To the editors:

In his article “Defender of the Shining Path,” Jeffrey Felshman wonders which people the Shining Path is fighting for [January 22]. Shortly thereafter he notes: “Peru is a poor country that should be rich.” Later, he points out that President Fujimori’s austerity program “pushed the poor deeper into abject misery.” One would think it should be obvious to Felshman for whom the revolutionaries of the Shining Path are fighting . . . even if some so-called “innocents” (apoliticals who refused direct involvement?) have gotten killed in the cross fire. It is a war, after all.

According to Felshman, the “Shining Path is probably the most feared and despised group of communists in the world.” If so, it’s only because they’re one of the few leftist groups that fights as dirty as their right-wing oppressors. In other words, they fight to win . . . something not enough leftists around the world have done since World War II, thanks in large part to the bullshit restraining influence of the former Soviet Union. The latter was always more concerned with its relationship with the West than it was with the success of third world revolutionaries.

Of course, right-wing apologists for fascist oppression hate the Shining Path. They know a real enemy when they see one. Many leftists may, too, because the Shining Path makes them look like a bunch of pantywaists. As Bill Martin says: American leftists are “intellectuals. They aren’t actually doing anything” in the sense of taking on capitalist oppression as it manifests itself in America today. Because of this, American leftists don’t have any business criticizing the Shining Path. The latter is to be commended for taking the goal of revolution seriously enough to actually kill or be killed. American leftists are nothing but a pack of ineffectual blowhards. About all they’re good at doing is sitting around in doctrinaire bookstores splitting hairs over the “correct interpretation” of Marxist dogma. They’re a fucking joke.

Joe Haddonuf