Check out this music video from UK rapper, Lowkey:
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The video begins with: “This track is not an attack on the Amerikan people. It is an attack on the system in which they live.”
RAIM has done some great work, and should be applauded for it. However, liberalism and opportunism is a constant threat for those that reside behind enemy lines. Liberalism and opportunism must be constantly confronted and opposed by all who would call themselves 3rd Worldist. The primary contradiction is just that: Primary.
Lyrics like “I’m not anti-Amerika, Amerika is anti-Me.” spreads the vile imperialist lie that the Amerikan nation is not part of the problem, the problem is the “ruling class.”
The Amerikan settler population is as much a Classs/Nation/Gender enemy of the worlds oppressed peoples as the Imperialist Bourgeoisie itself.
If RAIM is to recruit and organize true John Browns, it must begin by not wavering from the 3rd worldist line. Someone is either a 1st Worldist, or a 3rd Worldist; there is no in between.
Thanks for the excellent comments, JBG.
You are correct that upholding the principal contradiction is fundamental, and also that liberalism and opportunism are huge obstacles to anyone attempting revolutionary work within imperialist countries and divorced from any significant proletarian masses.
You are also correct that the video by Lowkey contains an incorrect message: that Amerikans shouldn’t be singled out as part of the class enemy of the world’s oppressed.
However the video also contains correct and helpful elements, such as revealing the connection between past oppression (of Native Americans, Blacks, etc) and current oppression. He claims Amerika is imperialist, which is a far cry from the content of other UK rappers such as Dizzee Rascal or Amerikan ones such as Jay Z. He juxtaposes phrases such as “the world’s entertainer/ the world’s devastator” when talking about the US; points out the hypocrisy of imperialist militarism; says that Amerika “inflicted a million ground zeros”
I think you’re reading to much into the ‘I’m not anti-America/America is anti-me’ line. I don’t see how a distinction between your average Amerikan and “it’s” so-called “ruling class” was teased out of that single line. Historically speaking, the leadership of proletarian forces have always claimed they were fighting to defend themselves from and ultimately end an inherently predatory, oppressive system.
I also think this is somewhat mechanical: “Someone is either a 1st Worldist, or a 3rd Worldist; there is no in between.”
Most people, at least in the First World, will not be exposed right away to a revolutionary Third Worldist radicalism. First World youth, for example, who find ‘radical’ politics interesting will first look into First Worldism, simply because that is what is readily available. Such a person will not discover RAIM or MSH and then sleep on it, waking up the next day a Third Worldist.
Another example is Lowkey. I know absolutely nothing about the guy, but judging from this video, I find it hard to imagine he’s some extreme First Worldist. I’m assuming that at bottom he is a First Worldist, simply because its typical. But to say that everything falls into an extreme black or white, with no shades in between (albeit each shade being mostly black or mostly white), borders on obscurantism.
It’s clear that the video by Lowkey contains some correct and incorrect ideas. Is Lowkey a revolutionary scientist? Obviously not. But revolutionary scientists should find it their job to look at things like this, differentiate between and good and bad, promoting and critiquing each respectively along the way.
Unfortunately, there is very little cultural production work which promotes a correct line. We encourage comrades who are interested in music (and other artistic forms) to apply this interest in service to proletarian forces. Until that happens and even afterwards, we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about culture that doesn’t perfectly fit into a ‘Third World’ vs ‘Imperialism’ paradigm. We shouldn’t be afraid to critique incorrect ideas and promote correct ones.
A nation traitor is not created overnight. However, a nation-traitor is never created by wavering in the face of the amerikan enemy.
There is no “gray area” on the 3rd worldist question. One is or is not a 3rd worldist. Just as one is alive or dead. Again, it is the Primary Contradiction in the world today, and can never be forgotten.
On the Lowkey question. Certainly, Lowkey has some good points, but major flaws. If these flaws are not addressed when the video is posted then the assumption is that RAIM endorses Lowkeys 1st Worldist stance without reservation.
“If it looks like 1st worldism, talks like 1st worldism….”
As revolutionary scientists it is RAIMs job to lead those who can be lead to 3rd worldism. Not leave it up to them to “figure out” RAIMs true 3rd-worldist line.
It’s RAIMs job to teach it to them. Not “meet them half way.”
“Different materials are linked, recommended or referenced by RAIM-Denver for educational purposes. This does not imply endorsement or affiliation.”
The video was posted to provoke discussion (and thereby teaching) on its content, not to imply an endorsement on everything it says. This has been RAIM-Denver Blog policy all along. This is a chapter blog, not our newspaper.
Contrary to what many Left Imperialists (like the Troskyites) insist, the American people are an imperialist people.
Hence, they are the problem and deserve to be called out in no uncertain terms.
Pro-Americanism is the anti-imperialism of fools–or deceivers.
Lowkey is a British rapper, his mother being of Iraqi Arab descent. The title of the song is Obama Nation, pointing out that Obama is a war criminal like every other US president.
Lowkey correctly links the current imperialism of the United Snakes with its brutal colonial history and the national oppression and genocide inflicted upon the people here.
“Since 1945 the United States has attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments,
In the process the US has caused the end of life for several million people,
And condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.”
“Natives kept in casinos and reservations,
Displaced slaves never given reparations,
Take everything from Native Americans,
And wonder why i call it the racist experiment,”
“I see imperialism under your skin tone,
You could call it Christopher Columbus syndrome.”
He points out the brutal reality behind the ideals of Amerika and the illusions it propagates:
“The strength of your dreaming prevents you from reason,
The American dream only makes sense if you’re sleeping,
It’s just a cruel fantasy; their politics took my voice away,
But their music gave it back to me,
The land where the lumpen are consumed by consumption,
Killing themselves to shovel down food in abundance,
I guess a rapper from Britain is a rare voice,
America is capitalism on steroids,..”
“The world’s entertainer, the world’s devastator,
From Venezuela, to Mesopotamia,
Your cameras lie, cause they have to hide the savage crimes,
Committed on leaders that happen to try and nationalize,
Eating competitions? while the worlds been starving,
Beat up communism with the help of Bin Laden,”
“Every day you create more Nidal Hassan’s,
Kill a man from the military, you’re a weirdo,
But kill a wog from the Middle East you’re a hero,
Your country is causing screams that never reach your ear holes,
America inflicted a million Ground Zero’s,
Follow the dollar and swallow your humanity,
Soldier’s committing savagery you never even have to see,”
He correctly sees that there is no difference in policy with Obama.
I don’t care if him and Cheney are long lost relations,
What matters more is the policies, I lost my patience,
Stop debating bringing race into the conversation,
Occupation and cooperation equals profit making,
It’s over; people wake up from the dream now,
Nobel peace prize, Jay Z on speed-dial,
It’s the substance within, not the colour of your skin,
Are you the puppeteer or the puppet on the string?,
So many believed it was instantly gonna’ change,
There was still Dennis Ross, Brzezinski and Robert Gates,
What happened to Chas freeman? (AIPAC),
What happened to Tristan Anderson?,
It’s a machine that keeps that man breathing,
I have the heart to say what all the other rappers aren’t,
Words like Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan,
The wars on, and you morons were all wrong,
I call Obama a bomber cause those are your bombs.”
One thing wrong with the lyrics is its wavering on being anti-Amerikan.
He begans the song “This track is not an attack upon the American people,
It’s an attack upon the system within which they live.” The system itself is the enemy but the Amerikan people as a whole benefit from that system. He also states “I’m not anti-America, America is anti-me!.” It is correct that the policies of Amerika turn the masses of the world against it, but the logical conclusion is to go against Amerika and all it stands for. Lowkey likely has an audience in the social movements of the First World who attempt to pander to their exploiter nation’s majority, and try to show their patriotism. Revolutionary anti-imperialists must give the real message out, that exploiter nations and their people who support are the enemy.
In one of the verses he has a version of the Star Spangled banner sung in a hip hop manner. Whether it is to expose Amerikan hypocrisy, or to reclaim Amerikan ideals for the good, is unclear. Either way, the attempt does not come off successfully.
Like other politically minded hip hop artists in the First World, such as Dead Prez, the Coup, Immortal Technique, etc., Lowkey espouses leftist and often revolutionary politics in his music but errs in the direction of First Worldism, or pandering to a majority First World population. At the same time he espouses anti-imperialism he attempts not to offend the Amerikan majority. RAIM takes issue with him on this point. To oppose imperialism is to oppose its main exponent, Amerika. It is no mistake when those rallying around the flag rally for the atrocities committed under that flag. The Peace is Patriotic crowd fails. Those standing with the oppressed and exploited of the world should not play these games by identifying with this symbol of opression. Lowkey should take the logical conclusion that the history of American oppression continues today, and to end it means ending the idea and material reality of Amerika. It did not stray from its ideals in it imperialist interventions, it is what it is about. Amerika from its beginning has been like every other empire, based on conquest. Revolutionary artists need to transcend the meaning of Amerika and the First World and see it for the enemy that it is.
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Protest Denver's Quaintest Little Celebration of Genocide (aka the KKKolumbus Day March)
Saturday, October 9th, 9:00am
Protest KKKolumbus Day:
Saturday, October 9th 9am
Gather at the west steps of the Capitol for a rally followed by a protest of the Kolumbus Day parade
Meet for lunch
Gather at 38th and Shoshone to protest their after party
No Kolumbus Day! No Celebrations of Genocide!
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