Fight ICE with fire: Against deportations, against the violent contradictions of the U.S. state, toward organizing resistance

Fight ICE with fire: Against deportations, against the violent contradictions of the U.S. state, toward organizing resistance

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Fight ICE with fire: Against deportations, against the violent contradictions of the U.S. state, toward organizing resistance

By Red Guards – Los Angeles

As the U.S. capitalist-imperialist state embraces the raw creeping-fascist white supremacy of the Trump administration, including Vice President Mike Pence and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security are ideologically and materially emboldened, inspired and strengthened.

While this is not a qualitative change to the structure of the U.S. capitalist-imperialist state, (former President Obama still holds the record for deporting the highest amount of immigrants from the U.S., approximately 2.5 million) it nonetheless signals a new era of scapegoating and repression – that is, of masking the violent contradictions of the state.

Recent raid sweeps throughout the country, including in Austin, Phoenix and here in Los Angeles, have resulted in the rounding up of at least 160 immigrants with at least one confirmed deportation of Mexican mother-of-two Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos from Phoenix on Feb. 9.

Under the early period of the Trump presidency, he has made it clear that he is targeting undocumented immigrants with previous or current deportation proceedings, regardless of criminal history – which marks a change from the Obama administration.

This is a show of force and power for Trump’s administration, a flexing of the new administration’s white supremacist muscle, and part of his larger overall plan of honing and increasing repression on immigrants and Muslims, while the Black and trans communities bear the brunt of these attacks.

While not yet fascism, the U.S. is moving with fast-paced desperation to either hide or ignore the growing contradictions of capitalism-imperialism. Trump’s populist, supposedly anti-corruption, pro-(white)people rhetoric speaks to the crumbling economy, offshoring and outsourcing jobs, including from the manufacturing industry, to the disenfranchisement of many workers and families (but strikes an obvious white chauvinist chord with white people and the labor aristocracy in particular) and the need for resolving these capitalist contradictions. The bourgeoisie, with their own internal contradictions and subsequent struggle, is split on how to maintain order. Trump represents the more self-exposing and extreme pole within the bourgeoisie, the camp where fascism is born.

Millions of migrants and immigrants, which are all refugees in one capacity or another (war, neoliberal economic policies, femicide and patriarchal violence against women/non-men within the oppressed-oppressor national relationship.) have permanently and greatly altered the U.S. Using words like “great” or “improving” in the context of America and immigration sells the idea of the settler-colonialist capitalist-imperialist U.S. as something other than in need of violent destruction.

The push-pull nature of immigration in the U.S. reveals, for those still needing proof, the imperialist nature of the U.S. and the contradictions of 1.) its inability to have a long-lasting stabilized home-country workforce caused by a reckless-yet-perfected economic system of commodity production, 2.) capitalism’s necessary dependence on a cheap surplus labor, and in particular the reserve army of labor (where migrants and immigrants are) in and outside of the U.S. 3.) capitalism’s need to have both consumers and workers – workers to afford to consume, and so the forever-balancing act of increasing wages while increasing cost of commodities yet not increasing wages enough to affect the proportionality of the profit extracted from labor.  

This particular characteristic of U.S. capitalism-imperialism’s reliance on immigrant labor has reinforced the U.S. economy extraordinarily. But it is nothing new.

Near the very founding, in conjunction with the indigenous genocide, of the settler-colonialist U.S., immigrant labor has been used to build U.S. capitalism, materially and ideologically – by having immigrants be the constant and convenient scapegoat to mask the contradictions of capitalism.    

Like historian Hasia Diner has stated in an article published on the U.S. Embassy’s official website – which, ironically or bluntly and proudly – states that immigrants and their collective oppression and exploitation made the settler-colonialist U.S. what it is today:

Like many other settler societies, the United States, before it achieved independence and afterward, relied on the flow of newcomers from abroad to people its relatively open and unsettled lands. It shared this historical reality with Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina, among other nations.

Diner correctly highlights a much often overlooked reality of the role of the U.S. in allowing mass immigration; it wasn’t out of some nostalgic longing for European culture – as the first immigrants were white – or out of some necessity to show the world the goodness of the U.S. to lead by example as a new nation as “a beacon of hope”; immigration was allowed and encouraged because the U.S. economy demanded labor, and the continued (outright as opposed to the modern-day mass imprisonment) enslavement of New Afrikans, Chicanx and indigenous peoples was becoming, more and more, outmoded. The continued necessity of resource-extraction, farming, lumbering, etc., persisted. And it still does today.

Now with the immigration raids currently happening throughout the U.S., the state and its appendages, including many of the class-traitor and white nation-supporter nonprofits, many immigrants not listed in deportation orders are being swept up in house and workplace raids. This is done to boost the numbers of deportations under Trump’s belt, even though ICE claims these raids were planned long before Trump rose to power. Either scenario is unforgivable and an act of state terrorism against the people. ICE and Homeland Security are enemies of the people, particularly migrants and immigrants, and those agencies should be met with the rage and fire of proletarian and revolutionary organizations and bold acts of resistance.

Like the comrades in Phoenix who risked bodily harm and arrest (and many were) by obstructing ICE vans – with Guadalupe Garcia inside, this tactic should be replicated but enhanced. It should be noted that revolutionary obstruction, sabotage and other forms of direct action have been employed by undocumented militants in the past. And so immigration raids should continue to be met with obstruction. Immigration officers and federal pig-agents should be turned away, if and when possible. ICE vans should not be allowed to move an inch. Revolutionaries and radicals should put their bodies, if able, on the line literally. Especially folks with citizenship. But not just one or two. Hundreds, thousands. Connections with progressive lawyers should be created or kept and maintained – with necessary and consistent fundraising for bailing comrades out. The streets should be blocked. Entire neighborhoods should pour out into the streets to demand that ICE leave the community and or to release immigrants caught up in raids. Progressive media, especially Spanish-speaking media, should be called to immediately respond. Religious organizations and progressive pro-immigrant organizations and labor unions (not the white-supremacist labor aristocrats of the Teamsters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Laborers’ International Union of North America or other AFL-CIO unions who prioritize their own well-being over the indigenous and immigrant and migrant communities) should be called to immediately mobilize.

And all this has to be done under the discipline and centrality of defending a community under attack by the state and its supporters through their direct participation and guidance. We call this a united front, principally against fascism. What we don’t need are roving groups of activists going from protest to protest with no clear ideological unity or strategy, elevating tactics – even militant ones – as a supposed strategy. We call this movementism.

Red Guards – Los Angeles help found a new coalition, Smash Fascism – Los Angeles, to unite all who can be united in confronting fascism and the repressive state apparatus.

Smash Fascism – Los Angeles is working toward mobilizing rapid-response committees where persecuted people can be transported to sanctuary places of worship (where ICE and Homeland Security pig-agents are barred from entering), committees where people can arrive and act in solidarity – but material, forceful, fiery solidarity.

All neighborhoods should be mobilized to protect themselves, especially against ICE. Build the fire of proletarian and revolutionary organizations to fight ICE! All progressives, radicals and revolutionaries should unite to grow the united front against fascism and grow Smash Fascism – Los Angeles’ committees!

Fight ICE with fire!
Fuck Trump!
Fuck the pigs!
Build up the united front against fascism!
Build up the rapid-response committees of Smash Fascism – Los Angeles!

 

Be with the people, stand against Carlos Montes

Be with the people, stand against Carlos Montes

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Be with the people, stand against Carlos Montes!

By Red Guards – Los Angeles

Confrontation and rupture are unavoidable and necessary steps in the long road of political and revolutionary struggle. Nowhere is this more apparent than here in the eastside, in Boyle Heights. Long-time Chicano activist, former Brown Beret, current member of Centro Community Service Organization and supporter or member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back) (FRSO-FB), Carlos Montes has repeatedly attacked members and supporters of Red Guards – Los Angeles (RGLA) through slander, libel, consistent snitch-jacketing (which appears to be standard protocol within FRSO-FB) and even sending his supporters to physically intimidate our supporters and wreck RGLA-affiliated events or actions.

Why is Montes attacking us, you ask?

Two reasons: 1.) his fearing of a growing feeling of irrelevancy around his reformist, collaborationist influence, and 2.) RGLA’s Sept. 20, 2016 summation on the Sept. 17 action led faby Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement and Defend Boyle Heights which called out the old ineffective way of dealing with the contradictions of capitalism in Boyle Heights, in which we specifically named him and other “socialists” doing a great disservice to the community by quelling rebelling instead of encouraging it.

In the summation, we stated:

We see this clearly in figures like Carlos Montes, [former] neighborhood council member and leader of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) and their community front group Centro-CSO, who uses every instance of community outrage to position himself in front of news cameras, squeeze himself between grieving mothers after their children are murdered by the police, to give another tired and bland speech recycling rhetoric that hasn’t inspired anyone in 40 years. He uses his space at these events to sell the community watered-down, reformist solutions to problems that require genuine revolutionary analysis under the pretense that the community is not ready to hear the truth about the need for armed struggle and revolution, that they are not ready to rebel and engage in direct confrontation with the forces of capitalism that threaten their existence. When the storm of revolution arrives these vendidxs will be washed away in the tide, their newspapers and badges of honor from the “glory days” washed away with them.

Shortly after our summation, Montes and his followers, including Sol Mar, took to social media to immediately call us COINTELPRO/FBI agents, cops and/or violent outsider anarchists controlled by one white man within our organization. An impressive barrage fueled by desperation and political panic.

But let’s unpack this.

Snitch-jacketing  

RGLA members, as well as members of our mass organization, Serve the People – Los Angeles (STPLA), unfortunately are accustomed to being called cops by bruised and fragile activists. Anytime we attempt to sharpen the contradictions of capitalism, to advance the revolutionary struggle, to expose revisionists, sell-outs, enemies of the people and failed past strategies, we strike a nerve. And like any politically weak individual or organization, they attack desperately, up to and including flailing insults and accusations of their critics being cops.

As STPLA wrote back in April 21, 2016 when editor and publisher of the eastside-based community newspaper Brooklyn & Boyle, Abel Salas, called STPLA cops, snitch-jacketing should be met with zero tolerance because it is a capitalist state tool to undermine, destroy and divide the revolutionary movement. Criticize a group’s tactics or politics, insult them, hate them, paint them in whatever horrible colors you so desire. But don’t call them cops without proof. Snitch-jacketing is an act of vicious laziness. It shows the perpetrator of the snitch-jacketing to be unprincipled, wilfully ignorant and really a danger to the revolutionary struggle. Abel Salas, to his credit, has since apologized publically, both on Facebook and in his newspaper. Carlos Montes, Sol Mar and others – especially of FRSO-FB, have not. They are lazy, desperate vicious wreckers. If they are unwilling or incapable of offering a public self-criticism, they should be isolated for exhibiting dangerous security-risk behaviors.

Violent anarchists? You mean actual communists!  

When Montes and company aren’t calling us cops, they’re usually calling us violent or anarchists or violent anarchists! Well, firstly, what does it mean to be violent? What have we done to merit this description? Because most of our members are anonymous? Because most of our members cover their faces? Because we support direct and militant action and confrontation? Because we oppose city-permitted marches and rallies (liberal parades)? Who have we been violent toward?

Violence is not homogenous; it is hierarchical – and at the very top of that hierarchy is the capitalist state, the sharpest and deadliest violence. Capitalism normalizes its own violence so that it goes unnoticeable. Like rising rent, evictions, foreclosures, hunger, the pigs throwing out street vendor food because they lack a permit, killer cops on paid administrative leave. All that is violence. How we react to it is through revolutionary rage. We have kicked out gentrifiers from Boyle Heights, from Hollenbeck Park and the 1st Street Bridge, and we will continue to do so. You can call that violent. But the community here calls that necessary.  

To the centrist, to the revisionist, to the rightist, everything appears far to the left. This is why Montes calls us Maoists anarchists. Montes doesn’t understand that fundamentally it is right to rebel. That is one of the most fundamental principles of Marxism. Montes doesn’t understand that genuine communists, Maoists, instead of talking down to the people and hocking their unread “Party” newspapers at them, should be shoulder-to-shoulder organizing, getting arrested, serving the people, defending the hood.

We are communists. We are Maoists. All of our actions are guided by the need to prepare for the upcoming Protracted People’s War with the capitalist state. And for that, we’re planting the seeds to grow Dual Power, where autonomous proletarian institutions function parallel to the capitalist state. Slowly but surely, we’re building the Party.

Controlled by one white man? Erasing RGLA’s overwhelmingly brown leadership

Montes, for whatever reason, also resorts to lazy investigation and concludes, due to one or two pictures of one of our white members on Facebook, that we – the vast majority of Chicanx, Mexican and Central American – aren’t intelligent enough to lead ourselves, that we must be under the control of a great white puppeteer. Montes, as a person who claims to be a Marxist-Leninist (a revisionist), doesn’t appear to understand the communist concept of leadership. If our leader was indeed one white man, it would be acceptable because the larger cadre body would have democratically elected that person to their position – based on their leadership skills and political development, not identity. Montes exercising a knee-jerk and classic identity-politics reaction to this while conveniently hiding that his very own organization, or at least one he intimately follows and supports, FRSO-FB, practices a similar line of electing white people to positions of leadership. However, we differ with FRSO-FB (in oh so many ways) because men, especially white men, will always be a minority. Oppressed nationalities, especially womxn and non-men of said nationalities, will always be given priority for leadership development. You can’t make revolution without oppressed nationality womxn and non-men at the forefront.

Furthermore, leadership is not interchangeable with control. The correct method of leadership is political unity, adherence to democratic centralism and practicing the mass line, “from the masses, to the masses,” because we are not leaders without the understanding that the masses are the real makers of history. Not leaders. Not even communist ones.

Lastly, Montes and his supporters have criticized us for being outsiders, that we’re not originally from Boyle Heights or the eastside. Another desperate and weak argument very similar to the Maoist concept of class origin versus class stand. Yes, many of us are not originally from Boyle Heights. Some of us only have three years here. Some of us don’t even live here. But we all organize here almost daily. All of us are involved with STPLA’s weekly food and clothing distribution. Some of us are involved with Defend Boyle Heights. Some of us are involved with Smash Fascism – Los Angeles.

What is more important? Where someone comes from, their origin, or what they are actually and materially doing in the here and now?

Like the communist understanding of class origin (your family’s class background) versus class stand (the political conviction to chose a side, even if it is not part of your class background), primacy is given to the class stand because it is the conscious choosing of who you will stand and fight with, not merely something you are born into.

It would be interesting to ask what Montes felt about antifascists from all over the world going to Spain to fight the fascists in the 1930s or today in Rojava? Should they just stay at home and know their place? Should they stop imposing their outsider solidarity? Chale. Your politics are weak, liberal and opportunist.

A supporter of Montes came out to a Smash Fascism – Los Angeles public meeting on Feb. 1, 2017 to confront an RGLA supporter at La Conxa after they had confronted Montes earlier in the week for his snitch-jacketing. (Montes  incorrectly assumed this person was an RGLA cadre). The women at the event kept saying she was a gang member and that she had control of the block. Furthermore, she said she would send in gang members to “deal with us.” We can only assume this means physical harm to us and our supporters. RGLA supporters and members de-escalated the confrontation. There was no physical altercation, as the need never presented itself. Most, and now all, of our events will always have a presence of internal security to deal with provocateurs and reactionaries. A sad but necessary precaution, especially with people like Montes and his supporters.

We, RGLA, caution the community of Boyle Heights to isolate Carlos Montes. Don’t let Montes or anyone else tell you your rage isn’t appropriate. Rebel, rebel always! Don’t let Montes call revolutionary communists cops for simply calling out revisionists and reformists! Isolate Montes, isolate FRSO-FB, isolate Centro CSO! If you see Montes, tell him to stop his slander and attacks on RGLA, STPLA and our supporters!

Smash Fascism Los Angeles

Hello,

We are reaching out to you today in light of the recent election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States. Any observer among the left, among religious minorities, among immigrant’s right groups, women’s rights groups, LGBTQIA+ rights groups, or observers from practically any other progressive perspective has likely been appalled by the results of this presidential election and its future ramifications.

But beyond the immediate results of this election, we also find appalling the fact that the election of Donald Trump is just one further symptom of a broader trend of right-wing populism, nationalism, and fascism, that has been sweeping across much of the United States and Europe. The recent withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on the basis of nationalist and anti-immigrant sentiments, the surging popularity of the Front National in France, Pegida in Germany, the Golden Dawn in Greece, and countless other right-wing nationalist groups growing in popularity in Western countries, the intense backlash against Syrian immigrants in Europe, all of these are evidence of a global trend towards right-wing ultra-nationalism of which the election of Donald J. Trump is just a USAmerican manifestation.

In light of these horrifying developments we believe the time is long overdue for a united front of progressive organizations that will be willing to stand together to combat this rising tide of right-wing nationalism, and that will be willing to stand directly in defense of the communities most likely to suffer immediate consequences should this movement continue to grow and gain power. That is the purpose of this letter: we are asking that any and all organizations with a willingness to unify around this common cause host an emergency assembly to determine what would be the terms of our unity, where we can find agreement in terms of the enemy we are facing, and what actions we are willing to immediately take in order to be proactive in the defense of ourselves and our communities.

Anyone well acquainted with the the 20th century history of Europe would have great reason to be alarmed in light of these recent global developments. The historical parallels between the rise of Donald Trump in the US today, and the rise of Mussolini and Hitler in the 1920s are too blatant to ignore. Donald Trump is a demagogue. This election cycle he was masterfully able to play to the genuine sentiments of disenfranchisement and disillusion that many white, working-class voters from Middle USAmerica are feeling, and was able to play on their latent (and often overt) racism in order to redirect much of their economic frustration onto groups that have been traditionally economically, racially and religiously oppressed. In doing so, he has also awakened the many white-nationalist and fascist groups around the United States, who feel as though they once again have a champion of their ideas in the White House and who have been, over the last few years, emboldened to take direct action against the communities on which they place the blame for their economic woes.

This combination of a right-wing demagogue in power and a litany of racist and fascist gangs around the country being emboldened by his rhetoric is very scary indeed. What we are seeing resembles very closely the sort of Nationalist sentiments that Adolf Hitler was able to arouse in Germany, the paramilitary gangs he was able to embolden that eventually became the so-called “brown shirts”, and the general scapegoating of traditionally oppressed minorities. We have heard the saying so often that we take it for granted, but what does it mean that “those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it”? What does it mean for us particularly at this moment in time?

The history of Nazi Germany and the preceding history of the Wiemar Republic is certainly too long and complex for us to be able to thoroughly detail in a simple letter, but there are certain aspects of this history that we do not feel we can leave out as we make this plea to you for a united front. We do not want to mince words: the movement that we are witnessing, with or without Donald Trump, is a movement towards open fascism in the United States. Trump taking the reigns of the presidency is not in and of itself the victory of “fascism” proper, but it is an enormous step in that direction and the time is now for us to be proactive in preventing the repetition of the tragic history of Germany and Italy in the middle of the last century. The history of the Wiemar Republic that we do not wish to see repeated is the abject failure of the left progressive and left-religious organizations to assemble a united front against the growing fascist movement.

Following an incomplete revolution in Germany in 1918, the “Social Democrats” gained power in the parliament and came with a whole host of promised reforms and policies to better the lives of downtrodden and working class German people. Ultimately, due to the constraints of the bourgeois democratic system that existed in Germany at the time which the revolution was not able to completely undo, the Social Democrats were not able to deliver on their promises to working class people. In this environment, the Nazi’s were able to capitalize on the continuing discontent of the people, who felt as though the Social Democrats in power had failed them. Additionally, by consistently urging the people of Germany to put their faith into the Social Democrats and to put their faith into the bourgeois democratic structures in which they operated, the working-class and oppressed people of Germany never conspired to create expansive working-class structures of power on their own to provide for their own needs and defenses.

Years and years of putting their faith into the “lesser evil” culminated in the elections of 1932, in which the people were again urged to vote for Baron Von Hindenberg as the “lesser-evil” to Hitler and his Nazi party. Hindenberg was elected and soon after appointed Hitler as Chancellor of Germany. This marked the ascension of the Nazi party to power in Germany, the emboldening of the fascist paramilitaries that had been bubbling just beneath the surface of “liberal” German politics, and the ultimate tragedy that followed. Furthermore, because the people of Germany had consistently put their faith into the “democratic” system headed up by the Social Democrats, no external base of power for themselves was ever established, and when the fascist paramilitaries immediately began their crackdowns on working class people—trade unionists, the poor, disabled, religious minorities, etc. these groups were absolutely defenseless and were slaughtered at the hands of the Nazis.

This is the most important historical lesson we believe we must draw from the history of fascism in the 20th century: without a unified movement of working class, oppressed religious and racial minorities, we will find ourselves helpless in the face of the racist gangs which a Trump presidency is currently emboldening and dog-whistling. We cannot rely on the very system of government that created the conditions in which Trump was able to rise to save us from the mess we are facing. Those in government, the liberals and the progressives, are currently holding the door open for Trump as he assumes the reigns of power and appoints open white-nationalists like Steve Bannon to important positions in his presidential cabinet. These elected liberals and progressives in government are like the Social Democrats of Wiemar Germany who insisted the German people “give Hitler a chance” right before appointing him Chancellor of the country.

We cannot continue to neglect building this united front outside of the system and hope that Democratic or liberal challengers in elected positions will put up the requisite fight to defend the communities most at risk from this growing movement. We have to do it ourselves. We have a historical duty to do it ourselves, to learn the mistakes that were made in the 20th century and to not repeat them. Only the broad masses of people, and the organizations to which they belong and which represent them, organized and ready to take action on their own accord, will be sufficient to stop the horrors which await our communities if we do nothing.

We propose that sometime within the next four weeks, any organization who wishes to join to this united front determine a time which would be best suited for a city-wide meeting, determines a number of delegates from their organization who will attend this meeting to represent them, and that they draft up whatever key points could be determined ahead of time that would be necessary for their unification with such a united front.

We do not expect that anyone who wishes to join into this Front with us agrees completely with our political outlook. We believe that these are questions that can be settled later. For now, we believe there is a common enemy in the Far Right, white nationalism, and fascism, and that if we do not agree on a course of action for our communities now it may be too late for us sometime in the near future. Please join us in this struggle. We hope to hear from you soon. We are open to suggestions on how this meeting should be coordinated and organized, so please respond indicating your willingness to join or not to join such a front, as well as any suggestions you may have. When we have heard back from all the organizations contacted, we will reach out with a further email indicating a location and a time for the meeting.

If you have any questions please send us an email smashfascismla@gmail.com

Thank you.

In solidarity,

Red Guards – Los Angeles
Ovarian Psycos
East LA Brown Berets
Union de Vecinos
Serve the People – Los Angeles
BHAAAD
El Sereno Against Gentrification
Backyard Brigade
La Raza Unida
IDEPSCA
Eastside Greens
Smash Fascism – Los Angeles

 

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Hola,

Nos dirigimos a ustedes hoy a la luz de la reciente elección de Donald J. Trump como presidente de los Estados Unidos. Cualquier observador en la izquierda, en las minorías religiosas, en los grupos de derechos de los inmigrantes, grupos de derechos de la mujer, grupos de derechos LGBTQIA + u observadores de prácticamente cualquier otra perspectiva progresista, probablemente han quedado consternados por los resultados de esta elección presidencial y sus futuras ramificaciones.

Pero más allá de los resultados inmediatos de estas elecciones, también nos horroriza el hecho de que la elección de Donald Trump es otro síntoma de una tendencia más amplia del populismo de derecha; el nacionalismo y el fascismo, que han estado arrasando gran parte del Reino Unido Estados Unidos y Europa. La reciente retirada del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea basada en sentimientos nacionalistas y anti-inmigrantes, la creciente popularidad del Frente Nacional en Francia , Pegida en Alemania, Amanecer Dorado en Grecia e innumerables grupos nacionalistas de derecha que crecen en popularidad en los países occidentales y la reacción intensa contra los inmigrantes sirios en Europa. Todo esto es evidencia de una tendencia mundial hacia el ultranacionalismo de derecha de la cual la elección de Donald J. Trump es sólo una manifestación americana.

A la luz de estos terribles acontecimientos, creemos que a llegado la hora para un ya necesario Frente Popular de organizaciones progresistas que esté dispuesto a unirse para combatir esta creciente oleada de nacionalismo derechista y que esté dispuesto a defender directamente a las comunidades más propensas a sufrir consecuencias inmediatas por esta situación si este movimiento continúa creciendo y ganando poder. Ese es el propósito de esta carta: estamos pidiendo que todas y cada una de las organizaciones con la voluntad de unirse alrededor de esta causa común se unan a la invitacion a una asamblea de emergencia para determinar cuáles serían los términos de nuestra unidad, donde podemos encontrar acuerdos en términos del enemigo que estamos enfrentando, y qué acciones estamos dispuestos a tomar de inmediato para ser proactivos en la defensa de nosotros mismos y nuestras comunidades.

Cualquier persona que conozca bien la historia del siglo XX de Europa tendra fuertes razones para alarmarse a la luz de estos recientes acontecimientos mundiales. Los paralelos históricos entre la subida de Donald Trump en los EEUU hoy, y la subida de Mussolini y de Hitler en los años 20 son demasiado obvios como para ser ignorados. Donald Trump es un demagogo. Durante este ciclo electoral el fue magistralmente capaz de jugar con los genuinos sentimientos de privación de derechos y desilusión que muchos blancos votantes de clase trabajadora de la América media han estado sintiendo, y fue capaz de jugar con el racismo latente (y con frecuencia manifiesto) entre ellos para redirigir mucha de su frustración económica hacia grupos tradicionalmente oprimidos desde el punto de vista económico, racial y religioso. Al hacerlo, también ha despertado a los numerosos grupos blancos-nacionalistas y fascistas alrededor de los Estados Unidos, que se sienten como si una vez más tienen un campeón de sus ideas en la Casa Blanca y que han sido, en los últimos años, envalentonados Para tomar acción directa contra las comunidades a las que culpan a sus aflicciones económicas.

Esta combinación de un demagogo derechista en el poder y una letanía de bandas racistas y fascistas en todo el país que se envalentonan con su retórica es aterradora. Lo que estamos viendo se asemeja mucho al tipo de sentimientos nacionalistas que Adolf Hitler despertó en Alemania, a las bandas paramilitares que pudo envalentonar y que finalmente se convirtieron en las llamadas “camisas marrones”, y el chivo expiatorio general de las minorías tradicionalmente oprimidas. Hemos escuchado el dicho tantas veces que lo damos por hecho, pero ¿qué significa que “aquellos que no conocen la historia están condenados a repetirla”? ¿Qué significa para nosotros particularmente en este momento en el tiempo?

La historia de la Alemania nazi y la historia precedente de la República de Weimar es ciertamente demasiado larga y compleja para que podamos detallarla a fondo en una simple carta, pero hay ciertos aspectos de esta historia que no creemos que podemos dejar de lado conforme hacemos esta súplica para un Frente Popular unido. No queremos suavizar las cosas: el movimiento que estamos presenciando, con o sin Donald Trump, es un movimiento hacia el fascismo abierto en los Estados Unidos. La toma de Trump de las riendas de la presidencia no es en sí la victoria del “fascismo” propiamente dicho, pero es un enorme paso en esa dirección y ahora es el momento para que seamos proactivos en la prevención de la repetición de la trágica historia de Alemania y en Italia a mediados del siglo pasado. La historia de la República de Weimar que no deseamos ver repetida es el abyecto fracaso de las organizaciones izquierdistas progresistas e izquierdistas de reunir un frente popular unido contra el creciente movimiento fascista.

Después de una revolución incompleta en Alemania en 1918, los “socialdemócratas” ganaron poder en el parlamento y vinieron con toda una serie de reformas y políticas prometidas para mejorar las vidas de los oprimidos y de la clase obrera alemana. En última instancia, debido a las limitaciones del sistema democrático burgués que existía en Alemania en el momento y que la revolución no fue capaz de deshacer por completo, los socialdemócratas no pudieron cumplir sus promesas a la clase trabajadora. En este ambiente, los nazis fueron capaces de capitalizar con el descontento continuo del pueblo, que sentía como si los socialdemócratas en el poder les hubieran fallado. Además, al instar constantemente al pueblo de Alemania a depositar su fe en los socialdemócratas ya poner su fe en las estructuras democráticas burguesas en que operaban, el pueblo obrero y oprimido de Alemania nunca conspiró para crear estructuras expansivas de la clase obrera De poder por si mismos para cubrir sus propias necesidades y defensas.

Años y años de poner su fe en el “mal menor” culminaron en las elecciones de 1932, en las que se volvió a pedir al pueblo que votara por el barón Von Hindenberg como el “mal menor” de Hitler y su partido nazi. Hindenberg fue elegido y poco después designó a Hitler como Canciller de Alemania. Esto marcó la ascensión del partido nazi al poder en Alemania, el envalentonamiento de los paramilitares fascistas que bullian bajo la superficie de la política alemana “liberal” y la tragedia final que siguió. Además, como el pueblo de Alemania había depositado su fe en el sistema “democrático” encabezado por los socialdemócratas, nunca se había establecido una base externa de poder para ellos mismos y cuando los paramilitares fascistas comenzaron de inmediato sus medidas represivas contra la clase obrera, Sindicalistas, pobres, discapacitados, minorías religiosas, etc. Estos grupos estaban absolutamente indefensos y fueron asesinados a manos de los nazis.

Esta es la lección histórica más importante que creemos que debemos extraer de la historia del fascismo en el siglo XX: sin un movimiento unificado del pueblo trabajador, de minorías religiosas y raciales oprimidas, nos encontraremos desamparados ante las bandas racistas que La presidencia de Trump está envalentonando y motivando. No podemos confiar en el mismo sistema de gobierno que creó las condiciones en las que Trump pudo levantarse para salvarnos del lío que estamos enfrentando. Los que están en el gobierno, los liberales y los progresistas, están actualmente manteniendo la puerta abierta a Trump cuando asume las riendas del poder y nombra a blancos nacionalistas declarados como Steve Bannon a posiciones importantes en su gabinete presidencial. Estos liberales elegidos y progresistas en el gobierno son como los socialdemócratas de Alemania de Wiemar que insistieron que el pueblo alemán “diera a Hitler una oportunidad” justo antes de nombrarle canciller del país.

No podemos seguir ignorando la necesidad de la construcción de este Frente Popular unido fuera del sistema y espera que los partidarios demócratas o liberales en posiciones elegidas presenten la lucha necesaria para defender a las comunidades más expuestas a este creciente movimiento. Tenemos que hacerlo nosotros mismos. Tenemos el deber histórico de hacerlo nosotros mismos, de aprender los errores que se cometieron en el siglo XX y de no repetirlos. Sólo las amplias masas de personas y organizaciones a las que pertenecen y que las representan, organizadas y listas para actuar por sí mismas, serán suficientes para detener los horrores que esperan nuestras comunidades si no hacemos nada.

Proponemos que en algún momento dentro de las próximas cuatro semanas, cualquier organización que desee unirse a este Frente Popular determine un momento que sería el más adecuado para una reunión de toda la ciudad, determine a una serie de delegados de su organización que asistirán a esta reunión para representarles Y que redacten los puntos clave que se podrían determinar con antelación para su unificación con un Frente Popular.

No esperamos que cualquiera que desee unirse a este Frente con nosotros esté totalmente de acuerdo con nuestra perspectiva política. Creemos que estas son preguntas que se pueden resolver más adelante. Por ahora, creemos que hay un enemigo común en la extrema derecha, el nacionalismo blanco y el fascismo, y que si no estamos de acuerdo en un curso de acción para nuestras comunidades ahora puede ser demasiado tarde para nosotros en algún momento en el futuro cercano. Por favor, únase a nosotros en esta lucha. Esperamos saber de usted pronto. Estamos abiertos a sugerencias sobre cómo esta reunión debe ser coordinada y organizada, así que por favor responda indicando su disposición a unirse o no a unirse a este frente, así como cualquier sugerencia que pueda tener. Cuando hayamos recibido noticias de todas las organizaciones contactadas, nos comunicaremos con un correo electrónico adicional indicando la ubicación y el momento de la reunión. Gracias.

En solidaridad,

Red Guards – Los Angeles
Ovarian Psycos
East LA Brown Berets
Union de Vecinos
Serve the People – Los Angeles
BHAAAD
El Sereno Against Gentrification
Backyard Brigade
La Raza Unida
IDEPSCA
Eastside Greens
Smash Fascism – Los Angeles

BOYCOTT THE VOTE!

It is election season again, and we at Red Guards – Los Angeles have been diligently reviewing the plans and policies of the two performers presented to us as viable candidates to head up this project of US Empire. We must admit, the differences between these two circus clowns are vast: Donald J. Trump, for example, is moderately taller and has a tinge of “autumn spice” to both his toupee and his skin color. He claims that Mexicans are thieves and rapists, and has presented the plan of building a “wall” to keep them out. Hillary Clinton, on the contrary, has a decidedly “barnyard straw” color to her hair, no apparent toupee, and a plan to summarily deport Mexicans back to Mexico rather than throw her weight behind a “wall” to keep them out.

On the issue of terrorist pigs who patrol our black and brown communities with itchy trigger fingers and the imperative to generate profits for a complex of private prison interests through policies of mass-incarceration, our orange candidate Donald J. Trump insists we must restore “Law & Order” to our communities. We must protect them from hoodlums and thugs who deserve to see the insides of prison cells. Hillary Clinton, appealing to a more liberal, college-educated demographic, prefers not to use the terms “thug” or “hoodlum” but the more SAT-friendly term “super-predators” instead. She speaks of “restoring trust” between the communities preyed upon and murdered by the pig-system daily, and their predators in the police departments.

On the issue of American Empire abroad is where the differences between our two candidates really shine—Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she has a wealth of experience and know-how: her time in the State Department allowed her to manage with cunning the affairs of US-Empire, choreographing regime change, supporting right-wing terror squads in Latin America, deftly maneuvering imperialist interventions in Libya and Syria, and ensuring with great skill the vampiric interests of the American capitalist ruling class all across the world. In this area we could hardly deny that she is a far more qualified executive than our orange candidate, Donald J. Trump. In this arena, Trump’s rhetoric (and his potential actions) are more bombastic and less subtle—where Clinton might use her connections in the CIA to funnel money into local death-squads and paramilitaries in order to destabilize foreign countries and instigate coups against “unfriendly” foreign leaders—Trump may chose to simply carpet bomb them. He is old-fashioned in that way. Where Clinton may employ the tried and true tactic of economic sanctions and embargoes to cut-off the supply of essential goods and service to foreign populations, thereby generating social unrest that could manifest into “popular” rebellions against local governance that would be easily exploitable by American ruling-class interests, Trump may simply chose to challenge foreign leaders to a duel or a street fight—who could say, really?

Upon careful consideration of the stark differences between these two colorfully painted puppets, we here at Red Guards-Los Angeles have determined that there is no conclusion to be drawn other than: FUCK THEM BOTH. Until “guillotine” makes its way onto the ballot, we see no reason to participate in this bourgeois spectacle.

With that said, we wholly endorse and support an active boycott of these elections, and stand in solidarity with our comrades in Red Guards- Austin, Red Guards- Philadelphia, RATPAC-ATX, Serve the People- Austin, and others who have already begun to lead the way in this. Given the absurd nature of this election cycle it is easy to dismiss the entire thing as a bad joke, but in reality the maneuverings of US Empire are a deadly serious affair. We recognize that the only course of action it is conscionable to advocate is halting the entire forward progress of the American capitalist war-machine—the elections sponsored by this machine will never allow for that outcome. For this reason we reject the logic of “lesser-evil” voting. We reject the idea that the American system is in any way a “democracy” for our working class communities and therefore reject the logic that we have a “voice” in this system with our votes.

The totality of the American state—the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the entire judiciary, the Presidency, and the state and regional variations of the same—is nothing but an enormous bureaucracy for managing the affairs of bourgeois society. The politicians who occupy space in this bureaucracy are the friends and relatives, business associates and golf-partners of the exact same corporate, capitalist interests that stand directly opposed to the interests of our working class communities. The system of US government has had this class character since its foundation following the American counter-revolution of 1776, where a collusion of wealthy landowners, slave-holders, politicians and businessmen fought to wrestle control of their settler-colonial affairs from the hands of one grouping of rich white men and put it into the hands of another. There was no concern for “liberty” or “democracy” for the nearly two-million enslaved black people whose labor was stolen to establish the economic prestige of the newly founded “United States of America”. There was no pretense of “democracy” for the millions of our indigenous brothers and sisters who were slaughtered so that this settler government would have the land to exist upon.

And though the years have passed and the struggles of our black, brown, and white working-class communities have led, in some ways, to loosening the grip of this bourgeois, settler-colonial society over our lives, it’s fundamental character and reason for existence remains the same. Nothing of import has ever been won for our class through elections, but only through struggle. The chains of slavery were not voted away. The gains of the labor movement were not made through bourgeois elections but on the threat of rebellion and revolution. All of these hard-fought gains were paid for with the blood of our comrades, martyrs in the struggle for liberation, and we will not allow liberals who yammer on about the bills and laws and policies “passed” by elected “progressives” to take credit for the victories that were earned by our comrades in this struggle and only reluctantly signed into law by the likes of them when their house of cards was at risk of collapsing. The masses make and move history, not liberal lawmakers, and this is a universal law of history these liberals and revisionists would do well to understand.

There is no “lesser-evil” in the management of the affairs of US Empire, there are only two evils with different faces. The sword and the shield of US Empire—two manifestations of the same ruling-class power. Our people have been led blindly down the path of “lesser-evilism” for decades and to what effect? Our mothers and fathers are being deported in record numbers, our black brothers and sisters are being murdered by the pigs daily and elected officials offer us no solutions other than that we should “restore trust” between them and our community. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are stalked and bombed with drones, shot dead in the middle of the night with impunity, all with missiles and bullets that we are forced to pay for, to the benefit capitalist weapons manufacturers, defense contractors, and the stooge politicians who keep the gears moving in this War on Terror. At home they are profiled and harassed by the police and white reactionary groups with hatred fueled by the rhetoric of politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Where is the lesser-evil in this scenario? From what detached, privileged, and coddled position could you possibly make the claim that one hand or the other on this beast of US Empire represents a “lesser-evil”? Even when we are sold not on a “lesser-evil” but on a “great savior” of this system like Barack Obama in 2008, we are rewarded with nothing but an intensification of the United States’ systems of death. We cannot continue to entertain the “pragmatic” notion that we must plug our noses and vote for a lesser evil until one day, somehow, spontaneously, a movement will emerge to deliver us from US Empire. No such thing will happen if we do not make it happen, and making it happen entails that we first offer a firm denunciation of this system, including a refusal to participate in its spectacles and circuses.

We cannot support any forays into electoral politics under the current conditions of US ruling-class hegemony, and we likewise reject the efforts of organizations like Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) to run candidates for office under the guise of bringing “visibility” to our struggle. Running candidates in bourgeois elections in the complete absence of any semblance of dual-power in our communities is a fool’s game and serves more to lend legitimacy to the institution of bourgeois elections than it does to bring visibility to our struggle for revolution. Revolution is not possible at the ballot box, fueling the notion that it is by running candidates is a dangerous mistake. Revolution will only come when we have made a clean break with bourgeois ideology, and any attempt to bring people into electoral politics is a reproduction and reinforcement of that bourgeois ideology. We prefer to build revolution outside the circus of bourgeois politics and will encourage the masses to do the same.

This election season, we say that the nearly 50% of Americans from predominately working class, black and brown communities, who already chose not to vote have the correct idea. They already understand better the nature of US electoral politics than the petit-bourgeois activists and liberals who would shame them for their decision not to vote. To these communities we offer the affirmation of their correct ideas, and we offer the alternative of rebellion and revolution. To this end we must take up the hard task of building a network of working-class institutions that will offer a meaningful challenge to the ruling capitalist-imperialist system. We must get organized, and we must prepare ourselves to fight.

There is no pragmatic choice to be made this November outside of organizing ourselves for this fight. There is no lesser-evil to manage US Empire. There is only ourselves, our working-class and oppressed nation communities, and our limitless capacity to rebel. We encourage anyone and everyone who sees through the sham of US electoral politics to join us in this struggle. Let us show that we are voting for boycott and pressing for revolution , and let us do the groundwork of building revolutionary, militant, working-class institutions that will give teeth to that threat and lead to the downfall of the entire capitalist-imperialist system. Let us dare to struggle and let us dare to win!

Neither Hillary nor Trump!
Fuck the vote!
It is right to rebel!

REBELLION IN BOYLE HEIGHTS

ANTI GENTRIFICATION, CAPITALISM, AND THE NEED FOR A REVOLUTIONARY PARTY

On Saturday evening, the community of Boyle Heights came together to give a simple and direct message to the art galleries, their owners, and their patrons who are currently invading the community with their hideous bourgeois art: GET THE FUCK OUT. You are not welcome here.

This confrontation has been a long-time coming and will be only the first in a long line of such confrontations if these galleries do not heed the demands being made by the community. Members of Red Guards- Los Angeles have been active participants in the Defend Boyle Heights coalition that was formed earlier this year in order to confront the rapidly approaching gentrification of the community of Boyle Heights. Our time organizing among the residents of this community has been humbling for us. We have been inspired by this community’s willingness to stand together in the face of bourgeois developers, speculators, and gallery owners with far greater access to capital and the repressive machinery of the State than this working class, largely immigrant community will ever have while this land remains the dominion of capitalists and their pig footsoldiers. And despite the glaring imbalance of power, this community remains defiant and steadfast in its goals.

The anti-gentrification struggle in Boyle Heights makes abundantly clear to us the Maoist principle that has been instrumental in guiding our work: the masses of people, and the masses of people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history. The unified resistance of this community is powerful enough to move mountains, and will prove itself powerful enough to push back the forces of gentrification that have begun to show their faces as art galleries and other businesses which cater to the wealthy, with callous disregard for the destruction of community and culture which they leave in their wake.

The recent tactics of direct and hostile confrontation with these forces of gentrification demonstrate that the community itself—the palateras and palateros, the immigrant families, the senoras who overcame the scourge of gang violence within their communities, the muralists who have enriched their community with the colorful paintings and street art that adorn every wall and building in the neighborhood, the youth, the punks with their backyard-show scene—this community understands very well that the only reliable factor in this struggle is themselves and their ability, when unified, to resist even the most well funded galleriests, landlords, and investors seeking to rip the community apart.

This Saturday’s action was not a pleasant experience for those on the receiving end of it. There was no pretense of openness to dialogue or conversation with the gallery owners and their patrons. There was no coddling of the white liberal sentiment of “support” for the “message” but “disapproval” of the “tactics”. There was no willingness to dilute or defuse the righteous anger that was directed at the galleries like a shotgun blast. Standing side-by-side were older senoras who boldly denounced the presence of the galleries and detailed the material effect these galleries have on rent prices, with young, masked militants who made abundantly clear just how unwelcome the community at large feels the presence of high-priced art galleries, funded by west-siders and outsiders, to be.

Gallery attendees were harassed and harangued, pelted with water and bottles and an endless barrage of verbal assault. They were stopped in their tracks, surrounded, chased back to their vehicles and out of the around Anderson Street and Mission Road where the majority of these galleries have begun opening up. The galleries themselves were surrounded while members of the community banged on their windows, entered their galleries to smash bottles, and continued the barrage of verbal assault. The initial expressions of smug amusement turned into palpable fear from the gallery attendees as the confrontation continued to escalate with no signs of winding down. The gallery owners rushed to their doors to lock them and pull down the metal barricades over their windows. The community succeeded in shutting down several openings that night, ran many dozens of yuppies and rich hipsters out of the neighborhood, and undeniably birthed in many more an unwillingness to ever step foot in Boyle Heights for a gallery opening again.

So what does this confrontation teach us? We have learned that this community recognizes the importance of taking matter into its own hands. This community knows instinctively and through experience that politicians, city councils, and electoral politics will do nothing to come to its aid, and will in fact stand behind the very forces of gentrification that want to break the community up and sell each piece of it to the highest bidder. There is an awareness, sometimes spoken and sometimes unspoken, of the shared class interests among these politicians and the investors, speculators, and gallery owners currently driving much of the gentrification in Boyle Heights.

There is the knowledge, firsthand, that the police forces they are told to rely on to “protect” and “serve” them will likewise stand in defense of the forces of the bourgeoisie and will do nothing to protect the livelihoods of the working class residents that characterize the community—they will enter with guns drawn and chains ready to shoot them dead and drag the ones that remain to prison under pretenses of gang-injuctions, or, in the case of 14 year-old boys like the recently murdered Jesse Romero, petty vandalism. They know the pigs stand ready to do the brutal grunt work that the delicate hands and sensibilities of the bourgeois galleriests are unwilling to do themselves.

With this near complete inaccessibility to institutional power, our community is recognizing the importance of building its own power, outside of the system, as the only effective method for serving its people and protecting its livelihood and culture. While we wholeheartedly support and endorse the actions taken by the community on Saturday evening, we know that the only long-term solution to the problem of gentrification is the formation of working class institutions of power that are dedicated to serving the interests of the people. Concessions from city and state government, deals and collusion with galleries and landlords, temporary acquiescence to the demands of the community—these things are not enough. They amount to bones tossed to us by the representatives of the ruling class for the express purpose of derailing our anger and stunting our ability to build organizations that will claim all political power for ourselves and our community. They are carrots dangled before our heads which these ruling class elites hope will distract us long enough to forget that they still retain the power to dictate the terms of our engagement with them.

These confrontations teach us the truth that all correct ideas emerge from the masses of people, and it is only through the process of engaging with our community, learning from their history of struggle and standing shoulder to shoulder with them in their current struggle, that necessary revolutionary leadership can be developed to guide them into confrontation not only with the forces of gentrification but all the forces of capitalism that exploit and oppress our people. The history of struggle within our community, the experience of struggle in the communities surrounding us which have fallen to gentrification, and our daily struggles to survive, are a breeding ground for the revolutionary ideas that are currently taking root in Boyle Heights and finding their outlet in these direct confrontations.

Just as we understand that the history of struggle within our community is the basis for their correct ideas, we must also recognize that capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and the ideological divisions they create along class, gender, and racial lines also foster the creation of incorrect and backwards ideas within our community. Revolutionary leadership entails that we encourage and develop the correct ideas within our community and that we use our understanding of revolutionary theory to combat the manifestations of the backwards ideas that likewise exist.

We must be wary of those who continue to advocate for dialogue with the forces of gentrification. We must be wary of those who continue to push the idealistic line that if we simply convince the gentrifiers of our humanity and essential goodness as human beings perhaps they will abandon their plans to seize our community—that being “too confrontational” somehow reaffirms the gentrifiers conception of us as thugs and hoodlums who don’t deserve the space to live.

These positions fundamentally misunderstand the mechanics of capitalism and its auxiliary force of white supremacy that are at play in the urban removal currently being experienced in our community. Let us be clear: the gentrification of our community is and will continue to be driven by the opportunity to profit that exists in purchasing the relatively cheap land in our neighborhood, repurposing it in a way desirable as a playground for the wealthy, and then selling it back at much higher prices to the community of wealthy people who would now desire to live here. This process is independent of ethics and morality, for the only “morality” under capitalism is profit. The racialized justifications for this process are nothing more than ideological rationalizations for the profit-driven conquest of our communities. If we were somehow able to combat the racist caricatures of our community that are utilized by those who advocate for its gentrification, the opportunity to profit from low-priced real estate would still exist and thus the motivation for gentrifying it would still exist.

We cannot fall into a trap of respectability politics or give weight to the idea that only opposing urban removal in “legitimate” and “respectable” ways will be successful: not only does this argument replicate the racist narrative of the white supremacists, but it is also entirely unsuccessful. Silverlake, Echo Park, Highland Park, and countless other communities did not succumb to gentrification because their residents failed to protest in a respectable enough manner. These communities made spectacular pleas to city and state government officials for affordable housing measures and rent control measures. They protested and lobbied city council officials, put out calls to vote for or against city council representatives based on their stance re: gentrification. They made cultural and artistic displays the demonstrated the vibrancy and artistic spirit of the community in hopes that the investors, speculators and landlords would be so moved they would be unwilling to displace the community: this did not work. These communities are currently crawling with the same yuppies and hipsters that are thankfully, mostly confined to the area around “Gallery Row” in Boyle Heights.

We must also be wary of and combat the notions that gentrification makes the community “safer”, more “beautiful”, or that “gente-fication” (the gentrification of the community by petty-bourgeois, brown gentrifiers) is an acceptable alternative to “gentrification”.

1. There is nothing “safe” about the forced, often violent removal of families from their homes and businesses. There is nothing “safe” about the threat of homelessness. Eviction is not “safe”. Increased police patrols and the violence and criminalization that accompany them are not “safe” for a community preyed upon by the pigs daily. This illusion of “safety” can only be enjoyed and its benefits touted by those with the economic resources to remain in the community after rents have doubled or tripled and the original community, with all of its contradictions and socially rooted problems, are displaced violently.

2. The “beautification” of the community is not for the working class residents who currently live there. Developers and the city only make efforts to “beautify” when they are preparing the area to be sold to a new class of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois residents, so we hardly care whether or not the neighborhood is going to be made more “beautiful” when that beautification necessarily comes at the expense of the community currently living there.

3. “Gente-fication” is no different from “gentrification” and results in the exact same large-scale displacement of working class communities. The fact that some number of brown and black oppressed nationalities have been able to gain access to wealth and capital, and can thus afford to live in a “redeveloped” neighborhood, is no excuse for the fact that the majority of our people have been systematically denied this access to wealth and capital due to the collusion of capitalism and white supremacy, and will therefore experience the process of “gente-fication” exactly the same as they would experience the process of “gentrification”–evicted, displaced, removed, uprooted and erased from the community.

Lastly, we must be wary of the sell-outs and opportunists, the “radicals” of yesteryear who have long since abandoned whatever genuine revolutionary spirit may have at one time flowed through their bones. These people come to us with a facade radicalism, but when the community finds an outlet for their outrage these will be the first people to hold them back, selling out the trust they have established in the community to carve out a niche of power for themselves on neighborhood councils, city councils, or non-profit organizations.

We see this clearly in figures like Carlos Montes, neighborhood council member and leader of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) and their community front group Centro-CSO, who uses every instance of community outrage to position himself in front of news cameras, squeeze himself between grieving mothers after their children are murdered by the police, to give another tired and bland speech recycling rhetoric that hasn’t inspired anyone in 40 years. He uses his space at these events to sell the community watered-down, reformist solutions to problems that require genuine revolutionary analysis under the pretense that the community is not ready to hear the truth about the need for armed struggle and revolution, that they are not ready to rebel and engage in direct confrontation with the forces of capitalism that threaten their existence. When the storm of revolution arrives these vendidxs will be washed away in the tide, their newspapers and badges of honor from the “glory days” washed away with them.

Members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) present themselves to our community in a similar manner, wagging their fingers and critiquing our actions from afar. When our community accurately identifies the influx of galleries and their wealthy patrons as a gear turning the wheels in the process of gentrification, they come to us with condescending declarations that we are too stupid to understand these galleries are just a “symptom”, our anger is misguided and misdirected, and we should be directing our activities towards the “real culprits” who, in their class-reductionists analysis, are always banks which they provide no indication of how to meaningfully target at our current level of organization. Maybe if we subscribe to their newspaper they will teach the community how to achieve this. Regardless, the positions taken by these so-called radicals serve only to defuse the anger of the community, condescendingly “correct” their mistaken ideas from a position that is removed from their concrete struggle, and offer go-nowhere alternatives to a community that is achieving far more by engaging in direct confrontation, occasionally making mistakes, learning from and correcting those mistakes as the struggle advances.

Revolutionary leadership does not come from afar, in the form of condescension and finger wagging, and it does not lord itself over the community in the form of paternalistic advice from washed up old radicals who sell the community short at every turn. Revolutionary leadership emerges from within the concrete struggles of our community, by combining the community’s most forward and progressive ideas with revolutionary theory that encourages them in their rebellion rather than holds them back or leads them into the dead-ends of reformism and electoral politics.

Because gentrification, in the final analysis, is intimately tied to the mechanics of capitalism, we understand that only an end to capitalism will do away with the process of gentrification entirely. Only a recognition of the necessity for a revolutionary Party, institutions controlled by and in service of the working class and oppressed nations as a whole, and a revolution in the heart of the imperialist beast of America, will be sufficient to defend the livelihoods of working class people.

Our only hope in these conditions is to unite the various struggles of all working class and oppressed nationalities people under the banner of a revolutionary Party that will be capable of providing leadership and structure in a fight with the highly organized forces of capitalism, the bourgeoisie, and gentrification. Only the unity of these working class institutions, under the banner of a revolutionary Party, defended and reinforced by a People’s Army, will be capable of waging the struggle for national liberation for the oppressed Chicanx nation (and all other oppressed nations) and revolution that will deal the death blow to the forces of capitalism that destroy our families and our communities. We understand that all political power grows from the barrel of a gun, the traitors who say otherwise—be damned! Only a willingness to struggle on these same terms will lead us to victory.

In Boyle Heights we must stand in solidarity with the vigorous efforts being made to combat gentrification and to wrest control over our communities and our lives from the vulture capitalists who currently dictate where, how, and whether or not we live. The direct actions undertaken by this community on Saturday represent the initial steps towards creating that political power that in the long term will be necessary to establish control over our own communities and our own lives. We support and stand beside them in their rebellion. We respect and are humbled by their spirit of resistance. We know that it is right to rebel.

Down with the art galleries!

Down with landlords, speculators, and investors!

Down with vedidxs and false radicals!

Up with the rebellion! Up with revolution!

Defend Boyle Heights!

Statement on dissociation from the New Communist Party (Liaison Committee)

As a collective, Red Guards – Los Angeles is committed to developing our understanding of proletarian feminism, and to combating all manifestations of patriarchy and male chauvinism, especially where they appear within ourselves, our collective, and our movement.

Our own process of criticism/self-criticism, and the welcomed criticisms from other collectives associated with us, have illuminated these tendencies within our organization, have helped us to identify their sources, and have led us to embark on the path of rectifying these tendencies within our organization and its membership.

As part of our struggle against patriarchy, and the broader struggle associated with our political development as a group, we have concluded it is necessary for us to sever ties with the New Communist Party- Liaison Committee (NCP-LC), due to persistent engagement in patriarchal behavior, intraorganizational secrecy, and extreme liberalism regarding the rectification of these errors among key members and a central organization in the LC apparatus.

This decision was reached by our collective after months of struggling with the New York City-branch of the NCP-LC over our concerns, and what we perceive to be an inadequate path moving forward to address them. In the coming days we will release a document that further details our criticisms of the New York City-branch and the NCP-LC more generally. This document will also begin work towards a path for rectification by which we could envision future unity with the comrades in New York, much of whose work we still hold in high regard. But we found it important to release a statement immediately expressing our intentions.

Our criticisms are primarily focused around three issues:

1) Failure to effectively isolate a known patriarchal abuser from revolutionary spaces, endangering all women and non-men in our movement

2) The ensuing secrecy, lies, and omissions surrounding this situation, both publicly and to other organizations within the NCP-LC

3) Persistent unwillingness to rectify these patriarchal behaviors, or to address the errors in leadership that allow them to propagate so rampantly in their spaces

While the unification of advanced forces in the fight for proletarian revolution is an historical necessity, some circumstances require ruptures and disunity to push forward the process of building a genuine revolutionary party: due to the aforementioned criticisms, we believe these to be such circumstances, and therefore our commitment to building the party also dictates that we split from an organization and a mode of organizing that is detrimental to that process.

The establishment of a party-building apparatus independent of the NCP-LC will create opportunities for new political alliances and sites of struggle, and we welcome all revolutionary organizations in the United States to join us in this effort, join us in our revolutionary obligation to smash patriarchy everywhere that it exists, and join us in our historical task of building the Party!

In Struggle and Solidarity,

Red Guards – Los Angeles