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Continuity and Rupture: A Counter-Narrative to JMP's History of Maoism

Continuity and Rupture
Continuity and Rupture: Philosophy in Maoist Terrain
J. Moufawad-Paul
Zero Books
2016

Abbreviations
CPC = Communist Party of China
MZT = Mao Zedong Thought
MLM = Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
ML = Marxism-Leninism
MIM = Maoist Internationalist Movement
PCP = Communist Party of Peru
RCP,USA or RCP=U$A = Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
RIM(MIM) = Revolutionary Internationalist Movement that later became the Maoist Internationalist Movement
RIM(RCP) or RIM = Revolutionary Internationalist Movement that was a sort of international led in practice by the RCP
CoRIM = Committee for RIM, the leadership of the international RIM, primarily run by the RCP
AWTW = A World To Win, magazine published by the CoRIM
GPCR = Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
PPW = Protracted People's War
ICM = International Communist Movement, or the collection of communist organizations across the world

This book purports to be a philosophical exposition into the terrain of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, a science that has been forged in revolutionary practice. And as it's title aptly describes, it focuses on the dialectical relationship between continuity and rupture in the development of humyn knowledge through the scientific method. A method which can be applied to society just as it can to oceans or plants. The author counters those who deny this.

Continuity and Rupture is a useful book for understanding the how and why behind how Maoism came to be. But we recommend reading the book with this review to get an alternate history of Maoism in the First World, as well as some strong caveats on the political line presented as Maoism in this book. The biggest issue we will take up in this review is the uncritical presentation of the RCP=U$A-led Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM). The development of Maoism within occupied turtle island can be seen to have started with the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP), but to really be consolidated as "Maoism-qua-Maoism" by the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) beginning in 1983. MIM's development of Maoism was explicitly a criticism of and rejection of RCP=U$A politics. It is problematic that this book leaves the RCP=U$A in the position of the prominent Maoist organization in this country as Maoism was being consolidated as an ideology, when that organization struggled against Maoism the whole time and only claimed the label for a period when it served to maintain their influence within the RIM.

In addition to providing a counter-narrative, albeit North America-centric, we will address a number of points where JMP emself seems to lean towards positions of the RCP=U$A and away from the Maoist position.

Maoism as Maoism Rupture

Much of this book deals with the distinguishing of Maoism from Mao Zedong Thought. What distinguishes a 'Thought' from an 'ism' is that a 'Thought' is applying revolutionary science to local conditions and drawing specific conclusions. When a 'Thought' develops understanding that is universally applicable to communists everywhere, that is beyond the previous level of scientific understanding of how to build socialism, it becomes an 'ism'.

Applying the concept of 'continuity and rupture' to historical materialism, the author makes the somewhat controversial assertion that the rupture that established Maoism as a new theoretical stage occurred in 1993. This is controversial because the term "Maoism" existed and was used to describe movements long before then. Our own movement took up the name the "Maoist Internationalist Movement" in 1984. Though the author points out that it is quite common for a scientific term to emerge before its concept is developed.(p.18) The author succinctly distinguishes the earlier and later uses of Maoism:

"Maoism, then, is not simply an addition to Marxism-Leninism (as it was generally understood prior to 1988 under the rubric of Mao Zedong Thought), but a theoretical development of the science that sums up its continuity in the formula Marxism-Leninism-Maoism."(p.23)

Before this time, the author argues that "Maoism" was a word to describe those who looked to China for leadership, and recognized the revisionism of the Soviet Union. It was the historical overlap of these two phenomenon that made this such a heady time for communists. They were simultaneously experiencing the fall of the first great socialist experience, while watching a second great revolution critique that downfall and surpass it by learning from it. As JMP argues, it is these great events that allowed the theory of historical materialism to develop and be synthesized by those who lived through and attempted to build on them.

JMP goes on to say that the GPCR itself was not enough to forge Maoism as Maoism, but it was the People's War in Peru that made this a possibility. It is unclear why the Peruvians would be in a unique situation compared to other revolutionary movements of their time. For any of us to move forward, and incorporate the lessons of what China did, we would have to come to some conclusions about what Maoism is. We have no reason to believe that MIM founders relied on the PCP to come to the same major conclusions on what the correct lessons were. We see MIM actively struggling to defend the main points of Maoism in its struggles with the RCP=U$A before and after founding MIM. And many others grasped the significance of both the GPCR and the coup in China in which the capitalist roaders took power, which are central to distinguishing Maoism as a new stage and to distinguishing those who understand it.

"And though, in 1981, these same Peruvian revolutionaries began to think of the possibility of Maoism (in a document entitled Towards Maoism), it was not until they had reached the apex of their revolutionary movement that they declared the 'universal validity' of Maoism as a 'third stage' of revolutionary science. Hence the supposedly controversial claim that Maoism did not exist before 1988: it did not exist as a properly coherent theoretical terrain."(p.xviii)

At times it seems JMP is arguing that a stage can only be summed up after moving on to the next stage. For instance ey argues that Leninism was only summed up by the Chinese Maoists, and now Maoism was only summed up by the Communist Party of Peru (PCP). Or at the very least it can't be summed up without the practical application in a protracted revolutionary struggle that at least approaches taking state power.

"The overall point, here, is that revolutionary theory develops through class revolution, specifically through world-historical revolution, and that there have only been three world-historical communist revolutions."(p16) and "...the Chinese Revolution was the first Marxist-Leninist revolution because the Communist Party of China under Mao was operationalizing (and theorizing) Leninism."(p29) and so "The new theoretical terrain emerges when this struggle passes beyond the limits of the previous terrain and begins to produce a new stage of struggles according to its assessment, synthesis, and decision of universality."(p30)

This gets to shaky ground when JMP argues that the apex of the PCP struggle was achieved prior to establishing socialism in Peru but still asserting that new theoretical terrain can only emerge when the struggle begins to produce a new stage of struggle. The PCP certainly contributed significantly to the ICM in both the practical fight in Peru and the ideological exposition and defense of Maoism in the global movement. But we do not see the PCP as having produced a new stage of struggle, past the limits of the previous terrain. The practice that revealed the validity of Mao's theories was that of the Chinese people, not the Peruvians.

JMP admits, "Obviously there are other interpretations of Maoism that do not declare fidelity to this historical narrative".(p.2) And ey later cites MIM as one example of this. We provide our historical narrative in this review. But one of the reasons given by JMP for choosing the RIM(RCP) story over MIM is that MIM is made up of "organizations based at the centers of capitalism, specifically the U.$."(p.47-48), while going on to say that MIM would not disagree with the PCP conception of Maoism as a new ism. Calling an idea "white" or "First Worldist" can be a shortcut for explaining ideological differences, but JMP is not drawing ideological differences here. This line of thought is a divergence from the scientific method ey prevents throughout this book.

JMP on MIM

JMP's coverage of MIM Thought in this book is limited to one footnote. As mentioned above, it is a footnote where ey seems to acknowledge MIM as one of the exceptions, one of the other examples of Maoism as Maoism and not just Mao Zedong Thought, that was separate from the RIM(RCP). Ey acknowledges MIM's rejection of the RIM "experience," as we explain briefly below. Ey correctly goes on to say that MIM's Maoism would not disagree with the PCP Maoism adopted by the RIM.

What we take issue with in this footnote is JMP's branding of MIM Thought as "Maoism Third-Worldism." This term was coined in the Sunrise Statement published in 2007, after the original MIM had collapsed, 24 years after its founding. For our part, MIM(Prisons) rejected the term Maoism Third-Worldism, while generally allying ideologically with those taking it up. We, agreeing with JMP, said that there could be no higher stage of revolutionary science without a practice that surpasses socialist China during the GPCR. We asserted that the question of exploiter vs. exploited countries was just basic Marxist economics, and not new theory. And we warned our comrades of ceding the terrain of Maoism to the revisionists.

A Counter-Narrative

Below we have produced a timeline of events related to both the use of the term "Maoism" and the ideological development of the MIM and the PCP. Later we will go deeper into some of the ways MIM addressed things that JMP leaves as open questions for the movement.

We are not claiming that the below represents all the Maoist forces, rather we are putting MIM history into the context of the history that JMP upholds as defining Maoism for us. We also start with some notes from China on the formulation of Maoism as a higher stage of revolutionary science. In one PCP document online(1) the authors say that they were waiting for the Chinese to declare and define Maoism, but once the coup took place in 1976, then the Peruvians saw it as their task to take on.(2)

The point of all of this is not to say "we were the first," or to fight over what year Maoism was established as we know it today. It is to challenge a narrative that puts the RIM and the RCP=U$A at the center of this development, when both organizations were dripping with revisionism. That's not to imply that all parties in the RIM were revisionists. But it is clear that the PCP put out all the documents listed below and struggled to get the RIM to accept their line on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism over many years. JMP does not state that the RIM improved on the existing definition coming from the PCP, but that RIM forced its meaning by adopting the statement. From here, we don't see the great importance of that adoption. What is clear, is that the development of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in occupied Turtle Island took the form of a rejection of and struggle against the RCP=U$A, and the RIM that it led.

Another date worth mentioning is 1956, which is when the bourgeoisie within the party took the USSR down the capitalist road to the point of causing a rift in the ICM. This provided the conditions that allowed for the lessons that defined Maoism as a higher level of understanding of how to proceed towards communism. MIM founders said you cannot talk about Maoism prior to this event. And in 1956, the Chinese, led by Mao, began addressing the question of the bourgeoisie within the party that develops under the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is at the core of what Maoism teaches us about pushing socialism to new, higher levels than we've reached so far.

By 1969, the CPC was still using the term Mao Zedong Thought for reasons of internal political struggle, yet they were applying the principles of MZT externally, implying that it had universal application and was really an 'ism.'

A U.$.-centered Timeline of 'Maoism'

1938 - Chen Boda and others began pushing the study of Mao's writings(3)

1945 - VII Congress agreed that the CPC was guided by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought(3)

1948 - Wu Yuzhang used "Maoism" in a draft speech instead of MZT - Mao said ridiculous(3)

1955 - Mao again opposed "Maoism" adoption among intellectual conference(3)

1956 - Kruschev denounces Stalin, Mao's critique of bourgeoisie in CPSU and theory of productive forces begins, addressing questions that Lenin never faced (MIM said can't talk about Maoism before this)(3)

1966 - Lin Biao says Mao has elevated Marxism-Leninism to a new stage(3)

- launching of Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) in China

- Gonzalo's Red Faction within PCP took up Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought(4)

1969 - 9th Party Congress in China - difference between MZT and Maoism a formality, as Deng and Liu Shaoqi resisted "Maoism" as a new stage, the CPC began applying MZT to global situations/outside China(3)

1969 - PCP took up Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, with reconstitution under leadership of Gonzalo(4)

1976 - PCP denounced coup in China and declared "To be a Marxist is to adhere to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought.", later indicating that they were waiting for Maoists in China to declare "Maoism" before this(2)

1979 - PCP: "Uphold, defend, and apply Marxism-Leninsm-Mao Zedong Thought!"(4)

1980 - PCP launched People's War with slogan "Uphold, defend, and apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism!" - only ones defending Maoism as such(4)

1980 - RCP, USA get 13 communist parties to sign statement upholding Marxism-Leninism

- MIM predecessor RADACADS is working/struggling with RCP,USA over questions of Maoism (dates unknown, pre-1983)

1981 - PCP: "Towards Maoism!"(4)

1982 - PCP "took Maoism as an integral part and superior development of the ideology of the international proletariat"(4)

1983 - RIM(MIM) founded as Maoist group in response to RCP,USA failure to take up or uphold Maoism, founding document "Manifesto on the International Situation and Revolution" discusses Mao, the GPCR and the Third World War(5)

1983 - RCP went to PCP with ML statement from 1980 and PCP rejected it because it failed to uphold Maoism.(2)

- RCP was agnostic over who better Mao or Lenin w/ RIM(MIM), upholding theory of productive forces and did not understand that a new bourgeoisie formed within the Chinese CP(7)

- around this time Henry Park published eir 112 page work "The Political Economy of Counterrevolution in China: 1976-88", forming the basis of MIM's line on the difference between socialism and state capitalism

1984 - RIM(RCP) founded among groups RCP brought together in 1980, this time upholding Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought(2)

1984 - RIM(MIM) became MIM, stating "RCP consciously stole the RIM name for its international mutual aid society"

- by this time MIM was distributing pamphlets on the guerilla war in Peru

1986 - PCP responds to RIM founding statement on MLMZT and becomes a participant(6)

- MIM puts out a theory piece on the PCP that addresses Gonzalo's line on the militarization of the party, while it is agnostic on this line it calls out RCP,USA leader Avakian for rejecting it as well as rejecting the lessons of the GPCR as universal (MIM Theory 2 (old school))

1987 - "MIM made the question of the non-revolutionary, bourgeoisified white working class a dividing line question in practice for U.S.-based Maoists." and began distributing J. Sakai and H.W. Edwards books(7)

- MIM releases "Third Draft of Criticism of the RCP" exposing RCP revisionism and stating that "the RCP has yet to concretely show what it is that is concretely happening in China in our own lifetimes."

1988 - JMP claims Maoism begins to exist here, this is the year the PCP released their Fundamental Documents with the most in-depth definition of Maoism in relation to philosophy, political economy and scientific socialism

1990 - "MIM formed a Central Committee with supervisory powers over the various branches and empowered by the membership to run the day-to-day work such as the party's monthly newspaper MIM Notes" and put out What is MIM? and most of the content therein

1990 or 1991 - line on non-revolutionary labor aristocracy majority appears as 3rd Cardinal Principle in MIM Notes

1992 - Gonzalo captured

- MIM concludes that RCP,USA is revisionist party(7)

1993 - RIM releases statement upholding Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (AWTW #20 1995), correcting 1984 statement as being "incomplete", recognizes bourgeoisie within party

1996 - RCP,USA first public response to MIM via CoRIM/AWTW

1997 - MIM response to RCP,USA - continue to condemn their seeing question of ending armed struggle as a "two line struggle", their putting campaign to save Gonzalo over People's War, criticize the international in general, and recognize that CoRIM is RCP,USA(8)

2002 - MIM declared 3rd Cardinal Principle applies to Third World comrades as well

2006 - cell of remaining original MIM Comrades disbands/website & MIM Notes cease

2007 - MIM(Prisons) forms

- sunrise statement released — declaring Maoism Third Worldism a new theoretical development (orgs separate from MIM/MIM(Prisons))

The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement

Stalin and Mao both justified the dissolution of the Third International (Comintern) by stating a Comintern was only appropriate for simpler times. (9) The history of the Chinese revolution and its relationship to the USSR proved the correctness of Stalin's decision to dissolve the Comintern in recognition of the uneven development of nations in their path towards socialism and the need for each nation to forge that path for themselves. Neither of them get into the details of what makes the relationships between countries so much more complicated by the 1940s. However, we can insert the ideas of theorists like Walter Rodney and Samir Amin to explain that most countries are actually underdeveloped to enable the development of the imperialist economies as one good reason.

The question of the role of European countries vs. colonial countries was one of great concern to the Bolsheviks leading up to and throughout their time in power. And while their ideas varied at different times, ultimately the theories of Lenin and Stalin around nation proved correct and important to the colonial countries. Trotsky, meanwhile, continued to look to Europe, and was so stuck on a revolution happening in Europe right away that he gave up on his own revolution in Russia. This idea remains with Trotsky's followers today and meshes well with the national chauvinism of the oppressor nations.

Given the above, we must question whether the idea of a communist international fits into Maoism today. JMP actually states "that it is false internationalism to establish an international communist party."(p.239) Yet ey upholds the RIM experience, that MIM saw as an incorrect practice. The USSR dominated the Third International as a large socialist entity with state power. The RIM was dominated by the RCP=U$A by virtue of its resources from being in an exploiter country. While both power dynamics proved undesirable, the USSR had certainly earned their leadership role. At the same time the influence and power of the Comintern was much greater than the RIM.

As MIM began to reach outside of U.$. borders it came to define itself as

"the collection of existing or emerging Maoist internationalist parties in the English-speaking imperialist countries and their English-speaking internal semi-colonies, as well as the existing or emerging Maoist Internationalist parties in Belgium, France and Quebec and the existing or emerging Spanish-speaking Maoist Internationalist parties of Aztlán, Puerto Rico and other territories of the U.$. Empire."

While we currently have no parties in our movement, we still do not claim to provide organizational leadership outside of imperialist countries. That is not to say MIM does not involve itself in struggles in the Third World, as was clear in its work in combating the Committee of the RIM's (CoRIM) efforts to slander the People's War in Peru.

If the RIM were a group of parties coming together to define Maoism, that might be a fine project. But the truth is that the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) had already defined Maoism and had to push the rest of the RIM to accept it. With the capture of the PCP leadership, the CoRIM went on to promote the idea that there was a two-line struggle over peace negotiations within the PCP, and that Gonzalo had authored a peace letter. Not only is the idea of disarming the communist party the literal definition of revisionism, there is probably no party to date that has made this more clear than the PCP of the 1980s. For years MIM published articles exposing this wrecking work, led by the RCP=U$A, as working right into the hand of the CIA/Fujimori regime.

Putting that atrocious activity aside for a moment, JMP's treatment of the RIM as a monolithic whole acts as a way to sneak in the obviously revisionist RCP=U$A. RCP revisionism is spelled out clearly in the original MIM comrades' writings from its very founding to its very last days. Even many former RIMers have critiqued the RCP's role in hindsight, though this was not until after the RCP had openly rejected Maoism again. JMP alludes to the RCP=U$A and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as examples of Maoists gone revisionists. Yet both of these organizations were criticized as Trostkyist prior to the RIM statement on Maoism.(10) Certainly revisionism will emerge from the genuinely Maoist movement, but these examples just serve to include revisionists in the genuine ICM.

Just as the RCP=U$A used its resources to have undue influence in the ICM, the PCP's real street cred served to legitimize the RCP=U$A on its home turf once the PCP joined the RIM. While the RCP=U$A long ago removed itself from the milieu of "Maoism" and its influence has waned greatly (the RIM having faded away), this action by the PCP had lasting negative impacts on the development of Maoism and revolution in the United $tates.

Defining Maoism

To identify Maoism as a new stage, JMP identifies several universally applicable advances on Marxism-Leninism. Ey distinguishes between those elements that primarily define Maoism, and elements of revolutionary theory that, while advances of Maoism, are not universal aspects applicable in every context.

"Maoism is universally applicable because: class struggle continues under the dictatorship of the proletariat (socialism is a class society), the revolutionary party must also become a mass party and renew itself by being held to account by those it claims to represent (the mass-line), the struggle between the revolutionary and revisionist political lines will happen within the revolutionary party itself, and that the strategy of people's war rather than unqualified insurrection is the strategy for making revolution. To these insights we can add: a further elaboration of the theory of base-superstructure where it is understood that, while the economic base might be determinate in the last instance, it is also true that this last instance might never arrive (a point made by Althusser, following Marx and Engels) and thus we can conceive of instances where the superstructure may determine and/or obstruct the base; the theory of New Democratic Revolution, which applies universally to the particular instances of global peripheries (universal in the sense that it applies to every so-called 'third-world' context) and explains, for the first time in history, how regions that are not capitalist by themselves and yet are still locked within a system of capitalist exploitation (that is, regions that are the victims of imperialism) can make socialism; and a further anti-colonial development of 'the national question'..."(p15)

MIM's founding documents in 1983 contain the first three points, as they voiced support for PPW in Peru. So it seems that MIM had grasped the universal points of Maoism as defined by JMP before 1988.

"Maoism, which has been promoted as a new theoretical stage of revolutionary communism, is not primarily defined by the theory of New Democracy since a new stage of communism should exhibit universal aspects that are applicable in every particular context."(p248)

We agree with many of JMP's universals about Maoism. But we would argue that points like New Democracy do not need to apply universally to all contexts to be universally true. The universality of a political line is found in its correctness for the phenomenon to which it applies. Imperialism is a contradiction of imperialists versus oppressed nations. Just as there is no imperialism without national oppression, there is no imperialism where New Democracy does not apply.

Our difference from JMP on this may also stem from eir different understanding of what New Democracy is. Ey repeatedly stresses that New Democracy is necessary to develop the productive forces within a semi-feudal country as a prerequisite to socialism. On the contrary, New Democracy was an answer to and rejection of the old line that leaned heavily on the Theory of Productive Forces. This line was common among the Bolsheviks, and never really fully grappled with until the Chinese did so.

"Revolutionary movements at the center of global capitalism (that is, movements that manifest within completed capitalist modes of production) will not pursue New Democracy since the problem New Democracy is meant to address has nothing to do with the capitalist mode of production where the economic infrastructure necessary for building socialism already exists." JMP goes so far as to say, "...the fact that there is no significant peasantry or a national bourgeoisie with some sort of "revolutionary quality" at the centers of capitalism means that the entire possibility of New Democracy in these regions is patently absurd."(p.244)

It is certainly true that the French, for example, do not need to wage a New Democratic struggle. Yet, it is a surprising line to see from someone living within occupied Turtle Island, where the national question of the internal semi-colonies is so prominent. The New Democratic revolution in China was all about uniting the nation against foreign occupation to regain the sovereignty of their territory and the self-determination of China. It is the semi-colonial character, rather than the semi-feudal, that is warranting a New Democratic revolution. Mao did not mention the development of the productive forces in eir essay "On New Democracy." Ey does talk about developing capitalism, but not as a prerequisite for socialism. Rather it is speaking to the national ambitions of the bourgeois forces at the time. In that essay ey alludes to the conditions of the development of capitalism in China allowing for the May 4th Movement to develop as it did in 1919. And ey is clear that the era of New Democracy only emerged with the October Revolution that marked the establishment of the first dictatorship of the proletariat. This was because the contradictions within imperialism as well as the subjective development of the first socialist state, meant that bourgeois revolution had become impotent and irrelevant.

JMP's idea that the productive forces are not developed enough today just isn't true. What happened is they were developed off the sweat and blood of the oppressed nations and put in the exploiter countries to benefit others. Certainly the question of economic development after liberation for the under-developed nations is one of importance. But the Chinese proved that this internal economic development does not need to preclude the march towards socialism. Mao butted heads with Stalin on this very question within China, and Mao was proven correct.

In occupied Turtle Island, it is MIM line that plebiscites must be held within the internal semi-colonies to determine the path they take after revolution, and that such plebiscites require full independence to be a true representation of the will of each nation.(11) Such a New Democratic stage would be even more abbreviated here, again because it will be a political question and not an economic one.

Strategy of Protracted People's War

JMP places a lot of emphasis on strategy. A party is not Maoist, ey argues, if that party is not engaged in the strategy of making revolution. This is a fair point when we consider the importance of tying theory with practice. Sitting behind a book or computer or desk and theorizing about revolution does not make for a revolutionary party. But we would replace "strategy" with "practice" in eir argument. We can disagree on the best strategy, which should come from our political line. But whatever line and strategy we adopt must still be put into practice. Results come only from actions, and we can only test our analysis by putting it into practice and witnessing the results.

When JMP argues that the strategy of Protracted People's War (PPW) is universal, we counter that this is only true in the sense that we can describe New Democracy as universal. Elements of PPW are certainly universal, but we have no peasantry nor a proletariat of significant size in imperialist countries in which to base this PPW. "Here also is a theoretical gauge for those organizations who would now name themselves Maoist: if they are not actively attempting to pursue revolution, to strategize a method based on their particular contexts for overcoming capitalism, then it does not appear as if the name, due to its concept, should logically apply."(p180)

Of course we agree with JMPs focus on criticizing reformism and spontaneous insurrection via union organizing. But ey does not address those of us who see socialism most likely being imposed from the outside in this country. If revolution breaks out at the weakest links first, won't it break out in the heart of imperialism last? And at that point, how will revolution occur in a country of former exploiters and oppressors surrounded by a socialist world? There is work to be done in the First World to combat and undermine imperialism, and prepare the people of those countries for socialism the best we can. MIM also said from its very beginning that armed struggle becomes a reality within the United $tates as it becomes militarily over-extended. But the form that such a revolution will take is far less clear than what we can generalize from history for the Third World periphery.

To the extent that there is a two-line struggle within Maoism around the question of the universality of PPW, there is a two-line struggle around revolutionary strategy in the First World. JMP poses the debate as one of insurrection vs. PPW. But in searching out positions in this debate we did not see anyone claiming Maoism and also arguing that insurrection is somehow more appropriate for the First World. Those who have objected to the JMP/PCP line on PPW seem to lack any acknowledgement of the different class structures within the imperialist core countries. They might mention conditions not being ripe, but the implication is that they will ripen and there is a mass base to take up the struggle. For MIM, this is a question of cardinal principles that distinguishes Maoists from others. To try to talk about PPW in the First World while not having a materialist understanding of the class structure is a backwards approach.

We can argue that both New Democracy and Protracted People's War are certainly important parts of Maoism, but are also continuities with Leninism. In other words, the development of these concepts by Mao and the Chinese people would not necessarily warrant the consolidation of a new "ism", a new stage of revolutionary science. It is MIM's first 2 cardinal principles, which defined our movement since 1983, that really distinguish Maoism as a rupture from previous practice in building socialism.

Class and the Party of a New Type

While we disagree with JMP on the class composition of the First World, eir discussions of class in relation to the vanguard party we found quite useful. Working in a very wealthy and privileged country, we often encounter people who are unsure of their role and right to lead. We also encounter many oppressed nationals who don't trust white people, and wimmin who don't trust men. In other words, we encounter identity politics. Chapter 3 was a well-done and sobering response to such takes.

JMP addresses the question of how an outsider could provide the proletariat with the truth,

"How can this party be aware of proletarian politics if it comes from outside? Because this is the politics derived from a scientific assessment of history and society that permits us to understand the meaning of "proletariat" as a social class. It is also a politics that, in its clearest expression, has learned from the history of class struggle, particularly the two great world-historical revolutions in Russia and China, and so can bring the memory of revolution to those who have been taught to forget."(p.122)

Ey addresses the contradiction of the more privileged being the first to make the analysis of one's society that is necessary to build a vanguard party: "If the most oppressed and exploited remained incapable of making the same analyses then counter-revolution would remain a significant danger." (p.119)

"the party of the new type is that party, then, that keeps leadership structures, and thus the unity of theory and practice, but understands such leadership as one that will also be led by the masses, seeks to transform everyone in society into leaders, and thus has its "top-down" aspect balanced by a "bottom-up" conception of organization." (p.202)

Where We Are In the History of Theory

In JMP's timeline and understanding of the relationship between theory and practice, we are currently in a stage of distinguishing Maoism, and elucidating its meaning. The lines have been drawn, but are still poorly understood as Maoism has not risen to prominence since the fall of Chinese socialism. Though it remains one of the most active bases of anti-imperialist practice, and certainly the most active within the broader collection of those identifying as communists. As we have stated before, JMP agrees that to go beyond Maoism theoretically requires a practice that goes beyond China. In our founding documents, MIM(Prisons) applied this criticism to things like "The New Synthesis," "Maoism Third Worldism" and later "Leading Light Communism."

JMP presents our current state in an inspirational way, saying that other radical theories (for example, Foucault's) filled the space as Marxism-Leninism was in retreat, but that those theories have now shown their short-comings, while Maoism is being consolidated and maturing.

On the constructive side of this development, JMP proposes that Maoism, unlike Marxism-Leninism, has the capacity to address the issues that these other theories tried to address, and obviously do it better. This is one place where the lack of discussion around MIM Thought really jumps out. We don't know how much and what MIM writings JMP has read, but ey has read some. MIM Thought provided communists with a new framework around gender that offers explanations to so much of the milieu around that topic that often trips people up.

MIM Thought Ahead of the Curve

While MIM Thought's most important tenant is the raising of the labor aristocracy in the imperialist metropole question to a dividing line question, this line is very much a continuity with Marxism dating back to Marx and Engels themselves. In contrast, MIM's gender line is only present in tiny breadcrumbs in the past. And in reading "Clarity on what gender is" by MC5, you can see it addressing some of the very things Foucault addressed in eir The History of Sexuality. MC5 echoes (or perhaps accepts) Foucault's history that says sex, through sexuality, ceased being about controlling labor power (or biopower as Foucault called it) and became a self-affirming value of the bourgeoisie in the 20th century. This timeline might correspond to when we see the popularization of the gender aristocracy among the general populace of the imperialist metropole — which has today spread even further throughout the world through the U.$.-dominated superstructure (culture). MIM, like Foucault, addressed the lack of revolutionary content of the so-called "sexual revolution." MIM even finds health status to be central to gender today, something Foucault discussed in the modern bourgeois thinking around sex and biology related to the vigor and hegemony of their class.

MIM, however, poses some materialist explanations for the evolution of gender through history, unlike Foucault, who only tells us how the ideas around sex evolved within different institutions of power over time. And unlike most "Marxist" attempts at discussing gender and sex, MIM very intentionally looked for what gender was, independent of class and nation. MIM addresses issues of alimony, high paid prostitution, celebrity rape cases, patriarchy within homosexual relationships and other hot-button issues in the realm of gender in the contemporary imperialist society. In doing so they always clearly distinguished their line from that of the Liberals, post-modernists, and class reductionists.

So when JMP makes a call for Maoism to address oppression related to sex, race, disability, etc, we wonder why ey poses this as if it is a task that is yet to be begun. We believe MIM Thought has provided much insight and guidance in these realms already that should be enough to counter almost any of the talking points from the alt-right to the post-modern radicals.

Applying MLM/MIM Thought

And so we end with some ideas of where our ideological struggle must continue today. We must continue to distinguish ourselves along lines of the fundamentals of Maoism and the application of MIM Thought to our current conditions simultaneously. We must draw hard lines between us and the revisionists, while offering better explanations than the Liberals and post-modernists. In doing so, we will court the scientific thinkers who abstain from bourgeois politics with disgust. And by employing the mass line to continuously improve our understanding and analysis, we can mobilize all who stand against oppression in these imperialist countries.

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[Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs]
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No intentes derrotar la mentalidad gángster ¡abrázala!

La mentalidad gángster puede significar cosas diferentes para cada [email protected] Una pandilla es un grupo de personas con un objetivo común. Quiero enfatizar que todas las palabras y/o conceptos están sujetos a connotaciones que no tienen porque tener buenas intenciones. De la misma forma, pandillas/gángsters tienen tanto connotaciones negativas como positivas, igual que otras palabras como socialismo, anarquismo, comunismo, etc. El objetivo de MIM(Prisiones) ha sido educarnos respecto a estas ideas a través del uso apropiado de la ciencia.

Si tengo en cuenta todo esto, me considero un gángster. Puesto que creo en la idea de trabajar junto a otros para alcanzar un objetivo común, para mí no se trata de "derrotar la mentalidad gángster", sino de abrazarla y redirigirla hacia el "Sendero Iluminado." Tenemos un enemigo común y resolver nuestras pequeñas contradicciones no significa necesariamente que tengamos que vencer nuestra mentalidad gángster. Este tipo de lenguaje es lo que, en muchos casos, causa el rechazo por parte de las organizaciones lumpen (LO). Este es el lenguaje que utilizan las organizaciones financiadas por el estado y los grupos/organizaciones cristianos.

Entiendo que la dirección de MIM es diferente, pero [email protected] que tomen la ULK y le echen un vistazo, puede que al ver este lenguaje, la dejen. Mi enfoque ha sido, y seguirá siendo, uno que politiza la mentalidad gángster. Aquí es donde se encuentran a [email protected] [email protected] más dedicados y que, como son [email protected], se encuentran en una posición desde la que pueden hacer cambios reales que borren la división entre las diferentes pandillas y promuevan nuestra lucha en la dirección correcta. Se trata de aprender y enseñar cuáles son nuestras pequeñas contradicciones y trabajar para superar estos pequeños obstáculos.

En ULK 67, USW 11 se escribió sobre cómo el estado de Washington está haciendo todo lo posible para despolitizar a [email protected] [email protected] y cómo en aquellos lugares donde reina la mentalidad gángster es donde se encuentra la mayor resistencia contra el estado.(1) Cuando los LOs entienden el poder que tienen si trabajan en conjunto, las cosas empiezan a cambiar y a coger formar. Al fin y al cabo, las pandillas contrastan con la mentalidad individualista de Estados Unidos y son una respuesta a las condiciones socioeconómicas que enfrentamos dentro y fuera de la prisión. Es una forma de sobrevivir en un lugar donde el sistema opresivo y capitalista enfatiza el individualismo.

Notas: 1. USW 11, Analiza las condiciones locales para organizar oportunidades, ULK 67, abril de 2019.
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[Censorship] [Arizona]
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HRDC Forces Arizona DOC to Define Censorship Rules

Freedom is Never Free

In November the U.S. District Court ruled that the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) must "establish bright-line rules that narrowly define prohibited content in a manner consistent with the First Amendment." These rules must be defined by mid-February. This ruling comes after years of censorship of a variety of publications by the ADOC, often as a result of arbitrary decisions from mail room staff.

In this case Prison Legal News (PLN) (a project of the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC)) filed a lawsuit in 2015 challenging the censorship of their newsletter for "sexually explicit" content. Ironically, the content that inspired this censorship was describing non-consensual sexual contact between guards and prisoners. And as most readers know, PLN is primarily a legal resource for prisoners fighting injustices like this prison rape.

Arizona bans a variety of publications, including issues of National Geographic, Men's Health and GQ.

Issues of Under Lock & Key are also on this banned list, though not for sexually explicit material. In the case of ULK, the most recent ban (that we know about) is ULK 63 from July/August 2018, which was banned for "Incite, Aide, Abet Riots, Work Stoppages, Means of Resistance". Many other issues of ULK sent to prisoners in Arizona are returned or rejected without reasons given. Our attempt to appeal this ban of ULK 63, requesting the ADOC provide more evidence than these vague claims resulted in the following response: "The pages identified containing such content are throughout, including, but not limited to, pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, and 17."

In an example of their arbitrary decisions around censorship, a MIM(Prisons) six-page guide to forming a prisoner-led study group was censored in 2016 because it supposedly "Promotes superiority of one group over another/promotes racism/degradation." This is exactly what MIM(Prisons) fights against: the superiority of one group of people over another. And this is exactly what the criminal injustice system promotes.

This court ruling requires the Arizona Department of Corrections to change the mail policy from allowing DOC staff to use their discretion when determining what's banned and to establish consistency in excluding sexually explicit material. This won't help MIM(Prisons) as it is rare that a prison claims ULK should be censored for sexually explicit material. But any progress towards less censorship and more narrowly defined policies is a good thing.

On October 22, in a different case, Prison Legal News was awarded $1.2 million in attorney fees by a federal district court in Florida after a nine year lawsuit over censorship of PLN publication because of ads for phone services, pen-pals and stamps. This victory came after the Supreme Court refused to take up the final appeal of this PLN ban.(1) This resulted in the case remanding back to the district court for a ruling on the attorneys' fees. Basically this means PLN won on their Due Process claims but lost on their First Amendment claims. So the censorship is still legal, but the DOC failed to follow proper censorship policy.

"Free speech isn't free," said Human Rights Defense Center executive director Paul Wright. "In this case, censorship by the Florida Department of Corrections cost state taxpayers almost $1.2 million — because of the vicious efforts by the prison system to censor HRDC's publications. The Attorney General's office spent over 3,000 hours in attorney time fighting this case. The real tragedy is that Florida prisoners remain unable to read PLN and other HRDC publications that will educate and inform them of their rights."(2)

PLN and the HRDC have done a lot to fight censorship in prisons over the years. And their hard work on this front benefits everyone seeking to help educate and organize prisoners. MIM(Prisons) doesn't generally have the resources to take on these legal battles, but we do what we can to appeal censorship and force prisons to follow at least basic rules and regulations. This censorship, and our failures in the courts prove a point we often make: under capitalism there are no rights, only power struggles.

Censorship is one of the biggest barriers to our work with prisoners. And it's an area where we always need more help, both from jailhouse lawyers and from lawyers on the streets. If your mail is censored, get in touch with us and let us know. We will send you a guide to fighting censorship and assist on our end with an appeal to the prison. And lawyers on the streets get in touch and help us with these battles!

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[Culture]
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Terminator: Dark Fate Movie Review

terminator 2019
Terminator: Dark Fate
2019

The latest installment in the Terminator movies takes up where Terminator II left off. In this timeline the A.I. called Legion has achieved consciousness and seeks to wipe humynity from the earth. The plot continues the theme of humyns fighting the machines after a nuclear holocaust, with the future pivoting on the life of one persyn.

This movie features more gender and nation diversity than the previous Terminators. All the humyn heroes are female. And it moves beyond the U.$. borders to Mexico where the new target of the Terminator lives. In Dark Fate the Terminator was sent back in time to kill Dani Ramos. A cybernetically-enhanced soldier, Grace, was also sent back in time, to protect Dani. And Sarah Connor, target from the previous Terminator movies, shows up to help with Dani's protection.

There are a few interesting themes to the Terminator movies that continue in Dark Fate. First there is the nuclear destruction of humynity. The earth and most of life on it has been wiped out. People need to take seriously the dark possibility that humynity is driving towards this destruction. It may not include a conscious A.I. wiping out the few humyns who survive. But capitalism is on a firm march towards annihilation of the current balance of life on Earth that humyns depend on. It is not sustainable. And so movies that pose this possible future, brought about by the actions of humyns, are good for the ideas they can provoke.

Another general theme of the Terminator movies is that one persyn is pivotal to the entirety of humyn existence. In previous movies that persyn was John Connor, the unborn child of Sarah Connor. And so the Terminators went back in time to try to kill Sarah to prevent the birth of John to stop em from leading the resistance that could defeat the Terminators. In Dark Fate the one persyn is Dani Ramos. In this case it's not Dani's womb that needs protection/destruction, it's Dani eirself, who will lead the resistance.

We might read into Dark Fate that it's not actually about individuals. After all, John Connor died but now we have Dani. Humynity and its conditions creates these leaders. But for the most part the movie is pushing a message that history is created by one individual who must be protected or destroyed at all cost. Humyns would not have united against the Legion without Dani. So the Legion must send a Terminator back in time to destroy Dani, and the resistance must send a soldier back to protect Dani. That's a lot of resources and energy spent on one persyn.

Dark Fate is consistent with the bourgeois theory of history, a spin on history that focuses on the accomplishments of individuals, removing them from the political context of their time. Communists, on the other hand, don't see Dani, or John, or the other humyn resistance leaders as uniquely qualified for their roles. Instead we see them as a product of the political conditions. They did what was necessary to fight for the survival of humynity. And in their absence others would have done the same.

The idea that only certain special individuals are able to take leadership roles fits in with a religious/capitalist way of thinking. Humynity may be moving towards destruction, but there's nothing average folks can do about it. Only special heroes can make a difference. This way of thinking discourages people from taking up the fight for a better future. And instead suggests it's best to just believe in a leader without question.

Maoists, on the other hand, see no individuals as infallible. In fact, a fundamental tenant of Maoism is the need for continuous cultural revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, in which the people are actively critical of and struggling with socialist leaders and one another. This includes removing from positions of power those who have strayed off the revolutionary path. The future lies in the hands of the people, and so the people must learn through struggle in order for us to discover the correct way forward.

The earlier Terminator movies had a good slogan from Sarah and John Connor: "No Fate But What We Make." This was a mantra that John repeated to himself and others to remember that the future can be changed. This is a good counter to the idea that humynity is fated to nuclear destruction and the rise of conscious anti-humyn A.I.s. And that only John, or only Dani, can lead a successful resistance. Perhaps the A.I.s, in their limited world view, believe this to be true. But humyns should be focused on stopping the nuclear destruction and A.I. consciousness event before it happens. It is unfortunate that Dark Fate takes into its title the antithesis of this anti-fate slogan, and perpetuates that message in the plot.

The movie misses a great opportunity to avoid this idea of fate at the end, when discussing the future of one young character. The goal that this character not die in battle later in life is a good one, and a sign that potentially fate can be changed. But the assumption that the way to do this is to start military training for the post-apocalyptic battle now, rather than fight to keep humynity from destroying itself, is an unfortunate ending.

Check out other movie reviews, from the old MIM website, including a review of Terminator 3.

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[Migrants] [Spanish]
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Un activista se enfrenta a 20 años de prisión por prevenir la muerte de migrantes

Scott Daniel Warren se enfrenta a 20 años de prisión por su trabajo voluntario distribuyendo comida y agua a migrantes en Arizona. Warren colabora con el grupo No Más Muertes que ayudan a [email protected] migrantes que cruzan la frontera en el desierto de Arizona. Por realizar este trabajo y por ofrecer a dos hombres un lugar para dormir, Warren fue [email protected] de dos cargos de felonía por prestar asilo y otro cargo de felonía por conspiración. Su juicio concluyó el 11 de junio con un jurado en desacuerdo.

Warren fue [email protected] en enero de 2018 junto con [email protected] [email protected] de No Más Muertes. Los arrestos se produjeron horas después de que el grupo lanzara un video donde se veía a agentes de la patrulla fronteriza destruyendo jarras de agua que se habían dejado en el desierto para los migrantes. El caso todavía no está cerrado; los fiscales federales podrían optar por re-internar a Warren.

El desierto de Arizona es una de las fronteras más mortales para los migrantes debido al calor extremo. Pero las personas se ven obligadas atravesar por esta área debido a la política de "Prevención por disuasión" de 1994 que surgió en la era Clinton con el objetivo de hacer más mortal el cruce de fronteras. La idea era forzar a que el cruce de fronteras tuviera lugar sobre terrenos más hostiles, poniendo más vidas en peligro, y así desalentar a los migrantes a que intentaran el viaje. Los cálculos del plan tuvieron éxito, incluyendo las "muertes de extranjeros." Llevando a cabo esta medida, el plan funcionó. Se redujeron el número total de personas que intentaban cruzar, sin embargo, las probabilidades de morir incrementaron considerablemente.(1)

Cientos de migrantes son [email protected] muertos cada año. Las políticas fronterizas de Trump son solo una continuación de las políticas antiinmigrantes de todas las administraciones imperialistas estadounidenses, incluyendo la de Obama. Mantener las fronteras cerradas es una fuente barata de mano de obra y recursos naturales para los imperialistas. De esta forma, se preserva la riqueza para aquellos que están a expensas de la pobreza de los que se encuentran en el exterior. Las muertes de migrantes son solo uno de los resultados de estas fronteras. Combatir el muro fronterizo de Trump es una distracción del problema real. Luchemos en contra de las fronteras, no de los muros. Abrir las fronteras; devolver la riqueza robada a las naciones ocupadas, en casa y en todo el mundo.

Notes: 1. Leah Varjacquas and Jessia Ma, "To Stop Border Crossings, the U.S. Made the Journey Deadlier", New York Times, May 29, 2019.
2. Gabe Ortiz, "U.S. attempt to punish humanitarian worker for giving migrants water and food ends in hung jury", Daily Kos, June 12, 2019.
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[Migrants] [Spanish]
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Cientos de personas en huelga de hambre en el centro de detención ICE de Washington

Más de 200 [email protected] iniciaron una huelga de hambre el 18 de octubre en el Centro de Detención Nordeste de ICE (ICE Northwest Detention Center, NWDC) en Tacoma, Washington. El NWDC es una prisión privada dirigida por el Grupo Geo. Esta instalación puede albergar a más de 1500 personas y en ella se encuentran [email protected] [email protected] de redadas de inmigración [email protected] desde la frontera de México con Estados Unidos y otros migrantes [email protected] en el sistema Amerikkano. Esta es una de las mayores cárceles de inmigración del país.

Desde 2014, los [email protected] han iniciado 19 huelgas de hambre para protestar por su detención y sus condiciones tras las rejas. Esta última protesta exige una comida comestible, un tratamiento humano y [email protected] también exigen el cierre total del NWDC. [email protected] [email protected] se encuentran gusanos, sangre, cabellos y otras cosas en la comida. [email protected] trabajadoræs de la cocina informan que las ratas corren alrededor del área de preparación de alimentos. [email protected] [email protected] abusan de los prisioneros. Y el Grupo Geo ignora estas quejas.(1)

El Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de los Estados Unidos (ICE) refleja las condiciones que hay en otras cárceles del país. De hecho, [email protected] [email protected] del Centro Correccional de Clallam Bay en Washington también iniciaron una huelga de hambre y de trabajo a principios de octubre para exigir mejores condiciones, sobre todo, respecto a la calidad de los alimentos.

[email protected] [email protected] de ICE emitieron una declaración negando la existencia de dicha huelga: "El hecho de que no se coma la comida que se ofrece en el centro no es un factor determinante por que se pueda declarar la presunta o proclamada huelga de [email protected] Los artículos alimenticios del economato permanecen disponibles para la compra para los [email protected]". Después de esta declaración, realizaron un recorrido para la prensa por el NWDC, en el que se presentaron condiciones impecables, una sala de atención de urgencias bien abastecida y una biblioteca agradable. Al parecer, ningún [email protected] fue [email protected], ni siquiera fue [email protected] de cerca durante la visita. (2)

La mayoría de [email protected] 54,000 [email protected] de ICE en EE UU se encuentran en prisiones privadas. Y la detención de migrantes constituye la mayor parte de la población carcelaria privada del país. Pero esto no se trata de la diferencia de condiciones entre las prisiones privadas y las estatales o las administradas por el gobierno federal. Las condiciones en todo el sistema de injusticia criminal son abusivas, peligrosas e inhumanas. No estamos luchando por una cara diferente del abuso. (3)

Es cierto que los arrestos federales en general han aumentado en los últimos 20 años, sin embargo, entre 1998 y 2018 los arrestos federales se incrementaron en un 10% entre [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] y en cambio, el aumento entre [email protected] no [email protected] fue de un 234%. El aumento más dramático fue entre 2017 y 2018, que creció un 71% el número de arrestos de los no [email protected] En 1998 el 63% del total de arrestos federales fueron [email protected] estadounidonses, mientras que en 2018 este número cambió y el 64% de todos los arrestos federales fueron de no [email protected] La porción de arrestos federales se ha ido centrando, cada vez más, en la frontera entre México y EE. UU., con un aumento del 33% en 1998 al 65% en 2018. El 95% de este aumento es a causa de detenciones de inmigración.(4)

Los centros de detención de ICE dejan claro el propósito de las cárceles en Estados Unidos. Esta es una opresión nacional. La mayoría de [email protected] [email protected] que no son [email protected] estadounidenses están siendo [email protected] por el "crimen" de estar en Estados Unidos sin el permiso de los imperialistas. Este "crimen" representa el 78% de los casos. (4) Unas fronteras cerradas es un requisito del imperialismo. La riqueza se mantiene dentro de estas fronteras para [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] que nacen bajo este privilegio. La riqueza es robada fuera de las fronteras; la explotación de la mano de obra y el robo de recursos naturales aportan grandes ganancias a los imperialistas. Y [email protected] imperialistas comparten esas ganancias con [email protected] [email protected] de sus países para [email protected] [email protected] y [email protected] Esta diferencia de riqueza es obvia; es latente incluso entre [email protected] más pobres dentro de las fronteras estadounidenses y la población media que viven en el tercer mundo. Quienes viven fuera de estas fronteras están [email protected] por acceder a esta riqueza robada de su tierra natal. El papel del ICE y del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional está claro: mantener esta riqueza dentro de las fronteras estadounidenses en exclusiva para [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

Apoyamos las demandas justas de [email protected] [email protected] en NWDC y de todo el sistema de injusticia criminal. Este sistema ha decaído tanto que las personas se ven [email protected] a morirse de hambre para luchar contra las condiciones peligrosas e inhumanas. La solución no es mejorar las condiciones en una prisión, ni siquiera cerrar una instalación. Pero estas demandas encajan con la lucha antiimperialista mientras luchamos por unas fronteras abiertas y el fin de un sistema en el que una nación tiene el poder de encerrar a [email protected] solo por el crimen de haber cruzado una línea invisible.

Notas:
1. Huelga de hambre en Tacoma NWDC pide tratamiento humano y el cierre de la instalación, La Resistencia, 18 de octubre de 2019.
2. Cientos de detenidos de ICE que se niegan a comer alimentos provistos en el centro de detención de Tacoma, The News Tribune, 18 de octubre de 2019.
3. Reconociendo el DOJ Report on Private Prisons, Bajo Llave y Candado 54, agosto de 2016.
4. Mark Motivans, Immigration, Citizenship, and the Federal Justice System, 1998-2018, Bureau of Justice Statistics, August 2019.
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[National Oppression] [Migrants] [Washington]
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Hundreds on Hunger Strike in Washington ICE Detention Center

nwdc

More than 200 detainees began a hunger strike on October 18 at the ICE Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington. The NWDC is a private prison run by the Geo Group. The facility can hold over 1500 people and houses those swept up in immigration raids, transfers from the U.$-Mexico border, and other migrants caught in the Amerikkan system. This is one of the largest immigration prisons in the country.

Since 2014 detainees have launched 19 hunger strikes to protest their detention and conditions behind bars. This latest protest is demanding edible food and humane treatment, with many also demanding a complete shut down of NWDC. Prisoners find maggots, blood, hair and other things in the food. Kitchen workers report rats running around the food prep area. Guards abuse the prisoners. And Geo group ignores these complaints.(1)

U.$. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers mirror conditions in other prisons in the United $tates. In fact, prisoners at Clallam Bay Correctional Facility in Washington also went on food and work strike earlier in October to demand better conditions, focusing on food quality.

ICE officials issued a statement denying the existence of a hunger strike: "Failure to eat the facility provided meal is not a stand-alone factor in the determination of a detainee's suspected or announced hunger strike action. Commissary food items remain available for purchase by detainees." They followed up this statement with a press tour of the NWDC, featuring spotless conditions, a well stocked urgent care room, and nice library. It appears that no prisoners were interviewed or even filmed up close in the tour.(2)

A majority of the 54,000 ICE detainees in the United $tates are held in privately run prisons. And migrant detention makes up the majority of the private prison population in this country. But this isn't about the difference in conditions between private and state or federally run prisons. Conditions across the criminal injustice system are abusive, dangerous, and inhumane. We're not fighting for a different face on the abuse.(3)

While federal arrests overall have gone up over the past 20 years, between 1998 and 2018 federal arrests rose 10% for U.$. citizens and 234% for non-citizens. The most dramatic increase was between 2017 and 2018, a 71% rise in arrests of non-citizens. In 1998 63% of all federal arrests were U.$. citizens while in 2018 that number flipped and 64% of all federal arrests were of non-U.$. citizens. The portion of federal arrests increasingly focused along the U.$-Mexico border increased from 33% in 1998 to 65% in 2018. 95% of this increase was due to immigration detainees.(4)

The ICE detention centers make clear the purpose of prisons in the United $tates. This is national oppression. These non-citizen detainees are mostly being prosecuted for the "crime" of being in the United $tates without permission of the imperialists. This "crime" represents 78% of the cases.(4) Closed borders are a requirement of imperialism. The wealth is kept within these borders for the lucky few who are born to this privilege. That wealth is stolen from outside the borders; exploitation of labor and theft of natural resources brings great profit to the imperialists. And the imperialists share that profit with the citizens of their countries to keep them passive and supportive. This wealth differential is obvious, even between the poorest within U.$. borders and average people living in the Third World. Those living outside those borders are desperate to get in to access this wealth stolen from their homeland. The role of ICE and the Department of Homeland Security is clear: keep this wealth within u.$. borders exclusively for Amerikan citizens.

We support the just demands of prisoners in NWDC and throughout the criminal injustice system. This system has sunk so low that people are forced to starve themselves to fight the dangerous and inhuman conditions. It will not be fixed by improving the condition in one prison, or even by shutting down one facility. But these demands fit in with the anti-imperialist struggle as we fight for open borders and an end to a system where one nation has the power to lock up others just for the crime of crossing an invisible line.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Darkness & Fire

Fire is this time in solitary.
Outside my window — darkness.
Gaining strength at a fiery pace,
this knowledge I must harness.

Fire is this time in solitary,
burning me like a thousand suns.
But the swords are forged in the hottest fires,
so I sharpen my faith so it's compared to none.

Outside my window — darkness;
freedom can seem afar.
But we must always remember,
it takes a certain darkness to see the stars.
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[Economics]
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It's Just Business

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prison." - Fyodor Dostoevsky

A lot of people get confused when they think about prison. They get the false impression that it's a system of correction. If you do something that merits your incarceration, you do your time, go home and put your life back together. Oh, if it were only that easy.

Think about this: the United States as a country is only 5% of the world's population. Yet, we have the highest prison population. There are other countries larger than us by far, just as Texas and New York are larger than Rhode Island or Connecticut.

One of two things are usually the most common assumptions. Either the United States has the worst people in the world or something is drastically wrong. You can't have it both ways, can you?

But what if it isn't? What if we don't have the worst people in the world. Well then something has to be drastically wrong there. Nope, try again.

Nothing is wrong because it is designed the way it was supposed to be. It works just as it was designed. It's a business run off of cheap labor and institutionalized workers. It's not designed for corrections. That is a vastly mis-believed fabrication!

Inside, they get paid for every body that fills a bed. Every person who signs an attendance sheet for a class or a program. Being locked down is not an issue because they will bring the sheet around anyway and always get the mindless to sign regardless of actual attendance. Forget teaching you anything, and everyone gets paid.

The arms and the legs of the system are not designed for you to succeed. They want you to come back to this concrete hotel to work in their kitchens and so forth. They're set up for failure to keep these turnstiles moving and rotating the mindless drones back through this system of so-called corrections. All for the almighty dollar, the very root of evil.

Now that's not to say it's impossible to finally escape its treacherous tentacles but rare enough that it’s dreamt about more than it's accomplished. Why is that? One may desire it but working for it is a whole different story. The only thing that is ever going to break you from this business that's not designed to let you escape it's grasp is you. Educate yourselves. Be fully aware of all the why's, the how's, the when’s and the inevitable who's.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is true that many people are profiting off of the existence of prisons. Most importantly all the people who get paid to work in and around the criminal injustice system. States are subsidizing a huge welfare program for prison workers who can torture and abuse people at work and earn a good salary for it. But we can't ignore the primary intent of the Amerikan criminal injustice system: social control. If not for this goal, it should be easy to convince politicians that the subsidy given to the vast prison system would be better spent on infrastructure work (which would also employ lots of people) or schools (again lots of employees). But prisons are essential to keep the oppressed nations in check.

The disproportionate rate of incarceration of [email protected] and New Afrikans demonstrates the social control function of prisons. We can also see it in the historic rise in imprisonment rate as the Amerikan government attacked the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and tried to figure out how to stop this growing revolutionary movement. This is why we can't take down the criminal injustice system with economic arguments alone.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Florida]
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America, You Expose the Line

America, you exposed the line
Back in my younger days your judges had their axes to grind
You promised us that justice was really blind
But that is not what we would find
You just saw me as someone who was born to do time
Yeah, I'm from Florida, the sunshine state,
But you've sent me to prisons more times than I've made it across the sunshine gate
Unless i'm riding on the prison bus
Your green dollars all say "in God we trust"
But to you I'm worth about a hundred grand a year
And all the people that I know have all passed through here
It's just how you keep the spirit cause it's so strong-willed
So I turn on my TV and stare at the screen
and it's a habitual liar named Trump
And he has big plans to buy a wall
But unfortunately that's not all
He also wants to split the families apart
And stop the Black & Brown people from a better life and a fresh start
So I guess that the rumor is true
that the Black & Brown are not red, white or blue
But I guess that's just america's plan
The rise of the Ku Klux Klan
That's spread all the way from the back woods
And the secret meetings wearing white hoods
And elevating them to become the police
Then the local judge, and even the mayor of the big city
And then a department of corrections union member
Funneling a percentage of their pay
To keep the disadvantage people locked up all day
By paying politicians and telling them what to say
Like "we're tough on crime"
And then they pass a thousand laws at a time
And have no respect for our civil rights
So we are doing lifetimes of wasted days and wasted nights
But now I can clearly see through your soulless eyes
And your great american white lies
But I vow to stop you from suppressing my kind
Because yes america you exposed the line.
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