RAIL Notes Mission Statement
RAIL struggles over militarism and patriarchy with students and parents
Framed: Geronimo Pratt
Students protest white nation brutality at Ann Arbor dance club
Mass RAIL fights prison transfers
MIT newspaper "report" slanders activist
Prisoner thanks RAIL
Socialist Equality Pigs serve the state by a RAIL comrade
Black Panther Party Proletarian Revolutionary or Reformist ?
RAIL Notes (RN) is the newspaper of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League (RAIL), a mass organization led by the Maoist Internationalist Movement. RN's principal tasks are:
(1) Carry out basic revolutionary and anti-imperialist agitation. RN articles will seek to convince the masses of the importance of revolutionary anti-imperialist politics. RN articles should be comprehensible to people without Marxist training -- or any other kind of formal political training. These articles should contain concrete examples and comprehensive statistics and argue "from scratch." These articles may or may not comment on recent events from the bourgeois news. They should be tied to RAIL's practice, e.g. during the anti-prisons campaign RN should run articles on prisons.
(2) Recruit people to work with and in RAIL. To this end, RN should promote and publicize RAIL and its programs. For example, RAIL notes could run articles describing the successes of a Prisons Awareness Week at one location, or it could run an article explaining the importance of the Books for Prisoners Program, and RAIL and MIM's role in leading it, etc. RN should also promote itself in order to recruit staff members and financial supporters.
College in the Northeast--RAIL spent several days on a college campus in the Northeast during student move in days and first days of classes. We picked these days to spend full time on the campus because the students were not distracted by other activities yet and so we were able to receive more of their attention. Positively, we met many students who rejected the administration-run recreation and who were starved for politics. These students were glad to meet RAIL and to struggle with us. We also met many people who had reactionary ideas, and made some small steps towards raising their consciousness through some interesting conversations.
One father of an incoming student turned down a revolutionary newspaper saying "I'm on the other side." RAIL, trying to be witty, shot back "That's because you haven't read this [MIM Notes] yet." While most Amerikans will reject Maoism and anti-imperialism because it threatens their material interests, some can be won over to the side of the oppressed. So while it is statistically not a lack of proletarian literature that made this man a supporter of reaction, it makes good political sense to emphasize the potential to win over reactionaries when dealing with people you haven't really met yet. In addition, many people we meet on the streets just say crazy things they don't mean anyway as a way of brushing us off; so it's best to deal seriously but politely with whatever comments get thrown our way. The main point is to struggle over politics and expose people's lines. They need to decide whether they are for oppression or willing to unite with RAIL and fight against it
The comment from the RAIL comrade initiated an interesting conversation, starting with the father trying to get the RAIL comrade to join Air Force ROTC. Of course the RAIL comrade responded, "No, I'm on the other side," but the discussion quickly got down to issues, with the father arguing that fighter pilots make it possible for revolutionaries to distribute literature in the open. The RAIL comrade responded that in fact it is the institutions of the military--including the Air Force--and police that restrict the free motion and speech of the people. RAIL's ability to distribute literature is protected not by Amerikan fighter planes but by RAIL's ability to mobilize the people to protest acts of censorship and repression. RAIL gave examples of censorship right on the campus in question.
Secondly, it's the oppressive tools of military reaction that oppress the people. The RAIL comrade pointed to recent MIM Notes coverage of the repression of Black revolutionary Mumia Abu-Jamal and the police sodomy and beating of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. The father opposed those injustices, but thought that they were the exception rather than the rule. This is again where MIM Notes plays an important role in raising consciousness. First MIM Notes reports on these relatively popular cases and explains how they are linked to the role of the police in general. Secondly, MIM Notes reports on less publicized struggles that are equally as important in the indictment of the Amerikkkan system.
Later, the sister of an incoming student misunderstood something that the RAIL comrade said about free literature for prisoners and said: "I don't want to free murderers, they will all come to my door." As she and her family walked away, the RAIL comrade yelled out. "Actually, stranger murders are really rare. You are much more likely to be killed by your husband or boyfriend." Startled, the mother turned and said "That's disturbing."
That's true. It's comforting for whites to pretend that the only danger to their personal safety is Black men in the bushes. Then the whites support using their tax dollars (which are stolen superprofits from colonized workers anyway) to patrol their communities to keep the oppressed out; and to serve as occupying troops in oppressed nation territory. The increased policing of the oppressed nations results in more of the oppressed ending up in jail. (By the way, you can't argue that Blacks commit more crimes than whites. Most of the incarcerated are there for drug related offenses and Blacks and whites use drugs at the same rate.) So the white nation's fear of Black men in the bushes waiting to rape, rob and murder serves the imperialist state's need to crack down on the political, economic and personal independence of the Black nation.
Instead of making up facts so that we can have a comforting (if wrong) view of reality, we must instead tackle reality head-on. It is indeed disturbing for young women to realize that the greatest danger lies in their potential mate. Individualizing oppression or wishing it away will do nothing but extend the misery for the world's people. RAIL hopes to raise the consciousness of the people to put the blame where it lies: on the patriarchal, imperialist system; and then organize people to overthrow this system.
A local RAIL chapter recently showed the video Framed: Geronimo Pratt. This video discusses and exposes the devious methods used by the FBI to frame Black Panther Party leader Pratt and consequently isolate him in prison for 27 years before his recent release. RAIL showed this video one week after showing the FBI's War on Black America. This use of consecutive events seemed to help keep people interested and provided a good sized crowd.
In order to facilitate a productive discussion after the movie, RAIL comrades discussed what the main points were that people should leave with. One important fact to put the topic in context is to stress that Pratt is just one of many victims of Amerika's politically motivated court system. This was evident in the movie itself as it gives good background information on how the FBI was infiltrating the whole BPP. RAIL reiterated the fact that the Pratt case was one result of a national program of the u.s. government. In discussion RAIL comrades quoted one of Pratt's comments after his release: "It's madness in there[prison]. You have political prisoners on top of political prisoners. I'm only one of a great many that should be exposed, should be addressed."
Another point that is important when discussing the Pratt case is the overall role of the FBI and the justice system. RAIL put this question out for discussion and many people seemed to have the general idea that they play oppressive roles. One persyn linked it back to the revolutionary role of the BPP and made a more complete analysis of the FBI as serving to "maintain the social structure."
One womyn wanted to know if the BPP deserved the repression they received. RAIL explained first that the actions of the Black Panther Party were perfectly legal at the time, but the government doesn't care for its own laws and repressed the BPP anyway. Secondly and more importantly, the laws are an indirect mechanism to defend the existing unequal social system. So-called crimes committed by the people are violently repressed but when those same crimes are conducted in larger scales by governments and corporations, it's called business-as-usual. The FBI serves as a secret political police to destroy by whatever means necessary--including fabricating evidence or direct murder--threats to the Amerikan apartheid system.
At one point the discussion became focused on the media and specifically how people are dependent on TV. RAIL took the opportunity to discuss the importance of independent media to combat the decadent Amerikan media and to educate and motivate the masses. For a period, however, the discussion became focused on the evil of television without recognizing the larger source of our situation, which is the unequal distribution of power and wealth.
Later in the discussion people began to question how we get the people united against the common pig enemy. An important contradiction came up which is whether to focus on individual strength or to focus on gathering large numbers of people. An important lesson that we learn from the BPP is the threat of infiltration. One contradiction that was addressed was that the use of open opposition to the government is more efficient in gaining peoples interest as well as attracting the government's attention. One persyn stressed the importance of building strict unity between a small group of people and through time allowing this to grow. They correctly stated that lack of unity will allow the group to fall apart, and it is therefore bad practice when people in the party have different views. This was in accord with MIM's practice of creating a vanguard with the use of democratic centralism and RAIL's practice of uniting around a clear goal of anti-imperialism and MIM leadership.
On Saturday night September 6, Tele Ramirez, a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, went to the Nectarine Ballroom with his family. After refusing his family entrance to the club because Ramirez's aunt, in her late 30s, did not have identification with her, the club's bouncer told Ramirez's brother-in-law "look at the way you're dressed, you should go back to the potato fields," then turned to the whole family and told them they should all "go back to the fields" because they are Latino. When the family tried to file a police report, they were told the police can't do anything about discrimination like this because it is "a civil matter."
Ramirez brought his case to University students and activists, sending out a report to several oppressed nation student groups and to students and faculty in some of the more progressive departments describing what had happened. His messages brought out the response from another student, an Indian man, that he had been forcibly thrown out of the Nectarine on the night of September 4 and was then punched twice in the face by a bouncer, and told "we don't want any of you South Indians in here" after he grumbled about being told to take his cap off inside the club.
Ramirez is now organizing a number of student and local organizations to gather information on instances in which the Nectarine Ballroom has discriminated against oppressed nationalities, and to make some demands of the club. The Nectarine responded to the student protests and publicity within a few days, issuing an apology for hitting the Indian student, but has said nothing about telling the Latino family to "go back to the fields." The proposed demands being made to the Nectarine as of the time RAIL Notes goes to press are (09/28/97):
"a. the firing of the racist employee b. sensitivity training for the remaining employees c. a public apology - both in person and a written copy to be sent to The Michigan Daily, The Ann Arbor News, The Ann Arbor Observer, and The Michigan Review. d. a benefit to be held for migrant farm workers, as the racist comment made referred to 'go back to the fields and pick potatoes!' Maybe such an event would make the management of the Nectarine have more respect for those who work so hard to put dinner on other people's plates!"
RAIL supports the students doing this organizing, especially in their effort to collect information on all incidents of white chauvinism and violence at the Nectarine. Incidents like these don't happen in isolation but are symptomatic of a system of national oppression. For as long as the white nation continues to live apart from and as an oppressor of the Black, Latino and First Nations and other national immigrant communities, incidents such as these will continue. Just as Ramirez pointed out in his proposed demands, the reason a bouncer at a white club comes up with the insult "go pick potatoes" is that when there is productive labor to do in this country, the oppressed do that labor, while the oppressors do not. We look to the education provided to students and others by this activism as a means of involving more people in political struggles against colonialism, settlerism and imperialism.
RAIL works for revolution and national self-determination of the oppressed nations because only when the oppressed can truly determine their own national destinies will they be able to outlaw national oppression. When RAIL says "national self-determination" we mean getting beyond the point where the oppressed are sensitizing the oppressors to the reality of national chauvinism. We mean that the Latino nations have the right to set the laws which say whether telling a family to "go back to the fields" rather than go into a club, is a crime.
Sensitivity training is not a big goal of RAIL because training people to be sensitive to differences among peoples is a distraction from organizing people to fight oppression. RAIL does not see this as an issue of an individual being "insensitive" to someone else's feelings. Rather the cases we know about so far and the others which will be exposed are instances of national oppression. This oppression is real and structural and changing the tone and the language people use to talk to each other will not make it go away.
While we do not think that firing a single racist employee will ensure that future employees will not follow the same behavior, we are not saddened at the thought that someone would lose his job for brutalizing people. We have no interest in seeing a pig protected from being placed in a sty. The support RAIL offers to these student activists is in the form of publicity for their struggles. We will work with these individuals to popularize their work against national chauvinism, and we will go beyond this to explain the situation in terms of national oppression and not just racism.
RAIL encourages people who are angered by racism to join us in exposing the basis of racist ideology: national oppression. RAIL is eager to work with individuals and organizations which are genuinely interested in exposing and agitating against national oppression.
The Massachusetts Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League has been fighting to get the 300 prisoners who were transferred to Texas back to Massachusetts. We have collected over 800 petition signatures through our regular efforts demonstrating at Park Street the first Saturday of every month and tabling every Saturday in Harvard Square. These activities have given us the opportunity to educate people about the criminal injustice system in general while gaining support for the fight against the transfers.
Back on November 1, 1995 Governor Weld sent 299 prisoners to Texas as a part of a budget publicity stunt to get more money to build more prisons. He claimed that this transfer was to relieve prison crowding but failed to mention that overcrowding is manufactured by the DOC which overclassifies prisoners. Those prisoners who, even by federal DOC standards, should be in minimum or medium security prisons are sent to maximum security. This is why over 90% of the prisoners in the Departmental Disciplinary Unit (the Massachusetts state control units, maximum security cells on constant lockdown) are Latino.
Since the original transfer (which left one man behind because he was beaten so badly he could not be transported), we have successfully brought back some prisoners who became very sick as a result of the bad conditions in Texas prisons. But after bringing some prisoners back and releasing some who had served out their terms, Weld sent fresh batches to Texas, stating his intention to keep the number there at 300.
The Mass DOC claims that it is cheaper to house prisoners in Texas. However, they fail to mention that this is possible only because the prisoners are offered little by way of medical and education services and prisoners complain that the heat is not turned on in the cold winters. Keeping these prisoners so far from family and friends reduces accountability and costs families hundreds of dollars in phone bills while keeping them from visiting.
Through our work petitioning and tabling we have met many former prisoners and family of former prisoners, including a few who were among those transferred to Texas. We've also met supportive lawyers and even one appellate court judge who signed the petition and bought a copy of Mass RAIL and MIM Notes. And since the time of the original transfer we have seen a dramatic increase in awareness for and opposition to the transfer. Many people are willing to sign the petition without any explanation because they already know about and oppose the transfers.
Tabling and petitioning has provided us the opportunity to distribute many copies of Mass RAIL and MIM Notes, invite people to the local events we are holding, and educate many people about the criminal injustice system. We always try to be clear that signing a petition to bring back the transferred prisoners will not change the criminal injustice system, but we believe it is a winnable battle and an important issue that exposes the situation of the oppressed nations in amerika. We point out the need for fundamental change in the system and we do not mislead people into believing that this reformism is all that is necessary. We have found tabling to be particularly effective in getting people's attention and interest and we encourage comrades everywhere to take up similar struggles in our work to educate and organize against imperialism.
We will be sending copies of the petitions to the DOC, the governor, and friendly media along with a copy of this article to pressure the government to bring back the transferred prisoners.
Boston, MA political activist, Richard Picariello, was harassed, beaten up and arrested by MIT cops on July 22, 1997 for trespassing on alleged MIT "private property". The following letter is a response to MIT Techs "report" and reaction to student organizing around this unjust police brutality case. For more info. on Picariello's case see MIM Notes 143 article that was also reprinted in MIT's alternative student paper, The Thistle.
Dear MIT Tech:
With regard to your story, "CPs Arrest Convicted Bomber," you missed the point. Richard Picariello has already served his time. Rehashing his old news story does nothing to justify arresting and beating him in connection to so-called trespassing at the Student Center. What your story should have been about is whether or not MIT has any legal right to be running a shopping mall, inviting the public and then arresting people for trespassing. We ask you to conduct an examination of this legal history yourself. While you are at it, since MIT is a great scientific institution capable of understanding the issues, see if you can find any statistics that prove campus policing reduces the crime rate: you won't, because there aren't any. There are only cynical university administrators manipulating fear and the politics of crime to increase their personal power.
In the 1996 Boston Yellow Pages, we see "MIT Student Center" listed in an ad for Newbury Comics on page 1328. So how does MIT get off letting its shopping mall invite the public and then deciding to arrest people who come? At the MIT web site the student center is listed under "visitor information" with a list of all the stores. The only restriction listed is for the Computer Store which includes a note "MIT ID required" (http://web.mit.edu/visitor-info.html#student_center).
The student center is either a public place or it is not. If it is not, then MIT should stop its shopping mall from advertising in public and ads should be restricted only to MIT students and staff. Other customers should be forbidden and then MIT would start to have the legal right to claim its rights to private property are more important than the rights of the public. (Obviously as communists or communist sympathizers, we do not agree that private property is more important than the central mission of a university, but we would recognize MIT's legal right if it did not invite the public.)
MIT's hypocritical attitude toward the public is evident. On the one hand, it takes in a leading share of public taxpayer funding of everything from student loans to multi-million dollar research projects. On the other hand, already three people other than Picariello have come forward to RAIL to tell of harassment by MIT police. Significantly, one persyn was attending a large event that the public was invited to and handing out literature when he was stopped by MIT police. Again, MIT administration hypocrisy shines through. If the MIT administration does not want the public to come, then it should not invite it.
The Supreme Court has been quite clear on this issue. Those who invite the public cannot then turn around and deprive that public of its rights. When I attend a film or speech at MIT, I do not surrender my free speech rights just because MIT owns the property. For this reason, the Hare Krishna's are allowed to set up literature tables in airports, because airports are public venues. Also cases in New Jersey shopping malls show that shopping mall owners do not even have the right to stop literature distribution on their premises, again because they invited the public. The fact that MIT carries on this way in spite of the law and the fact that people rarely pass out political literature at shopping malls proves that our "Constitution" and the occasional Supreme Court rulings backing it are only on paper: We have to fight for what is right against run-away university bureaucrats who seem to treat campuses as their personal fiefdoms. We even have to fight to establish the central mission of universities as places of open discussion.
Alternatively, MIT could become a club or a convent. Everyone who came to MIT would know what the rules of the club are. Right now the way it is, the public has no way of knowing from newspaper and yellow page ads that once it walks on to MIT property it surrenders its rights.
Apparently the only people with the right to free speech and assembly are the administrators. Furthermore, MIT should stop accepting taxpayer money if it wants to restrict the public from its grounds. The MIT attack on Picariello and others from the public is a slap at students and faculty at MIT as well. MIT students and faculty have the right to assemble anyone they want and associate with anyone they want. At a world-class university supposedly dedicated to academic freedom and science, it should be unnecessary to point this out.
The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League
... I also wish to convey my gratitude to the RAIL comrades, and for their publication of RAIL Notes. You cannot know how heartening it is to see that not everyone in this depraved nation can be cajoled or intimated by this bourgeois imperialist society. Your pen packs a punch.
--A New York Prisoner 18 June 1997
RAIL Responds: We thank this prisoner for h support of RN and encourage all those who agree with exposing bourgeois imperialism for what it is...outright parasitic oppression...to join in the struggle to support RN. MIM now funds RN with the help of passing contributions from branches and sympathizers. What RN needs now is thorough support of readers to make it self-sufficient and printed separate from MIM Notes. If you believe in revolution, then you should help fund it and realize that none of this literature comes about without the complete monetary support of the masses.
In the same way we encourage all those wanting to expose the system to write for RAIL Notes on the conditions in their area. Revolution won't come by itself, and it takes the monetary and expository efforts of the masses to organize a movement for self-determination. ------ Dear RAIL,
Me and my friends are students we would like to start a youth group for the MIM. We believe that the revolution in Peru and the Philippines are the primary proof for Maoism. We would like to become involved with the struggle where we live. We want to know if we can start the youth group we talked about. We might even be able to help print out a small newsletter to members. That clearly seems to be the best way to help further Maoist thought. Any information you can send would be extremely helpful.
RAIL Responds: Hi. RAIL is sending you more info about RAIL and what kind of stuff you can be doing. We'd welcome you and your friends as a new RAIL branch. We should talk about goals for what kind of work you want to be doing. Right now RAIL is focusing on education around the criminal injustice system while also doing work on the Philippines preparing for an upcoming speaking tour by a member of the NDF. Holding public events, distributing MIM Notes and RAIL Notes and Maoist Sojourner, and having a local study group are good ways to get started.
I'd like to invite you and anyone else who is on e-mail to get involved in the RAIL e-mail study group right away. This is a good way to have contact and struggle with MIM and RAIL comrades, to discuss a range of important issues, and to continue our political development. If you are interested I'll send you the info on how it works and what we are studying right now.
Fill me in on what kinds of things are going on locally there and what you'd like to be doing and we can get started spreading revolutionary Maoist ideas and practice in your town.
In struggle, RAIL
Ann Arbor , MI--During the summer of 1997, the University of Michigan police contacted RAIL in Ann Arbor, saying that the Socialist Equality Party (SEP, a Trotskyist party) had accused a RAIL comrade of stealing some of their literature from a public event. The event, on the differences between Stalin and Trotsky, took place July 15 and 16.
A RAIL comrade was in the area of the event attempting to debate the differences between Stalin and Trotsky with people. RAIL was hoping to speak with open minded people who would be willing to hear the facts that while Trotsky was idealistically pushing for instantaneous international revolution, Stalin was leading the difficult task of building socialism in the Soviet Union. RAIL distributes newspapers even at events we disagree with because we welcome political discussion and debate with the masses. But the SEP barred RAIL from its meeting calling the RAIL comrade a "diseased element" and refused to debate any issues. They even ordered RAIL to leave the building.
After the event the SEP found some of its pamphlets missing and went to the police accusing a RAIL comrade of stealing them. RAIL found this out from the University of Michigan police. Regardless of the political differences between Totskyists and anti-imperialists, it is extreme hypocrisy for the SEP to call for the overthrow of capitalist government and then call on the capitalist state machinery to protect their organizing activities. This situation was made even worse by the fact that the SEP knew the name of the RAIL comrade who went to the SEP event. No revolutionaries ask for police protection. Only people who accept and support the current status quo as something good and legitimate ask for police protection. Asking for police protection helps the pigs to justify anti-crime hysteria and adds legitimacy for demands to expand the size and resources of police forces. Asking for police protection is identical to asking for a stronger state. Revolutionaries seek to build independent institutions of the oppressed because the police in amerika have never served the oppressed. Any people that know they can expect the police to serve their interests also must know that they do not have any common interests with the truly oppressed and therefore also no genuine interests in revolution.
MIM and RAIL do not print any names of comrades or associates in our press. Any responsible political organization should keep the names of all members and associates closely guarded. In this case, it was bad enough that the pigs had even one name to investigate. If names were printed in our press, the pigs would have been able to compile a whole list of comrades as potential suspects. RAIL comrades are advised to be careful about giving out their names. Being careless with this kind of information ignores the imprisonment and murders of several revolutionary activists. The Chicago police murdered Fred Hampton for being a revolutionary Black nationalist. They killed him in his bed because they knew his name and where to find him.
RAIL knows that the police do not exist to protect our organizing efforts. We work to expose and build opposition to imperialism in all its forms, including the police who occupy the oppressed nations and whose job it is to maintain capitalist law and order. If we thought someone we knew had stolen from us we would ask them about it and look into the matter ourselves. Any genuinely progressive organization should not strive to win respect by inspiring fear. RAIL welcomes open criticism of our politics and our work, and if someone had interfered with distribution of our literature we would struggle with them to understand the importance of political education and propaganda.
Unlike the SEP, RAIL and MIM have deep respect for the masses and we refuse to put anyone at unnecessary risk. We pay close attention to the recent history of the radical movements that were brutally repressed by the U.$.. government. Our last event in Ann Arbor was a showing of the film The FBI's War on Black America, about the FBIs Counter-Intelligence Program which assisted in the murder of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton and the framing and wrongful imprisonment of Panther Geronimo Pratt. MIM and RAIL educate people about the truly piggish nature of the police organizations in Amerika, especially the brutality and repression by the organizations against progressive political movements.
Unlike the SEP and other trotskyite factions, RAIL and MIM deeply respect the revolutionaries who have spent their lives in struggle. We honor the Black Panther Party, American Indian Movement, and the Young Lords Party by educating people about their tremendous advances in organizing. If we are to aspire to reach the same level of organization and progress as these organizations, we owe it to them to learn from the violence the state brought down on them, and to protect our organization from this repression in the ways we can.
The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League (RAIL) encourages activists to check out the Maoist vanguard of the 1960s and early 1970s in the United Snakes -- the Black Panther Party. At our showing of "The FBI's War on Black America" in Ann Arbor on September 10th, audience members claimed that the BPP was not revolutionary, but reformist. This wrong characterization of the BPP muddies a piece of revolutionary history which is important for progressives to understand. Luckily, this argument can easily be refuted by investigation. The history of the Black Panther Party is one of revolutionary struggle against the Black nation's domination by white settler colonialism. The BPP followed the correct theory and ideology of the greatest revolutionary movement of its time: the Chinese Revolution led by the Chinese Communist Party and Mao Zedong. The Panthers' Serve the People programs showed Black people that a Maoist party with a revolutionary nationalist program would meet their basic needs better than capitalist Amerika. These programs, which served school children breakfasts, offered free medical care and gave out free groceries, met people's basic needs while organizing and educating the Black nation about the need for revolution.
SERVING THE PEOPLE, from The Black Panther 4/6/69 p. 14
"The Black Panther Party is a political party established to create revolutionary political power for Black People and is continuing steadily to serve the People heart and soul.... Our Cardinal Rule is: 'Have faith in the People, and faith in the Party.' This faith derives from an undying love for our people and the awareness of a need for governmental eclipse. We, as the vanguard of the oppressed masses, realize that we must and will serve the People heart and soul.... The exploited and oppressed people's needs are land, bread, housing, education, freedom, clothing, justice and peace and the Black Panther Party shall not, for a single day, alienate ourselves from the masses and forget their needs for survival, but instead institute to the People faith to the death....
"The spirit of the People is greater than the man's technology, and that spirit will be guided by the vanguard party of this present liberation struggle. The capitalistic, imperialistic, doggish, pimping of the People must cease by this wanton, sadistic country or perish like Babylon. The People shall smash the glutton roaches running this decadent society and, along with the directing of the Black Panther Party, halt these running dogs and gain true liberation for all.... Thus more and more programs shall be set up to suffice the desires of the People and destroy the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (ruling class) and its lackeys. The Black Panther Party is for everything that the enemy (U.S. imperialists) is against, and against everything the enemy is for.... All our actions are to the exact opposite of this hypocrisy called democracy. The Black Panther Party will continue to serve the people and fulfill their every desire as an International united front of revolutionaries of the world, battling this mass oppression of capitalism and imperialism....
"'Our duty is to hold ourselves responsible to the People. Every word, every act, and every policy must conform to the People's interest and, if mistakes occur, they must be corrected -- that is what being responsible to the People means.'" --Mao Zedong ---- Students Seize the Time!!
It's Fall!! While classes are getting started, RAIL wants to encourage students to get involved in fighting injustice and oppression.
Students are bombarded with socialization into the bourgeois status quo while being subjugated to patronizing roles as "academics" who are only expected to handle so much, like in the case of UMass' New Students Program. Youth are taught to just learn the facts, take things out of context, and, oh please no!, don't act on anything!!
But to our benefit, living in Amerika affords us a good deal of relative freedoms to use against this "shut up and sit on your ass" mentality. As students begin a new school year, Fall poses a great time when youth can come together and organize for real social change.
Most of the activism on campuses is Amnesty International type organizing focused on a single issue while ignoring the context. Whatever the subjective reasons for this, the objective result is the same: They encourage people to wear themselves out fighting the symptoms while ignoring the disease.
Single-issue groups miss the point that we live in one hugely interconnected place where labor power, resources and the products of both are shipped all over the world. How these resources are used and exchanged lays the basis for wars, mass starvation and militarization.
Because of such a narrow outlook, they also tend to work for small reforms within a limited framework. Like the PIRG strategy of fighting for bourgeois electorialism which just aids in oppressing more Third World people by asking the imperialist system for help in making change and letting imperialist leaders dictate the nature of youth's struggles.
Oppressors have never given up anything without a fight. RAIL focuses on campaigns to win concessions for the oppressed while fighting the bigger picture of national oppression and imperialism.For example, we may petition to try and get deported prisoners returned so that they are closer to their communities and freed from more repressive conditions. At the same time we work to expose how relying on cops and the rest of the injustice system isn't going to liberate anyone.
So you've been convinced that the best way to end oppression is to expose it fully and face it head on...so what can you do? Act up & act now!
Picking the right practice and allies can help make the struggle more successful. For the next year, RAIL is focusing our attention on two main issues, the U$ injustice system and a Fall visit from a Filipino comrade. They both fit into RAIL's fight against imperialism for the self- determination of all nations by exposing national, class and gender contradictions nationally and internationally.
To accomplish this, we need labor and funding. One of the best tools we have right now is the RAIL Notes in your hand. Its publication has been sporadic because of inadequate funding, so we need all allies to help us go to school organizations and the masses to help get it funded and on its way to self sufficiency. Contact your local RAIL branch and tell them you'll deliver papers, lead an event and/or donate/raise $1,000's to help RAIL! So help out, join in and put your feet and energy on the road to real mass liberation with the power of student organizing.
To get involved or for more information about RAIL, contact your local distributor or write to:
P.O. Box 3576
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-3576