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[New Afrika] [Prison Labor] [Principal Contradiction]
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New Afrikan National Consciousness Alive

Pew Survey results on U.S. holding back Black people

Our movement sees the contradiction between internal semi-colonies (New Afrikan/Black Nation, First Nations, Chican@s, Puerto Ricans, Hawaiins) and the Amerikan oppressor nation as the principal contradiction in the United $tates. In practice that means if we want change, we need to push this contradiction to its conclusion. However, in the years that MIM(Prisons) has existed, we’ve seen that contradiction to be at a relatively low level, historically speaking.(1) Since we don’t have things like armed struggle today to assure us of this contradiction, a recent Pew Research study provides us with some reassurance that the national consciousness of New Afrika is alive and well.(2)

The survey showed that 74 out of 100 Black people in the United $tates believed the prison system was designed to hold Black people back. It asked this question for numerous state institutions, with slightly lower levels of agreement. Another question in the survey showed 69% of respondents feel that being Black is important to how they feel about themselves. The latter question demonstrates a level of national consciousness, even if most respondents would call it “race”. The distrust in the U.$. government places this national consciousness in conflict with Amerika and its institutions.

It’s worth noting that the results were pretty consistent along demographics of age, income, education, sex. The biggest predictor for not agreeing that the government is holding Black people back is being a Republican – but even then the majority agreed.

This survey got more attention in the press because it was originally framed as demonstrating that most “Black Americans” believe “racial conspiracy theories.” Pew Research responded by amending the language in the report, and they provide historical examples of the U.$. state using these institutions against Black people. To view such beliefs as conspiracy theories is obviously telling.

MIM(Prisons) of course upholds the belief that the U.$. prison system exists to hold back and repress the internal semi-colonies and control the population in general. It is part of the system of maintaining national, class and gender oppression. Interestingly the survey also showed 74% of Black people believing, “Black people are disproportionately incarcerated so prisons can make money.” This, as we’ve discussed extensively, is mostly a myth. It might be harsh to call it a conspiracy theory, since everything under capitalism is about money on some level. But we believe the question of whether people are imprisoned for profit, or for social control, is an important question for understanding the system and how to combat it.

The importance of surveys like this from Pew Research is scientifically investigating our conditions. Despite the fact that Pew went into this survey with some clear bias around the relationship of Black people to the United $tates, their resources allowed them to survey thousands of people across demographics to give them 95% confidence that their numbers are within plus or minus 2%. While MIM(Prisons) has done a number of surveys over the years, even our best did not have such tight confidence intervals. And to date our surveys have been limited to prisoners, who are also mostly male. Therefore bourgeois-funded surveys and government statistics are an important part of our scientific investigation of our conditions. Transforming this latent national consciousness in New Afrika into action is where revolutionary practice must come in and deepen our knowledge of our conditions.

Notes:
1. see MC5, March 1999, On the Internal Class Structures of the Internal Semi-Colonies for analysis of the modern relationship between the oppressed and oppressor nations in the United States.
2. Pew Research Center, June 2024, “Most Black Americans Believe U.S. Institutions Were Designed To Hold Black People Back”

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[National Liberation] [Anti-Imperialism] [Principal Contradiction]
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Kanaks Rebel Against French Settlers

Months after rebellions began in Kanaky (aka New Caledonia), fighting continues against the French militias and colonial forces. In New Caledonia, voting is restricted to families who have been living there since 1998.(1) This is in order to establish the dominance of the natives over the settlers in the voting system. On 2 April 2024, the French Senate voted for an amendment to the rule which would allow voting for anyone who has lived in New Caledonia for a continuous ten years, on a rolling basis.(2) This triggered the resistance of the people, as one Kanaky source recently reported:

“The toll of the riots since May 13 is very heavy: Nine people were killed and hundreds of others injured, 200 houses burned or looted and nearly 900 businesses closed. A first estimation raises the “damage” to 1.5 billion euros. More than 3,000 soldiers, gendarmes and police were deployed there by the colonial State. Great victory for the Kanak people: hundreds of French families made the decision to pack their bags and leave the colony for good.”(3)

However, the struggle over voting rights itself has cooled as parliamentary crisis struck France, and French President Macron announced on 12 June 2024 the suspension of the proposed changes in voting rights in New Caledonia. France is now focused on an emergency election at home to try to prevent a sharp rightward turn in the parliament and presidency.

Background on Kanaky

For our readers to understand New Caledonia (home of the Kanak), we might use a shortcut of thinking about Puerto Rico (home of the Boricua). New Caledonia is an island near Australia and Aotearoa (aka New Zealand) claimed by France with a history of brutal colonization and imperialist domination. Europeans arrived in Kanaky in the late 18th century, beginning the colonial period in which the natives (Kanak people) were enslaved, sold, exposed to European disease, displaced from their land and placed on reservations. After France gained control of the area, nickel was discovered in the territory and the French government began sending prisoners to extract the resource and settle on the land. Ever since that time settlement has continued, though the Kanak people remain the largest group.(4) The Kanak people have been struggling for independence and liberation for generations, with recent events reflecting the latest upsurge of resistance. In recent years, the liberation movement has engaged in violent resistance to the sale of their nickel mines.

As mentioned above, New Caledonia hit news headlines after France proposed allowing all immigrants, including newer settlers, to vote in elections on the island. On 15 April, tens of thousands protested the bill, and on that same day the French National Assembly voted in favor of it, moving it one step further towards being passed. In May, violent protests of Kanak people were responded to with the arrest of hundreds and the French deploying their armed forces to suppress the movement. This deployment of forces starkly reveals the absurdity of a “free choice” to be independent. As MIM said about Puerto Rico in 1998:

“The Puerto Ricans have tried for decades”to persuade” the United States to leave, but only dictatorship (organized force) will settle the question. Without the freedom to keep the Yankees out, the elections only show what the Puerto Rican people will say with their arms twisted behind their backs.”(5)

One of the major arenas of struggle has been the independence referendum. There have been three of these in the past 4 years; in the first two the option to remain a territory of France narrowly won (56.6% and 53.2%), and nationality played a major role in the decision. Kanaks generally voted for independence while the other minorities generally voted for dependence. In the third, the independence movement boycotted the referendum, resulting in a 97% victory for dependence, but the turnout was only 43.9%, throwing its validity into question.(6) The protests and riots in May led to the declaration of a state of emergency (lifted after May 31) and the deployment of reinforcements from France. Barricades were set up by independence protesters and in earlier reports, the clashes led to the death of two French Armed Forces personnel, and injury of over 54 police officers.(7)

The struggle for an independent New Caledonia is a revolutionary struggle against imperialism. New Caledonians fight France, Palestinians fight I$rael, and the oppressed here in Occupied Turtle Island fight the United $tates, all in a united struggle against a common enemy. The struggle in Puerto Rico against the corrupt government of Ricardo Rosselló is no different. Puerto Rico was acquired by the United $tates in the bloody wars of its ascendancy into an imperialist power.

Imperialism is the number one enemy of the self-determination of nations, reaching its hands across the globe to squeeze every last drop of profit it can find. The struggle of the oppressed nations, wherever they are, is the number one weapon against this imperialist system, and that weapon is ever more powerful the more the oppressed nations ally with each other and fight imperialism as one. Puerto Rico has a history of independence movements being co-opted by leaders trying to get a slice of the imperialist pie. The movement for statehood represents this tendency, while the independence movement is the movement for national self-determination against imperialism. In both New Caledonia and Puerto Rico, the referendums have shown the majority of the population voting to remain a part of their imperialist occupiers in order to access certain benefits, whereas the independence movement represents the revolutionary opposition to national oppression and the upholding of self-determination.

Kanaky Will Be Free! Palestine Will Be Free! Puerto Rico Will Be Free!

Notes:
1. Giorgio Leali, 16 May 2024, Nickle, guns and foreign powers: How France’s New Caledonia reached the bring of ‘civil war’, Politico.
2. Explainer: What sparked New Caledonia’s Deadly civil unrest?, RNZ.
3. F.W. 20 June 2024, France: Kanaky (New Caledonia): The flame of revolt is not extinguished, CAuse du Peuple - tranlation by redherald.org
4. CIA World Fact Book, 2024
5. MC5, 22 March 1998, Puerto Rico’s relationship to U.$. imperialism and Puerto Rico’s class struggle, MIM Theory 14: United Front, 2001, Page 49.
6. AP, 13 December 2021, New Caledonia votes to stay with France, but it’s a hollow victory that will only ratchet up tensions, The Conversation.
7. AP, 14 May 2024, France imposes curfew in New Caledonia to quell independence-driven unrest.

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[Polemics] [Palestine] [Principal Contradiction] [National Liberation]
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A Polemic against Settler "Maoism"

Outline: Introduction

This polemic focuses on writings and ideas from Revolutionary Marxist Students (RMS) and Maoist Communist Union (MCU). RMS is a student group focused primarily on education and organizing around college campuses and MCU is a pre-party organization with more varied activities. Each derive from a shared settler “Maoist” ideological tradition in the United States concentrated on trade unionism and influenced by Trotskyism. This paper focuses on their misunderstandings of settler-colonialism, the national question in the United States and the labor aristocracy. Let it be noted that ideological strengths in their literature are largely omitted from discussion of these central issues.

Theses

  1. RMS/MCU ignores the national question in the US and misunderstands settler-colonialism. This contributes to a pardoning of white settler workers and acting as though their economic demands will not directly reinforce imperialism and colonization.
  2. RMS/MCU presents no explicit class analysis identifying and demarcating the revolutionary from counterrevolutionary forces in society.
  3. RMS/MCU distort Marx, Engels and Lenin’s understanding of the labor aristocracy to mean a small privileged upper strata of workers in any country, rather than the majority of labor having been bourgeoisified within the imperial core.

Palestine and Settler Colonialism

The RMS Statement on the Genocide in Palestine is a useful starting point for investigating the errors of this political tendency.(1) There is much worthy of praise including rebuttal of some imperialist propaganda and recognition of, considering Palestine, a “need to keep up with future development and critically assess the forces at play. Our primary role in the United States is to understand and oppose our own state’s involvement in this genocide.”

However, given the importance of opposition to settler colonialism within the Maoist theoretical lineage, RMS’s adherence to Trotskyist interpretations of settler labor is unorthodox. In contrast to Mao and Stalin, Trotsky believed that a socialist government in only one country would be doomed to failure unless it found rapid new socialist allies across the world: unless it was accompanied by a global “permanent revolution.” As Trotsky says himself, “Without direct state support from the European proletariat, the working class of Russia will not be able to maintain itself in power and to transform its temporary rule into a lasting socialist dictatorship. This we cannot doubt for an instant.”(2)

This was not a view restricted to the specific context of Russia, however. In the basic postulates beginning Trotsky’s The Permanent Revolution, written in 1931, he writes that:

“Socialist construction is conceivable only on the foundation of the class struggle, on a national and international scale. This struggle, under the conditions of an overwhelming predominance of capitalist relationships on the world arena, must inevitably lead to explosions, that is, internally to civil wars and externally to revolutionary wars. Therein lies the permanent character of the socialist revolution as such, regardless of whether it is a backward country that is involved, which only yesterday accomplished its democratic revolution, or an old capitalist country which already has behind it a long epoch of democracy and parliamentarism.”

The above-outlined sketch of the development of the world revolution eliminates the question of countries that are ‘mature’ or ‘immature’ for socialism in the spirit of that pedantic, lifeless classification given by the present programme of the Comintern. Insofar as capitalism has created a world market, a world division of labour and world productive forces, it has also prepared world economy as a whole for socialist transformation.

Different countries will go through this process at different tempos. Backward countries may, under certain conditions, arrive at the dictatorship of the proletariat sooner than advanced countries, but they will come later than the latter to socialism. A backward colonial or semi-colonial country, the proletariat of which is insufficiently prepared to unite the peasantry and take power, is thereby incapable of bringing the democratic revolution to its conclusion. Contrariwise, in a country where the proletariat has power in its hands as the result of the democratic revolution, the subsequent fate of the dictatorship and socialism depends in the last analysis not only and not so much upon the national productive forces as upon the development of the international socialist revolution.”(3) [Bold ours]

This Trotskyist conception that workers from the most advanced capitalist nations must revolt to assist revolutionary struggles in backwards, feudal and colonized nations is manifested in RMS’s theory on Palestine. Like their theoretical forerunner, RMS incorrectly identifies the friends and enemies of the international proletariat, but without the excuse that the labor aristocracy was embryonic in Trotsky’s time.

RMS claims to evaluate the “Hamas October 7th attack” – more accurately, a counter-attack orchestrated by the resistance Joint Operations Room groups(4) – in relationship to the supposedly more “diverse strategy” within the Vietnamese, Chinese and Algerian revolutionary wars. They claim Hamas is wrong to support a two-state solution, without acknowledging that Hamas only supports the policy as a temporary strategic measure.(5) RMS prioritizes “Israeli” citizens through their critique of a two-state solution, claiming that “Only through the implementation of one secular and democratic state for both Israelis and Palestinians in place of the religious-fascist state currently ruling over the region can this brutal apartheid come to an end.” RMS misunderstands the inherently settler, counterrevolutionary designation of “Israeli” which must be abolished alongside the zionist entity in order for Palestine to be free.

Instead of abolishing the settler class role, RMS claims that “in order to wage any sort of successful national liberation struggle in Palestine, a significant section of the working Israeli masses would have to turn against the apartheid state and link up with the Palestinians” and that “Historical precedent proves the need for such an alliance of both the colonized and colonizer working classes in ending Apartheid, as seen in the South African example.” Here the term “working class” obfuscates settler-colonialism by equating the class interests of settler and colonized populations, ostensibly because they each receive wages, ignoring their wages’ dramatically different quantities and the fact that one group faces national oppression and the other constitutes an oppressor nation. RMS also cites the numeric majority of “Israelis” within Palestine to justify the need for an alliance between the two groups.

Their singular case study with regards to settler workers cooperating with colonized workers within a successful revolutionary movement is a multi-national trade union struggle against apartheid in South Africa.(6) As RMS writes, “historical precedent proves need for an alliance of the colonized and the colonizer working classes in ending apartheid. In South Africa, while less than 10% of the population was white, an alliance with the working class of said population was not only possible but necessary for the ending of the apartheid regime.”

While the above source which RMS references argues the significance of the South African Congress of Trade Unions, it omits the representation of various nations in the formation or the involvement of white settler labor. Moreover, despite apartheid being “defeated” national oppression amd segregation endures in South Africa alongside the revisionism of the African National Congress.

RMS criticizes the Palestinian resistance militarily through reference to Algeria, China and Vietnam, while the class compositions of these nations’ struggles against colonialism and imperialism are not considered. While no two cases are perfectly analogous, successful liberation movements against colonialism and imperialism have been won not through drawing from the sympathy of the oppressor nation “workers” but through organizing the indigenous masses. Although no socialist states remain today from 20th century revolutionary movements, victories against imperialism in a multitude of socialist African, Latin American and Asian governments during the late 20th century were achieved by the (mostly) guerrilla warfare of the colonized populations, often fighting in direct contradiction to enemy settler-labor formations. The Chinese revolution, which Maoists uphold as the most significant advance towards socialism, didn’t concern itself with the characteristic mineutia of the enemy class; they opposed the Japanese occupiers – labor and all. What is particularly alarming about RMS’s analysis of international settler situations is the transativity of the analysis on occupied Turtle Island where settler labor has directly led in colonization and genocide, especially in the United States.(7)

In every revolutionary struggle, there are those who commit class suicide and join the side of the oppressed despite their origins as exploiters. Hence, a rejection of an “alliance” between the settler workers and the oppressed nation workers must not serve as a mechanical rejection of individual revolutionaries’ ability to transcend their class origin. As a class however, settlers have never rejected their class except when forced to migrate out of a colony by the revolting oppressed.(8) With respect to colonized nations, settlers everywhere form a reactionary, exploiting class.

Fundamentally, RMS misunderstands the class role of settler labor as parasitic and antagonistic to the liberation of their country’s colonized peoples. Settler labor is understood as the labor and political organizations representing the class interests of the settlers as workers – more wages, better work conditions, expansion of settler lands, and access to resources. Class interests and the demands they beget represent the improvement of the well being or wealth of the respective strata. This is especially true within capitalism where the potential of class mobility is present. No strata is without class demands, and no labor formation is capable of completely shedding the class demands of its composite strata as the purpose of forming labor and political advocacy organizations within capitalism is improving the lot of a given group, usually through struggle with employers or the state. It is possible for segments of a strata to reject their class demands but that is not what RMS is advocating for in the case of settler labor.

What makes settler labor organizations reactionary is that the settler class material interest is the dispossession of an indigenous population, by which the settler class is afforded free land, cheap resources, access to improved citizenship benefits as dividend from the immense plunder of the settler bourgeoisie and the cheap labor of the colonized who are relegated to reservations, often little more than concentration camps. Settler labor organizations will seek to advocate for greater dividends of the whole stolen wealth of the nation for the respective spheres of workers for which they advocate. Conflicts between the settler bourgeoisie and settler petty-bourgeoisie, including all settlers who receive wages, do not arise because the state can increase the levers of indigenous dispossession and genocide, creating settler class positions for sections of the former-proletariat whenever the possibility of class struggle presents itself.

This plays out in “Israel” as there are no trade unions, much less nonprofits or “leftist” activist organizations struggling against the zionist entity as a colonial project. Israel mandates that every settler, except the ultra-orthodox, serve in the Israeli Occupation Forces, learning to kill and hate Palestinians. Remaining are isolated instances of military defectors and other peaceful protesters being brutalized over even milquetoast objections to the scale or extent of the occupation or specific massacres, such as those occurring in Gaza currently. Settler labor as a class, and indeed the entire settler population of “Israel” has yet to demonstrate revolutionary potential and it is unfortunate that RMS excludes any criticism of this settler “left” from their piece despite calling for the Palestinians to unify with them.

Imperialism and the National Question

The trade union movement in the US has historically concentrated significantly on the labor aristocracy, which to quote Zak Cope:

“is that section of the working class which benefits materially from imperialism and the attendant superexploitation of oppressed-nation workers. The super-wages received by the labour aristocracy allow for its accrual of savings and investment in property and business and thereby “middle-class” status, even if its earnings are, in fact, spent on luxury personal consumption. Persons who may be compelled to work for a living but consume profits in excess of the value of labour either through some form of property ownership or through having established a political stake in (neo) colonialist society, may be bourgeois without hiring and exploiting labour-power” (9)

Cope applies the concept globally to argue that within the OECD working class – 38 European nations, Mexico (a more complicated case in The Dawnland Group’s opinion), Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Japan – there is no legal exploitation. Rather, Cope argues the first world working class is recipient of super-wages comprised of wages for their labor in addition to wages from the super-exploitation of the third world which provides them with cheap commodities and shares of imperialist profits. In particular, Cope notes the exploitative role of the first world working class, writing that “where workers seek to retain whatever bourgeois status their occupational income and conditions of work afford them through alliance with imperialist political forces, they can be said to actively exploit the proletariat.” (10)

Cope calculates the value of super-exploitation through two methods, namely international productivity equivalence, and international wage differentials, assuming an international equalized wage rate. Using these two methods Cope finds a combined value transfer from the non-OECD to OECD countries of $4.9 trillion in the year 2008 alone.(11) While a renewed study of imperialist value transfer is necessary for US communists today, that is beyond the scope of this polemic. It should suffice to observe that wages in gross disproportion to the productivity of first and third world workers indicate an exploitative dynamic benefiting one group at the expense of the other. There may be challenges cultivating revolutionary empathy and culture in the imperial core if working conditions and wages here cannot be viewed in a global context and value transfer is not appreciated.

As recognized by Lenin, Marx and Engels, the global proletariat has nothing to lose but their chains. This is a category of workers afforded zero or next-to-zero wealth through imperialism. Formations such as MCU and RMS refuse this definition because it would broaden the petty-bourgeoisie and labor aristocracy to include most of the industrial workers who they consider the “revolutionary proletariat” and dramatically reduce their organizing base within the imperial core.

The most acute struggles in the United States today are national rather than based on class. The internal nations in the US show the greatest sites of exploitation, oppression and direct, violent conflict with the capitalist class. These are the indigenous protesting at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline, movement against the murderous national oppression carried out through police and prisons, resistance and labor organizing from migrants forced from their home countries by imperialism, and rebellion among the literal colonies retained by the US empire today in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. These instances of struggle go beyond wishing for middle-class living standards. Not only have they demonstrated increased levels of militancy against the state, but the roots of these conflicts are irreparable antagonisms against the structure of capitalism and imperialism which necessarily go beyond economic demands and have not been placated through the dividend of super-profits.

Maoist Communist Union (MCU) writing about politics in the United States focuses on trade unionism and overlooks national questions. Despite the manifold contradictions between nations on Turtle Island, within their theory journals, Notes from a Conversation Among Comrades on the George Floyd Protests: Lessons for Ourselves and Beyond discusses the oppression of Black people but does not lay out a conception of their struggle for national liberation or their nationhood.(12) No other articles discuss national or even “racial” (a popular but unscientific concept) oppression on Turtle Island, and their extensive writing about Maoist formations from the Global South and trade unionism in the US reveals that they view the US as simply another country that can carry out revolution domestically by replicating Maoist strategies from the third world. They are mistaken: different conditions warrant different strategies.

MCU’s Some General Theses on Communist Work in the Trade Unions exemplifies this view.(13) Ignoring national oppression, the article instead finds that “in order to have a socialist revolution in this country we must first develop a strong Communist (Maoist) Party capable of leading a powerful trade union movement and of freeing that movement from the domination of reactionary leadership.”

The chronology is important. If communists must first develop this “Maoist” trade unionist movement, it means any organizing around the national – or racial, according to language used by MCU – questions and colonization are peripheral or secondary to this central cause. It suggests communists might first unite the trade union movement and later, if at all, use this militant union formation to liberate oppressed groups within the country rather than working with these groups as mutually constitutive of a revolutionary struggle, much less prioritizing struggles of oppressed nations. In reality, organizing a bulwark of settler labor will negatively impact national liberation movements.

Instead of oppressed nations, MCU sees trade union aristocrats as the US’s revolutionary masses. The core reference to the “labor aristocracy” in Some General Theses is when the authors claim that “the most secure and consistent base of the reactionary union leaders is the labor aristocracy which is only a small subsection of the working class, and in our day is not equivalent to the trade union membership as a whole.” Having sidestepped an investigation of the various relationships to the means of production, they claim that the “vast majority” of US trade union membership is not a “reactionary base.” MCU overlooks an investigation of total worker compensation including public and private benefits, the means by which the labor aristocracy is maintained within imperial core countries. Luxurious positions at the apex of global commodity exchange and artificially high wages give labor aristocrats wealth above the means of subsistence on which the proletariat must endure, and doled out above the value created through their labor. Without an investigation of international class relations, wages, wealth and labor productivity it is impossible to determine where the proletariat ends and where the labor aristocracy begins and ends, much less between the proletariat and the petty-bourgeoisie. It is thus impossible to determine who the revolutionary masses are.

MCU claims that “A Communist Party must necessarily equip itself with the most advanced revolutionary science, based upon a summation of the whole of the proletariat’s revolutionary experience up to the moment in question.” Despite this, MCU presents no historical summation of “communist” work in US trade unions for the past 80 years that could support their conclusion of the necessity or even possibility of building a “Maoist” trade union movement in the US today. In tandem with a thorough class analysis, a historical account of why an ideology finds certain groups revolutionary or counterrevolutionary must be established. If the US trade unions have not taken up any anti-imperialist politics since before the New Deal era despite consistent unsuccessful communist infiltration, what has been the source of these failures?

In their more recent MCU and the Working Class Movement summarizing the tendency’s recent organizing initiatives, the aforementioned mistakes are repeated, particularly a failure to analyze US classes, their only attempt at defining the proletariat being “the only class that has an interest in communism as a class.” This is not a definition. MCU does not scientifically demarcate the proletariat from the non-proletariat. Their interesting commentary about the significance of creating a “specifically proletarian line” around which all other classes must be drawn is inapplicable to any context without an accompanying class analysis.

Because of the labor aristocracy thesis, workers who benefit from super-exploitation of the third world are not exploited, they are exploiters. This entails that the economic interests of the vast majority of imperial core workers are counterrevolutionary. Trade unions, tenant organizing and other locally “progressive” economic campaigns threaten to bolster standards of living and strengthen citizens’ relationship with imperialism. More specifically, the labor aristocracy thesis suggests there is no antagonism between first world capitalists and their citizen labor aristocrats to begin with, the two instead being allied in consuming value from the Global South.

(Mis)Identifying the Labor Aristocracy and the Proletariat

To examine historical Marxist origins of the term “labor aristocracy” as distinct from the proletariat, Marx, Engels and Lenin should be studied. As written in the Maoist Internationalist Movement’s Imperialism and its Class Structure in 1997:

According to Marx, the portion of society that is parasitic increases over time: “At the dawn of civilization the productiveness acquired by labour is small, but so too are the wants which develop with and by the means of satisfying them. Further, at that early period, the portion of society that lives on the labour of others is infinitely small compared with the mass of direct producers. Along with the progress in the productiveness of labour, that small portion of society increases both absolutely and relatively.”

Despite the focus given to the labor aristocracy by Lenin, Marx and Engels were the first to speak of the labor aristocracy of the colonial countries. Even in Capital, Vol. 1, Marx speaks of “how industrial revulsions affect even the best-paid, the aristocracy, of the working-class.”

Engels in particular is famous for some quotes on England. Here we only point to the quotes from Engels that Lenin also cited favorably in his book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. As we shall see, Lenin’s approval and careful attention to the quotes from Engels on the labor aristocracy are very important in his own thinking.

One of the clearest quotes from Engels as early as 1858 cited by Lenin is: “The English proletariat is 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 as well as a bourgeoisie. For a nation which exploits the whole world, this is, of course, to a certain extent justifiable.” We should also point out that from Lenin’s point of view it was a matter of concern that this had been going on for over 50 years already. Just before expressing this concern, Lenin says, “Imperialism has the tendency to create privileged sections also among the workers, and to detach them from the broad masses of the proletariat.” Writing to the same Kautsky who later betrayed everything, Engels said, “You ask me what the English workers think about colonial policy? Well exactly the same as they think about politics in general. There is no workers’ party here, there are only Conservatives and Liberal Radicals, and the workers merrily share the feast of England’s monopoly of the colonies and the world market.” Spineless Mensheviks internationally regret this blanket statement by Engels. The more dangerous revisionists of Marxism are only too gutless to say Engels was wrong while contradicting him at every chance. The spineless flatterers of the oppressor nation working class fear the reaction of the oppressor nation workers to being told they are parasites. Likewise, these spineless social-chauvinists evade the task before the international proletariat – a historical stage of cleansing the oppressor nation workers of parasitism. This task cannot be wished away with clever tactics of niceness.” (15)

Referring back to Some Theses on our Work in the Trade Unions, MCU writes that “with the development of capitalist imperialism, Lenin considered it was no longer possible to bribe such a large section of the working class: ‘It was possible in those days to bribe and corrupt the working class of one country for decades. This is now improbable, if not impossible. But on the other hand, every imperialist ‘Great’ Power can and does bribe smaller strata (than in England in 1848–68) of the ‘labour aristocracy.’” Lenin’s claim flowed from the reality that in 1916, imperialist world war had broken out and large segments of British and German workers were re-proletarianized. However, the era of inter-imperialist world war has since been profoundly interrupted by over seventy years of peace in the core imperialist countries throughout which the labor aristocracy to which Lenin referred has grown. Lenin’s writing in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, published in 1917 the year after Imperialism and the Split in Socialism, should be given authority.

While MCU are correct to recognize the socialist NGO’s, revisionist parties and capitalist rulers of most trade unions as class enemies, these do not comprise the labor aristocracy, which instead is the wide majority of bourgeoisified workers compensated with super-wages through imperialism.

MCU writing of their conception of the labor aristocracy says that “In the US, the ruling class has been able to bribe a minority subsection of the working class for a long period of time. The height of this bribery was likely reached during the New Deal era, but especially since the mid 1970s more and more of the labor aristocracy has seen its privileges severely eroded. We need to do much more investigation however to determine more exactly how the labor aristocracy in this country has changed over time, how large it ever truly got and how large it is today.”

MCU seems to assume that decreasing wages relative to GDP since the 1970s has meant the decrease of the US labor aristocracy, but GPD does not reflect global class relations nor wage differentials between nations: “Through this negative account balance (though not only it), the US working class is able to consume products which its labour has not paid for. Global neoliberal restructuring has thus maintained the privileged position of the core-nation working class relative to the Third World proletariat, albeit on terms less favourable to the former’s independent political expression than during the long boom of the 1950s and 1960s.” (16) The persistence of the labor aristocracy despite neoliberal reform can be measured through the significant increase of homeownership,(17) vehicle ownership,(18) higher education(19) and real weekly wages(20) throughout the country since 1960. Based upon these statistics, MCU is incorrect to claim that the height of bribery was during the New Deal era.

Clearly, MCU is using a different definition of the labor aristocracy than Marx, Engels and Lenin because theirs is not based on bribery, unequal exchange or surplus exploitation within the domestic “working class” but entirely restricted to political roles among the petty-bourgeoisie which exist regardless of the compensation of imperial core workers in general.

Conclusion: Impact of Faulty Class Analysis on Mass Work

A closer look at MCU and the Working Class Movement which summarizes the formation’s recent work demonstrates the effects of their ideological commitment to the settler labor aristocracy through their focus on the US “industrial proletariat.”

Discussing some problems they had faced while organizing tenants, MCU claims they were unable to “find and unite with the resolute fighters among the working-class, raise consciousness amongst them specifically and wider masses more broadly, and thereby…build up revolutionary organization” due to “major ideological difficulties in developing significant numbers of tenants into communists or even clarifying the larger nature of the struggle beyond the immediate fight against gentrification.”

They conceived of their task as creating a “united front of all the class forces – workers, lumpen, petty-bourgeois – affected by gentrification.” The following section bears quoting at length:

“In a confused attempt to make the central focus of this united front still be the working-class, we specifically concentrated first on the homeless, and then when we realized that was going nowhere we shifted to tenants in public/subsidized housing – respectively perhaps the most and second-most pauperized and lumpenized sections of the working-class – despite the fact that we had studied and criticized the Black Panther Party’s lumpen-line. We justified this by downplaying the degree of lumpenization among these segments of the population and arguing, correctly, that many of these tenants were still working-class. What we did not consider was which segments and sections of the working-class are most favorable to organize amongst.”

They discuss this line of work saying that

“Naturally, our efforts among the homeless and tenants bore little fruit. We basically failed to make strong and lasting links with the working-class, develop Communists from amongst the masses we were in contact with, build sustained mass-organization, or sustain any struggles involving substantial numbers of people.”

All of this led MCU to conclude a need to “proletarianize” their ranks – through taking up industrial jobs, partly in an attempt to challenge internal petty-bourgeois class tendencies and partly to make more connections with “advanced workers.” (Recall Trotsky) Finally, they list an outpouring of petty-bourgeois students into industrial jobs as “incredibly promising” because they could numerically bolster a communist party.

MCU quotes Lenin’s 1897 Task of the Russian Social Democrats to show how it is necessary for US communists today to focus primarily on the US “industrial proletariat.” MCU claims Lenin

“clearly puts forward that it was specifically the industrial proletariat working in the urban factories that was the most advanced, the ‘most receptive to [Communist] ideas, most intellectually and politically developed.’ Lenin arrived at this conclusion because, following in the footsteps of the rest of the European industrial workers throughout the last several decades, the Russian factory workers had proven themselves in practice to be the leading section of the class during the waves of strikes in the 1880s and 1890s in Russia.”

MCU fails to discuss the difference in working conditions, wages, and wealth between US factory workers and those of semi-feudal Russia. Despite significantly basing their theory on Lenin they have failed to consider the key ways workers in 21st century imperial core countries differ from 20th century peripheral feudal workers; they fail to adequately study imperialism. MCU’s first theory journal includes an article titled Lenin’s Five Point Definition of the Economic Aspects of Capitalist Imperialism and its Relevance Today, during which the term labor aristocracy is never mentioned.(21)

Although it is later downplayed, MCU’s obsession with industrial workers is perhaps best explained by this quote:

“Without a firm foundation among the industrial proletariat, and without winning over the majority of the organized workers to a revolutionary line, it will be impossible for the Party to direct a general political strike across key workplaces and industries during a revolutionary crisis. The general political strike is a key tool by which can we paralyze the ability of the capitalist class to move goods, troops, and military equipment. Alongside splitting the repressive forces, paralyzing the bourgeoisie’s ability to run the economy is essential for a successful revolution during such a crisis. Doing this in key military industries – especially if, as is likely, the crisis arises amid a significant war – undermines the bourgeoisie’s ability to deploy repressive force to crush the revolution.”

According to this picture of revolution, industrial workers formed the “leading section of the working class” during recent strike waves because they have struck in the greatest numbers, to the greatest impact on the national economy. Whereas US industrial workers overwhelmingly only struck for a greater share of imperialist plunder in the last century – such as when the recent “historic” UAW strike in winning mere wage increases for the union and none else(22) – industrial strikes in feudal Russia were far more frequently communist. Still, MCU’s strategy is an essentially mechanical application of insurrectionist revolution, derived from feudal Russia, to the US context.

The US is not an underdeveloped feudal country with only nascent capitalism. It is the leading core imperialist country and has been for over seventy years. It is the wealthiest nation in human history, and has risen wide swaths of the population into allegiance with imperialism and, at times, fascism based upon the material benefits of empire. Revolution will be carried out by a minority-of-a-minority in the country, not by a strike sweeping all sectors of the working class. Our situation cannot be compared to that of the Bolsheviks.

Most charitably, MCU’s summation of tenant work can be read as the belief that their chronology was incorrect: first organizing a communist trade union movement will make work among tenants, lumpen and oppressed nations far easier. Yet, this is still a narrow application of Bolshevik tactics to 21st century US contexts. There are many reasons MCU’s tenant and homeless mass work may have failed: ideological incoherence, focus on labor aristocratic tenants, ignorance of the primary contradiction of national oppression facing the masses, lack of a prior conception of eventual revolutionary civil war around which to mobilize, petty-bourgeois sensibilities among cadre, or even simple human error. It is unreasonable to expect MCU to discuss these factors when they are preoccupied with a nonexistent industrial proletariat, imposing models from incomparable historical contexts.

MCU’s errors in mass-work and their shift towards “key industry” organizing may seem like a simple error of studying one revolutionary circumstance too much at the expense of others, as failing to apply Marxism to the US context. While partly true, the better explanation is a combination of opportunism – increasing numbers at the expense of revolutionary vision – and a failure to prioritize class analysis. Focusing on certain industries is important, but it fundamentally cannot tell you about class within various industries, and it cannot replace determining who the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary forces in society are; “who are our friends, and who are our enemies?” to quote Mao himself.

Focus on workers in specific industries is a strategic decision likely to be prefigured by an ideological line. MCU has established a line prioritizing Labor Aristocratic workers that necessarily rejects the importance of national contradictions to the revolutionary objectives on Turtle Island, and in doing so promotes imperialism. RMS falls close behind in promoting an impossible allegiance of the colonized nations with the settler working class. Each organization takes part in a prominent tendency of US “Maoist” organizations to follow Trotskyism despite its contradictions with Maoism.

These are deeply troublesome trends. To organize the labor aristocracy, to promote imperialism and Trotskyism is to do the enemy’s work. The global proletariat is the only force which can make revolution, and they are held back by settlers and labor aristocrats alike. The longer communists on occupied Turtle Island fail to embrace these positions, the further away a Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

Notes:
(1) https://web.archive.org/web/20240227044053/https://marxiststudents.wordpress.com/statements/
(2) Zinoviev, Gregory Bolshevism or Trotskyism. 1925
(3) https://web.archive.org/web/20240227044746/https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1931/tpr/pr10.htm
(4) https://web.archive.org/web/20240227044944/https://unity-struggle-unity.org/resistance-news-network-media-guide/
(5) https://web.archive.org/web/20240227045151/https://irp.fas.org/world/para/docs/hamas-2017.pdf
(6) https://web.archive.org/web/20240227045539/https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/congress-south-african-trade-unions-cosatu
(7) Sakai, J. “Settlers: The mythology of the White proletariat from mayflower to modern.”(2014). Kersplebedeb.
(8) See Haiti, Vietnam, China, Korea, and even South Africa, where millions of emigrating whites has driven many to re-settle in Israel
(9) Cope, Zac “Divided World Divided Class” Kersplebedeb 2012, pg. 9
(10) Ibid. pg. 175
(11) Ibid. pg. 200
(12) https://web.archive.org/web/20240227050314/https://maoistcommunistunion.com/red-pages/issue-3/notes-from-a-conversation-among-comrades-on-the-george-floyd-protests-lessons-for-ourselves-and-beyond/
(13) https://mcuusa.files.wordpress.com/2023/10/mcu-theses-on-trade-union-work-2.pdf
(14) https://mcuusa.files.wordpress.com/2023/12/mcu_and_the_working_class_movement-2.pdf
(15) https://archive.org/details/ImperialismAndItsClassStructureIn1997_254/mode/2up
(16) Cope, Zak “Divided World Divided Class” Kersplebedeb 2012, pg. 9
(17) https://web.archive.org/web/20240228014852/https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RHORUSQ156N
(18) https://web.archive.org/web/20240228015215/https://transportgeography.org/contents/chapter8/urban-transport-challenges/household-vehicles-united-states/
(19) https://web.archive.org/web/20240228015942/https://www.statista.com/statistics/184260/educational-attainment-in-the-us/
(20) https://web.archive.org/web/20240228015618/https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LES1252881600Q
(21) https://web.archive.org/web/20240228020932/https://maoistcommunistunion.com/red-pages/issue-3/lenins-five-point-definition-of-the-economic-aspects-of-capitalist-imperialism-and-its-relevance-today/
(22) https://www.businessinsider.com/uaw-strike-contract-raises-pay-details-ford-gm-stellantis-2023-10?op=1&r=US&IR=T

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[Palestine] [Militarism] [National Liberation] [Principal Contradiction] [New Afrika] [Political Repression]
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Students: You Are Not Criminals, Advice from a Prisoner

Black Palestinian Resistance same struggle

i want to begin this writing by expressing sincere solidarity to the surge of student activism in support of the Palestinian people and against amerikan and israeli militarism and imperialism. If i could tell the students who’re facing or will face charges in the empire’s courts, i would tell then to keep in constant memory that no matter what they, the empire, says or does you are not a criminal. i would tell then that be careful to remember the righteousness of our cause. Remember that they are not alone.

In every mass movement and organization there are varying levels of socio-political consciousness and radicalism. Those who’re neophytes to the struggle should pay careful attention to the machinations of the institutions of the empire. One’s experiences with the empire’s institutions usually increase one’s level of radicalism and consciousness. While we enter struggle usually because of various sympathies we hold, We continue and elevate our activism usually because we realize that our theories and sympathies only barely touched the surface of the ugliness of the expire.

Allow the experience you will have going through the motions of the empire’s institutional shuffles to harden you, to motivate you. Understand that your sacrifices are worth it, and that while we face certain levels of sacrifices, the people who’ve inspired us so much, the people whose stiff resistance is the reason i am even writing this missive, those people are making sacrifices and facing down levels of repression that most humans will never know. Be proud of the trials the oppressors put you through, and also be vigilant in order to learn lessons to apply to your future work in the struggle.

Advice for those inside facing charges for fighting for Palestine, my best advice would be to not allow the repression force you to stop you from organizing in furthering the cause. Continue your work on the inside. My experience on the inside in recent months is that there are a lot of patriotic, amerikanized prisoners. More than we often realize. And they are louder than those of us who support the self-determination of Palestine, and the divestment of amerikan institutions from israel. Your voice, your commitment is needed just as much inside as it is outside. Captivity is not the time for self-defeat. The struggle must continue.

Palestine’s struggle has and is being analyzed in various ways. But for the record the Palestinian struggle is a nationalist, anti-colonial struggle. There are many connections to other nationalist, anti-neocoloinal struggles within the united $tates. In north amerika the empire has succeeded in stamping out the struggle, the cultural, and much of the existence of the Indigenous people, New Afrikan people, Chican@ People, Puerto Rican people. They have already done to us what israel is attempting to do to Palestine now. amerika looks different, is softer with its policies of social control, only because they’re further along in their experiment of empire building and settler-colonialism. As a captive New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist i am extremely proud of, and inspired by the Palestinian struggle for national independence. Their struggle provides a measuring stick to other nationalist movements. i hope we take note and begin to organize in more earnest.

Because there are many students who’ve been drawn into this movement by the extremes of the Palestinian situation, some may not be aware that there are revolutionary nationalist movements here in their backyards itching to be able to mobilize enough people to raise the level of contradiction to the point that the Palestinian struggle is already at. Because there are connections between these nationalist movements we hope that you will be able to identify them and connect yourselves to these revolutionary nationalist struggles. In Our effort to smash the tentacles of amerikan militarism and imperialism in Palestine and elsewhere. We have to raise our level of struggle here. We have to raise our capacity here within the nationalist movements, and i believe the student movement is a key feature of doing that, as such the best we in the prison movement and those of you in the student movement can do is to build connections with each other, and help each other, help the world’s oppressed and exploited people.

i hope this letter is received well, and that you, the reader continue to struggle ceaselessly until victory is won.

From The River To THE SEA, Free The Land!

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[Organizing] [Theory] [Education] [Principal Contradiction] [Michigan] [ULK Issue 85]
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Tipless Spear: An Analysis of the Prison Movement Through the Lens of Michigan Prisons

Fuck Social Control2

A Juxtaposition to the Works of Orisanmi Burton

A spear, utilized as a weapon to engage in battle, can only be effective insofar as its tip is both sturdy and sharp. And the sharpness of its tip is maintained as part of a process of sharpening in the continuum of a protracted struggle campaign. Otherwise, what you’ll have is not an implement for war, but a stick that merely rhetorically projects a technology for combat that in actuality, is incapable of immobilizing or pushing back against a harmful, even deadly force. So considering the condition of the spear, I have no intention to deal with or re-visit the “Long Attica Revolt” with historicism, relegating the event to a time in history; nor to romanticize its existence for the purposes of psycho-emotional or intellectual masturbation. Instead, I relocate the Long Attica Revolt to the present moment in hopes of creating dialogue and theory around the fundamental question of whether the “Long Attica Revolt” (i.e the prison movement) still exists?

I start my analysis of the question at the end and (epilogue) of Orisanmi Burton’s (hereinafter Ori) text with the statement:

“For many, 1993 was a watershed in the slow disintegration of the prison movement.”(1)

If 1993 marked the crucial turning point in which the prison movement started dissipating, or decomposing, what does the reality look like in 2024, 31 years after its evocation? If we are serious about “interpreting the world to change it, there is no escape from historical materialism,”(2) requiring my analysis to stay anchored to tackle the question from my direct experience as a prisoner of 21 and a half consecutive years of carceral bondage within Michigan prisons. In so doing, I stay true to Mao’s injunction to adhere to what [Vladimir] Lenin called the “most essential thing in Marxism, the living soul of Marxism, [the] concrete analysis of concrete conditions.”(3)

The “prison movement,” according to the New Afrikan analysis that I subscribe to, marked a specific moment in time that spearheaded a qualitative change, transforming issue-based prison struggles centered primarily around conditions of confinement (reform), into a movement that was influenced by and married itself to the anti-colonial national liberation struggles being waged beyond the concrete walls (revolutionary). These circumstances, having affected colonial people on a world scale, radicalized and politicized sections of the colonial subjects in the united states to such an extent where the consciousness developed inside of penal dungeons was being disseminated to the streets where it would be internalized and weaponized by agents against the state. The impetus for this qualitative leap in the substance and character of the prison movement was Johnathan Jackson’s 7 August 1970 revolutionary act of pursuing the armed liberation of the Soledad Brothers, culminating in the 9 September 1971 Attica Rebellion. This is why Ori argued the “Long Attica Revolt was a revolutionary struggle for decolonization and abolition at the site of US prisons.”(4)

While Ori’s assessment may have been correct, his very own analysis, and a concomitant analysis of present-day Michigan, exposes a revolutionary contradiction prone to reversion and therefore revolutionary (Marxist) revision by elements that were, in fact, never revolutionary or abolitionist but only radical reformist. Revisionism spells doom (death) to the prison movement, so part of our objective has got to be how do we oppose the carceral state from an ideological and practical perspective to ensure the survival of a dying prison movement, and reap benefits and successes from our struggle. After all, Ori tells us the aim of his book is “to show that US prisons are a site of war, [a] site of active combat.”(5)

Clausewitz (Carl von) observed that war was politics by other means, just as Michel Foucault reasoned politics was war by other means. War and politics being opposite sites of a single coin, this “COIN” in military jargon is none other than “counterinsurgency.” As explained in the U.S. Army Field Manual at 3-24. It defines insurgency as:

“an organized, protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken the control and legitimacy of established government, occupying power, or other political authority while increasing insurgent control.”

“The definition of counterinsurgency logically follows:”Counterinsurgency is the military, paramilitary, political economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.””

“Counterinsurgency, then, refers to both a type of war and a style of warfare”(6), whose aim is, in the context of prisons, to neutralize the prison movement and the ability of its agency to build the movement into the future.

As we can see, by isolating and extracting this point from Ori’s text, u.s. prisons as combat zones where war is waged is significant if we are to gleam from this fact what the proponents, the protagonists of the prison movement must do next; how we struggle accordingly in hopes of gaining victories.

The Master Plan

The logical response of a revolutionary tactician to state repression is resistance. But not just resistance for the sake of being recalcitrant – as Comrade George (Jackson) informed us, our fight, our resistance has to use imagination by developing a fighting style from a dialectical materialist standpoint. Because

“…we can fight, but if we are isolated, if the state is successful in accomplishing that, the results are usually not constructive in terms of proving the point. The point is, however, in the face of what we confront, to fight and win. That’s the real objective: not just make statements, no matter how noble, but to destroy the system that oppresses us.”(7)

In constructing long-term insurgency repression (counterinsurgency), the scientific technology deployed by the state was “soft power” as its effective mechanism to accomplish their task. Ori tells us the federal government drafted a “Master Plan” which hinged on “correctional professionals coming to realize that the battle is won or lost not inside the prison, but out on the sidewalks.”(8) This assessment could only be true considering the question surrounding prisons and the corollary prison movement is one of legitimacy, for only through legitimacy could the state preserve carceral normalcy. So counterinsurgency, or war, to be overtly specific, and the game is the acquisition of legitimacy from the masses (national public at-large) as a main objective. This fact should be telling that the struggle for state oppression, aggression and repression within the context of the prison movement is ultimately always a struggle for the people. Thus, “in an insurgency, both sides rely on the cooperation of the populace; therefore they compete for it, in part through coercive means.”(9) These political facts, as tactics of war, envision the real terrain in which the battle for prison lives is waged: the mental realm. It is within this domain that resistance and the legitimacy on both sides of the barb wired cage will be won.

The prisoner population must take cues from these facts. The very first recognition has got to be that prisons, deployed as war machines, cannot possibly be legitimate if we (the prisoners) have been cast as the enemies the state seeks to annihilate as human beings by re-converting us from second-class citizens back to slaves. This was the very point Ori lets us in on regarding Queen Mother Moore’s August 1973 visit and speech in Green Haven Prison in New York, that New Afrikans were in fact enduring “re-captivity.”(10) Blacks have long hoisted this argument, lamenting an amendment to the 13th Amendment to the u.s. constitution, and a host of case law, like the case of Ruffin v Commonwealth cited by Ori, have declared “incarcerated people slaves of the state.”(11) And as slaves, to borrow the words of George, “the sole phenomenon that energizes my whole consciousness is, of course, revolution.” In this vein the prison movement is partially about the survival of the humanity of prisons, their dignity, which requires the survival of the spirit of the prison movement. This is what Chairman Fred Hampton meant when he said “You can kill a freedom fighter, but you can’t kill freedom fighting. You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill revolution.” It is this very same deprivation of human dignity that Huey talked about resulting in what I’m experiencing among Michigan prisoners, who are largely “immobilized by fear and despair, he sinks into self-murder”.(12) But even more dangerous to Huey than self-murder, is spiritual death, what Huey witnessed become a “common attitude… driven to death of the spirit rather of the flesh.”

So the very idea (spirit) of the prison movement must survive, must be kept alive, or, “your method of death can itself be a politicizing thing.”(13). And this is precisely the reality Michigan’s male prisoners have succumbed to, death of spirit, death by de-politicization.

All this begs the question posed by George: What is our fighting style in face of political death? This question can only be answered against the background of the statement: “For many, 1993 was a watershed in the slow disintegration of the prison movement,” because the reality shouts out to us that the prison movement has diminished to such a degree, it’s in desperate need of being incubated back to life (if it still exists at all).

Thus far it has been made clear that at issue is the survival of the prison movement which means by extension a revival of the political life of prisoners. The catalyst breeding political consciousness can only be education. As Ori illuminates, part of the prisoner war project requires guerrilla warfare, the life of which itself is grounded in political education.(14) Ori himself writes in the acknowledgment section of Tip of the Spear that he sharpened his spear (political analysis) by tying himself to a network of intellectuals and study groups, like Philly-based podcast Millenials Are Killing Capitalism.

The Role of Outside Supporters

The “Master Plan” developed by the state concluded “that the battle is won or lost not inside the prison, but out on the sidewalks,” and this leads directly to the utility of individuals and organizations outside the confines of prison life to be leveraging against the subjects inside the walls. Yet, it must not be lost upon us that by virtue of the state’s “Master Plan”, they seek to weaponize outside organizations as tools to drive a nail in the coffin of the prison movement once and for all. Proponents of the prison movement, accordingly, must also utilize and weaponize outside agency to advance the prison movement. When asked, although George said, “A good deal of this has to do with our ability to communicate to people on the street,” we must nevertheless be sure not to allow this communication or the introduction of outside volunteers to stifle the spirit of the movement.

Ori hits the nail on the head when exposing the “Master Plan” to absorb outside volunteers as part of the “cynical logic of programmification, with well-meaning volunteers becoming instruments of pacification.”(15) I spoke to this very phenomena in 2021 essay entitled “Photograph Negatives: The Battle For Prison Intelligentsia”, in response to a question posed to me by Ian Alexander, an editor of True Leap Press’s “In The Belly” publication, on whether outside university intellectuals could follow the lead of imprisoned-intellectuals? There I mentioned how Michigan’s outside volunteers near absolute adherence to prison policy, designed to constrain and be repressive, retarded our ability to be subversive and insurgent, called into question the purpose of the university-intellectuals infiltration of the system in the first instance. And while “many of these volunteers undoubtedly had altruistic and humanitarian motives, they unwittingly perpetuated counterinsurgency in multiple ways.”(16)

The battle for prison intellgentsia itself creates an unspoken tension between the inside (imprisoned) and outside (prison) intellectuals to the detriment of the prison movement, benefiting the state’s “Master Plan.” As I cited in “Photograph Negatives,” Joy James correctly analyzes that it is the imprisoned intellectuals that are “most free of state condition.” Scholar Michel-Rolph Troillot’s insight also champions that imprisoned intellectuals, “non-academics are critical producers of historiography,”(17) yet, as Eddie Ellis told Ori during a 2009 political education workshop, “We have never been able to use the tools of academia to demonstrate that our analysis is a better analysis.”(18) This fact further substantiates my position in response to editor Ian Alexander that outside university-based intellectuals must take their lead from imprisoned intellectuals because (1) we are the experts, validated through our long-lived experiences; and (2) most university-intellectuals are clueless they’re being used as tools within the state’s “Master Plan” against the very prisoners that altruism is directed.

Carceral Compradors Inside

But sadly, it’s not just the outside volunteers being positioned as pawns in the state’s war against prisoners. To be sure, prisoners themselves have become state agents, be it consciously or unconsciously, pushing pacification through various behavioral modification programming that intentionally depoliticizes the prisoner population, turning them into do-gooder state actors. It is in this way that the prison state “strategically co-opted the demands of the prison movement and redeployed them in ways that strengthened their ability to dominate people on both sides of the wall.”(19)

In Michigan prisons, these compromised inmates function as “carceral compradors,” and part of the plan of this de-politicizing regime is to convince the prisoner population to surrender their agency to resist. It has been the state’s ability to appease these, what Ricardo DeLeon, a member of Attica’s revolutionary committee, said was the elements of “all the waverers, fence sitters, and opponents,”(20) exacerbating already-existing fissures, exposing the deep contradictions between a majority reformist element, and the minority revolutionary element. This success effectively split and casted backward the “prison movement” to its previously issue-based conditions of confinement struggle model by “exposing a key contradiction within the prison movement, ultimately cleaving support from the movement’s radical edge while nurturing its accomodationist tendencies.”(21)

All of this was (is) made possible because “a sizable fraction of the population that saw themselves, not as revolutionaries, but as gangsters: outlaw capitalists, committed to individual financial gain”(22), and radical reformist, despite their rhetoric to the contrary, focused rather exclusively on conditions of confinement, instead of materializing a revolutionary goal. If the prison movement is a revolutionary movement, then the revolutionary element must manage to consolidate power and be the final arbitrators of the otherwise democratic decision-making processes. Ori cites Frantz Fanon to make clear that political parties serve as “incorruptible defenders of the masses,” or, the movement will find itself vulnerable to neocolonial retrenchment.(23) The schism that emerges between these two factions, ideologically, paralyzes the prison movement. These implications obviously extend beyond the domain of prisons to the collective New Afrikan struggle on the streets, as the prison movement was fostered by national liberation struggle on the outside, lending the credence to the victory from the sidewalk notion. But in order to secure a revolutionary party-line, the revolutionary party must be the majority seated element in the cadre committee.

Perhaps this is precisely why Sam Melville, a key figure in the Attica rebellion, said it was needed to “avoid [the] obvious classification of prison reformers.”(24) This is significant because otherwise, reformists would dominate the politics, strategies and decision-making, killing any serious anti-colonial (revolutionary) ideology. Again, this is true for both the inside and outside walkways. As a corollary, this reality should cause the revolutionary-minded to seriously rethink ways in which our struggle is not subverted from within the ranks of fighters against the state who, contradictorily, are okay with the preservation and legitimization of the prison machine and its “parent” global white supremacist structure, so long as remedial measures are taken to ameliorate certain conditions.

Our Road

In advance of summarizing, let me just say I do not at all intend to imply a reformist concession can’t be viewed as a revolutionary advancement within the overall scheme of carceral war. I pivot to Rachel Herzing, co-founder of Critical Resistance, that

“an abolitionist goal would be to try to figure out how to take incremental steps – a screw here, a cog there – and make it so the system cannot continue – so it ceases to exist – rather than improving its efficiency.”

But that’s just it. The Attica reforms did not, as Rachel Herzing would accept, “steal some of the PIC’s power, make it more difficult to function in the future, or decrease it’s legitimacy in the eyes of the people.” On the contrary, the Attica reforms entrenched the system of penal legitimacy, seeded the proliferation of scientific repression, and improved upon the apparatus’s ability to forestall and dissolve abolitionist resistance. In addition, the reforms were not made with the consent of the Attica revolutionaries, but by a splintering majority of radical reformers who, in the end, the present as our proof, greased by the levers of power assenting to the machine’s pick up of speed and tenacity.

As inheritors of the prison movement, and as we consider the de-evolution of the Long Attica Revolt and all it entails, specifically its survival, we are called upon to meditate on Comrade George’s essential ask – What is our fighting style? At minimum, I suggest our task is implementing a twofold platform: (1) political education; and (2) internal revolutionary development.

First, those equipped with the organization skills and requisite consciousness, as a methodology of guerilla war, should construct political education classes. These classes should operate within study group formats. We must return to the injunction of prisons functioning as universities, that “The jails (and prisons) are the Universities of the Revolutionaries and the finishing schools of the Black Liberation Army.”(25) We align ourselves with the Prison Lives Matter (PLM) formation model and utilize these study groups to engage in:

“a concrete study and analysis of the past 50+ years, and in doing so, We learn from those who led the struggle at the highest level during the high tide (1960s and 70s), where and how the revolutionary movement failed due to a lack of cadre development, as well as knowing and maintaining a line.”(26)

Our political education study groups must also instill a pride, courage, and will to dare to struggle along the lines of New Afrikan revolutionary ideology. For desperately, “Our revolution needs a convinced people, not a conquered people.”(27) The quality of courage in the face of impending brutality by what Ori calls the state’s “carceral death machine”(28) will be necessary to put in gear the wheels of guerrilla resistance. The invocation of this spirit sets apart the human prepared to demand and indeed take his dignity by conquest, from the weak, pacified slave who rationalizes his fear, which is in fact “symptomatic of pathological plantation mentality that had been inculcated in Black people through generations of terror.”(29) This terror in the mind of Black males inside of Michigan cages is displayed at even the mention of radical (revolutionary) politics, inciting a fear drawn from the epigenetic memory of chattel slavery victimization, and the propensity of master’s retaliatory infliction of a violent consequence. This thought has frozen and totally immobilized the overwhelming majority of Black Michigan prison-slaves, not just into inaction, but turning them into advocates of pacified slave-like mentalities. But these niggas are quick to ravage the bodies of other niggas.

To this point, Ori writes

“Balagoon suggests that the primary barrier to the liberation of the colonized was within their minds – a combination of fear of death, respect for state authority, and deference to white power that had been hammered into the population from birth. Liberation would remain an impossibility as long as colonized subjects respected the taboos put in place by their oppressors.”(30)

To be sure, liberation struggles can only be “successful to the extent that we have diminished the element of fear in the minds of black people.”(31) Biko, speaking to this fear as something that erodes the soul of Black people, recognized “the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the minds of the oppressed.”(32)

Secondly, hand-in-hand with our political education must be the material engagement in the first revolution, the inner revolution. This is “The hard painstaking work of changing ourselves into new beings, of loving ourselves and our people, and working with them daily to create a new reality.”(33) This first, inner-revolution consists of “a process of rearranging one’s values – to put it simply, the death of the nigger is the birth of the Black man after coming to grips with being proud to be one’s self.”(34)

The ability to transform oneself from a nigga to an Afrikan man of character is perhaps the most important aspect of developing concordance with a New Afrikan revolutionary collective consciousness. Commenting “On Revolutionary Morality” in 1958, Ho Chi Minh said that “Behavioral habits and traditions are also big enemies: they insidiously hinder the progress of the revolution.” And because niggas, unbeknownst to themselves are white supremacists and pro-capitalist opportunists, the vanguard security apparatus must forever remain on guard for the possibility of niggas in the rank-and-file corrupting the minds of other niggas who have yet to internalize New Afrikan identity.

May these be our lessons. Ori’s Tip of the Spear text is important in the overall lexicon on the history of the prison movement, and must be kept handy next to the collection of Notes From New Afrikan P.O.W and Theoretical Journals. Tip of the Spear should serve not just as reference book, but a corrective guide for the protagonist wrestling the prison movement out the arms of strangulation, blowing spirit into the nostrils of its decaying body until it’s revived, and ready to fight the next round. And We are that body. Let’s dare to do the work.

Forward Towards Liberation!

We Are Our Liberators!

^*Notes: 1. Orisanmi Burton, October 2023, Tip of the Spear: Black Radicalism, Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt, University of California Press, p. 223 2. Praveen Jha, Paris Yeros, and Walter Chambati, January 2020, Rethinking the Social Sciences with Sam Moyo, Tulika Books, p.22 3. Mao Zedong, 1937, “On Contradiction”, Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung 4. Burton, p.52 5. Burton, p.224-226 6. Life During Wartime, p.6 7. Remembering the Real Dragon - An Interview with George Jackson May 16 and June 29, 1971, Interview by Karen Wald and published in Cages of Steel: The Politics Of Imprisonment In The United States (Edited by Ward Churchill and J.J. Vander Wall). 8. Burton, p.175. 9. Life During Wartime, p.17. 10. Burton, p.1 11. Burton, p.10 12. Huey P. Newton, 1973, Revolutionary Suicide, p.4 13. Steve Biko, I write What I Like, p.150 14. Burton, p.4 15. Burton, p.179 16. Burton, p.175 17. Burton, p.8 18. Burton, p.7 19. Burton, p.150 20. Burton, p.41 21. Burton, p.150 22. Burton, p.99 23. Burton, p.92 24. Burton, p.82 25. Sundiata Acoli, “From The Bowels of the Beast: A Message,” Breaking da Chains. 26. Kwame “Beans” Shakur 27. Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983-1987, p.417 28. Burton, p.105 29. Burton, p.42 30. Burton, p.42 31. Biko, p.145 32. Biko, p.92 33. Safiya Bukhari 34. Burton, p.62

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[Palestine] [International Communist Movement] [Principal Contradiction] [Anti-Imperialism] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 85]
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Palestine & Internationalism from the Imperial Core

afrika supports palestine

In the past, the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), and its mass org at the time, the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League, campaigned to get the University of California to Divest from I$rael.(1) This was a correct strategy, because U.$. imperialism is the number one backer of the I$raeli war machine. Behind the flag of I$rael is the stars and stripes.

More recently, United Struggle from Within (USW) carried out a petition campaign, which read in part:

“Therefore with this declaration we angrily express our indignation with the state of Israel for committing genocide, and for the Israeli people for allowing it to happen in the 21st century after vowing”never again.”

The petition recognized that Palestinian political prisoners had supported the California hunger strikes in recent years and it was time to return solidarity. By 2016, comrades in 16 prisons had gathered 189 signatures. Recognizing the limitations of conditions, the petition also read:

“Within these walls we are as yet powerless to tap into the potential of the imprisoned lumpen; the oppressed internal nation lumpen in particular as agents of social change, but we are not yet powerless to sign a piece of paper to denounce the state of Israel and their support in the U.$.”

Still today, comrades are asking what can we do to support Palestine?

Settlers Supporting Settlers

The war against Palestine is what Amerika has always done from its very founding – land grab, occupation, genocide. Therefore, there is much support in the United $tates for I$rael’s current bombing campaign and invasion of Gaza. And the tactics being used against Palestine could easily be tried against indigenous people here on Turtle Island next.

MIM and others have documented the history of Amerikan labor union support for I$rael.(2) Yet, in recent months not only has the U.$. seen millions demonstrate to oppose U.$. militarism in Palestine, but labor unions representing millions of Amerikan so-called workers have signed a call for a cease fire.(3) While Amerikans have always been settlers, the United $tates is more and more a population of people who do not come from settler backgrounds. And more and more, people from non-settler backgrounds are joining the ranks of labor unions, big tech companies and other professional roles. This is one factor behind the wavering support for I$rael. Of course, it is the Palestinian resistance that is forcing Amerikans to take a position.

The cease fire call is a shift for many Amerikan labor unions away from outright Zionism to the left wing of white nationalism. Despite the cease fire statement, these unions will still be campaigning for Genocide Joe this year. And while some members of the International Longshoreman Workers Union (ILWU) participated in a one day protest/shut down of the port of Oakland in support of Gaza, there has been no sustained strike by Amerikan unions that are actively involved in shipping arms to I$rael.

The United Auto Workers (UAW), having been in the news for strikes last year, is one of the unions to issue a statement for a ceasefire. Meanwhile, the UAW has been hosting talks with employees of arms manufacturer Raytheon for a “just transition” to guarantee labor aristocracy union jobs in thefuture technologies of war and genocide. Brandon Mancilla, director or UAW’s Region 9A, announced in a tweet on Dec 1st the formation of a Divestment and Just Transition working group to explore how “we can have just transition for US workers from war to peace.” Behind the UAW’s ceasefire resolution, was UAW Labor for Palestine. Self-described on their website as a “nationwide group of rank-and-file UAW members” that seeks to “organize UAW worksites that send arms and other material to Israel.” They have faced great resistance from the UAW in general to taking any action to stop producing arms for I$rael. Like the Amerikan leaders who mumble words about humanitarian efforts in Palestine while continuing to authorize more and more shipments of war machines to I$rael, Amerikan labor makes statements about ceasefire, while continuing to produce these machines. Actions speak louder than words.

As we reported in ULK 84, arms shipments must get to the Red Sea before they face real resistance; resistance by Yemen’s armed forces. And following I$rael’s attacks on Iranian diplomatic soil in Syria in April, Iran has seized an I$raeli-linked cargo ship passing through the Strait of Hormuz. While the Strait, which accesses the Persian Gulf, does not lead to I$rael, it does lead to I$rael’s new Arab allies in the UAE.

Doing Better

The #1 thing people in the United $tates can be doing in the short-term to stop genocide in Palestine is to stop shipments of arms and aid to I$rael. Just as the imperialists have used blockades to weaken the Palestinian resistance. The question is how to make such a blockade meaningful and sustainable.

In the longer-term it is our responsibility in the United $tates to weaken imperialism from the inside. As we see the principal contradiction in the United $tates to be between nations, it is by supporting national liberation struggles at home that we believe we can best make this happen faster. And without building the revolutionary forces here in the United $tates, we do not foresee a successful, sustained blockade of aid to I$rael.

Another realm of struggle we should be tuned into is the struggle against political repression of those supporting Palestine, and especially the state imposing limitations on the exchange of information between Palestine and the world. The labeling of organizations linked to the Palestinian struggle as “terrorist organizations” is parallel to organizations in the oppressed nations in the United $tates being labelled “security threat groups (STGs).” As our readers know well the right to free speech and association is not guaranteed but must be struggled for within this bourgeois democracy.

Finally, correct political line must lead for us to succeed on all fronts. Democratic Party-supporting labor unions calling for “cease fire” is not the correct political line. Stopping all aid to I$rael is correct. Supporting national liberation struggles of the oppressed is correct. Recognizing the populations of the exploiter countries to be part of the bourgeoisie is correct. And recognizing the need for independent communist organizations in all parts of the world is correct for avoiding past mistakes that restricted the revolutionary potential of oppressed nations (see next section).

There is a reinforcing effect between revolutionary nationalist and communist movements around the world. Communism was more popular in Palestine when communists were demonstrating models of success in practice in other parts of the world. The revolutionary nationalism of Palestine today will impact the consciousness of revolutionary nationalism around the world, including within U.$. borders. Amplifying this effect in the short-term will help us build the type of movement that can provide real solidarity with Palestine in the short-term. The history and class interests of Amerikan labor prove that their current level of sympathies with Palestine are tenuous and lacking in militancy.

It is the struggle of the occupied indigenous populations, the largest of which is Aztlán, that are most parallel to Palestine in our context. Meanwhile New Afrika has probably been the most ardent supporter of Palestine in the United $tates historically. Though it’s also worth noting the prominence of Jewish voices in opposing the war from the United $tates, due to the connection the existence of I$rael has forced onto all Jewish people. As a resistance movement based in a compact area of land that is mostly urban, there is much to be learned tactically from the successes of the ongoing struggle in Palestine today that relates to the conditions of oppressed nations in the heart of empire.

The ICM, Pan-Islamism and Palestine

Support from communists around the world, especially those waging People’s War in the Third World, has been unwavering on the side of Palestine liberation since October 7th. But the history of the International Communist Movement (ICM) has led to setbacks in Palestinian and pan-Arab liberation.

MIM(Prisons) has been working on reiterating MIM line on the Communist International in recent years as part of an effort to compile MIM’s work opposing crypto-Trotskyism. One of the key issues we have with Trotskyism is its view that the most advanced capitalist countries will/should lead the communist movement. MIM line says that the most exploited and oppressed nations will lead the way, and recognizes the need for independent initiative and direction from within each nation. We also see the need for a Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations (JDPON) as a tool for overthrowing imperialism. Under the JDPON, it will be the communist minorities in former imperialist countries that are benefiting from the assistance of more advanced, socialist, former colonies.

From 1919-1943, the third Communist International (Comintern) was the first experiment in an international communist movement that involved parties in state power. At that time the idea that the advanced capitalist countries would lead the socialist revolution was more popular. Bolshevik leader Mirza Sultan-Galiev was one of the biggest critics of this position. In 1923, at the 9th Conference of the Tatar Obkom, Sutlan-Galiev stated:

“If a revolution succeeds in England, the proletariat will continue oppressing the colonies and pursuing the policy of the existing bourgeois government; for it is interested in the exploitation of these colonies. In order to prevent the oppression of the toiler of the East we must unite the Muslim masses in a communist movement that will be our own and autonomous.”(4)

MIM positively reviewed eir ideas:

“Sultan-Galiev was for the formation of a”Colonial International” to replace the Comintern as organization of central importance. He also called for the “dictatorship of the colonial nations over the metropolis.”“(5)

Sultan-Galiev applied this concept to Russians, who were far more oppressed and exploited than Amerikans today, as well as to the United $tates, which ey saw as built on the genocide and labor of First Nations and New Afrikans.

portrait of Che Guevarra and Joseph Stalin
Cuban revolutionary Che Guevarra and Georgian leader of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin. Despite eir mistakes in building the first socialist state, Stalin is part of the lineage of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. While friendly to Maoism in many ways, Guevarra is known for focoism, a military strategy that is the opposite of Mao’s Protracted People’s War.

For a brief period, about 5 years after the Russian revolution, the Bolsheviks had created a Muslim communist party separate from the Russian one. But this project was quickly abandoned. Decades later, USSR leader Joseph Stalin, who also played a leading role in the Comintern, abolished the Comintern in 1943. Stalin and Mao both said the communist international was no longer appropriate for the complicated conditions of international struggle. One of the problems with the communist international was the mixing of people from exploiter countries and exploited countries in one organization. Another was the mixing of people engaged in armed struggle against imperialism with those who are not. Sultan-Galiev’s proposal for a “Colonial International” addresses the first problem. However, eir ideas were not ultimately adopted by the Comintern, and ey was purged from the Bolshevik Party in 1923.

Current Events in Russia and Palestinian Communism

Last week a horrible mass shooting took place in Moscow, killing 143 people. The gunmen are reportedly from Tajikistan and working with the Islamic State-Khorasan, based in Central Asia. An Amerikan analyst explained that this group “sees Russia as being complicit in activities that regularly oppress Muslims” and that a number of other Central Asian militants have allied with the Islamic State group due to their own grievances against Moscow.(6) Tajikistan is a former Soviet republic. One must wonder if a Muslim Communist International, separate from the Russian one, could have avoided the emergence of militant groups in Central Asia today that have violent beefs with Moscow. This goes both ways, with chauvinist attitudes by many Russians today towards the other former Soviet republics. As the capitalist/imperialist USSR collapsed in 1991, both sides of this national divide perceived the other to be exploiting them.(7)

On the Western side of the USSR Sultan-Galiev helped establish a separate Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921. This became a bastion for German Nazis in the 1940s, leading to the native Tatar population being relocated by Stalin, and the area populated by Russians and Ukrainians – leading to disputes over the territory today. This suggests that Stalin was correct to oppose Sultan-Galiev for narrow nationalism in the late 1920s and ultimately have em killed in 1940 as the Nazis were preparing to invade.

The problems with trying to unify too quickly with a communist international seems to have played a role in Palestine and the Arab world as well. The Soviet Union supported the partitioning of Palestine by the Zionists, leading to the Nakba (“The Catastrophe” or ethnic cleansing of Palestine) in 1948. Despite the Comintern having been dissolved in 1943, apparently it was still policy for the Communist Parties in Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon to support the USSR line on the partitioning of Palestine against their own beliefs. This led to massive loss of support for the communists in Syria and Lebanon for years to come (there was not much support in Palestine until years later).(8)

While U.$. and I$raeli imperialism played a role in suppressing communist organizing, these internal contradictions and short-comings are what allowed such efforts to succeed. We can see how the strategies we choose today can have grave and lasting impacts decades later. That is why we, as communists, must do a better job of implementing an effective internationalism by recognizing the national self-determination of each oppressed nation. Independence in action must coincide with a struggle for unity in ideology.

“The early stages of socialism according to both Lenin and Stalin would see a vast multiplication of nations seizing their destinies. It was only under advanced communism that we could contemplate the disappearance of nations.”(7)

The above is in line with USW’s slogan of “unity from the inside out.” It is only with true self-determination of the oppressed nations that they can fully unite with other nations. Of course, the more unity we have the stronger we are. So we must struggle for unity, without forcing it before conditions are ripe.

We call on comrades to continue to make connections between Palestine and national struggles in occupied Turtle Island, and to build national liberation struggles here in the heart of empire.

Notes:
1. MIM - California, UC Divest From Israel! campaign page
2. Boston MIM, August 2005, Labor aristocracy hits the streets for I$rael, This article gives a more comprehensive background on the connection between Zionism and U.$. labor unions: Jeff Schuhrke, 11 November 2023, US Labor Has Long Been a Stalwart Backer of Israel. That’s Starting To Change., Jacobin.
3. Democracy Now!, 26 December 2032, Labor Demands a Ceasefire: UAW, Electrical & Postal Workers Call for Israel’s Assault on Gaza to End.](https://www.democracynow.org/2023/12/26/us_labor_movement_israel_palestine)
4. Joshua Alexander, 08 August 2016, Two Articles by Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev, 1919, Anti-Imperialism.org.
5. MIM’s Pan-Islamic Page
6. Sophia Yan, 23 March 2024, Islamic State attackers publish selfie following Moscow attack, The Telegraph.
7. MIM, The role of the National Bourgeoisie: The decline of Soviet social-imperialism
8. Guerrilla History, 15 March 2024, History of Palestinian Communism w/ Patrick Higgins.

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[New Afrika] [Principal Contradiction] [ULK Issue 85]
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i Was Blind, But Now i See

Power to New Afrika

When i was first introduced to the concepts and ideology of NARN (New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism) and New Afrikan Nationhood i subjectively analyzed it, thinking that it was based on narrow-nationalism that was focused on representing “race.” My narrow-mindedness would act as an impediment to my own development, which would ultimately prevent me from ascertaining that NARN actually provides a complete social, political and economic theory that constitutes a comprehensive network of principles, rules, beliefs, values and morals that teaches Us the importance of decolonization and National Independence.

You see many of Us profess to be all-the-way revolutionary, when in fact We are actually robots running on dogmatism and stale formulas. i myself was a robot running on dogmatism and stale formulas, a robot that was inimically opposed to any and all concepts and ideologies that were not compatible with my own.

My ignorance would persist up until recently when i had an experience similar to the supernatural experience that all Christians claim to have, e.g “i heard god talking to me and i seen the light.” However, my experience was corporeal.

i use the analogy because it epitomizes exactly what transpired. i was reading Atiba Shanna’s [AKA James Yaki Sayles] book Meditations On Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth.(1) But it was Atiba Shanna emself talking to me and “the light” grew brighter with each page i read, i began to have a different perspective.

Prior to being aroused from my pontifical stupor i had wrote a response to a poem titled, “White in the Mix” that had been published in the No. 82 Summer 2023 edition of Under Lock & Key, wherein i criticized the author’s idea of not seeing color as it related to “race” and proceeded to provide what at the time i thought to be insight into what is the criterion for the “white” revolutionary. Who else better than me to elucidate this? A former member of the White Panther Organization and the epitome of an anti-racist. One would assume that i was more than capable of elucidating race/racism.

Instead of being published my letter was met with criticism, which i automatically assumed was subjective, due to the disputes i had with the komrades of MIM. However, this assumption was a manifestation of my own subjectivism. The truth is my criticism was based on binary opposites “Black” and “White” (racial categories), thusly the komrades rightfully deemed my response to the poem as being contradictory to NARN and a further perpetuation of the myth of “race.”

It is difficult not to perceive everything through a racialized lens when the truth is that hundreds of years of racial oppression have ingrained this way of thinking in our minds. Even thinking of ourselves as “Whites” or “Blacks” testifies to the success the colonizers have had in undermining Our conscious as human beings.

Moreover, said thinking upholds the concept of “race” and promotes racialized thought and practice that ultimately impedes the advancement of national and social revolution.

Even though the author of the poem claims to see no color (which is an idea promoted by the conservative bourgeoisie that perpetuates the concept of “white” power) it is obvious that his ideas and ideals are based on society’s racialized paradigms, moreover, it is evident that the komrade has yet to understand that until he commits class suicide/white privilege suicide, that he is indeed complicit in the oppression of the oppressed nations that is perpetuated by the oppressor nation – the Amerikan nation.

As Komrade Atiba emphasized:

“To commit class suicide means to”Kill” the (class) consciousness of the bourgeois/capitalist order that exercises hegemony in our lives and minds. We tend to think of revolutionary activity as that which takes place outside ourselves – as overthrowing the capitalist institutions and property relations – but We seldom think of the need to uproot the bourgeois ideas in our own minds, to repudiate the values, morals, and the entire range of beliefs that We now hold “in so far as they are bourgeois.”(2)

Class suicide was first a theory engendered by the great Amilcar Cabral, therein he was referring to the Afrikan petty-bourgeoisie (a very small elite class in 1960s-1970s Afrika). This class were the only “natives” with a full colonial style education, had been to universities in europe and amerikkka and had returned and been hand-picked by the colonialists to work in the government public institutions. Similar to DuBois’ Talented Tenth Theory, Cabral saw that the Afrikan masses would have to be led by that petty-bourgeoisie, but to prevent the reality of a new bourgeoisie and neo-colonial establishment in native face, the petty-bourgeoisie had to commit “class suicide.” They had to bring what made them “elite” and lay it at the feet of the masses, allow those masses to gain and learn from the elite’s expertise and learn from the masses.

What that meant was forgetting the subtle notions of white supremacist theories they had been implanted with from youth. Forget the notion that all things Western are superior, come back to “the source”, return to the culture of your native people, relearn your native tongue, remove the Western name you’ve adopted, the clothes, the wealth and privilege. PAIGC (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) cadre were stationed in the countryside engaging with the peasants, seeing their daily lives, creating the institutions and programs to improve their lives (from the masses to the masses). The peasant masses were getting political education and tools needed to defeat the enemy. This was “class suicide” for them. Similar to Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China around the same time.

Now as it pertains to the Euro-Amerikkkan committing “class suicide” the process will be different, but to make it as clear as possible you will have to objectively forget your whiteness, while simultaneously utilizing it to gain advantages for the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM).(3) You would be required to engage in the most extreme revolutionary factions instead of hiding in the comfort of your whiteness.

As the Komrad Triumphant advised me: “Forget your whiteness even when those around you (especially New Afrikans) try their damnedest to make you remember. Forget your whiteness.”

Our class is the lumpen, and here in Amerikkka We’ll have to simultaneously organize as a class for itself while also committing class suicide, by abandoning the culture (ways of living/thinking) that accompanies the lumpen, in favor of an international proletarian class analysis. This abandonment is the fundamental function of class suicide and white privilege suicide.

When committing to such an endeavor one must be scientific in their thinking and not be like the “whites” Malcolm X spoke of, those who join the struggle for New Afrikan liberation because they are seeking to appease their conscience for all the horrible things done to New Afrikans and other oppressed nations by the oppressor nation.

Most “whites” will not be able to make such a commitment, not until there is a deep societal change among those who make up the oppressor nation and this is fine, because the New Afrikan nation doesn’t need the support of the colonial-oppressor system. In fact, as New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalists not only are we actively seeking to resist all oppression and the malignant sickness of the colonial oppressor-system but we are striving to build our own independent nation that would enable us to provide our people with food, shelter, clothes, education and other such essentials for Our own self-determination.

In closing, i want to express that i know there will be many who vehemently disagree with what has been said and will assume that i’ve taken this “wanna be” to a whole other level and i am laying the foundation for the New Afrikan identity to be hijacked by “white” people. My response to you is this:

Let me hasten to point out: By “New Afrikans” i don’t mean “black” people. i mean those who came to identify their nationality as “New Afrikan,” and who thus exhibit the consciousness and embrace the values and philosophy… those who pursue the goals of the “New Afrikans.” To me, to be a “New Afriakn” is not about the color of one’s skin, but about one’s thoughts and practice. i know that not everyone agrees with this, but that’s their problem…“(2)

Free the Land
Da Real One

Postscript: It’s only right that i give a clenched Fist Salute and a sincere thank you to the Komrad Triumphant of T.E.A.M.O.N.E & The Brow Box Collective for being so instrumental in my political development as a New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalist. Thank you, Komrad, you walk it how you talk it.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend this comrade for making a public self-criticism following the feedback ey received from us and further study. We are all in the process of transforming ourselves, so engaging with others with shared goals, who have studied dialectical and historical materialism, is a necessary and ongoing part of all of our political development. We cannot change society without changing ourselves. We have a short study pack on the theory of Intercommunalism, which is the ideology this author has promoted in the past, if others are interested.

One of the main reasons we officially began using New Afrikan in place of “Black” was for the reason this comrade gives.(4) Similarly we have come to use Euro-Amerikan more consistently in place of “white.” The terms Black and white have their place and are still used and understood by the masses, but using them too much reinforces the racial constructs of the oppressor as this author explains.

In our study of the recently released Collected Works of the Black Liberation Army we also came across their very explicit inclusion of all revolutionary people into the Black or New Afrikan nation. Again, the author rightly offers some caution here. And we’d go further to stress the historical errors that have been forced onto oppressed nations by integrating with oppressor nations in the revolutionary struggle. We also believe different oppressed nations face different conditions that often warrant separate parties, while recognizing their struggles to be the same overall and favoring as much unity as possible. The answer is going to have to be determined in each situation. But clearly we must stand by the principle that (Euro-)Amerika is an oppressor nation and an ally of imperialism and not a base for revolution.

Notes: 1. for a review of this book see: Wiawimawo, May 2011, Education of the Nation, Under Lock & Key 20
2. James Yaki Sayles, 2010, Meditations On Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, Kersplebedeb and Spear & Shield Publications.
3. A California prisoner, February 2017, To Identify as White is to Identify as Oppressor, Under Lock & Key 55
4. MIM(Prisons), November 2013, Terminology Debate: Black vs. New Afrikan, Under Lock & Key No. 35.

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[Black Lives Matter] [Principal Contradiction] [National Liberation] [Revolutionary History] [National Oppression] [Political Repression]
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Stripping Black History From Prisons

“What makes you think you DESERVE to celebrate Black History Month”- SIS Officer at USP Tucson

These were the words that were spoken to me a few years ago, here at United States Penitentiary - Tucson, shortly before I was illegally put in the SHU (Special Housing Unit) for 40 days.

Before this incident, i was the Secretary of the Black History Month Committee here for three consecutive years, and had more experience in the committee than anyone else over the last five years. But on this particular year, as I reflect back on this, the Education Department did absolutely nothing for us in preparing for Black History Month. We were promised the resources, but as we worked from November of the previous year to February of that next year, we found that when it was time to promote Black History Month, there was nothing set aside for us to carry out any of the activities promised.

We had nothing.

I am writing this now, in February 2024, and I am again at the realization that USP Tucson, from the Warden on down, refuses to allow us to celebrate our history. Not one memo, not one event, nothing is scheduled to celebrate our history, and I can’t help but reflect back to that day where a Caucasian SIS officer (Special Investigative Services) had the audacity to tell me, to my face, “What makes you think you DESERVE to celebrate Black History Month”?

What we are seeing is a stripping not only of Black History, but of identity as well. Prisons are mandated to help rehabilitate people, and one way to do that is to reinforce their identity. There is a certain level of pride that each individual gets when he or she knows that they are part of a greater group of people. I speak as an African American, but this also applies to every other nationality, from Native Americans to Mexican Americans to even Caucasians. When prisons strip us of an identity, it makes them similar to how slaves were treated in our American history.

The slaves brought to America came with nothing, and were systematically stripped of everything they once were, and degraded to a level of inhumanity that surely is an abomination to God. Has much changed in 2024, when prisons continue to practice slave tactics?

In that year we didn’t have Black History Month, I was upset at this, and began to do what I always do… write. I wrote essays about how staff deliberately sabotaged Black History Month, and intended to mail them to the outside world.

But a Caucasian staff member in Education read my works, and refused to allow me to have them back, after I had printed them. She called them “inappropriate.” I questioned her as to why I cannot have my works, which actually I have a right to have.

Her first answer was, “Well, I was with (the staff member), and you don’t know what you’re talking about”-

Wait! I am the SECRETARY of the Black History Month Committee!! I keep ALL the notes! How is this Caucasian woman going to tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about?? At this point, I was already getting angry at how I am being challenged of my First Amendment right about MY history.

Her second excuse was that I can’t have it back because I made multiple copies. This too, was bogus, because even though the general body of the letter was the same, it was very clear at the top of each copy who I was sending it to. Her argument was based on that you could not make exact, identical copies at the same time – I had every right to make three copies if they are going to three different entities.

Her third argument was, “If you want to write a grievance, you can get a BP”. This also was a lie, and what she now was doing was curbing my right to the First Amendment, shifting me to use a VERY flawed grievance procedure. What she was doing was quite illegal.

So, upset, I went back and wrote a new essay, “Is (staff member) Breaking The Law?”. I used Federal Bureau of Prisons policies, legal cases and other resources to prove, without a doubt, that this Caucasian officer was intentionally blocking me from sending these letters out.

When she read my essay, she called for backup, and the SIS officer came, took me out to the hallway and threatened to put me in the SHU (Special Housing Unit). He said, “I know how to play this game”, and then, as I tried to make my case, he said the quote I started this essay with.

My answer to this Caucasian man… “I don’t think a white man can tell a Black man, who has been the Secretary of the Black History Month Committee the last three years anything about his history”.

To this man, and to many Caucasian officers here at USP Tucson, we don’t “deserve” to celebrate our history; we don’t “deserve” to have an identity. Yet, they are quick to take vacation on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday.

The last several years here at USP Tucson, the Warden has blocked attempts for us to celebrate our history. Even now, as we came off a malicious and retaliatory 36-day lockdown, after refusing to give us stamps to mail our loved ones, after filthy showers, after feeding us spoiled peanut butter, after limiting our phone calls to a single five minute call a day, after at least three deaths due to medical neglect, and as many homicides – staff here at USP Tucson will not relent in their treatment of human beings in this prison.

It’s not just Black History they are stripping from us . . . it’s humanity they are stripping from everyone. When prisons refuse to acknowledge the captives as human beings, when they ignore the simple basics of human kindness, when they condone illegal acts done by staff, and do nothing about it, they have transported the entire environment backwards two hundred years.

It’s funny, that incident with the Caucasian officer in Education and the SIS officer happened, as I write this, about 5 years ago… those officers still work here. They were never punished in any shape or form for their prejudiced views. I however, was put in the SHU for 40 days, then found guilty of a bogus charge. It took me at least six months to appeal to eventually have that charge expunged, based off simple information that, if the Caucasian Disciplinary Officer had read, she would have thrown the charge out. But after my appeal to her during my hearing, she said to me:

“I just don’t believe she would lie to me”.

So, because I’m Black, and a prisoner, I lose the argument simply because my opponent is a Caucasian female that is a staff member. My level of equality as a human being is stripped, because my status as an prisoner is inferior.

We won’t celebrate Black History Month here at USP Tucson, because staff apparently don’t believe we “deserve” it. So, I’ll celebrate it for everyone here, and refuse to let this prison strip me of my humanity. That makes them less of a human than me.


MIM(Prisons) responds:Understanding history is about understanding where we came from and where we are going. This is the real power of history that the oppressor has tried to keep from the oppressed for hundreds of years. The system is happy to promote an identity for prisoners – one of people who are not deserving, of people with less rights, of people who are less intelligent. There are many identities we can take on, positive and negative. We do not promote a “white identity” because that is the identity of an oppressor. As communists we identify with the Third World proletariat – that is the revolutionary class of people under imperialism that offers solutions and a path from oppression.

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[Palestine] [Idealism/Religion] [Principal Contradiction] [ULK Issue 84]
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Are I$raelis Israelites?

The illegal, inhumane, and barbaric war of genocide taking place against the people of Palestine must be addressed from a historical perspective without fear of retaliation or being “white balled” by the white supremacist and neo-fascist power structure.

FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real, and there is nothing more false than the Khazarian Settler-KKKolony in Northeast Afrika (Canaans) posturing as the descendants of the ancient Israelites and committing mass genocide against its melanated population.

Revolutionaries, community activists, and all good-hearted people cannot afford to tiptoe around this issue. To continue to call these people “Israel” is to continue to perpetuate a blatant lie and become co-conspirators to one of the greatest frauds and identity thefts in modern day history. They are not Israelites and have no historical connection to the land. They are invaders who have seized control of the major means of production – backed by U.$. and British imperialism – and turned Palestine into a neo-KKKolony where its people must fight for their national liberation and self-determination. Just as AmeriKKKa is an imperialist empire consisting of neo-KKKolonies fighting for their self-determination from their invaders, conquerors, and oppressors, Palestinians are doing the same.

These invaders, like every other rapist, abuser, and tyrant, have the audacity to blame the victim for their victimization when they decide to stand up straight so that their oppressor falls off their back. They claim everything was going well until several members of Hamas decided to invade their territory and kidnap and murder dozens of innocent “Israeli” children, wimmin and men. I’m pretty sure all rapists think that their savage actions are going well until their victim gets hold of something to defend themselves, and fight back!

History is often defined by its conquerors, and especially when that conqueror is in control of the propaganda networks, they are able to shape the narrative for the future generations to come. These Khazarians are no exception! We must collectively, through international solidarity, diametrically oppose the systemic lie that they have introduced to the world through religion, geo-politikkks, the mis-education system, and the media.

The falsification of consciousness is so prevalent that they have conceived the world that people can actually be anti-semetic against them, when in fact:

  1. There isn’t even a son named “Sem” in all of the Torah. Noah had three sons: Shem, Khem, and Japheth.

  2. “Ashkenaz”, a name which at least 90% of these modern day Khazarians identify themselves as, are descendants of Japeth (Gen. 20:2-3), Since they, by their own admission, are not Shemitic (descendant from Shem’s bloodline, not “religion”), no one can possibly be “anti-shemetic”, “anti-semetic” or whatever else you want to call it.

Words matter. Historical materialism matters. “Anti-semetic” is a politikkkal term they’ve developed in order to prevent those who become conscious of their international zionist agenda from speaking out or engaging in the growing struggle against kkkapitalist exploitation and white supremacy of which they are dead at the center of.

Khazarians in 740 began to practice much of the spiritual discipline, culture, and way of life of the Hebrew Israelites. History reveals that prior to this decision these Khazarians were already at war with Arabs and Muslims from 642-652 and again from 722-739 in what is called the “Arab-Khazarian Wars”.

When the Khazarian Kingdom began to decline, the national identity of the Khazarian people got absorbed by other European nations that they amalgamated into, but holding on to the only thing that would always be able to identify them no matter where they ended up so that one day they could come back together and resurrect their Khazarian empire: “Ashkenazi Judaism”.

During the Moorish rulership of Southern Spain, the great Hebrew Israelite chief minister of the Caliph of Cordova, a diplomat, scholar, physicians, and financial advisor, Hasdai Ibn Shaprut, shared multiple correspondences with King Joseph of Khazaria where Joseph admits that his bloodline and that of the Khazarian people go back to Japheth not Shem!

The reason this is so important to point out is because it destroys the lie that they are some “chosen people” based on spiritual text, with some divine rights of dictatorship over Afrikan people and other people of color. What is going on in Northeast Afrika is not a war between the “white” descendants of Isaaq and the “black” descendants of Ishmael – it is a war for national liberation against foreign domination… period! They have perverted the text and twisted it for their own opportunistic benefit.

To continue to allow this to go unchecked and label people who are actually descendants of Abraham “anti-semetic” – rather Hebrew Israelite and Hebrew Khemite – will allow those who are actually being “anti-shemetic” to continue to drop hundreds of bombs on innocent people who just want to be free. Since 7 October 2023, a little over 2 months ago, the Khazarians have murdered over 20,000 Palestinians! And I understand the reluctance of some people to speak this truth. The world has witnessed what these imperialists have done to the Nick Cannon’s, Kanye’s, and Kyrie’s, not to mention the Afrikans and others who dare to speak truth to power. But all oppressed people everywhere have a humyn right to resist KKKolonialism – white supremacy. We have an obligation to our ancestors and a responsibility to our children to say that oppression anywhere affects us everywhere!

Whenever Europeans are oppressing people of color, just already expect them to come up with a clever word in order to cover up their savagery, while at the same time discouraging you to extinguish the fire of your revolution. That is what they’ve done, and that is what they will always do! They will call your response “reverse racism”, “woke theory”, “anti-semetic”, etc. But as a conscious Hebrew Israelite and a dedicated New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist, I say it’s time to call it what it is: Revolutionary Justice!


Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: We have much unity with this comrade’s conclusions regarding the role of I$rael in the world, and the relationship of oppressed peoples to I$rael as an arm of the U.$. empire. This article validates some of the things we wrote in ULK 79 about the overall alliances of the New Afrikan masses who are followers of Black Hebrew Israelites(1) and in ULK 80 on Kyrie Irving and Ye(fka Kanye West).(2)

We are not scholars of ancient civilizations, and will not try to set the records straight here on the history of Khazarians. What we do know, is that similar ideas to those above have been used by conspiracy theorists who believe that Khazarians have controlled the world for 100s of years, even calling people like the Bolshevik revolutionaries V.I. Lenin and Joseph Stalin Khazarian Satanists. Clearly such ideas have strayed far from historical materialism into the realm of fantasy. Therefore we caution the author above, and our readers regarding these ideas.

Certainly there is much to be learned by studying ancient civilizations. But what we won’t learn is who is controlling things in our world today and why. And while the bible has historical value, it is not a document of factual history. I$rael today exists by the grace of U.$. imperialism and its military industrial complex. We must attack Zionist oppression, without succumbing to idealistic thinking. Conspiracy theories that attempt to explain all of history are such idealistic thinking, that serve to disempower the masses at the hands of an all-powerful oppressor.

While playing with the words of the fascist conspiracy theorists, the author above does not fall into these traps in what ey wrote. Ey correctly points out that European settlers are using anti-semitism as a shield to their genocidal project in the interests of imperialism. And we join em on the side of the oppressed nations against imperialism.

1. MIM(Prisons), October 2022,Some Discussions on Bad Ideas Pt. 1, Under Lock & Key 79.
2. A New York prisoner, January 2023, Sorting Out a Defense of Kyrie Irving, Under Lock & Key 80.

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[Palestine] [National Liberation] [U.S. Imperialism] [Principal Contradiction] [ULK Issue 84]
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The Significance of the Palestinian Liberation Struggle

In the United $tates, prisons mean war against the oppressed nations. In occupied Palestine, war means prison for the Palestinians. Two sides of the same blood-stained coin which built the richest empire in hystory. Imperialism considers war to be a legal method of resolving issues, in deeds if not in words.

The struggle for Palestine is a national liberation struggle. The only consistently revolutionary class that may overthrow the bourgeoisie is the proletariat, but imperial domination can unite a whole nation against their occupiers for the establishment of independence. If independence is a precondition for the dictatorship of the proletariat, then Palestine’s struggle is revolutionary and progressive. If I$rael is an arm of imperialism, then the Palestinian struggle against them is revolutionary and progressive. Leadership of the proletariat in that struggle would intensify its revolutionary character, but it is revolutionary even without the proletariat in the vanguard. When Palestinian communists align themselves with all revolutionary forces against I$rael in a united front, that is a correct policy. We have a clear hystory on this subject, and this practice is what led to the victory of the Chinese people in creating the most advanced socialism yet.

We in the United $tates face the strongest enemy in humyn hystory, and I$rael is an arm of the United $tates in the Middle East. Everything which weakens I$rael weakens the United $tates, which puts us in a stronger position. Our comrades fighting in Gaza today are putting us in a position of advantage for the final victory of the oppressed in Occupied Turtle Island. To oppose the struggle in Palestine is to oppose that which objectively weakens our enemy, to leave behind real friends who are fighting real enemies.

“Leftist” support for I$rael in this war is often concealed by a position against Hamas. This anti-Hamas, but allegedly pro-Palestine, sentiment is often based on the supposedly inhuman crimes that have been committed. On top of this being a complete deflection from the primary question of imperialism, the claims surrounding such crimes as the decapitation of infants have zero evidence behind them. Even bourgeois press has shown that the claims are based on videos which show no beheadings, only IDF soldiers claiming that the events occurred.(1) Media campaigns in support of imperialist interventions can go much further and be many times more difficult to uncover than what we are dealing with here. This is a particularly obvious example of an imperialist lie, and the propaganda will not always be so easy to see through. Therefore, in addition to exposing blatant falsehoods, we also need to be able to separate what makes a movement an ally or enemy and what doesn’t, and be able to understand what line the media is attempting to push when they tell a particular story.

The media will tell us that Hamas is committing heinous crimes, killing babies and civilians. We need to ask why they are deflecting from the principal contradiction in the world today. We need to ask who weakens empire, and critically support those who do. We need to ask who strengthens empire, and make ourselves their enemy. That is what it means to understand what is principal and what is secondary. Contrary to popular belief, the moral position of communists is not to do with concepts like eternal justice and true liberty. Communists have one moral position: we are for those actions which strengthen the international proletariat. We understand that the work of Hamas as a whole strengthens the international proletariat. Therefore we understand that they are the allies of the oppressed and we align ourselves alongside them.

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free

  1. https://www.snopes.com/news/2023/10/12/40-israeli-babies-beheaded-by-hamas/
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