“Lifting a rock only to drop it on one’s own feet” is a Chinese folk saying to describe the behavior of certain fools. The reactionaries in all countries are fools of this kind. In the final analysis, their persecution of the revolutionary people only serves to accelerate the people’s revolutions on a broader and more intense scale. – Mao Zedong
RATPAC-ATX (Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism – Austin) is probably one of my favorite organizations today. Here is a militant group of transfolks who are struggling hard as fuck against unbelievable odds and are leading red struggle in Austin, Texas. They hold political education programs, they’re organizing material assistance to transfolks, they’re working hard as fuck. They’re an example for all who call themselves revolutionary, they’re developing Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory though practice, and the time will soon come when there will be RATPAC like groups in every city and town. So, naturally, I was very upset, so upset, in fact, that I was basically forced to respond with this addition to my future Selected Works (I should really work on my ego issues) when someone calling themselves a Maoist took it upon themselves to “critique” them. The piece, written by a Steiner in Ohio, has the title “A Criticism of The RATPAC-ATX Program: Flag-Burning, Ultra-Internationalism, and Anti-Nationalism”. Let’s take a look and chew this up bit by bit. Be warned, this is probably the worst thing you will ever have the misfortune to read, and there is consistent use of the slur “transgendered”.
The piece starts out with a halfhearted congratulations on the fact that RATPAC-ATX was able to raise $600 for the emergency housing network and political education program, and an equally halfhearted acknowledgment of the necessity to “as humans, rise up against the repression against an individuals gender identity”. Steiner then goes on to quote Lenin’s What Is To Be Done: “Without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement.” He then states:
But yet what components does our revolutionary theory entail? Of course we have the vanguard party which is used to organize the strength of every working class individual to overthrow the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and replace it with the dictatorship of the proletariat. A goal of stateless communism which is the unlimited goal of our socialist program. The defense of the working class, along with building/maintaining the worker’s state and so on. But most American communist movements are void of one crucial feature in regards to revolutionary theory. This detail will most likely shock most American communists, but the missing ingredient to our revolutionary praxis is Nationalism.
What role has American nationalism played in regards to the masses of people of the whole world? Is America no longer a settler-colonial, capitalist-imperialist state? Steiner quotes Lenin, yet either forgets or disingenuously omits mention of Lenin’s firm stand against imperialist countries’ nationalism, including that of his own! There can be no progressive American nationalism, just like there could be no progressive German nationalism under the Kaiser or under Hitler, no progressive Russian nationalism under the Tsar, and no progressive British nationalism while it was looting Africa, India, and the Caribbean! Why should we wave the Stars and Stripes while Syrians and Omanis die at Yankee hands? This is criminal. The task of the revolutionary in the imperialist world in 2016 is to struggle against and reject their country, and work for its destruction. After a proletarian revolution in the United States, there will be no United States. The United States is a criminal entity, steeped from head to toe in the blood of oppressed, captured, and enslaved peoples! When it enters war, the task of the revolutionary is to wish for its defeat. We are first and foremost proletarian internationalists, this is the ABC of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
Yes, Nationalism! A hindrance on our movement is ultra-internationalism brought on by a black and white view on what nationalism is. For when a large portion of the left thinks of nationalism, it’s usually in the spirit of the GOP and Donald Trump appealing to a crowd with nationalism. But yet this is bourgeois nationalism, not proletarian nationalism. Proletarian nationalism is when nationalism works together with internationalism, not fight it.
The aim of proletarian nationalism is to take pride in my country while upholding progressive communist values, socialist nation in existence or not. The character of proletarian nationalism also aims present an international mentality of charity and whilst reaching a helping hand to oppressed nations. This is in contrast to the character of bourgeois nationalism which takes reactionary bourgeois values. Such as the doing of the German Democratic Republic during the Vietnam War(3). During the Vietnam War the SUPG(4) held rallies against the war to strengthen the socialist values of the GDR, while also providing military support to the Veit Cong(5).
What is ultra-internationalism? Yes, we Marxist-Leninist-Maoists are internationalists, this is no insult and no crime. We stand with the people of the whole world, against Yankee depredations and crimes against them. We know as Communists that the struggle of the working class of the whole world is our struggle, that a victory for the working class in the Philippines is our victory, that a loss in India or Nepal is our loss as well. There is no such thing as ultra-internationalism. You can never be too internationalist in your outlook as a Communist, when we get up in the morning we read and analyze news from our comrades around the whole world. Revolutionary theory comes from practice, and where practice is happening, theory is being synthesized and added to our arsenal. American nationalism can never work in conjunction with proletarian internationalism, because America the state is the enemy of the whole world. American nationalism, in and of itself, is bourgeois nationalism. America sends weapons and money to the Philippines, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India, Nepal, and other such places to kill our comrades. America has captured, wiped out, massacred, exploited, looted, raped, burned and bombed for a century and a half. Steiner then goes on to natter and stutter about pride in his country, and an “international mentality of charity”. What is there to be proud of? To love America is to love death, to love jail, to love genocide, to love massacre, to love crime, to love hatred and death. To hate America is to love life, to love liberty, to uphold and stand in solidarity with the struggle to the death being waged by our comrades all around the world. The NGOs send much charity, strings attached, to the Third World. Is this what he is proud of? Is he proud of the death of Michael Brown, Jr.? Of Freddie Gray? Of Trayvon Martin? Of Berta Caceres? Of Neo-Nazism? Of Ku-Klux-Klanism? Of the hundreds of trans comrades murdered by the police and by pig men every year? If he is, he is no Communist, but a reactionary revisionist with a fading red flag, the child of Earl Browder and Leander Perez. He then goes on to praise the revisionists in the GDR, who, while they were staging demonstrations in support of the national liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people, was also engaging in attacks on People’s China and its own people who rebelled against revisionism and the fact that the country was a satellite of Soviet social-imperialism.
This is in contrast to the character of bourgeois nationalism which takes reactionary bourgeois values. I Also must return to Vietnam for a brief moment, for many comrades seemingly forget that nationalism was a key part in Vietnam’s victory against American imperialism. It was Ho Chi Mihn who said that nationalism ,not communism, inspired him to take up arms. This is an attitude the american radical left must take up if we are to win over the American working class. In fact through their revolutionary experiances Lenin and Mao all agreed that nationalism is a key facet to communism.
Before cherrypicking and abusing Lenin and Mao to “back up” his chauvinist and reactionary conclusions, the reactionary revisionist Steiner compares his reactionary American nationalism to the nationalism of Ho Chi Minh, the subject of French imperialism in what was then known as Indochina. America has subjects, America has colonies. The Vietnamese people were oppressed and ground down like dogs beneath the French colonial regime, thus, as all Communists know, their nationalism and their national liberation struggle was progressive and revolutionary, and thus had the support of the revolutionary and freedom loving people of the whole world. That which fights against imperialism and colonialism is revolutionary. American nationalism is the enemy of Communism, not a “key facet”.
Steiner goes on to quote Lenin on Russian national pride. He then adds his own words:
For the flag burning, ultra-international and anti-American attitudes are overall alienating to the average worker. This approach is no different to when an communist goes out in public in full Soviet military regalia.(6)
Alienating to the average worker? Alienating to white chauvinists and petty bourgeois labor aristocrats, yellow labor, and the vast slew of reactionaries and bad elements that Steiner so very desperately seeks to unite with, is more like it. The task of the Communist is to advance the understanding and consciousness of the average worker through struggle, and to patiently explain things to them if they have backwards and uneven understanding. To simply orient ourselves to the most backwards elements, the jingoists, the reactionaries, the racists, the fascists, the police, and others is to commit tailist and right opportunist errors. Lenin writes in Imperialism and the Split in Socialism:
And it is therefore our duty, if we wish to remain socialists to go down lower and deeper, to the real masses; this is the whole meaning and the whole purport of the struggle against opportunism. By exposing the fact that the opportunists and social-chauvinists are in reality betraying and selling the interests of the masses, that they are defending the temporary privileges of a minority of the workers, that they are the vehicles of bourgeois ideas and influences, that they are really allies and agents of the bourgeoisie, we teach the masses to appreciate their true political interests, to fight for socialism and for the revolution through all the long and painful vicissitudes of imperialist wars and imperialist armistices.
Mao tells us:
Tailism in any type of work is also wrong, because in falling below the level of political consciousness of the masses and violating the principle of leading the masses forward it reflects the disease of dilatoriness. Our comrades must not assume that the masses have no understanding of what they do not yet understand. It often happens that the masses outstrip us and are eager to advance a step and that nevertheless our comrades fail to act as leaders of the masses and tail behind certain backward elements, reflecting their views and, moreover, mistaking them for those of the broad masses.
To go lower and deeper means to not orient ourselves in our mass work towards or unite with those who take offense at the burning of a symbol of oppression and hatred the whole world over, but rather go into the ghettos, into the barrios, into the trailer parks, into the sweatshops, packing plants, underserved and underfunded schools, and unite with the advanced to win over the intermediate through struggle. The backward are either to be isolated and struggled against if they go over to the side of and serve the enemy, or won over. To tail the backwards is to commit a fatal mistake and make some nasty bedfellows. The “average worker” in oppressed nations communities does not care about flag burning, they care about police brutality, deportations, grinding and grating taxes and fines, hypodermic needles laying around and murders happening on the block every day. Real shit. Not pig shit. Steiner then goes on to abuse Mao on patriotism, and I reiterate that the nationalism of oppressed and colonized countries is in no way comparable to reactionary, white chauvinist, American nationalism. Mao’s nationalism was to free China from the grinding oppression of imperialism and colonialism. Steiner’s nationalism can only be to oppress. He then goes on to yammer about how flag burning is “terrifying to the average (backwards) American worker”, and how the Fourth of July, when slaveowners got their independence, is a “holiday of class struggle, and up until the Civil War it remained the largest class struggle within the United States”. I guess my enslaved ancestors were simply an inconvenient afterthought, while the armed struggle waged by the planter and merchant class was simply the greatest thing since sliced bread. African descended people in Texas celebrate Juneteenth instead of the Fourth simply because it’s less hot?
Steiner then begrudgingly says that oppressed nations have the right to burn the flag, and then goes on to say that “American communists should refrain from it”, as if Communists don’t come from oppressed nations. Should we cease being proletarian internationalists to preserve the feelings of the labor aristocracy and the petty bourgeoisie? Who will lead the Proletarian Revolution if not the most exploited and oppressed, the oppressed nations? The white working class will not, many of them will fight for the enemy. The petit bourgeoisie certainly will not, and the lumpen will not either. These classes are vacillating, some will join us, many will not as their outlook is reactionary and counterrevolutionary. Unite with all that can be united with, indeed, but don’t be a damn fool and certainly don’t delve into the reactionary!
Steiner then concern trolls and engages in further mockery here:
The anarchist will smash the shop window of a petty-bourgeois store owner, not thinking of how the petty-bourgeoisie is an important class in any political situation. In the case of flag burning you’re not only alienating petty-bourgeois shop owners, but potential comrades. I don’t need to tell anyone in RATPAC that the transgendered have a target painted on their back.
I do however find it necessary that actions like this only help worsen the hate that exists for transgendered people across the United States. For example, the reactionary website Breitbart ran an article detailing a Trans group burning the US flag. I also most note the online hate storm that came after a similar event was carried out of which I believe had taken place in Kansas. The following resulted in threats of death and arson being hurled at an attendee. In these cases it has only made transgendered comrades an even worse target for an already hateful populous.
While you do blur the faces of your attendees, it isn’t going to do much against the reactionaries. The hate group against you is already composed of shut-in NEETS who could on their own wage a cyber war with the Federal Reserve. Messages and communications can easily be logged leading to all attendees being doxxed and having to worry even more than they have to.
Through online anonymity you cannot fight back. Psychical confrontation would be possible. Fuck The Forth only adds a flashing neon sign to and already targeted group of people
Yes, the “transgendered” have a target painted on their back, not because they burn the flag. Most trans comrades have never burned a flag in their lives, yet still find themselves crushed between several mountains. The neon sign has always been there. Yet Stein continues to argue for the enemy, and strike fear into the hearts of my comrades. To be a revolutionary is to be doomed. Communists can never be scared. If they come, we will fight them. The revisionists, social democrats, Trotskyists and others may run and hide, but Maoists are never afraid to struggle to death or to victory. Let the petit bourgeoisie be alienated, if the masses demand window smashing struggle, to hold them back is right opportunism and reactionary.
Steiner closes his ridiculous, reactionary, counterrevolutionary, and all around horrible attempt at an “article” by claiming that flag burning is associated only with ISIS, alienating “average workers” from Communism, and once again concern trolling. In sum, Steiner owes RATPAC-ATX comrades a full and thorough self-criticism, a thorough apology, and should also stop toying with the words and struggles of Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong, and Vladimir Lenin, and certainly stop calling himself a Maoist. Holding up the red, white and blue to strike at red forces is a criminal act and an affront to the masses of people the world over.