Communique on the veiled “criticism” from the phony-Maoists in Canada

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We understand the opportunist camp in Canada to be part of the colossal scrap heap that is to be swept from the face of the earth.

The Canadian opportunist camp (pcrrcp.ca) has chosen to address the US Maoist movement, albeit in an indirect and invertebrate manner;

 

“The reality of building and maintaining a revolutionary organization across an entire country is messy. Regrettably, this is something that some non-party formations abroad do not appreciate for various reasons. Many Maoists who are involved in “pre-party” projects, for example, have no understanding of the difficulties of party life because of the regionalism of where they are located. Some of these Maoists like to make damning proclamations about our practice without a holistic understanding of our practice because they are only reacting to interactions on social media, and have no conception of the challenging nature of day-to-day reality of party work. Imagine, for a moment, that you are part of a political formation which exists beyond your immediate region. Imagine that there is a Central Committee elected from elements across your entire country. Local problems are investigated by bodies that are not part of that locality; local leadership is no longer the highest leadership of the mass movements. Problems are no longer so simple; solutions are no longer so easy to declare. This is precisely what we are facing now, as a party that has transcended regionalism, and localized “pre-party” cadre in the USA should pay attention to this shift. If they succeed in building a party, these challenges will affect them as well.” (“On the Misrepresentation of Line Struggle”)

 

While the Canadian opportunists fail to be upfront or direct about whom they are talking about, we find it appropriate to respond to this paragraph as we are certain they speak of the Red Guards collectives in various cities across the US, as these are the only organized pre-Party formation in this country. For starters they are correct that we do not have a Communist Party in the US (yet), and Canada does indeed have a Communist Party—fortunately they are not in it. So we speak on equal footing as non-Party organizations. Their opportunist clique is not recognized by us as a Party and it should not be recognized by the rest of the International Communist Movement (ICM) either. They assume that we do not investigate problems outside of our respective cities; they assume that we do not cross-pollinate or investigate and guide new formations. They base these assumptions on no evidence at all, however, and their deployment of these claims is nothing more than a diversion. No organization or organizations serious about the initiation of armed struggle would be public about this sort of political work and construction anyway. We hold that, between open and clandestine work, clandestine work is principal. We hold that direct lived experience (if we do in fact lack it) is still not the sole criterion for the accumulation of knowledge—we agree with Mao that social practice in three types is how we develop and enrich knowledge. Social practice is not limited to the lived experience of a singular Party, or in this case a self-interested clique of revisionists. Applying the general to the particular means we arm ourselves with the experience and analysis of the whole history of class struggle in the ICM. In short we can comprehend the difficulties faced by any countrywide Party from any point in history. Despite lacking the firsthand experience of those in the Bolshevik Party, for instance, we still grasp, uphold, and apply its lessons.

 

The argument of the opportunists that we could not possibly understand their fake-Party because we are not yet a Party is telling of their overall identitarian brand of politics. Here their self-identification as a “Party” provides them with a unique lived experience that anyone outside of this clique cannot possibly grasp, regardless of whether or not they materially qualify as a genuine Party. We assert that they do not. We have all heard the arguments of identity politics that insist that without having experienced a specific list of this or that oppression and discrimination one can never possibly understand some specific condition. This is outright opposed to Marxism and we insist that nothing is beyond comprehension. We can fully understand what a revolutionary Party looks like and what a revisionist Party looks like without having to take on the identity of revisionism, or self-identify as something that contradicts reality. In essence their argument boils down to the revisionist argument that if you have not self-identified as a Party, you must support anything that does and always refrain from criticizing it, because without self-identification you cannot possibly analyze it. This is a thinly veiled way of saying “do not oppose revisionism.”

 

Years ago supporters of this same opportunist clique would encourage US comrades to set aside the ongoing ideological debates and just form the “Party.” Fortunately no one of consequence heeded this awful advice. We uphold the Maoist process of unity-struggle-unity; we persist in patient work and ideological struggle, moving ever closer to founding a genuine Maoist Party in the US. We affirm that all work must proceed from a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, an unimportant matter to them that is beneath their engagement. The obvious defect in their rationale, which attests to their opportunist waving of their faked “Party” status, is that conditions in the US are vastly different from the conditions in Canada. For starters while geographically similar in landmass, our two countries have very different populations. Ours is much, much larger, and theirs is mostly along their southern border. Perhaps if we focused only on organizing in a smaller pool along the northern border we could falsely call ourselves a “Party” too. We state that it is they who have not managed to grasp the difficulty in building a Party or a countrywide organization in a population the size of the US, spread out as far as our population is. They would do well to remember that we have accomplished great strides in our span of existence. The Red Guards movement, which has existed for significantly less time, is already gaining on if not surpassing their “countrywide Party” in terms of participation, mass support, campaigns, and political development. It is strange and inappropriate for them to have such a pompous attitude due only to their self-identification with no regard to what they are in essence—a revisionist assortment of loose eclectic groups—a “Party” in form but not the Communist Party in essence. This is clear in their insistence that the Canadian proletariat has no vanguard.

 

While the majority of their document attacks the actual Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party in Canada (PCR-RCP), and we have no intention of speaking for them, we must assert that revisionism and Communism are in constant battle. The opportunist’s stance on opposing polemics in the sham-PCR’s document is nothing more than a stance for opposing ideological struggle against revisionism. We also affirm the document “We Are the Continuators” issued by the real PCR-RCP (pcr-rcp.ca) as the red line in Canada against Canadian revisionism. We recognize the PCR-RCP and its historical leadership based in Montreal as the sole representative of the Canadian proletariat, and as the only Maoist Party in North America. We have learned a great deal from them in terms of street tactics, articulation of military strategy, and political analysis. We are glad to hear that they have demarcated themselves from the trash articles in Arsenal no. 9. Our collective leadership has had the opportunity to study the contents of the journal and were repulsed by its revisionist content. The fact that the opportunists seek to flaunt collaboration on this trash in opposition to the Maoists’ denunciation of it only proves that they do not regard learning from past mistakes as a virtue. Montreal, having broken fully with the right-opportunists who once infested their Party, is now freely opposing such nonsense publically. This is a great development for the class struggle in Canada and is in service of the world proletarian revolution. Two-line struggle is an internal motor for Party development; this principle does not extend to external revisionists. It is enough to celebrate that one has divided into two—and this has strengthened the red line of the true and legitimate PCR-RCP based out of Montreal. We wish to see the right-opportunist line roundly and thoroughly defeated, resolutely, once and for all!

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The only Maoist Party in North America,  the PCR-RCP!

 

It is impossible to develop two-line struggle with those who have separated themselves from the ICM the way that these red-washed revisionists in the Canadian opportunist camp have done. It would be absurd to engage with them in private or as comrades when we consider them revisionists and traitors. We affirm the teachings of the Communist Party of Peru and we reiterate that we must “combat imperialism, revisionism and worldwide reaction inseparably and implacably.” We understand them to firmly belong to the white-capitulationist line struggling to assert itself in the ICM. We understand the opportunist camp in Canada to be part of the colossal scrap heap that is to be swept from the face of the earth.

 

We oppose the contents of Arsenal no. 9, and we oppose the existence of the sham organization parasitically poaching the name of the PCR-RCP at the website pcrrcp.ca. We oppose the banal intellectual masturbation of the revisionist J. Moufawad-Paul and his criminal work Continuity and Rupture, whose other work is at the website moufawad-paul.blogspot.com. We uphold, defend, and apply MLM and remain at our post—that is, building the Communist Party in the US. We support and recognize the real Revolutionary Communist Party in Canada found at the website pcr-rcp.ca.

 

While we remain in opposition to empiricism, both our firsthand experience and our study of MLM warn us about these types of opportunists and have trained us to know the difference between revisionists and revolutionaries. We call on all US Maoist organizations and supporters to take a principled stand in defense of the red line in Canada; we call on all Parties and organizations that are part of the ICM to support the real and legitimate PCR-RCP, and to denounce revisionism, rightism, postmodernism, centrism, and all other degenerate ideas that prey on our ideology.

 

To paraphrase Comrade Chiang Ching, we would rather have our heads chopped off than concede to revisionism.

 

Long live the International Communist Movement!

 

Long Live the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada!

 

Do not give revisionism an inch!

 

Build up the Red Guards!

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The 4th of July aint for us

On the murder of Devonte Ortiz

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Memorial for Devonte Ortiz 19 years old

A cruel reminder of the fact that the 4th of July is not for us (the oppressed) came in the early morning hours of July 4th last week when a white man, Jason Roche murdered an unarmed black teenager, Devonte Ortiz, for shooting fireworks, in the parking lot of a working-class housing complex on Anken Drive. This happened right in the heart of one of the most working-class districts in Austin, where militant communist organizing has been historically rooted. This is our neighborhood and these are our people. Our hearts go out to our community and the family of Devonte. Devonte did nothing wrong and was only setting off fireworks to celebrate the holiday like many others. It must also be stated that US Independence Day is a holiday in celebration of the genocide of Native Americans and the slavery of black people – its racist history is the racist history of this country. In Southeast Austin, a reactionary white man killing an unarmed black teenager is a chilling portrayal of the history of this country playing out in blood. While the police attempted to obscure the details of the incident, on-the-ground interviews with neighbors and witnesses provide the basis for our article.

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Devonte was young and intelligent with the world ahead of him. RIP

From the onset we must make it clear and be direct: we consider this to be a racist homicide, reminiscent of George Zimmerman’s cold-blooded murder of Travon Martin in Florida. Jason Roche, a middle-aged white man and Iraq War veteran, was already known to police for a record of belligerence and being armed. He is a drug user and has an open lawsuit against the Austin Police Department dating back to August of 2016, when a car he was traveling in plowed into an emergency vehicle in South Austin. According to the Austin Chronicle, another prior incident involving Roche states that; “Jason Roche was out there. He was drunk, and Hopkins [APD officer] was familiar with his family history: he was a known drug abuser and probationer, and the Austin Police Department knew he owned a gun. Hopkins saw him opposite a younger woman…and immediately called dispatch for back up, then questioned the couple [she was only 20]…Hopkins then arrested him for furnishing alcohol to a minor.” This quote is taken from an article on December 19th of 2014. It proves that the original release of Roche on the basis of “self-defense” was nothing but systemic white supremacy. It further proves that the police, as well as the media, were aware that Roche was armed and dangerous and had done nothing to protect the community from his terror.

Reports from high school students in the neighborhood complexes, who were witnesses to the murder, confirmed our suspicions of a racist motive. They informed supporters that Roche had referred to Devonte as a “monkey” during the confrontation. Among the youth of the area, Roche’s racist views are no secret, according to a tweet from a community member; “this man [Roche] tried to run him [Devonte] over a week and a half ago and threatened to kill him 2 weeks ago and to top it off he walks around showing his gun and pointing it at kids in the apartment complex.”  We have faith in this source, as well as the kids in the neighborhood. Both confirm that Roche was a menace to black and brown youth in the 41. Community members report that Roche drives a truck decked out with white-supremacist bumper stickers, including a swastika and pro-Trump stickers. Whether or not Roche is an organized fascist is yet to be determined and good people are still trying to track down photos of his truck to confirm these reports. Witnesses have stated that Roche’s father, Dennis Roche, was also involved in assaulting Devonte, by placing him in a headlock. Racism tends to be a family tradition passed down from the bigot father to the bigot son.  Denis has been known to get into conflict with his neighbors, most of whom are not white and then threaten to call his racist son Jason on them. Relying on the fear Jason invoked to terrorize the neighborhood.

Jason was heard using racist slurs against the youth, saying “stop lighting those fireworks ni****” and baiting the teenagers to “do something”.  These are all facts which the mainstream media and the police are not reporting, but we have eyes and ears wherever there are working people and we know the truth. Their only reason for failing to report these facts is because they fear the emergence of rebellion. They do not want another Ferguson rebellion in the heart of Austin.

Media has confirmed that prior to killing Devonte, Jason first went and changed into full-out tactical gear. He saw himself as going to war. Combine all this with the fact that APD knew that Jason Roche was an armed drug user and failed to arrest him immediately only highlights the settler colonial nature of this crime. It all comes into sharp focus—laws are unevenly enforced against black and brown people as white racists float freely. For more information on our position regarding the settler history of gun rights and gun laws, please read our article But Who Controls the Guns, found on our blog.

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Jason Roche, drug user, racist, and murderer

We know full well, from this case and every other case that the police are but the strong arm of white racist violence. They are useless at crime prevention and complicit in civilian settler colonial violence. It is up to the people of Austin and progressive forces to make damn sure that the system does not pardon this murder, the way it tends to, as was the case with George Zimmerman. Devonte was backing away from the conflict and attempting to leave when a white racist murdered him. Roche, convicted or not should never feel safe on our streets again. He is now likely held at Del Valle Jail, on a $250,000 bail, a very low figure for a first-degree murder charge. In fact, the only people who get lower bonds for this type of charge are police officers charged with murder. The system is making it clear to all that they will be taking it easy on racist murderers, once again implying open season on young black men.

We have always advocated for the formation of a People’s Red Army, which can wage war on our enemies against imperialism, injustice, and racism. Beyond that, we argue for the formation of working-class community self-defense units which could provide conflict mitigation without involving the police. Such units would be able to prevent situations like these by the fact that armed workers could patrol their own neighborhoods and suppress, and monitor people like Roche from the start. These same units could eventually enforce the people’s justice and no longer rely on the racist courts of the settler colonial empire.

We call on all supporters and community members to take action and mobilize on behalf of the victim, to apply pressure and resistance to the system so that this scum does not walk free. We call on all supporters and community members to stay vigilant and to get organized to create the kind of community which becomes a no-go zone for racists and the police. It is the people who will make history and we cannot expect the system to protect our youth or give them justice. The only correct thing for us to do is to fight back and to rebel against the racist nature of the United States of America.

We must identify the 4th of July for what it is, a racist holiday that is not for us but against us – our kids are not even allowed to celebrate the day off or enjoy fireworks. We must mourn for our dead and the loss to the community, but we must not stop at mourning. The best way to honor our loved ones who fall to racist violence is to get active in the fight back, to organize disciplined resistance and to militarize ourselves in the face of the militarized enemy—white racists and their white racist state.

The family of Devonte has set up a fundraiser to help them cover funeral costs and anything else stemming from this attack on the community. Please donate what you can and help spread the link through your networks. We stand in mourning and solidarity with our community; we will rise with them in resistance!

When we say no justice, no peace we mean NO FUCKING PEACE. That means to prepare for war.

Red Guards Austin, July 2018

US Border Imperialism – Turning Walmarts into Child Prisons with Southwest Key

US Border Imperialism – Turning Walmarts into Child Prisons with Southwest Key

Earlier this month, Jeff Merkley, a Democratic senator from Oregon, attempted to visit Casa Padre, a child immigrant detention center along the US-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas.

In a now viral video, Merkley documents his attempts to enter the facility, claiming he tried calling a week earlier to set up a visit. As he stood in front of the facility, a former Walmart with blacked out windows, the staff called the local police on him and told him he had to leave. Since then, his video has been shared widely in national media and many people outraged by the idea that an elected official of the United States wasn’t able to see the conditions of a facility funded by US government dollars and created by US government policy. The outrage has steamrolled ever since.

While Merkley’s action was little more than liberal Democrat opportunism (a publicity stunt), we acknowledge the important reaction from the masses to his visit and welcome the scrutiny that child detention and Southwest Key are receiving. We intend to explore some of the deeper issues as well as make local connections to the imperialist bourgeoisie and their agents here in Austin. Southwest Key, a massive non-profit headquartered in Austin, not only operates Casa Padre and 26 other child detention centers nationwide, but their main building in Austin also hosts a controversial charter school. For 2018, they have already accepted over $300 million in federal dollars for these centers. While one would think these facts would raise more eyebrows in Austin – which is notoriously portrayed as a hotbed of liberal politics – it is that exact liberalism that has allowed Southwest Key to fly under the radar thanks to liberal activists, non-profit organizations, and Austin’s petit-bourgeois dominated politics that have strategically obscured and/or ignored their ties to border imperialism and blood profits from child detention.

First, some comments on Merkley himself and the joke that is the Democratic Party. Jeff Merkley positions himself on the left of his own party, the Democrats. He was the only US senator to support Bernie Sanders 2016 bid for presidency. Let’s be clear what both Sanders and Merkley are – they are US chauvinists and traitorous social-democrats who abuse the politics of revolution and make them palatable for the left of the US petite-bourgeoisie and keep them in line.

The Democratic Party is as depraved as their counterparts, the Republican Party. These two groups are only the left and right poles of the US liberal bourgeoisie. Democrats have no moral standing to walk the high road on issues of immigration. They are just as complicit in imperialist terror along the US-MX border. While in office, Obama more than earned his nickname – the deporter-in-chief, after sending 11 million people out of the country.

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There were mass-led movements against the Obama administration regarding deportations and detention but liberals, were primarily dismissive.

While Democrats now use Dreamers as their political football, they were forced to their current position of unequivocal support by direct action, by Dreamers themselves who sat in and protested Democrat offices during the Obama administration. The real motivator is now that they don’t have their own president in office, they have nothing to lose by opposing (at least in form) whatever position that Trump pushes, so they can play the role of the good cop, bad cop with even more shamelessness, knowing that they will achieve little material change with their grandstanding. Their opportunism is in clear view- they do not actually support migrants (especially those who aren’t attending college or enlisted in the US armed forces) or the global proletariat. They are simply in endless election campaign mode. Like all liberals, revisionists, and social-democrats, it’s always about the next meaningless election and the channeling votes to whatever “lesser-evil” candidate is seeking notoriety.

Trump still has a ways to go to catch up to Obama’s 11-million high-score, and the apparatus he will use to do that was built over the course of past administrations, both Democrat and Republican. Obama especially focused on perfecting them in order to appease conservatives, using the logic of reinforcing the ‘process’. This is the clear mentality of liberal capitalism, to build up the state to smoothly enact capitalist violence and exploitation with as little mess as possible. As we have stated in our election boycott campaign of US elections, it’s all the same shit, different asshole. If Merkley had any real intention to end this system, he would start with resigning tomorrow. We won’t hold our breath waiting for that to happen.

US imperialism is neatly summed up in the fact that Casa Padre was formerly a Walmart. Walmart is a massive imperialist enterprise to distribute low-cost goods manufactured in exploited third-world markets for primarily first-world consumers. As the economy contracts, internet shopping continues to grow, and waves of recessions make consumer spending unreliable, Walmart has shuttered stores that local markets couldn’t support. Converting one of their empty buildings to house people who have fled countries like Mexico, where Walmart has also participated in destroying local economies, is a logical next step for capitalism’s dystopian trajectory.

But regardless of the inconsistency and hypocrisy of liberals, Democrats, and social democrats, we can’t deny that his visit has sparked an important opportunity for the masses to view the mundane horror of the US state’s immigration system. Trump’s election lifted the veil of the US’s fundamental existence as an imperialist criminal for many of the masses, who are beginning to open their eyes and demand change. They recognize that one agent of the bourgeoisie, Merkley, not being able to inspect his own handiwork, shows that the US state is continuing to shed the semblance of a liberal democracy. But as we will point out – it is Imperialism, especially in its liberal form that can also incorporate members of oppressed nations into its project, that creates the conditions for child detention that is not only profitable, but can be passed off as ‘humanitarian’ when you slap a non-profit organization’s face onto it.

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Juan Sanchez Shows Chicanos Can Serve Imperialism, Too

One of the facts that is striking for many members of the masses, especially people who are part of the Chicano nation, is that the CEO of Southwest Key, Juan Sanchez, is ‘one of their own’. But we understand that token people from oppressed nations will be enlisted into the project of the US imperialist project, and a select few, like Juan Sanchez, can even achieve bourgeoisie status.

The Chicano nation is an internal colony to the United States. It encompasses a majority of the Southwest United States and demographically consists of many people identified as Mexican-Americans; descendants of people who have lived in the land now known as the US for millennia. The areas along the US-Mexico border are strongholds of the Chicano nation. The Chicano nation is an internal colony, oppressed by US imperialism and denied basic rights and the right to self-determination by the dominant imperialist nation. As Communists we stand for the rights of the Chicano nation to self-determination which goes all the way up to its right to secession.

Southwest Key’s light and airy website speaks of how Juan Sanchez, their CEO, grew up poor in Brownsville, Texas, deep in the heart of the Chicano Nation. This is an attempt to show the typical American Dream myth. But no Chicano, or anyone for that matter, should look up to Sanchez, who has made himself a millionaire off of the destruction of the lives of not only migrants, but children.

Currently Southwest Key has expanded from its role of housing not only children show up to the border without a guardian, but taking in those separated from their parents at the border under Trump’s expanded ‘zero-tolerance’ policy. Trump is now criminally charging all adults who arrive at the border with the crime of illegal immigration. Any children are taken away as the parents are funneled into criminal detention and court. See the recent leaked photos of a mass trial in Pecos, Texas to understand what this looks like. Southwest Key has not denounced Trump’s zero-tolerance policy. All the evidence available indicates that such a policy is extremely lucrative to organizations like South West Key.

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This photo of a mass trial of immigrants charged with illegal entry was leaked following the implementation of the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy.

And this is clear when you look at the rising trajectory of Juan Sanchez’s salary over the past years of escalating immigration enforcement. Sanchez now makes $1.5 million as CEO of Southwest Key. This is high, even by non-profit standards. All NGOs/non-profits in imperialist centers are merely arms of the ruling-class, functionally and ideologically, and the high salaries many of them reap are profits from managing the poverty of the proletariat at home and abroad on behalf of the capitalist ruling-class. There is nothing ‘non-profit’ about non-profits. Their business is profiting from upholding systems of exploitation so that the casualties of capitalism can be managed in ways that serve propaganda purposes and outlets for the bourgeoisie. They can write checks and go to gala fundraisers for every cause under the moon when they want some of that sheen. The NGO/non-profit complex are best understood as poverty pimps—administers of poverty who negotiate unfair concessions in the interest of the monopoly capitalist imperialist class.

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Juan Sanchez’s LinkedIn. He calls himself ‘El Presidente’ and asks employees to do so as well

Unlike liberals, we don’t find it at all surprising that Sanchez pays himself as much as he does. Thanks to the militarized border of the US and rabid border patrol agents, his business is steadily supplied its merchandise, unaccompanied minors, on a regular basis. When the border patrol isn’t murdering young women from Guatemala, like Claudia Gonzalez, they are capturing children to send to detention centers, whether so-called for-profit or non-profit. The distinction between for-profit and non-profit is meaningless. Both serve the same function of store-housing captured third-world peoples on behalf of US imperialists.

Juan Sanchez and his supporters will claim that once they leave border patrol custody, it is better they end up at a Southwest Key center. But they do not want to address how the system is set up to profit Sanchez and his massive-reaching child detention operation. They have no interest in stopping this situation, and they fall under the same umbrella as the conservatives who they claim to oppose. They cry crocodile tears that people are pushed to flee their home countries but will not stand up to the real enemies at home, especially when they are in the form of non-profits.

Sanchez is a glorified human trafficker. He is no different from the coyote who locks people up in homes until they pay their fee. But instead of paying the coyote, Juan Sanchez gets paid by the US government and then facilitates whatever fates the Department of Homeland Security concocts for them. His excuses boil down to the rational of a dope dealer “if I don’t make millions off the pain and suffering of the people, someone else will”. In reality he is nothing short of a collaborator with the proto-fascism of the Trump administration.

The border patrol keeps Juan Sanchez in business. In fact, his operations fluctuate according to the numbers of unaccompanied children arriving daily on the border. When those crossings have dropped, Southwest Key has laid off employees while the salaries of upper management continue to rise. In response to downturns of unaccompanied minors in 2016, Juan Sanchez said – “Unfortunately over the last three months, it has gone from us being able to serve over 3,000 kids to now serving a little over 800 kids,” Why would this be ‘unfortunate’ to anyone other than those profiting from border imperialism?

Much like the prison system in mostly white, rural towns, many of these detention centers are in mostly Chicano communities with low economic development across the Southwest. People here find themselves with the difficult choice of going without a steady job or becoming a cog in the imperialist border machine. A steady job at a detention center is an enticing prospect. Or, some Chicanos join the border patrol to inflict terror upon people who are no different than their own family members. Chicanos, Mexicans, Central-Americans have high proportions of indigenous ancestry and have crossed what is now the US border for millennia. With the creation of the US capitalist-imperialist state, these historic migrations were criminalized, and now provide fodder and propaganda purposes for the maintenance of US imperialism under Trump.

Sanchez should be recognized for what he is, a Chicano incorporated into the Imperialist bourgeoisie, a traitor to his people, an enemy of the international proletariat, and fundamentally, a criminal. Yet he is able to walk around in a suit and pose for photos nationwide and here in Austin with those who seek to kiss his ring as an example of a Chicano who has ‘made it’. He has made nothing himself, except facilitated ways to prey on third-world peoples through his detention centers and proletarian communities through his juvenile justice centers and his charter school. He does all of this while strategically whitewashing the crimes of US imperialism, by allowing it to don a “Chicano cultural” mask.

Don’t let Juan Sanchez and Southwest Key’s propaganda fool you. The children at Casa Padre in Brownsville are prisoners of the US state, as they are at all 27 of their detention centers. The first thing these children see when they enter the facility, is a mural of Donald Trump himself, with a quote, ‘Sometimes by losing a battle you find a way to win the war.’ It’s in English and Spanish to make sure they get the message. And when was the last time you saw a Walmart with an open-air atrium? Their blacked-out windows aren’t inviting sunshine in. Like Southwest Key, Casa Padre keeps everyone in the dark, with a tough outer-shell that hides the crimes of US imperialism within.

It must be understood that when US imperialism enters crisis, fascism finds fertile ground. While the US lacks sites like Auschwitz and Birkenau it is steadily increasing its own mass internment facilities for innocent human beings, driven by its own master race mentality and its own hyper-nationalism. We insist that to give the death camps a makeover, to disguise them as culturally sensitive, would in no way alter their anti-human nature as death and depression factories. We say the same thing about Southwest Key. No matter how they dress up their prison in cultural garb or frame it as “youth shelters” etc. behind all that they are factories of death, humiliation, abuse and agony. That is the agony of dividing mother and child, the agony of splitting families and incarcerating little ones without mercy for the so-called crime of being from the third-world. Standing with these families, with these children and with the people of the oppressed nations internal and external to the US necessarily means fighting back against Southwest Key and all like it, this means fighting against the fascist policies of this proto-fascist administration and every collaborator and enabler it enlists.

Austin Opportunists Aid Imperialism – We Confront It

Some may wonder how Juan Sanchez has flown under the radar for so long. A big reason for this is the fact that Austin’s reformists, liberals, and non-profit organizations will gladly swallow imperialism if it approaches them with a friendly face. Non-profits like Grassroots Leadership have made a name for themselves fighting against ‘for-profit’ detention centers, yet Southwest Key has faced none of their wrath. This blind spot is unbecoming of those who would claim to be opposed to detention on “humanitarian grounds”.

Meanwhile, Juan Sanchez walks around like a local hero, collecting awards and hob-knobbing around the world. In 2015, the Austin Business Journal named him the Best Non-Profit CEO in Austin. While he gets accolades, he also knows that a big part of protecting himself is building up those willing to take his hand-outs; turning opportunist-careerists into moral body-shields for himself.

So who has Southwest Key given out awards to? Visit their Walk of Heroes and one of the most prominent is Susana Almanza, director of Poder and a vocal representative of the anti-Communist, petit-bourgeois Chicanos in our city. Juan Sanchez himself was there at the inauguration of a mosaic celebrating Almanza installed at Southwest Key headquarters. He recognizes a kindred spirit in her and those who have made a name for themselves selling out their own people for decades. Tasha Banks, the youth services coordinator for Southwest Key, also sits on the Montopolis Neighborhood Planning Contact Team, which Almanza is the president of.

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Susana Almanza’s mosaic at Southwest Key, standing with Southwest Key CEO, Juan Sanchez (far right)

These links come together in the form of events like ‘Real Solutions to Austin’s Gentrification Crisis’, held by Community Not Commodity at the Southwest Key headquarters itself. This took place on May 6th. In addition to a gaggle of liberals and sell-outs, they had a real estate developer, Ed Wendler, on the panel. Undoing White Supremacy Austin, another liberal group, appointed themselves the panel’s personal bodyguards and physically blocked people from entering who they subjectively profiled as ‘radical’.

This circus gathered to discuss displacement in the arms of a corporation that profits from the displacement of third-world peoples. Susana Almanza has directly participated in facilitating the displacement of the immigrant communities in working-class housing, as they are the primary targets of gentrification. Recently Almanza’s sell-out adventures have included inviting landlords into tenant community organizing meetings in an attempt to overrun and suppress the communities’ ability to organize against landlords who will gladly sell their neighborhoods to developers.

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Community Not Commodity’s Anti-Gentrification event held at Southwest Key

All of these groups, Poder, Community Not Commodity, Undoing White Supremacy Austin, and so on, are integrated parts of US imperialism. They ideologically, and literally, defend the doors of Southwest Key from those trying hold to Southwest Key accountable for its crimes against third world peoples.

It’s no surprise to us that these very damning connections can be made between the identity opportunists of yesteryear and the profitable business of fascistic child internment. Following the money trail of these types will often lead you to similar conclusions—if they aren’t serving the people, they are working against them when they present themselves as community representatives and activists.

There is a new tide of revolutionary forces in Austin that has dutifully committed to sweeping away the trash heap of local poverty-pimps such as Southwest Key and their counterparts. Communists, local activists, and angry residents here in Austin must be united to fight gentrification and now must tackle the giant monstrosity that resides in our backyards, Southwest Key. This fight is not just an Austin fight, or even a Texas fight for that matter. We encourage people across state lines to join us in a campaign against this display of Imperialist exploitation and abuse. The masses have correctly identified Southwest Key as a major enemy of the people. Fighting the continuation of Southwest Key can be done in a variety of different ways, one of them being stripping their local goons of any credibility and integrity amongst the masses here.

The revisionists, NGOs, Democrats and other assorted capitalist lackeys always find themselves incapable of leading these types of struggles as they all lay in bed together when it suits their opportunist goals. Maoists on the other hand do not find themselves in contradiction here as we at every corner aim to expose these people for what they really are, enemies of the people. We Communists must unite with the most advanced masses and engage in fight after fight against US Imperialism and its grotesque displays of abuse against the people. And those that wish to be the body shields for these pigs will undoubtedly be forcefully swept away by the mighty tide of revolution.

End youth prisons!

Expose the Non-profit industrial complex!

 Death to US imperialism!

Red Guards Austin 2018

Anti-Revisionism Is Confirmed in Action

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.

forbes convo 01
Forbes making up lies

 

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Forbes posing with one of the top PSL leaders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Brian Griffith of PSL rushing to defend Forbes before the event took place on May 9th

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:

forbs convo02.jpg forbes convo 03

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.

Note:

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.

https://therednation.org/2017/01/17/anti-indianism-and-sexism-have-no-place-in-the-movement-an-indigenous-feminist-perspective/

 

But Who Controls the Guns?

Update: Between the writing and the publishing of this article, Rakem Bologun has beaten his charges in federal court and is now free. We wish to congratulate him and all the people who struggled on his behalf.  We see this development as a victory for Black people over the reckless prosecution from government agents and reactionaries. We express our solidarity and have chosen to release the original article as intended with this disclaimer and update.  

BUTWHO2

Any conversation or debate regarding bourgeois laws pertaining to firearms and gun rights must contend with the historical reality of the US as well as the current conditions of exploitation and oppression. Long before the US became the strongest imperialist power in the world, it was a settler-colonial project. It was, and is, dependent on the gun. The Second Amendment of the US Constitution was created so that white men could defend the land they stole from Native Americans as well as to suppress and oppress enslaved Africans. It was, and remains, a racist doctrine. Communists do not contend with the question of gun control versus gun rights—the contradiction we focus on is power: who has power, and who must take it with force of arms.

We understand that the question of gun control is a hot topic, especially among the youth, who are rightly fed up with mass school shootings. Often this issue is falsely framed as an issue between left and right. In reality, it is deeply connected to the racist history of the US. Rights, like most everything else, are not delegated equally among the haves and the have-nots. Rights are still guaranteed or denied according to class, race, and social status.

Both gun control and gun rights are reactionary bourgeois inventions

Even predating the founding of the US, white settler militias were formed to carry out genocide against indigenous North Americans. In fact, many colonies and frontiers made it illegal for settlers to be unarmed; in essence, these laws created a militarized society of settlers. It is the origin (and implementation) of these very laws that produced US gun culture, a culture which is linked fundamentally to white supremacy.

Settlers on the land required firearms not only in the US but across the continent—bullets have been found in Incan bodies as far back as 1536. When the Spanish first entered what is now called Peru, they faced continued resistance from a people who refused to be colonized. The gun became integral to this process and the earliest firearms were used to put down indigenous rebellions. Production demands certain tools, and when a mode of production is based around control of land, domination of colonies, theft of resources, or slavery, then the gun becomes an indispensable tool of production. As with other tools of production, the question becomes who controls them, who wield them, and to what ends they are used?

As Marx and Engels express in the Communist Manifesto, the conquering of the new world combined with advances in navigation and industry led to the modern bourgeoisie emerging and becoming the ruling class. The enslavement of African people and the genocide and conquest of indigenous Americans is woven into the very fabric of the contemporary ruling class all the way back to their inception. When capitalism gained power over feudalism, it did so at the barrel of the gun. In this process of conquest and reorganization, capitalism created oppressed nations. As capitalism developed, it became imperialism, which is the principal contradiction in the world today—a contradiction that maintains itself mainly through violence.

The US, being founded by settlers who were required to bear arms, has laid the historic groundwork for the issues we face today. This problem has been conditioned and reproduced throughout history. As class struggle and developments in production have caused changes (for instance from slavery to “emancipation”), the ruling class has been forced to regulate the gun in its own interest.

This is very evident in the periods preceding and following the US Civil War with what were called the “Black Codes.” After the Southampton Insurrection of 1831 (also known as Nat Turner’s Rebellion), the state banned the possession of firearms for all freed slaves out of fear that the freed slaves would inspire further revolt among the enslaved. Nat Turner still stands as inspiration for the struggle, and as historical materialists, we understand that the motor of change is class struggle. Bourgeois history presents the “noble” thinking of the northern bourgeoisie as the motive for social change that sparked the Civil War. In reality, it was repeated uprisings, rebellions, and insurrections that brought slavery and the interests of the slave-owners into contradiction with production in the North and the interests of the ruling class that owned production there. The very first instances of gun rights, as well as of gun control, emerged from the implementation and maintenance of an oppressive, white-supremacist system.

The Black Codes continued and, in fact, increased in number after the Civil War. Mississippi and Alabama would both form “civilian militias” to brutally suppress any and all attempts by former slaves to bear arms. They did this with such excess that many felt that slavery and the newly established “freedom” were but a snake with two heads. The penalty for arming yourself if you were Black, even if it was to hunt or defend your land (like the whites claimed their guns were for), was often death, imprisonment, or—even more commonly—work without pay for years: in essence, slavery. These very same legal codes popped up in northern states as well, like Illinois and Maryland. The purpose of these laws was to prevent social interaction between white working-class people and the Black population. This served to disorient Black people, who were thrust from one relationship to production into another without being allowed to join the ranks of the working class properly.

At this time, it was illegal for white working-class people to associate with Black people, including by providing them with education. Violation of this law resulted in either steep fines that no worker could afford to pay, years in prison, or both. What the ruling class was afraid of then, and is still afraid of now, is an armed and organized Black population, which gains the support of the white majority. The bourgeoisie still fear class solidarity among Black and white people and among the proletariat in general. While gun rights and gun laws are unevenly enforced along racial lines to spread this division. Like all capitalists, they will at times speak out of both sides of their mouths, principally securing arms for white agents of the ruling class and putting other sections of the population at a disadvantage.

Furthermore, in post–Civil War conditions, former slaves and freed Black people were not allowed to rent property except in city centers. This was to force proletarianization upon them as well as to prevent them from renting rural properties that could be used to grow food or earn side income. Not only was proletarianization forced judicially, but the ruling class also carried it out in such a way as to produce deeper and lower strata of the proletariat. The process of proletarianization was not a peaceful process; it was infused with reactionary violence that relied on the gun as well as gun culture, which had carried on since the founding of the country. With this forced proletarianization came the criminalization of the Black communities in the city centers. To keep wages down, the ruling class promoted racist hiring policies that kept many Black people stuck in the reserve army of the unemployed, often forcing them into petty crime in order to survive. This was ideal to create conditions where black people would willingly work for a lower wage than white workers. Forming a contradiction that the bourgeois used to create further racial hatred and securing many white workers as their agents within the working class who would, provided the right conditions and incentives, turn on their class as a whole in the interest of their rulers.

At every step of the way, anti-racist whites were punished, excluded, or legally persecuted. The state created many laws that prevented the working class from unifying, criminalizing Black people and stringing up their supporters among white working people. When the carrot does not work, the masters use the stick. This division still asserts itself today in the form of wages, the judicial and penal systems etc. Black people face the stick without the carrot and whites who turn on white supremacy join them.

BLACK PANTHER

Once the ruling class had created ghettos through the Black Codes, they had to contend with the fact that many in the Black working class were beginning to feel the need to arm not only against the state and police abuse, but also for their own self-defense in the horrid conditions inflicted upon them. The class struggle produced many armed groups of left or left-leaning Black people. The most well-known is, of course, the Black Panther Party, but it is only one of several. Before the BPP, there were also the Deacons for Defense and others, who founded themselves for the purpose of defending Civil Rights Movement protesters in the south from KKK and police violence. However, it was the BPP who gained so much prestige that the bourgeoisie was forced in panic to enact stricter gun laws, and it was conservative Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, who passed the 1967 Mulford Act. The bill got its name from Republican Donald Mulford, an assemblyman from Oakland, but it was authored and supported by both Republican and Democratic Party officials, who in spite of all they would have you believe, are united on the question of guns not finding their way into the hands of the oppressed or their comrades. The Mulford Act banned public carrying of firearms in California and was enacted in direct response to the growing threat posed by the Black Panther Party and their supporters in the Communist movement.

Following the Mulford Act of 1967 was the 1968 Gun Control Act, signed into law by Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson—an act that was supported by the white-supremacist National Rifle Association (NRA). This law restricted manufacturing and owning of firearms, instituted mandatory background checks, and barred convicted felons from possessing firearms. Additionally, it brought about the banning of cheaper firearms that workers could afford because of their association with “inner-city crime.” Felony gun charges are also disproportionately targeted at the working class, and especially at Black people. Likewise, the way the laws are enforced targets Black people, building on the already-established racist history of the gun in the US. Once again, both liberal and conservative forces collude on behalf of white supremacy. The gun rights supposedly established have never been enforced evenly, as can be seen in the cases of Philando Castile, Marissa Alexander, and many other Black people licensed to conceal and carry. These people acted within the law, yet were either shot by police upon discovery of the weapon or incarcerated when it came down to defending themselves with force against assailants.

The question of gun control has once again entered popular discourse at a time when, following Trump’s election, right-wing and white-supremacist populism is on the rise, and school shootings have become commonplace, with devastating social results. However, cases of Black people in the US carrying out mass shootings in schools and churches against random people are not commonplace (we can’t find one at all), and the overwhelming majority of these anti-people massacres are committed by middle-class white men. This is all happening at a time when Black gun ownership is increasing. Once again, liberals and their supporters will collude with conservatives to pass harsher gun laws while selectively protecting “gun rights” to disarm and oppress the Black community and anyone who stands with them. Both liberals and conservatives are reactionary and represent the ideologies of the bourgeoisie.

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Open carry, self-defense, and revolution

Texas is an open carry state, where reactionaries and fascists have long brandished weapons against whomever they want to intimidate, all while being protected by the police. More interesting than this is that both Communists and progressive Black nationalists have taken to arming themselves and practicing open carry in self-defense. This development has seen wave after wave of panic and repression from the state on both the local and federal levels. We see self-defense as a necessity and antifascism as self-defense. While it is not our desire to see consistent armed standoffs against better-armed and state-protected opponents, only those with a death wish would march into battle against such an enemy unarmed when it is well within their means to arm. Ideally, we would prefer that they were unarmed and that the street fighting that inevitably takes place any time fascists show up could be carried out without firearms involved. It would be preferable to bash them hard and scare them out of organizing without ever having to consider the possibility of armed escalation. Nonetheless, these are not the conditions we face in Texas as antifascists. Communists do not fight for “gun rights” or the preservation of the Second Amendment any more than we fight for bourgeois gun control. Communists do not open carry to show off firepower or to pose but for one reason: firing when necessary to protect the people from direct threat posed by armed fascists and the reactionary state.

At these actions, it is only the right wing and the fascists who seek escalation, because it is only they who enjoy the protection of the police and bourgeois laws. It is reactionaries who have drawn and pointed loaded pistols, trained their rifles on demonstrators, and so on. Even fascist “news” agency InfoWars has been seen down at city hall crying about Communists being armed. Their Second Amendment hysteria only goes so far, and they too follow suit, begging the bourgeoisie in city office to control the guns of the proletariat. It should also be stressed that Communists at this stage of development are not carrying out armed attacks and especially would not carry these out against civilian targets like schoolchildren or Black churchgoers the way the far right has consistently done. The right wing act in the tradition of gun violence that is inextricably linked to the settler-colonial conquest of the Americas; they are part of this cultural tradition and have their guns aimed at us still.

Mao Zedong said that we must pick up the gun in order to put down the gun. For us, this means that as long as we are dispossessed, then by all means, including guns, we must seek to prevail against our enemies. Only with victory over them can we birth a better world.

Communists believe in armed struggle to overthrow the current ruling class as well to institute the proletarian state, which will use guns to suppress the former ruling class. The question for us is power: revolution and how to develop it toward victory, how to fight counter-revolution after victory, and how to propel socialism forward to communism, to a world where the gun has been put down. It is our position that we cannot win this war by simply enduring death, although endurance is a vital part of a protracted struggle. We insist that it is by inflicting death upon our enemies in power that the power of the proletariat is established, preserving ourselves and destroying the enemy. In this scope, gun rights and gun control do not factor in. The people who must take power—that is, the working people—are already by and large excluded from the rights of the capitalist system, which are rights established to ensure the system’s dominance in the first place.

We do not expect that the ruling class will ever willingly allow the oppressed to truly wield weapons or legally arm themselves. Therefore, when it comes to revolutionary armed struggle, there should be no thought of legality. Revolution itself is a violent, illegal act, but is both just and correct. Anyone who claims to rebel within the confines of the law is not actually rebelling at all—they are merely performing a dance. Follow the strings of the revisionists and you will find the fat hand of the bourgeois puppeteers. For this reason, we make clear demarcations between revolutionary armed struggle and the use of self-defense. Let us also be clear on the fact that self-defense is often not actually guaranteed by law, and that thousands of poor working folks are incarcerated right now for defending themselves. We advocate defending the people and ourselves. To hell with bourgeois laws! What is correct and just seldom corresponds with the laws of this reactionary country anyway.

It has long been our position that serious left-wing groups need to master arms and that in our conditions, it is necessary, although not preferable, to practice open (or concealed) carry against fascists and the right-wing movement, which are already doing this to intimidate or defeat our movements. There can be no other expectation than the state repressing us, and largely either ignoring or encouraging the right to continue with their armed activity.

In fact, there is plenty of evidence to support the position that the state’s permissiveness and encouragement for reactionaries are already taking place in the context of repression against Communists and progressive Black nationalists. The left—that is, progressive Black activists and anti-racists supporters alike—do not enjoy equal rights under the Constitution and are investigated, targeted, and harassed when they begin to arm in self-defense. The state will target even unarmed people in the movement if they think they can strike a blow against the rising tendency of left-wing groups taking up guns.

Repression against Communists and Black nationalists in Texas

Many in the Austin left, and especially those in the militant movements, are aware of increasing state repression over the past two to three years locally—conditions in which no fewer than seven activists have been harassed by the FBI-APD joint anti-terrorism task force. This includes activists who were locked up in county jail as well as ones who were harassed at their homes, and this list can go on to include four or five associates or family members of known activists as well. It is becoming increasingly clear that the activity of the state is more and more coming to resemble a newly reinvigorated COINTELPRO. This includes the use of infiltrators, both in the form of informants as well as agent-provocateurs, not to mention actual undercover law enforcement on the ground at popular actions, as was seen last May 1st when activists witnessed two large “black bloc activists” dressed as anarchists dodge out and jump into a passing police van during a sensitive extraction.

The state relies on varying type of informants who gather information or seek to create problems for local activists. The most visible type of rat is the agent provocateur—people like Brandon Darby and Jesus Mares, who become dejected over time and turn their wrecker activity over to official state services. The character type and personality of these provocateurs are eerily similar; they are in many respects cut from the same cloth. This personality always includes a certain type of bravado, an over-emphasis on weapons and serious illegal actions that have no regard for the political interests of the movement or for the masses in general. For Communists and the revolutionary people, the masses and their class-consciousness are what must be considered to determine whether an action is acceptable. The provocateur, however, lacks this interest in the masses completely and becomes both an ultra-leftist in some respects and a right-opportunist in other respects—after all, ultra-leftism when understood correctly is rightism in essence, as it seeks to liquefy revolutionary politics and revolutionary organizations by disregarding the masses of people. Both Darby and Mares fit this trait, both of them carried out their pig-work, wrecking, and informing in left-wing spaces in Austin, Texas, and both were gun-obsessed before exposure as the rat traitors they really are.

What is particularly concerning is the multitude of victims these provocateur/informants accumulate in a short amount of time through both entrapment and false charges. It seldom stops with just their intended targets and instead puts the whole movement at risk. The purpose, after all, is to serve reaction and to halt or damage the people’s struggles, all in the interests of the bourgeoisie. Informants and state agents are most often focused on guns that are legally procured and owned, because, as usual, the laws of the state are not extended to enemies of the state.

freedallas

 

In Austin most recently, two well-respected activists were arrested on this type of false charges leveled by the provocateur/informant Jesus Mares. These two activists, Comrade Dallas and his comrade fiancée, are well loved by their community as well as the revolutionary mass movement in Austin. Comrade Dallas faces a plethora of shaky charges, from aggravated assault to two cases of felon in possession of a firearm (simultaneous charges for the same alleged firearm possession in both state and federal jurisdiction). As has been reported elsewhere, it appears the state and government has been staggering the charges to perpetuate a cycle of release and arrest in order to harass and demoralize him. What’s more, they arrested his pregnant fiancée with such delicate timing as to maximize the psychological impact on both of them as well as their supporters. This psychological operation has not restricted itself to just those two, but has also been used on family and supporters of the two comrades. In addition to all this is an increase in surveillance and intimidation tactics. As time goes by, we should expect to learn of illegal wire taps or home invasions carried out by agents of the state, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of the work carried out by infiltrator Jesus Mares and his snitch partner, Angelica Clark.

Both of our comrades who were arrested are being targeted due to their history of pro-Black and anti-capitalist activism. With no real charges, the state has had to mobilize its infiltrators and informants to level false charges. State repression against Black militants and antifascist/anti-racist activists is not limited to the Austin area. Anyone who espouses liberation and armed self-defense for the masses, and especially the masses of the oppressed nations held captive by the US, is a viable target in the eyes of the state. The Huey P. Newton Gun Club is such an organization.

Our mission is to arm and educate black people in the US and abroad. We realize that this is an international struggle against capitalism and imperialism”—Huey P. Newton Gun Club

Last December, the feds arrested another respected community activist in Dallas, Texas, on more trumped-up gun charges. Rakem Bologun (government name Christopher Daniels) was under FBI surveillance for at least two years before his apartment was raided and he was arrested. The raid took place shortly after the feds made up the category of “Black Identity Extremist,” a label that Rakem had already begun to expose and educate against. Rakem is a community activist and supporter of several groups, including Guerrilla Mainframe and Huey P. Newton Gun Club, and like the two comrades in Austin, he too was well respected by his community. Rakem was targeted because of his ideology and effectiveness in practice. The government saw fit to make an example of him and try to eliminate or persecute a leading Black activist with the scare label “Black Identity Extremist” by charging him (as they charged Comrade Dallas) with unlawful possession of a firearm. The state has made it clear—they fear and detest an armed left-wing movement that, regardless of these witch hunts, is on the rise in this country. Along with the firearms seized in his case was a copy of the book Negroes With Guns by Robert F. Williams, a man famously persecuted by the US state to the point of going into exile, first in Cuba and then in China, where he was photographed with Chairman Mao Zedong. Of the items confiscated, it is Williams’s book that the state truly fears as a deadly weapon, and it is Comrade Rakem’s ideas that they seek to lock away.

rfwillaims and mao

When looking at the cases of these three comrades, we can identify similar approaches and techniques that the reactionary bourgeois state is using. This includes using the politics and ideology of the accused comrades in court and court documents against them. In the case of Rakem, the federal judge viewed a propaganda video from notorious reactionary and fascist “news” source InfoWars, which is based in Austin, and is in no way to be considered objective or reliable journalism, let alone evidence. InfoWars has also waged a similar smear campaign, including a pompous “declaration of war,” against Red Guards Austin. In the former case of protracted harassment by far-right “news,” Rakem was singled out and accused of participation in a large Black open carry protest that occurred in Austin in March of 2015, where during the peak of South by Southwest, Black activists marched on the Capitol Building. It was InfoWars’ twisted reports that sparked the FBI surveillance of Rakem to begin with. InfoWars founder and leader Alex Jones has boasted and claimed that he has semi-frequent phone conversations with proto-fascist president Donald Trump. It would appear that he has the ear of the feds as well. The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have named the groups in Dallas and Austin in separate documents as either Black Identity Extremists or dangerous Maoists, respectively bringing presumed members, or presumed leaders, under direct government attack.

According to an independent journalist present at Comrade Dallas’s pretrial detention hearing in federal court, federal prosecution wasted no time bringing Comrade Dallas’s politics to the forefront and attempting to center them in the case as he advocated for detention and against bond. The prosecution would go on to claim that Comrade Dallas is a member of the “Austin Red Guards [sic]” without a shred of evidence to support the claim. He would then go on to contradict himself by claiming that Dallas was “kicked out of Austin Red Guard for being too violent.” It appears he cannot decide whether the comrade is in the organization or if he was kicked out.

The hearing took the form of a spectacle as the testifying FBI agent cited past charges that have already been discredited and thrown out (due to lack of evidence and the fact that our comrade is innocent) as evidence that the comrade is a dangerous and violent Communist who must be confined in jail pending trial. When confronted about this by defense attorneys, the agent stumbled, stuttered, and appeared to have little understanding of the facts. The prosecution followed this up by attempting to discredit the comrade’s mother as a liar with “anti-police hatred.” Even though it is not illegal to dislike the police—and in fact it would be highly reasonable for her to dislike the police since DPS (Texas state troopers) attempted to murder her son back in November of 2016—they felt it appropriate to drag her political views into the hearing. The feds simply cannot stand the idea that left-wing activists enjoy the support of both their communities and their families. The state seeks to break up families with prison and destroy working-class communities with drugs etc., not the revolutionary activists. The pretrial hearing ended with the prosecution looking foolish as they attempted to claim Comrade Dallas was a member of an armed unit, complete with classic redbaiting tactics dating back to the 1930s and continuing on through the Cold War. While these tactics might seem anachronistic to some, their longevity is not surprising to our supporters or us.

The state, without hesitation, has made one thing clear: these comrades are targeted due to their ideas and presence of those ideas among the people and only secondarily as supposed criminals. In fact, the state views these comrades as low-hanging fruit. Both of the men charged for possession of firearms were given criminal records as either political activists or due to racist profiling and targeting. The policies of racist gun control and racist gun rights are both wrapped up in these cases.

rakem

Contrast the way the government has prosecuted these cases with the soft-touch approach they take to those on the right, including buying Burger King for mass-murdering fascist Dylan Roof upon his arrest, and a grim picture of the state’s reliance on fascist populism comes into focus. Another vivid example occurred in March of this year—while comrades Rakem and Dallas were in federal custody being attacked as a Black Identity Extremist and a Communist, respectively—in the context of a terrorist bombing campaign carried out by a murderous white reactionary by the name of Mark Anthony Conditt. APD’s interim police chief, Brian Manley, called a video Conditt had left behind “the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life that led him to this point.” Conditt was portrayed in the media as “mentally ill,” and his neighbors were interviewed saying favorable things about him while the same outlets in an egregious act of victim blaming had just criminalized one of his victims. These same news outlets downplayed Conditt’s Christian fundamentalism and anti-choice bigotry. His violent and reactionary ideology was not used to criminalize him because the state itself is violent and reactionary. Neither the people’s revolutionary organizations in Austin nor the national liberation organizations in Dallas have ever been accused of or carried out such terrorist activity—in fact, the left condemns such acts as anti-people and hence counterrevolutionary. What these organizations do is feed and train their people while fighting for their interests.

Individual acts of terrorism are the hallmark of far-right reactionaries and are not at all a tactic of the left. Revolutionaries staunchly oppose such actions—actions that not only alienate the masses, but also in most cases target them with violence. Conditt is viewed as troubled or misunderstood, and questions were and are asked to the effect of “What pushed him to this point?” while Black activists like Rakem and anti-racist activists like Comrade Dallas are systematically slandered and degraded.

The different approach to the left- and right-wings’ access to arms is made obvious in the way witch hunts are carried out against left-wing and Communist activists even as the right is conducting more and more bold terror campaigns.

People in the Communist movement, as well those in as any other progressive force that values the life and well-being of the masses, oppose individual acts of terrorist violence and instead promote and cultivate work among the masses of people to organize them for the revolutionary cause. Without this type of revolutionary mass organizing, nothing will be accomplished. The flip side to this is the fact that revolutionaries and especially Communists face an onslaught on two fronts: The first is from the state itself in the form of the local police as well as the FBI, the “justice” system, and the courts. The second is from the most backward sections of the civilian population, who are in service of the ruling class. This second category includes fascists and other reactionaries already engaged in anti-people acts of terror. This reality forces the revolutionary movement to guard and defend itself.

Security and self-defense are two vital aspects that must be cultivated without hesitation. This is not to say that these things come naturally. In almost all cases, one must learn by doing—by a process of trial and error. Even the most advanced security and self-defense formations can still be compromised. To many who still lack a revolutionary viewpoint, turncoats and informants will be irreversibly demoralizing and cause them to pack it up and avoid militant or revolutionary politics and practice altogether. Those with a revolutionary viewpoint understand that the enemy, while they appear fierce and even invincible, do not have the support of the people, and so it is only tough in form and not in its essence. Deep down, the enemy is weak and toothless. When it is attacked by the people en masse, it will decompose and be eradicated from the stage of history, ushering in true equality in the ongoing struggle for a classless and stateless society—Communism. This is the viewpoint left-wing activists and revolutionaries in Texas and elsewhere must maintain. Yes, there will be informants. There were informants for the tsar at the top levels of Lenin’s Bolshevik Party, and upon the Party’s victory, they were tried in revolutionary courts and put to death. We must not be destroyed by the short-term view, as Mao teaches Communists must have largeness of mind and that Marxism is positive in spirit. This is what is meant by accomplishing revolutionary optimism. The fact remains that strategically, and with a long-term view, the enemy is weak, and it is the proletariat who will win the world.

The US is and always has been the most violent project

We have established the falseness of the contradiction of gun control versus gun rights and exposed this contradiction as a symbiotic whole—one supporting the other in the overall interests of white supremacy. So then, the question of terrorism, mass shootings, and so on, is not one of gun control versus gun rights, but one of the very nature and origins of this country. The US was born in violent conquest, and it has sustained itself through violent coercion and genocide. It has produced a particularly violent and reactionary culture.

This culture is both a product of and insurance for imperialism. The US is a waning imperialist power, waging endless war and proxy wars in the Third World so that its finance capital can consume and dominate the world. This phenomenon is reproduced at home and is supported by major social divisions, oppression, and injustice. To grasp the essence behind gun violence, one must first understand the reactionary and violent culture produced and reproduced in US society. This is the cause of mass shootings, and the solution to it will not come, as the Democrats and Republican pundits both suggest, through either gun control or increased gun rights. Mainstream “left” and right forces already agree on the matter; they have mostly always agreed and will likely continue to agree.

The solution to the violent culture of the US consists in undoing the legacy of settler-colonialism and slavery, by smashing the prison house of nations, and by replacing it with national liberation and socialism. In a socialist society, anti-people violence will be opposed, the people will harness education, social well-being will replace profit as the purpose and measure of production.

Socialism alone will not do away with violence. Interpersonal assaults and even anti-people activity will persist and have to be struggled against through continued revolution. In this revolution, the masses will come to wield political theory; the science of revolution and socialist culture will radically differ from capitalist US settler culture. Guns will no longer be tools left in the hands of the bourgeoisie and their reactionary, anti-social henchmen. Instead, the masses, once armed with a socialist viewpoint, can be armed militarily and form actual people’s militias. Weapons, contrary to the way they exist now as privately owned commodities, will be wielded by the Red Army, the Communist Party, and the revolutionary mass militias. All of these remain deeply liked with the people by the process of ongoing socialist Cultural Revolution. Only once the whole of the people in the world are armed in this way will we will have achieved communism—a free, fully liberated society where all are equal and there no state and no classes exist.

US capitalism-imperialism has produced a vile social sickness, a worldview in which innocent human life is cheap and expendable. Our class and the people deserve better; they deserve power—real power—which will necessarily grow from the barrel of the gun. For Communists, it is not the guns that are decisive in battle, but the people. This means that even if a general, all-out weapons ban came about tomorrow, it would not fundamentally alter the revolutionary strategy of the proletariat—protracted people’s war—a war in which there is mass participation and the unarmed guerrilla becomes armed by snatching weapons off the enemy. Neither gun control nor gun rights factor into this strategy in a meaningful way.

The conditions in the US are not currently in place to allow the initiation of people’s war, so we instead must attend to the urgent tasks of building the Party, the People’s Army, and the United Front, all of which are connected to the revolutionary masses and their struggles. To accomplish this, and to defend these mass links, community self-defense is of key importance. We Communists do not fetishize the gun or the bourgeois Constitution. On the contrary, we seek to abolish both. We do, however, understand that when then enemy is armed and at your doorstep, you must maximize your chance of fighting back. We understand that even in the stage of accumulating forces, before the initiation of people’s war, revolutionary organizations have no choice but to take self-defense seriously. This means, in most cases, to arm.

A socialist armed society that values human life and the well-being of the people stands in stark opposition to a settler society of armed white reactionaries that, due to gun rights and gun laws, are the conditions we face today. We find it unthinkable to defend rights not won through class struggle but awarded in the interests of slavery and genocide like the Second Amendment. We find it equally unthinkable to fight for reforms that advance gun control in light of the way it has been used primarily for racist ends and in support of repressing our people—the working class and the people of oppressed nations. Our class and the oppressed nations do not possess the luxury of concerning themselves only with bourgeois laws; they must concern themselves with the greater project of human liberation in the form of socialist revolution.

National liberation and the right to self-determination for the oppressed nations!

Organize community self-defense outside of the state!

Let the masses and the dictatorship of the proletariat control the guns!

—Red Guards Austin, 2018

 

Please support the comrades who are being targeted with state repression:

(Rakem, although no longer in federal custody, is now in the process of rebuilding his life, so we still encourage you to donate.) 

Donate to Rakem here:
freerakembalogun.org

Write to Comrade Rakem here:
Christopher Daniels
ID 56601-177
FCI Seagoville
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 900
Seagoville, TX 75157

 

Donate to Comrade Dallas here:
PayPal: avantiguzman@gmail.com

Write to Comrade Dallas here:
freedallas@protonmail.com

 

From Rapist to Revisionist—McKinley (formerly known as Caleb) Forbes

FORBES1.2.0

There are several traumas created by sexual assault and rape. Never does the pain cease with the actual assault—it persists through the investigation, interrogation, through daily life of the victims and survivors as well as their supporters. Even carrying out the necessary task of making left movements aware that a rapist exists within their ranks can be painful and difficult for those who have survived rape. Nonetheless, if we wish to eliminate rape within activist movements and fight it in broader society, protecting potential victims by providing them with the facts, we have to say who these people are and what they are guilty of.  The system invalidates survivors, and the revolution must empower them. Proletarian feminism means taking up the struggle for working women including the use of revolutionary violence and community self-defense. The immediate defensive maneuver is to put the community on notice that a dangerous rapist exists among them.

In September 2016, the local “activist” McKinley Forbes was then living in Virginia and was called Caleb Forbes. Shortly after being accused of rape, Caleb came out as a trans woman and moved to Austin, Texas.  At that time she changed her name to McKinley and began entering into spaces on the periphery of the Maoist movement. Throughout its existence this movement has taken a hard line on rape and sexual assault. Whether the rapist is a man, women or trans person does not weigh heavily on this principle, though most rapists are awarded the social status of men. We will use the name Caleb to describe the actions taken by Forbes before strategically coming out to avoid being outed as a rapist. Evidence provided to us indicates that this coming out was mainly timed as an attempt to swindle money and resources from the LGBT community and to prevent people from making the connection or looking into the name “Caleb Forbes” which all legal process is attached to.  Forbes’s name change and relocation are partially why it took so long for anyone to find out the truth about Forbes.

The survivor in this case will not be named, and we are burdened with telling the story as delicately as possible to minimize the blow back, doing our best to prevent further pain and anguish. We have no choice but to place the interests of potential future victims first by outing Forbes as a rapist and sexual predator. Caleb at this time identified with his assigned gender. Living and presenting as a man, he was therefore awarded the social status of a man. His victim was assigned female at birth and would appear as a woman to society at large. Biology does not determine gender; society does, since gender is a social construct. Therefore, although Forbes’s gender identity may not have aligned with the gender society assigned him, Caleb was awarded the role of man and all privileges that come with it, including legal protection against allegations of sexual abuse and rape. On the other hand, the survivor faces the social status of women, as well as all the legal obstacles and injustice that come with it in a society maintaining vestiges of patriarchy and the oppression of working class women.

We have investigated the allegations of rape, assault and abduction against Forbes and found them to be true. We will provide what background we can without naming the survivor or any details which would publicly reveal her. Caleb Forbes used the app Tinder to prey on women from left leaning movements, playing up politics to meet people to take advantage of, and in this case, carry out a rape/abduction and strangulation. The survivor at no point indicated an interest in sex and at no point consented to sexual activity. Sex with Caleb was never on the table. In fact, the survivor’s bio on Tinder made it very clear that the survivor was only seeking platonic relationships and friendships. The survivor was invited over to Caleb’s apartment on the pretext of having a meal, watching TV, and getting to play with his German Shepherd. However, Caleb had plans to lure the survivor into his room where he proceeded to handcuff, abuse, rape and strangle her.

Faced with this level of violence and left with bruises, wounds, and injuries, the survivor suffered immense pain, anguish, and humiliation.  Through the pain and fear of active assault and rape it is not uncommon for victims to freeze up and go almost catatonic, despondent, or cause them to disassociate. Abusive people can use this involuntary response as grounds to say “she didn’t say no,” which is exactly the argument Forbes would make to the police investigators on the case. Silence and paralysis from fear do not constitute consent. There is no justice in this system for survivors of rape and abuse. If the people want justice, revolutionaries must give it to them, or they must take it themselves. Through a series of photos (provided to our supporters), text messages (between the survivor and Forbes), as well as interviews we have conducted, it becomes clear that the survivor was gripped with the threat of facing even more abuse at the hand of Forbes and made up an emergency to leave Forbes’s apartment and seek safety elsewhere. We applaud the courage this took and are grateful of the courage it still takes for the survivor to come forward.

After the incident, Forbes made sure to inform the victim that he had seen her car around (Forbes, being a pizza delivery driver at the time in a small town, reasonably knew where she lived). After just being assaulted violently and sexually this was taken by the survivor as a threat. We do not doubt in the slightest that this is exactly how Forbes meant it to be taken. Out of this fear and on professional advice from doctors the survivor filed charges. This further caused damage to the survivor as is most often the case when law enforcement is involved. The police investigated the case, but while Forbes admits to the handcuffing and sex acts, he claimed the victim was willing. Taking paralysis and silence as consent was enough for the bourgeois legal system to drop the charges, even though the survivor at no time gave verbal or non-verbal consent and had forensic evidence and injuries. The survivor did not know Forbes before the day of the assault, abduction, and rape, and only had limited interaction up to that point.

Of course the society we live in blames victims for seeking companionship, company or using apps like Tinder, despite the fact that many people use Tinder and similar apps to find friends. People like Forbes rely greatly on the existence of rape culture to hide their vicious activity. Forbes, pretending to be an activist and going along with platonic conversation, manipulated a woman who sought friendship and comradeship into a near deadly, life destroying situation, and has gotten away with it until now.

Revolutionaries seek the people’s justice which does not take the word of people like Forbes over the word of the people they oppress in the context of hard evidence and testimony. Time and again the Austin Maoist movement has investigated allegations of abuse and sought justice for victims by publicizing abuser’s crimes and pressuring them out of organizing and out of the city. It was because of this that a comrade of the victim was able to suggest she contact the Revolutionary Student Front in order to warn other activists about Forbes, who she knew had moved to Austin due to social media. Forbes became our problem by moving to our city, posing a threat to our people. We hope to not only seek justice for the survivor in this case but to make sure that more victims are not accrued by this monster who is now going by the name McKinley Forbes.

Forbes moves to Austin

forbs la riva

Forbes was well known on left leaning and postmodernist internet spaces for a fundraiser she put out claiming that her parents kicked her out for being trans. However, when she was still identifying as a man and going by her government name Caleb, she lived in an apartment with roommates and not with her parents. Forbes raised over 3,000 dollars through crowd funding and tapped into a housing program for trans people run by the Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism, a revolutionary mass organization which supports the Austin Maoist movement and now goes by the name Stonewall Militant Front.

Without changing presentation, only names and pronouns, Caleb became McKinley and began frequenting left-spaces and joined RATPAC through the housing program. In a short time, Forbes is flagged as a potential security risk by movement people for displaying erratic and confusing behavior at actions, as well as asking too many questions about Red Guards membership and trying to cozy up to who she thought may be leaders. At this point any avenues to work beyond RATPAC were officially closed off.  It was believed that in some way or another, Forbes was not who she claimed to be, but evidence to this was not available at the time.

Forbes moved to Austin to work in the tech industry, an industry which is the main accelerant of violent displacement in our working class communities. Tech workers are a ranging strata of petty bourgeoisie, but as people who work they are not outright class enemies. The vast majority of tech workers become enemies when they gentrify working class areas, like E. Chavez and E. Riverside. They can also become friends of the working class of Austin by turning on their class interests, standing against gentrification and with the people. It is their class stand that matters more than their actual job. As was already detailed in a report from RATPAC, Forbes marketed RATPAC’s community programming to developers and was awarded the position of CEO in a startup built exactly off the RATPAC housing program, showcasing exactly which class Forbes stands with.

With this opportunistic and capitalist maneuver, Forbes made a lot of enemies in the revolutionary movement, and had to seek friendship outside of it with others like her; people who wave a red flag but are in reality capitalists themselves. Forbes stopped claiming to be a “Maoist” as she did while attending RATPAC meetings and events, just as she had stopped claiming to be an “anarchist” who was “avoiding j20 prosecution” when she first arrived in Austin (we do not believe she was actually facing any charges). With no one else to turn to, Forbes began cozying up to the revisionists and crypto-fascist-Trotskyites of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and joined their front group “People’s Congress of Resistance.” She also sought out and snuggled up to wreckers in other cities who still claim to be Maoists, like Christopher Winston, who took up her cause and claimed the Austin Maoists were bullies for not supporting this CEO thief on the basis of her identity as a “trans woman”.  It is particularly concerning that Forbes now controls an app which gives her access to an already at risk community considering her track record.

These issues with Forbes in Austin took place over a year ago. Forbes was already unwelcome in Maoist controlled spaces, but others still welcomed her, and we left that as it was. From this point on, now that it is clear that Forbes has been accused of grievous patriarchal crimes against the people, anyone working with, giving a platform to, breaking bread with, or associating with Forbes publicly in left or activist spaces in Austin will be seen as harboring a rapist. If Forbes shows her face anywhere she will be confronted as others before her have been.  While we do not seek collateral damage, we are not surgeons and will not be held back. Standing or walking with Forbes should be understood as a dangerous activity.

Forbes is a violent premeditated rapist, a revisionist, a scam artist, and a gentrifier. PSL and its affiliated projects are hereby put on notice: you can either isolate Forbes by sharing a public statement that she is not allowed in your spaces, or stand by Forbes and attempt to protect this rapist scum at your own risk.  To Forbes herself: you chose the wrong city to move to. We are not like the police who will let abusers off the hook so easily. Go ask Steven Walters or Carlos Salamanca, go look into the case of the now deceased Richard Morrisett. The people’s justice will see to it that Forbes either hides in fear or submits to a people’s court verdict.

Nowhere should be safe for rapists, especially rapists who carefully try to conceal their past from the movement. Forbes poses a multitude of threats to women activists and fellow travelers as well as the public at large. She cannot be seen as anything but a monster to be destroyed. While it is our position that many who have engaged in patriarchal violence can and must be reformed, many others elude justice and use the sexist, racist system to their advantage. In order to transform, abusers have to own up to the allegations and submit to a process carried out by revolutionaries. Anything short of this forces revolutionaries to pass judgment and carry out the verdict on their own with the support they can muster.

We here and now find McKinley Forbes guilty of premeditated rape, abduction, strangulation, and covering it up. We find McKinley Forbes guilty of opportunism, revisionism, and using activism and politics to access victims. Forbes is hereby banned from all public spaces in Austin and we ask our supporters as well as the people in general to carry out this ban. If you see Forbes or her supporters anywhere, bring it to the attention of everyone present that Forbes is a rapist, demand Forbes leave, and if possible, make Forbes leave. Feel free to send us an anonymous tip of the whereabouts and movements of this scum. We lack the power to force transformation in this case, and will use what power we do have to make living in Austin and being in public unbearable for this anti-woman monster.

Our movements are only as good as we make them. People are only safe when others fight on their behalf. We aim to fight every step of the way. We have little hope that PSL will take action on this matter considering that they are vile revisionists with a history of bad gender practice, racism, and Trotskyite ideas. The PSL represents an enemy tendency and we aim to fight their organizing efforts in our city and encourage others to do the same. Enough with harboring rapists like Forbes. If you have information on Forbes or other rapists in the Austin left, please notify your local revolutionary organizations.

Unleash the power of women as a mighty force against capitalism!

Give no ground to revisionism!

Fight rapists in the street!

—Red Guards Austin, 2018

Guest Article from the Class Struggle

We are hosting a guest article about local anti-gentrification struggles in Southeast Austin. This joint statement from Serve the People – Austin, Defend Our Hoodz, and Revolutionary Student Front highlights the role of salaried activists in administrating poverty and displacement on behalf of the ruling class. We extend our solidarity and revolutionary support to their fight. Please get involved with these struggles and oppose revisionism and class traitors of all kinds who wish to profit off the people!

 

vendita
Sell-out and poverty pimp, Susana Almanza

 

Dump Sell-Out Organizers: Dare to Win Against the Gentrifiers!

Tomorrow, the anti-CodeNEXT group Community not Commodities is hosting a panel entitled “Real Solutions for Austin’s Gentrification Crisis.” Many who are under attack by greedy developers are desperate for real solutions, and they may hope to find some from these prominent activists, non-profit leaders, and so-called progressive developers.

For people who actually want to defend their homes, however, there will be nothing to gain from these pretentious panelists, who are what we call reformists. They have made a name for themselves in opposing some gentrifying projects, but they have consistently watered down their defiance and compromised with those who have invaded our hoods, ripped our families apart, and displaced so many. As professional organizers, their jobs depend on having a seat at the negotiating table alongside the developers and city officials, and they have demonstrated that they will do whatever it takes to keep those seats, even if it means selling out the communities they supposedly want to protect.

Susana Almanza, the head of nonprofit PODER and president of the Montopolis Neighborhood Contact Team, is the unofficial guest of honor at tomorrow’s panel. Anyone wanting to get paid for activism in Austin must pay respects to this self-anointed Queen of the eastside. She commands such a level of authority among the organized left in this city that reformists—that is, activists ambitious to make a career selling out—are afraid to criticize her for fear of being banished from her circles.

We have no desire to make money off of our activism, and so we have no problem calling Almanza what she is: a vendida, a sell-out. When the historic site of the Montopolis Negro School was at risk of being demolished, Almanza stated at a city commission meeting that she would defend the unoccupied building with her “war weapons.” Her followers applauded this fiery bravado at the time, but we wonder where she hid these war weapons when the communities of Cactus Rose and Thrasher Lane were under siege by developers? In both of these cases, she worked against community organizing, squashed resistance, and pushed the terms offered by developers. We frankly do not care what Almanza did decades ago. What is important to know for anyone seeking help from her or her friends is her shameful track record of the past two years.

The Cactus Rose mobile home park had begun organizing in 2015 to protest the plans of parasite developer company Oden Hughes to turn their 30-year-old neighborhood into luxury apartments. The community association president Saúl Madero was a talented organizer who had done a great job of alerting his neighbors to the impending danger and inspiring them to fight. However, when Susana Almanza got involved, she deposed Madero and kicked out the legal aide that had come to assist the tenants. The community association had written a statement demanding that they wanted to stay together, but Almanza scrapped it in favor of her own plan of brokering relocation pay-offs. She excluded any dissenting tenant or outside ally from meetings, and shut down those who wanted to rebel against the developers by chastising them with the threat of eviction. In the end, tenants received a few thousand dollars and had to move out. Some had been living there for decades. Others had to sell their homes that they had worked on for years because they were too old to move. Madero had to sell his home and was forced to move his family into a storage unit.

 

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Cactus Rose community before Almanza got involved.

Few of those outside these communities criticized Almanza for this clear-cut case of doing the developer’s dirty work for them, and many were bold enough to claim that she helped them. That’s what the people of Thrasher Lane Mobile Home Park had heard when they were rallying to defend themselves against another parasite developer. In March of 2017, their landlord threatened to evict them all in 30 days. One of the tenants had heard that Almanza had helped Cactus Rose.

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The site of Thrasher Lane after tenants were forced out.

 

Some of the tenants, including Carolina Sanchez, wanted to fight the landlord’s plans and felt like what was happening was unjust. Rather than supporting the tenants’ resistance or even engaging in a dialogue with them, Almanza instead invited a representative of the Thrasher Lane property owner to participate in the community meetings. By doing so, she effectively sabotaged any hopes the community had of mounting an opposition to the threat of displacement. Sanchez said that Almanza was in a rush to close the deal rather than determine what the community wanted.

Some of the tenants, including Carolinza Sanchez, wanted to fight the landlord’s plans and felt like what was happening was unjust. Rather than supporting the tenants’ resistance or even engaging in a dialogue with them, Almanza instead invited a representative of the Thrasher Lane property owner to participate in the community meetings. By doing so, she effectively sabotaged any hopes the community had of mounting an opposition to the threat of displacement. Sanchez said that Almanza was in a rush to close the deal rather than determine what the community wanted.

As she did with Cactus Rose, Almanza bargained a few thousand dollars for each of the tenants, and they were all kicked out. Some became homeless after. Others have been forced to move to RV campgrounds, where tenant protection laws are practically non-existent. All have struggled to survive after their lives were uprooted, in part thanks to Almanza’s scheming.

These are the “real solutions” Almanza has to offer people endangered by gentrifiers. Tomorrow’s panel predictably identifies gentrification as an abstract crisis, as opposed to yet another form of violence that the capitalist class unleashes on the working class. Neither Almanza nor her allies want to frame gentrification as a war between the capitalist class and everyone else, because they would expose themselves as siding with the enemies of the people. Almanza does not believe this is a war the working class can win, so if you’re expecting her to fight for you, you may be disappointed when she immediately starts hammering out the terms of surrender. If you disagree with her, expect retaliation. As the examples above show, there is no working with Almanza, there is only working for or against her.

It may sound like an exaggeration to call gentrification a war, but a quick look at the recent history of Austin illustrates the savagery and carnage that has been unleashed on the working class. In 2009, parasites Grayco Partners promised the city to help pay the relocation assistance for the hundreds of tenants at Shoreline apartments, but then turned around and kicked them all out without paying many a dime. In 2015, parasites Cypress Real Estate Advisors tortured the residents of Lakeview apartments into moving out by turning off their utilities and ignoring maintenance requests. Cypress was also behind the redevelopment of Thrasher Lane. Also that year, predators F&F Real Estate Ventures demolished the Jumpolin pinata store without warning to make room for a SXSW show. In a revealing interview, F&F owner Jordan French referred to the Mexican-American family who owns Jumpolin as “cockroaches.” These are only a few examples in a long history of developers backstabbing, degrading, and brutalizing our hoods.

If this is war, why do we listen to fools like Almanza who tell us to respect our enemies? These parasite developers do not deserve to be heard out or appeased. They are nothing like us. Michael Whellan, the lawyer representing the parasitic would-be Ballpark developers, could not even remember what the minimum wage was when asked by a community member at a recent meeting. They exist in a different world than us and are so money-crazy that they do not even see us as human beings. They only see the millions of dollars they could make with the land under our feet.

These professional organizers say they represent the people, but the reality is that the work they do is always a service to the developers. Ultimately, their allegiance is to their careers. After Almanza lost a city council runoff election to her brother Pio Renteria in 2014, she donated $10,000 of the money she had raised in her campaign to her non-profit PODER. At the time, she was PODER’s only paid staff person. She eventually had to return the $10,000 after local publication The Austin Bulldog exposed her attempt at embezzlement.

Surely others besides us recognize Almanza as a two-faced traitor. All you have to do is go to city hall, where you can catch her being buddy-buddy with agents like Whellan, sharing jokes and exchanging pleasantries. It is not just Almanza, either. Anyone who chooses to fight gentrification by following the rules of the people responsible for the violence will always get caught up in the sell-out game. Play nice with the developers long enough and they will start to look like friends, friends who will smile and shake hands with you even as they use you to pursue their money-making agenda. Whether she admits it or not, Almanza has been used like a tool by developers—a weapon they use to deceive and defraud people—and anyone who subscribes to her brand of politics will be used in the same way.

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If Almanza and her allies are such obvious pawns in the developer’s sick game, than why does she continue to pull weight? Because the alternative is scary. If we understand gentrification for what it is, a war, we have to accept the real danger that comes with fighting in a war.

Right now, the gang of greedy investment capitalists who own the properties of the North, South, West, and East Ballpark complexes have filed a rezoning application with the city that, if approved, would allow them to replace the current affordable apartments with a luxury paradise for the well-off. Tenants can expect no real support from the city, who incentivized this redevelopment when city council passed the East Riverside Corridor Plan. The policy is part of the city’s larger strategy to accommodate the tech workers flooding in to work at the new Oracle headquarters as well as to converge the frontlines of gentrification south of the river with those happening along Cesar Chavez on the northside.

Ballpark property management recently sent out a misleading notice to residents advising them that this project would not happen for years and that it was nothing to worry about for now. In fact, the application is currently under staff review at the city, and if it is cleared by them it will likely go to the planning commission before the end of the year and then to city council shortly after that. Make no mistake: it will not take years to decide the fate of the Ballpark apartments. The battle will be won or lost over the coming months.

It is a terrifying prospect to have on your doorstep. Even as we have just begun to start organizing with the tenants, we have already seen the viciousness of our enemies. At our first march through Ballpark, the property owners hired additional security and also had several pigs in squad cars. When one tenant was knocking on neighbors’ doors to inform them about what is happening, property manager Logan Stansell-you-out called the pigs on him.

As frightening as this may seem, a wise man once said it is good to be attacked by the enemy, because that means that they are scared. The redevelopment of Ballpark is by no means a done deal. The rezoning process is a long and delicate process, with many opportunities for it to go wrong. In the case of Thrasher Lane’s redevelopment, all it took was one city commissioner hearing about what had happened to the former tenants to reject the rezoning application. By no means should we count on something like that happening at Ballpark, but the point is the developers can’t count on things going their way either.

With the few direct actions and organizing we have already done with Ballpark tenants, we have struck fear in the hearts of the developers. They know that if enough of Ballpark’s large population got together, chances are their profit-driven pipe dream would disintegrate. We do not anticipate they will go down without a fight, because for them millions of dollars are on the line.

As much as the developers have to lose, the Ballpark residents stand to lose even more. If we do not organize and act soon, people will be expelled from their homes, their children will be torn from their schools, and their lives will be irreversibly damaged. We cannot and will not let that happen.

We are reassured by the success of principled community organizing around the country. In Pittsburgh, STP organizers rallied the community against parasite John Costello, forcing him to back off his threats to evict a tenant. In Kansas City, STP organizers put pressure on parasite Paul Truong for his abuses of a tenant to the point that he offered a thousand dollars to get them to stop (they didn’t). In Los Angeles, STP organizers have worked with the Defend Boyle Heights coalition to militantly combat gentrification in their area, leading recently to the closure of gentrifying art gallery 356 Mission. It is possible to win against gentrification, but we must really believe it is possible to win if the people unite and fight back militantly—and then dare to make it happen.

The Ballpark residents shouldn’t have to fight on their own, either. The bitter reality is that Ballpark is only the most immediate step of a long-term strategy to completely destroy all of Riverside as we know it, greedily devouring its many neighborhoods for profit. If Ballpark goes, not only would it mean the loss of hundreds of affordable apartments, but it would also ramp up property values, propelling the cycle of gentrification. The developers would move on to the next target and the next, until tens of thousands of people if not more have been forcibly run out. Nor would they stop even if they conquered all of Riverside. The end of Ballpark would be a blow to the entire working class of Austin.

We call on all tenants of Ballpark and Town Lake, and the people of Riverside and all other communities threatened by developers to have the courage to fight back. For too long our class has succumbed to the violence and exploitation of developers and the city, but we have the numbers and the strength to make them obey us. In this war, we cannot take the path of reformists like Almanza, which corrupts well-meaning activists and turns them into puppets. The working class must forge a new path on our own terms, where we call the shots and the developers beg us for mercy.

We are resolved and disciplined in our march down this path of militant resistance—this path that can win—and more join our ranks every day. And anyone who thinks they can block or derail us—Whellan, Almanza, or whoever—better stay the hell out of our way.

Serve the People – Austin

Defend Our Hoodz/Defiende El Barrio – Austin

Revolutionary Student Front – Austin