Why the terror in Peru?: The Shining Path and the struggle of the working class

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We are publishing here a translation of an article made by our new section in Peru.

For some time, the Peruvian state has developed a campaign against terrorism, in particular against certain weakened but well-armed groups such as the Shining Path. Originally, it was a simple campaign to weaken the attempt to legalise a faction of the Shining Path – the Movadef[1] - which is hoping to participate in the political game with the other parties. When terrorist groups, as was the case with the IRA in Ireland, or presently the ETA in Spain, try to integrate themselves “normally” into the political circus, the already established forces within the state always unleash campaigns of discredit, demolition and harassment to ensure that the newcomers are as weak as possible and cannot profit from the prestige that they've acquired previously through the armed struggle. When bourgeois parties make alliances, it's usual for them to get in as many low blows as possible. There's nothing paradoxical about this: each tries to ally themselves with the weakest possible “partner”, because in this pitiless market place not to do so would result in them being weakened in their turn.

But after the attempt at the legalisation of Movadef failed, the campaign of the state then attacked the supposed incursions and so-called acts of violence of the SP (from graffiti on the walls, to car bombs, to assassinations, kidnappings, etc). And with time, we are seeing the state beginning to make a link between  certain sectors of the population and terrorist groups, in particular sectors such as the mining industry where conflicts are becoming sharper each day, as is the case for Conga at Cajamarca or for the illegal miners of the Amazonian forest for example. Why has the state invented this link? Why has the state begun to tie in the demonstrations of the miners with the Shining Path?

The answer is evident: because it allows them to more easily exercise an extremely violent repression under the pretext  “that the Shining Path has infiltrated  members into these movements”. The state has already begun this repression against the impoverished peasants who are struggling against the mining pollution in their villages, who are struggling for their survival. The campaign against the Shining Path serves to justify the state's repression against the protest movements and are a clear warning to the movements which will appear in the future.

This campaign also has the advantage of making a link between communism and terrorism. The struggle of the working class has nothing to do with terrorism and terrorism also has nothing to do with the working class. Terrorism is always the enemy of the class struggle and plays a destructive role towards it.  Communists thus openly reject the methods and visions of terrorism. Its practices and its positions are antagonistic to those of the working class.

“Terrorism is in no way a method of struggle for the working class. It is the expression of social strata with no historic future and of the decomposition of the petty-bourgeoisie, when it's not the direct expression of the permanent war between capitalist states, terrorism has always been a fertile soil for manipulation by the bourgeoisie. Advocating secret actions by small minorities is in opposition to the class violence which comes from the conscious and organised mass activity of the working class[2].

Terrorism is thus a practice which has nothing to do with the tradition of the workers' movement. Terrorism allows neither a process of criticism nor or reflection but on the contrary provokes fear and anguish; as in a country at war, bombings do not favour reflection nor consciousness of the reasons for war, but on the contrary provokes exoduses, flights of the population who are pushed to look after themselves, thus generating obstacles for the development of the collective consciousness of the working class.

Terrorist practices (and those of the Shining Path in particular) only express the despair and decomposition of the petty-bourgeoisie through the “exemplary actions” of elitist groups, a practice which is totally opposed to class violence, which comes from the collective and conscious action of the masses in struggle for the destruction of capitalism, as was the case at the time of the emergence of the soviets in Russia, 1917. Proletarian class violence is based upon general assemblies, collective decisions, common practice and on everything which favours the conditions for the development of consciousness. The consciousness of the working class is forged in the unitary and collective struggle.

We thus reject the politics of amalgamation that the bourgeoisie, and the Peruvian state, with the puppet Humala at its head, serving up the same dish of “terrorism and subversion” or any expression of discontent or of struggle against the social order. Their aim is nothing other than to prepare the ground for justifying bloody repression against the working class in Peru, in the context of the world crisis of capitalism which carries with it a string of attacks against the living conditions of our class, provoking reactions of indignation and of struggle.

We can see at what point these terrorist groups are foreign to the working class with the recent confinement of twenty workers from the gas factory of Camisea by a supposed group of Shining Path, which wanted to exchange them for the imprisoned “comrade Artemio”. The capture of Artemio and the legalisation of Movadef, added to the supposed attacks of this terrorist group, serve as a Trojan horse of the state in order to prepare the ground for a brutal repression of the working class which has begun to struggle in other parts of the world (Spain, Greece...) and whose struggle will be concretised as much in Peru as in the rest of the American continent.

Internacionalismo -Peru 5/12



[1]Movadef: “Movimiento por Amnistia y Derechos Fundamentales” (Movement for amnesty and international rights). The Shining Path movement, founded in 1970, is a movement of Maoist inspiration advocating the armed struggle and terrorist acts. Its “guerrilla tactic” has sown terror throughout the country and provoked bloody massacres of the population (about 70,000 deaths) through the 1980s and 90s in Peru, in particular in the countryside and villages from which it undertook its “actions”.

[2]Extract from the “Basic Positions” of the International Communist Current.