened mainly after Mao’s application in China. They was clearly inspired and guided by the contributions of Mao. If one reads general Giap on people’s war, this is very clear. He copy the three stages of the people’s war and he adhere to the same principles as Mao already has outlined, like “concentration of troops to realize an overwhelming superiority over the enemy”, like “initiative, suppleness, rapidity, surprise, suddenness in attack and retreat”, like “exhaust little by little by small victories the enemy forces and at the same time to maintain and increase ours” and “losses must be avoided even at the cost of losing ground”. This is Vo Nguyen Giap, but firstly these principles was formulated by Chairman Mao. Does Belisario suggest Giap did not know the writings of Chairman Mao? We doubt it.