The attached essay, entitled “On Abimael Guzmán and José Carlos Mariátegui: where the difference lies“, discusses to what extend Abimael Guzmán, leader of the Peruvian Communist Party -Shining Path, should be considered as a true follower of Peruvian writer and political thinker José Carlos Mariátegui, as Guzmán claims to be.
The argument looks through the analysis of the Indian question and the tenure of land in Peru made by Mariátegui and assumed by Guzmán as well as through the main characteristics of Gonzalo Thought [Pensamiento Gonzalo, as known in Spanish]. Since Gonzalo Thought was more of a revolutionary praxis than a theoretical body, certain aspects of the Peruvian People’s War are analysed together with the Marxist and Kantian conception of dialectic and history. It will help to understand the role given to violence in the revolutionary process by Mariátegui and Guzmán.
This essay was writen by Andrés Garrido in 2011 and reviewed in 2012.
We paste here a paragraph from the conclusion:
[…] It is when Guzmán started to apply his own thought -known as Pensamiento Gonzalo- that differences clearly arose between Guzmán and Mariátegui. Although both emphasized the Leninist stress on praxis and the need of thinking creatively -as also recommended by Mao Tse-tung-, Gonzalo Thought, as defined by Guzmán, was just the application of Maoism to the concrete conditions of Peru as a consequence of the development of the People’s War. But it was precisely the revolutionary praxis of the PCP-SL what made apparent a pre-existing theoretical and significant difference between Mariátegui and Abimael Guzmán: Guzmán rejected the basic Marxist principle of the unity of opposites. For Marx, as for Mariátegui, the oppositions are seen as two aspects of one and the same force which are resolvable through human agency. But Guzmán constructed his theory of contradiction on Kant’s concept of real or exclusive opposites, where the only resolution to the antagonism or contradiction existing between two irreconcilable poles is through the eradication of one of those poles. Guzmán considered History as the material force which solves contradictions and violence as the force moving History forward. So violence would be essential to solve contradictions by the annihilation of the opposite.
According to this, People’s War would be the adequate and universal response to contradictions in the world as well as in every country. It is for this reason that Pensamiento Gonzalo systematized violence through a military strategy. […]