A Criticism of Incorrect Lines Taken by the CPS(RF) and The Red Flag (Switzerland)
I have been, and will continue to be, a supporter of the CPS(RF) and The Red Flag in Switzerland as important members in the ICM of the present moment, upholding firmly the line of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the universally valid theories of Gonzalo Thought, or MLMism-Gonzalo Thought, not to mention their contributions to developing the Marxist theory of queer issues, reinvigorating the process of developing a revolutionary guiding thought in their own country, and translating documents from other Parties. A part of why I have felt compelled to so adamantly defend this Party and this journal is that several comrades I know have condemned them as wreckers or opportunists for what are in my mind insufficient reasons. But I should be self-critical about a mistake I have made: in eagerness not to overemphasize the mistakes they have made, I perhaps have underemphasized them. I think the most important aspect of the MLMist doctrine of ruthless criticism of all that exists is that we must be willing to undertake friendly and productive criticism of ourselves and our allies, as well as harsh critique of our enemies. Therefore, in maintaining support for CPS(RF) as a significant Party deserving of worldwide attention for their efforts, I must also not be remiss in criticizing their significant mistakes.
I assert the following: I assert that The Red Flag has published writings, some from the CPS(RF), which have leveled wrongheaded and dogmatic accusations against other genuine communists, most seriously against the MPP and members of the PCP; I assert that these missteps were the product of well-intentioned and genuine dedication the the cause of defending the life of Chairman Gonzalo, the great leader of the Peruvian revolution whose intellectual effort both cemented the synthesis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and were chiefly involved in the creation of Gonzalo Thought as a specific application thereof to Peru’s revolution which has since been shown in several aspects to be of universal utility/use-value, and that this is significant in understanding them but does not change that they were mistakes; I assert that these mistakes do not constitute significant enough evidence to challenge the position of the CPS(RF) and the editors of The Red Flag as communists, nor to allege that the Swiss communist movement’s negative aspects outweigh its positives, especially in light of the firm internationalism these organizations maintain in other areas, but that nonetheless it is proper to criticize them for these errors.
Let us begin with assertion number one. The polemic “Between the Darkness and the Dawn There Rises a Red Sun,” which was written by the provisional central committee of the CPS(RF) and issued through The Red Flag, calls for firmer campaigning in the defense of the life of great leader Chairman Gonzalo. This in itself is fine and indeed good; the polemic was part of the international campaign to defend the life of Cmrd. Gonzalo which has since evolved into the campaign to deliver justice for his assassination-by-neglect at the hands of the Peruvian bureaucrat-comprador state. The trouble is with how the CPS(RF) voiced their urge to defend Gonzalo: by slandering the way that campaign had been carried out by other communists. Let us examine a quote:
The Peru People‘s Movement issued a miserable statement on the 24th of July, 2021, fully aware of the situation of Chairman Gonzalo — or can we assume that these „comrades“ are unable to read El Comercio despite citing it in their writing? In this text, the Peru People‘s Movement speaks of „the political situation in the country“. Here, we can read paragraph upon paragraph about reactionary ministers and the transfer of government from former president Sagasti to president-elect Castillo. But what of Chairman Gonzalo, our great leadership? The Peru People‘s Movement simply states:
“Before proceeding further, we denounce: that the enemy is taking advantage of the situation to advance its plan to annihilate Chairman Gonzalo, head of the Party and the revolution, we reaffirm what was established in the Declaration of the Maoist Parties and Organizations of the World for the Day of Heroism, on the defence of the leadership […]
Defend Chairman Gonzalo and Gonzalo Thought, the leadership of the Communist Party of Peru and the Peruvian revolution!”
What kind of defense of the great leadership is this? To speak nothing of his situation, as he may be dying, as revisionists across the world and opportunists and reactionaries of every kind are foaming at the mouth — this is nothing more than to participate in the campaign to murder Chairman Gonzalo.
I must say I find their attack on the MPP absurd. Nobody thinking clearly and cogently can read “Defend Chairman Gonzalo and Gonzalo Thought, the leadership of the Communist Party of Peru and the Peruvian revolution!” and interpret it as anything other than “Defend Chairman Gonzalo and Gonzalo Thought, the leadership of the Communist Party of Peru and the Peruvian revolution!”- obviously a call to the campaign to defend Gonzalo. The Swiss complaint seems to be that the MPP was, or at least they believe they were, more concerned about Peru’s political situation than about defending Gonzalo. But this lacks sense: when this MPP statement was released the political situation in Peru really was very significant and comment on it was very necessary; this was during the election between Fujimorist fascist Keiko Fujimori and rondero social-fascist Pedro Castillo, who deceived the masses and the world with the lie that he was a socialist or a candidate of the proletariat; it was necessary for the PCP and its associated United Front mass organizations (the MPP among them), who represent real socialism and proletarian interests in Peru, to speak publicly to counteract this misinformation. And frankly I think Gonzalo himself, if only the brilliant man could still tell us, would understand why this political situation takes up as much text as it does: great leaders are great precisely because they and their thoughts become the foremost political manifestations of the will and struggle of their class; as such, their lives as individuals should not and cannot be seen as more significant than the interests of that class at large. This does not mean that the lives of great leaders are not significant, rather, they are of overpowering significance precisely because of their role in the struggle of the classes they represent. But this distinction really is irrelevant, because it is possible to advocate both for the proletariat and other progressive classes generally and the great leader specifically, and this is what the MPP (correctly) did.
More broadly speaking, what CPS(RF) was doing in this polemic, with its attacks on the MPP, and on Dem Volke Dienen, etc. etc., was expressing a sentimental impulse to denounce every organization or publication but their own party as insufficiently dedicated to the defense of Gonzalo’s life. This impulse is understandable; I see it as a manifestation of genuine concern for Gonzalo and desire to help him. But, after all, Marxism is a science and not a constellation of sentiments, and as such the CPS(RF) and The Red Flag were mistaken in allowing sentimental fear for the life of an individual and dogmatic singlemindedness in making that the sole issue they saw as worth addressing (even an individual as important as Gonzalo himself, the sixth and most recent of the fundamental great thinkers of Marxism) to cloud their scientific concern for the interests of the global working classes and their solidarity with other communist groups.
The more significantly problematic document, which did not come from CPS(RF) but from an individual going by “Edith B.,” is entitled “OPINION: The ‘Red Sun’ Police Conspiracy has Outlived its Role.” The title gives the appearance of representing nothing controversial: the fact that “solrojo.org” is a phony Maoist website operated by the Peruvian old state as a kind of honey pot has been acknowledged widely by Maoists everywhere. The issue is that Edith B., whoever she may be, sees fit to- under the guise of Maoism- slander the leaders of the world Maoist movement, the heroic fighters of the PCP waging People’s War in Peru. On the words of an “Association New Democracy” in Hamburg, Germany, it is charged that a right-opportunist line led by “Comrade” José has usurped power over Party resources and institutions from Comrade Feliciano and the genuine PCP and since led much of the party into revisionism and liquidation- this much is correct, but the problem is that inexplicably Edith B. and this “Association” identify Comrade Laura, the MPP, and the still existent genuine PCP with the faction of José. She says: “…the same misconception [is] being spread by the [MPP] today, with promotion of Comrade Laura as the supposed leader of a ‘[PCP]’ which somehow is able to exist in the Vizcatán Mountains together with José.” This is slander, and absurd. Whatever this mysterious “Association” says from Hamburg, nobody aware of the real situation on the ground in the Vizcatán area could claim Laura and the cadre of the PCP are “together with José.” Indeed Tjen Folket Media, in their preface to the famous “Interview with Comrade Laura” AKA “Conversations with Comrade Laura in the Bases of the Vizcatán Mountains,” which Edith B. herself cites in her article, write “a firm position is taken [herein] against the revisionist and capitulationist ROL led by the rat Miriam and especially against the right opportunist line, disguised as the left, revisionist and capitulationist of the rat José [italics added] and his litter who usurped the CRP (Regional Party Committee).” The real PCP, which continues to wage the People’s War on the basis of MLMism, Gonzalo Thought across Peru and especially in the Vizcatán area, is wholly different from the drug-trading liquidationist gang of José or the sycophantic capitulationists under Miriam; it is the real PCP and their ongoing People’s War that Maoists everywhere must support and recognize as leaders.
Because she does not understand a difference between the ROL of José and the continuity of the PCP as represented by Laura, Edith B. writes that
The people‘s war in Peru, of which so much has been said by the opportunists of the „Committee Red Flag“ in Germany and in the Peru People‘s Movement (PPM [or MPP, the more usual acronym from the Spanish]) since 2012, has been proven to not exist. Not only has there been no attempt to free Chairman Gonzalo, even though the conditions for it have not been better since his arrest; there has also not been a single action in Peru or a „Party“ statement in solidarity with Gonzalo. This after three years of no life signs from the Left. This is final proof (the peak of a mountain of evidence) that there is no people‘s war in Peru… The PPM has exposed itself as an instrument in defense of not the Communist Party of Peru (CPP [or PCP, again the more usual from the Spanish]) and the people‘s war in Peru — neither of which actually exist — but the „Militarized Communist Party of Peru“ (MPCP), the apparatus of the 3rd Right-opportunist line of the rat José.
This is plainly understood as sheer nonsense by anyone who understands the real situation. The publication of Laura’s interview by Tjen Folket in Norway, and the comments added to it therein, are
A. themselves a “life sign” from the Left, from the genuine and continuing PCP.
B. clear evidence that the MPP proper is the enemy of the ROL of José and speaks for the genuine PCP of Laura, Norah, Feliciano (ignoring his alleged turn away from Maoism and the Party line while imprisoned), and great leader Gonzalo himself.
C. documentation of the fact that the People’s War is still ongoing.
Furthermore the statement from the MPP derided by the CPS(RF) in the other article shows clearly that the Peruvian communists continuing the revolution were (at the time of this article) continuing the campaign to defend Gonzalo, and presumably have transitioned into the campaign to avenge him. We may in summation say, then, that while Edith B. is correct to suspect solrojo.org of being phony, her other theses are nonsense (and, incidentally, if one wants a better source for current words from the revolutionaries in Peru one can try Bandera Roja, where one will find the PCP and MPP continuing to fight against imperialism, capitalism, and revisionism, maintaining proletarian internationalism, and speaking out as much as they always have for Maoism, Chairman Gonzalo, and Gonzalo Thought). The ongoing revolution in Peru is alive and well. It is ironic and confusing, of course, that the Swiss communists, otherwise good and ardent defenders of the universal theories of Gonzalo Thought, would publish slander suggesting the People’s War in Peru has been liquidated when of course the continuing progress of that People’s War is the main proof of the power of Gonzalo Thought.
I believe these mistakes, however, must be looked at in their proper context. I do not believe it is fair to, as some have, conclude on the basis of the above-criticized mistaken statements that the CPS(RF) and The Red Flag are opportunists or deliberate wreckers trying to sow disorder in the ICM, especially given that the worst of them are the statements of a specific individual that The Red Flag just happened to publish- certainly it was a mistake to publish Edith B.’s mistaken and slanderous document, but a much more severe mistake would have been if the leadership of the Swiss communists, the CPS(RF)’s PCC, had produced it themselves. And more importantly, it is myopic to say that the Swiss communists have turned against the ICM because of mistaken attacks, however wrong and worthy of criticism they are, against the comrades of the PCP (the leaders of the global movement for MLMism-Gonzalo Thought) or the MPP or Dem Volke Dienen, because they also maintain firm internationalist solidarity with many other communist Parties and organizations. The Red Flag’s editors have maintained solidarity with and reproduced documents from communists in India (the great CPI(Maoist), main leaders of the ongoing “Naxalite” revolution), the Philippines (the CPP, themselves leading a revolutionary People’s War in their country, for all their deviations away from MLMism under the influence of rightists like Valbuena and Sison, with their peace talks, and their denial of the universality of PPW, and their validation of electoralism), and others. They have also documented actions fellow Swiss communists have taken in support of the LCP agrarian revolution in Brazil, and reproduced and documented propaganda efforts for that cause from communists all over the world.
As to the CPS(RF) and their Provisional CC: first, remember again that the more significantly objectionable of the two The Red Flag articles did not come from them but from an unknown individual. Second, I think it is fair to say that a Party should be judged principally by how it behaves in its own country, that being after all the country where it must lead the masses in revolution. Thusly, I do not think it is rational to condemn a Party on the basis of how it or its tangentially associated publications behave relative to foreign communists, even if this behaviour is wrong and owed criticism, without first evaluating how it acts within its own country. How, then, do the CPS(RF)’s leadership act in Switzerland? Under the revolutionary banner of the first plenum, the gathering of the forces of historical progress for the proletarian movement in Switzerland (which occurred last year), the PCC of this Party has unfurled the campaign to define a Maoist guiding thought for the socialist revolution in their country, has issued statements contributing to the international campaign to avenge Gonzalo and assert the universal validity of the key ideas of Gonzalo Thought, and, of course, as the Party of a nascent Maoist movement, it is the nexus of leadership around which all other revolutionary strides in the country orbit, including the actions in solidarity with the LCP mentioned above and many others.
I do not think it is fair, in conclusion, to denounce the Swiss comrades outright. What one sees in Switzerland is a communist movement well on its way to developing into the weapons of revolutionary people’s war, some of the institutions of which have made mistakes. These mistakes are significant and the CPS(RF) and The Red Flag (and, I suppose, Edith B. herself, whoever she may be) should be criticized for the publication of statements slanderous of the MPP, PCP, and other important and genuine international communists, as I have done above. But this does not invalidate the communist movement in Switzerland, nor the leading Party thereof in the CPS(RF) nor the press organ thereof in The Red Flag. I retain all hope that these revolutionaries will continue to be valuable contributors to the movement for socialism in their country and the world, and that they will recognize their mistakes and return to maintaining solidarity with the PCP’s ongoing People’s War and with all other genuine revolutionaries in the world.
LONG LIVE THE ONGOING PEOPLE’S WAR IN PERU! LONG LIVE THE PCP, THE MPP, AND COMRADE LAURA!
LONG LIVE THE CPS(RF), THE RED FLAG, AND THE COMMUNIST MOVEMENT IN SWITZERLAND!
LONG LIVE MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM-GONZALO THOUGHT! AVENGE CHAIRMAN GONZALO AND FIGHT FOR SOCIALISM EVERYWHERE!