MIM recently encountered the article "Anti-RIM Critics from the Cyberswamp: 'Virtual Maoism' and Real Opportunism," by R. Voina, in A World To Win (#22, December 1996), the unofficial organ of the crypto-Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist Party-USA-led Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (CoRIM). It is in part a response to MIM polemics, and is CoRIM's first public acknowledgment of MIM's existence, let alone CoRIM's stance towards MIM.
The article appeared in A World To Win magazine, and was posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online at: http://www.mcs.net/~rwor.
1. Capitulationism is counterrevolutionary, not merely right-opportunist
R. Voina repeatedly asserts that MIM and others have "opposed the struggle against the Right Opportunist Line" and have in fact engaged in "denunciation of the fight against the Right Opportunist Line (ROL)...." In fact, the Right Opportunist Line that the CoRIM/A World to Win/R. Voina is talking about is not the same one the PCP is talking about. The CoRIM is referring to counterrevolution as mere Right Opportunism and then saying MIM opposes the struggle against Right Opportunism! However, MIM is attacking the counterrevolutionary line.
The RCP-USA and company, in contrast, are in metaphysical denial of the fact that the line in question is counterrevolutionary and not merely right opportunist. AWTW #21 made it clear that CoRIM considers outright capitulationist documents to be "documents from the Right Opportunist Line." The current A World to Win (which, though dated Dec 1996, was released in North America in April 1997) contains the following from CoRIM: "We have noted that some tendencies still exist to underestimate the importance of the two-line struggle in the PCP, to see it as something of the past, or to believe that it is enough to passively support the position of the CoRIM. Comrades, this is dangerous thinking!" (AWTW #22, Dec 1996, p. 35.) In sum, the CoRIM insists, even in the face of criticism, that the counterrevolutionary line of capitulation is currently to be found within the ranks of the PCP. This is quite an accusation for the CoRIM to be making of its supposed comrades, and is quite an accusation to be making without proof.
As another example, in footnote #9, Voina refers to a "pro- Right Opportunist Line edition of El Diario (Lima)." To MIM's knowledge, the "El Diario (Lima)" that Voina is speaking of calls for peace negotiations quite blatantly and changes the format including credits to comrade Luis Arce Borja that used to exist in that paper. Now CoRIM is calling that work merely "right opportunist"? The revisionist swindlers of the CoRIM seek to use discussion of the "right opportunist line" to smuggle any counterrevolutionary into the ranks of the PCP and the movement abroad by extension.
Voina presents the line that "RIM supports the line of peace negotiations" as evidence of CoRIM critics' dishonesty. But to the extent that RIM has said that the Canto Grande weed is mere right opportunism, it can be said that the RIM supports the peace negotiations. It uses a cover like all revisionists do. RIM claims to be Maoist while it seeks to admit counterrevolutionaries into the ranks to dilute the party and the international communist movement.
Not all line struggle is a police plot. However, Voina and CoRIM go on and on about this subject without getting specific. In fact, CoRIM nowhere defends its decision to call the Canto Grande weed merely "right opportunist." But that is the concrete situation; there is no general philosophy about two-line struggle worth debating. We should be talking about the Canto Grande weed specifically as MIM already has, but the CoRIM needs to dodge this subject and turn it into one of philosophy detached from the realities of struggle, the realities of what the rest of us are talking about.
It is true that MIM has done its best to unleash "vicious attacks against the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and especially the Committee of RIM (CoRIM)." MIM verbally attacks CoRIM not, as Voina suggests, because CoRIM represents Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM) and the struggle against capitulation in Peru. Quite the contrary. The CoRIM represents crypto-Trotskyism (MLM in words, Trotskyism in deeds) and takes the center-right position of criticising counterrevolutionary documents as merely "right opportunist." This is what Voina's and CoRIM's response to MIM's criticisms should be about. What Voina *doesn't* say in his or her article is more important than what s/he does say. For instance, Voina refers to MIM's argument in his/her footnote #16, but does not address it.
2. Liberals provide cover for police plots
Voina aims his or her single article at Luis Arce Borja, Adolfo Olaechea, the "MPP-USA"'s New Flag magazine, MIM, and others. By doing so, Voina attempts to make his or her criticisms stick to all of these forces, even when they at best apply only to one. MIM takes full responsibility for its own actions. Some of our differences with comrades Arce Borja and Olaechea are a matter of public record. So, too, are our points of unity with these two comrades, whom we respect as the leaders of the support movement for the Communist Party of Peru outside of Peruvian borders. We can take a limited responsibility for their actions, which is to say that we are fully responsible for the alliances we choose.
According to Voina, comrade Adolfo Olaechea said that the capture of Chairperson Gonzalo "...is 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." MIM won't defend this statement from comrade Adolfo Olaechea if he made it. Everything is relative. Adolfo Olaechea has his faults, but amongst people abroad from Peru, he is absolutely one of the top fighters for the proletarian revolution in Peru. As for Olaechea's comments on comrade Jiang Qing (Chiang Ching), Olaechea is merely repeating dogmas he learned from Avakian about Jiang. See what Avakian said in Revolution and Counterrevolution.
As for Agent Quispe's "MPP-USA" and New Flag, we take no responsibility for the actions of this cop outfit. In articles cited by Voina, MIM has detailed the evidence of New Flag's role as a cop outfit. As MIM has documented, the New Flag editor has engaged in splitting and wrecking, intelligence-gathering, forgery, double-dealing, snitch work, political inconsistencies, defense of capitulation, and defense of the CoRIM. When pieced together, these facts constitute proof that Agent Quispe is a police provocateur.
Some of the evidence against the New Flag can be found in Voina's article. For instance, Voina wrote, "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." We credit Voina for showing some integrity by including this, because the New Flag was referring to the demonstration in order to boost its claim that the RIM is important and why RCP-USA is vanguard within U.S. borders and not MIM.
Voina continued, "They [the New Flag] also quoted from a personal letter written by Herbierto 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." Again, this is cop behavior. The New Flag's handling of the letter from Ocasio raised the cop question before MIM ever did. The document fraud perpetrated by the New Flag is just one reason MIM says New Flag is cops. The incident cited by Voina is far from the only document fraud perpetrated by Agent Quispe. The AWTW is extremely Liberal in not drawing the line against all these frauds.
Indeed, Voina attacks MIM for hitting too hard at Operation Quispe: "...[F]or these forces, labelling opponents 'police agents' has become a casual, almost everyday affair. 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...."
The quote from MIM reads much differently in context. The first note about context is that this is three and a half sentences out of a 12-page tabloid-size newspaper. The majority of these twelve pages were devoted to detailing evidence that Agent Quispe is a police provocateur. The three and a half sentences quoted certainly are not the sum total of MIM's argument against Agent Quispe, as Voina well knows, assuming he or she has read the MIM writings s/he cited. The second note about context is that the quote comes from an article which exhibits and exterminates not one, but six of Agent Quispe's poisonous weeds. The quote does not even represent the basic argument against the single weed it discusses.
The main part of the rebuttal of the weed MIM labelled "exhibit B" reads, "Exhibit B shows that Quispe is willing to reveal information about the identity of people in Peru on the INTERNET. He also takes up the tactic of assuming that communists only care about their self-serving family ties. Hence, he 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 Zedong. The prestige of one revolutionary does not convert to the family members. The fact that Quispe argues this way shows that he is a cop with an impression that what really drives communists is family prestige. He has no idea that the revolution is not about narrow self-serving family interests like that."
Another article in that issue of Maoist Sojourner was called "Political clues to the 'MPP-USA' fraud." Anybody who actually read that issue of Maoist Sojourner could see that in isolation, each of Agent Quispe's actions was only a "clue" as to Agent Quispe's nature. When combined, however, the clues against Agent Quispe add up to proof that he is a police provocateur.
Because the RCP-USA is so Menshevik that one hand does not know what the other is doing, it does not surprise us to see Voina's use of kid gloves on Agent Quispe in print. In actuality, the RCP-USA was the first to raise that "MPP"-USA is a police plot. As is typical of opportunists who seek to avoid accountability, the RCP-USA did not do so in a public forum, so whether Voina knows that the RCP-USA did this or not is a different matter from the fact that it did. Thanks to the RCP-USA's unprincipled stance regarding polemics, it is always a case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing in its own organization. For this reason it is always a great victory for MIM when the RCP-USA or the CoRIM commits itself to a position in print.
In practice, both in writing and the spoken word, the RCP-USA came to a conclusion on "MPP"-USA before MIM did. When that did not suit the RCP-USA anymore, it changed its position.
3. Line is decisive
Voina's first mention of MIM describes MIM as "a small group in the US...which, despite its name, has nothing to do with RIM." In fact, the RCP-USA stole our name in 1984 after working with us in 1983 and gave the name to its new Comintern called the RIM. (MIM distributes other documents which discuss why Mao opposed having a Comintern.) By describing MIM as "small" without pointing out that this is unimportant, Voina caters to bourgeois democratic prejudice and puts his or her own Menshevism on display. Comrade Mao Zedong said, "The correctness or otherwise of the ideological and political line decides everything. When the Party's line is correct, then everything will come its way. If it has no followers, then it can have followers; if it has no guns, then it can have guns; if it has no political power, then it can have political power."
Combining his or her size-obsessed Menshevism with its sister, Liberalism, Voina dismisses the struggle against the "MPP-USA" police plot because the "MPP-USA"'s New Flag is "a small journal."
Voina writes, "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 attacks on a few Maoist leaders." New Flag doesn't have a line. It's a cop operation which is why it has jumped all over the place, including to the line that merely Avakian is revisionist. It has never been MIM's line to focus on Avakian. We hold that the RCP-USA is revisionist and we have published detailed and lengthy articles on the problems in the RCP-USA line. In contrast, the RCP-USA has written a footnote in its newspaper on the class structure of the United $tates as its full reply to us prior to this Voina article. It is the RCP-USA with the most to lose by revealing line and initiating line struggle, especially since it is so far from a united organization ideologically except perhaps as a personality cult. This point is illustrated by Voina's description of MIM's attacks on CoRIM as "shallow" and "personal." If MIM's criticisms are so shallow, why doesn't CoRIM address them and be done with it? Voina accuses MIM of concealing its own line, but in fact it is Voina, CoRIM, and the RCP-USA which seek to keep MIM line out of public view.
4. Who's sectarian?
Voina writes that MIM and others "have a long history of standing aloof from RIM and from the PCP itself, with each of them jealously guarding their independence." Voina is arguing that it is sectarian for groups upholding MLM to remain independent of the RIM. MIM disagrees. Stalin dissolved the Comintern. Neither Stalin nor Mao reconstituted it. The Comintern approach of building a world Party is an approach which discourages self-reliance among its member Parties and encourages hegemonism in its place. CoRIM's resurrection of the world Party idea is one manifestation of the CoRIM's underlying Trotskyism. The Avakianist (crypto-Trotskyist) line leading the CoRIM and the RCP-USA is in fact the sectarian position, as it attempts to smuggle the line of the labor aristocracy--including social-democratic demands and between-the-lines attacks on comrades Lenin, Stalin and Mao--into the proletarian movement. Whoever breaks with principles generates splits.
5. Filth supports the CoRIM
Voina asserts that MIM and others "liquidat[e] the struggle against revisionism...generally....[T]hese forces...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." But, if Voina's method of argument is turned around and aimed at the CoRIM, it is quite clear from the "Marxism List" archives (available on the Internet by pointing one's browser to the "Marxism Space") that if we count everyone who supports the RCP/CoRIM position then CoRIM would have to say that individual psychiatrists (Chris Burford) supporting peace talks sided with the CoRIM against us as well as several hard-core Trotskyists. In comparison, the people R. Voina is referring to are people in the decaying revisionist parties willing to support the People's War. A minority of the people in the decaying revisionist circles have left them completely and now work with MIM. While these people certainly have much self-criticism and transformation work to do, they cannot be compared with the above-mentioned filth that supports the CoRIM.
Godenas of the Khrushchevite revisionist CPUSA, for example, is a fragrant flower supporting the People's War compared with the outright pro-capitulation people that defended the RIM like Chris Burford and various open Trotskyists did. As MIM understands it, Godenas was ready to leave the CPUSA if the revolution in Peru demanded it. In contrast, one stout RIM defender on the Internet was the same one who thought the PCP was guilty of the MRTA's crimes.
The CPUSA did not support the People's War or issue a statement of willingness to learn Maoism or accept forthright criticism from Adolfo Olaechea. The CPUSA womyn whose article attacking cops MIM printed did.
Voina's criticisms of the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB) are correct, but Luis Arce Borja and Adolfo Olaechea are right to work with open revisionists supporting the People's War as opposed to those like the CoRIM falsely claiming Maoism. If Luis Arce Borja and Adolfo Olaechea jump from the frying pan of RCP-USA revisionism into the fire of other revisionisms, then that is the fault of the RCP-USA. Secondarily it will be MIM's fault for not organizing an undeniable force in the imperialist countries. And let's be frank: we talk about the RCP-USA and not RIM, because Gonzalo himself credited it for forming the RIM and because reaching the other organizations of the RIM is difficult and they do not partake in the daily struggles that we are talking about here.
Given the RCP-USA's line, it would not be surprising to see Adolfo Olaechea switch from alliance with crypto-Trotskyist revisionism to alliance with Khrushchevite revisionism. Both kinds of revisionism deny that the oppressor nations are parasites and that parasites are not proletarians. However, again we must remember the context: it is challenge enough to understand Peru correctly as Adolfo Olaechea does. If he flails his arms about like a drowning man in the imperialist countries--well, we can say he never trained to swim in such waters. In fact, the life preservers that the RCP-USA threw him leaked like a sieve.
6. CoRIM exposes the nature of its meddling
Voina's statement that "There are in fact no PCP representatives abroad at this time" is actually a stunning admission. If there are no PCP representatives abroad, then that only serves to underscore how the RCP/CoRIM have sought to take advantage of the arrest of Gonzalo to put new organizations in place in Europe to replace those sanctioned while Gonzalo was still free, namely the El Diario of Luis Arce Borja. We instead choose to rally around what was already in place before the arrest of Gonzalo. The RCP/CoRIM's attempts to do otherwise are a continuation of the split-and-wreck activities that the Peruvian police initiated.
7. Is human rights work the "principal task" for communists?
Voina is correct that we must make special efforts with regard to the life of comrade Gonzalo, but as s/he is aware, the issue of the International Emergency Committee to Save the Life of Dr. Abimael Guzman (IEC) goes well beyond that. The IEC propaganda is only an extension of the CoRIM literature which literally said that saving Gonzalo's life was the principal task of the international communist movement! This is how the CoRIM and IEC slapped at the armed struggle. According to the CoRIM the international communist movement was to transform itself into a human-rights campaign:
"For the 100th Anniversary of Chairman Mao: Document of the RIM". . . . The RIM needs information on the activities carried through for the celebration. But we must not forget that the principal task is to 'move heaven and earth to save the life of Chairman Gonzalo.'" ("Reproduced April 1994 by MPP USA," in "El Diario," p. 9) In other words, people everywhere should lay down their weapons, leave their countries and join the International Emergency Committee to "make propaganda, make a poster" and that would be a contribution to fulfilling the "principal task."
While pretending to struggle against the peace accords idea, the CoRIM has yet to retract the above! Instead it dodges the issue without mentioning the substance of MIM's dispute with the IEC. For its part, MIM attempted to work with the IEC for years, but we were not allowed, particularly by RCP-USA members in the IEC. Only in the months leading to our public split with the "MPP"-USA did the IEC attempt to work with MIM, apparently in a change of heart. By that time, these differences between MIM and the IEC had crystallized considerably.
8. World White Web
Voina's criticism of those RIM critics who want CoRIM to reveal its internal functioning is correct. So is the thrust of his or her comments on the Internet. No one objected to anything Voina said about cyberspace. His or her long tirade about cyberspace should be read as self-justification for CoRIM's failure to defend itself politically in principled polemic. In actuality, it is the CoRIM that is obsessed with cyberspace, because it only responded to the polemics once they were put there. The polemics against them all appeared in print and spoken words first. The RCP-USA newspaper also has a web page on the Internet--which includes Voina's article--so what R. Voina is complaining about is hard to see.
9. Cominternism = hegemonism
Voina writes, "The virtual revolutionaries also repeatedly assert that 'Avakian is running RIM', that 'RIM is nothing but an Avakian front', and the like....One variant of this attack is that 'Avakian's domination of the RIM' mirrors US imperialism's domination of the oppressed countries. This particular slander reeks of imperialist chauvinism and disrespect for the RIM parties and organizations in the oppressed countries, including the PCP itself." We certainly do respect the PCP and all Parties which genuinely uphold Marxism-Leninism-Maoism or Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. This does not mean that we agree with all these Parties on all matters. We have already stated that we see the Communist Party of the Philippines, not the PCP, as the model when it comes to international relations.
MIM never saw one of the documents from Peru released on pages 64 and 65 before A World To Win printed it. In the "Outline for a Basic Document," we see a clear call for counterrevolution. "Ending the people's war represents neither surrender nor abandoning the revolution, but rather continuing the struggle under new conditions." In addition, the document continues, "II. Basic Approach 1.Sign a peace agreement whose application would lead to the ending of the war the country is experiencing. 2. End the people's war begun 17 May 1980, in all its four forms of guerrilla actions. Disband the People's Guerrilla Army, destroying its arms and combat material; likewise, dissolve the People's Committees and the revolutionary base areas of the People's New Democratic Republic."
Going back as far as statements released in 1994, MIM said it would never be permissible to advocate laying down arms. "Outline for a Basic Document" does exactly that, but the RIM calls it "written in the latter part of 1993 by leaders of the Right Opportunist Line." (p. 64)