Turning in rifles for ballots: against the FMLN, in defense of Comandante Marcial

As Central American Independence Day fast approaches, Red Guards – Los Angeles (RGLA) takes this important time to publicize our position and understanding of the historic Salvadoran Revolution, what is sometimes called the Salvadoran Civil War, but what more accurately should be described as the Salvadoran People’s War. It is a necessary critique of People’s War, as well as a necessary attack on the rightism of the FMLN then and now. The essay was written for the clarification and elevation of the Guiding Thought of Salvadoran People’s War, Cayetano Carpio known as Comandante Marcial, and most importantly as a call to the Salvadoran masses to embrace revolution and bombard the revisionist FMLN.


“When history cannot be written by the pen, it must be written with the rifle.” – Farabundo Martí

“This is what happened with the FMLN bourgeoisie and petite-bourgeoisie: they deviated from revolutionary principals and changed their course instead for elections and votes, and they turned in their rifles for ballot boxes filled with millions of dollars.” – the People’s Forces of Liberation – Farabundo Martí – Protracted People’s War – People’s War for Liberation (In Spanish, FPL-FM-GPP-GPL)


The Salvadoran masses carry with them wherever they go on earth a revolutionary legacy but also the cynicism and anger of having been ruthlessly betrayed by the former leaders of their heroic armed struggle, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (In Spanish, the FMLN).

In the U.S., the Central American masses in general number approximately 3.4 million [1]. The Salvadoran masses, in particular, number approximately 1.5 million. [2] The big waves of Central American masses, in particular from El Salvador and Guatemala, began immigrating to the U.S., in particular California, fleeing the repressive state’s armed forces during the revolutions of the 1980s [3].

Prior to the merger of all five armed groups into the FMLN on October 10, 1980, after the assassination of Archbishop Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo on March 24 of that same year, hostilities between the proletariat and peasantry versus the big landlords and the bourgeoisie had been raging on for decades. Even prior to the October 15, 1979 military coup, where the reformist camp of the Salvadoran military took hold of the government in order to avoid a mass uprising and established a civilian-military junta. But the feeble government quickly dissolved and state power was usurped by the more reactionary and fascistic elements of the military.

On January 22, 1932, two years after the historic founding of the Communist Party of El Salvador (In Spanish, PCS) by Farabundo Martí, Miguel Marmol, Mario Zapata and Alfonso Luna, after organizing the indigenous peasants and the small proletariat, the Party launched an offensive against the Salvadoran government mostly in the western part of the country.

The indigenous Pipiles made up the majority of the peasants that participated in the revolution. While bourgeois historians claim that the Party had little-to-no influence over the indigenous masses and that it was merely coincidental that they rose up at the same time (!), we affirm that whether or not the Party organized all of the indigenous revolutionaries, they led the call and subsequent short-lived war. In other words, the PCS, principally led by Farabundo Martí, was the country’s vanguard. The vanguard acts in representation and servitude to the proletariat and the masses.

Bourgeois historians and their contemporary anti-Communist dog followers cannot fathom a non-European Communist Party or non-European socialist revolution. This is where their criticism is borne from. And, yet, history shows us that the peasants are the natural allies of the small proletariat in semi-feudal and semi-colonial countries, like in China, Peru, the Philippines, Turkey and India. And such as El Salvador, where almost the entirety of the country’s land was owned by a handful of dynastic coffee farmer families.

During the January Insurrection – which should be more correctly called the First Socialist Salvadoran Revolution the Salvadoran state suffered causalities, replete with attacks on state army barracks, selective annihilation of big landlords and other enemies of the people, attacks on haciendas and even the seizure of small cities and towns. The Party and its armed forces, although small, unleashed the torrent of fury of the masses, especially the exploited and oppressed indigenous peasants. With crude weapons in hand, mostly machetes, the masses and its Party led a heroic and historic attack against the rising bourgeoisie. This was in part, and not independent from, the 1917 Socialist Russian Revolution.

The First Salvadoran Socialist Revolution was an initiation in blood and gunfire. It was the necessary watering of the soil of revolution and socialism. And it did not happen isolated from the subsequent conflicts between the soon-to-be reconstituting armed Communist Party and the masses against the state.

Communist forces certainly retreated after the devastating defeat of the revolution and the massacre of 30,000 workers and peasants, which would later be known as “La Matanza,” the Massacre in English. But the violently antagonistic relationship between the peasants and the proletariat versus the big landlords and bourgeoisie raged on, peaking in the second initiation of armed struggle after the assassination of Oscar Romero, the Second Socialist Salvadoran Revolution.

The Second Socialist Salvadoran Revolution lasted 12 years, finally ending in January 16, 1992, interrupting the completion of its socialist arch. Its ending was not only premature but a complete betrayal with the FMLN, having lost the line struggle to the rightist revisionist camp, turned into its opposite and became a bourgeois political Party. The FMLN and all its five factions signed the treacherous Peace Accords in Chapultepec, Mexico, giving immunity to both guerrillas and the state’s repressive armed forces. The revolutionary war, the Salvadoran People’s War, was betrayed by the FMLN. It was a decision met with protest and struggle, of which continues today even within the FMLN.

A decisive proponent of the Peace Accords was El Salvador’s leading revisionist, Shafik Handal, former Chairman of the PCS. He embraced with open-arms the bourgeois political machinery. It was there he felt at home. He was a staunch opponent of Comandante Marcial and PPW, and he swooped in like a vulture as soon as the commander died to firmly regain the course of the FMLN straight into red capitalism.

Shafik would take the FMLN into the deepest recesses of revisionism, running for president and losing to the rightwing ARENA political party in 2004. While Shafik may not have won the presidency, a member of the Salvadoran national bourgeoisie Mauricio Funes would win it in 2009. After that, the FMLN has enjoyed its stay in presidential power into the present.


In fact, the country’s current president, Salvador Sanchez-Cerén, was a former leader of the most advanced guerrilla organization within the FMLN, the People’s Forces of Liberation (In Spanish, Fuerzas Populares de Liberación – Farabundo Martí (FPL-FM)). El Salvador’s current red capitalist president once fought side-by-side with one of the greatest Communist revolutionary strategists in the country’s entire history, Salvador Cayetano Carpio, also known as Comandante Marcial.

The following will spend a great deal of attention on Comandante Marcial and the FPL-FM as we assert them as the red line within the entire Salvadoran People’s War, beginning in 1932, suffering a long retreat and then again climaxing in the 1970s but ultimately suffering a devastating blow in 1992. Devastating but completely devastated.

But as Maoists we know that things can turn into their opposites. As Maoists, we know that line struggle exists everywhere and all the time, a constant battle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie reproduced by capitalism and its agents. This is true in and outside of the Party.

The FMLN was founded as an eclectic, armed, left-foundationalist coalition with competing political lines. Even before its construction, the five armed forces that joined to make up the FMLN, brought with them different lines. Some were Christian Socialists, hugely influenced by Oscar Romero and Liberation Theology. Others were Marxists-Leninists. And within the Marxists-Leninists, some were more staunch supporters of the social-imperialist Soviet Union and their Cuban lapdog. Others were eclectic leftists who had low-levels of organizational unity.

Each of the five armed groups had a corresponding front or Party:

1.) the Armed Forces of Liberation (In Spanish, FAL) was the armed wing of the PCS, forming in 1980.

2.) the Revolutionary Army of Central American Workers (In Spanish, ERTC) was the armed wing of the Revolutionary Party of Central American Workers (In Spanish, PRTC), forming in 1976.

3.) the Armed Front of the National Resistance (In Spanish, FARN) was the armed wing of the National Resistance (In Spanish, RN), forming in 1975.

4.) the People’s Revolution Army (In Spanish, ERP) was the armed wing of the Party of the Salvadoran Revolution (In Spanish, PRS), forming in 1972.

5.) the People’s Armed Forces of Liberation (In Spanish, FAPL) was the armed wing of the People’s Forces of Liberation – Farabundo Marti (FPL-FM), forming in 1970, the first armed Marxist-Leninist group.


But no other group was more militarily-politically advanced than the FPL-FM, led by its founder Comandante Marcial.

Comandante Marcial is known as the “Ho Chi Minh of El Salvador,” principally for his support of the Vietnamese-style method of People’s War. Comandante Marcial would focus with sharp Marxist precision on developing guerrillas, Support Bases and, as Mao had said, to be like fish and swim among the sea of masses.

Ho Chi Minh was a revolutionary, a Great Leader and liberator of the Vietnamese Nation from French colonialism and U.S. imperialism, who fought tirelessly, brazenly with full support and participation of the masses. Comandante Marcial, similarly, was a great political-military Marxist-Leninist leader, with prophetic visions of unleashing the fury of the militarized masses through revolutionary vengeance, particularly through the heroic and highly supported Revolutionary People’s Bloc (BPR in Spanish).

The RN and FARN had split from the ERP over line struggle on the role of the masses in the revolution, whereas a faction within the ERP, of which revolutionary poet and theorist Roque Dalton was a member, pushed for more incorporation of the masses into a prolonged revolutionary struggle. For this, Roque Dalton would eventually be executed under the orders of soon-to-be-traitor of the revolution and capitalist roader Joaquin Villalobos in May 10, 1975. The Joaquin Villalobos and Alejandro Rivas Mira-led militarist faction were more focoists, focusing primarily on armed actions and a quick seizure of power [4]:

Mira’s vision of the revolution, which was shared by Villalobos’s and Rogel’s factions, was short-term and militaristic. A few spectacular actions, they maintained, timed to coincide with an uprising staged by their allies in the Salvadoran army, would be enough to spark a mass insurrection. The emphasis was on taking power, and doing it quickly. Dalton became the spokesman for the dissident view that the ERP’s priority should be a long-term effort to build a mass movement: they would gain power as a result of a complete social transformation. To that end, Sancho and Ramírez’s faction created a shadow structure within the ERP, the National Resistance, or RN. Though the disagreement about strategy began before Dalton’s arrival in El Salvador, Rivas Mira’s group considered him, in the words of one former militant, Roberto Cañas, to be ‘the brain’ behind all dissent.

Like Roque Dalton, the FPL-FM and BPR understood the mass-line method of Communist leadership as principally the tool for “mobiliz [ing] combatively all the popular sectors in the struggle for their immediate demands, as a means of incorporating the people to war” [5] but juxtaposed dialectically with the prolonged nature of People’s War. This was Comandante Marcial’s battle cry, which would continue to echo long after his death.

The Guiding Thought of Salvador Cayetano Carpio, Comandante Marcial


All class struggle produces leaders. All revolutions, specifically People’s Wars, produce a Guiding Thought. Comandante Marcial was just that. He joined the PCS in 1945 at the age of 28. After seeing his advanced grasp of Marxism and a promising future as a Communist militant, the Party sent him to Moscow to study in 1953, coming back in 1957 with a fiery mastery of Marxism-Leninism [6], heavily influenced by the world’s socialist revolutions. As an indirect pupil of Comrade Stalin, studying all the awe-inspiring revolutionary breakthroughs of Soviet socialist society, Comandante Marcial was forever marked with iron-like and unmovable revolutionary discipline. So much so that the revisionists of now and then have always painted him as an orthodox, sectarian, ideologue and dogmatist. But it is the genuine Marxist-Leninist of then, or the Maoist of today, that is and was called sectarian or orthodox or purist or even cultist. How many of the Red Guards collectives or our mass projects and organs have received this criticism – that we are picky who we work with? These revisionists are mad we don’t unite with them in coalitions or armed defense groups or “collectives,” that we don’t work with them! This is the telling signs of scared revisionists, needing to paint the genuine revolutionary Communists as enemies of reason and all sensibilities. To them, we are too Marxist. Too Communist. Too revolutionary. Too serious. Too determined to spill blood, our and theirs, for the glorious cause of Communism. It is not coincidence that the revisionists’ attacks on Comandante Marcial mirrors the opportunistic criticisms of the actual bourgeoisie. Revisionism is capitalism. Both revisionism and capitalism hate genuine armed Communists.

However, like the dangerous weed revisionism is, it did not spare the FPL-FM. Revisionism was being spread by one of the top leaders, Felipe Pena, who was pushing a phony Marxism influenced by Herbert Marcuse, Nicolas Poulantzas and other popular revisionists. Pena pushed for “revolutionary Christians” to be allowed into the FPL-FM, and overturning the organization’s commitment to atheism.

Under Pena, while Comandante Marcial was seriously sick and unable to command the FPL-FM, the organization grew quantitatively but suffered from a liquidation of Marxism. This, compounded with the rightism of La Comandante Ana María leading the armed organization’s most powerful mass organization the BPR, created a hegemony of revisionism within the FPL-FM. But luckily Pena died in battle in 1975 and Comandante Marcial was able to regain control.

Comandante Marcial, like both Mao and Gonzalo, was a critical Marxist thinker and even strategist-theorist of the economic-planning of the new socialist state, mastering the laws of contradictions and implementing the correct, concrete countrywide class analysis – the bloc of classes led by the proletariat with the militarized Communist Party at its head – understanding the underdevelopment of capitalism in agricultural-based El Salvador. El Salvador was and continues to be semi-feudal and semi-colonial. He knew that and applied the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist strategy of New Democratic Revolution to be guided principally by the FPL-FM and BPR.

While the PCS embraced a Central American-version of the arch-revisionism of the CPUSA’s Browder Party-liquidation and electoralism line (although they claimed to have defeated the Browderist line within the Party [7]), Comandante Marcial led the red faction and forged ahead with the FPL-FM and its reconstitution of the Communist Party of the New Type, an anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist. Comandante Marcial, while not a Maoist, and it is unsure how, if at all, influenced he was by Chairman Gonzalo and the Communist Party of Peru, was a genuine Marxist-Leninist searching for the cleansing fire of Maoism that was moving toward him – rising up from the Peruvian mountains of the Andes. Unfortunately, Comandante Marcial and the FPL-FM would not survive long enough to embrace it.

There are scant writings by Comandante Marcial or scholars and historians that can cite Mao’s influence on the commander. But some sources do say Comandante Marcial studied and applied strategies of People’s War from Chairman Mao. [8]

But nonetheless, since Maoism is universal and its universalities transcend time and space, it is not strange that some were located within the FPL-FM, and principally Comandante Marcial as the main author and theoretician. As leader, he popularized the militarization of the Communist Party and the masses and the concentric construction of the three instruments of revolution, giving special focus on the people’s militias under the command of the People’s Army:

In a very short period, guided by the science of Marxism-Leninism applied to the concrete conditions of El Salvador and Central America, through the politico-military strategy of Prolonged War of the People, it has been able to develop as a revolutionary organization that moves firmly towards its conversion into a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary political Party of the working class, has been able to create the guerrilla and consolidate it in the Salvadoran territory, as a strategic means for the formation of the People’s Liberation Army, has achieved deep organized influence in broad sectors of the people directing it and orienting it actively in its combative struggles and begins to deepen it in the industrial working class; and has begun to form the armed organizations for -military: militias.

But the FPL-FM is not without fault. In fact, they committed grave errors and upheld revisionist lines. After all, they were never Maoists. In fact, “Maoist” was often used as a “deprecating label” by some guerrillas groups, mostly against the ERP – for their criticism of the Soviet Union and Cuba and Salvadoran nationalism, even though they were against Mao’s China. [9] This disastrous understanding of what Maoism was during the 1980s would seal the fate, not just of the ERP but the entire FMLN – for if a Marxist-Leninist organization does not uphold the universality of PPW, the concentric construction of the three instruments of revolution, the militarization of the Party and the development of Great Leadership and a Guiding Thought, its revolution is doomed to deformity and ultimate failure.

A consistent error maintained by the FPL-FM since its formation in 1970 was its support of the social-imperialism of the Soviet Union, from Khrushchev to Gorbachev. The FPL-FM held the revisionist line that Vietnam was socialist. In tandem, they also remained suspiciously silent on the historic Sino-Soviet split – with Soviet social-imperialism backing the Vietnamese – not even denouncing the Chinese revolutionaries. It’s inexcusable for Comandante Marcial not to have intervened in these line struggles and assert the correct proletarian line over the revisionist bourgeois line. But the commander had his sins and the International Communist Movement can take those errors, look upon them, study them, and learn from them.

Struggle from within the Party: the fight against Salvadoran revisionism

When the stone-cutter
finds his hammer brokern
just before beginning his daily work
he thinks about having a better and more powerful tool
and doesn’t accuse the stone of being ultra-left
because of its restraint and tenacious nature.

-Roque Dalton, “Moral on the tool.”


The CP split in two in the face of the situation
the majority who accepted ceased to be ultraleftists
while keeping the name,
the minority who decided to continue being ultraleftists
left the tent led by a baker
named Salvador Cayetano Carpio.

Afterward two ultraleftist organizations rose up
the Popular Forces of Liberation – “Farabundo Marti” –
and the Revolutionary Army of the People – “ERP”-
with the intention that in the future
the authentic Salvadoran ultraleftists
would have what they damn well need, to be ultraleftists
to the end
that is, until the seizure of power
as ultraleftistly as necessary in this country
dominated by the ultraright.

– Roque Dalton, “Ultraleftists.”

After coming back from studying in the Soviet Union, Comandante Marcial rose to leadership of the Party in 1964, becoming General-Secretary, where he developed the thesis of a Protracted People’s War in El Salvador as the only means of constructing socialism. His line, with only a minority of support, was defeated and attacked as “ultraleftist” by the rightist majority. The rightist line was a cowardly call for the peaceful “accumulation of forces” and in waiting for the “objective conditions to change.” Shafik Handal, at that time, was already in several leading positions within the Party, remaining firmly planted in the rightist camp. In 1973 he would be elected the last General-Secretary of the Party [10] and its miserable ending history.

To rightists everything revolutionary and Marxist is “ultraleftist,” just as how Roque Dalton sarcastically portrays it in both poems, “Moral on the tool” and “Ultraleftists.” Comandante Marcial and the red faction left the Party in 1969 but on April 1, 1970, they founded the FPL-FM. This was the first armed Marxist-Leninist guerrilla that would go on to join the five FMLN groups [11].


Due to the lack of internal documents available to the public on the intense line struggle within the Party during that time, we are forced to assume it wasn’t possible, with their particular conditions, to expel or eliminate the rightists from the Party. Since rupture is the basis of all progress and transformation, Comandante Marcial was forced to take on the historic task of reconstructing the highest, most advanced militarized organization for the Salvadoran proletariat, the new Communist Party of El Salvador. Where the revisionist PCS failed to mature into the vanguard for the Salvadoran masses and the proletariat, the FPL-FM would pick up the red banner of Communism and continue the Party building project anew. The Salvadoran Revolutionary Action (In Spanish, ARS) was the country’s first armed leftist group, formed in 1968, but they quickly deviated into militarism and dissolved.

The battle against revisionism is more than a century old but rages on fiercer than ever. Today what is Marxism is more correctly understood as having developed through the historic People’s War and revolutionary struggles of the 20th Century, discovering new universal truths – all encapsulated within the Marxism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, but illuminated by the Great Leaders and Guiding Thoughts of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the 1949 Chinese Revolution and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and of course the Peruvian People’s War.

But the revisionism of each epoch claims Marxism while it hides, sometimes better than other times, the hidden capitalism within it. So, today, when it is asked, when we are asked, what does it mean to be a Communist? The Soviet Union and Socialist China are no more. But the People’s Wars of Peru, the Philippines, Turkey and India rage on – without a socialist power. And so it’s tempting for Marxists and so-called Marxists to claim the era of revolution over, our Strategic Offensive. It is easy to retreat into defeatism and claim Marxism as a comfortable, defanged and safe-and-legal ideology, snuggly nestled in the cold graveyard of bourgeois academia.

But today, when we say Communist, when we say Marxist, we mean Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, principally Maoist. We are not Marxists, for that negates the contributions of Lenin and Stalin. We are not Marxists-Leninists, for that negates the contributions of Mao and Gonzalo. We say we are Maoists, and we carry with us all the immortal contributions of our Great Leaders, principally Mao and Gonzalo.

Comandante Marcial and the FPL-FM, even without publically hoisting up Chairman Mao’s immortal contributions, nevertheless applied them to El Salvador – a peculiar revisionism struggling within itself, that of refusing to rupture with the revisionism and social-imperialism of the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death. Comandante Marcial and the FPL-FM are not exempt from some egregious errors and positions, which will be explored shortly.

Through the Maoist strategy of New Democracy all allied and oppressed social classes are subordinate to the proletariat and its Party’s directives. The Communist Party leads the socialist Cultural Revolution with the direct involvement of the militarized masses in eradicating bourgeois ideology lingering on after the seizure of political power through the smashing and restructuring of the bourgeois state. Comandante Marcial knew this. He knew how important socialist education was as a vital component of the New Democratic Revolution:

The intense ideological education and elevation of the level of political consciousness of the masses of their revolutionary initiative; the intense work of revolutionary persuasion for the reeducation towards Socialism of broad masses of small and medium-sized producers of the city and countryside, of small and medium-sized businesses and other small and medium-sized sectors linked to private property; as well as the less advanced sectors of the middle strata to understand the need to move on to the construction stage of Socialism and to collaborate with the proletariat and the poor peasantry in this historic step. [12]

He borrowed much of his military strategy and theories from Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese People’s War, but also forged ahead by elevating and maintaining Marxism-Leninism as humanity’s true proletarian ideology which, if kept in the militarized hands of the masses, if the proletariat’s red flag remains flying, if genuine Communists fight in the life-or-death line struggle against revisionist capitalists within the Communist Party, and if the armed Party commands the Protracted People’s War, victory is guaranteed. Not just for the Salvadoran masses but for all the Central American masses – of which he constantly reaffirmed his undying loyalty! Comandante Marcial was a true internationalist, much like Chairman Mao or Gonzalo who knew of their historic position waging People’s War. Like Gonzalo and Maríategui, Comandante Marcial would pry away Farabundo Martí from the clutches of the revisionist and place him on his rightful place as the founder and Great Leader of the Salvadoran masses. Like Farabundo Martí, Comandante Marcial, would continue what the PCS failed to do: unite all the masses of Central America into one People’s Army:

Agustín Farabundo Martí did not conceive the revolutionary struggle of our people with a narrow chauvinistic criterion, but in all its Central American and Latin American breadth, going in practice to fight in the mountains of Nicaragua. The FPL has, as the basis of its strategy, the historical need to unify the revolutionary struggle of the Central American peoples, until the creation of the Central American People’s Army, for the definitive victory of the Revolution in our peoples.

Comandante Marcial also goes on to say, that:

The figure of Agustín Farabundo Martí inspires the current revolutionary combatants, in the ideological struggle against the pseudo-revolutionary positions of the false Communists, who have abandoned the combative tradition of our people and the principles and methods on which they sustained their struggles [with the] worker-peasant generation of those years. His figure allows the current combatants to resume the tradition of radical struggle of the mass struggles and the tradition of armed struggle of our people, which the pseudo-revolutionaries, opportunists and false Communists, have tried to interrupt by becoming instruments of the bourgeoisie for pacify the rebellion of the Masses.


This was Comandante Marcial. The great unifier of the most progressive social classes and sectors of El Salvador, particularly focusing primarily on the proletariat and then the peasantry. The great torch of anti-revisionist Marxism-Leninism carried through the darkest nights of Salvadoran revisionism. This was and continues to be the red faction’s Guiding Thought since the founding of the FPL-FM, through the Second Salvadoran Revolution up until the present. The revolutionary legacy of Comandante Marcial and his Guiding Thought lives on in the rebellious spirit of the Salvadoran masses who have grown cynical of these false Communists of the FMLN, who have grown angry at the revisionist snakes who do nothing while the most reactionary elements of the Salvadoran bourgeoisie and big landlords continue with their exploitation and oppression, happily striving under the FMLN administration. But wherever there is darkness, there is a light, even if it is but a weak spark refusing to be extinguished.

The lies and treachery against the Salvadoran PPW and Comandante Marcial

On April 6, 1983, the second in command of the FPL-FM Dr. Mélida Anaya Montes better known as La Comandante Ana María, was assassinated in her home in Managua, Nicaragua. A one-time leader of the BPR and member of the FMLN’s General Command, she exerted powerful influence not only over the FPL-FM and its organisms but also within the FMLN.

The story of her assassination, as well as her legacy, is contested by many. All the revisionists uphold her as a great leader, despite her rightism and anti-Party politics.

La Comandante Ana María must be remembered for what she was, what she eventually turned into: her opposite. She attempted to liquidate the armed struggle in favor for quick peace negotiations with the reactionary Salvadoran government. Comandante Marcial and her would have intense and sharp line struggle over the central question of PPW and the Communist seizure of political power – whereas Comandante Marcial upheld the line of revolutionary violence and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat through proletarian war, La Comandante Ana María favored capitulation to capitalism.

Many, including leadership within the FPL-FM and FMLN, accused Comandante Marcial of her killing, having masterminded it to continue the PPW and neutralize the rightism within the revolutionary movement. So let us be clear: although Comandante Marcial was proven innocent, it would not have been wrong to have been the mastermind of her assassination. In revolution, there is excess and necessary sacrifice. Friendship can only mean the political position an ally of the proletariat and its organization occupies within an analysis of the concrete conditions. We don’t put friends above politics. We certainly don’t put friends above revolution. Imagine if Chairman Mao were to have asked for the Party and the masses to forgive the rightist of his former friend and comrade-in-arms Lin Biao? We don’t liquidate struggle for the sake of maintaining friendship. We liquidate friendship for the maintaining and advancement of revolutionary struggle!

The bourgeoisie’s official line, which is now the FMLN, is anti-Communist, unscientific and filled with inconsistencies and strange un-Marxist claims – grasping for straws – at making sense of the two tragedies. But that’s giving the FMLN too much credit; they embarked on a character assassination campaign against Marcial, citing so-called video evidence of a confession by the actual killer of La Comandante Ana María, FPL-FM Central Committee member Marcelo, saying he received direct orders from Comandante Marcial. However, this contradicted the actual testimony of Marcelo in court in Nicaragua (where the killing took place) who said Comandante Marcial had nothing to do with the assassination of La Comandante Ana María.

These traitors of the FPL-FM and FMLN, knowing the true anti-revisionist Marxist hegemony of Comandante Marcial, weren’t going to bend for revisionism. Like all great reversals, the rightist within the FPL-FM and the FMLN, which including Shafik Handel co-leading the attack, took this time as an opportunity to conveniently to attack the left and blame the setbacks of the Salvadoran PPW on the FPL-FM and principally Comandante Marcial. They used him as the Marxist-Leninist Boogeyman, similar to how Khrushchev used Stalin’s death as the prime opportunity to attack the construction of socialism and instead build capitalism in its place.

He knew the assassination and subsequent allegations against him was a conspiracy against the revolution because he and the FPL-FM represented the correct Marxist-Leninist line in the entire FMLN. And the FMLN feared and hated it, especially because Comandante Marcial was part of the General Command of the FMLN. His revolutionary leadership and political line, as a Guiding Thought, polarized the country: you belonged only in one of two camps, the revolutionary or the enemy. Revisionism is relegated to the latter, and it was from there that FMLN traitors conspired against Comandante Marcial to effectively liquidate his revolutionary leadership and tear apart his influence. The FMLN traitors knew just how to do this. They couldn’t kill him because that would have enshrined him as a martyr to be avenged by the militarized masses and loyal revolutionaries within the FMLN and FPL-FM to bombard the General Command and cease control. The FMLN knew this. Instead what they decided on was far more vicious and effective: the assassination of his revolutionary character, particularly in spreading the lie that he was this ruthless killer devoid of trust and camaraderie. In other words, the FMLN conspired to destroy Comandante Marcial as the Guiding Thought of the Salvadoran Revolution.

And unfortunately, as part of FMLN’s greater betrayal of the revolution, it worked. On April 12, 1983, Comandante Marcial was driven to commit suicide in temporary-yet-severe political demoralization. After finding out of the treachery of his fellow Central Committee members, who worked in unison with the FMLN rat-traitors, the revolutionary military strategist could not overcome the high-treason committed against him, against Marxism, against the masses, and against the revolution.

Revolutionary Communists are not immune to demoralization, even Great Leadership. Bends in the revolutionary road toward Communism are sure to rise up. They are natural. It would be strange and suspect for the road to Communism to be easy and a straight line. If any one, especially leadership, promises you a frictionless, peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism, they should be shot dead where they stand, right then and there, for they are traitors to the revolution and dangerous peddlers of poison.

It must be understood that the mishandling of the liquidation of La Comandante Ana María , and not her actual assassination, as well as the suicide of Comandante Marcial were the final mortal blows to the FPL-FM. They would never recover and devolve into rightism, eclecticism, anti-Marxism and eventual dissolution and liquidation into the rightist headquarters of the FMLN.

But shortly after his death, a group emerged within the FPL-FM who saw through all the murky revisionism and treachery against the Great Leader Comandante Marcial: El Frente Clara Elizabeth Ramirez (FCER) [13] who would, for a short while, continue with the armed struggle but independent of the FMLN and the surviving and deformed FPL-FM.

Biografia Marcial3

April 12 must be a time to remember Comandante Marcial. It should be included in the International Communist Movement as a day of commemoration for the great martyr of the Salvadoran People’s War. It should adorn our political calendars and remind us that it is a time to reflect, to reaffirm Marxism as the proletariat’s guiding ideology – today we call it Maoism – on the march toward Communism.

Today, the vile Salvadoran revisionists continue to commit the highest crimes against the masses and its former vanguard, the FLP-FM, by slandering the name and memory of Comandante Marcial (including the late arch-revisionist snake Handal). They repeat the bourgeois lies about him, that he was an egocentric, power-hungry tyrant. In particular, arch-revisionist professor of philosophy at the University of Central America Ricardo Ribera Sala accuses Comandante Marcial of standard text-book, anti-Communist slander: that he was “sectarianist,” “dogmatic,” “divisive” for the FMLN and revolutionary movement, that he was a confused and bad military strategist, having confusingly applied, seeking to mimic the Vietnamese, the method of PPW.

These revisionist snakes speak with a fork tongue; from one side of their mouth they attempt to praise Comandante Marcial, hoist him up as one of the great Salvadoran Communist revolutionaries, and through the other side of their mouth they, they attack him as viciously at the anti-Communists. This is because revisionists are anti-Communists!

The FMLN’s wartime slogan, like that of the FPL-FM, was “Revolution or death!” but soon after the death of Comandante Marcial and the last anti-revisionist spark of the fire of Communism, it turned into “Revolution or bourgeois integration!”

The FPL-FM today: the potential for revolution or the perpetuation of errors


As of today, the FPL-FM has been reconstituted as the Fuerzas Populares de Liberación – Farabundo Martí – Guerra Popular Prolongada – Guerra Popular de Liberación (FPL-FM-GPP-GPL). Although they are not Maoist and continue to maintain some of the erroneous lines of the first FPL-FM, they remain the most advanced Communist formation in El Salvador.

The FPL-FM-GPP-GPL calls itself the Communist Party of the New Type of El Salvador. They uplift Comandante Marcial as their Guiding Thought and adhere to the Revolutionary Tendency as opposed the hegemonic Democratic Tendency. Their ideological line, as stated on their website, is Marxism-Leninism Salvador Cayetano Carpio Thought [14].

While a lot of information is not public on the FPL-FM-GPP-GPL, enough is available to say that they represent the red line within the country drowning in a sea of rightism and revisionism. They rightfully condemn the capitalist FMLN government. They name the FMLN revisionists – especially Shafik Handal – as enemies of the people. They sharply criticize and condemn the liquidation of the armed struggle and the necessity for a genuine Communist Party leading the Salvadoran masses and proletariat. They envision themselves as being the new Communist Party, but also understand that they are currently in a prolonged reconstitution era.

We cannot succumb to dishonesty and idealistically paint Comandante Marcial and the FPL-FM as Maoists as much as we would wish. No, an honest account and investigation of the Salvadoran Second Revolution, which we have argued was an untheorized and incomplete Protracted People’s War, is needed. We are Marxists. We don’t hide from reality. The FPL-FM represented the correct line in the struggle against rightism, but they, too, suffered from internal rightism and revisionism. They refused to acknowledge the revolutionary shining example of Chairman Mao and revolutionary China and then Peru with Chairman Gonzalo and the PCP.

As mentioned earlier, one huge error of the FPL-FM and Comandante Marcial was dogmatic, mechanical tailing of the “socialist camp” represented by the revisionist Soviet Union. They dogmatically and liberally toted the social-imperialist line of the internationalist revisionist movement. However, the present day FPL-FM-GPP-GPL stands firmly against Cuba and their revisionist national bourgeois government, where once they upheld Cuba as socialist.

Another error was the merger with the FMLN. This effectively liquidated the FPL-FM, as the only anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist line in the entire country, into an eclectic armed revisionism and then capitalist capitulation – although Comandante Marcial would not live to see this end and was not there to lead the line struggle against the rightists in the FPL-FM and FMLN. The FPL-FM’s course, as Comandante Marcial would say time and time again, was to reconstitute the Communist Party of El Salvador. But that couldn’t have been done while sacrificing Communist politics for “leftist” politics as represented by the FMLN – especially when you are literally fighting in the trenches side-by-side with the remnants of the revisionist PCS!

But the FPL-FM, nonetheless, represented the necessary aggressor against Salvadoran revisionism – with Marcial leading that attack. The FPL-FM, under Marcial, would have never signed the Peace Accords. They very well may have liquidated the entire General Command or place them in a People’s Tribunal and unleash the furious militarized masses to rip them to shreds.

And it is that Carpio did not fight for a simple democratic opening but for an anti-capitalist revolution, with ideology. Marxist-Leninist and the strategy of protracted people’s war, based on the worker-peasant alliance with proletarian hegemony. In short: impose a dictatorship of the proletariat as a transition phase to socialism. [15]

Comandante Marcial may have been on his way in becoming El Salvador’s Chairman Mao or Presidente Gonzalo but mortally interrupted by internal revisionism. Comandante Marcial died, not be suicide, but by his slowness (we refuse to say inability) in grasping Maoism. The living mountains of Ayacucho, with fiery Peruvian hammer and sickles burning on their sides, would unfortunately never reach his eyes. And, until this day, Maoism still remains a non-existent current in the country.

Today the FPL-FM-GPP-GPL continues to reconstitute itself, organizing and training daily while they establish and nurture mass links. The FPL-FM-GPP-GPL continues to call on the militarization of the masses and the creation of guerrilla units for the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Liberation Militias, in particular through the FAPL and the Proletarian Popular Progressive Patriotic Front for National Liberation (FPLN in Spanish).

They, according to their “Revolutionary Message on April 1, 2017 [16],” will return in a great and historic entry into the battlefield later on this year (2018), leading the armed militarized masses to socialism through the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, which they have named as the worker-peasant aligned Revolutionary Democratic Government (GDR in Spanish).

If the FPL-FM is able to liquidate from its ranks and ideology all the revisionism and embrace the highest proletarian ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism, the new phase within the Salvadoran Revolution is invincible.

The FPL-FM-GPP-GPL should be turned into the Salvadoran’s machine of hate exacting revolutionary vengeance on the class traitors of the FMLN and even former rightist FPL-FM members. For if revisionism is allowed to grow like a weed its roots can grow stubbornly deeper and be harder to remove. The Party and its armed forces will, if guided by Maoism and without mercy, cleanse the country of the treacherous red capitalism of the FMLN.

For now, the FPL-FM-GPP-GPL has retaken the historic task of building the Vanguard for the Salvadoran proletariat, a genuine militarized Communist Party. RGLA looks to them as potential continuators of the Salvadoran PPW, but also warns the Salvadoran masses, abroad and here, to not allow any pre-Party formation to perpetuate the errors of the previous revolution. The time for revolution is now! The time for revisionism is over!

A call to the Salvadoran masses, abroad and at home

Guanacos, the Salvadoran people, in the motherland: we send revolutionary greetings! We wish nothing but the best for our families in El Salvador. We wish nothing but the best for you! Our hearts ache at the treachery you have to live under that calls itself “red” or “socialist” but is only capitalism with the mask of Marxism.

As comrades living in the prison-house of oppressed nations of the United States, we cannot understand fully the contradictions that exist in El Salvador, but we are familiar with much of it because many of us and our supporters were born there, speak to our families in El Salvador often, and have spent time there recently.

We know our older family members are still traumatized from the war. For many, you cannot wear, say, or do anything politically-left without them being reminded of the many casualties of war, pleading for you to stay quiet. We know that the masses were indoctrinated into believing that Communists were devils, mass murderers who would go as far as eating babies and even turn older people into soap – yes, literally soap. Much of this bourgeois propaganda lives on today. Many remember resisting meant massacres, meant decapitation, meant never being seen again, meant the end of living and the beginning of endless death as the state tortured you for the rest of your short lives. This trauma has been passed down to other generations too, even generations who saw no war. We know this is true because the reactionary violence never stopped.

But, we cannot let fear impede us from living and struggling. We know there will be no end to the reactionary violence as long as capitalism continues to exist.

MS-13 and 18th Street have been some of the strongest initiators of day-to-day violence in the country since the end of the war. We understand that disenfranchised proletarian and semi-proletarian youth joined defensive units to protect themselves from harassment, that many grew up without any family to guide them or provide them a loving-humble home, that many were undocumented and had difficulties finding jobs, and that many of the youth who find themselves in this precarious conditions have committed no violent crimes and are victims to their circumstances. But we also know that some of the proletarian and semi-proletarian youth can be won over through class struggle.

In El Salvador, there are neighborhoods you cannot enter without permission. There are neighborhoods with sundown-curfews (a leftover from war), where buses are no longer allowed to commute, where permission needs to be asked if family can visit or if gatherings can be held, where cars must come into the neighborhood without headlights at night or face instant repercussion. There are families who have not seen each other in years for fear of being murdered.

These pockets throughout the country faces so much unheard of reactionary violence that many within the community even yearn for the times during the Salvadoran Protracted People’s War filled with more peaceful moments.

These gangs, these huge drug cartels, have power within many sectors of the government, including the repressive state. They are not low-level thieves. These cartels function as capitalists themselves. Their power is not challenged by ARENA, GANA, or the FMLN; their power, and the fear that comes with it, relies on the state maintaining capitalist hegemony and from keeping the New Power from emerging.

Yes, trauma and fear is alive and well in our country. There is no mistaking it and it must be challenged but only effectively through the class struggle. Their power will go unchallenged as long as the masses of people remain unorganized against predatory drug pushers, pimps and the reactionary state. Their power goes unchallenged as long as anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists continue to think that change can come from within the bourgeoisie state. Have we not learned the lessons of the revisionist FMLN after all these years?

Reactionary violence will not stop as long as capitalism is alive. But, since the end of the war, imperialism has only dug its claws deeper into our country. After the Peace Accords, and especially after the signing of CAFTA, imperialist laws have been implemented left and right leaving our communities in a precarious state. What did the dollarization of our economy accomplish? Who was that change created for? Why do people who make five dollars a day have to pay five dollars for a basic plate of food? None of this makes sense for the masses. These changes were made for the benefit of the bourgeoisie and nothing more.

When those of us in the U.S have gone to see our families we even see similar aspects of gentrification: “Compramos casas”, “Vendan sus casas hoy!” and similar signs are posted in key places throughout the capital of San Salvador and elsewhere where redevelopment is taking place. These changes are not being made for our families or yourself. They are displacing entire communities in order to attract more capital. They are creating pockets of “safe spaces” where tourists can feel comfortable and safe as they look down on our people and admire our culture from afar. None of this is easier to see than in the capital where slums are emerging left and right, where traffic is reaching unforeseen levels and where the bourgeoisie are carving out tourist destinations at the expense of the proletarian communities there. But this applies to the entirety of the country, since its beauty is endless and a bourgeois-vulture will commodify and destroy anything for the sake of money.

“Creating specific tourist destinations while destroying the rest of the country and its nature,” that is the bourgeoisie slogan. The bourgeoisie are literally taking steps to destroy entire future generations in El Salvador. The deforestations and water contamination in our country are at critical levels. In fact, El Salvador is the second most deforested country in Latin America after Haiti and an estimated 90 percent of the water [17] is deemed contaminated and unsafe to drink by international standards. [18]

Where will our future generations live, our children? What will they drink? The transnational companies, the primary reason for these atrocities, do not care about anything besides their wealth. Politicians, even the so-called “leftists,” are bought and sold on the market regardless of intentions. They betray the masses as soon as they become politicians and guide others to believe that change can come from the ballot box. They will preach and preach until the end of time that change will come from within as our families drink, eat, and breathe poison.

The masses understood all this which is why in Cabañas they mobilized to make sure their water was not contaminated any further. They fought and struggled for years, many being targeted by death squads, many being murdered in cold blood, stuffed down old wells, and the rest forced to leave. Yes, some in the government stood against OceanaGold and Pacific Rim, and in the end a law was passed banning mining for metal in the country, and gold mining was also scaled back. But what does it say that this government, regardless of party lines, has put itself in a supposed predicament where millions of lives can be put at risk by the actions of a corporation (we know better: capitalism knows nothing but capital and power, not human life). Due process is what the legal “left” wants. Due process where one corporation has an equal say as millions of lives. This is your government. This is what the FMLN now stands for. To hell with OceanaGold, to hell with Pacific Rim, to hell with the World Bank, to hell with the reactionary state and to hell with revisionists in power!

Revisionists only offer us deception. Their words are empty. Their treaties are with class enemies who never forfeited their power and never will through reasoning. The Peace Accords allowed war criminals, drenched in the blood of our families, to walk free. Through their actions they tell us, “Let us forget these crimes and let us work together with the enemy; let us shout empty words at imperialists and then tell the masses imperialist laws are necessary to build our economy; let us forsake our comrades who would have aimed their guns at us if they had known what we would become; let us tarnish the name of our revolutionary martyrs Farabundo Martí, Miguel Marmol, Mario Zapata. Feliciano Ama, Alfonso Luna and Comandante Marcial and countless others!”

Revisionists, through their actions, show us that they missed the essence of the war and the essence of who their enemy is. The enemy was not a handful of individuals controlling the state – the enemy remains the entire bourgeoisie state! They, by integrating themselves into the bourgeoisie state, have made themselves the enemy to the people. They are now the ones to tell us to hush and stay quiet instead of rebelling – in fact we no longer need to rebel since the government is supposedly socialist and for the people! They are they ones who send the police when we continue to rebel. They are the ones that seek no retribution. They will be the future Sandinistas gunning down rebellious youth as they grasp for a breath of fresh air and proletarian power.

The war, as part of our country’s longer PPW, is at a temporary bend and will not be over until we continue our historic necessity. The bourgeoisie state will not fall unless we hit it. The revolution and our future proletarian state must be guided by a genuine Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, principally Maoist, Communist Party of El Salvador, by the People’s Army, and by the United Front! As Lenin said, “Everything is illusory except power!”


To all the Guanacos in the United States, especially here in Los Angeles, to El Departamento 15: the only international solidarity is organizing towards People’s War here and nothing less. International solidarity is not writing an academic paper to be read by other academics disconnected from the class struggle. It is not about working for a nonprofit that attempts to orientate toward the Salvadoran masses, giving them Band-Aids for mortal wounds. It is not having workshops or cultural events disconnected from revolutionary politics. International solidarity is organizing to end capitalism where you are at and that can only be accomplished through waging Protracted People’s War. People’s War until we have Communism everywhere on earth.

All of our families or most of our families came here illegally. Many perished and continue to perish in their journeys to the United States. They have to traverse three borders, evade drug cartels, xenophobic and chauvinist Mexicans who blame all their problems on immigrants, having to make sure they don’t fall off the train and potentially end up under it. Our people have to make sure they are not sold for body parts, that they are not caught and sold into prostitution. The Salvadoran masses cross a dangerous desert of death, and, evade fascists white supremacists and the state in order not be caught. The road is not easy, but each year more of our families join us.

Now, over one-third of our families live outside of the motherland, most in the United States and most in Los Angeles. But what now? The precariousness in the lives of our families never ends. Many are undocumented to begin with, but more will become so once TPS completely ends. The detention center population is increasing exponentially and our families are the target-commodities. These prisons are being run for profit, are being run to show that the government is doing “it’s job on the war on immigrants.” The fear within our families is only increasing. Many are refusing to go to hospitals. Many fear going to their jobs, sending their children to school for fear of never seeing them again. That FEAR. It never ends.

But our community knows how to survive! They find every way possible to survive and live! Not only that, but they find ways not only for themselves, but for their entire families too. It doesn’t matter if they live day-to-day, month-to-month as long as the remittances get sent back home enough for our families to eat.

No calls to “Abolish ICE”, “Abolish Detention Centers,” “Abolish” anything will work (which ironically, essentially, are all reforms). No pleas, no calls, no lobbying, no marching, nothing deemed legal by the state will work. All roads are dead ends, unless they have revolutionary theory to guide their way and put their words into practice.

Now, a new contradiction arises in our communities: gentrification. Our nation’s people, who are forced to flea from its country, is now being evicted again. Rents are going through the roof and now entire families have to find room in a crowded bed, find space on the floor, use those sofa pillows as makeshift beds in order to afford to pay rent. This country treats us like a nuisance, a nuisance it happily shoves into corners as it extorts all the money we make – through exploitation and oppression. It is time we organize, militarize and fight back violently.

The revisionists in the FMLN told us, “We fought the war so that you would not have to.” These revisionists betray us and our families. They missed the essence of the People’s War. The war is not over and neither is our will. The time to organize is now. Learn from Comandate Marcial and the revolutionary FPL-FM, the FAPL and the BPR. Look to Serve the People – Los Angeles and the Unidades de Defensa Populares Revolucionarias. Look to our people and class! Because nothing less than People’s War will bring about the final victory. Nothing less than our courage to stand up for what is right will create the change our communities so desperately need. Come! Salvatruchas, join us! Join us in our vision! Join us as we grow and progress! Join us on this road to Communism! Join us as we fight! Because if you’re not fighting, then you’re already dead.

Long live the Salvadoran masses!

Long live Comandante Marcial!

Long live the Salvadoran People’s War!

[1] https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/central-american-immigrants-united-states

[2] http://www.pewhispanic.org/2017/12/07/rise-in-u-s-immigrants-from-el-salvador-guatemala-and-honduras-outpaces-growth-from-elsewhere/

[3] https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/central-american-immigrants-united-states-3

[4] https://www.theinvestigativefund.org/investigation/2010/06/22/killed-roque-dalton/

[5] http://www.cedema.org/ver.php?id=4447

[6] http://www.elsalvadortimes.com/articulo/politicos/cayetano-carpio-rechazo-cualquier-alianza-militares/20161012182808009584.html

[7] https://www.marxists.org/espanol/tematica/elsalvador/organizacioness.cs/1975/mar/28.htm

[8] https://www.elsalvador.com/opinion/editoriales/142319/el-fmln-la-verdad-y-la-leyenda/

[9] https://www.ecumenico.org/article/the-ideological-origins-of-the-farabundo-martin-li/

[10] https://www.marxists.org/archive/handal/biography.htm

[11] https://www.nytimes.com/1982/03/18/world/salvador-rebels-five-sided-alliance-searching-for-new-moderate-image-leaders.html

[12] Ibid.

[13] https://www.marxists.org/espanol/tematica/elsalvador/organizaciones/index.htm

[14] http://fuerzaspopularesdeliberacionfplfm1970.blogspot.com/2017/04/mensaje-revolucionario-de-1-de-abril.html

[15] http://www.elsalvadortimes.com/articulo/politicos/cayetano-carpio-rechazo-cualquier-alianza-militares/20161012182808009584.html

[16] http://fuerzaspopularesdeLiberaciónfplfm1970.blogspot.com/2017/04/mensaje-revolucionario-de-1-de-abril.html

[17] http://www.borgenmagazine.com/water-quality-in-el-salvador/

[18] https://rainforests.mongabay.com/20elsalvador.htm


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