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.

 

Black Women Hold Up The Sky: AKA “Hoteps” are Ahistorical Idiots

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A key distinguishing feature of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory and practice is our commitment to and development of proletarian feminism, which is the ongoing theoretical and practical development of the struggle against patriarchy from the perspective of the proletariat. The seminal work of the CPI (Maoist) cadre, Anuradha Ghandy, cadre name Avanti, Philosophical Trends in the Feminist Movement, lays out a merciless critique of bourgeois/radical trends of feminism and shows how they are theoretically and practically insufficient for the immense liberatory tasks before working class women in the 21st century. Proletarian feminism leaves no room for bourgeois feminism of the Hillary Clinton/Margaret Thatcher/shaking hands with pigs at the Women’s March school, nor does it leave room for bioessentialist ranting and raving about how “pussy grabs back”, etc. Nor does it leave room for hoteps raving about “defending our queens”. Nor does it leave room for white feminists excluding and silencing working black and brown and trans women and carrying the women’s liberation struggle down dead ends. What it does leave room for, however, is the study and practice of the eventual and inevitable overthrow of patriarchy and capitalism at the hands of the most exploited and oppressed people in the US and around the world, working class black and brown non-men. I can assure you that when proletarian feminism becomes the dominant theoretical and practical trend in the black women’s struggle and becomes a material force, white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy will begin to hear their final death peal. This is because, in the centuries old New Afrikan liberation struggle, working women have always been the vanguard, and when they pick up the gun and make revolution (they usually do before men), shit moves.

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Nanny of the Maroons, Jamaican national hero and liberation fighter.

 

It was black women who, in the Americas to which our people were dragged as slaves to lay the foundations for the Industrial “Revolution” and the rise of capitalism-imperialism, sounded the call for and did much of the dirty work for the revolts that, in many cases, ended with the formation of free settlements of formerly enslaved people, called maroon colonies in the British West Indies and quilombos in Brazil. Transported African women were the guardians and transmitters of traditional medicine, culture, warfare methods, religious practices, and were often reviled and feared as “witches” by Europeans, who recognized the power and respect that African women, by virtue of their knowledge and critical role in the societies from which they came and in which they found themselves being forced to create in the Americas, commanded among their people. In North America, African women during the slavery era were oftentimes separated from their children, husbands, and entire families by force and design, as a result the nascent New Afrikan nation developed extended kinship networks, and women played a central role, raising and nurturing children who, although not their biological own, were considered by everybody in the community as such. Black women were the defenders of our communities, the slave revolts, mass escapes, and rebellions that ripped through the country in large and small form were, more often than not, organized by and heavily participated in by women. The communities of runaway slaves in the Great Dismal Swamp were, in most instances, headed by women. Women poisoned the master’s food, broke the master’s tools, broke the master’s head with axes. Women formed communities and struggled in a variety of forms against oppression of all kinds, from men of all kinds, snatching whatever respite they could from the hell which surrounded them. Women healed wounds from whips and dog bites, transmitted secret knowledge of healing, childbirth, and warfare brought from ancestral homelands in Africa, and maintained centuries old religious/cultural traditions. In terms of production and critical role in the economic structure of society, without the labor performed by black women in field and home (their own and that of the pigs that owned them), society would have collapsed. It’s ridiculous for patriarchal, feudal minded black men to claim to want to “step up” and take a vanguard role ahead of women in this revolutionary liberation struggle that we have never had in the first place! The step up that they want is a step backwards, a step into oblivion. To get free, we don’t push back the vanguard. Throughout our history, it has been women propelling our nation forward, from the plantation to the ghetto. During the sharecropping/Jim Crow era, while black men were in prison, unemployed, or in the North, having, in many instances, abandoned their families or been driven off the plantation, Black women, who, in many cases, could read and write, were arguing with employers, taking part in unionization efforts, attending meetings, and doing a myriad of tasks to bring home money with which they supported their entire families. The black woman’s work and wage is what has carried and sustained our nation throughout our history. My own grandmother worked, in many instances, 2 and 3 jobs and raised 7 children with little to no help from men. My great grandmother did the same.

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In revolutionary movements that Black people have waged for our liberation, we again see women as vanguard. Men have done much talking of the Eldridge Cleaver type, engaged in much adventuristic posturing with no substance, expressed how much they wanted to blow off a pig’s head, and expelled much piss and vinegar, gotten into many ego duels, but in terms of actual building and sustaining of movements, in terms of actual service to the people, women laid the groundwork from top to bottom. In the Black Panther Party, the programs that acquired them the love of the masses and hatred from the pigs, the clinic programs, sickle cell anemia testing, the Breakfast for Children programs, the schools, were improved, worked on, and led by women. Women in the BPP, as Assata Shakur (and history) have showed us, were also fully capable of and willing to pick up the gun, as they were at all times throughout our history as a nation, but did not, as many men did, focus solely on the gun. The women of the BPP also waged a unapologetic struggle against the male chauvinism and abuse that pervaded the left, and that organization in particular at this time, many male Panthers saw Panther women as sex objects or otherwise unworthy of respect, this was a natural and predictable result of their line and orientation towards the lumpen-proletariat and their bringing of lumpen elements into the Party without placing emphasis on transforming their class outlook and stand to enable them to serve the people in an all around and deep way. This same error is being reproduced in many of the “revolutionary but gangsta” (RBG) organizations, which oftentimes are even worse than the original BPP was on this. Oftentimes, these organizations are led by egotistical men such as Umar Johnson, etc. who discuss “black queens, goddesses, etc.”, push all sorts of metaphysics, get into strange arguments with others on Facebook and Twitter, and engage in various sorts of sexual abuse of women and orient themselves around whatever makes them money. This is a travesty and a shame, a counterrevolutionary one. Any New Afrikan so-called revolutionary organization that does not study, adopt, and put into command proletarian feminist practice in more than name will reproduce these errors and will not be able to make revolution. This problem is not just in New Afrikan revolutionary circles, of course, the disgusting, sick and sad collapse of the NCP-LC and the subsequent mess have shown that the US Left, especially Maoists, since we hold ourselves to higher standards and consider ourselves as the most advanced Communists, those who are armed with the theory and practice that makes us the most able to make revolution in this country, need to do serious work on this and take it seriously, otherwise, we’re just yet another bunch of sorry ass men talking shit and doing fuck-all. Let’s not be that, let’s make revolution instead, and acknowledge that nonmen belong in front, and we follow their guide.

 

Saint Louis: A Brief Investigation and Analysis of the Western Hole on the Rust Belt.

Saint Louis: A Brief Investigation and Analysis of the Western Hole on the Rust Belt.
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North vs. South/West

I was born at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Clayton, Missouri on Bastille Day, 1994. My mother was a 19 year old medical assistant student that worked at McDonalds, born at a de facto class and race segregated hospital (Homer G. Philips) in the winter of 1975. My father was born in the same hospital in the winter of 1971. All 4 of my grandparents and their broader generation within my family were born in Mississippi (3) and Texas (1), and all 4 went from the landless peasant/rural proletarian class to industrial proletarian (several of my great uncles worked in East Saint Louis steel mills or on railroads) or service proletarian positions (restaurant, cleaning and domestic service positions were held by women). So, I’m like most Black people of my generation, the second generation raised entirely in an urban environment, with grandma and grandpa’s memories of rural hardship, knowledge of our rural roots and status as a peasant nation bound to the land (reflected in the Haywood/Comintern Black Belt Thesis developed in the 1920s, when most of us still lived in the South and worked the land as peasant sharecroppers and peons) existing, fundamentally in the back of our minds, still there, still driving us forward in anger, still remembered, but not tangible or concrete enough for us to fight for a nation in the rural South, since we are no longer peasants and are thoroughly urban, to the point where “urban youth” is synonymous with “Black youth”. I’ve never touched raw cotton in my life, and only picked greens once as punishment. This is a social and class investigation and analysis of the city that I’ve called home for my entire 22 years of life from the perspective of the class, race, stratum and generation that brought you the Ferguson and Baltimore rebellions, and from the ideology (Maoism) that will bring you revolution. It will attempt to detail the contradictions of the city that has been under a national and international magnifying glass since August, 2014, and will spend most of its time trying to detail how I think revolutionary organizations can best organize here.

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Protest after the police murder of Mansur Ball-Bey, Page Blvd. and Walton Ave. August 19, 2015. This is located in the major working class/lumpen Black section of the Saint Louis metropolitan area.

Saint Louis City proper is home to 315,685 people (2015). The Greater Saint Louis MO-IL metropolitan area, which is comprised of Saint Louis City and Saint Louis, Saint Charles, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington and Warren Counties in Missouri and Saint Clair, Macoupin, Madison, Jersey, Monroe, Clinton, Bond, and Calhoun Counties in Illinois (Metro East) has a population of roughly 2.7 million people. This investigation and analysis will focus mainly on Saint Louis County and City, and the areas in the Metro East closest to the river, particularly East Saint Louis. These areas are where I believe that the greatest revolutionary potential lies and where the greatest and most special attention should be paid by revolutionaries.

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Accurate.

 

Saint Louis City is divided into class and race segregated halves. North of Delmar Boulevard is the mass of the black proletariat and lumpenproletariat (categories that more often than not overlap) while South of Delmar live Mexicans, Bosnians, and native born Euro-Americans of all classes. Of course, there are many poor Black people on the South Side as well, but for the most part they live on the North Side in their masses. This segregation is known to those who live here as the “Delmar Divide”, and the tangible difference in living standards and class composition of people above and below Delmar can’t be understated. You can literally stand on Delmar, throw a rock, and hit a huge, turn of the century mansion on one side (South) and a crumbling, vacant building on the other (North). The bourgeois Black people with degrees have fled, leaving the lowest and deepest masses concentrated on the North Side. Most of my family grew up north of Delmar, particularly in the Mark Twain district. This neighborhood is, like all of the North Side, overwhelmingly black, overwhelmingly populated by the lower stratum of the proletariat that are only a hairbreadth away from full time lumpen/unemployed status at any given time (as opposed to being split between working a main job and selling DVDs, scrapping junk found in the alleys, recycling cans, fixing cars, cutting lawns, etc. as a sideline), many of whom work in minimum wage or slightly above minimum wage service positions obtained through “temp agencies”.

The commercial corridors in North Saint Louis City (Kingshighway, Natural Bridge, Broadway, Union) are full of liquor stores, check cashing places, secondhand stores, used car lots, churches, convenience stores, cheap Chinese food restaurants, and other such places. There are also vacant lots by the hundreds, some sections of street having more vacant lots than buildings.  The area is a veritable food desert, with the grocery stores in the area being few and far between and selling inferior products. Schools here are defunded with the tax base having fled West, and many students are bused to schools in the county or sent to charter schools. Deindustrialization stripped the heart and soul out of this area, for the overwhelming majority of the Black people of the North Side, there is no out. They’re basically trapped in crumbling housing, dead end jobs, and an endless cycle of debt and despair. Politically, this area is under the domination of the crooked Democratic Party machine which brings no benefits to the masses of black people that live here, both at the state and local levels. The alderpeople that represent the area get up to shenanigans like being shitty absentee landlords or installing decorative gates on city streets while people are shot to death in the streets. They keep getting reelected because they’re rarely challenged and nobody cares enough about their shitty political spectacle to waste energy struggling against them at the polls. Barely anybody my age votes. Virtually all of these politicians, most famously Alderman Antonio French of Ferguson Twitter fame, endorse the neoliberal war criminal and enemy of black people Hillary Clinton.

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When I refer to North Saint Louis City, I’m referring to the neighborhoods of Baden, Penrose, Mark Twain, Fairground, Carr Square, College Hill, the (Greater Ville), Jeff Venderlou, Hamilton Heights, Kingsway East and West, Old North Saint Louis, Hyde Park, Walnut Park, North Pointe, North Riverfront, and O’Fallon. These neighborhoods are united in several aspects, namely, they’re literally contiguous, almost everyone there is black, poor, and dissatisfied in one fashion or another, whether it be over the constant fratricidal murders, police brutality and harassment, bone and soul crushing poverty, exploitation of the community by those who don’t (and do) live there, debt, high rent, difficulty in finding employment, especially if you’re a convicted felon like many people, abuse and killings of women, insufficient transit, and general poor quality of life. In other words, this area is prime for mass organizing, and it is fertile terrain for the growth of Communist cadre to lead that organizing. Tenant organizations, bus/train riders’ unions, unemployed organizations, felons’ rights organizations, self-defense organizations, anti-police brutality organizations, vacant land/building reclamation organizations, community dispute resolution organizations, womens’ organizations, neighborhood organizations, single mothers’ support groups, and youth/student organizations like that which I am a member of, PYO-STL (Progressive Youth Organization – Saint Louis), all have a place and must be set up as soon as possible on the North Side, preferably by those that live or have roots and links there.  People embrace and unite with politics and people that relate to and unite with them, listen to them, and meet their needs. Mass organizations don’t just to march, they exist to unite and lead. They also exist to offer material support to the masses in their area and under their purview, hold cultural and educational activities, conduct mass meetings and deep going investigations into the welfare of the masses. This is not just feel good organizing, handing out food and pamphlets, this is the building of people’s power and a step in the direction of building urban base areas and Red political power.

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Protest over the closure of a Schnucks grocery store on the North Side. Imagine if this was led by a Communist led mass organization!

 

There are very few grocery stores in North City where people can go to get cheap and healthy fruit and vegetables, and the stores that are in that area such as Walgreens or the convenience stores that are on almost every corner keep necessities such as baby formula behind lock and key and keep hawkeyes on black children, because they’re afraid the people will come to steal their overpriced products. I went into a store up the street from my old house once and the owner of the store was cursing at and threatening to call the police on a boy that couldn’t have been any older than 12 years old because he supposedly stole a bag of chips. Mass organizations under the leadership of Maoist cadre developed from among the masses are needed to not only organize punitive and enforced boycotts of such stores that abuse, cheat, exploit and mistreat the masses, but offer material assistance and support to both alleviate the masses’ situations, check up on the lives of and listen to/gather the scattered ideas of/be held responsible to the people, and carry out the mass line leadership and organizing practice well, to ensure the development and heightening of struggle and political development and advancement of the masses in a thorough and all around way. North City is, most likely, where the majority of the yet to be formed Saint Louis cadre organization’s base of membership is going to come from. Oppression, poverty, and depredation breeds Communists, and my city’s contributions to the future CPUSA (Maoist) are going to come mostly off the streets and out of the run down buildings of North County, North City, and East Saint Louis.

 

These are the lowest and deepest masses, those who, in Marx’s words, have nothing to lose but their chains. South City is going to be a bit of a tougher nut to crack and organize, and the presence and active participation of white comrades will be of utmost importance, namely because of the reactionary and anti-people world outlook of many of the working class whites that live there. When my grandmother first came to Saint Louis, black people simply didn’t go to the South Side out of fear. Yet, there are strata there that can be united with and will respond well to organizing, particularly working class Bosnian immigrants in Bevo Mill, Latinx people in Benton Park West, and pockets of Black and working class white youth that live there as well. The Black and Bosnian communities have on and off contradictions, particularly in the wake of anti-Bosnian attacks by Black youth after the Mike Brown murder in 2014 and riots at Soldan High School in the 1990s, but these are contradictions among the people and should be handled as such. Unity must be developed through struggle, petty divisions and quarrels stirred up by reactionary elements and the bourgeoisie must be struggled against and put to bed, and comradely relations between progressive elements of different ethnicities and races must be built if there is to be Red political power in Saint Louis. In terms of school organizing in the city, special attention must be paid to the community college (Forest Park), technical schools, and high schools on both the North and South Sides, especially in light of the winding down of the court ordered school desegregation program in the coming decade. The local HBU Harris-Stowe, can also be a site of struggle and support, but the heavy influence of petit-bourgeois ideology and cultural nationalism at such schools (buy black campaigns, elect x black leader, etc.) must be accounted for. Saint Louis University and Washington University are heavily petit bourgeois institutions, and Saint Louis University in particular sits on the site of a former Black district, Mill Creek Valley, that was demolished. It also is a Jesuit, Catholic school, but is somewhat malleable when overwhelming popular force is applied, as shown in the OccupySLU situation in 2014. Certain progressive elements at this school can be united with and support can be obtained from certain groups and individuals, the same goes for Washington University, but these schools should not be seen as potential mass bases of support.

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The area in and around Downtown is also the site of sharp struggle and contradictions between the masses of the city’s houseless population and gentrifiers and developers, backed up by the city government, particularly the police, with progressive individuals such as Rev. Larry Rice and other individuals and groups who feed and offer clothing and other services to the houseless being oppressed and threatened with fines, arrests, and other punishments. The houseless themselves are constantly subject to such outrages as spikes to prevent them from lying or sitting down in comfortable spots, police harassment, and locks and bars over vents to prevent them from keeping warm at night. Revolutionary and progressive forces should constantly point out the contradiction between money being spent on senseless projects such as fixing up the area around the monument to settler-colonialism and genocide, the Arch, and the fact that thousands of buildings in our area, the property of parasitic developers and criminals like Paul McKee, who owns 1500 acres of property on the North Side, go to rot and waste while people live without a roof over their heads. Everything is a political struggle, and the struggle must be for more than reforms, the struggle must build people’s power, raise awareness in a real way, and make Communists out of and orient towards the expressed needs and desires of the masses in a given area, not what college activists and academics think they need and want. Meeting basic material needs, giving out clothes, food and blankets to the masses of houseless people is only one step of the struggle, and does not build people’s power. If that were the case, the Salvation Army and the Baptist Church would be mass organizations. Uniting revolutionary and progressive forces in solidarity with and support of their struggle in an all around way does.

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Petit bourgeois see blight. I see a base.

What of Saint Louis County? As in the City, we must look North. We have Ferguson, the material conditions of which have improved little to none since August, 2014. The police still occupy, the masses of black working class people still live a precarious existence, the city is still controlled and dominated by people who don’t represent their interests. Beyond Ferguson, we have majority black enclaves. Next door is Kinloch, an all black shell of its former self run by criminals where the police do not even have insurance or registration for their vehicles. The communities of Bel-Ridge, Country Club Hills, Black Jack, Cool Valley, Normandy, Pine Lawn, Vinita Park, Jennings, Moline Acres, Pagedale, Flordell Hills, Beverly Hills, Wellston, Velda City, Northwoods, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Velda Village Hills and Berkeley got their start as suburbs built for returning white GIs and their families after World War II, and were once majority white communities. The housing stock in these communities is mostly from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. After the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe and other housing projects, Black people began moving into these communities and whites began fleeing in droves further west. Now, these communities are overwhelmingly black with double digit poverty rates, particularly among the youth. Spanish Lake, Hazelwood, Florissant, and Ferguson are more mixed both in terms of income and in terms of race, but struggle still exists in these communities, particularly centering around schools and police abuses. The police departments and city administrations of this section of the county are funded in major part by multi hundred dollar fines pressed out of working class Black people for such offenses as “manner of walking along roadway”, littering, and motor vehicle offenses. The police, prosecutors, judges and other officials in these communities do not live there, and function as an especially oppressive force. The contradiction between the people and these pigs has become especially sharp after the 2014 uprising, and the organizing in this area will be heavily targeted against police abuses. There is also the West Lake Landfill issue, where a landfill that stores nuclear waste from the 1940s is on fire and is responsible for countless cases of cancer and other diseases in Bridgeton, along with an extremely noxious odor.

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The movement that grew up around the police killing of Mike Brown, Jr. has been continuously engaged the in two-line struggle that has been the hallmark of the Black Liberation struggle for decades, with petit-bourgeois neoliberal elements such as DeRay McKesson pushing accommodationist lines, lunching with Hillary Clinton, pushing “buy black”, meaningless “peaceful protests”, holding exclusive events and fundraisers, running for office and seeking to channel the energy of the masses into their own rising political stars. These comprador elements and lines are rejected by the advanced masses, who see this nonsense for what it is, exploitation and abuse of the death of Mike Brown, Jr, Vonderrit Myers, and Kajieme Powell for the compradors’ own nefarious and self-serving ends and goals. This makes revolutionary mass organizing in Ferguson and the surrounding area all the more easier, because the revolutionary does not seek to sell something, get elected, or boost their own fortune at the expense of the masses, and the masses already know how to say “Fuck the Police” and fly the flag upside down. It’s the petit-bourgeois activists who roll off campuses who need to be reminded that it is right to rebel. Several mass leaders of integrity and revolutionary outlook, a sizable chunk of whom are non-men, have come forth from the masses of Saint Louis in the wake of the Ferguson uprising and are seeking to unite revolutionary forces to wage actual mass struggle with teeth, and these forces and contacts are to be linked up with in regards to building strong mass organizations and Maoist cadre to lead them in North County. Schools to be targeted and developed for Progressive Youth Organization branches are the high schools, particularly in the Ferguson-Florissant and Hazelwood School Districts and the Florissant Valley Community College in Ferguson, which has a sizable number if not a majority of black working class youth as students.

 

South County is the most homogeneous (white) working class area of Saint Louis County. The communities of Affton, Oakville, Mehlville, Lemay, Fenton, and Sunset Hills are going to be tough nuts to crack, they are influenced heavily by reactionary, white/American chauvinist, racist ideology, to the extent that neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan type groups feel comfortable enough to flyer there. Thus, organizing here is probably going to fall heavily on white comrades who are experienced in antifascist/antiracist work, and are also capable of not falling into petit-bourgeois/exasperated “hate the masses, fuck white people” type thinking that serves to alienate themselves and push them further into the enemy camp. Patient explanation and mass work is needed to effectively organize and build something here, and it should start with working class youth who can be won over to anti-capitalist thinking and perspective through education and struggle. This is going to be a source of much valuable experience and practice (which leads to theory) in terms of winning over and struggling with the white working class. Many will remain enemies and stick with enemy thought, but a sizable chunk must and will become friends and comrades through struggle and patient. STLCC Meramac is located here as well.

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East Saint Louis.

Finally, Illinois. East Saint Louis is basically the left-behind debris of deindustrialization, with the steelmills that made this area known as the Pittsburgh of the West and that drew people from the South to this area long gone, slammed shut and remaining as polluting husks. Buildings are in such states of disrepair in ESL that people have to often dodge falling bricks. East Saint Louis is a sad shell of itself, with chemical plants spewing poison into the air, possessed of the highest child asthma rate in the United States, and full of decaying lead and asbestos filled buildings. If you want to see the end game of capitalism, book yourself a Greyhound bus and catch the Metrolink over here. The city and its steadily declining population that sits now at 26,000 people is virtually all black and all poor. The struggle here is all around, the masses don’t have trash pickup, Monsanto and other toxic companies pollute their air and soil as they damn well please, the city government basically behaves in a fashion similar to that of Chicago, and violent crimes (murders, rapes, and robberies) from the violent and anti-people segments of the lumpenproletariat, organized into fratricidal gangs (dual powers) run by nascent and vicious lumpenbourgeoisie, are fairly high, as are burglaries and car thefts. Teachers at schools are frequently on strike, and the city is generally begging for organization and prime for struggle. Contacts and mass links in this area should be developed, deeper on the ground investigation should be conducted and cadre developed through struggle in this area will definitely be among the most advanced. If you come from and can develop, organize the masses, and wage vigorous struggle in East Saint Louis, you’re an asset to the revolution, the masses, the Communist movement, and probably should be listened to.

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In sum, my city is a complex maze, full of contradictions. We’re home to Boeing, the corporation responsible for the death of countless tens of thousands of people whose names we’ll probably never know. We’re home to Monsanto, whose wicked and nasty deeds can fill a book. We’re home to a smouldering landfill that threatens to set fire to 70 year old nuclear waste. Many people come here just to take pictures of the urban ruins. But, the people that live here, the masses, showed in 2014 and continue to show that they’re willing to make history and wage vigorous and to the bitter end struggle against that which exploits, oppresses, locks up, and even kills them. With the weapon of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist organization, theory, philosophy, and practice, we will storm the gates of heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Do With White People?

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.

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You really should have added some American history to your library.

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?

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Class War?

 

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.

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Making revolution?

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.

 

 

 

The Cultural Revolution: What Revolution Looked Like and Will Look Like

Two days ago, the bourgeois liberal/social democratic newspaper Guardian put out an article, well received by anti-communists of various types, including many “leftists” in the West, which repeats tired canards about the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which began in earnest on May 16, 1966, 50 years ago this Monday. The Guardian piece, titled “What mistake did we make?’ Victims of Cultural Revolution seek answers, 50 years on”, is an atrocious piece, calling the Cultural Revolution a “ruinous political movement” and copying accounts from people whose family members were struggled against and died as a result, one of whom stated “Nothing like this happened in 5,000 years of Chinese civilization…it can’t be allowed to happen again”. What shouldn’t be allowed to happen again, and why? Does this individual interviewed for this bourgeois hit piece not know that the lion’s share of China’s 5,000 year history, for the masses of Chinese people, was spent under indescribable pain and suffering in the slave, feudal, semi-feudal, and bureaucrat-capitalist system? The revolution that saw military victory in 1949 with the overthrow of the Kuomintang reactionaries and bureaucrat-capitalists under chief warlord Chiang Kai-Shek marked the essential end of 5,000 years of oppression and soul-crushing depredation for hundreds of millions of people! This thing that shouldn’t be allowed to happen again was, objectively, the most free stage of recorded human history in China from the perspective of the masses, if not the world.

Just when we began the counter-offensive against the wild attacks of the bourgeoisie, the authors of the outline raised the slogan: ‘everyone is equal before the truth’. This is a bourgeois slogan. Completely negating the class nature of truth, they use this slogan to protect the bourgeoisie and oppose the proletariat, oppose Marxism-Leninism, and oppose Mao Zedong’s thought. In the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between the truth of Marxism and the fallacies of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes, either the East wind prevails over the West wind or the West wind prevails over the East wind, and there is absolutely no such thing as equality. Can any equality be permitted on such basic questions as the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, the dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, the dictatorship of the proletariat in the superstructure, including all the various spheres of culture, and the continued efforts of the proletariat to weed out those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the communist party and who wave ‘red flags’ to oppose the red flag? For decades the old-line Social Democrats, and for over ten years the modern revisionists, have never allowed the proletariat equality with the bourgeoisie. They completely deny that the several thousand years of human history is a history of class struggle. They completely deny the class struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, the proletarian revolution against the bourgeoisie, and the dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. On the contrary, they are faithful lackeys of the bourgeoisie and imperialism. Together with the bourgeoisie and imperialism, they cling to the bourgeois ideology of oppression and exploitation of the proletariat and to the capitalist system, and they oppose Marxist-Leninist ideology and the socialist system. They are a bunch of counter-revolutionaries opposing the communist party and the people. Their struggle against us is one of life and death, and there is no question of equality. Therefore, our struggle against them, too, can be nothing but a life-and-death struggle, and our relation with them can in no way be one of equality. On the contrary, it is a relation of one class oppressing another, that is, the dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. There can be no other type of relation, such as a so called relation of equality, or of peaceful coexistence between exploiting and exploited classes, or of kindness or magnanimity.

So reads the famous May 16th Circular, which is generally considered to have marked the beginning of the mass Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The Group of Five, the group in charge of initiating the Cultural Revolution and giving it a mass character, instead tried to work solely within the small group and avoid mobilizing the masses, effectively sabotaging it and clearing the way for the strengthening of those who wished to take the capitalist road. In this letter, the representatives in practice and essence of the bourgeoisie and of the old ruling class were resolutely condemned and exposed by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and created a new Cultural Revolution Group, of which Comrade Jiang Qing was a prominent member, along with Yao Wenyuan and Zhang Chunqiao, who were eventually labeled the “Gang of Four”, along with Wang Hongwen, and railroaded and arrested in a revisionist coup in 1976. The May 16th document outlined the immense danger that the capitalist roaders and their lines posed to the socialist system and the masses of people, as they hankered after and would constantly and ceaselessly struggle to reclaim their position. Revolution is not a one time deal, where guns are fired, power is captured, and things are good for forever and a day. Classes continue to exist, thus, the class struggle continues under socialism. To believe that classes disappear after socialist transformation begins is metaphysics, idealism, and not consistent with reality. Communism is a classless society, the socialist period is a transition stage to this society. Moving towards communist relations and struggling against the restoration of capitalism through falling prey to revisionism is the job of the proletariat during the socialist period, which Mao predicted will probably last hundreds of years. Neglect of the class struggle and failure to ensure that proletarian politics is in command at all times results in capitalist restoration. This is a major point that modern revisionists, following in the footsteps of Khrushchev and Deng Xiaopeng, who uphold modern day state capitalist nightmares, such as China, Laos, Cuba, North Korea and the Soviet Union after the 1950s as socialist fail to, or stubbornly refuse to understand. This type of stale, vulgar dogma and metaphysics, calling simple state ownership of means of production “socialism”, without investigating the position of the masses and seeing whose politics really are in command, is a disservice to socialism and the masses of people who suffer from this revisionism, no matter how hard they try to explain it away or justify it. The class struggle continues after socialism, and if revolutionary proletarian politics are not put in command, the proletariat will lose state power to the bourgeoisie and the reactionaries, and the state capitalist system will be rigged up. This is what happened to the Soviet Union in the 1950s, the class struggle was neglected and subsequently the revisionists, led by Nikita Khrushchev, seized state power and the proletariat was defeated. The Cultural Revolution was made to prevent this happening in the People’s Republic of China, by mobilizing and empowering China’s hundreds of millions in the heroic task of combating Khrushchevite and Brezhnevite tendencies, lines, thoughts, and practices that undermined the socialist system and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Socialist revolution on the political and ideological fronts must take place to consolidate the revolution, and this must happen constantly, throughout the socialist era. Capitalists seek to restore themselves to power, and the proletariat must wage a more fierce, deep, and determined struggle to maintain, consolidate, and expand their hold on power.

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Anti-communists generally portray the Cultural Revolution as a time of chaos, when gangs of wild, rebellious youth roamed the streets and countryside wantonly and randomly beating up the aged, torturing their teachers, and starting fights, and when workers attacked their bosses and generally drove the country into panic, chaos, and fear. This belies their own bourgeois and petty-bourgeois class outlook. The Cultural Revolution was the highest stage of socialist advancement to date. A little over a week after the issuance of the May 16th letter, on May 25th, the first Dazibao, or “big character poster”, was put up at Peking University, criticizing university officials. The country was soon awash in these posters, which filled schools, offices, factories and city streets. Everyone criticized what they saw as wrong in society, without fear. Compare this to pre-liberation days when landlords and capitalists and scholar-officials stifled the voices of the masses with brutal violence! Compare this to the modern day United States, where people cast votes that mean absolutely nothing whatsoever and the voices and wishes of the people are generally ignored or met with repressive force when struggle escalates! Mass protests and demonstrations were held (the police did nothing, because they wouldn’t and couldn’t. The people held power here and were doing nothing wrong under the people’s dictatorship), where millions of people took part and denounced the reactionaries, capitalist-roaders, and all who would dare take away and write out of existence the people’s dictatorship. The whole revolutionary force of the Chinese people took part in the class struggle and said no to capitalism, with force. A proletarian class outlook will uphold the force of the masses to prevent the restoration of capitalism through revisionism and neglect of the class struggle. A proletarian class outlook upholds the Cultural Revolution!

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The fate of racists, chauvinists, and others who oppose the people  when the people rule.

“The masses of the workers, peasants, soldiers, revolutionary intellectuals and revolutionary cadres form the main force in this Cultural Revolution…through the media of big character posters and great debates, they argue things out, expose and criticize thoroughly, and launch resolute attacks on the hidden and open representatives of the bourgeoisie.” So say the 16 Points, a guide for the Cultural Revolution. This was applied to practice all throughout the country, in every factory, school, office and workplace. This revolutionized relations, brought millions of people into the direct management and running of the country and its affairs. The people spoke and wrote, and their words had teeth. Bureaucrats that loved being bureaucrats, sitting in their offices and not involving themselves with production or not engaging on an equal basis were resoundingly criticized and thoroughly struggled with until they rectified their behavior. This is what a revolution looks like, this is what democracy looks like, this is what defending the gains of one’s revolution looks like, this is what anti-capitalism looks like, and this is what rule by the people looks like. Workers, peasants, students, and other segments of the masses criticized and talked politics in newspaper articles, on their dazibaos, in the streets, and at work. People who made mistakes and had incorrect lines and practices were struggled with and eventually made to self-criticize for these mistakes. Workers, peasants, students, and their politics were in control. The Red Guards wouldn’t have allowed a Darren Wilson to roam the streets unchecked and free, and there wouldn’t be drug dealers, rapists, and other anti-people elements to live in their neighborhoods. Bombard the Headquarters meant that no counterrevolutionary, no reactionary, and no stubborn bureaucrat or bad element that stood in the way of this revolution was safe. Many Western “communists” in their snug book clubs that loathe, distrust, look down upon, and ultimately hate the masses and think that their particular dogma that was pulled out of thin air by people just like them, just in better clothes, call this “chaos”, but the masses call it revolution. What the smug and arrogant dogmato-sectarian type groups like the Spartacus League (gross) fail to realize, because they never go among the masses, listen to them, or apply the mass line, is that the masses of people the world over are the motive force of history, and have a immeasurably vast potential, ability, and initiative for grasping and carrying out the tasks of revolution. The masses of Chinese workers, peasants and soldiers made cultural revolution.The masses liberate themselves, and they do a damn good job at it, with no help from leftcom preaching or Trotskyite newspapers that yammer on and on about a dead man that nobody really cared much for when he was alive and how the individual that led the defense of Marxism-Leninism, led the war against fascism, and led the international communist movement was a really mean dude.

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A lot better than the bullshit we read at school. Actually teaches stuff you can use too!

The goal of the Cultural Revolution, in sum, was to struggle against and crush those who wished to take the capitalist road and destroy the socialist revolution, to struggle against bourgeois “experts” and “authorities” who lorded it over the masses, and transform culture, art, music, literature, and education on the people’s terms. Did innocent people end up unjustly struggled against and sometimes killed? Sure? Does that mean that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution isn’t a weapon in the hands of the proletariat in the struggle for communism? Only if the proletariat wants the restoration of capitalism, complete with suicide nets, bondage and servitude to foreign companies that have been allowed to exploit Chinese workers, and the Tienanmen Square type atrocities that have marked the Chinese state since the coming to power of the capitalist roader Deng Xiaoping, the end of the Cultural Revolution, and the arrest and railroading of Comrades Jiang Qing, Wang Hongwen, Yao Wenyuan, and Zhang Chunqiao. The sorry state of modern day China is confirmation of the need for Cultural Revolution and consistent and deep waging of the class struggle by the proletariat. Marxist-Leninist-Maoists uphold the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, begun 50 years ago this week, as the highest advance of the people’s forces in the struggle against the capitalists to date, and for good reason. The Cultural Revolution taught lessons and provided a great weapon that no amount of anti-communist, anti-people, and reactionary boo-hooing, fiction, forged figures, and sob stories can take away.

 

Black Like Gonzalo: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the Black Liberation Struggle in the United States

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The Black masses and their vanguard upholding and applying Maoism are a force to be reckoned with.

 

Of all the revolutionary theoreticians, philosophers, and fighters in the history of the Communist movement, none has had as tangible, direct, and deep an impact on the struggle of the Black nation in the United States for emancipation from the bonds of national and economic exploitation and oppression as Mao Zedong. This peasants’ son from the world’s periphery, the semi-colony of Britain, France, the United States, and Japan, along with the revolutionary masses of China, dared to struggle and dared to win against those imperialists and against what Malcolm X called “Uncle Tom Chinese”, or Kuomintang (KMT) reactionaries, led by chief warlord Chiang Kai-Shek (Jiang Jieshi) who would see the masses of Chinese people enslaved and ground between the mountains of feudalism and imperialism. The Chinese people, led by Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party, sent the Japanese imperialists packing, chased the Americans and other colonial vampires out of their country, and drove Chiang and his gang of bandits and reactionary enemies of the people to the little island of Taiwan. On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong climbed to the top of Tienanmen Square in Peking and announced, boldly, that “the Chinese people have stood up”. This alone was enough to make the black masses of the Americas and Africa, struggling for liberation from these same enemies themselves, pay close attention. The principle of deriving correct methods of work, correct ideas, and correct leadership from the masses, and relying on the masses in one’s particular area and adapting to particular conditions to build bases, gain the support of the masses, learn from the masses, and struggle for revolution and towards liberation was even more appealing to people who had been told that nothing good came from anything nonwhite their entire lives and to whom, thanks to the efforts of a myriad of revisionist, class reductionist, and white chauvinist if not outright white supremacist individuals and parties, Marxism often appeared as a dead and sterile thing exported lock, stock and barrel from Europe, and to be taken dogmatically and applied mechanically. Huey P. Newton, one of the founding members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the most advanced revolutionary formation dedicated to black national liberation to date, read Mao’s work heavily (along with Marx, Engels, Lenin, Guevara, and many others), and came to the conclusion that

“Mao and Fanon and Guevara all saw clearly that the people had been stripped of their birthright and their dignity, not by philosophy and mere words, but at gunpoint. They had suffered a holdup by gangsters, and rape; for them, the only way to win freedom was to meet force with force.”

Although not citizens of a semi feudal country like China pre-1949, the Black masses in the United States too are an exploited and oppressed people, an oppressed nation, defined by our roots in mass kidnap from Africa, brutalization and naked, raw exploitation in the slave society, subsequently forced into debt peonage and semi-feudal conditions  after the failure of the bourgeois democratic revolution (from the perspective of the masses of black enslaved people) that was Reconstruction, and racialized into the lowest segments of the proletariat after the Great Migration to the North. Currently, vast numbers of the black masses have found themselves semi or fully lumpenized (joining the ranks of the perpetually unemployed and criminal) in major part due to the export of manufacturing capital that formerly employed black workers to the Global South. In essence, we who are Black in the United States have been held up by the same gangsters that also pillaged and are still pillaging the masses of working people the world over, by force. The only thing that will root out and destroy this oppression and emancipate the masses of people the world over is to meet this oppressive force with people’s force, the world over, and to realize the universal correctness of political power being rooted in the ability to establish and wield force, people’s force to beat pig’s force. This Maoist principle was attractive to the Black revolutionaries of the 1960s, who had cut their teeth in the nonviolent Civil Rights Struggle and, through practice, learned the banality of a violently oppressed people applying nonviolence and appealing to the conscience of their enemies. Revolutionary people’s force needs revolutionary people’s theory, and that being applied the world over by the most oppressed and exploited masses of people is that of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

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People’s force beats pig force. A Maoist truth, a people’s truth.

The Revolutionary Action Movement was formed by Black members of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) in 1962. The black revolutionary leader of the Monroe, North Carolina, NAACP branch, R.F. Williams, who issued calls for Black people nationwide to arm themselves and be prepared to use weapons to defend themselves from white supremacist terror, had recently been forced into exile in Cuba by the fascistic tactics of the FBI and other government apparatus. The nascent RAM group initially was organized around studying Williams, discussing his work and his impact on the consciousness and practical struggle of the masses of Black people in the United States. RAM eventually began to develop links with people around the country, including Malcolm X, and also opened contact with R.F. Williams, who the group named International Chairman in Cuba. This group was a serious attempt, the first, to synthesize revolutionary Black nationalism in the vein of Malcolm X and Robert F. Williams with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, and forge links of solidarity with the liberation movements in colonized countries the world over. RAM also developed ties with veteran Communists, such as former CPUSA luminary Harry Haywood and Audley Moore, who helped develop, support, and educate the group’s cadre. The group’s 12 Point Program called for the development of Rifle Clubs, a national black student movement, propaganda, training centers and a national organization, and other things that essentially served to set it up as a sort of revolutionary vanguard for the Black nation in the United States. Essentially, the group’s leaders saw themselves as urban versions of the Chinese Red/People’s Liberation Army. Seeing is one thing, actually being is another. This group was rife with problems, issues and contradictions that served to alienate it from, instead of uniting it with, the masses of people on whom any revolution of the type that it planned on waging relied. The group had extremely poor gender practice, viewing making revolution as a “man’s job”, and the masses of women as auxiliaries, water-carriers, or in various support jobs. This male chauvinist line and behavior simply would not do for a vanguard force of the Black nation, where the liberation struggle that has been waged in various forms ever since the beginning of the slave society has been led in major part by women such as Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Nanny of Jamaica, and many others. For an organization claiming to be dedicated to struggling for the liberation of the Black nation in a vanguard role to wholesale neglect or artificially reduce the critical role of non-men and refuse to accept their leadership or critical role in making revolution is to, fundamentally, negate that organization’s place in the Black liberation struggle and certainly not entitle it to declare itself a “vanguard”, because non-men are the roots on which that liberation struggle is founded. Mao said that women hold up half the sky, in the Black nation, women hold up the sky and stop the ground from eroding away.

RAM also made critical strategic and tactical errors. The main focus of this group was on spectacular armed actions, confronting the government on an armed basis, and a generally heavily militaristic line. They famously declared that a people’s war could be won in 90 days, spent more time traveling around the country to various cities that had recently made insurrections, and generally put the gun in command of the party. Armed struggle, the highest form of struggle, is undoubtedly important and is the only way, in the final analysis, to win power for the people, but sole focus on the armed aspect of struggle while neglecting the masses’ day-to-day struggles is an adventurist and ultra-left recipe for defeat. For a people’s war to succeed, it must have base areas of support, where the people’s political power is developing and is in command. Police can’t come in base areas, and the army thinks twice. The people’s army relies on the masses and swims among them like fish swim through water, it does not stand apart and advance from its own desires. RAM took no concrete, lasting, and deep steps to develop revolutionary bases and people’s power, learn from and build among the masses, reach out to and forge serious and deep ties with other oppressed nationalities in the United States, and thus could not begin the process of making revolution and building power for the people. It failed to successfully apply the mass line, conduct day-to-day work, meet the needs of the people, or lead struggle on a mass basis. It antagonized, attacked and alienated as opposed to conducting principled struggle, there was no unity-criticism-unity, and it treated vacillating elements like the enemy. Cadre began getting arrested, breaking discipline by using drugs and alcohol excessively, picking fights with each other, and the organization had fallen apart by 1969, the first victim of J.Edgar Hoover’s Gestapo-type COINTELPRO machinations. Yet, its legacy stands as the first project that sought to lend the Black liberation struggle a scientific socialist and dialectical materialist character, even if it failed, this failure holds lessons for us today. We shouldn’t judge our past too harshly, we should judge ourselves harshly for failing to learn the lessons our predecessors laid out for us and in many cases paid for in blood or prison. Black communist revolutionaries that fail to build firm links with and rely on the masses, that fail to apply the mass line, that fail to put the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist weapon of proletarian feminist theory and practice in command, that put guns and spectacular actions in command instead of proletarian politics, and who fail to realize the universality of protracted struggle will not be successful in carrying out the tasks of the proletarian revolution. Failure to effectively translate theory into practice, derive new theory from practice, and unite with and rely on the broad masses of the people is the ultimate failure and this failure is a fate worse than death. Mao teaches:

To link oneself with the masses, one must act in accordance with the needs and wishes of the masses. All work done for the masses must start from their needs and not from the desire of any individual, however well-intentioned. It often happens that objectively the masses need a certain change, but subjectively they are not yet conscious of the need, not yet willing or determined to make the change. In such cases, we should wait patiently. We should not make the change until, through our work, most of the masses have become conscious of the need and are willing and determined to carry it out. Otherwise we shall isolate ourselves from the masses. Unless they are conscious and willing, any kind of work that requires their participation will turn out to be a mere formality and will fail…. There are two principles here: one is the actual needs of the masses rather than what we fancy they need, and the other is the wishes of the masses, who must make up their own minds instead of our making up their minds for them. – The United Front in Cultural Work

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Failure to rely on the broad masses of people and apply the mass line is a fate worse than death.

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded on October 15, 1966, in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. Seale was a former member of RAM, and Newton was a working class college student. Both took note of the consistent crimes and depredations committed against the black masses of Oakland, and had also been deeply studying the work of revolutionary theoreticians and leaders. Both were familiar with the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Fanon, and Mao, and were ready for practice. They together developed a 10 point program calling for an end to the robbery of the Black community by capitalists, shelter fit for human beings, the release of all black prisoners from government custody, and other demands centered from the analysis of the needs and wishes of the black masses. They also, like RAM, followed R.F. Williams’ line of armed self defense. The BPP sold copies of Quotations from Chairman Mao at local campuses to raise funds for the purchase of shotguns. This is significant, as the books sold extremely well. In May of 1966, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the highest advance of socialism to date, began in China, as the masses of people were mobilized to combat the revisionism and restoration of capitalism that had already claimed as its prize the Soviet Union. Seeing young Red Guards denouncing counterrevolutionaries, destroying vestiges of the old order, and firmly struggling against the restoration of capitalism in the country that their parents and grandparents had shed blood to liberate struck a fire in the hearts of students and youth in the United States and Europe, and the rest of the 1960s would be years of youth rebellion against capitalism, against imperialism, and against old things, old ideas, old practices and old customs across both the West and East. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense epitomized and united revolutionary black youth across the country, and had a mass base in black communities as diverse as Omaha, New York City, Washington, DC., East Saint Louis, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Kansas City. Unlike RAM, which operated in a secretive and clandestine fashion, the people saw and loved the Black Panther Party. The party began Serve the People programs, offering free food, healthcare, transportation to visit loved ones who were in prison, and clothing to the black masses in black districts all across the country. The Party also acquired prestige by militantly struggling against the police, conducting patrols of neighborhoods, educating black people about their constitutional rights, and generally irritating and frustrating the pigs’ designs to continue exploiting and harassing the black communities of this prisonhouse of nations. The Panthers also introduced millions of Black people to revolutionary theory and practice, and the need for a revolution. The power of the Party was so great that it even reached overseas to the Vietnam theatre of the American war against national liberation movements, with more black soldiers embracing the Panthers than the pig war. Many returned home and joined. The prestige and ability of the Panthers to move the masses was so great that pig chief J.Edgar Hoover declared them the greatest internal security threat to the United States.

The BPP had enough internal contradictions of its own. From its onset, the Party was oriented towards and organized around the lumpenproletariat, or the class of society that is comprised of pimps, drug dealers, thieves, and other criminals. This class in relation to the proletariat, the revolutionary class, is a parasitic one, one that robs, kills, and steals from the proletariat. Yet, Newton was keen on organizing the “brothers on the block”, or the people that hung around in pool rooms, bars, and other such places. The lumpenproletariat, under proletarian leadership, can in many cases be revolutionized. The Chinese Red Army was itself able to win over gangs of bandits and others of that sort. But, the lumpenproletariat itself is not a revolutionary class, and mistakes on this question lead to fatal issues.This lumpen line contributed to and fostered terribly bad gender practice within the party. If you’re organizing and admitting into your party pimps and others who had habits of abusing and seeing women as objects, subordinate to and inferior to men, and make no serious attempt to struggle with and genuinely rectify them, and make these pig men into new men by seriously employing the method of criticism-self criticism, you will have major and fatal problems.

Our aim in exposing errors and criticizing shortcomings, like that of a doctor curing a sickness, is solely to save the patient and not to doctor him to death. A person with appendicitis is saved when the surgeon removes his appendix. So long as a person who has made mistakes does not hide his sickness for fear of treatment or persist in his mistakes until he is beyond cure, so long as he honestly and sincerely wishes to be cured and to mend his ways, we should welcome him and cure his sickness so that he can become a good comrade. We can never succeed if we just let ourselves go and lash out at him. In treating an ideological or a political malady, one must never be rough and rash but must adopt the approach of “curing the sickness to save the patient”, which is the only correct and effective method.- Rectify the Party’s Style of Work

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Panther women held up the sky.

The BPP had a lot of sick patients who didn’t want to and wouldn’t be saved. This was a major insult to the Panther women who built and maintained the Serve the People programs and who made up a near majority of the party’s membership. There were fierce struggles over the role of women in the BPP, and the ball was dropped on several occasions. Perhaps if the Party didn’t make a strategy of organizing men from the lumpenproletariat first and foremost, and instead had developed mass organizations of working women? The BPP didn’t just orient towards the lumpen, however, it saw them as a vanguard, or the most advanced segment of the Black nation! The working class was seen as docile and weak. This mistake resulted in the admission of all sorts of people who had committed serious crimes against the people, such as the admitted and practically unrepentant serial rapist and abuser of women, Eldridge Cleaver. Cleaver had been admitted to the party, pushed the lumpen line heavily, and eventually gathered around himself a clique that pushed an ultraleftist, militaristic guerilla warfare line, which called the black masses into the streets to pick up guns and wage a war, one that probably wouldn’t have turned out in their favor. On the other hand, Huey Newton’s faction, centered in Oakland, placed primacy on “survival pending revolution”, after his release from prison, which was a euphemism for social democracy. Put down the gun, pick up the bag of food and take it across the street, and that’s all. Cleaver ended up in exile, with Newton threatening to have him thrown in jail, eventually returning to the United States and becoming a full on reactionary, complete with Mormonism and Republican Party affiliation. Newton presided over a withering and dying party, ripped to shreds primarily by internal conflicts and the mercilessly violent harassment of the FBI and other pig agencies, which hunted and executed Panther with especial gusto after the election of Richard Nixon to the Presidency in 1968. As a matter of fact, California police celebrated Nixon’s victory by shooting out the windows of a Black Panther Party office. Newton was murdered in 1989, 6 years after the Party disbanded itself after essentially becoming a left wing political alternative, with Elaine Brown fostering a close relationship with the California Democratic Party. Almost 20 years earlier, Newton was in Peking having dinner with Jiang Qing and conferring with Premier Zhou Enlai.

It’s 2016. The fascist Donald Trump, he who calls down beatings and violence on individuals who attend his rallies simply because they are Black or Brown or Muslim, who has expressed his willingness to use nuclear weapons on Europe (and Chicago), is a serious contender for President and has captured the Republican nomination. The country is polarizing sharply and rapidly, and many millions of desperate youth and working class people have lost their fear of the word “socialism”. How has the communist movement advanced since the 1960s? The universal ideology, theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the highest stage of revolutionary ideology, theory and practice, was developed in the course of People’s War in Peru in the 1980s and early 1990s, and is currently being applied to carry out revolution in the Philippines and India. There are millions of communists around the world making revolution and constructing a new world for themselves after centuries of feudal domination, colonialism, and capitalist exploitation in the worst way. These communists are Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, and they ain’t European. In the United States, during the upheavals and struggles of the 1960s, tens of thousands of Black revolutionaries studied the Chinese experience, learned from the experience of that non-European country that had thrown off the beasts of capital, empire, and country-selling compradors, and made it their own struggle. We are now at a time when many black workers, students, and increasingly broad sections of the masses in general are seriously considering revolution again. Sick of America, sick of capitalism and all the trimmings, and ready for the higher stage of development. The mistakes of the last period, the abuse and maltreatment of revolutionary women, the adventurist gun and war worship lines that end people up like the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground, the bogging down in social democratic programs that give the Baptist Church a run for its money, the inability to apply the mass line and instead make up ideas in our own heads and try to foist them on the masses to our detriment and ultimate failure, impatience, ignorance of the basic concepts of protracted warfare, trying to rush a revolution and rushing into our graves or into prisons, and the treatment of potential friends among the masses as real enemies, are lessons for us in what not to do. This isn’t 1965. We are extremely fortunate that we have the benefit of hindsight to observe what our predecessors did wrong, what they did right, and the subsequent experiences of People’s Wars being fought and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism being applied all around the world to the benefit of millions. We can put proletarian feminism in command and beat down misogynoir, making a million Harriet Tubmans in the process. We can build base areas in the hoods and ghettoes, and make the Panthers’ wildest dreams come true. We have internet now, after all. We can build new institutions that the masses of people trust and use in lieu of pig institutions, built on their basis, not on that of the slavemaster and the landlord. We don’t need the police, we need us. We can make Darren Wilsons feel afraid to come in our neighborhoods, not the other way around. We can build strong solidarity and unity with other oppressed nationalities and progressive segments of the white proletariat instead of trying to struggle alone. We can build international links with experienced and veteran comrades and the masses the world over, learning from and teaching each other. It can be our time, if we’ll seize the time and learn the lessons of the past, and applying the universal theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to guide us to a revolutionary future.

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Apply Maoism! Proletarians of the World, Unite!