Asumir says, "The people's war cannot develop but only maintain itself. There are six indispensable questions for victory in people's war....'' The prison article, which in many respects brings Asumir's arguments to their logical conclusions in a more explicit way, denounces the attempts by the leadership outside in persisting in people's war:
"The termination of this great and glorious stage of the World Proletarian Revolution not only means the conclusion of this step, it is at the same time the beginning and the gestation of another newer and higher stage of the era of proletarian revolution which continues and will continue the road and within which the termination of the People's War begun in May 1980 is only exchanging a present full of uncertain possibilities for a real and certain future, that is, in the world and in the country what is at stake is not only the present but the future of the class and the people, today it is not fleeting and feeble but the solid decades of new and greater and higher combats to come for every class but especially the final one: the proletariat....''; "...but in the current situation, this People's War (PW) cannot develop, triumph and still less conquer power. Even more, continuing under the current circumstances runs the increasing risk of defeat and destruction and could lead to collapse, it would be to `lose one's head and commit a monstrous crime' against the party, the class, the people and the revolution....''
First, there should be no confusion that the two-line struggle is over what conditions are required for "victory'' (nationwide seizure of power by the PCP); rather, it is over whether to preserve/maintain the PW and on that basis develop it, or to end it and become a non-warring political party because supposedly the "whole process of counter-revolutionary war has led to its success'' and because "concrete conditions'' do not allow the PW to be maintained and developed.
Secondly, we should dispel any confusion that there is something wrong with maintaining the struggle. It is great and must be supported. It is only through maintaining the war in the face of the assaults of the enemy and wrong lines that the basis can be laid for future leaps in the PW's development. Within the limitations that are imposed by objective conditions, we must play a dynamic role in striving for victory. Chairman Mao stressed that we must endeavor to achieve everything which, objectively and subjectively, is capable of achievement, by going all out and aiming high, "in a word, we must deal in abstractions, too--revolutionary romanticism is a good thing.'' (Mao Unrehearsed, p. 106)
The prison article is attempting to set the terms of debate at the false level that either leadership must come up with precise plans for advancing now, or "call off the game!'' But the real question is whether to find solutions for the new problems with the objective of maintaining and advancing the PW, or to give in to the difficulties and end the war. The struggle is over whether to go all out, aim high and "direct the performance of many dramas'' within the limitations imposed by the conditions, or demolish what is left and go home? Should we defend what we have achieved, or scatter it to the wind and commit a crime against our class and people in Peru and worldwide?....
Comrade Mao stressed that "holding one's ground and extending it are inseparably connected.'' ("After the fall of Shanghai and Taiyuan'', Selected Works, v 2, p.68) In 1930, he said, "They [the pessimistic comrades] seem to think that, since the revolutionary high tide is still remote, it will be labour lost to attempt to establish political power by hard work.'' ("A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire,'' SW, v 1, p. 117) Enver Hoxha tried to slander Chairman Mao's theory of protracted war as "endless,'' "without perspective.'' This was just self-serving revisionist slander. For Mao, it was clear that the people's war would necessarily be protracted and that power would be seized step by step. Also, Mao never said that armed struggle should only be initiated if the prospect of quick victory exists. No. He always said the Red Army is small and must gradually grow from weak to strong, and moreover that the final victory depends on many other national and international factors, factors which can prolong or shorten the course of the war.
The PCP in the past has correctly criticized "eternalization of the war,'' which leads to reformism and warlordism. On the basis of this correct understanding and firmly grasping the objective of the PW (seizure of power to establish New Democracy and Socialism), the PCP, through its plans, has systematically developed the PW towards that objective--establishing political power step by step and preparing each stage of the war in such a way as to lay the basis for advance to the next one with the perspective of the total seizure of power. However, this must not be seen as a straight-line advance. This advance has been wavelike and has involved restoration/counter-restoration, and it cannot be otherwise. It appears that today the PW is facing a difficult offensive by the enemy, and it should not be ruled out that the counter-restoration this time will be more complex. In similar situations the revolutionary forces, basing themselves on a correct appraisal of the situation and objective possibilities, and through perseverance, can overcome the odds and advance and even reap unexpected fruit. This way is qualitatively more "certain'' than the promised future of "re-starting.'' War is full of uncertainties, but surrendering is hopeless.
No other social activity of human beings is as full of uncertainties as war. This does not mean that we should not have strategy and tactics. Correct strategy and tactics based on a correct and precise appraisal of overall and specific situations in the basis of our success--but the only thing that can counterbalance the inevitable uncertainties of war is perseverance, courage and boldness.
Maintaining or preserving is a very dynamic process. It is not passive at all, on the contrary, in order to maintain the war, the schemes of the enemy must be defeated, the core of the gains must be consolidated, and the grounds must be laid for future leaps.
The Long March not only preserved the core of the army and the party through the measure of retreat, but it also tightened the links of the party with the masses on its way--it forged ties with the masses, was able to continuously recruit them to the main forces of the Red Army along the march as well as to local forces, and also prepared the ground for future harvests.