Anti-RIM Critics from the Cyberswamp:

"Virtual Maoism" and Real Opportunism

by R. Voina

A World To Win #22, December 1996

AWTW is an Maoist quarterly magazine inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement.

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As explained in the Introduction to this section of AWTW on the two-line struggle in Peru, some forces who claim to support the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) and the People's War there have not only opposed the struggle against the Right Opportunist Line but have recently launched a campaign of vicious attacks against the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and especially the Committee of RIM (CoRIM). As we go to press, the hard core of this anti-RIM cabal includes Luis Arce Borja, a Peruvian exile who edits El Diario Internacional, published in Belgium; Adolfo Olaechea, a close ally of Arce, who distributes his publications on the Internet and usually signs himself as the Committee Sol Peru, London; New Flag, an occasional magazine also edited by a Peruvian exile, which comes out in New York City; and a small group in the US called the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), which, despite its name, has nothing to do with RIM. There are a few other groups and individuals scattered around Western Europe and North America who are more loosely associated with this hard core.

It would be an overstatement to say that these forces actually constitute a trend. While trying to wrap themselves in the mantle of the PCP and Maoism, they have a long history of standing aloof from RIM and from the PCP itself, with each of them jealously guarding their independence. Even while joining forces to attack RIM, they savagely turn on each other from time to time like crabs scrabbling to be top of the heap.

They say that they have no interests other than defending the PCP Central Committee and the People's War, but their denunciation of the fight against the Right Opportunist Line (ROL) is a disservice to the PCP and to all those who support the cause of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Their opposition to fighting the Right Opportunist Line inexorably pushes them in the direction of liquidating the struggle against revisionism more generally. Common political discussions among these forces include such themes as whether "RIM is too opportunist to be saved", and they regularly welcome into their ranks almost anyone who denies the two-line struggle and is opposed to CoRIM, including pro-Chinese revisionists, old-style pro-Soviet revisionists and the like. Indeed, their opposition to fighting the Right Opportunist Line in Peru is the leading edge of a platform of refusing to fight opportunism at all, and ultimately converges with a programme of liquidating key dividing lines between Marxism and revisionism in the international communist movement more generally.

False Representatives of the PCP

Arce, New Flag and Olaechea claim that in attacking RIM they are acting as true representatives of the PCP, or at least of its line. This has no basis in fact. The PCP has been a participant in RIM since it was founded 12 years ago, and in statements since the arrest of Chairman Gonzalo has continued to firmly uphold RIM. 1 Faced with this incontrovertible reality, Arce, New Flag and the rest are forced into a dizzying display of half-truths and insinuations to try to give some legitimacy to their anti-RIM project. Arce, for example, tries to create the impression that he is a "PCP representative", but has always refrained from doing so explicitly in print where this might more easily come to the attention of those who know better, not least of all the PCP itself. 2 There are in fact no PCP representatives abroad at this time. 3

Lately, the efforts of these forces to adopt the mantle of the PCP have focused on presenting themselves as "unconditional" champions of Chairman Gonzalo. A brief look at this claim shows not only how hollow it too is, but also reveals some fundamental features of their method.

The least that can be said is that immediately following the capture of Chairman Gonzalo, these "unconditional" champions seriously minimized the struggle to defend his life. Arce's El Diario Internacional headlined its cover not with a call to defend the life of Chairman Gonzalo, as had been put out by CoRIM, the PCP and the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzman (IEC), but with "Gonzalo Thought Is Still Free"; Arce then refused to play almost any role at all in the IEC campaign. An explanation for this boycott came out from Olaechea, in an interview with the British journalist Colin Harding. Olaechea, it should be pointed out, often plays the role of "point man" for these forces, especially Arce, saying out loud what is more hidden in their own line. In regards to the capture of Chairman Gonzalo, Olaechea explained to Harding that it " more of a problem for Fujimori's regime than for us, really. They have relieved the Party of the responsibility of looking after the Chairman." 4 The disdain for Maoist leadership expressed in this statement, not to mention Olaechea's attempt to pass his opinion off as that of the PCP by equating "us" and "the Party", should wake up anyone who still has the slightest illusion about the "Maoism" of Olaechea, or of his credibility as a "PCP representative".

A year later, when Fujimori attributed the call for peace negotiations to Chairman Gonzalo, and CoRIM was urging the need to carry out serious investigation and study of the two-line struggle while continuing to support the People's War, Olaechea made the following argument: "Today we have received confirmation that the letters and videos attributed by the regime to Dr Abimael Guzman were obtained through psychological torture.... It is completely clear that what has been said and written by Dr Guzman has been done under force through continuous 'psy war' carried out by professional torturers. Far from being an insult, we should be proud that he resisted for so long a period.... Psy warfare in this case is no more than the imposition of violence ... under which the victim has no choice but to surrender." 5 Arce likewise advances the argument that once Chairman Gonzalo was arrested, the only real choice facing him was "death or capitulation". 6

How astonishing it is that these same characters who so quickly and lightly spoke of Chairman Gonzalo's "capitulation" are now presenting themselves as his "unconditional" champions and denouncing as "traitors" and "Fujimori agents" anyone who even considers the possibility that Chairman Gonzalo might be advocating the Right Opportunist Line. If their words were taken seriously, they themselves would be the biggest "agents" of all!

It is apparent here that what is driving Arce & Co's attacks on RIM is not some excess of zeal in defence of Chairman Gonzalo, or, for that matter, of the PCP, however much they might like to protest otherwise. Their recent donning of the mantle of "unconditional champions" of Chairman Gonzalo is as shallow and opportunist as their previous casual acceptance of what they saw as his "capitulation", and it is no more trustworthy.

The "Usefulness" of Truth

The way Arce, Olaechea and New Flag handle the possible involvement of Chairman Gonzalo in the Right Opportunist Line, along with their countless other half-truths, distortions and outright falsifications, reveals a strikingly cavalier approach to the question of truth. 7 Furthermore, in a line of argument characteristic of these forces, Arce holds that this approach is not only justified but necessary, in order to avoid "demoralization" in the face of "any setbacks to the revolution and even imperialist propaganda itself". 8 Because of this, he claims that to speak of two-line struggle "confuses and spreads doubt among the less advanced sections of the people". In other words, in the interest of supposedly avoiding "confusion" and "demoralization", Arce thinks it is appropriate to distort, exaggerate, conceal and even invent important elements of the actual situation.

Maoists energetically seek the truth; unlike the bourgeoisie, which is rooted in class exploitation, and hence has much to hide, the proletariat has nothing to lose, no special interests to defend in class society - hence, as Mao said, "thoroughgoing materialists are fearless". Whether to seek the truth unflinchingly is ultimately a matter of class stand.

The approach of Arce & Co to the truth frees them to say whatever they feel is immediately expedient "for the revolution" at a given moment, which is then interpreted to mean whatever is expedient to their own narrow interests. Thus to slander RIM's line on the two-line struggle and avoid actual line struggle itself, they now baldly assert that RIM supports the line of peace negotiations! 9 As for the possible involvement of Chairman Gonzalo in the Right Opportunist Line, regardless of the actual situation Arce & Co are going to assert whatever suits them at that particular moment. This is a great disservice, for revolutionary communists can only advance by facing the truth squarely, however bitter it may be.

The Internet Café

Another point on which the views of these forces converge is their criticism of CoRIM for its "hidden methods of functioning". This is associated with a more or less general demand by these forces that RIM functions in a more "open", "democratic" fashion. One group, for instance, has demanded that CoRIM reveal its internal functioning, while another one ridiculed CoRIM's members for their "anonymity".

These complaints against RIM's "hidden functioning" echo longstanding social-democratic critiques of Leninist organizations for being "too conspiratorial" and "too secretive". The first question communists must ask is, "hidden" from whom? Do they really want CoRIM to "reveal RIM's functioning" publicly, which can only mean to the imperialist political police as well, when for instance, in the case of Chairman Gonzalo the whole world has just seen to what lengths the political police will go to hunt down and "neutralize" revolutionary leaders? Are these people so numbed by the routine functioning of Western bourgeois democracies that they do not even consider that members and leaders of many RIM parties and organizations could be arrested, tortured and even executed merely for being identified as being members of their group?!

One of the great victories represented by the formation of RIM was to provide a means by which the Maoist parties and organizations around the world could learn from each other's experience and understanding, so as to accelerate and strengthen the revolutionary process. The social-democratic complaints of these forces only undermine these hard-won gains. Maoists must hope and indeed firmly insist that CoRIM and RIM do everything possible to function along true Leninist lines and protect the core of the Movement's internal functioning from the secret police, even if this offends the "democratic sensibilities" of some intellectuals.

Given this kind of bourgeois-democratic critique of RIM, it is not too surprising that the main forum for the organizing efforts of these anti-RIM forces has been the international computer network called the Internet. The Internet enables those who can afford a computer, a telephone, and a device called a modem (which links the computer with the telephone system) to subscribe to a service through which they can send electronic mail to anyone else on the Internet, access other Internet computers and post messages instantly on what are called forums, or electronic bulletin boards. Anyone else on the Internet can then read the messages and respond immediately. In this electronic world of the Internet, often called a "virtual world" or "cyberspace", these forces can generate hundreds of pages weekly on the forum where they regularly carry out their political attacks on RIM and each other. The atmosphere is like nothing so much as a non-stop university coffee house political discussion, only the debate takes place in the electronic world of "virtual reality".

Because the Internet makes it possible for millions of people from around the world to be connected electronically with one another with unprecedented speed and ease, it has been hailed in the media as a great instrument for "breaking down the barriers" between people of different nations and promoting an unfettered "global democracy". The "virtual reality" of Internet "cyberspace" is said to have turned the world into an "electronic global village".

The anti-RIM "virtual revolutionaries" openly conduct their activities on the Internet as if all this were real. They are blinded by their bourgeois-democratic outlook to some hard truths of life in virtual reality, not least of all that Big Brother is on the Net. In 1994, a spokesman for the US FBI acknowledged that they had twenty- five "net literate" agents for Internet operations, a figure which in the fast changing world of the Internet has undoubtedly multiplied several times since then. And this does not include the CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), and other political police operations in the US alone. 10 The UK has at least seven intelligence agencies monitoring the Net, including MI5, MI6 and GCHQ in Cheltenham. 11

The "virtual revolutionaries" conduct the core of their affairs openly on the Internet and taunt CoRIM, demanding, for instance, how "in the age of the Internet" it could possibly "take so long" to come to a public position on the two-line struggle, as if – leaving aside the question of taking seriously the two-line struggle – RIM could simply carry out its most important affairs over the Internet itself. Suffice it to say that, having fought so hard against the political police in ordinary reality, Maoists should not just turn themselves over to the virtual reality snoops on the Net.

This Internet-centred approach on the part of the "virtual revolutionaries", besides being legalistic, is also inherently Eurocentric. Maoists must of course be present and active wherever there are masses, including on the Internet, so as to do the most possible to advance the cause of revolution. However, the way this is done must conform to the principle of Mao's dictum that "you fight your way and I'll fight mine". Most RIM parties and organizations, for instance, do not have modems and Internet addresses. This is not only because many groups are functioning in conditions of severe repression, but also because of the marked inequality underpinning the structure of the Internet itself. Whatever the potential of the Internet, it has arisen under imperialism and reflects and indeed reinforces the inequalities in the imperialist world. Whereas almost all university students in the US have Internet access, most people in the oppressed countries do not have access to a telephone, and half the world's people have never even made a phone call. The way the "virtual revolutionaries" function, the loudest voices are inevitably those of the relatively privileged, whereas whole sections of the world, including revolutionary parties from the poorest countries, are silent and forgotten. And the PCP itself is unable to take an active part in these debates, only to be misrepresented by a host of conflicting "spokesmen", each with their own modem and their own political line. In such an unequal world, virtual and real, all modems cannot and must not be treated as equal. Building organization around a structure that is so inherently unequal and lopsided will give rise to an irresistible pull towards imperialist chauvinism.

But even if somehow everyone on earth had a modem and somehow there were no imperialist political police in virtual reality, it would still not be correct to carry on RIM's affairs openly on the Internet, for it would go against the Marxist theory of knowledge and its organizational corollary, democratic centralism. RIM is made up of organizations that have been forged in the various countries through the protracted, difficult process of going among the masses, waging revolutionary struggle, finding and bringing forward the advanced, working out the basic strategy and tactics of revolution in the country, welding together a vanguard, and throughout this process, developing and sharpening the understanding and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM), in the back-and-forth dialectic of "from the masses, to the masses", together with and as part of the international communist movement. Although it is not the same as a communist party in a single country, RIM is based on MLM organizational principles. The process of knowing and changing the world must inevitably respect the Marxist theory of knowledge and the mass line. Democratic centralism must be applied in a way appropriate to RIM at this time, which will necessarily be different to how this functions in a party in a single country. Furthermore, while this general principle of democratic centralism is publically proclaimed, RIM does not have to and indeed must not publicly reveal its principles of functioning, its methods of work, and so on. 12

As for the efforts of these forces to speculate on differences within RIM: of course there are differences within RIM – and the discussion and debate that goes on in RIM is part of the process of unity-struggle-unity through which the whole Movement advances. For example, the adoption of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism by RIM was illustrative of this very process. Some of this takes place in public, whereas other parts of it are and should remain internal to the Movement itself. As is usually the case, those who claim to "be in the know" about communists' internal functioning know the least!

Reducing Line Struggle to Police Plots

The stubborn insistence of the virtual world revolutionaries on reducing the two-line struggle in Peru to a police plot has inexorably pushed them in the direction of reducing all line struggle to police plots. Their turning away from major questions to become absorbed in speculation about police conspiracies, intrigue, spying, backstabbing and treachery has contributed to developing a spectacularly sick atmosphere on the Internet forum where these forces regularly congregate. Their initial unity against CoRIM and against waging the two-line struggle has given way to a wave of vicious infighting, where people whom a few months ago were being hailed as "comrades" and whose documents were being reprinted and circulated are now denounced as "frauds", "sects" and "police agents" (this happened for instance with MIM, which turned on New Flag, and New Flag, which turned on Olaechea). 13 In an ominous development, with Olaechea's support one North American journalist even gave out physical descriptions and what he claimed were the home addresses of some New Flag supporters over the Internet.

This is the bitter fruit of these forces' anti-Maoist insistence on reducing line struggle to a police plot and their general departure from the Maoist approach to handling contradictions. They ridiculed CoRIM for insisting from the beginning of the outbreak of the two-line struggle in Peru on the need to do serious investigation and focus on major questions of line, and now they are wading waist-high in a perilous swamp. The point is that real unity can only be based on a deep understanding of major questions of line. These people either do not understand this or oppose it and so are left uniting and splitting based on the infinitude of chops and changes that invariably arise over secondary matters, so that a mere harsh word suffices to turn yesterday's "comrade" into today's "cop". Indeed, it would hardly be surprising if the Arce-Olaechea duo itself were to explode in mutual recrimination.

Furthermore, for revolutionaries, the battle against the political police is a life-and-death affair, and labelling someone a "police agent" is a matter of great seriousness. It is only to be done after solid evidence is gathered, not simply because someone has raised incorrect ideas or even been dishonest. Yet for these forces, labelling opponents "police agents" has become a casual, almost everyday affair. 14

The situation has now degenerated to such an extent that activity that would raise the darkest suspicions to any outside observer has now become routine on the Internet forum. All this has provided an atmosphere, which the real political police are no doubt applauding with glee and laughter. One active supporter of Arce & Co, castigating the "secrecy" in which CoRIM functions, likened CoRIM members to Fujimori's "hooded judges", and even demanded that they "step forward" to "reveal" themselves. 15 He went on to say that he was virtually sure that "the CIA was running the IEC founding conference". Olaechea attacked CoRIM, the IEC and the RCP,USA, especially its Chairman Bob Avakian, as a "three-headed hydra" that are "dumb tools of Fujimori", and he has repeatedly singled out Comrade Avakian for especially savage attack. 16 Likewise, New Flag routinely labels CoRIM and Comrade Avakian "revisionist", "Trotskyite", "opportunist", etc, calls for "overthrowing CoRIM" and recently circulated a scurrilous cartoon portraying Comrade Avakian as an "agent" and called for forming "an emergency task force" to "separate and isolate" him.

Maoists understand only too well from bitter experience that treating revolutionary leaders as "police agents" only makes it easier for genuine police agents to hatch physical attacks on them and their organizations. These unprincipled attacks on CoRIM, Comrade Avakian or any revolutionary leader will not be tolerated by genuine Maoists: New Flag, Arce, Olaechea and others who have taken part in this unprincipled activity should cease their attacks, and those who have gone part of the way with these people and tolerated this kind of climate should dissociate themselves from it and draw appropriate conclusions.

The main object of their attacks on CoRIM, Bob Avakian, the IEC, etc, is the Maoist line of RIM itself. Olaechea, for instance, has attacked RIM's Declaration as "opportunist" from the moment RIM was formed, despite the PCP's signature on that document, and has long considered RIM (and PCP) too Maoist and pushed for alliances with anti-Maoist forces. One way the opposition of these forces to Mao's line sometimes finds expression is in their denigration of his closest comrades in the revolutionary left of the Communist Party of China, especially Chiang Ching. Olaechea argues that "the question of the character of Madame Mao is not a dogma nor has it been settled in the international communist movement". He goes on to say that, "One of the features of 'Avakianist' theory is to hold forth that 'mistakes are not unavoidable' and that there is a magic potion of pure theory to resolve every problem. Madame Mao was in fact also an upholder of such views." 17 Here Olaechea's efforts to caricature the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and mock its power, and to link this with Comrades Avakian and Chiang Ching, whom he disparagingly refers to as "Madame Mao", reflect that the real source of his problems is the Maoist line forged in the Cultural Revolution.

Indeed, what these forces really hold against Comrade Avakian is that for years now he has been associated with a stalwart defence of Mao and his revolutionary development of Marxism-Leninism, particularly in the crucible of the Cultural Revolution, and with a penetrating criticism of revisionism. Comrade Avakian is the leader of the RCP,USA, which, together with other Maoist parties and organizations around the world, notably the PCP itself, has been associated with the development of RIM and its line. 18

MIM, New Flag and the rest of these "virtual revolutionaries" oppose basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, but rather than reveal their own line and risk actual line struggle, they try to hide their opposition beneath unprincipled personal attacks on a few Maoist leaders. Furthermore, one of the problems they have in maintaining their fragile alliance against RIM is that they are in serious disagreement with each other over just about everything else. The shallowness of their personal attacks on Comrade Avakian and CoRIM reflect the shallowness of their own unity, which turns on opposition to Maoism. So in a feeble attempt to maintain what little unity they have, and also because they do not consider line all that important in the first place, they avoid any real substantive critique of RIM's basic line – for instance, not one of them has said a word about the most important RIM document in the past few years, Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!, perhaps in part because the PCP CC they repeatedly claim to speak for in opposing RIM has hailed its adoption. Similarly, these forces have had nothing to say about the important article "It's Right to Rebel" by the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran), written at CoRIM's request, which thoroughly dissects and criticizes the Right Opportunist Line, a task which Arce & Co has never even attempted – nothing that is, except a pathetic attack by Arce on a single footnote in the UIC text, which furthermore, in typical Arce fashion, he dishonestly truncated.

The virtual revolutionaries also repeatedly assert that "Avakian is running RIM", that "RIM is nothing but an Avakian front", and the like. Ironically, RIM is often slandered by reactionaries as the "Senderista International". This kind of anti-communist slander is exactly like the anti-communist hysteria of the bourgeoisie themselves, with their talk of "Stalinist dupes", "communist manipulation", etc, all contemptuous of the conscious unity and understanding of the revolutionaries. One variant of this attack is that "Avakian's domination of RIM" mirrors US imperialism's domination of the oppressed countries. 19 This particular slander reeks of imperialist chauvinism and disrespect for the RIM parties and organizations in the oppressed countries, including the PCP itself. The unity of RIM parties and organizations on basic principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is open for all to see, including in the pages of AWTW, in the numerous documents of the various RIM parties and organizations, as well as in the Declaration of RIM and Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!, both adopted by all the parties and organizations participating in RIM.

"Reform" RIM, or Try to Smash It? - A Debate Fit for "Virtual Revolutionaries"

Having launched their virtual reality adventure, Arce, Olaechea, New Flag, and MIM maintained a steady stream of attacks on CoRIM and sometimes on RIM itself over a period of several months. They were puffed up by their new found unity, and there were even claims that most RIM parties really opposed CoRIM and supported their line instead. Thus the expectation was planted that soon most RIM parties would come out in open support of them, and there was similar talk about other groups identified with Mao internationally. 20

Their attacks sometimes take the form of open calls to do away with RIM, and sometimes of calls to "overthrow CoRIM" – either way, the heart of this opposition is to RIM's line. New Flag, for instance, advanced the "virtual reality" slogan of "Long Live RIM, Down with CoRIM". Maoists know that the nature of a political organization or movement is determined by its line. In the real world, calls to "overthrow CoRIM" mean opposition to RIM's Declaration and to Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! and other major elaborations of RIM's line. The real reason New Flag advances its slogan is that, since the PCP is part of RIM, they do not want to be seen as attacking RIM itself, and so try to disguise their attack as an attack on CoRIM. Their real agenda slips out when New Flag argues that, "The PCP did not pull out of RIM as yet [!]. A mobilization of 'figure-heads' cannot change this, but only a mobilization of masses could." 21 In other words, New Flag is setting itself the actual task of mobilizing "masses" not only against RIM but against the line of the PCP itself, which is clearly established as a RIM participant!

Buoyed up by the bubble of lies, hype and self-deception these forces generated, in the spring of 1996 Arce issued a Call to create a World Mobilisation Commission (WMC), whose purpose was "to lead all the support work" [emphasis added] for the People's War in Peru. The WMC Call also proposed uniting around "Gonzalo Thought", accepting "Maoism as the third and superior stage of Marxism", and fighting revisionism and opportunism, which is clearly identified in the Call as meaning, above all, CoRIM. 22

At this stage, some of the anti-RIM forces stopped short. They pointed out that setting up a support group for the People's War with this platform of unity would cut out large sections of potential supporters of the People's War by explicitly limiting it to those who already embrace MLM. This criticism is of course true. As a "Support the People's War" platform, the WMC Call sounds "left", but would isolate and weaken the vanguard forces as well as narrow support for the People's War. However, this criticism misses the key point that the WMC is seen by its organizers not only as a support organization for the People's War, but also as an organization to undermine RIM as the emerging centre of MLM forces internationally.

The Call for the WMC states that "the revisionists and opportunists were represented – and still are – by the leadership of the international Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (CoRIM) and by the heads of the IEC. This current, isolated and despised by the true friends of the People's War and the PCP, are crawling like snakes, loudly hissing their 'support for the people's war' and even screaming that their 'red flag is flying over Peru'. Adopting this phoney revolutionary position, they are attempting to continue to profit from the People's War. This is precisely what must be stopped.... The opportunist leadership of CoRIM is the main cause of immobilism in the international movement in support of the People's War in Peru." The subsequent call in the WMC to "fight opportunism through to the end" is thus an open call to battle against RIM's chosen leadership.

Taken at face value, this enterprise seems most puzzling. A core of the world's Maoists, including the PCP in particular, have been voluntarily united in RIM around the banners of Marx, Lenin and Mao for more than 12 years, have chosen RIM's leadership, and are waging an international campaign to defend the PCP and the People's War it is leading. And now Arce & Co want to set up a group also claiming to be based on MLM and also to defend the PCP and the People's War.

So what are Arce & Co really up to? They are in fact attempting to use their anti-RIM, anti-two line struggle banners as rallying points for the liquidation of the actual content of Maoism and for forming a group that pays lip service to MLM and the PCP, but more closely resembles a sort of international "United Left" of pro-Soviet and pro-Deng Xiao-ping revisionists, social democrats, Hoxhaites, and some genuine revolutionaries.

Arce has already made clear in previous issues of El Diario Internacional just what kind of line-up he envisages for a "restructured" international communist movement. In the January 1996 issue of EDI, Arce divides up a large number of groups active in the international revolutionary movement, based on his analysis of the correctness of their support for the PCP and the People's War. While the "bad" group includes a few RIM groups he particularly opposes, the "good" group – "political organizations that are fighting against the Fujimori hoax and against capitulation" – includes such groups as the Party of Labour of Belgium (known as the PTB), which is quite active in international left circles in Europe.

The role of the PTB is of special interest. El Diario Internacional is published from Belgium, where Arce himself has close connections to the PTB, making many personal appearances at PTB functions. The PTB's role is further elaborated on by Olaechea, who was the first signatory besides Arce on the WMC Call. Pointing to "positive" developments in the international communist movement, Olaechea emphasizes the centrality of the role seen for groups like the PTB in the WMC: "...there is already clear indication that the medium- sized parties, such as the Party of Labour of Belgium, have already undergone quite a good change.... Such parties, in addition to the traditional Maoist parties of the last two decades (excluding the RCP-style phonies), are precisely the backbone around which the WMC is starting to develop." 23 Actually, the PTB has not endorsed the WMC and would not do so since it openly opposes recognizing "Maoism" as a "higher stage of Marxism". But Olaechea's comments make clear that Maoism is not the real basis of the WMC, and what that basis really is, as a look at the PTB's line will show.

Perhaps the "good changes" Olaechea sees include the PTB's widely circulated "Proposal for the Unification of the International Communist Movement". 24 Here the PTB argues that "the former divisions between Marxist-Leninist parties can be overcome". Principal among these "former divisions" is Mao's opposition to Soviet revisionism. Indeed, the PTB has openly upheld the Deng Xiao-ping regime for many years, including hailing the Chinese state's repression of the Tiananmen rebellion in 1989. As for "good changes" being made by the PTB, its Chairman Ludo Martens recently made a public self-criticism for having opposed the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan! Raising organizations like the PTB that oppose MLM and uphold revisionists like Brezhnev and the Communist Party of China under the leadership of Deng Xiao-ping over RIM parties and organizations and CoRIM, as Arce & Co does, shows how far they have sunk into the swamp of opportunism.

Just as Arce & Co have turned aside from using Maoist teachings to deal with the cardinal questions of political and ideological line raised in the two-line struggle which emerged in the PCP and reduced this to a police plot, so in their approach to the international communist movement they throw away the lines that divide genuine MLM from revisionism and set up other, narrower criteria.

Olaechea goes on to argue that RIM as a whole is beyond saving. Calls to overthrow the RIM Committee, he says, are as "illusory and hopeless" as calls for "overthrowing Fujimori from his own party". 25 However, in Olaechea's view there are better prospects out there anyway, notably the remnants of the long-established pro-Soviet parties, which he says are from "the European tradition of the Third International" [sic]. Olaechea argues that these are much "bigger" parties than the RIM groups, and he specifically points to what he calls the "left wing" of the old Communist Party of Italy (PCI), the "left wing" of the CPUSA, and other such groupings: "...the development of a left within the traditional parties of the Third International, which is aware of the importance of the People's War in Peru for their own aims of giving their respective parties a new direction capable of serving the class interests of the proletariat and the people really holds promise, while the CoRIM strategy... has been proven kaput!" 26

Does Olaechea really expect anyone to believe that these die-hard revisionists, who have been props for imperialism for decades, are changing their spots and are now "trying to serve the class interests of the proletariat"? Is it not really the case that such parties are merely repositioning themselves in the bourgeois arena to deal with the collapse of their Soviet imperialist godfather?!

What does all this show about the WMC Call's platform of uniting around Maoism as "a third and superior stage"? That it is mere sugar coating, designed to lure the naïve, and to protect the cynical who want their retreat from Maoism to be carefully hidden.

Furthermore, it is revealing that those giving support for Arce & Co are found not in the hard core of the Maoist camp, but in parties that have for years fought the Maoists tooth and nail: pro-Deng Xiao-ping forces like the PTB, old-style pro-Soviet revisionists from the diehard revisionist CPUSA and PCI, etc. No wonder Arce & Co's supporters unite with them in liquidating the struggle against the Right Opportunist Line. They uphold out-and-out capitalist roaders like Deng Xiao-ping, why should they be bothered by some right opportunists in Peru?!

Arce & Co are dangling promises of "getting rich quick" by hooking up with the "left" of the big old revisionist parties, but the more likely prospect is that any genuine revolutionaries suckered into the WMC will be used as nothing more than pawns with Maoist labels to legitimize the attacks by these established revisionist forces on the Maoists' international line and organization. These revisionists are already salivating in anticipation, urging Arce & Co onwards. One Mr Godenas, a leading figure in a small group in Rhode Island, USA that is a WMC signatory, and whom Olaechea and MIM repeatedly defend, has the following to say: "Since its inception, 'RIM' has been a ghost entity, wholly innocent of any party or group (other than the PCP) that amounts to a hill of beans.... Why do a few supporters of the PCP and the People's War jib at endorsing the Call for a World Mobilisation Commission, a Call that fully embodies the principles of a cause to which we are all friendly, and to which we have all sworn varying degrees of support? Comrades Olaechea and Arce Borja have proven themselves to be as courageous and principled opponents of the fascist Fujimori as can be found anywhere. They are as an implacable enemy of Peruvian reaction abroad as the PCP itself.... It is time, my friends, to junk Avakian,... RIM, the RCP, World to Win, etc. Having done so, we can move forward with the Call for a World Mobilisation, with comrades Olaechea and Arce Borja and the many thousands of others who stand ready to rebuild the communist international on a sound ideological and political basis...." Godenas also says that, "The Nepalese 'People's War' as such is a fiction", and he then refers to "petit-bourgeois adventurism", to make his point perfectly clear. 27 It turns out that "Comrade Godenas", as Olaechea calls him, has run several times as a CPUSA representative for the United States Congress. 28 This is what Adolfo calls the "proletarian left" in the CPUSA – a die-hard revisionist who seethes with hatred for the world's genuine Maoists and oozes honeyed flattery for those who might help against them. The "sound ideological and political basis" on which Arce & Co are building their WMC is nothing but a revisionist-fueled fantasy of trying to wreck RIM. 29

Similarly, other groups in this swamp, such as the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), are also extending their connections to the hardcore revisionists. MIM recently reprinted what they called "an extremely sensible" article by a CPUSA member that extensively promotes this same "Comrade Godenas". MIM justified this by arguing that "as the fighting of cops [referring to New Flag] in the movement to support the People's War in Peru is extremely urgent, MIM puts aside its differences with the CPUSA here momentarily." 30 They made a similar call to the PTB for unity against "cops". They think that in the interests of fighting a small journal in New York City, it is fine to unite with the principal revisionist party in the US.

Arce & Co seem to be seeking some kind of devil's deal with some of the revisionists, whereby they will gain recognition from revisionist forces as "worldwide heads of People's War support", in return for which Arce & Co will lend their "Maoist" reputations to the revisionists to try and help "wreck" RIM. Or perhaps Arce & Co actually believe their own boasts that they will be the ones riding these dinosaurs – in which case they will undoubtedly be swallowed alive, not least of all because they are bereft of any Maoism with which to defend themselves, and are moving increasingly onto the revisionists' own turf.

In this regard, it is worth noting that Arce & Co, while stubbornly repudiating the need to wage line struggle against the Right Opportunist Line, are headed in a direction that is increasingly similar to the position of the Right Opportunist Line itself on many points. Not only are they liquidating key points of Maoist principle, as does the Right Opportunist Line, but they are even bandying about some of the same catchphrases. Aren't they, like the Right Opportunist Line, beginning to denounce RIM as nothing but "paper parties", "not amounting to a hill of beans"? Aren't they increasingly in the company of groups, like the PTB, Communist Party of Nepal (UML), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and others that promote participation in elections and long periods of peaceful political struggle in the oppressed countries instead of Maoist people's war? They denounce CoRIM for supposedly censoring the PCP CC and opposing its line, and pretend to be unreserved upholders of the CC, yet they go against MLM and the PCP's clearly established line on the most fundamental principles of the international communist movement. What do they think the PCP was talking about when it proclaimed the need to sweep away "mountains of revisionist garbage"?! Now when it is more urgent than ever to fight the Right Opportunist Line, not only are Arce & Co refusing to contribute to this fight but they are even focusing all their efforts on attacking those who are. The spectacle of these "virtual Maoists" from the cyberswamp lashing out at RIM and each other provides a distasteful example of where negating political and ideological line can lead.


1. The 1 May 1996 Statement of the Movimiento Popular Peru quotes a letter from the PCP to CoRIM, stating: "We extend to you our most ardent communist greetings and express our deep joy because RIM has approved the adoption of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as a new, third and higher stage. Maoism is a vital point and of immense significance and even more, today, this will help so that 'Maoism will be taken up by the peoples of the world and come to command the new great wave of the world proletarian revolution that is looming.' Also, it has served the magnificent development of the Celebration of the Centenary of Chairman Mao Tse-tung...."

2. For instance, a "Report from the Belgium bureau of El Diario Internactional" posted on the Internet by the Committee Sol Peru, London, refers to the "PCP representative" at a conference in Brussels at which the only Peruvian speaker was Arce. (2 May 1996).

3. Having tried to make a career out of pretending to be representatives of the PCP, these forces now try to pass themselves off as representatives of other RIM parties as well. New Flag, for instance, recently tried to pretend that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) was in their cabal by alleging that the CPN(M) "sharply criticize the revisionist leadership of CoRIM".

4. Quoted in the Foreword to the book Peru: Time of Fear. The prolific Olachea has never repudiated this quotation and has even confirmed it in meetings. Moreover, this same contempt for vanguard leadership can be seen in the way Olachea deals with the man said to be leading the PCP CC today: "The Fujimori regime has long been spinning this fairy tale and for that purpose the name of Mr Ramirez Durand – who no one has seen or heard of for years – has been bandied around and given the flashy name of 'Chairman Feliciano'." (Internet posting, 5 August 1996, Committee Sol Peru, London).

5. In a public Declaration dated 14 October 1993 and signed by the Committee Sol Peru, London.

6. See "An Initial Reply to Arce Borja" in this issue for more on this point. For its part, New Flag works the same ground, arguing that "leading cadres are in particular subject to reverse-memory techniques and alterations of the brain's electro-chemistry (drugs, etc.) in order to reprogram behaviour patterns and manipulate their consciousness of existing reality, in short, brainwashing." (Internet posting, 26 May 1996).

7. This light-handedness with truth is the operative approach for all these forces: New Flag gave attendance figures of a demonstration in Berlin it wanted to associate itself with when the demonstration was actually cancelled and never took place – no clarification appeared in subsequent issues. They also quoted from a personal letter written by Heriberto Ocasio, the spokesman for the US Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru, falsifying the contents of the letter and then claiming it was a document of the RCP,USA. They ignored a public demand for retraction. Arce's current no.1 ally Olachea reports on his public debate in London with someone he says was "a CoRIM leader". (Internet posting, 6 August 1996, "RCP/CoRIM/Sol Rojo Expose Their Hatred towards Chairman Gonzalo and the Revolution in Peru") The person was of course not at all a "CoRIM leader", but an AWTW supporter, as was made clear at the time of the debate. The list goes on and on.

8. See the section "Two-Line Struggle or Counter-Revolutionary Fraud", in "A Response to the 'Investigators' of RIM", by Arce, in this issue.

9. Arce's El Diario Internacional No 36 compares the Revolutionary Worker, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP,USA), a participating party of RIM, to the pro-Right Opportunist Line edition of El Diario (Lima), saying that they play "the same counter-revolutionary role".

10. See the Revolutionary Worker, 16 June 1996, for an extensive analysis of the political police and the Internet.

11. Big Brother: Britain's Web of Surveillance, Simon Davies (London 1996).

12. See the Declaration of RIM, section "On the Ideological, Political and Organisational Unity of Marxist-Leninists".

13. MIM even announced at one point that it was stopping all support work for the People's War in Peru, because... Olaechea told them to!

14. The Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), for instance, shows how casually it takes the struggle against the political police when it uses the following logic: "[The New Flag editor] argues that because someone is someone else's brother, he must be a revolutionary. This thoroughly reactionary line was crushed during the Cultural Revolution of Mao Tsetung. The prestige of one revolutionary does not convert to the family members. The fact that [the New Flag editor] argues this way shows that he is a cop...." (Maoist Sojourner, June 96) Just as these forces reduce the two-line struggle in Peru to a "police plot", now they want to reduce virtually all political struggle to struggle against cops. With this approach, they see cops everywhere, while at the same time they have trivialized the struggle against the political police into a children's game of name-calling. This makes it impossible to carry out this most serious battle which, as Lenin never tired of explaining, is an area where revolutionaries must exert themselves to the utmost to break with amateurism and develop professional methods. And, like children playing with a loaded gun that they do not understand can actually kill, they casually aim everywhere and nowhere, never knowing when it will go off. For if saying something wrong is grounds to be labelled a cop, then all of these forces are targets. Arce himself, currently one of MIM's champions, used exactly the same argument as did New Flag above, in the August 1996 issue of El Diario Internactional. He cast suspicion on a member of the Peru People's Movement (MPP) because of this comrade's purported family connection with the Right Opportunist Line! In other words, as above, family connections determine political colour. We would like to ask MIM just what Arce's method of arguing shows about him?!

15. Internet posting, 12 August 1994, "Why Does the RIM Help US Imperialism Encircle the PCP?", by RM.

16. For its part, MIM argues that: "apology for RIM = apology for CoRIM = apology for the Canto Grande authors = apology for capitulation = embrace of Fujimori and his Yankee puppeteers". (Internet posting, 23 May 1996, MIM).

17. Internet posting, 10 June 1996, "Gang of Five is Avakian's Theory and an Obvious Smokescreen".

18. See, among other works, Comrade Avakian's Mao's Immortal Contributions, The Loss in China and the Revolutionary Legacy of Mao Tsetung; more recently, he contributioned to RIM with his defence of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism against the liquidiationist attacks of K Venu, in AWTW 1992/17.

19. Internet posting, 12 March 1996, "Avakianism is Yankee Revisionism", by the Detroit Peru Support Committee.

20. Olaechea, for instance, claims that "the Nepalese Party are against CoRIM and for a World Mobilisation Commission", a claim for which he can offer no reference since he has invented it himself. (Internet posting, 3 May 1996, "After Vomiting, Now Diarrhea").

21. Internet posting, 3 May 1996, "Is Olaechea a Plant of the Intelligence Services?".

22. World Mobilisation Commission, Call for Mobilising for Struggle, Brussels, 10 March 1996, El Diario Internacional et al.

23. Internet posting, 28 June 1996.

24. This version, the latest of several, is dated 4 May 1995.

25. Internet posting, 28 June 1996, "US Imperialism Seeks to Expand its Fascist Dictatorship".

26. Ibid.

27. "Avakian & Co Should Go Quietly"; 7 May 1996, "Re Maoist Revolution in Nepal".

28. According to an article by "a CPUSA member" reprinted by MIM in Maoist Sojourner, June 1996.

29. Arce emphatically shares the vehemence of Godenas' attacks on RIM. This comes out firstly in his polemics. In the more vitriolic "Trappist Monks Turn into Village Charlatans: Another Somersault of the Circus Tumblers of RIM", he states that: "CoRIM went on to act in complicity with the enemies of the Peruvian Revolution"; "they openly side with Fujimori's agents and the capitulationist gang"; they are being "led to the side of counter-revolution"; CoRIM are "vulgar metaphysicians"; CoRIM's "Call is an old trick of rotten revisionists and opportunists"; etc. He carries this out in practice too. At the 1996 PTB May Day Conference, an AWTW representative sent to distribute Maoist literature was physically expelled by the PTB. A "report from the Brussels bureau" of Arce's EDI reports this as follows: "alert comrades from the [Arce-generated] MPP in Belgium assisted the security people of the PTB and ordered the AWTW representative out into the street". Arce cannot be reproached for lack of consistency in this case. While hailing the pro-Deng PTB for physically expelling a Maoist AWTW representative, Arce himself was sharing the podium with revisionist gangsters like the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – which heads the state government in West Bengal, India, where thousands of Maoist "Naxalites" have been killed or imprisoned – and the CPN (United Marxist-Leninist), which was the former governing party in Nepal and has lent support to ronda-style militias against the People's War there. Arce should be filled with shame for trying to attach the name of the PCP and the People's War to his outrageous antics.

30. Maoist Sojourner, June 1996.

This article appeared in A World To Win magazine
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