In this country there have been good people prepared to die for the revolution. But the revolution here and everywhere needs people who are prepared not only to die but also to kill for it.
The origins of the contemporary left and guerrilla groups in ElSalvador lie in the severe internal crisis faced by both the PDC and the PCS at the end of the 1960s. Neither party was able to justify its conduct and policies in a convincing manner to the new generation of radicalised youth that populated their rank and file. Both, as a consequence, lost substantial numbers of these militants who, from very different positions, through distinct routes and with differing results, moved towards the armed struggle. The crisis in the PCS was the most severe and of the greatest consequence for the left since it was extended and expressed through a debate over Leninist strategy rather than simple frustration and voluntarism.
Ever since 1932 the PCS had formally adhered to the policy of armed struggle as 'the most probable means of attaining victory', in the words of the party general secretary, Shafik Jorge Handal, speaking in 1980. But even Handal is forced to admit that this was scarcely the case in practice. 1 The PCS intermittently attempted a guerrilla in the wake of Cuba, 1961-3, without preparation or consideration of the logistical and social distinctiveness of El Salvador. As a result, it was easily suppressed by the military, and the party once more set itself firmly against the armed struggle. As late as 1980 Handal claimed that the popularity of UNO in the 1972 elections vindicated the electoralist strategy of the PCS. Furthermore, although the party leader asserted