Gonzalo just died

that’s all


A great comment by aimixin on this thread:

He was a guy who tried to lead a communist revolution in Peru, inspired by Mao, he argued in favor of guerrilla warfare tactics, and he created the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

People who like him say he was a genuine revolutionary.

People who don’t like him say he was more of a cult leader who killed and wreaked terror on the rural Peruvians he was supposed to be recruiting into his mass line.

In the latter sense, he would be more like Pol Pot. Someone with communist aesthetics who did more harm than good. Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, most Gonzaloites I’ve talked to also love Pol Pot and try to defend his honor and say he was a true revolutionary.

While defending Pol Pot, they will also condemn the Communist Party of Cuba, China, and Vietnam as all being counter-revolutionary. They even argue Fidel was a red fascist and that he turned Cuba into a colony.

Basically, they are the definition of ultraleftists, thinking absolutely everyone was an enemy, to the point of killing random people who obviously were not a major threat, including people from other socialist organizations.

Those with a “Left” deviation in their thinking magnify contradictions between ourselves and the enemy to such an extent that they take certain contradictions among the people for contradictions with the enemy and regard as counter-revolutionaries persons who are actually not.

— Mao

The Shining Path’s extreme ultraleft dogmatism made them see absolutely anyone as an enemy. The “boiling babies” meme you may have seen comes from the Lucanamarca massacre where they killed 69 peasants, some with boiling water.

Most famously, the Shining Path assassinated María Moyano. Moyano was more of a centrist social democrat who criticized the government but also the extremist violence of the Shining Path. The Shining Path didn’t like her for it so they shot her and blew up her body.

Defendants of the Shining Path usually just try to point to the fact the government at the time was also horrible and so their adventurist violence against regular people was justified.

Only sometimes did they target the government, but they constantly targeted regular people as well, which put them at odds with the population and prevented them from ever developing into a large-scale force. They were nothing like Mao, they never got the numbers to be a serious threat. They never had more than 3000 people in the entire group.

Even this year back in May, they killed 16 people in another massacre in VRAEM, two being children, and burned their bodies beyond recognition.

I’m no Trot, but Trotsky did write a couple decent things. One was his essay on condemning adventurist violence and explaining why it is counterproductive.

A strike, even of modest size, has social consequences: strengthening of the workers’ self-confidence, growth of the trade union, and not infrequently even an improvement in productive technology. The murder of a factory owner produces effects of a police nature only, or a change of proprietors devoid of any social significance. Whether a terrorist attempt, even a ‘successful’ one throws the ruling class into confusion depends on the concrete political circumstances. In any case the confusion can only be shortlived; the capitalist state does not base itself on government ministers and cannot be eliminated with them. The classes it serves will always find new people; the mechanism remains intact and continues to function.

But the disarray introduced into the ranks of the working masses themselves by a terrorist attempt is much deeper. If it is enough to arm oneself with a pistol in order to achieve one’s goal, why the efforts of the class struggle? If a thimbleful of gunpowder and a little chunk of lead is enough to shoot the enemy through the neck, what need is there for a class organisation? If it makes sense to terrify highly placed personages with the roar of explosions, where is the need for the party? Why meetings, mass agitation and elections if one can so easily take aim at the ministerial bench from the gallery of parliament?

In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission. The anarchist prophets of the ‘propaganda of the deed’ can argue all they want about the elevating and stimulating influence of terrorist acts on the masses. Theoretical considerations and political experience prove otherwise. The more ‘effective’ the terrorist acts, the greater their impact, the more they reduce the interest of the masses in self-organisation and self-education. But the smoke from the confusion clears away, the panic disappears, the successor of the murdered minister makes his appearance, life again settles into the old rut, the wheel of capitalist exploitation turns as before; only the police repression grows more savage and brazen. And as a result, in place of the kindled hopes and artificially aroused excitement comes disillusionment and apathy.

Peruvian Maoists in the Shining Path are closer to anarchists than Marxists in their tactics as they were obsessed with assassinating random people which had little influence on changing the overall system as a whole.

They did sometimes actually attack government targets, but none of it was for real strategic reasons. For example, they attacked Domingo Rada, the president of the Peruvian National Electoral Council… why? If the guy died, it would not have changed anything.

If I even ask that question, Gonzolaites will go into a moralist rage, saying these assassinations were against people who were part of the government so I must support the government if I criticize adventurist acts of violence against the government. They think like anarchists, they see everything through a moralist lens, and can’t see things through a materialist and practical lens. They fail to see that these attacks only hurt the position of the party and made it less popular and pushed people away from revolutionary politics, all while encouraging the government to crack down more.

These weren’t revolutionary acts of violence because they were against individuals, not the state as a whole, and the party never represented the masses, but was just a small cult which most leftists distanced themselves from. Pedro Castillo, who is a socialist who recently won the Peruvian presidential election, condemned him as a “Terrorist leader…responsible for the loss of countless lives of our compatriots.”

Adventurist violence just leads the state to crack down on leftists more and pushes the masses away from supporting leftists and towards reaction. Violence should only be used by an organized party either in self-defense of the workers, or in the seizing of state power. Not adventurist violence against random people who have no influence on the system as a whole.

I’m not exactly sure why he’s so popular among a lot of online leftists, but my hunch is that these people online leftists are often in countries like the USA where communists have almost no influence at all. These people feel completely powerless, so they fetishize about brutally murdering their enemies, they will often send death threats to people they disagree with, and begin to fetishize violence and talk about it on the internet.


He killed trade unionists and indigenous people.

He also started the modern-day revisionist Maoist movement. Originally, Maoists was a moniker for people that supported the Chinese side of the Sino-Soviet split, but it morphed into something else after the 1980s due to Gonzalo, or Abimiel Guzman.


He was such a leader of the masses that Peru elected Castillo in 2021.

Wait -


Was his (Gonzalo’s) party not responsible for terrorising rural villages to force support years ago?


There’s undoubtedly a lot of accusations thrown at them and we should be wary of propaganda against revolutionary movements, that is believing without due research. So I can’t speak on that specific incident.

However, the Shining Path has admitted to some of those excesses (while claiming them as such), such as the killing of several children in still vague circumstances, during an attack on a village.


Killing kids wow how revolutionary.


Just based off the “excesses” the SL admits to having committed, I wonder how they ever expected to gain mass support. They turned towards the peasant class (marginalised communities in Peru, mostly natives) by instilling fear instead of recruiting them.


Also pregnant women too. The Lucanamarca massacre..

And feminist community organizers who criticized their ultraleftism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/María_Elena_Moyano


Murdering children, pregnant women, and feminists. Really sticking it to the bourgeoisie there. /s

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