Problems with Maoism

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by Annamarx
Published: 2022-10-22 (last update: 2023-10-01)
60-95 minutes

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is a controversial ideology, to say the least. I wrote the Maoism article initially with a more 'neutral' standpoint whilst still critiquing its theory under the 'Criticism' section. This will be a more biased viewpoint of Maoism, as it describes the problems with it. Despite my bias, I will attempt to remain neutral. I will consider not only its theory, but its praxis, and seeing how it Maoism applies to the real world.

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Preface

25th January 2023: As of writing and finishing this essay by 20th October 2022, I wrote this with the intention of educating people about Maoism. Nowadays, I think this essay still does the job. However, I may implement a few changes as it does not account for the root cause of Maoism, nor does it account for any other modern strands of Maoism. I still believe Maoism is a petit-bourgeois, adventurist ideology, that must be opposed by all Marxist-Leninists. Expect to see a second edition in the near future.

Preamble

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is a controversial ideology, to say the least. I wrote the Maoism article initially with a more 'neutral' standpoint whilst still critiquing its theory under the 'Criticism' section. This will be a more biased viewpoint of Maoism, as it describes the problems with it. Despite my bias, I will attempt to remain neutral. I will consider not only its theory, but its praxis, and seeing how it Maoism applies to the real world.

If you can't understand the first heading, please head to the next section where it breaks everything down.

Addressing Marxists and Gonzalo-Critiquing Maoists

I will first address potential points, and I will start with the Marxist-Leninists who sympathise with Maoists.

The Marxist-Leninists who support Maoism are those who are also typically anti-revisionist, e.g. align with Hoxhaism or some other anti-revisionist ideology. If you are one who does not belong to the anti-revisionist group, but still sympathises with Maoism, then please continue on reading this essay. Otherwise, to those who support anti-revisionism will addressed in a similar to the Maoists.

Now to address those who are somehow critical of Gonzalo, but support Maoism. One of the main arguments I usually get is that "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism isn't synthesised by Gonzalo". Even if it is true, you cannot deny that Gonzalo has made a lot of contributions to the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, despite him not writing much theory to begin with. I agree when it comes to the synthesis of Maoism, but most Maoist movements such as the CPP-NPA, have adopted the "maoism" label and ideology later on. So there is no hypocrisy when stating that Gonzalo synthesised Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

To those who identify as "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism" only (as in they're not "Marxism-Leninist-Maoism, principally Maoism" or MLMpM for short), this is still directed towards the same critique. MLMpM is just a label, and there is no distinction between those who support Maoism and those who support MLMpM. You may be critical of Gonzalo or some other leaders, but this is nonetheless directed towards the same ideology.

The Theory of Maoism

The Basics of Maoism

I have already written down what is Maoist theory in the Maoism article, but let's break it down further. I will also be sourcing the "Interview with Chairman Gonzalo", which is the main source of where Maoism comes from. Here is what Gonzalo describes as MLM:

Why do we say that we are in a new, third, and higher stage, Maoism? We say this because in examining the three component parts of Marxism, it is clearly evident that Chairman Mao Tsetung has developed each one of these three parts. Let's enumerate them: in Marxist philosophy no one can deny his great contribution to the development of dialectics, focusing on the law of contradiction, establishing that it is the only fundamental law. On political economy, it will suffice to highlight twothings. The first, of immediate and concrete importance for us, is bureaucrat capitalism, and second, the development of the political economy of socialism, since in synthesis we can say that it is Mao who really established and developed the political economy of socialism. With regard to scientific socialism, it is enough to point to people's war, since it is with Chairman Mao Tsetung that the international proletariat has attained a fully developed military theory, giving us then the military theory of our class, the proletariat, applicable everywhere. We believe that these three questions demonstrate a development of universal character. Looked at in this way what we have is a new stage--and we call it the third one, because Marxism has two preceding stages, that of Marx and that of Lenin, which is why we speak of Marxism-Leninism. A higher stage, because with Maoism the ideology of the worldwide proletariat attains its highest development up to now, its loftiest peak, but with the understanding that Marxism is--if you'll excuse the reiteration--a dialectical unity that develops through great leaps, and that these great leaps are what give rise to stages.[1]

So we can describe the differences in Maoism (according to Gonzalo) in 3 ways of which they are either not in Marxism-Leninism or have been succeeded by Mao Zedong:

  1. Firstly, it's the Marxist philosophy. Mao has developed the law of contradiction.
  2. Next is the political economy, Mao has introduced 'bureaucrat capitalism' and the other is the development of the political economy of socialism.
  3. The final is the scientific socialism, where Mao has introduced the Protracted People's War and its universality.

Gonzalo also says that MLM is a continuation of Mao Zedong Thought:

We based ourselves on Maoism, which at that time was called Mao Tsetung Thought, and on the establishment of a general political line. The fraction has the great distinction of having reconstituted the Party, and once that was done, the instrument then existed: the "heroic combatant;" the Communist Party of a new type, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist; the organized political vanguard--and not a"political-military organization" as it is often incorrectly put, but the Party required to launch the struggle to seize Power with arms in hand through people's War.[1]

So we have a basic grasp of what MLM is. It is following Mao Zedong Thought with the addition of the universality of the People's War, and the addition of the 'Three Worlds Theory' as Gonzalo describes the Soviet Union as 'Social Imperialist'. Let us take a look at what not Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is.

Contrary to popular belief, Maoism has not invented the Mass Line. The Marxist-Leninists have been doing it a long time before that within the Soviet Union. Neither has 'New Democracy' been invented, as the Marxist-Leninists been doing that with the New Economic Policy in the Soviet Union. Therefore, I will not need to speak about this, as they are already integral within Marxism-Leninism.[2]

Mao Zedong Thought in Contrast to Maoism

Gonzalo admits that Maoism is a continuation of Mao Zedong Thought. Does this mean that every person who follows MZT is a maoist? Certainly not, not even maoists who follow Gonzalo agree with this. Therefore it would be a good idea to contrast those with follow Mao Zedong Thought (those who have the abbreviations ML-MZT or just ML) and those who just follow MLM. People who follow Mao Zedong Thought are also typically of those who support China as a modern socialist nation. Maoists typically do not, they view China as a revisionist capitalist nation, as Gonzalo describes here:

The present leadership of China is revisionist, and is really led by a perverse character, an old and rotten revisionist, Deng Xiaoping. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution he was thoroughly exposed and the world saw what he was and continues to be, an out and out revisionist, a lackey of Liu [Shaoqi]. It's Deng who is leading China, once a socialist country, in a rapid and all-out restoration of capitalism. It is pertinent to point out that positions espoused by Gorbachev were previously espoused by Deng, in accordance with his own conditions.[1]

Clearly there is a difference between MZT and Maoism. Therefore for the rest of the essay, MZT will only be mentioned as an ideology which is separate from Maoism.

Maoism in Contrast to Marxism-Leninism

Gonzalo views Marxism-Leninism as an ideology which was good for its time, however, it needed a successor and that successor was Mao Zedong. Anyone who is a Marxism-Leninist but not a Maoist is not a genuine communist:

So for us, what exists in the world today is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and principally Maoism. We think that to be Marxists today, to be Communists, necessarily demands that we be Marxist-Leninist-Maoists and principally Maoists. Otherwise, we couldn't be genuine communists.[1]

Do Maoists think this way? Not at all. In fact I would only say that some Maoists say that is the case. However, this puts them in contradiction. If they were to work with Marxist-Leninists (to which it is still the majority of Marxists) this means that they are working with not real genuine communists. It's either they only accept Marxism-Leninism because it isn't outdated, or they accept it because they have no other option.

Does Mao Deserve to be the Successor to Marxism-Leninism?

Let us ask if Mao Zedong deserved to be a successor to Marxism-Leninism. What is a successor? Well it is something that is next in line, typically something that is superior than what came before. Has Mao Zedong discovered the law of contradiction? No, as in the book 'On Contradiction', Mao stated that it was Lenin who initially discovered it beforehand:

Lenin said, "Dialectics in the proper sense is the study of contradiction in the very essence of objects."[3]

He did however, refine it to make it understandable to the Chinese proletariat. It was a mere refinement, not a new discovery. In 1955, he given a question of whether Mao Zedong Thought should be elevated to Maoism, Mao himself replied: "Marxism-Leninism is the trunk of the tree; I am just a twig."[4] This is not modesty, this is dialectics as he truly hasn't discovered anything new. Next is the discovery of 'bureaucratic capitalism' and the political economy of socialism. Bureaucratic Capitalism has been described by Gonzalo as:

We conceive of it this way: capitalism developed on top of a semi-feudal base, and under imperialist domination. It is a capitalism born late born tied to feudalism and subordinated to imperialist domination. These are the conditions that produce what Chairman Mao Tsetung has called bureaucrat capitalism.[1]

This is considering the material conditions of Peru. Without going too much into it (as it deserves its own title), Mao Zedong never discovered 'bureaucrat capitalism'. Nor is this particular to the material conditions of China either, Russia has been considered 'semi-feudal' at the time as well. Does this mean Russia isn't 'semi-feudal' therefore there was no bureaucrat capitalism?

Also considering the latter part of Mao introducing a 'political economy for socialism'. Gonzalo states that it was Mao who initially developed and established the political economy for socialism[1]. Does this mean that the Soviet Union (even before the death of Stalin and after the NEP) wasn't socialist? Or is it that Mao discovered a 'better socialism' somehow?

The last part is the People's War and its Universality. This deserve a heading on its own as it needs to be talked about more in depth, but let's assume that Mao didn't discover the People's War either nor did he claim that it was universal. Concluding from this, Mao Zedong did not deserve its own ideology (Mao didn't even want it to begin with).

Revolutionary Violence is a "Universal Law"

Gonzalo also thinks that revolutionary violence is a law:

With regard to violence we start from the principle established by Chairman Mao Tsetung: violence, that is the need for revolutionary violence, is a universal law with no exception. Revolutionary violence is what allows us to resolve fundamental contradictions by means of an army, through people's war. Why do we start from Chairman Mao's thesis? Because we believe Mao reaffirmed Marxism on this question, establishing that there are no exceptions whatsoever to this law. What Marx held, that violence is the midwife of history, continues to be a totally valid and monumental contribution.[1]

This is in total contradiction to what Lenin stated earlier about revolutionary violence in "The Importance Of Gold Now And After The Complete Victory Of Socialism":

True revolutionaries will perish (not that they will be defeated from outside, but that their work will suffer internal collapse) only if they abandon their sober outlook and take it into their heads that the “great, victorious, world” revolution can and must solve all problems in a revolutionary manner under all circumstances and in all spheres of action. If they do this, their doom is certain.

[...]

What grounds are there for assuming that the “great, victorious, world” revolution can and must employ only revolutionary methods? There are none at all. The assumption is a pure fallacy; this can be proved by purely theoretical propositions if we stick to Marxism. The experience of our revolution also shows that it is a fallacy. From the theoretical point of view—foolish things are done in time of revolution just as at any other time, said Engels, and he was right. We must try to do as few foolish things as possible, and rectify those that are done as quickly as possible, and we must, as soberly as we can, estimate which problems can be solved by revolutionary methods at any given time and which cannot. From the point of view of our practical experience the Brest peace was an example of action that was not revolutionary at all; it was reformist, and even worse, because it was a retreat, whereas, as a general rule, reformist action advances slowly, cautiously, gradually, and does not move backward. The proof that our tactics in concluding the Brest peace were correct is now so complete, so obvious to all and generally admitted, that there is no need to say any more about it.[5]

Revolutionary violence does not fix all problems. It is not a universal 'law'. It is something that can only be applied when it is needed to be done so. This will be important later on.

War can be "Constructive"

Another deviation is that Gonzalo assumes that war can be constructive:

We see the problem of war this way: war has two aspects, destructive and constructive. Construction is the principal aspect. Not to see it this way undermines the revolution--weakens it.[1]

War is nothing but destructive. This doesn't mean the masses cannot join a war, but it means it undermines social relations between each other and only results in further suffering of the proletariat. The war between the western world in World War I for example, was a clash between imperialist powers. The proletariat fought alongside each other for no reason aside from nationalism. There is no construction here. There is only destruction, both in the aspect that it destroys resources and the productive forces, and that the proletariat are alienated from the wars as well. In terms of a class war, this is much of the same thing. In the context of the Soviet Union, the Russian Civil War spurred out, and it was a fight between the Whites and Reds. There were proletarians on both sides, and it resulted in alienation. It had to recover from the civil war with the New Economic Policy.

Gonzalo's view on the Peasantry

Gonzalo states the peasantry, progressives and the proletariat are united together, which form a new 'relations to the means of production':

In the economic base, under the New Power we are establishing new relations of production. A concrete example of this is how we apply the land policy, utilizing collective work, and the organization of social life according to a new reality, with a joint dictatorship where for the first time workers, peasants and progressives rule--understanding this to mean those who want to transform this country by the only means possible--people's war.[1]

A new dictatorship where the workers, peasants and progressives (petit bourgeoisie) rule. This exact same sentencing has been talked about by Lenin when it came to the Socialist Revolutionaries:

To counter Marx’s doctrine that there is only one really revolutionary class in modern society, the Socialist-Revolutionaries advance the trinity: “the intelligentsia, the proletariat, and the peasantry,” thereby revealing a hope less confusion of concepts.[5]

There is more to Gonzalo's views on the peasantry, but as so far regarding theory, this will be abridged.

The Protracted People's War is Universal

And as such we arrive the crux of the theory, the Protracted People's War (PPW) is universal. The PPW was first introduced by Mao Zedong as an alternative to the traditional revolution carried out by the Bolsheviks. Vietnam and China is what I would consider both examples to be based on the concept of the 'Protracted People's War'. I will ignore Vietnam for this essay (as it is irrelevant) and focus on the material conditions of China. Firstly, it was introduced because the party tried a similar approach such as the Bolsheviks, and it results in a failure. There needed to be a new strategy done, as the traditional method does not apply to the material conditions of China. We must remind ourselves that China is vastly rural, with only a few areas of it actually being industrialised. It had more peasantry than the Bolsheviks did.

What is a PPW? It is a method combining guerrilla warfare with the willingness of the partisans and communist party members, and conventional struggles from the Bolsheviks. This tactic worked well within China, owing thanks to these major factors:

  1. It was defensive, not offensive. The Kuomintang had massacred the urban members of the CPC, then China had to go through a struggle with the Japanese, and another massacre was prompted after that. The government was making mistakes, which resulted in the CPC gaining more and more support.
  2. China had a vast landscape, and cities were so far apart that they can be isolated, and the CPC members are often able to communicate properly as a result. There was no easy fast travel at the time which could efficiently get rid of the communist supporters. This means that nowadays it is extremely unlikely to find something like this nowadays, as train travel and long distance communication exists.
  3. The CPC already had a large amount of support from the very beginning thanks to the peasantry. They decided that it was the right time to start the armed struggle, and people joined in as a result, it was not merely something that can be done from thin air.
  4. The CPC also didn't practice guerrilla warfare in regions where there was little to no class consciousness. At first they educated them as to why it's necessary. They didn't forcefully push the masses into the armed struggle until they were committed to it.

As Mao stated when it came to the masses:

All work done for the masses must start from their needs and not from the desire of any individual, however well-intentioned. It often happens that objectively the masses need a certain change, but subjectively they are not yet conscious of the need, not yet willing or determined to make the change. In such cases, we should wait patiently. We should not make the change until, through our work, most of the masses have become conscious of the need and are willing and determined to carry it out. Otherwise we shall isolate ourselves from the masses. Unless they are conscious and willing, any kind of work that requires their participation will turn out to be a mere formality and will fail.[6]

Let us see how Gonzalo sees that it is universally applicable:

People's war is universally applicable, in accordance with the character of the revolution and adapted to the specific conditions of each country. Otherwise, it cannot be carried out. In our case, the particularities are very dear. It is a struggle that is waged in the countryside and in the city, as was established as far back as I968 in the plan for the people's war. Here we have a difference, a particularity: it is waged in the countryside and the city. This, we believe, has to do with our own specific conditions. Latin America, for instance, has cities which are proportionately larger than those on other continents. It is a reality of Latin America that can't be ignored. Just look at the capital of Peru, for example, which has a high percentage of the country's population. So, for us, the city could not be left aside, and the war had to be developed there as well. But the struggle in the countryside is principal, the struggle in the city a necessary complement. This is one particularity, there's another.[1]

So according to Gonzalo, it has to be adapted to the specific conditions of a nation. That is fair. Marxism-Leninism has to applied to every nation (hence why we have ideologies such as Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, Ho Chi Minh Thought, etc). We will take a look later into the praxis section to see if the PPW is truly applicable.

The Praxis of Maoism

Now that we eliminated the theory matter of Maoism, let us analyse the praxis of Maoism. The theory already demonstrates some oddities and deviations from typical Marxist-Leninist theory. Let us take a look onto the Maoist Praxis of 3 different regions: Peru, The Philippines, and India. This will begin in order in categories.

Communist Party of Peru (Shining Path) and Peru

Cult of Personality

Let us start from the Communist Party of Peru (will be referred at the Shining Path) itself. The party was formed with a distinct cult of personality. Unlike Stalin (or even Mao) who denounced those cultists, Gonzalo embraced them, and nowadays it remains to this day:

Our Party has defined that leadership is key and it is the duty of all militants to constantly work to defend and preserve the leadership of the Party and very especially the leadership of Chairman Gonzalo, our Great Leadership, against any attack inside or outside the Party and to subject ourselves to his personal leadership and command by raising the slogans of “Learn From Chairman Gonzalo” and “Embody Gonzalo Thought.”[7]

So it was very clear that the Communist Party of Peru wasn't only "overcentralised" (I'm looking at the Shining Path article) but rather it had a cult of personality. Gonzalo was the leader, and people followed him mostly because of his thought.

Sectarianism and Assassination

The party also retained sectarian positions (a position which is very common with Maoist organisations) and were against other marxist or socialist groups:

For the rest of Peru's Marxist left, the dogmatic sectarianism of Shining Path is an especially serious error. The left believes that Shining Path's dogmatism transforms it into a type of fundamentalist religious sect, where absolute truth is opposed by absolute falsehood. This sectarianism is so extreme that other Marxists are frequent targets of Shining Path.[8]

Their support of sectarianism went so far as to assassinate individuals. Most may be supporters of Fujimori or its government, but there were innocent people that were assassinated as well. One person is "María Elena Moyano", a feminist who was adored by many people. She was critical of both the Peruvian government and the Shining Path. The Shining Path denounced Maria as a revisionist, and she received multiple death threats from the Shining Path, and she died from dynamite explosives as a result with her children watching her die, this was also done in a public area.[9] Assassinations are not praxis, they are instead acts which alienate the proletariat. Let's see what Lenin describes assassinations:

We are not repeating the terrorists’ mistakes and are not diverting attention from work among the masses, the Socialist-Revolutionaries assure us, and at the same time enthusiastically recommend to the Party acts such as Balmashov’s assassination of Sipyagin, although everyone knows and sees perfectly well that this act was in no way connected with the masses and, moreover, could not have been by reason of the very way in which it was carried out—that the persons who committed this terrorist act neither counted on nor hoped for any definite action or support on the part of the masses. In their naïveté, the Socialist-Revolutionaries do not realise that their predilection for terrorism is causally most intimately linked with the fact that, from the very outset, they have always kept, and still keep, aloof from the working-class movement, without even attempting to become a party of the revolutionary class which is waging its class struggle. Over-ardent protestations very often lead one to doubt and suspect the worth of whatever it is that requires such strong seasoning. Do not these protestations weary them?[10]

Of course, if Peru was connected with the masses, surely this would be avoided, right? Well we need to analyse if the party truly had the backing of the masses. When the party was formed, the Shining Path did initially gain popular support, particularly from the peasantry, as the Peruvian government avoided them. There was indeed popular support behind them. However, this popularity was quickly dwindling, as the assassinations of people wasn't clearly connected with the masses. We must understand that the Shining Path only had 3000 armed members in its peak. The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party had about 100,000 members in the party. In the Chinese Civil War, the CPC had about 1.2 million armed members (with 2.1 million as militia).

Lucanamarca Massacre and Tarata Bombing

All of these amassed many members, particularly because they listened to the masses and decided on action based on the masses. Has the Shining Path done any of this? Not particularly. Let's look at two examples. Lucanamarca and the Tarata Bombing. The most infamous 'mistake' (as maoists claim) is the Lucanamarca Massacre. The prerequisite (according to Maoists) is that the villagers collaborated with the Ronderos (a reactionary group), which lead the members killing reactionary people. Have the villagers been collaborating with the Ronderos? Yes, I have no reason to deny this. But it is not for the reason you may think. The Shining Path had been taking control of the village and the peasantry here are some extracts from a pdf:

"In Lucanamarca in the Sendero [Shining Path] times, almost everyone was controlled, they didn't let you leave your farm or travel to other places. You could only leave the town with their authorization. [...] In those times they didn't let us work or take care of our livestock."

"In the Sendero [Shining Path] times there were no celebrations. They themselves celebrated carnaval, without the presence of the residents. They sang songs against the state like: 'down with the reactionary government, yay for Gonzalo, the next president'."

"They [,the Shining Path,] were the owners of this town; no one could speak against them; if they did, they would be killed, put onto a blacklist, it was terrifying."[11]

"I was 13 years old. They made me join them. They did so by force. They'd take us to a room at 6pm and teach us things like how to kill, how to attack a town, how to defend yourself with weapons, all those things. They didn't teach us to express ourselves, rather to praise Comrade Gonzalo.[12]

The people were not being represented or being helped by the communist party, they were instead being subverted. The locals didn't like the Shining Path. And so sought help from the reactionaries as they were their only hope of eliminating the influence within Society. Of course Gonzalo knew that the people in Lucanamarca turned on him, and therefore he started a massacre on the people. The massacre was brutal, to say the least. The Shining Path ordered its armed wing to go into the village, and massacre people with axes, and scalding water. The types of people that were killed were not only men, but women (even a pregnant woman died from the massacre), elderly people and infants.[13] Here is what he has to say regarding the massacre:

In the face of reactionary military actions… we responded with a devastating action: Lucanamarca. Neither they nor we have forgotten it, to be sure, because they got an answer that they didn’t imagine possible. More than 80 were annihilated, that is the truth. And we say openly that there were excesses, as was analyzed in 1983. But everything in life has two aspects. Our task was to deal a devastating blow in order to put them in check, to make them understand that it was not going to be so easy. On some occasions, like that one, it was the Central Leadership itself that planned the action and gave instructions. That’s how it was. In that case, the principal thing is that we dealt them a devastating blow, and we checked them and they understood that they were dealing with a different kind of people’s fighters, that we weren’t the same as those they had fought before. This is what they understood. The excesses are the negative aspect[…]If we were to give the masses a lot of restrictions, requirements and prohibitions, it would mean that deep down we didn’t want the waters to overflow. And what we needed was for the waters to overflow, to let the flood rage, because we know that when a river floods its banks it causes devastation, but then it returns to its riverbed[…] [T]he main point was to make them understand that we were a hard nut to crack, and that we were ready for anything, anything.[1]

A reaction like that from Gonzalo is what I expect no marxist to ever say. Not only did he lack remorse, but he also lacked self-criticism of his actions. He praised his actions merely because he was fighting so-called "reactionaries"? Also he stated very clearly of what he thinks of the masses, that he thinks that the masses should be 'kept in check'. If anything, the masses should keep the communist party in check, as the masses are the makers of history, not the communist party. This is clear to see that Gonzalo truly doesn't care about the masses. He only sees them as tools of manipulation to enhance the group's goals. That goal may be well intended, but it is certainly not the mean that justifies the ends. I have heard Maoists say that Gonzalo did self-criticise over the massacre, however, I have yet to see one piece of evidence that he did so. Even then, he alienated the masses, which was slowly drifting away from the Shining Path.

Now brings us to one more point, the Tarata bombing. This is a bombing that occured on Tarata Street, Lima, Peru. This was a response to a massacre committed by the Fujimori Administration on Shining Path members. They bombed buildings, and innocent people (not those who sympathise with the government) were killed. This resulted in the Fujimori Administration cracking down further on the Shining Path, eventually finding Gonzalo and arresting him as a result. As we can see here, this is nothing but adventurism, causing an attack in order to somehow 'entice' the people to start a revolution (also known as Propaganda of the Deed within Anarchism).

The Shining Path is a Peasant Organisation

So clearly from the actions given, are they really a communist organisation that cares for the masses? Definitely not. If anything, this alienated the proletariat, making them less reliant on the communist party (which removes their revolutionary potential). How do they resolve this contradiction? They recruit peasants. Gonzalo admits that the number of the proletariat within the party is insufficient:

The peasantry, especially the poor peasants, are the main participants, as fighters and commanders at different levels in the People's Guerrilla Army. The workers participate in the same ways, although the percentage of workers at this time is insufficient.[1]

So when there is no sufficient proletarian movement, and the proletariat are insufficient and are therefore incapable of leading the party, this means that the party lead is mostly a peasant party. As the peasantry are petit-bourgeois, this will instil petit-bourgeois ideas, hence where we get the alienation from the masses. since the party is mainly petit-bourgeois, they find sympathy in their individual posterity, and their self-interested 'socialism'. The peasantry should rely on the proletariat for any chance of revolution to succeed, but since their movement actually has no bearing on the proletariat, this means null. Gonzalo is not a proletarian leader, he is just a petit bourgeois individual like the anarchists Proudhon and Kropotkin were.

The People's War in Peru

Let's see how they managed to adapt the assumed universality of the Protracted People's War in Peru. First of all, Gonzalo state they will start when the government is at its weakest:

We studied the country, particularly from World War II on, and we saw that in its process of development Peruvian society was entering a complex situation. The government's own analysis showed that critical questions would present themselves in the '80s. In Peru it can be seen that there is a crisis every 10 years in the second half of the decade and each crisis is worse than the one before. We also analyzed bureaucrat capitalism, which makes conditions more ripe for revolution. In 1980, the government was to change hands through elections, which meant that the new government would need a year and a half to two years to fully put in place the operations of its State. So we concluded that bureaucrat capitalism had ripened the conditions for revolution, and that the difficult decade of the '80s approached--with crisis, an elected government, etc. All this provided a very favorable conjuncture for initiating the people's war and refuted the position that armed struggle, or in our case people's war, cannot be initiated when there's a new government events have demonstrated the incorrectness of that position. Such was our evaluation, and such was the situation as the new government took over, that is, the military, having left the government after ruling for 12 years, could not easily take up the struggle against us right away, nor could they immediately take the helm of state again because they were worn down and had become discredited. These were the concrete facts, the reality.[1]

Of course a protracted people's war should start when it is the opportune time to do so. In this case, it seems like a good opportunity to start, since the government is at its weakest. However, note that compared to the PPW in China, the Shining Path is the aggressor here. This doesn't mean that it couldn't start, as long as there is backing of the masses. However, there wasn't. And instead of educating the masses and teaching them that a People's War was necessary, they in reality, done it out of thin air. They lost out of touch with their masses, not to mention that the conditions of Peru and the conditions of China were not the same. Peru was far more industrialised in contrast to China, not even mentioning that Peru is geographically a smaller nation compared to China, so cities were closer together. This is not even mentioning the progress of technology which allowed the Peruvian government to move at a faster pace compared to the KMT in China. The Shining Path didn't even educate the masses on regions where they didn't understand the People's War. This lead (to the proletariat especially) being alienated from the communist party. This lead to them fearing the communist party, rather than embracing it. Instead of the Shining Path changing its course and actually adapting to the material conditions, it just continued with its course, assuming that everything would be fine.

Foreign Relations

As an addendum, I would like to state his views on external socialist nations. He states there are no existing socialist nations today:

El Diario: Chairman, do you think there are socialist countries in the world today? Chairman Gonzalo: Frankly no, I don't think so.[1]

Let's look at individual nations to see how he views them.

Albania and Enver Hoxha

Surprisingly (or not), Gonzalo doesn't think Albania is socialist, even under Hoxha. Gonzalo despises Enver Hoxha, as he states that Hoxha only cared about US Imperialism, and that Hoxha paved the Capitalist road:

There are those who believe, for example, that Albania is a socialist country. I'd say to those who believe that Albania is socialist that they should study carefully, for example, the documents of the VIIIth Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania. That would be a good thing to study, because it says there that the center of world reaction is U.S. imperialism. And Soviet imperialism? What happened to the two enemies we have to fight? It was always just words. With Hoxha himself it was just words because he always wrote more about fighting Yankee imperialism than social-imperialism.

[...]

And if one looks at everything that is said there about the serious economic problems they have,one can see quite clearly the road that Albania has taken. However, it was not Ramiz Alia, the present leader, who chose this road, but Hoxha himself, who in 1978, in a speech before the electorate, stated that in Albania there were no antagonistic classes. We know very well what that means, because this question has been thoroughly explained by Chairman Mao Tsetung. And if we add to this his deceitful attacks on Chairman Mao, on the development of Marxism, what is he but a revisionist? Therefore Albania is not socialist.[1]

China

There is two different thoughts he had whether China was a socialist nation or not, and that is where Mao Zedong was the leader or it was Deng Xiaoping.

Before Mao's Death

Gonzalo states that China was socialist under Mao, and that the cultural revolution was ideal, and should be replicated. He has visited China before.

After Mao's Death

Gonzalo thinks that Deng is a revisionist and that modern China took not only the capitalist road, but a social imperialist one.

Vietnam

Gonzalo thinks Ho Chi Minh is a 'centrist', who aligned with the socialists and revisionists. He doesn't think Vietnam is socialist.

The Fall of the Shining Path

Fujimori eventually found Gonzalo and imprisoned him. He was brought on trial for multiple crimes stated by the Fujimori Administration, and this eventually lead to his death sentence.

What happened to the Shining Path after Gonzalo's death? It remained mostly dormant. It has no real activity aside from remaining sectarian, and the group isn't receiving nor losing any members. The masses already know to steer clear of this party, and anything that resembles a hammer and sickle.

Communist Party of the Philippines

Before the Communist Party of Philippines Formed

So now we arrive at the Communist Party of the Philippines. Before the CPP split from the Communist Party of the Philippines (nowadays known as the PKP-1930), it was a party that attempted an armed struggle. This armed struggle was carried out but there was errors that were carried out in its leadership. As a result, they had to change their tactics in order to re-assess what they done:

Deteriorating events under the neocolonial conditions in 1949 led to an erroneous assessment of a “revolutionary situation” by the Jose Lava leadership of the party at that time, which proceeded to organize the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB, or the People’s Liberation Army), and to launch an armed bid for power. The armed uprising was crushed by the mid-1950s, at a loss of around 10,000 fighters, mostly HUKBALAHAP veterans. By the early 1960s, the PKP had to be rebuilt, and had to shift from the underground armed struggle to an open political path of struggle. Party rebuilding was done alongside the rebuilding of legal mass organizations --- the Lapiang Manggagawa (Workers’ Party), the Malayang Samahang Magsasaka (MASAKA, or the Free Association of Peasants), the Congress of Trade Unions of the Philippines (CTUP), the National Association of Trade Unions (NATU), the Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth), and the multi-sectoral Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN).[14]

The party was recovering well, and it needed to, considering the conditions they saw themselves within. They had no fear of criticism and they had to rebuild because they failed to analyse the material conditions.

The Formation

Things didn't do as smoothly for the PKP-1930, as Jose Maria Sison (The founder of the CPP) formed a congress with 10 of his followers to start a split:

However, the rebuilding of the party and its mass organizations was hampered by the rise of maoism in 1966. Under the influence of the so-called “great proletarian cultural revolution” in China, a youth-based maoist group was nurtured within the PKP by Jose Maria Sison, then a member of the party’s political bureau. Sison wanted to continue with an adventurist armed struggle on the basis of Mao’s “world revolutionary situation” thesis, while the veterans who comprised the majority of the party leaders were convinced that there was no revolutionary situation in the country, and that the armed struggle was then already a futile road to gaining political power in the Philippines. Sison and his maoist cohorts were expelled from the party in April 1967. On Mao’s birthday (December 26) in 1968, Sison and 10 of his followers held a “congress” in Alaminos, Pangasinan, to form the maoist “Communist Party of the Philippines” (CPP).[14]

After their formation, they received not only support from China, but also from US agents:

The formation of the CPP, and later of  its “New People’s Army” (NPA), had the covert material support not only of maoist China, but also of then-Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and media magnate Don Chino Roces, both known agents of the US Central Intelligence Agency.[14]

The CPP's Ideological Flaws

The CPP admits that the NPA is the "main weapon of the revolution" and not the party:

The NPA is the main weapon of the people for defeating the enemy and winning the revolution. Without it, the people have nothing. It carries out three integral tasks: revolutionary armed struggle, agrarian revolution and mass base building...[15]

So what we see is that the NPA is main weapon of the people, but not the communist party? It is not what guns or weapons we have for winning the revolution, without any revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement. The party is the main weapon, and the pen is more dangerous than any gun will ever be. The CPP also admits that they don't have the backing of the masses:

Under the direction of the CPP, the broad united front has twice succeeded in overthrowing the reactionary regime. First, it succeeded in fighting, undermining and overthrowing the Marcos fascist dictatorship from 1972 to 1986 and in ousting the corrupt Estrada regime in 2001. Even without as yet deploying units of the people army in the cities aside from armed city partisans, the broad masses of the people rose up to show their hatred for the ruling clique and subsequently the reactionary armed forces refused to follow orders to attack the people but decided to withdraw support from the hated ruler.[15]

They state that "not yet deploying units of the people in the cities" yet they state that "the broad masses of the people rose up"? This shows that the party is completely alienated from the proletariat, either the masses rose up, in which the people in the cities should have as well, otherwise if they haven't why should the CPP? The CPP also plays a trick with the peasants, also outright stating that they're not proletarian:

In the national united front, the proletariat and the Party rely mainly on the basic alliance of the workers and peasants, to win over the urban petty bourgeoisie.[15]

It is not the peasants who must rely on the alliance for guidance, but rather the proletarians according to Sison. Why is this? It is to win the over the petty bourgeoisie, in other words, it is to appeal to petit bourgeois interests like Sison himself.

Manila Bombing and Other Attacks

In 1971, a bombing was conducted in Manila, Philippines, by the CPP in order to continue their adventurist struggle:

Among the major actions of the CPP-NPA to “accelerate” the supposed “revolutionary situation” was the terrorist bombing of the electoral campaign rally in Manila of the bourgeois oppositionist Liberal Party on August 21, 1971. That terrorist bombing, which killed 8 and wounded over 100, was used by the Ferdinand Marcos regime to justify the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

The then NPA head, Victor Corpus, later revealed that Sison ordered the bombing to force the government to institute more repressive measures, on the diabolical theory that more repression would force more moderate oppositionists to go underground and join then very limited NPA ranks. Thousands of recruits were needed to handle the thousands of high-powered rifles and grenade launchers in military assistance that Sison was then arranging from maoist China.

The PKP and its mass organizations opposed the drift towards martial law, while the maoists practically taunted the government into declaring martial law, claiming that such will be met with their “people's war”.[14]

So not only did they also break what Mao stated when the masses want the struggle or not, but they artificially created it so that people would join their ranks. This is an adventurist position:

Twenty-four years of experience tell us that the right task, policy and style of work invariably conform with the demands of the masses at a given time and place and invariably strengthen our ties with the masses, and the wrong task, policy and style of work invariably disagree with the demands of the masses at a given time and place and invariably alienate us from the masses. The reason why such evils as dogmatism, empiricism, commandism, tailism, sectarianism, bureaucracy and an arrogant attitude in work are definitely harmful and intolerable, and why anyone suffering from these maladies must overcome them, is that they alienate us from the masses.[16]

Continuing on, the CPP also committed other bombings in the region and the results show how their bombings perform for the recruits joining the CPP:

Other terrorist actions by the CPP-NPA, including bombings on civilian facilities in Metropolitan Manila, plus the July 1972 landing of thousands of armalite rifles and their ammunition at Digoyo Point, Palanan, Isabela, aboard the M/V “Karagatan” which came from maoist China, led to Marcos’ declaration of martial law in September 1972.

[...]

Upon the declaration of martial law, thousands were immediately rounded up and incarcerated (including members of the PKP and its mass organizations). Thousands of others  answered the adventurist maoist call to join the NPA, and were either decimated in unequal battles, or were instrumental in militarizing and lording over local turfs in order to survive. While the hands of the Marcos regime are tainted with the blood of the victims of their repression, the hands of the maoist leaders are also tainted with the blood of their own direct victims, as well as of those who perished while responding to their adventurist calls.[14]

The CPP is adventurist. Clearly they sacrificed people's lives for the sake of what? A revolution? The masses didn't want the martial law declared, it was forced upon it because of the desires of the communist party, not the desires of the masses.

There are also massacres committed by the NPA, listing them in chronological order:

  1. Inopacan Massacre, Circa 1980s[17]
  2. Godod Ambush, October 3rd, 1983[18]
  3. DXRA Massacre, August 27th 1987[19]
  4. Rano Massacre, June 25, 1989[20]

Even to this day, the CPP commits attacks. They utilise arson as a technique, and destroy civilian property.[21] The NPA also admitted to shooting an infant while murdering the police[22], and a 16 year old girl was tortured and murdered by the NPA.[23]

Child Soldiers

Maoists I meet tell me that the Child Soldiers within the CPP is a myth. Let's look at this closer. Firstly, the CPP does state that those who are under 15 are not allowed to be combatants under international law:

Although they encourage the children’s participation in the struggle, the CCP says that ‘those of tender age’ are not to perform combat or military duties. Those below 18 are not allowed to take in medical teams and non-combat operations. This is because the movement says they observe international laws and Conventions that prohibit the recruitment of children below 15 years of age as combatants. Also, the NDF, the political arm of NPA, admits the continuation of recruitment of 15-year-olds but insist that they will only be fielded to combat when they reach 18. [24]

However, there is still sightings of the child soldiers:

However, newspaper reports cite various instances where the children are used for combat. Children in the NPA serve various capacities: as officer (liaison officer, commanding officer, squadron leader, platoon leader, etc.), a combatant, or in support capacity (cook, messenger, spy, etc.). In Bicol, a journalist met a 14-year old NPA platoon leader. A 16-year old, Rolly heads a ‘Sparrow’ unit, the liquidation squad of the NPA. In addition, the Human Rights Task Force in Surigao that investigated the massacre of some 49 soldiers by the NPA comrades alleged that children aged 15 and above were active participants. In the battlefield, the NPA use the children as shields to deter military attacks. They also act as ‘scavengers’ or those who recover weapons from dead soldiers in the battlefield. For example, in the late 1980s, a 12-year old child carrying a sack of rifle grenades was captured by the military. In local areas, the NPA use the children in a courier system known as ‘Pasa Bilis’ (literally Pass Fast). The children are given pieces of paper with scribbled messages and orders. The children then run to the nest really station, where another child runs to the next post until the message has reached its destination. Although a supportive role,it can get dangerous as the children get caught in the crossfire. They are also used to collect ‘revolutionary taxes’ in the village. In addition, there are reports of children guarding camps. In February 2000, Brigadier General Victor Obillo and Army captain Eduardo Montealto while being held hostage by the NPA, claimed that 40 percent of their 140 NPA guards were minors between ages of 14 and 17.[24]

They claim they don't have Child Soldiers but they state the exact opposite. I don't need to tell you how child soldiers would impact their physical and mental lives:

Due to their participation in the conflict, children generally end up with physical disabilities or dead, as well as experience psychological trauma (sleeplessness, illness), fear, illiteracy, and the destruction of their livelihood and property. In addition, children aged from 7 to 15 exposed to armed conflict suffer ‘multiple symptoms of mental disturbance and mental morbidity.’ Families and individuals are also affected psychologically given their feeling of ‘lack of sense of control and responsibility’ over their lives. There are also documented cases of children undergoing torture and detention on suspicion of being combatants. Of the documented cases of torture from 1976 to 1995, 326 out of the 415 victims or 79 percent were 15 to 18 years of age. They were suspected combatants of the NPA and supporters/sympathizers of the CPP. Of these torture victims, 85% were males, while 15% are females. At the time of their arrest or detention, children were agricultural workers, either as farmhands (61% or 250 cases) or farmers (17% or 70 cases). Fifteen percent (60) of the children were enrolled in schools. The infantry units of the military and paramilitary forces, the Civilian Home Defense Unit and the Lost Command, allegedly torture children. They were reportedly tortured to obtain information, force a confession, incriminate others, take revenge, sow fear in the community, and destroy a personality. This is done through interrogation, threats and harassments to arrest and detention, manhandling, being inflicted with physical pain,rap and indiscriminate firing. Children experiencing torture suffer physical and psychological consequences. The physical effects are pain and injury, scars, permanent damage to bodily movements or functions, and deterioration of health. On the other hand, the psychological effects are fear and anxiety, helplessness and apathy, sudden changes in behaviour and difficulties in social interaction, learning difficulties, loss of self-esteem and other psychological consequences, including mental disorder. Children affected by conflict regard their predicament as the “work of older persons.”Being children, they do not possess the strength to end this and feel helpless and tired of the situation.

Recruitment

The way the CPP get theirs recruitment is also questionable. One method they use is recruiting people from Universities, as such is the case of Agnes Reano, she was recruited when she was a 13 year old girl. She was recruited into the NPA through coercion. The methods were there, at first it is helping the person with their needs:

Pinapahiram ako ng libro, mahilig ako magbasa. Unang pinahiram yung ‘The Prince’ ni Niccolo Machiavelli (They lent me books; I enjoyed reading. The first they lent me was 'The Prince' by Niccolo Machiavelli),” Reano said.[25]

She was engaged within learning about 'Bureaucrat Capitalism' and Feudalism, having deep discussions:

“During my second semester in second-year college, I took oath as ‘kandidatong kasapi.’ Automatically I became part of the armed wing,” Reano told the Senate panel.[25]

She became a recruiter herself after that, doing work the for the CPP:

“I am already integrated but still in university…. Student by day, NPA by night. My shield is as member of the legal front, the Alliance of Students Against Tuition Fee Increase,” she said. “My mother does not know anything about this,” Reano added.[25]

Apart from recruiting, one of her first jobs is to transport bullets from Naga to Legazpi. A week after graduating she joined the NPA and became a political officer. Here is what she says:

“Kung tatanungn nyo ako pag may recruitment sa school, definitely meron. Kami po ang konkretong batayan, buhay na ebidensiya. Na-recruit ako, naging recruiter ako (If you ask me if there is recruitment in the schools, definitely, there is. We are the concrete basis, the living evidence. I was recruited, I became a recruiter),” she told the lawmakers.[25]

She has recruited two people. One person is alive but fled the country, and the other died in a short encounter. Another case is Nancy Dologuin. She joined the NPA because of a traumatic experience she had with her family regarding rape:

“Tiyempo lumapit itong LFS na nagpapakilalang Gabriela. Nanumpa rin ako sa Kabataang Makabayan (That time, I was approached by someone from the LFS who introduced as Gabriela. I took an oath to be part of Kabataang Makabayan). In May 2009, I joined the NPA and went to Bukidnon -- three years in the legal front and eight months in the mountains,” she said.[25]

She immediately left the organisation once her beliefs were challenged and that he was trying to get into the same thing she tried to get away from:

Sa taas bawal ang cellphone, mga kumander lang ang may cellphone. Kasama ako sa mga bumababa para kumuha ng pagkain sa masa. Pinakamasakit, yung sinasabi nila na walang Diyos. Dumating ang punto na pagod na pagod ka na (In the mountains, cellphones are prohibited. Commanders have cellphones. I was the one who goes down to get food from the masses. The most hurtful was when they told you that there is no God. It came to a point that you're too tired),” Dologuin said.[25]

There are more examples like these, however, there is too much to cover, so I will provide more references here.[26][27][28]

Hit List

Yes. There is a hit list, within the CPP. The CPP denies this and states that it isn't real, however, there are both people and organisations who have either been killed or are currently being hunted by the NPA. Here is a select few individuals (whom many are activists):

* Arturo Tabara, chairman of the RPM-P/RPA-ABB (named AB “diagram”). Killed September 26, 2004 in Metro-Manila. Stephen Ong, student, 19 years-old boyfriend of Tabara’s daughter, was gunned down too.

  • Daniel Batoy, senior RPA-ABB Commander, shot in August 22, 2004 in Makato, Aklan. His daughter was also assassinated, together with him.
  • Lito Bayudang, local farmer-leader and district officer of Akbayan, killed May 6, 2004 in Nueva Ecija.
  • Donie Valencia, 22 years old, unarmed organizer of the MLPP/RHB. Killed in Bataan few days after being abducted June 11, 2003.
  • Florente “Boy” Ocmen, section chairperson of Akbayan at the municipal level in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte. Killed May 28, 2003.
  • Romulo “Rolly” Kintanar, former member of the CPP Politburo and head of the NPA. Killed January 23, 2003 in a Quezon City (Manila) restaurant.
  • RPM-M Party’s Front Secretary: he was the one targeted by the NPA, April 8, 2001. He was later killed, May 9, 2001, in an encounter with the Philippine Military because the NPA set him up (contacting the Military and informing them of the RPA unit’s position).
  • Regional Commander of the Revolutionary People’s Army (RPM-M/RPA) killed April 8, 2001 in Lanao (Mindanao). The NPA operatives were targeting the RPM-M Front Secretary who escaped. The NPA instead murdered the Regional Commander who happened to visit his comrade.
  • MLPP members in Central Luzon. MLPP members began to be ambushed in February 2000. In December 2000, this organisation has suffered eleven casualties (four wounded and seven dead). Bartolome Quizon, member of the Executive Committee who had been a leading cadre of the CPP for 30 years, was killed in front of his family on December 2, 2000. At that point in time, the MLPP eventually decided to launch “defensive counter-operations”. End of August 2002, a dozen of MLPP members had been killed, about fifteen wounded and some eight NPAs were probably also killed during the 2002 encounters.
  • Conrado Balweg, former CPP-NPA in the Cordillera, head of the CPLA. Killed December 31, 1999.[29]

And here are a select few organisations which are being threatened:

PKP: the “old” Communist Party of the Philippines

RGK: Revolutionary Communist Group

MLPP/RHB: Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines/Revolutionary People’s Army.

BMP: Solidarity of Filipino Workers (trade-union center)

RPM-P/RPA-ABB: Revolutionary Workers Party of the Philippines / Revolutionary Proletarian Army / Alex Boncayao Brigade

PMP: Workers Party of the Philippines (later PMP “merger”).[29]

Revolutionary Tax and 'Permit to Campaign'

The CPP imposes on the district on something called a 'Revolutionary Tax', which is no different from mafias imposing taxes on people to extort them from money. If the owners do not pay, their property will be destroyed like how mafias typically do it. A public bus got set on fire because the owner refused to pay the revolutionary tax.[30]

The CPP also initiated a 'permit to campaign scheme', where in regions where the CPP has control and the military influence is minimal. This is where a candidate has to pay an amount of money (from 10,000 to 100,000 or even millions of pesos) to join elections. This is despite the fact that the Philippines constitution declares the right to elections to be free (and they are).[31]

CPP on the National Level

We already talk about the adventurist struggle for the CPP, now let's look at the Philippines overall.

The Philippines is "Fascist"

The CPP claims that the Philippines is fascist.[32] Let's look at materialist analysis. According to the COMINTERN, the definition of Fascism is:

[The] open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.[33]

Let's look at how the Philippines grows its economy for instance. The Philippines under the Duterte administration had consistent GDP growth with the previous administration[34], suggesting that no reactionary capital would be in place (as capitalists prefer to maximise their profits). Also the Filipino economy is actually increasing in terms of GDP, and there were no signs of decreasing GDP beforehand.[35]

If we were consider the economic aspect, there was no signs of fascism in the Philippines. It operates like a traditional imperialised developing economy.

Red Tagging

Of course someone would bring this up. "Red Tagging" is a term developed by progressive groups or politicians so that they can say they are being accused being part of the NPA. This isn't true, however, and I have two counter-examples. Firstly, the Supreme Court stated that:

“mere labeling of a group as a communist front is not an actual threat to one’s right to life, liberty, or security.”[36]

Also, if red tagging were to be actually a thing, many communist groups (such as the PKP-1930) would be red tagged and hunted down by the Philippines. The Philippines actually ruled the decision to declare the PKP-1930 as not a terrorist group in comparison to the CPP:

Even with the first amendment of the “Anti-Subversion Law”, through Presidential Decree No. 885 (the “Revised Anti-Subversion Law”, dated February 3, 1976), the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP-1930) was no longer listed or considered an illegal or subversive organization. This was a result of the political settlement entered into by the PKP-1930 with the government in November 1974, under which the PKP-1930 pledged not to engage in the armed or violent struggles in pursuit of its communist advocacy.[37]

International Situation

Supporting US Imperialism

The CPP has not once but twice, supported the same side as the US. I can recall 2 instances, one instance is that the CPP critically supports Alexei Navalny (a former white nationalist and US puppet)[38] and the other instance is that the CPP supports the Hong Kong Protests (Despite being also US backed).[39]

Sison is Self-Exiled From the Philippines

Sison self-exiled himself from the Philippines and currently resides in the Netherlands.[40] I haven't seen Lenin do this (he was exiled) or Mao Zedong. This is nothing but a sign of cowardice and shows that Sison doesn't really care about what's happening within the national borders.

The Naxalites

The ending to the Maoist Triad are the Naxals. This is a very broad term which refers to Maoists in India, specifically those who belong in the Naxalbari region. They are known as 'Naxals' because it was the origin of the Naxalbari-Maoist Uprising. Let us take about the history first.

Communist Party of India (1925) and the Split

This refers to the oldest communist party in India. This used to be a group full of revolutionaries, however this party quickly fractured after the Sino-Soviet Split. There were disagreements on 3 different sides, and thus resulted in a split.

The split makes the 3 main parties:

  • Communist Party of India, Supporting Khrushchevism
  • Communist Party of India (Marxist), Supporting Marxism-Leninism
  • Communist Party of India (Maoist), Supporting Maoism (plus many many more parties)

There are also parties which align with Maoism to some degree but do not support Maoism. This is the case with Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).

The Many, Many Maoist Splinters

Ever heard of a joke suggesting that Trotskyists split up their parties based on sectarian beliefs? This is exactly the case with Maoists. To note, I will attempt to document every party depending on the sectarian beliefs. There are major parties, and there are minor parties, both of the categories are either Maoist or have the (Marxist-Leninist) label (Note that doesn't mean they support the same Marxism-Leninism as CPI(Marxist)). Note that I am not putting these in chronological order, as it is chaotic. However, I will state as of this document is written, this is around 1985. If you want a summary of all Maoist Parties below, please ignore the table and read the Quote.

Communist Party or Group Ideology Specific Beliefs or Notes Dissolved
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) AML United with Anti-Revisionism, was lead by Charu Mazumdar Yes, 1971-2
All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries M N/A No
Parimal Dasgupta Group M N/A Yes, MCC Merger
Asit Sen Groups M N/A Yes, MCC Merger
Maoist Coordination Center MPC Led by Charu Mazumdar before going to CPI(ML) No
Andhra group M Unknown, MCC disaffiliated with the organisation No
Liberation Front MAC Against Charu No
Moni Guha group MAC N/A No
Kunnikal Narayanan Group MAC N/A No
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Central Committee AML No longer represents the Naxal movement No
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Vinod Mishra MPC Anti-Lin Biao No
Nishit Banerjee and Azisul Haq Group MPC Pro-Lin Biao No
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People's War MPC N/A No
Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India (Marxist–Leninist) MAC N/A Yes, Major Splinters
Organising Committee of Communist Revolutionaries MAC N/A No

Legend:

From the above maze of splits and realignments, it can be said that the major groups, which have not become defunct are: Pro-Charu groups; 1 CPI (ML)-Vinod Mishra group 2. CPI(ML)-People’s War group 3. CPI(ML)-CRC(Venu group) 4. CPI(ML) Second Central Committee groups (Pro Lin Biao)


Anti-Charuite groups: 1. CPI(ML)-SN Singh group 2. CPI(ML)-C. Pulla Reddy group 3. CPI(ML)-COC groups 4. OCCR (Kanu Sanyal) 5. UCCRI (ML)-(Nagi Reddy DV Rao) 6. Maoist Communist Center 7. Liberation Front 8. CPI(ML)-Central Team.


Apart from these, there are minor ones which still maintain some existence such as: 1. Shanti Pal group (West Bengal) 2. Kunnikal Narayanan group (Kerala) 3. B P Sharma group (Rajisthan, UP) 4. Chelapati Rao group (AP) 5. Tamil Nadu splinters AOC and SOC 6. Ghadar party 7. Proletariat Party-Saraf group 8. Revolutionary Communist Party (Punjab)[41]

So there is a lot and I mean a lot of parties. But it doesn't stop there.

The Labelling of CPI(M) (and Ideology Clashes)

I think it's pretty obvious that there is a lot of splinters. It seems most of the communist parties that splinter are maoist organisations, with the slightest of things such as groups that either Pro-Lin Biao or Anti-Lin Biao. Let's see how the maoists clash with CPI(M):

Their stand then could be summed up as follows: India is not politically independent it is semi-colonial, semi-colonial, semi-feudal; the Indian state is controlled by imperialists, compradore bureaucratic capital and feudal landlords, the stage of revolution is national liberation against imperialism, compradore capitalism and feudalism; people’s war based on armed struggle of the peasantry is the tactical line for liberation; the Soviet Union is revisionist (later modified to social imperialist) which is collaborating with US imperialism; adherence to Mao Zedong thought is the test of a communist party. They condemned participation in parliament as reformist and adopted boycott as a strategic slogan; they denied the role of mass organizations and abandoned trade unions as reformist organizations, further in the sphere of tactics, they negated the role of united fronts, branding them as class collaborationist.


The CPI(M), countering the left-adventurist positions, has stated: ”If  we take all the arguments of the critics of the ideological document what do they amount to? They amount to a total repudiation of the understanding of the epoch. They imply liquidation of the socialist camp; they convey that capitalism has been restored in the USSR leading to imperialist policies; that the major fight of the working class of the world is not against American imperialism but against Soviet and American imperialism. The fight against the revisionist leaders of the Soviet Union is replaced by the fight against the “imperialism” of the Soviet State.”[41]

They also call the CPI(M) 'neo-revisionists':

In 1968, when the naxalite left-adventurist deviation challenged the CPI(M)’s Marxist-Leninst-based stand on ideological and programmatic issues, they put up a left-sectarian position on a whole range of question pertaining to the international communist movement and the path of the Indian revolution. The naxalite condemned the CPI(M) as ‘neo-revisionists’ on the question of the character of the Indian state, stage of the revolution, strategy tactics, assessment of the Soviet Union and the international correlation of class forces.[41]

They also call the CPI(M) not only revisionist, but apparently serving the ruling class:

If there is one tenet has not been abandoned by any of the groups, it is their implacable hatred for the CPI(M). Most of the groups characterise the CPI(M) not only as revisionist party but also a party of the ruling classes- that section which is allied to Soviet Social imperialism.

Unable to explain how the compradors in a semi colony are able to maintain a viable parliamentary regime, the common rationalization is to blame the ‘revisionist’ CPI(M). “The reason why this compradore Parliamentary system sustai9ned for 31 years, does not lie in its viability created illusions about the reactionary Indian state…. adopted the parliamentary road…. blunted the edge of class struggle and prevented the growth of a genuine revolutionary party – thus helping the perpetuation of this rotten system for such period”.

The anti-Soviet /anti-Fascist theorists include the CPI(M) as one of the forces to be isolated, as according to them the party supports Soviet hegemonism and is therefore a lackey of the Congress party too. The newly formed IPF in the recent parliament elections conducted propaganda calling on people to defeat both the Congress(I) and the Left Front in West Bengal! Two naxalite groups in Tripura have openly allied with the separatist TUJS to fight the Left Front there. The only difference between the boycottists and participationsist in elections is that while those who boycott blame the ‘revisionist parties’ for giving a lease of life to the ‘decaying parliamentary system’, the participationsis consider that more effective propaganda can be made against the CPI(M) by intervening in the elections.[41]

Guess what? They also call other maoist parties 'neo-revisionists':

The S N Singh-Pulla Reddy CPI(ML) were the first to float the IFTU to organize trade union work. But the other naxalite groups kept away from this set-up as it was led by ‘neo-revisionists’ and ‘liquidationists’.[41]

Support of US Imperialism

Instead of using the material conditions created by liberals (which is what they used to justify defending the Hong Kong Protests), they use Mao's Three Worlds Theory to not only state that the Soviet Union is Imperialist, but it is more aggressive due to the proximity! They have become soft to US Imperialism as a result:

[T]he CRC naxalite group’s fierce denunciation of the Three World Theory is only partial, as they do not dispute the existence of two super-powers and Soviet social imperialism. Their only difference is that the Soviet Union should not as a general principle be considered the more aggressive imperialist power. Both the ‘imperialisms’ are dangerous and which is more dangerous will depend on country and situation to situation. As an illustration, according to them, US imperialism is more dangerous in Latin America, while the Soviet Union poses a greater threat in Afghanistan and Kampuchea. Exposing the groups who uphold this thesis, they point out that this theory has led to the formulation that out of the two super-powers, the Soviet Union’s social imperialism is more aggressive and dangerous. This has led to these groups becoming soft on US imperialism and ending up allying with US imperialist forces and the parties that represent them in India. For instance the CRC group states, “Opportunists like Satyanarain Singh in India advanced the thesis of building a united front with pro-American ruling classes. The Three World Theory’ has come as a born to these opportunists who were already well ahead on this path of collaborating with the pro-US section of the ruling classes”[41]

Ideological Flaws of the Naxals

The CPI(M) states the Maoists failed to analyse the material conditions:

The CPI(M) has pointed out at the very outset that the naxalite version of the programme “leads to left sectarian and adventurist errors, and overestimation of the situation. What is the implication of a stooge government in a period when imperialist is collapsing all over the world? It implies that the state and government is already completely isolated, universally hated and armed struggle is the only from left to the people; it has only to be called for to be started. This formulation ignores the existing class realities underestimates the ideological and organizational hold of the ruling classes and their parties on the people the illusions nurtured and undermines the preparations for the requisite class alignment for building the People’s Democratic Front.”[41]

The Maoists don't even agree on how to implement the Three Worlds Theory correctly:

Even in the interpretation of the Three World Theory there are differences between those who uphold it, on how to implement it. For instance the People’s War group interprets it in a different way from the SN Singh group. on building united fronts based on this theory also the SN Singh and Pulla Reddy groups got divided. In 1980 the unity of these two groups was disrupted on the question of building an anti-Soviet front on the basis of the Soviet Union being the main enemy of the Indian people and the necessity of forgoing a united front against Indira fascism by including even pro-US allies. After the split the SNS-led group claimed: “it was our party which initiated and forged a broad united front against Russian aggression on Afghanistan, and united Gandhites and Royists, Socialists and Sarvodayites. BJP and the Moslem League on the same platform to oppose hegemonism and aggression.”[41]

They abandoned the masses and didn't listen to them:

On the abandoning of mass organizations by naxalite the CPI(M) had joined out: “Thus neglecting the main task of building mass organizations by refusing to fight for every little relief for the workers and peasants by not paying serious attention to the immediate demands and to simultaneously raising political consciousness, by a mere reliance on organizations of force once more leads to a band of select individuals indulging in militant actions, under the pretext of defending or revolutionising the struggles and bringing disaster to the mass movement.” Having no correct class approach, most of these groups have foiled to develop any mass base and only succeed in creating temporary disruptions in some pockets like tribal areas, though their mass organisational activities. They are unable to organise the basic classes with a correct political tactical line. Given their petty-bourgeois character, they are unable to do sustained hard work to build up united class organizations of workers and peasants. Therefore in the post-emergency period, many groups have concentrated on two spheres in their mass work-civil liberties and culture. For some of the naxalite groups, civil liberties organizations have become the mass front to conduct their partisan activities.[41]

Maoist Definition of Fascism

It seems as if the Maoist shout fascism, even calling people like Gandhi fascist. It is used very liberally, which isn't accurate to the COMINTERN definition I used earlier to define it:

Another curious aspect of their tactical slogans is the insistence of the fallacious belief that Congress rule represents fascism, and raising slogans on this basis. The S N Singh group has been the loudest in denouncing ‘Indira fascism’ propped up by Soviet ‘social imperialism’. At the other end of the ideological spectrum, the CRC (Venu group) is also very liberal with the use of the term to describe Indian conditions. In fact it termed the assassination of Mrs Gandhi as the death of a fascist’. It sees every move of the Congress (I) government as a move to impose fascism and calls for resisting fascism. It is a very pecular form of fascism in India indeed which allows revolutionaries of the SNS group of maintain legal offices and participate in elections; that enables the leaders of the CRC groups to come out on bail and conduct vigorous anti-fascist propaganda in the capital of the country by publishing a paper![41]

Protracted People's War

I decided to dedicate a whole article into this as Maoists always exclaim that the "Protacted People's War" is Universal. I already defined People's War as "Guerilla Warfare with some Conventional Tactics", and how the CPC had 4 things going for the People's War. Let us look into two other nations aside from Peru, which I covered earlier. That is the Philippines and India, and also one additional article which claims to be a sort of plan to stage a People's War in the United States.

Note that I will be looking into these criteria:

  • Is this a response to oppression by the government?
  • Can the party start under the particular material conditions? (Such as how China started it in a vast landscape)
  • Does the party have the backing of the masses in order to start it?
  • Does the party practice guerrilla warfare in only regions where there is sufficient class consciousness?

Philippines

Let us start off with the Philippines. The Philippines has 3 major regions: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon is the richest region, where there is a lot of urban development. Visayas is a poorer region but it is mostly known for its exotic regions. Mindanao is the poorest region, and it is often the region that contains extremist parties such as an Islamic Group called the "Abu Sayyaf Group". It is also the region where the stronghold of the Communist Party of the Philippines is located, and where they have the largest sphere of influence, as the military does not patrol the region as well as others.

The CPP did attack the other regions, especially Luzon, however, most of their income comes from either internationally (through the extraction of donations from NGOs) or from Mindanao through revolutionary taxes.

Let's answer the 1st criteria, is the Protracted People's War a response to oppression by the Government? No. The CPP attacked first, and we can tell through the Manila bombings that occured that made Marcos Sr. start Martial Law.

Can the party start the People's War under the particular conditions? The Philippines Military main transportation is Light Tactical Vehicles. The Philippines Military also has a few amount of aircraft, and only a minor amount of helicopters. So most Philippine military travel on foot, meaning that ambushes can happen (and they often do by the CPP). Does this means it can still start the People's War? No. If we look at the Philippines in terms of industry, the Philippines is primarily a 'service' based economy first, then industrial based economy second. This means that it has industrialised to the point where it can allow services to exist. This means there is substantially more proletarians although a peasantry does exist within the Philippines. I've also heard about the CPP doing 'Urban Guerrilla Warfare'. This is unlikely as Luzon is where most of the military would likely live in as to safeguard the economy and the businesses. This means that a People's War under these specific set of conditions may be futile.

Does the party have the backing of the masses? No. In fact it had the most backing of the masses during the 1960s and it's straying further and further from that as time went on. The approval rating for Rodrigo Duterte was one of the highest in Philippine history.[42] Not to mention as the CPP is petit-bourgeois, it has alienated itself from the masses.

Does the party practice guerrilla warfare in regions where class consciousness is sufficient? Also no. They practiced bombings and attacks in the Luzon region, where they do not have the highest sphere of influence compared to Mindanao.

This means a People's War in the Philippines would likely fail.

India

Now India. To be fair, some naxals have merged together to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in 2006, so they have gained some form of Unity. There are still Communist Parties whom have started a People's War but are not part of CPI(Maoist). Let's analyse the material conditions for India as well.

Is this is a response to oppression by the government? No. They started it as well. There was no aggression made on the Naxals, it was more of a sudden uprising.

Can the party start under the material conditions? Let's analyse India. India is recognised as an NIC (Newly Industrialised Country). This means that they have industries and they have more proletarians. The proletarians so to speak work mostly in service sectors and industry second. There is however, vastly more peasants than there were in Mindanao. Let us recognise that their stronghold is mostly still in the Naxalbari region and other regions surrounding it. Let's not forget that there are parties like CPI (M), CPI (M) has the largest amount of members compared to any communist party. They have gained a significant foothold into places like Kerala. Kerala has the lowest poverty ratio and one of the highest literacy rates in the world. There is significant backing of the masses from CPI (M), and they continue to retain it. This just weakens the Naxals even further in terms of the masses. The Naxals are also petit-bourgeois, which means they also alienated themselves from the masses. Meaning a People's War is also futile, even more than in the Philippines.

The party also continues to attack regions and without the backing of the masses, their attempt to educate the proletariat is useless.

The People's War would be failure.

Is Protracted People's War truly Universal?

Looking at the criteria, it isn't possible for a People's War to happen. I do think it can happen in nations where they are not as developed, however, this is becoming an increasingly rare occurrence and as nations are beginning to industrialise further and further, they're increasing in the number of the proletariat.

If we look at industrialised nations such as the United States, there is no possible way for a People's War to happen. A conventional struggle committed by something like the Bolsheviks or Cubans would be a preferable solution. We must educate the proletariat and we must have the backings of the masses. Without this, no revolution would be successful.

Conclusion

At last we reached the end of the essay. This essay was mainly intended to give communists a more critical view on Maoism, and I think it shows most of the examples, both theory and praxis. I hope the articles such as Communist Party of the Philippines, Communist Party of Peru (Shining Path), and Communist Party of India (Maoist), can be changed accordingly to have a more critical viewpoint on Maoism.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Interview with Chairman Gonzalo - Central Committee for the Communist Party of Peru
  2. Thoughts on Maoism - The Finnish Bolshevik
  3. On Contradiction - Mao Zedong.
  4. Mao on Maoism: The Dialectical Case for Mao Zedong Thought - Armed with a Pen
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Importance Of Gold Now And After The Complete Victory Of Socialism - V.I. Lenin.
  6. THE UNITED FRONT IN CULTURAL WORK - Mao Zedong.
  7. Line of Construction of the Three Instruments of the Revolution - Communist Party of Peru
  8. Cynthia McClintock (1980-2000). Theories of Revolution and the Case of Peru (p. 249).
  9. Peru: Women’s human rights: In memory of Maria Elena Moyano - Amnesty International.
  10. Revolutionary Adventurism - V.I. Lenin.
  11. Lucanamarca: Memorias de Nuestro Pueblo (pp. 70, 71, 91).
  12. Lucanamarca, Carlos Cárdenas & Héctor Gálvez.
  13. On Boiling Babies: Combating Bourgeois (And Dogmato-Revisionist) Myths about the Communist Party of Peru - Black Like Mao (AKA BlackRedGuard)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 A Short History Of The PARTIDO KOMUNISTA NG PILIPINAS - (PKP-1930, the Philippine Communist Party)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Great Achievements of the CPP in 50 Years of Waging Revolution" (2018-08-13). PRWC | Philippine Revolution Web Central.
  16. On Coalition Government - Mao Zedong.
  17. “According to accounts of the military and witnesses, most of the victims bore brutal marks of crushed skulls still wrapped with blindfolding cloth. They suffered severe flesh wounds and broken bones even before they were shot several times.”

    Sarwell Meniano (2021-09-03). "Honor victims by denouncing NPA brutality: Army exec" Philippine News Agency.
  18. “Guerrillas killed at least 46 people, including 39 Philippine soldiers, in an ambush of an army patrol unit northwest of here last week, a high military officer said here today.”

    Robert Trumbull (1983-10-03). "46 KILLED BY PHILIPPINE REBELS IN AMBUSH OF AN ARMY PATROL" New York Times.
  19. “The attack, dubbed as the DXRA Massacre, resulted to the deaths of nine people - four local broadcast media personalities and five civilians. The rebels also attacked DXMF-Bombo Radyo but failed to inflict any casualties there.”

    SOPHIA DEDACE (2009-08-28). "Army men in Davao City vow to protect journalists" GMANews.TV.
  20. “On June 25, 1989, the 38 members of the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe who gathered for worship at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines were killed in Sitio Rano, Barangay Binaton by a group of NPA rebels led by alias “Kumander Bensar”. “More than half were children. One of them was pregnant. We ask that you keep them in the sacred spaces of your memory and to never forget them and the outrage done to them by the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Badoy said.”

    Lade Jean Kabagani (2022-06-25). "1989 Rano massacre constant reminder of CPP-NPA brutality" Philippine News Agency.
  21. “Most of the cases were arson, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said, citing its data.”

    Frances Mangosing (2021-01-08). "AFP, citing its data, says civilian property destroyed in 532 NPA attacks since 2010" Inquirer.net. Retrieved 2022-10-18.
  22. "NPA admits ‘accidental’ killing of infant in Bukidnon ambush on cops" (2017-11-17). Interaksyon.
  23. “According to Army information, a former rebel had earlier informed the military about Capangpangan's death, adding that the victim was believed to have been tortured by the rebels to force confession on allegations that she was a government spy.”

    Divina Suson and Nef Luczon (2021-02-15). "Army to exhume remains of teen NPA fighter killed by own comrades" Philippine News Agency. Retrieved 2022-10-18.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Merliza Makinano (2002). Child Soldiers in the Philippines: 'Tasks and Roles' (p. 10). International Labor Affairs Service-Department of Labor & Employment.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 Jose Cielito Reganit and Joyce Ann L. Rocamora (2019-08-14). "Ex-rebels confirm NPA recruitment in schools" Philippine News Agency.
  26. Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (2020-09-10). "NPA lambasted for recruiting minors in Zambo Sur" Philippine News Agency.
  27. "Sexual abuse, rape rampant inside CPP-NPA-NDF: ex-cadre" (2022-03-16). Philippine News Agency.
  28. "Some NPA officials raped female insurgents, former rebel claims" (2020-11-03). ABSCBN News.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Pierre Rousset (2005-03-15). "The CPP-NPA-NDF “Hit List” - a preliminary report" International Viewpoint.
  30. “On November 10, NPA rebels torched a public bus in Bataan Province, located west of Manila, for not paying
    "revolutionary" taxes.”

    "AMID CONTINUED NPA ATTACKS, KILLINGS OF LEFTIST ACTIVISTS ON THE RISE". Wikileaks.
  31. ON THE PERMIT-TO-CAMPAIG1N SCHEME IMPOSED BY THE NPAs AND OTHER NON-STATE GROUPS
  32. "Make the Duterte fascist regime bleed from a thousand cuts! Mount more tactical offensives nationwide!" (2020-10-14).
  33. Abram Deborin (1936). The ideology of Fascism.
  34. GDP growth (annual %) - Philippines, World Bank.
  35. GDP (constant 2015 US$) - Philippines, World Bank.
  36. Luis Buenaflor Jr. (2022-07-25). "‘Red tagging’… again, my ass!" Panay News.
  37. THE PKP-1930 IS NOT AN ILLEGAL OR SUBVERSIVE ORGANIZATION. THE LAW RECOGNIZES THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE PKP-1930 AND THE CPP-NPA-NDF.
  38. “In behalf of the Filipino people, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) extends its solidarity and support to the Russian workers and people in their struggle to end the Putin dictatorship. The Filipino people are inspired by the determination and courage of the Russian masses in confronting the brutal onslaught of the Putin regime.”

    MARCO VALBUENA (2021-02-04). "On Russian mass demonstrations against the Putin dictatorship" Philippine Revolution Web Central.
  39. “The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) strongly denounces the extreme brutalities unleashed by the Hongkong police against protesters and ordinary people over the past few days in the vain hope of suppressing the democratic mass actions mounted by the people of Hongkong against the proposed extradition bill.”

    "Denounce police brutalities in Hongkong" (2019-09-02). Philippine Revolution Web Central.
  40. “Only Sison returned to CPP-NPA-related activities; however, soon after his release, he went into self-exile in the Netherlands, from which he continued to play a leading role in the movement”

    "Organizational Overview". Center for International Security and Cooperation.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 41.4 41.5 41.6 41.7 41.8 41.9 Prakash Karat (1985). "Naxalism Today" Communist Party of India (Marxist).
  42. Duterte's approval ratings highest in PH history, highest among current world leaders