By RAIL Philadelphia
In the current context, when speaking of the fight against imperialism, it is necessary to also speak of the struggle of the oppressed for reparations for years of slavery and genocide. Likewise it is imperative to have a fundamental understanding of the internationalist nature of that struggle. Since the advent of colonialism a great many nations have been the victims of genocide, slavery, and brutal colonialism and neo-colonialism. In order to understand the necessity of reparations for the oppressed, we must constantly think of the oppressed nations in the "third world"- but we must not forget the oppressed nations inside Amerikan borders. On the other hand, we cannot correctly focus on the oppressed nations in the belly of the beast unless we understand their relationship to the "third world" and unless we examine this relationship scientifically.
In Amerika, the majority of the indigenous population was wiped out and the rest were forced into areas that the brutal settler government designated, which often were the worst areas in terms of fertility and natural resources. These First nations suffered so profoundly and so thoroughly that any talk of peace or democracy which fails to place the issue of reparations for the First Nations on the top of its list, is a sham, and should be looked upon with contempt.
Likewise any such talk that does not take into account reparations for New Afrikan people- a people that suffered the savage reign of the slave system and the mass genocide that was a component of this system- a people who suffered the brutality of the Klu Klux Klan and segregation- who suffered further even after segregation was formally ended through the exploitation of the Black proletariat and the mass imprisonment of Black people in the new slave plantations: the prisons- any movement that does not support reparations for New Afrikans is a sham.
The same is true for the people of occupied Aztlan and within the current borders of Mexico- a people who had their land stolen from them in a barbarous imperialist war, who now find themselves on their own land often without citizenship and normally with the worst paying jobs in the country- a people who are not allowed across a border into land that was in fact theirs-any movement that does not speak of reparations for these people is clearly a sham movement. This struggle, the struggle for reparations for those oppressed nations within what is now called "Amerika," is also linked to the struggle for reparations in the so-called "third-world." In the oppressed nations outside of Amerika such as in Azania, Aztlan, and the rest of the world, the third world proletariat has suffered genocide and fascism as well as imperialist super-exploitation for the benefit of the imperialist nation working class. (In Amerika mainly the white working class) The luxurious lifestyles led by the bourgeois-ified working classes in the imperialist nations (also called the labor aristocracy) is a definite result of the super- exploitations of the third world proletariat and peasantry. Thus, the only true road to peace is a road that includes reparations for the oppressed nations of the world. Therefore the struggle is intimately connected with the struggle for national liberation and self- determinations for all oppressed nations.
Though it is true that the internal semi-colonies have suffered a history of super-exploitation, it is equally true that in the last half of the 20th century, there has been a clear rise in the number of internal semi-colony persyns that have joined the ranks of the labor aristocracy and now benefit, just like their white counterparts, in the super-profits obtained through the pillage of the "third world."
RAIL holds that it is important to keep this in mind when attempting to figure out what concrete form the reparations will take. For example, since the 1960's a large segment of the Black nation has joined the labor aristocracy, and though many are still paid less than whites, they are living off the labor of the third world. A lot of organizations base their calculations on the white/non-white wage differential, which leads to the incorrect position that reparations should include the difference between wages. The problem with this is that it does not take into account the super-exploitation of the third world and in practice seeks to raise the internal semi-colonies to the same material conditions as the white nation, which would effectively strengthen the exploitation of the third world. Though it may be at times unpopular, RAIL's position is the position of the oppressed third world and as the Maoist Internationalist Movement constantly stresses, and as Mao stressed before them, the correctness or otherwise of political line is decisive. In other words it is incorrect to cater to any class interests other than those of the proletariat and oppressed peasantry, no matter how many members or supporters such a line would lead to in the short run. In the long run such a line can only lead to counter-revolutionary practice, no matter what the intentions claim to be. This is true of all parasitic classes, whether it be the white nation labor aristocracy or the ascendant non-white labor aristocracy. Because of this RAIL maintains that reparations must always focus on the oppressed nations, specifically the super-exploited third world. When calculating reparations we must remember that the yardstick cannot be what the workers in the imperialist countries are making. Instead the yardstick must always be what will best serve the interests of the proletariat.
In order to best serve the interests of the international proletariat, a thorough calculation of reparations for internal- colonies such as the Black Nation must take into account the difference between what was robbed from the Black Nation and what the Black nation has robbed from the "third world." This alone is a safeguard against ultra-left-ism manifested in the idea of no or extremely minimal reparations for Blacks in the U.$. in the interests of the "third world," and right opportunism manifested in the idea of reparations for Blacks based solely on the white/black wage differential.
As part of the overthrow of imperialism, RAIL supports reparations paid for slavery as well as imperialist exploitation in the 20th and 21st centuries. RAIL understands that true reparations are not something the Imperialists will "give" to the nations it oppresses. Reparations are something that have to be TAKEN by the oppressed from their oppressors- this includes the struggle for land, since this is a necessary part of reparations. The Maoist Internationalist Movement holds that the power to take reparations comes from the masses forging revolutionary struggle to overthrow the Amerikan government and replace it with genuinely independent states serving oppressed nation interests. Without the seizure of state power by the oppressed, reparations will not account for centuries of exploitation, terror and imprisonment by the United Snakes. The white nation will still control the state and will continue to use that power to herd oppressed nationals into prisons.
RAIL understands that even if the Amerikan imperialists at some point grant some limited reparations to the oppressed these will only be crumbs compared to what is needed. This is a conclusion that stems from the understanding that the wealth of Amerika is due directly to the super-exploitation of oppressed nations and the colonialism and neo-colonialism that perpetuates their wealth. These exploiters will not give up their wealth without a fight.
In the event that such crumbs are handed out by the Amerikan Imperialists, they must not be considered as "good enough;" they must be used to further the struggle for real reparations and along with it the struggle for self-determination of all nations oppressed and exploited by the brutal yoke of imperialism and capitalism. Political education and revolutionary organizing are essential to ensure that such government crumbs are used in a proletarian internationalist manner to move us closer to a revolutionary overthrow of imperialism.
The Maoist Internationalist Movement holds, and RAIL believes that the imperialist-country working classes and imperialist-country biological-wimmin, like the bourgeoisies and petit-bourgeoisies, owe reparations to the international proletariat and peasantry. Therefore among the most important steps in the direction of reparations are the seizure of land by the oppressed nations and the opening of the borders. Clearly this can only come as the result of a successful communist revolution.
For a Revolutionary Overthrow of Imperialism and For Reparations to the Oppressed!
(RAIL is a mass organization led by the Maoist Internationalist Movement.)