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[Theory] [ULK Issue 39]
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On Revolutionary Discipline

A persyn can proceed no further than the knowledge they have will carry them. To advance the revolutionary nationalist struggle for land, independence and socialism, we have to have a knowledge — a scientific understanding of the world around us — and we must study hystory. In order to do this, we must acquire discipline, revolutionary discipline. Revolutionary discipline is not something we are born with, it must be developed.

Discipline implies self-control, a willingness to submit yourself to the rules and code of conduct of an organization that is dedicated to independence. It means doing what is necessary to advance the objectives of the movement and doing what you say.

A unity of will and purpose cannot be accomplished without conscious efforts of all of the members or potential members of a revolutionary organization to strive to achieve maximum strength thru the exercise of maximum discipline and vigilance.

Many organizations have been destroyed because a member or group of members failed to keep their word. Revolutionary work has been retarded because this or that comrade has said they would take on a task and failed to deliver at the proper moment.

When we embrace or join an organization we have pledged to give something of ourselves for a greater unity and we must expect greater unity to exercise some control over our actions. We can no longer just think of ourselves, but of the group, the family and the movement — the nation.

Often times we wanna disregard the revolutionary discipline that we've committed to to pursue some persynal project. This happens because we have not rid ourselves of the disease of individualism. Thus, to build revolutionary discipline and eliminate individualism, we must stress constant study and practice, criticism and self-criticism.

Ultimately, we must purge from our ranks the weak links in our movement if we are to be strong, organized and about our work.

New Afrika's struggle is about land, independence and socialism. BORO is internationalist in our perspective and worldview and supports the struggle of all people to be free of imperialist aggression, patriarchy, gender and all forms of oppression.

Heighten your Discipline to improve yourselves.

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[Economics] [Theory] [Principal Contradiction]
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More on the Labor Aristocracy

divided world divided class
After taking some time off from writing insightful editorials from a first worldist perspective for Turning the Tide, A Journal of Inter-communal Solidarity, Michael Novick once again assumes the mantle of vociferous defender of the Amerikan labor aristocracy as revolutionary vehicle pre-eminent in his review of Divided World, Divided Class by Dr. Zak Cope. While we can appreciate his endorsement of this valuable text as "required reading for would-be revolutionaries," our differences are unfortunately as vast as the property-less petty-bourgeoisie is corrupt. The MIM camp recommends this book for its global class analsyis, based in Marxist economics, that explains the class divide between the First World core and the Third World periphery.

Interestingly, it has been noted that Turning The Tide has taken on something of a Third Worldist veneer ever since some searing criticisms of Novick and his assessment of the Maoist Internationalist Movement by a USW comrade last year.(2) Despite TTT's recent focus on the New Afrikan nation and their expressed support for the struggles of the oppressed worldwide, it is the underlying political line of Novick and company that we must really examine to see where we have unity. We understand that to the untrained eye, as well as to those new to revolutionary politics, the difference between the Maoist Internationalist Movement and the Amerikan left are less than apparent, so we will draw them out here for educational purposes as well as to defend against opportunists and social chauvinists of varying stripes; as without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.

Novick calls on fans of egalitarian politics to take up critical thinking when it comes to the topic of global political economy and the stratification of labor under capitalism. However, he attacks and undermines Marxist political-economic analysis, the most critical and on point analysis of capitalism itself, without proposing anything in its place. He does this in the first few paragraphs of his article when he states that Dr. Cope comes to his conclusion that the First World labor aristocracy is bought off via "underlying Marxist assumptions of the labor theory of value"(1) and "through sometimes hypothetical formulations of what the value and price of that value 'should' be..."(1) He then states that Cope says, "the only workers who are 'exploited' are those who directly produce 'surplus value' in agricultural and industrial production of commodities."(1) These lines imply a critique of Cope's (and Marx's) methods, but he does not say so outright or offer an alternative framework for such an analysis.(2) This is nihilism, and leads to subjectivism. Without an objective analysis as our guide we just let the masses do what feels right. We agree with Novick that to lame apologists of First World workers "Cope's book is a very difficult read..."(1), but not because of the so-called "long sections of abstract mathematical calculations"(1) as Mr. Novick puts it, rather because bitter pills are always hard to swallow.

For those who are unaware, Novick claims to use dialectical materialism as a tool to analyze social phenomenon, yet this has not led him to the conclusion that the principal contradiction in the United $tates, or the world for that matter, is imperialism vs. the oppressed nations. Instead, Novick believes that capitalism never developed past its competitive phase, therefore it is his assessment that the principal contradiction on a world scale is still that of the bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat, or rather one between the so-called 1% and supposed 99% — itself a non-sensical and anti-scientific assessment. As such, Novick doesn't believe that there are any oppressing or oppressed nations, only oppressed and oppressing classes; yet he denounces our "petrified defense of the principal contradiction."(3)

Michael Novick also complains that "Cope essentially liquidates or obliterates class contradictions within both core and peripheral states"(1), but what Cope really obliterates is the First World's romanticization of the labor aristocracy as anything but revolutionary with his scathing class analysis of First World workers. Novick also makes an empiricist error when he asserts that Dr. Cope's analysis is no good to us in the United $tates because "his orientation and experience is primarily European"(1) hence his "understanding of settler colonialism and the existence of oppressed and colonized peoples within so-called 'core' countries as the US, Canada, etc. is limited."(1) It is quite odd that Novick complains that Cope does not give us a complete class analysis of who are our friends and who are our enemies within the United $tates. Despite the fact that this book is about global imperialism, and written by a non-Amerikan, it spends a good amount of time explaining class and nation and the development of racism within the context of U.$. society, as it is today the heart of imperialism. Novick does not address the points made by Cope, only complains that it is too general. In addressing the discrimination and oppression faced by the disadvantaged in First World countries, Cope states that "economic betterment for people in the rich countries is today intrinsically dependent on imperialism."(4) And that's the rub right there. Whatever contradictions exist within imperialist society, apologists for the labor aristocracy like Novick must come to terms with that reality, or risk fanning the flames of militarism and even fascism.

A little further down Novick states that "classes and class relationships are based on material reality..."(1). This much is true, however, Novick takes us deeper into the jungle of idealism when he writes, "... but these are social phenomenon based on the element of consciousness and practice as well,"(1) emphasis on the element of consciousness. However, Marxist philosophy teaches us that in general it is social being that determines social consciousness, and not the other way around as Novick implies. He has a hard time reconciling the existence of revolutionaries in the United $tates and an analysis that labels the U.$. an exploiter country. For a dialectical materialist, this is no mystery. A more succinct explanation to the phenomenon and structure of class is given by Cope below:

"The term 'class' does not only refer to a social group's relation to the means of production - that is, to property ownership or it's absence and nor does it simply refer to any category relating purely to the technical division of labor at the societal or workplace level. Rather, class denotes a dynamic social relationship corresponding to the system of ownership, the organization of labour and the distribution of material wealth as mediated by ideological, cultural and political institutions and practices. Above all, class is the product of political practices, with the relationship between the state and class struggle revolving around the issue of class domination."(4)

Not surprisingly it is always the ideological that is principal in matters of revolution when it comes to Amerikan "left" circles. And with that Novick ends his weak attempt to disprove the scientifically proven correctness of Zak Cope's book. What then proceeds in his review is more existentialist questioning of both nation and class contradictions in the United $tates and the world when the answers are already readily apparent. Novick offers his persynal musings as proof positive to his readers that the class contradiction in the world is more important than the one of nation. But in order to deliver the people's consciousness you can't just answer the tough questions with more questions. Rather, you must deliver the people's consciousness with revolutionary practice summed up in rational knowledge; as without revolutionary practice theory is meaningless. As such, Novick inadvertently proves the principal contradiction correct with his confused explanation of class contradictions in Amerika.

Something else that was disappointing in his review of Divided World was the complete omission of Cope's thesis on how the First World petty-bourgeoisie, the labor aristocracy in particular, is a huge reservoir and potential breeding ground for fascism drawing from within the dispossessed petty-bourgeois class an army to smash the national liberation and socialist movements. This is odd since the majority of Anti-Racist Action's work has previously been fighting the various neo-Nazi organizations currently attempting to re-organize on a massive scale. Perhaps we can surmise that Novick saw something else in Cope's book that is damning and detrimental to First World "revolutionary and socialist" movements? Perhaps another bitter pill to swallow?

We highly recommend Divided World, Divided Class to up and coming revolutionaries and communist youth looking to get a firm grasp of First World labor and it's dialectical relation to the real proletariat centered in the periphery.(5) Divided World, Divided Class does an excellent job of explaining the parasitic nature, as well as the fascist tendencies of the First World labor aristocracy.


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[Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 38]
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Resolving Contradictions, Developing Cadre for a Protracted Struggle

I had some thoughts on an article that i read in ULK 37 entitled "Elevate the Prison Struggle Beyond Day to Day Goals". In this article a comrade voiced the frustration of the disarray or disfuction of the movement. I fully understand this.

There are times when i get frustrated at those who just don't get it. What seems like it is crystal clear to me is not grasped by so many. But remember this is what separates levels of consciousness. We have to remember most of us were knuckleheads at one time; at least i was. And i'm sure those wiser than me were stressed out about me as well. We don't have to like it, but we do have to understand it if we ever seek to change it. I must know that what i understand and grasp may not be the same for others, but people develop consciously at different rates, even two cellmates will not be totally on the same level.

A protracted struggle is not simply performing and being victorious, rather it is a long drawn out struggle. It does not matter what one is struggling for. If i am trying to get better health care or healthier food to eat and i am up against a medical corporation or a prison policy that prevents me from getting what i want, it will be a struggle. We are not talking about just filing a grievance or refusing to go back in my cell, we are talking about possibly YEARS of struggle.

One of the things a protracted struggle means is that it will be long and rough. Not only that but it is a stop and go struggle where, in between efforts for human rights when there is "down time," the people use this time to sharpen up educationally and learn more about the human rights they are shooting for by studying similar historical struggles. A protracted struggle then is struggle first in the physical realm THEN in the ideological realm so that the people are struggling - preparing - struggling.

Disarray and disfunction are signs of a lack of political education and nothing more. This is why there is a great important necessity for political education and building cadre. The lack of cadre in any group, prison or organization will be the difference between obtaining human rights or settling for a bigger variety of cookies on commissary; of the revolution moving closer to reality or being extinguished.

Mao spoke of cadre and summed it up as follows:

"In order to guarantee that our party and country do not change their color, we must not only have a correct line and correct policies but must train and bring up millions of successors who will carry on the cause of proletarian revolution.

"In the final analysis, the question of training successors for the revolutionary cause of the proletariat is one of whether or not there will be people who can carry on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary cause started by the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not the leadership of our party and state will remain in the hands of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not our descendents will continue to march along the correct road laid down by Marxism-Leninism, or, in other words, whether or not we can successfully prevent the emergence of Kruschev's revisionism in China. In short, it is an extremely important question, a matter of life and death for our party and our country. It is a question of fundamental importance to the proletarian revolutionary cause for a hundred, a thousand, nay ten thousand years. Basing themselves on the changes in the Soviet Union, the imperialist prophets are pinning their hopes of "peaceful evolution" on the third or fourth generation of the Chinese party. We must shatter these imperialist prophecies. From our highest organizations down to the grass-roots, we must everywhere give constant attention to the training and upbringing of sucessors to the revolutionary cause."(1)

Here Mao is referring to how a bourgeoisie arose within the Bolshevik Party, taking the Soviet Union down the revisionist road after Stalin's death. The younger generations, not having a deep enough understanding of revolutionary science allowed such preposterous ideas as a peaceful evolution from capitalism to communism to be promoted and accepted as guiding principles. Mao's solution to this was the Cultural Revolution, which advanced socialism to its furthest stage of development to date. It is not good enough for the wise, the vets, the double O.G.s to be up on game as far as what it means to come together in peace and struggling for human rights. It's important that the young buck must also be educated on the importance of peace and the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Young people must be taught why human rights are important and what ways to acquire human rights.

What many forget is education comes in many forms, conversing with someone about social justice can be just as effective as passing a political newsletter down the tier. Sharing an article one tailored for a specific bunch can be just as effective as giving a fiery speech on the tier and, well, doing all of the above is good too. Without one studying him/herself one is unable to learn ways to improve one's environment and instead is left in a chaotic atmosphere which never moves forward.

Educating those who never listened to anyone in their life is no walk in the park. I get this. The thing is i know it must be done.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This essay is a good introduction to the focus of this issue of Under Lock & Key, which is an update on the theory and practice of building the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Cipactli gives us some good theory to chew on here, but we would not go so far as to say that problems in the movement are "signs of a lack of political education and nothing more." While every prisoner is oppressed by the same state, there are contradictions within the imprisoned lumpen that contribute to disorder and conflict. Some of these contradictions may not be resolved by education. These contradictions must be recognized, it must be determined whether or not they are contradictions among the people and they must be pushed to resolution. Hashing this out is a big part of the process of building an effective united front. These are tasks that we are working with USW leaders to take on in addition to outreach and education work. At the same time these tasks will serve to train and develop leaders within USW.


Notes: 1. Mao Zedong, "On Kruschev's Phoney Communism and its Historical Lessons for the World" (14 July 1964).

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[Prison Labor] [Economics] [Theory] [ULK Issue 37]
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ULK37: Using Our Money Wisely

flower of socialism crushes money
In the richest country in the world, access to wealth and material goods can be a relative strength we have compared to most of the rest of the world, namely the global proletariat we aim to represent. We must consider what the best tactics are to leverage wealth to support our goals. Yet, we must not fetishize money or technology as panaceas to all our problems. We know people are decisive in social change. How we get money is mostly a tactical question. How we use it or campaign around financial issues is generally a strategic one.

We have at least one USW comrade in California who has been pushing the prison movement in that state to take up a boycott tactic to push the demands to end torture and group punishment. Prisoners in Virginia report of money taken from their accounts, decreased wages and have launched a fast to protest the extortion of Keefe Commissary. Also in this issue, Loco1 offers an alternative tactic on how to relate to commissary. And one comrade in Texas offers up a different sort of [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info/article/fighting-the-system-appealing-the-100-medical-co-pay-in-texa/boycott tactic around medical co-pays that could help focus our resources.(see p.X)

We say these questions are tactical, meaning they will vary from time to time or place to place. One tactic may work well in one prison, or under certain conditions, which won't work well in another circumstance. There are strategic considerations which serve as general guidelines for all of us and can help us make our tactical decisions. One stratetic orientation we hold is to not fetishize money, and remember that the people must change the system. An example of how this strategic orientation helps us choose tactics is in deciding whether we should spend more time and energy raising money, or writing letters to prisoners and developing study groups. If we believed money were decisive, we would spend more time fundraising or working at bourgeois jobs to pad our "revolutionary" bank account.

The concept of the "almighty dollar" leads the consumer class that dominates this country to see consuming as their means of expressing their political beliefs, and their main tool for promoting the world they want to see. Consumer politics are very popular in our bourgeois society, and these boil down to individual/lifestyle politics. Vegans may feel better about themselves because they know their nutritional sustenance doesn't rely on the abuse and murder of any non-humyn animal. But veganism itself doesn't challenge the capitalist system that makes factory farming profitable in the first place. Capitalists don't care what industry their money is in so long as they are drawing a profit. And no matter how many "fair trade", "local" or "ethical" products one purchases, capitalism relies on humyn exploitation to function. We can't buy our way out of imperialism itself.

Boycotts can easily fall into the realm of individual/lifestyle politics. Without a strong political movement with clear demands at the head of a boycott (i.e. the campaign to divest from Israel), our consumption habits will do nothing to change the structural problems of imperialism. Boycotting the commissary as an individual is just like choosing veganism. It may make you feel better about the role you are directly playing, but it doesn't actually have an impact on the prison system. This is partially because your individual $40 per month is a drop in the bucket of the prison budget, and also because, like the capitalists, it's only a matter of policy change to ensure prisons are extorting the balance they desire from prisoners. If they can't get it from you via commissary, then they'll instill an exorbitant medical co-pay, or financial penalties for disciplinary infractions. If you keep your bank account empty to avoid these fees, they limit indigent envelopes and postage to limit your contact to the outside world.

That doesn't mean you should pour your money down the drain or that there is no use for money in our revolutionary movement. But we have to be realistic about the impact our money is making. Spending $40 on mail-order fiction books rather than at commissary has no real political impact. But sending $40 to MIM(Prisons) allows us to send ULK to forty subscribers. This money allows us to send study group mail to eighty participants! That's enough to cover an entire level 1 study group! Send us $40 twice and you can cover the printing and postage of a whole introductory study group, both levels. This is a good demonstration of the political impact money can have on our ability to build up people's political understanding, without worshiping money as the be all and end all of our political work.

Any reader of ULK should be familiar with our line on the inflated minimum wage in imperialist countries. In line with our criticism of lifestyle politics above, we don't say Amerikans should refuse to be paid more than $2.50 per hour as an act of solidarity with Third World workers. Instead we say revolutionary comrades should funnel as much money as they can into the anti-imperialist movement. Get raises and make bigger donations, but don't waste all your time in your bourgeois job!

Prisoners and migrant workers differ from the rest of this country in that there is a progressive aspect to their struggles for higher wages. The proletarians currently on hunger strike in an ICE detention center in Washington have pushed internationalist demands to the front of their struggle. While they ask for higher wages and better conditions in the private prison they are being held, their primary demand is an end to deportations from the United $tates. Facing deportation themselves, these prisoners have a different class perspective than the vast majority in this country.

In an article titled "Sending a Donation is Contraband" from ULK 25, a comrade relates being prevented from sending MIM(Prisons) a donation to the overall political repression and censorship by the prisoncrats. In a bizarre interpretation of California's mail policies, CDCR effectively and illegally prevented this subscriber from exercising their First Amendment right to free speech. Similarly, in the last issue of ULK, another comrade in California explains the direct connection between a stamp drive for the SF BayView, a New Afrikan nationalist newspaper, and the pigs' mass disallowing of stamps and increased terrorist activities in San Quentin State Prison. The state has an interest in preventing any growth of the anti-imperialist movement, no matter how small.

Naturally it is among the most oppressed that we find the greatest support for anti-imperialism. Thus, campaigns for a few more $0.49 stamps for indigent prisoners in Texas are of vital importance. Such a concern is unfathomable to the vast majority in the imperialist countries. Cutting postage stamps and radio service are not only tactics to further deteriorate the mental health of prisoners, but are also attempts at political repression under the thinly veiled guise of budget cuts. Here we see the oppressor using economic tactics to reach their political goals. While the material basis of what we're fighting for is in the people, we must be smart about finance and other material resources to end hunger, war and oppression as soon as possible.

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[Spanish] [Political Repression] [Theory] [ULK Issue 38]
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Nosotros Queremos Paz! Ellos Quieren Seguridad

El mayor propósito de la publicación #7 de Bajo Llave & Candado es el mostrar quién y quienes no quieren la paz. También nos enfocaremos linea ya - sostenida - por tiempo de que los presos no logran nada desuniendose y peleando entré sí mismos o con el personal de la prisión. Cada prisión que censura este boletín reconoce que la paz entre los presos va en contra de su meta la cual según llaman "seguridad," y además sostiene nuestra tesis presentada abajo.

El tiempo ha comprobado … que la deferencia ciega a los oficiales de las correccionales no les hace un verdadero servicio. El asunto judicial con la regularidad de procedimiento tiene relación directa sobre el mantenimiento de la orden institucional; el cuidado ordenado con el cual las autoridades de la prisión haces sus decisiones esta íntimamente relacionado al nivel de respeto con el cual los prisioneros observan esa autoridad.

No hay nada más corrosivo a la estructura de una institución pública, como una prisión, que aquellos a los que contiene tengan el sentimiento que están siendo tratados injustamente." Palmigiano v. Baxter, 487 F.2d 1280, 1283 (CA1 1973). Como lo notó el Juez Principal en Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. @ 408 U.S. 484, "Tratamiento justo…aumentará la oportunidad de la rehabilitación evitando reacciones de arbitrariedad." - opinión disentido de Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974)

Nuestros registros de rastreo hablan por si mismos. Por lo menos docenas de presos y ex-prisioneros han dejado esas vidas que alguna vez incluían ataques físicos a los policías, y a menudo peleas contras personas, después de haber tomado la lucha anti-imperialista mediante MIM. Desafortunadamente, nuestra información esta un poquito desertada pues solo podemos hablar por los prisioneros con los que estamos en contacto. Depende de un investigador ambicioso el demostrar estadísticamente que esos envueltos en el anti-imperialismo son menos violentos que aquellos que no. (o más así como las oficinas de correo de las prisiones a lo largo del país sostienen en este caso).

Mientras tanto, hay una abundancia de estudios que enseñan como todo tipo de programas educacionales y familiares ayudan a reducir la violencia y el carácter anti-social. (1) Desafortunadamente, en un sistema enfocado en el castigo y a condenar al ostracismo a grupos de personas, estos programas son usados para manipular en vez de rehabilitar. Las prisiones de EE.UU. que ofrecen estos programas lo hacen con el esfuerzo de tentar a los presos con una zanahoria. Tomando este enfoque individualista ellos no están verdaderamente invirtiendo en paz o progreso. Cuando las prioridades cambian y un preso pierde su trabajo, o ya no puede ver a sus seres queridos, entonces ya no existe el incentivo para ser pacifico. En contraste, una dedicación a la lucha por un mundo sin opresión no puede ser quitado por administradores futuros de la prisión.

Verdades:

  1. En décadas de trabajo el Movimiento Internacionalista Maoista nunca ha roto leyes burgueses. En años de trabajo, tampoco MIM(Prisiones) lo ha hecho.
  2. Miembros de MIM y miembros de MIM(Prisiones) siempre se les ha prohibido el romper la ley.
  3. La literatura de MIM nunca ha promovido romper la ley o tomar armas en contra del gobierno de los EE.UU. o algún gobierno u organización local de hecho.
  4. Cada publicación de Under Lock & Key, el periodico de MIM(Prisiones), anima a que los presos obedezcan las leyes y evadir conflictos físicos.
  5. La experiencia anecdótica provee evidencia de un modelo de violencia reducida entre prisioneros que se han envuelto en programas educativos guiados por el MIM y/o compañías organizacionales.

A pesar de las verdades enlistadas arriba, nuestros programas y materiales son rechazados rutinariamente a los presos a lo largo de los EE.UU. A finales del 2007, lanzamos nuestra página de internet donde hemos grabado 509 incidentes de censura. La mayoría de esa censura es para MIM(Prisiones). De estos, 11 dicen STG - "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," 34 dicen "Seguridad" en general, 14 dicen una amenaza de "violencia," y 26 dicen de nuestra amenaza a la "ley" como la razón de la censura. Además, 164 tomaron lugar en California, donde todo el correo de MIM fue prohibido porque supuestamente "aboga el tomar el poder público mediante lucha armada y derribar las administraciones de las prisiones "quitandoles el control."(2) Mientras que las luchas legales recientes de un camarada en California han traído a la luz un documento que inválida esta prohibición, esta aún se sigue aplicando en muchas de las prisiones donde MIM(prisiones) tenía una multitud de lectores. La mayoría del resto de los incidentes de censura caen bajo varias categorías de "inaceptable," "no permitido," "no autorizado:, "rechazado" o no se daba ni siquiera una razón.

Security Threat Group (STG) o "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," es la palabra de moda adquirida en los años 1990 que se aplica a organizaciones políticas y callejeras por igual, muchos según llamados "profesionales correccionales" afirman que MIM(Prisons) es un STG. Pero exactamente, ¿para quién somos una amenaza a la seguridad? Copiando el lenguaje del precedente marco de jurisprudencia, se usa frecuentemente como "perjudicial a la seguridad, buen orden, o disciplina de la institución o […] que facilitaria actividad criminal." El problema con el fraseo de la decisión de esta corte es que muchas prisiones interpretan que significa que si tu le dices a prisioneros que presenten demandas, escriban a la prensa, que se unan a organizaciones o entablar un juicio en respuesta a la tortura, abuso físico, falta de cuidado médico, censura, etcétera, entonces tu estas amenazando el buen orden o disciplina de la institución. (THORNBURGH v. ABBOTT, 490 U.S. 401 (1989))

Revisiones de esta y otra jurisprudencia demuestran que bajo capitalismo en America, prisioneros realmente tienen derechos y la interpretación dearriba es una violación a ellos. El real significado de esta ley sería permitir a administradores de las prisiones a censurar materiales que fomentan real e inmediatas amenazas de riesgo y seguridad, tal como planear atacar a alguien más en la prisión o contrabandear armas. El caso más reciente condenando encerrocratas por prevenir a prisioneros recibir materiales que promueven resistencia legal, fue justo el año pasado cuando un camarada en Wisconsin, ganó su pleito en la corte federal.(3)

En algunos casos la administración de la prisión ha interpretado la ley de la misma manera que nosotros lo hacemos, pero todavia afirma que violamos esta al representar una amenaza de riesgo y seguridad. El boletin de prohibición de California, citado arriba es un ejemplo de esto. En estos casos además, no estamos de acuerdo hasta el punto de llegar a involucrar a las cortes burguesas.

El memorándum de Octubre del 2006 del Director del CDCR Scott Kernan prohibiendo publicaciones de MIM (supuestamente no todo nuestro correo) tiene completamente inexactas declaraciones en este, tales como el citado arriba. Si fuera posible demostrar que MIM fomento o violó la ley sin mentir, uno de los abogados del estado ya habría hecho esto. Su defensa favorita en muchos estados es esconderse detrás de las paredes de la prisión, en vez de mentir como Scott Kernan lo hizo. Por eso es que oficiales del estado necesitan ser públicamente responsables en cualquier sociedad que alega democracia en cualquier forma.

Desde oficiales de corrección hasta el director, desempeñan el papel al pie de la letra del burócrata intentando defender su institución corrupta, y para poder actuar en el nombre de trabajos lucrativos. Nosotros admitimos ser una amenaza a los trabajos de oficiales corruptos e instituciones abusivas, como cualquier consciente ciudadano debe ser. En esta edición leerás historias de planes frustrados de paz, violentos montajes, y riesgo de pago para los C.O.s. Varios de los sindicatos representando a los así llamados oficiales de paz, son algunos de los mas fuertes en el país y su principal herramienta de influencia es la seguridad personal. Ellos dicen "estamos poniendo nuestras vidas en juego para proteger tus mierdas, es mejor que nos paguen bien." Por lo tanto la inherente motivación por más violencia, más motines, más miembros de gangas "validados" y más máxima seguridad y prisiones supermax. Todo esto significa más dinero en sus bolsillos.

Por lo general, Amerikanos en su totalidad se benefician de sus posiciones de poder sobre los oprimidos. Ciudadanos Estadounidenses de clase media se benefician por ser miembros del grupo de gente quienes pueden ser policías o que pueden consiguen trabajos similares como opresores en el sistema de injusticia criminal, y se benefician de los servicios que los policias proporcionan manteniendo lineas entre los grupos sociales.

Esto no es solo una motivación individualista de un pago más alto, esto es además una conciencia nacional que es necesaria para crear la mentalidad de "Nosotros vs. Ellos," que es necesaria para dirigir prisiones de la manera que ellos lo hacen en los Estados Unidos. Un ejemplo esta conciencia surgió durante el reinado de terror de Guiliani en la ciudad de Nueva York en los años 1990s, cuando el New York Times reportó que la mayoría de residentes blancos estaban conformes con la conducta de la policía que ellos veían, mientras que nueve de diez de Negras sintieron que "la policía se dedicaba en la brutalidad contra Negras."(4)

Estas normas nacionales de "ellos contra nosotros" fueron creadas por los colonizadores blancos y esta profundamente dentro de la historia de arrebatos de tierras y comercio de esclavos. Después del tiempo esto forzó al oprimido a ver el mundo de una manera similarmente dividida, dejando a los opresores con dos alternativas; ellos pueden retractarse y usar esto como una justificación para su propia brutalidad o pueden disminuir la contradicción. Nuestro análisis de imperialismo y la contradicción principal predice que Amerikanos no pueden disminuir la contradicción, y hasta ahora hemos probado tener la razón. Y eso es porque prisiones de Estados Unidos llegaron a ser un pequeño mundo perversamente violento de la sociedad Amerikana.

Mientras que creemos que policías y oficiales correccionales en general tienen intereses conferidos para oponerse a nuestros esfuerzos para promover paz, estamos actuando en un Frente Unido con algunos empleados del enorme sistema de justicia criminal quienes están mas interesados en llegar a casa con sus familias cada noche, que consiguir una chance de pago y nuevos juguetes de alta tecnología para jugar. Esto es poco probable en lugares como California donde la historia ya ha mostrado que les pasa a los empleados de las prisiones que hablan contra estos intereses. En una nota asociada, MIM(Prisons) no amenaza las vidas de las personas ni induce gente al suicidio, ni lleva a cabo asesinatos.

Muchos empleados de las prisiones afirman que MIM(Prisons) es una amenaza porque animamos a prisioneros a organizarse. Miramos a la historia otra vez, y ayudamos a sofocar esos temores tomando una mirada a dos de los mas grandes ejemplos de prisioneros organizadose ellos mismos: Attica y Walpole. En la rebelión de Attica en 1971, no fueron asesinados oficiales correccionales hasta que la Guardia Nacional entró y baleó a muerte a 11 empleados junto con 29 prisioneros. Hasta ese punto los prisioneros de Attica habían organizado una sociedad dirigida democráticamente dentro de las paredes de la prisión, incluyendo cosas tales como su propia comida y servicios médicos, mientras que estaban negociando con el Estado en nombre de todos los prisioneros. A los guardias se les dio trato superior todo el tiempo.

Un par de años más tarde, prisioneros en Walpole se les fue permitido dirigir la prisión ellos mismos cuando el sindicato de los guardias se fue a la huelga. Ellos crearon servicios similares como los prisioneros de Attica, y en realidad incrementaron la eficiencia de operación de la prisión con los guardias y burócratas fuera del camino. Esto mostró que tan pronto como a principios de los años 70s, que a los guardias de prision se le pagaban altos salarios por hacer nada. Desde entonces la población de la prisión se ha incrementado ocho veces, haciendo engordar la labor aristocrática con trabajos de salarios más altos a lo largo del camino.

Los prisioneras funcionando pacíficamente sin supervisores impactó a los puercos, quienes entonces empezaron a correr rumores acerca de motines dentro de Walpole. Los motines nunca sucedieron, y de hecho hubo a fin a toda violencia y violaciones durante la semanas en que los guardias de la prisión estuvieron ausentes, y por algún tiempo después. Esta clase de rumores continuos no es única a un grupo particular de guardias malévolos. En vez de eso, ellos estaban representando el mismo interés heredado de esta clase de gente. En los últimos 15 a 20 años en California, ellos han tenido éxito en crear una atmósfera de disturbios y violencia. Unicamente la minoría lleva a cabo su-mismo-interés en paz, porque esta es una amenaza a sus trabajos como clase.

Desafortunadamente, podemos esperar mucha violencia de los opresores antes de que podamos esperar un honesto juicio de lo que esta pasando en estos reservados calabozos. La gente quiere paz ahora. Comunidades que están siendo ocupadas, encarceladas y bombardeadas quieren un inmediato fin a la violencia.

Huey P. Newton dijo que le corresponde al opresor decidir si satisfacer tales demandas del oprimido pasan de una manera pacifica o de una manera violenta. Frantz Fanon dijo que la violencia es parte del desarrollo humanista y nueva conciencia entre la gente. Aún si Fanon esta en lo correcto, toma mucho para presionar a las multitudes hasta el punto de violencia como Huey lo indicó. Esto es obvio con la tanta gente que ha pasado más días en sumisión pacifica que estos quienes no. Resistencia violenta de la gente surgirá como esta sea necesitada por los que monopolizan violencia a través de su propio poder.

MIM(prisons) únicamente entabla y promueve medios legales para combatir injusticia. Cuando el personal de las prisiones reprime cada salida educacional y legal para prisioneros para reparación de sus quejas, entonces se hace claro que clase de estrategias están promoviendo. En esas prisiones, predecimos que habrá violencia, y ellos no pueden culparnos de esto porque ellos nos han mantenido fuera.

Esto es igual a lo que decimos de todas las luchas por justicia alrededor del mundo. Creemos que la violencia es necesaria para acabar con la injusticia porque la historia ha mostrado que el opresor nunca para de oprimir de una u otra manera. No queremos fomentar violencia, estamos simplemente declarando nuestra conclusión leyendo la historia. En cada caso de guerra revolucionaria, dependió del opresor decidir si la violencia fuera usada o no. La historia muestra que lo mismo ha sido verdad en el movimiento de los derechos en la prisión; la lucha por los derechos de los prisioneros ha llegado a ser únicamente violenta cuando el Estado ha iniciado la violencia.


Apuntes:
1. "Desde 1990, la literatura ha mostrado que prisioneros quienes asisten a programas educacionales mientras ellos están encarcelados son menos probables a retornar a prisión después de su salida. Estudios en varios Estados han indicado que el índice de reincidencia ha declinado donde prisioneros han recibido una apropiada educación. Además, la clase correcta de programa educacional lleva a menos violencia por prisioneros involucradas en los programas y un ambiente más positivo en prisión." Journal of Correctional Education, v55 n4, p297-395, December 2004.

Vea además The Nation, March 4, 2005: "Estudios claramente han mostrado que participantes en educación dentro de la prisión, vocación y programas de trabajo tienen índices de reincidencia de 20 a 60 por ciento más bajos que los no participantes. Otro reciente y mayor estudio de prisioneros encontró que participantes en programas de educación eran 29 por ciento menos probables de terminar de regreso a prisión, y que participantes han ganado un salario más alto en libertad."
2. El texto completo de esta carta esta disponible en nuestro sitio web a lo largo con ciento de toneladas de otros documentos relacionados a la prohibición de California: https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/ca/ (si tu eras un preso de California probablemente ya la has visto.)
3. Lorenzo Johnson v. Rick Raemisch, Daniel Westfield, and Michael Thurmer, Case No. 07-C-390-C US District Court Western District of Wisconsin. Disponible pronto en nuestra página de archivo.
4. Hayden, Tom. Street Wars. The New Press, 2005, p.108.

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Reconciling Stalin with the Conditions of New Afrika Today

Stand up struggle forward Sanyika Shakur book cover


Stand Up, Struggle Forward: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings On Nation, Class and Patriarchy
by Sanyika Shakur
Kersplebedeb, 2013

Available for $13.95 + shipping/handling from:
kersplebedeb
CP 63560, CCCP Van Horne
Montreal, Quebec
Canada
H3W 3H8

While we recommended his fictional T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E., and his autobiographical Monster is a good read on the reality of life in a Los Angeles lumpen organization, Shakur's third book is most interesting to us as it provides an outline of his political line as a New Afrikan communist.(1) Stand Up, Struggle Forward! is a collection of his recent essays on class, nation and gender. As such, this book gives us good insight into where MIM(Prisons) agrees and disagrees with those affiliated with the politics Shakur represents here.

At first glance we have strong unity with this camp of the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM). Our views on nation within the United $tates seem almost identical. One point Shakur focuses on is the importance of the term New Afrikan instead of Black today, a position we recently put a paper out on as well.(2) Agreeing on nation tends to lead to agreeing on class in this country. We both favorably promote the history of Amerika laid out by J. Sakai in his classic book Settlers: the Mythology of a White Proletariat. However, in the details we see some differences around class. We've already noted that we do not agree with Shakur's line that New Afrikans are a "permanent proletariat"(p.65), an odd term for any dialectician to use. But even within the New Afrikan nation, it seems our class analyses agree more than they disagree, which should translate to general agreement on practice.

Writings that were new to us in this book dealt with gender and patriarchy in a generally progressive and insightful way. Gender is one realm where the conservativeness of the lumpen really shows through, and as Shakur points out, the oppressors are often able to outdo the oppressed in combating homophobia, and to a lesser extent transphobia, these days. A sad state of affairs that must be addressed to improve our effectiveness.

Where we have dividing line differences with Shakur is in the historical questions of actually existing socialism. He seems to have strong disagreement with our sixth, and probably fifth, points of agreement for fraternal organizations. We were familiar with this position from his essay refuting Rashid of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) on the questions of national independence and land for New Afrika.(3) The main thrust of Shakur's article was right on, but he took a number of pot shots at Stalin, and was somewhat dismissive of Mao's China, in the process. There is a legacy of cultural nationalism among New Afrikan nationalists that dismisses "foreign" ideologies. While making a weak effort to say that is not the case here, Shakur provides no materialist analysis for his attacks, which appear throughout the book.

Attacking Stalin and Mao has long been an important task for the intelligentsia of the West, and the United $tates in particular. This has filtered down through to the left wing of white nationalism in the various anarchist and Trotskyist sects in this country, who are some of the most virulent anti-Stalin and anti-Mao activists. It is a roadblock we don't face among the oppressed nations and the less institutionally educated in general. From the sparse clues provided in this text we can speculate that this line is coming from an anarchist tendency, a tendency that can be seen in the New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist formations that survived and arose from the demise of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Yet, Shakur takes up the Trotskyist line that the USSR was socialist up until Lenin's death, while accepting the Maoist position that China was socialist up until 1976.(p.162) He says all this while implying that Cuba might still be socialist today. A unique combination of assessments that we would be curious to know more about.

stalin internal semi-colonies new afrika

There is a difference between saying Mao had some good ideas and saying that socialist China was the furthest advancement of socialism in humyn history, as we do. Narrow nationalism uses identity politics to decide who is most correct rather than science. While we have no problem with Shakur quoting extensively from New Afrikan ideological leaders, a failure to study and learn from what the Chinese did is failing to incorporate all of the knowledge of humyn history, and 99% of our knowledge is based in history not our own experiences. The Chinese had the opportunity, due to their conditions, to do things that have never been seen in North America. Ignoring the lessons from that experience means we are more likely to repeat their mistakes (or make worse ones). This is where (narrow) nationalism can shoot you in the foot. Maoism promoted self-reliance and both ideological and operational independence for oppressed nations. To think that accepting Maoism means accepting that your conditions are the same as the Chinese in the 1950s is a dogmatic misunderstanding of what Maoism is all about.

For those who are influenced by Mao, rather than adherents of Maoism, Stalin often serves as a clearer figure to demarcate our differences. This proves true with Shakur who does not criticize Mao, but criticizes other New Afrikans for quoting him. For Stalin there is less ambiguity. To let Shakur speak for himself, he addresses both in this brief passage:

"While We do in fact revere Chairman Mao and have always studied the works of the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Revolution, We feel it best to use our own ideologues to make our own points. And We most certainly will not be using anything from old imperialist Stalin. He may be looked upon as a 'comrade' by the NABPP, but not by us."(p.54)

For MIM(Prisons), imperialist is probably the worst epithet we could use for someone. But this isn't about name-calling or individuals, this is about finding and upholding the ideas that are going to get us free the fastest. In response to a question about how to bring lumpen organizations in prison and the street together, Shakur states, "The most fundamental things are ideology, theory and philosophy. These are weaknesses that allowed for our enemies to get in on us last time."(p.17) So what are Shakur's ideological differences with Stalin?

Shakur's definition of nation differs little from Stalin's, though it does omit a reference to a common economy: "A nation is a cultural/custom/linguistic social development that is consolidated and evolves on a particular land mass and shares a definite collective awareness of itself."(p.21) In his response to Rashid, Shakur attempts to strip Stalin of any credit for supporting the Black Belt Thesis, while sharing Stalin's line on the importance of the national territory for New Afrika. Shakur opens his piece against Rashid, Get Up for the Down Stroke, with a quote from Atiba Shanna that concludes "the phrase 'national question' was coined by people trying to determine what position they would take regarding the struggle of colonized peoples — there was never a 'national question' for the colonized themselves." While this assessment may be accurate for contemporary organizations in imperialist countries, these organizations did not coin the term. This assessment is ahistorical in that the "national question" was posed by Lenin and Stalin in much different conditions than we are in today or when Shanna wrote this. In fact, reading the collection of Stalin's writings, Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, will give you an outline of how those conditions changed in just a couple decades in the early 1900s. It might be inferred from the context that Shakur would use the quote from Shanna to condemn "imperialist Stalin" for being so insensitive to the oppressed to use a term such as "the national question." Yet, if we read Stalin himself, before 1925 he had explicitly agreed with Shanna's point about the relevance of nationalism in the colonies:

"It would be ridiculous not to see that since then the international situation has radically changed, that the war, on the one hand, and the October Revolution in Russia, on the other, transformed the national question from a part of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a part of the proletarian-socialist revolution."(4)

This point is also central to his essay, The Foundations of Leninism, where he stated, "The national question is part of the general question of the proletarian revolution, a part of the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat."(5) So Shakur should not be offended by the word "question," which Stalin also used in reference to proletarian revolution and dictatorship of the proletariat. Clearly, "question" here should not be interpreted as questioning whether it exists, but rather how to handle it. So, in relation to Stalin at least, this whole point is a straw person argument.

On page 86, also in the response to Rashid, Shakur poses another straw person attack on Stalin in criticizing Rashid's promotion of "a multi-ethnic multi-racial socialist amerika." Shakur counter-poses that the internal semi-colonies struggle to free their land and break up the U.$. empire, and implies that Stalin would oppose such a strategy. Now this point is a little more involved, but again exposes Shakur's shallow reading of Stalin and the history of the Soviet Union. Promoting unity at the highest level possible is a principle that all communists should uphold, and this was a challenge that Stalin put much energy and attention into in the Soviet Union. He was dealing with a situation where great Russian chauvinism was a barrier to the union of the many nationalities, and that chauvinism was founded in the (weak) imperialist position of Russia before the revolution. Russia was still a predominantly peasant country in a time when people had much less material wealth and comforts. While one could argue in hindsight that it would have been better for the Russian-speaking territories to organize socialism separately from the rest of the USSR, all nationalities involved were mostly peasant, and secondarily proletarian in their class status.(6) The path that Lenin and Stalin took was reasonable, and possibly preferable in terms of promoting class unity. Thanks to the Soviet experiment we can look at that approach and see the advantages and disadvantages of it. We can also see that the national contradiction has sharply increased since the October Revolution, as Stalin himself stressed repeatedly. And finally, to compare a settler state like the United $tates that committed genocide, land grab, and slavery to the predominately peasant nation of Russia in 1917... well, perhaps Shakur should remember his own advice that we must not impose interpretations from our own conditions onto the conditions of others. Similarly, just because Stalin clearly called for a multinational party in 1917, does not mean we should do so in the United $tates in 2014.(7)

While Stalin generally promoted class unity over national independence, he measured the national question on what it's impact would be on imperialism.

"...side by side with the tendency towards union, there arose a tendency to destroy the forcible forms of such union, a struggle for the liberation of the oppressed colonies and dependent nationalities from the imperialist yoke. Since the latter tendency signified a revolt of the oppressed masses against imperialist forms of union, since it demanded the union of nations on the basis of co-operation and voluntary union, it was and is a progressive tendency, for it is creating the spiritual prerequisites for the future world socialist economy."(8)

In conclusion, it is hard to see where Shakur and Stalin disagree on the national question. While upholding very similar lines, Shakur denies that New Afrika's ideology has been influenced by Stalin. While we agree that New Afrika does not need a Georgian from the 1920s to tell them that they are an oppressed nation, Stalin played an important role in history because of the struggles of the Soviet people. He got to see and understand things in his conditions, and he was a leader in the early development of a scientific analysis of nation in the era of imperialism. His role allowed him to have great influence on the settler Communist Party - USA when he backed Harry Haywood's Blackbelt Thesis. And while we won't attempt to lay out the history of the land question in New Afrikan thought, certainly that thesis had an influence. We suspect that Shakur's reading of Stalin is strongly influenced by the lines of the NABB-PC and Communist Party - USA that he critiques. But to throw out the baby with the bath water is an idealist approach. The Soviet Union and China both made unprecedented improvements in the conditions of vast populations of formerly oppressed and exploited peoples, without imposing the burden to do so on other peoples as the imperialist nations have. This is a model that we uphold, and hope to emulate and build upon in the future.

Having spent the majority of his adult life in a Security Housing Unit, much of this book discusses the prison movement and the recent struggle for humyn rights in California prisons. His discussion of the lumpen class in the United $tates parallels ours, though he explicitly states they are "a non-revolutionary class."(p.139) His belief in a revolutionary class within New Afrika presumably is based in his assessment of a large New Afrikan proletariat, a point where he seems to agree with the NABPP-PC. In contrast, we see New Afrika dominated by a privileged labor aristocracy whose economic interests ally more with imperialism than against it. For us, to declare the First World lumpen a non-revolutionary class is to declare the New Afrikan revolution impotent. Ironically, Shakur himself embodies the transformation of lumpen criminal into revolutionary communist. While he is certainly the exception to the rule at this time, his biography serves as a powerful tool to reach those we think can be reached, both on a subjective level and due to the objective insights he has to offer.

One of the points Shakur tries to hit home with this book is that the oppressors have more faith in the oppressed nations ability to pose a threat to imperialism than the oppressed have in themselves. And we agree. We see it everyday, the very conscious political repression that is enacted on those in the U.$. koncentration kamps for fear that they might start to think they deserve basic humyn rights, dignity, or even worse, liberation. We think this book can be a useful educational tool, thereby building the confidence in the oppressed to be self-reliant, keeping in mind the critiques we pose above.

Notes:
1. Wiawimawo. The Hate U Gave Lil' Infants Fucks Everyone, Under Lock & Key 10.
2. MIM(Prisons). Terminology Debate: Black vs. New Afrikan, Under Lock & Key 35.
3. For a pro-Stalin critique of Rashid's line see A Critique of Rashid's Black Liberation in the 21st Century by a USW comrade in ULK 26
4. JV Stalin. The National Question Once Again: Concerning the Article by Semich, Bolshevik, No. 11-12, 30 June 1925. (reprinted in Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, Proletarian Publishers, p.331)
5. JV Stalin. The Foundations of Leninism, 1924. (reprinted in Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, Proletarian Publishers, p. 285)
6. see A "what if" Fantasy about Sultan-Galiev by MIM
7. JV Stalin. Report on the National Question, All-Russian Conferences of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) in April 1917 (reprinted in Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, Proletarian Publishers, p.106)
8. JV Stalin. National Factors in Party and State Affairs: Theses for the Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), Approved by the Central Committee of the Party, Pravda, No.65, 24 March 1923. (reprinted in Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, Proletarian Publishers, p.203)

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Book Review: The Crusade for Justice

Book Review
The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Governments War on Dissent
By Ernesto B. Vigil
University of Wisconsin Press 1999
450 pages

This book is about the Chican@ organization the Crusade for Justice, which was founded by Rudolfo "Corky" Gonzalez, and the repression they endured. Corky was born on 18 June 1928 to parents who were farm workers. His father was a migrant from Mexico and fought in Pancho Villa's army during the Mexican Revolution, while his mother was a Chicana from Colorado. From Boxer, to bourgeois Democrat, to Chican@ militant, Corky developed in the urban setting of Denver.

The Crusade for Justice was formally founded in 1966, in response to murders of Chican@s by pigs. It was an organization which sought self-determination for Chican@s and hoped to serve as a model for the Chican@ nation.

The federal government began surveilling Corky soon after he officially broke with the bourgeois politics of the Democratic party. He broke with them because he saw that they were not really working in the interests of the Raza, rather they served Empire. He really got on the FBI radar in 1966 when the FBI files note an anti-war speech he made in Denver, Colorado. In this speech Corky said:

"Who reaps the profits? If in essence we are sharing in this prosperity by our own personal good life, then we are prospering at the expense of the blood and bones of fellow human beings. If our own economic gain must be earned by such a grisly trade, then we are truly a very sick society ... prolongment of the war means isolation of the most powerful military country in the world, frowned on and hated by millions of people on all the continents of this planet."(p. 28)

Here he clearly understands that the imperialist war on Vietnam was wrong and also saw that those in the First World who benefited via better living standards and privileges were benefitting off of the "blood and bones" of people around the world. So early on we see that Corky was much different than say a Cesar Chavez because he not only sought better treatment for Chican@s but for folks around the world.

I found the portions of the book concerning FBI surveillance very educational. The author obtained FBI reports on Corky via Freedom of Information Act requests, and learned that at one point the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) sent a report to J. Edgar Hoover stating that protesters were released after protesting the death of a New Afrikan who was killed for using a segregated facility, and after walking out of the courtroom the SAC notes of Corky and others: "They all joined hands and sang, 'we shall overcome'."

For the SAC to feel the need to report to Hoover something like this highlights just what kind of beast that we are up against. The unity between oppressed nations is an extreme threat to the safety and security of white supremacy. Calls for unity or a united front between the internal semi-colonies will always threaten our oppressor because this unity challenges the Settler state even before a single rifle is raised. Together we make the occupiers tremble!

Perhaps one of the significant actions that "Crusade for Justice" did was, besides mobilizing the Chican@ nation, it held the 1969 Chicano Youth Liberation conference, which brought Chican@s together for the first time like no other. It was here that the concept of "Aztlán" and Chican@ independence was brought to the Raza like never before. And although this was guiding the Chican@ movement onto the anti-imperialist road and was a revolutionary event, the leaders - Corky and the Crusaders - were not communists and this was their shortcoming. As good as their efforts were and as much as the Chican@ nation needed them at the time, they did suffer some erroneous political line.

At the conference a preamble and three-point plan was adopted. The preamble, also known as "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán" was steeped in patriarchal tone with talk about "brotherhood" of Chicanos and our "Forefathers" in Aztlán. What's more, as Vigil notes, there is no talk of the First Nations who exist within many parts of the land base we call Aztlán. The preamble was written by the poet Alurista and thus the preamble was a little poetic.

The program was written by Corky and reflected some idealism. He speaks of nationalism, self-determination, independence and total liberation from the oppression and exploitation, but not of socialism or communism. From my studies I know that there were Chican@ communists involved in the Chican@ movement, but they were a minority. For most, the Chican@ struggle was simply about breaking from the "Gringo" i.e., national oppression, but liberation divorced from socialist relations of production leads back to capitalism and thus imperialism. We have learned from our foremothers and forefathers and understand that even within the Chican@ Nation there are class contradictions which will continue to be a problem post-liberation, and will not be resolved without dissecting capitalism completely. Without identifying this truth, one is left with the empty shell of bourgeois nationalism and continued oppression only under new management.

The fact that even organizations like Crusade, which did not even seek socialism, but simply to be free from oppression, faced state repression and intense FBI surveillance is shocking. Here was a group who we find out in this book was surveilled by FBI, military intelligence, police intelligence, CIA and others, and they were not even attempting to install socialism. This teaches us all the extent of the settler in protecting its Empire.

Vigil describes how in the late 1960s and early '70s many middle class people of all nationalities were protesting for integration of schools, but the Chican@ movement did not care for integrating schools nor did they struggle for this.

"School busing to achieve integration was of little interest to Denver's Chicano activists, who had other priorities; bilingual education, community empowerment, and curriculum reform. For them, integration was misguided 'Liberalism,' a mere cosmetic reform premised on the assumption that minorities could be well educated only when Whites were physically present."(p. 117)

Here Vigil is on point that Chican@s should not focus on integration, not in schools and not with Amerikkka. Our goals are to liberate our people, not to sleep in the oppressor's house. The only integration we want is Aztlán's future economy being integrated with socialist relations of production.

I really enjoyed reading about the Escuela Tlatelolco which was a "Freedom school." Chican@ youth learned "Spanish, history, music, folkloric dancing, geography, printing, sculpturing, and contemporary world and national affairs."(p. 161) Vigil explained: "Three professors were recruited from Monterey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, to teach advanced Spanish, Mexican history, economics, political science and mathematics."(p.162)

Independent institutions such as liberation schools are important for us to decolonize the minds of our youth, but this decolonization must come wrapped in communist ideology — which the Escuela Tlatelolco wasn't. Our contemporary liberation schools will clearly show our youth that only a socialist Aztlán will begin the process of real nation building and is the only way to truly liberate the Chican@ nation. We want schools today that are operating outside U.S. influence and which display what real people's power means.

There was an interesting section on a Chican@ prisoners self-help group which formed in 1969 at Colorado State Penitentiary. This political group was called the Latin American Development Society (LADS). The LADS made it possible for Chican@ community organizations to go into prison and helped to create a bridge of cooperation where Chican@s being released from prison would be funneled into the outside Chican@ activist community where they would find post-prison services such as employment, counseling, etc. Corky Gonzalez was able to go into the prison and speak at the first LADS meeting, so the Chican@ movement was injected into this prison political group.(p. 180-181)

Like prison groups today LADS focused on combatting oppression and providing education for the imprisoned Chican@, and LADS also left us with some good examples to learn from. They created several serve the people programs in the pinta, for one they created a committee that worked with new prisoners, what we may call "first termers" here in pintas in Califas. This was important because a new prisoner or "fish" may be easy prey for some predator in prison. In this way youngsters were given revolutionary clecha once they entered the pinta by LADS "O.G.'s". LADS was comprised of prison vets who were politicized. Within LADS were many sub-committees such as the Committee to Assist Young People (CAYP), as well as a security committee called the Zapatistas.(p. 182) The LADS were anti-dope and combatted drug use or sales in the pinta. They were not trying to poison the imprisoned Raza, rather they were trying to build the Raza.

Criminal acts and lumpen-on-lumpen crime declined once the LADS became active and they were able to establish a Concilio de Unidad (Unity Council) which contained LADS and outside activists who collaborated with one another. This I think is needed in today's pintas where prison revolutionaries via United Struggle from Within (USW) can link up with MIM(Prisons) and ensure released prisoners can be funneled into the revolutionary movement out in society. But prisoners need to step up and prepare ourselves and other prisoners to continue their political work on the outside.

The shortcomings of LADS was it was an above ground (prison approved) organization, so although the prison officials allowed them to have meetings etc., Vigil states that prison officials abolished the LADS once they gained influenced. My question is since when do we allow our oppressor to abolish our efforts to organize or serve the people? At the same time state repression is real and very deadly, this probably explains why many of today's imprisoned Chican@ revolutionary groups operate underground.

Something else I found interesting was something Corky Gonzalez came up with and that was the Congreso de Aztlán (Aztlán Congress). As Vigil explains, "The Congress de Aztlán was a conceptual congress of the 'Chicano nation,' of 'Aztlán.' It would be similar to a government-in-exile in as much as it claimed legitimacy in opposition to the colonizing power that claimed Mexicans as subjects. In this case, however, the congreso was not in exile but operating in occupied territory."(p. 189)

The Congreso de Aztlán was never able to be activated because of inner contradictions within the Chican@ movement. The main political vehicle was the la Raza Unida Party (RUP). RUP made an attempt at establishing dual power, where Raza sought community control of community politics and community services, but this "dual power" was in reality an attempt to use the oppressors' politics to liberate the people, which of course could never really be successful. This approach is a result of those Social Democrats who fall for ballot box "revolution."

Vigil states about the RUP, "The party was a national party in name only and never had a clear central ideology other than the anti-establishment nationalism prevalent in the movement."(p. 191) I would disagree, the RUP did have an ideology but for the most part it was bourgeois ideology. When the Congreso de Aztlán is finally activated in the future it will have a strong ideology. Chican@s have learned a lot since decades past, we know that like Mao said, without a revolutionary theory there is no revolutionary party. The ideology of our Congreso de Aztlán will be communist in nature.

RUP also failed to have a national platform, newspaper or command structure.(p. 192). Their strategy seemed to be to knock on doors and tell Raza to vote Brown. Had RUP enacted a clear revolutionary program and national officers, etc., I believe they would have been neutralized by the U.$. government's COINTELPRO tactics a lot faster than they were, because they attempted to organize above ground in opposition to Amerikka.

Some of the leaders in the Chican@ movement were more revolutionary than others. Reis Tijerina who fought the land grant struggle in New Mexico, for example, got out of prison and made a statement which Vigil quotes: "I don't dig the political philosophy of the Third World. We are here. We have what it takes. I don't go for outside ideologies."(p. 192) His First Worldism shines forth, and had the U.S. miraculously given back the land grants in New Mexico we may never had heard from Tijerina again. Tijerina went on to describe our youth of believing in "imported ideologies" that "serve the Anglo," yet it was his clinging to capitalism which served the imperialists. Here Tijerina displays dogmatism, where facts don't matter in relation to ones narrow-mindedness. Corky responded to Tijerina stating he wanted no "alignment with political prostitutes" in a letter that was published in the Crusade newspaper El Gallo. Corky saw that Tijerina's efforts were opportunistic, relying on familial ownership of land. Corky saw the struggle being to liberate the land for all of the Chican@ nation, not simply for land-owning families, and thus Corky was more correct.

The Chican@ movement during these times also produced some underground revolutionary groups. Some of these groups were the Chicano Liberation Front in El Paso, the Frente de Liberación Chicano of Northern California, and the Continental Revolutionary Army in Colorado. These groups were reportedly involved in bombings within U.S. borders and other operations aimed at U.S. imperialism. Vigil notes how the Continental Revolutionary Army bombed the Texas home of James M. Somerville, who newspapers described as the CIA chief of the Denver field office. As Vigil points out, it was the first physical attack on the CIA on U.S. soil and it was done by Chican@s. It's important to note that in the 1970s Denver was the bombing capital of the U.S.(p. 295)

Prisoners were also forming revolutionary groups at this time, such as Chicanos Organizados Rebeldes de Aztlán (Organized Rebel Chicanos of Aztlán - CORA). CORA put out a newspaper called AZTLAN from prison which was distributed out in society. Another organization was the Movimiento Organizado Socalistas Chicano de Aztlán (MOSCA). Both of these organizations were created in the Federal prison system and some of their miembros left the pinta to remain politically active on the outside. Every generation of prisoners needs their own revolutionary Chican@ organizations. Our oppression continues and so should our resistance. CORA's example of creating a prisoner newspaper is something contemporary prisoners have not been able to pull off, but the example remains that the independent press can be created from within prisons. The imprisoned Chican@ struggle is nothing new, our people have been rising up in these colonial pintas for decades, and so we have a lot of history to learn from if we can access it.

The content of Crusade that dealt with the developments of Chican@ independent institutions was powerful and subjectively pleasing, but the real meat of this book was in learning how state repression — primarily by the FBI — was aimed at the Crusade for Justice and the Chican@ movement of the '60s and '70s. There are many books on COINTELPRO and other political repression, but few focus on it aimed at the Chican@ movement like Crusade does. Not only were field reports generated for local police intelligence units on Crusade activity, but these reports were shared with many others like military intelligence, FBI, CIA, etc. For as little as making a speech critiquing capitalism or Amerikkka, an FBI file was started on a persyn. Attending an event protesting pig brutality was also grounds for investigation. I recommend this book because it helped me understand the extent of political repression by U.S. imperialism. Even journalists were having an FBI file created on them for making a critical statement or article on police or government.

I see the need now more than ever to rebuild the Chican@ nation and mobilize the people on the only path to justice and real equality. Our complete decolonization will manifest in an independent Socialist People's Republic of Aztlán.

¡Aztlán Libre!

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[Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 36]
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Resistance From Within

I recently received the level 2 study group. One question it asks is "Does MIM(Prisons) recruit members from prison? Why or why not? Do you agree? Explain." My answer, in part, was "As prisoners we need MIM(Prisons) to not be subjected to our oppression, which helps to protect the integrity and Third World viewpoint of the MIM." I realized that what I was referring to was resistance to what I once read a comrade call "bourgeois brainwashing." I then set about to understand the psycho-social dynamics of this bourgeois brainwashing and how we must form resistance from within. I also examined the role played by MIM(Prisons) and the tie to how we view the Third World.

Bourgeois brainwashing uses the psychological phenomenon of dehumanization to facilitate the deconstruction of our value systems. Used as a defense against painful or overwhelming emotions, dehumanization entails a decrease in a person's sense of his own individuality and in his perception of the humanness of others. This dehumanization of others allows for their maltreatment to be acquiesced in with relative freedom from the restraints of conscience or feelings of comradeship.

Dehumanization has two interrelated processes: self-directed dehumanization, which relates to self-image and denotes the deterioration of an individual's sense of his own humanness, and object-directed dehumanization, which refers to one's perceiving others as lacking in those attributes that are considered to be most human. These two forms of dehumanization are mutually reinforcing: reduction in the fullness of one's feelings for other human beings diminishes one's own sense of self; any reduction of the humanness of one's self-image limits that person's capacity for relating to others.

You see, the first step is for the pigs to beat down our self-worth and self-respect. Once we lose sight of our own humanness, we cannot see it in others. We then have complacence, even to the point of being helpful, while the U.$. empire oppresses, occupies and exploits the Third World nations. Why should I care? The Third World proletariat are less than human anyway. I didn't put them in the situation they are in, they put themselves there, therefore, they deserve it!

Thus, oppression necessarily rests upon dehumanization, which diminishes and morphs our value system. We can resist dehumanization by holding on to our self-worth and self-respect, and our communistic value system that brought us to participate in the MIM. This takes resistance from within; from within the prison and from within our own selves.

There is a process of resistance called counter-socialization. To keep our values insulated from the conformist bourgeois values shoved down our throats while incarcerated is no easy task. It requires a stabilizing point of reference and behavior patterns that harmonize, to some degree, with our own values. These are two distinct aspects: a supportive reference system or group, and behavior patterns that offer protection against dehumanization of self and others. Our values or attitudes may not be consistent with the behavior expected or even forced upon us, which makes us vulnerable to a deep psychological discord with accompanying stress and pull toward equilibrium to reduce this mental discord and stress. Unless we are careful, our values may subtly change to match our behavior, and the brainwashing has begun.

For us to keep our communistic values from dying or fading away, it helps (it may even be essential) to have value sharers to whom we can refer for guidance and support. This reference group or individual can be other persons within the prison — a formal or informal counter-group. Such a reference system has the advantage of being accessible, relevant (everyone in the same location), and standing out in its interpretive scheme. Our counter-values can also be sustained through contact with or reference to people outside of the prison system. This support has the advantage of not being caught up in the same dehumanizing process as us and, therefore, may be more objective. Furthermore, their existence does not depend on the prison system — a very important point if the going gets rough and the pigs set about to silence our dissension.

To stay on guard, we should occasionally test the limits of the pigs' tolerance for deviant behavior. If we have too much fear of disciplinary action or retaliation we may too narrowly define the boundaries of freedom and may mentally discard alternatives of action that could be advantageously pursued. We can be guided by the experience of others, but more can be gained from personal testing. Personal testing reaffirms a commitment to resistance and nudges us out of complacency. It also gives us a sense of freedom of action, thereby revitalizing our self-determination. To keep from absorbing a new dehumanized value system, we may find it useful from time to time to gut-react with automatic responses. If we always think about consequences before we express our true feelings, the feelings themselves may imperceptibly change. Just as the pigs limit what they will tolerate by way of opposition, we must also limit what we will tolerate by way of co-optation.

One of the most intriguing questions from both a theoretical and practical standpoint is: how long and under what conditions can a person maintain dehumanizing conditions and discordant values without support of any kind from others? Can internal fortitude based on some seemingly distant reference system keep one's brain from being washed, and if so, how? One important aspect of value preservation under conditions of deprivation and debasement is a sense of self-worth. We must hold on to self-respect by preserving some fragment of the truth about ourselves that we respect. Maintaining our integrity under repressive conditions may also require some mental separation of the self from the conditions the pigs force upon us. When we invoke the scientific stance of the observer, in effect, we refuse to be co-opted into the machinery of self-debasement. The preservation of the psyche is also facilitated by exercising freedom of action, however restrictive the limits. This may be as simple as the exercise of anticipating what is going to happen and having predictions validated by future events. Pro-action, as opposed to reaction, also gives us back some sense of control.

MIM(Prisons) offers the supportive reference system outside of the prison system and strongly encourages us to start our own localized study groups to support each other. They also offer support through the formal group United Struggle from Within. This support is imperative in combating the bourgeois brainwashing by allowing us to keep our communistic values front and center by giving us a criticism/self-criticism forum and correcting us when our values begin to morph. MIM(Prisons) also supports us in action. They give us support in testing the limits, in the grievance process, in organizing, and in letting our voices be heard.

Comrades, we must not fall prey to the pigs' dehumanization efforts, communistic value diminishment, and subsequent bourgeois brainwashing. It takes more than passively reading an article or book and agreeing with the content — it takes action! When we start to think that our oppression is our own fault, then we start to justify the oppression of the Third World nations, by the U.$. empire, with some backward bourgeois thought process. We must resist, and this must be resistance from within!

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[New Afrikan Black Panther Party] [Theory]
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MIM(Prisons) Practices Deception by Leaving Out Other Side of Debate

Rashid black panther red star

Thank you for the September/October issue of Under Lock & Key(ULK). As you know, ULK readers are literally a "captive audience." You also know that their confinement seriously limits their ability to access and study the vast body of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist literature you claim to uphold, and also other writings you've given your own interpretations to: which you either claim to embrace or otherwise criticize.

In this latest ULK you critiqued my own recent article "Answering A Revisionist Line on the Labor Aristocracy". Point is, for your readers to weigh the credibility of your interpretations and arguments against what others have written pro and con, they must be able to read not just what you have had to say, but what the other side has said as well.

In your response to my article you said you promote honesty, and clarity in polemics, however you appear yourself to practice deception by omission by publishing only your side of the discussion for your audience to read. And I daresay, your arguments do not accurately represent, and puts your own spin on and omits, a great deal of what I wrote in my article.

Whenever our Party engages in and publishes our polemics with others, we publish both sides' arguments, or if resources don't allow, we try to make the other side's arguments available to our readers. That's called being all-sided and practicing democracy. It's also called being dialectical, which Mao promoted. MIM(Prisons) doesn't do this. And it's not that you don't recognize the need to do so.

Back in 2006 when your parent organization (the Maoist Internationalist Movement) first began its efforts to influence us to embrace its line, especially on the labor aristocracy question, we invited you to publish our debates. MIM's reply was they lacked space in its media — then MIM Notes — and it no longer published its theoretical journal, MIM Theory.

Apparently you've now found space to publish your side of the discussion. Certainly you also have space to publish my own article that you were critiquing and my forthcoming reply to that. I critically invite you to do so, and ask that you print this letter in your next ULK.

Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
Rashid, MOD


MIM(Prisons) responds: The general point that printing both sides of a polemic is a helpful way to educate the masses is a good one. Yet we regularly read Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao talking about some revisionist we don't know anything about, and we learn from these essays. And in the case of the article being criticized, we linked to Rashid's article for our online readers and have sent a copy to everyone in prison who has requested one. We also included some direct quotes in our response. That's more than we can say of Rashid who did not print any of our writings alongside his critique, or even cite our materials where readers could find out more about our position. To our knowledge the NABPP-PC has never published anything we've written.

Like the recent debate with Turning the Tide, we wouldn't have published this critique of Rashid if h had not written h article criticizing us first. And we don't have space to spare in Under Lock & Key for articles that are so off the mark. Every issue we have good content that does not make the cut. We are currently pushing USW comrades to raise the bar for donations to expand the amount of content we can fit into ULK for this very reason. For theoretical study we distribute numerous books and have numerous study packs on this question including our newly released introductory pack on the labor aristocracy. We also distribute a couple study packs by Rashid hself, on topics where we have unity. Finally, we distribute the classics by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. So if our readers fail to grasp the essence of this issue it is not for our lack of making materials available.

As the original review stated, we were underwhelmed by Rashid's piece, which was mostly empty rhetoric. We only responded because we know our readers are influenced by the writings of the NABPP-PC. Rashid promises a reply, which will hopefully enlighten us as to how we misrepresented their line. Certainly we will print any corrections if we published something incorrect. But it seems the NABPP-PC line on the labor aristocracy is just as wrong today as it was in 2006, as they make the same tired arguments the revisionists have made for decades.

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[National Oppression] [Theory] [Culture] [ULK Issue 35]
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Racism: A Product of National Oppression

big brother racist contestant

Much has been said recently about the overtly racist remarks made by one of the contestants on the "Big Brother" reality show. Viewers were shocked at the nerve of some of the show's participants, not only in the fact that they would say such things, but in the contestants' blatantly unapologetic attitude afterwards. After all, this is the 21st century, and according to some, we have moved beyond those inconsistencies in Amerika's past which had previously kept her from fulfilling the promise of its ethos. Most Amerikans (white people in particular) like to believe that although things like slavery and segregation are all a part of our nasty past we should all just forget and move on from this shameful hystory. Surely the United $tates has made great strides when it comes to "race relations," and Amerikans of all colors have never experienced a more collective prosperity than they do today, never mind the previously unthinkable: a Black man in the White House.

So why then does racism continue to exist? More importantly, how do we eradicate it? To properly answer these questions we must take it back to where it all began, and for this we'll have to revisit some ugly truths.

Origins of Racism: Connections to Capitalism

People forget that Amerika is a nation of settlers founded on genocide, slavery and annexation. This oppressive nation-building formula includes the more subtle forms of national oppression and the many different ways they are institutionalized and manifested in our society. One particularly malevolent form of national oppression, which most of us are all too familiar with, is of course racism and the more pernicious racial ideology from which it stems. But racism isn't simply some oppressive philosophical dogma utterly disconnected from the real world. Rather, racism and racial ideologies are direct products of national oppression, which is engendered by society based on property relations and the division of labor produced therein, which in turn has influenced how humyn beings have come to interact with each other in the struggle between the global "haves" and "have nots." In short, racism has not been around forever. As a matter of fact, the very concept of "race" didn't even exist prior to the 16th century. Racism and racial ideologies have only been around so long as capitalism itself has been around. The concept of "race" developed alongside the rise of modern society and not as usually believed as a remnant of the irrational and dark Middle Ages. What's more, the concept of "race" has been directly linked back to the primitive accumulation phase of capitalism, which is itself grounded in the first rape and plunder of Africa and the Americas. This primitive accumulation phase is clearly explained by radical eco-feminist and author Maria Mies when she stated that:

"Before the capitalist mode of production could establish and maintain itself as a process of extended reproduction of capital - driven by the motor of surplus value production - enough capital had to be accumulated to start this process. The capital was largely accumulated in the colonies between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most of the capital was not accumulated by merchant capitalists but largely by way of brigandage, piracy, forced and slave labor."(1) And furthermore, "One could say that the first phase of the primitive accumulation was that of merchant and commercial capital ruthlessly plundering and exploiting the colonies' human and natural wealth..."(1)


U.$.  nazi war criminals

What should be kept in mind here is that as feudalism disintegrated and capitalism came on the scene the common people, the peasants and the soldiers, needed to be reassured that what they were doing to the people of the colonies was not only in the beneficiary population's interest but the interest of the colonized as well. The European masses also needed to be taught that the colonized were less than humyn so as to discourage any feelings of solidarity amongst the oppressed. Hence, the racial ideology was borne, which wasn't just about the innate ignorance and stupidity of the colonized, but of their innate treacherousness and savagery as well.

Examples of Racism in National Oppression, Yesterday and Today

Racism as a building block for the rise of the modern western world was as indispensable for that society as it is to the continuing subjugation of nations and the integrity of the First World today. Testimony to this is the way that the people of Islam have been demonized as "dark" and "backward" by the "civilized" west who sees itself as "exceptional." Thus the role that racism has played in gaining public support for the current wars of conquest is undeniable. One need only examine how Muslims, who were Amerikan citizens, were vilified and attacked by settler violence following the retaliatory attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon under the guise of "Amerikan Patriotism." The conscious connection of these actions to the collective white history of colonialism in Africa is manifested in the term "sand nigger." What this "Amerikan Patriotism" really translates into is a special brand of oppressor nation chauvinism, and a vehicle for white power in the 21st century. It is particularly popular and appealing to Latin@s and New Afrikans who think they can fully integrate into Amerika by becoming agents of imperialism and uniting with the oppressor against the people of the Third World.

Therefore the revolutionary character of militant Islam, seen when it is waging war for the independence of Muslims from U.$. imperialism, should be supported by the oppressed nation lumpen as it is objectively an anti-imperialist struggle despite the reactionary views of those leading the struggles, whether it's Al Qaeda or Bashar al-Assad and their associates, for it weakens, disintegrates and undermines imperialism. The struggle of the West and their "democratic" running dogs in the region strengthen the victory of imperialism. Real communists know that there are only two sides to a battle, therefore it is our duty to unite all who can be united in the camp of the oppressed and build a United Front against the imperialists and their racist backers! In his day, Stalin had to combat those promoting a "third way" between the socialist camp and the imperialists, pointing out that those who broke away from the Soviet Union inherently joined the imperialist system, becoming victims of it. The lack of a socialist camp today does not change the bankruptcy of the third-way idealists. Revisionists today point to the forces waging war in the Middle East and call them the "Two Outmodeds" and are peddling a third way out for the oppressed. However, this third way out is itself reactionary and anti-revolutionary, and if upheld will in fact reinforce the very same imperialist structure it pretends to be against, by weakening national unity of the oppressed. This is one lesson we take from the theory and practice of United Front in the Chinese war of liberation against Japan.

Racism as Pseudo-Science and Glossing Over of the National Question

Purveyors of racial ideology fancy themselves as being backed by science, and indeed there is a "science" to racism, it's called eugenics and it stresses the genetic makeup of people as determinant of their "natural" abilities and inclinations. Eugenics was developed as justification for the oppression and enslavement of non-white people and outlaws alike. It was, however, thoroughly criticized and debunked by the wider scientific community for, among other things, not being an objective and quantifiable method of analysis of the humyn species. While most people today have hardly heard of eugenics it was certainly popular back when England had stretched the tentacles of the British empire (forerunner to U.$. imperialism) all over the Third World, while here in Amerika the slave owning south was likewise using it for the continuing oppression and enslavement of the New Afrikan nation.

  1. The lack of scientific relationship to biology since there is only the human race.
  2. The creation of categories of inferior and superior based on arbitrary characteristics and definitions.
  3. The creation and perpetuation of a system of oppression of the "inferior" group in all aspects.
  4. The re-enforcement of a relative differential in treatment - and it's ideological justification between those considered inferior and those considered superior.
  5. The use of race as a principal means for social control.
  6. Rendering irrelevant the experience and viewpoint of the subordinated population except and insofar as interpreted by dominant populations. This specifically has been applied to African descendants, Indigenous peoples, Asians, and Latinos, those usually referred to as "people of color."(2)

Author Bill Fletcher, to whom the above is attributed, explains: "Race is, then, not a state of mind, but a socio-political reality. Even though there is no scientific basis for race, it occupies a real space and the institutions of the racial-capitalist society reinforce this reality every day."(2)

We'd also add that the false concept of "race" is a social construct originally based on power struggles between humyns in the pre-capitalist era of slavery, and it has done much to gloss over the fact that the oppressed internal nations of Chican@s and New Afrikans are separate nations from the Amerikan nation (white settler-state), with separate hystories distinctly their own. Therefore we speak of nations and nationalities where most people speak of "race," in order to refer to a group of people who share a common language, culture, territory and economy. The concept of nations is thus more accountable to hystory and is firmly grounded in material reality. (See "Marxism and the National Question" by J.V. Stalin.)

Methods for Resolving the Principal Contradiction

Despite the fact that the concept of race has been repeatedly disproven, proponents of racial ideology and the national oppression it engenders (and vice versa) hold steady to their un-scientific beliefs. And to a certain extent this is fine. They have their beliefs and prejudices, but we have science! We know where they stand and we know that the oppressed people of the world will not sit idly by but will take up armed struggle against the imperialists to impose the will of the people on today's oppressor nations. What isn't fine however are the so-called allies of the oppressed nations within the Amerikan "Left" who mistakenly call themselves communist yet go about espousing the concept of "race." Whether they are speaking about the common cause of all the "races" that are equally oppressed by capitalism-imperialism, or whether they are agitating around the "race issue" here in Amerika, they're of no great help. They are immediately caught in the irrevocable trap of idealism, and that is no attitude for a communist to have. First, these idealists objectively hurt the revolutionary movement within U.$. borders by elevating the problem of "race" to that of principal contradiction when in fact there is no problem of race. There is a problem of imperialism and national oppression. Secondly, they deny that the principal contradiction is imperialism vs. the oppressed nations by emphatically denying that there are any other nations in the United $tates besides Amerika. Some have opportunistically come to acknowledge New Afrika, while denying other nations' existence, not because they are dialectical materialists, but because they're focused on pulling numbers to their side. Lastly, by denying the concept of nations and national liberation and instead focusing on multi-racial unity they deny the theories and practice of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, as well as the revolutionary movements they spearheaded and the many national liberation movements that followed in their traditions.

Racism in the United $tates or any other place in the world will not be wiped from the earth solely by educating it out of existence, but by getting rid of the many material conditions and relations from which it springs. Racism is a product of national oppression, hence we must focus on uniting the oppressed nations for their own liberation from this jailhouse of nations that is the United $tates. Only then will we seriously be able to talk about combatting racism as a backward idea from another period of history.


Notes:
1. Patriarchy and Capital Accumulation on a World Scale, Maria Mies
2. Race, the National Question, Empire, and Socialist Strategy, Bill Fletcher Jr.

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