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Theories of Revolution and the Case of Peru

  • Cynthia McClintock

Abstract

In 1991 and especially in 1992 prior to the September capture of Abimael Guzmán, some analysts of the Shining Path (SL or Sendero) were forecasting a victory for the guerrilla movement within five years or less. Most believed that a revolutionary victory was possible. Said Peruvian analyst Enrique Obando: “The state is on the verge of defeat. The armed forces could tumble down at any moment.”1 Warned Gustavo Gorriti: “If they [the Shining Path] continue this way, they will be able to beat the Peruvian state.”2 Concluded a U.S.-based analyst: “The Shining Path has become a direct threat to the government of Peru.”3 In 1989, SL inflicted more deaths, controlled a greater percentage of national territory, and was approved in opinion polls by a larger percentage of citizens than the guerrilla movement in El Salvador.4

Keywords

Comparative Politics Guerrilla Movement Social Revolution Democratic Consolidation Revolutionary Movement 
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Notes

  1. 3.
    Gordon H. McCormick, The Shining Path and the Future of Peru (Santa Monica: Rand, 1990), p. 5.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Cynthia McClintock, Politics, Economics, and Revolution: Explaining Guerrilla Movements in Peru and El Salvador, 1980–1991 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Institute of Peace, forthcoming), table 1.1.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), p. 274. Comparable definitions are provided by Cole Blasier, “Social Revolution: Origins in Mexico, Bolivia, and Cuba,” in Rolando E. Bonachea and Nelson P. Valdes, eds., Cuba in Revolution (New York: Doubleday, 1972), p. 19; and Robert H. Dix, “Why Revolutions Succeed and Fail,” Polity, 16:3, Spring 1984, p. 423.Google Scholar
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    See Jeff Goodwin and Theda Skocpol, “Explaining Revolutions in the Contemporary Third World,” Politics and Society, 17:4, December 1989, pp. 489–509; Huntington, Political Order, Jack A. Goldstone, “Theories of Revolution: The Third Generation,” World Politics, 32:3, April 1980, pp. 425–453. Manus I. Midlarsky and Kenneth Roberts, “Class, State, and Revolution in Central America,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 29:2, June 1985, pp. 185–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Hawes, “Theories of Peasant Revolution,” and Cynthia McClintock, “Why Peasants Rebel: The Case of Peru’s Sendero Luminoso,” World Politics, 37, October 1984, pp. 48–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    James C. Scott, The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1976).Google Scholar
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    Jeffrey M. Paige, Agrarian Revolution: Social Movements and Export Agriculture in the Underdeveloped World (New York: Free Press, 1975).Google Scholar
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    Samuel L. Popkin, The Rational Peasant: The Political Economy of Rural Society in Vietnam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    Theda Skocpol in particular discards a role for ideology. See Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 168–171. Reviews of the literature on revolution include Goldstone, “Theories of Revolution,” and T. David Mason, “Dynamics of Revolutionary Change: Indigenous Factors,” in Schutz and Slater, Revolution and Political Change, pp. 30–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Raj Desai and Harry Eckstein, “Insurgency: The Transformation of Peasant Rebellion,” World Politics, 42:4, July 1990, pp. 441–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Discussions of Shining Path ideology include David Scott Palmer, “The Revolutionary Terrorism of Peru’s Shining Path,” paper prepared for the Ford Foundation-sponsored project “Terrorism in Context,” Martha Crenshaw, director, January 1990; Vera Gianotten, Tom de Wit, and Hans de Wit, “The Impact of Sendero Luminoso on Regional and National Politics in Peru,” in David Slater, ed., New Social Movements and the State in Latin America (Amsterdam: CEDLA, 1985), pp. 171–202; Gustavo Gorriti, “The War of the Philosopher-King,” The New Republic, June 18, 1990, pp. 15–22; Raúl González, “Gonzalo’s Thought, Belaúnde’s Answer,” NACLA Report on the Americas, 20:3, June 1986, pp. 34–36; Raúl González, “Ayacucho: Por los caminos de Sendero,” Quehacer, 19, October 1982, pp. 36–79; Santiago Pedraglio, Armas para la paz (Lima: Instituto de Defensa Legal, 1990), and Colin Harding, “Antonio Díaz Martínez and the Ideology of Sendero Luminoso,” Bulletin of Latin American Research, 7:1, 1988, p. 65Google Scholar
  16. 31.
    Mao Zedong, “The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party,” in Bruce Mazlish, Arthur D. Kaledin, and David B. Ralston, eds., Revolution: A Reader (New York: Macmillan, 1971), p. 282.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 283. See also Harding, “Antonio Díaz Martínez” p. 71.Google Scholar
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    Harding, “Antonio Díaz Martínez,” p. 71; and Ross Terrill, Mao: A Biography (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1980), p. 81. See also Mao Zedong, “Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan,” in Mazlish, Kaledin, and Ralston, eds., Revolution: A Reader, pp. 264–281.Google Scholar
  19. 37.
    Harding, “Antonion Díaz Martínez,” and Colin Harding, “The Rise of Sendero Luminoso,” in Rory Miller, ed., Region and Class in Modem Peru (Liverpool, England: University of Liverpool, 1986), pp. 179–207.Google Scholar
  20. 43.
    Comité Central Partido Comunista del Peru, Gloria al Día de la Heroicidad! (Lima: Ediciones Bandera Roja, 1987), p. 33.Google Scholar
  21. 46.
    Raúl A. Wiener F., ed., Guerra e ideología: Debate entre el PUM y Sendero (Lima: Ediciones Amauta, 1990), is especially revealing on this point.Google Scholar
  22. 47.
    Scholars often define democracy in loftier terms, but ten apply the label to countries despite high levels of human rights violations and other limitations. See, for example, Larry Diamond, Juan J. Linz, and Seymour Martin Lipset, eds., Democracy in Developing Countries: Latin America (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1989); and Terry Lynn Karl, “Dilemmas of Democratization in Latin America,” Comparative Politics, 23:1, October 19920, pp. 1–22.Google Scholar
  23. 49.
    Cynthia McClintock, “The Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in a ‘Least Likely’ Case: Peru,” Comparative Politics, 22:2, January 1989, pp. 127–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 53.
    For China, Matthew Soberg Shugart, “Patterns of Revolution,” Theory and Society, 18, 1989, p. 254. For Peru, Inter-American Devlopment Bank, Economic and Social Progress in Latin America, 1989 (Washington, DC: IADB, 1990), p. 412.Google Scholar
  25. 55.
    Abraham F. Lowenthal, ed., The Peruvian Experiment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975), esp. pp. 302–349; and Cynthia McClintock and Abraham F. Lowenthal, eds., The Peruvian Experiment Reconsidered (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  26. 58.
    Carlos Iván Degregori and José López Ricci, “Los hijos de la guerra: Jóvenes andinos y criollos frente a la violencia política,” in DESCO, ed., Tiempos de ira y amor (Lima: DESCO, 1990), p. 201.Google Scholar
  27. 59.
    For commentary by scholars who knew Shining Path militants during the 1970s or early 1980s, see Gianotten, de Wit, and de Wit, “Impact of Sendero Luminoso,” esp. pp. 189–192; Degregori and López Ricci, “Los hijos de la guerra,” and Degregori’s commentary to a journalist in Kathryn Leger, “Peru’s Leftist Rebels Gain Ground,” Christian Science Monitor, May 2, 1989, p. 3; and Henri Favre, “Violencia y descomposición social,” Debate, 11:57, September/October 1989, pp. 31–33. For data on socioeconomic characteristics of Shining Path militants, see Dennis Chávez de Paz, Juventud y terrorismo: Caracteristicas sociales de los condenados por terrorismo y otros delitos (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1989).Google Scholar
  28. 64.
    Agency for International Development (AID), U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants and Assistance from International Organizations: Obligations and Loan Authorizations, July 1, 1945–September 30, 1988 (Washington: Agency for International Development, 1989), esp. pp. 35 and 60. See also subsequent editions of this annual report by AID.Google Scholar
  29. 65.
    Ibid., p. 49.Google Scholar
  30. 66.
    Ibid., p. 60.Google Scholar
  31. 68.
    U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1989 (Washington: USGPO, 1990), p. 117, for 1984–1988 data. See other editions for other years.Google Scholar
  32. 69.
    Cynthia McClintock, “The War on Drugs: The Peruvian Case,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, 30:2 and 3, Summer/Fall 1988, pp. 127–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© David Scott Palmer 1994

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  • Cynthia McClintock

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