Interesting Piece on the Shining Path

Here from Al Jazeera. Includes a neat 11 minute minute. Here is Part 2 of the video.
It’s basically a bunch of propaganda crap, exactly what you would suggest. I have some serious issues with Sendero Luminoso, to put it mildly (I always supported a group called the MRTA instead), but this time around, they claim to be doing it right. As usual, Sendero is portrayed as some kind of narco-traffickers.
Barring the arrival of some sort of Chavez-type on the Peruvian scene, I can’t see why the vast majority of Peruvians have even one reason to support the Peruvian state. It’s a horribly racist society, with a completely evil socio-economic system. There’s only one way to get rid of it, I figure, and that’s through revolution. I don’t think the democratic road to power is going to work.
The Peruvian economy has been growing like gangbusters for 10-15 years now, but it has hardly touched poverty one bit. The population in extreme poverty is still around 51%. This reinforces my point about the potential meaningless about capitalist macroeconomics success stories.
Easily preventable deaths by children from obvious malnutrition are easily around 120,000/yr, minimum. That’s why I yawn when they say that Sendero’s war killed 70,000 people. Hell, the system kills more than in half a year, year in and year out. Why focus on Sendero? Who’s the real killer? The Peruvian state!
Sendero killed around 35,000 of those 70,000,  and supposedly the overwhelming majority were “civilians.” The “civilians” lie there is shown in the fact that almost all of those people were members of the rondas, press-ganged local militia that the state had directed to take up arms against Sendero.
Sendero says it realizes how it screwed up, and this time they are going to do it right and not kill the people (they did kill the people a lot last time around).
The US military is there, flying into poor villages and doing civic work, but that’s all counterinsurgency. The problems with the US military’s counterinsurgency civic ops is that they do some civic work here and there, but they never advocate the kind of deep structural changes that society really needs.
It’s like a guy is starving, you have loaves of bread to give him but instead you tear off a few pieces and throw them to him so he will shut up and put away the gun for a while. As soon as he puts the gun down, you won’t even give him crumbs and he gets to die.
That’s what civic ops is all about. Once the guys with the guns put them down, the counterinsurgency civic ops guys pack up and move on the next rathole threatened with armed socialism. The whole enterprise is just fake to the core. If the civic ops people were pressing the state to make deep structural changes to ward off revolution, that would be one thing. That might even make the guys with the guns put them down. But of course they never do it. That would be bad for business.
If Sendero proposed to fight an NPA-style war and advocated a project similar to the Chinese state or the Nepalese Maoists,  I could go along with it. But they were always so radical and extreme!

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2 thoughts on “Interesting Piece on the Shining Path”

  1. Norman Stone, who Margaret Thatcher said was her favourite historian, used to write regular liitle reactionary pieces for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday Times (UK). I remember him regularly positing Peru as the model for how he’d like to see the UK develop. Maybe he was just courting notoriety, but he’s now living in Turkey, making a good living denying the Armenian genocide – looks like a pattern. Repellent oddball! But that’s an indication of how far to the right Thatcher’s regime was. Or maybe, like George Bush, they just didn’t appreciate the value of the soft soap e.g. Tony Blair, who preaches peace, love and God, and actually took us into more and bigger and worse wars for worse reasons than Thatcher. Goes to show you never can tell.

  2. Peru as model for the UK?! My God! How horrible. Peru is one of the worst places on Earth. That’s why Sendero started in the first place. Groups like that never form in healthy societies. Yeah, that’s way to the Right all right.
    Yeah, Blair is some kind of “humanitarian for war” guy. Weird, huh?

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