Building a Vanguard in Prison

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[Organizing] [Theory]
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Building a Vanguard in Prison

When lumpen and cadre unite
"The vanguard is quite simply the most advanced proletarian, the most scientifically correct element of society that actually exists." - MIM Theory 6

I am bringing this topic to the front lines within ULK, so that every prisoner can be appraised of the significance of a revolutionary vanguard. A comrade asked in ULK 29: "Does anyone know the function of a vanguard: how one is built and how it can be effectively employed?"

Within U.$. borders there have been genuine communist parties, and doing a little studying on communist movements will tell you that since Lenin ushered in a new era with the October 1917 revolution in Russia, many communist parties throughout the world proclaimed themselves to be the vanguards in their respective nations. Within U.$. borders we had the CP-USA in the 30s and 40s, while in 1962 PLP ushered itself in as the new vanguard after CP-USA fell into revisionism. Then the Black Panther Party (BPP) came on the scene in 1966 and "became the greatest vanguard party in north American history before being smashed."

Each party aforementioned had the potential to bringing a revolution if circumstances were present. Typically a vanguard would be found in a communist party who has the most correct interpretation of the concrete reality of its nation, and the proletarian ideology to take the path required to attain the ultimate goal of each and every proletarian party, the seizure of power for the proletariat. Of course, this isn't a matter that is handled with spontaneity, putschist revolts, etc. A vanguard party focuses on organizing the masses, as no revolution is capable of success without the masses and their support. As Chairman Mao Zedong once clearly put it:

"if there is to be a revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary style it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of the people to defeat imperialism and its running dogs."

Furthermore he expresses the following:

"the correctness or otherwise of the ideological and political line decides everything. When the party's line is correct, we have everything. If we lack men then we will have them, if we lack guns we will find them, if we don't have power, we will conquer it, if the line is incorrect, we will lose what we have conquered."

Putting emphasis on a party's political line is what will develop the party and the masses to spark a revolution. One cannot put too much importance or sole reliance on a party being the vanguard as some fall into revisionism and once that occurs it is left to other parties or cell movements to lead the masses. For instance, behind these walls, especially in California, there is no political party organizing prisoners. The closest thing to it is United Struggle from Within (USW) under MIM(Prisons)'s leadership. Although scattered in various prisons and/or blocks, each USW comrade has the potential to organize and politicize other prisoners.

There's no doubt that USW is the pathway and the first step to uniting prisoners i.e. the lumpen into a class. As noted in ULK 29: "A class is defined by it's material conditions, specifically in relation to production and distribution, and each class has an ideology that arises from those conditions." And we must recognize that ideology should be the main factor that unites, otherwise we would just be eclectic and crippled amongst political issues. Every prisoner should strive to get acquainted with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, we must be up on the theories of Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong and then contribute our revolutionary knowledge to the application of our current circumstances. Every prisoner interested in revolutionary politics should do revolutionary work.

On the basis of building or employing a vanguard, I will leave that to MIM(Prisons) to enlighten us, and I suggest for further reading on this prisoners should check out V.I. Lenin's "What is to be Done".


MIM(Prisons) adds: We point people to the essay Maoism Around Us for more history on the development of MIM and MIM(Prisons). At this point we do not see MIM(Prisons) as a vanguard party, but we recognize the need to develop such a party within U.$. borders at some point in the future. We have laid out the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) to unite all who can be united at the mass level in U.$. prisons as we see this as our key strategic goal at this time. Where advanced elements exist, inside or outside of prison, we promote organizing local cells that have similar standards to a vanguard party, but maintain organizational independence from other cells to promote better security and self-reliance. As this comrade says, we should stress developing ideological unity at this stage.


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