Know the Enemy, Know Yourself

"Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself" Is a Cardinal Principle in Revolutionary Warfare. It Is Opportunism to Spread Dangerous Illusions About the Enemy

Comrade Mao stressed that the main way a revolutionary army can preserve its forces is through destroying the forces of the enemy. Destroying the forces of the enemy is central to the very idea of war. Once the war is launched, either you destroy or get destroyed. This is how the matter must be seen; anything contrary to this is a dangerous illusion. This means that if the enemy uses force without hesitation and is unfettered by the bloodshed it involves, and if you refrain from using force, the enemy will gain the upper hand and soon destroy you. This is what the Fujimori regime is trying to do--while they take advantage of the so-called "peace talks," they are carrying out a military buildup. In war, there is interaction between the two sides. As long as the enemy is not overthrown, it can cut you in pieces. A revolutionary army must under no conditions--however difficult and impossible things may look--let itself be fooled by any illusions about the other side's intentions.

The enemy also learns. It is an illusion to think that they are going to refrain from using all of their wits and reserves to destroy a Maoist war. For them, engaging in peace negotiations is part of and subservient to their military strategy of wiping out the revolutionaries and potential revolutionaries (the mass base). As much as they can, they will apply the fundamental principle of war with orthodoxy against a revolutionary war led by Maoists. This is so because the political aim of the revolutionary war is to destroy the old state and wipe out the rule of the exploitative classes forever.

Once the matter is looked at in this way, then it is easy to see that a war--especially a revolutionary war--cannot come to its conclusion before its political objective is achieved. If before this objective is reached, one of the parties calls off the war (for the sake of argument, let's say in a revolutionary war the weaker side, the revolutionary side), it is highly unlikely that the enemy will follow suit; it might change its tactics but most likely will earnestly go for finishing the job. (This is why the revolutionary communists must never hesitate to "beat the drowning dog to death" ruthlessly.) Bitter historical examples since the time of the slave wars illustrate this amply. These rules will apply to the People's War in Peru doubly, because it is a proletarian-led revolutionary war and because it is a war that has been going on successfully for 13 years. Even though the reactionaries tried from the very beginning to nip the People's War in the bud, nonetheless, now they are going to have to work even harder because this war has changed the political landscape of the country forever. If the Peruvian state and Yankee imperialists get the chance--which the People's War in Peru and the revolutionaries of the world should of course deny them--they will unleash a protracted campaign of blood and fire to unearth the roots that the PCP has driven deep into Peru's heartland.