Edgy White “Internationalism” vs. Proletarian Internationalism

“Dear Commander Nie, Today I feel really bad. Probably I have to say farewell to you forever! Please send a letter to Tim Buck the General Secretary of Canadian Communist Party. Address is No.10, Wellington Street, Toronto, Canada. Please also make a copy for Committee on International Aid to China and Democratic Alliance of Canada, tell them, I am very happy here… Please give my Kodak Retina II camera to comrade Sha Fei. Norman Bethune, 04:20pm, November 11th, 1939.” – Last Will of Dr. Norman Bethune

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Norman Bethune was a Canadian doctor and Communist sent by his party to participate in both the Spanish Civil War and the Chinese Revolution. It was in China that he contracted septicemia and died. He was a proletarian internationalist hero in the Communist spirit and his life should be studied and remembered by those who are Communists. He did what the masses and their Party commanded him to do, and he was eulogized by Mao Zedong himself. This individual example of Proletarian Internationalism, meaning the self-sacrificing spirit of the Communist when the world is ablaze, the realization that the working class all over the world are your brothers and sisters, has been displayed on a larger scale by members of the Black Panther Party and other revolutionary formations. Cuba sent thousands of doctors, for free, to wherever they needed them. That’s revolutionary internationalism. We Maoists realize that proletarian internationalism is a very specific thing with a very specific character and a very specific purpose. You don’t just grab a weapon, gallivant overseas, and kill people and call it proletarian internationalism. This definition is too loose and anarchistic, allowing all sorts of opportunists to smuggle themselves in. Those that engage in this type of thinking oftentimes haven’t investigated the situation that they seek to engage in, and don’t understand the forces at play. In that case, the ex-Marines, PissPigGranddad, and all sorts of mercenaries and opportunists can be called “proletarian internationalists”. That’s a ridiculous mockery of the Norman Bethune spirit and the spirit of proletarian internationalism.

The Kurdish struggle for self-determination. It is indeed a just one. The Kurdish nation is a long oppressed one divided among several countries in the Middle East, specifically Turkey, Syria and Iraq. When most in the West refer to the “Kurds”, they’re referring to the Syrian Kurds who fight under the guidance of the PYD-led YPG units. These are who most Westerners who go to Syria end up embedded with, alongside US Marines. The Westerners who go to Syria usually claim to want to “fight ISIS”. Yet even a cursory investigation shows that ISIS is funded and backed by US proxies in the region, and the “fighting of ISIS” has mainly been done by non-YPG forces, who have also been fighting the US backed “FSA” jihadist forces. The US isn’t in the region to “fight ISIS”, its meddling is what gave ISIS a vacuum to operate in the first place. The US is in the region to destabilize Syria, turn it into another Iraq except 10 times more bloody, and expand its foothold in the Middle East. Assad is a thorn in their side. What has the PYD done? Called for more US missile strikes on Syrian territory in an act of blatant and extreme opportunism which shows callous disregard for human life and more than “creative and tactical” engagement with US imperialism. The YPG/PYD is not using the US, it is being used. When the US can no longer use them as a club to punish rapidly fascistizing Turkey over the head, they will go the way of all other pawns of US imperialism. Their founder, Abdullah Ocalan, has renounced Marxism-Leninism and is now a follower of Murray Bookchin in prison. Call me wrong, but I don’t think Mao would be pleased.

What about the Westerners? More than a few Americans have gone to Syria and faced down ISIS. It’s the sexy thing to do among anarchists at heart that also happen to like the color red nowadays. Is it beneficial? Depends. Combat training isn’t obtained only in Rojava, but at least there’s a case for it. Perhaps some “veterans” of that conflict might prove useful in the future, but that’s to be seen. Syria isn’t the only place where brown people are killing brown people. I find it odd that those who “support Rojava” and have resources to go there have very little knowledge or willingness to support projects and struggles that can harm US imperialism (which also is supporting ISIS) at home. Nobody pays attention to initiatives launched by colonized people at home in the US, but everybody has money to go to Rojava. Are we not sexy enough or something? Sorry. Nobody seems to pay attention to things going on in Africa, in South America where Venezuela seems to be tearing itself apart, or anywhere else where a nice dose of proletarian internationalism can be used. There are places here in the US where proletarian internationalism and support can be used! Why? I have guesses. Rojava is a gateway to stardom and fame either through martyrdom or through status. You might even be on VICE! Nevermind the fact that in 5 years the experiment will most likely be solidly under the thumb of the US due to its opportunist leadership and the dynamics of the situation, goddamnit, you were there!

The white American left should focus less on self-aggrandizing adventurism and white saviorism thinly disguised as “internationalism” (the US is the world headquarters of fascism of ISIS type, there’s plenty to do here) and pay more attention to building up something that can actually materially help people across the world in a major way. It’s good you want to put your body on the line, but millions of people here don’t have to go to a warzone that the people your parents voted for made to be in danger. If you want to participate in the antifa struggle, you’re in a perfect place to do so. You’re in a perfect place to smash fascism, actually. Or you can run off to Syria to be used. Makes no difference in the long run and grand scheme of things. If you’ve got complaints or whining to do in my direction send them along with the money you were going to waste on a plane ticket, we can use it here. Reject self-aggrandizement, your purpose in life is to make revolution here, if you’re trying to “find yourself” or whatever you people call it talk to some people. Don’t be PissPig. Be Norman Bethune.

Manifestations of Fuckery and Impotence in the American Left

 

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1.) Use access to resources to purchase influence, work for splits and divisions, promote discord, build cliques, and generally promote bourgeois relations to the detriment of the revolutionary movement and the masses as a whole.

2.) Sectarianism is a virtue. The more fragmented and fundamentally powerless groups exist, the better. Splits are not on a principled basis, they are usually because of two egos clashing or personal drama. The less political power the revolutionary movement has, the better. The less masses involved in our work, the better.

3.) Good advice given by people we personally dislike is disregarded. When our efforts fail, we play the blame strategy and absolve ourselves of all wrongdoing.

4.) We substitute our clique of friends and partners for the masses. If the masses tell us something that we don’t want to hear, regardless of correctness, we ignore it.

5.) We raise the COINTELPRO bogey to respond to valid criticisms and accusations and generate sympathy after we do things such as rape people.

6.) We complain about “identity politics” while continuing the behaviors that caused them to become prominent in the first place. We also accuse non white, nonmale and trans people of using them when they criticize us on our white chauvinist, misogynistic, and transphobic attitudes that have been internalized by virtue of living in a society that hates non white, nonmale and noncis people.

7.) We do not build actual mass ties or coalitions, we are afraid of people with differing views. We don’t want to work with or develop links with people that are different than us politically because we’re afraid of what our co-tendency comrades might think. “Cred” is more important than the development of base areas of support.

8.) Because of our own incompetence, sectarianism and inability to garner support from as many progressive minded people as possible and foster principled unity, our actions and demonstrations are impotent and weak, garnering maybe a few dozen people. We have no local support and most people think we’re odd.

9.) We are dogmatists who seek to recreate to the letter whatever foreign movement’s aesthetic we personally like, or who we think is “hardest”. Everybody who points out the uselessness of such a strategy is either a wrecker, a cop, a phony, or a “revisionist”.

10.) Everybody that criticizes us is a “wrecker”.

11.) We call others “bourgeois” despite having trust funds and wealthy parents to fall back on when we get bored of playing revolutionary, being overwhelmingly white, and attending bourgeois universities ourselves. Nevermind the fact that the correctness of a line is determined by its relevance and use to the proletariat, not who’s saying it.

12.) We opportunistically introduce ourselves into movements and struggles not to advance the revolutionary movement but to stir up trouble and use the dead bodies of black and brown and queer people to advance ourselves personally.

13.) We don’t appear in the masses’ neighborhoods unless something goes down, we don’t listen to them, and we see them as machines and warm bodies to be packed full of ideas and ideology which we just so happen to be the sole valid interpreters of.

14.) If a struggle isn’t “hard enough”, we don’t take part. When others take part and their organizations attract large numbers of the masses, we whine and complain despite allowing this to happen through our own absence. Instead of being with the people we behave as anarchists that chase police murders and riots.

15.) After all this, we either act as if everything is fine, or become disoriented and drop out of politics completely, become insular cults, or merge into revisionist parties like the RCP.

If the People Don’t Trust You, they Gon’ Shoot You: AKA Why You Should Make Friends and Influence People

 

 

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The job of a Communist is to swim among the people like the fish in water. Not walk on water, swim. The people are our life, our reason for existing, our bastion of iron and steel. If you cannot gain the support of the masses in oppressed communities, you will not make revolution. How is support gained? You can’t just barge your way in, especially if you’re white and from a college campus. Believe it or not, these communities already have established institutions. Churches, groups like the Hebrew Israelites and the Nation of Islam. Gangs. White college kids aren’t just going to barge their way in and take over shit. Maoists should develop ties and links, contacts, in a community in which they want to begin operations. Even if you don’t live there, you need people that do live there on your team to introduce you to people and vouch for you. Once you have the trust of people in the community who are known for various reasons, you will get to know more and more people and people will open up to you.

Many Communists make the mistake of sequestering themselves in libraries and among their own clique or circle of friends, using them as a sort of stand in for the masses. Then they are confused and disoriented when their actions, meetings and other things fall flat or do not garner enough people to make any difference in a situation. If people don’t give a shit about what you’re talking about, or if they don’t know you, or if you’re too couched in theoretical jargon, they’re not going to risk life and limb to go to your demonstrations, they’re not going to attend your meetings, they’re not going to fuck with anything you do. Approach people where they are. Don’t condescend to them, but don’t talk over their heads in a boss-like tone either. If you’re white and in a black neighborhood, be humble and listen to people. If you’re working in an area and nobody from said area joins your organization, you have a problem. Either they don’t trust you or they don’t see your method of organizing as being appropriate to the needs of their community. Either way, the fault is yours. In Saint Louis we have had people open up their homes, schools, and churches to us, express solidarity with us, and ask us how to get involved. We have developed a network of contacts among various political groups and in neighborhoods that we can call upon for a myriad of things. This was built through patient base building, uniting with people on issues of importance to the community, attending events and making inroads among the people. I go to everything that I can, I recruit everywhere I can, I make it a point to talk to at least 20 new people a day. If you are in an organization, 10 or 20 people need to know about it per day. What can you do for the people. What is your organization’s line and take on various issues? What have you done in the past? I carry literature with me from my orgs at all times. The building of a base area can not be done without the conscious and thorough involvement of the masses. Mass organizations must be living organizations with a truly mass character that serve the people, are constantly growing, building new things, and helping people. If your interpretation of theory forbids you or obstructs you from helping people, there’s something wrong with it, and you, and you will not be a successful organizer? Don’t believe me? Shut yourself up among your crew of 5 people, gabber about theoretical minutiae, avoid everything the people do or other orgs do because they don’t conform to your own little dogmatic-sectarian interpretation of things, get a bad rep for yourself in town, and see where you are in 6 months. Quit being a damn nerd and make some friends.

Brief answers to 4 questions that I constantly receive.

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1.) Why are you a Maoist? Why not a Trotskyist, or an anarchist, or a “Marxist-Leninist”? What attracted you to Maoism?

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was heavily inspired by the Chinese Revolution (particularly the Cultural Revolution, to which they were contemporary). The BPP was the most advanced formation for liberation to ever exist in the United States. Also, looking at the revolutions that are taking place today guided by Maoism, they are all taking place in nonwhite, non-Western countries. Turkey. The Philippines. India. Nepal. Maoism itself was synthesized by Peruvians. Simply put, the non-white aspect and the fact that these revolutions are taking place in countries on the global periphery that are oppressed by US/EU imperialism are a big draw, because I come from a people (New Afrikans) that are prisoners in this prison called the US.

 

Theoretically, Maoism is a synthesis of almost 200 years of scientific class struggle and the teaching that the proletariat has obtained from these struggles, beginning with Marx’ and Engels’ works, the First International in which they participated, the Paris Commune of 1871, continuing through Lenin’s struggle with the Second International and its original revisionists and the triumph of the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalin’s struggle against the Left (Trotsky) and Right (Bukharin) Oppositions, the Comintern period, the socialist construction in the USSR, the work on the national question during this period, the struggle against fascism led by the USSR under the guidance of Stalin, the Chinese Revolution and subsequent socialist construction, the struggle waged by Mao Zedong against modern revisionism represented by Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and the revisionists in the Warsaw Pact, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and the myriad of other struggles that were going on during this time. Essentially, it’s a full and rich theoretical and practical package, consistently under development, never stagnant, never dogmatic, always clear and sober. It’s the tool we need for the tasks we face. Anarchism, Trotskyism, and M-L revisionism cannot offer this. To deny it is to deny revolution. Who else recognizes the three weapons we need (the Party, the United Front, and the People’s Army)? Who else recognizes the universal applicability of People’s War? Who else has been fighting for 40 years in the Philippines and has never surrendered or given up? Thought so.

2.) Can a revolution be nonviolent?

Sure. If the bourgeoisie are willing, somehow and for some reason, to nonviolently give up state power, liquidate themselves as a class and force, and surrender to the proletariat without us firing a single shot, there can certainly be a peaceful revolution, or a peaceful surrender of power from one class to another. Since this flies in the face of all that dialectical and historical materialism teaches us about class struggle and the bourgeoisie, and the imperialists, I’d recommend that activists and those who want to change the world divest themselves of this trifling notion, the sooner the better. Violence is a tool, it has a class nature. Our violence is good, because it is liberatory. Without violence, we cannot be liberated. All these theoretical think-pieces about whether or not it is okay to punch a fascist vomited out of the ivory tower miss this key point. Not only is it okay to punch fascists, it is okay and necessary to form a people’s army which can knock them the fuck out.

3.) What is the biggest obstacle to a “United Left”?

Why should we want a United Left? All this orientation towards this and that sect, or clique, or band of revisionists or renegades calling themselves “parties” is foolish. We are Maoists, we orient towards the masses. We use the mass line method of leadership. Our orientations and lines come from what is objectively the best way to advance the revolution, not from what other so-called leftists want. If non-Maoists would like to work with us on things that are of revolutionary importance, by all means, welcome to the struggle. If you want us to wash out our revolutionary theory and practice and subsume ourselves into whatever reformist, revisionist, or foolish thing you’ve cooked up for your own self-aggrandizement, we will reject it. Call it sectarian, call it unprincipled, we have our principles and we have our class stand. Sectarianism is refusing to work with someone in any capacity because they are such and such a tendency, that’s wrong, of course, and no real Maoists behave that way. In our local work in Saint Louis, we’ve worked with anarchists and Trotskyists, and have built decent working relationships with both groups. This is for the benefit of the masses and the revolutionary movement. We never, however, hide the fact that we are Maoist Communists. We’ve also never subsumed ourselves or washed out our revolutionary principles, and we don’t tail. We don’t turn into Trots. We turn Trots into Maoists.

4.) How can we fight fascism?

Armed self-defense. If you can’t afford a gun, get a machete. People’s militia units in China used sticks and spears. Get several and distribute them to cadre. Concealed or open carry depends upon your concrete conditions, if it’d be beneficial to open carry, by all means, do it. If you’re at a demo and it would be better for people to not know you have a gun, conceal carry. It’s legal, use it. The Panthers and their creative use of bourgeois gun laws helped attract people to them. They marched into the California state capitol building with rifles. If you don’t fuck with self-defense, you don’t fuck with revolution. More so, if you don’t support self-defense, how the fuck are you going to go on the offense? We build for revolution now, every day. Where does power come from? Study unarmed and armed self-defense tactics and strategies. If you’ve got people in your group who know combat tactics, have them teach. Study the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of fascism, so that you know where the enemy is coming from and what they want to do. Organize in your community and build up a mass base. Go into churches, schools, and community centers. Even bars. This is part of how the Panthers built their base. Without a mass base, you have nothing.

All Skinfolk ain’t Kinfolk: Dig Deep and ask “For Whom”. Where does Political Power Come From?

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Your leader? Or your boss? Who does he serve?

Many black people in the United States working in liberation movements have difficulty distinguishing genuine friends from genuine enemies. On one hand, they will reject and denounce approaches that have developed in other countries that take class as the key link in organizing for revolution and liberation. They reject the Soviet, Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Nepalese, Peruvian, and countless other revolutionary experiments because we ain’t none of those people. Many of us see Communism, Maoism, Marxism, etc. as “foreign things”, and echo ruling class narratives about them being “dictators”, “authoritarian”, “fascists”, and God knows what else. This is silly. If Mao had been like this, the Chinese would still be governed by the fascist Nationalist Party and there could have been no victory in 1949. We should learn from whoever has told the pig, the imperialist, the enemy, and the traitor to go fuck themselves. You’ve got time for postmodern bullshit that has never done anything for anybody, you’ve got time for Gonzalo, Joma, and Azad. You’ve got time to watch Empire, you’ve got time to watch Red Ant Dream. Meanwhile, we’ll hug up with and fight like hell for DeRay, Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and those who have proven themselves to not have the interests of the poorest and most oppressed of our people at heart. We swallow their lines and let them lead us down blind alleys because they’re black. Our analysis needs to dig deeper, and we need to realize that our liberation struggle is a class struggle. We can not just jump in and throw unconditional support behind everybody that looks like us. Who are our enemies, who are our friends? Who are we? Who lives in Ferguson, in Baltimore, in Detroit? Who goes to prison and jail for tickets, for small amounts of weed, while rich white kids walk free? Who gets shot by the police every day? Who is most at risk from food stamp cuts, from unemployment, from deportations (yes, they deport black folks too, ask our Caribbean and African brothers and sisters). Simply put, who, among our community, catches the most hell? These are the people who should be guiding and determining things. These are the people who’s ideas and lines need to be in command. These are the people who need to be organized, or whose organizing efforts need to be supported. Everybody, everything, represents a specific class interest. Communists represent the interests and struggle for the dominance of the working class and the most oppressed segments of a population.

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Fun fact: Bill Clinton loved locking up black folks. Hillary does too. We’re super-predators.

People like DeRay McKesson represent the interests of the bourgeoisie, or the ruling class, exploitative element of the black population. They are tied to the interests of the white supremacist, imperialist bourgeoisie, which is the number one exploiter of the world’s people. See Jesse Jackson shaking hands with Hillary Clinton. See DeRay eating lunch with her. See them all over the news every time something happens, saying we need to vote for so-and-so (knowing full well that voting has never done shit of importance for us). See DeRay on Twitter after the brother in Dallas righteously shot the pigs, saying “y’all, this is not what we’re about”. Of course it’s not what he’s about, he’s closer to a pig than to any brother of mine or yours. See him allowing himself to be used to push everything from cell phones to potato chips. He’s paid. He’s a sellout. He makes money. He cares about himself and himself only. He is fundamentally tied to the interests of the white imperialist-capitalists that rob, steal from, gentrify, and drive our communities to the breaking point. This is what the Filipino, Chinese, and Indian brothers and sisters called a “comprador”. A traitor. An enemy of his own people. His line is the same as theirs, his interests are theirs. He is not a true leader of our people because it was not the lowest and deepest segments of our population that put him where he is, he chose to insinuate himself into the people’s struggle to make a name for himself, build up his influence, spread his bourgeois line, and ascend to heaven. Meanwhile, the black people he claims to represent remain broke, homeless, starving, and hungry. Where is DeRay? Trying to become a second Obama (yet another black fool who has done absolutely nothing for the people, except more insidious).

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Real Black leadership, from the people, for the people.

What does real black leadership look like? Dig deep, listen to and question everything, every line they put out, whether it be a party, a mass organization, or an individual. Marxist-Leninist-Maoists look at everything we see, and ask “for whom”? What is the class content and class character of this statement, this organization, this person, this line? What is their relationship to the masses of our people, what does it look like? Where does it come from? Whose interests does it represent? Are they among the people frequently? Or do they work in an office all the time, or do they hit the streets? Do they oppose the people when they rise in righteous rebellion, telling them “this is not the way, do it right, go home”? Are they afraid of guns, morbidly so? If so, they’re not for you. They’re playing. They’re petit-bourgeois/bourgeois in essence. Are they Democrats or some “new political party”, trying to get you to back such and such a candidate, or give your support to some nonsense? They’re not for you. Political power does not grow from a ballot box, it grows from the barrel of a gun. This system cannot be reformed or willed away. If Martin Luther King and the mainstream civil rights movement couldn’t do it, nobody can. The Urban League, NAACP, and other groups of this type are not for us. They’re bought and paid for, sponsored by banks. Look to the grassroots. Look to the sisters living in the hood who’ve taken it upon themselves to repair houses and train for self defense against pigs and abusers in the community. Look to the young brothers and sisters doing copwatch. Look to the people doing gang intervention. Look to the people looking around abandoned buildings for missing black women and girls that the police don’t give a shit about. Look to the regular people who are community minded and who are taking it upon themselves to organize for their communities. If you are a black Communist, which you should be, you should be working actively to try to get all these individuals and groups together, form mass organizations, and work together to solve problems from the grassroots. Scattered and fractured groups cannot build power, united fronts and cohesive groups doing shit in an area can. Not because it feels good, but because it is essential to build actual dual power in communities, to set up base areas that are run by the people, under revolutionary Communist, meaning Marxist-Leninist-Maoist leadership, utilizing the mass line method of leadership. You should be listening to all of those who are doing shit in the community, everyone you work and go to school with. These are where your ideas for new activities and new programs come from. Analyze them using our revolutionary theory, throw out the bullshit ideas, keep the good, sharpen and polish them up, and take them back as real ideas and programs for the community. If it’s bullshit, the people won’t fuck with them. If it’s right, people will like it and you’ll grow. You should be seriously considering armed self-defense, not because it looks cool, but because these crackers will kill you. Every armed black person is a potential people’s army soldier, or militiaperson. Get a gun, learn to use it. Get many guns, teach your comrades and family how to use them. Anybody that tells you that you shouldn’t want the gun is a fool. Don’t fetishize the gun, and realize that the politics behind the gun are what is ultimately important. If fascists and bad elements come out to harass the community, show up and let them know that we have guns too, and that they aren’t scaring anybody. Train in hand to hand combat. You should be working to actively make new Communists from the community, particularly from the working class. Build study groups. Enough Communists come from college campuses, we need them from the streets, because a Communist from the hood that does work there everyday is better than one from a college campus that does nothing but lay in books all day. This is how we can start to beat the opportunist thieves like DeRay, and this is how we can raise up a million armed fists that can smash this country to bits and secure for ourselves and our comrades overseas and at home a future. Shit’s serious. Treat it like it is.

 

Why I Love Maurice Bishop and What We Can Learn from the Grenadian Revolution

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Maurice Bishop and Fidel Castro, two lions of the Caribbean who told Yankees to go fuck themselves.

Maurice Bishop is BAE. Who was he? He was an Aruba born Grenadian revolutionary who went to school in the UK (receiving a law degree but leaving to return to his native land before being called to the bar), a soldier, and a leader in the New Jewel Movement. He was a self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist, and, most importantly, he was an English speaking black man in a black country that was formerly a colony of the British Empire and who used Marxism to work for his people’s liberation. Before Bishop and his party rose to power on March 13, 1979, Grenada was run by Eric Gairy, a corrupt buffoon who believed in UFOs and was very close with fellow Yankee running dog Pinochet of Chile, who had overthrown Salvador Allende (another reason you cannot elect socialism!) in a US backed, CIA orchestrated coup d’etat on September 11, 1973. Gairy was a kleptocrat (one who runs a country by promoting stealing and corruption), a brute (his Mongoose Gang was known to routinely beat people to death and sexually assault women, along with plundering the treasury), and a mystic (he believed in all sorts of superstitions and conspiracy theories). Bishop knew the example of Allende very well, yet, history would have it that he would, essentially, follow in his footsteps. Bishop, instead of taking power in an election like Allende, would come to power in what was essentially a coup while Gairy was in New York addressing the UN with one of his notorious rants.

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Bishop speaking during his time as Premier.

At 10:48 AM on the morning of March 13, 1979, Bishop pronounced a “bright new dawn” for the people of Grenada. His address reads, in part:

Brothers and Sisters,

This is Maurice Bishop speaking. At 4.15am this morning, the People’s Revolutionary Army seized control of the army barracks at True Blue. The barracks were burned to the ground. After a half an hour struggle, the forces Gairy’s army were completely defeated, and surrendered. Every single soldier surrendered and not a single member of the revolutionary forces was injured. At the same time, the radio station was captured without a single shot being fired. Shortly after this, several cabinet ministers were captured in their beds by units of the revolutionary army. A number of senior police officers, including Superintendent Adonis Francis, were also taken into protective custody. At this moment, several police stations have already put up the white flag of surrender. Revolutionary forces have been dispatched to mop up any possible sources of resistance or disloyalty to the new government.

Maoists hold, as a key part of our theoretical understanding of revolution and power, that a revolutionary seizing power in a coup d’etat is, essentially, setting themselves up for failure. Why? Power comes from the people, a Party belongs to and is comprised of vanguard elements of the people, and revolution is made through protracted people’s war reliant on the people. There are three “magic weapons” that are needed to carry a successful seizure of power: the people’s army, controlled by the Communist Party, leading a United Front of all democratic, revolutionary and progressive strata in the country. Without this, one can seize state power, of course, but you will not be secure. Coups and putsches rely on a very small segment of people within the military or another otherwise armed segment of the population taking advantage of a situation (in this case, Gairy being out of the country and the Grenadian military being corrupt, lazy, undisciplined and weak) to take power. It’s not founded in the masses, it takes over and then hopes to gain mass support. Essentially, they’re backwards and in constant danger of being overthrown.

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Maurice Bishop and Samora Michel of Mozambique on African Liberation Day, 1982.

The New Jewel Movement was a progressive one, taking Marxism-Leninism as its expressed theoretical foundation. Bishop, in terms of his foreign orientation, was oriented towards Cuba and the Soviet social-imperialists. From what I’ve read, he never criticized the social-imperialist nature of the USSR, as a matter of fact, he appears to have considered them socialist. This is sad, but I’m more charitable than many of my Maoist comrades when it comes to brothers that have found themselves between a rock and a hard place. China, during the Dengist era, had sold out many a liberation movement, aligning with the US and South African interests in Angola, what would become the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, and also attacked Vietnam. Pinochet in Chile, and other reactionary forces. Bishop was in constant contact with comrades fighting in Africa who kept him abreast of this situation, and he probably thought very little of the Chinese. To this day, in Africa, many leftists don’t have much time for China. Or the Russians, for that matter, who supported the Derg and Ethiopian meddling in Somalia. That said, in terms of material support and aid, Bishop got more from the Cubans than any other movement, they helped Grenada out with an airport, aid, weapons, and medical assistance. Bishop loved Cuba, just like the whole Caribbean. Of course, many Maoists in the US bawl and scoff at their embrace of social-imperialism and chaining themselves to the Soviet bear, we know all this and the nature of the system there, but black and brown people that have made revolution generally have little time for such polemicizing and nonsense, we’ve got countries to run and people to feed. The Black Panther Party didn’t attack Cuba either, it opened its doors when cadre were in trouble and thus was a friend. This is pragmatism and common sense, Mao displayed it, so did Bishop. When you’re talking about the war, you can say anything you like, when you’re fighting it, it’s another ballgame entirely. Most of the various cracker-left sectlets that holler the loudest about progressive movements in foreign countries making the “wrong” friends are, not surprisingly, the least worried about providing actual material support to them, or to members of their diaspora in this country that support the movement back home.

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Bishop was important because Grenada was the first English speaking country in the Americas to break, for a time, from Anglo-American backyardism, as Bishop called it, and come under the guidance of an explicitly Marxist regime. The government’s propaganda, the documents, the broadcasts, were all in English. This was extremely important. Bishop was a consistent visitor to the US (which was at this time developing a plan to attack his country and slaughter his people), where he addressed black colleges, the Grenadian diaspora, and the US working class as a whole. Essentially, he was to my people what Fidel Castro was to the Spanish speaking population. He improved his people’s lives. The Grenadian revolution was a progressive, anti-imperialist one. Grenada, for the first time, had more than one dentist on the island. People could get their houses repaired without going into crippling debt. People could go to the doctor. People felt proud of themselves and their country. The pig Gairy was gone. Women received equal pay for equal work, and were no longer subject to brutality, torture, and rape from the police. Comrade Bishop was  a bad ass brother, a badass comrade, he told America to go fuck itself, he loved his people. This was a psychological boost, and we knew we had a friend. Many of us went down there. When he said this, he was talking to the white man. He was Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Vladimir Lenin, and Che, rolled into one.

Grenada is a sovereign and independent country, although a tiny speck on the world map, and we expect all countries to strictly respect our independence just as we will respect theirs. No country has the right to tell us what to do or how to run our country or who to be friendly with. We certainly would not attempt to tell any other country what to do.

We are not in anybody’s backyard, and we are definitely not for sale. Anybody who thinks they can bully us or threaten us clearly has no understanding, idea, or clue as to what material we are made of. They clearly have no idea of the tremendous struggles which our people have fought over the past seven years. Though small and poor, we are proud and determined. We would sooner give up our lives before we compromise, sell out, or betray our sovereignty, our independence, our integrity, our manhood, and the right of our people to national self determination and social progress.

Of course, Bishop was trapped and doomed from the beginning. He came to power in a coup, was placed under house arrest after a vicious power struggle, was freed by the masses, and was ultimately betrayed and murdered, along with many comrades, by Hudson Austin and Bernard Winston Coard, rightist members of his own party and the military. The Soviet Union toward which his Grenada was oriented was on its last legs in the early ’80s, and when it fell, if he had survived until 1991, would have been caught in the same economic straitjacket that Cuba was caught in, no market for its goods and no aid = hard times. Grenada probably would have found itself being an English speaking Cuba, under embargo and bereft of trading partners, forced to survive on whatever it could get. This is why we have to remember the importance of self-reliance, diversifying, and development of the country. You can throw out one imperialism, but if you haven’t broken out of the one crop, colonial/neocolonial mold (Cuba grows sugar, first for the Spanish, then for the Yankees, then for the Soviet Union, Grenada grows nutmeg), you will suffer, especially if you chain yourself to social imperialism, which history shows us will always implode and collapse in on itself, like all imperialism. The RCP (before it became the Avakian cult) laid out the shortcomings of the Cuban system in Evaporation of a Myth, and Mao himself criticized the system in Cuba and encouraged them to grow food for themselves so that it was not reliant on the Soviet Union when it had enough land to adequately feed its people.

Bishop was an internationalist, and developed bonds of unity with Black people in the US. He recognized the importance of building unity across the diaspora, and breaking down divisions that benefited the imperialists. He said during what would be one of his last speeches:

And another objective that we had was to use the period to deepen our relations with some of our closest friends in the United States, with our Black American sisters and brothers, with our Grenadian nationals, with those progressive forces right across the United States who have given us so much support unstintingly, to those who lead and are hard workers in the friendship societies and the solidarity committees. We were very anxious to speak to the sisters and brothers, to express our appreciation for the hard work that they have done, and to give them some idea as to what we are doing at this time in Grenada. That objective, also, has gone well.

This is extremely important. We had an English speaking Caribbean revolutionary reaching out to us and providing support in a tangible way. We could go to Grenada, we could talk to Grenadians, we could take part in the revolutionary process. Like I said, Bishop ended up dead, killed by traitors within his own party and his own movement, people he once called friends. Just like Malcolm X, whose mother was Grenadian, as Bishop proudly pointed out. From his death rose a fascistic type regime that was eventually overthrown by the US and other Caribbean comprador countries. But, for a period, for all its mistakes, Grenada, the island that Bishop said “made a big revolution”, walked straight. With it walked the entire New Afrikan working class in the United States. Learn from its victories, its mistakes, and its failure.

 

Stop Talking About Nonviolent Revolution, You’re Hurting The Oppressed and Helping The Enemy.

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The Haitian people waged a protracted, violent struggle for their independence.

Stop talking about revolution while not meaning it. Stop talking about revolution without making it. Stop talking about revolution without recognizing that it is not a dinner party, but a violent act, a violent overthrow of one class by another. Heed my advice, or you playin’. The “left” in the United States and the rest of the first world is so doped and duped by what passes for mainstream political discourse and “radical” rhetoric (ballots, elect a socialist to your city council, police permitted demonstrations every month, etc.) that they actually believe that a revolution can be made by a few artisanal coffee shop patronizing, ascot twirling, Trotsky reading gentrifiers with MAs in something useless, if only they can get enough members into their organizations, if only they can get enough people to hold their signs, if only they can get enough people to show up to their “mass meetings” (invariably 99% white and held at a local “radical” bookstore that used to be someone’s affordable housing), then the “political revolution” will be prepared and we will elect the government that we need. Gradual change. Get out the vote for some “activist” to get into City Hall to fight a brick wall and posture and pose and lie until they decide to just say “fuck it” and sell all the way out like Bobby Rush and Bobby Seale did. Inch slowly towards some  “horizon”. Join every movement and pull it towards some opportunistic end, build up your own reformist/revisionist organization, to hell with the people, they’re bodies for protests and nothing more. Build coalitions of paid activists and wreck actual mass organizing efforts that actually dare to say “Fuck the Police”. Take over the DNC! Again, you playin’. The revolutionaries are the Black and Brown youth who struggled with that pig in Anaheim the other day and returned to fuck his house up. This is who holds the future. Not you. Those who are willing to use violence are those who will make revolution. Those who police them are…well, the police. In or out of uniform.

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Kshama Sawant of Socialist Alternative wants us to rely on the police against ICE raids and build a “nonviolent mass movement of the 99%”.

What is a revolution? Those that have made them, or who have encouraged us to make them, or who have died in the course of making them, naturally, are who we should listen to. Malcolm X speaks of revolution as something that is “never peaceful, never loving, never nonviolent. Nor are they compromising, but destructive and bloody”. This was a dig at the Ghandian tactics of Martin Luther King, Jr. (while we’re on Ghandi, read this great picking apart of his ridiculousness), who he had much respect for as a fellow leader of the New Afrikan nation and who he was willing to defend with his life, but whose tactics he saw as suicidal, pointless, harmful, and beggarish. X and King’s contention was a class contention and a line contention, one that has been raging as long as there has been an black revolutionary struggle in the United States. It was, essentially, a line struggle between the conservative, Southern, religious petit-bourgeoisie, represented by Dr. King, a minister from a petit-bourgeois background, and the urban black proletariat/lumpen-proletariat in the cities of the North and West, represented by X. Every idea and every line represents the interests and outlook of a certain class, and not all ideas or lines are correct, factual, or equal. King was rooted in idealism and metaphysics, he was anti-Communist, he rejected Communism as being cold and unfeeling and “making no room for Christ”. X, on the other hand, embraced Marxist inspired revolutions and spoke of revolutionary China as a country where the “uncle Tom Chinese” had been booted out. X had a correct understanding of revolution and of violence in them, he was uninhibited by dogma that was only introduced to our people to make us, essentially, easier to maintain in a weak position, and his background as a prisoner and lumpen-proletarian gave him an appreciation for and recognizance of the laws of human society, one of them being that an unarmed and defenseless people is subject to being prey and that there is no justice without bloodshed of the oppressor. The civil rights movement represented by King was not a revolution, it was a mass movement, of course, but one centered around bourgeois democratic demands (voting and desegregation), one that still saw promise in America, one that saw that things just needed to be “fixed” and laws passed. To call it a revolution is to toy with the word, and sap the essence from it, the essence of struggle.

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Revolution is not a dinner party.

 

A revolution, as defined and practiced by Mao and others who have actually made them, is a violent act, the overthrow of one class by another. Revolutions kill, revolutions suppress the rights of the enemy, revolutions are protracted. Revolutions sweep the old system, the old order, out the door, and bring in another one. To do this requires violence, because dying classes fight like hell to ensure their power remains “secure”. Even after all the old big bourgeois, comprador elements, lackeys of all sorts, and fascists are dead, there will still be revolution to be made, because old shit dies hard. Of course, there are ups and downs and ebbs and flows in levels of struggle, and not all struggle absolutely must be violent, especially during the socialist period, but the fact remains that new bourgeois or would-be bourgeois elements will pop up, old ideas will reappear, new erroneous lines ideas will appear. Struggle appears in all things, in nature, in societies, in the process of changing from one society to another. We don’t shun this or promote “all getting along”, we welcome it, cast off the old and welcome the new. To cast off the old system of capitalism-imperialism, the most violent and Earth destroying system known in human history, one that is willing to spray grandmothers with freezing water to remove them from their land, one that is willing to spray Palestinian crops with herbicide to starve them, one that bombs and massacres untold thousands every year, one that is willing to lock people in tiny cages for decades, we must recognize that the process of doing so simply will not be peaceful. Demonstrations and protests have their purpose in the revolutionary movement. They are threats, shows of force, shows of rage. In a revolutionary demonstration that has mobilized the revolutionary masses, cops are cursed out and if there are enough people, their windows are smashed and their cars flipped. There is no handshaking, permit asking, or meeting with beforehand or afterwards, the pigs are our enemies. In a revolutionary movement, there is no “critical engagement” with the electoral system. You can run all the candidates you want, even if they win, what happens? They’re swallowed up and get obsessed with remaining in office, ideals go out the window. The Black Panther Party ran people for office, this was a rightist deviation, one we shouldn’t repeat. Again, you playin’. To make revolution, ultimately, the American Left is going to have to come to hard terms with the fact that our strength is in the streets, among the masses of youth and working class people, with primary stress going to those from oppressed nations. If your organization does not practice the mass line method of leadership and you don’t know what a line is, you playin’. If you don’t know how to defend yourself, you playin’. If you do not go among and talk to the broad masses of people and learn how ready they are for this shit, you playin’. If you do not engage with and listen to the broad masses of people, you playin’. If you hear the words “peaceful protest” coming out of your mouth,  you playin’. Playing is not what we need right now, we need people’s war and we need to smash this shit for good. Fuck Bernie, fuck Kshama, fuck whatever bullshit hack candidate you cook up and serve to us. We’ve seen them before, they give us indigestion. My people have been waiting for 400 years, and have been the most advanced at this revolutionary shit. You should take some lessons. The only people that are interested in a nonviolent revolution are the enemy, because they know what revolution is and a peaceful one is not it. Pick a line, pick a side, read Mao and Malcolm, and act accordingly.