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[Campaigns] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California]
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Seeing Through the Bureaucratic Runaround Tactic

04/22/2010

The above memorandum is a response to a petition for the correct handling of grievances signed by dozens of prisoners held in the Kern Valley State Prison KVSP) Administrative Segregation Unit. In it the Appeals Coordinator does the job s/he was hired to do: ignores the complaints of the prisoners, baselessly denies any accusations of illegal activity, and employs the bureaucratic runaround tactic (in this case advising the prisoners to seek redress within the same system they are complaining about).

Shortly after receiving this memo, the USW leader of this campaign in KVSP did follow the advice given and filed a group appeal on a 602 form. To our knowledge, he has not yet received a response for this group appeal.

Regarding a complaint about the failed grievance system, we do not expect the Appeals Coordinator to admit guilt. But it can be valuable to go through their steps to seek remedy to create a clear example that their system does not work. The CDCR Office of Internal Affairs "concluded the issues can more likely be managed at the institution" rather than the state level. What? Obviously it can't; that's what the whole petition is about. And the Appeals Coordinator says to file a 602 regarding the corrupt 602 system.

For those trying to find a strategy to combat the injustices of the prison industrial complex, we recommend working in the Maoist framework toward a world without oppression. You can do this by contributing to MIM(Prisons), spreading the grievance campaign, or starting/joining a Maoist cell in your own area.

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[Campaigns] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
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TDCJ: File Grievance to Fix Grievance System

04/09/2010

This is a response to the grievance petition a Texas participant sent to the TDCJ Ombudsman Coordinator. The same information was mailed as a response from the TDCJ Executive Director as well.

"If you wish to comment on the effectiveness and credibility of the grievance procedure, write a letter or send an I-60 Request form to the grievance investigator on your unit, or file a Grievance regarding that issue...

"If you have already pursued this issue through utilization of Step 1 and Step 2 of the Offender Grievance Procedure; no other administrative remedies are available to you on this issue at this time and you may pursue the matter in any manner you choose outside the Agency."

Basically, the TDCJ administrators claim no responsibility for a grievance procedure that is completely broken. These letters show that they will not grant us what is just without a power struggle. We push forward the campaign for the proper handling of grievances as a means of bringing these lines in the sand into plain view.

History shows that the most effective way to end all oppression — including the oppression of mishandled grievances, and beatings endured because of filing grievances against staff — is to work toward building a communist society. History also shows that the best way to do this is by organizing ourselves into revolutionary factions and building public opinion for national liberation struggles.

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[Theory] [Organizing] [Security] [ULK Issue 13]
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Security in the prison movement

In a system where the threat of torture by long-term isolation and other forms of repression constantly hangs above the heads of those who hold political views different from their captors, security is a vital question. Of course, the threat is different when working outside anonymously with MIM(Prisons) than working inside, face-to-face. Repression inside prisons is much more imminent than it is for our comrades on the streets. In prison, conditions are different and freedoms are limited, leaving comrades with much different tactics to choose from.

Strategically, however, the question of security behind bars is more the same than it is different from on the streets. Semi-underground organizing is an example of a universal strategy for operating behind enemy lines. The practice of semi-underground organizing recognizes that just because you didn't break any laws doesn't mean you will not face repression for your actions or beliefs, and there is more cost than benefit of putting all your cards on the table. On the organizational scale, semi-underground can be applied by layering your organization with different levels of openness. This makes it harder for the pigs to pinpoint leaders and isolate an organization.

Another strategical question is, how do we deal with potential infiltrators who join our ranks in order to gather information and create disruption, or bad-jacket the organization? Many comrades have provided suggestions for how to address this issue. There is a bourgeois approach to security and there is a proletarian approach. The difference between the two is still generally applicable even in different organizing conditions, and is discussed below.

A key issue that is being raised in California is, why work with prisoners who are on Special Needs Yards (SNY)? This is a good question since a lot of potential comrades, as well as comrades already in the struggle, have contempt for individuals who collaborate with the state. It is important that we understand that not everyone on SNY is there because they debriefed or snitched. Some people are on SNY because they are victimized on mainline, or don't want to participate in the typical bullshit that comes with mainline for whatever reason. So not everyone on SNY is there because of piggish behavior, but the rest of this article is a discussion of those comrades who are.

MIM(Prisons) is a prison ministry that seeks to organize and educate prisoners not just to see the inhumane conditions that they find themselves in, but also to see the bigger picture of imperialism. When you read what MIM has put out regarding our security practices then one should be able to gain a perspective as to why MIM(Prisons) operates the way it does. What good would it do for MIM(Prisons) to only work with people based on the fact that they haven't snitched yet? Everyone is a possible cop or agent working for the imperialists. In fact, in this country, someone is more likely to be a cop or spy than to be a revolutionary of some sort. Even within the communist movement itself there exists a capitalist arm in the form of cops, agents, snitches, and collaborators with the imperialists.

We see this as a line struggle. Anyone can pretend to be USW inside, just like anyone can pretend to represent MIM(Prisons) or Maoism. If they uphold the line set forth by the vanguard organization and/or movement, then they're out there working to advance the struggle. If they are upholding a bourgeois line, and people cling to it, then the people didn't understand the vanguard line in the first place. We should work with a comrade because they have the correct line, not because they are on mainline.

Why should they be barred from being a communist if they have snitched in the past? Why should anyone not have the right to see the liberation of their people, nation, the oppressed? What matters most is what one does after they have discovered themselves as a communist revolutionary. It's not just the lumpen who are reforming criminals, they mostly did small-time stuff. All amerikans are reforming criminals who have robbed from and victimized the majority of the world. If we are recruiting in the united $tates, we are attempting to reform criminals into communists, and this is the revolutionizing of humyns that must take place in conjunction with the revolutionizing of the economy and all the institutions that serve it.

The other side of this is that even if one is a cop, gathering info, there's really not that much they will find if information is given out on an as-needed basis. When the movement is organized into isolated cells, they may be able to take down one or two people, but the struggle goes on. In the meantime, the cop had to put in a lot of genuine work in order to get the little information they got. Particularly where communists are the minority, the cop ends up doing more work for us than against us. This structure is part of what being a semi-underground organization means.

Of course, the fact that the state has taken the time to infiltrate and try to eliminate a group says a lot about the group's politics. As Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, we put forth revolutionary science, or dialectical materialism. A concrete historical analysis shows that it is not WE but THEY, the imperialists, who are on the wrong side of history. They will lose eventually. Our struggle is a protracted (scientific) one, to put forth the correct line, so even if MIM(Prisons) goes down there will still be others with the tools to continue forward.

With regards to the prison movement, it's understandable that these criticisms arise due to the fact that SHU placement falls on those who organize for better or for worse. So why does MIM(Prisons) support prisoners who walk away from their lumpen organizations? The lumpen class, by definition, is a parasitic class. Both the lumpen and the imperialists are capitalists whose material wealth comes from others' work. One has the power to exploit by making the laws, while the other makes money outside the law in an underground economy with a law unto itself. Saying, “I understand the LOs need work, but why work with those who walk away?” is just like the bourgeoisie saying “I know we need work, but why give opportunities to prisoners or criminals to help out, they broke our law?” Just like people who walked away and are now on SNY, they too broke the law.

Divide and conquer is a tactic used by the administration to bring down revolutionary groups and to keep revolutionary groups from forming. Evidence suggests that LOs are purposefully put up against each other in order to bring each other down. This basically means that if you're in an LO that's victimizing other oppressed people, then you are unwittingly an agent of the state's oppressive apparatus. Even if you say “fuck the k9s” or “fuck the administration,” your actions are counter-revolutionary.

A serious revolutionary will not determine to not work with someone who's never had revolutionary politics or training just because when that person was in a LO they engaged in the debriefing process. A “revolutionary” that snitches is very different from someone who is put between a rock and a hard place of working with one of two organizations that are both engaged in anti-people activity. Plus, you never know who could be dropping kites on you. Just because someone exposes themselves to you doesn't mean they're the only threat on the mainline.

For the LOs to put an end to snitching among their membership, they will have to stop engaging in activities that might cause someone with love for their people to break ranks. When your practice does not coincide with the line you put out, discipline will fail, no matter how brutal it might be. The vanguard cannot water down its politics just to let everyone know we're cool. Watering down politics is engaging in opportunism and will ultimately destroy the vanguard.

Another suggestion that has come up is that we look at people's histories, where they've been locked up and why they were sent there, as part of our intelligence gathering. This amounts to trusting the lumpen as long as the imperialists (or their petty-bourgeois bureaucrats) can vouch for them. This is a backwards and dangerous approach to security. The bourgeois approach to security is based on intelligence gathering and psychologizing individuals, while the proletariat must look to political line and consistent practice.


Notes:
see MIM's 2005 Congress: Resolutions on Cell Organization for more discussion of the cell structure, why persynal histories are irrelevant and security theory in general.

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[Abuse] [New York] [ULK Issue 13]
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Ra'd Lives On in Our Struggle

Thanks to those who continue to pass us information on what happened to Amare "Ra'd" Selton, as well as the many words of condolence. Though it is hard for us to say anything conclusive on what took place last September when he died in Attica, it has become more evident that the DOCS was ultimately behind what happened. As our comrade explains below, there is a constant struggle for many between staying alive to struggle and staying sane under extreme repression. For more on this topic read Prisoner driven to suicide.

To learn from Ra'd's sacrifice is to study strategy, and how to be effective in organizing for justice. As materialists, we also recognize that winnable battles are not always in the cards. Sometimes there is no question of whether we can win, only a question of whether we struggle or not before we lose. In such cases, our strategy must center on making these losses serve as examples to inspire and to expose. Ra'd continues to inspire those who knew him.

A New York prisoner writes:


I am writing to inform you and my comrades of the death of my mentor Amare "Ra'd" Selton. May Allah bless his soul. … Ra'd was my boy, he's who a person with nothing would always look up to. Ra'd would embrace anybody who was struggling. Ra'd would pick anybody up who was down. If Ra'd saw another prisoner being assaulted by a police officer he'd help out any way he could. Ra'd was a good brother, may Allah be with him.

Rest in Peacefulness, hold your head Ra'd!

A second New York prisoner writes:


I was in SHU with Amare back in 2003. He is a true rebel with a cause! May he rest in power! He was never the suicidal type, he was a warrior, a freedom fighter and he had 25 to Life, so he sought freedom by all means, even death.

I had hours to build with him and he always expressed his Muslim theory and stance against imperialism and white supremacy, which coincides with his murder, which I know was done by the pigs! He was a threat, that's why they isolated him in SHU for long, extended periods of time.

I met him and automatically connected with him because he has a passion to resist oppression and police brutality. So to know he got murdered by these pigs really was heart-wrenching. The pigs get away with it like they do when the pigs in the street shoot an unarmed Black or Brown brother/sister; it becomes justifiable homicide! This cannot continue to happen without some type of organized resistance. One cannot talk non-violent or peaceful resolutions with those sadistic pigs because they don't respect it. To be honest, I don't want to die in prison, I'm more worthwhile on the streets organizing, but there's only so much I can endure in this hell hole. I'm not reactionary, but we must demand our respect by any means!

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[International Connections] [Haiti] [ULK Issue 13]
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Haiti Update & Correction

In our last piece on Haiti we dismissed some insinuations a comrade made about the imperialists causing the earthquake in January. This comrade responded and provided some history to back up h claims including information on Project Seal by Thomas Leech. The MIM(Prisons) comrade who responded was ignorant of this information as well as the fact that leaders including Hugo Chavez had made references to similar accusations at the time. We apologize for our ignorance on the subject.

While we don't think we can say conclusively that the imperialists caused the earthquake, we can say that they caused the disaster. Comrades have done a more thorough job of explaining the economic and political history behind this since our last post (see below), and we still find it more useful to talk about these solid facts that demonstrate the systematic undermining of Haitian sovereignty and security.

As was widely reported last week, of the over $1 billion the u.$. is spending in Haiti, only one cent of each dollar went to the Haitian puppet government. Instead of a centralized effort by Haitians to rebuild their country, most money going to so-called "aid" work went to thousands of different Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Meanwhile 40% of the money is going to the u.$. military, which is acting as an occupation force. This validates our assertions in January about where donations are likely to go.

While there are some groups out there who are more worthy of donations, a strategy that does not attack the imperialist policies exposed in the articles below cannot prevent these disasters from recurring across the Third World.

Also See:
Beware of Amerikkkans bearing gifts: Haiti and Africa by Monkey Smashes Heaven
Earthquake Strikes Haiti; Imperialism is a Disaster by the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (Denver)

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[Legal] [Campaigns] [California]
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Prison Law Office and Grievance Petition

https://www.prisoncensorship.info/imgs/20100311.jpg

Above is a response from the Prison Law Office (PLO) to the petition for proper handling of grievances in California. Without addressing the systemic reasons for oppression, the PLO's efforts to fight against parole denials and revocations is futile on the group, and especially international, level.

The PLO "represent[s ] all California prisoners who have 'a major mental illness' under the class action lawsuit known as the Coleman case." In effect, Coleman v. Schwarzenegger led to the conclusion that "severe" overcrowding of prisons is the reason why most prisoners have no access to mental health care, and nominal efforts are being made to reduce the prison population. However, we know that imperialism, capitalism and national oppression are why mental health resources are inadequate within CDCR, and why prisons in Amerika lead to mental health issues in the first place. Prisons in China under Mao led to greater social awareness and responsibility, not mental illness.(1)

We challenge single-issue organizations to broaden their perspective. Parole assistance may lead to "freedom" for hundreds or even a few thousand individuals. But if we are organizing as internationalists, we can affect more people in a more profound way, and for a longer period of time. We do this by building communism. The least the PLO can do is recognize the importance of the grievance campaign and join it.

Notes:
(1) Prisoners of Liberation, Allyn and Adele Rickett

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[Theory] [ULK Issue 13]
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On the Importance of Political Line

A California comrade who has long thought we should do an issue criticizing the rcp=u$a writes:

I disagree with MIM however on one fine point in the article where you state that "many still see the rcp=u$a as representing Maoism because their populist politics gives them a greater public face in many areas (inside u$ prisons is one exception to this)." Do you mean to imply that the rcp doesn't hold much sway in u$ prisyns because the masses here know better? If this is the case then I would say no, they do appear to at the very least to have some kind of foothold in CA prisyns.

I've noticed more people than there used to be are familiar with the rcp's rag, but not many. Some even spew their distractionist rhetoric. Of course I debate them but there's only so much that can be said to those who already believe avakian to be the "great man of hystory."

Since the upcoming ULK will be centered on strategies & tactics, the exposing of the rcp's counterrevolutionary activities might be able to play some kind of role. They must be beat back to the hole from which they came! I hypothesize that the rcp is siphoning off many potential revolutionaries from inside the prisyns. Might this be MIM's assessment as well? The deadly rcp strategy of substituting eclecticism for dialectics is I believe at the heart of their strength and success. Would you agree?

A Missouri comrade also responded:


I wanted to briefly respond to something that comrade Wiawimawo said in the article Revisiting RCP Revisionism in ULK 12. The comrade said many of the readers of ULK are not grappling with the questions facing Maoism today. And those that cannot distinguish Maoism from right opportunism of groups like the rcp=u$a have not yet grasped it.

I am not refuting what this comrade said, I just want to say that a lot of the readers lack the information and some have never been involved in revolutionary activity. We would hope that comrades would become inspired from reading ULK to go on to study harder and learn faster. But again, there is a lack of authentic material. I have quite a bit of material and none from the rcp=u$a, so even I can't really argue against their line when I haven't read shit they've wrote. I haven't seen a Revolutionary Worker or Worker's World in years. The same for the Burning Spear.

At the same time, it is on us to teach those who will listen and I believe that ULK is doing a tremendous job and the Book to Prisoners Program is also a great resource.

In the last couple years, MIM(Prisons) has stepped in to re-establish the prevalence of Maoist literature available to the prison movement. This came after years of inconsistency as the Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika degenerated. The need for this literature is clear from this discussion. So supporters who can provide money or other resources to expand this work should reach out to us.

We agree with our CA comrade about the importance of combating revisionism as part of building a strong movement. While the author of that article was lamenting the need to spend time on such work, it would be idealist to expect otherwise. However, as our MO comrade points out, most of our readers are not familiar with the rcp=u$a anyway. To focus an issue of our newsletter on them would give undo attention to the topic. An issue reviewing many different political lines would be more useful, as most readers will find lines that they have come across.

We do not believe that the prison masses know better than to follow the rcp=u$a, that is why we thought it important to print that review. We do believe that MIM has had much more influence on the prison movement, despite its weak points. So MIM Thought is more likely to be identified with Maoism inside prisons than on the streets in the united $tates where rcp=u$a will be.

And yes, we agree that rcp=u$a eclecticism serves its popularity. Even among prisoners, the hard line of MIM loses us many friends. But we aren't looking for friends, we're looking for real allies who will stand strong for the revolutionary road.

The point made by Wiawimawo was not to say that you must understand the difference between MIM(Prisons) and rcp=u$a in particular, but rather that you must understand why the MIM line is correct in general. If you don't you will fall for the eclecticism of rcp=u$a or any other snake oil salesman that comes along.

Certainly, rcp=u$a is recruiting people who might have otherwise worked with the Maoist movement. That could be said about a number of groups out there. But we aren't too worried about that. We are confident in our political line, which makes us strong. Other groups will come and go, or if they have state funding they will stay and stagnate. But only the correct ideological line can build a new prison movement that has real power.

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[Campaigns] [California]
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DOJ Claims They Will Investigate if Shown Pattern of Abuse

02/18/2010

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) responds here to a comrade's petition for the proper handling of grievances in California. This governmental body may be helpful in pushing our campaign forward if they receive several petitions from different participants, enough to "determine whether a pattern or practice investigation is warranted." Participants in the grievance campaign should mail copies of their signed petitions to each party listed on the campaigns page so that we are maximizing the effects of each signature.

When we succeed with a campaign under imperialism, we are making more room for revolutionary organizing. When prison administrators, courts, and the DOJ obstruct or are non-cooperative in achieving our campaign goals, we have still drawn attention to an unresolvable problem with the status quo, as well as brought more people into the struggle against oppression. Whether the DOJ becomes involved in this battle or not, it is still important to spread the campaign as much as we can under this unjust system.

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[Organizing] [Oscar Grant]
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Oscar Grant: organization, line and strategy

Mehserle shoots Oscar Grant
Mehserle shoots Oscar Grant in the back on BART platform

As we marked the anniversary of the uprisings in Oakland that were sparked by the murder of unarmed Oscar Grant while face down on the ground by BART(local transit) police, no justice has been served. An anniversary vigil was held on New Year's 2010, but the crowds and energy had dissipated from a year ago. This may have been a result of weed and video games, but we think it may have been the left wing of white nationalism who did the most to defuse the resistance.

Anniversary Vigil

The vigil was held at the Fruitvale BART station where Oscar Grant was shot on New Year's 2009. Upon my arrival I saw police surveiling the vigil. I also saw news organizations with their cameras video taping. I had a rag covering my face partially to keep from being taped by pigs. The head of security, which was being run by the Nation of Islam (NOI), approached me and gave me a little trouble. Apparently they thought the rag on my face symbolized the acts of rebellion that took place last year in response to the murder and they didn't want a repeat. If they were concerned with the security of protesters and not property they would not facilitate the pigs surveillance efforts.

Later, people met up at the Humanist Hall to continue the vigil for Oscar Grant. The pigs came sure enough, but what was interesting is that the same NOI persyn that approached me was hugging the pig "Negotiators" (which was written in big letters on their jackets) who showed up. This seemed to indicate a higher level of collusion between event "security" and the pigs than we saw last year with CAPE running around trying to keep people from confronting police or any other symbol of wealth and power. How are people supposed to organize safely in a space openly infiltrated by police? The same people who shot Oscar Grant in the back!? If groups like NOI and CAPE don't keep the pigs out then all they are doing is serving to pacify the people, not secure them.

The first speaker spoke what I feel to be a criticism of the people there. A divide and conquer tactic straight out of the government play book saying that people there had different agendas, as if we weren't there to support Oscar Grant and work for change. She criticized others "agendas" while preaching a pacifist line, and insisting that we be led by the Oscar Grant family in the fight for justice. By labeling others lines as "agendas" she tried to delegitimize lines opposed to pacifism, while pretending her agenda didn't exist. History has shown that the oppressor will not loosen their grip without the oppressed rising up in arms. This was the only significant event we know of to mark the anniversary and it was dominated by those who saw no need for fundamental change.

After that, the NOI ministers got up and preached a revolutionary gospel. One NOI minister made the point that its the gangster or thug that needs to be organized for revolution and that they will be the ones to fight and win freedom. On the surface this was the speech that resonated most with the MIM(Prisons) line, but the NOI and their offshoots like the New Black Panther Party have been consistently petty bourgeois in their practice and line since the murder of Malcolm X, despite rhetoric to attract the lumpen to their ranks.

The rcp=u$a got up and talked about communism and atheism bringing a pseudo-anti-religious perspective to the debate. They said something very interesting. They said that we shouldn't criticize the movements but just get in there and lead the movement. This makes no sense. Criticism and self-criticism is at the root of dialectical materialism. Which is why the rcp=u$a continues to fail to be seen as a viable vehicle for revolution.

The latest on the case are that the shooter, Johannes Mehserle, has been charged with murder, but the case has been moved from Oakland to Los Angeles. Mehserle is out on bail with the support of police unions that are backing his defense. So far there has been much to see as the case develops that has exposed the vast injustices of the system, but the battle to convict Mehserle itself is not so strategically important for us. The state has much more invested in the outcome of the case. A conviction would be the first murder conviction against a cop in the united $tates. A failure to convict could prove problematic for them, and the reverberations will likely now be in both Oakland and Los Angeles.

We encourage strategic legal battles as a form of struggle in order to expose the system and create room for the oppressed to live and organize. Simultaneously, we are clear that the injustice system is not fast nor even effective.

Organizational Lessons

What is more important is learning organizing lessons from what happened around the struggle for justice for Oscar Grant. Two detailed papers have been well-distributed on the topic. One is by a group of anonymous anarchist writers, another is by a self-proclaimed "Marxist" group called Advance the Struggle(A/S), that is focused on uniting the "working" class. Comically, the rcp=u$a who got up to condemn analysis and criticism of the movement are outdone here by a group of self-proclaimed anarchists. Let us begin with the anarchist discussion, as we largely addressed their line in our original article on the riots.

The anarchist piece is mostly a story, and probably the most complete documentation of what went on those days in January 2009. Both papers did a thorough critique of the non-profit/reformist coalition turned police that we touched on last year. The Coalition Against Police Execution (CAPE) imposed it's "security" on a large spontaneous movement. While this was an inappropriate role for them to assume, it should be noted that CAPE's organization gave it an advantage over the disorganized angry crowd. And while the anarchists recognized CAPE members as their friends in social life and A/S sees them as workers duped by non-profits funded by imperialism, they were really representing a clear class position of the petty bourgeoisie. They served to protect businesses and prevent conflicts with the police as a matter of principle not a strategy of struggle.

As the anarchists pointed out, riots (can) work. We can't get free by rioting, and in many cases riots end in more repression and no gains. They are not a strategy to be promoted as the anarchists do. But in this case they put more pressure on the state than hugging pigs, holding vigils and asking for "police oversight." What those nights represented was a budding system of justice outside of the established imperialist order. Meanwhile, the non-profit/reformist movement did much to pressure the existing institutions to prosecute Meserhle and reform the policing system to defuse independent justice. But if we want to stop the killing, what the oppressed need are their own institutions. An institution is something that is consistent that we can rely on. Not something we pray for every day and emerges in an eruption of undisciplined energy once every 5 years.

The anarchist authors are avowed focoists, claiming that "our actions create a contagious fever." But as we said at the time, "nights of Black youth roving the streets among groups of riot cops, being videotaped and snatched to prison cannot continue much longer." And to the anarchists disappointment, it did not. Power must be built and fought for, it is not something we can just reach out and grab. We promote a strategy that depends on deep political understanding among as broad a population as is sympathetic to revolutionary change. Advance the Struggle agrees with this, but their assessment of who is sympathetic is stuck in outdated dogma.

A/S opens their paper, "Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?" claiming that the "working class people of Oakland... found an inadequate set of organizational tools at their disposal." Who are they talking about? It's not "workers" who are being murdered by pigs, it's oppressed nation youth. The anarchists at times also fall into this dogmatic analysis by talking of "those of us who toil in Oakland." Just because Oscar Grant had a job doesn't mean this is a battle between the workers and the bosses.

The most interesting critique in the A/S piece that we have not seen elsewhere is regarding the so-called "Revolutionary Communist Party - USA" (rcp=u$a). Again the main point of A/S is that there was no vanguard in place to lead the movement for justice for Oscar Grant. Here they address the rcp=u$a's lame attempts to play this role. They correctly criticize the rcp=u$a for setting up the students they organized to fail, which had the effect of diffusing further militant organizing among oppressed nation youth because their leaders were in jail. Their vague, nonexistent, and false political line and failure to correctly organize for revolution plays an integral part in the imperialist plan to keep the people disorganized and divided.

As we mentioned last year, the Panthers were a common topic of discussion as the budding movement faced a leadership void. A/S made some correct analysis about the way the Panther legacy has been transformed into a justification for non-profit/charity type organizing. This is reinforced by founding and leading members who still get a lot of respect in the Bay Area. The anarchists also provide an elementary discussion of the Panthers in their paper.

While both groups of authors turn around and condemn nationalism, this experience demonstrates the need for it. Everyone lamented the lack of the BPP, the Maoist, Black nationalist vanguard of the late 1960's. Today we have the Nation of Islam dominating the role of Black nationalism. Nationalism is relevant because it is the oppressed nations that are targeted by police terrorism and concentration camps. Nation-based organizing is the best path to get us away from the non-profiteering and the dogmatic "worker"ism that has so clearly muddied the waters in this period of struggle. The experiences in Oakland reinforce the Maoist class analysis and the importance for having one. The petty bourgeoisie has dominated the movement for justice for Oscar Grant, while white nationalist revolutionaries vie for influence from the sidelines.

notes:
Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity? by Advance the Struggle. 2009.
Unfinished Acts: January Rebellions. Oakland, California 2009.

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