The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out
Could not find requested file
chain
[Palestine] [Civil Liberties] [Elections] [ULK Issue 84]
expand

Lurch to the Right or Revolution

Seems clear that the United State’s lurch to the right is a done deal. On a quantitative scale, how much so is still an open question, but it is an astonishing thing to see and one we better get better at grappling with.

The Biden administration has recently vetoed a UAE brought emergency meeting to vote on a Gaza ceasefire in Israel’s “unceasing” assault on Gaza. Time magazine of 10 December 2023 and virtually all U.S. media describe it as a campaign to eliminate Hamas. Always the materialists, they never forget to remind that it is due to Hamas terrorist attack of October 7, its alleged sexual assault and taking of hostages etc. In fact, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Robert A. Woods states as his reasons for vetoing this emergency resolution that it was “an imbalanced resolution that was divorced from reality and would not move the needle on the ground in any concrete way.”

Woods goes on to state the U.S. couldn’t understand why the authors declined to include language condemning “Hamas’s horrific terrorist attack” and “the resolution failed to mention Israel’s right to defend itself.” Indeed the U.S. did propose adding language about its “role in diplomacy, increased opportunities for humanitarian aid, encouraging release of hostages, the resumption of pauses in fighting, and laying the foundation for peace” the Time article wrote. But Wood says the “recommendations for peace were ignored.”

The Time article was further confirmed by a clip of Wood’s speech aired on Democracy Now! (11 December 2023), which then went on to play a clip of Jamie Raskin’s outrage of U.S. society’s obvious lurch to the right in regards to the ousting of an MIT president for trying to defend bourgeois free speech. However, Democracy Now! makes no mention of Raskin’s earlier calls for the need of Israel to eliminate Hamas or his refusal to call for an immediate peace agreement or even his stance on the UN resolution for an immediate cease fire. All this clearly, even on the part of such petty bourgeois outfits as Democracy Now! to accept and adjust to this obvious social shift, but still find some space to claim to be left or progressive etc. It should be noted Amy Goodman often has Raskin on to help her with her Trump and MAGA bashing and to tell people to vote for their democracy.

Back to Woods, he states the U.S. wants a 2 state solution, but doesn’t support an immediate ceasefire as “this would only plant the seeds for the next war because Hamas has no desire to see a durable peace, to see a 2 state solution.” This stupid equivocation could only be logical to a bully on the verge of victory. Recall he told the same council it was due to the resolution not giving the U.S. its props for all the fine things, like 4 hour “humanitarian pauses” and the U.S. aid for Palestinians, not being in the resolution.

A “good thing” one could point to is how isolated the U.S. is on this and the exposure of its hypocrisy on a world scale. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated after the U.S. veto that the U.S. is “complicit in war crimes” and the vote was “aggressive and immoral.” China’s U.N. rep Zhang Jun accused the U.S. of “double standards”, “claiming to care about the lives and safety of people in Gaza.” Russian U.N. rep Dmitry Polyansky stated “our colleagues from the U.S. have literally before our eyes issued death sentences to thousands if not tens of thousands more civilians in Palestine and Israel.”

Even domestically, social democrat Bernie Sanders, who has consistently (see below) refused to call for a ceasefire up to now, now states the “U.S. should not be vetoing a U.N. (ceasefire) resolution.” He goes on to his usual duplicitous doublespeak stating “children need food” and “it’s imperative - it remains imperative that Israel puts a premium on civilian protection.” Social democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (A.O.C.) went even farther: “Shameful. The Biden Administration can no longer reconcile their professed concern for Palestinians and their human rights while also single-handedly vetoing the U.N.’s call for ceasefire and sidestepping the entire U.S. Congress to unconditionally back the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza” (Newsweek, 9 December 23)

As for the above comment of “sidestepping” Congress, she is referring to the 13,000 plus, worth $106 million, of tank ammo sold to Israel that Secretary of State Blinken et. al managed to get to Israel in an emergency sale. The Biden administration additionally has a $100 billion package in aid for Israel, Ukraine, and “other national security priorities.” So A.O.C. is likely to get her wish. As to why this sale required “sidestepping” Congress, Blinken stated, “The needs of Israel’s military operation in Gaza justifies the rare decision to bypass Congress.” He goes on, “Israel is in combat right now with Hamas and we want to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself against Hamas,” hence the $106 million sale of 13,000 plus ammo (shells) to Israel.

And in case anyone missed it the larger bill which needs Congressional approval is tied to the U.S. immigration issue and its border, “National Security”.

On 10 December 2023, Mitt Romney stated on Meet The Press that Biden didn’t have to tie the border policy issue to the Ukraine issue. But he did so now the Republicans will be holding him to it. Biden, obviously acknowledging he must move to the right, has recently hinted he is willing to make significant compromises on the border. He seems to be saying he needs to be able to say he had no choice. J.D. Vance has stated, “What will $60 billion (going to Ukraine alone) more do that $100 billion hasn’t done?”

In both of the last 2 presidential candidate debates, Vivek has stated he will be smoking the terrorists on the southern border and “Bibi” has to do the same.

Something we can’t go into here but worth mentioning is the conservative Center for Renewing America’s Project 2025 handbook, which is a 1,000 page “Let’s finish what we started” playbook, which is part of the Heritage Foundation’s think tank. This involves many “right flank” organizations, many new to mainstream bourgeois politics. This is to do away with the “deep-state” and in doing so avoid Trump’s 1st term pitfalls of being thwarted by those not willing to go as far as he wished. The point made here is that all Democrats and ol’ fogey Republicans realize this shift is very real and it seems a little conscious compromise is a tactic the bourgeois left is making for its own reasons. Late capitalism is not running on fumes though pixie dust no longer seems to suffice. Now the machine requires the flesh and blood of little boys and girls.

Recently heard our old friend Bill Fletcher on KPFA’s Sunday Show (10 December 2023) saying, like always, 3rd parties are a waste of time, must vote for the Democrat even though he agrees it is genocide in Gaza and Biden administration was wrong for their U.N. veto. Again, according to Fletcher, we must do as he suggested the first time and push Biden to the left.

If only Mao was here and could fight our battles for us. Obviously no real revolutionary is saying this but in practice we are saying these are not revolutionary times and I contend this is why we’re in this situation. Yes these are revolutionary times. We simply must learn and apply the stages of revolution. We may be limited by majority having no current interests in revolution. But we are in no position to be talking about a majority any way. We clearly accept objective factors. Even MIM’s 3 dividing line principles.

But contradictions (all) carry within them their very opposite. It’s a unity of opposites, mere “identity”, not absolute of contradictions. We indeed should be pushing some to the left but not bourgeois politicians who would have no interest in social change in any situation but our own nations, prison class, musicians. And we definitely should be serious about drawing clear distinctions between ourselves and the bourgeoisie with its values and world outlook. This is simply accepting the phase of revolution we’re in. Too many fear armed struggle and fear its adventurist aspects. I contend this means to fear the people or at the very least fear they are unable to grasp revolutionary theory or its requirements.

We’re in the middle of it. This rightward shift is but a shift no more to my mind than a deeper neo-Liberal shift. Only by relying on the bourgeoisie and the fakes should we care if its a rightward shift or leftward shift. Especially if out of our control.

From the outset of this flareup and resulting genocide of Palestine the pretensions of the left media and settler nations obvious new center of gravity has led it to pretend the U.S. is at least grappling with the moral consequences of innocent civilians. Yet Blinken, Biden, and Sanders as well as virtually all bourgeois outlets and mouthpieces have stated “Israel has an obligation to defend itself” Blinken 13 October 2023, Biden “Israel has the right to respond, indeed has a duty to respond” 10 October 2023, and 300 former staffers of Sanders asked Sanders (very nicely) to support a ceasefire saying “We believe in you.” In mid October, Jamaal Bowman was roundly condemned for going to Israel, to see the apartheid for himself, by A.O.C.’s and Sander’s Democratic Socialist of America (DSA). Even MSNBC’s Al Sharpton states “Gaza is not occupied.” We could literally go on and on about how this lurch is not only acknowledged but immediately dressed up and condoned by all progressives, leftists, moderate Republicans, and a great majority of this settler nation.

In the backdrop is always Trump, the MAGA movement, and settler nation chauvinism. Beside Project 2025 mentioned above, recently Trump announced the need for “ideological screening” to “bar Christian hating communists and Marxists” stating “those who come to our country must love our country.” Such is already the practice in Israel. Trump goes on to list things that would be grounds for disqualification: “If you want to abolish the state of Israel you’re disqualified”… Again we encourage all to check this out because this shift is now much bigger than any individuals or even movements. Trump was one of the first to congratulate the Congresswoman who held the 3 college presidents to these new standards.

As stated we are very much in “heightened contradictory times.” Not having the right line on the make up of the U.S. and world economy, nature of settler society, neo-Liberalism, following idiotic communists, and being afraid to rely on ourselves and our own nation has led to very bad practice for years and deprived our people of a prepared and organized fighting force. Lurch to the right or revolution.

chain
[Palestine] [Elections] [Fascism] [ULK Issue 84]
expand

Genocide Joe Compares Trump to Hitler

Trump Parrots Hitler

The Biden/Harris campaign released the above image criticizing some language coming from recent Donald Trump campaign speeches for the 2024 U.$. Presidential election. Meanwhile Trump continues to lead by a landslide for the Republican ticket, which is not surprising, as Hitler viewed the Amerikan project with envy.

The United $tates has been milking it’s alliance with the Soviet Union to fight fascism for over 75 years now. If it were not for the sacrifices of the Soviet people, over 20 million of whom died in the war fighting fascism, and if it were not for the strategic leadership of the Comintern in building alliances with some imperialist powers to fight others, we might not have had 75 years of self-righteousness to have leaned on by U.$. leaders.

Usually U.$. officials would raise the “Hitler” comparisons when it was time to expand imperialist wars against another Third World country, such as Iraq or Panama. But today the leading Democratic presidential candidate is using it against the leading Republican candidate at the same time that the Democrat is facing legal charges for enabling genocide emself. It seems the mask is coming off.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a complaint in federal court in November on behalf of Palestinians that is seeking recognition of the ongoing genocide in Palestine and the requirement for President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to do all they can to prevent Israel’s genocidal acts.(1)

While the occupation of Palestine by I$rael and their imposition of an apartheid state has long been genocidal, the war has reached unprecedented levels since the Hamas-led attack against I$rael on 7 October 2023. By mid-December, a whopping 85% of the population of Gaza has been displaced from their homes and 1% of the population has been killed by the I$raeli onslaught. At least 8 of the murdered and around 100 of those injured were at the hands of “civilian” settlers.(2) Large numbers of the displaced have no access to food or clean water.

Genocide Joe is Funding Israeli War Crimes

Whether the Amerikan courts will recognize what is happening to the Palestinians in Gaza as genocide is questionable according to legal experts. But legal filings continue to be submitted to bolster the case.

The “We Declare Genocide” tribunal held within U.$. borders last year already found the United $tates guilty of genocide against the internal semi-colonies who are facing an ongoing low-intensity warfare.(3) Of course, this finding does not have official legal standing by the United $tates government itself. The CCR suit is attempting to get that for Palestine, and further brings attention to the genocidal acts of U.$. imperialism around the globe.

The United $tates has single-handedly prevented the United Nations Security Council from implementing a ceasefire in Palestine. The United $tates picks and chooses who is allowed to commit war crimes and who is not, and the UN is toothless to stop it.

During the second inter-imperialist war, the United $tates was in a position to play the good guy because of rival interests with the fascist countries and the opportunity it allowed them to exert power over Europe as a whole. I$rael on the other hand is the #1 U.$. client state, receiving far more funding from the Amerikans than any other country since World War II. As Biden said, if I$rael didn’t already exist they would have to create it. This puts the U.$. in a position where it is impossible for them to oppose the genocide in Gaza.

The settler state is by definition a genocidal state. Stalin helped give the United $tates a fig leaf to cover that legacy in the form of supporting the Soviet defeat of Hitler. That fig leaf is drying up and falling off. And the legitimacy of U.$.-run international institutions like the UN and the United $tates itself are coming more and more into question by global public opinion.

Notes:
1. Center for Constitutional Rights Press Release, 23 December 2023, New Filings in Gaza Genocide Lawsuit: Palestinians Refute Biden Admin Arguments That Court Cannot Review Its Role in Furthering Israel’s Genocide
2. Anna Lekas Miller, 23 December 2023, ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 78: UNSC resolution criticized as ‘meaningless,’ hundreds of thousands evacuate central Gaza, Mondoweiss.
3.Triumphant, January 2022, We Still Charge Genocide: Will The Real New Afrikans Please Stand Up!, Under Lock & Key 76

chain
[Elections] [Independent Institutions] [ULK Issue 82]
expand

The Three-Party Trap Amounts to Petty Bourgeois Vacillation

three party trap

Revolutionary Greetings Comaradas! We must address parliamentarism within the empire in general, and reformism in particular. As our nation develops it compels us to deal with the new challenges and obstacles hurled our way by the oppressor nation and its lackeys.

In the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, the Chicano nation mostly dealt with the two-party trap, that is the Republican Party and its counterpart the Democratic Party. These two wings of the Amerikkkan bird have hystorically bamboozled Chican@s and other colonized peoples into supporting its charade of bourgeois elections. The Chican@ Movement of 50 years past did a good job of alerting the nation of the “Two-Party Trap”, which simply entangles our gente in models of bourgeois politics that in the end uphold U.$. imperialism while preventing the oppressed nations from ever obtaining true liberation.

Today we are faced with the Three-Party Trap. Parties “outside” of the traditional Democrat and Republican camps have begun to lure some of our gente into the swamp of dead-end bourgeois politics in the guise of a “Third Party” option. This Three-Party Trap simply results in imperialism maintaining Amerikkkan hegemony over bourgeois politics.

Muddying the Waters of Revisionism

Some may point to Lenin’s stance on parliamentarism and specifically how in his time it was encouraged for communists to participate in the ballot box as millions of proletarians partook in such ventures. This may have been true of Lenin’s time and for the proletariat of 1917 Russia. This debate also highlights the crucial necessity of studying correct political line as it is easy to take quotes from over 100 years ago and convince some of the masses why it applies today. Yet, without analyzing today’s social reality here in the imperialist center the dogmatists and revisionists will have revolutionaries voting for the best imperialist while raising a clenched fist.

Imperialist U.$.A. is not 1917 Russia, and the millions of proletariat of that time were a vehicle for revolution, meanwhile there is relatively little proletariat within the United Snakes, and most are found in the fields and food production; the migrants. This rote learning of the revisionists and vendidos (sell-outs) who study quotes and dogmatically pass on these weak arguments to the masses attempting to justify why they support U.S. imperialism via its bourgeois politics is what separates the bourgeois or cultural nationalist Parties from the Communist Party of Aztlán (CPA).

Our struggle for self-determination means we must delink from imperialism not uphold it by participating in its politics. As dialectical materialists we move by analyzing objective reality as we believe Marx, Lenin and Mao did. And although a newby to political theory may read something from the classics, a quote that speaks in favor of parliamentarism or trade union organizing, those quotes derive from another country with different social forces and economy, etc. over 100 years ago! Had these revolutionary leaders been alive today in 2023 United $tates, they would have likely had different views and plans of action for the internal colonies today.

The revisionists and vendidos (sell-outs) love to make assumptions on how Marx, Lenin and Mao would feel about the Three-Party Trap and how because of a quote they made over 100 years ago in another country under different economic circumstances with very different social forces that in imperialist U.$.A. today they would support a Green Party, Chican@ Party or any other party outside of the Dems or Republicans, which participates in the ballot box of bourgeois politics. This is absurd at best. Since the revisionists love to make assumptions, we will do so as well and assume that Marx, Lenin and Mao would be against participating in the U.$. bourgeois elections via the Three-Party Trap or through any other vehicle. There’s why, a deep study of the U.$. and its social forces uncovers where the revolutionary vehicle lies.

As communists we study dialectics, the contradictions that exist. Looking to the social forces within these false U.$. borders reveals that the principal contradiction today is that between the white oppressor nation vs. the oppressed nations. Likewise, the small sector of proletariat mostly resides in the fields. The migrants who mostly do not partake in bourgeois elections and many being “undocumented” means they do not even have access to many of the options that paper citizenship brings!

The “work force” for the most part consists of labor aristocrats who most U.S. citizens derive from. These elite workers benefit off the spoils of Third World plunder. The paid sick days and pensions that even many retail workers receive would have the Trotskyites scream exploitation and slave wages, while the proletariat of the Third World roll their eyes from the underground mines and maquiladores where they make pennies a day.

To date, there is no Three-Party line that identifies the concept of the labor aristocracy within so-called “workers” in the U.S. As historical materialism teaches, we look to history on what the ballot box approach has done. The strategy of a peaceful transition that the Three-Party line holds would only lead us down the road to neo-colonialism. We know this to be true through scientific study, because not a single nation has ever been liberated and completely independent from imperialism through a peaceful transition from the ballot box. This is our scientific proof without assumption and without a dogmatic view of historical quotes. Looking at quotes from 100 years ago is good, to learn from hystory is good, but applying Maoism to today’s social reality and environment in order to create change is even better. This is what separates our political line from those upholding the Three-Party Trap and participating in bourgeois politics that uphold imperialism. The trojan horse approach of joining enemy politics in order to change them is a tired dream that has never been successful. And this voting in U.S. elections is not a revolutionary act, it is legitimizing imperialism in the eyes of raza.

Imperialism is Incorrigible

It is necessary to address the left hand of U.$. bourgeois politics and that is reformism. Those of the Three-Party camp commit a political error in lofty ideals of reformism. Although reforms are nice and make existence more comfortable for the oppressed and down-trodden, reforms do not make fundamental changes in imperialism nor put a dent in the colonization of Aztlán or any other of the internal semi-colonies for that matter. In fact, within these false U.$. borders, reforms have pushed people further away from revolution while bald repression has always invited revolution i.e. the Great Pueblo Revolt, The Taos Revolt, and more recently the Watts rebellion, the L.A. Rebellion of 1992, the San Quentin Six, Attica, the Pelican Bay hunger strikes, etc. When has reforming imperialism sparked resistance?

The conditions in any given time will define our path forward. One of the arguments used by those who promote participating in imperialism’s electoral politics is that they believe doing so will somehow bring Raza closer to our goals of a liberated Aztlán. At the same time they scream Chican@ Power! at the street rallies with a raised fist. One with even the least amount of political study must see through this and identify what such behavior really benefits, revolution and independence for Aztlán or upholding capitalism-imperialism?

A correct understanding of this and the so-called Three-Party promoters would be to call this behavior for what it is – petty bourgeois vacillation. Even so-called “independent” parties or Chican@ parties promoting the idea of voting for colonizer in chief or openly flirting with bourgeois politics amounts to crass flattery, to do so is a great disservice to Aztlán and oppressed in the periphery.

One of our long-term goals as communists is in the abolition of class society. How can comrades contribute to this goal by voting another imperialist into the White people’s House, to do so would be acting as compradors, herding the masses into the corral of the enemy politics. A system that cannot be reformed, one that needs to simply be abolished and overthrown. How does voting – even in an “independent” or Chican@ bourgeois party, get us closer to this realization? How does it garner us international support? These are the questions that the Three-Party Trap cannot answer.

As revolutionaries we must be firm and clear on our stance as anti-imperialists. The Trots would have us spending our lives organizing white “workers” in the unions, reformists would have us voting for the next colonizer in chief as our way forward. As Chican@ Communists we see us contributing the most to the International Communist Movement by raising consciousness and providing an ideological center for Aztlán while training cadre who can begin to build base areas within the barrios where forms of dual power may be realized. We see that building a brown labor movement spanning both sides of these false U.$. borders is also an honorable way a Party of Communists should spend their lives building and supporting. For these questions on needs and goals of the Party we must put politics in command.

Mass line is key in a Party determining the needs of the raza. The barrios have the answer to where we need to focus. The ballot box is out, and encouraging party members to knock on doors to vote a colonizer in chief for imperialism is not only a crime against the people, it’s treason to the nation.

The state encourages, and in some cases funds, many of the Three-Party Traps that claim to be independent or even Chican@ in nature. It does so because corralling oppressed people who have a bone to pick with imperialism, in some cases having ancestral rights to the land going back before the white settler nation arrived, is beneficial to the state. Surely a landless field worker or an oppressed lumpen persyn would be less threatening to the state if they took their anger out in the ballot box than if they did so at the gates of the White House. Bourgeois politics provides a release valve while at the same time supporting the absurd notion that we live in a society of civil liberties rather than a prison house of nations. The Three-Party Trap thus ultimately upholds U.$. imperialism and declaws any struggle for national liberation.

The leadership of parties who promote the notion of partaking in bourgeois politics, voting in a new imperialist president, have in many ways become class enemies to the oppressed nations. Partaking in the bourgeois elections in the U.$. is perpetuating a system that has exploited and genocided peoples around the world. U.$. imperialism is the enemy of the global majority, its politics is an ideology that is contrary to Aztlán and the Third World and which supports fascism.

Conclusion

The Three-Party Trap is one we will battle and raise consciousness on, as our predecessors did decades ago with the Two-Party Trap. Today’s trap is probably even more dangerous as these parties are mostly comprised of Chican@s and New Afrikan peoples. To the Chican@ nation We say organize outside of the influence of the oppressed nation. Siempre!

  • Communist Party of Aztlán (MLM)
Communist Party of Aztlan logo
This article referenced in:
chain
[Latin America] [Boycott] [Elections] [ULK Issue 78]
expand

Indigenous Nations Rebel in Ecuador

The 2022 Strike

On 27 June 2022, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) agreed in opening discussion with the Ecuadorian government in solutions for the national strike that has paralyzed parts of the country for two weeks.(1) Before declaring its openness to negotiations with the government however, CONAIE rejected President Guillermo Lasso’s move in calling for price cuts of gasoline for 10 cents in diesel.(2) Currently, the fuel prices of Ecuador has doubled from 2020 with diesel going from $1 to $1.90 and gasoline from $1.72 to $2.55.(3) From CONAIE’s “Agenda of National Struggle,” the first point demanded:

“Reduction and freezing of the prices of fuel: diesel at $1.50 and extra and eco gasoline at $2.10. Abolish Decrees 1158, 1183, 1054, and focus instead on the sectors that need more subsidies: agricultural work, farming, transportation and fishing.”

The demand was obviously not met, and CONAIE still continued to blockade the roads with President Lasso claiming,

“Ecuadorians who seek dialogue will find a government with an outstretched hand, those who seek chaos, violence and terrorism will face the full force of the law.”(4)

Seeking to appease the rebellion in other ways, Lasso has lifted the state of emergency for the nation. CONAIE leader Leonidas Iza who was arrested by the national police on 14 June 2022, was rejected by President Lasso who claimed that the indigenous leader was an “opportunist.”

“We will not return to dialogue with Leonidas Iza, who only defends his political interests and not those of his base. To our indigenous brothers – you deserve more than an opportunist for a leader.”

Historical Overview of Rebellions in Ecuador

Two years earlier, Ecuador faced another similar rebellion led by workers and students which sparked on the International Workers’ Day of 1 May 2020. The political-economic crisis heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic revealed quite a few corrupt decisions made by the government.(6) Workers and students demanded better wages, coordinated sit-ins in medical facilities, and demonstrated in the streets with rallies. The main goals were for better wages, and ousting of then-President Lenin Moreno.

A year previous to the 2020 demonstrations, in October of 2019, another rebellion raged in Ecuador as the month started with President Lenin Moreno declaring 6 economic measures, and 13 restructuring proposals which was part of an agreement the government took in a $4.2 billion loan with the IMF.(7) One of the key reform acts targeted by demonstrators was a 20% cut in wages for new contracts in public sector jobs, and a cut of a decades long fuel subsidies which led to an increase of fuel prices.(8) The leading two groups of this rebellion were the aforementioned CONAIE and the United Front of Workers (FUT).

Prior to that, there was also a rebellion in 2015, a rebellion in 2012, and another nationwide crisis in 2010. CONAIE and other indigenous national groups all played a role in these movements with varying degrees of involvement. From 2010 to 2022, there have been 6 major rebellions with the workers, students, and indigenous nations playing a leading role in the movements. Crisis after crisis, what is causing this trend? Every time the workers or the indigenous nations rise up (oftentimes together) they are accused of staging a coup by the government. In 2000, there was a short-lived coup, but the Amerikans interfered to remove indigenous leaders from power. Despite this, they have denied the accusations in recent protests, while also following their word through with action. How come they seem to have no desire to seek state power despite having the independent institutions and subjective forces that are able to paralyze the country each time they rebel?

After many years of regular protests against political­economic crisis in Ecuador, there was a rise of the social­-democratic movements in Latin America that became prominent in the mid-2000s. This trend was strongly guided and inspired by the ideology of “Socialism of the 21st Century”, which argued that societal change and shift from capitalism to socialism can be done in gradual and non-violent means.(9) Prominent leaders who have taken up this ideology include Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Nestor Kirchner of Argentina, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, and finally Rafael Correa of Ecuador.

Rafael Correa, was the 45th president of Ecuador from 15 January 2007 until 24 May 2017. President Correa – leading the left-wing coalition of the PAIS Alliance – began the “Citizen’s Revolution” in hopes to reconstruct the country into a socialist state. The government ended its relationship with the IMF, and took an active part in creating the “Bank of the South” – a pan-South American monetary fund alongside the political-economic bloc of the Union of South American Nations.(10)

The class character of this movement can clearly be seen as that of the national bourgeoisie of South America: the bourgeoisie of South America stunted by imperialism as opposed to requiring imperialism to function as a class. With this national bourgeois led anti-imperialist movement in Ecuador, we see another example of a failure in reformism and social-democracy in history. With the PAIS alliance’s right-wing turn under the next president Lenin Moreno, Correa distanced himself from PAIS due to disagreements. Under Lenin Moreno’s presidency, and through the political-economic crisis brought by social democracy (such as national debt), the strategy of working within the system found itself reversing all its progresses. By the time Correa left office in 2017, there have already been 2 major rebellions. The rebellion in 2012, was part in reaction to the joint Ecuadorian-Chinese company “Ecuaorriente SA” commencing a 25-year contract of extracting natural resources on indigenous nations’ land.(11) So with the failures of social-democracy and reformism came another lesson learned by the Ecuadorian masses. Whether this lesson can be synthesized back to the masses through a revolutionary lens is a question for the revolutionaries of Ecuador.

During the rebellions, one can see in images hammer and sickles, anarchist A’s, and myriads of other ideological imagery painted across makeshift shields, helmets, and banners. With the tactics and strategy of blockades and insurgencies the rebellions which seems to constantly appear in the country seem to be eclectic and non-ideological. When constantly accused by the regime that these groups are forming coup d’états, CONAIE and organizations representing the workers and students constantly deny the accusations of ousting any presidents. They follow through with their actions as well. Short lived insurgencies don’t lead to state power.

Lessons For Us To Learn

Fidel Castro has famously said that the reasoning behind his armed action and revolution against the Batista government was because working within the existing political system has been exhausted of its effectiveness. Yet, when the new generation of Latin American leftists and self-proclaimed “communists” came to prominence, Fidel Castro also famously claimed that the new generation is lucky because they are in a situation where power can be obtained through the ballot not the bullet. Throughout his life, Castro kept representing the petty-bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie of Cuba through its alignment with the social-imperialists of the USSR: a similar move that Correa’s government had done with the Chinese social-imperialists and the national bourgeoisie of Ecuador. In the end of his life, Castro closely aligned himself with the pink tide of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, etc.

The lessons we can learn from the failures of reformism or “Socialism of the 21st century” can be standard lessons we have drawn from the failures of all reformist or electoral methods of achieving proletarian dictatorship/socialism. The state is a tool wielded by a class: the bourgeoisie. Despite this, finance capital finds its ways to implement social-democracy (or fascism) as a means of governing. Using the tools of the enemy won’t get us state power. They will crush us as soon as we cross their lines.

The lessons we can learn from the CONAIE and the various workers and student organizations which rebel constantly in Ecuador are valuable as well. One lesson is in regards to the distinction of having reforms through violence in contrast to a revolution. Through a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist lens, just because one uses violent tactics or bears arms does not necessarily mean they are revolutionary or conducting meaningful armed struggle. One can be just as reformist through violent means as with electoral means. This highlights the key idea that reform vs revolution isn’t a matter of strategies or tactics, it is a question of the correct analysis of how the change from a capitalist society to a socialist society happens. Thousands of masses can rally on the streets throwing firebombs at the police, but if the goal is to change laws and protest austerity measures then it is no different in quality than reform. In similar methods, things that might seem reformist at a shallow glance such as building independent institutions and spreading public opinion against world imperialism (advancing the objective and subjective forces) can be revolutionary if the goals are aligned and preparing for proletarian dictatorship during non-advanced stages.

Long live Ecuador!

Self-determination for all oppressed nations!

Notes
(1) AP News, June 25, 2022, “Ecuador president: Indigenous leader is trying to stage coup.”
(2) Lina Vanegas, June 27, 2022, “Protesters Meet Ecuador Govt After Rejecting Fuel Price Cut,” International Business Times.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Ibid.
(5) Ibid.
(6) Rhonny Rodriguez, October 7th, 2022, “Ecuador, el peor evaluado en la región sobre el manejo de la pandemia” Expreso
(7) Kimberly Brown, October 10th, 2019, “Ecuador unrest: What led to the mass protests?” Al Jazeera
(8) Ibid.
(9) Socialism of the 21st Century – Economy, Society, and Democracy in the era of global Capitalism, Introduction by Heinz Dieterich
(10) El Mundo, April 16th, 2007, “Ecuador cancela la deuda con el FMI y amenaza con echar al representante del Banco Mundial”
(11) Amy Silverstein, March 9th, 2012, “Ecuador natives begin two-week march to protest Chinese mining company” The World

chain
[Elections] [National Oppression] [New Afrika] [First World Lumpen] [Environmentalism] [Economics] [ULK Issue 69]
expand

Jackson-Kush Plan builds Independent Institutions in MS

Cooperation Jackson

A modern-day example of New Afrikans building independent institutions and public opinion for socialism is the groups carrying out the Jackson-Kush Plan in Jackson, Mississippi and the surrounding area. There are a number of different organizations involved in, and evolved out of, this Plan, and its roots go back to the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PGRNA) in the 1960s. It is directly built on the long history of New Afrikan organizing for independence, going on since people were brought to the United $nakes from Africa as slaves. The Plan itself was formulated by the New Afrikan People's Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement between 2004 – 2010. (1, p. 3)

The project has gone through many different phases, all focusing on attaining self-determination for people of African descent in Mississippi and the surrounding region. Sometimes the organizing has been more heavily focused on electoral politics,(2, 3) sometimes more on purchasing land, and currently the Cooperation Jackson project appears to be at the forefront of pushing the Plan forward.

Cooperation Jackson's mission is to develop an intimate network of worker-owned cooperatives, covering all basic humyn needs, and more: food production and distribution, recycling and waste management, energy production, commodity production, housing, etc. The main goals of Cooperation Jackson (C.J.) are to provide sustainable livelihoods for its organizing base, which includes control over land, resources, means of production, and means of distribution. Currently C.J. has a handful of cooperatives in operation, and is building the Community Land Trust to have greater control over its target geography in Jackson. This is just a snapshot of the work of Cooperation Jackson, which is explained in much more detail in the book Jackson Rising.(1)

The Jackson-Kush Plan is being carried out despite big setbacks, repression, harassment, and roadblocks from the government and racist citizens alike, for decades. This is the nature of struggle and the folks working with the Plan are facing it head-on. C.J. and the other organizations involved are doing amazing work to establish what could be dual power in the state of Mississippi.

While the MIM has congruent goals with the Jackson-Kush Plan (at least including the self-determination of New Afrikan people; control over land, economy, and resources; environmental sustainability; an end of capitalism and imperialism), there are some notable differences.(4) We're holding out hope that the Plan is being intentionally discrete in order to build dual power, but the ideological foundations of some of its structure point instead to revisionism of Marxism.

Cooperation Jackson's plan includes working with the government in some capacity. It needs to change laws in order to operate freely and legally. This itself isn't wrong – MIM(Prisons) also works on and supports some reforms that would make our work of building revolution much easier. But because of its relationship to the state, C.J.'s voice is muffled. MIM(Prisons) doesn't have this problem, so we can say what needs to be said and we hope the folks organizing for New Afrikan independence will hear it.

Cooperation Jackson's structural documents paint a picture of a peaceful transition to a socialist society, or a socialist microcosm, built on worker-owned cooperatives and the use of advanced technology. Where it aims to transform the New Afrikan "working class" (more on this below) to become actors in their own lives and struggle for self-determination of their nation, we are for it. So often we hear from ULK readers that people just don't think revolution is possible. Working in a collective and actually having an impact in the world can help people understand their own inherent power as humyn beings. Yet it seems C.J. sees this democratic transformation of the New Afrikan "working class" as an end in itself, which it believes will eventually lead to an end of capitalism.

"In the Jackson context, it is only through the mass self-organization of the working class, the construction of a new democratic culture, and the development of a movement from below to transform the social structures that shape and define our relations, particularly the state (i.e. government), that we can conceive of serving as a counter-hegemonic force with the capacity to democratically transform the economy."(1, p. 7)

This quote also alludes to C.J.'s apparent opposition to the universality of armed struggle in its struggle to transform the economy. In all the attempts that have been made to take power from the bourgeoisie, only people who have acknowledged the need to take that power by force (i.e. armed struggle) have been even remotely successful. We just need to look to the governments in the last century all across the world who have attempted to nationalize resources to see how hard the bourgeois class will fight when it really feels its interests are threatened.

Where C.J. is clearly against Black capitalism and a bourgeois-nationalist revolution that stays in the capitalist economy, we are in agreement. Yet C.J. apparently also rejects the need for a vanguard party, and the need for a party and military to protect the interests and gains of the very people it is organizing.

"As students of history, we have done our best to try and assimilate the hard lessons from the 19th and 20th century national liberation and socialist movements. We are clear that self-determination expressed as national sovereignty is a trap if the nation-state does not dislodge itself from the dictates of the capitalist system. Remaining within the capitalist world-system means that you have to submit to the domination and rule of capital, which will only empower the national bourgeoisie against the rest of the population contained within the nation-state edifice. We are just as clear that trying to impose economic democracy or socialism from above is not only very problematic as an anti-democratic endeavor, but it doesn't dislodge capitalist social relations, it only shifts the issues of labor control and capital accumulation away from the bourgeoisie and places it in the hands of the state or party bureaucrats."(1, p. 8)

As students of history, we assert that C.J. is putting the carriage before the horse here. National liberation struggles have shown the most success toward delinking populations from imperialism and capitalism. Yes, we agree with C.J. that these national liberation struggles also need to contain anti-capitalism, and revolutionary ecology, if they plan to get anywhere close to communism. But C.J. seems to be saying it can dislodge from capitalism before having national independence from imperialism.

The end of this quote also raises valid concerns about who holds the means of production, and the development of a new bourgeoisie among the party bureaucrats. This is one of the huge distinctions between the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, and China under Mao. In China, the masses of the population participated in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which attacked bureaucrats and revisionists in the party and positions of power. These criticisms were led from the bottom up, and the Cultural Revolution was a huge positive lesson on how we can build a society that is continually moving toward communism, and not getting stuck in state-capitalism.

Another significant difference between the line of the MIM and of Cooperation Jackson is our class analysis. Cooperation Jackson is organizing the "working class" in Jackson, Mississippi, which it defines as "unionized and non-unionized workers, cooperators, and the under and unemployed."(1, p. 30) So far in our exposure to C.J., we haven't yet come across an internationalist class analysis. Some pan-Africanism, yes, but nothing that says a living wage of $11 is more than double what the average wage would be if we had an equal global distribution of wealth.(5, 6) And so far nothing that says New Afrika benefits from its relationship to the United $tates over those who Amerikkka oppresses in the Third World.

We can't say what the next steps for the Jackson-Kush Plan should be. There's still opportunity for people within the project to clarify its line on the labor aristocracy/working class, the necessity of armed struggle to take power from the bourgeoisie, and the significance of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. MIM(Prisons)'s Free Books for Prisoners Program distributes many materials on these topics. Some titles we definitely recommend studying are On Trotskyism by Kostas Mavrakis, The Chinese Road to Socialism by E.L. Wheelwright and Bruce McFarlane, and Imperialism and its Class Structure in 1997 by MIM.

chain
[Elections] [Civil Liberties] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 69]
expand

Tulsi Gabbard Appeals to Amerikan Thinking on Injustice System

At the latest Democratic Party debate among candidates for U.$. President, Tulsi Gabbard made headlines by appealing to emerging views on the criminal injustice system among younger Amerikans. Ey did so in attacks on former California District Attorney Kamala Harris. Gabbard focused on two issues of particular interest to the petty bourgeoisie: drug decriminalization and prison labor.

Senator Gabbard opened eir comments by expressing concerns for the "broken criminal justice system that is disproportionately, negatively impacting Black and Brown people all over this country." Ey went on to say that Harris "kept people beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California" and condemned Harris for imprisoning people for marijuana possession and then laughing when ey was asked if ey had ever smoked it.

The prison labor point was specifically about concerns Harris's office raised about losing firefighters if they complied with court orders to reduce the prison population.(1) The court had ruled that overcrowding in the state had led to cruel and unusual punishment. As we've established in our own surveys and research, most prison labor is for the state, and most of it is to maintain the prisons themselves. Fire fighters are the exception in terms of the important role their work plays in protecting humyn life, and no doubt Harris's legal team was playing that up at a time when wildfires were a major headline in California. But the fire fighters are typical in that they are not producing value or part of the profit-making of private corporations.

Prison labor (and the privatization of prisons) has been an ongoing issue of concern for Amerikans in the age of mass incarceration. MIM(Prisons) has long demonstrated that there is a myth that exploiting prison labor is a motivating force for mass incarceration in this country.(2) It is important to point out that the petty-bourgeois obsession with this myth is largely based in class interests. On the one hand there is a fear among the labor aristocracy about competition with prison labor resulting in lower wages and higher unemployment. This has been the major political barrier that explains why prison labor for profit is so rare in the United $tates. More generally, there is a contradiction between the petty bourgeoisie and the big bourgeoisie that causes the former to be skeptical and fearful of the latter, because the petty bourgeoisie favors small-scale capitalism. This results in a general sentiment against corporations profiting off prison labor, even without the direct concern of wages. In a recent campaign ad, Gabbard condemns private prisons for profiting off prisoners.

Drug decriminalization is also very popular among the Amerikan petty bourgeoisie, in particular the movement to decriminalize marijuana. In 2016, Pew Research found 57% of Amerikans supported legalization of marijuana compared to just 12% in 1969.(3) And the younger generations were more favorable of course. In this case, public opinion is based in class interests around economics and leisure time. While there is a financial interest in the booming legal economy of marijuana products for young Amerikans, the broader public opinion is based in leisure-time interests.

The movement to legalize weed will often give lip service to condemning the blatant racism in many U.$. drug sentencing laws, similar to Gabbard's opening statement against Harris's criminal injustice record (above). Yet the scale of your average weed festival/rally versus that of the size of your average protest against torture (of primarily New Afrikan and Chican@ men) tells a clearer story. These reformists for persynal freedoms of the petty bourgeois individual are not going to do anything about national oppression in the form of targetted arrests, sentencing, concentration camps and torture chambers that make up the U.$. criminal injustice system.

MIM has long used the "Willie Horton"-style of campaigning as an example of Amerikans support for national oppression, especially of New Afrikans.(5) While "tough-on-crime" politics is finally waning, we have yet to see whether Amerika can really start to decrease its prison population now that the infrastructure and economic self-interest has been built up around it.(6) Beyond that, the national question is only more at the forefront today, with Amerikans chanting "send them back" at a recent rally held by current President Trump, where they were calling for female Senators who are not white to be sent back to the countries their ancestors came from.

It is important to be aware of these shifts, as they may provide opportunities for the anti-imperialist prison movement. But there has been no change in the overall orientation of the Maoist Internationalist Movement that sees nation as the principal contradiction both internationally and within the United $tates. We continue to organize with the medium-term goals of building dual power and independent institutions of the oppressed and the long-term goal of national liberation and delinking from imperialism.

chain
[Elections] [ULK Issue 67]
expand

How to Compete in a Rigged Electoral System

malcolm

I was looking for a purpose in my life. I have been in prison over 10 years. What can I do in this place, I wonder. I hear so many people with dreams, or talents they would like to pursue. What is it that I like or have passion for. Politics is a love of mine, always has been. Also since being locked down, I want to help my people.

I started talking to these conscious brothers on the status of black men in America. One thing led to another and I was given information to contact ULK. Then the issue at hand was facing me. In ULK 64, I read the article written by a New York prisoner about voting and the mid-term.(1) This article and your reply sparked something in me. I'm not a writer, but I think this issue at hand may be the most important one for us as people.

I understand the writer's views, but also yours as well. I believe the worst thing we can do is decide that we can't change the political landscape. We are in America, and if we like it or not, the system is money and politics. Look, maybe we made a mistake yesteryear, when the leaders in the black community chose to fight for integration instead of us being a sovereign community. That's up for debate, and can be spoken about later. But back to the issue at hand, we didn't fight for sovereignty as a whole, so we must play the hand we have. I heard the same guys who told me about ULK, on the walk talking about how we don't need to vote. I also hear that displayed in the African-American Community so much. What difference does it make if we vote Republican or Democratic, they are both the same. Sorta like your reply to the article was stating. I get it, but this is why that thinking leads to the status quo. We can't win not fighting, right? We are not the majority, right? We hold no power in the political sense. We don't make the rules. The only way for us to win is to make the rules work for us.

I would not call myself a communist, but I do agree with a lot of the platform. I also know it's 2 major political parties. You can either work in one of those, or take your ball and go home. You can put resources behind third party candidates, and lose, that's an option. Or you can hijack one of the major parties. That is the best and only option for us to get our platform to the mainstream. Look, the Tea Party (say what you will) started the hijacking of the Republican Party, crack after crack. They mobilized people who shared their worldview, forcing candidates to take up their issues or face a primary. This led to a more forthright party, and house of representatives. That allowed them to block President Obama's agenda, and force in their movement. It all led to this racist, bigoted, homophobic, anti-American nationalist, treasonist person who occupies what is supposed to be the people's house. Now it is no longer a Republican Party, it's his followers. They all have bowed down to "Dear Leader".

So we have the blueprint. Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and others are pushing a socialistic platform. We need to mobilize our people to get out and hijack the Democratic Party; that's our only way. We need to force all Democratic politicians to take up more of our platform, or be primaried. We need to start at the grassroots level. Start getting our people or people who share our worldview on board and winning local elections. Then we repeat the playbook of the other side. Before we know it, we will have a party and a president who share our worldview.

I know it's hard work, but that is how we change the game. Other demographics are forcing their issues onto the main stage, besides us. By us saying "what difference does it make" we are not hurting anyone but ourselves. Like it or not, the game goes on if we participate or not. The other side prefers we don't take part. Isn't it funny the other side always are the ones who try to take our voting rights? Wonder why? Now the Democratic Party has not been friends to us, they have hoodwinked and bamboozled us. I get it, we don't trust them, but we must use them as our vessel for change.

I hope to be out soon. I can't wait to start my mission to fight against the status quo. I may not make it out before the next fight, but I hope you take my suggestions up for thought. Please take the fight up, mobilize our base, our future depends on it. He has declared war, it's up to us to fight back.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The author is saying that we must work within the capitalist electoral system if we want to make change. "The only way for us to win, is to make the rules work for us." If that's true, eir strategy of trying to take over the Democratic party might make sense. But what if that's not true? What if there's another way?

We aren't limited to just studying and learning from the history of the United $tates. We can also learn from the history of other countries. This includes countries that have had successful socialist revolutions. The Soviet Union, China, Albania, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba: all places where they won by forcibly overthrowing the government. None of these victories came through elections.

On the other hand, we can look at a few countries where socialist candidates did win elections. Chile, with the election of Salvador Allende in 1970 is a good example here. Allende tried to implement policies in the interests of the oppressed while in office, and the imperialists saw him as such a threat that they sponsored a coup which ended in Allende's death and the fascist government of Agusto Pinochet taking over in 1973. Implementing socialism in bits and pieces proved impossible in the face of imperialist opposition.

From the many lessons of historical struggles of the oppressed we conclude that the bourgeoisie will never give up power peacefully. For this reason, we know we can't vote them out of power. We have to take power and force them out. A socialist government in the United $tates would work against the interests of the bourgeoisie, so of course they would oppose it. This includes the bourgeoisie in the Republican and the Democratic parties.

So why were the Trump folks so successful in taking over the Republican party if we can't take over the Democratic party? Well Trump is an imperialist. This is just another brand of imperialism. Variations in imperialism will come and go, and the bourgeoisie will get behind various factions. That's not counter to their interests.

There will also be some local initiatives and candidates where the impact of victory will have a net positive effect on the oppressed. This could be part of strategic organizing locally. But that's very different from working to groom candidates in a long term strategy of changing Amerikan society via the electoral process as this writer is advocating.

chain
[Elections] [ULK Issue 67]
expand

Denial of Voting Rights Exposes Amerikan "Democracy"

In response to "Mid-Term Elections, Do we Need to Vote?" in ULK 64, I wholeheartedly agree that we should be talking about elections.(1) I believe anyone wanting to see society progress would desire their voice be heard in the electoral process.

Here are two issues we can fight for. Both issues bring an opportunity to work with others for the collective good of all.

1. Voting rights for prisoners. We are all part of society, whether living in Freeworld or Behind The Wall. As part of society, our voices deserve to be heard. The time has come for disenfranchisement of the incarcerated masses to end! Any organization or individual working toward improving inmates' lives and living conditions should be well-equipped to lobby for voting rights for prisoners.

2. Ballot access for third parties. Ballot access laws vary from state to state. For many states, it's a case of the foxes guarding the hen house. Both Democrats and Republicans have a vested interest in keeping very restrictive access laws in place. Regardless of political affiliation: Communist, Socialist, Libertarian, Constitutional, Green, or Independent, all have an interest in less restrictive ballot access laws.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Voting is considered a fundamental right in capitalist society. One that is required for democracy to function. The fact that this right can be taken away from 6.1 million people because of a felony conviction illustrates who is and is not included in Amerikan bourgeois democracy.

And it's not just that prisoners and those convicted of a felony can't vote. What about all the workers in this country who don't have citizenship? They contribute essential labor to the economy, and money in taxes, but will never be eligible to have a say in elections.

And further, it's true that ballot access laws are very restrictive. And these restrictions are in place to help keep the established power structure in place.

These are problems with Amerikan "democracy" that we should expose. They help underscore the truth that this is not a democracy at all; it is a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. This particular dictatorship happens to serve the majority of the people living within Amerikan borders. Amerikan citizens get some really valuable benefits from living in such a wealthy country. This includes being paid wages higher than the value of their labor. They are basically being bought off to keep the country peaceful so the bourgeoisie can continue to plunder the Third World.

So far, we're totally in line with the writer's position. But where we diverge is on the question of what to do about voting rights and access. Beyond exposing this situation to expose the hypocrisy of capitalism, should we also put our time and resources into the campaign to fight for these rights? This is where we argue that there is something fundamentally wrong with Amerikan "democracy" that can't be fixed by getting access to the ballot for more people. Even if those who gain access are primarily the oppressed within U.$. borders, this will not fix Amerikan "democracy."

Fighting for voting rights implies there is value in voting in imperialist elections. If all the disenfranchised former prisoners had voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, would that improve the conditions for the oppressed in the world? How about if Bernie Sanders wasn't suppressed by the Democrats and all former prisoners voted for em? Sanders, who supports U.$. military intervention and protectionist economic policies, including closed borders, was excluded by the Democrats. Perhaps expanding beyond a two-party system would have allowed Sanders to compete in the election. But we still have only imperialist candidates. And no anti-imperialist candidate can be elected as president of the dominant imperialist power in the world. We can't take down imperialism through the ballot, we can only do that through armed struggle.

With that said, there can be value to fighting electoral battles on a local scale. In these cases it's possible to win some victories that will set up better conditions for revolutionary organizing. For instance Chokwe Lumumba was elected Mayor of Jackson, Mississipi.(2) Lumumba was Vice President of the Republic of New Afrika. This is a situation where the oppressed have an opportunity to build independent power and used local elections to further this work. Under suspicious circumstances, Lumumba died eight months after taking office.(2)

Single-issue organizers who don't see the opportunity available to us in building toward revolution should definitely focus on the two campaigns this author suggests. People who are building dual power, like in Jackson, and have electoral politics as a specific piece of their overall strategy, should go for it if that's what they determine is the way to move forward in their conditions at this time. And bringing in people who support electoral politics generally to support a campaign for a specific candidate like Lumumba is an agreeable tactic.

As revolutionaries, we know better than to expect liberation from elections, and we need to be clear about that. The recent mayoral election in Oakland, California holds an example of playing up both sides of this contradiction. When Cat Brooks, an admired New Afrikan nationalist and radio persynality, ran for Mayor of Oakland in 2018, ey was clear that ey was running for the position because that's what the community ey organizes with asked of em. When introducing eir campaign over the radio waves, ey was clear that eir campaign was about issues, organizing, and mobilization — not a government office. And ey rallied support among many sectors of society, not just the revolutionaries and anti-capitalists. In the context of a campaign like this, revolutionaries can use elections to build the movement. We always need to be clear with people that we won’t be winning, as a movement, through the ballot box. We hold up these two examples (Jackson and Oakland) as models of how to incorporate electoral politics into revolutionary organizing in a way that pushes our struggle forward rather than subsuming the revolution into Amerikan "democracy."

chain
[Elections] [ULK Issue 67]
expand

New "Socialist" Parties in Amerika

I would like to hear your opinion of the growing politikal party that has been moving slowly over the past few years and that is the so-called Socialist Democratic Party. I myself have an exceptionally hard time with their concepts and ideals as I was born shortly after Komrad Stalin’s death and was raised in the USSR in a home that lived and breathed the ideals of Komrads Lenin and Stalin. I am extremely interested to hear and hopefully read your views and ideals concerning the United $tates and the SDP as it is forming today. Please enlighten me as much as you can on this issue.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The context in which we've seen this "new Socialist Democratic Party" label is mostly from reactionary sources who claim that the mainstream Democratic Party is too far left. This is the derogatory name the right wing is using for the Democratic Party.

This is a problem for genuine socialists/communists. We know the Democratic party is far from socialist. In fact they are squarely in the middle of mainstream Amerikan capitalism. And so it just gives socialism a bad name.

However, historically there was a Socialist Democratic Party, founded by Eugene Debs in the late 1800s. It was combined into the Socialist Party in 1901. Debs was then the Socialist Party's candidate for President in Amerikan elections between 1900 and 1912.

There are also plenty of self-proclaimed socialist organizations that operate within the electoral system. We call these folks social democrats or democratic socialists. These organizations may advocate nationalizing private industries and abolishing production for profit, but their strategy is reform through the ballot box. Genuine communists, on the other hand, want to abolish classes altogether, and recognize that overthrowing the bourgeoisie will require armed struggle.

The list of social democratic organizations in the United $tates includes the Socialist Party, the Democratic Socialists of America, the Socialist Labor Party and others. These parties all support electoral struggle within the Amerikan system. Some are also revisionists, claiming to uphold Marx while opposing eir idea of the "dictatorship of the proletariat."

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is a group that has gained ground in the United $tates on the heels of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Sanders identifies as a democratic socialist, but ran as a Democratic Party candidate. The treatment of Sanders by the Democratic Party alienated many young Amerikans who turned to the DSA. The DSA endorsed Sanders, after the 2016 election. It is the largest organization in the United $tates that falls under the meaningless umbrella of "socialist," with over 50,000 members. While it does not claim Marxism, it does critique capitalism. In 2018, the DSA celebrated getting two candidates into Congress, as well as a handful of state-level victories and many local election wins.(2)

From our Maoist glossary:

social democracy: The social movement to improve or maintain conditions of the broad parasitic classes. The economic base of social democracy is the labor aristocracy. An organization or movement does not need to be openly (or even consciously) social democratic to be considered so. Social democracy is the principal social (not military) prop of imperialism, ensuring superprofits flow from the exploited countries to the exploiter countries. (Labor Aristocracy, Mass Base of Social Democracy by Edwards, H.W. , Chapter II)

The recent rise in popularity of the DSA symbolizes a growing interest among imperialist country youth in critiques of capitalism as its inner contradictions unravel. While most Amerikans will stick with the DSA-style "socialism" that serves the material interests of exploiters and does not actually threaten capitalism, there is a smaller, growing interest in communism as defined above.

chain
Go to Page 1 [2] [3] [4]
Index of Articles