This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
I N T E R N E T ' S M A O I S T M O N T H L Y
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THE MAOIST INTERNATIONALIST MOVEMENT
MIM Notes No. 55 AUGUST 1991
MIM Notes speaks to and from the viewpoint of the
world's oppressed majority, and against the
imperialist-patriarchy. Pick it up and wield it in
the service of the people. support it, struggle
with it and write for it.
IN THIS ISSUE:
1. SUPREME COURT LEGISLATES REPRESSION
2. 'NATURAL' DISASTERS?
3. IMMIGRANTS TO U.S. FACE VIOLENCE
5. PLO BOMBED OUT OF SOUTHERN LEBANON
6. REVIEW: STRAIGHT OUT OF BROOKLYN
7. LAST LIBERAL RESIGNS
8. PATRIOT PARTY, USA
9. CAPITALISM 'BEAUTIFIES' WOMEN
10. U.S. ARMS CREATE CONFLICT
11. BUSH AIDS EL SALVADOR
12. GUATEMALANS PROTEST FORCED DISAPPEARANCES
13. 'SOCIALIST' PAPER MISSES THE POINT
14. SOUTH AFRICAN REGIME'S STAB AT 'DISMANTLING' APARTHEID
15. U.S. PLANNED WWII CHEMICAL ATTACK ON JAPAN
16. WHO PROFITS FROM THE DRUG TRADE?
17. UNDER LOCK & KEY: NEWS FROM PRISONS AND PRISONERS
18. AFTER THE UPRISINGS: MARYLAND & NEW YORK
19. BOOKS: DIALOGUE WITH NORTH KOREA: REPORT ON A SEMINAR ON
"TENSION REDUCTION IN KOREA"
20. POLICE SEIZE TOMPKINS SQUARE PARK
The Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) is a
revolutionary communist party that upholds
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, comprising the collection
of existing or emerging Maoist internationalist
parties in the English-speaking imperialist
countries and their English-speaking internal
semi-colonies, as well as the existing or emerging
Spanish-speaking Maoist internationalist parties
of Aztlan, Puerto Rico and other territories of
the U.S. Empire. MIM Notes is the newspaper of
MIM. Notas Rojas is the newspaper of the Spanish-
speaking parties or emerging parties of MIM.
MIM is an internationalist organization that works
from the vantage point of the Third World
proletariat; thus, its members are not Amerikans,
but world citizens.
MIM struggles to end the oppression of all groups
over other groups: classes, genders, nations. MIM
knows this is only possible by building public
opinion to seize power through armed struggle.
Revolution is a reality for North America as the
military becomes over-extended in the government's
attempts to maintain world hegemony.
MIM differs from other communist parties on three
main questions: (1) MIM holds that after the
proletariat seizes power in socialist revolution,
the potential exists for capitalist restoration
under the leadership of a new bourgeoisie within
the communist party itself. In the case of the
USSR, the bourgeoisie seized power after the death
of Stalin in 1953; in China, it was after Mao's
death and the overthrow of the "Gang of Four" in
1976. (2) MIM upholds the Chinese Cultural
Revolution as the farthest advance of communism in
human history. (3) MIM believes the North American
white-working-class is primarily a non-
revolutionary worker-elite at this time; thus, it
is not the principal vehicle to advance Maoism in
MIM accepts people as members who agree on these
basic principles and accept democratic centralism,
the system of majority rule, on other questions of
"The theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin is
universally applicable. We should regard it not as
dogma, but as a guide to action. Studying it is
not merely a matter of learning terms and phrases,
but of learning Marxism-Leninism as the science of
-- Mao Zedong, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 208
* * *
SUPREME COURT LEGISLATES REPRESSION
by MC45 and MC12
In recent months, the U.S. Supreme Court has handed down decisions
which should help convince people that the law is not about
protecting "rights" in this country. Denying abortion to poor and
Third World women is common in Amerikan policy. Denying poor and
Third World people "equal protection" under Amerikan law is
assumed. The Amerikan Constitution was written to uphold the
principles on which Amerika was founded: colonialism, settlerism,
slavery, patriarchy, white national superiority and the power of
the few over the many. Yet when the government starts messing with
white Amerika's traditional "rights," white Amerika wakes up.
Tools of repression
Even though its victims already know how far the Amerikan
government will go to defend itself and its class, the open,
deliberate form of its latest moves is important. The law has
credibility with white Amerika, which thinks the legal system is
about protecting freedom. As more repressive policies are accepted
as law, the people who believe in the system change their idea of
justice to fit the new laws.
Here is a brief look at what some of these recent decisions mean.
Constitutionality: protecting wealth
A few months ago, Louisiana passed a law restricting abortion in
all cases but those of rape, and then only those rape cases in
which the violence to the pregnant woman is physically provable.
Along with similar (although slightly less severe) laws passed in
other states, the Louisiana ruling will soon be tested before the
Supreme Court, which will judge its constitutionality.(1) The
Amerikan feminist movement is now waging a campaign against the
threat to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision (which supposedly assured
women the right to a legal abortion).
The new Louisiana law does begin to chip away at Roe v. Wade. That
decision worshipped privacy as the ultimate right: if a woman was
free to do whatever she wanted in private, she would have ultimate
control over her body. The new law says that to get an abortion a
woman must first come forward to prove that she has been the
victim of rape or incest, and then get permission for an abortion.
The standard used in Roe v. Wade never said women had the right to
control their own health. It said they could choose--in private--
to make the decision regarding whether to have an abortion. There
was never a guarantee that they would have economic access to
abortion, something that rich women will have in spite of the
Louisiana set-back--by leaving the state or even the country for a
safe and legal abortion. (See MIM Notes 54 for discussion of what
privacy means for poor women under capitalism.) The new Louisiana
law leaves women with even less privacy than they have at home, by
dragging them into the male courtroom to prove they didn't ask to
Sentencing from the grave
In another recent case, the Court decided that anecdotal
"evidence" will be introduced into the sentencing stage of murder
trials. In other words, once a person has been convicted of
murder, juries and judges will be provided with information about
the victim's life and the toll of the murder on the victim's
family, to help decide on an appropriate sentence.(4)
The ruling provides for a judgment on the value of the victim's
life. As far as MIM knows, there will be no testimony about the
effect of the death penalty on the "criminal's" family.
Judges decide who is 'rapeable'
Judges hearing rape cases will now use their own discretion to
determine whether or not victims' sexual histories should be
admissible as evidence during trial. The court said blocking the
use of such evidence could hurt the rapist's defense.(2)
As far as the court is concerned, a person's sexual history can be
justification for rape--or even a reason not to call the act rape.
This gives courts the chance to deliver sentences based on social
stereotypes about women. Race and class will be the two major
factors in these decisions. The legal system protects a pure image
of white women's sexuality for white men, and protects white men's
access to poor and Third World women's sexuality, through
fabricated sexual mystique. Raping white women will be considered
rape, while raping poor and Third World women will be considered
just another day in their hyperactive sex lives, as far as white
Amerika is concerned.
On May 30, the Court gave police officers the right to search
individual containers (purses, suitcases, briefcases, etc.) they
find in cars without first obtaining court search warrants. The
guidelines set out for such searches state that if a cop has
"probable cause to believe that drugs or other illegal items" are
in a container, they are free to take a look. Cops can find
"probable cause" to inspect a container without having any reason
to check out the rest of the car. Evidence from these searches is
now admissible in court.(3)
As of June 27, people can be sentenced to mandatory life terms in
prison without possibility for parole for nonviolent first
offenses. Crimes that fall under this category include possession
of one and one-half pounds of cocaine. The judgment was made over
arguments about inflicting cruel and unusual punishment with a
disproportionate sentence. The decision said the damage which one
and one-half pounds of cocaine could inflict consistently warrants
life in prison.(8)
In its attempt to legislate objective conditions which require
specific punishments, the decision refers to the standard of cruel
and unusual punishment set out in the Constitution. "Cruel and
unusual" is held as an objective standard even as the court
demonstrates its power to decide what falls under that category.
We must conclude, then, that cruel and unusual, like rape, like a
death sentence, is determined by the "value" of the person in
question to the ruling class. One such person who carried one and
one-half pounds of cocaine one time is in prison for life under
the law in question.
Excluding the victims
Prosecutors may use peremptory challenges--a lawyer's right to
dismiss a certain number of potential jurors--to exclude bilingual
people (English-Spanish) from juries, on the grounds that they
might opt to adhere to the testimony they hear given in Spanish,
rather than to court-approved English translations. In this case,
the prosecutor who defended his right to exclude jurors on this
basis said a lawyer would have no reason to discriminate against
Latinos in trying a case with witnesses who were Spanish-
But the ruling is really a way for prosecutors to keep Latinos off
the juries for trials of other Latinos.
Individuality and citizenship
The bourgeoisie likes to talk about the Constitution as if it
protects equality. The liberal bourgeoisie worships the Great
Amerikan Tradition of individual rights and ignores the fact that
the Constitution was written to maintain the individual rights of
Euro-Amerikan men to hold power over all other groups of people.
The ruling class and its allies set the standard for what is good
and just; those things which run counter to their interests are
defined as crime or criminal. Crime is assessed by its
relationship to the survival of existing power structures--
anything that threatens them is severely punished.
Constitutionality means protecting existing hierarchies. Laws are
constructed to serve that defense.
People shouldn't confuse "constitutionality" with "justice." They
were never intended to go together.
Hours before delivering his letter of resignation, Justice
Thurgood Marshall pointed out in his farewell dissent that "Power,
not reason, is the new currency of this Court's decision
making."(4) But power has always been the currency of the Supreme
Court. The only difference between the power exercised 20 years
ago and the power of today is its expressed, but not actual,
When the Court was more liberal, illusions of civil rights ran
rampant. The Court tried to keep people believing they were living
in freedom. While many Amerikans have bought into the Amerikan
dream, the oppressed masses know it's a farce. The way to free
Amerika will be to dismantle it, to raise the importance of the
rights of the people far above those of the wealthy who prosper at
the masses' expense.
1. New York Times 6/20/91, p. A7.
2. NYT 5/21/91, p. A7.
3. Detroit Free Press 5/31/91, p. 1.
4. NYT 6/28/91, p. A11.
5. DFP 5/29/91, p. 1.
6. NYT 6/11/91, p. A1.
7. NYT 6/22/91, p. A1.
8. NYT 6/28/91, p. A12.
* * *
To believe the popular image, Third World countries are an unlucky
bunch. They happen to be over-populated, with underdeveloped
infrastructures and industry, poor government management and a
host of other "natural" deficiencies.
This is why "natural disasters" take such a terrible toll on human
life in these countries, according to proponents of this image.
Even outbreaks of disease are often attributed to inherent
deficiencies of the people and lands of the Third World.
All of this leaves out the role of social organization in these
areas, and their relations with foreign powers. This willful
omission serves to make people believe that by bad luck alone some
people are stuck in unstable and dangerous areas of the earth
while others can thank fate for their wealth.
Torrential rains have produced flooding in eastern and southern
provinces of China. By mid-July 978 were reported dead.(1) Heavy
rains are certain to cause some damage, but current conditions
under the capitalist regime in China contribute to the rains'
Millions of peasants are unemployed in the countryside, following
the consolidation of land under capitalist control and the
weighting of the economy in favor of urban workers. As a result,
many live in absolute poverty along the banks of the Yangtze river
(now flooded) or move to cities which are not prepared to provide
them with basic services.(2)
The official death toll from the first two weeks of eruptions from
Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines was 268.(3) The eruptions
coincided with negotiations over the future of U.S. military bases
in that country, which highlight the current political-economic
The Amerikan military used the disaster as an excuse to bargain
for a smaller fee for the use of the Subic Bay Naval Base, and for
pulling out altogether from Clark Air Force Base.
Eighty thousand Filipinos work at the bases, and many more are
dependent on the base economies, including thousands of
prostitutes. While the Philippines asked for more money because of
the destruction in the rest of the country, the United States
cited millions in damage to its two bases there as reason why it
can't pay more.(4)
While Filipinos tried to put their lives back together (and the
volcano may continue erupting for years) the U.S. military used
the occasion to ditch Clark, which was no longer useful anyway:
"In an age of satellites and long-range jets," said a military
official, "the United States can get along without Clark."(17)
As a token relief effort, the U.S. military passed out left-over
meal rations from the war against Iraq to peasant refugees from
the crisis--a nice gesture, but not relevant to the structural
dependency which cripples the Filipino economy.(5)
A New York Times writer expressed the typical First World
viewpoint on natural disasters in the case of the cyclone which
hit Bangladesh last May: "there seems no end in sight to the
numbing cycle of disasters in this impoverished land..."(6)
The unofficial death toll from the cyclone was 500,000. Bangladesh
asked for $1.4 billion in disaster relief aid(7) as a cholera
epidemic promptly set in after the storm.(8)
"Americans are showing signs of disaster fatigue," wrote the Times
reporter, who quoted an Amerikan "housewife" as saying, "I get
upset watching the babies dying. Who the hell wants to see that? I
switch the channel."
The Amerikan media is not interested in the structural backdrop to
the crises; instead it fosters irrational pity which doesn't help
anyone--but does help reinforce the Amerikan sense of privilege
and relief at being here, not there.
Most of those who died in Bangladesh lived in huts made of mud and
straw in the countryside--without TVs or radios to hear the storm
warnings, and nowhere to flee to even if they knew to anticipate
the storm. Others died in overcrowded cities without public
International "aid" to Bangladesh works directly against its
people. The aid seeks to draw the country into the world market,
where the odds are stacked against it by imperialist economic
powers. For example, the world price of jute, the country's number
one export, dropped by 68% in constant U.S. dollars from 1972 to
1986.(10) With farming often unprofitable, millions are moving
into the cities, where many died during the cyclone.(11)
To "help" Bangladesh, imperialist countries offer loans for
development of export industries. From 1980 to 1986, the
percentage of exports devoted to servicing these debts increased
from 8% to 25%.(12) Despite all the aid and loans, Bangladesh has
one of the lowest Gross Domestic Products in the world: $170 per
capita in 1988.(13)
Meanwhile in the United States, bureaucrats complained because the
budget for international band-aid relief was expected to swell to
a piddling $120 million this year.(14)
In Peru, more than 100,000 cases of cholera have been diagnosed
this year; more than 1,000 people have died. The World Health
Organization (WHO) estimates than an investment of just $60
million in the country's sanitary infrastructure could have
completely prevented the outbreak. Cholera is an entirely
preventable and treatable disease. WHO lays the blame for the
epidemic on the economic adjustment program which the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded of Peru.(15)
The IMF loans Peru money to facilitate the development of foreign
enterprises in the country. As the foreign companies ship profits
and cheap goods back to Amerika, Europe or Japan, the IMF demands
payments on the loans which bankrupt the government and cripple
And yet the Peruvian government jumped head first into the IMF
program. Given the choice between rule by foreign enterprises
willing to protect the government and rule by the people from
below, the Peruvian ruling classes had little choice but to side
with imperialism. As the guerillas of the Peruvian Communist
Party--also known as Sendero Luminoso or the Shining Path--extend
their control over the country, the government has become even
more dependent on imperialism. And now the cholera epidemic, which
affects those areas with the highest concentration of support for
the revolution, looks less and less "natural."
Imperialist aid a farce
Third World countries have had enough "aid" from imperialism. In
the 1980s, the number of countries classified by the United
Nations as "least developed" jumped from 31 to 42.(16) These
countries are being underdeveloped, drained of labor and
resources, and left to die at the hands of "nature" or under the
iron fists of their governments.
The difference between First World "success" and Third World
"failure" is not the result of natural disasters, climate, natural
resources or just plain "racial" inferiority. These myths hide the
human potential for changing our living environment, and serve the
interests of the people who want to convince us that class
divisions are natural and inherent instead of products of society
which can be made or broken.
1. New York Times 7/11/91, p. A3.
2. NYT 7/4/91, p. A4. (See MIM Notes 54 for a book review on the
resurgence of capitalism in the Chinese countryside.)
3. Wall Street Journal 6/21/91, p. A1.
4. NYT 7/11/91, p. A4.
5. NYT 6/29/91, p. A3.
6. NYT 5/12/91, p. A9.
7. WSJ 5/8/91, p. A1.
8. Associated Press in Ann Arbor News 5/11/91, p. A3.
9. NYT 5/4/91, p. A1.
10. World Resources 1988-89, World Resources Institute, p. 240.
11. Ibid., p. 37
12. Ibid., p. 239.
13. 1991 Information Please Almanac.
14. Washington Post in Ann Arbor News 5/4/91, p. A1.
15. Third World Resurgence 6/91, p. 7.
16. Ibid., 6/91, p. 10.
17. NYT 7/16/91, p. A7.
* * *
IMMIGRANTS TO U.S. FACE VIOLENCE
Centro Obrero/La Mujer Obrera, an organization of immigrant women
garment workers in El Paso, Texas, ended one of a series of hunger
strikes in mid-July. Centro Obrero aimed to better conditions for
the 15,000 women who work in the garment industry on the Mexico-
Texas border. The workers are primarily Spanish-speaking
immigrants, forced to endure inhumane conditions at sub-minimum
wages--wages which they often never receive.(1)
Because the status of many immigrant workers is "illegal" or
tenuously "amnestied," U.S. employers are able to exploit, control
and terrorize them with virtual impunity. The workers' status is
defined by "national borders," and immigration laws. In order to
maintain a climate of fear, the laws are selectively enforced; and
when they are, the enforcement can be very violent.
This latest hunger strike ended because of workers' illnesses, not
because of "success." Disparate, isolated strikes rarely
accomplish much, particularly in an area with a vast market of
excess exploitable labor.
MIM does not recognize current international borders as
legitimate. The boundaries of the United States were established
by Euro-Amerikan colonists and imperialists who killed and
relocated previous residents in order to steal their land.
Amerika keeps oppressed nationalities--including immigrants who
cross its treacherous southern border--silenced, overworked and
underpaid. Like the officers in the "war on drugs," the
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and its Border Patrol
terrorize "undocumented" workers--and anyone who might look like
one--all for the protection and profit of U.S. capitalists.
Since the 19th Century, laws regulating immigration have catered
to the needs of the U.S. labor market. In times of labor shortage,
particularly during wartime, Mexican agricultural workers were
allowed to enter and work temporarily, but when demand for their
labor decreased, they were deported.(2)
Starvation, disease and early death are common in the Third World,
as many workers cannot survive on their wages. The majority of
people in the United States enjoy a luxurious way of life because
the products consumed in this country are largely produced in the
Third World. Production is much less expensive than it is here
because the labor is "plentiful" and corrupt governments-- even if
they wanted to help their workers--are in a very poor bargaining
position with regard to multi-national corporations. If they or
the workers become too demanding, the firms can and will leave for
another country. Third World proletarians will suffer greatly just
to cross the borders into the United States, where even the
lowest-paying jobs and worst conditions still provide them the
promise of subsistence.
Increase in immigration
Since economic conditions have steadily worsened in Mexico and
other Third World nations, immigration to the United States has
Today, legal and illegal immigrants make up at least 10% of the
U.S. labor force.(3) More and more Latin Amerikan families, mostly
Mexican, are coming to work and stay in U.S. urban areas. As many
as 4.78 million persons were illegally living in the United States
in 1990, up from an estimated 3.26 million in 1980.(4)
The increasing demand in the United States for cheap immigrant
labor--most often in industrial and service jobs--is the primary
reason for the shift from seasonal agricultural migration to
permanent illegal residence.(5)
The new Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and the U.S. will
allow U.S. companies to move to Mexico where environmental
standards are relaxed and cheap labor abounds. This could cause a
decrease in demand for cheap labor in the U.S. as these companies
shift to the more profitable locations across the border. The Free
Trade Agreement will make it easier to exploit Mexican workers,
and could result in tighter border control.
Euro-Amerikan fear of immigrants
Inundated with racist U.S. culture, many white Amerikans resent
and fear immigrants, especially non-Europeans, believing they
steal "Amerikan" jobs and lower wages. In fact, the white working
class itself benefits from the labor of low-wage "illegal"
immigrants; the high wages and decent working conditions of
Amerika's labor aristocracy depend on profit from the exploitation
of these immigrants.
The Euro-Amerikan "fear" of immigrants is not a material fear--no
material goods or privileges will be lost in the long run because
of undocumented immigrant labor. Immigrant labor actually
increases the standard of living of Euro-Amerikans.
Immigrants do not steal white Amerika's jobs. They are forced to
concentrate in industries--like the restaurant and hotel
businesses--with already low-paying jobs, often rejected by U.S.
citizens. A recent INS experiment in San Diego County showed that
when 2,154 illegal aliens were removed from their jobs, the
California State Human Resources Agency had almost no success in
filling the jobs with U.S. citizens.(6)
But Euro-Amerikan workers and capitalists alike might reasonably
fear the great revolutionary potential of these immigrant workers.
The actions and attitudes of the U.S. government, white workers,
and capitalists toward immigrants from the Third World is
consistent with MIM's analysis of the labor aristocracy in the
United States. MIM agrees with the argument advanced in J. Sakai's
book, Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat: "Amerika is so
decadent that it has no proletariat of its own, but must exist
parasitically on the colonial proletariat of oppressed nations and
INS and Border Patrol
The INS pretends to enforce the laws of borders and immigration.
The Border Patrol, an arm of the INS, has about 3,800 agents,
mostly along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. The Patrol arrests
over one million people annually--more than any other police force
in the world.(8) Yet the INS itself estimates that 300,000 to
500,000 people cross the border each year without being caught.(9)
The role of the Border Patrol, then, is to regulate the number of
immigrants who enter the United States, and to keep all immigrants
in constant fear of the INS, deportation, detention and brutality.
Violent upsurge on the border
Increasing violence on the border has made crossing into the
United States much more dangerous for immigrants. The Immigration
Law Enforcement Monitoring Project has documented hundreds of
cases of violence in the past four years against both citizens and
noncitizens by Border Patrol and other immigration enforcement
officers, but no federal agent has ever been charged with criminal
negligence in these incidents.(10)
Local resident white Amerikans readily participate in the violence
on the border, where crossing immigrants are easy prey. Gangs of
white teenagers who say they are "just goofing off," attack and
torment immigrants.(11) In one case, out of countless incidents
last year, a young Mexican worker was found handcuffed to a post
in Carlsbad, CA with a sign hung around his neck, reading: "No mas
aqu’" (No more here).(12)
Hundreds of bodies of undocumented people are found along the
border every year. Local police and Border Patrol agents are
responsible for some of the murders, and some immigrants die
trying to cross the freeways under the cover of darkness.(13)
Imperialists need violence and oppression in order to sustain
their power and privileges. But the power of the people to rise up
against oppression is infinitely stronger, because it is the power
of the majority.
1. Press statements from and interview with La Mujer Obrera/Centro
Obrero, El Paso, Texas. 5/13/91 and 7/15/91.
2. Dollars and Sense 5/89, p. 19.
3. Wall Street Journal 7/15/91, p. 1.
4. LA Times 12/15/90, p. A26.
5. NYT 1/21/91, p. A14.
6. The Public Interest, Winter 1991, p. 96.
7. Sakai, J. Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat.
Chicago: Morningstar Press. 1983. p. 9.
8. LA Times 12/7/90, p. A16.
9. LA Times 10/26/90.
10. The Nation 11/12/90, p. 557-560.
11. NYT 4/9/91, p. A9.
12. LA Times 2/5/91, p. A3-24.
13. Harper's Magazine 8/90, p. 68-78.
* * *
shelves MIM Notes
I am writing you on behalf of Alternative Bookstore, a bilingual
anti-authoritarian/ anarchist bookstore in MontrŽal. We at
Alternatives have been receiving and distributing MIM Notes for at
least a half a year now. At a recent meeting, however, it was
decided to stop distributing MIM Notes.
The decision, made after months of debate and with some
reservations, was a part of a more general decision to stop
stocking any official organs of party, pre-party or secret party
I should point out, though, that MIM Notes was often used as an
example as to why such publications should be banned. It was felt
that your support for Sendero Luminoso [The Communist Party of
Peru], despite reports of anti-gay executions and homophobic
statements by Guzman [presidente Gonzalo], was
counterrevolutionary. It was also felt that your retort to an
anti-Stalinist critic was unfair and biased. Inside and outside of
the bookstore collective, though, it was certainly your line on
sexuality, feminism and your "discussion" of anarcho-feminism
which caused the most amusement and derision. Suffice it to say
that it was not felt that your views were particularly
intelligent, or that your method of dealing with criticisms (the
responses to a list of hacked up and facile "questions") was fair.
Of course, the above is merely an outline of why people in the
collective did not want to stock your publication. There is also
of course the underlining difference in philosophy and chosen
strategy and tactics between Maoists and anarchists, but it would
be wrong to ascribe our decision to anarchist sectarianism. Our
shelves are full of Marxist-Leninist books, some even by Maoists.
We carry many magazines firmly rooted in the Marxist-Leninist
tradition. MIM Notes was just beyond defending for some of us.
At the same time, you should realize that some members of the
bookstore collective would have rather kept on distributing MIM
Notes, but were not willing to paralyze the group process by
insisting on such an unpopular point. Amongst the points that MIM
Notes was appreciated for by some collective members, and by
Leftists and anarchists outside of the collective, was its prison
coverage and its non-sectarian review of other Left publications.
MC5 responds: We were excited to receive your letter on political
issues concerning MIM Notes. We regret that it did not go further
into detail and that apparently MIM has been excluded from an
interesting dialogue about MIM. We suspect that some of you would
consider your own act authoritarian in other contexts.
Furthermore, if criticizing another group behind its back for the
purpose of breaking an alliance with it is not sectarian, we don't
know what is.
More important still are your questions of stance. MIM Notes has
repeatedly criticized the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), USA
for its position against gay and lesbian sexual orientations. That
position of ours came out in the first issue of MIM Theory and
then was repeated and developed in MIM Notes/MIM Theory 12, 13,
MIM Notes 35 and several times in the letters pages. We have also
sent an open letter on the issue to the Revolutionary
Internationalist Movement (RIM), which the Peru Maoists are
apparently members of. You will notice that we are not signatories
of RIM for this and other reasons.
We have received no response from RIM, which at least one
anarchist near its foundations believes to be a mere RCP publicity
operation. The upshot is, we would very much like your source of
information on anti-gay executions and what the Peruvian Communist
Party (PCP) said about them. We read a mention of anti-gay/lesbian
rules in Time magazine, but Time also said the PCP were drug
traffickers. Without having had a chance to ask the Peru Maoists
about it, we are not about to repeat such a criticism, although
previous issues of MIM Notes publicly asked what information was
out there about drug trafficking. In any case, our practice has
already demonstrated that we are willing to do a lot to demarcate
on the gay/lesbian issue. We are not willing to believe just
anything the bourgeois media says about Comrade Gonzalo however,
so if you have evidence, we'd like to see it or get sources.
As for your discussion of "fairness" in treatment of our political
opponents, we find your criticism hypocritical. We try to contact
our opponents and give them a chance to say something as
demonstrated by our dealings with the RCP and the PCP, not to
mention our frequent reviews and citations. We struggled with the
RCP on the issue of sexual orientation for quite some time to make
sure we knew their position and then we criticized them publicly
and more importantly we criticized them through action.
Your collective criticizes us through actions without so much as
giving us a chance to address your concerns. Furthermore, we give
pages and pages of space in our newspaper to discuss anarchist
newspapers and our critics, including two recent anarchist
feminists and an anti-Stalinist. We wonder what your contribution
is to the distribution of Maoist work.
Now for a general point about so-called anti-authoritarianism and
anarchism. The issue between Marxism and anarchism was interesting
when Engels wrote about it. Since that time--and this is true of
Trotskyism and "back to M-L" trends as well--the ideology of
anarchism has become a sad joke perpetuated by intellectuals and
In practice, the only people doing anything this century to reach
anarchism are people in Marxist-Leninist parties--in China,
Albania, the Soviet Union etc. Where have the partisans of "anti-
authoritarianism and anarchism" brought the world? Even if you can
manage to blame Stalin for Spain, that still leaves the rest of
the world--where anarchism and anti-authoritarianism have failed
utterly compared with Marxism-Leninism and then Maoism. Anarchism
as practiced has become another tool of the status quo, usually
for anti-communist propaganda.
The real anarchists this century have been the Third World
revolutionaries, mostly inspired by Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.
All the criticisms of Mao and Stalin in the world cannot cover up
the bourgeois nature of pseudo-anarchism in practice. That is why
MIM is composed partly of former Trotskyists and anarchists. A
simple reading of history leaves few alternatives for starting
places to come up with a strategy of reaching classless society.
This is not to address those anarchists who should really just be
called civil libertarians because they defend private property in
theory, not just practice, the way the "communist" anarchists do.
People who know they want anarchism, the highest stage of
communism--no state, no classes, no nations, no socially
constructed genders and no other oppressions--these people are
found in MIM.
Also, while your store is closed to us, our paper's pages remain
open to you. We are quite confident in our views and take our work
very seriously. We'd like the chance to deal with something more
substantial from you.
EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION?
I have enjoyed your anti-imperialist study packet and am enclosing
a donation to continue receiving essays.
I would like your input on a few topics. Is it truly possible (I
hope it is!) to have a societal system based on giving/sharing/
generosity rather than selfishness/selfcenteredness/selfinterest
given that true altruism is not a trait that would be
evolutionarily selected for?
Since I'm a biologist/medical student my biology mind is often at
odds with my idealist mind. It is an evolutionary fact that
sacrificing one's "fitness" to improve another's would detract
from that animal's ability to contribute to the subsequent gene
pool and therefore that trait would not be fostered in future
This has left me oftentimes with the discouraging idea that man
will never change until the physical environment changes its
pattern of selection (i.e. that Marxism/anarchism/communalist
societies will never be a reality).
--A friend on the west coast
MC17 responds: The question about "social evolution" and the
practicality of communism is common. The author says that the
desire for a communist society is idealist. Marxism, on the
contrary, takes this desire to be entirely materialist. Though the
fight for communism is a difficult battle, a materialist analysis
of history and political economy reveals the practical basis and
inevitability of this struggle.
MIM recommends The Fundamentals of Political Economy ($15). It is
a text that was used in China during the Cultural Revolution and
it is a good overview of political economy and the inevitability
Communism is ultimately in the individual material interests of
the vast majority of the people in this world. Production under
socialism and communism is much more efficient and will ultimately
produce more for the people. Because of the twisted and degenerate
capitalist culture, it is easy to argue that even those with
wealth and power will be better off under communism.
But there will still be those few in power now who have vast
amounts of wealth who will materially lose out and will not see
any potential benefits for themselves from communism. This is why
we need a revolution. Communism will not come about peacefully.
But the rest of the population recognizes that they can only do
better from a revolution. Life is a great lesson in revolutionary
politics for the proletariat, which sees that capitalism will
always need a vast number of poor people to live off of. These
people see the need for change and are readily educated to the
logic of Marxism.
The question of the practicality of revolution is generally asked
by intellectuals who don't have this material basis for an
understanding of the need for revolution. Intellectuals do need
this education in the practicality of communism, and once they
understand and accept its practicality, they must commit class
suicide in order to become communists. We are asking that those in
the bourgeoisie who agree with the idea of equality sacrifice
their "fitness" (wealth and power) in order to improve the overall
fitness of society. But for the proletariat--most people in the
world--the sacrifice is much smaller than the potential personal
A note on the concept of fitness and genetics: The author uses the
idea of fitness interchangeably with genetics. This implies that
those in power are somehow genetically superior to those without
power. They would certainly have you think that, and it was the
bourgeoisie that invented the whole concept of Social Darwinism,
in order to justify their position on the top. There is no basis
in genetics to substantiate the breakdown of people into different
"races," much less inferior and superior races and peoples. The
bourgeoisie and the proletariat are not genetically different.
There is no evidence that the desire for a communist world is in
any way based in genetics. It is based solely in material
conditions. Because of this we don't have to worry whether these
people will pass on their desire for revolution to their children:
the material conditions of the people are not going to change
under capitalism and neither will the need for revolution.
Capitalism creates revolutionaries and so it brings about it's own
demise by creating the conditions for communist revolution.
My experiences with democratic centralism have been quite varied.
The thing that probably has always turned me off toward it is the
dictatorial control that I have experienced at the hands of
We are talking clearly abuse of power, where the "party" leaders
participated or acted with disregard when reports were brought
back by lower level cadres. This probably is not an American
phenomenon either. The rationale for such a method of doing things
is probably necessary in politics and party work.
There never seemed to be a way to stand up and right the wrongs or
the abusers of power. Perhaps I was the culprit for not being more
MC17 responds: The reasons for the need and use of democratic
centralism are developed more elaborately in MIM Notes 51.
The problem of abuse of power in a party is definitely something
to be wary of. But rather than being a problem of democratic
centralism, it is a problem that is addressed by democratic
centralist policies. Informal structures inevitably lend
themselves to small internal groups, controlling the power and
politics of a given organization in our society. (For more about
this read the essay "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" by Joreen
(send $1 for a copy).) Informal structures are readily apparent in
single-issue groups. Democratic centralism is a structure that
allows people to have a voice, working to oppose abuse of power.
MIM believes that the centralization of power to the exclusion of
the participation of lower level comrades is an abuse of the
concept of democratic centralism. MIM does its best to create
policies consistent with its Maoist philosophy in opposition to
The desire to abuse individual power certainly can exist within
any party and must be opposed. Within the policy of democratic
centralism MIM sets up structures that allow comrades of the
general party power greater than that which can be exercised by
any one member or small group of members. If the element of
democracy is supported by the structures set up by the party,
centralism reveals itself to be the most effective policy for
* * *
PLO BOMBED OUT OF SOUTHERN LEBANON
Factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were
recently forced out of their long-held military bases in southern
Lebanon. This was one of the U.S. goals for the war against Iraq--
to generate divisions among Middle East Arab countries on the
Palestine question. In an effort to regain military control, the
Lebanese government demanded that the Palestinian forces disarm
and abandon their bases in the south of Lebanon on July 4.(1)
Lebanese government troops completed their takeover of Palestinian
bases near Sidon on July 5. The PLO then told the Lebanese
government it would give up its medium and heavy range weapons,
including the katyusha rockets which it has used to fire into
northern Israel.(2) The PLO has maintained a military presence in
Lebanon for 20 years.(1)
Syria dominates Lebanon
On June 3, foreign ministers from Lebanon and Syria ratified the
"Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination" between the
two countries.(3) The treaty, signed by Lebanese President Elias
Hrawi and President Hafez al-Asad of Syria on May 22, "pledges the
two parties to equal mutual obligations involving coordination in
political, economic, defense, security and even social
Syria's foreign minister tried to promote his government's
benevolent image by saying that this treaty marked the first
formal acknowledgement by Syria of Lebanon's independence.(4)
Having conquered Lebanon militarily, Syria's recognition of the
smaller nation's independence was nothing but a diplomatic show.
The treaty further stated that Lebanon "must not allow itself to
become a corridor or springboard for any force, state or
organization hostile to Syria."(4)
On June 7, the Lebanese government appointed 40 new members of
parliament, including 13 cabinet members, all heavily oriented
toward Syria.(3) This is the same direction the formerly 30-man
parliament has taken since its establishment in December 1990.
Before the addition of the new appointees, the parliament was
approximately 90% pro-Syrian.(4)
Syria, a new ally of the United States after President Asad's
cooperation in the so-called Arab coalition against Iraq, has full
U.S. endorsement in its occupation of Lebanon. Syria's army had
been in Lebanon long before the U.S.-Iraq war, and the United
States' sudden recognition of its "legitimacy" appears to be the
Amerikan reward to Syria for fighting Iraq.
The PLO and Syria
The Syria-Lebanon treaty coincided with Syria's effort to meet
with PLO delegates for the first time in nine years. Syria and the
PLO at the time were united in their opposition to U.S. Secretary
of State James Baker's plan to hold a "regional peace conference."
They called instead for an international peace conference under
the supervision of the United Nations.(4)
But now, in a direct slap in the face to PLO Chairperson Yasser
Arafat, Syria is agreeing to the Middle East peace conference. So
far, President Asad has maintained his position that Palestinians
have the right to choose their representatives to the conference.
Israel has repeatedly stated it will not negotiate with any
Palestinians who are directly or indirectly connected to the
The PLO was relying on Syria to be its channel into the Gulf oil
powers, states which have cut off aid to the Palestinians
following their supposed support for Saddam Hussein during the
war.(4) Top PLO officials have still not changed their expression
of the popular Palestinian position during the war build-up.
Palestinians were outraged at the U.S. destruction of Iraq and the
war's effects in Palestine: a stronger Israel and a more oppressed
Asad's interest in cozying up to the PLO lies in resolving the
contradiction between the sell-out nature of Syria's government
and the country's wide-spread, popular support for the Palestinian
cause. MIM knows of no evidence to suggest that popular support
for Palestinian self-determination is waning anywhere in the Arab
world, despite efforts by the United States to isolate the PLO at
the government level.
According to Muhammad Hallaj, director of the Palestine Research
and Educational Center in Washington, D.C., many Arabs, including
Palestinians, still "view the Arab state system within the
framework of a deeply felt sense of Arab nationhood."(6) Asad's
attempts to walk both sides of the fence with regard to Palestine
and the PLO reflect an understanding of the power of this
Where Israel stands
Israel responded to the Palestinian withdrawal from southern
Lebanon by affirming its commitment to the status quo. Since its
invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the Israeli government has maintained
a "security zone"--a strip of land in southern Lebanon which
Israel claims is a necessary buffer against Palestinian attacks.
But as the PLO is disarming and relocating, this claim is even
more illegitimate than it was in the past.
The Syrian-controlled Lebanese government is seeking assistance
from the United States to pressure Israel to withdraw from
southern Lebanon. But Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy insisted
that with any "foreign presence in Lebanon ... Israel has to do
everything to defend its citizens and towns."(5) What wouldn't be
a foreign presence in Lebanon, by Israeli standards? Lebanon is
itself a foreign presence, from the perspective of the
expansionist Israeli government.
The United States has accomplished most of its war goals, which
included fracturing inter-Arab alliances and consolidating its
strongest client states in the region, Egypt and Israel. Amerika
is also diversifying its holdings in the region, securing support
from Syria and the Gulf oil powers. The United States is
attempting to appear consistent in its simultaneous support for
Israel and Syria, while Syria must try to maintain some legitimacy
with the PLO.
Pan-Arabism is an ideology that recognizes Arabs as having "a
shared heritage, common historic memories, and perceived shared
destiny."(6) MIM knows of no active support for Pan-Arabism on the
governmental level, but the two-faced actions of many Arab
governments show that the ideology is still relevant among the
people. In today's context, the realization of Pan-Arabism would
objectively further world revolution by uniting Arab countries--
which are exploited by the First World for their labor and
MIM recognizes that this would not represent the final defeat of
imperialism. The United States will continue its efforts to mute
independent Arab powers or anti-imperialist regional alliances by
buying off corrupt governments and sinking underdeveloped
countries further into the cycle of dependency.
By sabotaging Arab support for the PLO, the United States is able
to pacify Israel, but by simultaneously building up other powers
in the region, the United States can afford to decrease Israel's
importance in its future plans. No matter how far the governments
of Syria, Lebanon and other U.S. allies go in selling out their
people, popular support in the region will be for the
Palestinians, and unequivocally against Israel.
MIM supports all struggles against U.S. imperialism.
1. New York Times 7/5/91 p. 3.
2. New York Times 7/6/91. p. 3.
3. Middle East International 6/14/91. p. 11-12.
4. Middle East International 5/31/91. pp. 3-4, 11-12.
5. New York Times 7/8/91. p. 3.
6. Journal of Palestine Studies. Spring 1991, p. 43.
7. National Public Radio "All Things Considered" 7/15/91.
* * *
REVIEW: STRAIGHT OUT OF BROOKLYN
Straight out of Brooklyn is 19-year-old Matty Rich's first feature
film. It is a piece of life in the Red Hook projects of Brooklyn,
with much of the movie based on Rich's own experiences growing up
there. Simply put, the plot is about a young man who lives with
his sister and parents in a small apartment in the projects. His
father is an alcoholic who abuses his wife, the young man's
mother. The movie shows the young man's life as he tries to get
out of the projects--by any means necessary--which ultimately
means he and his friends rob a dope dealer for his cash.
Although both parents work, they are still living in the projects,
still very poor. The movie periodically shows the father getting
drunk and talking about the crimes of the white man. He hates the
fact that whites have been on top for centuries. The father has
lost his dreams because of racist settler oppression, and his
anger at the oppressors flares throughout the movie.
While looking at the skyrises where the rich folks live, the son
remarks, "There is no wrong way out [of the projects, of poverty].
White people got out of here by stepping on the Black man."
Straight out of Brooklyn clearly demonstrates an understanding of
how racism not only brutalizes people physically, but mentally as
well. Oppressed people are robbed of every source of power,
including the power to control their own lives. Anger at the
violent nature of this oppression is then unfortunately turned
This internalized anger is clearly seen in the father whose
alcoholism is a form of self-abuse. Whenever he is on a drinking
binge he beats his wife. To Rich's credit, the film does not try
to defend this kind of behavior. Domestic violence is not
eroticized, nor is it made to seem as a legitimate way to "take
out your aggression." But it is seen in its larger context.
The mother explains and excuses her husband's violence against her
by focusing on the oppression he faces. By doing this she buys
into the idea that men should be primary caretakers, and that the
oppression they face somehow excuses their need to brutalize
women, since women should be subservient anyway. Obviously this
does not wash. But it is clear from the movie's tone that it is
not supposed to wash. Brutal oppression and the sense that there
is no escape from that oppression, enforces a cycle of violence.
Unfortunately, Straight out of Brooklyn does not offer any
suggestions. But it is a powerful and profound examination of how
the oppression of the Black nation in Amerika takes its toll on
the family, on youth, and on the nation as a whole.
* * *
LAST LIBERAL RESIGNS
Thurgood Marshall, the first and only Black Justice on the U.S.
Supreme Court--and one of the last staunch liberal hold-outs--
delivered his letter of resignation to President Bush on June 27.
With that letter went the dreams of Amerikan liberals, who had
been waiting for a "rights revolution" through the Supreme Court.
According to the New York Times eulogizing, "Justice Marshall's
best and most passionate opinions were typically those written in
dissent from the majority."
Marshall began his civil rights crusade when he became a lawyer,
as counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People (NAACP). His earliest and best-known work was in
making segregation illegal--as in the Brown vs. Board of Education
(Topeka, Kan.) case, which he won in front of the Supreme Court in
1954. The court approved Marshall's argument unanimously, ruling
that keeping white and Black schoolchildren in separate schools
would keep the quality of their educations unequal, because of the
way schools were zoned. Schools in Black areas were worse because
the Black nation as a whole was much poorer.
Brown vs. Board of Education led to busing programs--sending
children outside the districts where they lived--in an attempt to
integrate classrooms. Now, 35 years after Black people won their
first courtroom victory to get their children into white
classrooms, the Black nation is still poor, and Black children are
In his 24 years on the Supreme Court, Marshall helped to bend
Amerikan law, making it seem potentially fair. But "fairness" for
anyone but the wealthy white nation and its allies runs counter to
Amerika itself, and will only be established through the violent
overthrow of the U.S. empire, courts, statutes, and ideology. So
while the liberals mourn their broken dreams, it's time for the
rest of us to get busy.
Notes: New York Times 6/28/91, p. A10.
* * *
PATRIOT PARTY, USA
Based upon "the democratic and revolutionary heritage of the
United States," the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA) launched the
preparation for its 25th National Convention to be held this
December in Cleveland, Ohio.
In the May 25 edition of the People's Weekly World (the paper with
the red, white and blue cover), CPUSA issued a call to the
convention, urging "labor and all victims of discrimination and
Big Business" to "seek empowerment by running for office,
organizing, registering and voting."
The party claims to be "guided by the scientific and humanistic
outlook of Marxism-Leninism." It also urges its supporters to call
Congress every week, and calls for "strengthened ideological and
political solidarity with the USSR..."
Is there a contradiction here? For those prepared to defend
imperialism in the name of socialism, to uphold electoral reform
in the name of revolution, apparently there isn't.
* * *
CAPITALISM 'BEAUTIFIES' WOMEN
Western medicine is helping Chinese capitalism to expand the
influence of already-strong Western beauty standards. Each day in
China, 100 women have operations to make their eyes rounder.
Approximately 50 people, mostly women, have a silicon strip
inserted to make their noses higher and bigger. Smaller numbers of
women also have operations to expand their chins, tuck their
stomachs and enlarge their breasts.
MIM has long reported that such programs were developing and
undermining advances in women's rights made during the Chinese
revolution. The current revisionist regime allows the exploitation
of women through prostitution, the selling of brides and female
infanticide--all of which have returned in China since Mao's death
These beauty standards, made possible through cosmetic surgery,
constitute another mechanism to enforce class privilege and
subordinate Chinese women to an image of "Western as beautiful."
A recent article concludes: "The standard for beauty seems to be
less defined for men, perhaps partly because many women say that
in choosing boyfriends or husbands they are more concerned with a
man's job and earning potential than with his appearance."
Notes: NYT wire service in Detroit Free Press, 6/90.
* * *
U.S. ARMS CREATE CONFLICT
The United States, as the world's leading exporter of
sophisticated military technology, is contributing substantially
to arms proliferation, according to a study released on June 20 by
the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). OTA mentioned that
these U.S. exports might increase military conflict among weapons
buyers and interfere with plans to reduce the size and cost of
military forces needed to protect U.S. interests.
"We are the big Kahuna," said Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) at an OTA
news conference. He went on to say that the United States has "not
only been technologically the most innovative, but we have
entrepreneurially ... been the most aggressive" in exporting
Notes: Washington Post 6/21/91.
* * *
BUSH AIDS EL SALVADOR
Last January, the Bush Administration decided to release up to
half of the pledged $42.4 million in military aid to El Salvador.
Congress froze this money (half of the Bush Administration's
requested military aid) last year and stipulated that Bush could
release the aid if he thought the Salvadoran Farabundo Marti
National Liberation Front (FMLN) rebels were not sincere in
Bush decided to release the aid in January after the FMLN shot
down a U.S. helicopter, but held up the money, saying he would
await the outcome of the peace talks. The Bush Administration is
now arguing that the FMLN's possession of SA-16 anti-aircraft
missiles gives it an unfair advantage over the Salvadoran
Notes: New York Times 6/27/91 p.3.
* * *
GUATEMALANS PROTEST FORCED DISAPPEARANCES
On June 21, 15,000 people marched through Guatemala City to
protest forced disappearances. Guatemala has the highest rate of
disappearances in Latin America. The demonstration, organized by
popular and labor groups, marked the day 11 years ago when 27
labor leaders were kidnapped from a meeting by security forces and
never heard from again.
Notes: Nicaragua Solidarity Network of New York Weekly News Update
6/30/91 from CERIGUA 6/16-22/91.
* * *
'SOCIALIST' PAPER MISSES THE POINT
In June, "Socialist Worker," the paper of the International
Socialist Organization, examined the new trade agreement between
Amerika, Canada and Mexico and urged its adoption: "Since growth
in the Mexican economy would involve imports of manufactured
goods, which now come mainly from the U.S., a free trade agreement
might create manufacturing jobs in the U.S." (1)
Growth? With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Notes: Socialist Worker 6/91, p. 5.
* * *
SOUTH AFRICAN REGIME'S STAB AT 'DISMANTLING' APARTHEID
Sir Robin Renwick is leaving his post as British ambassador of
Occupied Azania [South Africa]. Sir Robin "The Twisted" has no
fear that Black Azanians, composing some 80% of the population,
will smash the apartheid/capitalist state, now that it has
reformed itself through the collaborative efforts of Nelson
Mandela and F.W. de Klerk.
Sir Twisted attributes South Africa's problems to internal public
relations: "Because apartheid had skewed South Africa's economy,
it lacked credibility for millions of blacks." Robin added, "I do
frankly worry much more about the attitude of the white communists
than I do about the black leaders ... because quite a few of the
white communists have learned nothing and forgotten nothing and
really believe that all these disasters in Eastern Europe were
caused by pilot error, that there was nothing wrong with the
design of the plane. Well, people who believe that are capable of
destroying a few more economies," he said.
This brings up an interesting question. Do imperialists really
fear revisionism? In an interview before his departure, Sir Robin
offered, "To roll back the tide of political decay and poverty in
South Africa," he said, "required not just multi-party democracy
but also a free market economy that offered the black majority
participation through affirmative action."
This conjures up a spectacle of "majorities" applying for jobs
based on quotas, and corporations with a "token majority" on the
Board. What about schools being forced to teach "Majority Studies"
and theoretical preferences being given to "majority-owned"
businesses? Melting pots for "majorities?" Is this just a perverse
trick to affirm through more state terror that the rule of the
white minority will remain in action?
Affirmative action in South Africa would undermine the basis for
discrimination suits, to say the least, since the majority of
prisoners in South African hellholes will still be composed of
"majorities." Bourgeois legality is incapable of adjudicating
justice since it can only serve the ruling minority. Death to
apartheid in all its forms and long live the great majority!
Notes: New York Times 7/15/91, p. 6.
* * *
U.S. PLANNED WWII CHEMICAL ATTACK ON JAPAN
Recently discovered documents from the U.S. Army's Chemical
Warfare Service show that the Army planned chemical attacks on
Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama and nearly two dozen other Japanese cities.
The documents expected that the attacks "might easily kill 5
million people and injure many more."
The attack planned in the documents, authored June 1945, never
came to bear after U.S. nuclear bombings in August 1945 of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed nearly 200,000 people. These
attacks, and the plans to murder more than 5 million people, show
that the Amerikan empire is willing to commit great acts of
genocide to keep itself in power. They also demonstrate that
imperialism will not be defeated in a head-on attack, but in the
peacemeal method of a people's war, the first part of
which is building public opinion for Maoism and communism.
Notes: AP, Oakland Press 7/7/91, p. A-8.
* * *
WHO PROFITS FROM THE DRUG TRADE?
Today, the U.S. Congress continually debates different ways to
sanction and punish Third World countries that produce drugs.
Movies and television bombard us with false images of the
neighborhood drug kingpin, usually a Black or Latino man adorned
with gold chains and expensive cars. But who are the real
profiteers in this distorted scenario?
The $500 billion international drug industry starts in the Third
World, where peasants grow illegal crops as a means of survival.
The drug trade sequence often ends in Amerikan inner-cities, where
the industry is destroying oppressed nationalities who use and
deal drugs: cocaine, opium (heroin), marijuana and others. In the
middle of this oppressive sequence--making it all possible--are
imperialists, Third World drug capitalists, and government
officials who are gaining superprofits from the drug trade.
The Third World and superprofits
Most goods made for imperialist nations are produced in the Third
World, where labor is cheaper and unions are brutally squelched by
the government and the police. Most workers in the First World are
paid consumers--less and less involved in actual production--who
are paid more than the value of their labor.
In the Third World, many workers are paid less than they need to
survive, and they are expected to supplement their incomes by
other means, or die. Lenin called the profits made off oppressed
colonial labor "superprofits," saying that they are "obtained over
and above the profits which capitalists squeeze out of the workers
of their 'home' country."(12) First World imperialism shares some
of these superprofits with its home-country workers.
Drugs are produced in much the same way as other goods in the
Third World. All of the major drug-producing nations are in the
Third World, where peasants in countries like Peru and Colombia
depend on growing and harvesting illicit coca leaf plants. In
Peru, 300,000 acres of land are planted in coca and 200,000
peasants are employed in its cultivations. Peru has a population
of 22 million.(1)
Peru, Colombia and Bolivia together produce 80% of the world's
cocaine. Since 1985, coca production has increased 43%.(5)
According to the U.S. State Department, "Peru remains the world's
leading producer of coca with an estimated 121,300 hectares of
licit and illicit cultivation. The Upper Huallaga Valley (UHV) is
the major coca-growing area, with an estimated 79,000 hectares or
65 percent of Peru's coca cultivation."(2)
Peruvian Indians, who live mainly in the UHV, are the most
oppressed people in the country; many of them are members of the
Communist Party of Peru (PCP)--known in the press as Sendero
Luminoso or the Shining Path. The UHV is the main base area for
the PCP--the largest and most successful Maoist party in the world
Seventy percent of world opium production occurs in Southeast
Asia's "Golden Triangle"--Burma, Laos and Thailand.(3) In Burma,
the world's largest producer of opium, the yield increased to
2,250 metric tons in 1990, up about 90% from 1,230 metric tons in
1989.(2) Since 1985, opium production has increased 187% in the
The production of heroin, an opium derivative, is predicted to
increase in the next 10 years because its many trade routes make
the drug difficult to intercept. Most cocaine, on the other hand,
is processed in and distributed from Colombia.(5)
Drug money pays debts
The same Third World countries which host drug production also
face heavy debts to imperialist nations. As long as drugs remain
highly profitable and imperialist nations dump debts on the Third
World, drug production in the Third World will also exist because
it raises money to pay those debts.
From 1980 to 1985, Third World debt grew from $500 billion to more
than $800 billion, and today it has reached one trillion
dollars.(3) In the South Amerikan countries, the underground drug
revenue is the largest source of national income, hence a major
method of debt payment. This contradiction cannot be resolved
without substantial disruptions to the international economy.
Hard currency from drug sales is often pumped directly into the
national treasury. In Peru, for instance, "blind windows" are a
key element of this national debt-payment system.(6) This means
that hard currency from drug sales is deposited into banks as
"protection money," extorted by local officials to protect small-
and medium-scale drug traffickers.
Imperialism and Drugs
Beyond a few billionaires in Colombia and in Southeast Asia, First
World capitalists benefit the most from the international drug
trade. They are involved in money laundering, which has become a
lucrative business for white professionals. Money laundering is
the process of filtering "dirty" money through non-existent
corporations or other untraceable entities. The money launderers
include government officials like former Rep. Robert Hanahan (R-
Ill.), a former Kansas state attorney general, and U.S. companies
According to Robert Stankey, a former Treasury Department analyst,
banks in southern Florida generated a cash surplus of some $6.4
billion in 1988, up from $3.3 billion in 1978.(7) Most of this
cash comes to Florida as payment for drugs. Banks in Florida, New
York, California and elsewhere profit tremendously by accepting
hard currency that comes from payment for drugs.
U.S. companies also reap profits from the drug industry by making
95% of the ether and acetic anhydride, chemicals which are used to
process cocaine and heroin, respectively. Since the mid-1980s,
U.S. exports of these chemicals tripled, as they were sent to the
drug-producing nations in South Amerika.(7)
Government officials not only profit and get bribed from drug
money and money laundering, but they also use drug money to push
their covert political agendas. As is now widely known, drug
profits paid for arms for the contras in Nicaragua, after Congress
banned any overt aid to the contras.
As early as 1974, former General Manuel Antonio Noriega in Panama
was on the CIA payroll, and from that time until he was ousted
during the 1989 Panama invasion, Noriega used Panamanian lands for
cocaine transshipment points, with CIA backing. Noriega and the
CIA laundered drug money to banks across the world, transferring
the money so often that it was almost impossible to track its
The Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), an
international bank based in Luxembourg, admitted recently that it
had laundered millions of dollars for Noriega.(8) The BCCI has
controlled numerous banks, including First American Bankshares,
the largest bank in Washington D.C., collaborating with bank
executives to use the banks as fronts for money laundering. The
CIA also uses the BCCI to finance its covert operations around the
Clark M. Clifford, former Presidential adviser and Secretary of
Defense, is the chairperson of First American, but at the same
time his law firm represents both First American and the
Luxembourg bank. Clifford's law partner, Robert A. Altman, is also
a director of First American.(10) These close connections make it
probable that millions of dollars have been transferred to First
American and elsewhere for bribery and secret financing here in
In the First World, banks, CIA, government officials and a host of
other white professionals make a killing from the drug trade. In
contrast, the street-level dealer in Amerika makes an average of
about $24,000 a year, amidst all the violence and terror which
goes with the territory.(11) At the end of the line, Black and
Latino people in the cities who buy and use drugs are dying, while
at the start of the drug trade sequence, the Third World peasant
makes only a few dollars a day, barely enough for food and
1. New York Times 11/25/90.
2. U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotic
Matters, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report--Main
Report: 3/1/91, p. 235.
3. The Guardian 10/11/89, p. 7.
4. Wall Street Journal 1/30/90, p. 15.
5. NYT 3/2/90, p. 2.
6. Christian Science Monitor 11/15/89, p. 19.
7. The Guardian 11/15/89, p. 9.
8. NYT 7/11/91.
9. NYT 7/13/91, p. C6.
10. NYT 7/10/91, p. 1.
11. The Economist 7/14/90, p. 29.
12. V.I. Lenin. Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.
International Publishers. New York: 1939.
* * *
UNDER LOCK & KEY: NEWS FROM PRISONS AND PRISONERS
STATE DROPS PRETENSE OF JUSTICE FROM CRIMINAL SYSTEM
The U.S. Supreme Court, Congress and the Bush administration have
moved over the last several months to make Amerika's criminal
justice system better serve the interests of the capitalist class.
The new legislation legitimizes previously illegal forms of state
repression against criminal defendants and prisoners, enabling the
state to arrest, imprison and execute people more easily.
Already used primarily as a tool of repression and intimidation
against Amerika's oppressed nationalities and the poor, the
criminal justice system will now be less inhibited by supposed
civil and democratic "rights" that have occasionally served to
temper its abuses in the past.
Their powers bolstered by the Supreme Court in a June decision,
police are now legally able to terrorize and arrest nearly anyone
they want, anytime they want. The Court decided that boarding a
bus and asking to search passengers' bags, and conducting
warrantless searches of bags and containers in automobiles, do not
constitute a violation of citizen's rights.
To further strengthen the power of the state to make arrests, the
Bush administration proposed, as part of its Crime Bill, that
illegally seized evidence be permitted in court as long as police
acted in "good faith" while obtaining it. (No search warrant
Bush's proposal failed, but the Senate passed a variation of it
more palatable to liberals in mid-July. (As election campaigns are
getting off the ground, all politicians want to appear "tough on
crime." It is as impossible as ever to tell the Republicans from
the Democrats on this score).
The Senate plan, which is awating House approval, allows illegally
seized evidencece to be used in court, but still requires a
warrant in order to get it. If the cops made a "mistake" while
they had the warrant and happened to seize some evidence
illegally, however, it would be admissable--so long as it was
seized in "good faith," of course.
Slashing at the pretense of civil liberties which the justice
system used to afford criminal defendants, the Supreme Court ruled
on March 26 that coerced confessions can be used to convict
someone if other evidence sufficient for the conviction exists as
well. The supreme arbiter of the Amerikkkan justice system did not
say what constitutes sufficient evidence, but no doubt the
testimony of a cop combined with a confession extracted after
several torture sessions will, in most cases, do the trick.(1)
But the Court apparently realized that it would be better for the
state's image to trick suspects into confessing rather than coerce
it out of them (torture gets kind of messy sometimes). In a June
13 ruling, the Court moved to make it easier for pigs to obtain
involuntary confessions from their suspects by questioning them
without the presence of a lawyer.
Previously, police were not allowed to question an arrested person
on any matter once that person asked for a lawyer. Now--although
they are still required to inform people of their "rights" to
remain silent and to ask for a lawyer--police may question
defendants about unrelated matters even after they have been
assigned a lawyer to deal with the original allegations against
them.(2) In other words, once they get someone in jail on any
trumped-up charge, pigs can proceed to question him/her about
anything else they want while the lawyer is not around, in the
hopes of getting a confession and subsequent conviction.
The pair of Court rulings mentioned above increases the likelihood
that people who get arrested will be convicted. Congress is now
moving to increase the likelihood that those who get convicted
will be executed. The legislature passed an amendment to the $3.3
billion Crime Bill which would let federal attorneys pursue the
death penalty for any killing where a gun is used, even in states
that have banned the death penalty.
Under the amendment, which passed in the Senate and the House in
July, the federal government could step in and prosecute an
individual who was accused of killing someone with a gun--even
after he or she has been prosecuted and acquitted locally. The law
would apply to any crime with a gun that was at some point taken
across state lines. This applies to 90% of all gun crimes.
According to FBI statistics, 60% of U.S. homicides in 1989 (11,382
out of 18,984), were committed with guns.(3)
Some states have reinstated the death penalty since the 1976
Supreme Court decision allowing the restoration of capital
punishment. Most state-sponsored executions have been reserved for
those who have allegedly committed first-degree murder. This
amendment will handily do away with the favorite liberal myth that
the criminal justice system is designed to rehabilitate instead of
punish. (Just kill them off, it's cheaper and quicker).
Most of the state's victims will be oppressed nationalities--
Afrikan Amerikans already get the death penalty at six times the
rate of whites in the United States, and one quarter of Afrikan
Amerikan men are in jail, prison, or on probation. This may
explain why the liberal outcry has centered on the amendment's
infringement on states' rights to autonomy from the federal
government, not the oppression of actual people.(3) Apparently
they don't want the federal government to have all the fun.
Acting in conjunction with Congress to serve the interests of the
ruling class, the Supreme Court, in yet another semi-fascist
decision, just made it harder for prisoners sentenced to death to
challenge their convictions. In a June 24 decision, the Court
ruled that failure to follow any petty state procedure to the
letter means a prisoner forfeits his or her right to bring habeas
corpus petitions to the federal courts. In this case, the Court
rejected the appeal of a Virginia prisoner on Death Row to have
his case heard in a federal court because his lawyer was three
days late in filing the appeal.(4) So much for the justice
system's supposed safeguard against racist state courts and
unconstitutional decisions. With prisoners denied the right to
appeal to the federal courts, the pace of executions around the
nation is likely to pick up significantly.
As the state moves to murder more prisoners, it is also looking to
ensure that public opinion is not aroused against the death
penalty. A federal judge in California last month upheld San
Quentin prison's ban on TV cameras at executions, ensuring that
the Amerikan public will not get to see the murders its tax
dollars sponsor.(5) The California state assembly also voted down
legislation to permit TV news coverage of executions.(6)
Worse prison conditions
If the state can't kill off all its prisoners, it can at least
make them suffer, and the Supreme Court is doing all it can to
ensure that prison conditions are as oppressive as possible. On
June 19, the Court decided that rat-infested kitchens, moldy food,
stifling heat, and overcrowding do not violate the constitution's
prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment" unless prisoners can
prove that such conditions are the result of "deliberate
indifference" on the part of prison administrators.(7)
Creeping toward fascism
Amerika has long tried to maintain a balance between outright
repression of its internal nations and the extension of democratic
rights and civil liberties in an attempt to co-opt them. But as
conditions worsen for the oppressed, the state is caught between
the need to pacify oppressed nationalities and the need to
effectively repress them. The recent legal and legislative moves
to make the justice system a more effective repressive tool point
to the state's realization that heightened repression may be
necessary in the near future. The erosion of civil liberties, no
matter how flimsy and full of holes they were in the first place,
makes it harder for prisoners and communists to organize against
the state. But as the state raises the level of repression, as the
impossibility of reforming it becomes more apparent, the need to
organize to smash it becomes all the more urgent.
1. Los Angeles Times 6/211/91, p. A4.
2. Prison News Service May/June 1991, p. 2.
3. Los Angeles Times 6/14/91.
4. Detroit Free Press 7/14/91, p. 1F.
5. Los Angeles Times 6/25/91, p. A3.
6. Los Angeles Times 5/30/91, p. A27.
7. New York Times 6/18/91, p. A10.
* * *
AFTER THE UPRISINGS: MARYLAND & NEW YORK
Last month MIM Notes reported that prisoners in Hagerstown, Md.
and the Southport facility in Pine City, New York seized control
of the two prisons for short periods in May before the state
marshalled its massive repressive forces to regain control. MIM
received the following updates on the aftermath of the uprisings
from several prison comrades.
A MIM comrade from Hagerstown reports that since the uprising, in
which 14 guards were stabbed and $1.5 million in property was
damaged, the administration has transferred 80 prisoners to other
maximum security institutions. Prisoners at Hagerstown are beaten
daily by guards in retaliation for the uprising.
A comrade from Attica sent the following update on the conditions
I just finished reading your July issue regarding the problems
that occurred in Southport, Trenton and Hagerstown Correctional
facilities. I've spoken with my companions in Southport and this
is the present situation at that concentration camp:
The brothers are having their water turned off during the day.
They are being fed "cabbage bread" and one cup of water twice a
day and they must turn in a cup to get a refill at the next meal.
The brothers are shackled everywhere they go and finally, yes,
they are being beaten down continuously.
Please send the greetings and best wishes to the brothers in
Maryland that just had that incident from the brothers of Attica.
MA78 reports that the Hagerstown uprising has had repurcussions in
other prisons in Maryland:
The struggle is all the way live in the Maryland Prison system.
Obviously a good example was set at the Hagerstown Prison on May
25, because since then there was a small uprising at two prisons
in Jessup Maryland against the prison staff.
At 9:00 p.m. on July 16, prisoners at the Maryland Penitentiary
took six officers hostage. They immediately released four of them
and held the other two officers for approximately 23 hours as they
made their complaints and demands known to the media and prison
officials. After much media coverage and their voices heard, the
prisoners then let the hostages go, around 6:30 p.m. on July 17.
The only injured bodies were those of two "Uncle Toms" (prisoners)
who were severely stabbed because of their siding with the enemy
During the time of the hostage ordeal, the prisoners were armed
with two handguns that they had smuggled into the prison. The
National Guard, state troopers, and prison officials are still
puzzled as to how the weapons entered the institution, in addition
to not being able to find one of the handguns even though they
have full control of the institution now.
The situation took place in a housing unit called C-Block which
houses about 250 prisoners. Ever since the ordeal has been over,
[as of July 18] the prisoners were made to stay (and sleep) in the
recreation yard while the prison remains locked down and the
The prisoners have documented up to 30 serious health violations
that were never corrected after an inspection: roaches and mice in
the kitchen area, sewage water leaks in the kitchen area, rusted
In addition to the health violations, the prisoners spoke about
overcrowding, bad food being served, and the lack of
* * *
DIALOGUE WITH NORTH KOREA: REPORT ON A SEMINAR ON "TENSION
REDUCTION IN KOREA"
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC, 1989,
This book is a collection of documents about Korean reunification.
Most of the pages are selected transcriptions of a dialogue
between Amerikan imperialists and officials from the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), in northern Korea.
The Amerikan side is represented by the State Department, the CIA,
military officers, some scholars, bourgeois think-tank
representatives and other intelligence officers. During the
dialogue, Amerikan liberals contradict Amerikan conservatives on
the finer points of how to best oppress Korea.
The situation in Korea today is hard for Amerikans to understand,
because Korea is still fighting off Amerikan colonial rule.
If the Amerikan South had had a civil war with the North and the
British actually landed troops to "protect" the South, that would
be analogous to what is happening in Korea to this day. As one
might expect, some U.S. citizens would oppose the regime in the
South for upholding slavery. Others would be outraged by the
Southern regime's traitorous relations with the British.
In Korea, there is a communist movement dating back to at least
the 1920s. There is also a strong movement opposing Japanese and
then U.S. colonialism.
The United States has 30,000 troops and thousands of nuclear
weapons stationed in southern Korea.
Still, DPRK officials take a very moderate stance with regard to
the U.S. occupation. They report that they are willing to
reposition their troops away from the southern part of Korea and
cut the number of troops, in tandem with the fascist regime in the
South. The two sides will then end up with 100,000 troops or
For 40 years, U.S. imperialists had used the Cold War as an excuse
to push for a divided Korea. Now the imperialists are using the
end of the Cold War as an excuse to dominate Korea. The dialogue
goes like this: "AMERICAN: In view of your confidence in early
reunification I wonder how you account for the success of the
Republic of Korea in improving its relations with your traditional
allies--not only the Soviet Union, where there have been very
important steps in economic cooperation, but also Czechoslovakia
and Hungary--the establishment of diplomatic relations--political
relations--even with the PRC. Don't you find your country runs the
risk of being outflanked by the South through its own initiatives
... ?"(p. 25)
The DPRK retort is equally revealing: "Our socialist neighbors
have had the opportunity to make clear to us ... that they have
supported and will support the reunification of our country
continuously. We trust them. We trust their words." (Ibid.)
The DPRK officials are far too kind to the Deng Xiaoping fascists
and Gorbachev capitalists, if they really do "trust their words."
The Amerikan side replied by implying the danger of Japan without
actually mentioning Japan. Amerika wants it to appear that the
United States is Korea's friend, while Japan is a competitor
nation which wants to keep Korea divided.(p. 25-6)
In another exchange, the Amerikans laid it on thick with
capitalist triumph dogma: "It's pretty much conceded that the
socialist economies are in a state of collapse--that socialism
doesn't work. The Soviet Union, most of eastern Europe and China
illustrate the essential bankruptcy of socialist systems ... The
real example for your country is to be seen in the neighboring
countries of the Pacific Basin--Taiwan, Hong Kong, though special
circumstances prevail there, the ASEAN countries, notably
Thailand, Indonesia, even to a limited extent the Philippines and
of course the ROK [Republic of Korea] itself, which offers great
promise ... How do you conceive of succeeding by maintaining what
you call national independence while others around you are
abandoning a system that is essentially bankrupt?"(p. 31)
This is a very popular argument not just among Amerikans in Korea.
It carries heavy weight with the Chinese masses--intellectuals in
particular. MIM will address the argument in future essays.
The DPRK has given up on seeing students and labor launch a
revolution in the southern region. They say the economic
development of the southern region, what has been called a
"miracle economy" in the West, makes revolution impossible.(Ibid.)
Finally, the DPRK effectively summarizes this book by saying, "'if
we are all going in the same direction, toward confederation,
rather than toward legitimizing two Koreas,'" "'you will find us
very flexible.'"(p. 66)
* * *
POLICE SEIZE TOMPKINS SQUARE PARK
An estimated 70,000 to 90,000 people in New York City are
homeless, not counting the 250,000 people who are living doubled-
and tripled-up in apartments with families and friends.(1) The
rich who prosper under capitalism can only do so at the expense of
the poor, and poverty creates homelessness. But when exploitation
and oppression stare capitalist pigs right in the face, the pigs
cannot bear to look. Instead, they spend millions of dollars every
year trying to hide the problem, trying to keep it off their
beautiful streets and out of their beautiful parks.
For three years Tompkins Square Park on New York City's Lower East
Side has been the only park in the city without a curfew. It has
served as a haven for many homeless people who have established
permanent residence there, having been forced onto the streets by
a system that offers them no alternatives.
Takeover and eviction
Early in June, Tompkins Square Park was taken over by police in
the name of "beautification."
Over the course of the summer, the city has demolished much of the
park. An eight-foot high chain-link fence now surrounds it.
Police, who are still stationed every half block along the fence,
are keeping so-called undesirables out of the park. They are
monitoring the park via video camera, from the temporary
headquarters vehicle, parked on a street corner across from the
Historically, Tompkins Square Park has been the scene of
confrontation between the police and the people. In August 1988 a
riot erupted when police tried to enforce a curfew. More than 50
people required medical treatment, and video footage taken by
local residents graphically showed police beating bystanders.(3)
On May 27 of this year, activists in New York City held their
annual "Housing is a Right" concert in Tompkins Square Park. On
the night of the concert, one of the cops on duty nearby began
hassling a Black man who refused to show his ID. Earlier that
evening, the same cop had assaulted two other men in the park as
he held them in a choke hold and told them to get rid of their
The cop knocked the man to the ground, successfully coercing him
to show his ID. Several other cops passing by joined in the
beating. The man was eventually taken to the police station and
charged with second degree assault.(4)
A soup line of homeless people standing near the park witnessed
this brutality. Some of them ran into the park to tell the crowd
what was going on, bringing a number of people out to help fight
the cops. More cops were then called in and by that time about
half the people had left the concert to join the crowd.(4)
The crowd started throwing bottles and making bonfires at
intersections around the park. They built a total of five fires--
taking control of and holding five blocks, in addition to the
park, completely free of the police.(4)
Homeless people controlled this area for the majority of that
night, using bottles and fires to hold off 300 riot police. A
heavy rainstorm later that night broke up the crowd.(4)
A total of 18 officers were injured and 13 people were arrested in
The next day, on May 28, the area reopened--business as usual--
with a lot more police in the neighborhood. The park was still
open and homeless people were allowed to continue living there.
But the following Monday, at 6 a.m., 300 officers in riot gear
evicted the homeless and took over the park.(3)
That day, the city revealed a plan to rebuild the park. The city
has promised that once the park is remodeled therewill be a
curfew. This action will remove one of the last places in New York
City where homeless people can live, outside of the city
One example of the typical mistreatment of the homeless in New
York City is the Cold Weather Policy. Enacted in 1986, the policy
requires police to offer homeless people sleeping outside a ride
to a shelter if the temperature is 32 degrees or less. Police are
instructed to take refusal of the offer as proof of mental
incompetence. They are then authorized take these people (with all
necessary force) to a mental hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
Typically, a homeless person will sit in a waiting room for 72
hours before seeing a doctor, who will promptly discharge them
back onto the streets.(7)
In order to accelerate the evictions in Tompkins Square Park,
Human Resources Administration (HRA) vehicles were on hand to
offer the homeless rides to city shelters. These shelters are
known for their rampant disease and theft, making the streets
attractive by comparison.
Only 25 of the 150 people thrown out of the park accepted rides to
city shelters or drug detoxification programs. Most of the rest
moved to nearby abandoned buildings and garbage-strewn lots on the
Lower East Side.(3)
Tossing the homeless out of the park cost the city $25,000 in
police overtime for that day. The projected cost of renovation is
estimated at $2.3 million.(3)
The city also ordered 1,000 cops for each shift for the first two
weeks of the park occupation. This cost them an estimated $100,000
per day, according to a local activist.
The park was closed just as New York police commissioner Lee Brown
left for South Africa to advise officials there on how to shape a
"post-apartheid" police force.(2)
The weekend after the park was closed there was a "speakout" and
march of 2,000 people through the streets. Other protest events
took place over the course of the next few weeks.
Police followed people home from demonstrations and arrested them
alone on quiet streets with no witnesses. One woman was arrested
and put in a holding cell where for an hour-and-a-half two
officers discussed raping her. She was released the next morning
without a hearing, and now the police claim to have no record of
The record of brutality does not stop with this case. Countless
people have reported harassment at the hands of the now occupying
police force in and around the sealed-off park. Complaints have
been met with silence or disdain.
City does not play favorites
New York City does not play favorites when it harasses and
exploits the homeless. These actions are not limited to Tompkins
On Dec. 4, 1990 in the South Bronx, 52 formerly homeless families
who had spent three years fixing up two long-abandoned buildings
at 1724-28 Crotona Park East were mass evicted by 200 riot police.
The mayor had tried to evict these homesteaders through the courts
On Jan. 4, 1991, 200 riot police showed up without notice to mass
evict 36 families from 975 Home Street in the South Bronx so that
the city could immediately demolish the building and build middle-
income homes on the site.(6)
Squatters currently occupy a number of buildings just east of
Tompkins Square. The city plans to turn these buildings into
permanent low- and moderate-income housing. But under the plan,
authored by Antonio Pagan, a candidate for city council, the
developers would be able to sell out at market rate after 15
years. This would make it a good investment for private
speculators to underwrite the projects, a plan that eliminates the
need for public funds.(2)
The Housing Preservation and Development offices of New York City
are planning a pedestrian mall running from Tompkins Square Park
east through to East River Park, and another mall from East 5th
Street to East River Park. Using the same forcible eviction
tactics, this plan would serve to depopulate the Latino area of
Oppose Police Brutality
MIM supports community organizing for protection against the cops,
but the actions taken by the people now at war with the police in
the Tompkins Square Park area unfortunately will not help the
homeless in the long run.
Backed by the power of the government, the police force is much
more powerful than two thousand protestors. Direct violent
confrontation now will only lead to greater repression at the
hands of the police. Those who will suffer the most will be the
people least able to defend themselves.
MIM commends the resistance and education efforts of those
fighting the police in this New York City war. But homelessness, a
symptom of capitalism, will only be eliminated by completely
overthrowing this oppressive system. There are more than enough
resources to adequately feed and house the people of this country,
but without a complete redistribution of those resources, the
homeless will continue to get oppressive shelters and disingenuous
The most effective way to eliminate the problem of homelessness
and to end police repression is to build a revolutionary party
strong enough to challenge the state and its agents. Only when
this strength is achieved will the people be vindicated through
For more on homelessness as a tool and symptom of capitalist
oppression see MIM Notes 53.
1. MIM Notes 53 6/91, p.1.
2. Downtown July 3-10, 1991, p.12
3. New York Newsday 6/4/91.
4. The Shadow June/July, 1991, p.2. (and eye-witness account.)
5. The Shadow June/July, 1991, p.2.
6. La prensa del pueblo June 1991.
7. NYC Policy on Forced Detention and Psychiatric Evaluation of
Homeless Persons who Refuse City Shelters in Cold Weather. The
Association of the Bar of the City of New York by the Committee on