Category Archives: Organizing

Denver Update

http://www.raimd.wordpress.com

Over the next few months, RAIM-Denver’s blog will go through a period of relative inactivity. Members of RAIM-Denver are nonetheless engaged in a number of ongoing projects, including but not limited to: learning Spanish, researching and writing longer essays, writing and doing work with other Third Worldists organizations, organizing study groups, and engaging in local, informal dialogue and education.

In the meantime, we encourage comrades worldwide to step up and pick up some slack. Specifically, we encourage comrades to begin taking steps towards being more proficient writers for the movement. Writing news and analysis, cultural reviews and even research is something that can be accomplished by lone comrades, yet can have far-reaching consequences. Writing up-to-date articles and providing a revolutionary, anti-imperialist analysis is one important role the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement has thus-far fulfilled. We are looking forward to continuing in the role in an even greater way into 2011 and beyond. Now is the time for comrades who’ve thus far been on the sidelines to take a more active role in this regard.

Likewise, study is important. There are now many comrades engaged in serious study to the end of contributing towards revolution. This is good and should continue. We encourage comrades to not neglect study, but redouble their efforts with informal and formal group study programs, insofar as it is possible.

Over the next year, we expect the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement to congeal into a larger, nodal, international network. With this positive breakthrough will come some changes. Our message and mission will be the same: revolution is possible, not based on the collective self-interest of bourgeosified First Worlders, but on the pressing necessity of the vast majority of humanity exploited by capitalist-imperialism; and our role, in betrayal of our immediate interest and often class background, is one in service to the world’s masses and their revolution.

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RAIM Digest Volume 2, Issue 6

RAIM Digest Volume 2, Issue 6

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Anti-Kolumbus Day 2010

Anti-Kolumbus Day 2010

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

Kolumbus Day, amongst Amerika’s quaintest celebrations of its founding genocide, rolled through again throughout Occupied North America. In Denver, the usual crowd of fake Italians and flag-waving crackers put on another grosteque display of parasitism and reaction. In absence of any evident protest plans, RAIM put a call-out to protest against the chauvinist Killumbus celebrators.

Behind the scenes we discussed the issue with interested parties and decided two protests were a good idea: first a rally and demonstration against the parade itself; then a protest across the street from their after-parade lunch.

Our efforts resulted in around 50 protesting the celebration of conquest and genocide. RAIM made a number of signs and banners. Some examples included, “End Amerika’s Longest Running Genocide: 1492-2010,” “I Hate the USA (there, I said it),” “Kick Cracker Bum$ Off Stolen Indian Lands,” and “No Amnesty for Pilgrims or Their ‘Anchor Babies.”

The protest slowly warmed up and was diverse and energetic, especially as the plunder parade drew near. There was no shortage to opposition this blatant display of reaction.

The actual Kolumbus Day parade was as trashy as usual.  It was both a celebration of past imperialism and genocide and a reflection of that which goes on today.  As usual, the parade was made up of motorcycles, muscle cars, some Hummers, and semis with empty flatbed trucks: all toys for Amerikan parasites. The parade featured Amerikan military troops, who are imitating Kolumbus in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere today.

Tom Tancredo, who was scheduled to appear in the convoy of conquest, didn’t show because he supposedly had a cold. The popular right-wing candidate in Kolorado’s 2010 governor campaign, his politics include: defining unborn Amerikans as living people and abortion as murder; advocating bombing Mecca and other Muslim holy sites; describing Spanish-speaking migrants as “illegal;” and claiming that Hezbollah has activist “terrorist” cells in Mexico. Even though Tankkkredo was too sick to sit in the passenger seat of a slow moving vehicle for 40 minutes, plenty of his racist supporters were there to represent.

The protesters’ chants included “Kolumbus Go to Hell,” “Kolumbus Go Home” “Yankee [and Gringo] Go Home,” and “Face It, You’re Racists, Your Claims On This Land Are Baseless.” These chants reflected the fact that Amerika is in fact a settler-empire founded on stolen land. Many of the protesters wanted to change that.  Many people took the opportunity to give the parade-goers  history lessons. Some suggested a wider range of other Italian history figures to celebrate besides Kolumbus.  RAIMers asked through megaphones, “Where are your hoods, you racists?”

The second protest was even more charged. This was the first year that protesters showed up to the Kolumbus beneficiaries’ after-party. There, many of racists tried to piggishly provoke fights with protesters in front of the cops. Others challenged protesters to back-alley brawls. Some asserted we were lucky the Denver police were near by, suggesting we would be physically harmed if not. For the protesters, this merely confirmed the Kolumbus Day gathering was just another lynch mob.

Some of the krackers called protesters ‘faggots.’ This was met by a wide range of responses. Some protesters admitted to not conforming to traditional gender or sex roles. Others suggested the krackers themselves might by projecting their own repressed desires onto the anti-imperialist opposition before them. George Vendegnia, head of the ‘Sons of Italy,’ with all the grace of a drunken date-rapist at a honky-tonk bar, gestured simultaneously to his genitalia and various protesters numerous times.

A moment of comedy for the protesters occurred when some of the racists again tried to look tough. A large groups of biker-krackers pulled near the intersection next to the protesters and began revving their obscenely loud engines. The protesters’ chants of “Pigs On Hogs” were muffled out by the noise. However, when the biker klan was order by the cops to move along, one kracker’s bike slid out from underneath him, resulting in him dropping it and scratching his multi-thousand-dollar custom paint job. Laughter largely overtook the protest crowd. However, one protester’s effort to help the pig recover his motorcycle from the pavement sent 10 or so more racists running over expecting a fight.

 

After a time of letting the paraders know they were racists, we headed out, fired up from confronting racial hate in the town. Over the course of the day, RAIMers had handed most of the protesters copies of the ‘Troublemaker’ DVD, from which we still get positive feedback, and our recent programmatic statement, ‘The Anti-Kolumbus Day Manifesto.’

Some local media made note of the declining number of protesters at the first protest, but failed to report on the second protest, which drew additional people. The media also noted the declining participation of the parade.  Even with the better weather from last year, the parade was still pathetic at barely 200 participants.

The Kolumbus myth is a center of the official narrative of Amerika as a beacon of freedom and democracy, and glosses over the legacy of imperialism that is at the heart of Amerika. Beginning after the anti-colonial movements, this narrative has been challenged internationally. In many countries and regions, Indigenous Peoples Day or Indigenous Resistance Day has replaced Kolumbus Day: a step in the right direction. Kolumbus Day is not part of a celebration of Italian or Italian-America history or heritage. It is a celebration of US and Western supremacy based on aggression and exploitation. It must be opposed along with imperialism itself.

It is worth noting that in Occupied America, anti-imperialist forces are a vast minority. We are ‘behind enemy lines.’ This was evident at the second protest, which was more of a stand-off at times. The racists were correct in one clear sense. Were the cops not present, they could have easily overran the diverse, smaller crowd of protesters. The 200 or so krackers present represented 200 or so potential modern brownshirts in a future fascist movement; 200 out of many more. To underscore the fascistic nature of the Kolumbus Day paraders and the danger they represent would be an error of underestimating the nature of the enemy. Already, Kolumbus Day has become a rallying cry for those who champion the reassertion of global Amerikan supremacy. (1)

Kolumbus Day, like imperialism, will come to an end. However, it will not be through the singular efforts of a small minority of anti-imperialists in western, First World countries. It will only end when the exploited masses of the Third World stand up, assert control over their own lives, beat back the First World and build a world free from imperialism. Standing against our material interests and becoming a traitor to one’s exploiter background; siding with the world’s exploited majority and supporting national liberation for captive, oppressed nations; opposing Amerikan chauvinism and overt celebrations of genocide and supremacy: these things are the least we can do here.

Notes:
(1) http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/28647

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US Activists’ Homes Raided, Support for Third World “Terrorists” Alleged

http://www.raimd.wordpress.com

On the early morning of September 24th, SWAT teams in Minneapolis and Chicago kicked in the doors of private residences, seizing computers and documents and serving grand jury subpoenas to at least thirteen US activists. The activists, many associated with First Worldist organizations, are, according to an FBI representative, part of an investigation “concerning the material support for terrorism.” (1)

Ted Dooley, a lawyer for one of the activists, said the raids regard “contact with FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and Hezbollah, all of which are FTOs (Foreign Terrorist Organizations).” Some of the subpoened activists had recently traveled to Columbia and Palestine to do solidarity work with those resisting US-sponsored militarism and admit to meeting with members of these groups, yet deny providing any material support to any organizations labeled ‘terrorist’ by the US.  (2)

The raids against Amerikan activists come during the ‘progressive’ administration of Barack Obama.  Despite this reputation, Obama has stepped up the war in Afghanistan (3); increased drone attacks in Pakistan and elsewhere(4);  amplified support for Israel (5); and maintains close relations with the comprador dictatorship in Columbia. (6) Now, as White supremacists openly organize militias and street gangs, such attacks come upon members of the self-described ‘peace’ movement. (7)

The First Worldist so-called ‘left’ has made a lot out of the FBI raids. For the most part, the First Worldist ‘left’ is ignored in the US, both by the imperialist state and the petty-imperialist asses. Such raids are therefore a relatively big deal for First Worldists, and small protests were held in dozens of US cities. (8)

Many on the so-called left have described the raids as part of an intimidation campaign meant to silence opposition prior to escalated imperialist militarism in the Middle East and Latin America. Others have described it as a ‘fishing expedition,’ an attempt to acquire as much information on the nominal ‘left’ as possible. (9) While both are likely true to a small extent, it misses the obvious.

The FBI raids concern those who facilitated connections between US activists and those resisting imperialist designs in their respective countries. The raids targeted activists who support, at least at face value, the active struggle of Third World masses.

Any criminal charges will likely be based around ‘material support’ for US-designated ‘terrorist’ organizations. There are only 46 such ‘terrorist’ organizations, a number which does not reflect the far greater magnitude of peoples’ resistance. ‘Material support’ is extremely broad and can be interpreted any number of ways.  While we certainly support the activists as defendants for the ‘crime’ of reaching out to those resisting imperialist terror, we question the very nature of First Worldist ‘aid’ to Third World peoples’ struggles.

First Worldism, the thought that the First World masses are exploited and part of a global proletariat, is not a minor error or slight miscalculation. When espoused to Third World peoples, it is an outright lie that misrepresents the true scope of the anti-imperialist struggle. Such a lie is so fundamental, its spread can only set back the anti-imperialist struggles being waged in Latin America, the Middle East and around the Third World. First Worldism, which denies First Worlders are affluent due to the exploitation of Third World peoples, must be opposed on an international level.

True First World anti-imperialist solidarity comes from working to create support for Third World liberation struggles, not globe-trotting while spreading the lie of First Worldism. True anti-imperialist solidarity comes by honestly assessing the social landscape and building public opinion in favor of Third World peoples’ revolution, not opportunistically pimping-off pre-existing resistance movements in an attempt to stand-out amidst an array of similar, First-Worldist grouplets.

The imperialist state vamped on several Amerikan activists for what they did right: work to build support for Third World liberation struggles. However, these attacks are light compared to what imperialism doles out to Third World peoples.

Imperialism will be defeated by the exclusive struggles of the world’s exploited majority and their allies. As the contradiction between the people of the exploited Third World and imperialist First heats up, we can only expect increasing legal attacks against those in the US and First World who foster support for such struggles. The correct route to take is not one of eclecticism, opportunism and appealing to the broad First World so-called ‘masses.’ The correct rout is one of clarity, determined strategy, and honesty guided by the sprit of revolutionary anti-imperialism. Real support is telling the truth and still working to advance the revolutionary struggle of the world’s exploited masses.

Sources:

(1) http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1936771969/Group-plans-protests-of-FBI-raids
(2) http://www.twincities.com/ci_16168424
(3) https://raimd.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/obama-more-troops-more-imperialism-more-of-the-same/
(4) https://raimd.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/drones-kill-28-people-then-hit-the-funeral/
(5) http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2010/09/28/Israel-gets-boost-in-US-military-aid/UPI-98411285697147/
(6) http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/09/obama-congratulates-colombias.html
(7) http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/11/white_power_usa_the_rise_of
(8) http://kasamaproject.org/2010/09/26/actions-planned-in-coming-days/
(9) http://www.frso.org/about/statements/2010/activists-denounce-fbi-raids.htm

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The Anti-Kolumbus Day Manifesto

The Anti-Kolumbus Day Manifesto

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

Every year in October, in cities throughout the US and occupied America, celebrations and parades are held on Kolumbus Day, in honor of Khristopher Kolumbus. And every year, though in fewer cities, these celebrations are met with resistance by those concerned with indigenous sovereignty and colonialism. This year, the protests continue.

We oppose Kolumbus Day because it is a de facto celebration of conquest, including the genocide and land theft waged against First Nations. Upon arriving in modern-day Haiti/Dominican Republic and viewing the native Tainos, Kolumbus remarked, “with fifty men, we could subjugate them all.” Thirty years after his arrival, the island’s Native population had declined by 90%. This pattern would be recreated across the Americas, particularly in the United States, where a campaign of genocide was waged against First Nation peoples by White settlers. Kolumbus would also pioneer slavery in the Americas, a phenomenon that would officially last nearly 400 years yet remains in the form of exploitation of the masses south of the militarily-imposed US-Mexico border and throughout the Third World.

We oppose Kolumbus Day because it is a de facto celebration of imperialism, the exploitation of subjugation of many peoples by a handful. Kolumbus’s original voyage was a landmark of Spanish imperialism, yet Kolumbus Day transcends this original meaning. Today, the United States stands above the rest of the world, dominating various peoples, in part by operating over 700 military bases around the globe. Today, over a billion people are faced with undernourishment, yet virtually every Amerikan is part of the world’s richest 15%. Kolumbus Day is a celebration of this ongoing imperial legacy.

We oppose Kolumbus Day because it is a celebration of parasitism and imperialist decadence. The ritualistic Kolumbus Day parade, usually consisting of closing roads for slow-moving processions of large vehicles filled with flags-waving crackers, is one made possible only through the exploitation of various countries, including their oil resources, for benefit of a decadent First World population. We protest Kolumbus Day in solidarity with those who suffer for the luxuries Amerikans receive 365 days a year, not just on this or that imperialist holiday.

Though a good start, ending Kolumbus Day alone doesn’t cut deep enough into the problem. Therefore, The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement presents the following program:

1) The end of all US territorial claims; national liberation for oppressed nations. Return of land to First Nations throughout the US and Klanada. National liberation for Mexicanos on both sides of the militarily-imposed border and reunification. National liberation and sovereignty for Puerto Rico and for the Kanaka Maoli of Hawai’i. National liberation and self-determination for the Black nation. The surrender of all US-controlled land throughout the world.

2) The imposition of a globalized democracy of the world’s oppressed and exploited masses upon the United States and First World. The creation of zones throughout the current US and elsewhere to be used as the global proletariat sees fit.

3) The massive payment of reparations from Amerikans to the Third World, to be accomplished through the redistribution of land, capital and through labor.

4) Relocation of many Whites, including to the Third World, and reeducation for all Amerikans, resulting in the liquidation of much of the White nation and eradication of their parasite culture.

These are the demands of a world that suffers from deep problems and requires truly revolutionary solutions. Until these demands are met, resistance will continue.

The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement-Denver

The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement-Seattle

October 1st, 2010

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Filed under Agitation Statements, Anti-Racism, Black Nation, First Nations, Images, Imperialism, KKKolumbus Day, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing, White Amerika

Movie Review: Machete and The Baader Meinhof Complex

Movie Review: Machete and The Baader Meinhof Complex

http://www.raimd.wordpress.com

Machete (2010, Ethan Maniquin and Robert Rodriguez) and The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008, Uli Edel) are two recent movies set in imperialist countries, both depicting armed struggle against reactionaries.

Machete garnered criticism prior to its release, including campaigns by White supremacists to have the film pulled from Amerikan theaters, ostensibly for fear its depiction of Mexicans engaging in mass-violence against Whites would spark a real-life ‘race’ revolt. (1) The Baader Meinhof Complex is ‘foreign film’ dramatizing the real-life Red Army Faction, a clandestine group which beginning in 1970 waged armed struggle against the Federal Republic of Germany in the name of communism and anti-imperialism.

While the movies follow dissimilar plots, both deal with the topic of revolutionary armed struggle and reaction. It’s worth noting that we at RAIM-Denver are fairly familiar with the situation involving the national oppression of Mexicans on both sides of the militarily-imposed US/Mexico border, yet are largely ignorant regarding the factual details surrounding the RAF. Thus, our treatment of The Baader Meinhof Complex will be solely as a cultural product, and not as historical analysis of the real-life RAF.

In Machete, we meet the protagonist of the same name (Danny Trejo) as a federal agent of the Mexican state. Fleeing a powerful drug cartel, Machete ends up in Texas where, while searching for work as a manual laborer, he’s forced-hired into assassinating an anti-migrant state senator, played by Robert De Niro. It’s a set-up, however. The botched assassination attempt is pinned on Machete in hopes of building public opinion for even more anti-Mexican legislation, including an electrified fence along the border.

The Baader Meinhof Complex opens in 1967, showing a student protest against the despotic Shah of Iran. The students are beat by goons of the CIA-supported monarchy and by German police as they stand defenseless, backed against a wall. Soon into the film, Ulrike Meinhoff (Martina Gedeck), a sharp-worded, progressive journalist, Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibteu), depicted as arrogant, extreme and prone towards violent action, and Gundrin Esslin (Johanna Wokalek), a young blonde depicted as rebellious and verbally aggressive towards her parents, decide that words alone will not stop “Amerikan imperialists” or the fact that over “half the people in the world do not have enough to eat,” deciding instead to take up arms against the West German state and organs of Western capital. After going underground and running from the law, the group is apprehended and placed in isolation together as their trial begins. Subsequent ‘generations’ of the RAF arise, continuing the armed struggle but with the goal of freeing the original members. After several years and armed actions by various RAF unit, the imprisoned lead members, save Meinhof who previously died in what was called a suicide, lose hope and kill themselves as well.

People who like Machete for its thematic violence of the oppressed against the oppressor will also find The Baader Meinhof Complex interesting, though the latter is fairly longer and has slower moments towards the end. While Machete depicts plenty of over the top, high-action, fight scenes and climaxes with a ‘battle royale’ between the forces led by Machete and White supremacist militias, The Baader Meinhof Complex depicts a number of gun fights, bombings, bank robberies and even an ill-fated plane hijacking. The Baader Meinhof Complex is also explicitly more political. Cries of ‘Ho Ho Ho Chi Mihn’ are chanted at one gathering; students have Mao posters on their dormitory walls; references are made to ‘May ’68’ in Paris and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.; RAF members meet with members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Tunis and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Jordan; and there is a steady denunciation of the West Germany’s support for US imperialism and “fascism.”

Both movies have strong female lead characters. In The Baader Meinhoff Complex, Ulrike Menhoff is the the eldest founder of the RAF and in charge of propaganda. Esslin Gundrun, the youngest lead character and girlfriend of Baader, is nonetheless shown as passionate and as someone who was pivotal in getting things done within the group. Further into the movie, under the pressure of capture and confinement together, both begin to break down emotionally and increasingly argue with one another, reinforcing the view that women are emotional and weak while discounting the psychological pressure brought to bare on them by the reactionary state.

In Machete, the two female lead characters are initially foes. Lulz (Michelle Rodriguez), shown as righteous and socially concerned, organizes an underground “network” to provide services for oppressed migrants while Sartana (Jessica Alba), a naive, sycophantic ICE agent, harasses her and makes threats of criminal charges. The women come together as part of Machete’s quest for revenge. In the process, Lulz gets shot in the eye and comes back fighting even harder: if nothing else an allegory for revolutionary determinism. Sartana recants her previous position in support of imperialist legalism and declares to a crowd of migrants, “We didn’t cross the border. The border crossed us!”

Unfortunately, Machete does drop the ball regarding gender in a number of ways. In one notable scene of question (of many), Machete gives tequila to the wife and daughter of the man who set him up, sleeps with them and films it for his foe to watch later. While there is no doubt an element of humor simply for the outrage this must generate on the part of actual White supremacists, this scene is symptomatic of the film’s larger depiction of women, i.e. they are not treated as independent agents (with perhaps the exception Luz), but instead act as objects, things to be acted upon in one way or another by Machete or the male viewer.

In both movies nudity is prevalent. In The Baader Meinhof Complex, such is not so one-sided. In an opening scene, children and adults are shown nude at a beach. In this regard, that nudity serves not sexual purposes solely, The Baader Meinhof Complex is less reactionary. In another scene however, while the original RAF are training with Muslims in Tunis, they sunbathe nude in plain view. When told by the camp commander to cover themselves, they respond, “fucking and shooting are the same.” In the scene, Baader and Esslin are rightly depicted as crass, almost as if they are Amerikan vacationers. If fact, this is not an example of anti-imperialist fraternity nor spreading sexual liberation, but imposing the culture of a dominating society under the guise of such.

Revolutionary Violence

While there is much to say about the minutia of the films, the main theme of both is violence in name of the oppressed against the oppressor within imperialist countries.

In Machete, a work of fiction, the violence is over-the-top and gratuitous. In one early scene, the protagonist swings his machete in a circle and decapitates three people who were closing in on him. In another set in a hospital, he uses a ‘bone-scraper’ and several surgical knives tied to a belt to cut up several gun-toting men before using one’s small intestine to jump out the window and swing into the floor below. Likewise, the social setting in Machete is narrow, there being only politicians, main characters, hired guns, a few pigs, border militiamen, migrants and some cholo-type Chicanos. Missing from the picture are Whites- particularly the reactionary White masses, including so-called “workers,” or the imperialist state in full force. This, along with the movie’s revenge-based plot, allows Machete to be a movie with a happy ending, where Machete himself defeats the bad guys and ‘gets the girl.’ By the end though, despite the protagonist’s personal achievements, nothing has really changed. In an ironic twist, the right-wing politician played by Robert De Niro is shot to death near the border by White vigilantes who thinks he’s Mexican. Perhaps Machete will return in a sequel and broaden the scope of the struggle? We won’t hold our breath.

In The Baader Meinhof Complex, supposedly based on true events, the ending isn’t as happy. The members of the RAF, mostly student-aged and young adults, are driven by causes such as anti-imperialism and communism and are sympathetic to the plight and resistance of Third World peoples. They are outraged and disenchanted with the response of everyday West Germans to these phenomena, yet never come out and say as much, nor do they ever make the demarcation and write off West Germans entirely. When they launch their clandestine armed struggle, they envision it as being part of a world-wide revolutionary movement yet make efforts to not harm your average West German, seeing this as pivotal to winning public sympathy. After the founding members of the RAF are apprehended, others from similar backgrounds arise, carrying on the struggle and including “the release of political prisoners” as part of their campaign against German reactionaries and imperialism. This too is ill-fated, as these newer members are all apprehended or killed, leading to the climax that is the apparent suicide of the remaining lead characters.

While certainly not the ‘happy ending’ of Machete, the down conclusion to The Baader Meinhof Complex does leave us asking, “what went wrong?,” a serious question for revolutionaries in imperialist countries. Many would say RAF were ultra-leftist and their militant armed struggle freaked out the west German ‘masses.’ In truth, this is not the case. Rather, the RAF was ultra-“left.” Though their action appeared militant and extreme, it was always predicated on a perceived political alliance and unity with a portion of the west German population, all of which were part of a global petty-bourgeoisie and thus an unreliable ally (at best) to their struggle. The founders of the RAF would have done better to develop their writing capabilities under the direction of Ulrike Meinhof, coordinate real ties to foreign fighters, fall under their discipline when appropriate and develop alternative means of contributing to the global revolutionary struggle, not launch an hasty armed struggle in west Germany with the assumption that west Germans would support them.

The Network

More interesting than any possible Machete sequel or the First Worldist focoism of the RAF would be a film featuring She and the Network. In Machete, it’s stated that Lulz has been busy organizing migrants, helping them cross the border, securing housing and jobs and “making sure they play their part” once they’re settled. The operation is called the Network, and it includes a mythology about a militant female leader known only as “She.” When Machete makes his hulkish last stand, his success is aided b y the connections Lulz has already made.

Today, the situation involving Mexicans migrants is dynamic. Historically, there has been a trend towards assimilation. However, as the numbers of Mexicans and Chicanos rise, particularly in the Amerikan ‘southwest’ (occupied Mexico), a situation may arise where the social basis for national liberation struggles becomes more readily apparent. Ultimately, it will be the type of work typified by Lulz, politicized ‘serve the people’ programs organized outside pre-existing power structures, which will advance and aid this struggle.

Again on Violence

One final note. We imagine many First World viewers will find the presentation of violence in both Machete and  The Baader Meinhof Complex to be off-putting in one way or another.

In Machete, the violence is unnatural, over-the-top, intense, frequent, etc. However, the same could be said with the Expendables or any number of Amerikan-inspired action movies. In Machete, the difference is that the violence is dished out by forces representing the oppressed against oppressors. Simply put: that is why it stands out, why it is good.

Many so-called “leftists” would reject the violence of the RAF on rotten grounds, whether pacifism, charges of being too extreme and “left,” or other liberal reasons. However, the violence of the RAF should be looked at critically and put in the correct perspective.

Nothing is more violent than imperialism. Every 2.43 seconds, someone dies from starvation- a form of structural violence. The violence in Machete by contrast is mild and restrained. Though ultimately misguided at a fundamental level, the same could be said about the RAF. The question is not whether in either movie violence was depicted in a gratuitous way, this answer being obvious. Ultimately, it matters against whom the violence is being expressed upon, and towards what end. And for this, we see no reason to broadly criticize either movie.

Notes:

(1) http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t737495/

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Filed under Culture and Art, Imperialism, Movie Reviews, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing, Youth

Long Live Mexico: In Commemoration of the 100th Year Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution

Long Live Mexico: In Commemoration of the 100th Year Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution

By Nick Brown

(Author’s note: This was written in the early part of 2010, my hopes being that it could have been published earlier.

In the various feedback I’ve received, two main things stood out. First, there is not a consensus amongst those queried for comments about the various topics, and in some cases contradictory responses about single issues were given. Second, for this essay to be anything close to definitive it would need  to be a series of books.

Without additional time to lengthen and restructure the entire essay and draw in the entirety of historiography and current thoughts, I’ve attempted to reconcile the problems as much as possible in the notes.

Accordingly, this document does not reflect the sole, comprehensive line of The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism Movement(RAIM) on the matters discussed (see, ‘Fuck the Border, Support Mexican National Liberation‘ for our general program in support of Mexican national liberation). Rather it is being published as a resource and timely effort at education in service of revolution. My hope is that this essay can help contribute to a basic narrative surrounding the Mexican Revolution and the events since, as part of a wider anti-imperialist historical narrative. Certainly, this essay following is hardly all there is to be said about such topics.)

This year, 2010, marks the centennial of the start of the Mexican Revolution, or La Revolucion. [1] It was one of the first major attempts at social revolution in the 20th century and one in many of only partially-successful or failed revolutions throughout the still-developing Third World.

Its age, the fact that it didn’t survive as a social revolution, etc, does not diminish its significance. Rather, the Mexican Revolution is part of the real cultural heritage of many millions of people, both in Mexico and the US. Additionally, the revolutionary project, the idea of achieving the more radical goals of the Mexican Revolution, is one of continued relevance and necessity today.

Background and Outcome of the Mexican Revolution

The Mexican Revolution erupted in 1910 with Francisco Madero’s Plan de San Luis Potsi and rebellion against the quarter-century-old regime of Porfirio Diaz. Diaz’s rule, lauded by many around the world, proved to be a paper tiger and collapsed after only a few short months of simultaneous revolts under a variety of leaderships. [2]

Like all revolutions throughout the 20th century, the Mexican Revolution contained agrarian and anti-imperialism aims. It was seen by many as a revolution of the common masses against the big landlords, the corrupt Mexican state and the foreigners (particularly Amerikans) gaining ever more influence in Mexican society. However, by the end of the decade, the radical aims would be cut sort as splits within the rebelling forces and US intervention led to a series of moderate, inevitably comprador leaders.

The most radical proposals put forward during the Mexican Revolution were done so in part by Emiliano Zapata of Morelos. The Plan de Ayala of 1911, which launched Zapata’s revolt against Madero, called for the return of communal and small-holding lands to those it was stolen from, breaking up monopolies to the benefit of common Mexicans and waging a form of total justice against those power holders who might resist. Sociologist and researcher into revolutions, John Foran, argues “the social revolution reached its apogee in late 1914 with the arrival of [Pancho] Villa and Zapata in Mexico City, and that it was militarily defeated in 1915-16 by [Álvaro] Obregon and [Venustiano] Carranza, who then laid the groundwork for the carrying out of a less thorough-going social transformation in the 1920s and beyond.” (Taking Power 34)

However, it wasn’t Carranza or Obregon who in the main reversed the growing wave of mobilization for social transformation. The United States had a hand in the outcome of the Mexican Revolution. Ramon Ruiz notes:

“The Yankee next door, Mexicans learned immediately, would not easily relinquish his stake in Mexico. To the contrary, investors and their government in Washington watched warily the course of the rebellion, and from the start, worked feverishly to keep it within the bounds of what they believed permissible. They distrusted social revolution and only belatedly tolerated halfway reform.[…] [H]istory amply documents sundry Ameri[k]an efforts to impede and stifle change in Mexico.” (The Great Rebellion 383)

At every turn of La Revolucion, the US attempted to direct the outcome in one manner or another. In 1910-11, the US did little to prevent Francisco Madero from launching his initial rebellion and undermined the Diaz regime by stationing troops at Mexico’s northern border. (Ibid 389) Two years later, the US ambassador to Mexico, Henry Lane Wilson, directly colluded with Victoriano Huerta to overthrown Madero as part of the Ten Tragic Days. (Ibid 391) Later, the US turned on Huerta, compelling his ouster, and by 1915-16 was backing Carranza against the more radical and nationalist factions led in part by Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. (Ibid 394)

Carranza, in turn, would preside over the writing of Mexico’s constitution in 1917. Rather than resolve the contradictions within Mexico, the Constitution of 1917 blunted them as the comprador-bourgeoisie regained an upper hand within the power structure of Mexican society. With the ascendancy of Carranza and marginalization of more radical forces, the vast majority of Mexicans lost an equal voice in deciding Mexico’s future. In the words of Ramon Ruiz, it was “a cataclysmic rebellion but not a social ‘Revolution’,” i.e, it accomplished minimal social transformation through great upheaval. [3] (ix)

One of the most immediate results of the Mexican Revolution was an influx of refugees into the United States. Already prior to the Revolution, Mexicans were migrating to the US in high numbers (Acuna 150). Combined with US labor demands during World War I, the Mexican Revolution culminated in the first great wave of northbound Mexican migration since the US’s invasion and occupation of Mexico in 1846 and greatly contributed to continuity between previously-existing and future Chicano communities in the ‘Southwest’ and throughout the US. It’s estimated that by 1929 there were nearly a million Mexicans living in the United States. (Taylor)

Unlike the waves of refugees which followed abortive revolutions in central and eastern Europe or the successful one in Cuba, the US played host to Mexicans of a diverse political blend. Nonetheless, the mass arrival of Mexican migrants also coincided with a “brown scare,” mob-violence and lynchings directed at the Spanish-speaking communities at a greater rate than faced by Blacks in the post-Reconstruction South. (Carrigan)

The Mexican Revolution and Today’s Context

Today, the world is not much different than 100 years ago. We can say that the main difference is one of degree. Whereas in the 18th, 19th and early-20th century, patterns of imperialism and dependent development emerged and solidified, in the late-20th and early-21st centuries, even greater interconnectedness and polarization have arisen as well as a host of other problems (largely relating to climate change and resources availability).  According to the United Nations, for example, the gap between to richest and poorest countries grew from 3 to 1 in 1820 and 11 to 1 in 1913, to 72 to 1 by 1992. (Human Development Report, 1999: Globalization with a Human Face, 38) Another report suggests the gap between the average incomes of the world’s richest and poorest 5% jumped from 78 to 1 in 1988, to 114 to 1 in 1993, and that, “an American [sic] having the average income of the bottom US docile is better-off that 2/3 of [the] world population.” (Milanovic, 88, 89)

This phenomenon and its social implications were described by a number of thinkers contemporary to the Mexican Revolution.  The controversial Black intellectual, William E.B. DuBois, explained with great prescience:

“[T]he white workingman has been asked to share the spoils of exploiting ‘chinks and niggers.’ It is no longer simply the merchant prince, or the aristocratic monopoly, or even the employing class, that is exploiting the world: it is the nation; a new democratic nation composed of united capital and labor. The laborers are not yet getting, to be sure, as large a share as they want or will get…[b]ut the laborer’s equity is recognized, and his just share is a matter of time, intelligence and skillful negotiation.” (The African Origins of War, 1915) [4]

Today, up to a fifth of the world’s population act as effective parasites upon the remaining eighty percent: a bourgeoisified First World minority existing through direct exploitation of labor, unequal exchange and modern-day plunder backed by military might. Contrary to the proclamations of bourgeois intellectuals and their followers, the necessity of revolution has not gone away. Instead, the modern equivalent of the archetypal proletariat is embodied by those exploited and dispossessed by imperialism in the Third World and, to a much lesser extent, those who suffer related national oppression.

Regarding the Mexican Revolution, its continuing significance and the revolutionary project focused in North America, the subject is two-fold. First are Mexicans, often exploited under the dual weight of comprador-capitalism and imperialism; and second, Chicanos, a group born of ties to Mexico and oppression within the US.

Chicanos and Mexicans

It is difficult, if impossible, to talk about Mexicans without talking about Chicanos, and vice versa. [5]  Their history, customs, and identity are related. For Mexicans, the US has been a refuge,  a source of seasonal work and often permanent home. Thus, Chicanos, those of Mexican descent born in the U.S. with no direct ties to Mexico, are a group very much in flux, born from the historic and ongoing migration of Mexicans into a territory and social structure dominated by Whites. [6]

Jeanne Batalova of the Migration Policy Institute noted, “In 2006, more than 11.5 million Mexican immigrants[sic] resided in the United States, accounting for 30.7 percent of all US immigrants and one-tenth of the entire population born in Mexico.” According to the same report, over a quarter of this group arrived within the last decade. (“Mexican Immigrants in the United States”)

In 2007, ‘Hispanics’ (a demographic term including those of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking, American descent, but mostly comprising of those of Mexican descent) accounted for 45.5 million people inside the US, making them the largest ‘minority’ group and 15% of the total population. This group is most significant in the southwestern region of the US (land seized from Mexico in 1846-48, henceforth referred to as Occupied Mexico). For example, in New Mexico, California and Texas, ‘Hispanics’ make up between 44 and 36% of the total population.  This group is also younger: the median age being 27.6 years of age compared to 36.6 in the population as a whole, and almost 34 percent of the ‘Hispanic’ population is younger than 18 years old compared with a country-wide average of 25 percent. (“US Hispanic Population Surpasses 45 Million, Now 15 Percent of Total”)

Inside the US, Chicanos live hardly equal to Whites. During the 2007-8 recession for example, the US Census Bureau reported that median household annual income dropped 2.6% to $55,530 for Whites and 5.6% to $37,913 for ‘Hispanics.’ (“Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the Unites States”) Additionally, Chicanos face a disproportionate amount of policing and imprisonment compared to Whites. The state of Colorado, for example, incarcerates ‘Hispanics’ at twice the rate of Whites (and Blacks at six and a half times). (Mauer, Washington 14) Similarly, Chicanos find themselves increasingly targeted as Mexican migrants are becoming even more criminalized inside the US.

Relatively speaking, Chicanos have it lucky. Their kin in Mexico often face the worst of imperialism: sweat-shops, sex trade, destroyed ecosystems, uprooted communities, disappearing traditional economies and an overall lack of opportunities.

While Mexico has long been held in a state of dependent development, this has only increased with the introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.

Subcommandante Marcos, a prominent representative of the Zapatista movement, called NAFTA a “death certificate for the Indian peoples of Mexico.” (qtd. in Campbell, “The NAFTA War”) Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution was formally amended to accommodate conditions of NAFTA’s enactment, thus rescinding what little legal protection indigenous people had over communal lands. Also under NAFTA, Mexico was flooded with cheap corn from subsidized Amerikan farmers, destroying the former’s rural economy. (Gutierrez) Thus in 2005, according to the US Department of Labor, the hourly compensation cost of Mexican production workers was $2.63 an hour, compared to $23.65 for their US counterparts. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)  Mexico was the hardest hit Latin American country during the recent economic crisis; the number of people in Mexico living on less the two dollars a day jumping from 44.7 million (42% of the total population) to 53 million (46%) between 2006 and 2010. (Mexico Solidarity Network) Though the official unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Latin America, around 20% of Mexicans find a living in the informal sector. (Cevallos)  Labor unrest in Mexico is increasingly heated. (Paterson)

Reclaiming History and the Future: Contemporary Movements

Neither Mexicans nor Chicanos have forgotten the Mexican Revolution and its radical potential.

Groups like the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional- EZLN) are well known for their struggle against the Mexican state. They emerged on January 1st, 1994 in the state of Chiapas to the shock and fanfare of many. Their initial ‘Declaration of War ‘ called for the “return of the land to those who work it” and quoted Article 39 of the Mexican Constitution in calling for the overthrow of the Mexican government. (First Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle)

Unlike many resistance groups, the Zapatistas have managed to capture significant world-wide attention. Thus, many interpretations exist of their movement. Early on, some analysts speculated on the EZLN’s ideological origins in Maoism, which seeks to build up base areas and create expanding liberated zones where reactionary forces are the weakest. (La Botz 38) The EZLN leadership has disavowed this interpretation, stating, “We don’t think like the Maoists. We don’t think that the campesino army from the mountains can fence in the cities.” (Marcos, qtd. in Henríquez and Petrich) The Zapatistas now claim they are fighting for autonomy and freedom in areas of Chiapas and have worked intensively at courting support of the local indigenous population. While some on the nominal left have lauded the EZLN, noting their insistence on not ‘taking power’ but instead fighting for ‘justice, freedom and democracy’ and ‘neutral political space,’ (Halloway) others have labeled such as strategy as “armed reformism” (EPR qtd in Weinberg 299) and the EZLN has been criticized as “the first post-modern guerrilla group.” (People of Color Organize!)

The Zapatistas are not the only group attempting to lead armed resistance against the Mexican state. The Popular Revolutionary Army (Ejército Popular Revolucionario- EPR) revealed themselves in 1996 with their Manifesto of Aguas Blancas, stating their aim as creating a “democratic people’s republic” in Mexico. (Lemoine) (Weinburg 208)  The EPR has been more prone to a focoist strategy of sabotage and coordinated attacks on state forces than the EZLN, and thus been more easily labeled terrorists by reactionaries. In June of 2007, the group briefly crippled the Mexican economy through coordinated attacks on the country’s gas pipelines, resulting in a crackdown from the Mexican state directed at a number of resistance groups, not just the EPR.  (Ibid 286) (Tobar) In the past, the EPR leadership has defended such actions, asking, “Whose pardon are we supposed to ask for not letting the government continue to murder people? And for our armed uprising? The government’s, perhaps?” (qtd. in Lemoine)  Other armed leftist groups include the Insurgent People’s Revolutionary Army (ERPI), formed from a 1998 split with the EPR, and the Triple Guerrilla National Indigenous Alliance (TAGIN), which has recently called for unity between various groups and an escalation in attacks. (Ibid) (Ross, “A Real Blast”)

Whereas armed groups in Mexico are attempting to push forward towards a second attempt at revolution, reformers and misleaders also pay homage to the ideals and iconography behind La Revolucion. Perhaps this is nowhere better illustrated than by the Revolutionary Democratic Party (Partido de la Revolución Democrática- PRD), the largest nominally-left grouping and one of the three main electoral parties in Mexico.

The PRD was founded in 1989 as a left-wing split, led by Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, from the historically-ruling Institutionalized Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional- PRI). Cárdenas is the son of the former Mexico President, Lázaro Cárdenas del Río, who, beginning in 1934, pushed through the last mildly-progressive reforms on the heels of the Mexican Revolution, including the compensated nationalization of the country’s oil industry in 1938.

The PRD became involved in civil unrest when its candidate for president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, narrowly lost the country’s 2006 presidential election and made charges of fraud. (Campell, “Calderon inaugurated while lawmakers brawl”) Cárdenas, who still leads the party, frequently refers to the Mexican Revolution, its unfinished nature and continuing relevance. “The revolutionaries fought for democracy, for equality and justice, for education, knowledge and culture, for a just and generous nation, for shared progress and a fair and equitable world order,” Cárdenas told an audience at the University of California, Los Angeles recently. “To build a new Mexico, the lessons we can derive from the Mexican Revolution show us the way.” (qtd. in Matthews)

Though the PRD often uses such lofty, ‘revolutionary’ language, their phraseology is not unlike that of the PRI: slogans to bolster and advance their own rule absent any revolutionary transformation. More than anything else, the PRD’s rhetoric shows how both the memory and goals of the Mexican Revolution  remain strong with the people. [7]

In Occupied Mexico and throughout the US, Chicanos continue to hold onto the Mexican Revolution, including its underlying values, as part of their cultural heritage. Beginning in the late-60’s, Chicano nationalism gave rise to a number of organizations, including the Crusade for Justice, La Raza Unida Party, the Brown Berets, MECHA, and the Centro de Acción Social Autónoma (CASA).  These and other groups and individuals took up a wide range of ends and means in varying locales to form a quite diverse and tumultuous movement. (“The Question of Youth and Revolution”) [8]

More recently, Chicano nationalism and its references to the Mexican Revolution have begun to reemerge as controversy over ‘immigration’ has spilled into the mainstream. In 1994, California’s Proposition 187, which barred access to public services (such as schools and hospitals) for ‘illegal aliens,’ engendered nationwide outrage and led to a march of 70,000 in downtown Los Angeles. ( McDonnell, Lopez)  Over a decade later, in response to US House Resolution 4437, Mexicans, Chicanos, other migrant communities, and their allies, a total of 1.5 million people in the US, staged massive protests on May 1st, 2006. Since then, International Workers’ Day, a holiday long ignored within the US, has been rechristened as a day of support for migrants’ struggles. (“Over 1.5 Million March for Immigrant Rights in One of Largest Days of Protest in U.S. History”) In 2010 and following the passage of Arizona’s SB1070, which gives the police the power to stop and question anyone who ‘seems illegal,’ rallies were held in over 90 major US cities, including one of 60,000 people in Los Angelas. (McDonnell, Watanabe)  Similar rallies in Denver drew around 10,000 people, mainly Mexicans and Chicanos, including many students. (Espinoza, McWilliams)

Whereas figures such as Che Guervara have long been icons within the post-60’s nominal left, Emiliano Zapata prominently occupies this role at such political demonstrations. At one of Denver’s most recent May Day rallies, two large banners featuring his likeness were on display, one reading, “Zapata Vive, Le Luche Sigue” [“Zapata Lives, the Struggle Continues”]. (RAIM-Denver, “Denver May Day 2010”) Similarly, an annual March for Zapata is held in Los Angeles. (LA Eastside) Especially during the earlier protests, Mexican flags have been prominently featured. As time has wore on and as reform-oriented coalitions have seized much of the control over the movement, their display has been discouraged in favor of Amerikan flags. In many ways, this symbolized the internal dynamic of Chicano movements, with Mexicano nationalist and assimilationist factions disagreeing on tactics and long term goals and vying for leadership over the broader movement.

Quickening situation

More to any other people’s struggle, that of Mexicans’ is connected to struggles inside the US itself. Due to the relatedness of Mexicans and Chicanos, it should be of no surprise that their respective revolutionary struggles are deeply affective of one another.

John Ross, author of El Monstruo, Dread and Redemption in Mexico City and 50-year resident of the country, recently stated, “Objectively, at this moment, Mexico is overripe for social upheaval.” (qtd. in Ross, “John Ross on ‘El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico City'”) He argues that a big cause of unrest in Mexico lies to the north.

“Traditionally, escapers in México came north towards what they called the ‘safety valve.’ But they can’t get across the border now because of the way it has been militarized,” Ross was quoted as saying. “When you turn off the safety valve, you amplify the pressure on the situation.” (qtd. in Terrazas)

It should be of no surprise that the storm center of revolutionary struggle on the North American continent lies in Mexico. There, the masses face the harsh conditions imposed by imperialism and often struggle against its thuggish forces. However, conditions in the north (USA) greatly affect those in the south (Mexico).  A speculation-driven ‘financial crisis’ has eroded the confidence of Amerika’s largest body of oppressors, Whites, and provoked amongst them a fascistic backlash directed in no-small part against “illegals;” as well as resulting in even greater militarization of the border. Thus, not only has movement of Mexicans been greatly impeded, but remittances, Mexico’s second largest source of foreign income, have fallen dramatically, down 15.7% in 2009. (Castillo)

Under such conditions, unrest is likely to continue and grow in Mexico. However, a number of other factors need be present in order for a mass revolutionary movement to develop and succeed.

In Taking Power, On the Origins of Third World Revolution, John Foran reduces these factors to five: dependent development, followed by a economic downturn, exclusionary rule, a social culture and coalition of opposition which gains legitimacy amongst the population at large, and a world systemic opening. [9]

It is likely, if only possible, that these conditions will develop simultaneously and in relation to each other. A general degradation of US global hegemony and the effects this will have on the Mexican economy could conceivable lead to a political crisis within Mexico. Rather than the liberal democracy that imperialism traffics in, such a crisis can only be met with increasingly violent, repressive measures from the Mexican state and the US, resulting in the delegitimization of existing power structures and increased support for existing and new revolutionary organizations and coalitions inside Mexico.

Under such a crisis of open class warfare inside Mexico, it is safe to assume that class struggle in the US would also heat up, much of it in favor of reaction and intervention. In the wake of such reaction, an opening might present itself where Chicanos more widely identify with the struggle of Mexicans and, to varying degrees, the international proletariat. This tide of Chicano radicalism, combined with what larger revolutionary internationalist sentiment could be mustered in the US, would alone not be able to carry out a wider social revolution against the forces of reaction throughout the US. However, it might be useful in impeding reactionaries’ full ability to stifle the revolutionary struggle in Mexico.

While this scenario, a winding spiral of the preconditions of revolution described by Foran, may seem far fetched, it is far less so than the “end of history” theory put forward by Francis Fukuyama and many liberal supporters of the capitalist-imperialist system. Rather than entering into an age of peace and harmony as predicted by bourgeois theorists and new-age gurus alike, the world is becoming more unequal and more conflict-ridden. No doubt, it will be against a backdrop of global social unrest, in no small part directed against the imperialist bourgeoisie and its local agents, that any revolutionary struggle in North America, centered in Mexico, will likely develop and find fertile conditions for success.

Northern Stars

Already in the north, where ideas flow more freely, revolutionary Chicano and Third Worldist groups are pushing a political line and culture of broader internationalism of the oppressed and exploited, especially between Chicanos and Mexicanos.

Colorado-based Mexicana Resistencia, in describing the struggles of Chicanos and Mexicans writes:

“We use the term migration as opposed to immigration to challenge the US Settler colonialists’ dehumanizing and dominating view of legality that is based on stolen land and imperialism with the understanding that when injustice becomes law resistance becomes duty; in opposition to the reformist sectors in the non-profit industrial complex working on so-called immigration rights when in actuality they co-opt, pacify, mislead and misdirect our movement; to redefine the perspective as a movement of a people with our own occupied homeland as opposed to a movement into another country; to reclaim the North; to unite our people and political struggle; and to have self-determination in defining our issues and give direction against the oppressive conditions that confront us.[…]”

“Self-determination is based on a revolutionary nationalist culture of resistance with the objective of creating a reunited homeland and liberated future based on human need instead of profit motives.” (Mexicana Resistencia)

Groups such as the Third-Worldist, Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (RAIM) also promote a revolutionary unity between Chicanos and Mexicans, and supports Occupied Mexico’s “reunification with a revolutionized Mexico,” as part of the “division and ultimate destruction of Amerika.” (“Fuck the Border, Support Mexican National Liberation”)

The Mexican National Liberation Movement (Movemento Liberacion National Mexicano-MLNM) stresses that Chicanos and Mexicanos are “one people divided by a militarily-imposed border,” and describes “socialist reunification with Mexico” as their ultimate goal. They support national liberation struggles throughout the world and its membership has suffered repression, including prison sentences for refusing to collaborate with a grand jury investigation into the Puerto Rican Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN). The MLMN describe US imperialism as their primary enemy: “We are fighting the biggest empire ever and we are right inside of it.[…] The revolutionary movement here will begin in the south.” (Tizoc)

While there is nothing to suggest any of these groups or their blend of ideologies currently have any mass following in the north, each does represent the kind of totalizing, revolutionary internationalism required as part of any modern, genuine, mass revolutionary movement. As the US becomes more reactionary, their message of unity with the Third World and rejection of the First may gain wider, marginal appeal inside the US. Neither should we discount the possibility of such internationalist messages percolating southward, into Mexico and beyond.

Sunrise

While an open split between Chicanos (or at least a section of them) and Amerika may be heavily influential as part of the revolutionary struggle in Mexico, we should not see it as the overarching factor, or as part of any ‘world systemic opening’ for another, more successful Mexican revolution. While glimmers of light may exist in an otherwise dark, northern sky, the ‘proletarian sun’ will mainly arise from the ‘global south,’ the Third World, and it is these convergent struggles to which particular revolutionary struggles, including that of Mexicans and Chicanos, are bound to.

In 1965, Lin Biao, a general in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and prominent leftist during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, described the situation similarly. In Long Live the Victory of People’s War!, Lin described the “proletarian revolutionary movement” as “for various reasons …temporarily held back in the North American and West European capitalist countries,” and stated that, “In the final analysis, the whole cause of world revolution hinges on the revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples who make up the overwhelming majority of the world’s population. The socialist countries should regard it as their internationalist duty to support the people’s revolutionary struggles in Asia, Africa and Latin America.” (49) [9]

Lin reasoned that expanding wars of liberation would create ‘world systemic openings’ for revolutionary struggle elsewhere and that China could play a pivotal role in aiding these struggles. He saw the revolutionary struggle as one of the Third World masses waging a ‘people’s war’ against capitalist-imperialism, principally that of the United States, and its executioners:

“The struggles waged by the different peoples against U.S. imperialism reinforce each other and merge into a torrential world-wide tide of opposition to U.S. imperialism. The more successful the development of people’s war in a given region, the larger the number of U.S. imperialist forces that can be pinned down and depleted there. When the U.S. aggressors are hard pressed in one place, they have no alternative but to loosen their grip on others. Therefore, the conditions become more favorable for the people elsewhere to wage struggles against U.S. imperialism and its lackeys.” (56)

Unfortunately, the policy articulated by Lin Biao was never implemented in  full by the People’s Republic of China. Six years after his writing, Lin disappeared under mysterious circumstances, while China began a rapprochement with the US and deepened its rhetoric against the USSR as part of the Sino-Soviet split. [10]

While much has changed since Lin’s writing, class struggle has not ceased. Were that the case, there would not be continued migration of Mexicans into the 21st century, nor would there exist the rising tide of anti-migrant, reactionary sentiment amongst Amerikans. Rather, the radical goals of La Revolucion have yet to be reached today.

In this regard, Mexico is hardly alone. Eighty percent of humanity lives on less that $10 a day; almost half live on less $2.50 a day.   The richest 20%, the First World, receives 75% of the world’s income and accounts for 76% of the world’s private consumption. Thus, 24,000 children die from poverty each day. (Shah) As the Leading Light Communist Organization (LLCO) has recently described, “The principal contradiction in the world is the First World versus the Third World, the global city versus the global countryside, the exploiter countries versus the exploited countries.” (Monkey Smashes Heaven. “The Sun Rises in the East and Sets in the West.”) [12]

According to LLCO, the world’s exploited masses must carry out a people’s war against reactionaries: seizing power and building institutions which serve and defend their common interests. This must be extended to a global scale, a Global People’s War, in which the imperialist First World becomes cut-off and encircled by the revolutionary forces of the Third World, the latter imposing a radical global democracy on the former. The LLCO has called for support and solidarity between exploited peoples worldwide and captive, oppressed nations in the US: “Justice will only come when Amerika and the First World are defeated, the land is returned, the imposed border is torn down, reparations paid.  Justice implies a society where the land and resources are organized to benefit humanity, not just a few, privileged rich countries.” (Ibid. “SB1070, The Continuing War Against the Mexicano People.”)

The next Mexican Revolution in perspective

The next Mexican revolution will not occur in a vacuum nor be significant unto itself. Rather, it will occur as part of the next wave of revolution, and its significance will be seen in relation to the international movement for liberation, away from a system of capitalist-imperialism and towards one controlled by the masses in their own interest.

In Mexico and elsewhere, the long-term viability of any revolutionary movement will be ultimately judged by whether or not it is ‘part of a worldwide people’s war waged by the peoples of the Third World, against the peoples of the First World.” (Ibid. “Points on People’s War”) The ability of the worldwide revolutionary movement to rally together and defeat the forces of imperialism, concentrated in the First World, is pivotal in the revolutionary struggle of the global proletariat as a whole.

For revolutionaries in the north and throughout occupied America, the struggle remains building an internationalist conception of revolution which explicitly rejects the First World and First Worldism (First World chauvinism/worship) and connects the struggle along the margins to that in the Third World. This means working to build a Chicano nationalist movement which identifies with Mexicans more than Amerikans, which actively seeks liberation of Occupied Mexico and above all seeks to unite with the struggle of the Third World-centered proletariat against imperialism and for a new world.

Ultimately, world revolution rests on those of the global South. However, this hardly negates the responsibility of revolutionaries in the North towards advancing effective strategies, championing the revolutionary struggle and undermining imperialism where possible. Just as the end of La Revolucion hardly suggested class struggle had ended in Mexico, the closing of the twentieth century hardly marked the end of revolutionary struggle internationally. One hundred years since the opening of the Mexican Revolution, Mexican society, like much of the Third World, has rarely been more poised for the outbreak of open class and people’s warfare. At the beginning of the 21st century, one hundred years after the start of La Revolucion, the vast majority of the world’s people, most Mexicans included, have, in the famous words of Karl Marx, “nothing to lose but their chains,” but “a world to win.” (86)

Notes:

[1] As the essay the explains, the Mexican Revolution was not a revolution in the full sense, i.e. it was not successful in overthrowing the existing economic and social order. Thus for our purposes, ‘Mexican Revolution,’ ‘La Revolucion’ and ‘the revolution years’ are synonymous and roughly correlate to the period between 1910-19.

[2] While this paper does not deal with the causes of the Mexican Revolution, they could be summed up as: the dependent nature of Mexico’s economy in which US investors increasingly controlled much of Mexico’s land and capital; the regime Porfirio Diaz had set up had become more exclusionary over time; the additional pressures created under the 1907 financial crisis; the political crisis created when Diaz recanted his public promise not to rerun for president; and the Diaz regime’s loss of patronage from the US.

[3] While certain political achievements were made through the Mexican revolution, such as the overthrow of Porfirio Diaz’s regime, some land reform and the writing of the Mexican Constitution, social demands of the broad Mexican masses were only partially, if at all, met. Moreover, the Mexican Revolution did not significantly alter Mexico’s path to becoming a nation exploited under capitalist-imperialism.

[4] W.E.B. DuBois wasn’t the only radical thinker of the time to highlight the fact that imperialism bought off it ‘own’ working-class. In 1916 Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin wrote, “The capitalists [of the ‘Great Powers’] can devote a part (and not a small one, at that!) of these superprofits to bribe their own workers, to create something like an alliance … between the workers of the given nation and their capitalists against the other countries.” (“Imperialism and the Split in Socialism”)

[5] There was not unanimous agreement on the use of ‘Chicano’ in this sense. Here on some views on the use of Chicano and its meaning.
One view is that because of historically different material circumstance and subjective inclination, there is a substantive difference between Mexicans and Chicano’s, the latter being so distinct that it constitutes its own nation.
Another view counters the first, stating that Mexicans are one people divided by an imperialist-imposed border. This view is in no small part a response to the legacy of ‘Chicano nationalism,’ which includes sell-outs, reforms and co-option into the Democratic Party while not achieving liberation of the Mexican people on either side of the border. This view sees the extolling of ‘Chicano’ as part of the legitimization of US claims to Occupied Mexico.
The final view and one that I hope comes out in the paper is that Chicanos are Mexicans. Just as we could talk about Mayans as being Mexicans, we can say the same of Chicanos: they are a socially/geographically-identified group within a larger. The use of Chicano in this sense is a matter of having clarity and accounting for the material and subjective differences between Chicanos and Mexicans, not to legitimize the root cause of the differences.

[6] Though we can generally say that today Chicanos are a group born from migration, this has not always been the case. The original Chicanos were Mexicans who stayed on their land in the North after the United States invaded their country and seized its northern half.

[7] The Revolutionary Democratic Party themselves should not be seen as able to carry through a social revolution in Mexico. Rather, they are contenders for power in an existing system, i.e. compradors in-the-waiting.

[8] This glosses over the history of late-60s/early-70s ‘Chicano Nationalism.’

[9] In Taking Power, John Foran discusses these five factors in relation to the 1910 revolution, arguing that Diaz had created a regime which grew exclusionary over time, as well as maintained Mexico in a state of dependent development vis a vis the US. When, Foran argues, Madero launched his revolution (hardly the first against Diaz), the US government essentially sat on their hands, allowing the regime to crumble. Conversely, the revolutionary coalition collapsed, in relation to the closing of the ‘world systemic opening,’ when the US firmly threw its weight behind Carranza.

[10] Lin Biao’s essay also deals with the political-military nature of carrying out the social revolution. This synthesis, in its details, was described as ‘People’s War’ in revolutionary China.

[11] The Chinese state claimed, one year after his disappearance, that Lin died in a plane crash near the Mongolian border after a botched coup plot against Mao Zedong. Though a plane did crash near the Mongolian border, there is no independent evidence or researched arguments that support the Chinese state’s narrative around Lin’s disappearance or the plane crash itself.

[12] This quote comes from the online journal Monkey Smashes Heaven, which has since become the official journal of the newly formed Leading Light Communist Organization.

Works Cited:

Acuna, Rudolfo, Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. 3rd ed. Harper & Row Publishers. New York. 1988.

Batalova, Jeanne. “Mexican Immigrants in the United States.” Migration Policy Institute. April, 2008. <http://www.migrationinformation.org/usfocus/display.cfm?id=679&gt;

Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Hourly Compensation Costs for Production Workers in Manufacturing, 33 Countries or Areas, 22 Manufacturing Industries, 1992-2005” <ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/ForeignLabor/indCountryTable.txt>

Campell, Greg. “The NAFTA War.” July, 1996. <http://www.tc.umn.edu/~fayxx001/text/naftawar.html&gt;

Campell, Monica. “Calderon inaugurated while lawmakers brawl” San Francisco Chronicle. Dec 2nd, 2006. <http://articles.sfgate.com/2006-12-02/news/17323950_1_rival-legislators-felipe-calderon-pan-president-vicente-fox&gt;

Carrigan, William D. “The Lynching of Persons of Mexican Origin or Descend in the United States, 1848-1928.” Journal of Social History. 2003 <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2005/is_2_37/ai_111897839/?tag=content;col1&gt;

Castillo, E. Eduardo. “Mexico Sees Record 15.7 Pct Drop in Remittances.” Associated Press. January 27, 2010. <http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9678227&gt;

Cevallos, Diego. “20 Million Informal Sector Workers.” Inter-Press Service. Sept. 2nd, 2003.  <http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=19946&gt;

DuBois, William E.B., “The African Origins of War.” 1915

Espinoza, Annette, and Heather McWilliams. “Thousands march through Denver to protest Arizona immigration law.” Denver Post. May 2nd, 2010. <http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_15000378&gt;

Foran, John. Taking Power, On the Origins of Third World Revolution.
Cambridge University Press. 2005

Fukiyama, Francis. The End of History and the Last Man. Free Press. New York. 1992

Gutierrez, Teresa. “Masses Protest NAFTA in Mexico” Workers World. Feb. 10th, 2008. <http://www.workers.org/2008/world/mexico_0214/&gt;

Halloway, John. To Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today. 2002 <http://libcom.org/library/change-world-without-taking-power-john-holloway&gt;

Henríquez, Elio, and Blache Petrich, “Interview with Subcommander Marcos.” Zapatistas! Documents of the New Mexican Revolution. Autonomedia. Brooklyn. 1994

“Human Development Report 1999: Globalization with a Human Face” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York 1999

La Botz, Dan. Democracy in Mexico: Peasant Rebellion and Political Reform. South End Press. Cambridge. 1995.

LA Eastside. “March for Zapata 2010.” Webblog post. April 8th, 2010. <http://laeastside.com/2010/04/march-for-zapata-2010/&gt;

Lemoine, Maurice. “Mexico’s New Guerillas.” Le Monde Diplomatic. Nov. 1998.  <http://mondediplo.com/1998/11/08mexico&gt;

“Large Groups Of Students Walk Out Over Immigration Reform.” TheDenverChannel.com. April 19th, 2006. <http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/8807653/detail.html&gt;

Lin Biao. Long Live the Victory of People’s War! In Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of Victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resisance Against Japan. 2nd Ed. Foreign Language Press. Peking. 1966

Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. Norton Critical Edition. W.W. Norton & Company. New York. 1988.

Matthews, Kevin. “Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas says spirit of Mexican Revolution still alive 100 years later.” UCLA Newsroom. March 11th, 2010. <http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/cuauht-moc-c-rdenas-155056.aspx&gt;

Mauer, Mark, and Ryan S. King. “Uneven Justice: States Rates of Incarceration by Race and Ethnicity.” The Sentencing Project. Washington D.C. 2007. <http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_stateratesofincbyraceandethnicity.pdf&gt;

McDonald, Patrick, and Teresa Watanabe. “Protesters nationwide call for immigration overhaul.” Los Angeles Times. May, 2nd, 2010. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/02/local/la-me-0502-immig-rally-20100502&gt;

McDonnell, Patrick J. and Robert J. Lopez. “L.A. March Against Prop 187 Draws 70,000.” Los Angeles Times. Oct. 17th, 1994. <http://articles.latimes.com/1994-10-17/news/mn-51339_1_illegal-immigrants&gt;

Mexicana Resistencia. Pamphlet of the same name. Received on May 1st, 2010.

Mexico Solidarity Network. “Mexico News and Analysis, March 1-14th, 2010.” <http://www.mexicosolidarity.org/post/2010/march/mexico-news-and-analysis-march-1-14-2010&gt;

Milanovic, Branko. True World Income Distribution, 1988 and 1993. The Economic Journal. 2002. <http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTDECINEQ/Resources/trueworld.pdf&gt;

Monkey Smashes Heaven: The Journal of Global People’s War. “The Continuing War against Mexicano People” June 8th, 2010. <http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/arizona-sb1070-the-continuing-war-against-the-mexicano-people/&gt;

Ibid. “Points on People’s War.” March 1st, 2010. <http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/points-on-people’s-war/&gt;

Ibid. “The Sun Rises in the East and Sets in the West.” January 1st, 2010. <http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2008/01/01/the-sun-rises-in-the-east-and-sets-in-the-west-2/&gt;

Paterson, Kent. “Cananea Mine Battle Reveals Anti-Labor Offensive in Mexico, United States.”  Axis of Logic. March 11th, 2009.  <http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_58834.shtml&gt;.

People of Color Organize!. “Zapatistas: the First Postmodern Guerrilla Group.” Weblob post. People of Color Organize!. March 1st, 2010.  <http://www.peopleofcolororganize.com/analysis/zapatistas-postmodern-guerrilla-group/&gt;

Ross, John. “A Real Blast: Bombs, Resistance Mark 100-year Anniversary of Mexican Revolution.” The Rag Blog. Jan. 10th, 2001. <http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/mexico-anarchists-celebrate-mexican.html&gt;

Ibid. Interviewed by Amy Goodman, “John Ross on ‘El Monstruo, Dread and Redemption in Mexico.'” Democracy Now!. April 27th, 2010. <http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/27/john_ross_on_el_monstruo_dread&gt;

Ibid. “The Hundred Year Cycle. What are the prospects for a new Mexican Revolution?” Counterpunch. Dec. 1st, 2007. <http://www.counterpunch.org/ross12012007.html&gt;

RAIM-Denver. Weblog post. The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement- Denver. “Fuck the Border, Support National Liberation.” May 1st, 2009. <https://raimd.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/raim-denver-may-day-program-fuck-the-border-support-mexican-national-liberation/&gt;

Ibid. “May Day 2010 Denver.” Weblog post. The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement- Denver. May 6th, 2010. <https://raimd.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/may-day-2010-denver/&gt;

Ruiz, Ramon. The Great Rebellion, Mexico 1905-1924. W.W. Norton & Company. New York. 1980

Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Statistics.” Globalissues.org. March 28th, 2010. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats&gt;

State of Arizona, Forty-ninth Legislature. Senate Bill 1070. Signed, April 23rd, 2010. <http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf&gt;

Talyor, Paul S. “Critique of the Official Statistics of Mexican Migration to and From the United States.” <http://www.nber.org/chapters/c5119.pdf&gt;

“The Question of Youth and Revolution.” La Verdad!. Union Del Barrio. June, 2007. <http://uniondelbarrio.org/lvp/newspapers/97/junoct97/pg02.html&gt;

Tenudo, Mary Ann. “Chiapis: the Reconquest of Recuperated Lands.” Weblog post. Upside Down World. April 28th, 2010. <http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/2469-chiapas-the-reconquest-of-recuperated-land&gt;

Terrazas, Elisa. “John Ross- Mexico is Overripe for Revolution.” Borderzine. April 9th, 2010. <http://borderzine.com/2010/04/john-ross-mexico-is-overripe-for-revolution/&gt;

Tobar, Hector. “A small guerrilla band is waging war in Mexico.” Los Angeles Times. Sept 20th, 2007. <http://articles.latimes.com/2007/sep/20/world/fg-guerrilla20&gt;

Tizoc. Speech given at public discussion, hosted by RAIM-Denver on March 31st, 2010.

US Census Bureau News
. “US Hispanic Population Surpasses 45 Million, Now 15 Percent of Total.” May 1st, 2008. <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb08-67.html&gt;

US Census Bureau
. Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Converage in the Unites States: 2008. http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-236.pdf

Ventura, Stephanie J., et al. “Estimated Pregnancy Rates for the United State 1990-2005: A Update.” National Vital Statistics Review. 58.4. Oct. 19th, 2009. <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_04.pdf&gt;

Weinberg, Bill. Homage to Chiapis: The New Indigenous Struggles in Mexico. Verso. New York. 2000

Zapata, Emiliano. “Plan de Ayala.” 1911. <http://www.ilstu.edu/class/hist263/docs/ayala.html&gt;

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Protest and Revolutionary Grito against the ICE Detention Center

From Resistencia Mexicana:

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Report Back on Anti-Police Demo

Report Back on Anti-Police Demo

(raimd.wordpress.com)

On August 28th, a march against police brutality was held in Denver, Colorado.  The march was held in response to a series of police brutality cases coming to light.

The march was organized by members of Aurora Copwatch, West Denver Copwatch and the All Nations Alliance.  Though the pig media lied and initially reported only “dozens” of protesters, at its height on the 16th Street Mall there were well over 200 participants, including not only much of the more ‘radical’ of the Denver activist scene but also people who had joined in as the march passed by.

The recent cases of police brutality and the reaction they sparked have been unprecedented.  They have led to Mayor John Hickenlooper, who is running for governor this year,  to bring in the FBI to investigate certain cases.  It has also led to city public safety manager Ron Perea resigning,
and the city council settling many cases with millions of city dollars.(1)

The public anger of these cases, and many others not as known, set the mood for this march.  Days before the march a group of religious leaders denounced plans for a march, and instead called for talks with the pigs to reform themselves.(2)  But one cannot negotiate with pigs, and many people outraged about the incidents came out to show it that day.  In the press release announcing the march the organizers announced:  “It is anticipated that Denver police will be present during the march. We want to be clear in our position that due to the actions of its officers, we no longer trust DPD with its ability to protect our community.  We request for the safety of the community members present at the march and rally, and that law enforcement officials keep a reasonable distance from the participants. We are engaging in a peaceful, non-violent exercise of our federally protected First Amendment rights and DPD interference is not welcome.”(3)

The march began by the downtown skatepark, next to where Mark Ashford was beat up by two Denver pigs. He was beaten after speaking with the driver of a vehicle the police had pulled over wrongly, offering to be a witness for the driver in court. The next stop of the march was at 15th St. and Larimer, where Micheal DeHerrera was assaulted by Denver’s grimiest as he was was talking on the phone outside of a club while police were arresting his friend. These two incidents of police brutality were videotaped by H.A.L.O., a network of video surveillance cameras in the downtown area monitored by the Denver Pig Department. The march and protest ended at  Denver’s new $158 million, 1500 prisoner capacity “Justice” Center. There, Marvin Booker, a Black street preacher arrested on drug paraphenalia charges, was killed by the pigs running the detention center. He was beaten to death after he reached to get his shoes, his only possessions of value.  The pigs have refused to release a video tape of the death citing ongoing investigations, but with the similarities to a previous death in police custody, many see an ongoing cover up that has been typical of DPD.

The protesters carried signs and banners. One read, “All Cops are Murderers.”  Others listed the names of recent police victims. RAIM brought signs that read : “Fuck Pigs (And Snitches),” “Self Defense Makes Sense, Defeat Nazi Pigs,” and “Revolution is Good! Resist Amerikkkan Occupation.” Unlike other activist marches in the city, the militancy of this march was evident from the beginning.  The march started with a chant “No Justice No Peace, Fuck the Police.”  Other chants that echoed through the march were “Oink Oink, Bang Bang, Everyday the Same Old Thing,” “Cops, Pigs, Murderers,” and “When Our Communities Are Under Attack, What Do We Do? Stand Up, Fight Back!”  RAIM also did its modest part to raise the militancy of the march, helping lead and initiate such chants through a megaphone.

Overall, like most marches in the First World, the message was mixed to the effect of confusing friends and enemies and in the process miscalculating the actual strength of each.

One positive thing was the rhetorical refutation of pacifism. When the crowd began chanting emotionally-charged slogans, one person put up a peace sign with their fingers. One pacifist type berated a RAIMer for leading slogans against the pigs through a megaphone, saying to us some metaphysical tripe about love conquering hate and peace overcoming violence.  We politely brushed the person off and continued to assist in leading chants. Beyond the inane idea that RAIM-Denver was acting violently with no more power than a megaphone is the ideological wrecking-ball that is pacifism. While ultimately the degree of militancy in a single march in Denver is inconsequential, the idea itself, spread by well-to-do cracker-liberals from places like Boulder and Denver, is poisonous to the struggles of oppressed and exploited peoples globally. In a sense, pacifism is much like Christianity in that it is promoted to Third World peoples by Amerikans and various organizations they support, to the effect of diverting the proletarian from actual strategies for liberation. (We suggest everyone read Pacifism as Pathology by Ward Churchill and Negroes With Guns by Robert F. Williams for arguments against pacifism.)

With the presence and influence of pacifists and deescalaters limited, the march soon took parts of the streets, which isn’t usual for Denver protests. The pigs themselves stayed out of sight the whole time. This was a PR tactic as their presence would have surely escalated the toned of the march further and perhaps created even more instances of brutality. But we are sure that they were observing the march from a distance.

At the end of the march, in front of the Injustice Center, the crowd chanted “Fire to the Prisons” and Asesinos, Spanish for “Assassins.”  There were speeches by activists highlighting the above pig terror cases and by victims of pig brutality telling the crowd their experiences.  A coffin symbolizing the death of Marvin Booker was brought by the marchers and left there at the jail.

Common with virtually all protests in Denver and occupied North America was the great number of stares from people not participating. At times, the march walked past restaurants in affluent neighborhoods. Some protesters expressed affinity with the diners, encouraging them to join the march. Allusions were made that even the rich ‘liberal’ Denverite gawkers would “stand up” against the police.

We ask, why muddy up the picture with outright First Worldism? Rather, these people should be identified, albeit not merely in an agitational manner, for what they are: parasite reactionaries who more often than not support the pigs and the system they represent. Needless to say, the ‘militant’ pleas to shoppers and diners were fruitless.  Ultimately, it was chants of ‘Fuck the Police!’ which got large numbers of passer-by youth to join the demonstration, not pacifism or First Worldism.

At another point in the march, the protesters paused to repeat a chant part of which said that they themselves had “…nothing to lose but our chains” (origanally said by Marx, but of course not attributed to him in the chant).  RAIM didn’t participate in the contrived bit of self-delusion. We ask those who did to compare themselves to the average person from Latin America, Africa or Asia and take an honest account of the many things they could in fact lose. Though such slogans might give oneself a short-lived sense of self-importance, they do little in the long run to advance the revolutionary struggle. It is only by taking a realistic account of the world that one can hope to meaningfully advance the revolutionary struggle.

The contradiction between the police (or more accurately the system they represent) and the majority of Amerikans is not antagonistic, i.e. it will not lead to sustained revolutionary struggle. Not to say that we do not support reform efforts to reduce police terror, but only see the limitations that these reform efforts will do.  There will be attempts by the city to appease the public outrage with more “accountability”, but police brutality is but a symptom of an unjust social order.  Thus it will continue, as in these cases against non-white oppressed nationality peoples and others outside of mainstream society.  Thus RAIM sees any effective revolutionary strategy inside imperialist Amerika as minoritarian, one that effectively repudiates the majority of Amerikans while seeking to work in alliance with the broad masses of the Third World, whom do in fact constitute majorities in their respective homelands. So-called radicals should promote an independent identity and culture of resistance amongst the oppressed in Amerika as well as a spirit of affinity and solidarity with the Third World masses, not a fallacious, reformist and First Worldist ‘unity’ between the oppressed and White activists as a stand in for a non-existent White proletarian.

More actions on these cases will come up, as they have been so publicized they will stay in the spotlight.

==============

Here is a video of the march from West Denver Copwatch.  Check out their website for more information about these cases and their interactive database of Denver pig activity.

Sources:

1.  http://cbs4denver.com/investigates/excessive.force.denver.2.1878320.html

2. http://cbs4denver.com/news/ministers.chief.talk.2.1877579.html

3. http://westdenvercopwatch.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/press-release-for-saturday-march-and-rally/

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Dear RAIM-Denver Open Thread

Recently, we received the following letter from a First Worldist critic, ‘Sciencefaction.’ The criticism its pretty basic, and something we’ve encountered plenty of times in the past. Rather than writing some official reply on our blog, we figured we’d post the comment and allow our online readers to respond. The best replies will be edited and included in the next RAIM Global Digest.

Here’s ‘Sciencefaction’s” so-called criticism:

“How is it that first worlders, including whites, are “exploiters” simply by having relatively [and I stress “relatively”] better living conditions?

The logical conclusion is not revolution, but moralism: let’s renounce our computers and cell phones, and live in the most destitute conditions short of homelessness…nah, let’s go whole hog and be homeless, then we can pat ourselves on the back for this gesture of “solidarity.” More than that, let’s not bother to build any struggles in the first world, since, by definition, we are not really exploited or oppressed, so we have no legitimate issues with radical implications.”

Responses:

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Raim Global Digest: Volume 2, Issue 5

Raim Global Digest: Volume 2, Issue 5

Contents:

Obama Sends Special Forces to 75 Countries, Up from 60 Last Year (RAIM-Denver)

Israel Commits Massacre on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza (RAIM-Denver)

Noam Chomsky “Denied Entry” Into Israel (Monkey Smashes Heaven)

Corruption Skyrockets in Afghanistan (RAIM-Denver)

UC-Irvine Moves to Suspend Muslim Students Union (RAIM-Denver)

Obama Signs “Toughest Sanctions Ever” Against Iran (excerpt, Monkey Smashes Heaven)

Imperialism Drones On Along Militarized Border (RAIM-Denver)

The Legacy of Imperialism: Child Mortality Up in Africa (Monkey Smashes Heaven)

Movie Review: The Spook That Sat by the Door (Siglo of Monkey Smashes Heaven)

Revisiting Value on Exploitation (Prariefire of Monkey Smashes Heaven)

Killer of Oscar Grant Gets Off: No Justice in Amerika (RAIM-Denver)

Monstanto, Settlers Inadvertently Create New Superweeds (RAIM-Denver)

Scott McInnis: Plagiarizer and Amerikan Parasite (RAIM-Denver)

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Killer of Oscar Grant Gets Off: No Justice in Amerikkka

Killer of Oscar Grant Gets Off: No Justice in Amerikkka

(raimd.wordpress.com)

Justice did not materialize in Oakland for Oscar Grant, just as it is delayed and denied for millions of victims of Amerikkka.

The BART pig who killed Grant, Johannes Mehserle, was given the lightest sentence possible short of acquittal, involuntary manslaughter, and the jury rejected the more serious charge of second degree murder. This despite the fact that the shooting was caught on camera and the pig had claimed he was reaching for his taser and not his gun when he shot Grant, who was unarmed.

The people were justifiably angry. There were protests and rebellions in Oakland following, and self-proclaimed community leaders attempted to keep the people calm for the benefit of the system. 78 people were reported arrested in Oakland.(1) Solidarity protests happened across the country, as people all over were outraged.  In Denver a solidarity protest turned out 50 people, organized by the local Anarchist Black Cross chapter at the last minute.(2)

The claim of mistaking a Taser for a gun is so dubious in and of itself. Local author and indigenous rights activist Ben Whitmer, who is also a concealed carry holder, tears apart the ridiculousness of that defense here: http://benjaminwhitmer.com/index.php/2010/07/looking-at-johannes-mehserles-defense-from-the-vantage-point-of-an-amateur-gun-nut/

Of the twelve jurors on the trial, held in Los Angeles, not one of them was Black, and several of the jurors admitted to being friends or relatives of cops.(3) Attorney John Burris, representing the Grant family, said at a press conference, “In my long history being involved in police matters since 1979 and well over 30 homicides with police, never have I had a case when a police officer was convicted of any crime against an African American male.”(4)

Oscar Grant is one of several non-white people killed or brutalized by cops, almost all of whom never get convicted. The fact that the pig got even manslaughter is surprising, only after going to trial following much publicity from being filmed.  Amerikans supposedly pride themselves on being a nation of laws, but look the other way when the law attempts to bring Amerika accountable. There was no convictions with the Rodney King beating in the 1990’s. Recently pigs killed Aiyana Jones with no one being brought to trial. The cases of pig brutality in Amerika are endless. Abroad military troops commit vast atrocities and are never brought to justice. Despite the photographic evidence at Abu Gharib hardly any of the perpetrators were brought to trial. And recently a video of a massacre by Amerikan troops was brought to light throught the Wikileaks site, with no one hurrying to prosecute.

Often in these cases the Amerikan populace comes to support these pig cops and troops. It is considered sacrilege to question the police and military. Even Barack Obama came under heat for saying that the pig who arrested Henry Louis Gates “acted stupidly.” He was forced to apologize and invited the pig to the White House for a beer.  No matter how much mass murder Obama does for the empire, criticizing cops no matter how mildly is frowned upon.

Mao Zedong once observed that political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The Amerikan power that its citizenry wallows in comes from the vast weapons it has and uses. The police and the military of Amerikkka are the shock troops that keep that imperialist system of exploitation running. They bring terror to the populations they oppress, and millions fall victim to the system they enforce. Justice in turn will come to Amerikkka by the oppressed people of the world bringing it to them in turn. It is right to rebel against all reactionaries!

(1) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/us/10oakland.html?_r=1

(2)http://denverabc.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/oscar-grant-denver-stands-in-solidarity-with-oakland/

(3)http://racerelations.about.com/b/2010/06/14/no-black-jurors-in-oscar-grant-murder-trial.htm

(4)http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/07/oscar_grant_verdict_whats_inside_the_jurys_ruling.html

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UC-Irvine moves to suspend Muslim Student Union

UC-Irvine moves to suspend Muslim Student Union

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

Members of the Muslim Student Union are facing one-year suspensions for what school officials at the University of California-Irvine claim was an orchestrated violation of campus conduct during a protest of a presentation by Israeli Ambassador, Michael Oren.

The protest, which occurred last February, included Oren being interrupted 10 times by students who walked out while booing and yelling. Oren himself walked off stage and the University Chancellor took the podium to condemn the student protesters. Oren later finished his screed, but the planned question-and-answer session was canceled. The Muslim students claimed they were protesting Israeli policies of genocide directed against Palestinians. “Propagating murder is not freedom of speech,” they yelled. 11 students were arrested for the action.

This is not the first time administrators at UC-Irvine have moved against the Muslim Student Union. In 2009, school officials snitched on the MSU, asking the FBI to look into allegations that the student group was raising money for Hamas, a Palestinian resistance group labeled terrorists by imperialists. As of yet, no action has been taken against MSU in this case.

UC-Irvine and other colleges in the US are bastions of reaction. When they are not teaching students to be spies and pigs, they are teaching them to be promulgators of bourgeois ideology and cogs in the machinery of death called US imperialism. As the recent ruling against MSU indicates, schools in Amerika do not teach students how to fight oppression; they punish those who do.

Righteous students, i.e. those who side with the world’s exploited and oppressed majority in their struggle against imperialism, can only gain so much from Amerika’s piggish school system. Rather than passively accepting what they are told, anti-imperialist students must look deeper to find the truth. Additionally, we must strategically speak out for the truth and the oppressed masses, challenge the most egregious examples of pro-imperialist and First Worldist thought and unite with others who seek a world free from imperialism.

RAIM applauds the righteous students of UC-Irvine for their bravery, both in standing up against Michael Oren and the settler-imperialism he represents and for their struggle with the suppressive backlash their protest has generated. Yet, our struggle, that of such righteous students and even that of Palestinians are but small parts of the global struggle against capitalist-imperialism. Only with the victory of masses and defeat of imperialism internationally can we truly say the world is free.

Victory to Palestine!
Death to imperialism!

Sources:

http://forward.com/articles/128818/
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/06/uci-seeks-to-suspend-muslim-student-group.html
http://www.scpr.org/news/2010/06/14/uci-muslims/

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RAIM Global Digest Vol. 2 Issue 4

RAIM Global Digest Vol. 2 Issue 4

Contents:

-RAIM Seattle Drives Away Crackers from Mayday

-Mayday 2010 Denver

-RAIM Protests Teaklanners and Amerikkka

-Arizona SB1070, the Continuing War Against the Mexicano People

-Big Majority of Amerikans Support Racist Arizona Law

-On the Upcoming Election in the Philippines

-Pigs Kill Aiyana Jones While Being Recorded for Reality TV

-Movie Review: Clash of the Titans

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Pick Up Lines #2

RAIM is proud to be featured in the latest issue of ‘Pick-Up Lines,’ a pamphlet series which features reviews, debates and polemics from Third Worldist organizations.

Study up, comrades!

Table of Contents-

By the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement:
-Code Pink: Pigs for More Pie
-Review: Arun Gupta asks, ‘What Anti-War Movement?’
-Seven Years of Ongoing U$ Imperialist Slaughter in Iraq
-Review: Raj Patel, the Value of Nothing
-Earthquake Strikes Haiti, Imperialism is a Disaster

By Monkey Smashes Heaven:
-MSH on Healthcare, NPR on Barefoot Doctors
-A Quick Look at Some of Mao’s Errors
-RCP Elaborates on the Tragic Oppression of NFL Millionares
-What About the RIM
-Review: Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting by in America
-On Sectarianism

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Filed under News and Analysis, Organizing, Political Economy, RAIM-Seattle

Israel Commits Massacre on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

Israel Commits Massacre on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

(raimd.wordpress.com)

ISSrael on Monday attacked an aid flotilla heading to Gaza, killing several international activists.  The flotilla was attempting to break the Israeli blockade imposed since 2007 and deliver 10,000 tons of needed supplies to the 1.5 million people of Gaza imprisoned by the Zionist entity.

Israeli commandos from 14 warships and military helicopters, reportedly 1/4 of the Israel navy, boarded one of the Turkish ships and began shooting.  Recent news reports at least 19 dead civilians.  This was all done in international waters, violating international law.  But as shown before, no international law or condemnation has deterred aggression by the terrorist nation of Israel.

The pigs in the Israeli government and military said they were acting in “self-defense” and the activists attacked them.  This is the typical excuse given by Israel when it uses its occupation military on those who resist.  It has shown in the past that it will use violent force on international activists as well as Palestinians.

Israel is a settler state, formed by terrorist occupation of Palestinian land by Zionist imperialists.  Just like Amerika, Israel is based on subjugation of native peoples and exploitation of their labor, land, and resources.  It is no surprise that Israel and United Snakes are deep allies, as they desperately keep their parasitic way of life going through brutal military force.  This way of life is supported by the majorities of each of these countries.  Although there will be a few in the imperialist countries to voice opposition to these acts, most of these settler citizens will actively and passively support these policies.  The oppressed and exploited majorities of the world should not wait for the imperialist country citizens to wake up.  It is right to resist imperialist occupation, and the struggle is now.

There are protests happening all over the world right now in response to this atrocity.  We encourage all supporters to assist and organize where they are to stand in solidarity with Palestine and agitate to bring the end to illegitimate terror nations like Israel and Amerika.

Down with all settler states!
Israel and United Snakes!

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May Day 2010 Denver

May Day 2010 Denver

(raimd.wordpress.com)

This year the May Day events in Denver, as elsewhere in occupied Amerika, were about migrant rights and were influenced by the recent passage in Arizona of SB1070 that would further criminalize migrants without documents.  There were two different events in Denver, each illustrating the different politics around the most recent struggle for migrant rights.

The first event was one RAIM participated in and helped organize.  The May Day March for Social Justice, Human Dignity, and Self-Determination was made up of a loose coalition of more radical and independent tendencies.  RAIM Denver marched with our allies Resistencia Mexicana, with banners featuring Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata.  At least 500 people participated in this march, which went from the State Capitol through downtown, ending in Skyline Park for a rally.  A Mexica/Aztec dance group performed a ceremony and led the march.

photo by Shareef

This particular march was unique with respect to the diverse makeup of the participants, who had a more clearer understanding of the repressive character of the state’s response to the “immigrant rights” movement.  It showed that there is a progressive sector in Denver that is against reform oriented liberal politics and for more radical change.  There were many beautiful banners and signs, good chants, and a more liberatory attitude. The rally included music, food, tables of the participating groups, and speakers.

photo by Resistencia Mexicana

photo by Resistencia Mexicana

photo by Shareef

The first speaker was Ricardo Romero, a long time Chicano/Mexicano human rights organizer and a leader in the Mexican National Liberation Movement, who brought up the ongoing war against the Mexican people exemplified by the anti-migrant movement.  Romero pointed out that there is a coming fascist offensive against the Mexicano peoples on their own occupied homeland, and highlighted the need to get educated, organized, and prepared for self-defense and national liberation.

Antonio spoke on behalf of RAIMD, stating that the recent struggle in Arizona is only one of many that has happened since 1848 when the U.S. settler empire invaded Mexico and imposed a border on its northern half. Today, the fight continues on many fronts with Third World peoples fighting against the exploiter countries of the First World. Antonio pointed out that it is important to support the struggles against imperialism everywhere.

RAIMD also brought a pinata for the festivities, in the form of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as a pig.  The elementary school-aged children at the rally enjoyed participating in the beating of the pig Brewer, and tore it open for the candy and toys inside.

Kids getting candy and toys from "Jan Brewer" pinata. Photo by Resistencia Mexicana

At the rally at Skyline RAIMD and other organizations had tables and distributed information.  Here many groups handed out a wide range of literature outside of mainstream discourse.  Our own materials were well received by the participants there.  We distributed: over two hundred of our program in support of Mexican nation liberation; around 75 new and old RAIM Global Digests; dozens of Troublemaker DVDs; copies of chapter eight from Lin Biao’s ‘Long Live the Victory of People’s War’ and some interviews with J. Sakai, author of ‘Settlers, the Mythology of the White Proletariat;’ even some child-sized t-shirts. Our material sparked many conversations and drew both nods of approval and skeptical looks.

The rally ended later that afternoon with some good music and on a positive note.  Despite our real political differences with many of the groups there, overall it showed that there is an organized progressive sector in Denver that is nominally against reform oriented liberal politics and for more radical social change, no matter how small that sector is.

The Other Rally

We should note the other event that went on that day, which was much larger for many reasons.  It was organized by Reform Immigration for America, a liberal reformist group that steers the migrant rights struggle into the safe hands of the Democratic Party realm.  To illustrate their strategy, at their massive immigration reform rally in Washington back in March of this year, they ended it with a televised speech by President Obama promising reform.

While the coalition that did the May Day March for Social Justice was planning this march months in advance, the liberal groups did not want a march at all.  Their last minute changes in response to our organizing and to a changing public opinion show their opportunistic nature.  Their original event for May 1st was going to be a “Grade Your Senators” event at Sunken Gardens Park, where participants would fill out faux report cards on legislators.  Basically directing people into electoral work, using Latinos as another interest group to gain leverage on the legislative level.  The response to Arizona changed this.  The days before there were many school walkouts organized in protest of the law in Arizona.  In Denver on April 30th many schools walked out and ended at a rally at the Capitol that day.  The energy level on May 1st was high, people wanted to march.  Also, the legislative campaign would not appeal to the mostly youth and non-citizens that were mobilized.  So the liberal non-profits changed plans at the last minute and tailed where the mass movement was going in order to regain leadership.

This is what awaited marchers at the reformist event at Sunken Gardens Park

The resulting march that went from Sunken Gardens through downtown and back to the park turned out about 10,000 people at its height.  Their larger turnout was due to the liberal groups larger resource base.  They purchased advertising on Spanish television and radio the day before.  The organizers brought several pre-printed signs and Amerikan flags to promote “We Are America.”  The crowd was encouraged to chant “USA, USA.”

The liberals did what they are expected to do, channel discontent into safe and controllable arenas.  In this case promoting assimilationist and reformist messages.  Their hope is that mainstream Amerika will see that immigrants are “Americans” too.  In the end this strategy, which denies the people the right to their identity, culture, and land, will weaken the necessary independent struggle that is needed to build power to fight against repression.  The non-profit industrial complex serves those that use it to continue to get grant funding and patronage, not the people itself.

Our comrades at Monkey Smashes Heaven said this of May Day:

“May Day, May First, or International Workers Day, originally was a day to commemorate the victims of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886.  Chicago workers had called a general strike for the eight-hour workday.  The peaceful strikers were fired on by police. A bomb exploded.

Several deaths of strikers and police occurred. Some of the police deaths were a result of their own hand, “friendly fire.”  [Eight organizers were tried and wrongfully convicted, with some getting the death penalty before they all were exonerated (RAIM)].  Since then May Day has been embraced by revolutionaries and reformists in the labor movement alike.  However, May Day means nothing to the vast majority of First World peoples who have no interest in building socialism or ending imperialism. May Day when celebrated by First Worldists is nothing but a parody.”

This march we participated in gave some mixed messages too,  but created a space where RAIM, Resistencia Mexicana, and others presented alternatives to Amerikan assimilation and to build real power to bring national liberation.

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RAIM Protests Teaklanners and Amerikkka

RAIM Protests Teaklanners and Amerikkka

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement has always been in the lead of militantly opposing the most reactionary aspects of Amerikan society while bringing to bear larger contradictions. This was certainly the case during the ‘Tea-Party Tax Day Protest’ and concurrent ‘Tea Party Against Amnesty,’ held at the Colorado State Capitol on April 15th, 2010.

RAIM was the first in Denver to put out a call to oppose the Tea Party rally.

Our call-out attracted country-wide attention. Right-wing blog and media personality, Michelle Malkin, quoted our call-out on her website and highlighted the sentence, “Cut loose and let these racist crackers know they’re opposed.” Some find the phrase “racist crackers” to be an oxymoron or ironic. Really though, it’s just redundant. The plug drew thousands of visitors to the RAIM-Denver blog over a period of a few days. Most of these people were racist crackers themselves or of a similar mindset.

The day of the protest was sunny and warm. An estimated 1,500-2,000 crackers and some ‘fort Indians’ gathered to show support for the Republican Party and other reactionary causes. The gist of the Tea Klan Rally was simple: while they don’t mind paying taxes to bomb people halfway around the world, they’re angry about paying taxes to provide services for people perceived as poorer than them (often Blacks, Mexicans, Native Americans, etc). Whereas Obama’s election can be seen as opening up the door for a few others to join the labor aristocracy, the Tea Party Movement is one to contract the labor aristocracy to its core constituents (i.e. Whites).

RAIM isn’t about picking sides in a debate about how to divide up stolen wealth. Our message that day, while including many things, highlighted two points: restorative justice and destroying imperialism and hence the USA.

The night prior, RAIM prepared an awesome and on-point, 50-foot banner which read: ‘TYRANTS, YOU STOLE THIS LAND AT GUNPOINT’. This simple statement was meant to juxtapose the Tea Party’s national and class-centric demands for ‘freedom’  and ‘liberty’ against the reality of the situation.

View of of the Tea Klan Rally, as seen from near the speakers podium.

Another view from the Tea Cracker side.

The counter-protest of around 50 gathered across the street from the Tea Party Rally and berated the racists through two bullhorns. Terryn, a Denver RAIMer, told the racist crowd they were on “stolen land and borrowed time.” She explained numerous times why they are racists: “Colorado is a Spanish word…You stole the land at gunpoint and killed the people. You stole everything you have. You steal the resources and labor from Africa, Asia and Latin America. You bomb people half-way across the world and you don’t fucking care. You don’t have empathy and that is why you’re racists.”

Nick Brown praised those resisting imperialism worldwide, shouting through a bullhorn, “God Bless Iran. God Bless Ahmadinejad. God Bless Venezuela and Bolivia.” RAIMers led chants such as, “Who do we love? Mexicans! Why? ‘Cause they’re people! Who do we hate? Racists! Why? ‘Cause they’re evil!” and, “No love for land-grabbers, deport the teaklanners.” Chants such as “Viva Mexico” and “Sí se puede” also rang out. RAIMers insisted the racists’ grandchildren would learn Spanish and they themselves would be deported to the Third World to “learn some empathy.” One woman even jeered the teaklanners in Lakotah.

In many ways, this is all standard stuff for RAIM. We bring out contradictions and conflicts. It’s what we do; nothing unusual.

However, the real high point was a group of local high school students who were bussed in to do interviews during of the tea klanner rally. The students, who were mainly Chicano, Mexican or Black, found the Tea Party repulsive and chose to hang out on our side. Many RAIMers refused to talk to the pig-media, but we gladly spoke with the youth who found themselves alienated by the pasty patriots. RAIMers explained why the Tea Party Movement is racist, including the real motive behind their anti-tax politics, the role of overt and covert US interventions worldwide and our message of militant global equality and solidarity with the Third World. Many of the students explicity identified as Mexican and were visibly turned off by the crackers, even without RAIM having to make the case. At one point, a racist cracker came over to our side of the street and smugly stated, in front of the students, the US should nuke various countries in the Middle East. A RAIMer called the guy a “fascist cracker” through a bullhorn and encouraged the students to do the same, but this was harshly discouraged by a nearby teacher. Nonetheless, RAIMers got plenty of time to talk with the students, passing out dozens of RAIM Global Digests and Troublemaker DVDs.

Heated exchanges between racist crackers and anti-racists.

Numerous times, racists came over to our side of the street, causing some minor altercations. About 20-30 pigs remained behind the anti-racist counter-protest, preventing more serious fighting from breaking out. No arrests were made.

RAIM’s message, both rhetorically and in practice, is clear: it’s right to hate the USA.

***

Also, check out RAIM-Denver agitating and educating in the first part of this video, exclusively at Denver Open Media.

***

Update 1:

After Michelle Malkin, the concentration camp loving right wing hack, linked us on her blog, we got the biggest number of hits ever.  We were inundated with comments, many with bad spelling, grammar, and logic.  There was the common refrain that we use cracker to describe racist crackers.This just goes to show that Amerika has a lot of crackers out there.

Malkin later went into a tizzy over the term “Tea-Klanner” to refer to her teabagging minions. (http://michellemalkin.com/2010/04/15/tea-klanner-the-lefts-shameless-new-smear/)

Of course this is after this of many comments went up on her board.  Here was an interesting one:

On April 15th, 2010 at 11:06 am, Ignatius Reilly said:

So the commies wanna rumble, eh? I say, Bring it on! and Remember Greensboro! (They need a little booster shot.)

Of course Greensboro refers to the massacre in 1979 in Greensboro NC where a Nazi and Klan death squad shot dead 5 communists and anti-racists at an anti-Klan rally.

This is the common refrain from Tea-Klanners, they are not racist.  Yet it is all there exposed when really pressed.  No one should be fooled.

Update 2:

Along with RAIM many other radicals in the Denver area responded to our call.  There was also a bunch of liberals and Democrats who were there for different reasons.  With much less people and resources RAIM called the action and others responded while highlighting our anti-imperialist, anti-settler, pro-national liberation, pro-migrant and Third Worldist messages.  This is significant because many groups there have hopes that the Amerikan labor aristocracy can be moved for progressive social goals.  We at RAIM factually see the majority of Amerika as benefiting from imperialist exploitation and shaping their politics to it.  This has been the interests of the majority White Amerikan Nation, and also creeping into the captive nations of the United Snakes.  The captive nations are still nationally oppressed although growing economic integration leads to a decline in national consciousness in favor of Amerika.  The Tea Party phenomena visibly shows that privileged White Amerikans when organized go into a right wing and proto-fascist direction.

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Movie Review: Clash of the Titans

Movie Review: Clash of the Titans

https://raimd.wordpress.com

Clash of the Titans (2010, Louis Leterrier) is a reactionary film which promotes compradorism and lackeyism in the main, as well as white supremacy and patriarchy.

In the movie, people abandon the gods of Greek mythology, thus incurring their wrath. Perseus (Sam Worthington), the mortal son of Zeus, is chosen to lead a campaign to stop an impending assault by the ancient monster, the Kraken, on the port city of Argos.

Perseus’s journey is long. It is assumed he’s fighting the gods themselves. However, by the end of the film we see Perseus siding with one faction of the gods, represented by Zeus, against another, led by Hades. Rather than overthrow the gods in the entirety, Perseus reinforces their lofty position and remains on earth as a demi-god amongst men.

The “gods” of Clash of the Titans can be seen as representing what the masses must revolt against: capitalist-imperialism and the First World itself. Perseus thus is akin to any number of supposed rebels who cut deals and hold back the whole struggle. As in the film, such people are aided by that which they nominally stand against and rewarded with positions of authority for helping preserve the overall system. By the end of the movie, like many of the struggles of the past, nothing has changed. In fact, Perseus’ campaign ends the revolt against the gods and returns  people to their subordinate position. The main character is revealed to be not a rebel but a more effective lackey. Despite the film’s seemingly distant setting and apolitical nature, such ideas defeat social revolutions and subjugate people under continued imperialist exploitation.

The film is reactionary in other ways as well. All of the characters are White, alluding to an overall chauvinism on the part of the filmmaker and audience. Likewise, for his task of only opposing a faction of the gods in service to another, Perseus is awarded Io (Gemma Arteton), a youthful-looking girl who previously guided Perseus but was killed over the course of the journey. All and all, this film is irredeemable.

In the First World, social conflict is non-antagonistic, thus reformism and cutting deals makes sense. However, for the Third World masses, social struggles are matters of life and death. Selling out is an act of treason to oppressed peoples. Underneath Clash of the Titans is a political stance which lauds the ascendency of compradors and the continuing oppression and abject poverty of billions of people. There is no good faction of imperialism or the First World for the  broad masses. It must all be overthrown.

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All Out to Oppose the ‘Tea Party Against Amnesty’

On April 15th, the Tea Party Movement is planning major rallies throughout the country, including one in Denver. Part of this year’s convergence is a blatantly anti-Mexican ‘Tea Party Against Amnesty.’

The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement is calling on all radicals – anarchists and communists, Mexican and Black nationalists, Third Worldists and Indigenists, students, social critics and anti-racists – to come out and oppose this vile, hateful message in the midst of the Tea Party Movement. Bring signs, bullhorns, props, a hat and sunglasses, etc. Cut loose and let these racist crackers know they are opposed.

What: Oppose the racist ‘Tea Party Against Amnesty’
When: Thursday, April 15th; 10am-1pm
Where: Across the street from the Capitol building

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RAIM Global Digest, Issue 3

RAIM Global Digest, Vol 2, Issue 3

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RAIM-Denver Program/Basic Info Pamphlet

RAIM Basic Info (1 page pamphlet)

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Steve Struggle discusses Black liberation history

Steve Struggle, a Denver RAIMer and veteran of the black liberation struggle, answers some pressing questions about the history of the movement

In part 1, Steve discusses the Black Panthers, the cult around Huey Newton and the party’s degeneration.

In part 2, Steve discusses places the Black Panther Party’s degeneration in the context of international struggles.

In part 3, Steve discusses the role of COINTELPRO in the demise of the Black revolutionary movement.

In part 4, Steve talks about the revolutionary politics of the Black Panther Party and what black liberation means.

In part 5, Steve talks about the nature of the White labor aristocracy and places the struggle for reparations and national liberation in the context of Third World anti-imperialist struggle.

In part 6, Steve talks about Obama and US imperialism.

In part 7, Steve offers advice to young revolutionaries.

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RAIM Global Digest Volume 2, Issue 2

RAIM Global Digest Vol 2; Issue 2

Contents:

-In India, forests grow with Naxalite peoples war [cover]

-RAIM-Seattle on the WTO 10 -year anniversary [cover]

-Net-exploitation by the numbers (hypothetically)

-IDF arrests peaceful resistance organizers in West Bank

-Amerika “disappears” migrants into secret detention facilities

-Movie review: Avatar [by Monkey Smashes Heaven]

-Earthquake strikes Haiti; imperialism is a disaster

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Earthquake Strikes Haiti; Imperialism is a Disaster

Earthquake Strikes Haiti; Imperialism is a Disaster

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

Also available as a ready-to-print PDF

On Tuesday, January 12th, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the country of Haiti, its epicenter a mere fifteen miles from the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. By that Thursday, 80,000 people were already buried in mass-graves and 200,000 people were estimated to have perished. In the wake of the tremor, international aid has rushed to the small Caribbean country. The news of the massive earthquake and its human toll has overshadowed a larger crisis in Haiti: crushing poverty, widespread malnutrition and imperialist super-exploitation.

A history of imperialism

Haiti became the second independent republic in the Western Hemisphere after Black slaves rose up against their owners and then the French between 1791 and 1804. Quickly after defeating France, however, they were straddled with debt. Their former colonial masters demanded 130 million francs (later lowered to 90 million) in indemnity for the Haitian war of liberation. The newly consolidated Haitian government had no such funds and resorted to borrowing the first 30 million from the Bank of France at exorbitant interest rates. It would not be until after World War II that Haiti fully repaid debt accrued from its war of independence.

During the Haitian Revolution, US President Thomas Jefferson initial offered military aid to the French, but backed out at the last minute. After Haiti attained independence, Jefferson signed a legislative bill barring trade between the two countries. The United States, a country with its own substantial Black-slave population, refused to recognize the new, Black republic for six decades in an attempt to stifle it.

Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, has also suffered the most imperialist meddling. Between 1849 and 1919 US troops were sent to the country 24 times to “protect American (sic) lives and property.” Throughout the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, the US supported ‘Papa’ and ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier as strong-men puppets in country. This ended after much conflict in 1990 when a reformer, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was elected to the presidency.

In 1991, Aristide was overthrown by a U.S.-backed military coup. As part of a compromise deal to return to power three years later, Aristide made a slew of concessions, including wholesale, IMF-sponsored structural adjustments and the occupation of the country by U.N. ‘peacekeepers.’ Aristide began appealing to the international community regarding the plight of Haiti and Third World. Aristide was again ousted in 2004, Haiti’s bicentennial.

Throughout this process, imperialism has tightened its squeeze on the Haitian masses. Prior to the 1970’s and 80’s, Haiti was a moderately self-sufficient, agrarian society. Then, the IMF forced the Haitian state to cut tariffs on US imports of rice and other food commodities. Because US farms are heavily subsidized, a flood of cheap agricultural imports drove the Haitian masses off the land and into the slums. Another major blow to Haitians came when international agencies persuaded the Haitian government that a pig acclimated to the island needed to be killed off and replaced. The native pig, which served as a hedge against starvation, needed little water or food, whilst the breed imported from Iowa needed clean water, shelter and feed daily, something the majority of Haitians couldn’t provide even for themselves. Thus, Haitians were deprived of their two traditional, staple foods and left at the whim of international food prices. Western-demanded privatizations have also swept Haiti in recent years, closing of country’s only flour mill and cement factory and furthering the Haitian masses’ dependence on an unfair, uncaring market. Despite so-called ‘aid,’ foreign debt has crippled the Haitian economy. In 2003, for example, Haiti paid $57 million dollars to service foreign loans while receiving $39 million from aid programs.

An ongoing disaster in Haiti

During the Summer of 2008, it was reported that Haitians in the slums of Port-au-Prince began widely eating sun-baked mud pies. Food riots occurred the same year. An estimated three-quarters of the country lives on less than $2 a day. Over half the country subsists on less than a dollar a day.

Cite Soleil, the shanty town adjacent to Port-au-Prince, is home to 2-300,000 residents and is one of the largest slums in the Western Hemisphere. The residents, often the children of former farmers, are said to sleep in shifts for lack of space. Basic education is a privilege; illiteracy is on the rise. There is no welfare or economic safety-net in Haiti. Life expectancy in the country is around 52. Very little modern infrastructure exists.

The Haitian masses are trapped in their miserable condition. Their border with the Dominican Republic is closed and the surrounding waters are patrolled by the US Coast Guard. Haitians caught on the water or ‘illegally’ inside the US are forced back into the squalid conditions of their home country. Even after the quake, US military airplanes have broadcast a message over Haiti, telling residents to not flee the country. This stands in stark contrast to Cubans, who are deemed ‘political refugees’ and given free residency status once inside the US.

Most Haitians were unaware the possibility of a quake even existed. In 2008 however, Patrick Charles of Havana’s Geological Institute reported, “conditions are ripe for major seismic activity in Port-au-Prince. The inhabitants of the Haitian capital need to prepare themselves for an event which will inevitably occur….” “Thank God that science has provided instruments that help predict these type of events and show how we have arrived at these conclusions,” he added.

Unfortunately, social conditions prevailed over science’s ability to predict and mitigate the human devastation caused by natural occurrences. The earthquake struck Haiti’s capital city just before 5 pm, rocking the imperialist-ravaged country at the peak of daily activity.

The response from the West

Predictably, the response from the West, especially Amerikans, has been disgusting.

Pat Robertson, a right-wing, Amerikan religious leader, said on his television show, the 700 Club, that the earthquake, along with Haiti’s poverty, was a punishment from god. According to Robertson, Haiti’s 18th-century rebels  “signed a pact with the devil” in order to get free from the French. Racist to the extreme, Robertson has a daily television audience of 1 million viewers.

Within the more mainstream of Amerikan society, the response has been similar but toned-down. ‘Why were so many Haitians killed? Can’t they build proper buildings? Now we have to help them, again? They really owe us now!’ Most Amerikans expressed a viewpoint which blames the victim; views them as ‘backwards’; offers ‘aid’ as part of the responsibility carried by ‘advanced’ countries; and expects ‘gratitude,’ i.e. unchallenged political and economic control of their country, in return.  Amerikan broadcasters played into the view that Haitians are incapable of being anything besides poor and miserable. Associated Press, in one early story, quoted a man who was “wielding a broken wooden plank with nails to protect his bottle of rum.” Western media has sensationalized so-called looting while extolling the roll of the US military in the quake’s aftermath. Youth in “lawless” Haiti are said to be at risk of “sex trade, slavery and murder.” Reports tell of difficultly getting food to hungry Haitians due to civil disorder, as if such is somehow exceptional in a deeply impoverished, densely-populated city after a major earthquake. All of this paints a picture of Haitians as violent imbeciles whose misery is their own fault. This racist narrative ignores the two-centuries-long unnatural disaster that has crippled Haiti’s self-reliance, including Haiti’s institutions’ ability to respond.

US take-over and imperialist penetration

By January 24th, 20,000 US troops arrived to ‘save’ Haiti. As part of the first act of the relief effort, the US military seized the airport in Port-au-Prince, one of the few in the country. Thereafter, the US has controlled all air-traffic in and out of the capital.

Thus far the US has assumed a de facto governing role in Haiti, with the Dept. of Defense, the State Dept., and USAID taking the lead. Of the 20,000 US troops in Haiti, over half are stationed off the coast, a virtual blockade meant to prevent Haitians from taking to the waters in an expected wave of migration.

Some commentators have called it an occupation. Some have condemned the security-style tactics, such as shooting live rounds into the air and pointing M16s at crowds. Others have noted the impediment to relief efforts the massive troop presence is causing. Journalists and Haiti-advocate, Kim Ives, explained:

“Watching the scene in front of the General Hospital yesterday said it all. Here were people who were going in and out of the hospital bringing food to their loved ones in there or needing to go to the hospital, and there were a bunch of Marine[s]—of US 82nd Airborne soldiers in front yelling in English at this crowd. They didn’t know what they were doing. They were creating more chaos rather than diminishing it. It was a comedy, if it weren’t so tragic.”

One thing that can’t be missed is the near-hegemonic role the US has played in the so-called relief and recovery effort. Despite the good intentions of some individuals, intervention in Haiti is part of a larger strategy for imperialism.

One influential group, the right-wing Heritage Foundation, noted early-on how the crisis could be used to further Amerikan interests. “In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the US response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti offers opportunities to reshape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region,” it stated in a draft report.

Thus far imperialism has rushed in and already pulled off a number of PR stunts.

First, Obama granted temporary amnesty to Haitians scheduled for deportation from the US, after it was demanded by advocacy groups. Likewise, it was reported early on, perhaps erroneously, that the US-controlled IMF demanded wage freezes and rises in electricity prices as part of an emergency 100 million dollar loan package. Later, the IMF came out with a statement, declaring that the $100 million loan would be interest and condition-free. Managing director of the fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, went even further by saying, “the most important thing is that the IMF is now working with all donors to try to delete all the Haitian debt, including our new loan. If we succeed–and I’m sure we will succeed–even this loan will turn out to be finally a grant, because all the debt will have been deleted.”

The IMF’s statement should be seen for what it is: imperialist doublespeak. While imperialism, especially Amerikan imperialism, is promising to help Haiti, the real intention is to help itself.

Under the imperialist system, ‘aid’ is almost exclusively used as a political weapon. Aid packages and loans often come with strings, such as the freezing of wages and rises in prices for public services, among other things. When Washington’s edicts are not followed, aid money to poor countries is withheld and instead given to opposition groups, as was the case in Haiti after Aristide was reelected in 2000. Additionally, ‘aid’ rarely makes it to those it is professed to serve. 84% of US aid money to the Third World returns to the US economy in the form of contracts, wages, consulting fees and payments for goods. Of the remaining 16%, an unknown amount is pocketed by the recipient country’s goonish puppet-elite.

Recently, the United Snakes has been touting investment in Haiti. Twice in 2009, Bill Clinton, acting on behalf of the UN, made high-profile visits to Haiti. In one trip, Clinton gave 150 investors a tour of potential investment sites in the country. Prior to this, Clinton visited with UN General Secretary, Ban-Ki Mon, who said during a press conference the country must do more to attract investment. However, this investment is of a narrow type, as illustrated by a post-earthquake opinion piece in the Ottawa Citizen:

“[Regarding ‘rebuilding’ and ‘development’ plans,] [t]he Haitian government has singled out tourism, “export processing zones” (EPZs) and agriculture as sectors that hold promise and should be supported. But donors seem to be placing the bulk of their faith in EPZs, or expanding the textile industry.”

Facing a ‘financial crisis,’ US imperialism likely sees the Haitian earthquake as an opportunity to ratchet up and expand exploitation in the country. Food sustainability and commercial agriculture for Haitians is not profitable for imperialism and will not be promoted as part of imperialist ‘development’ schemes.

Impetus will be given to legal ‘reforms,’ new building construction and infrastructure development. However, such will not be geared to the benefit of the people of Haiti, but rather those who control the Haitian economy: imperialists and a small comprador class. Infrastructure and ‘development’ will expand imperialism’s exploitation of the country and perhaps convert the country’s north shore into a resort destination for the exclusive use of Western vacationers. For the bulk of Haiti’s population though, conditions will not change. Though a few new sweatshop jobs may come to the country, most Haitians will continue to rely on small-scale agriculture, the informal sector and remittances from abroad for daily survival.

Recent resistance in Haiti

Since the mid-90’s, resistance to continual imperialist meddling and economic strangulation amongst Haitians has coalesced under former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Fanmi Lavalas [Avalanche Family] party.

While president of Haiti, Aristide used Fanmi Lavalas and other independent institutions to provide services to and render support from the poor, especially where the Haitian state’s hands were tied by US-sponsored trade agreements. Chief among Aristide’s plans for Haiti was a more democratic productive and distributive method within the grassroots and informal sector, those areas which imperialism and the Haitian state had the least control over.

Though Aristide was supported by the masses of Haiti, he never prepared them to struggle against inevitable imperialist suppression. His politics and program were heavily tinged with liberalism: an inability to make and follow through with clear distinctions. In a very real sense, he wanted to have it both ways. He wanted to be both a legitimate statesman within the imperialist system as well as someone leading progressive social change within Haiti. This, in addition to his pacifist tendencies, left himself and his supporters vulnerable to attacks.

Aristide’s liberalism was perhaps best expressed as he looked for allies in Haiti’s struggle against imposed poverty. Rather than building alliances on the basis of clear common interest, i.e. with those countries also struggling under IMF-imposed debt and unfair trade deals, Aristide spent a considerable amount of time appealing to rich countries. Rather than championing and joining in solidarity with those being attacked and threatened by the imperialism globally, he formed a government-in-exile inside the US after his first ouster. In Eyes of the Heart, a short book published in 2000, he made a moral case against modern globalization; attempting to expose the plight of Haitians to Western audiences in a non-threatening way.

The logical result of Aristide’s misguided politics came in 2004, an election year. The US-funded opposition made allegations of fraud and labeled Aristide a dictator. They staged acts of civil unrest and launched a rebellion which threatened to violently overtake the capital, prompting the US to “restore democracy,” i.e. kidnap Aristide and fly him to Africa as part of a coup d’etat. Since Aristide’s ouster, Fanmi Lavalas has been banned from running in elections, branded “violent, pro-Aristide gangs” and subject to repression. The small gains Haitians made during Aristide’s short stints as president have been reversed. For all his internationally-directed  appeals, they went unheard and ignored in the West. When he was overthrown a second time by the US, there was no outcry from the Western “masses.”

What is revealed here is that the struggle for Third World liberation is a political-military one. In this regard, Aristide’s strategy failed the Haitian masses, leaving them to languish under the jackboot of imperialism.

It also reveals the saliency of class in today’s world. The illusionary ‘morality’ of the First World is not reliable in any effective sense. Any ‘progressive movement’ within Amerika is overstated, largely for propaganda purposes. Generally, First Worlders are exploiter enemies of the Third World masses.

Anti-Imperialist Alternative

One thing should be clear: the disaster that’s befallen Haiti is not natural. It is the result of an economic system, a class system which actively benefits a minority of humanity at the expense of the majority.

There are two ideas at the core of this. First, Haitians are far from alone in their plight. They are one small part of the exploited masses of the world. Second, it will take more than reforms or even revolution in a single country to relieve its people of the capitalist-imperialist threat eternally. It will take a global revolution- an uprising of the exploited Third World masses against imperialism, its agents and supporters- to end this system forever.

The idea that a cataclysmic, global revolution will be unleashed upon the world is millenarian. Because of this, the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (RAIM) supports various forces actively opposing imperialism throughout the Third World. We support a united front against imperialism, i.e. unity between forces resisting imperialism in individual countries.

Revolutionaries push for widespread social transformation. While it is important to accept and support reforms when they are on the table, revolutionaries must also defend reforms from attacks and organize to transform society on a more widespread basis. Society must be revolutionized on all levels, including the adoption of a foreign policy based on revolutionary internationalism and not narrow state interests. Revolutionaries the world over must make clear distinctions and have a clear strategy; not cloud up the picture with liberalism, uninhibited moralism and unwarranted reverence for the First World.  Above all, revolutionaries are anti-imperialists and see their own struggle as global in scope.

Which way from here

The lack of a revolutionary or popular democratic movement in Haiti places it in great disadvantage vis-a-vis imperialist penetration and restructuring in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. As it looks, the living conditions in Haiti will be hellish for some time.

However, from this ongoing disaster, Haitians and the global masses have the opportunity to learn from and reject the errors of Haiti’s most recent struggles. As revolutionaries, we also have an obligation to study and learn from what is happening in the world, presenting our findings with utmost clarity to the Third World masses and those who might be their allies. In the First World, we have an obligation to agitate for and meaningfully support the united front, using our own bourgeois privilege when expedient.  In the Third World, revolutionaries must incorporate these lessons into their struggle, so as to not repeat the same mistakes.

While doctors and food may help in this time of emergency, they are hardly long-term solutions to the problems inherent in capitalist-imperialism. The best form of relief for Haiti would be a global, anti-imperialist movement. Unlike the US-dominated ‘recovery’ effort, a successful, class-conscious movement on the part of exploited Haitians and the Third World masses is the only thing capable of truly saving Haiti.

Sources:

(1)http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/us2010rja6.php
(2)http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/29/food.internationalaidanddevelopment
(3) http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=4010185&blogId=526390389
(4)http://www.cbn.com/700club/showinfo/about/about700club.aspx
(5) http://www.cbn.com/700club/showinfo/about/about700club.aspx
(6)http://www.9news.com/rss/article.aspx?storyid=130993
(7)http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122777051
(8)http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122669505
(9)http://www.haiti-info.com/spip.php?article2713
(10)http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122803650
(11)http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=57661
(12)http://newsjunkiepost.com/2010/01/20/us-militarys-security-not-helping-haitians/
(13)http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/20/journalist_kim_ives_on_how_decades
(14)http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2010/01/sex-haiti-earthquake-relief-mark-driscoll-/1
(15)http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2010/01/imf-clarifies-terms-haitis-loan
(16)http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/01/economic-shock-haiti-disaster
(17)http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/517494/
(18)http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/really+help+Haiti/2484340/story.html
(19)http://www.haiti.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=115:092609-royal-caribbean-boosts-haitis-tourism-comeback-efforts&catid=1:latest-news
(20)http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N10536583.htm
(21)http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/americas/03/02/aristide.claim/
(22)http://www.uruknet.info/index.php?p=m62226&hd=&size=1&l=e

Aristide, Jean-Bertrand. Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization. 2000. Common Courage Press. Monroe, ME.

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RAIM-S on the WTO 10 Year Anniversary

RAIM-Seattle on the recent WTO 10 year anniversary

originally published, December 21st, 2009 by RAIM-Seattle

(www.raims.wordpress.com)

The imperialist media hype around the recent slayings of police (the enforcers of empire) in the Seattle and Lakewood, and the predictable show of support for the kkkops by the general cracker population, overlaps the ten year anniversary of the “Battle of Seattle”. RAIM-Seattle doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories per se, but the coincidental timing of all this shit is not lost on us in the least. If these recent events did not take place, the imperialist media would have been more than likely (just for a “story”) to do a piece noting the 1999 WTO rebellion. The resulting reports would have reminded these kop loving crackers how pig repression extended itself into the white communities from its usual mandate in occupying oppressed nation communities. This would have exposed the imperialist hypocrisy around “free speech” with former mayor Paul Schell’s “Free Speech Zones” and the resulting swine assault upon any expression outside of those zones. In turn, this would have demoralized the white oppressor nation’s faith in the Amerikkkan system, and we at RAIM-Seattle think this is a good thing. Instead, because of recent events and its coverage by the media, you have a more united white oppressor nation against “those people”. That is, those people of the internal oppressed nations. People hungry for justice should consider their moves carefully and with a sense of overall strategy. It is plainly and tragically obvious that individuals just shooting pigs within the u$ (as deserving of the death penalty as they might be as enforcers of the system) outside of a legally solid (presumably) self-defense context, doesn’t lead to liberation. In fact, it leads to more repression, more kkkops, more prisons, and more of Amerikkka in general. Likewise, praising or defending kkkop assassinations promotes that type of strategy-less focoism instead of promoting solidarity with active and organized resistance to imperialism in the Third World.

With that out of the way, RAIM-S is going to do what the Amerikan imperialist media conveniently wasn’t going to do: Revisit the 1999 WTO rebellion!

Brief history of the WTO up to 1999

The WTO was originally founded in 1947 as the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT. GATT, in turn, had its origins in the 1944 Bretton Woods conference as the proposed but never implemented “International Trade Organization” (ITO). The GATT, along with other Bretton Woods creations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, essentially made the rules of global capitalism (on international trade, “development” loan packages, property rights, some interest rates, currency exchange rates, etc.) for the post-WW2 period. Alongside the Marshall Plan, the resulting agreements helped forge a “new imperialism” of a parasitically united First World, headed by the united $tates, to jointly exploit the Third World. This was the true origin of a “New World Order” of imperialism, as opposed to the kind of inter-imperialist wars for colonial spheres of dominance that characterized the first half of the 20th century. The Soviet bloc (referred by some as the historical “Second World”) and the so-called “Cold War” was both the top exception and the chief impediment to the blooming of this united imperialist corpse flower.

These international institutions of free trade were only so in name, as the united $nakes and the rest of the First World would always insist upon special exceptions (like agricultural subsidies for cracker-settler Amerikkkan farmers) to prop up their privileged status as “developed” nations. Resistance to imperialism by the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America from the early 1950’s to the late 60’s was a key factor in smashing the old Bretton Woods system (the u$ dollar fixed to a gold standard as the global reserve currency). The imperialists had their revenge by replacing the original Bretton Woods with a floating exchange rate system. The consequences of this lead to further disruption of some of the only means of Third World nations to generate national capital; their own natural resources and agriculture. (1)

This predatory battering of the Third World by these First World expanded with the fall of the rival Soviet bloc in 1991. This event was infamously marked by George Bu$h Sr.’s announcement to the u$ congreSS of this New World Order finally coming into fruition; right on the eve of the “multilateral” imperialist attack on Iraq in 1990. (2) With the all potential challenges to this New World Order (really the New Amerikkkan Order) neutralized, from the Soviet Union to Saddam Hussein, the First World kicked up its exploitation yet another notch during the Uruguay Round of GATT in 1994. (3) These deck-stacking measures moved beyond “business as usual” for the imperialists with regard to tariffs and price controls, and into uncharted economic territory involving agricultural products, intellectual property, services, etc. This renewed global economic framework culminated in the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Naturally, the agenda of the world’s exploited majority and all those who resist imperialism was shutting down the gathering of imperialists at the WTO. All this came to a head at the Seattle conference on November 30, 1999.

The “Battle of Seattle” (of 1999, not 1856!) (4)

RAIM-S won’t bother recounting all the various events around the WTO shutdown. Both the righteous direct actions of the anarchist John Browns and the pig mobs running wild from mayor Paul $chell’s “State of Emergency” in response has been covered countless times in the independent media (5), and mostly mischaracterized and scandalized in the corporate media. A Hollywood feature film was even made. A recounting of the minutia of details around the protest is not our purpose here. Ours is an account of the where the margins of class struggle are in this movement for justice against the globalized machinations of imperialism.

The direct actions were successful in shutting down the first day of the conference, preventing delegates from entering the convention center and cutting off pig supply lines. The pig counterattack was a brutal and massive military operation that utilized tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings, mass arrests, and an invasion and occupation of the nominally progressive Capitol Hill neighborhood. The world attention of the WTO protests and the police repression helped to bring certain contradictions inside the following days of the WTO Seattle conference to a head, thus derailing the entire conference. The story for most ends here, with the narrative of the germinating “brand new left” (local and/or globetrotting) to oppose various imperialist dominated gatherings as the future of “left wing” resistance. Now RAIM-Seattle has to stink it up a little bit, for the sake of the truth, with the following remark from some Black Nation youth to some radical white youth as they pushing back against the pig assaults:

“Hey, where were you when we were getting beat down by the police?”

This brings up a larger issue to RAIM-S of the class outlook of the various groups involved in the protest. Is there some kind of white Amerikkkan exceptionalism within the outlook of many on the so-called “left”? Is this how many activists in the First World feel exempted from confronting the relative privilege of white “workers” and their parasitic i$$ues, even as they claim to support the issues of the internal oppressed nations and the Third World as a whole? Did fantasies of u$ “revolutionary working class” lead to a white dominated politics? Did this, in turn, keep away too many oppressed nation peoples from representing their nations at the WTO protests? That’s not to say that oppressed nations and the Third World weren’t represented, but let’s take a hard look at the following account from Betita Martinez to examine where RAIM sees this problem (6). Martinez quotes Jinee Kim of the Third Eye Movement:

“I was at the jail where a lot of protesters were being held and a big crowd of people was chanting ‘This Is What Democracy Looks Like!’ At first it sounded kind of nice. But then I thought: is this really what democracy looks like? Nobody here looks like me.”

This is not to say that individuals of white background, even as an organizational majority, cannot contribute to a net gain for global justice. That would put an incorrect subjectivist primary focus on who a person is versus what a person does on the one hand. Indeed, Martinez documents the solid discipline, knowledge, and organizational skills of many settler-descended activists, as well as its positive reception from the relative minority of oppressed nation activists. However, “democracy” is something more than gathering to protest and for voter registration drives. The struggle for democracy is overwhelmingly a torturous, long term armed struggle for national liberation in the Third World. The white so-called “left” needs to be aware of its First Worldist subjectivism with regard to concepts like democracy. RAIM-Seattle thinks that the best democracy that can exist is that of “one person, one vote” on a global scale. Because of imperialism, the mechanism for this global democracy, in the full utilitarian sense, does not exist as of yet. Since those of us in RAIM like to think of themselves as being consistent global democrats (small “d”; fuck the Demokkkratic parasite Party), we uphold the interest of the global majority in the Third World against the global minority in the First World. This makes it possible for us to act in a way that respects the “general will” of the global majority the best way possible, lacking the practical ability to count 6 billion votes under imperialism. Betita Martinez then shows RAIM the economic origins of this “left-wing” self-deception on “democracy”:

Unfortunately the heritage of distrust was intensified by some of the AFL-CIO leadership of labor on the November 30 march. They chose to take a different route through downtown rather than marching with others to the Convention Center and helping to block the WTO. Also, on the march to downtown they reportedly had a conflict with the Third World People’s Assembly contingent when they rudely told the people of color to move aside so they could be in the lead.

This is the crux of the issue for RAIM. In the midst of all this righteous militancy, where were the John Browns (traitors to the white oppressor nation) in the march to shut down Jimmy Hoffa Jr.’s parasite goons? Who was there to defend the nominal Third World leadership against imperialism? Perhaps it is because of a continuing fantasy among the “left” about some “natural” role for the Amerikkkan worker as some kind of leading “revolutionary” force for progressive change. RAIM holds that the only societal change that Amerikkkan labor can bring is fascism. Observe (7):

“The Seattle summit will be a historic confrontation between civil society and corporate rule”, says Mike Dolan. He works for the American consumer watchdog group Public Citizen founded by Ralph Nader. Public Citizen is connected to the IFG and initiated the campaign against the MAI treaty. Dolan now acts as the great coordinator and spokesman of the counter movement in Seattle. Not everyone seems to be happy with him, but little can be done about his presence. He sits in the middle of the web, like a spider. On the one hand Dolan supports the American PGA caravan with several thousand dollars, on the other he speaks up for the extreme Right Pat Buchanan, now a candidate for the American presidency, representing the Reform Party. “Whatever else you say about Pat Buchanan, he will be the only candidate in the 2000 presidential sweepstakes who will passionately and unconditionally defend the legitimate expectations of working families in the global economy,” Dolan writes. Indeed, Buchanan supports American workers. As long as they are conservative and obedient and not unemployed, black, gay, female, lesbian or Jewish. He’s also not particularly fond of left-wing workers. Buchanan on Argentina: “With military and police and free lance operators, between 6.000 and 150.000 leftists disappeared. Brutal: yes; also successful. Today peace reigns in Argentina; security has been restored.”

And this:

Former Republican big shot Buchanan is known for his sharp attacks on international trade treaties like GATT, NAFTA, MAI and now the WTO. “Traditional antagonists as politically far apart as Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan are finding some common ground on trade issues,”says IFG member Mark Ritchie. He is also director of the American Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, which supports small farmers. Reform Party spokesman in New Hampshire John Talbott agrees with Ritchie. “If you close your eyes, it is difficult to hear much of a difference between Ralph Nader on the left and Pat Buchanan on the right when they talk about the devastating effect of free international trade on the American worker and a desire to clean big money and special interests out of Washington.”According to Buchanan this big capital is mainly in the hands of “the Jews”. He presents himself as “the only leader in this country who is not afraid of fighting against the Jewish lobby”. Buchanan calls Hitler “an individual of great courage” and doubts whether the holocaust really was that big an event. But “Jewish capital” isn’t the most important reason why Buchanan wants to be a candidate for the presidency. No, in the first place he wants to end “illegal immigration”, that is, according to Buchanan, “helping fuel the cultural breakdown of our nation”. The populist Buchanan is probably the foremost representative of the extreme right in the US. His constituency consists of Christian fundamentalists, militia members and neo-Nazis. These millions of people might explain Dolan’s flirt with Buchanan. Together with his enthusiastic commentary Dolan sent around a newspaper article in which Buchanan openly says: “American workers and people first.”But Buchanan is not alone with that opinion. Also the big right-wing trade union AFL-CIO wants to make “the rights and interests of US workers a priority”. The union also mobilises their rank and file for the demonstrations in Seattle.

Make no mistake: The fascist agenda of the Amerikkkan organized labor is not the “false consciousness” of Amerikkkan workers ideologically swindled by Patrick Buchanan the AFL-CIA (yes, that’s how we spell it) and other u$ labor leaders. The protectionism, racism, and militarism of the Amerikkkan labor aristocracy are, in reality, their true class consciousness. The imperialist structure of the world set up by the Bretton Woods conference, with all its various phases, have made 90% of Amerikkkans among the world’s richest 15%! (8,9) Why in the hell would they want to change the very exploitative basis for that privilege? (10) Unless, of course, these crackkkers are complaining about Third World and oppressed peoples driving down their parasitically inflated wages, taking “their jobs”, or driving up the cost of “their” gasoline for their pick-up trucks and SUVs. This is the “Amerikkka first” fascist agenda, not a progressive global justice one. It is an agenda that the left-wing of parasitism keeps giving space to with their fantasies of a white-worker led revolution. The common “left” narrative of strategy goes something like this: Win the “90% against the 10%” in within country by country, rather than on a overarching global scale. Treating every country, both in the First World and Third World, as if they all have progressive national majorities will only lead to disaster. One can see where this white populist fantasy leads: to the teaCrackkkers and the goddamn minuteKlan. To RAIM, this is NOT what democracy looks like… This is what DUMBokkkracy looks like.

J. Sakai quotes ideological founder of fascism Benito Mussolini (11):

[Mussolini understood] his need to put forward the most “left” face possible on his way to State power. Mussolini even spoke favorably about the spontaneous workers councils movement that was taking over factories and calling for anti-capitalist revolution:

No social transformation which is necessary is repugnant to me. Hence I accept the famous workers’ supervision of the factories and equally their cooperative social management; I only ask that there should be a clear conscience and technical capacity, and that production be increased. If this is guaranteed by the trade unions, instead of by the employers, I have no hesitation in saying that the former have the right to take the latter’s place.”

Again, does today’s third position fascism sound more radical than that? Not hardly.

Never forget class struggle!

RAIM-S gives a clenched-fist salute to those John Browns of the global justice movement in their continued harassment of the imperialist states at the various international policy conferences around the world, including at the recent Copenhagen conference. Never forget that First World “labor” is not the friend of the world’s exploited and oppressed. Your real friends are the freedom fighters of the Third World proletariat who are landing the hardest blows against imperialism (12,13).

Fuck the AFL-CIA! Up with the Third World!

Turn the World upside down!
Notes:

1. Steven M. Suranovich, International Finance Theory and Policy, chapter 100, http://internationalecon.com/Finance/Fch100/F100-1.php

2. http://www.al-bab.com/Arab/docs/pal/pal10.htm

3. The Uruguay Round, http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/fact5_e.htm

4. http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=5208

5. John Tarleton, Love and Rage in Seattle: The Day the WTO Stood Still, http://johntarleton.net/wto.html

6. Elizabeth ‘Betita’ Martinez, Where Was the Color in Seattle?: Looking for reasons why the Great Battle was so white, http://colours.mahost.org/articles/martinez.html

7. Merijn Schoenmaker and Eric Krebbers, Seattle ’99, marriage party of the Left and the Right, http://www.savanne.ch/right-left-materials/seattle-marriage.html#13

8. US Census Bureau, 2006; income statistics for the year 2005

9. http://globalrichlist.com/how.html

10. J. Sakai, Aryan Politics & Fighting the W.T.O, http://colours.mahost.org/articles/sakai2.html

11. J. Sakai, excerpt from Confronting Fascism: Discussion Documents for a Militant Movement, http://www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/books/fascism/shock.html

12. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/venezuela-bolivia-iran-africans-denounce-us-and-other-first-world-countries-at-copenhagen/

13. https://raimd.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/in-indian-forests-grow-with-naxalite-peoples-war/

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New Pamphlet: Environment and Revolution

Released by People’s War Press, Environment and Revolution, is a collection of articles by the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement and our allies at Monkey Smashes Heaven.

Click here for 8 page PDF

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Video: RAIM Confronting Tea Party Racists

On November 14 2009 there was a nationwide “Tea Party Against Amnesty”,  to spew hate against,  and promote violence against, non-white migrant workers. RAIM Denver went to confront these racists a few months back (see here). Someone sent a video from their side to us, here it is with some added comments.  RAIM pointed out that these crackers are on stolen land, that this is not only Mexican land but Cheyenne land and other indigenous lands.  We urged youth liberation by urging their youth to marry non-white people to piss off their parents.  Also, the tea-crackers claimed not to be racist; yet their racism comes out and is exposed, as they shout wetback, puta, and sneaks at us.  Crackerdom should be confronted whenever it pops up, and RAIM stands against settler Amerikkka.

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RAIM Global Digest Issue 1 Vol. 2

Contents:

RAIM Crashes Racist Tea Party

Blackwater Runs Hi-Tech Dirty War in Pakistan

Program of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement

RAIM-Seattle: Reportback from Anti-Olympics Organizing

25th Anniversary of Union Carbine Murders in Bhopal, India (MSH)

Water an Imperialism (MSH)

Black, Latinos, Other Oppressed Nations are Born Stupid, Say Imperialists (MSH)

Review: Arun Gupta asks, ‘What Anti-War Movement?’

RAIM, Others Wreck Zionist-Led War Mongering Against Iran

Full PDF Here

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Program of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement

We want to smash this world and build a new one. Today, the median global income stands around $2.50 a day. Over 1 billion people face chronic hunger and a child dies every five seconds of starvation. This same situation is killing the planet at an unprecedented rate. Meanwhile, a global minority lives in comfort, unconcerned with their effect on the world. We aim to change this.

We understand that there is a causal relationship between wealth on one hand and poverty on the other. On a global level, the First World is rich because it exploits the impoverished majority, the Third World. This global divide, called imperialism, is the principal feature of the world today.

We side with the Third World masses and support their struggles for liberation. Exploiters are not going to hand over freedom to those they exploit. Only through struggle can the oppressed free themselves. We support the right of resistance- and revolution- for oppressed peoples against their oppressors. We support unity of the Third World masses against imperialism.

We reject First Worldism: politics which panders to or assumes that First Worlders are a social base for revolution. The “masses” of the First World are a global minority: a petty-exploiter class which regularly supports the imperialist system from which it benefits. Global revolution demands a just and egalitarian distribution of the world’s resources and wealth. Thus, over the course of global revolution, First Worlders will receive less, not more.

We are John Browns, staunch First World allies of the Third World. We are few and far between and behind enemy lines; there is little direct effect we can have. We consider our circumstances and focus on areas where we can effectively contribute to the revolutionary struggle.

We openly represent revolutionary anti-imperialism and work to build public opinion for Third World liberation struggles. We interject revolutionary, anti-imperialist politics into political arenas such as speaking events and protests; contribute to publishing and distributing revolutionary literature such as the RAIM Global Digest; and conduct group education through study collectives, practical tasks and informal discussion. We seek out and educate those who can be won over to consistent anti-imperialist politics.

We encourage direct participation and involvement, promote personal development and push people to become more valuable to the larger, global revolutionary movement. In part, RAIM is a ‘university of revolution.’ Through direct involvement with RAIM, we encourage people to become more proficient both politically and technically. A large part of RAIM’s purpose is to make individuals more of an asset to the Third World majority.

We encourage Third World-oriented, revolutionary political work. Though RAIM fills a roll by providing a public presence for and entry-level work into revolutionary politics, it is not the end-all-be-all of revolutionary political work. We encourage and support revolutionary, Third World-oriented politics being applied as part of different types of projects and efforts.

-Adopted by RAIM-Denver and RAIM-Seattle, November 23rd, 2009

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Filed under Actions and Events, Agitation Statements, Dear RAIM-Denver..., Environment, Fuck The Troops, Imperialism, Iraq, News and Analysis, Organizing, Political Economy, RAIM-Seattle, White Amerika, Youth

RAIM-Seattle: Thankkksgiving reportback on Olympic resistance organizing

(http://raims.wordpress.com)

In the name of troublemaking on the settlers’ gorge-fest known as Thankkksgiving, RAIM-S now gives a reportback on a recent presentation by representatives of No2010.com and the Olympic Resistance Network (ORN) in downtown Seattle*. The presentation was promoting the Anti-Olympic Convergence in Vancouver in February, 2010. The speakers from the ORN and No2010.com filled the room with inspiration as the crimes of past and continued Kanadian settlerism against the First Nations** of so-called “British Columbia” were thoroughly exposed:

(Image courtesy of No2010.com)

A Hi$tory of British KKKolumbia and KKKlanada: False Entities Legally, Real Oppressor-Nations Materially

The underlying historical theme of the speakers goes beyond the parameters of the slogan, “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land”. In fact, as one of the speakers pointed out, the First Nations covering most of the territory within the legally fake borders so-called “B.C.” never surrendered their land and never signed treaties in the first place! All of the so-called “Land/Indian Acts” of the late 1800’s/early 1900’s were duly never recognized. The resulting land grabs, dislocations, the resource stealing, the massive Indigenous child abuse, the poisoning of the Earth, the sexual assault and murder of Indigenous women, and the outright genocide of the First Nations were righteously resisted by the Indigenous Peoples’ Warriors, as they do to this day. As far as the history of white settler nations go, there doesn’t seem to be a treaty they sign with First Nations that they don’t break. If there’s no treaty for Crackers to break to begin with, them RAIM-S sees this contemporary position as bringing a radical, “no compromise” progressive nationalist spirit to the Indigenous Peoples. This revolutionary spirit gives strength to their righteous struggle against these imperialist settler states, and in particular, the upcoming genocidal First Worldist “Five-Ring Circus” known as the Olympics.

The 2010 Olympic Game$ as a concentrated imperialist campaign of land stealing and genocide against the First Nations

The speakers laid out for the audience the ongoing conquest of Native land by the capitalist-imperialists backing the 2010 Olympics. One of these latest settler assaults on the First Nations is the ravaging of Eagleridge Bluffs by contractors for the expansion of the Route 99 “Sea-to-Sky” highway leading to Whistler ski resort. In 2006, about two dozen protesters were arrested blocking the highway expansion, including Native elder Harriet Nahanee. B.C. Supreme Court pig “Justice” Brenda Brown gave Harriet Nahanee an effective death sentence for contempt of “court” for her righteous defense of Native land, and was subsequently martyred on February 24, 2007.

Harriet Nahanee died fighting the devastation to the Earth wrought to Eagleridge Bluffs and the surrounding area, and in the interest of preserving the land and traditional Native culture for these and coming generations of First Nation youth. The resulting deforestation from the continued cracker Olympic onslaught led to an alarming increase in the deaths of black bears and other land mammals, as well as disrupted bird habitats. Concurrently, the gravel and sand mining to supply some of the materials for the highway expansion and other Olympic kkkonstruction projects has resulted in the deaths of 2 million salmon in 2006.

The toll of the Olympic fiasco on women that happen to be involved with the sex trade will also be magnified. Male tourists from the First World flip their polite “p.c.” patriarchal inhibitions with privileged white females into crude patriarchal privilege of sex slavery, rape, and murder upon many Native women in the B.C. area. National oppression seems to connect itself to gender oppression here in such a way as to show where the priorities of real feminists should be; fighting imperialism. The speakers touched on the horrific numbers of Native women gone missing, not all of whom were even involved in the sex trade per se, but were nevertheless kidnapped, tortured, raped, and murdered. Some of these women heroically escaped or survived their ordeal to tell their horrific accounts of the ways these vicious, male Cracker Klanadians and Amerikkkans perpetrated their sexual assaults on Native women. The following from “Why We Resist” on No2010.com explains the current situation and its prospects best:

Events such as the Olympics draw hundreds of thousands of spectators and cause large increases in prostitution and trafficking of women. In Vancouver, over 68 women are missing and/or murdered. Many were Native, and many were reportedly involved in the sex trade. In 2007, the trial of William Pickton occurred for six of these murders, and he is to be tried for an additional 20 more. In northern B.C., over 30 young women, mostly Native, are missing and/or murdered along Highway 16. The 2010 Olympics and its invasion of tourists and corporations will only increase this violence against women.

What’s different about RAIM from other groups is that we recognize that, like what is stated above, its not just the corporations but the tourist “mASSes” that will contribute to this patriarchal assault on Native women. By attacking this aspect of gender oppression at the node, RAIM-S believes that national oppression can be attacked at the same time! The all-round global approach utilized by RAIM makes tackling the main enemy, imperialism, as principal. By smashing imperialism, the “node” at which gender and national oppression seem to meet, there’s no telling how far humanity can go in saving the Earth and eliminating ALL exploitation and oppression.

Fascist KKKrap a hallmark of Olympic Game$’ past

The two following excerpts from No2010.com exposes the history of these Olympics as being consistent with the current atrocities being committed today:

1. Massacres and Concentration Camps: The Bloody History of the Games

The modern Olympics have walked hand-in-hand with political repression and violence. The 1936 Olympics in Berlin (held despite a call from the Jewish community to boycott the games) actively promoted the Nazi regime. IOC members who opposed holding the Games in Berlin were dropped from the organization. Witnesses reported that there were more swastikas on stage at
the opening ceremony than Olympic flags. By the time the Games opened, a concentration camp was operating just half an hour’s journey from the Olympic site. As well, the Nazi regime initiated the modern Olympic torch relay as a way of promoting fascism throughout Europe.
Hundreds of people (mostly students) were massacred by a special forces unit called the Olympia Brigade in the Tlateloco Plaza in Mexico City ten days before the Olympics began in August 1968. A recently declassified document written to President Lyndon Johnson reported that “… the current tensions in Mexico City point toward the possibility that the Olympic games will be used as a focal point for demonstrations and actively favoring leftist, subversive, and militant radical elements.” Other documents show how the US Government directed the FBI to actively investigate any Americans planning to go to Mexico to protest the Olympics. These documents show that there was active pressure on Mexican President Diaz Ordaz to quell any student rebellion before the start of the Games.

Repressive laws and security build-ups are hallmarks of recent Olympic Games. The Games have been used as a convenient cover for permanent repressive laws and to create new police and military units. In Sydney there were four cops for each athlete at the Games for a total of 35,000 police and security guards, 4000 troops and elite commando units, and Black Hawk helicopters.

The Sydney Olympics were also used as a pretext to allow the Australian government to introduce permanent legislation that allows the military to be called out to quell domestic unrest. Steve Martin, the Labour Party’s Defense Critic, called the Olympics the “catalyst” for the bill. The Olympics Arrangements Act was passed giving the police the unfettered use of cameras and recording devices, and the powers to prevent the distribution of materials, and the powers to search and detain people in both Olympic and public spaces…

2. Racism and Racial Profiling

Increased Olympic security has also led to the increased racial profiling of immigrants and people of colour by both police and immigration authorities.
During the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, police cordoned off the mostly black neighborhood surrounding the Olympic Village and required identification from everyone entering or leaving the area. There was a similar lock-down of the Black community in Atlanta during the 1996 games.

During the 2004 Athens Olympics, Islamic communities in Greece were subjected to state surveillance of places of worship, and mass document-checks and inspections. A spokesman for the Greek branch of Amnesty International warned that “security for the 2004 Olympics is used in Greece as a pretext to systematically break international treaties on the right to refugees.”

This from the No2010.com FAQ:

FAQ: Why don’t they just leave the Olympics in Greece, where they started?

Good question… Although that would be unfair to the people of Greece. It is interesting to note that the Olympics are an archaic European tradition that have only become a global phenomenon due to the expansion of Western Civilization through colonialism and imperialism. Maybe the Olympics should just be abolished!

RAIM-S would add to that: “…and abolish KKKlanada and AmeriKKKa while we’re at it!”

Good News For First Nations

The speakers brought up a couple great points about the prospects of First Nations resistance:

1. The Native Youth Movement (NYM) is spreading among Indigenous Peoples worldwide, including solidarity with the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. Recent actions by NYM supporters include interrupting Olympic schmooze-fests with “native” sellouts like AFN Grand Chief Phil Fontaine, protesting the 2010 Cracker invasion and in honor of elder Harriet Nahanee. Other heroic acts by NYM supporters of the Native Warrior Society include the taking of the Olympic flag from its flagpole at Vancouver City Hall, and releasing a statement honoring Harriet Nahanee and in defense of the Native land and Mother Earth.

2. The other good news for the First Nations 2010 Olympic Resistance is that, today, most Natives are under the age of 25! Let the IOC and the First World tremble…

The RAIM (Seattle) Conclusion – Resist the Five-Ring Circus!

A recent report from the Vancouver Sun reprinted on No2010.com says the following:

VANCOUVER — B.C. residents are more skeptical than average Canadians about the potential benefits of the 2010 Olympics, but a majority still believe the Games will have a positive impact on the province, according to an Angus Reid survey.

The online poll found that 57 per cent of British Columbians expect the Olympics will benefit B.C., compared with 76 per cent of all Canadians who feel the province will gain from hosting the Games.

Twenty-eight per cent of B.C. residents feel the Olympics will have a negative impact on B.C., more than triple the nine per cent of Canadians who feel that way.

The heroism of NYM against the 2010 Olympics is obviously demoralizing the local B.C. Cracker population vis a vis the Klanadian population at large, but there are still a majority of those settler descendants who support the ongoing “Whiter Games” genocide against the First Nations. This polling information above confirms RAIM’s point about the overwhelming majority of Klanadians and Amerikans being the enemy of the world’s oppressed.

A RAIM-S comrade asked the speakers after the event what they believed would make these settlers realize the human cost of their consumerist circuses like the Olympics, and their continued privilege from stolen land and labor. The speaker’s response was absolutely righteous with regard to the RAIM view on First World settlerist privilege (here paraphrased): If the descendants of settlers could imagine a great tidal wave, earthquake, or some great force of nature wiping out all the privileges from stolen land they live on, perhaps then they would become conscious of how to live without exploiting humanity, other living things, and Earth itself.

RAIM also believes that justice for Indigenous Peoples ultimately relies upon the elimination of First World privilege. The resistance to imperialism worldwide is itself like a great tidal wave that sweeps across the globe. Ending the settler mythology around Thankkkstaking and the Olympic Game$ are two great starts to this global movement to eliminate the AmeriKKKan and KKKlanadian scourge from the Planet.

Join the convergence in Vancouver, Feb. 10-15, 2010!

* Kudos to Common Action and Democracy Insurgent for hosting this outstanding event!

** Terminology Clarification: First Nations = (Indigenous or Native Peoples/Oppressed Nations/Friends); First World = (White Settler Crackertopian Scum/Oppressor Nation/Enemies) Crackers are good with tomato ketchup on Thankkksgiving…

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Filed under Actions and Events, First Nations, Organizing, RAIM-Seattle

Review: Arun Gupta Asks, “What Anti-War Movement”

Review: Arun Gupta Asks, “What Anti-War Movement” (presented by Democracy Now!, September 24th, 2009)

(https://raimd.wordpress.com)

A year after Barack Obama’s presidential election and with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan still raging (and spreading into Pakistan), many within anti-war circles are engaged in dialogue about which way the movement should go. A large part of the problem faced by anti-war activists is that their once relatively large movement is now far smaller and less vibrant. Much focus has been given as to why this is. Many of those still dedicated to the anti-war cause are now taking a critical look at the movement’s preceeding years, attempting to find lessons which can help them recover from a major slump in organizing and mass action.

One such activist is Arun Gupta, editor of the New York City ‘left’-oriented newspaper, the Indypendent. In a speech presented by Democracy Now!, another nominally left media outlet, Arun Gupta attempts to answer some of the hows and whys of the death of the anti-war movement and offers prescriptions for future organizing.

Talking about his background, Gupta says he cut his political teeth as part of solidarity activism for the South African anti-apartheid movement and Latin American struggles. In explaining thoughts at the time about wider radical organizing, Gupta states, “there’s always been this notion that the left would re-found itself into a mass base movement if we only had some sort of imperialist war that we could oppose, something on the scale of Vietnam; that this would radicalize the population enough and it would show the true face of imperialism.” Gupta begins by noting how this never came to fruition.

Gupta on the death of the Amerikan anti-war movement

In attempting to answer why a mass, radical anti-war movement never came into being, Gupta reflects on one of the main US anti-war organizations, United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ). Gupta rightly pegs UFPJ as a shill for the war-mongering Democratic Party, something most remaining Amerikan anti-war activists are aware of. Citing mostly anecdotes and quotes, Gupta describes UFPJ’s role inside the anti-war movement as one of shepherding activists towards the reformist morass of mainstream electoral politics.

After the Democratic Party gained a congressional majority in 2006, UFPJ supporters, including Gupta, were advocating a ‘power of the purse strategy,” urging Democrats to use their federal budgeting power to cut funding to the war. Gupta says the leader of UFPJ, Judith LeBlanc, characterized that strategy, reformist as is was, as being “on the outside shaking our fists,” and told supporters that the way forward was working within the Democratic Party. Gupta also notes how long-time ‘leftists’ such as Carl Davidson, who campaigned for Barack Obama, hailed his presidential victory as a milestone for “class struggle.” According to Gupta, UFPJ and leaders such as Carl Davidson are why the anti-war movement collapsed.

Gupta also says there was a failure on the part of the “great hope” that was the “direct action left,” “anti-globalization movement,” “anarchists,” “student-led groups” and “some of the parties” [most likely referring to the ‘Party for Socialism and Liberation’ and ‘Workers World Party’]. Though there was a lot of talk between these groups about reforming and refocusing on anti-war work, he states, “nothing has really come from it.” He dwells little on why this is and fails to examine the politics of any of these groups. Instead, he still thinks they could potentially come together to form a “new, radical, principled anti-war movement.” According to Gupta, because it isn’t happening, UFPJ still maintains power in the passive, anti-war movement which now supports Obama.

Where Gupta gets it wrong

While UFPJ and Carl Davidson helped lead the anti-war movement’s shift towards support for the Democratic Party, Gupta adds no analysis or understandings beyond this. His answer of why the anti-war movement never coalesced into a mass-radical movement is shallow, bordering on conspiratorial. Thus, Gupta misses the point entirely.

From the beginning, the anti-war movement was a largely anti-Bush movement, a domestic reaction to the brash, John Wayne-esque brand of imperialism. There was almost none, if any, focused internationalism coming from the largely pro-Amerika movement. Almost all internationalist actions and slogans were by accident, as parts of the anti-war movement took up anti-militarist causes: one memorable example being when Portland ‘anarchists’ burnt an effigy of a US troop while chanting “Bye bye G.I., in Iraq you’re gonna die.” It is important to note this example was a fringe rejected by the mainstream of Amerikan anti-war sentiment. Moreover, the ‘anarchists’ undertook the action based on liberal anti-militarism, never bridging over towards a long-term, principled stand with the world’s oppressed against imperialism.

One meme to come out of the anti-war movement was that Bush had turned world opinion against the US. Another was that “peace is patriotic.” Hardly internationalist or radical slogans, the anti-war movement peddled the mythology of historic Amerikan greatness and a false picture international fraternity. It actually saw itself as trying to improve Amerika’s image worldwide. More contrived was the anti-war movement’s talk about how the wars are supposedly against the interests of Amerikans. Moaning about ‘our’ wasted tax money was common throughout the anti-war movement. The obvious problem with this is that imperialism, which Amerikans do benefit from, requires imperialist wars. Amerika’s wealth is and always has been based on the oppression of other peoples. Amerikans intuitively understand this and most never joined the anti-war movement.

Into 2005, as the war dragged on, and with Bush’s incompetence and instability in Iraq dominating attention, more Amerikans began seeing the wars as becoming overly costly and offering less in the way of long term returns, even describing them as a burden to Amerika’s interests. However, this is not an anti-imperialist view. Afterall, even ardent imperialists, such as Obama, have described the Iraq war in this light.

In the end, UFPJ didn’t simply act as a pied piper, marching the anti-war movement to grave of the Democratic Party. UFPJ is simply on the same page with those nominally opposed to the war. While Gupta thinks there is mass, radical potential within First World, UFPJ has a better understanding of where most Amerikans stand on. Thus, groups like UFPJ are able to maintain leadership of the anti-war movement despite the appearance of a seemingly radical fringe. The anti-war movement’s shift towards Obama was a natural one, not principally engineered by UFPJ.

Gupta’s “anti-imperialism”

Gupta, under mistaken notions about Amerika and the anti-war movement, says that the way forward is building a mass “anti-imperialist” movement.

From the beginning, Gupta defines imperialism in a metaphysical, abstract way. According the Gupta, capitalist-imperialism is “the defining if not dominant inter-state relation and flows of power in the world today.” Gupta points to the Iraq war as an example of Western imperialism’s attempt to secure Mideast oil against gains by the lesser imperialist bloc of Russian and China. While this is true to an extent, Gupta misses the point.

Capitalist-imperialism, today’s “flow of power,” is the process of capital accumulation on a global scale: it is the exploitation of the global majority, the Third World masses, to the effect of benefitting and buying-off virtually all of the First World. A primary feature of the current capitalist-imperialist system is vast global inequality between the exploiter First World and the exploited Third World.

Gupta is also wrong to say that imperialism is the “defining inter-state relations.” In actuality, states are propped up over the course of class struggle to enforce class rule. With few exceptions, Third World states are extentions of imperialism, surrogates to the process of capital accumulation. Also, while divisions between the imperialists of different countries exist, they are rarely a principal feature. What is significant about the Iraq war is not possible ambitions to wedge out lesser imperialist forces, but rather a multi-national, U.S.-led force invaded and occupied to country to secure a greater stake in oil reserves against the interests of the Iraqi and Third World masses.

Throughout his speech, Gupta never does come to terms what imperialism really is. Rather than stating the obvious– First Worlders enjoy greater rates of consumption, more leisure time, little repression, are visibly better off than most of the world’s people and thus have little reason to radicalize or become anti-imperialists– Gupta uses a ridiculous abstraction, “consensual hegemony,” to explain why First Worlders support the imperialist system. Gupta simply refuses to approach reality: the First World masses support imperialism because it supports them.

Because of this, Gupta’s “anti-imperialism” remains hollow. Not based on serious analysis, Gupta posits an “anti-imperialism” which almost anyone can embrace. Gupta’s “anti-imperialism” changes nothing in terms of practical implications for those who do uphold it. In this case, “anti-imperialism” is an abstract tag-on phrase, a meaningless slogan, for ultimately First Worldist, movementarian politics. Gupta is not concerned with doing a serious study of imperialism, including coming to terms with its consequences. For Gupta, his goal has always been to organize Amerikans.

The magic key theory

According to Gupta, there is a magic key that can unlock a radical potential in Amerikans. First Gupta thought it would be an imperialist war. Then he decides that supporting UFPJ and doing ‘independent’ journalism would somehow radicalize Amerikan masses. Now Gupta calls for “principled anti-imperialism” as part of his latest attempt to inspire a radical idealism into Amerikans. Gupta’s calls for “anti-imperialism,” like his calls for other moralistic positions, will fall on deaf ears as long as he sees Amerikans and the First World as a social base for radical, progressive change.

Because Gupta is a proponent of the magic key theory, his critique of other groups are petty. He claims that the more radical sectors of the anti-war movement never really confronted the state. He says that the anti-war movement was really never able to break free from the limitations of the state, and thus was never able to expand as a radical movement. But what does this mean and is it true? Just in Denver, for example, anti-war graffiti popped up. Khristopher Kolumbus and other statues have been vandalized multiple times. During the DNC, a protest led by a black bloc took the streets and marched downtown. Denver has solidarity networks for prisoners and victims of police brutality and active chapters of Copwatch. Most recently, a nominal anarchist has been accused by the pigs of breaking windows at the Democratic Party Headquarters.

What does Gupta think was missing? “A golden opportunity was missed in the counter-recruitment movement,” he says. Surely, counter-recruitment was another one of Gupta’s magic keys: another one that didn’t work supposedly because the “left” wasn’t turning hard enough.

Like Gupta’s “anti-imperialism,” his prescribed necessity to confront state power is abstract. Besides his counter-recruitment spiel, Gupta never defines “confronting state power.” He doesn’t give other examples, historic or modern. “Confronting state power,” for Gupta, is another movementarian fantasy, speculatively postulated in a way that ignores the real social and material basis of mass apathy and reaction-ism in Amerika.

Gupta’s chauvinism

Gupta’s “anti-imperialism” is not anti-imperialism at all. Instead, Gupta’s politics is one of chauvinism wrapped in loosely-construed, “anti-imperialist” slogans.

As a matter of narrowness and “left” Amerikan exceptionalism, Gupta never once mentions resistance efforts on the part of oppressed peoples in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Third World. Gupta, now a self-described “anti-imperialist,” not once mentions those exploited by imperialism in the Third World! Instead he focuses solely on the “radical potential” of the largely defunct anti-war movement in the First World. We ask, how can this possibly be  anti-imperialism?

Gupta uses his privilege and broadcasts a phoney “anti-imperialism,” objectively to the disservice of real anti-imperialism. Those in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the Third World, for whom anti-imperialist struggles are often ones of life and death, do not have the luxury to freely and openly broadcast their ideas and experiences on their common struggle against imperialism. Instead, this is a luxury for Gupta, who not only speaks the colonizer’s language but has the privilege of doing so without repression. Does he take this privilege seriously? No. For Gupta, “anti-imperialism” is another phrase, liberally thrown around to see if Amerikans bite. Without a second thought, he uses his membership of the world’s richest 15% to broadcast an effective lie, that Amerikans are friends of the Third World, calling it “anti-imperialism.” Again, we ask, what is Gupta doing besides objectively blunting real anti-imperialism worldwide?

Revolutionary anti-imperialism

The difference between Gupta and ourselves is obvious. Gupta conceives of unity between the Third and First World masses where none meaningfully exists; he insists that Amerikans are potentially revolutionary when they clearly are not. Thus, his politics will always be implicitly pro-Amerikan and not representative of the immediate interest of the world’s people.

Real anti-imperialism, the politics of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement, derives its strength from and seeks to inspire the global masses, the 80% of the people in the Third World for whom resistance is a way of life. Real anti-imperialists see Amerikans for what they are– class enemies of the Third World masses– and understand this: imperialism will only come crashing down through the advancements of the struggle by Third World peoples for liberation.

Our strategy

While Gupta is wasting time trying to radicalize Amerikans, the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (RAIM) is engaged in real strategies for real revolutionary change. Whereas “anti-imperialism” is just a buzzword for Gupta and First Worldists, RAIM understands that imperialism is the crux of world dynamics and proceeds from there. A hallmark of RAIM’s strategy is accounting for limitations imposed on us by the fact that Amerikans support imperialism and using our privilege to develop real aid in the revolutionary struggle.

We don’t water down genuine anti-imperialist politics to pander to First Worlders. Above all, RAIM speaks the truth and says it loud and clear: First Worlders maintain their decadent lifestyles via imperialism; are class enemies of the real masses in the Third World; the complicit ‘Volk’ in a murderous global empire; and must be overthrown along with imperialism. We openly represents anti-imperialist politics and broadcast our analysis to a global audience, using our own privilege to do so, even if most Amerikans don’t like or ‘get’ it.

First World mass movements come and go, along with most of its participants. Rather than trying to build an “anti-imperialist” mass movement in the First World, RAIM is a politically sophisticated and technically versatile one, with the aim of best serving the Third World masses and their struggle.  We want dedicated, determined comrades who are all in for the long haul. RAIM broadcasts a consistent message of anti-imperialist solidarity globally and is a focal point of revolutionary agitation, education and political development within  the belly of the beast, Amerika. Through RAIM, we seek out and educate those few First Worlders who can be best won over the consistent anti-imperialist politics. Through RAIM, we develop both politically and technically, becoming more of an asset to the revolutionary struggle.

RAIM is important as a national network which openly represents anti-imperialist politics, but it should be seen for what it is: an appendage to the vast Third World struggle; our collective effort to contribute to this larger revolutionary movement. RAIM’s message is huge, too big for RAIM alone. We encourage constant political and technical development, specialization and the application of Third World-oriented, revolutionary politics to different types and forms of work. We support those who support the movement of the exploited Third World against the imperialist First.

The scorecard

Arun Gupta and RAIM represent two very different types of “anti-imperialism.” Gupta’s is one of magic keys and preeminent, potentially ‘radical’ First World ‘masses.’ He brings little new to the table. His explanations of everything from why the anti-war movement collapsed to what is imperialism seem shallow or abstract. His analysis is neither real anti-imperialism nor a strategy for revolutionary change.

Nearing the end of his speech, after talking for thirty minutes, in the typical manner of First Worldist intellectuals, asking how to build a genuine, radical mass movement, Gupta says it’s something he’s thought about a lot about, but doesn’t have any real answers for. Typical.

RAIM posits an anti-imperialism that is new, that explains things in a way Gupta can’t. Our anti-imperialism is groundbreaking and changes the focus and look revolutionary political work for those in the First World.

RAIM won’t lead a revolutionary mass movement, nor do we intend to. Nevertheless, we still have a positive role to play in the global revolutionary struggle. By working together, representing and broadcasting a consistent anti-imperialist message, operating as a school to our own and others’ political and technical development and promoting Third World-oriented, revolutionary unity, we can act as agents of global revolutionary change in a way that First Worldists such as Gupta can’t.

The difference is simple. Gupta is First Worlder who’s into nominally-‘leftist’ mass movements. RAIM? The name says it all.

[Video of Gupta’s speech can be found here: http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2009/9/24/arun_gupta_asks_where_is_the_anti_war_movement%5D

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Filed under Barack Obama, Imperialism, Organizing, Political Economy

RAIM-Seattle

Watch out Cascadia!

The first West Coast RAIM chapter, RAIM-Seattle, has arrived. We are excited to make this announcement and look forward to working with RAIM-Seattle in a joint effort against imperialism and the First World.

So what the fuck are you waiting for? Check them out now.

Lyndon Johnson’s second Presidential term was both tumultuous and a defining period in Amerikan history. No where was this better evidenced than during his 1966 State of the Union address.

Occurring on January 12th, the difficulties faced by the US, those stressed in the speech, were the related problems of tackling domestic social and economic disparities through social democratic measures embodied in the Great Society programs and similar reforms; defining a reasonable, winnable strategy amidst escalation in Vietnam; and addressing through foreign policy and public rhetoric Amerika’s role in the world.

Reactions to the speech were largely supportive domestically and hostile from those Johnson singled out internationally. In retrospect, while Johnson’s themes and ideas may not have bore fruit immediately, all of the pressing issues of the day would eventually be resolved in a reasonable. yet not entirely permanent way.

Vietnam, the Great Society and Amerika’s Global Role

Of the issues touched upon during the 1966 State of the Union, the war in Vietnam took preeminence. Johnson, before mentioning anything else, references the conflict, calling it “brutal and bitter.” Together with the broader strokes of the US’s global policy, foreign concerns vastly overshadowed other topics and themes of the speech.

Johnson’s address occurred in the context of prepping public opinion for escalating US aggression in Vietnam. Already, there were 190,000 troops in Vietnam and the US was engaged in negotiations with its adversary in what was called a “peace offensive,” yet it was clear that the south Vietnamese government was teetering on collapse. Part of the problem faced by Johnson and his administration, was the inability to articulate a clear winnable strategy to stop Communist succession in a united Vietnam. Nevertheless, Johnson premised increased US involved on a historic legacy put forward by Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy, stating, “[the ] conflict is not an isolated incident, but another great event in the policy that we have followed with strong consistency since World Ward II.” Promising to “stay until [Communist] aggression is stopped,” eight days later, on January 20th, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced a US troop increase to over 450,000 troops.

Johnson, as the leader of the self-proclaimed free world, spoke appropriately and engaged in no small amount of narrative building. He described the Vietnam People’s Army and the National Liberation Front as attackers and conquerors. Beyond the rhetoric, Johnson was able to articulate the strategic importance of Vietnam, stating that yielding in Vietnam would set the wrong example and embolden Communist forces elsewhere, that if the U.S. did not remain in Vietnam it would mean “abandoning Asia to the domination of Communists.” Had the US not escalated then, he reasoned, Vietnam surely and quickly would be reunited under Communist rule.

During the State of the Union, Johnson also promoted a social democratic domestic policy. Embodied in the ‘Great Society’ programs and other proposed reforms, Johnson conjured up an image of a prosperous Amerika where everyone benefitted.

While there was certainly an amount of mythmaking involved, Johnson’s promotion of social democracy was intended to both showcase Amerika as a capitalist success story and stem an increasing radicalization domestically. Johnson highlighted recent progress already made including rises in wages, employment and corporate after-tax earnings. Additionally, Johnson promoted legislation regarding the “war on poverty,” civil rights, ‘urban renewal,’ the environment, government reform and extending welfare. Though he declared because of the war in Vietnam, “we may not be able to do all we should” and that “time may require further sacrifice,” he stated that Amerikans shouldn’t sacrifice the “hope and opportunities of their poor.” Johnson insisted that the Great Society programs should be carried through during the war, and made doing so a central theme in his speech.

The last theme of Johnson’s third State of the Union address was a familiar one: the Cold War and Amerika’s international role.

Johnson portrayed the US as eternal defenders of freedom and independence against “Communist aggression.” He outlines US foreign engagement as based on what he describes as five continuing lines of policy: military supremacy, maintaining the rhetoric of peace, strengthening ties with non-Soviet-aligned state actors, the selective use of food aid, and a controlled end of colonialism.

At times, Johnson co-opted leftist language to describe US foreign policy aims. He said the US is committed to “national independence” and described the Soviet Union as an eroding “Stalinist empire.” Johnson sought to cast the US as containing a open, fair social system and contrast it to the oppressive, closed, expansionary one embodied by the USSR in defining Amerika’s role in the world. Johnson described the the US in as playing a progressive role globally, fighting for the “self determination” and “freedom” in south Vietnam and elsewhere.
Johnson’s lofty language and the empahsis he place on Amerika’s progressive role seemed in almost direct correlation with the amount of violence, destruction and subjugation the US was dishing out. Whilst Johnson’s claimed he was fighting for independence, he made clear what places needed US-imposed “independence” the most: Berlin, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam. In reality, “independence” and “freedom” carried little weight and were applied selectively within US foreign policy. For example, the year prior, the US invaded the Dominican Republic in order the prevent the overthrow of the ruling, CIA-installed military junta by leftists; and in another event, allowed a military coup to overthrow the popular Indonesian Sukarno-led government while supplying a list of 5000 soon-to-be-executed Indonesian communists to the coup-mongers.

Regarding Vietnam, Johnson drew upon Cold War themes and engaged in a fair amount of narrative building surrounding the history of the conflict:

“Not too long ago Vietnam was a peaceful, if troubled, land. In the north, was an independent communist regime. In the south a people struggled to build a nation, with the friendly help of the United States.

“There were some in the south who wished to force Communism on there own people. But their progress was slight. Their hope was dim. Then, little more than six years ago, north Vietnam decided on conquest.”

Here Johnson omits that in 1955, the south Vietnamese government, led by Deim, canceled national elections and began the ‘Denounce the Communists” campaign in which Ho Chi Mihn’s supporters in the south were arrested, imprisoned, tortured and executed. The next year, Diem, who was receiving direct US aid to maintain power, instituted the death penalty for communists.

Through rhetoric, Johnson kept peace on the US’s side. Johnson claimed that the US was at the forefront of efforts to control, reduce and eliminate arms proliferation and the spread of nuclear weapons. This claims is made shortly after Johnson authorized Operation Rolling Thunder, a broad bombing campaign which dropped over 850,000 tons of bombs onto Vietnam between May of 1965 and December of 1967. Such is the ability of the US President to craft reality from rhetoric.

Johnson also focused on aid to the Third World, claiming that the US would “conduct a worldwide attack on the problem of hunger and disease and ignorance.” Johnson promoted the idea of earmarking 1 billion to this global cause, 4.8 billion short of what he was expecting to spend on Vietnam that year.

The idea that aid is in and of itself peaceful is not entirely true. Afterall, the same type of nominal aid delivered by the Soviets and Chinese would have been looked at skeptically and in conjuction with military support would be seen as evidence of Communism trying to extend its influence. This is no different in the US’s case.

Aid itself was seen by some in policy-making circles as economically beneficial to the US in that it provided an immediate market for US exports and helped  orient national economies along the lines most favorable to US Capital. . More importantly, Johnson hoped it would place the US in an altruistic light and saw foreign aid as part “peace offensive.” During the 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon would be more frank, stating, “the main purpose of US aid is not to help other nations but to help ourselves.” The effects of US aid come into display in 1974, when Bangledesh, a country which had become dependent of Western grain shipments, suffered upwards of 100,000 deaths in a man-made famine, caused when the US intentionally delayed, then canceled, food aid in order to secured concessions over trade deals. Though Johnson highlighted food aid as part of a humanitarian commitment, the idea of gaining cooperation on the part of foreign governments was never far behind.

Reactions

Global reactions to Johnson’s 1966 address ranged from supportive to hostile and accusatory.

On the supportive side, the vast majority of US society rallied around the themes presented Johnson’s addressed. This included the media, Time Magazine for example, and Republican congressmen, who found little in the way of fundamental objections. On the accusatory side, the Peking Review, the Chinese state-ran national publication, acted as a global focal point of opposition to the United States and ran no less than two articles in response to the state of the Union address. Ho Chi Mihn too challenged Johnson’s narrative surrounding the Vietnam conflict in a letter years later.

Republicans in the United States congress registered no large complaints with the speech from the president, who Time Magazine described as “aloof from partisan politics.”

In a televised “little State of the Union,” the Senate Republican Leader, Everitt Dirksen, commented that the US “should continue to seek peace and wage war– intensified war if that is necessary– in Vietnam.” Dirksen largely parroted Johnson, stating the US would stay ” until aggression has stopped,” and characterized Amerika’s role in Vietnam as guaranteeing “freedom and independence for the Vietnamese.” Dirksen questioned the effectiveness of foreign aid and called for an auditing of such programs to see whether there would be “dividends in the form of good will and real devotion to peace and freedom.” Gerald Ford shared the camera, expressing his “loyal dissent” and more vigorously attacking Johnson on domestic issues. He challenged government waste and inefficiency, the size of the federal budget and the top-down approach of many of Johnson’s reforms. “We must liberate the war on poverty from waste, controversy and the bad odor of political bossism,” he was quoted as saying.

In its reporting, Time Magazine described the speech as somber and straightforward, one in which Johnson stated “his belief that the US has the strength to fight the war and simultaneously improved its society at home.” Yielding much of there own reporting to Johnson’s remarks on the escalating conflict on Southeast Asia, Time states, “He managed to discuss a white-hot situation without so much as a hint of belligerence. Yet there was an unmistakable undertone of strength and determination.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum was the Peking Review, the weekly magazine published in the People’s Republic of China. Globally at the time, communist-led national liberation movements sought to overthrow colonial and neo-colonial rule, radical youth and civil rights movement disrupted the status quo within Western societies and the Soviet system came under criticism within the International Communist Movement. The Peking Review, though not fully representative of the diversity of each of these trends, did support them at one time or another, was the single most influential publication covering them and was the furthest removed from, or most hostile to, the themes of Johnson’s message. Whereas Johnson’s State of the Union role could be described as building public opinion in support of US interests, the Peking Review was one of the main institutions, at the time at least, propagating worldwide opposition to US imperialism and war.

The Peking Review ran two notable articles in response to Johnson’s speech. The first, entitled ‘Johnson’s Challenge, Comments on US President’s State of the Union,’ and another a week later, ‘Johnson Administration’s Self Exposure.’

The first article, a commentary, summarized Johnson’s message as two-fold: ” for expanding the aggressive war in Vietnam [and] intensifying the attacks on the Amerikan people.”

The Peking Review described the US war in Vietnam as one of “military adventure” for control of Asia. “The United States wanted to ‘stay’ in Vietnam because it would not abandon Asia,” it noted. “From the State of the Union message,” the Peking Review stated, “one can only draw the conclusion that Johnson is determined to switch the US war machine into high gear and speed it along the road of a wider war of aggression.” The article remarked of Johnson’s “peace offensive,” stating “‘peace’ tactics are always used to cover up and help war tactics.”

The Peking Review described the Amerikan people as under attack and burdened by the war. Despite steady rises medium income since the ’50’s and a reduction of poverty which lasted decades, Chinese commentators described Johnson’s message as one of pulling the wool over the Amerikan public’s eyes in preparation for more “fascist” measures.

‘Johnson’s Challenge’ also noted Johnson’s message of expanding trade with Eastern Europe’s Soviet-bloc countries, and used it is as evidence of political “revisionism” and a conciliatory attitude towards the US on the part Khruschev.

Peking Review’s second article,  ‘Johnson Administration’s Self-Exposure,’ written after the announcement that US troop build-up would increase to 480,000, made the claim that Johnson is pursuing and aggressive war. It stated, “facts have again irrefutably proved that the louder the U.S. aggressors sing the tune of “peace,” the more feverish are their efforts to fan the flames of their aggressive war in Vietnam.” Commenting the the Johnson’s ‘peace offensive,  the article said that as”‘peace’ tricks failed,” the US would redouble its military focus in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Mihn, the leader of the Vietnamese Communists, also responded to parts of Johnson’s speech, particularly Johnson’s narrative of the coflict, though a year later and in a letter to the US president. “Vietnam is thousands of miles away from the United States. The Vietnamese people have never done any harm to the United States. But contrary to pledges made by its representative at the 1954 Geneva conference, the US has ceaselessly intervened in Vietnam, it has unleased and intesified and war of aggression in North Vietnam with a view to prolonging the partition of Vietnam and turning south Vietnam into a neocolony and a military base of the Unites States. For over two years now, the US government has, with its air and naval forces, carried war to the Democratic Republic of (North) Vietnam, an independent sovereign country.” Ho described the destruction caused by the war and noted the bombings of towns, villages, factories and schools and said the vietnamese people had united for the just cause of “genuine independence, freedom and true peace.”

Concluding remarks

Though many contemporary critics were soon to find fault with Johnson and rally against him, his presidency was hardly be said to be a failure, especially over the longer run. Of the three major themes of Johnson’s speech that year, the intentions of each were fullfiled in a reasonable, though not always glaring massive. Though the US not be able to stop the Communists from taking over the country, the massive devastation wrought by the US as well as the unfulfilled peace terms effectively prevented the progressive social programs and changes that might have otherwise been instituted, the ‘Great Society’ programs, though many sat aside the next year, were in combination with Civil Rights reforms and general prosperity to close inequalities and mute mass discontent. The US was able to help induce the collapse of the Soviet Union and establish itself as the dominant super power, though a new opposition movement would arrises in the form of Muslim Fundementalism. Johnsons more out there and limited reforms, those related to the environement.

every trend described, did at one time or another

‘Dirksen Asks Peace Efforts Backed by War,” Toledo Blade Jan 18th, 1966
‘The Presidency: the Union and War.” Time Magazine. Jan, 22th 1966. http://www.time.com
‘The Presidency: back in the ring.” Time Magazine. Jan 28th, 1966. http://www.time.com
Renmin Ribao, ‘Johnson’s Challenge, Comments of US President’s State of the Union Message.’ Peking Review. Jan 21st 1966. http://www.massline.info
Renmin Robao, ‘Johnson Administration’s Self-Expousure.’ Peking Review, Jan 28th, 1966 http://www.massline.info
Ho Chi Mihn, Letter to Lyndon Lohnson, Feb 15th, 1967, http://www.massline.info

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RAIM Global Digest 6

RAIM Digest 6 cover

Issue 6 is now out!

Contents:
-Amerikans Poison Chinese With E-Waste: RAIM-Denver
-Afghan Locals Give US Occupiers Proper Goodbye: RAIM-Denver
-Real Vs. Fake Universal Healthcare for Women: Monkey Smashes Heaven
-US Journalists Lee and Ling Ignore Role of US Policy in Impoverishing North Koreans: Stephen Gowans
-Yum! Brands PR Department Launches World Hunger Relief Campaign, Doesn’t Really Care: RAIM-Denver
-Your Playstation Has Real Blood On It: RAIM-Denver
-Harvest Season Means Forced Labor for Uzbek Children: RAIM-Denver
-Guatemala in Food Crisis, Revolution is the Solution: Monkey Smashes Heaven
-Sacred, Indigenous Sites Made Into Fill-Dirt for New Sam’s Club, Revolution Needed: RAIM-Denver
-Kolumbus Day Reportback: RAIM-Denver
-Denver Protests Ongoing Imperialist Wars: RAIM-Denver
-A Speech by a RAIM Comrade on the Eight Anniversary of the Invasion of Afghanistan: RAIM-Denver

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RAIM, others wreck Zionist-led war mongering against Iran

rocksonzionism

RAIM, others wreck Zionist-led war mongering against Iran

On October 28th, Uzi Landua, a hard-line Zionist and long-time high-ranking official in the Israeli state, spoke at the Auraria campus in Denver. Landau was invited by the Zionist group, the Amerikan-Israeli Student Affairs Committee, to discuss the supposed threat posed by Iran. RAIM had other ideas.

Word about the event reached Denver’s activist community less than two days prior. The day before the event, officials from the student government and University of Kolorado asked activist Glenn Spagnuolo to call off a protest, stating it would force the speaking engagement to be canceled because it would create a security bill too large for the school to bear (an additional $3,500 supposedly). Spagnuolo, is a student and organizer from the DNC protest-coalition Recreate ’68.  He was in Israel at the time when Rachel Corrie was ran over by a made-in-Amerika tractor, driven by an IDF soldier and while Uzi Laudau was ‘Security’ Minister of the settler state. Glenn insisted that even if Landau had lunch on campus, which was also scheduled, there would be a some sort of a protest. Eventually, the Israeli embassy (read: Israeli state) footed the security bill.

The day of the event, a snowstorm blew into Denver, causing the campus to be closed 30 minutes prior to the start of the event. Because of the strict security the would-be audience of 25 or so was forced to wait outside, huddling against the door. A small protest of around 10 or so gathered, including some RAIMers. A RAIMer took the opportunity to hand out an special informational flier to everyone waiting to get in, sparking a debate between a hardcore Zionist and those in the crowd.

After the doors were opened, and after the crowd and protesters passed a metal detector wand and bag check, they were greeted to large amounts of pizza and soda. RAIMers helped themselves and made sure that everyone who didn’t get already get a copy of our informational flier, got one. It wasn’t hard. In the end, the audience numbered around 40-45, including the protesters. The Zionists student organizers, Uzi and his entourage were around 15. There were also around 15 pigs and 10 campus and student staff.

Uzi was flanked by a bodyguard who looked like an angry Lurch from the Adams family, with a bad military haircut, a black trench coat and obviously armed. As Uzi walked on stage, most in the audience clapped in applause. RAIMers and other protesters instead greeted him with loud boos.  Boos and hisses persisted and steadily grew more frequent as his Cold War-esque, militarist screed continued. RAIMers occasionally interrupted Uzi’s speech with shouts of “war criminal,” “liar” and “what about Palestinians?” and clapped in applause when Uzi claimed Iran was pursuing nuclear weapon capabilities.

For his part, Uzi was a crude spokesman for the Israeli state, explicitly linking Israel and Amerika’s security and calling for the “free world” to confront the Iran. Whereas many in the audience already found Israel questionable, the information prepared ahead of time by RAIM and protesters’ on the spot agit-prop helped bring out a wider, more visible hostility towards his message. Uzi, feeling the pressure from the unsympathetic crowd, kept his speech short and fulfilled his obligation to field questions.

A RAIMer took the first questions, referencing the fact-sheet and asking Uzi to account for disparities in casualties between Israelis and Palestinians; and if he agreed with the idea that the state of Israel is the fulfillment of a promise by ‘God’ and not in need of further justification. Every question asked of Uzi thereafter was critical of Zionism and the Israeli state. There was no more discussion of Iran. Uzi was forced to fruitlessly defend Israel for the remainder of the event. As he left the stage, he was parted with more and louder boos.

Rather than finding a receptive audience for his militarist cheerleading against Iran, Uzi Landau was met with effective opposition from Denver activists and Palestine supporters, including RAIM. The event, which cost thousands of dollars for both the University of Kolorado and the Israeli state, became polarized with the majority of the audience finding themselves on the side of vocal opposition towards Zionism. Incidentally, RAIM was the only organized group with a presence at the event; we talked with Palestine supporters and handed out a few RAIM Digests. Uzi Landau’s Zionist war-mongering was wrecked.

Check out our informational flier on Israel here: Israel flyer

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