Opportunism vs Maoism: St. Louis Revolutionary Collective as a Lesson for the US Maoist Movement

The following is a joint statement from Kansas City Revolutionary Collective (KCRC), Red Guards Los Angeles (RGLA), Tampa Maoist Collective (TMC), Queen City Maoist Collective (QCMC), Red Guards Austin (RGA), and Revolutionary Association of Houston (RAH). This statement details the ongoing struggle to seek revolutionary principles and practice from Saint Louis Revolutionary Collective (STLRC). We hope to be able to dispel rumors, half-truths, and outright lies. This document is an effort to go into detail and give nuance to what we identify as the misguided practice and ideological errors of STLRC with specific focus on the leader of STLRC. While this document is quite long, we felt it was necessary to go into these errors as thoroughly as possible so as to not leave anything up to the imagination or discard any crucial analysis. We hope that comrades in St. Louis who oppose the right-opportunist revisionist line and ideology of the leader of STLRC will hold him accountable, struggle against his liberalism, and seek principled unity with the broader movement.

 

Mountain-kingdom thinking and leadership by decree

Maoism has universal aspects in its ideology that can be applied anywhere across the globe. While there are particularities of revolution for each nation and locality, there are also universal tenets that are inviolable: the three magic weapons, unity-struggle-unity, criticism and self-criticism, protracted people’s war, aspects of the construction of socialism, and so on. Universality thus rejects exceptionalism. There are numerous examples of STLRC viewing St. Louis as an exceptional city and thus advocating for itself a trajectory that is “distinct” from that of all other established Maoist collectives. In reality this exceptionality is to protect it from criticism for its advocacy for hypocritical economism and movementism. It charges that the actions and organizing styles of MLMs in other parts of the country “will get you run out of St. Louis” and that the masses “will tell you to fuck off.” Its tonic for this allegedly unique problem is to advocate for unity with revisionist forces from social-democrats (left-wing and right) and crypto-Trotskyite NGOists in the name of “building a mass movement” and “winning them over to Maoism.” They advocate and justify the hijacking of revolutionary programs for depoliticized ones because “people can’t eat militant rhetoric.” None of this is actually particularly new or exceptional. St. Louis knows this and thus has tried to export this revisionist line to other cities, be that through its unsolicited “advice” to other collectives (which amounts to little more than seeking to isolate RGA and a recommendation to “get involved with people who do work”), through wrecking and outright rumor-mongering with mass members in other cities, or through duplicating its own revisionism with the promise of establishing a puppet collective in Los Angeles and other satellites with the aim to “put Saint Louis on the map” as a “leader of the Maoist movement.” All of these are direct quotes from STLRC, who advocate a political feudal kingdom for everyone in other cities, while seeking to influence and lead them with St. Louis’s brand of revisionism. We have seen no analysis from STLRC in regard to the urban conditions of Greater St. Louis to justify the “exceptional” character of St. Louis in comparison to Kansas City, New York, Austin, or Los Angeles nor any reason why this exceptional revisionism should be exported to cities with nascent collectives. We are of the opinion that there are definite particularities in cities across the US but that there are not enough to negate a generality. If there existed exceptions everywhere then a countrywide party would be futile and we should all stay home. What is exceptional about the conditions of St. Louis to justify STLRC aligning itself with social-democratic and revisionist forces across the country? Indeed, far from seeking to only work with those in the same exceptional and exclusive conditions that allegedly exist in St. Louis, STLRC seeks to unite with whoever is “active” and who “support” STLRC work, with little to no investigation into the cities where such supporters may be located. It is no surprise that in its published writing the chairman of STLRC actually mentions International Socialist Organization and Socialist Alternative as groups that “can gather the masses” and are to be united with. What Maoist advocates unity with social-imperialist and social-democratic organizations as a marker of good mass work?

When collectives in other cities do not seek to take the “advice” they are given, they are then lambasted on social media by name, in group chats, and so on as “idiots” or “about to collapse,” and individual members sometimes receive the epithets of “little shits,” “bought out by books,” “lazy,” “do-nothings,” and so on, all in an effort to influence elements in other cities (who are sometimes a part of these collectives) by spinning their own versions of the truth. It is in this regard that we say that St. Louis considers itself above other collectives, existing solely to advise on what “works” in St. Louis while being dismissive of the works of others—a mountain kingdom that dismisses any criticism but is liberal in laying it out. What is a kingdom without its king who rules by decree? In all of these positions laid forth by STLRC, none have come in official statements from the collective as a whole, none through meetings of said collective. Regarding the termination of communication between STLRC and KCRC, a decision made unanimously by the KCRC after a democratic vote following weeks of line struggle, the decision to go public was made by the STLRC chair—as was the cutting of ties between both PYOs—in the span of two minutes. For in St. Louis the leader of STLRC is also the leader of all of its mass organizations, and this person is therefore able to decide the fate of relations between mass organizations.

Considering that such a short period is believed to be required to discuss such important matters, combined with the fact that the chairperson of STLRC not only led the Progressive Youth Organization (PYO-STL) but also Serve the People (STP-STL)—and now leads RevAction STL, which both PYO and STP have been folded into—we charge that STLRC and its mass organizations have very little democratic organization and are structured on a commandist basis in which the chairperson of all three organizations operates through decrees made on social media websites. This centralism among the mass organizations is exemplified by the fact that the lines of the RC, PYO, and STP of St. Louis on any particular issue are not found on their social websites, statements, or even propagated by their members, but are all on the Facebook of their chairperson, who may as well declare “Le collectif, c’est moi,” since there is no other way of determining the positions of these collectives without first going to his account.

 

Theoretical disparities in STL: The contradiction between rank and file and glorious leader

Having paid close attention to the development, trajectory, and activity of STLRC since its inception, our analysis indicates that there is a severe theoretical disparity in the organization. This is in part based on our direct conversations with their members and observations of their members’ online arguments. In a clear violation of the question of security, the fact that their cadre meetings are held online and not in person also says something about their level of and commitment to political education. Not once has STLRC held a study group, nor have any of the mass organizations associated with the project. This is the result of the productivist, revisionist, and Dengite line of “Hei.” Revisionism always seeks to accomplish a monopoly on theory and deprive its rank and file of the ability to wield theory as a weapon out of a material and warranted fear that the phony communism of the bad leadership will be exposed. This is in part why their leadership expedited the decline in communications with other collectives: he did not want us to interfere with the mountain kingdom he had constructed for himself. In debates with other members, theoretical discussion along the lines of dialectical and historical materialism were not even on the table. At best their leader was defended by paraphrasing his eclectic mash of opportunism and revisionism, identity politics, and so on—in short, anything but Maoism.

The reality is that the rank and file has been theoretically underdeveloped by their ego-driven revisionist leader, and any routes to break free from this have been closed off by him. He seems to feel well equipped in online arguments where he can present a larger shadow than he can in a face-to-face meeting. While members of the organization claimed to have criticized him for his antagonistic online behavior, no change can be detected. These comrades in the organization have been reduced to not questioning the outlandish charges leveled by their leader, who poses as a theoretician but actually has no grasp of MLM himself—Maoism is just whatever he feels like saying it is and everyone else better agree. He has even referred to himself casually as an “internet prophet.” While he levels charges of cultish devotion to RGA, he might well be projecting a cultish devotion to himself onto the rest of us. We have no prophets in our movement, and it should be clear that prophets do not exist in the communist sense, least of all in STL.

It is our main desire that the genuine Maoists in the city of St. Louis fight hard to reclaim dignity in the movement, that they take their places among the ranks of the revolution and hold this ego-driven revisionist accountable. In every organization two-line struggle emerges and there must emerge a two-line struggle in STL—this is a scientific certainty. The left line must oppose the right-opportunist revisionism of “Hei,” who puts the whole organization at risk in ways detailed by this polemic. One way to accomplish this task is to take on theoretical study, look at the actual science of MLM, and hold your leaders to it—otherwise revisionism will be what you get.

We are not dogmatists. We understand that even “Hei” can stumble upon correct positions, but only Marxism-Leninism-Maoism can be the guideline to detect those and separate them from the nonsense he so commonly spews. STLRC’s isolation from all but him has resulted in a quiet collective that has been domesticated by its egotist leader whose loud presence has disgraced their whole organization. This is an unacceptable loss for revolution in STL, an impediment to unity, and a defection from the party-building effort. Someone like “Hei” who cannot be reasoned with by those outside of his kingdom cannot hope to develop theoretically past his confused misunderstanding of MLM without struggle and accountability from his own collective. This change must arise from the internal contradictions in the STL collective. All we ask is that they study and apply Maoism from the bottom up in the interest of future principled unification. If this request is unthinkable then that says everything about the ideological basis of the organization that will prevent it from ever being a revolutionary project in the sense that every collective is driven to become one.

From the ISO to the PSL and every other revisionist formation, theoretical development is handled with elitism; philosophy is not seen as a weapon to be taken up by the rank and file and the masses themselves. Mao on the other hand and Maoism as a result have always had a focus on exporting our theories and making them available and understandable to every communist regardless of station or rank as well as the masses. When formerly illiterate Chinese masses grasped Maoism, the Cultural Revolution in all of its glory was the result—revisionists like “Hei” were discovered, criticized, and transformed or weeded out. This was the reason for the mass production of the collected works of Chairman Mao and the Little Red Book, which has become the most read and distributed book of all time next to the Christian Bible, making it the bestselling work of nonfiction ever written. We must take up this spirit when it comes to political education. The education carried out by Liu Shao-chi was geared toward pressing his revisionism and confusing people about Maoism—this is all that “Hei’s” educational work has ever accomplished. Divide and confuse, divide and confuse—this is the method of “Hei” revisionism.

 

Liberalism and opportunism

First, STLRC has shown liberalism in multiple ways. To go through these thoroughly we will reference “Combat Liberalism” where the types of liberalism apply.

“To indulge in personal attacks, pick quarrels, vent personal spite or seek revenge instead of entering into an argument and struggling against incorrect views for the sake of unity or progress or getting the work done properly.” The examples of “Hei’s” behavior since the line struggle over the orientation of STL’s STP program embody this understanding of liberalism. He has said that the Austin comrades should be shot and that Austin will cease to be an organization—all because of line struggle, and Austin putting Maoism into practice. What’s even more showing of “Hei’s” liberalism is that he has repeatedly quoted “Combat Liberalism” but cannot put these lessons into practice.

The root of the line struggle refers to the first type. “Not to obey orders but to give pride of place to one’s own opinions. To demand special consideration from the organization but to reject its discipline.” Though “Combat Liberalism” was meant for a party and there is not yet an MLM party in the US, this definitely applies to the root of this entire issue, the beginning consultation over STP-STL. St. Louis was consulting with Austin, who had started the STP program in the US, and Austin was honest that while homeless people should not be turned away, the orientation of the STP program should be around the working class because only the working class can lead a revolution. And rather than accept this principled criticism (criticism being one of the foundations of MLM organizing), St. Louis refused to accept it, and, believing its own city’s conditions to be exceptional, blew the whole thing up from there. For Austin to have thrown away their own principled criticism and just accept St. Louis’s line would have been liberal because Maoists do not throw away past disagreements for the sake of unprincipled unity. The only way Maoists can achieve true unity is through two-line struggle. The root of this disagreement began in two-line struggle that St. Louis rejected. Then, for STL to form an STP chapter after being sent a collective STP criticism asking that they not start a chapter was an outright rejection of the discipline of the program achieved on the basis of mass work. What is the point of asking for consultation to start a program if during that consultation you are going to disregard any political line that is different from your own? This individualist pride in one’s own opinion must be struggled against and eliminated in the Maoist movement. Maoism is not a set of principles that one can claim while practicing as a liberal. To put Maoism into practice requires a complete transformation of what we think of as organizing work. Currently, liberal ideas and liberal interpretations of “organizing work” do have hegemony in the US. What STLRC’s chairman responded to this two-line struggle with is similar to the anticommunism of other brands of revisionism than his own. He seeks to unite with anyone who can be united with on the basis of hating RGA, which even includes hyperrevisionists, completely disregarding the fundamental differences between Maoism and “Marxism-Leninism” or other brands of so-called “communists.”

To unite with fundamentally different groups only when it happens to be convenient for oneself or one’s organization is textbook opportunism. But let’s explore this instance of liberalism and opportunism as well as other instances in which the STLRC chairman has persisted in these errors.

A new branch of SPUSA in Austin who had yet to have their first meeting had heard rumors about RGA and by extension the Maoist movement there. The rumors revolved around the boycott of a local anarchist bookstore who refused to allow Maoists to continue carrying out study groups there. When supporters attempted to correct these rumors, “Hei” proceeded to attempt to cast doubt and suspicion on an RGA supporter. As things progressed, “Hei” began showing ever-increasing alarming signs of the online hostility. The RGA supporter saw the public argument over this matter as becoming extremely unprincipled and chose to reach out to “Hei” privately. This amounted to him taking personal private messages out of context and using these to pit the new SPUSA activist in Austin against RGA. In response to this unprincipled lack of discipline and intentional rumor-mongering on the part of “Hei” that created issues and discord where there was none, RGA was forced to expose several of its cadres in an effort to resolve the contradictions with the SPUSA branch in person. Once face-to-face, hostilities were dispelled, rumors were corrected, and RGA had offered comradely resources towards the branch. Many SPUSA members in turn left the revisionist organization completely and decided to join STP and the larger Maoist movement, and today they enjoy a comradely relationship with Austin Maoists.

“Hei’s” intentions were pretty clear: he aimed to turn Austin activists into enemies of RGA, but his attempts failed miserably, and RGA in fact gained friends through his treacherous actions. And though he was unsuccessful, this exposed him as a dangerous wrecker. When “Hei” tried to pick a quarrel with the aforementioned comrade, they explained to him that they would no longer engage with him because they did not feel that they were able to trust him. In an unbelievable attempt to gain sympathy by throwing gas on the fire, “Hei” then proceeded to take that message as well to his Facebook status, which was public. For obvious reasons many comrades were justifiably alarmed by his behavior. Other comrades who had a better rapport with “Hei” at the time attempted to criticize him for taking this liberal approach and slandering comrades. His response was to lash out at anyone in Austin whom he deemed as going against him. It appeared that his angle was to try to discredit and slander anyone who criticized his extremely unprincipled behavior.

After multiple criticisms he begrudgingly accepted that his actions could be “seen as” attempted wrecking. With continued criticisms from multiple comrades in multiple cities, he produced a lengthy self-criticism. This criticism was received well and appreciated by the comrades who placed these criticisms. It seemed that he had made a genuine effort to grapple with his liberalism—however, this self-criticism proved to be entirely performative, as he would declare publicly again (on social media) that he had self-criticized only to “appease RGA.” This is a thoroughly revisionist conception of self-criticism. Self-criticism is always carried out by communists in the interest of transformation and rectification and never as a stunt to get attention or “appease” anyone. From here he continued on the path of unprincipled bad-mouthing, reckless labeling, and backdoor gossiping. We urge any committed Maoists in St. Louis to take seriously what this admittedly phony self-criticism shows about the incredible depths “Hei” will go to in avoiding struggle and transformation, and to study and use genuine MLM to end the stifling influence he has had on the emergence of a thoroughly anti-revisionist militant communist movement in your city.

 

Revisionism, defense of right-opportunism, and ideological eclecticism

STLRC has put forth many revisionist and opportunist lines, whether it be via their WordPress or their “leader’s” Facebook. “We support who supports us”—this is the mechanical materialist, revisionist line continually put forth by the leader of STLRC. On the surface it seems like simple logic, but logic like everything else is based in a specific class interest and class outlook. Whether we enjoy the support of the masses or not, we must support the masses in their concrete struggle—otherwise their support will evaporate or never materialize. We call this position revisionist because it is the base thought of every opportunist throughout history. It is a moving goalpost with no regard or recognition for politics, ideology, or practice (except for the vain “support” offered to their small-group project.)

For a communist, support includes and usually begins with critical assessment of the work. When this has been provided, the recidivist liberal mindset of the STL “chairman” has only been able to view this as a personal attack, which has allowed him to respond publicly, with no short supply of vitriolic, unsubstantiated nonsense. Our support, while always critical, has a principal determining factor: the politics of the group in question. A group’s true politics are what they put into motion, not divorced from their ideological positions and conceptions of MLM. Many opportunists who have material interests positioned against revolutionary organizations in the US such as RGA will come out of the woodwork to “support” those who most loudly repeat unproven gossip about the organization. This is where the “support” for STL from the Austin Socialist (read: Social-Fascist) Collective (ASC) comes from. The common ground these two share is an opposition to Maoist politics in Austin. This is a counter-revolutionary alliance in which both organizations have sacrificed their own political lines for the sake of opposing and destroying RGA.

Let us examine some of the politics espoused by the leader of STLRC briefly and contrast those with some of the politics put forward by ASC and we can see how both are quick to change their political shoes while leaving on their same stinking socks.

The leader of STL has many times put forward an eclectic mixture of Mao Zedong Thought, Third-Worldism, weaponized identity politics, and Dengist revisionism, whichever suits him depending on the day. One line he has stuck to is that leadership of the communist movement should be based on identity principally and politics secondarily. He has been known to state things along the lines of, “The entire MLM movement is white and when the Third World invades they will greet me as the real communist.” He has launched tirades (some correct, others incorrect) about the white working class, which become incorrect at the point of suggesting that they have no revolutionary potential as a section of the proletariat. One point where he is correct is his stance that the US is a prisonhouse, a settler-colonial nation. This viewpoint should be an important factor in considering where revolutionary potential exists in an organization. He would likely agree with the thesis that in order for socialism on the continent to come into existence, the settler-colonial project must be violently ended. Too bad he does not maintain this principle when he chooses to endorse Austin’s social-fascists over its Maoists.

ASC, an organization with fairly open membership, who do not wear masks or take any precautions whatever to conceal their identities, is safely identified as “overwhelmingly white,” a slander the STL leader commonly uses against every established Maoist org in the country whether it is true or false. We do not fault ASC for their identities, nor can we ignore the more diverse minority of their membership. All that a communist can do is examine their political line and see how this line plays out for or against the settler-colonial project. While this STL cadre lambasts MLM and the MLM movement as “cracker communism,” he has no qualms whatsoever about wholeheartedly endorsing settler “socialism.”

In a document produced by ASC about “fascism,” they continually argue for the protection and preservation of bourgeois democracy, not arguing once for proletarian revolution. This alone is a huge problem that helps to earn them the slur of social-fascist. To make it more obvious to anyone paying attention, ASC continually refers to the US as “our country” and its government as “our government.” This wording is not accidental or circumstantial: for a self-congratulating, mostly white, all-liberal organization, the US truly is their country. It was violently colonized for them. This same political line has led them down so many reformist paths that we lose count, but one instance that stands out is their short-lived campaign of trying to “re-write the Texas constitution,” as if the masses themselves who overwhelmingly do not even participate in local elections have a burning desire for a reworded Texas Constitution. We have little to no interest in the content of our enemy’s constitution in occupied Aztlan. Our interest is firmly with the oppressed nations and their right to self-determination!

While they do not have public articles about the topic of self-determination and consciously avoid its mention, ASC members have often on the local level outright denied the existence of internal colonies. They have denied that Black people from the US constitute an oppressed nation at all. While they make no denial that Black people are specifically oppressed, they attribute this to liberal definitions of racism that do not account for oppressed nations. Their conception of “socialism” is one that leaves the settler-colonial project intact, enforcing an unaltered US border—making them the new wardens of the prisonhouse. While the STL leader is content to sweep this aside for a revisionist united front against Austin Maoists, we are left wondering whether he genuinely holds any politics at all.

We seek unity with genuine Maoists, not with fickle political chameleons. While we see no major issues having tactical, on-the-ground unity with organizations whom we even have fundamental political differences with, we do not take it upon ourselves to endorse them, especially in others’ cities, as the STL collective has done in Austin when promoting the white May Day event against the red May Day event. This endorsement was not only against the Maoists but an endorsement of revisionism and settler “socialism.”

While it is unclear whether the endorsement of ASC is a position held by all or most of STLRC, it is clear that their leader has gone out of his way to use their official platforms to promote and defend the social-fascists of Austin. And yet again even after they were criticized by their friends and foes, nothing was done about it. This calls into question the existence of actual democratic process internal to STL, the lack of which can only be a consequence of bad leadership who puts his personal hatred for Maoists above his own politics and the politics of his organization. We are quite certain that many revisionist organizations will support you attacking and denouncing one of the largest and strongest MLM formations in the US, but only those unscrupulous opportunists without any shame or self-awareness would be foolish enough to support those terrible projects. Politics are just inconsequential to STLRC.

 

Eclecticism: The sour soup of revisionism trying to hide its own taste

“Hei” seems to prefer using a personal blog to spread his personal brand of false Maoism, so it is necessary to discuss a few of his articles, since much of the differences in line, and his revisionism, are made most visible on this blog. Going in reverse chronological order from his most recent post, we can expose glaring revisionism dressed in the language of communism.

The last post he made almost immediately after five US martyrs of the YPG were announced was little more than an attack on their memory, a petty effort to assert his mechanical understanding of imperialism and replace Maoism with Third-Worldism and a modern revisionist understand of “Marxism-Leninism.” He begins by trying to invoke the name of Norman Bethune against proletarian internationalism and proceeds into an uneducated account against the Kurdish people and the YPG/J. He suggests that a better example of “socialist internationalism” is Cuba, which was never socialist and has a long history in the service of Soviet social-imperialism, which he conveniently ignores. The fact that this so-called Maoist cannot even address the support for Rojava among both the Maoist parties of Turkey (TKP/ML and MKP both) only evidences his opportunist eclecticism. He presents things as if he has a better grasp of the conditions there than the actual Maoists do. The article degenerates into identity opportunism when it suggests without any investigation at all that going to Rojava is white privilege. The privilege to risk death as an international volunteer in a war against fascism? Yes, we laughed too. He systematically ignores beloved martyrs like Paolo Todd and Ivana Hoffman, neither of whom were white. Paolo Todd was an indigenous North American, a water protector and a longtime activist for his people. To slander his memory and paint him as a “thrill seeking white boy” not even one month after his death is nothing short of disgusting. This martyr will be remembered as an anti-colonial freedom fighter long after this blog will be forgotten with the likes of its bitter and hateful author. He even has the nerve to claim,

Nobody pays attention to initiatives launched by colonized people at home in the US, but everybody has money to go to Rojava.

Was the struggle of Paolo Todd not of his own initiation as a colonized person of the US? And who is it but “Hei” himself who callously ignores this while labeling Heval Todd a white thrill-seeker? In what might be the worst part of this smear piece, he states that fighting fascism here or in Rojava “makes no difference.” Here he mixes a bit of reactionary nihilism in with his false MLM:

“If you want to participate in the antifa struggle, you’re in a perfect place to do so. . . . Or you can run off to Syria to be used. Makes no difference in the long run and grand scheme of things.”

To this cretin, antifascism “makes no difference.” This is a person who claims to be a revolutionary leader in the US, the US which sees the rise of fascist terrorism every single day. Think about this. The article, true to his self-promoting careerism, asks for money. We should all pay him—to do what? Certainly he had no plans to fight fascism or promote internationalism.

The next blog post is clearly intended to be ironic, but all it is really is a vague attack on the US MLM movement and especially RGA. The article is again projecting when he accuses others as seeing “sectarianism as a virtue.” What is a vague attack on Maoism if not sectarianism? Let’s be real: what he’s really putting forward is the sectarian demand for “left unity” that frames all ideological struggle and all stands against revisionism as “sectarianism.” He then charges the rest of the movement with holding demos that draw only a “few dozen people,” which is at least a dozen more than any demo the “Maoists” of his city have ever organized. Anyone reading this should look at photos of actions involving or organized by the Maoists of LA, Austin, and Kansas City. You will find there are more than a few dozen folks at most of these actions. Now go have a look at the PYO-STL or STLRC and count no more than 8 to 12 people including “Hei” in mostly empty parking lots and hanging out on campus.

He then defaults to his usual productivism (Dengite revisionism) when he states,

“Many Maoists in the US bawl and scoff at [Grenada’s New Jewel Movement’s] embrace of social-imperialism and chaining themselves to the Soviet bear, we know all this and the nature of the system there, but black and brown people that have made revolution generally have little time for such polemicizing and nonsense, we’ve got countries to run and people to feed.”

What matters to “Hei”? Not political line and not imperialism but whatever “works” to “feed people and run countries,” and whether it’s capitalism or socialism or imperialism does not matter to him. Being an anti-imperialist is reduced to nothing but “polemicizing and nonsense.” Perhaps he wishes to tell that to the memory of Akram Yari, murdered by agents of Soviet social-imperialism? Maybe he can inform the Communist Party of India (Maoist) that their struggles going all the way back to the Naxalite uprising were just nonsense, since it was a government and a ruling party aligned with Soviet social-imperialism that they were rebelling against. These Brown people making revolution must have just not had “Hei’s” ability to use identity politics to shill for imperialism and productivist revisionism. Instead of looking at the ways in which Soviet social-imperialism corrupted and ruined the revolutionary movements it used, he’s content to throw out all Maoist principles and just accept it.

While there is the obligatory superficial denunciation of imperialism, his thinking is laid out plainly. His identity politics and gross misunderstanding of MLM puts forward the racist thesis that “black and brown” people are just pragmatic to the point of opportunistic alignment with imperialism, all while he ignores the countless Third World revolutionaries under the banner of Maoism who rose in arms against the very same imperialism of the Soviet Union.

The author is particularly eclectic when he makes a post denouncing Third-Worldism by reiterating the work of Rashid and then in the very next post goes on to parrot the liberal and Third-Worldist idea that we have the white working class (not US imperialism in crisis) to blame for Donald Trump:

The white working class flew the coop and gave us Trump, delivering Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin into his hands. Not the petit bourgeoisie, the ever so vaunted white working class. People that used to work in steel mills and auto plants.”

A materialist understanding would necessitate some investigation into the registered voters in the 2016 elections. About half the country did not register, and only 53% of those registered actually voted. The lowest voter registration as usual is found among the working class, which is still majority-white in the US. Despite this small number of working-class voters, he has come to the conclusion that Trump’s presidency is the product of the white working class.

In reality, the Democratic Party was one huge reason for the results of the election. Now, either bourgeois democracy works or it does not—choose one. For STL to have participated with the rest of the movement in the 2016 election boycott and then have their leader put forward this position is pretty ludicrous. The few masses who did vote for Trump mostly did so out of a desperation to rupture with the neoliberalism openly represented by Clinton. And let’s face it, if the masses were capable of surpassing the narrow class consciousness of trade unions on their own, they would never need a vanguard.

While “Hei” has opportunistically gone back and forth on many questions, it’s important to point out how he has reversed the verdict on certain actions. Today he insists to anyone who will listen that “RGA are adventurists.” He and his supporters claim that the Partisan unit in Austin open-carrying is just “white people waving guns around in brown people’s faces.” In November, when these very same people (a group of diverse nationalities and ethnicities) made international headlines, he commented in his blog that

“in Austin, communists led demonstrations. One comrade had his neck broken by the pigs, several others were arrested and charged with all sorts of ridiculous nonsense. There were also partisans in the streets, armed and ready to defend the people. This is a good thing. Militancy and organization on a militant, anti-fascist basis is the correct line post-Trump, and any other time.”

We point this out to highlight his productivist mindset of offering support not on the basis of an action or a political line but on whatever he thinks can get him support. Nothing has changed since November in terms of armed demonstrations in Austin. The political line remains the same, and the unit has been consistently deployed in the same way, with support from sections of the local working class and specifically its oppressed sections. He now claims that it was always adventurism and just hopes people will forget that he ever called it a good thing in an effort to ride the coattails of the attention the armed action was receiving at that time. This is what communists call opportunism. While we expect groups to struggle and split over issues, we do not feel it is correct to reverse positions so flippantly. If we supported something in November and have since stopped, we do not pretend we always felt this way. If we change our minds, we summarize the change or self-criticize for holding mistaken positions.

In the end of this very same article he accuses critics of Fidel Castro’s service to revisionism of being “objectively white chauvinist” even if the comrades criticizing Castro’s phony communism are Black or Brown. The tendency to confuse emotions that are changing and fleeting for political line that sticks to principle is evident in his writing. We can recognize that even revisionists are on occasion capable of inspiring acts, and that the Cuban revolution itself was progressive—however, if we look at the whole of Fidel’s life, more of it was spent promoting revisionism and petit-bourgeois nationalism than anything else. He was principally a revisionist and only a revolutionary for a short time, much as the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China stopped being revolutionary themselves. It is not white chauvinism to say that especially in places like Peru, the Cuban government served the ruling-class reactionaries—or to acknowledge that the myth of Cuban socialism has had the devastating effect of promoting failure in Latin America, has mainly stood against the spread of Maoism (the only hope for liberating the continent), and has constantly aligned itself with the pink tide social-democratic movements. It has lent legitimacy to “Socialism of the 21st Century,” which is nothing but a return to failure and a rejection of revolutionary science. “Hei” is content to erase the harm this revisionism has caused the people of Latin America and has the nerve to call it white chauvinism when revisionism is attacked.

Every movement has a Trotsky, a loyal opposition that contrarily takes oppositional positions with no regard for political principle. Every movement has people in it who seek personal glory by attacking whatever they view as the most revolutionary. These desperate opportunists who attack Maoists will find themselves defending all sorts of revisionism until they become revisionists themselves—especially those who follow the fool’s logic of “whoever opposes my opposition is therefore my friend” or “whoever supports me is who I support.” If you are gaining support from revisionists and losing Maoist support, you should ask yourself why—what is it about your political line that makes this your reality? To see it as a as a good thing to be supported in your opposition to Maoism by revisionists, including Trots and social-democrats, means only that you have switched sides and become a traitor.

During the Cultural Revolution, a group of Red Guards defied the correct command of the party and launched an attack against the People’s Liberation Army. They thought they were attacking the enemy—in a short time however they heard cries of support and gunshots in solidarity from exiled nationalist troops on Formosa. Upon hearing this, they came to their senses and stopped their attacks and surrendered to the PLA. Unfortunately “Hei” does not have the sense of these young mistaken rebels. He hears the support of revisionists and it goes straight to his head, and instead of waking up to the fact that these people too have a stake in attacking Maoism, he doubles down and eats up the attention because he is a revisionist himself. He shares unity and common ground with anti-Maoists not just because it helps him attack Maoists he does not like but because in truth he is against Maoism itself.

Patriarchal and misogynistic behavior

“Hei” has exhibited a repeated trend of misogynistic behavior for which he has refused criticism. The first public instance of this misogyny we encountered surrounded “Hei’s” erasure of a nonwhite woman’s leadership in RGA to justify his false projection of himself as the only nonwhite Maoist in existence in the US. “Hei” has used the blatantly patriarchal tactic of ignoring women’s leadership with the backward justification that they are just “puppets of men.” In one instance, receiving a correct criticism from a Black woman was too much for “Hei’s” ego to handle. Subsequently he conjured up the idea that there is a cabal of white men that control RGA and conspire toward his downfall. In this thinking we see three primary errors—identity opportunism, revisionism that refuses ideological struggle, and patriarchal chauvinism.

“Hei” again expressed his explicit misogyny in his opportunist alliance with the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) on May Day of 2017. The IMT has a documented history of allegations of gang rape against it. When this fact was brought up to the attention of “Hei” by comrades in Tampa, “Hei’s” response was that “no one takes this shit seriously” and it was only “an attempt by RGA to wreck May Day” because they have “nothing better to do.” No concern whatsoever was paid to issues of rape apology and misogyny in the left, which are major contradictions that have plagued the left for decades. “Hei” placed an opportunist political alliance—that led to little on-the-ground benefit—over the importance of working towards proletarian feminism in every aspect of our work. This is a revisionist position of “if it works for me, I support it,” which is antithetical to Maoism. As Maoists we place political line and principles above immediate productivity.

This same trend of misogynistic revisionism was revealed in “Hei’s” idealization of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back). “Hei” stated, “Say what you will about FRSO, they run a tight ship and put people to work.” This reveals a vulgar Dengite productivism that emphasizes perceived work over the importance of correct political line and principled struggle. This line rings familiarly to the famous quote from the prolific arch-revisionist Deng Xiaoping, “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.” In other words, this quote is saying that it doesn’t matter whether something is revolutionary or not so long as it is efficient. “Hei” treats politics in the same way. For him it seems a more fitting slogan would be, It doesn’t matter whether the cat is white or black so long as long as it isn’t RGA. FRSO is not only an organization characterized by soc-dem levels of political practice, lacking any coherent political line, but is also an organization riddled with allegations of misogyny, white supremacy, and rape apology. When a nonmale comrade from Tampa with direct experience in FRSO corrected “Hei” and explained that the perceived level of work FRSO does is actually much higher than the pathetic reality, “Hei” refused to acknowledge that a nonman with practical and rational knowledge on the topic could know better than him.

This itself is a repeated trend that many nonmen have experienced from “Hei.” He erases the knowledge, practice, and viewpoints of nonmen any time they express opposition to his own way of thinking. This has resulted in spiteful and petty attacks on nonmen and specifically trans people, especially those in Ann Arbor, Houston, and Tampa. In any casual conversation his patriarchal thinking can become visible in the flippancy and dismissal with which he treats the ideas of nonmen. For those that are organized, “Hei” will project his own limited perceptions of a city’s work to dictate to comrades in general and nonmen specifically what they should do within their own collectives. While this is in error for failing to understand on a basic level the Maoist theory of knowledge, it is yet another concrete expression of misogyny. Once a group rejects the erroneous advice of “Hei,” he immediately moves to badmouth and gossip about them on the internet.

“Hei” has gone so far as to defend the use of misogynistic slurs if they are used against white women. Communists reject the use of misogynistic slurs at any time, in any context. While it is true white women can and do oppress Black men, this is not an excuse for misogyny. Any critique of white women in this context should focus on political lines and white supremacy, not their identification as women. “Hei” again fails to hold political line primarily as a Maoist should. In one particularly disgusting incident, “Hei” told a white woman who disagreed with his politics that she was “bound for the same fate as the white women of Haiti.” When it was pointed out these women were raped, and this woman is a rape survivor herself, “Hei” responded with “that sucks.” “Hei” then went on to denounce TMC as trying to “call him a misogynist.” TMC was in fact not involved in any way in these incidents, but as the person who he was arguing with was a woman and partner of someone who had been in Tampa, “Hei” automatically assumed she was being controlled by her partner, who was assigned male at birth. This is misogynistic and transphobic.

“Hei’s” misogyny feeds into other aspects of his revisionism, specifically his failure to practice criticism/self-criticism, engage in line struggle, and hold correct political lines primary. Proletarian feminism is not a buzzword we adopt when convenient to us. It is an inseparable aspect of Maoism that “Hei” has failed to uphold. He therefore cannot be considered a Maoist.

 

Lack of security culture: Not wearing masks and mocking state repression

If any revolutionary organization or individual wishes to be able to carry out their work without being liquidated by the state, it is a necessity to always take security culture seriously. When we speak of security culture we mean keeping the sensitive information that could expose membership or clandestine work secret from the state and reactionary or fascist forces. In our analysis the security culture of STLRC is poor at best and other times just plain reckless.

One of first glaringly obvious security concerns that we have about the STLRC is their lack of attempt to conceal their identities at demonstrations. Wearing a mask is a principle that we see even the most “peaceful” of liberal demonstrators begin to take up. In the age of growing fascism and increasing state repression it is important for communists and antifascists that we all get accustomed to being able to conceal our identities from our enemies. To us, there can only be three possible explanations for their errors here: (1) They do not take the threat of the state seriously possibly because they do not do work that is a threat to the state, which is exactly the type of work a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist collective should be engaged in; (2) People like “Hei” are in the business of trying to put their face out there in an effort to build a following based off of personality and not politics; or (3) To appear soft and palatable to the liberal centrist activists who veer to the right of intermediate and advanced elements of the masses or to distinguish themselves from the raw militancy of the Maoist and antifascist movements. Whatever their reasons may be, the disregard for this basic level of security objectively puts their cadre and anyone associated with those individuals at risk. In the age of fascists doxxing anyone and everyone they can on the left using pictures from demonstrations and actions, we can see now more than ever the need to use a mask. To cover your face is to cover your ass.

 

Mocking state repression

It is no secret that shortly after the election of Trump, many comrades were faced with heightened state repression. This came in the form of increasing arrests, police brutality, and general harassment in many forms from the state. All the while, “Hei” took it upon himself to poke fun at the very idea that people were facing any kind of state repression. These mocking statements just so happened to first start surfacing after RGA released a detailed account of the repression that Austin comrades were experiencing from the FBI, and the Kansas City comrades were harassed by mounted police at a PYO picnic. For those of us who have been thrown in jail for next to nothing, had our necks broken by the pigs, have cops intimidating us while we are doing mass work, and have had the feds knocking on our doors, this shit is not a joke. And anyone who attempts to make light of this reality is objectively serving our enemy. “Hei” proclaimed that “if the feds wanted you they’d have you. They could if they please arrest or kill the whole Maoist movement in the country in 24 hours. . . . They already know your name and shit you’re not important or a threat.” Firstly, idea that the state knows the membership and detailed information about our organizations is absolutely preposterous, because unlike “Hei” and his collective, the majority of active Maoists in this country take painstaking efforts to practice security culture and keep our membership secret. On top of this, “Hei’s” statement lacks all historical materialism as well as a basic understanding of what state repression is and how it functions in the US. There has been no instance of the state wiping out an entire revolutionary organization in 24 hours. Even if they had the means to do this, it is not something that would be a propaganda victory for them. This absolutely negates the lessons we have learned from our own recent history and lends far too much credibility to the state and casts a massive shadow of doubt and disbelief on the movement. We wonder why someone who has such a negative view of the viability and correctness of Maoism claim to be a Maoist? If the feds already know everything about us and are just letting us organize out of their benevolence, then what is the point? “Hei” sees the state as an omnipresent, all-knowing, benevolent entity that will do us in whenever they have had enough, but as Maoists we understand that reactionaries are paper tigers. And even though the state will succeed in putting away and killing individuals among us when they can, we have something they do not. We are revolutionaries and we fight alongside and for the people, who are the motive force that moves history, not the US government.

 

Sharing internal documents

Based on multiple interactions, it is clear that the chairman of STLRC rejects line struggle. This rejection of disagreement leads him to expose secure information. In the nascent stages of STP-STL, there was an ideological disagreement about the trajectory and objective of STP as a countrywide project. The chairman was convinced of the exceptional nature of St. Louis, stating that the homeless were the group that they would focus on. Rebutting this, STP-ATX pointed out that the point of STP is not be a “red” Food Not Bombs and that STPs should orient toward the proletariat, the revolutionary class. This criticism was brought up very principally, in a comradely way, to help build up STP-STL, but was met with pure hostility leading to the chairman posting the private messages of another STP member, with no names blocked out, as another way to please his sycophant audience.

“Hei” proceeded to make a Facebook group called “Maoists of Oppressed Nationalities in the US.” First, he made this group and explicitly stated in the group description that RGA was not allowed in the group, and that RGA sympathizers would not be welcome in the group. He then proceeded to post screenshots of a joint STP email drafted by all of the existing STP organizations sent to STP-STL privately. This shows blatant disregard for secure communication; what is designed to be internal should stay internal. While two-line struggle is not a secret, things shared in private (in good faith) can include specific information about revolutionary organizing that when exposed, objectively helps the state. When Charlotte comrades who had been added to the group brought these criticisms to the STLRC chairman, they were called RGA supporters (as if it’s a bad thing to support existing collectives engaged in mass work) and removed from the group.

 

STLRC’s treatment of other collectives

From his extremely frequent Facebook statuses, anyone that happens to connect with “Hei” on this social media platform will see on their newsfeed a bombardment of rumors, smears, half-truths, and outright lies about the Maoist collectives around the country as well as about individuals in those collectives. In doing this he has effectively become one of the most prolific mouthpieces for anticommunism against US Maoism on the revisionist internet left. Some of these include statements attacking the Maoist movement in Austin, TX as “crackers,” “petit-bourgeois students,” “a Gonzaloite cult,” and as people “from the suburbs . . . trying to colonize a black/brown area.” He has said that Maoists in Austin think that “their cracker friends and hipsters are the masses.” He has called other collectives around the country that have expressed solidarity with Austin’s Maoist movement “puppets” that are “controlled by Austin.” He has repeatedly referred to Maoists of color who have criticized him as “crackers.” When people have directly quoted the outrageous things that he has said, in an effort to get him to see his unprincipled behavior, he has resorted to manipulative techniques of questioning the intelligence of the critic with insults such as “moron” and “idiot.” In addition, he accuses anyone who criticizes his political line as an “enemy of black Maoists” even when these criticisms come from Black Maoists. He has deflected all criticism of himself and his collective with the justification of “refusing to kiss white asses” as if accepting a criticism is so degrading that it is the equivalent of prostration. It goes without saying that this belittling and mud-flinging is a real problem, but it’s not just his impetuosity alone that has so many collectives unwilling to work with him in any capacity—it’s the way in which he recklessly champions his behavior as that of a principled Maoist and preys upon newer activists who may have a genuine interest in becoming an anti-revisionist communist. For people who are not familiar with Maoism or the movement that has been growing here in the US, “Hei’s” representation and dramatic denunciations of this and that collective could really be disheartening. It’s a shame to think that those potential communists who don’t come to communism via our mass work, actions, and demos may stumble upon this outlandish character parades as a “great leader of the Maoist movement.” He claims that through all of his divisiveness, fame-seeking, undisciplined actions that he has “made god knows how many people into Maoists” but we have yet to see any evidence of this even being possible since what he preached is not Maoism. In fact, if you take the time to go through his posts, you will see that he has definitely sown ideological seeds in some people, but they are of anything but Maoism. On any given status you’re bound to find plenty of people that are happy to wallow in the notion that the Maoist left is full of petty infighting and that all the collectives (aside from STLRC of course) are full of irresolvable contradictions and therefore they all must be isolated. But if these same people climbed out of the despairing echo-chamber that is the “Hei Show” on Facebook, they would see a Maoism that is growing: A Maoism that leads large demos, and has a variety of different mass organizations and mass work that it can show for all its efforts. They would see collectives who share each other’s accomplishments and encourage each other to always become better communists. A Maoism that shares solidarity with Third-World armed struggles for liberation and has maintained support and solidarity with Maoist parties and organizations across the globe. This is the Maoism that is being built all around the country.

“Hei” has spared no small detail, to anyone who will listen to him, of his absolute disdain for RGA. But as time has carried on and lines have played out more and more, people have begun to question the claims made by “Hei” against RGA, and, much to his frustration, the way in which he conducts himself toward other Maoists and Maoist collectives. As his flame of legitimacy has flickered among newer Maoists, he has resorted to two modes of operation when it comes to his orientation towards new and existing collectives: to either discredit and “isolate” them through aligning them with the efforts of RGA, or else clamoring to win them over to his line of hatred and mistrust of RGA and all collectives that maintain support for it. Revisionists often prey upon the inexperience of new activists, and “Hei” has proven to be no different. One of the most disturbing behaviors “Hei” has displayed is a predatory attitude toward newly established collectives, and he has repeatedly sought to influence new collectives in his revisionist line. The question of revisionism is a matter of life and death for a new collective.

The lack of practical experience for these collectives, especially those made up of activists with little to no previous experience with organizing, makes them vulnerable to the revisionist line of people like “Hei,” and it is this vulnerability that he seeks to exploit. He views newly formed collectives as a potential weapon to use against the RGA he so despises. He often hides his real intention, to act as an enemy of Maoism generally, behind seemingly sincere and benign efforts to extend advice and solidarity. Almost immediately after RAH was formed earlier in May of this year, “Hei” started to push his revisionist wrecker line on certain members. He would smear RGA with anticommunism and made a significant portion of the Houston collective very hesitant to work with Maoists in Austin due to the almost incessant smearing of them, both in private chats and on the Facebook news feed of anyone that follows his activity on that platform. His line and its influence on the organization in Houston was not totally discredited until they had the opportunity to investigate his claims about Austin’s Maoists and in particular RGA for themselves. Through this investigation they discovered that virtually all of “Hei’s” claims against RGA amounted to nothing but outright lies. When an RAH member tried to struggle in a principled manner with him, he dismissed the criticism and attacked the person making the criticism as a “white chauvinist” and has since been extremely hostile to this collective, spreading lies and slander about them as he does with so many others.TMC has faced a similar experience. When TMC was first formed, after pretending to extend sincere solidarity, “Hei” repeatedly told a cadre to avoid RGA and not to listen to any “lies” they told about him, even though RGA never discussed STLRC with TMC. When TMC told him that they sought to establish unity with RGA, he mocked this desire and told them that RGA was not worth uniting with. When he became aware that contacts were established between TMC and RGA, he began to denounce TMC privately and openly became increasingly hostile to this collective. He began to charge that TMC was being “led” by RGA, reflecting his obsession with a single collective supposedly leading the Maoist movement in the US and projecting his own warped, revisionist idea of party-building. He continued to spread lies and gossip about TMC until ties were severed between the two organizations.

 

Regarding the charges of wrecking

A quick note directly from RGLA: “RGLA made repeated attempts to communicate and engage in dialogue with STLRC. After repeatedly being ignored, and after the continuous unprincipled behavior of “Hei,” we urge comrades in STLRC to hold their cadre accountable and to clarify why RGLA and others have no established relationship with STLRC. And we encourage other Maoist collectives and individuals to reflect on whether they should be engaged in dialogue with individuals who are anticommunist in practice.

“Hei” has charged the Maoist movement with wrecking his collective (or variations of this) multiple times. We are asking why he has stated this. What makes him or his collective so special? We ask this genuinely. If they have access to information we have never seen and that would prove them correct then we encourage them to share it, but due to the interactions we have had with them up until now and what we continuously see online, we feel that empty words are constantly said that can never be backed. We feel that empty words are said mainly as a way to deflect criticisms and suggestions we, and others, have made in good faith. Our movement has no interest in wrecking any collective; our only interest is in holding Maoists, or those claiming Maoism, accountable. Our only interest is in building Maoism everywhere and anywhere, and to do this principled criticism is necessary. Principled criticisms, suggestions, and comments are the only organizational ways we have communicated with STLRC and other Maoist collectives. Again, if we are wrong, please correct us. And we encourage those in the peripheries to reflect on these comments and to message RGLA if you need any clarifications.”

* * *

In the years of RG’s existence in both LA and Austin, LA has built relationships with multiple Maoist organizations throughout the country and shared criticisms and suggestions with them, as they have with LA. Comrades in LA were more unfamiliar with “Hei” and STL than other Maoist collectives were, so they approached things in good faith.

LA’s first interaction arose when STL was looking to create their STP program. By the time LA first messaged STL, “Hei” had already taken to Facebook to denounce RGA and had shared their private criticisms and suggestions in an opportunistic way. He misrepresented what RGA stated and deflected any criticism that was made of STP-STL. At this point, LA still had had no interaction with the organization, so they decided to email STL privately about our concerns, suggestions, and criticisms. “Hei” continued with his rants on Facebook and further went on to state that white men were trying to destroy him and his organization. LA never received an email back.

What does all this mean? First, it means that “Hei” has horrendous security culture. How can we create unity when even private conversations that are made in good faith are opportunistically taken to Facebook? Even if the relationship between STLRC and RGA was not the best at the time, why treat comrades like enemies? How can we create any communist movement that will face repression from the state when we are that petty and have no regard for security culture?

Second, why frame it as though everyone involved is a white man? STP-LA has no white people in it. There’s not even an inch of truth to their allegations. STP-LA are all Brown and Black people. Other branches of STP host a diverse membership and none of them are “all white,” let alone “all men.” It’s an easy way of using identity politics (incorrectly and horribly) as a way to deflect criticisms, criticisms that he never even engaged with. The erasure of mass work carried out by Brown and Black comrades does nothing to help fight white supremacy and has the opposite effect.

Third, it goes to show that “Hei” is not looking to have discussion. It’s either his way or else you’re a white chauvinist. In attempts to create dialogue with STLRC, the effort was to create unity based on struggle. Why should any organization accept a line dogmatically without a second thought? Why should Black and Brown revolutionaries be labeled white chauvinists for not accepting this? How does he reconcile this? Who knows—but one cannot be a Maoist without accepting criticisms.

These actions have the consequence of confusing people. By misrepresenting the argument and those making the criticism “Hei” is looking to confuse people, which he has, and absolve himself of the criticisms. Unsurprisingly, LA made this criticism in the past. They criticized him for creating confusion when STLRC latched on to the STP programs that exist throughout the US. This was especially opportunistic as STP-STL was born through disunity with the already existing STP programs!

“Hei” has acted like the actual wrecker numerous times. The vilest example of this has been when he wished death to our comrades in Austin; he stated that our comrades in Austin should be shot. Why are these words necessary? Why wish death on those fighting fascists on the front lines? Does he never wish to seek unity with the Maoist collectives that currently exist? Why? If we are that detrimental to the Maoist movement in the US, he has an obligation to specify why and look to isolate us. But we know that these words come from a hurt ego. We know that when push comes to shove his ego means more to him than actually creating unity with those combatting fascism.

To anyone in STL with an inch of revolutionary fervor, we urge you to step up, to challenge, and hold your comrades accountable. Is “Hei” the only one with a voice? Do you not wish to combat white supremacy? With the things described in this document happening, you will not build anything. You will simply isolate yourselves more and more. Maybe you will build a movementist line, mechanically chanting from rally to rally, but we should expect more of ourselves as Maoists. More and more the struggle will sharpen and we need to be prepared and united for that time to come. For that we need to be held accountable to each other.

We cannot and will not have any conversation or relationship with STLRC until this is rectified. This is nothing personal; it is our duty as Maoists to make these points clear. We cannot work with an organization that lets their members—and, even worse, their leadership—carelessly do whatever they want and toss out Maoism without a second thought because of a hurt ego. We will not build Maoism this way.

 

Conclusion

To those comrades who are reading this document, it is our sincere hope that you will join with the genuine MLM movement in the US! The movement that the authors of this document are aligned with takes security practices deadly seriously, and lives with the knowledge that our mission puts us at grave risks that we must seek tirelessly to understand and guard ourselves against. This movement cherishes line struggle because we know that it is only through this struggle that we will arrive at greater unity and better politics. This movement denounces patriarchal chauvinism, identity-opportunism, Third-Worldism, and petit-bourgeois careerism, regardless of the communist jargon they may cloak themselves in. This movement is eager to see the foundation of new MLM collectives by experienced, disciplined, and serious organizers with a sincere devotion to militant mass work—collectives that will help build the genuine, fiercely anti-revisionist communist party that will lead the people to destroy and bury the reactionary US state and smash the prisonhouse of nations.

Practice Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and not revisionism!

Seek unity through struggle, and reject and criticize liberalism of all forms!

 

 

Signed:

Kansas City Revolutionary Collective

Red Guards Los Angeles

Tampa Maoist Collective

Queen City Maoist Collective

Red Guards Austin

Revolutionary Association of Houston

 

Advertisements

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

fiwf

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

16422421_190958051382222_8904108703037622175_o

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 by 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, 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

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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