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.