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[Theory] [MIM] [ULK Issue 22]
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Henry Park Obituary: MIM Comrade and Devoted Revolutionary

UF People and Quotes

Henry Park, a revolutionary leader and member of the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), died on May 17 2011. His death is a loss to the communist movement. We take this opportunity to remember MIM's important contributions to revolutionary thought.

MIM was an underground party, whose members were careful about anonymity and security and so did not identify themselves publicly by name. Henry Park went public with his identity several years ago in an attempt to defend himself from significant repression by the Amerikan government. He did this after MIM broke into cells and the central organization ceased to exist. The article Maoism Around Us discusses this question of cell structure in more detail and explains that MIM(Prisons) built itself on the legacy of the MIM Prison Ministry.

After the dissolution of the central MIM organization, Park continued to write prolifically and uphold the original MIM at the etext.org hosted website. As efforts to silence him grew, the etext.org domain was shut down without explanation after hosting radical writings for about a decade. This was a serious blow to the spread of Maoist theory and analysis on the internet. In 2007, "Among all self-labeled 'communist' organizations in the world, MIM [was] second, behind only the People's Daily in China [in internet readers]." This remains a lesson for those who are afraid to draw hard political lines in the sand in fear of losing recruits. MIM never claimed to be bigger than other "communist" groups in the United $tates, only to have much more influence than them.

Henry Park, along with the other members of MIM, was in the vanguard starting back in the 1980s in correctly identifying the labor aristocracy in imperialist countries as fundamentally counter revolutionary, and doing the difficult work of spreading this unpopular position which was rejected by so many revisionist parties falsely claiming the mantel of communism. MIM also correctly identified China after Mao's death and the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin as state capitalist countries, no longer on the revolutionary path, while so many other self-proclaimed communists continued to follow these countries down the path of capitalist degeneration. Park published some important research on both countries' regression to capitalism that are available on our resources page. Along with the view that the Chinese Cultural Revolution was the furthest advance towards communism in humyn history, these principles were the foundation of MIM(Prisons)'s cardinal points.

There are some who will falsely claim the legacy of Henry Park or who will attack him with persynal or ad hominem claims, now that he is not alive to defend himself. We encourage all revolutionaries to carefully study tough theoretical questions for themselves rather than just taking the word of an individual or organization. One of the reasons MIM did not use names was to avoid a cult of persynality that so often arises around public figures, leading followers to avoid doing the important work of studying theory, instead just taking the word of the individual on trust. This cult also exists within organizations where members accept the word of their party rather than thinking critically. Even with MIM's semi-underground, anonymous approach, Henry Park was brought into the light by recurring persynal attacks on his character. One of the things MIM taught so many of us so well was how not to think in pre-scientific ways, where rumors, subjective feelings and individuals are more important to people than the concrete outcome of your actions on the group level.

Park's life is notable for his unending commitment to fighting for the rights of the world's people, even at great persynal sacrifice in the face of state repression. Many who take up revolutionary struggle in their youth give it up when they gain some bourgeois comforts, trading revolutionary organizing for a well paying job and a nice house. Park never wavered in his work for the people, and in his vision of a communist world where no group of people would have the power to oppress others. Mao Zedong said "To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai." Park's death is weightier than Mount Tai and his work lives on through the continued application of MIM Thought.

[Read thousands of articles by the original MIM in our etext.org archive]


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[Theory]
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Pigs Cannot Make Revolution, but the Third World Masses Can Smash U$ Imperialism!

RCP=U$A chair Bob Avakian once again sets his sails towards billowy clouds in the May 29, 2011 issue of 'Revolution' newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the rcp=u$a, in which the party leader once more makes the case for a socialist revolution in the U.$. with the labor aristocracy at the helm. He puts forth this idea in a talk broken down into series of articles titled: "Birds cannot give birth to crocodiles, but humanity can soar beyond the horizon." He states that: "...in imperialist countries in particular it is only with major qualitative change in the situation - that is, the eruption of a revolutionary crisis and the emergence of a revolutionary people in the millions and millions - that it becomes possible to wage the all out struggle for the seizure of power..."

To begin with, it is important that we point out that socialist revolution will not reach the bastions of imperialism until the Third World proletariat and peasantry rises in the billions to first eject the imperialists, subsequently defeating the compradors and then mobilizing itself to smash the imperialists on their home turf with the help of the oppressed nation lumpen of the internal semi-colonies. These oppressed nation lumpen who are currently situated within the internal semi-colonies, i.e. barrios/ghettos/reservations of amerika and it's prisons, are the only people in the U.$. with any kind of revolutionary potential whatsoever!

So we don't know where all these "millions of millions" of revolutionary people that Avakian loves to harp about will be drawn from, unless he's counting on the labor aristocracy to take up arms and call itself "comrade."

Something else worth nothing here in the chairman's flawed war thesis, if you could even call it that, is that this economist/opportunist deviation is not just owed to the RCP's failure to acknowledge the outcome of a proper class analysis, but also, because of their erroneous line on the self-determination rights of the oppressed nations. The rcp-u$a's line is that all nationalism is bourgeoisie, hence reactionary. More pointedly they don't think there's any nations within the United $tates that need liberating, with a possible exception for the Black Nation.

The party leader goes on to talk about how important it is for the struggle not to settle into "protractedness" because according to Avakian "that would very much be a recipe for defeat." The chairman then makes some completely ludicrous and out of context comparisons when he describes how the Maoist concept of a protracted Peoples War is no longer a viable solution in the Third World and certainly is not suited for U.$. conditions. Well, he's certainly right that in regards to the United $tates this is not a viable solution. However, with respect to the former, Avakian attributes this to a lack of "finiteness" in the struggle, instead, pushing for one big decisive battle. I assume here that Mr. Avakian is referring to the now defunct Maoist struggles of Nepal and Tamil of which the rcp=u$a has been very critical.

The fact that the rcp=u$a would denigrate various revolutionary Third World struggles as "too much of things unto themselves" (which is also a common rcp-u$a criticism of the Chinese Cultural Revolution) is a straight up disrespect to the Third World masses dying daily at the hands of imperialism and it's comprador cartels, as well as delegitimizing to the real science of revolutions: M-L-M.

No Mr. Avakian, the fact that the Nepalese and Tamil struggle has not brought the proletariat victory has nothing to do with the failure of the Maoist concept of a protracted peoples war, rather failure in these struggles can be directly linked to revisionist leadership of the rcp-u$a sort!

Continuing with this bourgeois-centric analysis, the party leader then goes into some detail concerning the crucialness of public opinion building and cultural work in general when it comes to preparing the "masses" for revolution. However, and this is where you have to watch him, he gets sneaky and besides already counting the labor aristocracy as proletariat, he attempts to smuggle broad sections of the petit-bourgeoisie into the revolution and eventually the dictatorship, thereby killing the dictatorship of the proletariat before it's ever even born. This is what he says: "there is also, very importantly, the problem of the development of the necessary political and ideological conditions for the initiation of this struggle for the seizure of power - and the organized expression of the political and ideological influence of the vanguard - among the basic masses but also, to the greatest degree possible at every point along the way, among other strata of the people as well, in order to have the best possible basis for carrying forward the struggle for power once it has been launched and not, in fact to be contained and crushed, but to have the best possible basis to 'break out of encirclement.'"

It is true, historically speaking, that once socialist revolutions had begun and proletarian victory was within reach, hoards of the enemy class have come over to the side of the revolution. However, it has never been the intent of the vanguard to focus their efforts so ferociously on the enticement of parasites as Afakian and the rcp-u$a so incessantly advocate for. It was however and remains so the principal task of the revolutionaries, to unite all who can be united, i.e. the truly oppressed and exploited.

If sections of the bourgeoisie so wish to either, (a) commit class suicide and join the revolution or (b) see that victory is inevitable for the proletariat and it's allies and decide it better to be on the winning side of the war, then so much the better. But neither Marx nor Engels, Lenin, Stalin or Mao ever sought to actively recruit pigs who were not dedicated to the revolution and neither should we.

If anything, the "middle" and "broad strata" would only be too happy to swell the ranks of the imperialists armed forces and smash the internal semi-colonies to pieces; they know which side their bread is buttered on.

Indeed, seasoned readers of Kautsky's, I mean Afakian and the RCP's vile distortions of M-L-M have come to understand that whenever Avakian and company casually, indirectly or directly throw out the terms "middle" and "broad strata" what they're really trying to emphasize is the reliance and inclusion of the bought off traitorous sections of the population into and with the revolution. Notice how they consciously exclude the true element of change from the equation the Third World masses.

The rest of the chairman's article basically rehashes some of the points already made such as work in the cultural sphere prior to and during the seizure of power, the importance of the "one, two, knockout blow" to the bourgeoisie which serves to counteract the problem of "finiteness." And of course, he can't emphasize enough the reliance of the revolution on the "middle" and "broad strata". And oh yea his deep lamentations that white people have been turned against the oppressed by way of propaganda, and all that's needed for their return to the side of the revolution is arduous public opinion building.

It is fitting that Bob Avakian's piece is concluded by his making companions between Mao's China, pre-liberation and the United $tates today, drawing parallels between the middle strata of the revolutionary base areas in the Chinese countryside (the better off peasants) and the decadent labor aristocracy which the rcp-u$a knows and loves today.

Truly, Bob Avakian is delusional.


MIM(Prisons) adds: For more on this topic check out other articles on the rcp=u$a and our analysis of the labor aristocracy in the First World.

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[Theory] [Education] [ULK Issue 20]
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Education of the Nation

Meditations on Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings
by James Yaki Sayles
Kersplebedeb and Spear & Shield Publications
2010

Available for $20 + shipping/handling from:
Kersplebedeb
CP 63560, CCCP Van Horne
Montreal, Quebec
Canada
H3W 3H8

"THE BOOK IS ABOUT HOW THE "WRETCHED" can transform themselves into the ENLIGHTENED and the SELF-GOVERNING!! If you don't take anything else away with your reading of [The Wretched of the Earth], you must take this."(p.381)

Meditations on Wretched of the Earth

Like many of the books reviewed in Under Lock & Key, Meditations On Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth is written by someone who spent most of his adult life in a U.$. prison. That there are so many such books these days speaks to the growing plague of the mass incarceration experiment that is the U.$. injustice system. The content of many of these books speaks to the development of the consciousness of this growing class of people in the belly of the beast. While of the lumpen class, they differ from the subjects of Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth in both their incarceration and their First World status. And while great thinkers are among them, their ideas are reflected in the general prison population superficially at best. The need for the development of mass consciousness (one based in revolutionary nationalism, and an understanding of how to think, not what to think) and the project of oppressed people taking their destinies in their own hands make up the main theme of this book.

Wretched has greatly influenced many in our circles, and is itself a book highly recommended by MIM(Prisons). It is of particular interest in being perhaps the most complete and accurate discussion of the lumpen-proletariat that we've read to date. While not completely applicable to conditions in the United $tates, it is even more relevant to the growing numbers of displaced Third World people living in slums and refugee camps than when it was first written. For the most part, Yaki discusses Wretched as it applies to the oppressed nations of the United $tates, in particular New Afrika.

The four-part meditations on Wretched make up the bulk of the book. The introduction to this section is an attempt to break down The Wretched of the Earth for a modern young audience. In it the author stresses the importance of rereading theoretical books to fully grasp them. He also stresses that the process of studying and then understanding the original and complex form of such works (as opposed to a summary or cheat sheet) is itself transformative in developing one's confidence and abilities. At no stage of revolutionary transformation are there shortcuts. The only way to defend the struggle from counter-revolutionaries is to thoroughly raise the consciousness of the masses as a whole. "Get away from the idea that only certain people or groups can be 'intellectual,' and think about everyone as 'intellectual.'"(p.192) And as he concludes in part two of the Meditations, We often forget that our whole job here is to transform humyn beings.

The National Question

As part four of the meditations trails off into unfinished notes due to Yaki's untimely death, he is discussing the need for national culture and history. He echoes Fanon's assertion that national culture must be living and evolving, and not what the Panthers criticized as "pork chop nationalism." He discusses the relevance of pre-colonial histories, as well as the struggles of oppressed nations during the early years of colonization, to counter the Euro-Amerikan story that starts with them rescuing the oppressed nation from barbarity. These histories are important, but they are history. Sitting around dressed in Egyptian clothing or speaking Nahuatl aren't helping the nation. It is idealism to skip over more recent history of struggles for self-reliance and self-determination in defiance of imperialism.

We don't even need to go back to ancient times to identify histories that have been lost and hidden; many of us don't even know our recent past. Recording the little-known history of the "wretched" of the richest country in the world is the first step to understanding how we got here and how we can move forward. We are working on this with a number of comrades as an important step to developing national (and class) consciousness.(1)

Yaki agrees with the MIM line that nation is the most important contradiction today, while presenting a good understanding of the class contradictions that underlay and overlap with nation. Recently, debates in another prison-based journal, 4StruggleMag, have questioned the relevance of nationalism as the basis of revolutionary organizing; taking an essentially Trotskyist view, but justifying it via "new" conditions of globalization.(2) Really the theory of globalization is just one aspect of Lenin's theory of imperialism. The author, critiquing nationalism, discusses that nations themselves were a modern concept that united many groups that were once separated by culture and land. This was true for the nation-states of europe that united internally and the nations of the colonial world that were united by their common oppression under european domination. It was in this colonial relationship, and specifically with the demands of imperialism, that nations solidified in dialectical relationship to each other: oppressor vs. oppressed.

Yaki disagrees with the reading of history that sees nations as a modern construct. He stresses the importance of recognizing that oppressed nations existed as people with rich cultures before europeans drew up national boundaries based on colonial land claims (ie. Egypt, China, Maya). While true, talking about "nations" that predate capitalism is similar to talking about the "imperialism" of the Roman empire. For followers of Lenin, empire does not equal imperialism. Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism; an economic system forced by the extreme accumulation of capital that requires its export to other people (nations) to maintain profit rates, without which capitalism will not continue to produce (one of its inherent contradictions and flaws).

When we talk about nations, we are talking about imperialist class relations; the relations of production and distribution under the economic system of imperialism (which is not more than a couple hundred years old). More specifically, we are talking about a system where whole nations oppress and exploit other nations. While different classes exist within each nation, these questions are secondary to the global class analysis in the period of imperialism. To answer the anti-nationalist author in 4StruggleMag who claims nationalism never led to liberation, or to internationalism, we refer to socialist China, the most advanced movement for the liberation of people from capitalism to date in humyn history. Even within the confines of this imperialist country, the most advanced movement took nationalist form in the Black Panther Party.

Any theoretical questioning of the relevance of the nation to revolutionary anti-capitalism must address the nature of imperialism. Within the United $tates the lines between oppressor and oppressed nation have weakened, particularly on the question of exploitation. This provides a material basis for questioning the relevance of nationalism within our movements here. As Yaki wrote, "here, in the seat of empire, even the 'slaves' are 'petty-bourgeois,' and our poverty is not what it would be if We didn't in a thousand ways also benefit from the spoils of the exploitation of peoples throughout the world. Our passivity wouldn't be what it is if not for our thinking that We have something to lose..."(p.188) But globally, the contradictions between nations continue to heighten, and there is no basis for debate over whether nation remains the principal contradiction.

As we said, nations, like all things in the world, are dialectical in nature. That means they constantly change. There is nothing to say that nations will not expand as implied by the globalization argument, but this will not eliminate the distinction between exploiter and exploited nations.

While we won't try to address the relevance of revolutionary nationalism within the United $tates definitively here, Yaki is very adamant about the need for an understanding of the internal class structure of the internal semi-colonies. And as different as conditions were in revolutionary Algeria, many of the concepts from Wretched apply here as Yaki demonstrates. "[D]on't We evidence a positive negation of common sense as We, too, try to persuade ourselves that colonialism and capitalist exploitation and alienation don't exist? Don't We, too, grab hold of a belief in fatality (very common among young people these days)? And, what about OUR myths, spirits and magical/metaphysical superstructure? In our context, We employ conspiracy theories, the zodiac and numerology, Kente cloth and phrases from ancient languages; We invoke the power of a diet and the taboo of certain animals as food products."

Those studying the class structure within the oppressed nations, New Afrikan or not, within the United $tates will find much value in Yaki's writings. Even in the introduction, the editors remind us that, at the very least, revolutionary nationalism was a powerful force in our recent history. For example, in 1969 Newsweek found that 27% of northern Black youth under 30 "would like a separate Black nation."(p.19) And in the 1960s communist teens from the Black Disciples organized comrades from various gangs to defend Black homes in other parts of Illinois from drive-by shootings by the White Citizens Council and their backers in local police departments.(p.16) In the same period, when Malcolm X was alive and pushing a no-compromise revolutionary nationalist line on its behalf, the Nation of Islam had reached over 200,000 members.(p.18) Shortly thereafter, a majority of Blacks in the United $tates felt that the Black Panther Party represented their interests. When we look around today and ask whether New Afrikan nationalism has any revolutionary basis, we cannot ignore these recent memories.

Class, then Back to Nation

In his essay, On Transforming the Colonial and "Criminal" Mentality, Yaki addresses George Jackson's discussion of the potential in the lumpen versus their actual consciousness, which parallel's Marx's point about humyns consciously determining their own conditions and Lenin's definition of the masses as the conscious minority of the larger proletariat, which as a class is a potentially revolutionary force.(3) He quotes a critique of Eldridge Cleaver's line on the lumpen, which glorified organized crime. The critique argues that organized crime has its interests in the current system, and it is a carrot provided to the internal semi-colonies by imperialism. MIM(Prisons) looks to organized crime to find an independent national bourgeoisie (such as Larry Hoover, whose targeting by the state is mentioned in the book's introduction), but many are compradors as well, working with the imperialists to control the oppressed for them. This is even more true where the state has more influence (i.e. prison colonies).

While Yaki's focus on consciousness is consistent with Maoism, we have some differences with his application. Yaki, and his ideological camp, disagree with George Jackson and the MIM line that all prisoners are political. The state is a political organization, serving a certain class interest. We say all prisoners are political to break the common misperception people have that they are in prison because they did something wrong. Yaki's point about the lumpen is that if they don't turn around, understand the conditions that brought them there and then work to transform those conditions, then they are no use to the liberation struggle, and they are therefore not worthy of the term "political prisoner." He argues that to allow those with bourgeois ideas to call themselves a "political prisoner" dilutes the term. His camp uses "captive colonial" to refer to the New Afrikan imprisoned by Amerika regardless of one's ideology. That is a fine term, but by redefining the commonly used "political prisoner" from its narrow petty bourgeois definition, we push the ideological struggle forward by reclaiming popular language. In our view, "political prisoner" does not represent a group with a coherent ideology, just as "proletariat" does not.

Yaki puts a lot of weight on ideology when he defines nation as a "new unity" as well by saying, "[t]o me, being a 'New Afrikan' is not about the color of one's skin, but about one's thought and practice."(p.275) While skin color is an unscientific way to categorize people, we would caution that there are in fact material factors that define a nation; it's not just how we identify as individuals. Saying it is only about thought and practice leaves open the possibility of forming nations along lines of sexual preference, colors, favorite sports teams - lines that divide neighbors in the same community facing the same conditions. On the flip side, it creates space for the white-washing of national liberation movements by denying the group level oppression that the oppressor nation practices against the oppressed. To say that nations are fluid, ever-changing things is not to say that we can define them based purely on ideas in our heads and have them be meaningful.

Yaki Offers Much Knowledge

The use of the term "meditations" in the title is indicative of Yaki's approach, which clearly promotes a deep study of the material as well as making connections that lead to applying concepts to current situations. It is not a study guide in the traditional style of review questions and summaries. It does provide a critical analysis of the race-based interpretations of Fanon, such as that in Fanon for Beginners, which make it a valuable counter-measure to such bourgeois work.

His stress on hard work to build a solid foundation leads him to an agreeable line on armed struggle in contrast to others we have studied from the same ideological camp. On the back of the book, Sanyika Shakur quotes the author as saying, "i'd rather have one cadre free than 100 ak-47's" after Shakur was imprisoned again, related to possession of an assault rifle. Shakur writes, "t took me years to overstand & appreciate that one sentence." Discipline is something the revolutionary lumpen must develop, and taking a serious, meditative approach to study can help do just that.

In his essay, Malcolm X: Model of Personal Transformation, Yaki concludes, "We can go through the motions of changing our lives... but the test of the truth comes when the prison doors are opened, or, when otherwise We're confronted with situations which test our characters." (p.118)

Yaki was a New Afrikan revolutionary and a Prisoner of War. As part of the post-Panther era, Yaki reflects realistically on security questions, pointing out that it's too late to start instituting security measures after Martial Law has been enacted. From reading this book, everything you can gather about Yaki builds an impression of seriousness and commitment to our cause. In this way, this book is more than just a useful study guide for understanding and applying Fanon's ideas; it is an exemplary model for revolutionaries to help develop their own practice.

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[Theory] [ULK Issue 20]
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Criticism and Self-Criticism in Revolutionary Practice

Criticism in the positive usage is the examination, analysis, and evaluation of the comparative worth of one's acts, practices, policies and/or ideas by others. Self-criticism is, of course, the same principles applied to oneself, but also refers to the organizational practice of critically examining and re-examining its own policies and/or the policies and practices of its members. Criticism and self-criticism are wholly necessary to human progress.

Criticism in its positive usage corrects mistakes in practices and of thought, and resolves differences among individuals and makes for smooth-running, well-functioning organizations. We should put forth the slogan "Unity-Criticism-Unity" to show how individuals come together and unite under principles, but in the actual working out of these principles differences arise for various reasons, which work against the accomplishments of the declared ends, and against cohesion of the organization. When these differences arise there must be criticism in which those with differences interpenetrate, modify one another, and form a new more perfect unity on the basis of having worked out contradictions that were inherent in the old unity.

Cause of Error

The differences which arise that disrupt unity can generally be found to have their basis in these categories of human error:

1) Opportunism; opportunism is defined as that tendency for an individual or individuals to make a decision or commit an act that is favorable to his/her own self-aggrandizement and at the expense of the collective or the movement as a whole. Opportunism stems from selfishness. When opportunism arises, either in an individual or in an organization it is to be severely criticized, and if necessary, the individual or individuals should be expelled from the organization or ostracized from the movement.

2) Subjectivism: the second type of error that disrupts unity and impairs revolutionary progress may be found in the general category called "subjectivism." Progress is always our purpose, but subjectivism can be distinguished from opportunism often only by the merest of hairlines. It generally has to do with personality flaws; One makes a decision or commits an act that is based on one's personal feelings, desires, resentments, jealousies, prejudices, etc. Such subjectivism may possibly stem from any number of sources: child trauma, subliminal conditioning, religious superstitions, etc. When such subjectivism pops up to impede the functioning of the individual or the progress of the organization, it is imperative that it be dealt with. The consciousness of many must necessarily be stripped of the old pernicious ideas and values imposed by the bourgeois culture. However, those traits and personal idiosyncrasies which are not particularly harmful to the individual or the cause, but are largely a matter of style, should not needlessly be criticized.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We refer comrades to Mao's essays On Contradiction and Combat Liberalism for more on the importance of fighting opportunism and building unity through the resolution of contradictions.

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[ALKQN/PLF] [Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 22]
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Response to "Time for Peaceful Revolution"

As a member and a strong representative of the ALKQN, I would like to thank ECC.1:1 for understanding/recognizing that the Time for Peaceful Revolution article printed in ULK 17 left more questions than answers.

This particular attempt for a peaceful revolution reminds me of a specific religion claiming to be the most righteous group, but then turn around and bash another religion, spending all their time and energy preaching hatred.

As the Nation Man that I am, I'm obligated to correct and respond to the Komrade's article, in an attempt to enlighten and educate those that do not have a proper understanding of the ALKQN. Because a real righteous person will not only strive for perfection, but will also take time to help, hope or pray that the next person will get on the right path.

I am very well aware of, and advocate, revolutionary criticism. I encourage all types of criticism from all walks of life. However, in order to give a positive or negative criticism, it is important that one has the correct knowledge of the subject they are criticizing, and from reading the komrade from New York's article, it's obvious that not only does he not know the true purpose of Kingism, but he also failed to build on a peaceful revolution.

The ALKQN was founded in 1940, not by Lord Gino Gustavo, but by (RIP) King Gentle. The five principles/points of the Holy Crown are Love, Honor, Obedience, Sacrifice and Righteousness. The purpose of the ALKQN is to promote prosperity and freedom through love and understanding to all oppressed people of the world; to train our people to become aware of our social and political problems and of the conditions that we are subjected to live under as a third world people; to provide the aid and way in our search for peace and unity; and to promote and encourage educational and vocational learning in order to train our people in the art of survival.

In the early stages of Kingism, the title was just Almighty Latin Kings Nation. It wasn't until the sixth decade of the twentieth century that the title ALKN changed to Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation. The ALKQN is a global organization with chapters all around the world, and to say that New York was the first state to recognize and acknowledge our beautiful sisters as Queens is just false. Diana Rodriguez, who was born and raised in Chicago, played a major role in the 60s for the sisters in the struggle and the Nation.

Although this Komrade expressed personal feelings, which created more confusion then solutions, I do believe some good came out of this publication, because it definitely caught the attention of many Komrades in New Jersey's Department of Corrections. It is definitely time for peaceful revolution, because through violence alone we as lumpen organizations will only achieve but so much and get but so far in our quest for liberation, peace and justice.

Today's struggle and oppression is not so much as it was in the 50s, 60s and 70s. In that time we faced a more physical oppression, with police brutality and so forth. Not to say that police brutality does not exist today, because it certainly does. However, in today's materialistic society, we face a more psychological aspect of oppression. And after being pushed and beaten so many times, one just pushes back with the use of violent defense. But when faced with psychological oppression, how can we expect one to fight back when one isn't mentally strong enough to resist such an oppressive tactic? And for this very reason, we must create a peaceful revolution, and education is the key that will liberate us from our mental shackles.

I'm sure the Komrade from New York is trying to point out the fact of the ever growing problem of police collaboration, which is a major problem in our quest for progress in any lumpen organization. However, I would like to add that one must not live life with resentment, as it is a proven fact that it can eventually take a toll on one's life.

In conclusion, I accept all feedback for a peaceful revolution. I believe all lumpen organizations should come together in unity and stand firm in our quest for peace, justice, freedom, progress and prosperity.


ECC.1:1 of ALKQN/PLF responds: To the representative of the ALKQN-NJDOC sub-region and furthermore to all members of the lumpen organization (LO) in question, the following "feedback" is for all of us, as natural allies, together, to chew on and digest:

First and foremost I want to stipulate that it is the essence of the following statement around which future dialogue should be provoked throughout this nucleus of ours. In the above response the representative states that "it is important that one has the correct knowledge of the subject they are criticizing, and from reading the comrade from New York's article [see ULK 17 for said article, titled Time for a Peaceful Revolution, which was written by a third party and criticized by both the above representative and myself], it is obvious that... he [does] not know the true purpose of Kingism..." The representative goes on to address certain characteristics of our organization such as the stated purposes of our organization as listed in our organization's Chapter Constitution; the principles listed therein, as well; and a bit of history concerning the constantly debatable year of our founding and just exactly who or whom founded the same. This statement should be used as the stepping stone for our developing discussion due to the perpetually subconscious question mark so many of us "representatives" have in relation to such things as our "true" history (accounts vary depending upon where and by whom you were coronated). Similarly, and more importantly, we lack a clear and concise political line drawn from the KM/C(King Manifesto and Constitution) and upheld by some form of a centralized body made accessible to the entire organization itself, as opposed to the conceptual authority on a national level that today, for all intents and purposes, seems to be more illusory than real.

In the above response the representative (and I use this title respectfully) brings up the more violent, defensive tactics of the (North Amerikan?) struggle of the 50s, 60s and 70s, in the face of their (perceptually) physical oppression of "that" time. Without getting into the stark and violent physical oppression being inflicted upon the people of the Middle East (Third Worlders who constitute "our people" as dictated by the KM/C and therefore constitute the very real, physical oppression we are experiencing, as a whole, right now, today...) I will attempt, for the most part, to construct my address around the (assumably) ideological justifications of the above author's advocacy for a "peaceful revolution" as a representative of the LO in question, and do so from the starting point of a very interesting section of the KM/C itself which, I might add, by the way, was written to serve as nothing more consequential than a "guide."

For (s)he who knows and knows that (s)he knows... the section of the KM/C titled "Fearlessness" is almost a verbatim, word-for-word quote of Mohandas Gandhi (see Gandhi, Selected Writings) who was the progenitor of "Satyagraha," or non-violence — the "peaceful revolution," if you will. But does this mean that we, as members of the LO from which the KM/C was written, should all of a sudden and wholeheartedly adopt the methods of Satyagraha? No! And the reasons are multifaceted. True, an in-depth research of the KM/C will discover a plethora of influences, all related to "revolution" in one form or another. Remember, the KM/C is but a "guide," a field-manual, if you will, of sorts. And for those of us passing before the Turning Wheel of Change who think we know what Gandhi's message fully entailed, but don't (and who would assume a certain indication as a result of the above revelation), here's another quote of his, and one to dissipate any illusions, for these are his words as well:

He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. (ibid)

Ahora, let's take another revolutionary/historical influence. While Gandhi was indeed a pacifist by all means, Ernesto "Che" Guevara was an advocate of armed struggle, bar none. And where exactly does any portion of his particular philosophy fit into the teachings of the KM/C? How about within and throughout the very core of the KM/C itself? In reading Guevara's Socialism and Man in Cuba one will not only find the New Man - New King reproduction but the actual blueprint (pre-, pending-, post-revolutionary war consciousness of the individual) for the class-based three stages of "Reyismo": primitive, to conservative, to either an accomplice to the anti-King system or a New King (or Queen), which in even more political terms is read as lumpen-proletariat, to proletariat, to either labor aristocrat/national bourgeoisie or Third World internationalist/revolutionary. But does this mean that we should all of a sudden and wholeheartedly (blindly) adopt the methods of, say, "focoism," Che's theory that the masses will be inspired to overthrow the oppressor's regime at the guerilla's declaration and launch war against the same? No!

What then, exactly, does all this mean? Gandhi or Che? Armed struggle or Satyagraha? Violence or non??? Neither. What it means — and this is the culmination of my address to, and call for, further dialogue amongst the Subjects of Decision to whom this appeals — is that 1) yes, "the time for revolution is at hand... a revolution of the mind, the revolution of knowledge, a revolution that will bring freedom to the enslaved;" but that 2) this "revolution of the mind," this "revolution of knowledge," is neither simply just a polar shift from one extreme to another (i.e. violence to non-violence) nor evident in the rising of ones GPA, per se, but an actual, dynamic, radical and revolutionary change in our world outlook to the "Almighty Eye" that now sees through the lens of dialectical and historical materialism; and 3) that this, that or any other form of "revolution" to be applied at any given time or place (all things considered and compared) should and must be determined not by any one particular representative, capítulo and/or region of the Federation alone, submerged within the context of their own reality, but by an organized body of professional revolutionaries, a vanguard party of the intelligentsia, the political cadre studied in the science of Marxism and found throughout the entire Nation/LO in question, as a whole.

Revolution is both ever-pliable and omnipresent, so such questions as "violence or non-violence" should not be asked in search of a cure-all method or application of resistance but, at the very least, should be considered based upon the objective and subjective conditions of any given situation, place and/or time of the entire movement, as a whole, in flux. Yet, before we can even begin to ask "when and where," we must first ask "by whom and how" should such decisions be both determined and detailed for either the execution and or debate of all those considered, and in accord? The principal question then boils down to this: a Leninist vanguard-style political party within the LO in question (and this could mean any LO in question) or a continuation of confusion, uncertainty, mis (and a lack of) communication and both the overwhelming atmosphere of counter-revolutionary conduct and the ever discouraging counter-revolutionary calls from those "above."

The debate has already begun within our particular LO alone (as well as within others) and is active in a number of states. To those of the ALK(Q)N who are familiar with Leninist party-building and his work titled What is to be Done? the call for your sanctioning power, the weapons and shields that are your words and ideas - the power to create - is being sounded. I look forward to pushing this conversation forward with more of you within the pages of Under Lock & Key (ULK).

And so I close, with a bon-apetite, and both a special appreciation for the response made by the representative above and a complimentary mint to top things off, served up by Chairman Mao himself, so as to give those first-time ULK readers something further to consume:

We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war, but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.

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[National Oppression] [Theory]
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Review of RCP Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

Aztlan

I was recently able to read a new publication which was published by the RCP-USA titled "Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America" (draft proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

I have been at many prisons in California where I came across RCP literature, including its newspaper 'Revolution.' While at first glance this RCP literature may seem "progressive," and a novice revolutionary may even think the RCP is fighting in the best interest of the masses, a closer look into its political line may surprise many prisoners who are developing their political stance.

The society that U.$. prisoners dream of is one that turns the pyramid of power upside down where those on the bottom of today's totem pole are the ones who have a say in running a society based on new democracy as was seen in Mao's China where landless peasants were freed from the chains of oppressive feudalism and colonialism. The prisoner in today's capitalist Amerika understands that such a society will not come easy and we learn this valuable lesson by attempting to change the oppressive environment behind prison walls. We learn 'grass roots' organizing and how hard it is to kick start even simple resistance to injustice on a micro-level.

As we learn these lessons we also begin to see what it will take to change a society, combat the capitalist and build the revolution. One of the key components of transforming society is a vanguard party; this is common sense as we know from the prison experience that issues that are not coordinated often prove disastrous. So on a large scale effort like transforming society we can see how a political party would be needed to lead the masses on the right path to liberation on all fronts. Understanding this we often meet others in prison who seek out political parties and begin the arduous work of studies in all the revolutionary groups' theories, their political line, so that we can determine who is the vanguard party, who has the correct political theory on what it will take to reach liberation here in the belly of the beast.

I began to really study the RCP literature as it is a party that claims to be struggling on behalf of the people. Along my path of really analyzing the literature of the RCP is where I stumbled upon its stance on the oppressed nations' right to self-determination.

The portion of this constitution that is of concern is "Article 11. Regions, localities, and basic institution, Section 3. minority and formerly oppressed nationalities." This section starts off pointing out the crimes and injustices that were perpetrated against oppressed nationalities by the former government of the USA. It explains how in the future socialist state they believe elections and legislature would work, among other new rights, in the interest of the oppressed. Subsection "A. African-Americans" correctly states that under a new socialist state Black people would have the right to self-determination all the way up to the right to secede and form a separate country outside a new socialist republic if Black people so choose. This is correct. The ability for an oppressed nation to govern themselves is a right that all should have under a socialist society.

Under Subsection "B. Mexican-Americans" the guarantee to the right of self-determination up to the right to secede does not exist. Rather in subsection B2 it states:

"Relations with Mexico, and policy with regard to the former southwest region of the imperialist USA, shall, from the time of the founding and in the first few years of the new socialist republic in North America, take into account the nature of the society and government - and the level and character of revolutionary struggle - in Mexico, as well as the actual extent of territory which has been liberated through the revolution which led to the defeat and dismantling of the imperialist state of the USA and the founding of the new socialist republic in North America. At the same time, the necessary consideration shall be given to the situation in the world as a whole, in determining how to proceed with regard to this region. In this over all context and also taking into account the sentiments and aspirations of the people in the region, in particular those of Mexican origin and descent, the question of whether to return at least parts of this region to Mexico, and/or whether there should be established, within parts of this region, a country that is separate from both Mexico and the New Socialist Republic in North America, shall be taken up by the government of the New Socialist Republic in North America."

The above portion of the RCP document is an incorrect line. The fact that RCP feels that once a "socialist republic" is established that the Mexican people would not be entitled to their right to full self-determination but rather their right to secession would be "taken up by the government of the New Socialist Republic in North America" as they put it is simply wrong. All communists should uphold the right to self-determination! The Leninist principle of self-determination is an essential aspect for a socialist party in general and would surely be a requirement for a vanguard party in particular.

The RCP has also stated the same line for the "Native Americans" - that if it took power the RCP itself would decide on the future for "Native Americans" but would allow "autonomous zones" for the "Native Americans" within an RCP socialist republic.

This line will prove to be a grave error for any party that sets its sights on attaining state power. National liberation struggles will not cease to exist until oppressed nations acquire full liberation - regardless of who is in power, denying their freedom. Lenin understood this and thus promoted self-determination as he understood that the basis for revolution is liberty at its core.

What seems to be lost on the RCP is that the oppressed nations, whether Latino, First Nations or any other, are not going to put their lives on the line to transform this society only to allow themselves to be ruled by what the RCP feels is best. Once oppressed nations see a New Socialist government is truly in the interest of the people it is for them to decide to join this republic. The vast majority of the land today is First Nation/Mexican land and for RCP to state they'll decide on who lives where is ludicrous. This position is as ridiculous as if the oppressed East Indians and other Asians living in South Africa were to create a party, gain power and then tell the native "Black" South Africans "we'll decide if you can secede or where you'll live"! This colonization is incorrect and does not represent a righteous revolutionary line.

The liberation of Aztlán (what is currently the southwestern U.$.) under an all Latino socialist government must be the primary objective of all Brown revolutionaries in North America. By showing its true colors, RCP demonstrates once more that many parties claim to fight for all, but in the end don't truly seek liberation for the oppressed nations, as MIM has correctly taught. It is the oppressed nations ourselves who must seek self-determination, this can only be done by using Maoism as the primary vehicle.

We need political parties that guarantee the Leninist principal of self-determination! we need to build Maoist parties led by and for the oppressed nations! Long live the national liberation struggles worldwide.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have not reviewed this rcp=u$a document but this criticism is consistent with our readings of other material by this organization which fakes left but actually opposes the liberation of oppressed nations, instead favoring the struggles of the Amerikan white oppressor nation for a bigger piece of unearned imperialist pie.

Based on this comrade's review, we can condemn the chauvinism of the rcp=u$a that is writing the plans for some utopian white socialist state, while asserting that the future of Aztlán is uncertain. If anyone's future is uncertain it is the hundreds of millions of Amerikans whose nation must be destroyed as part of the anti-imperialist struggle. It is hard for us to imagine how this will happen without the indigenous people of the southwestern U.$. already being well onto the socialist road. If we're going to predict the future, we should be thinking about how the socialist republics of Aztlán, New Afrika and countless First Nation states will determine the form of transition for a large Amerikan population who is generally opposed to the socialist project.

The land question is no more settled for New Afrika than it is for Aztlán, and certainly not more so than for First Nations. We support all nationalism, including struggles for independent territory, that is opposed to imperialism.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 19]
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Organizing the Lumpen is Hard

lumpen united front

Organizing the imprisoned lumpen within the United $nakes is certainly nothing easy. However, speaking technically and from a materialist perspective, it should be relatively easy. As First World lumpen we face much more oppression than our oppressed nation counter parts who have ascended to the ranks of the petty-bourgeoisie/labor aristocracy. Therefore, when conducting a proper class analysis within the United $tates it is the law of contradiction that tells us that those most oppressed in the economic sense by capitalism's contradictions in society will be the scientifically designated revolutionary vehicle. Having no proletariat to speak of within U.$. borders, besides perhaps the migratory workers, the next best thing or class of people resembling a revolutionary vehicle becomes, in our case, the bourgeoisified lumpen.

Therefore, as any good communist should know the heart of social change, the very meat and marrow of it all within U.$. borders rests with the lumpen. And so in knowing all this there is still a question to be begged. Why is it so damn hard?!

The lumpen as a class is the direct product of the capitalist mode of production and has its ideology rooted and embedded in the bourgeois philosophy of "me, myself and I." It is this backward bourgeois thinking which we must first focus on defeating. Victory on the ideological front should be our first real goal. The more people we win over on the ideological front, the more successful we'll be in accomplishing all other tasks. This is the principal contradiction that needs to be resolved with respect to organizing the lumpen.

ULK as an ideological weapon is a good tool in helping us to win over the prisoner population in a conscious way to not only their own class based cause, but more importantly to that of the truly oppressed and exploited, the international proletariat and peasantry, i.e. the Third World masses.

ULK and now USW, with the direct ideological assistance provided by our Maoist teachers at MIM(Prisons), are currently spreading Maoist thought amongst and throughout the prisoner population. With all this said and being done therefore it should be relatively easier to organize the imprisoned population.

So why is it still so damn hard?

The answer once again to the aforementioned and repeatedly asked question is: ideology.

Case in point, take the California Department of Corruption for example, the biggest warehouse of people in all of the United $tates. The imprisoned lumpen within this golden gulag might very well be one of the toughest nuts to crack for USW and so it should serve as a case study for MIM(Prisons).

The CA Dept. of Corruptions is the very focus of many of the internal contradictions of Amerikkkan imperialism peculiarly personified in national oppression and class warfare. For that matter just about any Amerikkkan prison is a perpetrator of these superstructurally demanded operations. Killa'fornia however differs from most other states in the way in which the lumpen organizes itself. It's not merely a matter of organizational differences as compared to other LOs, in other states rather a difference in ideology of each nation-based LO. Perhaps this is why state repression is so intense, as well as carried out over and beyond the call of duty by prison administrators here.

Just as your average Amerikan foot soldier believes that fighting Islamic anti-imperialists is their number one job as "freedom loving Amerikans," so does your average pig on the street, as well as those working the prisons, believe that the biggest threat to internal security and class interests inside "the homeland" is the lumpen.

While on the California "mainline" it is easy for a USW comrade to bang their head on the ideological brick wall of backward-bourgeois-individualistic thinking when attempting to organize the lumpen for their own interests. Failed attempts to facilitate peace treaties between LOs or failed attempts to organize peaceful protests over real issues doesn't say much about a comrade's effectiveness while working within these conditions. Being that prison is only a microcosm of its given society, and knowing that the contradictions of the former are only equal or greater, for the most part in the most extreme sense, than that of the latter, deems that that principal contradiction that needs to be resolved in order for us to begin successfully organizing the lumpen is that of ideology. The difficult thing here is to persuade the prisoner population to become class conscious; the rest is relatively easy.

"The correctness or otherwise of the ideological line and political line decides everything. When the party has no followers, then it can have followers; if it has no guns then it can have guns; if it has no political power then it can have political power." - Mao Zedong

What applies to parties can usually be applied to individuals.

Some comrades in USW and MIM(Prisons) might believe that the important thing here when building class consciousness throughout the imprisoned populations is in getting lumpen organizations to adopt a proletarian worldview. If we do this however, all we're really getting is a revisionism of sorts because individuals won't really bother to struggle politically with themselves, they'll just "toll the bell" so to speak. Of course we'll always try to attract as many followers as we can, but only if they're all able and willing to lead.

Some might think that if you remove the barrier of lumpen organizational structure, i.e. the LO itself, that this act in itself will automatically gain us troops to the tenth degree because the lumpen will then be that much more progressive.

True, some individuals who either willingly leave their LO or are forcibly removed from their car do indeed become progressive in one way or another. Some delve into mysticism wishing for forgiveness and a better tomorrow, others become class conscious and take up the struggle of ending oppression in all its forms. For the most part however they just keep on doing the same old shit. "Same shit, different day," as they like to say.

Just as we can only build socialism one country at a time, we can only revolutionize the prison population one persyn at a time; and just as the theory of simultaneous world revolution is an incorrect one, so is it incorrect to think that we can revolutionize whole LOs all at once or anything close to that.

I say all this to make the point that the one organizational barrier for the most part isn't the end all be all when it comes to preventing the prison population's revolutionization process. Some comrades might know what I'm talking about if you're housed in an environment where there are no real prison politics to speak of, that is to say you don't have to worry about another prisoner trying to pressure you to conform to socially accepted and required norms.

A PC yard shows you this when you see people who have left one LO on the mainline only to join another one on a SNY, playing the same games and reconstructing the same old hierarchy and policies that got 'em to a PC yard to begin with.

It's almost as if the prison population must be shocked out of their zombie-like state of existence before they can exhibit some type of real progressiveness. Feeling this way can surely discourage some comrades from doing the necessary work which the USW has been tasked with. Unfortunately we are forced to work with what capitalism has bequeathed us.

The battle to push people towards scientific-socialism is a most ruthless war waged by the class-conscious and is fought against not only backward individuals but against an entire network of ideas (superstructure). This is exactly why the Chinese Communists had themselves a "Cultural Revolution," because they knew full well that organizing the prison population in this or that direction would never be enough. You have to teach the prison population not only what has to be done but why it needs to be done. For this we must all bear responsibilities!

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[Organizing] [Theory] [Economics] [New Afrikan Black Panther Party] [ULK Issue 18]
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Book Review: Defying the Tomb

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

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

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

Rashid's book is also worth studying alongside this review to better distinguish the revisionist line of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) with the MIM line. While claiming to represent a dialectal materialist assessment of the world we live in, the camp that includes the NABPP-PC, and Tom Big Warrior's (TBW) Red Heart Warrior Society have dogmatically stuck to positions on the oppression and exploitation of Amerikans that have no basis in reality. We will take some space to address this question at the end, as it has not been thoroughly addressed in public to our knowledge.

Coming Up

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

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

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

Democratically Centralized Organizing

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

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

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

The Original Black Panther Party

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Big Warrior

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

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

Wait, Are Whites Revolutionary?

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

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

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

Contradictory Class Analyses: Economics

On pages 205-6 Outlaw asks Rashid:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contradictory Class Analyses: History

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

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

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

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

Dangers of Revisionism

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

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

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[Economics] [Theory] [United Front] [ULK Issue 17]
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Lumpen United Front: Its Basis and Development

United Front in Prison

The basis for unity among lumpen is class. The lumpen are the disenfranchised who derive from the economically depressed areas - the Barrios and ghetto projects - and are for the most part oppressed nations people. The lumpen are known to the oppressor nation as the 'criminal element' which is code word for persyn of color. The lumpen usually come from a lumpen organization that the oppressors call a 'gang,' or survive as some type of parasitic hustler. Although we do make choices, often times in imperialist society our choice to engage in crime is a logical one due to the national oppression we endure.

As communists it is our job to fully understand the laws of social development, and the lumpen are an essential part of these laws today, especially here in the imperialist stronghold. In Marx’s theory of ‘social relations of production’ lies the question of ownership, that is what ‘class’ owns the tools and what ‘class’ uses the tools. In this imperialist society the lumpen neither own nor use the tools. We are excluded from production and live under the heel of capitalist relations of production. The propertied class has monopolized the productive forces. The lumpen play a crucial role in Amerika in the creation of new productive forces that will come into contradiction with the decaying social relations of production. The current economic crisis is helping to streamline this process.

The lumpen is a class, regardless of what nationality one comes from; we all have similar relations to the tools of society and the distribution of society’s wealth. It is a group that experiences the same oppression and is fighting the same imperialist monster.

It is understood that as national oppression exists it is thus only natural for there to also be national liberation struggles to combat the unevenness in this society, and for revolutionary national struggles to work to bring safety to the people who live in a constant police state in areas of the oppressed nations. This is the correct stance in the face of any oppression. But we can't get caught playing the same dog-eat-dog game that the imperialists play on us and our fellow lumpen. We need an Aztlán Liberation Front that is in unity with the lumpen.

The lumpen in Amerika must begin to realize that we are a class and lumpen fighting lumpen does nothing to liberate any oppressed nation. On the contrary, lumpen-on-lumpen crime will only strengthen the imperialist vice grip on our necks! This is why unity amongst the lumpen is the first step to liberation of all oppressed nations in the United $tates. We don't have to agree on everything, but we must have unity and work together with the full realization that we are up against not just the same monster but one that happens to run the world militarily.

It is essential for the lumpen to come together in a united front in order for liberation to ever be a reality on these shores. Without the critical element of the united front, liberation struggles of any kind are simply idle talk and will not produce. The function of the united front for the oppressed nations and ULK should be 1) to practice peoples' power within the prison system and thoroughly politicize the U.$. prison system, and 2) to practice peoples' power within the Barrios and ghetto projects out in society and thoroughly politicize these oppressed nation areas. These functions should be done with the idea of preparing these grounds for future insurrection.

Lumpen Unite with the International Proletariat!

The basis for unity between the lumpen and the international proletariat is again class-based. The lumpen are connected to the international proletariat by their common oppression by the imperialists and their popular resistance to this oppression. What we must keep in mind is the imperialists think and act on a global scale so we must do the same. Just as many have used the saying "don't show up at a gun battle with a knife," we don't want to show up with a "not in my backyard" mentality when the imperialists show up with an international colonization mentality. We must think of the big picture and on a grand scale of things. Of course we must first work in a particular area, as MIM(Prisons) works primarily with the prison population, to start from one area and eventually expand to include larger or multiple fronts of struggle. All our efforts should be with the intention of chipping away at imperialism.

Regardless of one's oppressed nation, it really is the same struggle against the same opponent. Currently this is seen unabashed by the imperialists' mega-prison system housing millions of Brown, Black, Red and Yellow people. It is seen in people of color hunted down in urban communities by the police and shot dead as if there were safaris in the inner cities. It is seen in the unequal treatment that has been festering in Amerika for over 500 years, the lynching of the body and the lynching of the mind. Therefore, it is not just understandable or justified but damn right necessary for these oppressed peoples to struggle for national liberation. Until New Democracy is achieved, as Mao spoke of, and we finally achieve equality for all in all aspects, the oppressed nations should continue to struggle for self-determination.

As communists we should always maintain focus on our goal of international communism rather than degenerating to simply Brown capitalism or Black capitalism, etc. This is why our unity must be with the international proletariat in mind as this will be our moral compass. Some may say or think "If I can liberate my people in this or that country why would I care about countries in another part of the world?" Well, as I've said before, we are all up against the same monster that cannot be defeated by one group of people, and even if one could somehow liberate one group of people, the imperialists worldwide would smash this isolated nation. We saw it happen in Grenada.

When Marx and Engels put together the theory of communism, it was with internationalism in mind as they saw even back then that the bourgeoisie would not sit back and allow the people to begin liberating themselves. We must always work in unity with the international proletariat in order to rise from lumpen to true revolutionary. Only then will we liberate our people.

La Lucha Continua!


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade did a good job of stressing the importance of internationalism in the united front, and in particular pointing out that the international proletariat must be our moral compass. The question we need to ask though is to what degree the imperialist country lumpen's interests are united with the international proletariat, and therefore how they fit into the united front as a class. What this comrade wrote about the need to support everyone's national liberation is true for any oppressed nation in the world, but we face particular challenges due to our material conditions.

MIM(Prisons) sees the lumpen in the United $tates as a bourgeoisified lumpen, in that the whole country benefits from imperialism in the form of basic needs like food, clean water, electricity, etc. as well as in the form of cheap consumer goods. The latter allows the lumpen to own small amounts of capital, creating a spectrum of wealth where a minority in the lumpen organizations are at the level of national bourgeoisie due to their relations to production, distribution and ownership. Even for the relatively poor majority of the lumpen class, a combination of state welfare and the drug game have allowed for access to the material benefits of imperialism the proletariat do not have.

We are watching closely the efforts of the white nation to take away welfare and local drug markets from the lumpen, as well as jobs from the undocumented. Even if these trends are successful, we see compradors among the lumpen and a popular desire for and belief in the Amerikan dream. While the lumpen are a class forced into criminality, there is a class consciousness and culture that derives from this criminality that is individualistic and parasitic. As this comrade alludes to, there is a transformation that must occur to replace the lumpen mentality (in particular its capitalistic elements) with a proletarian one. No national liberation struggles can succeed in this country without tackling this great challenge.

In addition, a growing lumpen class due to imperialist crisis will also touch the white nation. As we wrote about in ULK 14, a declassed white population is the makings of fascist foot soldiers. History has shown this to be the case for oppressor nations. So we agree with the author's alternating use of lumpen and oppressed nations in most cases, but disagree when s/he says the lumpen have the same interests regardless of nationality. Only if the oppressor nation lets go of its white privilege would this be true. This is an even stronger reason why a thesis that the lumpen in general in the U.$. are a progressive force does not hold true.

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[Organizing] [Theory] [Security] [Congress Resolutions]
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Reassessing Cell Structure 5 years out

[This is a belated resolution from the MIM(Prisons) 2010 Congress.]

Overall, MIM(Prisons) stands by the Resolutions on Cell Structure passed at the last MIM congress in 2005. After 5 years of putting that resolution into practice there is experience to sum up and questions that still need to be answered.

The theoretical basis for the cell structure is that the strength of a centralized party comes into play when vying for state power, whether by elections or otherwise. That is not in the cards for Maoists in the imperialist countries at this time. Maoism is a minority movement in the First World and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. This makes it even more important that we utilize our strengths and shore up our weaknesses.

One of the main lessons to take from the cell structure resolutions is that "[w]e oppose having geographic cells come into contact with each other face-to-face. Infiltration and spying are rampant when it comes to MIM. The whole strength of having a locality-based cell is that it is possible to do all the things traditional to a movement. The security advantages of culling people we know into a cell are lost the moment we slack off on security and start accepting strangers or meeting with strangers face-to-face." We find it frustrating that critics of what happened at etext.org as MIM faced repression are willing to ignore the lessons of those setbacks.

At the last MIM congress in 2005, they spoke of a "MIM Center" that put out the newspaper, among other tasks. Soon after, there was no MIM Notes newspaper, followed by the degeneration of the original MC cell and finally the shutting down of their last institution, the website at etext.org.

One of the challenges of small cells is developing and maintaining line. Much work has been done, and if every new group or every revolutionary had to start from scratch, we would never advance. That is why when etext.org was repressed, MIM(Prisons) posted an archive of the MIM site on our website. While we still do not have a regular newspaper for the movement as a whole, the website is a crucial reference for us all.

Fraternal organizations do not agree on everything; they agree on cardinal principles that are determined by the conditions of the time. The etext.org site is not something Maoists must agree with 100%, but there is no doubt that it is still the most comprehensive starting point for any Maoist organization in the First World.

Democratic centralism is important for security and for political line development. Yet until we are organizing on a countrywide basis, there is no need for democratic centralism at that level, not to mention internationally.

In guerilla warfare, the cell structure has been applied in a way that was hierarchical so that action cells were separate from each other, but each cell could be traced to the top of the organization. This relies on a centralized organization or center. While MIM mentions such a center being based around MIM Notes and etext.org in their 2005 resolutions, we do not see the need for this center given the current circumstances. As we have recognized before, certain ideological centers are bound to exist based on the law of uneven development. Yet such centers are not structural, but fluid, based on the type and amount of work done.

All that said, there is an inherent contradiction in the cell strategy. Since organizing strategy and security tactics are not dividing line questions, once the cell strategy is adopted and full decentralization has occurred, it is possible for cells to change their line on this question. Even the majority could do so and a new centralized party could push remaining cells to the periphery. Since we work to build a movement and not our individual organizations, and our work is already on the periphery, we should not be concerned about the impacts of such a move on our organization. It is, however, worrisome to the extent that we see our comrades opened up to attacks through faulty security.

Part of accepting cell strategy is distinguishing between cadre work and mass work. The self-described anarchist movement is able to mobilize large numbers in mass work while abhorring centralized organization. We should learn from their example, while not succumbing to liberalism in our security practices or abandoning scientific leadership.

Getting the correct balance of cadre work and mass work will be more challenging with a cell structure. There is no way to impose a balance on the movement as a whole without a center, but we can pay attention to what is going on around us and get in where we fit in. Leading cells should not be shy to point out where the movement needs more investment of resources.

One amendment we would make to the "Resolutions on Cell Structure" is to cut the suggestion that a one-persyn cell "in many ways... has the least worries security-wise!" Certainly, one-persyn cells should maintain high standards for admitting others. However, the value of criticism/self-criticism on the level of day-to-day work is something that is stressed within Maoism, and we've benefited from in our own practice in MIM(Prisons). We still need democratic centralism with the cell structure to provide crucial discipline and accountability. The criticisms we can give and get from other cells will be limited in nature if our security is correct. And we have seen how one-persyn cells can degrade or disappear quickly.

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