Never cross a picket line: confronting chauvinism and revisionism
Recently we were made aware of some organizations crossing a community picket line drawn against all the new gentrifying art galleries, breweries and the arch-comprador bourgeois nonprofit Self-Help Graphics & Art (SHG) in Boyle Heights. While many people and organizations out of ignorance have not honored the boycott since it was initiated by Defend Boyle Heights (DBH) in 2016, local or formerly-associated organizations cannot hide behind the same ignorance.
All individuals and organizations, regardless of their political stripe, which break a community-led picket line materially side with capitalism and the poverty pimps of the comprador bourgeois nonprofits who dupe the masses.
All individuals and organizations who are not genuinely informed about the fight against gentrification in Boyle Heights – although the movement’s echoes have reached the ears of comrades overseas – must quickly be brought up to speed on the matter: honor the boycott called by DBH!
All individuals and organizations, while knowing exactly what they do, stand against the precarious proletariat and the allied classes and sectors of Boyle Heights. They choose to stand with all these anti-proletarian institutions.
We find it particularly worrisome that self-proclaimed Marxists and anti-imperialist organizations would be included in the list of scabs. But such is the dark marsh where revisionism and national chauvinism leads you.
Presently, these groups are the Filipino solidarity countrywide organization Bayan USA, the reformist Boyle Heights-based community service organization Centro CSO and the local chapter of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization – Fight Back, all who will be present at the “48th Annual Chicano Moratorium Commemoration” at SHG. Centro CSO is the lead organization putting on the commemoration, soiling the militant principals of the original anti-imperialist Chicano Moratorium and the moratorium’s three Chicano martyrs, Ruben Salazar, Lyn Ward and Angel Gilberto Diaz.
The revisionist Avakianite Revolutionary “Communist” Party USA is also guilty of betraying the masses of Boyle Heights. Their Party-generated coalition, Refuse Fascism, disregarded the boycott against SHG and held their Los Angeles chapter public meeting there in January of this year. Several (several!) supporters of RGLA informed us that they were in communication with Refuse Fascism – Los Angeles and advised them to honor the boycott. But it all fell on deaf, Avakianite ears.
They, too, would benefit by reading our open letter. They, too, should keep their poisonous revisionism out of Boyle Heights. We are already up to our ears in it.
But revisionism is a poison whose only antidote is the fury of the revinidicating militarized masses initiated by Communists. Revisionism does not yield to pleas or open letters; it only moves when we move it; it only falls when we push it; it only dies when we kill it.
Internationalists must align with the oppressed masses of Boyle Heights
Internationalism is a core tenant of Maoism – having always existed deep inside Marxism and Marxism-Leninism. It is our very slogan, taken from the pages of the Communist Manifesto – “Workers of the world, unite!” Not only workers of the Philippines. Not only workers of the Chicano Nation. Not only workers of the Black Nation. All Communists fight, not exclusively for their nation, but for the world’s proletariat. No one nation can have Communism until all nations have Communism, and that nations cease to exist.
The Communist Party of Peru (PCP in Spanish) was exemplary in its internationalism, by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the international proletariat in attacking the embassies of the capitalist-imperialist U.S., reactionary capitalist-ascending India, the social-imperialist Soviet Union and their lapdog Cuba in Peru. Additionally, the PCP regularly directed their public messages to the masses of the U.S., of Spain, of the world. This is true proletarian internationalism. But unfortunately these lessons are lost on many organizations and even Parties within the International Communist Movement.
As made public through Centro CSO’s social media, Bayan USA was invited by Centro CSO to tonight’s commemoration of the Chicano Moratorium held at SHG. This was recently made public only a few days prior to the event, but boasted by Centro CSO. Instead of aligning with the masses and revolutionary organizations in Boyle Heights, most notably DBH, Bayan USA ventures into national chauvinism. Seemingly, they would rather use the opportunity at tonight’s commemoration to propagate their message of Filipino solidarity at the expense of honoring the boycott against SHG and aligning with the masses of Boyle Heights.
What does the boycott mean? Why is it important? Did Bayan USA know about it before hand?
Let us start with an answer to the last question if Bayan USA knew about the boycott. We received word that Bayan USA was contacted immediately and asked that very question. In addition they were requested not to cross the picket line like scabs, pull out from the event and issue a public self-criticism so that other organizations and individuals, but principally the former, would not commit the same egregious mistakes. As of yet, they have not responded. We also received word that a member of a Canadian chapter of Anakbayan, the youth-and-student wing of the Filipino National Democratic solidarity movement, also knew about Bayan USA disregarding the boycott as well.
Nonetheless we are hopeful that Bayan USA will issue a public statement and fully unite with the boycott called by DBH and the masses of Boyle Heights, in particular the Chicano, indigenous and Black masses whose nations are occupied by the settler-colonialist U.S.
However, it is troubling to believe Bayan USA knew about the boycott against SHG prior to agreeing to be present at tonight’s event. In the past, RGLA has either worked closely or has been fraternal with Bayan USA as well as different local chapters of Anakbayan. We have co-hosted events together. We have broken bread together. We have discussed politics together. And, yes, over the years our relationship(s) have deteriorated. But through close acquaintances plugged into the Filipino National Democratic solidarity movement as well as different social struggles in Los Angeles, as well as the near-viral presence of DBH on social media, it is highly improbable that Bayan USA did not know about the boycott against SHG. Nonetheless, we are hopeful the organization will respond.
As for why this is important? Gentrification, as an acute and hyper-localized manifestation of capitalism, is driving out scores of the proletariat and the oppressed masses from our communities, such as Boyle Heights. Militant organizations have formed over the recent years, some guided or inspired by revolutionaries, to fight back against the bourgeois’ attacks on the proletariat. In the Chicano Nation, the Southwest, the masses and their organizations are predominately immigrant, Black, Chicano (native) and indigenous.
Particularly in Boyle Heights the resistance to gentrification has an anti-capitalist mass character with countrywide and international support. All revolutionary Marxist and anti-imperialist organizations in the country should stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with the militant resistance of the masses of Boyle Heights.
The boycott is well-publicized. The boycott is a basic point of unity that all revolutionary organizations, especially in Los Angeles, should observe. What is an organization without active solidarity? It is concerning that Bayan USA would agree to appear at an event honoring the Chicano Moratorium in solidarity with the Chicano Nation while they step foot into a disgraceful institution plagued by real estate agent/lawyers on the board of directors (Alfred Fraijo, Jr.) who actively with big landlords like Vera Campbell are co-parceling sections of Boyle Heights to the highest bidder.
SHG is a comprador-bourgeois institution directly benefiting off of the misery and oppression of the proletariat. And SHG dares to talk, with fork tongue, of social justice and “decolonization.” They uphold capitalism. They act as ideological as well as material instrument of capitalism. They posture as part of an anti-capitalist, indigenous-based movement. But they more accurately represent brown or native capitalism.
As anti-imperialist mass organizations in solidarity with the Filipino National Democratic Revolutionary movement, Bayan USA must stand in solidarity with the masses of Boyle Heights and the Chicano Nation.
We encourage Bayan USA to reflect on their erroneous and egregious crossing of DBH’s picket line, a boycott supported by the masses of Boyle Heights, against SHG. We encourage Bayan USA to write a public statement of support of the boycott against SHG and other gentrifiers, as well as a public self-criticism explaining what led them to cross the picket line tonight.
FRSO-FB and Centro CSO: traitors to the masses of Boyle Heights
We now turn our attention to FRSO-FB. They have had a close fraternal history with the Filipino National Democratic Revolutionary movement for a long time. They, too, are careless with their supposed anti-imperialist solidarity manifestations. They posture as being revolutionary but would, with a clear conscious, cross the picket line to appear at Centro CSO’s Chicano Moratorium commemoration. But FRSO-FB is far more vicious because they organize in Boyle Heights and are direct supporters of Centro CSO. There is no room for doubt that FRSO-FB, like Centro CSO, crossed the picket line knowingly. They merit a merciless response.
FRSO-FB traces their lineage to the New Communist Movement, and specifically the anti-revisionist Chicano organizations like the August 29th Movement and the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist). They, in theory, should know better than to betray the very Chicano Nation they are supposed to be in full support of. They, in theory, should have observed the boycott as a supposed pro-immigrant organization. But how can you say you’re pro-immigrant when the vast majority of the masses in Boyle Heights are proletarian immigrant renters who face almost-daily displacement? How can you do that while you cross the threshold into the gentrification-obscuring arts nonprofit machine of SHG?
The answer is simple: treacherous revisionism and ignorance or national chauvinism are the reasons these organizations would disregard the local revolutionary struggle.
Imagine if the Red Guards Movement were to hold a conference at a building in the Philippines whose workers were on strike or on Lumad land where local indigenous organizations have prohibited entry. Even if we were unaware, we would be deserving of serious criticism.
But revisionism is red capitalism. It is Marxist only in name. At its core it perhaps is even more dangerous than raw and exposed capitalism because it sells the masses, and some revolutionaries, promises of socialism subtracting the inconveniences of revolutionary Marxism.
To the “left” organizations: your capitalist poison is not welcomed in Boyle Heights
If you cannot conduct yourselves as careful visiting guests, cautious not to cross community picket lines, or if you antagonize our revolutionary organizations and initiatives, you are best advised to stay out of Boyle Heights. No one wants your brand of “leftist” capitalism. The masses do not clamor for the modified capitalism-sold-as-“socialism” peddled by the Democratic Socialists of America, or the New Synthesis of the RCPUSA, or the standard revisionism of FRSO-FB, or any rat-political poison from any of the hundreds of irrelevant “left” organizations.
Revisionism has to be combated. At the current juncture of the Party building movement we see two types of revisionists: 1. the lower level – those who are novice Marxists finding themselves in a confused state of grasping onto whatever group claiming the ideology of Marxism, and 2. the firm and belligerent leadership of revisionist formations. The former must be struggled against and they must be won over to Maoism. The latter must be attacked by any means necessary in accordance with the specific circumstances and conditions. If the objective conditions do not give mass support on attacks on revisionists, then the subjective conditions must be built for this end. Without mass support and participation anti-revisionism is incomplete. In the future when the People’s War is launched by the Maoist Communist Party the remaining consolidated and staunch revisionists must be seen a s firmly in the camp of reaction. What does an enemy deserve in warfare? With an escalation of class struggle so too will measures be taken to preserve revolutionary forces and annihilate the enemies forces.
For those in attendance tonight who may not be aware of the boycott, stop patronizing SHG. Reach out to DBH or any of its member-organizations for clarification or ways you can support or get directly involved in the militant fight against gentrification.
And to the “left” organizations: you are not welcomed in Boyle Heights. As our comrades in DBH say to the gentrifiers and sellouts, get the fuck out!
Long live Defend Boyle Heights!
Long live the militant masses of Boyle Heights!
Long live the Red Guards!