Gender, Nation and Class Divides - Discussion of ULK 79
Thank you for Under Lock and Key No. 79 (could just as well be called Under Division and Unity). I could not help but draw a parallel between 2 articles. “Some Discussion on Bad Ideas Pt. 1” and “Show Proof to Build Unity”.
First, in “Show Proof to Build Unity” MIM reminds us that the reintegration policy is a strategy to “displace the big four lumpen orgs”. The divide and conquer tactic is a correct analysis although somehow avoids the subject implied which was/is: Unity with the biggest ‘lumpen group’ (sex offenders) as means to fight the real enemy (CDCR).
Perhaps it is fear that prevents any one sex offender from organizing. Fear of hate, after all hate is scary and dangerous especially when it is NOT justified. What does MIM propose? Does the sex offender boldly call for Unity with the prisoners that hate; or in reality need someone beneath themselves as a means to tolerate their own reflection in the mirror?
Does MIM propose the sex offender organize with other sex offenders? He prefers to keep his commitment ‘offense’ secret because the moment he attempts to unite he lets everyone know that he is the designated scapegoat thus opening himself up for attack, essentially a dangerous invitation.
Much safer to stay quiet, isolated although silence is complicit. Silence concedes that it is somehow ok to hate sex offenders when the reality is; hate for sex offenders is hate of self. Hate for sex offenders is simply a need to place someone beneath self as a means to tolerate ones own reflection in the mirror. It is a self conscious advertisement that the haters’ bad acts are much, much worse than any perceived ‘crime’ of having sex. Mostly because everyone is guilty of having sex. This hypocritical aspect is further proof that hate of sex offenders is really hate of self. The delusion that sex is somehow a crime of the worst nature is paper thin, held together only by silence, fear, and hate.
Silence, fear and hate are powerful weapons that CDCR uses for control. Does anyone wonder how 3 pigs keep control of 200 prisoners? The haters need loom no further than his own reflection in the mirror for that answer.
The delusion that sex is a crime is only a manifestation of one’s ego. An ego that requires someone; anyone to be worse than self. The haters must truly look at themselves and ask if CDCR oppression is great enough to drop their own ego. CDCR knows that haters will not drop their ego and this is how CDCR keeps everyone captive in chains and cages. Cages built out of ego, silence, fear and hate.
The haters must ask themselves if they can unite with the largest group of prisoners in prison because sex offenders are much, much deeper than any one hater knows. It is the silence; the secret, the dirty little secret that has allowed hate to grow into a uncontrollable big monster. The silence that has allowed the pigs to brand even greater numbers of regular, normal people with the brand of sex ‘offender’. The fear of hate that forces silence is the cause of division. Division that gives CDCR so much power and control.
In the article “Show Proof to Build Unity” MIM suggests unity with sex ‘offenders’. Perhaps by inherent necessity, it is the sex offender that must call for unity with his haters. The oppressed that must call for unity with the oppressor. Here I see the parallel in the other article “Some Discussions on Bad ideas Pt. 1.” The call for unity with the ‘White Worker’ seems to be a suggestion that oppressed nations call for unity with the oppressor nation by inherent necessity. Because certainly the haters have no desire to escape oppression thru unity.
Forgive me if I interpreted notes of doubt on fear of hate or outright hate for the haters in your article “Bad Ideas.” For instance, the hypothetical paragraph about a white person referring to the masses as “white worker” seemed to label that white person as a “former neo-nazi” isn’t that a little harsh considering the demographics here in 1st world USA?
[Wiawimawo notes: This is a misreading of the article, the article assumed a comrade was a former neo-nazi as an example of when someone’s past or identity might be relevant to a political criticism. But this was just an extreme example, as any Amerikan can show favor to the white workers without being a neo-Nazi, so in that sense we agree.]
The paragraph that “communists have failed the masses for 400 years by supporting the ‘white workers’ and putting the nation contradiction beneath”white worker interests" seems to refer to 3rd world nations rather than the demographics of national 1st world USA. Global perspective would provide clarity because this article was written and provided to and for 1st world USA. Prisoners who only know 1st world demographics, most of whom have never been outside the country.
I found the theme of ‘identity politics’ otherwise correct and intriguing for instance the paragraph about how it is wrong to be enemies with the MASSES for their bourgeois ideas when under oppression, such as patriarchy, homophobia, racism etc… I liked this whole analysis regarding friends being those who have the correct line on xyz and enemies being those who hold reactionary views as an incorrect communist stance.
I like the correct stance specified being “Mao’s method of finding out who our friends and enemies [are] by looking at a group of people’s relations to the means of production, relation to consumption, and relations to other classes.” That word class seems to me to be a definition of economics therefore the only color of class is green. Thus for revolutionary purposes 1st world USA is obviously enemies and 3rd world is friend. But Revolution from within 1st world begs a different question of who are friends and enemies? Who are the MASSES of 1st world USA?
Which brings on the question of “cause of racism” I get it (I think). I can certainly identify with extreme frustration even outright hatred of the haters although I think racism is caused by individual thinking as evidenced by my statement above “Hate for others is really hate for self”. It only seeks justification by blaming others therefore racism is caused by individual thinking and not necessarily by “Feudal European aristocrats (a class of people)” on “the white worker”.
In the same way hate for sex offenders is not perpetrated by any one (class of people) rather it is hate of self and sometimes that hate manifests itself as hate for others. The unavoidable truth however in that cause is individual thinking. Sometimes it only feels like hate when it is nothing more than an individual desire to fit in with all the other haters. Conformity like the Holocaust.
I think it gets a little confusing when we are discussing who the masses are in relation to revolution from within the 1st world USA or from a global revolutionary perspective. Does the author regard emself as american? or a global citizen? Its relevant to eir view of who the masses are. MIM seems to subconsciously realize that hate is in fact caused by individual thinking in the last paragraph “The sub-culture problem” Here ey writes “Line struggle turns into flame wars with no purpose of uniting with others, but exist only to express ones individual self for the cathartic feeling of having the correct line.” Here the people are seeking unity through the correct line even if that line is in reality incorrect, whether that line be a reactionary bourgeois idea on unity with the white worker.
MIM dismisses the unity of “300 college students with a Stalin portrait in their dorm room who thinks the white worker is a friend” however, at least that unity is not grounded in hate and fear, or doubt but conformity in the least and revolutionary at most.
Unity is key to revolution although revolutionaries must decide who are friends and enemies. Revolutionaries must distinguish where to wage revolution from. From the 3rd world against the 1st? or revolution from within the 1st world? MIM conceded conditions within the 1st world are unique, the follow up then is that revolution from 1st world the masses are in fact the white worker. Revolution from 3rd world only against 1st world may see the white worker as enemies. That is historically of course, considering the demographics of the 1st world today which only reinforces mass method of determining enemies and friend on class, class defines the only enemy color as green.
I want to thank MIM for calling on the haters to “Show proof and Build Unity” in ULK No. 79. I echo that sentiment to all that claim to dislike CDCR oppression. Show proof of opposition to imperialism (CDCR). Unite with the largest group of political prisoners, unite with sex offenders, we have a common enemy. Unless anyone really believes that any one ‘crime’ is somehow better than another.
I will give some thought to stepping outside of my self-imposed isolation, my shadow of safety. I think of a way to unite with those that hate me after all someone has to lead and haters obviously have no desire to escape their oppression through unity.
Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: We appreciate this comrade’s thoughtful response to ULK No. 79. It brings up a number of issues i will try to address here with suggestions for further study.
Historically, in the CDCr, and elsewhere, New Afrikan communists and revolutionary nationalists have joined hands with neo-Nazis to unite around common interests as prisoners. These united fronts represented different groups with different interests (for example, white prisoners and New Afrikan prisoners) that had an overlapping interest that came to the forefront. This is similar to the unity of the Communist Party of China with the bourgeois Nationalist Party to fight the Japanese imperialists. After joining forces for a period, many Nationalists went on to fight the Communists, though some joined them. To join in a united front may represent a stage of struggle and not a permanent alliance of interests.
If a group of New Afrikan revolutionaries can join forces, in a principled way, with white Nazis, then certainly the divide between general population and sex offenders can be bridged. The sex offender issue is very persynal for many, but so is the nazi issue for New Afrikans.
We can point to the example of Lucasville, Ohio, outside of CDCr, where the unity between nazi’s and New Afrikans became permanent, however, despite the work of key leaders, the masses of white prisoners did not follow suit. In the case of sex offenders we believe the contradiction is less antagonistic. In other words it is more resolvable.
To an extent we agree with the author about the form hatred takes towards sex offenders being in peoples’ heads. But we don’t agree that it derives from the ideas of the individual. As Jean-Paul Sartre wrote in Anti-Semite and Jew:
“Underneath the bitterness of the anti-Semite is concealed the optimistic belief that harmony will be re-established of itself, once Evil is eliminated. Hist task is therefore purely negative: there is no question of building a new society, but only of purifying the one which exists.”(1)
In Under Lock & Key 55 i contrasted our approach of dialectical materialism to that of metaphysics, that sees things as having an unchanging essence.(2) To many people, the sex offender is evil that must be eliminated and cannot be changed. Yet in prison, these same people will often preach for rehabilitation and parole for other prisoners who have committed crimes. As Sartre points out with the anti-Semite, their views are advantageous in allowing for laziness. There is no need to figure out how to make society better or transform ourselves as the solution is easy – eliminate others.
Above i acknowledge the persynal motivation of hating sex offenders. A very high percentage of people in the criminal injustice system were abused as children, often sexually.
Now where we strongly disagree with the author is with eir implications that sex cannot be criminal because everyone does it. On the contrary, we say under patriarchy that all sex is rape. We also say that all of us in the imperialist core are reforming criminals, whether we are in maximum security in the concentration camps or on the streets in minimum security. Where the author seems to think there is nothing wrong, we think there is something gravely wrong that can only be resolved by changing the whole system. We might call it overthrowing the patriarchy.
The author above is correct to note the difference between the national question internationally and within the United $tates. It is only the delusional who see people in this country as having the same interests as the masses of Central Africa, South Asia, the Andes Mountains, etc. It is much more reasonable to claim that New Afrikans or Chican@s have the same interests as Amerikans. The minimum wage laws apply to all U.$. citizens after all. However, other statistics on wealth, health, segregation, as well as history indicate great divides that still exist and in some cases are increasing.(3)
Therefore, it remains MIM line that the principal contradiction in the world is around nation (oppressed nations vs. imperialism), and the principal contradiction in the United $tates is around nation. Again the author is correct to recognize these as 2 separate, though parallel, contradictions.
One point of argument in favor of the MIM line is you can actually find a lot of support for Amerikan so-called workers from the Third World proletariat and their fighting organizations/communist parties. Yet it is the internal semi-colonies in the United $tates where we find more sober assessments of the role of the euro-Amerikan nation. If there is anything unique that the internal semi-colonies have to offer the International Communist Movement, it is this.
The author refers to sex offenders as the biggest lumpen group. There are currently about 20,000 sex offenders out of about 96,000 prisoners held by the CDCr, so this is not off-base. We have written plenty on the need to unite across these divisions. But this comrade brings up the important topic of how to do so. While this was the topic of ULK 55, which we recommend comrades check out, this is not a question with easy answers. The examples of uniting with nazis mentioned above focused on finding unity around key struggles.
We must recognize though that often those who are the most oppressive towards sex offenders are those who are most friendly with the cops. See the recent grievance response received from a Nevada comrade, where the pig responded with,
“Stop Sniveling! Child molestors have no rights and will get no help from me… If you send me anymore kites I’ll make your life a living hell, do you want to be… labeled a snitch? Maybe I put your charges up on every bulletin board in the quad, or PREA your ass.”
So in response to a request to be returned to the appropriate housing level this pig threatened to falsely label this persyn a snitch among inmates, publicize eir sex offenses to other inmates or to create a false charge against em claiming ey sexually assaulted someone (Prisoner Rape Elimination Act). The pig is openly demonstrating how the state uses these divisions to control the population, especially those fighting for prisoner rights. As long as other prisoners play along with this, unity will require a lot of creativity and looking for opportunities.
In the long run, teaching dialectical materialism and promoting MIM gender line can undercut the deep held beliefs behind these divisions; if not in the old-guard, then in the youth. We know there are many “sex offenders” (whether actual or labelled) out there, we get your letters. Real solutions come through struggle, so we challenge you to join the struggle and find the answers yourself as this comrade is challenging emself to do – and then share them with us in the pages of ULK. As the saying goes, “real recognize real.”
1. Jean-Paul Sartre, 1965, Anti-Semite and Jew, Schoken Books: New York, p.43.
2. Wiawimawo, March 2017, White Nationalism and the prison Movement, Under Lock & Key 55.
3. see “Who is Lumpen in the United $tates?” for our analysis.