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Conquering My Demons

“(We) MIM Should not excuse behaviors that could have been avoided with asexuality. It must weigh the costs of being non-sexual.” - MIM Theory 2/3

Transforming the criminal mentality into a revolutionary one means also fully confronting bourgeois culture, morality and its justification for the existing society, i.e. bourgeois rule. This bourgeois mentality also includes things that aren’t necessarily “criminal” but definitely constitute crimes against others and from a proletarian perspective and for our aims is at the very least counter-productive if not counter revolutionary. Sadly, as Wiawimawo stated, due to us being products of this decadent society we all enter the Revolution with some amount of sickness. Some suffer from drug addictions, some selfishness and extreme individualism, others idealism, patriarchy or even out right misogyny, e.g. “Fuck a Bitch” or other forms of sexism. Most “criminal” lumpen glorify gangsterism and are quite infatuated with gang culture even when pretending to be about unifying the block…. But regardless, we all enter the revolutionary process with ways of the “old society” especially since it hasn’t gone anywhere.

The above quote is from a Comrade who ultimately died due to a lifetime battle with drugs. Yet this is a quite Revolutionary and apt quote and this comrade’s life is also apt for this discussion as it shows no matter how advanced we become and even how authentic our walk, we will always be confronted not only with the broader bourgeois society and its fucked up music, culture, morals, world out-look etc etc ad nauseam. We still are likely to have to confront and check our own bourgeois demons. But the above quote could be applicable to revolutionary Walkin’ in general if any of our behaviors could be avoided simply by avoiding self-indulgence if our goal is truly revolution then we should practice abstinence in that regard whenever possible.

I personally have never came to jail sober and have done all manner of anti-social behavior “under the influence” since I’ve been in prison I’ve yet to get drunk. For me this was so stark it was no choice at all. Additionally other counter-productive behaviors were also not so difficult for me to conquer or at least consciously struggle against. Yet for all my talk I was quite chauvinistic and I’d say misogynistic in actual practice and this is something I’ve struggled with since I was in elementary.

There was a time when I rationalized my misogynistic behavior – I’ve now come to believe this had a lot to do with my inability to conduct consistent communist practice – however, I’m now quite clear that this is simply lumpen and its kissing cousin petty bourgeois personification and practice and furthermore serves only to strengthen counter revolution.

I am not too hard on myself for this late transformation however – every single day in this decadent society we have to swallow, weigh, witness or consciously wrestle with all manner of bourgeois bullshit. Life may be good but this world is truly a nightmare. In these death camps, in a real concentration camp, in slave quarters, in an immigration caravan, in dark alleys and hallways thrash out this imperialist dominated world what people must go through especially when there’s no real struggle to resist and defeat this oppression (as proven by amerikkka’s nuclear bombs) even shadows get burnt… yes shadows were literally burnt into the ground.

Yet I’m now quite clear on my need to confront this as it is simply another tool the state can use to divide, dismiss or exploit real revolutionary work. This always makes me think of focoism, its attraction is “to go out on a high note”… I understand this quite well. I also think this is why lumpen and petty bourgeois youth in the semi-colonies often have a hard time with revolutionary ideas, party’s and practices as all they know is immediate release, this in addition, is why so many Rev’s succumb to self-obsession or self indulgence’s. But once I accepted this is simply lumpen/petty bourgeois bullshit behavior it was easier for me to confront it as any good homie, friend and especially “comrade” should know s/he is not only a reflection of the community, party, professed ideas etc he/r can also undermine, expose or bring harm to he/r person, community, or just their ideas which for a revolutionary communist must be unacceptable.

I speak in general terms because specific failures, flaws, addictions or internalized petty bourgeois (wanna be big bourgeois) bullshit isn’t new to the movement and once I realized how destructive (counter-revolutionary in fact) my failure to totally transform and practice my all too parroted “self discipline” – something as stated I’m quite adamant about “Walkin my walk”… Yet I gave the enemies a free tool to use against me and against us – again I do know why for some focoism is a “natural release”… working w/ ideas and for “long-term goals” especially in isolation of an active movement has been the death of many good Rads and whole collectives especially where self-discipline requires we police things that we once considered quite natural or even which is common practice for others but the state has made it taboo for us.

I read an article in The Abolitionist (Summer 2022) where a captive was released and days later his parole agent came to place an electronic monitor on his ankle which he knew would be a condition of parole, but still days later after she placed the “E.M.” on him she called and explained he will be allowed out the house 6:00am-10:00am and this should be plenty of time “For you to handle your business”. I couldn’t help but think how after 10:00 it would be unlawful to walk to the corner store or park, to go to school, work, to date, build community ties etc etc and how his actions will be a reflection of larger class forces and struggles where if he failed it would set back the opportunity for someone else to be released on “E.M.” supervision and to succeed he would need all the self-discipline in the world not to look out the window at 11 see a friend or interesting person come outside to talk and walk with them to the corner…I imagine all the lawful things a Jew in Nazi Germany or slave in amerikkka was forbidden.

Amerikkka exploits and sanctions the world so its unlawful to aid Cuba, to encourage oppressed people to keep their resources for themselves, to disrupt military supply chains or even expose what the government is doing to the public. On 22 August 2022, KPFA Radio’s “Letters and Politics” had a canadian Marxist scholar on who the host asked “isn’t it an advancement that we have a better life thanks to capitalism?” (this was the gist) The Marxist scholar replied “Yes”(even under the new mode of production we don’t want to lose those “freedoms”) and conceded this as advancement. Yet I contend both the host and this Rad suffered from self-deception. I think Huey’s “intercommunal” line was bullshit – to say nations don’t exist – but capitalism has infact now transferred and transposed the class struggle from core countries to exploited countries largely on the global south so whole countries live the bourgeois life to one degree or another, and the proletariat is now largely confined to their own powerless “nations.”

So for so many others they make do with left over bourgeois scraps. I saw a documentary a while back about how the U.$. was sending its plastic and metal scraps to the Third World as part of its neo-liberal deals with them – just as now Biden can promise less greenhouse gas from U.$ corporations “in amerikkka” but will never say they can’t offset this by reckless disregard for the oppressed nations. Part of the question to the canadian Marxist was also a statement that slavery is no more “thanks to capitalism” to which the Marxist agreed, hence his statement we don’t want to lose those “freedoms” but slavery very much exists outside of the “shiny city on the hill”, outside the gate they root through U.$ trash like pigs looking for mushrooms, women still are very much oppressed and yes slavery, I repeat, still exists. Yet they’re always judged by the standards of the exploiters and defenders of the city gates who gladly lower the drawbridge for the returning army with its war booty.

I stopped drinking because I get drunk and have no inhibitions, no fear and no rationalizations. Likewise I wrestled with self-indulgences “because they were denied” and I too have absolutely no respect for the enemy. Even when drunk I’ve never intentionally hurt anyone I loved, never fought my friends, never stole from loved ones etc, but not so for a perceived enemy, or if I felt I deserved something, or revenge was called for. All this was obviously before I became a revcom. But I know where it all came from and what it represents, its lumpen/petty bourgeois sentiments struggling with social, dictates that “I’m nothing,”“We’re nothing,”“You can’t have,” “You don’t deserve,” etc etc. But I know, because I couldn’t control it, I’d have to leave it alone. So now I’ve arrived rather late, at a similar conclusion of another thing I must deny myself due to how it can never be a resolvable contradiction (for me). I think it was jesus who said (according to grandma’s bible) that if your right eye causes you to sin cast it out. If a revolutionary could paint the mystical soul it would be a macabre creature… stitched and resewn on wings, scars, busted knuckles etc etc.

I am quite clear on a few things and the utter failure of capitalism-imperialism and its rule is one of those things that I have much clarity on. Will I slip up? will it be as easy as alcohol for me? will the enemy be able to conspire against me? will there ever be any normalcy in my life? will it always be ad hoc salvaging? will revcoms ever beat back lumpen/petty bourgeois culture and ideas to be the undisputed voice for the semi-colonies? I may never know these things we may not like all the answers to those things, but I’m quite sure there’s millions of people who like me will never forgive this system for what not only it’s done to the world or ourselves but the choices and contradictions we’ve been forced to wrestle with due to its rule and its utter disregard for our humanity will never be forgiven and whose dogged focus is to bring about a Revolutionary Communist World.

Amerikkkan media feels compelled to state each and every time election talk is brought up that it’s the “Big lie” to claim it was stolen and to be unequivocal about Putin and Russia’s invasion as to the cause of the war in Ukraine and to be clear on the need to support Ukraine’s effort to win the war, it makes sure it always says it was a coup attempt on Jan 6 and that Amerikkka is a democracy. All this because truth is important. One of my favorites is Ben Fletcher who is a petty bourgeois radical who says it’s right to defend Ukraine simply because its unlawful. I wish I could search his writings talks etc but I’d wager dollars to donuts he has never said arms should be shipped to Palestine to defend against or push out Israeli troops, not even New Afrikans should arm themselves to fight back when pigs kill us nor although he says he said it was wrong to invade Iraq etc I’d bet he never said Iraqi’s should be aided to kill U.$. troops or he or any “leftist” in KKKville should support the counter-insurgency I’d bet had he and his ilk done so it would’ve had an effect on secular forces so now only Islamists are given a voice and many even long for the klan to return.

The labor aristocracy and other layers of the bourgeois here are quite in lock step. The only questions are which bourgeois party will win elections or steal them. We are looking at fascist forces, wars, possible world wars, environmental devastation, national oppression and we daily witness the consequences of what having a shining city on a hill entails and what it forces on others to do to survive not being a part of the in crowd, but this is no one’s concern and misleaders like the media or “Labor Leader” Ben Fletcher can only parrot Democratic or anti-Republican talkin’ points and even so called communists or at least “Marxists” can not see beyond bourgeois horizons.

For these reasons we must shore-up our ranks and connect with the broader proletariat movement. As its quite clear we will be in the wilderness for sometime, only practice and work will forge us ahead and conquer our bourgeois and lumpen demons. We can not be idle, not in prison, not school houses, not under capitalism-imperialism. They’re not idle. Steel sharpens steel. Proletariat morals and practice forever taken to a new level. These last paragraphs are not a mis-step; I contend we defeat our demons when we keep bourgeois morality clearly juxtaposed to proletariat morality and ideology. They currently are running laps around us here in amerikkka. Most people can conceive of “the end of the world” but can’t conceive of a New World with new social relations and a new mode of production that they themselves must work for and this is our failure to own.

Yet in this answer we can show a new type of Revcom responsive to the extensive body of work of real Maoism and revolutionary practice. Unbroken macabre spirits on display and in motion will never win over someone like Ben Fletcher the Mis-leader, nor bourgeois media but we can clearly show the dividing line between bourgeois (lumpen included) and revolutionary-proletariat-feminist-nationalists. This could be quite a powerful thing, and because there’s larger forces at work, if nothing else, self-discipline and revolutionary “consistent” practice at the very least may deny the enemy another victory.

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[Theory] [Polemics] [Idealism/Religion] [ULK Issue 79]
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Some Discussions on Bad Ideas Pt. 1

A core aspect of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the bond between theory and practice. For instance, there is a theoretical analysis of the labor aristocracy in the imperialist countries and the practical application of that theory is not organizing around labor aristocrat interests. There is a theoretical analysis of building independent institutions among the masses; and the practical application of that theory is building United Struggle Within grievance campaigns, building Maoist prison study groups, building peace between lumpen organizations through the United Front for Peace in Prisons, etc. There is a theoretical analysis of revolution; and the practical application of that theory is boycotting elections, refusing to use armed struggle as a bargain chip and instead see it as a necessity, etc. These are just some broad and simplified examples of the relationship between theory and practice to paint the picture. Incorrect practice and incorrect theories go hand in hand: one strengthens the existence of another.

The main purpose of this article is to start a series of articles akin to the “Ongoing Discussion on Organizing Strategy” series which started among USW comrades.(1) The series has been productive on maintaining a two-line struggle within the USW and the overall prison movement, and delves deep into the many questions raised in organizing behind bars. We hope to bring that energy of discussing strategy and tactics of Maoist organizing behind bars to that of political line both inside and outside U.$. prisons. These bad ideas aren’t dividing line questions (such as the labor aristocracy question or the class nature of the Chinese Communist Party in 2022) that MIM(Prisons) struggle with other communist organizations through polemics. Rather, these are day-to-day bad ideas and attitudes that many people take up within the communist movement (even good comrades). They enforce liberalism during line struggle, and stunt scientific thinking. Let’s begin.

1. Defending Revisionism Through One’s Laurels and Clout

One example of this was when Joma Sison repeatedly refused to acknowledge the national contradiction as principal in the United $tates, and communists refused and still refuse to criticize due to his historically integral role in the People’s War in the Philippines.(2) Communists don’t look at persynal laurels or prestige when it comes to criticism; everything and everyone that partakes in bad practice and bad beliefs is targetable for criticism. If the Sison defenders said “historically and currently, the United $tates’ principal contradiction has always been class and is currently class” then perhaps there will be more legitimacy for line struggle and discussion albeit it still being a chauvinist and revisionist take. However, what does Joma Sison being a historically great revolutionary leader that rectified the errors of the Communist Party of Philippines in the 60s-70s have to do with the fact that the current United $tates’ society has developed around the oppressed nations in a historical materialist manner?

Now if a former neo-nazi prisoner who joined the United Struggle Within brings up how the white workers are the masses, then bringing up his past identity as a neo-nazi would be more relevant in criticizing this individual comrade to the correct line from an incorrect one since his past practice as an Amerikan First World lumpen could influence his current politcs. Ultimately, bringing up his past errors (or victories even) is only a small part of criticizing the comrade, and ultimately it’s the combating of that idea and political practice that will be the final nail in the coffin of getting rid of that bad line from that comrade’s thinking and most importantly the overall movement. A part of this problem contains in identity politics, which leads to the next point.

2. Incorrect Handling of Identity Politics

Identity politics has been a hot topic among communists with some seeing it as non-antagonistic with Marxism and with many joining the conservative reactionary bandwagon of fascists ranting about “woke” culture and post-modernism. The classic Amerikan value of pragmatist empiricism (the idea of the only way to truly know anything is through directly experiencing it) is antithetical to Maoism, and it is our stance that post-modernism and identity politics can be looked at it the same or adjacent manner in terms of philosophy. The Maoist doctrine of cadres learning from practice and the masses learning revolution through waging revolution can become Amerikan pragmatism if we aren’t careful.

Today in 2022, this pragmatist empiricist idea is popular among the oppressed nations represented in popular day-to-day slogans such as “don’t speak over (insert a particular oppressed group)” and “stay in your lane” when a person not belonging to a certain social group (gender, religion, sexuality, nation, etc.) is talking about issues pertaining to said certain group since they don’t directly experience that group’s existence. Some revisionists see no problem with identity politics and post-modernism, and think that identity politics and post-modernism must be a good thing because the fascists are complaining about it and complaining about it must mean one is a fascist. Other revisionists have straight up adopted national chauvinism. When the masses criticize the communists with “a lot of communists are racist and don’t really care about black/brown/indigenous people” these chauvinists resort to taking up fascist talking points and attitudes against identity politics and post-modernism.

It is an important Maoist doctrine that post-modernism and pragmatist-empiricism are both unscientific capitalist garbage that poisons the masses. It is another Maoist doctrine that the masses under oppression will go to the current superstructure of the enemy (capitalist philosophies, capitalist institutions, the capitalist state, etc.) during times of oppression. When communists have failed the masses of the United $tates for 400 years by supporting the white workers and putting the national contradiction beneath white worker interests at best and attacking oppressed nation masses alongside the white workers at worst, then perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised when the oppressed nations go to classical Amerikan pragmatism and post-modernism of relying on lived experiences and changing discourse instead of dialectical materialist thinking and revolution. This is especially true for the case where the oppressed nations are majority labor aristocrat as well – the class where this ideology grows the most ferociously amongst.

The communists have failed in Afghanistan with Soviet revisionism, so the Afghan masses went to the existing superstructures within the semi-colonial, semi-feudal nation such as Jihad instead of people’s war. Instead of lambasting the Afghan (or in this case the Chicano, First Nations, and New Afrikan) masses, perhaps communists should get their heads out of their asses, and try to appreciate why Jihad/pragmatist-empiricism as an idea (despite its reactionary content) is so popular among the masses in the first place.(3)

One interesting thing we see as a Maoist prison cell is that identity politics tend to be less popular among prisoners which perhaps shows that the oppressed nation labor aristocracy might go for identity politics for its liberation far more than the oppressed nation lumpen who might go for conspiracy theories or capitalist boot-strap mentality which we see more popular among prisoners and less with the student activist types that concern themselves more with identity politics. This leads to the third point.

3. Hating the Masses for their Reactionary Ideas under Oppression

Identity politics isn’t the only bourgeois idea that the masses hold from the current capitalist superstructure. There are other ideas such as patriarchy, homophobia, pulling one-self up by the bootstraps, voting for the lesser evil, superstition, conspiracy theories, and religion just for starters. When the masses show these tendencies, many communists throw them into the enemy camp and treat them as if they were enemies. For example, a communist student activist type might walk up to a Black Hebrew Israelite and the topic of anti-semitism could pop up. The communist university student will call the Black Israelite a fascist for his views and say the Black Israelite should stay in his lane about Jewish issues. When Mao said that we want politics in command and political line is principal, he didn’t mean that our friends and enemies are determined by their personal beliefs (whether that be politics, religion, moral principles, cultural traditions, etc.). Mao didn’t say “any Chinese peasant who participates in foot binding should be ostracized from the movement.” And we can argue that foot binding is much more backwards and patriarchal than the common patriarchal/reactionary cultural values held by oppressed nations masses in 2022. In fact, Mao’s method of finding out who our friends and enemies were in China was by looking at a group of people’s relation to the means of production, relation to consumption, and relations to other classes; and through this method he concluded that the Chinese peasantry were friends not enemies despite binding women’s feet so they don’t run away from their husbands being a popular cultural trend among said class.

Let’s look at the New Afrikan labor aristocracy as an example. We can see that the class basically has access to the means of production through its citizen status much like the Amerikan workers in 2022 (dead labor of third world proletarians; higher wages gained through super-exploitation of Africa, Asia, and Latin America; ability to buy and invest in stocks; etc.) We can also look at how it consumes far more than the international proletariat of Africa, Asia, and Latin America; but consistently consume less than its Amerikan counterparts such as how New Afrikan labor aristocrats are disproportionately more likely to live under the country’s poverty line compared to Amerikan labor aristocrats. We can also find out how its relations to the Amerikan labor aristocrat are far more hostile than friendly as the poorer an Amerikan is the more likely they are to hold extreme chauvinsit views (i.e. rednecks).

However, as embourgeoisfication of the New Afrikan workers solidified during the later half of the 20th century, their relation to the migrant proletarians (and migrants in general) of the Third World became more hostile as well: previous contradictions which were relatively non-antagonistic such as that in relation to the Mexican/Nigerian/Caribbean migrants are more antagonistic in our current day. So with these factors in mind, we can argue that this class of people (yes that includes the Black Hebrew Israelite with anti-Semitic tendencies) have interests for revolution against Amerika but might be more reserved when it comes to internationalism and involving the class in it self with other nations’ liberations. This is compared to the Hindi proletariat who will be far less wishy washy as a class in involving themselves with the struggle of the Dravidian proletariat when reaching class consciousness. So in conclusion, with proper political organizing the New Afrikan labor aristocracy would be a friend of the revolution.

Instead of this method of finding out who our friends and enemies are, most communists consider friends as people who have the correct takes on an xyz issue most people don’t even care about and enemies as people who hold reactionary views. One source of this ideology is how Amerikan culture promotes individual thinking and behavior as the mover of history rather than class struggle. With this mindset, racism is a problem started by individual Amerikans thinking and behaving racist and will end when individual Amerikans cease thinking and behaving racist. The Maoist method on the other hand sees that racism is a problem that was brought to inception by remnants of feudal European aristocrats (a class of people) stealing this land at gunpoint and trickery from what would become the modern First Nations, and enslaving what would become modern New Afrikans and militaristically invading the Mexican nation’s land, solidifying what would become modern Chicanos all for the various Amerikan classes’ interests (whether that be the big capitalist class, the small business owning capitalist class, or even the common Amerikan worker).

The Maoist solution is for these national contradictions to be resolved through the oppressed nations overthrowing Amerika through revolution. These historical events of Amerikan land conquest, slavery, and genocide were also crucial in acting as primitive accumulation for global capitalism-imperialism in general not only for Amerika. There is no modern day $outh Korea, Japan, Au$trailia, I$rael, $audi Arabia, Kanada, and so on without Amerikan slavery, Amerikan land conquest, and Amerikan genocide. Therefore proletarian dictatorship must be established to resolve this contradiction as well as overthrow of Amerika. But because of individualist Amerikan culture, national chauvinism is something treated with tone and etiquette led by student youth tired of their parents’ old backwards ways. This leads to the fourth problem.

4. The Sub-Culture Problem

Many newer generation communists have begun their politics through the internet. The original MIM was one of the first communist parties to have a website and put credence in the importance of the internet. It certainly is a politically important tool if it’s a major way youth are becoming interested in Lenin, and how all the imperialist governments partake in it in different ways from the FBI surveilling political internet forums to the Chinese Communist Party banning entire social media outlets. However, what the old MIM didn’t predict is that communist groups on social media aren’t the ones that primarily influence kids to read Mao Zedong and study the Black Panthers. Communist groups are far outshadowed online by memes, twitch streamers, tik tok spheres, instagram pages, internet forums, and the likes when it comes to converting kids to communism than communist organization internet presence. This has given rise to the problem of communism becoming more akin to a sub-culture talked about on social media sites like twitter and reddit than a political movement. Different political stances from Maoism, Trotskyism, all the way to Stirnerite Anarchism cease to become guides to action, but a thing to put on your bio. Various people’s wars and nations at war become more akin to fandoms for TV shows to obsess and argue over rather than a movement to popularize and create awareness for. Political line ceases to become a belief and action that one takes, but a take one has so they can get on the algorithm. Line struggle turn into flame wars with no purpose of uniting with others, but exist only to express one’s individual self for the cathartic feeling of having the correct line.

In day-to-day real life, communism might be becoming less and less pariah’d in the eyes of the average Amerikan; but communism itself is becoming more and more revisionist, more and more toothless, more and more a pop culture joke, and more and more a harmless icon of a once revolutionary movement that became hijacked by the bourgeoisie after its death, as Lenin spoke of. We took 20 steps forward and a million steps back when it comes to fighting against anti-communist culture leftover from the red scare era. Turns out Amerikan individualism was far more of an obstacle in making Maoism popular than the legacy of McCarthyism.

We shouldn’t throw away the internet with the bathwater as it indeed took a certain part in making the oppressor nation Amerikan youth become interested in revolutionary politics, but we should also be acutely aware of the sub-culture problem. A single New Afrikan, [email protected], or Indigenous member of the masses understanding the Maoist concept of reform and revolution and practicing to boycott the elections while not calling themselves communist nor wearing red armbands is 100 times more valuable to us in spreading popular support against imperialism than 300 college students with a Stalin portrait in their dorm rooms who thinks the white worker is a friend.

Conclusion

Many of these problems can only really be solved through the development of our movement as a whole. Even writing and publishing this article in Under Lock & Key can only do so much. Our dedicated prisoner comrades who read this will certainly be influenced, and perhaps they will get more insight as to the problems of the “activist” scene that they will be adjacent with once they get out; but when it comes to student youth abandoning Liberalism or the masses on the street taking up scientific thinking, it is up for the MIM (and not just the prison ministry) to develop and go to the masses as Mao said. For our readers and supporters outside, we challenge them to set up geographical MIM cells or work with MIM(Prisons) to develop the modern MIM. For our readers and supporters inside, we list these problems of the movement to stay sharp and aware once they get released.

Notes:
1. starting in ULK 73, prisoners write in for a copy of the full series
2. MIM, Applied internationalism: The difference between Mao Zedong and Joma Sison.
3. Wiawimawo, January 2016, Islam a Liberation Theology, Under Lock & Key No. 48.

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[Theory] [Idealism/Religion] [Education] [ULK Issue 79]
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Are Ideas in a Book Materialist?

learning from experience
This drawing is a response to one of the questions from our intro study program on the materialist method of knowledge
[Responding to “What did you disagree with?” when studying “Where Do Correct Ideas Come From?”]

I disagreed with the basis of idealism not being action. To think is action. Thought can be provoked by stimuli collected by the body’s sensors, which is more reactionary. Or you can create a thought or an idea, but this is action. Mental action nonetheless but action all-in-all. And it must be understood physical action comes from mental action. As I write this I understand the materialist method is physical action. Well I guess I don’t have a disagreement but rather a question, is ideas placed on paper in book format considered materialism?


Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: As comrade Melo X explains, we can have thoughts that are reactions to physical stimuli, or we can create thoughts. But this “creation” of thoughts is also a response to the physical world. What we might call reason, abstracts concepts based on our experience with real phenomena, or physical things we can interact with.

“the faculty of understanding is not a ‘thing in and of itself,’ because it becomes real only in contact with some object.”(1)

Dietzgen explained how the idealists see the mind as separate from the sense perceptions of the material world. So Melo X is correct to see the unity between them. The comrade also distinguishes creating thoughts from more passive perception. This realization demonstrates the role of reason in developing scientific understanding from our perception of the physical world around us.

We also agree that our thoughts impact our actions. Hence we stress class consciousness as an educational process that is a product of our interactions with the class system.

So, are ideas in a book part of the materialist method? Well, it depends on what ideas. A book can promote contemplative reasoning. Bourgeois books will promote bourgeois thinking that harbors much idealistic reasoning in order to deny the contradictions inherent to the capitalist system. All that said, 99% of our materialist understanding of the world is based in history, and therefore must come from books (or other historical record). If we discarded books in our scientific pursuits we could not continue to build on the knowledge of the past, but would be stuck relearning the same things with each generation.

It is a crass form of materialism that says everything must come from persynal experience and direct interaction with the physical world. Rather we must learn from the actions of the people who came before us, and as we develop new theories they must be tested by us in practice through action and not just tested in our contemplative, subjective minds. Another way to look at this is that books are recorded practice and direct experiences of other people. Frederick Douglas’ writings are from eir practice with chattel slavery, and Lenin’s writings are from eir practice with the first proletarian revolution. When we say that all knowledge is 99% history, we’re not saying we should spend all our time learning using books but to see it as a starting point so we can make new practice in the future.

Notes:
1. Joseph Dietzgen, The Nature of Human Brain Work: An Introduction to Dialectics, PM Press, 2010, p.58.

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[Economics] [Principal Contradiction] [U.S. Imperialism] [Africa] [Theory] [ULK Issue 79]
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A Look At the People's Struggle In Ghana: How Capitalism Exploits

“We can’t afford rent and we’re sleeping outside. The youths are jobless” -Yaw Barimah, Ghanaian taxidriver

In late June 2022, street protests erupted in Ghana’s capital city, Accra. The above quote matches the general feel and demands of the masses who took to the streets. Most lay persons are aware of the current effects of inflation on the daily lives of the average people. Many of us have not made the necessary connection that such inflation and other tricks capitalists use to increase the amount of surplus value extracted from the populace, are inherently apart of the internal dynamics of capitalism itself. Our failure to understand this brings our protests, and dissent to a screeching halt once the point of economic reformism is reached.

In countries dominated under imperialist neo-colonialism, such as Ghana, the weight of economic exploitation is maximized. As conditions sharpen, the exploited classes of Ghana are beginning to stir. On July 4th four teacher’s unions went on strike in opposition to the neo-colonial government’s refusal to pay ‘cost-of-living allowances’ of at least 20% of their wages.

The government holds the position that due to ‘Annual inflation’ now reaching 27.6% and the accompanied reduction in value of the Cedi(1), they’re unable to pay this allowance. The system of imperialism works in a way that parasitic countries like amerika hold economic hegemony over Third World countries like Ghana. This allows for the U.$. currency, the dollar, to dictate the value of the national currencies of Third World countries. What this means for the Ghanaian and other Third World workers is that because their wages are paid in money, the national currency, the amount of their pay, although the same on paper, is devalued along with national currency.

Month-on-Month inflation rates for the Cedi

So the exploitation of the Ghanaian worker has intensified. Their labor is still required to be done at the same rate, same hours labored, same amount of labor, and same wage paid. What has changed is the value of their labor power; with inflation, the amount of cedi it takes to maintain the worker’s needs is greater. Yet wages have not increased, or not increased as much.

To allow the common people to overstand our common interest in overthrowing capitalist dictatorship it is necessary to understand and breakdown plainly, the inner-working of capitalism and how it effects the lives of the people.

In Ghana, as described above, and many other places around the world right now, the mechanism being used by capitalist exploiters is the depression of wages. This generally occurs when the wages of the worker are below the value of their labor power. Labor power here means human work, the sum total of a person’s physical and mental effort.(2) Labor power is the primary factor in society’s production. Uniquely however, only in capitalist society is labor power a commodity.

The process of commodification of labor power manifests itself in two conditions: (1) The worker is ‘free’ in that they can ‘choose’ to sell their labor as a commodity. (2) The worker owns nothing aside from their labor power (what the mind/body can produce). They have no means of productions, or means of living and must sell their labor power to live.

Therefore, what we know as ‘employment’ in the capitalist economy consists of capitalists buying the labor power of the laborer and converting them into hired slaves.

The exploitation of workers is examined by the advent of surplus value. The degree of exploitation is examined by the rate of surplus value. The capitalist devises ways to maximize this rate of surplus value, which brings me back to depression and deduction of wages.

To comprehend wages, we must first overstand that wages are a ‘disguise’. They are a way to fool the people into thinking they’re getting equal value for their labor.

Marx said, “wages are not what they appear to be. They are not the value or price of labor, but a disguised form of the value or price of labor power.”(3) Therefore the capitalists notion that they pay the worker the price of their labor is completely fabricated.

A key in understanding political economy is to comprehend the distinction between labor and labor power. Under capitalism what the worker is selling isn’t labor, but is labor power, which is capable of being commodified, while the former (labor) isn’t.

The next logical question is why? why is labor not a commodity? Commodities exist in their final state prior to being sold, labor doesn’t. Also commodities are exchanged for equal value, according to the law of value. Therefore if labor was a commodity the capitalist should pay the full value created by labor, which would eliminate surplus value (the source of profit), which would eliminate capitalism.

If labor was a commodity, it would have value and that value would be determined by the amount of embodied labor. This can’t happen. How can the value of a phenomenon be determined by the value of itself?

What labor is is the process of labor power. Therefore the wage paid to the laborer is equal to the value of the labor power. In other words, it is the amount required to keep the proletariat as a class alive and working – that is the value of labor power. Whatever extra the worker’s labor power produces above the value of labor power (the wage paid to keep the proletariat alive) is called surplus value and it is what is ‘exploited’ by the capitalist. The wage itself is the chain that binds the exploiter to the exploited. The revolutionary demand must be to abolish the wage system.

The term ‘cost of living allowance’, caused me to think of our need to overstand where the idea of ‘cost of living’ or ‘standard of living’ has its roots.

We begin by concluding that these are two distinctive wages. In the political economy of capitalism, there are nominal wages and there are real wages. Nominal wages are expressed by the wage payment of money.

In our quest to find the ‘cost of living’, we can’t use nominal wages as representation. The cost of living will only be reflected by the amount of means of livelihood which can be bought by the money wage (nominal wage). What the nominal wage can purchase is the cost/standard of living and is called real wages.

Declining value of Ghana’s cedi priced in U.$. dollars

What is taking place in Ghana is that there is a contradiction between the nominal and real wages. The nominal wage is being held in place, while the real wage is in a downward trend, a decline.

“When the purchasing power of money declines and the prices of the means of livelihood go up, the same amount of the nominal wage can only be exchanged for a smaller amount of means of livelihood. Then the real wage falls. Sometimes even if the nominal wage goes up a bit, but less than the increase in prices of the means of livelihood, the real wage will still decline.”(4)

This is essentially what we observe playing out in real time in Ghana and elsewhere. As the above quote alludes to, simple economic reforms like increase in wage will not end this phenomenon, the elimination of surplus value is the only solution. The bourgeoisie will always use the tools of inflation, price increases and rent increases to increase the contradiction between the nominal wage (money paid) and the real wage (what can be bought) to increase the rate of surplus value accumulation (the exploitation of the people).

In conclusion, I want to point out that while the protests organized by Arise Ghana and the work strike by the four teacher’s unions are significant struggles for the daily hurdles of life for the Ghanaian people, the people must be made to distinguish between the causes and effects of economic hardship. When a sick person has a cold and a running nose, they don’t merely get a tissue for the nose without curing the cold itself. The people exploited by imperialism must synthesize the economic and political struggles.

Closing with a word from Marx,

“The working class should not forget: in this daily struggle they are only opposing the effect, but not the cause that produces this effect; they are only delaying the downward trend, not changing the direction of the trend; they are only suppressing the symptom, not curing the disease.”(5)

DOWN WITH CAPITALIST-IMPERIALISM!!!

Notes:
(1) The Cedi is the national currency of Ghana.
(2) Fundamentals of Political Economy, edited by George C. Wang,;Chapt.4,pg.59
(3)K.Marx,Critique of the Gotha Program,selected work of Marx &Engels Vol.3
(4)Fundamentals of Political Economy,chapt.4,pg72
(5)K.Marx, Wages,Prices and Profit, Selected Works of Marx &Engels, Vol.2

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Tasks of the Revolutionary

The task of a revolutionary, regardless of ones political/ideological or cultural leanings, is to make revolution. Revolution is all about change. The biggest change that a revolutionary must undertake is the equivalent to in the religion of Islam what is called Jihad. Jihad is not limited to what most Western religious enthusiasts have been led to believe, the meaning of Jihad goes much deeper than the concept of crusades or mere bombings. The biggest Jihad or battle that one can have is the battle for control over oneself.(als see MIM(Prisons)’s study pack on religion) To the revolutionary, this task is important because he/she has to become the change they wish to produce to the world.

A constant improving of one’s character with the righteousness of ideals that have went through the rigors of tests to be found or rather proved to be correct for the overall ordeal of advancement. Once again before this can be felt by the untapped but potential revolutionary or the dumb, deaf & blind brother/sister clinging to a culture intended to kill them, the revolutionary must make this change (revolution) within his/her own personal character. This is what should be used to provide an example for others of whom we are trying to reach. This also however leads us to the conclusion that people no matter the fact that we come from common ways of living & thinking, are still each different.

This statement doesn’t mean that I subscribe to individualism, because true revolutionaries think from the communal mindset. However, since we are far removed from that concept, we must find ways that are productive to lead one to the communal mindset that already exists in us naturally. The idea of individualism is one of the main obstacles to overall community change, because we’re not acting as organisms moving together for the betterment of the body (society). But that doesn’t mean that all aspects of individualism are wrong, for example, “each according to ability.” So while some may think of us all developing the mind of the commune will lead us all to thinking like the Borg from Star Trek (everyone thinking the same thing), I see it more like the Smurfs. Yes the Smurfs. They had a unified community, accompanied with everyone playing a specific role. This way shouldn’t just be relegated to one’s own political vanguard or the military brigade. We have to find some means of communicating these ideals to everyone. Since we all share a common enemy, all of our efforts have to revolve around crushing that threat.

If we relegate ourselves to constantly battling over which of the communal methods hold the stronger validity, we’ll all end up moving in our own directions & probably never initializing the changes that we are the basis of our citizenship within these groups. We’ll more than likely continue to develop the mentalities they would like for us to develop, which will ultimately reduce us to caricature. All opinions are not equal & there is such a thing as counter-productive revisionism. Our vanguard elements are going to have to develop the use of Democratic Centralism. This process however must be done without the bitterness & rancor that can only come from egoism. In fact egoism must be crushed, because great man personalities have no place in revolution. Revolution, whether politically or through armed struggle, is all about the altering of a society that is crushing the life force out of all of us, this is not an individual problem, once again it is communal!

Dialectical materialism is all about examining things within their total sequence & seeing the pros & cons in the struggles of the past. The obvious reason is to better equip ourselves from suffering the same fate as a result of the same failures of our previous brave brothers/sisters engaged at trying to crush the outside enemy culture & to utilize whatever methods may be useful to strengthen what we already have. A constant improvisation still needs to be done, but this doesn’t mean that we should stop studying people’s war. We have to study the principles of people’s war & learn to interpret them to fit our overall situation here. Most wars of liberation took place in the countryside of their respective lands. Our situation is different in that Amerikan settler-colonialism is modernized & at least 80-90% of Amerika is industrialized, so the nerve centers of this nation are indeed the cities. This means that hip shooting cops are all around us, thus making them easier to reach.

In the opening phases of our struggle for liberation, I feel just as Comrade Jackson felt, that the military proper must be kept hidden & separate from the political front. You see the role of a political revolutionary is totally different than the military who are engaged in armed struggle against macabre freaks. The guerrilla chief is tasked with communicating to his soldiers that they must protect their political peoples at their work. If we let our “voices” die to machine gun fire, no knock invasions, the anonymous tip, political incarceration & even the work of agent provocateurs & class defectors, then our dream of eventual freedom will more than likely die with those brave brothers/sisters. The guerrilla chief however must also have a thorough understanding of the true nature of fascism, the modern industrial state, the economic landscape etc. The reason is that if one group dies or is not as effective the guerrilla chief & his band of revolutionaries can still keep the revolution alive.

As of now our main problem is the fact that our vanguard & military groups have shifted their focus from revolution to clinging to the culture of anti-people crimes. The settler-colonial strategy is law & order which ultimately means prison – our tactic is perfect disorder which leads to the proletariat & the lumpen creating mass disorder to work against the beast (cops) & their vigilante supporters. In 1969, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover declared that “there will no longer be a Black Panther Party in the U.S.” The Black Panther Party was not the only revolutionary group & in spite of popular belief, they were not just a group working exclusively in the interest of Blacks. The Black Panther Party like almost every other revolutionary group, was a communist organization that utilized the principles they learned from successful communist victories, from examples such as Mao Zedong and his Red Book. They formed alliances with many other revolutionary groups and because the Black situation stood out more (& still does) they were thought to be the overall vanguard party to even other political & military vanguards. So the goal wasn’t to just fix conditions in the Black community. That was their primary objective, but they understood that if you just focused exclusively on the black conditions and fixing only our areas, we would have to ghettoize other segments of society that would equal Mexicans, [email protected], First Nations, etc.

To stop the progressive elements of unity among different cultural/revolutionary groups, the establishment caused the leaders of these groups to distrust their own members. This was done by the government from planting spies in these groups, along with wiretaps, surveillance, to out sending letters to leaders that were supposed to have come other leaders declaring war between the groups. The goals the establishment used largely worked and eventually several key leaders either went into hiding, left the country, or were even assassinated while the political prisoners suffered death legally and quasi-legally.

Of course progressive thinking was still held as an ideal in some people’s minds and this led to groups that eventually turned against the community even further by becoming gangs. Community Revolution in Progress became the goal for Raymond Washington and Stanley “Tookie” Williams or Brotherly Love Overriding Oppression & Destruction became the acronym for Blood. These were good ideas and could’ve worked if we had received the freedom first. The freedom I’m referring to must come first in the form of a free-dome because our situation was more psychological than physical. This means that our minds were created for the sole purpose of getting us to act against our even better interests. This shouldn’t be understated since the mindsets that we have now didn’t exist in communal Africa. These mindsets is what led us to industrializing this country which ultimately our labor was used as the down payment on the system of economics that determines one’s status in this country.

Without the mindsets that we adopted (through long usage) we would’ve long been better equipped at resisting. But since chattel slavery lasted for 400 years and we haven’t been free 200 years, how can we hope to win freedom, especially since once again we are still clinging to the ideas that created our mindsets in the first place? Since it is our design that gave beauty to the world, which should be easy to see since others are quick to pick up on our culture, even sometimes more readily than we are, we must go back to our own design. This could work for the betterment of not only us as a group however, this could be used as a basis to show others righteous examples that could ultimately lead to a change. But it must begin now. For us to delay what must be done today is like asking someone else to undertake to aid us in a liberation effort that must be engaged in by our own efforts.

Another problem working against us is our inability to understand the difference between reform and change. Largely the only righteous peoples who were working for us are the people who were attacked by the outside enemy culture. Anyone else was used because their stance wasn’t revolutionary. I’m not dismissing people like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks etc, but I know that the main reason why they are mentioned over people such as Malcolm X or Huey Newton is their view against the necessity not only of violence and the correct usage of armed struggle, but it also mainly rests with them telling us to escape from the culture that we embrace. Malcolm X’s image is only now used because at the end of his life he was said to have accepted whites. Part of that was true, but he never said they weren’t devils just because he converted to orthodox Islam. What he said was that in his view the devil (white man) could only be redeemed in his opinion through Islam because Christianity has not redeemed them from not only killing us, but also starting wars with other whites.

So people like Martin, through his practice of pacifism and his refusal to go against the culture of Amerikanism, resulted in him winning a few reforms which are only offered to us as tokens, these tokens however are not change. Change is why we are no longer looked at as second class citizens in a world where some are held above others based on racial & economic reasons. His Imperial Majesty who heavily inspired Bob Marley to later embrace Rastafarianism, said that “until the philosophy that the color of one’s skin is as less significant as the color of one’s eyes there will always be war.” The road to freedom means freedom, justice & equality for all regardless of one’s ethnicity, political views, religions, spirituality etc.

We will have this freedom even at the cost of total war. We come to the conclusion that violence to us may be the only recourse. This violence shouldn’t be tied to romanticism, it’s about us altering the conditions that are restricting our passage to freedom. I humbly and passionately respect all the sincere people who gave their life and ideas to produce men like me whose goal is to move further than when they left off and that’s even for those of whom I disagree with. I recognize that passion leads to different outcomes and different results, as long as they were intended to benefit us as a whole than whether I disagree or not I still have the fact that their life force was used to alter the conditions that is for the betterment of our lives as a whole. My stance as a whole is rooted around us globally enjoying freedom, justice & equality. I realize the imperial process is only complete if the parent imperial nation - USA - is strong so I’m all for bringing Amerika down to her knees. Anyone who sincerely has that as a goal I embrace, white or Black I embrace, but it must begin now.

Long Live Guerrilla Chief George Jackson!

Long Live All those Who Don’t Fear Freedom!


Plastick of MIM(Prisons) responds:This comrade here has given us a core learning element of leading the masses by example – a new socialist world and a new human being will have to constantly remove the old world’s reactionary culture and habits.

One thing this comrade has mentioned that we are in disagreement is in regards to fascism. Originally, the comrade has spoke of fascist Amerika which has been changed to settler-colonial Amerika by this responder. We define fascism as a new strategy by the bourgeois dictatorship when it can no longer rule the way it has ruled before. We believe that Amerika is likely to turn fascist through a political-economic crisis which is integral to capitalism-imperialism. However, we believe that the current state of methods such as police killings, imprisonment, and exploiting the majority of the world for superprofits and high level of consumption has always been the way that Amerika has ruled. When this social-democratic strategy of sharing the piece of the imperialist pie to the oppressor nation (Amerikans) ceases to work due to an ever deepening of the crisis, then fascism will indeed come. Up until now, Amerika has maintained relative strength, and Sun Tzu taught us to attack when the enemy is helpless.

Long Live George Jackson!

Long Live All those Who Don’t Fear Freedom!

Plastick

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An Ongoing Discussion On Organizing Strategy Pt.4

Analysis based in dialectical materialism

Within the prison movement there is much talk about ‘political education’ and ‘raising consciousness’. Truthfully, even when We reflect on recent and distant episodes in Our collective struggles against the bourgeoisie, many of us often lament upon the fact that a key ingredient that has always been lacking from Our movements, parties, organizations, and the unorganized masses, is the lack of a systemic and organized framework to political education. Assata Shakur expressed her criticism of the Black Panther Party for the same reason. Veterans of the [email protected] movement i’ve spoke with have expressed the same criticisms, stating that had more deliberate, organized approaches been given back in the days it may have progressively altered the cultural nationalist tendencies of the movement towards a revolutionary nationalist praxis. Yet and still, today We’re still stressing, and rightly so, the paramount importance of political education. However, the question has become, must become, what is political education, how do we apply it, and why is it so important?

Political education takes many forms, and phases, and the correct application of it, or what is paramount for a persyn to know is dependent upon the conditions one finds themselves in. Thus i begin with Fanon,

“It is commonly thought with criminal flippancy that to politicize the masses means from time to time haranguing them with a major political speech…But political education means opening up the mind, awakening the mind, and introducing it to the world…To politicize the masses is not and cannot be to make a political speech. It means driving home to the masses that everything depends on them, that if we stagnate the fault is theirs, and that if we progress, they too are responsible, that there is no demiurge, no illustrious man taking responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people and the magic lies in their hands and their hands alone.” (1)

Now as i was saying conditions will determine quite alot. So it is the line of USW, and many others, that amerika is a settler-neo colonial imperialist empire, and as such holds actual nations of people subjugated, meaning their/our self-development is thwarted, within its borders as well as in the Third World.

Hystory indicated that this line is right and exact. When We recall the process of how amerika was established we understand that it (nation of euro amerikan settlers) settled upon this land, removed, and committed genocide against the native nations of people, some of which are still among us today. So those (the indigenous) are just one group of nations within the borders of amerika, which We call the First Nations. Of course We all know about the forced migration of millions of Africans, and We know they underwent slavery at the hands of those same settlers, as did some Natives. What We often fail to analyze is that slavery, is only an economic system, it is a mode of producing social value, however, to describe the plight of the African people in amerika by mere economic lingo alone is highly insufficient. What is the term that would encapsulate the experience of the economic exploitation, social and political repression that the African people in amerika eventually triumphed over? Slavery? No, servitude? No. That one word which encapsulates that struggle is COLONIALISM.

Well, what the heck is colonialism? Quoting from the Black Liberation Army Political Dictionary;

Colonialism - foreign domination of a country or a people, where the economic, political and military structure is controlled and run by the occupying force. (2)

So African people residing in the United $tates are not merely the offspring of enslaved people, but a colonized people, and because of that diametrically opposed nature of a colonized people to its colonizer, the African people residing in amerika developed organically into a nation, that is a people distinct from the settler by its culture, its language, its land, and thus We call this nation today New Afrika, but others call it Black Amerika, or Black nation, or a host of other titles. No matter the title New Afrikan people are deep down aware that they’re distinct and separate, but the reality of a nation within an empire doesn’t register to some, to most, after a substantial time frame of this reality being obscured from the public consciousness.

Having roots in, but eventually developing distinct from the First Nations, there is the [email protected], and Puerto Rican nations/colonies. Overtime all these domestic colonies subjugated by the settler amerikan empire have developed thru struggle, and have reached a new and different phase of colonialism, called neo-colonialism, which can be characterized by the power structure now formally allowing representatives of these oppressed peoples to integrate into the economic, political and military structures, and in many ways act as a buffer between the ruling class and the masses of neo-colonized people.

This brings me back to Our discussion on organizing, and political education. See, depending on what We organizing for, one will require different political understanding. Fanon says,

“A political informed [person in a colonial situation] is someone who knows that a local dispute is not a crucial confrontation between [them] and [the system]”

“It is the repeated demonstrations for their rights and the repeated labor disputes that politicize the masses.” (3)

So basically what Frantz Fanon is saying here is that first one must understand they are indeed colonized, and this understanding disallows them from settling for any ol’ concession that can come from a ‘local dispute’. And here when he says local, We can put it in Our immediate context and understand it to mean, ‘prison struggles’.

What does this mean? It essentially means that We utilize, and in fact manufacture these ‘repeated demonstrations for their/our rights’ as a means to politicize the masses. However, if We are organizing the masses utilizing such demonstration alone We run into a few pitfalls. The one which i’ll deal with here can be understood by the old saying, “Be careful what you ask for you just might get it.” So in Our context, in the prison movement, what happens to the momentum of the masses, of the people as a whole if We as organizers manufacture a or a few demonstrations and the administration actually concedes? If the masses don’t understand the complexity of Our situation, that We’re colonized, dehumanized, an alienated sub-class, the dregs of the society, and that not only must these realities change, We must change within Ourselves, and We must take part in changing these realities, then the masses the people will quit the struggle after what they’ve perceived to be success, and they’ll resume their normal ways of existence. This pattern is counter-productive to the cause of revolution. We must at all times possible keep the masses active, and that activity pertaining to the struggle. Fanon said, “The colonized subject is at constant risk of being disarmed by any sort of concession.”(4)

So an understanding of what Our issues are, colonialism, neo-colonialism or racism, or individual wrong decision making, will determine the strategies and tactics We take moving forward. If We begin Our study of literature proceeding from the perspective that We’re colonized nations of people, We study how anti-colonial struggles have developed, failed and triumphed around the world. Furthermore We realize that unless an action fundamentally eradicates Our colonial existence than it is only a reform and does not solve Our fundamental problem(s) which stem from Our thwarted development under neo-colonialism. Thus We don’t even seek certain reforms, or concessions, and the ones We do are to advance Our strategic goal.

The question now becomes again HOW to maintain the masses attention before, during, and after demonstrations? The answer leads us to ORGANIZATION. Those who have a study level of political vision must take the initiative in forming real organized organizations. Within these organizations leaders should allow for activities to be carried out by the rank & file and must be sure that activities assigned to a comrade are in alignment with the talents, interests, and abilities of said comrade. In this way one keeps the masses involved and engaged. If able weekly or bi-weekly meetings should be established. Minutes should be kept of the meetings, meaning, write down what you’re doing, what you’re talking about, what are the plans going forward, etc. At said meetings each comrade should have a progress report, which entails what they’ve been doing since the previous meeting.

If a comrade can draw, they should be assigned something to draw. If a comrade can write, they should be assigned something to write. If a comrade has a typewrite they should be tasked with typing up the documents of the group. In fact it is good to take up one project that the entire collective can attribute to. Say a pamphlet, of course you need writers, We need art work, and We’ll need a typist, We’ll need some donations of stamps to circulate it to publishers, and in this way every one not only feels involved, but more importantly feels that immeasurable feeling of accomplishment. In understanding the complexities of Our class (lumpen) We must understand a lot of us have not accomplished much of anything in the way of real world accomplishments. A lot of us have been caged, stagnated in a state of arrested development, since Our pre-teen and teen years, and thus are persynally under-developed in many ways. This feeling of accomplishment motivates and inspires one to continue to chase that good feeling, and particularly when the feeling is derived from doing something productive, it overtime alters a persyn internally, and this is what We, as revolutionaries especially within the lumpen class want most.

Organizations in their many varieties are the vehicles of the people and their struggle. Vanguard elements must seek to organize all aspects of the people’s struggle, all aspects of the people’s lives under their leadership and influence. This doesn’t mean everyone has to or will be a member of a particular leading organizational body. What it means is that organization must make itself seen & heard & felt in each aspect of the people’s lives. The musician they listen to should be expressing some theme derived from the organization. The farmer should have the organization’s line on collectivizing agriculture and land. The prisoner and their family should know that the prisoner, if deemed capable can/will have a place of refuge, work, and re-humanization with the organization. The womyn must know she has a group trustworthy and capable to care for her kids collectively, and ensure her access to safe abortion if necessary. Those in the LGBTQ community must feel at one with the organization, enabled and empowered.

In a nutshell the proper organization will galvanize the popular masses of the people, educating and organizing the most capable from every and all sectors, and from there synthesize the aspirations, and ambitions of the people’s struggle with practical and concrete measures to realize these objectives.

With the formation of Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E., the Texas USW re-branded, We have formed the vehicle for the Texas prisoner’s struggle. We have thus far established multiple wings which can/will be used to activate the stored away genius of the masses. We have the legal wing for those writ-writing jailhouse lawyers, a space for like minded cats to put their heads together to attack certain aspects of the system that can help us better build the movement. We have established, in its early stages, a wimmins & LGBTQ wing, which is again an avenue for certain people to step up and utilize what they already know how to do, in concert with the rest of the organized body to get what We want. We’ve established the Worker’s wing a lane where people around the state can collectively struggle for worker’s rights, and incorporate those struggles with the others and in combination gain bigger gains…We’ve established and/or influenced the establishment of numerous committees with the members therein playing roles in the ‘wings’ mentioned above. In all this We’ve done well in applying lessons learned from MIM(Prisons), and some of Our own experiences, thus synthesizing theory & practice.

It must be said however that We have made many mistakes. We began organizing as Fanon said, around demonstrations. We learned in practice, some of us without ever having read Fanon, that the masses, and Ourselves could easily get complacent after concessions are made. The mistake came by not initially focusing on ideo-theoretical questions. We had to learn that the truth of the matter that prior to any organization the people in question must sit down and individually intake information, after a certain amount of information has been accumulated they must come together and discuss their findings and thoughts, establish their points of unity, modes of organization, and other such matters. Of course this isn’t to say that all organizations come together like this. Many take on a more spontaneous approach to development and this approach is observed in their style of work.

The re-occurring theme will always be political education, the need for it will never cease, and the need to bring all the people to an active level of consciousness, that is a level where they can be/are active in the struggle.

In Our campaign to end RHU, it was selectively chosen for a multitude of reasons. One of which is to show & prove We can shut it down if & when We organize Ourselves and the people correctly. Because of conditions that prevail in long-term isolation, many of the most radical and politically astute people are in or have been in long-term isolation, if We could multiply those types of elements, and then get them out on the pop city We can make conditions more conductive to politicizing more and more prisoners sending more and more of these to the outside. To illustrate the contradiction that despite the various levels of illegality present within the solitary confinement apparatus, it still continues, and yet We’re the so-called criminals. There is of course the fact that if We can eliminate the punitive answer for dissent then We leave the enemy with little recourse once Our collective resistance picks up. In this way We take a tool out of their tool kit. However, the underlying goal is simply to shut seg down, what if they just capitulated and gave us what We wanted? What becomes of the struggle then? IF that was Our actual GOAL and not a MEANS TO AN END, then Our entire struggle would have been defeated, at least temporarily, not by bullets, or bombs, but by sugar-coated bullets, by concessions, by reforms, which weaken the intensity of contradictions rather than increase them. Mastering this delicate balance will determine the successes and failures of Our organizing methods.

“At first disconcerted, they then realize the need to explain and ensure the colonized’s consciousness does not get bogged down. In the meantime the war goes on, the enemy organizes itself, gathers strength and preempts the strategy of the colonized. The struggle for national liberation is not a question of bridging the gap in one giant stride. The epic is played out on a difficult, day-to-day basis and the suffering endured far exceeds that of the colonial period. Down in the towns the colonists have apparently changed. Our people are happier. They are respected. A daily routine sets in, and the colonized engaged in struggle, the people who must continue to give it their support, cannot afford to give in. They must not think the objective has already been achieved. When the actual objectives of the struggle are described, they must not think they are impossible. Once again, clarification is needed and the people have to realize where they are going and how to get there. The war is not one battle but a succession of local struggles, none of which, in fact, is decisive.” (5)

An Ongoing Discussion

We’ve picked this discussion back up, as some of us felt that somethings were still left unsaid or unclear.

We’ve articulated previously that one’s method to organization is logically dependent upon one’s goals, and also one’s circumstances or conditions. It is Our view that the conditions and circumstances being what they currently are in North amerika, the lumpen-prisoner class is a highly dynamic entity. This class, Our class is also a vacillating class, meaning its members can be like see-saws, moving from one side (revolutionary) to another (reactionary) as their emotions and whims take them. However, We assert that the other classes of North amerika have become so bourgeoisified that the social vehicles for social revolution are so slim to none that the last objectively repressed class in amerika, the class that still has little to no stake in the bourgeois democracy, is the lumpen.

We’ve reached this conclusion by analyzing the social forces and classes within North amerikan society. Observing their material benefits of being cozied up to their bourgeoisie. We’ve observed how and why social movements only advance so far, being largely unwilling, or sometimes unable to carry the struggle to higher levels, due to a certain level of comfort in the status quo. And We logically look to Our own class and see that these factors, though still present are vastly diminished. Therefore, arriving at this class analysis We say that it is most conductive to Our goal of social revolution to invest time and resources into the lumpen in order to politicize them, and that investment should be in proportion to the classes potential to lean towards a revolutionary line and practice.

Now We reach the basic question, how do we maximize the dynamic potential of this vacillating lumpen class? How do We ensure that the majority of lumpen are progressive, neutral, or all the way revolutionary and not objective enemies of the people? The answer again points to ORGANIZATION. The only way to maximize the people’s initiative in general and the lumpen in particular is to formulate them into tightly organized units/groups. The lumpen struggle is a class struggle, and thus We must organize the First World Lumpen on a class basis.

What does this mean, what does this look like? What is a class? There is often mention of the prisoner class, or a particular class of prisoners. However, very rarely do comrades utilize class in a Communist framework.

A ‘Class’ 1) shares a common position in their relation to the means of production; common economic conditions, relative to their labor and appropriation of the social surplus; 2) that they must share a separate way of life and cultural existence; 3) that they must share a set of interests which are antagonistic to other classes; 4) that they must share a set of social relations,;i.e. a sense of unity which extends beyond local boundaries, and constitutes a national bond; 5) that they must share a corresponding collective consciousness of themselves as a ‘class’, and; 6) they must create their own political organizations, and pursue their interests as a ‘class’ (6)

We must also clarify that Marx differentiated between a ‘class in itself’ and a ‘class for itself’. The difference between the two can be summarized by saying that a class in itself simply shares a common economic position but lacks the other listed criteria. Whereas a class for itself is an entity fully organized and meeting all listed criteria.

Therefore, what We are saying here is that We must organize in a manner that will bring the lumpen from the level of class in itself, to the elevated level of a class for itself. Our organization should be modeled in a way to obtain the collective mobility, ingenuity, and potential of the lumpen as a whole. We must ‘nationalize’ these structures, meaning expand them state-to-state, with each one developing its own relative strength locally.

The next question is how do We get there? How do we reach this point of mass participation and organization? We’ll quote Fanon here:

“The duty of a leadership is to have the masses on their side. Any commitment, however, presupposes awareness and understanding of the mission to be accomplished, in short a rational analysis, no matter how embryonic.” (7)

Here he stresses the basic conscious political education of the people. We continue:

“The people should not be mesmerized, swayed by emotion or confusion. Only [under-developed people] led by a revolutionary elite emanating from the people can today empower the masses to step out onto the stage of history.” (8)

I’ve put the above in bold to illuminate certain mistakes We often make. We often capitulate to the weaknesses of the masses in Our good intended desire to win them over. One of the weaknesses of this sort is the masses never-ending desire to be entertained. This desire almost always precedes from a desire to escape reality, and when done too much establishes a state of complacency with oppression and exploitation and undermines revolutionary or productive/progressive activity. When We reach out to the masses We often make the mistake of trying to move them into immediate action with a fiery speech, with the showing of the video of the latest police killing, or whatever We believe may move them. Although We have good intentions this method has hystorically proven inadequate for carrying out revolution. Instead, because it relies on emotions, which fluctuate, the activity it renders, if it renders activity at all, is necessarily fluctuating, and vacillating.

We can see this in real time if We observe the ebbs and flows of social movements in North amerika. George Floyd’s taped murder shook people emotionally. It awakened pent up anger and frustration from many sectors. People took that, and nothing else, no political education, no political organization, no political vision, only anger and frustration into their protests, and rebellions, and uprisings. Soon, the only people left in the streets were politicized people. Anarchists, Socialists, Abolitionists, and this sort. The masses however, had long since retreated back into the comforts of their amerikan life of escape, and leisure, isolating what was then allowed to be percieved as extremist/terrorist elements.

This what Fanon calls the ‘weakness of spontaneity’ showed its face. We must learn from this. In the quote above the ‘under-developed people’ are those masses of North amerikans. They reside in the land of excess, material excess, but the land of political sleep-walkers. These are the people Fanon says must be led by a REVOLUTIONARY elite. Now what does he mean by this? Because of the under-developed state of the people’s sociopolitical consciousness, those cadre elements who’ve struggled to grasp the complex concepts of political-economy, and revolutionary theory, although not desiring to be perceived as an elite, meaning above the rest, they actually do represent a higher stage of development, and in that context ONLY are they ‘elite’. The key phrase of the quote is the necessity that these ‘elite’ emanate from the people, meaning they must be one of their own, or perceived as such. The cadre-organizer must take care to balance its level of understanding with the level of the masses. There will be a contradiction between these masses and the politicized persyn, there should be, but this should not be an antagonistic contradiction. The people should be able to look to you for example, not look at you in disdain. As one might do to someone who thinks their shit don’t stink. Now we move to exactly HOW does these cadres, EMPOWER THE MASSES,

“…On the condition that We vigorously and decisively reject the formation of a national bourgeoisie, a caste of privileged individuals. To politicize the masses is to make the nation (or class) in its totality a reality for every citizen. To make the experience of the nation (or class) the experience of every citizen.” (9)

“Only the massive commitment by men and wimmin to judicious and productive tasks gives form and substance to this consciousness.” (10)

“No leader, whatever their worth, can replace the will of the people, and the national government, before concerning itself with international prestige, must first restore dignity to all citizens, furnish their minds, fill their eyes with human things and develop a human landscape for the sake of its enlightened and sovereign inhabitants.” (11)

It is Our intention as USW leaders in Texas, as Tx T.E.A.M.O.N.E. cadre, to have Our organization act as a vehicle to organize and mobilize and educate the masses of lumpen in North amerika. We hope you will be inspired to join us.

Sources:

1) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.138, chapt.3

2) Black Liberation Army Political Dictionary, pg.4

3) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.63 chapt.2

4) ibid, pg.90, chapt.2

5) ibid, pg.90, chapt.2

6) see; Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire; also Karl Marx, The Holy Family;also, Meditations On Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, James Yaki Sayles, pg. 286

7) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.140, chapt.3

8) ibid

9) ibid

10) ibid, pg.144, chapt.3

11) ibid

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[New Afrika] [Theory] [First World Lumpen] [ULK Issue 76]
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Get the Sleep Out Ya Eye

A comrade responded to the article “Oh So You Woke” in ULK 73:

“In this article the author criticizes the likes of Angela Davis and John Lewis. neither Ms. Davis nor Mr. Lewis were agents of propaganda for the bourgeois as the author implies, but rather they were committed to the struggle and spent many years on the front lines. As far as penetrating the police and other arms of state imperialism/control, someone is going to fill those roles. Is it better us or them? WE must attack the status quo from multiple fronts – from the inside as well as the outside. WE need more Angela Davises and John Lewises.”

I do agree with the comrade that WE do need to attack the status quo from multiple fronts but when one of our own lumpen falls into the lines of reformism and revisionism while on the road of revolution or liberation, instead of being a die hard non-compromising, non-settling, give-me-death-if-I-can’t-have-real-life-liberation revolutionary like Fred Hampton, Bunchy Carter and the many fore Fathers and fore Mothers of our lumpen communities, who died and were imprisoned so that the eternal fire of Freedom, Justice and Equality will never lose its light and intensity in the surviving generations and their children. So they can fight on until that day comes in entirety. Then one has to ask the question … who do you work for?

If WE as a First World lumpen and Third World proletarian revolutionaries have more individuals like Angela Davis & John Lewis, We’ll never fulfill the S.O.P.’s of the UFPP. We’ll be in a state of Reformism and Revisionism, being closely intertwined with imperialism/capitalism instead of overthrowing it.

First and foremost Angela Davis is a major reformist, she was a part of the Communist Party, U$A, where the CPU$A was about that Real Life revolution before the 1940’s but by the 1960’s all their members that took inspiration from Mao Zedong had left the party. After the attempt of Jonathan Jackson of freeing his older brother George Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette (Soledad Brothers) at Marin County Courthouse in San Rafael, CA, was then Angela Davis charged with aiding the attempted escape and placed on the FBI’s most wanted list due to her close correspondence with George Jackson. She was found not guilty after her case was severed from the other defendants like Ruchell “Cinque” Magee who is still locked up in these Koncentration Kamps, while the rally call of the masses at the time was “Free Angela Davis and ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!” Then in 1973 she founded the CP front the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression that REFUSED to come defend Black Liberation Army members facing prison time.

Later on in her “revolutionary” life she got back into academia while still being a huge influence for the CPU$A, where she ran twice for Vice President of the U$A. She supported Democratic presidential candidates, like Joe Biden, to pressure them when in office to the CPU$A’s Khrushchevite peaceful transition into socialism agenda or the Pac-Man politics (biting away at imperialism until it collapses on itself). She also co-founded the Committees of Correspondence with a moniker that points to the CPU$A’s notion that “Communism is 20th Century Americanism.” In her writings and university lectures in the academic realm, she promoted the CPU$A’s reformism and postmodern politics, the basis of this day and age concept of “Abolition,” and not the dire need of armed revolution.

John Lewis is basically the same in the sense with the Pac-Man politics, Abolition reformist movement and post-modernism. Also one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and a leader in the peaceful nonviolent strategy of protest and civil unrest. The “Woke” U.$. leftists, who are the petty-bourgeoisie, praises Angela Davis and John Lewis as saints and the imperialist aided in placing them on those pedestals to be praised by the masses, because they knew with the ideologies and concepts that these two individuals promote will do no real harm to their oppressive establishment. Point proven in the last summer series of protest after the murder of George Floyd and many others.

What real change came from that civil unrest in a real revolutionary way? It’s because of Angela Davis and John Lewis that We have to re-educate and un-brainwash the masses from the concepts and ideologies of Reformism, Revisionism, Postmodernism and the Pac-Man politics with the concepts and ideologies of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism to gain liberation from imperialism through armed resistance and revolution. Reason why it was stated that they are agents of the imperialist propaganda in the article “Oh, So You Woke.” Whether it was intentional or not they step out of the realm of being First World lumpen to the realm of the petty-bourgeoisie and benefited from the transition also. It pays to be famous and in the limelight of the pop culture revolutionary contest, right? Even after being on the front lines where they witness first hand so many of our souljas and leaders lose their lives, placed in exile and/or imprisoned, they settled for positions of comfort for self and appeared to be in the struggle still, instead of being ten toes down in the mud with WE overthrowing imperialism/capitalism to establish socialism, and later communism, nation- and world-wide.

DON’T FALL FOR THE POP CULTURE REVOLUTIONARY HYPE COMRADES.

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[Youth] [Gender] [Theory] [ULK Issue 74]
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Youth Liberation, Not Paternalistic Child Credits

Nancy Pelosi promotes child tax credits to [email protected] in Califaztlan, but is another pay out the answer to the oppression of youth? Photo by: Mario Tama

One thing we heard from those saddened by the police murder of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was that she didn’t get to have a childhood.(1) While nation is most certainly the primary factor that led to the cop, Nicholas Reardon, shooting Bryant, we think gender oppression, and in particular youth oppression, had a lot to do with Bryant ending up where she did on that fateful day.

When people speak of being able to have a childhood, we may think of a time of fun, carefree play, no work, no oppression, etc. Of course most people in the world don’t have much of a childhood in this sense. But in the United $tates many do. So already we see there is some hierarchy involved in this idea of having a childhood, at least under imperialism. We see this hierarchy as the realm of gender because it is a question of leisure time and not labor time, which is the subject of class (see Clarity on What Gender is). But there is also the question of why we must separate our lives into periods of fun and play and periods of work and oppression? And why do we have oppression at all? And how did work become a bad thing?

To answer these question briefly, the relations of production under capitalism are what alienates people from their labor today, so that they feel their labor time is not their time. But as “adults,” most must spend the majority of their waking hours in labor time. While some people want those like Bryant to have the purist, most care-free childhood as possible, we are working towards a whole life that is enjoyable and fulfilling. And we doubt that is possible without a healthy dose of productive labor. The exclusion of children from work for over 100 years in the United $tates has left them with no productive role to play in society, leading to alienation and lack of worth.(2) This alienation and lack of self-worth is reinforced by abuse, and leads to destructive behavior.

As Greyhound points out in eir article on Ma’Khia Bryant, the Soviet Union provided family for orphaned youth through the productive life of the commune. The communes did not work kids to the bone to squeeze out the maximum profits as the capitalists once did in the United $tates, and still do in most of the world. Below we look at some attempts by capitalist Amerika to provide for youth and why they cannot get at the source of youth oppression as well as socialist experiments that have.

Child Credits Pay the Patriarch

With sheltering-in-place during the pandemic and no in-persyn schooling for most children, the question of childcare has received much attention in the United $tates. The answer from the bourgeoisie came in the form of child credits. Amerikan families began receiving these payments in mid-July 2021, for a total of $3000-3600 per family over the next 6 months.

These credits are a market-based attempt to address the problem of adults in the nuclear family spending large sums of money to have their children cared for when they are working or otherwise occupied. These credits put more power in the hands of the adults who get the money over the lives of the children who qualify them for these payments. Money for those who struggle to make ends meet can certainly mean less stressful conditions for their children. The logic makes sense, it is just a backwards, half-ass approach. By the 1960s in socialist China, all children had guaranteed care that was collectively run and offered ways for youth to voice their concerns and avoid abusive situations. This was in a country where a decade or two earlier children were basically sold into slavery. This is the kind of radical change the youth need, that a profit-based system can’t provide.

Punishing Sex Offenders to Save the Family

It is very evident that affection, support and trust in our lives as young people have significant effects on our health throughout our lives.(3) Lack of positive social relationships and experiences has been linked to drug addiction and correlates strongly with imprisonment. Therefore this is a topic very dear to the hearts of many of our readers.

One way we see this manifest in a more reactionary politic of the imprisoned masses is in the strong, often violent attitudes towards sex offenders in prison culture. This sentiment exists outside prison of course, but became part of the prison culture because of the concentration of convicted sex offenders there. As we’ve addressed in the past, this reactionary politic is problematic on the one hand in that it is allowing the state to decide who our enemies are, that in many cases the actions that led to these cases are mild compared to many non-sex-offender charges and in some cases the people are completely innocent.(4) In the United $tates, white males and females, as a group, have treated the Black male as a sexual animal that must be controlled, sometimes by fake rape charges and imprisonment. In other words, some who are convicted as sex offenders are actually the victims of gender oppression, as well as national oppression.

A second reason we say the anti-sex offender politic is reactionary is that it doesn’t offer any real solutions to the problem of the sexual abuse of children. It is an example of why MIM always opposed the slogan “Think global, act local.” If you think globally about this problem of child abuse, and act locally by ostracizing or even attacking those you come in contact with who have (or who you believe have) abused children, you haven’t changed anything if the patriarchy remains. You can confirm this with crime statistics, or just the fact that we live in a society where we know this problem is still prevalent.

Addressing child abuse requires systemic change as the Chinese instituted during their experiment in socialism. Young people need a different system that supports them with things we know people need to grow up healthy; mentally and physically. These things can not be offered on conditions or the whims of one or two adults who control the child’s life. As they say, “it takes a village to raise a child.” And people who are serious about reducing child abuse need to work to build those villages and build them in ways that give young people full access to information, a wide variety of adult support people, including those in power, and access to other youth without the interference of adults. The village should also give repercussions to youth for “bad behavior.” These repercussions should be consistent in order to provide the youth with social guidance and never be used by individual adults to get what they want from children or to take out their frustrations from a bad day. The oversight of a more village-based model must prevent adults from doing such things.

Different Models

What the bourgeoisie offers in place of the village is more cash to the patriarch. These cash incentives make single-parent homes more viable. But single-parent homes are some of the easiest places for adults to molest and abuse children.

The reactionary approach to child abuse (imprisonment and violence) also reinforces the patriarchy, where strong adult men must protect youth from other adult men by physical assault. One critique of this line points out how it views the rights of children the same as the rights of animals in that they must be granted and enforced from the outside.

“pseudo feminists… [accept a] zoological implication that child abuse is going to go on forever, as if… child abuse were inherent in the humyn species, and at the same time external to humyn social relations, like animals.”(5)

The Maoist counter-point then is that child abuse is a humyn relationship that is found within the patriarchal family structure. It is part of the central problem of oppression of groups of people by other groups that we aim to resolve through ongoing revolutionary struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Rather than punishing sex offenders to save the family and “protect our children”, we must replace the nuclear family with communal child-rearing, and empower young people to criticize others in order to stop those who might try to abuse children.

Putting child care in the public sphere will do a lot to undermine the conditions of child abuse. But it does not eliminate the biases of the adult population, especially those that grew up in the old capitalist ways, from miseducating or mistreating youth as a group. And we know that institutional living like group homes and prisons, where many adults are involved in “care” for the youth, are rife with abuse. For these reasons youth must have ways of coming together as a group and voicing their interests as a group, even enforcing their interests as a group in contradiction to the adults that they depend on. l Ruth Sidel produced an in-depth report on Women and Childcare in China as well as in the Soviet Union and the kibbutz in I$rael. In one Chinese school, when asked what you’d do if you found a sick child on the street, a 6-year-old child responded: “i’d bring them medicine and water.” Sidel was surprised the child would not find an authority figure first.(6) What a striking difference in world views between socialist children and how most of us grew up in this country. These children still spent most of their days singing and playing and doing things that we all did in school. Yet, they were taught differently, taught to act and be self-empowered as soon as they were able to physically complete the tasks that might be demanded of them, like bringing another child water, or possibly organizing resistance to an abusive adult.

Some reading this will find the youth helping other youth not so strange because they raised their siblings at a young age. This is another way that peoples’ “childhoods are lost” in our culture; having to take care of other children as a child. It is not that care for those younger than you is inappropriate to carry out as a child, but that you need the support of a community to do so in a way that is not oppressive to your own life and most supportive to those you help care for.

According to the story from Ma’Khia Bryant’s grandmother, the conflict that had occurred among two groups of foster children was over perceived disrespect to the foster mother due to the lack of chores getting done. Most likely the situation was more complicated. But we see how there can be a disagreement over the labor responsibilities of members of a family that leads to violent conflict. This would be very unlikely when people have clear responsibilities, clear and consistent consequences that are enforced by the group for not meeting those responsibilities, and ways to communicate up front with both adults and youth about the roles and treatment of others.

The Roles of Youth in Society

In discussing Ma’khia Bryant’s childhood, we must address the fact that she was 16 years old when she was murdered by a cop because of this conflict. Other 16-year-olds in the area could have banded together to take revenge on Reardon for shooting her. Most members of the Black Panther Party joined in their teens. Bobby Hutton was murdered by the pigs emself at age 17 while on an armed patrol of the police. Sixteen is much more physically developed than six, and would mostly only be limited by legal restrictions like being able to drive or purchase fire arms.

Fifteen was the age when members of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejército del Pueblo(FARC-EP) could engage in armed actions.(7) As the struggle of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF) advanced, they established the Fitewerari to train male youth 14 to 16 years old and females of all ages. They found that training the adult females separate from adult males helped in both groups overcoming the traditional gender roles they had been inculcated with. The youth did not have these challenges, at least not to the same degree.

“In addition to literacy education, political and military training, and running their daily affairs, they participate in production, adhering to the EPLF’s correct revolutionary principle of ‘integrating education with production.’ They practice criticism and self-criticism to rectify mistakes, develop work and strengthen comradely solidarity. Upon finishing training, they are assigned to the different EPLF units and departments to carry on the struggle on all fronts.”(8)

Much has been put into the idea that a humyn’s prefrontal cortex is growing rapidly up until about age 25. The implication being that you can’t quite trust the judgement of those under 25. But this is only one data point, of a biological phenomenon we still barely understand. And along with this data point comes some implications in how younger people are willing to go against the status quo and can change their ways faster. We look to history, to see the transformative power of youth movements, rather than follow current trends in biological determinism based in preliminary studies of the brain.

Towards a World Without Oppression

When Maoists talk about gender, we are talking about a system of power in the realm of leisure time; the patriarchy. In that system, youth are generally part of the gender-oppressed. Though in the imperialist countries, they are likely part of a gender aristocracy, a child aristocracy, particularly those who have access to the idealized carefree childhood.

Similar to the wimmin in bourgeois society, the bourgeois children are relegated outside of labor and exclusively to leisure time. This leisure time is meanwhile structured to serve the pleasure of the man and the interests of capitalism overall. These groups being relegated to leisure time reinforces the divide between leisure time and labor time in society mentioned above. This is one reason why it is hard to imagine undoing gender hierarchy without first undoing capitalism, which would eliminate the sharp divide between labor time and leisure time. Through this process, gender will cease to be so separate from class struggle as it is in the bourgeoisified First World countries. Then our lives as individuals will be more complete, as will our communities.

Youth liberation is part of and dependent on the struggle to end capitalism and imperialism. Youth don’t need more paternalism, they need a supportive village to learn from and the freedom to self-actualize themselves without the fetters of oppression that shape our lives today.

Notes: 1. Greyhound, July 2021, Ma’Khia Bryant: A Murder of An Oppressed Nation Youth Demands Real Solutions, Under Lock & Key 74.
2. Nadine Burke Harris, 2018, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term effects of Childhood Adversity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
3. MCB52, The Oppression of Children Under Patriarchy, MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Imperialism, 1995, p.17.
4. A Nevada Prisoner, December 2016, Sex Offenders Reconsidered, Under Lock & Key 55.
5. Is Calvin Human? and other annoying questions: “Calvin and Hobbes,” zoology, and the oppression of children by patriarchy, Maoist Information Website, April 2009.
6. Ruth Sidel, Women and Childcare in China, Penguin Books, 1982, p.135.
7. Maria Paula Rubiano, 13 July 2021, How to Feed 10,000 Rebel Fighters for 50 years, Atlas Obscura.
8. Selected Articles from “Vanguard: Official Monthly Organ of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front”, Association of Eritrean Students in North America, October 1977, p.12.

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[Theory] [ULK Issue 74]
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Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy, Act Accordingly

“There is nothing mystical, elusive or hidden about real working class consciousness. It is the political awareness that the exploiting class and its state must be fought… that the laboring masses of the world have unity in their need for socialism…” (J.Sakai, Settlers)

It is hard for some to accept that only through an actual revolution against this government and its imperialist allies can this world even hope for peace. In addition, any building, calls for unity or worse still, claims of socialism or revolution that is not in the service of this objective is actually in the service of capitalism-imperialism, i.e. counter-revolution.

Mao said: it is only when there is class struggle that there can be philosophy. And to discuss epistemology apart from practice is a waste of time. Additionally it is only through social practice that we can talk about correct or incorrect ideas at all. Recently bourgeois media have made a big deal of gun violence which is an obvious response to BLM and Defund movements. Additionally, we are all aware of the unprovoked attacks on Asians and now the media and politicians are demanding Cuba not crack down on protest and a promise to keep an eye on Haiti. However there is or has been much protest regarding all these issues yet no real consciousness being transformed. Why?

As J. Sakai states, it is due to the failure to identify our class enemies. Also as Mao stated, our philosophy can only be forged via class struggle. However, the reason I mentioned the above latest media spins is to remind us the enemy sadly never forgets to engage in the class struggle. Obviously that means we (the people) are being routed. Presumably most of the hit squad that murdered Moise in Haiti were trained by the U.$. Rumors are that at least one was previously on its informant pay roll. Cuba is heavily embargoed. Trump alone put 243 additional restrictions on it and Obama and Biden very much kept their imperialist boots on its neck. So Cuba, regardless of how spontaneous the protest is, is very much in the cross hairs of European settlers and their flunkies cross hairs.

When we studied Black nationalism a common refrain was an alleged pronouncement on the entrance of an ancient school of thought in Egypt, “Man, Know thyself.” Regardless of if this is true it simply meant for us to know we had content and value. However, it wasn’t particularly revolutionary, nor even dialectical. And for someone who never experienced slavery it would have been a cliche. However, a more dialectical saying would’ve been first to drop the “man”, and just: “Know yourself and know your enemies.” This is dialectical materialism, this is to understand the class struggle and enter the fight on the right side. I say that because far too many “claim revolution” but don’t participate in any revolutionary activities.

Social-imperialism is another way capitalism-imperialism discombobulates our class by getting us to believe most people here in the belly of the beast are “lost” and can be won over to revolution; that they are supporting the parasitism of empire only because they don’t know any better. This wastes time and it wastes resources. I was listening to Cat Brooks, a “freedom fighter” who is bent on defunding the police. On a 5 way call a brother who did 15 years was saying his org don’t work with the pig at all, but Brooks said they do, “but only limited” i.e. they have a purpose. These calls go along with $15/hr a minimum wage or like Raymond Lotta says $10/hr is a grueling wage. These are conscious calls of the labor aristocracy and my point here is that it’s not just Euro-settlers who are labor aristocracy in ideology, as well as practice. This is why commercial hip hop currently is not a vehicle for change.

However, regardless if these people get more people to pander to their line or not and regardless of if the imperialists share more of their wealth or not this only serves to help imperialism fuck over the people even more. Mao said “utopian socialists” are always trying to persuade the bourgeoisie to be more charitable. Mao said emphatically, “this won’t work” and that it is necessary to rely on class struggle of the proletariat. Clearly this means in this day and age anti-imperialism, self-determination struggles, and a clear line denoting our class enemies and their optimistic flunkies who claim we’re all in this together and people will care about us once they get to know us – must be drawn.

Some say it’s too hard, but as I stated it simply is not. Our “genius does not depend on one person or a few people. It depends on a party, the party which is the vanguard of the proletariat. Genius is dependent on mass line, on collective wisdom,” as succinctly stated by Mao. It is impossible to always be in the trenches together as we deserve, but it is a form of class struggle and perfecting this definitely is a blow back against empire.

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[Theory] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 73]
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Do We Need a Party Yet?

fist and sickle USW

Karl Marx was writing at a time when bourgeois democracy had triumphed, and political parties ruled the day. These political parties represented the various oppressive classes, primarily the bourgeoisie itself. A radical idea at the time was to form a party that was for and by the proletariat.

V.I. Lenin led the first successful project to build a proletarian party, a Communist Party, and take power from the hands of the oppressors and put it in the hands of the oppressed. Lenin left us with many lessons on how to do this, how such a party should be organized and how it should operate. The Party as the vehicle for the transfer of power from the oppressor to the oppressed has been a foundation of revolutionary science ever since.

The Maoist Internationalist Movement began in 1983. In 1990 the first MIM party, MIP-Amerika, was formalized. In 2006, the Party dissolved and put out a plan for a new cell structure for the MIM. In 2007, MIM(Prisons) formed as a cell. There remains no functioning parties within the MIM today.(see Continuity and Rupture: A Counter-Narrative to JMP’s History of Maoism for more on MIM timeline)

A CA USW comrade: “[The journal] Kites hit it square on the head though as MIM has said we really don’t have a vanguard. But I thought Kites’ pointing out a squandered opportunity in 2020 on point. This is our job, to seize opportunity out of the objective situations and especially the crisis amongst the enemy itself. The only thing missing regarding the external factors (we can’t control) is 3rd world revolutionary revolts. But we have no mass support but 2020 should’ve been a god-send for that. And it wasn’t.”

Actually, MIM has never said we don’t have a vanguard. MIM has always said the vanguard is the most advanced political line, which could be held by a tiny organization or even one individual when conditions are very undeveloped. What this comrade gets right is our situation remains very undeveloped.

We won’t get into a deep analysis of revolutionary forces here. We do think 2020 was an opportunity to expand our influence that we could have done more with if we were stronger. But the essential character of the U.$. population did not, and has not changed from 2019 or from 2001. The vast majority in this country benefit from the current imperialist order.

MIM(Prisons) has argued that the cell structure makes sense at this strategic stage, even within a Leninist model, because we are not vowing for state power at this time, or tomorrow. Another USW comrade in Federal prison contends that the lack of a party:

“complicates the task of implementing a totalizing strategy for revolution and building the mass base to carry it forward.”

This comrade argues that we need a united leadership to guide us down the correct road now. We touched on the inherent contradiction of the cell structure in our Reassessing Cell Structure 5 Years Out where we pointed out that it allows for one cell to decide its time to form a party, while others disagree. If only that were the main problem we were facing today.

The question is, do we need a party for a united strategy? And what are the downsides of moving too quickly into a Party formation to try to achieve that? We actually have a question about the weaknesses of the a party structure in our introductory study course. Here are some recent answers:

"B.D.S.: Bad leadership could cause death of the movement

Ocelotl: Easier to target and infiltrate

Iashstiem: Security is more easily compromised

Adonis Salvo: More difficult to control and keep organized and focused

The Sober Souljah: Slacking in security by accepting strangers

F.L.A.V.A. 1: It will bring more of a spotlight on the party depending on its action in the revolution

Anarchy in VA: Prioritizing actions to take

Jups: Snitches/spying break down organization"

The primary answer, and the primary reason given by MIM for adopting the cell structure, was security. The second reason offered by comrades here is a fear of putting all your eggs in one basket type of argument. If we can allow for a diversity of approaches, we have more possibilities for success. This could be especially important in the early phases of our development as a movement. If five people come together and form a “Party” all we have is five self-appointed leaders. MIM(Prisons) often mentions the development of leadership that occurs through the forced self-reliance within small cells. It is when we have cells around the country who can elect leaders to represent them in a Party that such a project becomes viable.

A CA prisoner comments: "I was very impressed with ULK’s answer to the Potash book on Tupac. Until now I did not know that anyone other than myself was aware of the extent the intelligence community is involved in eliminating dissidents of their empire and the psychological warfare against civilians in the U.S. thru COINTELPRO and other intel ops against civilians. I was astonished to have my innermost suspicions confirmed by ULK. With the elimination of our leaders, we can not succeed thru unity, We must adopt independent cells as a model as you are obviously aware, every time a potential leader arises that can restore basic human rights and dignity and even freedom itself, the U.S. government is quick to eliminate our leader.

“And so you are correct in educating the People… Thru mass education, hopefully the People will awaken and do the work independent of any one leader, as a duty to the idea of freedom, not as a part of a bid for acceptance… True freedom can only come from socialism… We face a giant and to truly succeed we must be very wise. We cannot win by force yet so let us educate ourselves and know that against our common enemy we all must fight our own battle.”

This comrade touches on security, our strategic stage and the strategy of People’s War as opposed to great man theory. Education is always important, but at this stage it is principal over the use of force. This comrade’s approach to mass education as the best hedge against losing the leaders we depend on is in line with the Maoist strategy of People’s War. This strategy involves building a People’s Army that is embedded in the people, engaging in productive work and educational campaigns side-by-side with the people as we work towards developing base areas. Ultimately, as this comrade points out, Mao’s emphasis on how the people must learn to wage war through waging war rings true.

In our culture, social media reinforces practices that put individuals in the spotlight. We must develop ways to utilize the reach of the internet, without promoting ideas of great man theory or revealing persynal information of our leaders.

Security practices is one area where we must do more education. The only people MIM(Prisons) has interacted with that have good security practice seem to be individuals working alone. The state of basic security practice among revolutionaries is horrible. There is no way to succeed in a serious struggle with such practices. Yet, we must move beyond isolated individuals posting anonymous content to actually do real organizing.

A NY USW comrade asks: “Is the cell ideology productive? As a single unit I have not been able to grow. I do not believe it is me. Is there more I can do somehow else?”

The original MIM resolution on cell structure pointed out that a one-persyn cell is the most secure. But is it effective? MIM(Prisons) critiqued the idea of a one-persyn cell in general in its lack of ability to develop knowledge dialecticaly with just one mind. Some may be able to do it, but we don’t think it is a path that will move us forward fastest.

So what of the single-persyn cell trying to grow that can’t seem to recruit? In prison this problem is distinct in that you have no control over who and how many people you have access to. That is a separate problem. And we’d say you can reach others and recruit outside your prison by writing and producing artwork for Under Lock & Key, for example.

Whether in prison or not, the question becomes what can the party or larger organization give you as an individual to increase your success? We might think of things like a newspaper, mass campaigns, sharing experiences around what works and what doesn’t, connecting people and projects to make our work more efficient, imposing rules and discipline on cadre. It is not clear to us that we need a party for any of these things. We propose that technology today allows us to do all of these things in an anonymous and efficient manner.

MIP-Amerika was known to have better security practices than most self-declared communist parties in the United $tates, and yet they saw security as a weakness that led to their demise. We should take this lesson to heart. It will be premature to launch a party before cadre have come to understand security practices and power struggle. Our conditions include a level of surveillance and Liberalism that other revolutionary movements did not face. We must have real strategies for addressing these problems before we embark on the Party-building project.

The problem with the cell structure as it exists in our movement is that there is no centralized strategy for layering our security practices. The problem faced by small organizations concerned about security is how to separate out roles and tasks when your cadre is limited. The cell structure can force this situation onto us. The advantage of the Party is being able to do this bigger-scale and longer-term strategic construction. But we argue that we are not at this stage yet.

The cell structure is pointless without good security practices. That would play to our weaknesses by needlessly dividing our limited forces. It is only by developing security practices that would allow for a successful bid for state power that the cell structure really becomes operational. In the early stages of Party formation we should aim to maintain some of the policies of cell structure as a fail-safe. As our position becomes stronger, the security problems of a centralized party become less of a concern.

As always, politics must stay in command. This type of strategic thinking must come after an ideological consolidation. We seem to be in the stage of “letting 100 flowers bloom” as different interpretations and applications of Maoism in occupied Turtle Island are doing their things, watching and criticizing each other. While we have criticized a number of these trends as revisionists of Maoism, the diversity of people we see studying Maoism is a step forward. We will need many more cells organizing around the MIM cardinal principles, with demonstrated practices, before the question of party building becomes concrete for us.

As we move to the next step of ideological consolidation, we must address this strategic question: when is it time to build a Party? This is a question of utmost importance as we have no successful revolutionary strategy in conditions like ours to learn from. We must not rush to form a Party in a way that suddenly reveals all of our fiercest leaders to the state. As the state will move to kill, imprison, bad-jacket and pit these leaders against each other. Perhaps we can achieve ideological unity and strategic unity prior to forming a party. At this time we believe we should strive to preserve the benefits of cell structure without promoting isolation.

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