Debating the Violent Nature of the Lumpen
After having the pleasure of reading ULK 20, I would like to opine concerning some of its contents. While I found numerous articles to be informative and inspiring. I really want to focus on the letter entitled SMU Used to Prevent Activism and the subsequent response from MIM(Prisons).
The letter was written by a federal prisoner, and, among other things, he expressed discontent with the fact that many gang members in the BOP who have been subjected to the SMU program have been broken by it and failed to carry out strategies to thwart the oppressive system. Furthermore, most of these gang members are quick to engage one another in physical combat; however, reluctant to attack the real enemy with similar ferociousness. The prisoner then gave a call for "hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action" aimed at the "pigs."
MIM(Prisons) responded by expressing a disapprobation of the call for "hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action," saying that, at this time in imperialist countries the conditions are not ripe for armed struggle. This opinion was based on an analysis of history and current conditions.
Though I concede that overall the masses in america may not be ready for armed struggle, I don't believe the class of people that the prisoner pointed out (i.e. gang members in prison) should be discouraged from physically assailing those holding them in captivity. In prison, the oppression that one experiences is a lot more cruel than what people in society endure. And many of the gang members have the potential to formulate the vanguard needed to lead to coup. They already know how to unite, possess warrior spirits, and have displayed defiance toward the government, even if just through criminal behavior.
Keep in mind, we're not talking about the Boy Scouts here. We're talking about some of the most murderous and gladiatorial individuals america has ever created. One way or another, these gang members are going to fight violently. Not only because of their natures, but because the harsh conditions of prison life will cause them to. And I think it best that, rather than continue exterminating each other, they federate and become america's Frankenstein.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We disagree with this writer's assumption that members of lumpen organizations are violent by "nature." It is the imperialist system that forces the oppressed into organizations for self-defense and preservation. People's "nature" is not innate, it is created by their environment. And even imperialists can sometimes be retrained and become useful servants of the revolution. So we should not assume that members of lumpen organizations will always have to be violent and must channel this violence somewhere. We should give these comrades more credit and instead help them learn how to channel violent inclinations into productive avenues to fight their real enemies in the criminal injustice system and the imperialist government.
Even in a country where there is no proletariat, we should uphold the principles of People's War. Spurts of anger leading to violence against the pigs does nothing more to liberate humynity than killing another thug. We need to build understanding and support for proletarian struggle in the broadest ways that we can. If we do not win the hearts and minds of these "gladiators" then they will just as quickly be used by the state against us.