The following article, originally entitled "The Liquidation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): Lessons Paid In Blood", was written by Comrade Surendra of the Ceylon Communist Party – Maoist. It was slightly edited for publishing in A World to Win News Service
The killing of the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Velupillai Pirapaharan, has brought an end to a stage in the development of the Tamil national liberation struggle. There are many crucial lessons to be learned from this experience, lessons paid in blood. It is imperative that we learn from them with a deep scientific perspective, if we are to charter the path of liberation for the people of Lanka.
Origins of the demand for a separate Tamil state
The demand for a separate state of Tamil Eelam arose in response to the Soulbury Constitution drafted by the British as a basis to transfer state power to its local lackey comprador capitalist ruling class before independence in 1948. This constitution was established upon the foundations of the Westminster system of parliamentary government, tried and tested in Britain for centuries as the most effective form of deceiving, dividing and ruling over the workers and oppressed masses and nationalities, while entrenching the state power of the capitalist ruling class. Parliamentary democracy functions as a way of deceiving the people to believe that they are sovereign in deciding their true political representatives, and thereby their life and future.
The truth is that this system deprives them of the political power to rule over their life and future. In effect, throughout the world, this system of government is designed to hide the dictatorship of the capitalist ruling classes. Under this system, the exploited and oppressed masses are compelled to choose between capitalist parties, who take turns in wielding state power in order to perpetuate the capitalist system and the exploitation and oppression upon which it is based.
With this intention, the British introduced the system of parliamentary representation based on universal adult franchise, on the principle of "one man-one vote". This principle ensured that the majority population composed of Sinhalese (74 percent) and the Sinhala-Buddhist nation (64 percent) would exercise majoritarian hegemony over all other nations, nationalities and ethnic-religious communities, while entrenching the dictatorship of its lackey Sinhala-dominant comprador capitalist ruling class. Article 29 was included in the constitution to guarantee the rights of Tamil and other "minorities". However, this article had no juridical power. The jurisdiction of this article was denied by the very same Privy Council of the British colonial power when it was called upon to adjudicate on the Indian and Pakistani Citizenship Act which had been adopted by a two-thirds Sinhala majority in the bourgeois parliament, in 1948. This act abolished the voting rights of the Hill Country Tamil nationality – descendants of plantation workers who had been conscripted by the British Raj in India and brought to Ceylon to serve as indentured labourers on the tea plantations – and denied them citizenship and declared them "stateless".
Tamils had made very significant contributions to the independence struggle. The Jaffna (Tamil) Youth Congress led by eminent people such as Handy Perimpanayagam was the first to issue the call for national unity based on the slogan of SWARAJ – that is, the complete independence of Ceylon from the British. The Congress led the first boycott of the general elections called under the new Constitution. This was when D.S. Senanayake and his fellow comprador travellers were cringing for limited autonomy under continued British colonial control. However, the comprador ruling class managed to marginalize this genuine anti-imperialist struggle. It should be recalled that Arunachalam Ponnambalam, founding President of the Ceylon National Congress, campaigned for the rights of the Hill Country Malayaga Tamil nationality. It is patently clear that this generation of Tamil leadership was at the forefront of seeking to build a democratic nation-state.
It was in response to national betrayal and discrimination amounting to subjugation that the Federal Party advanced the demand for a separate state of Tamil Eelam, within a federal form of government, under the leadership of S.J.V. Chelvanayagam. This demand was raised on behalf of the "Ceylon Tamils" cohabiting in the North-East. This demand was effectively sabotaged from within by the Tamil comprador bourgeoisie led by the All-Ceylon Tamil Congress, who preferred to share state power with the dominant Sinhala comprador ruling class.
Politics of the Sinhala compradors
The Sinhala comprador ruling class, which came to be represented as the United National Party (UNP) and the Mahajana Eksath Peramune, later transformed into the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), took turns in earnestly undertaking the task of erecting a Sinhala-Buddhist, hegemonic comprador-bureaucrat capitalist state. This ruling class introduced an openly Sinhala chauvinist policy of discriminating and subjugating all other nationalities and communities. A "Sinhala Only" policy was introduced to entrench the Sinhala language as the sole official language in 1956. Tens of thousand of Tamil people lost their jobs in the state sector due to this language policy.
Finally, in 1972, under a coalition government with the Trotskyite Lanka Sama-Samaja Party (LSSP) and the revisionist Communist Party of Sri Lanka, the SLFP introduced the "Republican Constitution" which entrenched Buddhism as the foremost religion and further entrenched Sinhala as the sole official language. Ceylon was renamed Sri Lanka as part of this "Sinhalization".
This government also introduced a "standardization" policy, which effectively limited Tamils from having access to higher education. The Tamil bourgeois leadership that had entered into electoral alliances with either the UNP or the SLFP based on pledges given to address Tamil grievances was betrayed by every successive government. The International Tamil Literary Congress was attacked, killing twelve participants. These cumulative developments gave rise to Tamil youth militancy. The late leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Pirapaharan, mounted the stage of history by assassinating the Mayor of Jaffna for attempting to cover up for this crime. The year 1976 was a turning point. All Tamil political parties and militant organizations adopted the Vaddukodai resolution, which declared a common struggle to achieve a separate state of Tamil Eelam. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) was formed to carry out this mandate constitutionally.
All efforts by the governments in power to even cosmetically address Tamil grievances were repeatedly sabotaged by the bourgeois parliamentary opposition by unleashing Sinhala chauvinism, resulting in the most barbaric forms of state-sponsored anti-Tamil communal violence throughout the country. In the 1997 general elections, the Tamil United Liberation Front was returned as the main opposition party, with a mandate to struggle constitutionally for a separate state. The bourgeois TULF had agreed to meagre reforms in the form of the District Development Councils, as a substitute for a separate state. The DDC elections held in 1981 were openly rigged and Jaffna, the capital of the North, was set ablaze by Sinhala goons and armed forces mobilized by the state. The Jaffna library was set ablaze destroying some 95,000 books and documents of irreplaceable value, being the repository of the Tamil intellectual and cultural heritage. This was a form of cultural genocide committed against the Tamil nation.
The 6th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted by a 5/6th majority in parliament. This amendment simply outlawed the demand for a separate state, with possible punishment of up to 20 years imprisonment and seizure of all movable property for any activities connected with this demand. The TULF lost its position as the leading parliamentary opposition. All constitutional means of advancing the struggle for national self-determination were blocked. In the face of these concerted attacks on Tamil nationhood, the armed struggle for national self-determination was launched by several militant groups. The armed forces were given six months by the state to wipe out this problem, and they went on a rampage against Tamil youth.
Black July 1983 witnessed a most horrendous form of state-sponsored terrorism against the Tamil people. In retaliation for the killing of 13 soldiers by the LTTE, 53 Tamil political prisoners who were detained under maximum security were brutally massacred by Sinhala prisoners fuelled by liquor and armed with knives and swords provided by ministers of the state. This was accompanied by a bestial communal rampage where Tamils were raped, torched, slashed and looted openly, as the state security forces stood guard. The Executive President of the Republic declared that this was justified revenge on the part of the Sinhalese.
A new Tamil generation emerges
This form of national subjugation and state repression resulted in the birth of a new generation of Tamil militants, bearing various political visions and ideologies, agendas – and buyers and backers. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of Indian intelligence had penetrated some of the dominant petit-bourgeois Tamil militant forces, including the LTTE. From Indira Gandhi, the then-President of India, down to the political rulers in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, drug peddlers and arms dealers, all vied for influence with the dominant militant groups. Indian ruling factions gave refuge, military training and funded each of their favourites. These groups, in turn, vied for influence with all kinds of agents of world imperialism and Indian hegemonism.
From the very beginning, the emergent new Tamil national movement was dominated by bourgeois and petty-bourgeois class forces. Contention and rivalry for dominance was promoted by the various powers and agents vying for influence over the Tamil national movement and over the politics of the country.
In this deadly contention, the LTTE emerged as the most ruthless force, eliminating and subjugating all other organizations. Most of the other Tamil militant organizations turned into paramilitary agents and accomplices of the state, in the war to liquidate the LTTE. The LTTE remained the only force that decided to carry out the mandate of the Tamil nation to achieve the right of national self-determination, in the form of a separate state, through an armed struggle against the state.
During the 25 years of armed struggle, the LTTE achieved some spectacular military victories and gained ground politically. In guerrilla warfare, positional warfare and conventional warfare, the LTTE stood up to the combined might of both the Indian army and the Sri Lankan armed forces, when India deployed its army to help resolve the issue. The so-called Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) became the Indian People Killing Force. The LTTE won the respect of the world by its daring political will, and unrelenting military capacity to take on the Indian state and the fourth-largest army in the world.
It established a de facto state in the North-East, operating their own ministries, banks, police, courts, tax collection, etc. The LTTE even commanded its own shipping fleet. Although banned in key countries such as the USA, UK, France, Canada, Australia, India and Sri Lanka as a "ruthless terrorist organization", when it came to negotiations the world powers and the Sri Lankan state were forced to give the LTTE de facto recognition as the leading force representing the Tamil cause. It was supported by literally millions of Tamils living abroad – both Sri Lankans, many of whom had to flee, seeking refuge in other countries and who had suffered irreparable loss of their loved ones and their property, and also supported by Tamils and others from other countries. It even built up its own rudimentary air force, with which it challenged the skies and dealt some deadly blows to the state.
The liquidation of the LTTE
Now the LTTE has been militarily liquidated and its leadership decimated by the state. Efforts at reviving the organization from different diaspora centres do not seem to have any critical, scientific depth in their analysis of the reasons for this decisive military defeat. Even more seriously, they appear to appeal to the very same international community of imperialist-reactionary powers to hear their cry of genocide and to persuade this community to change their double-edged, fatally treacherous policy towards their struggle for a separate state. In other words, those who wish to revive the LTTE are still trapped in the very same bourgeois nationalist ideology and politics which led to this liquidation in the first place!
In a most serious sense, the LTTE did not have a chance. The new regime led by President Mahinda Rajapakse overhauled the whole political approach to the national question. It simply and categorically denied the Tamil national question by rejecting any claims to Tamil nationhood and statehood, and unequivocally asserted Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy as the ruling principle. The war against the LTTE was declared to be a patriotic war of national liberation. This reinvigorated and unequivocal official chauvinism injected life and soul to the predominantly Sinhala armed forces of the state, who believed that they were fighting and dying to save their motherland – equated as the exclusive home of the Sinhala-Buddhist nation – from the mortal threat of "separatist terrorism". Based on this slogan, the broad majority of the Sinhala people and others were mobilized for the war effort. The majority swing was towards putting a final end to the ideology and politics of "separatist terrorism".
The new regime could sell this war agenda because it was in alliance with the most rabid chauvinist political parties – the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) made up of Buddhist priests, and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramune (JVP), who claimed to be the "one and only, grade 01, purest of all Socialist parties" – and with the Trotskyite Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the revisionist Communist Party of Sri Lanka. The pseudo-red banner was conjoined with fascism. So the regime was blessed and the war sanctioned by both sides – extreme Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists and downright class collaborationist "Left" traitors.
The highest religious authorities of the Buddhist priesthood (Maha Sangha) invoked blessings on the armed forces of the state and sanctioned the new regime with a "messianic" legitimacy. The war against the LTTE was dressed up as a continuation of the "historic" wars of national liberation fought against the Dravidian invaders. Mahinda Rajapakse was dressed up as descending from the line of the heroic king Duttagamani, who had slain the Tamil "usurper" Elara in direct combat and unified the land and the "race" under the banner of Sinhala Buddhism! The entire ideological apparatus of the state, including the media, schools, temples, and the state administrative machinery, was unleashed with concerted fervour to whip up the war hysteria.
The naked terrorist dictatorship of the bourgeoisie
This new military doctrine was to be under-girded by a new and higher level of exercising the naked terrorist comprador/capitalist dictatorship of the ruling regime – and of the state. This policy was carried out with the doctrine of complicity. It allowed the armed forces and other paramilitary agents to act freely, knowing that they would not be held accountable by the state, the people, or by any of the two-faced international human rights institutions, commissions or councils. This was a policy of freeing up the reactionary repressive power of the state to wage an all-out, no-holds-barred war against the declared "enemies of the state" as traitors to the motherland. In essence, this was a policy of consolidating the parasitic, blood-soaked, Sinhala hegemonic, comprador capitalist dictatorship.
Tamil members of parliament were assassinated in broad daylight, some in high security zones of the state. Tamil humanitarian workers were assassinated. Tamil students were hunted and slain. Lawyers who appeared for "terrorists" were listed on the Web site of the Defence Ministry as traitors. Media institutions that did not toe the line were attacked by government ministers in broad daylight. Media personnel who differed, or refused to comply, were beaten up or killed. Those who stood for a democratic political solution to the national question were all lumped together as traitors.
The new military doctrine was formulated in terms of "no concern for collateral damage," whether it be the death and suppression of innocent civilians, the degradation of the people, the militarization of the social order, the death of human and democratic rights, the humanitarian catastrophe, or any other such "human" concern.
The international community of imperialist/neo-colonial, reactionary powers and their various international human rights agencies, commissions and councils all complied with this policy, with the adequate doses of concern for human rights and humanitarian law just to save their skin and legitimacy in the eyes of the world. Neither the degenerate politicians of Tamil Nadu, nor the billions of dollars of sympathy and support of the international Tamil diaspora, nor the sophisticated international logistical network, nor even the national-democratic aspirations of the oppressed Tamil nation which had been temporarily concentrated in the LTTE, could withstand the new military doctrine, line and strategy of imperialism as realized through the Sri Lankan State. The regime knew they had finally decisively cornered the LTTE politically, and was out to settle scores, once and for all, militarily.
Summing up experience
The new regime summed up some two decades of military experience with the LTTE and adopted a new military doctrine, line and strategy. This new synthesis was not produced by some "genius" in command of some local planning/strategizing laboratory. It was a product of a collective effort between masters of mass death and destruction: the CIA, the Israeli Mossad, India's RAW and the Sri Lankan military. These forces got together to absorb some new valuable experience in decimating "terrorism" through a genocidal war of attrition and annihilation.
This cooperation resulted in modernizing the intelligence and espionage apparatus, along with a qualitative upgrading of hi-tech weapons of mass death and destruction, combined with precision targeting, including laser-targeted bombing, along with the use of incessant aerial bombardment as a form of terrorizing populations. The new doctrine combined elements of guerrilla warfare and positional warfare, tactics of deep penetration and surgical strikes at key military targets. The enemy was to be attacked and destroyed by a three-pronged policy of encirclement and destruction, piece by piece, by land, sea and air, until it literally bled to death. Lessons had been learnt. This was to be a war of attrition and annihilation, as opposed to a war for territory. This represented a major paradigmatic shift. It involved a policy of terrorizing the masses into mute submission, silencing the media through terror, murder and intimidation, monopolizing access to information, forbidding any alternative or oppositional politics at the cost of being eliminated, through exercising the naked terrorist dictatorship of the comprador state – and the regime – without let-up or limitation.
The question is this: Why then did such a force that stood intransigently for the peoples' mandate for national liberation suffer such a pitiless, brutal military liquidation by the state? There is a supposed truism that says that any force that stands for justice and fights for the liberation of oppressed people will have history on its side. Well, it seems that history has played a dirty, and pitilessly cruel game on the Tamil national liberation struggle.
The truth is that subjective will is no substitute for science. All the heroism and martyrdom, all the sacrifice of the people, all the power of technology, will never deliver genuine liberation. Anyone who shares a dream of liberation and freedom will anguish over this question and exert the conscious effort to learn from these lessons, paid in the blood of the toiling, suffering people, so that the errors and shortcomings never have to be repeated. For this, we shall have to engage in a critical surgical dissection of the ideological, political, strategic and military line and practice of the LTTE. This is a complex task, and this article is not the definitive summation. It is meant to encourage critical, scientific thinking on the path of emancipation of humankind from the horrors and crimes of imperialism.
The line and practice of the LTTE
This article has so far discussed how the new regime took command, and that the LTTE had no chance against this combined international imperialist counter-insurgency strategy. However, the liquidation of the LTTE has to be principally analysed in terms of its internal class basis, and the ideological, political, strategic and military line it applied. External forces and conditions can only act upon an internal basis.
The fact is that the ideological, political and strategic-military line of the LTTE had a fatal vulnerability. You cannot fight and defeat a more powerful enemy on his own terms. The fact is that the state pitted all its physical-technological destructive force against the LTTE. It was far superior in manpower (some 200,000 armed forces as against at most 20,000); it acquired hi-tech weaponry and commanded superiority on land, sea and air. It had the backing of world imperialism and regional powers such as China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Thailand. Even though the LTTE displayed military superiority for a long time by applying principles of guerrilla warfare, which it combined with positional and even conventional warfare in a really creative way, ideologically and politically it was fighting on the terrain of the enemy. Ideologically and politically the LTTE remained trapped within the system, and paid the ultimate price. You have to wield philosophical, ideological and political superiority over the enemy, if you wish to maintain long-term strategic superiority, sustain military gains and advance towards victory. The success of a revolutionary struggle for liberation depends on its philosophical-ideological-theoretical basis.
The philosophical-ideological basis of the LTTE was an eclectic combination of a feudal-bourgeois construct. The LTTE drew its vision and inspiration from historical legends and myths glorifying the Dravida-Damila civilization and tradition of heroic warfare and martyrdom. This is one of the reasons that the national liberation struggle led by the LTTE had, and has, such a powerful resonance among Tamils the world over. The LTTE believed in a cult of the super-hero, glorified the tribal-feudal mythology of invincibility, believed in suicide killings as a form of martyrdom and spiritual liberation. Alas, this ideology had no place for the masses in waging revolutionary struggle to liberate themselves.
The ideology and politics of the LTTE had developed from a petit-bourgeois romantic perspective in its early formation in the period from 1976-1980, and transformed quickly into a bourgeois nationalist class perspective. At this stage, it combined both national bourgeois and comprador aspects. It did have some important anti-feudal, anti-caste orientation, but not about overthrowing or overhauling the prevailing feudal-colonial social order. Women were accorded respect and played a key role in the armed struggle, but this did not mean that women were liberated from the shackles of feudal oppression and patriarchy. It wanted to develop a rational, self-reliant national economy. However, in its principal aspect which defined its class essence, the LTTE transformed into a comprador bourgeois class that relied on imperialism and regional reactionary states to wage its struggle for national liberation, as opposed to mobilizing the masses to win genuine independence and democratic freedom.
The LTTE never had an anti-imperialist internationalist perspective, one which would situate its struggle in the context of the struggle of the people of the world for liberation. But, we cannot blame the LTTE alone for its bourgeois nationalist ideology. The class collaborationist betrayal by the so-called "left" movement in the South is also a major factor that led to the LTTE adopting this ideology. In a fatal sense, what originated as a demand for national self-determination of the Tamil-speaking people, to include both the oppressed Tamil nation in the North-East, and the Moslem and Hill Country Tamil nationality, was transformed exclusively into a struggle for national liberation of the oppressed Tamil nation.
While the question of the Hill Country Tamil people was dropped, the Muslim nationality came to be targeted as enemies. Some 40,000 Muslim families – around 100,000 oppressed Moslem people – were forcibly evicted from the North on command by the LTTE. No doubt, external conditions played a role in this transformation. The state was trying to manipulate Muslim elements against the LTTE. The state promoted various armed groups to split and attack the LTTE from within. The Moslem homeguards were to be in the frontline of this strategy. The correct way to deal with this policy is to win over the broad oppressed Moslem masses into a common front of struggle, in order to expose and isolate the state. The transformation into an exclusively and extremely narrow Tamil nationalist comprador-capitalist liberation movement is principally due to the evolution of the internal class character of the LTTE.
Whom to rely on?
No doubt the state is the generative factor in the politics of terror, and had unleashed barbaric terror against the masses on a far more systematic and systemic level than the LTTE. In retaliation, the LTTE also practised an extreme form of terrorism against the civilian population. This line alienated them from the broad Sinhala and Moslem masses, and sections of the Tamil masses as well. It is true that the state had succeeded in mobilizing broad Sinhala masses against the Tamil National Movement and against the LTTE, and that the so-called "Left" had betrayed the Tamil national struggle and had become agents and enforcers of the state. Yet it was not the case that the Sinhala oppressed people could not be influenced to sympathise and even support the Tamil national liberation struggle, if it also stood for the liberation of the oppressed Sinhala people. Whatever the case, a liberation force should never degenerate to the level of its enemy. It cannot apply terror against the masses as a policy. The enemy cannot ever be the reason for your own degeneration.
The political line of the LTTE relied on the heroism of the dedicated elite vanguard, along with the destructive power of technology, rather than on unleashing the creative revolutionary energy of the masses. In fact, the need and capacity of the oppressed masses to overthrow their oppressors and their conditions of oppression and achieve genuine liberation were never mobilized. The historical initiative of the exploited and oppressed masses was effectively suppressed.
Instead of mobilizing the masses, the LTTE relied on regional and imperialist powers to deliver liberation. They went into all kinds of deals with Tamil Nadu politicians and with the Norwegian negotiations "facilitators" who were acting on behalf of the U.S. They also entered into deals with the Sri Lankan ruling class, even to the extent of being bribed into making sure that the opposition candidate would be defeated in the presidential elections and thus paving the way for the victory of the current president – who later went all out to decimate them.
The LTTE believed that at the crucial moment, India would intervene to suspend the war and force the Sri Lankan government to negotiate. They believed that the Tamil Nadu politicians would be able to pressurize New Delhi to intervene on their behalf. Yet, the Tamil Nadu politicians were only seeking to exploit the image of the LTTE to collect some votes, and New Delhi continued to provide diplomatic and military support to the Sri Lankan state to wage war. Pakistan and China joined in with generous support militarily, in a bid to off-set the growing strategic influence of the U.S. and India in the Asian region. Some Western imperialist powers and Japan tried to influence the Sri Lankan state to end the genocidal war, since it was causing embarrassment to them. The U.S., European Union, Norway and Japan were the self-appointed co-sponsors of the so-called "peace process". But these efforts were cast aside by the regime as they went ahead to decimate the LTTE, at a colossal cost in death, destruction and displacement of the civilian population.
At the same time, the U.S. made sure that they had a key hold on the Sri Lankan war effort to gain strategic control over the island. In the course of the war, the U.S. (and Israel) continued to supply advanced weaponry and equipment, combat training to the armed forces, advanced intelligence skills and equipment, and diplomatic-political support for this "war on terror". During the course of the war, the U.S. exploited the opportunity to enter into an "Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement" with the Sri Lankan state, whereby the U.S. gained free access to all of the island's military facilities. This is how the super-patriotic regime waged war against the LTTE to defend the motherland.
The organizational line of the LTTE flowed from its bourgeois-nationalist ideological and political line. The LTTE was organized as a highly hierarchical military command centre. This was a case of extreme bureaucratic centralism, where no internal – nor external – dissent was tolerated. The LTTE did not develop a political party where there could be internal discussion and debate in forging a correct ideological and political line. The political front was to be a mere machine to serve the army and the military objectives.
In the end, in utter desperation, when they were being encircled and suppressed through unceasing waves of assault on land, sea and air, the LTTE was reduced to forcing the civilian population of the Vanni (a region in northern Sri Lanka that was the cradle of the LTTE) to remain caught in the crossfire to provide them with a humanitarian shield. It is reported that they shot and killed those who tried to escape to save their lives. The armed forces of the state, of course, could not be bothered with civilian casualties and went ahead and deliberately bombarded this no-fire zone. The civilians literally were held hostage by both sides, and thousands were killed in the process, including elderly, women and children.
The state could get away with this type of genocidal warfare because it claimed that the LTTE was preventing the civilian population from seeking safety by crossing over. It provided cream and credence to the claim that the state was forced to resort to extreme measures to "liberate the Tamil people from the fascist clutches of the LTTE"! The bitter lesson is that in the end, for all the daring of the elite vanguard, for all the spectacular military victories scored, for all the immense sacrifices made, for all the creative imagination in waging war against a vastly superior force, the ideological political military line of the LTTE proved fatally inadequate.
If we do not view and analyse the world scientifically, then we cannot achieve success in transforming it. If we do not place the liberation of any particular country or nation in the context of the historical mission of emancipating humankind from the shackles of ignorance and slavery bound up with class society, then our lenses will be flawed, and history will teach us a bitter and cruel lesson. The essential lesson to be learnt from the blood that has been spilt is that only the path of proletarian revolution illuminated by the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, led by a vanguard Communist Party, in command of a people's liberation army and leading a united front of all anti-feudal/anti-imperialist forces aimed at smashing the state power – the dictatorship of the comprador-bureaucrat capitalist ruling class – in the context of advancing the world revolution, marching towards the dawn of a communist world with the goal of emancipating humankind from the bondage of class society, can unleash the infinite initiative, creativity and daring of the masses in waging revolutionary struggle – including revolutionary class warfare – to finally defeat and bury the system of imperialism and achieve liberation.