Category Archives: White Supremacy

Libertarian Marxism meets Leninism: some thoughts on STO’s “Towards a Revolutionary Party” (1971)

Towards a Revolutionary Party, the Sojourner Truth Organization

I am a member of Unity & Struggle in Texas and I want to share an early pamphlet of the Sojourner Truth Organization (STO) that I re-read recently that has been a critical supplement for me of our group’s organizational studies.  It is called “Towards a Revolutionary Party” (TARP) and was written in 1971, just two years after STO was founded and after the collapse of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the national student civil rights and anti-war network from which it emerged.

STO, like many New Communist organizations, grew out of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) opposition to the Progressive Labor Party’s (PLP) dominate tendency in SDS called Worker Student Alliance (WSA).  When PLP took the position that all nationalism is reactionary it overnight put them in opposition to every national liberation struggle and hence every revolutionary Left tendency including the American Black movement which was then seen by many as a national liberation fight.  RYM formed as a broad opposition to the WSA which inevitably led to another broad opposition to the Weathermen faction (which became RYM I), a group that emphasized and undertook armed struggle then and who felt that the American working class was inherently backward, and RYM II.  It was out of RYM II that many Marxist Leninist pre-parties and grouplets would take shape and this included what would become the STO.

Continue reading Libertarian Marxism meets Leninism: some thoughts on STO’s “Towards a Revolutionary Party” (1971)

“There are so many more Troy Davis'”

There has been an enormous amount of attention paid to the execution of Troy Davis and the international outcry that developed in the days preceding his murder. As a native of Atlanta, I was long aware of the case and the campaign attempting to get Troy off of death row. However, the campaign was largely dominated by non-profits and from my understanding, lacked any formal or public critique of Troy’s imprisonment and murder as directly caused by a racist and capitalist social order. As a result, I decided to orient myself towards other political action that had a more explicit political critique and would allow me to meet and develop alongside radicals, not those forever tied to the non-profit industrial complex.

But as news came of Troy’s impending execution, everyone I knew, radical or not, felt the need to act. Not only did we recognize the importance of being able to temporarily suspend our own organizing when sudden and important moments occur, but we also saw how many people who had never acted before were outraged and pouring into the streets (or the sidewalks at this point, because we hadn’t yet learned to take the streets together).  In this piece, I will first attempt to reconstruct my own experiences in the week leading up to Troy’s murder specifically the protest outside the prison on the September 21st. I will then address some of the critiques that have been made about the movement in relation to my own analysis not only as a witness, but as a committed revolutionary. This is a long piece, but bear with me, as I strongly believe this was one of the most important political ruptures many of us have ever seen, especially here in the South.
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Reflections on Thanksgiving by a Native Revolutionary

-Mamos

So today  is Thanksgiving.   In this piece, Ahiga Kotori, a Seneca revolutionary and a friend of ours here in Seattle reflects on the holiday.  He asks: what do we really have to be thankful for?   Are folks giving thanks for U.S. capitalism and white supremacy, for 518 years of colonial settlement of North America, for a nation built on stolen Native land and an economy lubricated with Native blood? Why, if these do not really benefit people of color? As Malcolm X said, “we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.”

We have been organizing with Ahiga Kotori and many others this fall demanding Justice for John T. Williams.  Williams, a Native American woodcarver was gunned down by  Seattle cop Ian Birk who claimed Williams refused to drop his carving knife.  Investigations have shown that Williams’ knife was not even open and that Birk shot him in the side after giving him only four seconds of warning.  This, as well as several other recent  cases of police brutality against Latino and Black folks, has sparked a multi-racial coalition of working and poor people  to mobilize against the cops.  We will reflect on this movement and analyze it soon, but for now we’ll leave you with Kotori’s haunting question: “what does John T. Williams have to be thankful for?”  While American society gives thanks for the triumphs of empire, and “progress” forged through the death of indigenous peoples, let’s pause to remember that the state the Pilgrims began to establish still claims the lives of oppressed peoples and this will not stop until we dismantle it and replace it with a new society we can truly give thanks for.

That’s why, unless snow disrupts the bus lines, we’ll be out there protesting, responding to Kotori’s call to action.

This Thanksgiving…..

I was wondering if anybody would be willing to have a protest of some kind?  Because in my opinion, this is just the same as the Holocaust except the difference is, we don’t celebrate the Holocaust. Though the Holocaust was horrible, it was a six year thing. Most of it. Our oppression has been going for 518 years. 78 million have died as a result. When Columbus got here there were 80 million people of different tribes and tongues. This was just in the U.S. territories alone!  Yet by the time the white man’s conquest was over, there are a little over 2 million left. Unlike the Jews of Europe, we barely have our identity.

Growing up in the hood, the main people I saw were Blacks and my cousins, who were full blooded Senecas. That experience had me thinking that maybe all non-Native people shouldn’t leave , leaving us the land. Maybe just whites.

Then I meet some white revolutionaries and now I know there are SOME good white people.

However, now, I see that despite the fact that the white man keeps all minorities down, for whatever reason, people of color who are non- tribal, are celebrating Thanksgiving!

Now in the heart of our struggle we must think about the future, what society we want for ourselves, our future, our, children, we must find a way to coexist as men, women, Blacks, Natives, Irish, Italian, Euros, Jews Arabs, Latinos , Muslims, gay men and women. And actually being able to force all non native people off the continent would be a long and difficult and frankly unnecessary task. So that said, if you all are going to stay, I ask for your help in our struggle as we will help with yours.

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Yo Soy el Army: U.S. Military Profiles & Targets Latino/a Youth

As the debate around the Dream Act continues, this interview aired a few months back on Democracy Now! with Marco Amador, the filmmaker of “Yo Soy El Army” still seems a relevant and needed contribution to the discussion.

The documentary traces how the Department of Defense has ramped up its racial profiling of Latino/a youth to be cannon fodder for the U.S. military in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This domestic military mission has been facilitated by two key developments. On the one hand, the No Child Left Behind policy passed under Bush, which requires all high schools to give the military access to their facilities and even student records for the purposes of recruiting. This has made our schools open game for hungry recruiters looking to fill quotas. On the other hand, the deliberate disinvestment from public education, which destroys the few options youth had available to them and instead makes military the only option for them to secure steady work (cuz these wars ain’t ending anytime soon) and an income. The film also draws out how the military apparatus has helped shape the Dream Act into a recruitment tool to draw in undocumented youth.

Tracing together the attack on education, the wars in the Middle East and corresponding attacks on Arabs and Muslims at home, and the scapegoating of undocumented immigrants here in the U.S., it seems clear that the struggles around each of these issues will only be strengthened by connecting them. We can ask: What are some practical ways we can be connecting anti-war organizing and the immigrant rights struggle? How can we connect the anti-budget cuts struggle with the immigrant rights struggle? How can our organizing make links between the specific ways in which state violence plays out in communities of color (i.e. ICE raids in immigrant communities, FBI infiltration of Arab and Muslim communities, and police brutality in black communities, and military recruitment in all three)?

Part 1:

Part 2:

Park51 Raises Urgent Questions for Muslims

The struggle over the Park51 project — the Islamic center that will be known as the Cordoba House — in New York has presented a series of challenges to both Muslim organizers and the broader Left, but these challenges need to be understood as the culmination of deeper political and strategic questions that have so far gone unresolved.

Responding to white populism

In a period of growing white populism, it’s important to ask what strategies are necessary for the defense of our communities, and the defeat of both white supremacy and US imperialism.

The murder of Oscar Grant is only one of the most recent and better known cases of the ongoing police campaign to control and repress the Black community.  Since the death of Oscar Grant, at least seven more young Black men have been murdered in northern California alone.  Bloodshed at the hands of white violence — whether by slave drivers, lynch mobs, or the police — has been a consistent feature of the Black experience in the U.S.

In Arizona, Latin@ and undocumented peoples have been on the front lines of the fight against draconian forms of immigration control.  Sheriff Arpaio — who openly associates with neo-fascists — has become a national figure of the anti-immigrant movement conducting raids on immigrant neighborhoods, and holding many immigrant and undocumented people in tent cities that differ little from concentration camps.  This struggle, of course, has deeper roots in NAFTA and other imperial incursions by the U.S. in Latin America.

The passage of SB 1070 in Arizona needs to be understood as part of the success of a resurgent Right, that has been circling around the Tea Party, to capture state power in AZ.  While the ideological make-up around the Tea Party nation-wide is still being contested, fascist elements have entered the fray, and are attempting to both win individuals to their program, and influence the political direction of this milieu.

In this context, Park51 takes on new meaning and greater urgency.  Deepa Kumar has argued that anti-Muslim racism in the U.S. is in the process of changing.  While in the past, the U.S. ruling class treated the “Muslim terrorist threat” as a task to be tackled in the international arena, we have seen an increase in attacks on Muslim peoples inside the U.S.

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Park51 Coopts Muslims

From our friends over at Ikhras.

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What the Muslim-American Establishment Fights For

by Kathim

If I may sound so callous, allow me to admit that I don’t really care about recent approval of building a mosque near Ground Zero (that’s New York’s ground zero for the purposes of this article, not Baghdad’s or Kabul’s). Aside that this step will anger islamophobes, which is always a good thing, I see nothing to celebrate.

I would be impressed if the mosques that were destroyed in Al-Lid and Palestine 48 were rebuilt for Nakba survivors to pray in, or if the mosques of Iraq that were destroyed during the US invasion and occupation were restored.  However, I fail to see the point of pouring much time and energy into gaining legal and political permits to build a mosque near the site of an event that happened on 9/11/2001, in retaliation for which around 2 million Muslims have been killed between Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan and other sites of the so-called war on terrorism. How will the building of a mosque near Ground Zero alleviate the grief of 2 million Muslim families that have lost loved ones? How will it protect Muslims from the empire’s claws? What role will it play in defanging the US war machine? Will Abu Ghraib survivors’ psychological scars heal? Will this mosque help dispossess Afghani and Iraqi refugees feel safe enough to return home?

Let’s examine what interests will be served. What will Muslims get out of the establishment of a mosque at ground zero? A place to pray at most. And it’s not like there was a shortage of mosques in New York. Indeed, one Muslim who advocated for the building of the mosques stated there were already 200 mosques in New York, so building one at ground zero won’t be a big deal. Any attempt to enhance political standing in the US discredits the entire mosque effort islamically, as the intention (niyyah) behind building a mosque or performing any deed should be made exclusively for pleasing God.

What will the US get out of the establishment of a mosque at ground zero?

Continue reading Park51 Coopts Muslims

Advancing the Immigration Struggle in Texas

On Saturday June 12th, a hundred anti-racist and democratic-minded folks descended on the south gate of the Texas State Capitol, protesting a rally held by supporters of Arizona’s SB 1070 and who want to enact a similar law in Texas. Supporters numbered around 200-250 and were made up of Republicans, Tea Party folks, Texas Nationalists, and a sprinkling of fascists. The counterprotest and others like it speak to a growing minority tendency of the immigrant rights movement who are ready for confrontation with supporters of white supremacy and which has added new dimension to the debate over the road the movement should take.

Counterprotest in Context

Before the State of Arizona passed SB 1070 and a following bill banning ethnic studies and teachers with accents, Texas made a major encroachment upon public school curriculum which removed historic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez and will place more emphasis on the non-violent tendencies of the Civil Rights movement and in opposition to organizational experiences such as the Black Panther Party.

Such attacks remind us that we’re not living merely through the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, but also the deepest political crisis in likely 100 years. All of the old concessions the rulers have formerly used to coopt mass struggle: better wages, pensions, free and public education, public hospitals, ethnic studies programs, etc. are being removed from the table. There are hardly vestiges of the organs of struggle that working people built in the early 20th century, the 1930s, and 1960s to put the rulers in check and build the independent power of workers, women, and people of color.

Political struggle has been narrowed to either liberal and progressive NGOs and non-profits or spontaneous bursts of mass activity to emerge every few years and that go far beyond the limits of the established organizations. It is this spontaneity that has yet to find permanent organizational form and that can carry it during the highs and lows mass rebellion and consign liberals and progressives to obscurity.
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The Landscape of Detroit

Over a year ago Eminem released the song “Beautiful” along with a video that roots the song in the de-industrialization of Detroit.

The history and political backdrop to the city been a source of cultural definition and hope for its people.

The Great Rebellion of 1967 was a turning point in the city of Detroit.  After years of attacks by the police, and being relegated to the most grueling, lowest paying jobs with no chance of promotion, black and poor white folks revolted, shaking the foundations of the ruling establishment in Detroit.  Both before and after the rebellion, there were a number of important organizations which were key in cultivating the means and spirit of revolt, such as the Revolutionary Union Movements (RUMs) along with the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and the Republic of New Afrika. But the organizational weaknesses of these groups coupled with the relentless onslaught by the city elite left the people of Detroit open to a new wave of attack that resulted from the collapse of the Black Power movement.  The city, afterwards, would not be the same.

All the wealth that black and white workers had created was looted from the city by the capitalists and moved out to the suburbs or down to the southern United States.  Along with that went the tax base of the city, and forty years later the city is falling apart due to an emaciated infrastructure.  This story is shared by other cities where brown and black folks rose up to take their city back.  Gary, Indiana and Newark, New Jersey are only two more examples.  I’ve heard Detroit described by visitors as resembling a war zone — well that’s what it is; it’s the American Third World.

Continue reading The Landscape of Detroit

Israel’s Attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla: New Escalation, New Desperation

As with the general crisis, it seems everything is magnified at a higher level.

What follows are a few brief notes on last week’s assault of the aid convoy to Gaza. It certainly isn’t the only death squad operation going on against aid convoys as events in southern Mexico shows.

The attack on the Free Gaza flotilla, with the killing of 9 solidarity organizers and wounding of 30 or more, is not an isolated incident. It instead reveals a number of interlocking tensions that need to be pulled apart.

This premeditated assault and murder is part of a general shift in the Israeli government’s policy toward international anti-apartheid organizing, where the regime itself is taking on an increasingly direct role in attacking solidarity efforts. The regime understands that a more pro-Palestinian viewpoint has steadily gained ground in the Left and progressive circles. Further, it understands that the tactic of BDS has gained significant ground in the last ten years. While Palestinians, and more broadly Arabs and Muslims, have been constant targets of U.S, European and Israeli agents and police, the net is now being cast wider to include international solidarity as a whole.

In less than 24 hours after the attack on the Free Gaza flotilla, the Israeli government, along with the vast majority of newspapers and news channels in the U.S. and Europe began their typical intensive propaganda campaign. This certainly creates a kind of firewall, with the vast majority of people suffering from lack of knowledge about Israeli apartheid and the role of U.S. imperialism.

However, even this propaganda and the immense interest U.S. and other Western elites have invested in the apartheid project is coming up against reality. They have not been able to solve the political impasse represented by the Palestinian struggle. As a result, Zionism, as a form of white supremacy, is perhaps more in crisis today than it ever has been in its history.
Continue reading Israel’s Attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla: New Escalation, New Desperation

SB 1070: Jim Crow in Arizona

Last Friday, Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed into law the Jim Crow styled anti-immigration legislation known as SB 1070.

In the weeks after state lawmakers passed the bill, organizers called for protests and acts of civil disobedience, and demanded that Gov Brewer veto the bill.

KPHO on the student walkouts in response to Gov Brewer’s decision to sign the bill:
1,000 Students Walk Out in Immigration Protest

Here’s an overview of the bill from Socialist Worker:

Arizona bill is the real crime
by Norma Villegas

LEGISLATION IN Arizona that could become law by this weekend would make it a crime to lack proper immigration paperwork and would require police, if they suspect someone is in the country without documentation, to determine that person’s immigration status.

The misnamed “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” is being described as the harshest anti-immigrant measure in the country. Introduced by state Sen. Russell Pearce, it passed both houses of the Arizona legislature. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has until Saturday to veto the bill, known as SB 1070–if she signs it or does nothing, it will become law.

The legislation would forbid authorities from releasing anyone found guilty until the full sentence is served. Courts are required to force those found guilty to pay court costs and an additional fine of at least $500 for the first offense, and double that for a second or subsequent conviction. Plus, any second violation of the law, no matter how minor, would be reclassified as a felony.

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