What is sectarianism?
Sectarianism is a term developed from the ideology of guiding ones practice by what would best promote ones sect, or organization. In other words, putting the organization itself over what the organization is supposed to be about.
In practice this looks like multiple groups all saying they are working for the same thing, but not willing to work with each other on this goal because they don't want to share the spotlight, or they have persynal differences with another group or some other petty issue that has nothing to do with said goal.
One of the purposes of having cardinal principles is to know what things one will split over and not be acting in a sectarian way. These principles, if violated, would deem a party to no longer be working for the same thing as you.
With the dissolution of the MIM into a cell structure in 2005, the potential for sectarianism within the First World Maoist movement increased. There may be a tendency to compete for the new position of vanguard with the demise of the Maoist Internationalist Party (Amerika) around which MIM was centered up until 2007. This doesn't necessarily stem from an inherent competitiveness among comrades, but rather their understanding of what the vanguard is and its importance for those who follow Leninism.
MIM(Prisons) has always promoted the cell structure as advantageous in terms of security as well promoting the theoretical and practical development of a small movement. With a movement made up of independent cells with different functions, we see it as appropriate to deem the movement the vanguard, even as we remain slow to support each other and work together as a coherent movement. We also continue to struggle against incorrect lines we see within the movement, as well as combat revisionism elsewhere. While revisionism can certainly creep up within MIM, the line between the revisionists and those who effectively combat revisionism is what defines who is a part of MIM.
Discerning Enemies In Struggle
While it has always been a major challenge of our movement, combating revisionism is even more challenging when revolutionaries are actively engaging the enemy in struggle. We've seen this with the different approaches to events in Nepal by comrades upholding the Maoist line. We've also seen it recently surrounding the apparent security struggles of original MIM cadre.
Before Geronimo Pratt was put away for 25 to life on a FBI frame up, the pigs regularly accused him of ego-tripping when he talked of the surveillance and harassment he faced. Of course, it was all true. Actually there was much more to it than Pratt even knew at the time.
When the FBI deals with those who are known to be armed and promote armed self-defense, if not offense, it is easy to frame such people for jail time and assassinations. It was easy for the FBI to find an excuse to shoot Luqman Ameen Abdullah after they had surrounded him, pointed their big guns and then sicked an attack dog on him. These tactics are harder to pull off on those who have consistently opposed armed struggle and breaking the law by communists, and live to that standard. These tactics are also used in desperation because they are very damaging to the state that carries out assassinations and kidnappings in plain site of the public.
There are many tactics that are often much more damaging to the targets of COINTELPRO than assassinations. They include destroying one's livelihood, buying one off, seducing one sexually, harassment in many forms and more subtle physical attacks. All of these tactics have been well-documented along with assassinations and frame-ups. Yet, comrades seem to ignore these forms of repression because the facts are not clear or because the difficulties of dealing with them make them uncomfortable. The facts are never clear until it's too late, that's the whole point of counter intelligence.
We know that some comrades are upset that Henry Park talked about them publicly. We cannot explain or defend that. He recently decided to talk about MIM(Prisons). We don't like it either. In fact, we could leave the internet altogether and continue on just as effectively with most of our work. Then those who believe "i can be googled therefore i exist" will pay us no mind.
However, the real wrecking ability is in the unknown number of MC's who left MIM and left the cardinal principles to go on and do who knows what. According to Park, some of them are doing some very bad things. So it is curious that others are spending so much time worrying about the damage being done by someone upholding MIM's original 3 cardinal principles and at least 9 out of 10 of the criteria spelled out by Monkey Smashes Heaven (MSH). The 10th criteria is the only debatable one because it is not a question of line. It is clear that MSH and others believe that Henry Park has violated point 10. [For the record MIM(Prisons) has not proposed a list of cardinal principles that differ from MIM's longstanding 3 cardinals, but we see a lot of value in MSH's list and certainly agree with them on those points.]
Perhaps MIM(Prisons) is the dense party here who doesn't get what is going on. We are not interested in getting into a debate about what is being done at Henry Park's blog. But if there is a principled position out there that would benefit our movement we would like to hear it.