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

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

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

By Red Guards – Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Be with the people, stand against Carlos Montes

Be with the people, stand against Carlos Montes

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Be with the people, stand against Carlos Montes!

By Red Guards – Los Angeles

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

Why is Montes attacking us, you ask?

Two reasons: 1.) his fearing of a growing feeling of irrelevancy around his reformist, collaborationist influence, and 2.) RGLA’s Sept. 20, 2016 summation on the Sept. 17 action led 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!