How to Unite with White Lumpen
The protected, favored race here at Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville, Ohio is black, especially Muslims. Racism is against whites, light-skinned Hispanics, Jews, etc. A large part of the reason for this unusual situation is the rural nature of the prison and thus the staff employed by the prison. The catchment area for employees is 97% white, encompassing rural Belmont and surrounding Ohio counties and the bordering WV county visible from the prison yard. While it is counter-intuitive that an overwhelming white staff favors black inmates, it is easily explained: they are scared of dark skin, of people with whom they have had little or no interaction other than in the prison. The mainstream media's portrayal of blacks terrifies them. Because of this fear, blacks get a "pass" on behaviors quickly causing disciplinary action for whites, light-skinned Hispanics, etc. The few black staff overtly favor blacks as well. Due to this, and the inadequate socialization and education of the overwhelming majority of blacks here, has led them to become oppressors of these same "white boys" groups by the black majority. Official prison policy is "equalization" of blacks amongst the eight kennels of 272 per kennel, that insures this oppression in every kennel. (We also have the same dog program as in the "Prison Dog Rehab Program Underscores Inhumynity to Humyns" article of in ULK 44, and yes, the dogs are better treated than inmates.)
This leads me to address the racism in ULK 44, that clearly contradicts point #3, "We promote a united front with all who oppose imperialism." An example is contained in the response from MIM(Prisons) on the article "Ohio Guards Instigate Beating, Lock Down Prisoners as Punishment": "a systematic oppression of certain nations (New Afrikan, [email protected], First Nations) by the nation in power (the white nation)." This is overtly racist, incorrect and divisive! Power being defined in terms of political, social and economic power, that exploits the national and international proletariat, the oppressors are not all white. A thorough look at the exploitation of non-whites by non-whites in the First World, especially in the United States, Western and Eastern Europe and Asia can be elaborated upon in a full article within any upcoming issue of Under Lock & Key. Though where it would fit in the listed themes for issues 45-48 is a question, I could do so if MIM(Prisons) would be agreeable to my becoming a ULK Field Correspondent.
Incorrectly defining the oppressor class as white disenfranchises 100's of millions of the oppressed "majority" in the U.S. and Europe from the struggle rather than being inclusive. In Dialectical Materialism, Mao said, "Because the oppressed class [an economic class, not racial groups] fails when it adopts the wrong plans and succeeds by correcting its plans..." The wrong plans are to divide the proletariat along racial lines, causing the exact divisions necessary for oppression. The correct plans include all the proletariat; white, brown, black, yellow or purple. Only then, in unity, can there be the equality necessary to end oppression.
MIM(Prisons) responds: MIM(Prisons) distinguishes ourselves from other groups on six key points and this writer cites our point #3, promoting a united front with all who oppose imperialism, but then ignores point #4 which clearly states that we disagree that there is a proletariat in the First World, especially within the white nation:
"A parasitic class dominates the First World countries. As Marx, Engels and Lenin formulated and MIM Thought has reiterated through materialist analysis, imperialism extracts super-profits from the Third World and in part uses this wealth to buy off whole populations of so-called workers. These so-called workers bought off by imperialism form a new petty-bourgeoisie called the labor aristocracy; they are not a vehicle for Maoism. Those who work in the economic interests of the First World labor aristocracy form the mass base for imperialism's tightening death-grip on the Third World."
The quote above about systematic oppression is not "overtly racist," rather it is specifically addressing nation and not race. Certainly "white" is a racially loaded term, and one could argue that "Euro-Amerikan" is preferable. Yet, "white" remains a term that people can relate to and that often has more negative connotations among the oppressed. We want to stress the negative and encourage the oppressed to not identify with Amerikanism, which is the number one enemy of the world's people. We are not encouraging people to be anti-white because of some racial attributes (racism) but rather we are opposing the reality of the white nation oppressing other nations (national oppression).
This letter is from a first-time reader, so the above is old hat to our regular readers. But what made this letter more interesting to us was within the context of other things going on in Ohio. We can say with certainty that what the writer above reports is the exception to the rule in both Ohio and throughout the United $tates prison system. While this could just be one persyn's subjective experience, it is feasible enough that we will assume for now that what s/he says about New Afrikans playing the oppressor role in Belmont is true at this time. Now let's look at a report from a USW organizer in a different Ohio prison:
"A lot of the individuals professing white supremacist beliefs also contain some underlying socialist views. Whether enough of a test to be an indicator of 'all' or not, i've decided to halt attempts at developing their consciousness at this time. i've opened up my study group to more than a few of them, usually after they've continued to join in open conversations over the range. However, once they see materials that expose Amerika as an oppressor nation they go 'subjective' on me, getting extremely defensive and also protective in claiming the united $tates as their rightful possession."
Our comrades at this prison have decided to focus on single-nation organizing due to their experiences. We want to commend both their efforts to be open to all potential allies, as well as their scientific approach to the situation. Taking a scientific approach requires dealing in probability. This comrade acknowledges that h limited experience does not prove that all white supremacists are pro-imperialism, but that combined with our theory of the labor aristocracy it supports a practice of focusing on organizing New Afrikans. Clearly this single-nation strategy is not coming from a racist political line, but a scientific assessment of national alliances in practice. This practice will ultimately prove more successful than if these comrades had hidden their critique of Amerika in an effort to unite with these white supremacists, which is why this is a dividing-line question for us.
In some writings on the First World lumpen we've specified that we are talking about the oppressed nation lumpen only. This is because we see nation as the principal contradiction, leading to the vast majority of whites allying with imperialism, even at the lowest economic classes. In other writings we talk about uniting the imprisoned lumpen as a whole. This is because the conditions of imprisonment put all nationalities in the same position, living side-by-side, where there is greater potential for them to recognize their common plight. And there is history of this being true in Ohio itself during the Lucasville uprising, as well as in California. In both cases, it was not just white prisoners, but the Aryan Brotherhood who stood with oppressed nation lumpen organizations to demand concessions from the state. It is for this reason that in point #3 we say, "Even imperialist nation classes can be allies in the united front under certain conditions."
On the other hand there are countless examples of oppressed nation lumpen organizations working against the people, even playing the role of organizing violence in alliance with the state, as the first writer above alludes to. This is the dual nature of the lumpen class overall that makes it a potentially dangerous and revolutionary class. Yet, the national contradiction in the United $tates favors the revolutionary potential for oppressed nation lumpen in the long run, while making it more likely for white lumpen to become the foot soldiers fighting for a fascist state to rise. At the same time, we believe the probability of anti-imperialism to develop among white prisoners to be higher than white Amerikans in general. It is not that black=good and white=bad in an absolute sense. It is about percentages. And as our USW comrade found while putting h theories into practice, while there is a high percentage chance of white prisoners opposing the state, and even favoring seemingly socialist ideals, there is a very low percentage chance of them opposing Amerikan exceptionalism and hegemony. Such people are allies in the prison reform struggle, but rarely in the anti-imperialist struggle.