"We seldom, if ever, think of ourselves as among those petty-bourgeois forces in need of committing 'class suicide' - but We must remember where We are. Here in the seat of empire, even the 'slaves' are 'petty-bourgeois,' and our poverty is not what it would be if We didn't in a thousand ways also benefit from the spoils of the exploitation of peoples throughout the world. Our passivity wouldn't be what it is if not for our thinking that We have something to lose." - James Yaki Sayles, Meditations on Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth, p. 188
I believe this quote may be of some interest to you in your development of the First World Lumpen (FWL). I believe this applies more to the Euro-Amerikkan than to the nationless New Afrikan who falls into the class lumpenproletariat (LP) by default of lacking a class society of its own.
I am aware that the New Afrikan lumpenproletariat (NAL) is more privileged than the Third World lumpenproletariat (TWL). But not privileged enough to make it reactionary. The LP of Amerikkka is majority New Afrikan - or an oppressed nation, which changes the quality of the question. So it is not just a LP, but LP of an oppressed nation. This qualitative leap in the discussion pushes us to do a through theoretical analysis on the LP from all sides of the question.
The contradiction may look like this: First World lumpen and New Afrikan lumpen.
Then it can be stated as this: Euro Amerikan FWL and New Afrikan FWL
Then Euro-Amerikan FWL must be understood to be reactionary as it is majority white nationalist (racist). They consist of oppressor nation background.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We have a lot of unity with this comrade on assessing the national contradiction between oppressed and oppressor nation lumpen. As we get into in the Lumpen Class Analysis article in ULK 51, we make a distinction between the lumpenproletariat and the First World lumpen that gets at this comparison between the NAL and TWL the writer points out. We find the lumpenproletariat in countries where there is a sizable proletariat, while the First World lumpen exists in First World countries where there is almost no proletariat to speak of, and this later group benefits from living in an imperialist country.
Further, we agree that there is an important overlap between class and nation when it comes to the lumpen. The national privilege of the oppressor nation makes it unlikely that the lumpen from that nation will be revolutionary, while national oppression puts the lumpen from oppressed nations more likely to be on the side of the world's oppressed. In fact, we believe that the class privilege enjoyed by the oppressor nations extends to encompass any potential white nation lumpen to the extent that they can effectively be considered part of the petty bourgeois class from the perspective of class consciousness. And so when we talk about First World lumpen, we are usually looking at oppressed nation lumpen only.
I am a true soldier for the cause of change and the fight it takes to accomplish it. I have been housed at Pelican Bay State Prison since 2013, after being released for a sticking. My prior dealings with this place dates back to 1996 when I did my first bid. Currently I have chosen to embrace change and growth as well as a United Front for Peace at Pelican Bay State Prison.
I am currently involved in "P.E.A.C.E.", Prisoners Embracing Anti-hostilities and Cultural Evolution. We have been going strong for over 8 months. Our cause is based on embracing anti-hostilities and cultural evolution amongst Africans, Hispanics, Whites, Asians, Islanders, and Native Americans by way of partaking in tournaments of basketball, handball, volleyball and having made a conscious choice for change.
These efforts are not being taken lightly by this prison, and every effort is being made to stomp our push for change. The oppressor has refused to follow any of their own set rules and regulations as far as Inmate Leisure Time Activity Groups (ILTAGs) are concerned and assisting our approved ILTAG from running said tournaments without any hassle or fear of our sponsor being prevented from performing his duties without constant nickel and dime harassment tactics.
Pelican Bay State Prison is not open for change. I have been placed in Ad-Seg due to what staff here refer to as "causing ripples." I did 9 months with no charges or a finding of guilt as to that 115 [Disciplinary Report]. A comrade took on the Men's Advisory Council chairman job and raised many concerns of the general population, only to find their house searched by squad numerous times, and constantly given urine tests, though none of these tactics ended with any findings of guilt.
I have so much to share with you all including the atmosphere on these main lines and the new tactics being used to incite violence, chaos and riots. I am on the front line as are so many other brethren here, but we need that voice and the way shared with us on how to proceed in the correct way.
I wish to further educate the masses here at Pelican Bay State Prison as do others, but we seriously need a support system from the outside. Just like the distance of this place from civilization, this is what it feels like to seek rehabilitation, peace, and change at a place that specializes in oppressing. Prisoners' mail is not going out or coming in, and there is no way to prove either way, the 602 [prisoner grievance] process is in shambles; even when you win in this prison you still lose. Every action causes a reaction and Pelican Bay is notorious for their continued nit picking until they get the reaction they are seeking: chaos, violence, riots and disunity amongst prisoners.
We humbly ask for your assistance in bringing change to Pelican Bay State Prison, and the followers you possess in how to proceed. Please include all information and knowledge needed to proceed. Contact myself, and all will be shared with the men concerned. P.E.A.C.E.
Knowledge is the higher power. Thru dedication, struggle, sacrifice, knowledge and revolution we will put Aztlán along with the rest of the oppressed back in power. Don't let TV and the bullshit ass propaganda dictate what you can and can't do, much less a bunch of sheep heads with a stitched up patch that suppose to mean "authority say so." Also to my elders out in the so-called free world and the ones coming out them SHU dungeons after years and decades of oppression, my message is this: Avoid calling the youth "little homies" as in diminishing their status comrade!! Instead if you are so "big," I'm assuming in mind, por favor embrace the youth and teach em to teach, teach em to understand, teach em to resist, teach em to organize. Put a mirror in front of em and give em a soul. Cuz 80% of the population are zombied out. We all put in work the same, but you that are looked upon as elder and leader, especially from out the dungeon, have a stage and a mic. Remember a true revolutionary is not categorized by age, looks, material items or what one did a thousand years ago, but by what one is doing now and is willing to do for the causa.
Anyone can sit on a bunk and zombie out at the stupid box (TV) for all your life. That my friend is not a revolutionary individual, an Oh Gee or whatever you want to call it. The youth is our future. Embrace and teach. Oh, one more thing, don't get caught up on the goodies. The pigs love to see that shit. I wonder why?
Also, there's this hardcore book that just came out: [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. Man, everybody needs to read it. Go on and put that paypal you was gonna spend on hold and order this book. And don't forget to also slide a donation to MIM to help out with the books and material that MIM provides to the less fortunate. Think of it as the prison kitty we have here in the yards and write in!!
Enclosed is a bit of stamps as a donation, and I've been recruiting. I hope they'll pitch in as well.
p.s. For those going to board, know that the swine is conducting a facebook background check, trying to catch mofos on the web. Incognito fellas, it can result in a denial of parole.
MIM(Prisons) adds: A few good tips from our comrade here who is putting eir money where eir mouth is. While we do not promote an idealized revolutionary lifestyle, we do think that people can often underestimate the effect that watching TV has on people and their health. And if that is what you are doing with all your time you really aren't living life.
MIM has long been cutting edge in terms of promoting good security practices and technologies. And a while ago we realized that even prisoners need to be conscious about security in relation to computers and cell phones as we wrote about in Under Lock & Key 31. Finally, if prisoners want to get [email protected] Power, it is available for the discounted rate of $10 from MIM Distributors or for work exchange from our Free Books for Prisoners program.
As I contemplate my situation, I tend to be blinded by the darkness at the end of the tunnel No light, no hope, no future. The only future I can see is the life behind bars; under the thumb of corrupt administrators. One man against injustices that I see, fit for no man.
Everyone sees it, but doesn't respond. Just giving into their own destruction. Not a fight in them. No struggle, no sacrifices. Content in their situation. Do me how you want to do me attitudes. No progress, no future. Free education. They don't get it. Power in numbers, they don't use it. Unity, its non-existent.
We can't let this discourage us. There is light, there is hope. All it takes is a little struggle, sacrifice, and unity. Never underestimate your power.
In the 20th century New Afrikans reached out to Islam in an attempt to find identity outside of Amerikkkan culture. In Islam they found history, identity, independence, integrity and a connection to the larger world, in particular the Third World. Today, revolutionary Islam is reaching out to New Afrikans and the First World lumpen. Just this month, an Al Shabaab-affiliated video was released featuring the stories of young men recruited from Minnesota who were martyred in Somalia fighting the African Union troops who serve their U.$. imperialist master. The first five minutes of this video is a pointed critique of the history of national oppression in the United $tates and the idea of race. It features footage from Rodney King to Michael Brown and uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri, prisoners from Georgia to California, and sound bites from Malcolm X to Anwar al Awlaki. It is an agitational piece that clearly promotes the national interests of New Afrika.(1)
In the video, Islam is presented as the answer to the racism and social hierarchy based on pseudo-biology that is inherent to Amerika. The conception of Islam as a liberation theology is not difficult to make given the prominence of the concepts of jihad, or Holy Struggle, and shahada, translated as witness or martyrdom. The Holy Struggle is to be one with Allah and to represent righteousness, truth and goodness as determined by Allah's divine wisdom. While jihad and shahada do not require armed struggle, martyrdom in battle for Allah's will is one way that Muslims can reach shahada according to the Qur'an.(2)
Throughout the stories of the Minnesota martyrs there is a theme of not fearing death, but rather running towards it. In regions where revolutionary struggle and political dissent of any form has been brutally crushed, Islam might fulfill a need in providing this basis for courage in the face of imminent death. There are many examples in history of the oppressed finding courage in a belief in their own immortality, but they generally did not end well for the oppressed. Ultimately, the myth of immortality may be good at recruiting cannon fodder, but it leads to recklessness and a lack of a scientific approach that is required for victory. We see the brazen unscientific approach to battle playing out in the Islamic State, which is now losing ground after a couple years of impressing the world with their successes.
"You can kill the revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution." - Fred Hampton, National Deputy Chairpersyn of the Black Panther Party
Like the Muslim in jihad, the communist struggles to discover truth and goodness. But the communist serves the people, not Allah, so that goodness is relative to the real lives of humyn beings, and truth is that which changes the conditions of that reality. Whether we can serve the people better in life or in giving our lives will depend on the situation. But as most Muslims will agree, serving truth and goodness does not come in seeking death. Rather than finding our strength and resolve in myths, we look to this world to find strategic confidence in our victory. The vast majority of the world's people suffer under the current imperialist system. Yet that system depends on those same people to derive the profits that keep the system moving. So there is an inherent contradiction that will continue to play out in the form of class and national conflict until the exploitative system is destroyed and replaced with one that serves humynkind.
Islam is Growing
If there were to be a religion of the Third World proletariat, it would be Islam, just by the numbers. As of 2010, only 3% of Muslims lived in the imperialist countries, yet Muslims made up 23.4% of the world's population.(3) The Muslim-majority countries are dominated by young people, with over 60% of their citizens being under 30 years old today.(3) Thus the Muslim population is projected to increase, as Muslims will have birth rates twice the rest of the population for the next couple decades. The contradiction between youth and adults has always been an important one, with youthful populations being more open to change.
Of course, Islam has almost no influence in Central and South America and significant chunks of Africa and Asia. So Islam does not represent the Third World as a whole. But First Worldist chauvinism is just as likely to come in anti-Muslim rhetoric as it is to come in the form of racism these days. And it is interesting how its role among the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates has also emerged from the oppressor nation vs. oppressed contradiction, as we will examine in more depth.
It is of note that France, Belgium and Russia are the only imperialist countries that are predicted to have more than 10% of their populations Muslim by 2030.(3) In November 2015, France and Belgium were put under the equivalent of Martial Law in a search for radical Muslims in their countries. Paris remains under this oppressive police state months later. Following the attacks in Paris, there have been attacks in Russia and the downing of a Russian plane. Anti-Muslim nationalism is also rife in Russia, which has recently joined the war against the Islamic State in full force.
In the United $tates, Muslims make up a mere 0.9% of the population.(4) For this reason there is great ignorance of Islam, but Amerikkkans still share the anti-Muslim sentiments of other imperialist countries. 2015 saw the greatest number of attacks on Mosques in the United $tates on record, with a surge following the attacks by Muslims in Paris, France and San Bernardino, California.(5)
The imperialists have succeeded in creating a new race, that is Muslims, for the oppressor nation peoples to focus their hate on. Without this racism, there could be no bombings or occupations in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Yet the white nationalists, in their own twisted logic, can claim Islamophobia is not racism because its based in religion and not "biology." Academia and the media have jumped on this opportunity, presenting Islamophobic papers as legitimate research and reporting, in a form of modern-day phrenology. There have even been discussions online, no doubt dominated by Euro-Amerikans, about how being anti-Jewish is racist but anti-Muslim is not. It is amazing that in 2016, politricks still trumps science, and most people still believe in race. Racist has become such a powerful word due to a combination of the righteous struggles of the oppressed and the promotion of identity politics, that First Worldists are now convinced that Islamophobic chauvinism is not as bad as racist chauvinism.
Islam as Philosophy
When you study philosophy you will inevitably study many religious thinkers. To this day, you will find those who are very deeply involved in religions to be thinkers and philosophers who are trying to understand and use that understanding to interact with the world. As communists, we do the same. So it is no surprise that we often find ourselves in deep dialogue with those of different religious leanings. As we'll get into below, the underlying class makeup of different religions has more to do with how those religions engage with communism than anything else.
So what are we talking about then when we talk about religion? Religion is idealism with organized rituals. The organized rituals part is pretty straight forward. It implies that there is a group of people who adhere to the religion in order to participate in the rituals. And the rituals include all sorts of things from regular meetings, prayer, fasting, philanthropy, dressing up, studying texts, marriage, etc.
Idealism is a broader category of philosophy that includes religions. And there are different versions of idealism, as we might expect. What is common between the different versions is that idealism puts the mind as primary and matter as secondary or non-existent in terms of understanding the "real world." Prior to Hegel, who introduced the radical method of dialectics, idealism was generally metaphysical. Metaphysical idealism is the belief in predefined, static things-in-themselves. For example, for those who believe in one god as the creator, everything that exists is defined by an ideal image from that god. For idealists, there is a barrier between what we perceive through our five senses, and this pre-defined ideal. Philosophers like Kant, who Engels called an agnostic, falling between idealism and materialism, believed that the real ideal was unknowable, or knowable only through faith. For many religions, it is the task of the individual to attempt to know that ideal or absolute truth by following the rituals of their religion. In Islam, this is called jihad. The passing from the material world to the world of ideas is also called transcendence. Transcendence is a major theme of many religions.
For materialists there is no such thing as transcendence. We see that truth is obtained through our five senses in a constant process of gaining knowledge and understanding as a species through practice and the scientific method. There is no ancient scroll or secret key that will open our third eye allowing us to suddenly see and understand all the secrets of the world that are hidden from us by our senses. Or, as Engels puts it in describing why Hegel marked the end of philosophy:
"As soon as we have once realised — and in the long run no one has helped us to realize it more than Hegel himself — that the task of philosophy thus stated means nothing but the task that a single philosopher should accomplish that which can only be accomplished by the entire human race in its progressive development — as soon as we realise that, there is an end to all philosophy in the hitherto accepted sense of the word. One leaves alone 'absolute truth', which is unattainable along this path or by any single individual; instead, one pursues attainable relative truths along the path of the positive sciences, and the summation of their results by means of dialectical thinking."(6)
Why Do We Still Have Religion?
The United $tates is exceptional in the First World in often defining itself through religion (Christianity). One recent book describes this as a fairly recent development, starting from a campaign by industrial capitalists with libertarian interests opposed to the New Deal.(7) The author points out, however, that Franklin D. Roosevelt used a lot of Christian language in his promotion of the New Deal and criticism of the evils of the capitalist class. Roosevelt used that language to capture the populist interests of the majority in the United $tates who were suffering from the Great Depression. The Christian language was an alternative to the communist language in the Soviet Union, which FDR was trying to save the United $tates from. Since the Bolshevik revolution, religious language has been openly used to combat the materialist language of communists.
The capitalist class took up the religious lingo as a marketing scheme after they realized that campaigning honestly for their own interests against the New Deal was not going to get popular support.(7) They backed the election of Dwight Eisenhower in 1954 who brought "In God We Trust" to our currency and put "One Nation Under God" into the pledge of allegience. While Eisenhower did not undo the New Deal as they'd hoped, this trajectory continued with it's pinnacle in 1980 with Ronald Reagon backed by groups like the Moral Majority. It was Reagan who introduced the tradition of U.$. presidents ending speeches with "God Bless America." To this day these evangelical Christian groups have played a strong roll in U.$. politics.
This is just one example of how religion can be used to mobilize people behind a political cause. It also demonstrates how religion can be a very deceptive tool in politics because the politicians avoid talking about the real issues. While in the realm of philosophy we can talk about religion as idealism, in the realm of sociology we see it as culture. And culture is part of the superstructure in that it reflects the economic substructure; in our world that would be (imperialist) capitalism. And within capitalism the fundamental contradiction that defines that system is that between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. So, we will see how as the proletarian forces become stronger religion will reflect the proletarian world view, such as in Central America when socialism/communism had captured the interests of the masses in those Catholic countries. Religion must adopt a proletarian worldview to stay relevant as the scientific method begins to provide the masses with answers that the religions had failed to. In the status quo under capitalism religion most often reflects the interests of the bourgeoisie.
It has been popular in recent decades to talk about the clash of civilizations between the Muslim and Christian worlds. Some even look to history to show a long pattern of these clashes along religious lines. But these lazy historians cherry pick instances in history when religion is used to further the economic interests of different groups, as it often is. Yet a study of the causes of the most brutal wars in in our modern industrial society demonstrate that it was all about trade, markets and national interests. The two world wars were inter-imperialist rivalries over these things.(8) Then as communism threatened to remove vast segments of the world from the capitalist market economy, the imperialists took aim at countries building socialism. The focus on religion in the the last couple decades is a direct result of the victory of the imperialists in crushing socialist aspirations around the world. This repression, combined with some of the negative experiences countries in regions like the Middle East had interacting with revisionists and social-imperialists claiming to be communists, has led to a significant turning away from the socialist path in many parts of the Third World.
Islam and New Afrikans
Just as religion is today an outlet for many radical youth in the Third World, religion has been influenced by revolutionary politics in the context of New Afrika. In the 20th century we see a turn towards Islam by a number of New Afrikans who are searching for identity and liberation from oppression by Amerika. The great migration from the Black Belt to the industrial centers of the north was a time of great change for the nation, that left many searching for identity and culture. In fact, Noble Drew Ali, Elijah Muhammed and Father Allah all came from the south to face unmet promises of freedom and the American Dream.(9)
The appeal of Islam for people like Noble Drew Ali seemed to be in that it was exotic and unknown in North America, yet well-established elsewhere in the world. New Afrikans have spent much time trying to create a new identity by linking their history to lost histories of other peoples, and this was the tradition that Ali worked in. At this time, it seems that many would-be leaders presented themselves as actually being from more exotic places in order to inspire awe and respect from their would-be followers. But it wasn't just novelty that New Afrikans were looking for, it was something that spoke to their national aspirations, and not the same old Christian doctrines that had been used to keep their progenitors down.
There is a direct lineage from Ali's Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA) to Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam (NOI) to Father Allah's Five Percenters, later the Nation of Gods and Earths (NGE). Even today people move from one organization to the other, building on the common mythologies between them. And all three organizations have had important relationships with various lumpen street organizations.
While loosely based on Islam with their founders basing their studies on religious texts, these groups represent a unique New Afrikan theology and culture. The NGE is the most eclectic of the groups because of its open nature. It had a more direct relationship to street life in New York City, and had influences from practices such as Rastafari, making it again a unique New Afrikan culture.(10)
While the NGE has generally shunned being called a religion, its primary purpose was in the realm of thought and philosophy. Father Allah focused on teaching, not on organizing people for any political goals aside from building opportunity for New Afrikan youth. Elsewhere we discuss the Almighty Latin King Queen Nation and its openness to representing religious ideas, while primarily being a lumpen mass organization. In contrast, the NGE, while rejecting religion ideologically, functioned primarily as a religious or spiritual organization, at least at first. It did evolve to take on more characteristics of a lumpen organization after The Father was killed leaving the youth to organize themselves.
In 1966, a couple years after the Five Percenters began, the New York City Police Department reported that they saw the decline of 200 street gangs, and the rise of one — the Five Percenters.(11) While they often found themselves in violent conflict with the armed wings of other New Afrikan religious sects, in 1971 the NYPD believed the Five Percenters worked with Muslims and Rastafarians in a vigilante killing of ten suspected drug dealers. Around that same time, in the 1970s, the Five Percenters played a leadership role in inspiring gangs to come together to obtain anti-poverty funds, parallel to what groups like the Vice Lords and Black P. Stone Nation were doing in Chicago.(12) In the later 1970s the Five Percenters recruited whole street gangs into their fold whose members accounted for a significant portion of the arrests in Brooklyn during those years.(13)
In another article on the MSTA, a comrade explains the dual roles of the organization, which began as a civic organization and later became a religion. This duality is another thing that MSTA has in common with the NOI, NGE and other New Afrikan organizations that are just as concerned with the nation as with spirituality. This role is also seen in leaders of Christian-based churches, as well as lumpen organizations in the New Afrikan community. While this is a manifestation of the continued national interests of New Afrikans separate from Amerika, it has unfortunately been used against their national interests as well. Some revolutionary theorists have pointed out that it is the most scientific revolutionary leadership that has been targeted for complete annihilation by the state, leaving those with idealist and profit-motivated views to fill the leadership vacuum.
Back in 1996, MIM Notes criticized the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan for stating that an earthquake would strike California in response to federal agents' harassment of NOI officials. MIM wrote, "While Farrakhan's statement appears on the surface to be an extreme example of religious metaphysics, Farrakhan was in fact skillfully using metaphysics as a cover for a crypto-pacifist line directed at his followers."(14) Farrakhan followed in Elijah Muhammad's footsteps, who predicted many major events that never materialized. The mythology of Fard (who is considered a prophet by the NOI) and Elijah Muhammad promoted the idea that the Black man was god and created the white man over 600 years of grafting by the scientist Yacub. Muhammad, and his follower Clarence 13X (later Father Allah), believed that after 6000 years the Black man would return to power, which happened to be in 1966. Muhammad predicted the "Fall of America" to occur that year. The early years of the Five Percenters focused on preparation for this event.
While Father Allah was close to Malcolm X even after both had left/been forced out of the NOI, ey did not join up with Malcolm because Malcolm had rejected the story of Yacub after eir trip to Mecca.(15) Later, Father Allah would take up the line that devilishment was a state of mind and not a genetically distinct white man that was bred by Yacub.(16)
It was Malcolm X who had developed the most scientific theory of liberation coming out of the NOI, which ey seemed to be separating from eir religious beliefs before ey was assassinated, by setting up two separate organizations. Malcolm X inspired many, but it was the Black Panther Party, a Maoist, and therefore atheist, organization that best claims to be the direct descendents of Malcolm's ideas.
The religious side of Malcolm's evolution was carried on by Elijah Muhammad's son, Wallace, who took leadership of the NOI after Elijah's death. Wallace had been shunned for siding with Malcolm in the past, so it was not too surprising when ey took the NOI and transformed it into a group based in traditional Sunni Islam, rejecting the mythology of Yacub and the focus on race. But once again, the appeal of that mythology had not died, and many traditional NOI members left. After originally following (and praising) Wallace's leadership, Louis Farrakhan restarted the Nation of Islam a few years later under the original teachings of Elijah Muhammad. Ey courted the Five Percenters as part of eir efforts to rebuild the NOI.(17)
It is MIM(Prisons)'s line that the principal contradiction within the internal semi-colonies is that between integration with Amerika and independence from Amerika. The continued interest in the mythology of Yacub indicates an unscientific rejection of integration by many New Afrikans. The organizations discussed here all have a significant base in the New Afrikan lumpen, and have ideologies that reflect a kernel of the drive for national independence. While some people from MSTA and NGE have recently distanced themselves from Third World Islam, we shall see whether this becomes the dominant tendency, indicating a further move towards integration with Amerikkka for New Afrikans.
"You know back in the day, some of y'all
Would shout out Allah's name like he was hostin yo' mixtape
Then after 9/11 you got scared and shut the fuck up
Didn't talk about the demonization of a culture, immigrants, nothin
Now you show up, talk about we takin it too far
Die slow! MOTHERFUCKER!"
—Immortal Technique, Watchout (3rd World Remix) from the album The 3rd World (2008)
Addendum: Islam Still Small in the U.$.
After publishing this article, we thought it instructive to add some data we came across on the numbers of people, in particular New Afrikans, who represent some strand of Islam within U.$. borders. That number is quite small, representing less than 1% of the people in the country.(1) Even within the New Afrikan nation the percentage is about the same. Yet, that hides the fact that New Afrikans are disproportionately represented in the U.$. Muslim because virtually all other Muslims are recent immigrants (63%) or descendents of recent immigrants from major Muslim countries.(1) In other words, 0.9% of New Afrikans is much greater than the almost negligible number of Muslim Euro-Amerikans. This leads us to the third pie chart above, showing 59% of Muslims born in the United $tates being New Afrikan. Again, this is why we stress the connection to the national question in the article above.
Finally, it should be noted that even among the small percentage of New Afrikans that do identify as Muslim, most practice a more traditional form of Islam than the groups discussed in the last section above.(2) While we didn't find good numbers on Nation of Islam membership, estimates put it at in the neighborhood of 10% of New Afrikan Muslims. The various sects of the Moorish Science Temple of America represent a much smaller group, though we know that among imprisoned New Afrikans the percentage is higher and we have gotten many letters of interest from prisoners in response to this issue of Under Lock & Key. We do not have numbers on the Five Percenters.
Survival in this imperial dungeon is a must. Survival is more than looking over ya shoulder wondering when a shank will be placed in your back. Survival in these walls has a broad base.
First, we must be vigilant in what we eat, the reason why is food nourishes the body, mind and soul. There are so many chemicals added to our diet that it kills or destroys us over a period of time. We must change our diet or balance it with more fruits and veggies. What I have done was get on a kosher diet rich in fresh produce, and cut back on a lot of mystery meat. How can we fight with all our strength if what we eat is making us weak?
Another survival method I use is peers. I connect to those held captive in the system of snakes, and politic with them so we can all be on point. Staying away from negative energy which brings chaos. I try to apply "each one teach one" as my everyday survival method, cause once you help your brother-comrade in need it brings a feeling of joy.
But the enemy can come with all kinds of tricks, and once they see you are a fighter for justice, then you're hauled off to a solitary confinement unit. Now that's when you must use all the tools to survive. One method that I currently use now while housed here is reading a lot of material and applying the principles to my everyday life. And spreading literature helps so us comrades can chop it up (conversate) amongst each other and figure out ways to find solutions rather than being a problem. But I keep a simple program so I can survive in this imperial prison. Stocks of peanut butter in case food supply doesn't come. Batteries for fuel, radio to keep up with current events. And learning more about self, so I can be prepared mentally to overcome this injustice.
MIM(Prisons) responds: On the topic of survival in solitary confinement, we distribute excerpts from the "Survivors Guide for Solitary Confinement" pamphlet that was released by the American Friends Service Committee. It is primarily authored by prisoners and gets into many mental health tactics, including meditation, setting a schedule, and regular exercise. These tactics are useful for any comrade who's serious about political organizing, whether locked up or not.
Sometimes our oppressors will put us in a strip cell with no bedding, no warmth, no food, no water, no medical attention. In those moments, there's little we can do as far as relying on peanut butter reserves. But maintaining everyday practices that keep us healthy and strong, and with a strong ideological understanding of the reasons we're facing these horrible conditions, will help us remain strong and make it through this torture. Our survival tactics may be individual at times, but our struggle is vast.
Cien años después del histórico Plan de San Diego, se desarrolla otro evento monumental e histórico; la publicación de [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán (Poder [email protected] y la lucha por Aztlán). [email protected] Power es un libro revolucionario nacionalista enfocado en la lucha revolucionaria de la nación [email protected] contra el imperialismo Amerikano. Este libro le sirve a toda la Raza oprimida en Aztlán y debe de ser estudiado por todos los interesados en liberar la nación [email protected] del imperialismo Amerikano, especialmente la Raza interesada en liberar la nación [email protected] del imperialismo Amerikano, especialmente la Raza interesada en establecer una república de gente [email protected] en donde se encuentra Aztlán ocupado y oprimido, i.e. California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Nuevo Mexico, Utah, y Colorado.
[email protected] Power alumbra en la oscuridad que es opresión nacional, una oscuridad que ha envuelto y cubierto a Aztlán. Dirigiendo sus rayos luminosos hacia el sendero luminoso abierto para nosotros por toda la buena gente del mundo en la lucha. La lucha de la gente en la cual las masas heroicas del Tercer Mundo continúan probando no solo su valor en la cara del imperialismo desastroso sino tambien la validez y efectividad de la guerra de la gente y la ideología revolucionaria de donde nació: Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo, principalmente el Maoísmo.
[email protected] Power nos manda a atacar con fuerza la opresión nacional y criticar a los proponentes de la opresión nacional sean quien sean. Esto significa que como revolucionarios nacionalistas y el destacamento avanzado de la nación [email protected] es nuestro deber ser los primeros en criticar abiertamente a nuestros líderes comprados y reformistas. No sirve en nada alabar a opresores solo porque tienen apellidos en español, hablan español o son Raza por nacimiento, haciendolo solo confunde el punto para las masas [email protected] quien miran hacia nosotros como guías de teoría e ideología. Siendo revolucionarios debemos siempre encender el camino en asuntos de punto de vista política y conciencia, nunca debemos rendirnos a la complacencia que traería degeneración política. Tenemos que acabar con [email protected] nacionalistas disfrazados de Maoístas quien en el nombre de Aztlán levantarían la bandera roja solo para después oponerse a ella. Comunistas de la nación [email protected] deben pararse firmes e intransigentes contra estos nacionalistas chauvinisticos quienes con sus engaños atrasan el movimiento [email protected] de liberación e independencia.
Dicho esto, Maoístas auténticos creen en unir a todos quienes están dispuestos para la lucha para liberar la nación. Esto está de acuerdo con la teoría del frente unido con practica desarrollada por Joseph Stalin, líder de la USSR durante la lucha de la gente Soviética contra el fascismo Alemán, y Mao Zedong en la guerra de la gente China de liberación contra el militarismo e imperialismo Japonés. Haciendo esta declaración se reconoce que hay una contradicción entre la unificación de todos quienes se puedan juntar y luchar no solo contra tendencias equivocadas entre el movimiento [email protected] pero también deviaciones completas y revisionismo adentro del movimiento [email protected] comunista también. Maoístas del movimiento [email protected] deben buscar resolver estas diferencias y contradicciones ahora mismo, empezando con los elementos más avanzados de las masas [email protected], con el método de unidad-lucha-unidad. No deberíamos esperar que se complete el teatro de liberación nacional antes de tomar la lucha ideológica. Esto no debe excluir el separarnos de otras organizaciones [email protected] a base de paradas de principio sobre disputas científicas pues "La lucha sigue adelante continuamente." Debemos reconocer que en estos casos lo que no deberíamos hacer es no unir los dos en uno, sino luchar para dividir para poder liberar Aztlán y hacer la revolución.
También debemos reconocer que antes que el movimiento pueda formarse a traves del poder y la fuerza de las masas [email protected] primero tiene que haber un consenso entre todos los elementos revolucionarios de Aztlán para poder consolidar el movimiento nacional [email protected] de liberación; sea entre un frente unida suelto entre varias organizaciones [email protected] y [email protected], o bajo una bandera unida con un solo programa, no se puede determinar ahora. Lo que debería ser reconocido es que las fuerzas revolucionarias en Aztlán tienen que comenzar el proceso de consolidación para seguir moviendo la lucha hacia adelante. La mejor manera de hacer esto en esta etapa de la lucha es indudablemente con Under Lock & Key (Bajo Llave y Candado), la voz del movimiento anti-imperialista trás de las paredes de la prisión. De esta manera es el deber revolucionario de Maoístas y otros anti-imperialistas de la nación [email protected] unirse para poder empezar el largo y arduo proceso de liberación y descolonización de toda la gente.
El movimiento nacionalista revolucionario [email protected] debe estar en unidad firme con todos las fuerzas Maoístas autenticas del mundo incluyendo todas las otras fuerzas revolucionarias peleando regímenes respaldados por imperialismo. ¡Saludo de puño cerrado! un saludo de puño cerrado también mandamos a toda Raza y camaradas encerrados en prisiones Amerikkkanas quienes han saltado a ganarse la liberación para nuestra gente con la lucha utilizando el Maoísmo; el tercer y mas alto nivel de la ciencia revolucionaria.
Camaradas deberían estudiar seriamente el programa de diez puntos MIM(Prisiones) y también los seis puntos cardinales de MIM(Prisiones) antes de intentar crear sus propios grupos Maoístas pues pueden demarcar entre Maoísmo autentico y falsas organizaciones comunistas. Estos programas deben servir como guía general al tipo de organización y como organizarse. Celdas revolucionarais contendiendo la manta de Mao y Aztlán deben abrirse a todo [email protected] y no deben ser contingente en organización pasada de la calle o prisión, pero si en la creencia profunda que Aztlán es un territorio de la nación [email protected] que tiene que ser liberada!
A la misma vez organizaciones [email protected] Maoístas deben tener pólizas estrictas de admisión porque la revolución no es un estilo de vida o un juego, es una cosa de vida o muerte y por eso sólo los revolucionarios más cometidos serán escogidos. Camaradas también deben estudiar seriamente el concepto Leninista de "mejor, pocos, pero mejor" para esta etapa de la lucha. Por último, camaradas deben juntar a las masas oprimidas en la prisión, en particular Raza presa para luchar y comenzar a trabajar con otras organizaciones amables hacia la revolución en el espíritu y practica del "Frente Unido para la Paz en las prisiones," no solo porque es la forma mas efectiva de establecer la paz en la prisión, pero también de mantenerla. Paz entre las masas no es sólo un precursor, sino es un prerequisito a la victoria a nivel estratégico.
El [email protected] y otras masas de prisión deben darse cuenta que el imperialismo Amerikano se pone más débil cada día, a nivel domestico e internacional por su extenso sobre alcance hegemónico. En vez de ganarse más poder a largo, los imperialistas con su presencia han encontrado resistencia feroz y odio por parte de las masas del Tercer Mundo resueltas. Las masas deben saber que el imperialismo Amerikano es un tigre de papel y a nivel estratégico y de largo plazo su muestra de fuerza es solo boxeo de sombra para el beneficio de los que ellos desean oprimir y subyugar; es un monstruo de concreto con pies de arcilla y donde intenta plantar los pies, es atacado.
"Aunque re-escriban la historia, no se puede cambiar el hecho que la lucha de liberación nacional es la que le da tantas derrotas militares a el imperialismo." ("La cuestión nacionalista y partidos vanguardias separados" en MIM Teoría 7: Nacionalismo Feminista Proletariado) Aztlán Libre!
Recently, there has been a lot of confusion and/or misunderstanding with regard to the Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA) and its relation to the Sovereign Citizen Movement. This is partially because some people who may or may not be a part of the MSTA have taken up certain aspects of the Sovereign Citizen Movement.
There are over five different splinter groups who operate under the MSTA that i am aware of, each with its own self-proclaimed leader of the "Movement" established by Prophet Noble Drew Ali. This is why we have this confusion as to what the Moorish National and Divine Movement is about.
Brief Historical Background
The MSTA was founded by Prophet Noble Drew Ali in 1913 and was first organized as a civic organization. In 1928, it was re-incorporated in the State of Illinois as a religious corporation. The stated objective of the MSTA is "to uplift fallen humanity." Humynity meaning all of the people of the world, with the understanding that charity starts at home before it spreads abroad.
The MSTA is decidedly "nationalist." It proclaims Marcus Garvey as the forerunner of Noble Drew Ali. It should be of interest to note that Prophet Noble Drew Ali was pushing the line that New Afrikans (Moors), were a separate and distinct nation here in the United $tates.
While the MSTA is recognized as a "religious" organization, it also functions on a social, economic and political level, as all of these functions are necessary in building and/or re-building a nation. Herein lies the confusion and/or misunderstanding with regard to the Moorish Movement. The political line and direction varies depending on which "Sheik" you are following.
I am a Moor. I am a also a New Afrikan. I am a member of the MSTA and the 1st Crown Prince of the Black Order Revolutionary Organization (BORO), a New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist organization. For the most part, the MSTA is a cultural nationalist organization.
The line of the MSTA is that we are descendants of Morrocans and born in America. This is based upon the fact that the Moors ruled the Northwestern and Southwestern shores of Afrika, and that this location was the center of the Afrikan Holocaust (aka Atlantic Slave Trade).
We all should recognize that through an imposition of war, Afrikans were brought to these shores from many lands, tribes and cultures with different languages, traditions, etc. But through our collective oppression and hystoric collective resistance, we developed into a social and cultural unit (nation), separate and distinct from any other people on the planet. WE became a New, Afrikan people. Thus, the term New Afrikan. The same can be said for the term Moorish American.
Religion and Communism
BORO demonstrates from a secular form of organization because hystorically and scientifically, secular movements are better political vehicles than religious movements. This is because one's religious orientation does not necessarily determine one's political positions, and it is one's politics that need to form the basis of unity and disunity if a movement is to maintain a clear political focus.
While most religions and religious groups deal in idealism and metaphysics, Moors are taught to be scientists. For Moors, we are taught that the Islamic path to submission to God (Allah) is simplified as a "Creed." Moorish scientists are taught to maintain the principles of Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom and Justice. In fact, Temple members are encouraged to engage the world in the same way as the "spiritual" principles given, Love being the first and Justice being the last. Moors should primarily be concerned with spiritual principles rather than some sort of religious orthodoxy. But again, this is all predicated upon which "Sheik" you are following.
Moorish Science doesn't teach that God (Allah) is some great, mysterious spirit, but that all people have within them the seed of perfect development. Your "devil" or "God" is within you and it is manifested through your thinking and words, actions and deeds; which result from our material conditions.
There are a lot of issues around which the anti-imperialist movement can unite with the MSTA. The struggle against religious thinking is secondary to smashing imperialism, militarism, environmental pollution and other antagonistic contradictions which are manifested in our struggle, mainly national oppression and gender oppression.
Our task should be to try to find common ground in which we can unite with those who have religious thinking as their base. We should unite with them in secular political movement such as BORO, MIM(Prisons), USW, or RAIL.
"Our principle ideological task in organizing such religious progressives — as well as the people who take the bourgeoisie's idealist talk of 'eternal truths' like fraternity, equality and liberty at face value — is to explain our slogan that 'there are no rights, only power struggles.' That is, these rights are denied the oppressed masses through economic exploitation and outright violent suppression. The only way to realize these rights is to overthrow the material systems of imperialism, capitalism and patriarchy — and the only way to combat these material forces is to scientifically analyze the contradictions in society and build a secular revolutionary movement, a movement without religious bias which can unite all the oppressed."(1)
While i don't have the time or space to go into all of the contradictions within the MSTA, it is safe to say that it has no ties to the Sovereign Citizen Movement. It is inherently more progressive than most organized religious groups operating in the New Afrikan community, but there is a leadership vacuum. A scientific leadership, that knows how to balance the spiritual aspects of life, with materialism.
At the same time, "some people talk about a 'nation' but really don't wanna be one (independent), as evidenced by their efforts to crawl back on the plantation. How can we tell? You can identify those trying to crawl back on the plantation by the way they identify themselves, i.e. 'black', 'African-American', 'ethnic group', 'minority nationality', 'underclass', anything and everything except New Afrikans, an oppressed nation. Amerikkka is the plantation, and continuing to identify yourself within the Amerikkkan context is evidence of the colonial (slave) mentality. Ain't no two ways about it."(2)
It is the people who make hystory and it is our responsibility to create the type of society that we want to live in. Otherwise, you ain't got no right to complain about the oppression you face.
MIM(Prisons) has received a number of other responses to discussion around the MSTA, following the article "Talks about Sovereignty: A Scientific Approach" printed in Under Lock & Key 44.
One Illinois prisoner wrote: [The article] described these groups aforesaid as Sovereign Citizen movements which, in many instances, can obliquely misrepresent the actual objective these organizations have struggled to attain. The author's paralogism can be easily made by relating the agenda's of New Afrikan groups like the Moorish Nation and the Washitaw Nation of Moors to that of the white nationalist groups, though indeed there are many concrete similarities between the two movements, yet to the contrary, there are also conceptual differences, which in respect to the Moorish Divine National Movement and the Washitaw Nation of Moors theoretical systems warrants elucidation.
...what the author fails to clarify is the Moorish Divine National Movement in fact has a much different historical perspective on such matters. Moorish partisans do not acknowledge the feudal British empire (feudal at the time) nor their posterity, imperialist USA as legitimate authorities of the land. They recognize that all Moorish people here in the colonial USA are colonized and have the right for self-determination and national sovereign independence.
And I thought it would be also critical for comrades to note, that the Moorish nationality is not a pseudo-scientific theory, it actually has a historical foundation to support its concept.
A comrade from Michigan wrote: Comrades, I truly appreciate you and all the things that you have taught me and put me in tune with as far as the revolutionary movement. Comrades, you have opened my mind and changed my point of view because I had got caught up under religion but not the political, social, economic and cultural perspectives. Islam isn't a religion at all, it's a way of life, and this is why Islam is the fastest growing way of life in the world today.
The letter you sent me asks the question is the Moorish Science Temple of America a sovereign movement? The answer was No! This is correct because the MSTA is a religious organization that was founded by Prophet Noble Drew Ali in 1928... But in the late 1920s the Moors started fighting over positions and for power. The Moorish movement split up into many different organizations.
I'm a product of the new generation of Moors. Prophet Noble Drew Ali said, "there are going to be new Moors coming into the Temple with their eyes wide open, seeing and knowing they are going to set you old Moors in the back, and they are going to enforce my laws."
I see myself as a new generation Moor and I see and understand the weak and ineffective leadership that's in the Moorish movement. ...I have decided to bring about a serious change in the Moorish movement and its ideology and to become politically, socially, economically and culturally in the struggle to remove oppression and exploitation of the New Afrikans, poor people and Third World countries. This is the reason why I founded the Moorish Islamic Liberation Movement as its Chief Executive Ruler.
...There are more MSTA Temples in the prison system than society now, this is a damn shame. But Moors in society have forgotten where they came from.... And yes, I support the Sovereign Freedom Movement, and I recognize the U.$. Empire government but I'm not a 14th Amendment Federal Citizen, I'm a state citizen under the 11th Amendment of the U.$. constitution. ...
The Moors are indigenous to the Americas because the old Moorish Empire extended from the northeast and southwest Afrika across the great Atlantis even unto the present day North, South and Central America... This Moorish Islamic Liberation Movement has many different associates and alliances because to destroy and overthrow imperialism is going to require a great many alliances. I'm against no other Moorish organization but I disagree with the methods and ideology of teachings because it's too many secrets and not enough action.
I stand with the oppressed, exploited and the poor people of the world because of the cruel abusive and foul treatment by the imperialist and the powerful of the proletariat and lumpen. We stand together in solidarity as Souljas in the revolutionary cause to establish freedom, justice and equality for all people wherever they may be. Our principles are Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom and Justice. And when these principles are violated, justice then must take its course!
A comrade in Illinois wrote: I am writing to you about your recent article that talks about sovereignty. The Moorish Americans are not on a sovereign citizen movement, get it right. We are not some new organization, the Moors are the true indigenous people and nations of the land as you know that the Moors was denationalized during slavery and given slave names and Black state of mind, they were made negroes, colored folks, black people and in 2015, African Americans. Now take a look at the Constitution of the United States of America, Article 1, Section 2. You know where it says three fifths of all other persons. Do you know what they are talking about? They are talking about Willie Lynch syndrome man breaking and slave making!...
MIM(Prisons) responds: We thank this latter comrade for sending many pages of materials on the Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA). Much of our response here is based on the information in those documents.
The MSTA denounces the terms "Negro", "Colored", "Black" and "African American" to describe a people, primarily because it denies the nationality of said people. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees all people the right to a nation and to change their nation, and is cited by the MSTA as part of their claim. We agree with this foundational aspect of the MSTA that recognizes the independent nationality of what we call the New Afrikan nation, which was formed by the importing of slaves of various African nations by European settlers. MSTA looks at the history of Amerika, and the 14th and 15th Amendments, and states that it "could never seriously include people of color, women or commoners." Again, we agree here that there is an antagonistic contradiction between the Amerikan oppressor nation and the oppressed.
As the comrade from BORO describes, MSTA's idea of a Moorish American Nation seems to parallel what we call the New Afrikan nation. They explain their use of the term Moor in that it is an ancient civilization, with a glorious history, that is found in the bible. They imply that a nation not found in the bible does not exist. This is a metaphysical view that nations cannot change, form, or disappear with time. Their need to define their nation as timeless seems to lead them to declare the Moorish American Nation to be the indigenous people of and "Heirs Apparent" to the lands of "North America, South America, Central America, and the Atlantis Islands, referred to as the Caribbean Islands." This is echoed by our comrade from Michigan above. Elsewhere the MSTA seems to contradict this when writing, "the Moorish, were a new nation of people, brought forth on this continent by the European forefathers." It is not clear from what we've read how the MSTA reconciles their identity as an indigenous nation to America with the historical fact of the African slave trade and the many First Nations that existed in America prior to that trade that brought masses of Africans to this land.
Now to this question of MSTA and sovereignty. While none of our correspondents above see the MSTA as a Sovereign Citizen movement, at least one of them was quite well-versed in and supported the Sovereign Citizen ideas. As established above, there are different sects of the MSTA. At least a couple of them publicly denounce the Sovereign Citizens Movement.
Yet, the language in many of the documents sent to us are quite similar to that of the Sovereign Citizen Movement, so it is easy to see how the two have merged in some places in recent years. They speak of "legal trickery" and go on and on about archaic legal language to explain the situation they are in and how to get out of it. But in reality it was brute force and oppression that put New Afrikans where they are as a semi-colony of Amerika. The law is merely a smokescreen to cover that up. So that is where we disagree with the MSTA and those who look to Sovereign Citizen ideology for liberation. They treat the legal concepts they talk about as concepts that define our reality. In contrast, we believe it is people, and ultimately the masses, who define humyn destiny. The MSTA's and Sovereign Citizens Movement's approach is a sort of idealism, where the ideas are these legal concepts that they hold up as the ultimate cause of their predicament and solution to it.
Some of the materials sent to us were from the Moorish Order of the Roundtable, founded in 1982 (rvbeypublications.com). This group happens to be the target of an article "Debunking sovereignty myths" on moorishsciencetemple.org. So we see there is disagreement and even confusion among those calling themselves Moors on this question. We support those who are working towards greater clarity. The piece by the BORO comrade above puts the issue plainly, and the work of BORO speaks to their efforts to put a scientific political agenda into practice. We will continue to work with the comrade trying to start the Moorish Islamic Liberation Movement to move in a similar direction.
I would like to comment on one recurring theme I've observed in recent issues of ULK. I've noticed a willingness from prisoners who seem to accept a prisoncrat's word that they cannot appeal the censorship of your - or others' - literature. I have yet to encounter a prison system which does not have a process for screening books, magazines, etc. While they may be loathe to follow those procedures, we need to force them to at least go through the motions of properly reviewing our literature, as once that review is completed, then we can take our complaints to the local federal courts. While they don't always afford us the relief we deserve, sometimes we do prevail, and if nothing else our lawsuits are expensive to defend. At some point the attorney general's office will tire of defending policies which don't comport to the state's own regulations. If we continue to give up at the first sign of resistance, we will never accomplish any of our goals. Those who are unwilling to defend their rights deserve none.
MIM(Prisons) responds: There are no rights, only power struggles, so we agree with this comrade that it is important that everyone step up to fight the censorship battles that are preventing revolutionary material, or any other mail, from getting in to the prisons. Unfortunately many states do have "unappealable" (per policy) censorship. For example, in Texas the [email protected] Power book was recently banned. Per Texas policy, this book is effectively censored forever. We are pushing comrades in Texas to take this to court to not only get the book in to prisoners in Texaztlán, but to attempt to change this policy across the board.
We are not so optimistic that the attorney general's office will tire and give up, and in fact we know that even in victory the courts and the government are likely to just change the laws on us rather than let us win. But we do agree that these battles are sometimes winnable, and it is persistence that pays off. At the same time, everyone taking up these legal battles should use their fight as an opportunity to educate others about the struggle, and why we are facing so much censorship of anti-imperialist educational material. In this way, even if we lose in the courts, we have made good use of our time by helping others to learn from the fight and building resistance outside the legal realm.
This is a quick response to Rashid's recent response to us titled, "MIM (Prisons) Preaches Logic but Practices Petty Bourgeois Opportunism (2016)." Rashid is the Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter, which we have a history of both work and struggle with. While we appreciate the time ey has put into responding to us, we continue to find eir responses to be largely unhelpful. Here we give some comments on this document, section-by-section. It won't be too useful until you've at least read Rashid's latest article, but you should probably also read 100 Reasons Why Rashid Needs to STFU About MIM(Prisons), which is a line-by-line response to Rashid's essay "MIM or MLM?". In Rashid's article above ey says ey is only responding to our article Study Logic, Don't End Up Like Rashid. The section headers below all come from Rashid's latest polemic.
We Got MIMP’s Line All Wrong
If you read our full response you'd see examples of this, for example Rashid wrote:
"MIMP maintains the position that there is no First World proletariat as one of their 'cardinal points' and declares anyone who even 'consciously disagrees' with it their enemy.(1)16 Which is problematic and anti-Maoist on several points. First it demonstrates that MIMP determines friends and enemies not by class but rather by one’s willingness to blindly and uncritically accept whatever they say. And not only must one not speak out in disagreement, they must not even disagree in conscious thought. Even the liberal bourgeois doesn’t take thought policing this far! The U.S. constitution is even interpreted by its bourgeois courts to protect one from punishment for their beliefs(2). We need only go as far as the quote at the beginning of this article to see that Maoists don’t repress contrary views, not even those of actual enemies and reactionaries(3). But MIMP opened their polemic contending that they 'cannot forgive'(3) us for daring to disagree with their class analysis of Amerika and VLA line. But let’s look at the PB.
And we responded previously:
MIM(Prisons): 1. No, this is a lie. See the note number 16, and please tell us where is the word “enemy.” Rashid is looking at the criteria to join the United Struggle from Within, and extrapolating that to who we consider enemies. 2. Whoa, MIM(Prisons) is PUNISHING people for their beliefs? That's amazing! Maybe instead of punishing prisoners we should start punishing the mailroom staff who censor our materials for being “gang related.” Or maybe we should start punishing the cops who shoot oppressed nation people dead in the streets. To say we have the power to punish anyone is ridiculous. This is liberal anti-communist propaganda. 3. Did we hurt your feelings? What is the punishment we are exacting on you?
Not mentioning "USW" doesn't mean you didn't confuse aspects of USW with our study courses. And again, you misstated MIM(Prisons)'s line as well. You go on in your latest essay,
"They implicitly admit [that their membership is petty-bourgeois, white, Amerikan settlers], but accuse us of playing identity politics for bringing it up, which is odd and hypocritical; since it is they who charge this group to be enemies..."
That would only be hypocritical if we subscribed to identity politics and didn't understand statistics, neither of which are true. So yeah, you're still playing into identity politics with this very statement, and you don't understand how we look at things differently.
"MIMP then argues that we shouldn’t base the correctness or incorrectness of a position on who stated it. Curiously — and again self-contradictorily — their entire polemic from title to text emphasizes 'Rashid' as who said this and that..."
Uh yeah, you wrote the article we were criticizing. We didn't say it was right or wrong based on who you are or whether you were right or wrong in the past, as you imply that we should do later in your article. Your attempts to prove your grasp of logic here are not panning out too well.
The rest of this section cites old Marxist texts in an attempt to refute our line. We already addressed this as dogmatic and non-dialectical. If you are as familiar with our work as you claim, you'll know that we have plenty of quotes on our side too.
Are We Fishing for Information on MIMP’s Members?
There's some good counter examples to critique our position on security brought up here. But since Rashid approaches this from a completely antithetical class analysis of our conditions, there is no point in having a debate with em on this topic. Of course Rashid would propose an organizing strategy that is the same as those who were successful in revolutionary situations because ey believes we are in a potentially revolutionary situation in the United $tates.
"The masses’ right to know those who presume to lead them and represent their interests, and to supervise them is a 'people’s tactic.' Hiding from the people while claiming to represent their interests without their say so and supervision is an elitist 'pig tactic.' Especially, as MIMP doesn’t dispute that it’s absurd and an insult to the people’s intelligence for them to act as if they believe that the pigs don’t know who they are."
We must ask Rashid, "right to know" what? Most of our work is quite public, and we get so much feedback from the masses on it that we struggle to keep up with it all. But Rashid seems to feel that they need to know what we look like, where we live, what TV shows we watch, in order to fully judge us as leaders. Our position is the complete opposite, that we must train the masses to judge people on political practice and line, and to ignore those other things. Those other things are what lead people to be seduced by misleadership for subjective reasons.
And we've addressed the "pigs already know everything" line as being incorrect elsewhere. In short, they don't know everything, so them knowing something is not a reason to disregard security. Second, if you're good at security, the pigs that know stuff are not the kind of pigs that are going to attack you until you start to wield some real power.
Do We Know MIMP’s Political Line?
Are we still fighting over the "rags" line? All we did is state that we thought "lumpen" usually translated to "rags" and not to "broken" as Rashid claimed. Nowhere do we put that forth as our definition of lumpenproletariat. We stand by the article in question addressing the labor aristocracy as being more correct than Rashid in defining proletariat, when we quoted Marx as calling them those "who have nothing to lose but their chains."
It's funny that Rashid wants to keep claiming that we have not printed eir articles in our newsletter. Yet ey has not shown us any newsletter where ey has printed our articles. And we'd wager that we've distributed more copies of their previous article "MIM or MLM?" (with our comments inserted) than the NABPP-PC has distributed of that same article.
MIMP’s Mass Work... Or Lack Thereof
We could hypothesize that we do more mass work than the NABPP-PC based on our having members in the free world. But we don't really know their practice in all that detail. So we don't talk shit about it. And again, we don't even agree on a definition of the masses, so what's the point of debating who does more "mass work"?
First of all, people change, that's dialectics. Their politics change. You could be a great Maoist theoretician and then start promoting all kinds of revisionism. It happens. It is metaphysics, and promoting a cult of persynality to argue otherwise. Secondly, the study pack on Dialectical Materialism by Rashid that we've distributed in the past was a basic overview of the topic. It does not demonstrate an application of dialectical materialism in analyzing the real world. As far as the praise ey pulls from our review of Defying the Tomb, it should be noted that the following paragraph reads:
"Rashid's book is also worth studying alongside this review to better distinguish the revisionist line of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) with the MIM line. While claiming to represent a dialectal materialist assessment of the world we live in, the camp that includes the NABPP-PC, and Tom Big Warrior's (TBW) Red Heart Warrior Society have dogmatically stuck to positions on the oppression and exploitation of Amerikans that have no basis in reality. We will take some space to address this question at the end, as it has not been thoroughly addressed in public to our knowledge."
We wrote that five years ago, and it has been even longer that we have openly considered the NABPP-PC to be revisionist. So our more recent critiques of Rashid's writings are consistent with our long-held position on their work. With this latest essay it seems maybe we were wrong that Rashid wasn't familiar enough with our work to write eir previous critiques, ey just insists on misrepresenting us and then calling us opportunists when we only agree with some of the things ey has said.
We opened this can of worms of critiquing each others' methods with the idea that we'd use it as a teaching moment for our readers. And studying logic is certainly useful. But going back and forth about how the other side is illogical maybe isn't. The main issue here, the dividing line question between MIM(Prisons) and the NABPP-PC is the labor aristocracy question. And we've given up debating that point with them unless they put forth an actual analysis of real world economics, and not dogmatism. So if you want to understand our line there, don't spend your time studying these articles, instead check out our resources on the labor aristocracy. Or, if you're looking for some lighter reading on the topic, MIM's white proletarian myths page is a good place to start.