A response to PSL
Unsurprisingly the Party for Socialism and Liberation revisionists has begun to pig-jacket (false labeling as a police agent) our organization in response to us pointing out that they were harboring a rapist. We encouraged local militants from the youth and LGBT community to take up our call to expel their rotten organization from our city. These comrades responded successfully.
Unlike PSL, our organization actually faces FBI harassment and repression—COINTELPRO for us is not just some panic button we can hit but an actual government-run program used against us. For us, it is material and not an excuse to evade responsibility for defending rapists. Obviously, the State does not persecute and repress its own agents; PSL simply uses COINTELPRO as a scare word and carries out classic pig-work by doing so.
To carry out this pig-work, the PSL has taken up anti-communism and a plethora of reactionary positions in their distorted narrative. We hope to point this out and state the facts. They call us a “cult” multiple times. This slander hearkens back to the way in which the capitalist class the world over, their press, and their school systems seek to denounce Communists. These are the same arguments Khrushchev made regarding Stalin, the same arguments made against Mao and Gonzalo by many in the bourgeois camp.
While “cult” is a fairly useless word when seeking a materialist analysis, it finds common currency among revisionists who wish to hide their revisionism while slandering actual Communists. If we were to define a “cult,” it would have to be a group of people who have been deprived of critical thinking, relying on a set of rituals to segregate themselves from the masses in society. This lack of critical thinking is what the US government claimed took place in China during the revolution, creating the term “brainwash” to describe the phenomena of people being won over to socialism and Communist ideology—the hive mind, an old racist trope, was unpacked and polished up. PSL takes a page from the Black Book of Communism when formulating their defense to distract people from the issue of rape apologia.
Unlike a cult, our organization promotes and organizes internal two-line struggle, promotes and engages in ideological struggle. We do this on the basis of being critical of all things in existence as Marx teaches: “It is all the more clear what we have to accomplish at present: I am referring to ruthless criticism of all that exists, ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be.” PSL likes to look at things superficially and refuse to acknowledge the importance of internal contradiction; they assume we are a homogenous group with no line struggle. In reality, such a group could not grow or establish unity as we have demonstrated both in Austin and nationally. PSL, despite having members here for years, has never accomplished much and simply tailed local protests. They fail to see that our ruthless criticism of the “left” is based in the Marxist spirit and firm principles of anti-revisionism that are reinforced daily with internal two-line struggle.
PSL claims that Forbes is not a member, though she poses with their politician Gloria La Riva, had a social media profile picture for People’s Congress of Resistance, and has admitted to being part of these organizations in private. This matters very little when PSL, who claims to not have known of the allegations, had members jumping to defend Forbes hours before their event was to take place. In any case, we do not take PSL at their word.
As mentioned in the statement from Stonewall Militant Front, PSL member Brian Griffith proclaimed that we were liars with no accountability in defense of Forbes instead of trying to meet with representatives who could have shown him the evidence without allowing him to possess it or use it to pressure the survivor. Contrary to PSL’s claims that we refused to provide evidence, we simply refused to show it to unaffiliated individuals but worked with officials from other organizations who requested to know more about our investigation. This request was immediately honored when the American Party of Labor sought to see the evidence for themselves. PSL, on the other hand, showed exactly where their priorities were: in covering for Forbes. People like that cannot be trusted and must be struggled against.
PSL relies on identity opportunism while simultaneously ignoring the fact that they were ejected from a black and brown neighborhood. It is true they hosted their event in a black and brown neighborhood; none of our supporters denied this fact. What PSL fails to mention is that their crew of sad revisionists was kicked out of the location their event was taking place in by black business owners and that it was LGBT and youth from a variety of ethnicities, nations, and backgrounds who led the events that caused their ejection. They fail to admit that they were shut down, the plug was pulled, and they were sent on their way. During the event and in later conversations with supporters, the business owner made it clear that PSL failed to be upfront with him, sliding in their event at the last minute and saying “there may be protestors” without explaining why. To contrast this, our supporters who went to disrupt the PSL event followed all of the wishes of the business owner, protesting across the street instead of in front of the business, and did their best to quickly inform the attendees, employees, and owners why they were there to protest PSL. Clearly, the actions of our supporters mobilized the community and did not alienate them. In fact, community and activist relations were built. The black community of the Eastside supported our people, not PSL.
They claim “masked RGA members, who appeared to be all white” attacked their event. This should be broken down a bit. For starters, though the ethnicities of the disrupters cannot be discerned from the blurry dark video they posted as evidence, supporters who attended the event informed us that the claim of “all white” disrupters is a lie. The disrupters, like the protestors outside, were of various genders and races. We do not operate under identity politics, so this point is not important to us. However, it should be known that PSL member Brian Griffith had to lie through his teeth in order to utilize identity opportunism, one of the few weapons he knows how to wield. Secondly, PSL has no idea who is and is not a member of our organization, who is and is not a mass supporter, so like the police, they charge anyone in a red mask as being a member of RGA. Since they do not know any of us personally, it is not likely that they have any good idea of our identities, because unlike them we safeguard our identities. They just claim we are “all white” to try and bleed stones for support. This is not principally an issue of white, black, or brown; it is an issue of rape and who opposes rapists. PSL can only deflect. The fact remains that white, black, and brown revolutionaries united with black community members to shut down and oust the PSL for harboring and apologizing for a rapist.
They go on laughably to state, “The RGA assailants have since posted an image of a PSL candidate-member next to a tombstone and the word ‘RIP’ — which can only be taken as a death threat. They stated that the PSL ‘will never even co-host so much as a potluck in our city without it being disrupted and confronted. If they want space, they will have to hire the police and security to try to keep us out.’” While we unite and agree with the quote they have taken from SMF (not us), we find the claims that we are making death threats via SMF laughable. Basic literacy would prove well enough that SMF’s use of the word “shut down” combined with the image of a tombstone means obviously enough that the event itself was now dead. Should anyone wish them death, the use of a hot pink tombstone would be a strange way to communicate this intention. For the record, we have no plans to go around killing members of PSL. It is their guilty conscience that keeps them awake at night, not fear that we are planning to kill them. This posing as victims is less amusing than their paranoia. What kind of revolutionary organization chooses to be perceived as a victim rather than a fighting organization?
PSL suggests we are “replicating some of the worst tactics” of COINTELPRO, and they do this while also claiming they understand COINTELPRO and have studied it. We challenge this assumption. COINTELPRO’s worst tactics included using psychological profiles to create crack addicts, using sexual assault as a weapon, assassination, false arrest, illegal tax enforcement, and informing on people to the FBI. Surely all of this trumps confronting PSL and outing rape apologists, none of which were done by COINTELPRO. By suggesting we are COINTELPRO, PSL is actually claiming all our allegations against Forbes are false and that we have made them up in the interests of the state. They cannot prove this and do not try to prove it. This is just more nonsense from bitter revisionists who got kicked out of their own event. The comparison to the alt-right is another bit of cognitive dissonance on their part. Simply put, the alt-right defends sexual assault and rape, they have never been known to mobilize queer and trans people to combat rape culture. PSL, true to their revisionism, seeks only to erase politics in the name of “socialism.” Tactics of confrontation are meaningless to analyze if you ignore the political and ideological basis of the tactics. Shutting down an event and confronting it does not make us akin to the alt-right anymore that using the internet to convey a message or breathing oxygen does.
As has been expressed in our public statements and positions papers, we are not an organization that believes in “left unity.” To be clear, this means that we do not seek friendly relationships with revisionists. We see revisionism for what it is—capitalism with a red flag. So for us, anti-revisionism is class combat, anti-revisionism is concrete, and not only a matter of thinking differently or having different strategies. For this position, they have gone into a frenzy to call us everything from a cult, to COINTELPRO, to sectarian. Their class stand is evident; their left unity is nothing but a plea to ignore their revisionism and anti-people politics. No thanks.
We are glad to read that Forbes will not be allowed in PSL organizing spaces in the future, but we simply do not believe that PSL is good on their word. Fortunately, we do not need to take them at their word, because our organization has eyes and ears everywhere, and the masses themselves tell us everything we need to know. Their claims do not hold much water considering the fact that their member Brian was defending Forbes before the event he organized was to take place, proving that local PSL were well aware of the allegations. At the PSL event, he claimed in front of the masses that they would be investigating Forbes, yet the PSL officially claims that beyond asking the accused whether she is guilty, they can do nothing else. Perhaps this is true for them, which only highlights what a useless organization the PSL is.
It is common for rape apologists to only ask the accused, then ignore the issue altogether or take the word of the accused. This can only be understood as an outright refusal to try to do anything about the abysmal track record the left has when it comes to rape allegations. If PSL had a shred of credibility, then their local members and supporters would have reached out and asked us to look over the evidence in person. Instead, they chose to defend Forbes and were confronted and shut down as a result. While we would refuse to allow others to physically possess evidence that could out survivors, two other organizations have already attested to the fact that this evidence exists and that our statement regarding it is correct.
Forbes’s own account contains typical excuses:
Perhaps PSL is just genuinely stupid—stupid enough to miss Forbes’s textbook rapist arguments, like “the victim is lying,” “she was asking for it,” “it’s just kink,” “she only changed her story when the boyfriend found out,” etc. Anyone who has ever investigated sexual assault cases has come across these excuses, all part of the fabric of rape culture. None of this set off alarm bells for PSL, and it should have. The fact that it did not should seriously prevent even people who hate us from joining that organization.
So like the bourgeois politicking cretins they are, they just avoided the mud and seek to wash their hands of it.
PSL says, “RGA’s campaign of violent attacks, threats, bullying and slander against the PSL has its own sinister motives.”
We say: being anti-revisionist and making revolution is not sinister!
PSL states, “The PSL’s organizing in Austin has just started, with a small group of new candidate members who have recently joined. They are determined to continue organizing against racism, patriarchy, imperialism, and in defense of the working class despite RGA’s wild threats to hurt or even kill them. We call on all progressive organizations to unite to reject the COINTELPRO-style tactics and actions adopted by the Red Guards Austin cult. Their conduct has already isolated them from a wide range of progressive organizations in Texas, and we are certain that their widening pattern of bizarre and threatening actions will result in their further isolation nationwide, and ultimately their own self-destruction.”
We state: nothing has started unless they consider their first event being shut down as a start to running home to hide. We further state: we do not seek the approval of revisionists; we do not seek unity with NGOs or bourgeois politicians—we seek only to unite with the proletariat and its allied classes, and that this unity is compromised by the existence of revisionists, NGOs, and bourgeois politicians. We are not sorry for making enemies of organizations that already serve the ruling class. If the line of the “left unity” revisionist were anything more than a stinking pile of garbage, they would have the power to shut us down, and not the other way around. It is our ideology that gives us strength, and that includes faith in the masses.
At the end of the day, PSL was kicked out, a table was flipped over, and a few voices were raised. They went home without so much as a scratch. If they are so damn fragile then they belong in a museum behind a velvet rope. We see no cause for their crying, which is nothing but a ploy to get sympathy. We take our losses without crying about an imagined use of “violence.” If we were to use revolutionary violence against them, they would not be writing about it.
While we are for revolutionary violence, we have to insist that this was not a case of violence but an act of protest; the only real victim was their literature. Their understanding of “violence” just shows that they are sheltered from all actual violence and shocked at what amounts to nothing more than disorderly conduct. The conflation of protest with violence is an old position held by bourgeois media to criminalize mass protest movements. PSL opportunistically evokes the same stereotype that all confrontation and protest is violence. Perhaps they should be given a course on revolutionary violence someday, but this was not the case here.
As far as we are concerned, there is nothing wrong with confronting revisionists. The nature of those confrontations can be ideological or physical determined by their activity and our abilities. We have already demonstrated superior organizing skills, a broader base of support, and better discipline. Simply put, we have and will continue to out-organize them in Austin. If Forbes is really out of the picture, then their tables might be safe from being “violently” flipped over, at least for now. Nonetheless, we will always see it as our duty to confront revisionism and struggle against it ideologically and politically.
Below we are linking a statement detailing sexism and racism in the Albuquerque branch of PSL; these issues are nationwide within the PSL. While we might have some ideological disagreements with this analysis we would like to use our platform to boost attention and demand that PSL stop wagging their fingers and start looking in the mirror.