I’m a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. As far as making revolution and liberating the masses of the oppressed the world over goes, it’s the best we’ve got. I uphold Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and the experiences of the masses united in struggles led by Maoist parties the world over. Maoists learn from our mistakes, and real Maoists don’t engage in idol worship. Each and every revolutionary theorist, fighter, and leader we uphold made mistakes. The PCP (Communist Party of Peru, Sendero Luminoso) shouldn’t have killed 69 people in the town of Lucanamarca in 1983. That sucked. Bad. People’s fighters don’t kill the people. The people tend to get mad at you if you do, and fight you, for good reason. Stalin shouldn’t have treated comrades like the enemy and blamed everything that went wrong on foreign spies or wreckers. That led to some nasty excesses. And Mao should have thought twice before he said this:
Among the whites in the United States, it is only the reactionary ruling circles that oppress the black people. They can in no way represent the workers, farmers, revolutionary intellectuals and other enlightened persons who comprise the overwhelming majority of the white people.
We criticize our theoreticians and leaders, realize that they lived in vastly different circumstances and struggled under different conditions than we do today, and were humans that didn’t know everything. But, we uphold and apply to our own conditions the universal parts of their lessons. Everything that our ideological ancestors said wasn’t correct. This is an example. In terms of actual experience with the conditions of the United States, Mao had no knowledge excepting that which he got from Americans with various agendas and who probably didn’t know much of anything themselves, and newspapers. He never came to the United States. As a matter of fact, he left China only twice in his lifetime, both times in the 1950s and both times to the Soviet Union. Simply put, Mao talking about the conditions for black people and who oppresses who in the US is not exactly as light as a feather, but easy enough for me, not exactly a champion weightlifter, to pick up.
There’s a nasty habit in America in general, not just on the left, to bend over backwards to somehow absolve White people as a whole and the white working class in particular of complicity in the national oppression of New Afrikan (Black) and Chicano people, of genocide and destruction committed against the indigenous people, and criminal violence against individuals who came from Asia to work. If Mao Zedong found himself in the United States in the 1880s, he would have fallen victim to the numerous pogroms committed against individuals of Asian descent, and, if he escaped with his life, probably wouldn’t have felt so compelled to make his statement regarding who oppresses who. Reactionaries yammer on and on about how their great-great-great-great-great grandpappy Seamus O’Neal came over from Cork in 1840 and worked harder and harder and the Blacks really just need to shut the fuck up, as if anybody works harder than a damned literal slave! That’s what those leftists sound like to me. On the left, there’s an equally incorrect tendency to claim that the white working class is inherently and irrevocably racist and an object of struggle and destruction. I can see where those who hold the latter view come from. This is where a lot of the Black masses are at, this is part of our historical experience and material reality. Slaves hated poor white trash more than rich planters, poor white trash would catch us running away and chop our feet off, castrate us, or whip us to within an inch of our lives. Overseers would rape us, beat us, or torture us in a thousand and one different ways. Sometimes, when they got land, poor white people would buy slaves and work them to death. Being sold to a poor white farmer was basically death. For all the reading that Communists do, slave narratives and histories of slavery don’t seem to figure among them. History shows us that the white working class, as a class, more often than not has been a detriment and a scourge to the masses of nonwhite people in this country, and an ally to the white bourgeoisie. Through our struggles, their support has not been something to count on, while their opposition and hatred has been something to be taken for granted. Their presence and identity in this country from the very beginning has been that of settlers. Settlers are not good people that do good things. They came here from Europe to better their own economic situation at the expense of others. Their immigrant stories, of coming here, working hard at the factory or mill, saving their money up, fighting in WWI and WWII, getting their GI Bills, and moving to the suburbs are spit in the eye to the black and brown masses of this country’s ghettoes and barrios. African people were dragged here in chains, forced to lay the foundation of this country’s economic success at whip and gun point, ridden over and chased like animals by members of the white proletariat, and then moved North to be rioted against by this same white proletariat, who had just got off the damn boat and had the nerve to say we were taking “their jobs”. Sound familiar?
In East Saint Louis in 1917, W.E.B DuBois laid out the rationale for the rioting and massacre committed by white workers against black workers. The anger expressed by white workers at what they perceived as black workers driving down their wages, turned into race struggle and race war. In East Saint Louis during the riots, nothing mattered but black or white, materially. White bourgeoisie were spared, black workers, even unionized, were massacred. This scene repeated itself over and over again for the next few decades. Yes, it’s true that race hatred against blacks and other nonwhite people, as DuBois said in his piece, is deliberately used and drummed up by the bourgeoisie to divide the working class. This is an age old tactic that stems from the earliest days of this country, when black and white indentured servants united to struggle against the exported English aristocrats in Virginia. Even then, this struggle had a reactionary character to go along with the progressive one (as progressive as you can get in a nascent settler-colonial project, at least), as the clamor was in part for a militia to go against neighboring Native Americans and snatch more land for the settlers. The punishment for this and other similar rebellions (running away, etc.) was to enslave the black offenders for life and extend the terms of the indenture for the white offenders. This was the beginningof the codified oppression of black people as blacks, by whites as whites, and the peculiar institution of American white supremacy. That’s the history that we all know. Unity is possible among black and white workers, this has been shown many times, from the Sharecroppers’ Strike of the 1930s to the IWW organizing all races of workers. Nobody denies this. Blacks and whites are not natural enemies. But, in the United States, this sort of class unity has been the exception, not the rule. If bourgeois order broke down in this country tomorrow, it would resemble Yugoslavia, and would be replete with ethnic cleansing. The South would look something like Rwanda in 1994. At this stage, there would be no proletarian revolution in this country. We’ve already seen a preview of the behavior of the white proletariat in relation to the black masses in a chaotic situation. After Hurricane Katrina, working class white people shot black people to death in New Orleans. If this happened on a countrywide scale, the battle cry of the white proletariat wouldn’t be “Workers of the World Unite”, it’d be:
“Get away from this truck, nigger. We’re not gonna help you. We’re liable to kill you ourselves.”
Anybody that tells themselves and others anything different is engaging in dangerous and deadly lies. This isn’t a static or irreversible thing, but it sure as hell is more entrenched than Communism and class unity. Go to rural Pennsylvania or some parts of South Saint Louis County talking about Communism and Presidente Gonzalo and you’ll get shot or worse. Anti-communism and white supremacy go hand in hand, and since white supremacist thought has such standing among white workers, it’s not a stretch to say that anti-communism has even more standing.
It’ll be necessary to win over as many elements of the white proletariat as possible to ensure the success of any revolution in this country. This is a simple numerical question. But, it would be simple right opportunism to not struggle against or even acknowledge racist and anti-people attitudes among the white proletariat. We don’t want racist communists who’ll fight the class war and then fight a race war! At this stage, and at every stage in American history, it is not incorrect at all to say that the white proletariat, in the United States, is for the most part, racist, upholds white supremacy in various forms and degrees of intensity, is willing to kill nonwhite people for little to no reason, and is more backwards, as a group, than nationally oppressed working classes. It doesn’t take a lot to stir up the white proletariat to violence. Emmett Till was castrated and thrown in a river because he supposedly whistled at a white woman. A black man supposedly accosted a white woman in an elevator in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921 and white people burned the whole black part of the city down. Black people raised up in rebellion in Ferguson and a white kid from the working class went into a Black church and murdered several people, and white people have been buying up guns left and right since 2014 in expectation of a race war. After 9/11, white working class youth joined the military in droves to destroy the Middle East, and those that didn’t join the service stayed at home and voted for Bush in 2004, just like their parents and grandparents voted for Nixon in 1968 and ’72, and broke up anti-war demonstrations with hard hats on. Not a class war to rise up against the bourgeoisie, fucking ethnic cleansing.
This is not an attack on the white proletariat. Like I said, this group will play a major role in any revolution made in the United States. I don’t hate white people. You’re not devils, you didn’t come from a UFO, you’re not the result of a science experiment gone wrong. Many black people do hate white people, working class or not working class. I don’t blame them. All over the world, from Africa to the United States, wherever large numbers black people and white people have existed in relative proximity, white people have beaten, lynched, shot, enslaved, raped, disenfranchised, tortured, terrorized, and generally dogged the fuck out of black people. I’m not here to tell black people that it is wrong to hate those who do things to them, or who sit back and watch while things are done to them. I’m not here to tell my people, Black people, anything about white people. That’s not my job. Historically, it hasn’t been the white proletariat driving history and doing most of the heavy revolutionary lifting in this country, although y’all sure as hell benefit from shit we’ve struggled and fought for and you fought against us for. The thing is, we’ve never had any problem uniting with white people, it’s you that have to be won over to unite with us on a class basis. The black working class doesn’t need anybody to tell it not to be so racist that it fights against its own class interests. You’ll never hear a black worker say that they’d rather let fascists win a war before they work alongside a cracker on the assembly line. We’ve never gone out on strike because white people got hired somewhere. The white proletariat has always been hired, somewhere, at better wages than we get, and fought like hell to keep us out!
I go to a rural area trying to explain anything to white people, I’m liable to be shot for being a smartass nigger. White people don’t like smartass niggers. We make them feel bad about themselves. I exist to make revolution and to liberate my people. The job of white communists and revolutionary minded white people is to struggle against racist and otherwise reactionary attitudes within the white proletariat. This is your mess, these are your very own parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, and cousins. This is what should be done. Other black freedom fighters and revolutionists have called for it. Instead of sticking your nose into and criticizing liberation struggle and liberation around the world because it doesn’t mesh with what you think a revolution should look like, thumbing your nose at Maurice Bishop because he didn’t uphold the illustrious revolutionary line of Chairman Gonzalo, as if that dead man really gives a shit and the masses of Grenadian people care what some two-faced toubob in the US who can’t point to Grenada on a map thinks about him and who has never met a single Grenadian, run your mouths and do some work with your people. Struggle with your people. That is how transformation comes, through struggle. Black people can’t work, fight the pigs, burn down out own neighborhoods, struggle with our own reactionary tendencies, sing, dance, play football, work magic, clean your toilets, take care of your elderly, get locked up, get shot to death on the streets by pigs drawn from your proletariat, and explain to you why not to be racist, or try and conduct mass work in your communities to win you over to revolution. Even if we had time, you’d just shoot us, call the cops, say we should stop complaining, or ignore us like you’ve been doing for the past 200 years, in and out of the Communist movement. Hold the mirror to yourselves. We are going to be alright. You may not be. Clean up your mess and take out your trash, the last time we did it for you was in 1804 in a little place called Ayiti.