The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[National Oppression] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 28]

Texas Guards Encourage Oppressed Nation Fights

On or around 31 July 2012 there was a small scale race riot on the Estelle Unit which is located in Huntsville, Texas. Sad to say it was Brown on Black and a New Afrikan prisoner was killed. As a member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party I hate to see two oppressed groups going at each other while the oppressor remains unscathed and ignored.

Nevertheless, the extremely reactionary prisoncrats took this opportunity to show us what they're all about. About one week after the incident we were placed on a special disciplinary lockdown and fed "Johnnies" seven days a week. These weren't any normal "Johnnies," they were concentration camp like rations. An example of one meal that actually sparked a group demonstration across all color and race barriers was: 1 corn dog, a small biscuit with a sliver of peanut butter and jelly and 10 or 12 raisins! I myself wrote a letter to the Assistant Warden, Steven T. Miller, shedding light on the sub-par meals and asking him if the administration was using food (or the lack thereof) as a means to torture prisoners or as a draconian behavior modification tactic.

Once the administration became aware that the focus was now on them they immediately prepared and delivered more food and I have never ever seen that response before. However, I must say the meals being served were way beneath the caloric intake requirements set forth by the ACA (American Corrections Association). This particular incident took place on 15 August 2012 and it was the last meal served that day.

There is an ugly under-current of racism that exists here in Texas prisons. Many white male officers take pleasure in seeing Brown men and Black men attack each other. As conscious people in struggle against prisoncrat imperialists, we must realize we do ourselves a great dis-service by attacking each other. It is not just about white male officers in Texas, it's about all of them that wear these confederate-army-gray uniforms. They beat us, degrade us, dehumanize us, and refuse time and time again to set us free. Who is the real enemy?

Lastly, one of the main keys to maintaining the peace amongst oppressed groups is respect! We can't talk to each other any kind of way, and we can't treat each other any kind of way! Remember that violation of the rules of respect among human beings can be deadly.

Would you believe that one month prior to this race riot and death white male officers were caught encouraging prisoners to make "shanks"?! The New Afrikan prisoner was killed with a homemade shank! These officers in Texas are very wicked.

MIM(Prisons) responds: It is a sad result of the criminal injustice system in Amerika that oppressed nations must demand the right to peace. But as this, and many other stories from behind bars demonstrate, this is the reality we face. And this is why the first principle of the United Front for Peace in Prisons is Peace. The United Front is fighting to unite the oppressed: "We organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression."

Correction from the author 9/31/2012: The dead prisoner in this report was not New Afrikan, he was Mexican.

[National Oppression] [Theory] [International Connections] [New Afrikan Black Panther Party] [ULK Issue 26]

Relevance of Nationalism to the Prison Movement

Oppressed Nations bring death to imperialism
Among those in the United $tates who have consistently upheld the right to self-determination of the internal semi-colonies, there has been some questioning of the MIM line that the principal contradiction within the United $tates is nation. With the degree of integration and buying off of the oppressed nations that has occurred since the Black/Brown/Red Power era some have questioned if the lumpen underclass are the only real revolutionary force left in the internal semi-colonies. Others have pointed to the level of wealth in the United $tates to dismiss the potential for national liberation struggles within U.$. borders without offering a new thesis on the principal contradiction. MIM(Prisons) has entertained the integration question and the possibility of a growing class contradiction across nation and will address both in more detail in an upcoming book.

In this issue of Under Lock & Key we feature a number of articles that demonstrate the dominant role that nationality plays in how our world develops and changes. The history of MIM's work with prisoners comes from its understanding of the principal contradiction in this country being between the oppressor white/Amerikan nation and the oppressed internal semi-colonies (New Afrika, Aztlán, Boricua, countless First Nations, etc.). It is through that work that it became clear that the quickly expanding prison system of the time was the front lines of the national struggle.

USW C-4 gets at this in h review of MIM Theory 11 where s/he discusses the need to launch "the new prison movement in connection with the national liberation struggles which have been repressed and stagnated by the oppressors with mass incarceration." Progress in our struggle against the injustice system is progress towards re-establishing the powerful national liberation struggles that it served to destroy in the first place. Any prison movement not based politically in the right to self-determination of the nations locked up cannot complete the process of ending the oppression that we are combatting in the United $tates.

MIM(Prisons) focuses our mission around the imprisoned lumpen in general whose material interests are united by class, even though the injustice system is primarily about national oppression. Within the imprisoned class, we see the white prison population having more to offer than the white population in general for revolutionary organizing. Even non-revolutionary white prisoners are potential allies in the material struggles that we should be taking up today around issues like censorship, long-term isolation, the right to associate/organize, access to educational programs, a meaningful grievance process and accountability of government employees in charge of over 2 million imprisoned lives. Just as we must be looking to recruit oppressed nation lumpen to the side of the world's people to prevent them from playing the role of the fascist foot soldier, this concern is even greater among the white lumpen and is a question we should take seriously as our comrade in Oregon discusses inside.

In this issue we have the typical reports from both Black and Latino comrades being labelled gang members and validated for their political and cultural beliefs. This is nothing less than institutionalized national oppression, which is at the heart of the proposed changes in the California validation system that are somehow supposed to be a response to the complaints of the thousands of prisoners who have been periodically going on food strike over the last year.

While we support the day-to-day struggles that unite as many prisoners as possible, we are clear that these are only short-term struggles and stepping stones to our greater goals. The most advanced work comrades can be doing is directly supporting and promoting revolutionary nationalism and communism within disciplined organizations based in scientific theory and practice. An example of a more advanced project is a current USW study cell that is developing educational and agitational materials around Chicano national liberation. Meanwhile, the United Front for Peace in Prisons, while focused on mass organizations, is laying the groundwork for the type of cross-nation unity that will be needed to implement the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations required to truly end imperialist oppression and exploitation (see our 6 Points).

It is no coincidence that the word fascism comes up a number of times in this issue focused on national struggles. In terms of the principal contradiction between imperialist nations and the oppressed nations they exploit, fascism is the imperialist nation's reaction to successful struggles of the oppressed nations; when the oppressed have created a real crisis for imperialism; when Liberalism no longer works. While fascism is defined by imperialism, being guided by imperialist interests, it is the labor aristocracy in the imperialist countries that form the main force for fascism.(1) Again, this breaks down to the national question where oppressor nations and oppressed nations take up opposite sides of the principal contradiction that defines the United $tates as a phenomenon.

Rashid of the NABPP-PC suggests in his book Defying the Tomb, that "right-wing militias, survivalists and military hobbyists" are "potential allies" who "have a serious beef with imperialist monopoly capitalism." In contrast, we recognize that the principal contradiction that defines the imperialist system is between the imperialist nations and the oppressed nations they exploit. Amerikans calling for closed borders to preserve white power are the epitome of what imperialism is about, despite their rhetoric against the "bankers." It is the same rhetoric that was used to rally the struggling petty bourgeoisie around the Nazi party to preserve the German nation. It is the same rhetoric that makes the anti-globalization and "99%" movements potential breeding grounds for a new Amerikan fascism.

Recent events in Greece, France and elsewhere in Europe have shown this to be the case in other imperialist countries, which are also dependent on the exploitation of the Third World. While Greece, where the European crisis is currently centered, cannot be described as an imperialist power on its own, its close ties to Europe have the Greek people convinced that they can regain prosperity without overthrowing imperialism. Social democrats are gaining political power in the face of austerity measures across Europe, while fascist parties are also gaining popular support in those countries. Together they represent two sides of the same coin, struggling to maintain their nation's wealth at the expense of others, which is why the Comintern called the social democrats of their time "social fascists." Austerity measures are the problems of the labor aristocracy, not the proletariat who consistently must live in austere conditions until they throw the yoke of imperialism off of their necks.

The fragility of the European Union along national lines reinforces the truth of Stalin's definition of nation, and supports the thesis that bourgeois internationalism bringing peace to the world is a pipe dream, as MIM has pointed out.(2) On the contrary, the proletariat has an interest in true internationalism. For the oppressed nations in the United $tates bribery by the imperialists, both real and imagined, will create more barriers to unity of the oppressed. So we have our work cut out for us.

Looking to the Third World, the struggle of the Tuareg people in West Africa parallels in some ways the questions we face in the United States around Aztlán, the Black Belt and other national territories, in that their land does not correspond with the boundaries of the nation-state that they find themselves in as a result of their colonization. And the greater context of this struggle and the relation of the Tuareg people to Ghaddafi's Libya demonstrates the potentially progressive nature of the national bourgeoisie, as Ghaddafi was an enemy to U.$. imperialism primarily due to his efforts at supporting Pan-Afrikanism within a capitalist framework.

Nationalism of the oppressed is the antithesis to the imperialist system that depends on the control and exploitation of the oppressed. It is for that reason that nationalism in the Third World, as well as nationalism in the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates, are the primary focus of anti-imperialist organizing. As long as we have imperialism, we will have full prisons and trigger-happy police at home, and bloody wars and brutal exploitation abroad. Countering Amerikan nationalism with nationalism of the oppressed is the difference between entering a new period of fascism and liberating humynity from imperialism.

[Theory] [National Oppression] [New Afrikan Black Panther Party] [New Afrikan Maoist Party] [ULK Issue 26]

A Critique of Rashid's Black Liberation in the 21st Century

Black Belt Aztlan First Nations
Concentrations of oppressed nations overlap with the Black Belt, Aztlán, First Nation reservations and urban centers.

This is a response to an article titled "Black Liberation in the 21st Century: A Revolutionary Reassessment of Black Nationalism," by the New Afrikan Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter's Minister of Defense, Rashid. Rashid's article has been published in a number of places.

My writing will not analyze Black Nationalism per se, rather it aims to address the "national question" itself. My position comes from a Chicano perspective, which I hope adds to the theoretical sauce surrounding the idea of national liberation and the development of the oppressed nations ideologically, whether they be from the Brown, Black or Red Nations here in the United $tates. In the contemporary prisoner, one sees an awakening to truth and meaning amidst a state offensive to deprive millions of humyn dignity and freedom. The roundups, ICE raids and fascist laws (reinforced with putting the data of millions of oppressed across the U.$. into the state intelligence files preparing for future revolt and repression) has added to the swirl of these times for people to become politicized, and prisoners are no exception.

The struggle in the ideological arena is just as vital as that with the rifle, and perhaps more difficult. Out in society — where people have more social influences — ideas, experiences and thought can bring more diverse views into the sphere of theory. Often times the prison environment, in its concentrated form and social makeup, has more limited ideological influences. This is a trap that prisoners should guard against in developing a political line. There will always be ideological "yes people" in prisons, especially amongst one's own circle of friends or comrades. This could also be said of the limited contacts in the outside world that most prisoners have.

The "national question" is one that is not exclusive to the Black Nation; it is something that Raza and others are wrangling with as well. My critiques here are related to the national question in the United $tates in general, and not specific to the Black Belt Thesis (BBT) that Rashid addresses in his article.

In the section titled "The Black Belt Thesis and the New Class Configuration of the New Afrikan Nation," Rashid describes comrade J.V. Stalin on the national question as follows:

The [Black Belt Thesis] was based on comrade J.V. Stalin's analysis of the national question as essentially a peasant question. Unlike the analysis put forward by Lenin, and more fully developed by Mao, Stalin's analysis limited the national question to essentially a peasantry's struggle for the land they labored on geographically defined by their having a common language, history, culture and economic life together. Hence the slogan "Free the Land!" and "Land to the Tiller!"

Just to be clear, J.V. Stalin defined a "nation" as follows:

A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture."(1)

This definition continues to stand as what defines a nation today and to deny this is simply a deviation. Comrade Lenin was not alive to see the development of the anti-colonial struggles and thus in his view oppressed nations could not be victorious on their own accord, but Stalin taught us differently. At the same time Stalin also stated that should a people no longer meet any of these criteria of a nation then they are no longer a nation.

In this section, Rashid refers to a "Great Migration" of Blacks out of the rural south and across the United $tates, which he uses, or seems to use, as justification for not having "need of pursuing a struggle to achieve a New Afrikan nation state, we have achieved the historical results of bourgeois democracy..." Just because a people migrate across the continent does not negate a national territory so long as a large concentration remains in the national territory. For example, if the Mohawk nation continues to reside in the northeast but a significant portion of their population spread out "across America" and become urban dwellers, their nation remains in the Northeast no matter how much they wish to be Oregonians or Alaskans. But what really seemed grating in this section was the last paragraph, which reads:

To complete the liberal democratic revolution and move forward to socialist reconstruction the proletariat must lead the struggle which is stifled by the increasingly anti-democratic, fascistic and reactionary bourgeoisie. The bourgeois are no longer capable of playing a progressive role in history.

First, the proletariat in its original sense for the most part does not exist in the United $tates. In addition, the Trotskyite approach of relying on the Amerikan "working class" is a waste of time. Amerikan workers are not a revolutionary vehicle - they are not exploited when they are amongst the highest paid workers in the world. How can those seeking higher pay for more or bigger plasma TVs and SUVs be relied upon to give all that up for "socialist construction"? And my view does not come unsupported by the ideological framework that Rashid claims to represent. Engels wrote to Marx in 1858:

The English proletariat is actually becoming more and more bourgeois, so that this most bourgeois of all nations is apparently aiming ultimately at the possession of a bourgeois aristocracy and a bourgeois proletariat alongside the bourgeoisie. For a nation which exploits the whole world this is of course to a certain extent justifiable.(2)

So even back in Marx and Engels's day the English proletariat was already bourgeoisified. Imperialism has developed far more since 1858, further concentrating the wealth disparity between the oppressor and oppressed nations globally.

In the section titled "The Revolutionary Advantages of Our Proletarian National Character," the idea is put forth of "building a multi-ethnic, multi-racial socialist America." Although I am not opposed to multi-ethnic organizing, I also don't negate the usefulness of single-nation parties. One has to analyze the concrete conditions in the United $tates. The historical development of the social forces may not agree with this approach, and just because it may have worked in some countries it may not apply to this country. It obviously didn't apply to South Africa, another settler state. In Azania the Pan Africanist Congress seemed to forward the struggle more than other groups, in particular the integrationist African National Congress that took power and changed little for Azanians. Huey Newton himself understood this, thus the Black Panther Party was a single nationality party, with internationalist politics. Of course, at some point things will change, but the advancement of imperialism and a long lineage of white supremacy and privilege remains a hurdle still too huge for real multi-ethnic organizing advancements at this time in the United $tates.

In the section "Separation, Integration or Revolution," what is put forward for liberation is to overthrow "imperialism and play a leading role in the global proletarian revolution and socialist reconstruction." This, Rashid states, is "our path to liberation." This smacks of First World chauvinism. The International Communist Movement (ICM) will always be led by the Third World proletariat. The ICM is dominated by the Third World and our voice in the First World is just that, a voice, that will help advance the global struggle, not lead. The idea of First World leadership of the ICM is classic Trotskyism.

In the section "Reassessing the National Liberation Question," in speaking of past national liberation struggles, Rashid points to them having an "unattainable" goal. Yet countries like Vietnam, northern Korea, as well as Cuba come to mind as being successful in their national liberation struggles. [China is the prime example of liberating itself from imperialism and capitalism through socialist revolution. Of course, Huey Newton himself eventually dismissed China's achieving of true national liberation in his theory of "intercommunalism" that the NABPP-PC upholds - Editor]

Rashid goes on to say, "Even if we did manage to reconstitute ourselves as a territorial nation in the "Black Belt," we would only join the ranks of imperialist dominated Third World nations — and with the imperialist U.S. right on our border." Here it seems the idealist proposition is being put forward that an oppressed nation could possibly liberate itself to the point of secession while U.$. imperialism is still breathing. So long as U.$. imperialism is still in power, no internal oppressed nation will emancipate itself. So the thought of the imperialists being on one's border will not be a problem as at that point in the struggle for national liberation imperialism will be on no one's border.

In this same section, Rashid quotes Amilcar Cabral, who posed the question of whether national liberation was an imperialist creation in many African countries. Now we should understand that the imperialists will use any country, ideology or leader if allowed (Ghadaffi found this out the hard way most recently) but we should not believe that the people are not smart enough to free themselves when oppressed. The white supremacists put forward a line that Jews are in an international conspiracy creating revolution and communism. These conspiracy theorists look for any reason to suggest that the people cannot come to the conclusion to decolonize themselves.

Later in this section the question is asked if the "proponents of the BBT expect whites in the 'Black Belt' to passively concede the territory and leave?"

I'm not a proponent of the Black Belt Thesis, but speaking in regard to national liberation I can answer this question quite clearly. As this writer alludes to, there may be a "white backlash." But in any national liberation struggle anywhere on the planet there is always a backlash from those whose interests are threatened. When the oppressed nations decide to liberate themselves in the United $tates the objective position of the reactionaries will be to fight to uphold their white privilege. This privilege relies heavily on the state and the culture of white supremacy in Amerika. So their choice will be to support the national liberation struggles, as real white revolutionaries will do, or to side with imperialism. But there will be no sympathy for oppressors in any national liberation struggle.

Asking the question of what do we expect whites to do is akin to asking the revolutionary post-Civil War, when many were cut off from parasitism, "well do you expect the people to stop exploiting 'their' field workers?" Do you expect Amerikan workers to stop being paid high wages gained through the exploitation of the Third World? Do you expect the pimp to stop pimping the prostitute? Do you expect the oppressor nation to give up their national privilege? To all of the above I say if it's what the people decide, then YES!

Real white comrades not only will support the oppressed to obtain liberation in a future revolution, but most do so in their work today, even though they are a small minority compared to the larger Amerikan population. By that time in the distant future hopefully more people will have been educated and converted.

It is the task of conscious prisoners to develop a political line that propels the imprisoned masses forward via concrete analysis, not just of prison conditions, but of conditions outside these concentration camps as well. Oppression in imperialism is a three-legged stool that includes class, nation and gender. Thus we must develop our political line according to these concrete conditions. Our line should be grounded in reality. Our society is still very much segregated along class and national lines, particularly in the fields of housing, education and freedom.

Indeed, over half the people living within two miles of a hazardous waste facility are Brown, Black or First Nations.(3) In many high schools in the inner city Brown and Black youth are forced to share one textbook for 3 or 4 students, while their parents are jailed when they attempt to enroll their children in "better off" schools which unsurprisingly are predominantly white.(4) The prisons are no different, nor the "justice system." Of the 700,000 who were reported to have been stopped and frisked in New York City last year, 87% were Latinos and Blacks even though whites make up 44% of New York City's population.

When we develop a political line we must challenge it on a materialist foundation in order to sharpen things up in a positive way, but it must not be detached from reality. Only in this way will we identify what is palpable in the realm of national liberation.

As Lenin said, "it is fine, it is necessary and important, to dream of another or radically different and better world — while at the same time we must infuse and inform our dreams with the most consistent, systematic and comprehensive scientific outlook and method, communism, and on that basis fight to bring those dreams into reality."

MIM(Prisons) adds: The original article by Rashid is in response to the New Afrikan Maoist Party and cites the Maoist Internationalist Movement as another party promoting the Black Belt Thesis. While MIM certainly never denounced the Black Belt Thesis, they recognized the crumbling material basis for seeing it through in the post-Comintern years that Rashid points to in his article. It is worth noting that more recent statistics show the New Afrikan population since 1990 has increased most in the South, where 55% of New Afrikans live today and that in the Black Belt states a much higher percentage of the population is New Afrikan than in the rest of the country.(5) MIM did publish an interesting discussion of the land question for New Afrika as an example of a two line struggle in 2004. Ultimately the land question must be determined by two conditions which we do not currently have: 1) a Black nation that has liberated itself from imperialism, and 2) a forum for negotiating land division in North America with other internal semi-colonies free from imperialist intervention.

In his article, Rashid responds to our critique of his liquidating the nationalist struggle in the book Defying the Tomb. In doing so he speaks of a Pan-Afrikan Nation, which is an oxymoron completely liquidating the meaning of both terms. Pan-Afrikanism is a recognition of the common interests of the various oppressed nations of Africa, often extended to the African diaspora. You cannot apply the Stalin quote given above to New Afrika and Pan Afrikanism and consistently call both a nation.

But ultimately, as the USW comrade criticizes above, the liquidationism is strongest in the NABPP-PC line on the progressive nature of the Amerikan nation. It is this dividing line that makes it impossible for our camps to see eye-to-eye and carry out a real two line struggle on the question of New Afrikan land.

1. JV Stalin, Marxism and the National Question, 1913 in Marxism and the National-Colonial Quesiton, Proletarian Publishers: San Francisco, p. 22. Available from MIM Distributors for $7.
2. VI Lenin, Imperialism and the Split in Socialism, John Riddell ed., Lenin's Struggle for a Revolutionary International, Monad Press: New York, 1984, p.498.
3. Rebekah Cowell, "In Their Backyard", The Sun May 2012.
4. CNN January 26 2011 "Mom jailed for enrolling kids in wrong school district"
[Organizing] [Theory] [Economics] [New Afrikan Black Panther Party] [ULK Issue 18]

Book Review: Defying the Tomb

Defying the Tomb
Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Featuring Exchanges with an Outlaw
by Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Minister of Defense, New Afrikan Black Panther Party- Prison Chapter
December 2010
CP 63560, CCCP Van Horne
Montreal, Quebec
H3W 3H8

also available from:
AK Press
674-A 23rd Street
Oakland, CA 94612

This book centers around the political dialogue between two revolutionary New Afrikan prisoners. The content is very familiar to MIM(Prisons) and will be to our readers. It is well-written, concise and mostly correct. Therefore it is well worth studying.

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.

Coming Up

Both Rashid and Outlaw preface their letters with their own autobiographies. Rashid's in particular is an impressive, almost idealized story of lumpen turned proletarian revolutionary. The simple principle that guides him through prison life is standing up to the pigs every time they violate a prisoner. At times he has inspired those around him to the point that the pigs can't get away with anything. The problem, he later points out, is the others are inspired by him as an individual. So when he was moved, or sent to a control unit, their unity crumbled.

At first, control units seemed an effective tool to control his resistance. But it is then that he found revolutionary theory. Rather than stay focused on combating minor behavior issues of the COs, he began to learn about societies that didn't have cops and prisons, and societies where the people rose up to transform the whole economic system. It is through ideology that you can build lasting unity that can't be destroyed by transfers and censorship.

Both Rashid and Outlaw conclude their autobiographies saying they have nothing to lose. They are two examples of the extreme repression felt by the lumpen of the oppressed nations. As a result, state terrorism no longer works to intimidate them, leaving them free to serve the people.

Democratically Centralized Organizing

In the foreword, Russell "Maroon" Shoats says his reason for not joining the NABPP-PC was that it claimed to operate under democratic centralism, which he believes is impossible for prisoners. We agree with his assessment, which is why we do not invite prisoners to join MIM(Prisons) even when their work and ideological development would otherwise warrant it. The benefits of having a tight cadre organization are lost when its inner workings are wide open to the pigs. Maroon points out that certain leaders will end up with absolute power (with the pigs determining who leads, we might add), and much resources are wasted just trying to maintain the group.

For the most part, there is nothing a comrade could do within prison as a member of MIM(Prisons) that they can't do as a member of USW. There is much work to be done to develop this mass organization, and we need experienced and ideologically trained comrades to lead it. When the situation develops to the point of having local cadre level organizations within a prison, then we would promote the cell structure, where democratic centralism can occur at a local level, just as we do on the outside.

In the last essay of the book, Rashid finally answers Maroon by saying that the NABPP-PC is a pre-party that will become real (along with its democratic centralism) outside of prisons.

The Original Black Panther Party

The main criticism of the original Black Panther Party (BPP) in Rashid's essay on organizational structure is their failure to distinguish between the vanguard party and the mass organization. Connected to this was a failure to practice democratic centralism. How could they when they were signing up members fresh off the street? These new recruits shouldn't have the same say as Huey Newton, but neither should Huey Newton alone dictate what the party does. We agree with Rashid that the weakness of the BPP came from these internal contradictions, which allowed the FBI to destroy it so quickly.(p. 353)

It's not clear how this assessment relates to an earlier section where he implies that an armed mass base and better counterintelligence would have protected the BPP. Rashid criticizes MIM's line, as he sees it, that a Black revolutionary party cannot operate above ground in the United $tates today.(p. 133) Inexplicably, 15 pages later he seems to agree with MIM by stating that Farrakhan would have to go underground or be killed the next day if he opposed capitalism and promoted real New Afrikan independence.

He also criticizes MIM on armed struggle and their assessment of George Jackson's foco theory. Mao applied Sun Tzu's Art of War to the imperialist countries to say that revolutionaries should not engage in armed struggle until their governments are truly helpless. Rashid says that he agrees with MIM's criticism of the Cuban model that lacked a mass base for revolution. But he supports George Jackson's "variant of urban-based focos, emphasiz[ing] that a principal purpose of revolutionary armed struggle is to not only destroy the enemy's forces, but to protect the political work and workers…"(p.134) He goes on to criticize MIM for a "let's wait" line that ends up promoting a bloodless revolution in his view.

He complains that the U.$. military was already overextended (in 2004) and MIM was "still just talking." But Mao defined the point to switch strategies as when "the bourgeoisie becomes really helpless, [and] the majority of the proletariat are determined to rise in arms and fight…" MIM(Prisons) agrees with Mao's military strategy, and one would have to be in a dream world to imply that either of these conditions have been reached, despite the level of U.$. military involvement abroad. Rashid is saying that we need armed struggle regardless of conditions to defend our political wing. Despite his successes with using force to defend the masses in prison, we do not think this translates to conditions in general society. Guerrilla theory that tells us to only fight battles we know we can win also says not to take up defensive positions around targets that we can't defend.

Another criticism made by Rashid is that the BPP didn't enforce a policy of members committing class suicide, and he seems to criticize their self-identification as a "lumpen" party in 1970 and 1971. Interestingly, he foresees a "working-class-conscious petty bourgeois" leading the New Afrikan liberation struggle.(p.232) He comes down left of the current New Afrikan Maoist Party (NAMP) line by condemning the call for independent Black capitalism as unrealistic, and requiring the petty bourgeoisie to commit class suicide as well.(p.177) Whether the vanguard is more petty bourgeois or lumpen in origin is a minor point, but we mention all this to ask why all the class suicide if all Amerikans are so exploited and oppressed as he claims elsewhere (see below)?

Tom Big Warrior

In contrast to Rashid, except for some superficial mentions of Maoist terminology, we don't have much agreement with Tom Big Warrior (TBW) in his introduction or his afterword to this book. In both, he states that the principal contradiction in the world is internal to the U.$. empire, and it is between its need to consolidate hegemony and the chaos it creates. This implies a theory where imperialism is collapsing internally, and will be taken down by chaos rather than the conscious rising of the oppressed nations as MIM(Prisons) believes. He speaks favorably of intercommunalism, as has Rashid who once wrote that "the old definitions of nationalism no longer apply." We see intercommunalism as an ultra-left line that undermines the approach of national liberation struggles.

Speaking for the NABPP-PC on page 380, TBW states that they want a Comintern to direct revolutionaries around the world. We oppose a new Comintern, following in the footsteps of MIM, Mao and Stalin. In the past, TBW has taken up other erroneous lines of the rcp=u$a such as accusing Third World nations of "Muslim fascism." He also talks out of both sides of his mouth like Bob Avakian about Amerikan workers benefiting from imperialism, but also being victims of it. He has openly attacked the MIM line as being "crazy," while admitting to have never studied it. This is the definition of idealism, when one condemns theories based on what one desires to be the truth.

Wait, Are Whites Revolutionary?

After reading this book, you might ask yourself that question. Comrades have already asked this question of NABPP-PC and TBW in the past and received a clear answer of "yes." This debate is old. The former Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) had it with the so-called "Revolutionary Communist Party (USA)" (rcp=u$a), among others, for decades before denouncing them as a CIA front. Interestingly, Rashid and TBW both like to quote Bob Avakian but fail to provide an assessment or criticism of the rcp=u$a line in this 386 page volume.

Most of these writings predate the formation of the NABPP-PC, but are presented in a book with the NABPP-PC's name on it, so we will take it as representative of their line. The history of struggle with the MIM camp dates back to the original writing of much of the material presented in this book. Comrades in the MIM camp, including United Struggle from Within, the emerging NAMP, and a comrade who went on to help found MIM(Prisons) engaged in debates with all of the leading members of the party, as well as TBW, shortly after their formation.

The point is that not only had at least two of the NABPP-PC's leaders studied MIM line prior to forming their own, but they openly opposed this line following their formation. While not addressed directly, it seems that the only line dividing the NABPP-PC from joining the rcp=u$a is its belief in the need for a separate vanguard for the New Afrikan nation.

Contradictory Class Analyses: Economics

On pages 205-6 Outlaw asks Rashid:

"But from your analysis of these classes who do you consider to be the most revolutionary, considering the majority of workers in empire are complacent to some degree or another, due to the international class relationships of empire to the Third World nations, and the conveniences proletarians, and even lumpen-proletarians, are afforded as a result of that international situation and relationship?"

Rashid responds on pages 208-9 by stating that our class analysis is "mandatory for waging any successful resistance" but that he is only able to give a general analysis due to his lack of access to information. He does say:

"[T]he US is neither a majority peasant nor proletarian society. It is principally petty bourgeoisie. It has an over 80% service-based economy… So the US proletarian class is small and growing increasingly so, while the world proletariat is growing and becoming increasingly multi-ethnic."

On page 122 he also upholds this line that all non-productive workers are petty bourgeois, and not exploited proletarians. On page 232 he expands this analysis to explain the relationship between the imperialist nations, who are predominantly petty bourgeois, and the Third World that is mostly exploited. But in a footnote he takes it all back saying, "modern technological advances have broadened the scope of the working class" and clearly states, "[t]he predominantly service sector US working class is in actuality part of the proletarian class." He justifies this by saying that the income of these service workers is no different than the industrial proletariat. Yet he takes an obviously chauvinist approach of only comparing incomes of Amerikans. The real industrial proletariat is in the Third World and makes a small fraction of what Amerikan so-called "workers" do.

We agree that it is dogmatic to say this persyn is proletariat because she makes the tools and this persyn is not because she cleans the factory. But this is a minor point. The real issue is that whole countries, such as the United $tates, are not self-sustainable, but are living on the labor and resources of other nations. A country that is made up of mostly service workers cannot continue to pay all its people without exploiting wealth from somewhere else, since only the productive labor creates value.

A less disputed line put forth by Rashid and TBW is that U.$. prisoners are exploited. We have put forth our thesis debunking the exploitation myth, and exposing the prison system as an example of the parasitic "service" economy built on the sweat and blood of the Third World.(see ULK 8) More outrageously, in an article on the 13th Amendment, Rashid says that over 1/2 of Amerikans are currently "enslaved" by capitalism. This article contains some unrealistic claims, such as that no one could possibly enjoy working in the imperialist countries, and that these workers do not have freedom of mobility. Over half of Amerikans own homes. Not only are these alleged "slaves" landowners, but in the modern imperialist economy real estate has become more closely related to finance capital in a way that super-profits are gained by owning real estate in the First World. (see ULK 17)

Both Rashid and Outlaw demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between imperialist countries and the Third World, with Rashid going so far to say that reparations to New Afrika outside of a war against imperialism would mean more exploitation of the proletariat. While contradictory, Rashid's economic analysis in the original letters is more correct than not. In his treatment of history we will see more confusion, and perhaps some reasons why he ended up finding the "multi-national working class" to be the necessary vehicle for revolution in the United $tates despite his focus on single-nation organizing.

Contradictory Class Analyses: History

While repeatedly recalling the history of poor whites becoming slave catchers, marking the first consolidation of the white nation, Rashid lists "join[ing] their struggle up with the Israeli working class" as one of the strategies that would have led to greater success for Hamas.(p.50) This schizophrenic approach to the settler nations is present throughout the book. He echoes J. Sakai on Bacon's Rebellion, but then discards the overall lessons of Sakai's book Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat. While Sakai argued that these poor, former indentured servants had joined the oppressor nation in 1676, Rashid argues that modern-day Israelis and Amerikans, most of whom are in the top 10% income bracket globally, are exploited proletarians and allies in the struggle for a communist future.

Later in the book he goes so far as to say that white "right-wing militias, survivalists and military hobbyists" are "potential allies" who "have a serious beef with imperialist monopoly capitalism." This issue came to the forefront with the "anti-globalization" movement in the later 1990s. Both MIM and J. Sakai(1) led the struggle to criticize the anti-imperialist anarchists for following the lead of the white nationalist organizations calling for Amerikan protectionism. These groups are the making of a fascist movement in the United $tates which is why the distinction between exploited and exploiter nations is so important.

In the discussion of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) we gain some insight into Rashid's contradictory lines on who our friends and enemies are. Here he correctly explains that European countries bought off their domestic populations with wealth from the Third World, to turn those working classes against the Third World workers and peasants. But his turn from the MIM line takes place in attempting to address the strategy of the RNA. He sees a strong danger of neo-colonialism in the RNA struggle for national liberation, as happened in the numerous liberation struggles in Africa itself. So he talks about how ultimately we want a world without nations, so let's put class first to solve this problem (and he assumes most white Amerikans are proletariat). This is an ultraleft error of getting ahead of conditions. He goes on to say that the imperialists would easily turn the white population against a minority New Afrikan liberation movement trying to seize the Black Belt South. Here you have a rightist justification for pragmatism.

This is not to dismiss either of those concerns, which are very real. But his solution in both cases is based in a faulty class analysis. This book paraphrases Mao to point out that your class analysis is your starting point, and that your political line determines your success. Liquidating a New Afrikan revolutionary movement into a white class struggle over superprofits will not succeed in achieving his stated goals of a world without oppression. While the original Black Panthers themselves put forth different class analyses of Amerika at various points, they proved in practice that developing strong Black nationalism will bring out those sectors of the white population who are sympathetic. We must not cater to the majority of white people, but to the world's majority of people.

Dangers of Revisionism

The danger of revisionism is that it works to lead good potential recruits away from the revolutionary cause, both setting back the movement and discouraging others. The fact that Rashid sounds like MIM half the time in this book makes it more likely he will attract those with more scientific outlooks. We think those familiar with MIM Theory, or who have at least read this review could find this book both useful and interesting. However, the NABPP-PC and TBW are actively promoting a number of incorrect lines under the Panther banner, to the very people who need the Panthers' correct example of Maoism the most. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and it is far beyond time that we bring these criticisms into the open to advance the ideological understanding of the whole movement.

1. J. Sakai, "Aryan Politics & Fighting the W.T.O" in My Enemy's Enemy, ed. Anti-Fascist Forum, 7-24.

[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 15]

All eyes on Us for Black August

From behind California State Prison enemy lines - from within the Belly of the Beast that is the Amerikan Injustice System - I greet you! I call to your attention the annual commemoration of Black August and invite you - prisoners and your families - throughout Amerika - to join in honoring our beloved martyrs with fasting, study, sharing Panther Love and knowledge of our history of struggle against oppression and for justice, and renewal of commitment to struggle for a brighter future for humanity. In particular, Black August 2010 commemorates the martyrdom of our brothers Sean Bell and Gus Rugley, and our comrades Hasan Shakur, NABPP-PC Minister of Human Rights, Jonathan Jackson, and Comrade George Jackson, Field Marshall of the Black Panther Party Prison Chapter.

We must also remember January 1, 2009 police handcuffed Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Black man, and forced him face-down on the platform of a rapid transit station in Oakland, California. Then one cop shot Oscar Grant in the back, killing him. This cold-blooded murder was caught on cell phone videos and seen by millions. People in Oakland immediately took to the streets in righteous protest. The case has become a flashpoint of struggle in supposedly "post-racial" Amerika and protests have continued. Revolutionaries have been uniting with the efforts of people from a broad spectrum of political beliefs to say This Must Stop, and bringing revolution and communism to the people.

Yes my sisters and brothers,

We shed tears for our fallen brothers and sisters as well as the many children - who have been killed by the oppressors in this land of our exile and enslavement. We have a right to cry over our dead - for every life is precious beyond measure - the loss of each is intolerable. We consecrate this month so that those who have been taken from us will never be forgotten - nor the love of liberty which their lives stood for.

Our grief is real and so is our determination to continue the struggle until all are free and oppression is no more. Our pain makes us stronger and more human. Our determination makes our people struggle. We must get up and stand up as one - a united people - and prepare for revolutionary change in the 21st Century.

To clear our minds, I propose that we eat only one meal a day throughout the month of August, and fast completely on August 7th - in honor of Jonathan Jackson - on August 21st - in honor of George Jackson - and on August 31st - in honor of Hasan Shakur. On these three fast days, we should be silent and contemplative, and throughout the month we should refrain from watching TV and listening to the radio.

During this month, the elders, political prisoners and veterans of the struggle should make a particular effort to reach out to the youth and teach them our history and lessons from our experience. We should demonstrate Panther Love, throw away old grudges, and start new friendships. We should draw our comrades closer and strengthen our united commitment to advance the struggle.

Besides fasting, comrades should work out and get physical exercise, meditate and put mind, body and spirit in harmony.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome this Black August greeting in time for our July/August issue. Black August is truly a people's holiday. And its power is acknowledged in California, where it began and where the state still uses Black August material as a justification to put people in Security Housing Units. While we print this comrades suggestions for celebration during the month, we also warn against ultra-leftism and spirituality. Yes, study history and turn off mindless television, but don't cut yourself off from the world for a month. Yes, exercise and even fasting can be healthy, but learn more about how fasting will affect your body in your specific conditions on a prison diet, and don't decrease your strength through excess.

This communique also comes at a time when we are hearing about the work of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP) paralleling our own. While we print this statement and have worked with the NABPP elsewhere, we warn our readers that the "MLM" and "Pantherism" of the NABPP is not the same as ours. While the NABPP's practice has generally been commendable, we criticize their ideology as revisionist and crypto-Trotskyist. We discuss the revisionism of NABPP in "Maoism Around Us" and critique one of the NABPP Minister of Defense Rashid's publications in "Fearlessness, Scientific Strategy and Security".

[National Oppression] [Political Repression] [Virginia]

Letter of Exposure to COINTELPRO

The following letter is part of the exposure process of current COINTELPRO operations on behalf of the federal government against New Afrikan organizations and prisoners in particular. MIM(Prisons) can attest to these operations against a number of organizations and individuals. MIM(Prisons) has been similarly labeled a "Security Threat Group" in Virginia and our literature has not been allowed into Red Onion State Prison as a result. The author is one of countless prisoners who have been targeted for long-term isolation due to their political beliefs and affiliations in the united $tates.

MIM(Prisons) disagrees with the New Afrikan Black Panther Party's (NABPP) analysis of amerika and the principal contradiction, which is reflected in this letter. The author quotes Eldridge Cleaver to say that there is no difference between the white and Black movement in amerika. There is a serious difference in that the Black nation faces substantial oppression under imperialism, while whites fill the role of the oppressor. As true internationalists, the Black Panthers never took up racism. Their line on the amerikan class structure evolved over time, while they always upheld the need for self-determination of oppressed nations. At their best, Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver had come to understand the amerikan people as bought off allies of imperialism. This view later devolved into what the Panthers became, a reformist organization stuck in electoral politics.

As an organization that claims to apply the scientific analysis of dialectical materialism, MIM(Prisons) sees the NABPP line on the amerikan class structure as idealist and therefore revisionist. The only evidence they can offer to substantiate their position is dogma and chauvinism.

We print this letter in support of the righteous struggle to expose and beat back the use of prisons and the criminal injustice system as tools of political repression.

Racial and Political persecution of Grassroots Black Political leaders and Activists

As many of you are likely aware, Amerika’s ‘intelligence’ and executive policing agencies, (federal, state and local), have a sordid legacy of persecuting and targeting grassroots Black political leaders and activists for destruction. The spectrum of methods applied here ranged from slander (false character and image depictions and attacks) spread through and by government agents and friendly media ‘assets’ to false and malicious criminal arrests and prosecutions, to violence and outright murder.

Such designs come as no surprise in a country that was built upon history’s first race-based and most brutal system of enslavement, and Native genocide and land theft. The very place where the false concept of race and attendant racism (white racial supremacy) were created.(1)

Since chattel slavery, and Amerikan society was artificially divided along politically created racial lines, it has been a central policy to prevent Blacks from organizing independent political institutions and parties. Until just a few decades ago, this policy included our systematic exclusion from participating as genuine citizens in electoral politics. Indeed, Amerika’s ‘dual party’ system evolved from the struggle to keep Blacks enslaved and out of the political sphere – contrary to deceptive official claims that this system arose as an expression of respect for diverse political views and representatives.(2)

It is also telling that many of the historical figures projected today as Amerikan heroes and ‘founding fathers’ embraced bigoted views and practiced genocidal and criminal policies that would have made even the most vicious German Nazi blush(27). Let’s not forget that the Central Intelligence Agency, in its formative years, absorbed and employed many of the Nazi’s worst war criminals as agents, assets and advisers.(3) Indeed, president George W. Bush’s grandfather was Hitler’s chief Amerikan financier during World War II, and ended in having his Union Banking Corporation confiscated under the Trading with the Enemies Act in October 1942 by the Roosevelt administration.(4)

Since U.S. executive policies of targeting ‘non-imbedded’ Black politicos for destruction were exposed in the 1970s, culminating in several congressional investigations and reports(5), efforts have been made to gloss over this history and to rehabilitate the images of these agencies, particularly through glamorized images and cultural fantasies projected of Amerikan police and intelligence agencies, via the vast entertainment/information media. However, behind this iron curtain of deception, official designs have not changed. A fact that I bear witness to, because I have been and am a target of them. Which is the basis of this letter.

I have been incarcerated since 1990, and have experienced first hand the brutal reality of Amerikan prisons. A system that, as the American Civil Liberties Union has acknowledged, is more and more “dedicated to the African American Community,”(6) and the underlying anti-Black orientation of this system, which cannot be honestly denied.(7)

For many years I have been reporting and pursuing public exposure and redress of the brutality, torture and abuses occurring inside these institutions, and have supported and co-founded several groups and organizations that also pursue these ends.

In 2005, I co-founded the New Afrikan Black Panther Party/White Panther Organization, a non-violent, legal and above-ground party whose focus is on promoting the interests and human rights, in strictly legal forms, of sectors of the U.S. population whose needs and interests are ignored, and who are not represented, by the ‘established’ political – economic system – especially poor, working class and imprisoned Blacks.

The NABPP/WPO specifically opposes criminal activities, ‘street gang’ mentalities and behaviors, violence (except in the extremes of self-defense), all forms of discrimination (racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, national, etc.) and all forms of oppression. We also promote the right to free, open and honest speech. Our orientation, ideologies, and views have been and are elaborated in our various periodicals and publications; many of them I authored.(8)

Because U.S. social policies are not oriented towards serving or promoting the needs, interests, rights and benefits of poor, working class and ethnic people, while our Party’s orientation specifically is, we are likely viewed as promoting views unpopular with and to the status quo. As a result of this in general, and my role in these efforts in particular, I have been and am targeted with those repressive methods reserved in Amerika for independent Black leaders and activists.

One typical form that this targeting has taken is my being falsely profiled by this prison as the leader of a criminal street gang or Security Threat Group (STG), namely the NABPP/WPO. This tactic of stigmatizing and consequently repressing Black political groups is certainly not new or unique, and harks back to policies applied by U.S. officials during periods when official racism was less veiled.(9) As Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black pointed out:

“History should teach us… that… minority parties and groups which advocate extremely unpopular social or governmental innovations will always be typed as criminal gangs and attempts will always be made to drive them out.”
Barenblatt v. U.S., 360 U.S. 109, ISO(1959) (dissenting opinion)

So much for the facial validity of STG profiling.

I have persisted in seeking an explanation from this prisons’ and prison system’s administration as to what the NABPP/WPO has done or promotes that qualifies us for STG classification, besides the obvious reasons of their own racial and political intolerance. To date my inquiries have been evaded and I am told that I cannot formally grieve the matter through the established grievance procedures.

It is of course a crime to be a member of, to recruit for, or to act in furtherance of the goals of a criminal street gang. The criteria of what constitutes a criminal street gang is defined by law.(10) Incidentally, I might add, “street gang” implies groupings of people of color, since it is generally recognized that, since the 1970s, ‘urban’ is basically synonymous in Amerika with the Black population, over 90% of which lives in urban communities. Yet another ‘legal’ embodiment of the race factor, targeted at people of color selectively.

Moreover, to falsely impute criminal activities to one not duly convicted is per se defamation and slander (11) – and one is presumed innocent of crimes that they have not been thus convicted of.

This entire gang profiling of me and the NABPP/WPO here has been at the instigation of this prison’s near-exclusively white staff and investigator, (and admittedly conveyed to federal intelligence agencies), who come from local, rural, race-segregated communities of mountainous south-western Virginia and eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, who harbor socially conditioned and culturally ingrained insensitivities towards, and genuine ignorance of the views, values, history and culture, of urban people of color.

Typical of the tendency of racists to stereotype groups of people, these officials make no distinctions between Black political organizations and indeed declare that “all Black groups that promote dissent” fit their criteria of a gang or STG, as does any group or organization that criticizes government and prison practices and policies.

Further, they lump together every group that has ever used the “Black Panther” name (characterizing them all as generically, the “Black Panther group,” or “Black Panther gang.”) Although, there have been a great number of different organizations that have used the “Black Panther” name or logo; none of which is the NABPP/WPO affiliated with. In fact, initially they claimed the NABPP/WPO and the New Black Panther Party, which is led today by D.C.–based attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz, were one and the same organization, whereas these two organizations have no connection. Interestingly, however, they have stated in writing that M. Shabazz – a federal lawyer – is the leader of a criminal gang also, namely the NBPP.

Many of the organizations that have used the Black Panther name in fact no longer exist, and had very different ideologies, agendas and views.(12) In deed, the NBPP is a quasi-religious group connected to the Nation of Islam, whose racial, political and economic views the NABPP/WPO do not share. Fundamentally, this prison designated the NABPP/WPO a gang and STG before even knowing what our views and interests are, and subsequently have ignored them in order to preserve this false criminal profile.

And using the generic, all-inclusive “Black panther” designation, they systematically bar any and all information on any BP organization, past, present, from possession by any prisoner, although most Black history reference books and general encyclopedias have entries on the original Black Panther Party and its leaders. So in essence, the policy here is to censor Black history while promoting the history and memories of white Amerikan figures and political leaders who exterminated Indians, and enslaved, brutalized and raped Blacks as an accepted political norm.(27) Racial discrimination.

But of course this repression is not without precedent.

The original BPP, which was founded in Oakland, California in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, and destroyed by the U.S. government, met with similar persecution. Indeed, its treatment by the U.S. government, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in particular, set the standard on official hatred and smear-mongering against groups bearing the BP name.

The original BPP was founded as a legal above-ground Black political party that promoted the rights of urban Blacks to defend their communities against crime and violence(13), and promoted community service programs to meet the economic needs of desperately poor urban Blacks that the government ignored; such as free breakfast programs for children (this was before food stamps and free school meals were widely available – in fact the government expanded food stamps and school meals as a counter to the Panther’s programs), petition drives against police brutality, free schools, free health clinics, free clothing and shoe programs, free busing to prisons, free senior citizen service programs, free sickle cell anemia research and testing, free pest control, plumbing and maintenance, ambulance, day care, and news service programs.(14)

Various surveys found the vast majority of the urban Black population supported the BPP. The BPP was so popular that similar BP formations sprang up in England, Israel, Bermuda, Australia and India. It also aided in forming similar groups among whites (the White Panther Party), the Mexicans (Brown Berets), Puerto Ricans (Young Lords Party), and white college student groups, which it worked closely with as allies. As Todd Gitlin of the Students for a Democratic Society noted, “at a time when most other black [groups] donned dashikis and glowered at whites, they [Panthers] welcomed white allies.” Eldridge Cleaver, the BP’s Minister of Information pointed out:

“in reality there is no such thing as a black movement and a white movement in the United States. These are merely categories of thoughts that only have reality in terms of the lines that the ruling class itself has drawn and is implementing amongst the people. The United States is controlled by one ruling class…”

Solely because of its orientation toward uplifting and serving the Black communities, and its influence on other poor and oppressed communities, the BPP was viciously slandered and attacked by the government, violence prone street gangs were incited by the FBI and police to attack and kill BPP leaders and members(15); racial and anti-white stereotypes were played up via the media; bogus letters were written by FBI agents and sent to BPP members, the public, landlords, employers, spouses, supporters, religious leaders, etc, to play the Black community, Panthers and other religious leaders, etc. to play the Black community, Panthers and other Black groups against each other: assassination raids were conducted by FBI and police to murder Panthers; false arrests and prosecutions of Panthers were conducted to stigmatize them as criminally inclined and to harass them and deplete Party funds and resources on defending members against false criminal charges and much more. All orchestrated by the FBI’s covert action program, COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program). (16)

The derogatory and violence-prone image of the BPP was solely the creation of a then openly racist and sexist FBI(16), led by J. Edgar Hoover(17), and other agencies, at a period when Blacks and women were refused employment with the FBI, and it was openly operating as an agency opposed to Blacks and Black communities(18). The concededly illegal and criminal methods used by the FBI against the BPP were exposed and denounced by the U.S. Congress in 1976(5), and several in-depth studies have been written on the FBI's anti-BPP and anti-Black crusade.(19)

While the FBI claimed, in the face of its exposure in the 1970s, that it would end or limit future COINTELPROs (although it has not), the false images it portrayed of the BPP continues and lives on in the white Amerikan public mind.(20) Hence, the very mention of the name BP today evokes images of a gun-toting Black version of the Ku Klx Klan.

But let there be no mistake about it, the BPP was not an exception to the rule in the application of these methods against Black political activists and leaders. As the Church Committee Congressional investigations of U.S. intelligence agencies exposed, all Black leaders and groups were targeted, even such groups and leaders as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr., all under FBI labeled of their being “violence prone” “Black Nationalist Hate Groups.”(9) Just like the criminal gang label is thrown around today.

As a recent in-depth expose by attorney William F. Pepper, and a wrongful death lawsuit he successfully prosecuted on behalf of the King family in 1999 revealed, the FBI, in collaboration with other U.S. civil and military intelligence agencies, were King’s actual killers.(21)

King’s widow, the late Coretta Scott King, had this to say about Pepper’s book:

“For a quarter of a century, Bill Pepper conducted an independent investigation of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He opened his files to our family, encouraged us to speak with the witnesses, and represented our family in the civil trial against he conspirators. The jury affirmed his findings, providing our family with a long-sought sense of closure and peace, which had been denied by official disinformation and cover-ups. Now the findings of his exhaustive investigation and additional revelations from the trial are presented in the pages of this important book. We recommend it highly to everyone who seeks the truth about Dr. King’s assassination.”

Yet today, the U.S. government pretends to respect the memory and work of this man that it murdered, with a national holiday.(22)

The object, then as today, is to destroy independent and influential Black political leaders and replace them with ones “approved” by U.S. officials to mislead us.(23) To continue the oppressive and steadily deteriorating conditions within, and to divide, the U.S. Black communities.

As the Church Committee report revealed, assistant FBI director William C. Sullivan, promoted a COINTELPRO in which the FBI would hand-pick a “new national leader,” once King was eliminated.(24) Sullivan’s overall strategy, which he wrote in 1964, was to simultaneously destroy Dr. King, Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad. He wrote:

“…when this is done, and it can and will be done, obviously much confusion will reign, particularly among the Negro people… The Negroes will be left without a national leader of sufficiently compelling personality to steer them in the proper direction…”(25)

Sullivan recommended Black corporate lawyer Samuel R. Pierce, Jr as King’s replacement.

Yesterday it was a corporate lawyer, today it is an ex-law professor – Barack Obama.

We of course know that COINTELPRO is alive and well. The repressions I face are classic COINTELPRO methods. Also, three years ago FBI director Robert Mueller announced before a Senate subcommittee the implementation of a new “Threat Assessment Program” (TAPS). A modern COINTELPRO targeted specifically at U.S. prisoners who are politically active, under the cover, as always, of professing to prevent potential violence. The same self-serving rationale used to justify the ongoing persecution and ultimate murder of Dr. King, and targeting all other Black political groups, leaders and activists.(26) TAPS involves the FBI, along with Homeland Security and other agencies, working in collaboration with various prisons and prison systems nationwide to identify, profile, disrupt, repress and neutralize prisoner activists (groups and individuals), being mindful that several influential Black political leaders like Malcolm X and George Jackson developed inside of prison. I have been informed that I have been and am a target of TAPs.

Methods that I have been targeted with include the following:
Frequent interception and destruction of my mail;
Systematic obstruction of all articles I write or artwork I create from coming into the prison;
Obstructions of my ability to collaborate with outside editors and contacts to have my articles and a book I wrote published;
Blocking nearly all of my periodicals from reaching me;
Repeated targeting with trumped-up disciplinary reports;
Repeated indictments on trumped up violent crimes that have been each dismissed in turn – the last one with prejudice where I conducted my defense pro se (abuse of process);
Habitually disappearing my incoming mail or rejecting it as in violation of prison policy without explanation;
Barring my contacts with various attorneys who’ve attempted to assist me;
Rejecting, opening and delaying my legal mail – even from the ACLU – outside my presence;
Hampering my contacts with the courts in anticipated and pending litigations;
Frequent destructions and thefts of my legal property which I’ve had to obtain court orders to have returned;
Barring my visitors and telephone use and blocking the telephone numbers of loved ones and others;
Targeting me with threats, attempts and actual acts of violence by guards and their white supremacist inmate lackeys, etc.

I should add that further conditions exist at this prison, and within this prison system, which are openly race-motivated or otherwise unlawful, e.g. the censorship of Black - and Brown – oriented cultural, political and historical publications as STG materials; while no such measures are applied to mainstream and white publications and media; censorship of all media and publications that in any way critique U.S. government, prison and economic policies and practices; censorship of publications and media by or about grassroots Black historical figures and leaders such as Huey P. Newton and Harry Haywood, while publications about racist, murderous and criminally oppressive white historical figures like Adolph Hitler, Geroge Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, etc., etc. are stocked in the prison library and accessible to all prisoners; promoting, protecting and hiring of staff at the prison who are members and affiliates of white supremacist groups and gangs; repression of prisoners who are “documented members” of actual Black and Brown street gangs while officials protect and give free reign to members of white supremacist gangs and use them as hit men against disliked prisoners of color (29), removing all television stations from the prison's closed circuit television system that aired Black programs and refusing channels that air Spanish-language Brown programs; harassing local radio stations and programs that play Black music and allow call-ins to prisoners from friends, family and supporters; subjecting Black and Brown prisoners to the harshest and highest security levels and conditions while maintaining white prisoners in minimum security with extensive privileges and benefits, making security level classifications along blatantly racial lines, frequent targeting of Black and Brown prisoners with abuse, violence, denied meals, etc.; deliberately engineering and facilitating violent conflicts between and against prisoners of color, particularly between prisoners documented as members of rival Black and Brown street gangs (28), populating these remote prisons that are staffed nearly-exclusively by rural whites with predominantly non-white prisoners, etc., etc.

That the FBI and other intelligence and executive agencies are more racially diverse today than during the 1960s and 70s in no way invalidates their anti-Black policies. Indeed it was a Black Chicago policeman – Gloves Davis – that shot two sleeping BPP leaders, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, in the heads at point blank range in December 1969, in an FBI orchestrated assassination raid. It was today’s FBI that assassinated Puerto Rican grassroots leader Filberto Ojeda Rios in September 2005, sparking protests across Puerto Rico, which spanned everyday civilians to government leaders.(30) Also the most brutal violence against South Afrikan Blacks during openly racist apartheid was often carried out by Black soldiers and police(31). We see Black and Brown police involved as viciously as white ones in unprovoked and unjustified violence and murders of urban youth of color today, in Amerika.

Furthermore, the National Security council (NSC), which is chaired by the U.S. President, and whose enforcement arm is the CIA, implemented NSC memorandum #46 in 1978. The stated goals of which were/are to ensure the permanent demise and destruction of the U.S. Black liberation and civil rights movements(32). In its own words, NSC-46 devised to ensure that there would never evolve another independent Black leader or organization that could unite the U.S. Black populations; to play white working class people against Blacks; to divide the Black community and political groups; to bring more Blacks into established political institutions so they could be controlled and used to mislead the Black population; and to destroy all aspirations then prevailing among Blacks to develop an independent Black political party.

So we see an overall historical continuum till today of targeting Black leaders and activists for destruction who are not “approved” by the Establishment, and deliberately maintaining the urban Black communities in crisis. And the same old tactics are being used.

Officials at this prison have conceded working with the FBI and DHS in “intelligence sharing” – government speak for inter-agency repressive covert actions against targeted individuals and groups.

Of course, none of what I’ve touched on herein related to the history and designs of this country’s intelligence and policing agencies is unknown to the various recipients of this letter, it’s your M.O. and S.O.P. It’s the general public that’s kept oblivious of it. Moreover, I’ve only skimmed that surface, just enough to place my issues in their proper context, and to satisfy my burden of placing each of you on notice of my issues before pursuing redress in other forums, and to afford you the opportunity to address/redress these matters.

I am therefore presenting this letter of complaint to all named agencies and officials, requesting that such racially and politically motivated persecution and abuses cease, that the false gang/STG profiling of me and the NABPP/WPO at this prison and anywhere else be rescinded with an apology for this defamation, and that all the illegal, discriminatory and retaliatory treatments and conditions mentioned herein be abolished. If I hear nothing from you all within 20 days, I will proceed to seek both public and judicial exposure and redress of these and other practices against those official hereby notified, via copy of this.

Notes and supplementary commentary:

1. See, e.g. Theodore Allen, The Invention of the White Race (New York: Verse, 1997); Steve Martinof, The Rule of Racialization (Philadelphia: Temple University press, 2003).

In 1676 Afrikan and English slaves and indentured servants, (who enjoyed equal statuses and conditions of brutality and abuse), came together under a rebellious young planter, Nathaniel Bacon, in an united revolt that overthrew the colonial government in Virginia, and burned down the capitol of Jamestown (Bacon’s Rebellion). Six months into the revolt Bacon died of influenza, and without its leader the revolt was defeated by colonial forces. Subsequently, the colonial government instituted a policy designed to prevent any similar revolt from occurring again, by dividing the society of poor workers against each other along racial lines. In 1682 laws were passed creating the “Negro” and “white” races and making slavery an hereditary and permanent status for Afrikans. (see, William W. Hening, Statues at Lorge: The Laws of Virginia (Richmond, 1809), pp. 492 ff). In 1705 the “race line was further clarified by laws that defined as “Negro” anyone having “one drop” of Afrikan blood. Slavery and servitude of whites was phased out, and they were brought together under the concept of being a “superior” race, religiously ordained to enslave Blacks under the Biblical “curse of canaan.” The entire white society was mobilized as a united force (slave patrols) to police and brutally repress Blacks, whom they were indoctrinated to hate and fear. This politically manufactured system gave birth to white racism, that persists till today, and was exported from the Virginia colonies to all areas where Europeans came into contact with and sought to conquer the lands and seize the wealth and labor power of people of color. And is preserved in multitudes of ways by today’s capitalist political-economic systems, which deliberately pits whites, Blacks and other races against each other.

2. “The purity of democratic institutions was, in the historical debates around Manifest Destiny, an extension of the purity concept of whiteness. And in the evolution of the two-party system, a further extension of the structure of racialization expressing itself. The force driving U.S. political process toward a two-party system historically was none other than the question of slavery and the disenfranchisement of the black voter….
“The disenfranchisement of the black voter has been a major issue throughout U.S. history. It was hotly debated right after the Revolution, imposed in most states before the civil war, imposed by means of paramilitary operations during and after reconstructions, and flaunted in the face of constitutional guarantees of the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The drive to disenfranchise black people continues today through massive felony incarceration for misdemeanors and victimless crimes, for which they lose suffrage. According to Paul Haygood, more than 13% of potential black voters are currently disenfranchised (Ryan Paul Haygood, Black Commentator June 10, 2004. According to Haygood, of the 4.7 million people disenfranchised by felony conviction in the U.S., 1.4 million are black males, or 13% of the adult black population this does not count black females).”
-Steve Martinot, Socialism and Democracy, “Mexico, Iraq, and the Two-party system: Studies in White Supremacy,” Vol. 19, No 1, March 2005, pp 129-30.

3. Exposes on the protection and employment of Nazi war criminals by the U.S. and British governments are legion. See for example, Christopher Simpson, Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and its Effects on the Cold War (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988) (on Rauff, the inventor and administrator of the gas truck execution program which murdered approximately 250,000 people, see pp. 92-94, on Gehlen, Hitler’s most senior intelligence office on the brutal Eastern Front, see pp. 70-72, 248-263, 279-283, on Barbie, the Gestapo’s “Butcher of Lyons,” see pp. 185-195); see also, Mary Ellen Reese, General Reinhard Gehlen’s the CIA Connection (Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Press, 1990); Erhard Dubringhaus
Klaus Barbie: The Shocking Story of How the US Used this Nazi War Criminal as an Intelligence Agent – a First Hand Account (Washington: Acropolis, 1984); John Loftus, The Belarus Secret (New York: Knopf, 1982) ch. 5; Tom Bower, Klaus Barbie: The “Butcher of Lyons” (New York: Pantheon, 1984); Kai Hermann, “A Killer’s Career,” Stern (Germany), May 10 and following, 1984 (six part series based upon declassified U.S. government documents and interviews conducted in Bolivia); Linda Hunt, Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945-1990 (New York, St. Martin’s, 1991); Alexander Cockburn, et al. Whitehout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press (London, Vergo, 1990) chs 6 and 7; Eugene J. Kolb, [former U.S. counterintelligence corps officer and chief of operations in the Augsburg region of Germany) “Army Counterintelligence's Dealings with Klaus Barbie,” Letter, New York Times, July 26, 1983, p. A20 (defending the employment of Barbie); Michael McClintock, Instruments of statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare Counter-Insurgency and Counter-terrorism, 1940-1990 (New York: Pantheon, 1992), especially ch 3 (important study of U.S. intelligence’s absorption of Nazi methods and practitioners into U.S. special warfare doctrine after World War II.

4. Charles Higham, Trading with the Enem: An Expose of the Nazi-American Money Plot (NewYork: Delacorte, 1983). George Bush is certainly not an exception among prominent U.S. government officials with direct lines of descent from major Nazis. Karl Roves grandfather helped run the Nazi party and build the Birkenau Death camp, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian father was a Nazi SA volunteer and became a ranking officer. See, The Free Press , October 6, 2003.

5. See Church Committee, U.S. Congressional Report: Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, 94th Congress, 2nd Section, Report No 94-755 (1976) (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office), Books II and III.

6. ACLU, Cracks in the System: Twenty Years of the Unjust Federal Crack Cocaine Law (October 2006)

7. Harvard Law Review, “Developments in the Law-Race and the criminal Process.” Vol 101, Nov 7, May 1988, pp. 1973-1641 (comprehensive dissection of racial discrimination in the ‘criminal justice’ system, determining that discrimination exists at every stage of the ‘criminal justice’ process); Steven R. Donziger, ed, The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission (New York: Harper Collins, 1996), especially ch4, Michael Tonry, Malign Neglect – Race, Crime, and Punishment in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995)

8. Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, The Don’t Shank the Guards Handbook: Legal Resource to Guards Brutality, Harassment and Rape (2003); On the Question of Race and Racism (2006), “Wimyn hold up half the sky” (2008), etc.

9. Op Cit. note 5, book III, p. 4 9The FBI's “covert action” programs were generally targeted at any Black political and other groups. “The Black Nationalist Program, according to its supervisor, included ‘a great number of organizations that you might not today characterize as black nationalist but which were in fact primarily black. Indeed, the nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference was labeled as a Black Nationalist ‘Hate Group’.”)

10. In Virginia where I am incarcerated for example, the criminal laws defining and governing “Criminal street gangs,” are set out under VA Code sections 18.2 – 466.1 through 18.2-46.3:3, which parallel similar federal criminal laws under Title 18 of the U.S. Code.

11. For defamation law in Virginia governing false imputations of crime, see for example, Zayre of VA, lac. V. Gowdy, 207 Va. 47, 147 S. E. 2d 710 (1966); [Shupe v. Rose’s stores, Inc. 213 Va. 374, 192 S.E. 2d 766 (1972). But see especially, Schnupp v. Smith, 249 Va. 353, 457 S. E. 2d 42 (1995) (words that impute the commission of a crime that is punishable by imprisonment in a state or federal institution are actionable defamation and slander per se). Accord, VA Code Section 8 01-45.

12. The various Black organizations that have used the Black Panther name, past and present, include, the original Black Panther party (U.S. 1966-1982), the Black Panther movement (England), the Black Panther Party of Israel, Black Panther Party (Australia), Dalit Panthers (India), New Black Panther Party (U.S., 1990-present), New Black Panther Vanguard Movement (U.S., 1994-present), Black Panther Collective (U.S. 1994-present), the National Alliance of Black Panthers (U.S.), Anarchist Black Panthers (U.S.), the NABPP/WPO (U.S.,. 2005 – present), etc.

13.As Huey Newton pointed out in a February 11, 1973 interview with William Buckley, on Public Television: Firing Line, “we were very careful to follow city ordinances, gun regulations, state law, and our constitutional rights.”

14. Charles E. Jones, et al, “Don’t believe the Hype: Debunking the Panther Mythology,” The Black Panther Party Reconsidered Baltimore, MD, Black Classic, 1998) pp29-31.

15. op. cit. note 5, book III p42, one of many examples was where the FBI sent “[a]n anonymous letter…to the leader of the Blackstone Rangers, a Chicago gang” to whom violent type activity, shooting, and the like, are second nature” advising him that “the brothers that run the Panthers blame you for blocking their thing and there’s supposed to be a hit out for you.” The letter was intended to ‘intensify the degree of animosity between the two groups’ and cause ‘retaliatory action which could disrupt the BPP or lead to reprisals against its leadership’.”

16. op.cit, note 6, book III pp. 185-224, section titled “the FBIs Covert Action program to Destroy the Black Panther Party” “[R]ecently a reporter’s Freedom of Information Act investigation into COINTELPRO files found that the American government had done everything possible to infiltrate the Black Panthers and other lesser-known activist groups, then had its ‘agents lead the groups into violent gestures that would divide them, undermine their credibility and bring down the full weight of the state’ on the leaders’ heads.” William Hinton, Through A Glass Darkly (New York, Monthly Review, 206).

“[R]epression in the United States is worse than ever before and much, much harsher than the world – or most Americans, for that matter – is aware or told. In New Mexico, for example, the Alianza led by Reies Tijerina, has been hounded relentlessly since 1966, its offices have been dynamited (by police at that), its leaders shot, its members jailed on such flagrantly outrageous charges that few Americans would believe – even today – the strictly factual story. At the time of writing, Tijerian himself was locked up for years and his Alianza was flagging. As for the Blacks, their repression is not less brutal, just more widespread. The whole primary and secondary leadership of the Black Panther Party has been jailed on obvious frame-ups. They have been beaten, tortured, and murdered. Twice in Oakland, I saw with my own eyes, police in official cars come by a group of Panthers talking peacefully on a street and open fire at them. Three times I witnessed police arrest Panthers, handcuff them, and then pistol-whip them. In over a dozen cases, after seeing Panthers arrested, I have gone to see them in jail and found them bloodied from having “fallen down the stairs” or from having “assaulted a policeman.” And the whole world knows – for this time it was reported in the press – that on-duty Chicago policemen murdered Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in their sleep. By the end of 1969, not a single policemen had been brought to justice for these acts of violence. On the other hand, all of white America’s law enforcement agents, including federal marshals and America’s law enforcement agents, including federal marshals and the FBI, have gone out of their way – and, often, out of their jurisdiction – to arrest Panthers, without having warrants. Federal marshals have even refused to honor a court order not to remove Chairman Bobby Seale from California (which, legally, made the marshals kidnappers.) By 1970, twenty-eight Black Panthers has been murdered by the police, some beaten to death after arrest (Charles Cox in Chicago), some in unprovoked assaults (seventeen year-old Bobby Hutton in Oakland, Hampton and Clark in Chicago), most in front of scores of witnesses, who could never testify, as the police were never charged.”
John Gerassi, The Coming of the New International (World Publishing Co. 1971) pp. 552-553.

17. See, Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and his Secrets (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1991)

18. Kenneth O’Reilly, “Racial Matters”: The FBI’s Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972 (Now York: Free Press, 1989).

19. Id.; Ward Churchill et al. , Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars on the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (Boston: South End, 1988); etc.

20. “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory in formation to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” contacts.” Joy James, Shadow Boxing (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999) p. 112, see also op. cit. note 5.

21. William F. Pepper, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (London: Verson, 2003).

22. “Even after King’s death, [FBI] agents in the field were proposing methods for harassing his widow, and Bureau officials were tring to prevent his birthday from becoming a national holiday.” Op. cit. note 5, book I, p. 223.

23. Ward Churchill, et al, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in America (Boston: South End, 1990), p. 97.

24. op. cit. note 5, book III, p.136

25. Ibid.

26. The Church Committee summed up the limits on law enforcement agencies methods of “preventing violence”:
“The prevention of violence is clearly not, in itself, an improper purpose; preventing violence is the ultimate goal of most law enforcement. Prosecution and sentencing are intended to defer future criminal behavior, not only of the subjct but also of others who might break the law. In that sense, law enforcement legitimately attempts the indirect prevention of possible violence and, if the methods used are proper raises no constitutional issues. When the government goes beyond traditional law enforcement methods, however, and attacks group membership and advocacy , it treads on ground forbidden to it by the constitution. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 v.s. 444 (1969), the Supreme Court held that the government is not permitted to ‘forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or law violation except where such advocacy is directed toward inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.’ In the absence of such clear and present danger, the government cannot act against speech nor presumably against association.”
Op. cit., note 5, book III, p6.

27. David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). An excerpt, p. 120:
“[T]he surviving Indians later referred to [President George] Washington by the name “Town Destroyer,” for it was under his direct orders that at least 28 of the 30 Seneca towns from Lake Erie to the Mohawk River had been totally obliterated in a period of less than five years, as had all the towns and villages of the Mohawk, the Onondaga, and the Cayuga. As one Iroquoi’s told Washington to his face in 1792: ‘t o this day, when that name is heard, our women folk look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers.”
“[President Thomas] Jefferson … in 1807 instructed his Secretary of war that any Indians who resisted American expansion into their lands must be met with “the hatchet.” “And…if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe,” he wrote, “we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or is driven beyond the Mississippi.’ Continuing: ‘in war, they will kill some of us, we shall destroy all of them’ Indeed, Jefferson’s writings on Indians are filled with the straightforward assertion that the natives are to be given a simple choice – to be ‘extirpate[d] from the earth’ or to remove themselves out of the Amerikans’ way. Had these same words been enunciated by a German leader in 1939, and directed as European Jews, they would be engraved in modern memory.”

In fact Hitler based his genocidal methods on study of the U.S. treatment of Native Americans. See, John Toland Adolf Hitler (New York, Doubleday, 1976). P. 702 (“Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicability of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the Camas for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west, and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination – by starvation and uneven combat – of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.”); Joachim C. Fest, Hitler (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1973), p.214 (Hitler’s “continental war of conquest” was modeled “with explicit reference to the United States.”); Richard Rubenstein, “Afterword: Genocide and Civilization,” Isidor Walliman, eds, et al, Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death (westport, CT, Greenwood, 1987), p 288 9”Hitler saw the settlement of the New World and the concomitant elimination of North American’s Indian population by white European settlers as a model to be followed by Germany on the European continent.”)

On Columbus, see Samuel Elliot Morison, Christopher Columbus, Mariner (Boston: Little, Brown 1955), p. 129.

“By 1508 a census showed 60,000 of the estimated 1492 population of 250,000 [on Hispaniola] still alive, although the Bahamas and Cuba had been raided to obtain more slaves. Fifty years later, not 500 remained. The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successor resulted in complete genocide."

Furthermore, Washington and Jefferson were two of the largest slave-owners of their day. Jefferson, in fact, raped and sired a child by a 14-year-old slave girl, Sally.

28/29. Prison officials' inciting and facilitating violent conflicts and "gladiator fights" between rival racial groups of prisoners is a common trend in U.S. prisons, as the 1997 documentary expose film Maximum Security University revealed.

30. The Nation, "The killing of Filiberto Ojeda Rios," October 7, 2005.

31. Kurt Campbell, "Marching for Pretoria," Boston Globe Magazine. Marh 1, 1987, pp 161.

32. The National Security Act of July 26, 1947, which created the NSC and CIA, limits the powers of these agencies to political and military matters outside of the U.S.

[New Afrikan Black Panther Party] [Theory] [California]

Combatting Wrong Ideas from Huey Newton Late in Life

This article was written in response to a prisoner who submitted an article about Huey Newton supporting Newton's political line from the later years of his life. MIM has written extensively about Newton's correct political line during the days of the Black Panther Party and also criticism of his line from later in life. See for writings by the BPP and MIM's articles on them.

Greetings and my best to you. I read your piece, "Huey P. Newton - revisited." I found it extremely interesting although at this point the depth of my knowledge of Newton's writings is still insufficiently shallow, so I'll limit myself to those issues you raised.

Newton and those around him were by far the most theoretically advanced within the settler empire at that time. Although they were not infallible, and it is from their mistakes, as well as their successes, that lessons must be drawn. There is an abundance of material written and practical experiences to draw from. From the quotations that you drew from in your piece, you emphasize in a favorable light, Newton's mistakes rather than criticizing them constructively in order to foster the advancement of theory and practice.

I wasn't aware that Newton was a steadfast adherent of the theory of "the negation of the negation." This is interesting considering that Newton was not only a student and practitioner of Maoism, but well versed in his works. You see Mao had a different take on this. In his 1964 "Talk on questions of philosophy" he said, '…Engels talked about the three categories but as for me, I don't believe in two of those categories. The juxtaposition, on the same level, of the transformation of quality and quantity into one another, the negation of the negation, and the law of opposites, is 'triplism', not 'monism.' The most basic thing is the unity of opposites. The transformation of quality and quantity into one another is the unity of opposites quantity and quality. There is no such thing of the negation of the negation. Affirmation, negation, affirmation, negation. Slave holding society negated primitive society, but with reference to feudal society it constitutes in turn, the affirmation. Feudal society constituted the negation in relation to slave holding society, but it was in turn the affirmation with reference to capitalist society. Capitalist society was the negation in relation to feudal society, but it is in turn, the affirmation in relation to socialist society…'

Mao was asserting that the transformation of quantity and quality into one another is not a separate process, but another aspect in the same process in the struggle of opposites, i.e., the law of the unity of opposites. In particular regards to the negation of the negation, I've struggled with this for some time and I'm convinced Mao's line on this process is an accurate reflection of objective reality.

Dialectical materialism reveals to us that all objects and phenomena are not only in motion in relation to other objects and phenomena, but of greater significance, it reveals to us that all objects and phenomena are in a reciprocal relationship, interpenetrating and exerting their influence on one another's development in a perpetual process of internal qualitative transformation. I'm sure that you're well aware of this already, but it's necessary to review as it is relevant to our discussion.

To expand on this further is to understand that we humans will never know the secrets of the "Beginning" or the "End" as Newton insisted, because for objective matter there is no beginning or end, only an endless process of transformation. This has been born out through scientific experiments. So long as we humans are in existence as a species, with each new transformation of matter, especially those brought about by humans, new questions (and consciousness in general) will reflect and arise in correspondence to these new transformations, and more knowledge will continuously be gained, further penetrating the nature of matter and its secrets.

This is reinforced with the law of conservation and transformation of energy which was first discovered in the 19th century, thus confirming Descartes 17th century principle that the quantity of motion in the world is constant. This law and other discoveries have demonstrated that all the various forms of motion of matter - magnetism, chemical energy, heat, mechanical energy, light, solids, liquids, gases, … all transform into one another under given conditions "without" any loss of energy, i.e. matter.

Engels provided us with an accurate description of this process in his "dialectics of nature,": "… If we change heat into mechanical motion or vise-versa, is not the quality altered while the quantity remains the same? Quite correct. Change of form of motion is always a process that takes place between at least two bodies, of which one loses a definite quantity of motion of one quality, while the other gains a corresponding quantity of motion of another quality (mechanical motion, electricity, chemical decomposition)…"

The law of conservation and transformation of energy has successfully demonstrated that matter can neither be created from nothing, nor can it be reduced to nothing, it is infinite. There is no beginning and there is no end, just an infinite process of transformation. This is significant in that it not only "excludes" an external motive force as the source and creation of matter and its motion, but it likewise, reinforces an emphasis on internal contradictions (unity of opposites) as the primary source of matters motion.

You quoted Newton in his "Intercommunalism" as saying: "…and then we will move to an even higher stage. I like to think that we will finally move to a stage called 'godliness,' where man will know the secrets of the beginning and end and will have full control of the universe - and when I say universe, I mean all motion and matter…"

Not only is Newton incorrect on this point for those reasons already expounded upon, but it is also here that Newton departs from scientific materialism and takes up a metaphysical position.

In opposition to scientific materialism are the proponents of metaphysics and idealism, who contend that the source of all matter and its motion is the result of external forces and influences. The metaphysicians live in a static and mechanical "Q-Ball" universe where "A" hits "B", and "B" hits "C", and "C" hits "D", in an endless succession, and the motion of each is the result of the others exertion.

If not an endless procession of internal transformation, what set "A" - or in this case, all matter and the universe - into motion?" When Newton promotes the concept of a "beginning" and an "end," he's removing the opposing forces inherent in all matter as the primary source of motion and promoting an external motive force as creating and setting into motion this "Beginning," which simultaneously swings the door wide open for superstition, a divine creator, god(s), etc, a consciousness not only separated and divorced from matter, but existing prior to it. No doubt this is unintentional on Newton's part, but nonetheless, it's an abandonment of scientific materialism and an adoption of metaphysical idealism.

In particular, reference to the quotations you provided from Newton's "On the relevance of the church," it is essential to understand that the motion of matter proceeds through stages, periods of relatively slow quantitative development, which at nodal points results in rapid qualitative transformations. As we're well aware of, the source of this motion, quantitative and qualitative, is to be found within matter itself as a result of the struggle of opposing tendencies inherent within it.

It is the stage when quantitative developments transform into something qualitatively new that the old contradictions struggling within the quantitative stage have begun to resolve themselves and give rise to new contradictions, that qualitative transformation arises.

Using a concrete example that I'm sure you're familiar with, think of slave holding society of antiquity. The principal contradiction inherent within this stage of economic development which propelled society forward giving it motion, was that between the slaves and the slave holding state (not excluding the conflicting interests of other social classes which developed out of this principal contradiction).

In various forms, sometimes manifesting itself through the conflicts of other social classes, this struggle carried on for multiple centuries without ever changing the essential nature of its production. It was still an economic system based upon slave production with a corresponding social system. That is, it was still in its "quantitative" stage of development.

Although the contradiction between the productive forces on the one hand (the instruments of production and those who do the producing), and the relations of production on the other hand (property relations and the social system that develop in correspondence to it), intensified to such a degree that the continuity of slave holding societies could no longer be sustained. These contradictions began to resolve themselves through self-consuming internal eruptions and wars with neighboring states, thus giving birth to qualitatively new contradictions in the process, i.e. feudalist production and the struggle between the peasantry and nobility as well as every other social class in between. A new stage of economic development in human society had come into existence.

Getting close to the point at hand, in this struggle between the slaves and the slave holding state, it was the slaves and lowest classes that represented the most progressive and revolutionary aspect within society struggling to transform and push society forward whereas the opposing tendencies were the state and aristocracy who represented the most "Reactionary" aspect of society as they only reacted to suppress those progressive forces below in an attempt to preserve their material existence as a social class.

Could we imagine Spartacus advocating the "need" and preservation of the slave owning state for the sake of progress that would come as a result of this struggle between the slaves and the state? Not only is this tautology at its finest, its essentially reactionary irregardless of its packaging. It would amount to perpetuating the oppression and misery of the slaves for the progress that would come to the slaves as a result of their oppression and misery.

On the other hand, it would be revolutionary for the slaves and lowest classes to advocate and struggle for the destruction and transformation of the slave holding state, because only through the destruction of this particular mode of production could the possibility of something new arise.

Although not as conspicuous, this is tantamount to Newton's position on the church and his avocation for its preservation, "…we believe it needs to exist…religion perhaps, is a thing that man needs at this time because scientists can not answer all of the questions…"

We need to understand that scientists will never know all of the answers because with each new transformation of matter, new questions will continuously arise. But more to the point, to promote the preservation of a phenomenon that hinders knowledge and foments ignorance, is to promote the preservation of the status-quo, prolonging the resolution of those current contradictions and the development of something qualitatively new. Despite good intentions, in essence, this is reactionary.

And although the two are inseparably interconnected and influence one another's development, we must distinguish between something's "form" and its "essence." A label doesn't determine the nature of a process anymore than a paint job on a car determines its make or model. The nature of a given phenomenon is not determined by its external appearances or the labels we attach to it, but by the objective necessity existing within it and the laws which govern the direction and development of its motion. Although the form in which a particular phenomenon manifests itself will vary depending upon the conditions in which it develops and interacts.

The same applies to the church. Within given conditions the church manifests itself in progressive forms - such as clothing drives, food programs for the poor, etc. But we must never lose sight of its reactionary nature and promote its preservation.

In regards to focoism (foquismo), to fully comprehend the incorrectness of this strategy, it is necessary to understand the relationship between consciousness and matter, at least in a rudimentary way.

Matter is primary and consciousness is secondary. Objective matter is not dependent on subjective consciousness for its existence. Matter can, and does, exist without consciousness - ideas, thoughts, theories, plans, ways of thinking, policies, etc. Although subjective consciousness can not exist without matter because it is matter that is reflected in our brains through our five sense organs giving shape to our consciousness. Without matter there can be no consciousness. In fact the brain itself is nothing more than a highly developed form of complex matter with the ability of cognizing the external world around it.

Obviously people living under somewhat different material conditions will develop somewhat different ideas and ways of thinking that more or less correspond and reflect their material conditions.

Without the necessary objective conditions (widespread poverty, oppression, etc) the development of the subjective conditions (revolutionary consciousness) will be limited and not develop beyond the point necessary to sustain a thorough revolutionary transformation. There is a dialectical relationship, an inseparable struggle, between our living conditions and the political consciousness of the people. In society, the objective and subjective conditions are not only interdependent on one another for their development, but they influence one another's motion and development as well, in a reciprocal relationship. When objective conditions deteriorate, in search of solutions to their deteriorating material conditions, people become more receptive to political education (subjective preparations).

We can think of the objective conditions as the fertile soil necessary for the subjective conditions to sprout and flourish. Although of greater importance, objective conditions by themselves (poverty, oppression, etc) will not automatically give rise to the subjective conditions (a revolutionary consciousness) anymore than a fertile field will automatically give growth to a flourishing crop. The subjective conditions must be cultivated and nurtured within the people, like a farmer cultivates and nurtures a crop. And only through this process can a successful struggle develop.

The error of focoism is that it places a primary emphasis on armed actions as a means to ignite the population to rebellion without first "sufficiently" cultivating and nurturing a revolutionary consciousness within the population. Moreover the focoists go so far as to contend that if the objective conditions do not exist they can bring them into existence through armed actions and a revolutionary consciousness within the people will automatically develop in correspondence to these actions and the states repressive reactions. As the author of "Blood In My Eye" wrote, "…should we wait for something that is not likely to occur for decades? The conditions that are not present must be manufactured…"

This strategy has proven time and time again to fail, within and outside of U.S. borders. It has turned the very people it was intended to mobilize against the adventurers themselves. This is because a supportive revolutionary consciousness had not been developed within the people first. With particular regards to the U.S., this was not possible because the objective conditions were lacking on a large scale.

As politically advanced as Newton and those around him were, one of the mistakes they made was practicing focoism, which Newton himself acknowledges in the quotation you provided, "in conversation with William F. Buckley Feb 11, 1973." And although Newton recognized that this adventurist approach was incorrect, others around him continued to push this line, theoretically and in practice.

Their operating above ground the way they did was adventurist in that the conditions for them to do so successfully were not (and are still not) in existence. They not only unnecessarily exposed themselves prematurely to internal and external enemies while they were still in a weak embryonic stage, they couldn't possibly maintain the support necessary to survive being that the objective conditions necessary for massive support did not exist on a large enough scale.

We see this same adventurist approach being repeated today with the NABPP-PC. Never mind that their class analysis is incorrect, their location of operation is adventurist in that "everything" that is written must pass through the hands of the enemy, which is the equivalent of allowing the pigs to sit in on central committee meetings. To believe that democratic centralism can be practiced effectively from a jail cell is not only naïve, it compromises others. Rather than subject themselves, and many other comrades to unnecessary heat and avoidable set backs, in the interest of developing a movement with a correct political i.e., they should relegate their work and resources to MIM.

Go to Page [1] 2
Index of Articles