Category Archives: Organizing

A Speech by a RAIM Comrade on the 8th Anniversary of the Invasion of Afghanistan

The following was delivered by Comrade Hector of RAIM-Denver on October 7th, 2009, the 8th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. In the speech, the RAIM comrade tells the audience of anti-war and police brutality activists, anarchists and RAIM supporters that the problem is not Bush or Obama, it is Amerika.

“Leonard Peltier is a political prisoner – an artist, a writer, a father whose life has been stolen. Locked away for defending his land. Locked away in Amerikkka’s dungeons. He just sent an open letter to the president. To paraphrase: ‘I am not Bush’s political prisoner. I am your political prisoner now.’ He is Obama’s responsibility. This is an important point, especially for the liberals here whose politics begin and end with ‘throw out the Bush regime.’ Well, Bush is gone. Surprise, surprise. Amerikkka is still at war. Two wars wasn’t enough. Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan. And Iran is in the cross hairs. A recent poll shows a majority of Amerikans, Republican and Democrat or “Independent,” want to use force on Iran right now. Iran is in the crosshairs and it’s Obama with his finger on the trigger and your average Joe Amerikan cheering him on.

These wars are not just wars of the ‘right wing,’ or ‘conservative, or ‘Republican’ wars. These aren’t Bush’s wars. They are Obama’s now. More accurately, they are Amerika’s wars. And, it will take more to stop these wars, and the next war and the one after that, than marching in the streets holding signs. This shit goes back to 1492, even earlier. The crusaders, KKKolumbus, Manifest Destiny, chattle slavery, the endless imperialist wars of the last century.

In 1492, KKKolumbus sailed the ocean blue.. then he landed and killed everyone who wasn’t European.  Exterminated the Taino peoples. That’s the real story.

Yesterday, it was the US genocide of South East Asia, the propping-up and financing of death squad states in Latin America, the rape and enslavement of Africa. Today it’s killing Pakistanis with unmanned drones. What will it be tomorrow?

The problem is bigger than Democrats and Republicans. Bigger than Bush and Obama. The problem is Amerika, and Amerikans. We can’t let Amerikans, and the Amerikan working class off the hook. Even the poorest Amerikan benefits from imperialism.

Yet Amerikans have the hypocrisy to point their fingers at the Third World. They call the Iranian president a “holocaust denier.” Yet Amerikans are the biggest holocaust deniers on the planet. It was the US that largely exterminated the whole continent of North America, from sea to shining sea — the largest genocide in history, thousands of civilizations gone forever – tens of millions killed by Uncle Sam.

In Zimbabwe, a recent report condemned Mugabe because he ‘only’ paid three percent in compensation to the imperialists during his land reform program. Let me get this straight. The imperialist come to Africa, they steal the land from the Africans, they disrupt the African traditional way of life, the imperialists impose white supremacist terrorist states on Africans, then when those Africans take their land back, the imperialists call it ‘theft’ and impose sanctions to strangle Zimbabwe, to punish the Africans, to make them OBEY. When Mugabe turned the tables and gave land to the poor Africans, he is a ‘thief,’ yet the imperialists think nothing about stealing whole countries as was the case in Zimbabwe or whole continents as was the case in the Americas. The only compensation the Africans received was the whites imposing a terroristic white supremacist state to keep them in bondage. The only compensations the Indigenous received in North America was to be killed or herded into reservations on the worst land, to have their children stolen and culture stripped away.

Remember the pigs earlier today who dared us to cross their invisible line on the ground? The pigs told us that we could not stand on parts of the sidewalk in front of the building? Who the fuck are they to say anything about where we can and can’t go on this land? This is Mexican and Indigenous land. It’s Uncle Sam who squats here on borrowed time. This land will be returned to its rightful owners. These crackers will get a taste of socialism – the power of the Third World over the First World. RAIM opposes the war. More than that, RAIM opposes Amerika and Amerikans.

The vast majority of humanity in the Third World barely survives on about $2.50 a day. Yet, Amerikans and the First World as a whole plop themselves down in front of their stupid boxes, one hand glued to a remote controller, the other in a bag of Cheetos. Amerikans waste their lives away on the back of others. RAIM is out to settle the score. RAIM is going to turn the tables.”

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Filed under Afghanistan, Agitation Statements, KKKolumbus Day, Organizing

Dear RAIM-Denver…Tell me more.

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Earlier this month, we received this e-mail:

“I’m interested in learning more about the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism Movement. I have read many RAIM articles online and think there is a lot of benefit to studying the anti-imperialist theories your group has put forward. I have worked in the student and leftist movement for several years now, and RAIM and similar groups have provided important insights to strategy and tactics as well as a broader perspective. A minority of people have expressed similar ideas to RAIM in many leftist parties of all stripes.  I’m not 100% sure what RAIM’s stance is on some issues as some articles give an anarchist feel, while the majority is more in line with the Maoism of MIM or Monkey Smashes Heaven. So I’d be interested in learning where RAIM stands ideaologicaly and towards existing party organizations. I’m currently active in [activism], and look forward to cooperating with RAIM on a theoretical level, and perhaps eventually on a political level.”

RAIM: Anarchists or Communists

The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement is neither anarchist nor communist. We are an anti-imperialist organization that seeks to unite and organize people around consistent anti-imperialist politics.

RAIM believes in the primacy of class in the development of revolutionary class struggle. Our position, which precludes questions of anarchism vs. communism, is that the First World is a reactionary, exploitative body acting against revolution and interests of the majority of humanity. As it turns out, some RAIMers are Maoist-Third Worldists. Others are anarchists. Still others are nationalists.

RAIM does not have a worked out position on our relationship with other groups or parties and does not currently maintain formal ties with other organizations. Instead, we support and stand in solidarity with all consistently anti-imperialist efforts. Regardless of pre-existing group affiliations, we encourage all individuals who shares a correct revolutionary anti-imperialist line to work under the RAIM banner.

RAIM’s Work

Beyond politics, RAIM is characterized by the fact that we do semi-public work.  We have an on-the-ground presence and produce materials that have a wide range of receptibility.  Whereas many of the ideas presenting by RAIM are increasingly gaining currency the around the world and amongst Third World movements, RAIM is unique in that it is making efforts to break the First-Worldist ‘revolutionary’ monopoly directly at its source within the First World. Sometimes this happens in a friendly way, such as our independent participation in various protests and demonstrations.  Other times this challenge to First Worldism comes off a more antagonistic, such as when we openly and directly attack various positions held by First Worldists.  While it is unlikely that Third World-oriented revolutionary tendencies will overshadow First Worldism within the First World itself, it has been proven that RAIM-like groups can interject themselves into nominally leftist politics while maintaining a clear contrast between ourselves and the remainder of First World self-styled revolutionaries.

Engaging and Contributing to Revolution

At present, we are seeking to expand the stark presence we’ve created in Denver into a national and international movement. The first step for this to happen is for people to do what you’re doing now: engage in a theoretical manner with the ideas presented by RAIM.  Do our ideas make sense; do they provide a realistic template for class struggle and revolution?  If you answered yes, then you’re the type of person we want to work with.

More specifically, an expanded RAIM can only come about through the sustained, determined efforts on the part of comrades such as yourself.  What will this look like exactly?  We’re not sure.  One thing’s for certain though: creating a larger network of RAIM-like groups will involve no small degree of dedication, independent initiative and even creativity on the part of people not already directly affiliated with RAIM.  For our part, we’ve already amassed a wealth of materials, such as the RAIM Global Digest, to help kick start such efforts.  While we at RAIM-Denver are currently making efforts to reach out and expand organizationally, in the end only a conscious effort on the part of individuals and small groups can make this prospect become a reality.

As always, thanks for the inquiry. We look forward to your and other comrades’ further engagements with and contributions to the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement.

See also:

Class Today and the Struggle for a New World
A general analysis of global class structure today and its relevance in revolutionary struggle.

Nick Brown Interview:

RAIM-Denver Comrade, Nick Brown, talks with Monkey Smashes Heaven about organization and anti-imperialist activism.

RAIM-D Global Digest

The newsletter of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement. Great to print out in either single page or booklet format. This still developing RAIM project is a great way to study up on and get out the revolutionary anti-imperialist message and even contribute on in a more direct way through writing.

RAIM-Denver Archive Page

Find back issues the RAIM-D Global Digests, old and new pamphlets, graphics and videos here.

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RAIM Global Digest Issue 4

Get it here at the RAIM-Denver Archives.

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Filed under Environment, News and Analysis, Organizing, Political Economy

Review of ‘The Old Future’s Gone: Progressive Strategy Amid Cascading Crisis,’ a talk by Robert Jensen

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Review of ‘The Old Future’s Gone: Progressive Strategy Amid Cascading Crisis,’ a talk by Robert Jensen

https://raimd.wordpress.com

Last month, author and activist Robert Jensen spoke in Denver at an event sponsored by Argusfest entitled “The Old Future’s Gone: Progressive Strategy Amid Cascading Crisis.”  It was based on a writing that has circulated among left-liberal websites.  A professor of journalism at the University of Texas in Austin, he also has written many books and articles on topics such as imperialism, capitalism, white privilege and patriarchy.  He doesn’t quite go to our line, but he at least asks the right questions and approaches the right topics. Because of this, a few members of RAIM went to check out the event.

At best his talk could be summed up as eclectic with a sub-reformist emphasis.

Jensen also carries a sense of honest despair, admitting he sees little in the way of widespread, fundamental change. Rather than seeking out revolutionary means to revolutionary ends, he instead prefers to deal in ways in which he feels he’s made a more immediate, though irrelevant and fleeting, impact.

In talking about strategies for change, Jensen sees the Amerikan left engaged in three types: electoral politics, movement politics and local projects. He sees no use in electoral politics. Movement politics have their limits also, especially in their emphasis on protest marches. Bringing up the February 15, 2003 worldwide marches against the invasion of Iraq, the largest coordinated protest in history, which the New York Times said made world opinion a second superpower, he noted that they did nothing to stop that war. He sees more hope in local projects, things like community gardens and such. According to Jensen, the potential for dialogue and debate among others is increased in local projects, though he didn’t specify to what concrete end. The example he raised as his own efforts with local projects was a worker-owned cafe in Austin, though he admitted this effort failed to get off the ground.

While we understand the frustrations in observing the seemingly immovable state of Amerika and the world, the lack of radicalism in Amerikan mass politics, and the inability for radicals to act effectively in a minoritarian context, there were limits to Jensen’s insights beyond this.

When prodded by a RAIM comrade, Jensen admitted that the First World benefits from the exploitation of the Third World. When asked how this phenomenon of entire populations benefiting from others related to and could perhaps be overcome by local projects, he didn’t have an answer.  When asked about a solution in putting local projects to tackling this global issue of exploitation, he said the question was too big and too complicated to solve.

Jensen’s inability to answer straight questions were illuminating to the level of confusion within the Amerikan left, even amongst its intellectuals.  Jensen is one of the better intellectuals on the left, as he critiques metaphysical liberal ideas in favor of more radical analyses.  Jensen’s desire for revolutionary change is in some ways genuine, though Jensen himself is unable to come up with an effective model for widespread fundamental change.  Instead he promotes feel-good sub-reformism in the form of local projects, something he himself admits won’t work all the time. As once stated by Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture), “Confusion is the greatest enemy of revolution.”

Much of this confusion can be seen in the trappings of left’s First Worldism.  Many on the left nominally go against imperialism while simultaneously campaigning to make Amerikans even better off. Jensen falls in this camp: he wants a better world but doesn’t want to alienate Amerikans. The truth is, Amerikans benefit from the global capitalist economic system as it is and have little material interest in working to create a new one.  This in part explains why revolutionary change seems so untenable within Amerika, even to those who genuinely desire it.

Unlike Jensen, we at RAIM apply global class analysis fully.  Doing simple math, Amerika is only 5 percent of the world population but the consumer of over 25 percent of the world’s resources.  The poorest half of the world lives on less than $2 a day, and the bottom 1.3 billion live on less than $1 a day.  Although Jensen admits this, RAIM-Denver plainly says the obvious truth and takes it to its logical end: Amerikans are part of the problem; they are a force which must be overcome during the course of progressive change. Unlike Jensen who is fruitlessly engaged in various forms of pandering to a population of petty exploiters and polluters, RAIM champions the cause of the world’s exploited and oppressed majority as the most direct route to creating a new world.

At one point, Jensen said that he struggles to identify as part of humanity and not Amerikan, white or male. In reality, to stand with humanity is to stand against Amerika and the First World.

The First World is destroying the planet and exploiting its people. On a structural level, this mean that the principal antagonism is between imperialism and the people of exploited nations. Exploitation-driven consumption and related environmental destruction affect the Third World the most, while benefits, even indirectly, trickle up to the First World.  The solution for this problem isn’t for those in the First World to engage in local projects. Rather, real change will come when Third World peoples wrestle stolen wealth out of the hands of First World imperialists. While this includes worker-owned industry on the part of currently exploited people, history has proven that this itself requires a fight and involves actual confrontations. Amerikans are not simply going to stop being exploiters: unlike the fluffy revolution of values Jensen dreams up, revolutions actually require revolution.

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Class Today and the Struggle for a New World

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(https://raimd.wordpress.com)

“We want a better world. We want a world based on equality and mutuality. We envision a future in which the full potential of humanity is realized: one without unequal power relations and one of ecological harmony. Creating such a world is our common cause.” Such is the revolutionary refrain.

However pious the statements are, they stand disconnected from the world today: one full of inequality, oppression, coercion, violence, poverty and so on. If we really seek to create such a new, ‘utopian’ world, one thing is clear- we have a lot of work to do. Before we embark on this huge project, we need a plan or some sort of road map. Before we can chart a course towards the world we’d like to see, we must understand where we are now.

The world today is marked by extreme inequalities and stratification. The vast majority of people, around eighty percent, subsist on less than ten dollars a day. (1) Theirs is a world of poverty, toil and deprivation. Contrasted to this is a privileged minority noted for affluence, consumption and waste. Generally speaking, this social divide breaks down geographically: vast impoverishment being the norm of the ‘Third World’ and widespread affluence characteristic of the ‘First World.’

The scope and depth of this situation is unimaginable. In India alone, seven hundred million people live on less than two dollars dollars a day. (2) This is roughly equivalent to the entire English-speaking world. Around half of the world, about 3.5 billion people, live on less that $2.50 a day. (1) The human effects are devastating. For example, every year over 2 million people die of water born disease and every five seconds a child dies of starvation or malnutrition. (3) (4) All of these deaths are preventable: on a daily basis Amerikans alone have an average intake of 3,700 calories, throw away almost a third of their edible food and use 5.8 billion gallons of potable water just for toilets. (5) (6) (7)

The squalor of the of Third World and the squander of the First are directly related. Each world’s respective condition is the direct result of exploitation. The modern system of exploitation, whereby a global minority in a few rich countries lives at the expense of the impoverished global majority, is called imperialism. That is to say that in relation to the imperialist system and the Third World masses, those in the First World are beneficiaries of the former and a petty class of exploiters towards the latter.

Imperialism is currently the most widespread, fundamental form of oppression. This does not mean that other forms of oppression do not exist. Rather, imperialism is currently the dominant form of oppression: it touches the most people in the most fundamental way; it is the foremost determinant of life-options and class; and other forms of oppression are almost always negated, heightened, co-opted or superseded by imperialist exploitation. Imperialism drives social life today.

Attitudes and trends of thought, or ‘class consciousness,’ confirm this social reality. Whereas apathy and post modernism are common in the West, this is due to the lack of a functional need for a politically charged population. When First Worlders do express political views they are almost always supportive of imperialism. Mindless consumerism, a natural aspect of any society fattened on stolen wealth, is also a major phenomenon in the First World. On the other side of the social world, those in the Third World naturally resist their oppression. Radical Islam, the fastest growing social movement of the last thirty years, is in many regards an opposition movement against imperialism. This amalgamation of religion and anti-imperialism is no accident. Rather, it is evidence of two truths. First, the main social antagonism today is between the Third and First World. Second, oppression and resistance are inseparable.

Insofar as imperialism is the most fundamental form of oppression, resistance and revolutionary struggles are regular features in the Third World and at the margin. It is the Third World’s anti-imperialist struggle which is both the most widespread and common struggle amongst the global masses and by definition one against the core of global power. Containing amazing diversity, flaws and potential, the global anti-imperialist struggle is the struggle of the world’s exploited majority.

The anti-imperialist struggle is the modern day revolutionary struggle. The struggle of the global masses who are exploited by imperialism is of primary importance for those who seek a fundamentally better world: one that cannot freely evolve from the current one.

Anti-imperialist initiatives and revolutions in a single country or territory weakens the imperialist system as a whole and gives a new impetus for further, more widespread change.  It is as part of the global fight against imperialism that the foundations for a new world are built and of this process itself from which further revolutionary potential emerges. In our period, the complete abolition of capitalism, patriarchy, youth oppression and other unequal structural relationships as well as arriving at a state of mutuality and ecological harmony are directly tied the destruction of the current order via anti-imperialist struggle.

For revolutionaries around the world the current task is to advance and support the ongoing struggle against imperialism as part of our radical vision of a world free from all oppression. Those revolutionaries in the First World, who owing to class composition are few and far between and separated from the struggle of the world’s exploited masses, naturally find this task daunting. Nevertheless, for all those who desire a new world, this is the struggle we must engage in.

No doubt, the path before us is long and arduous. However, the place to begin is here; the time to start is now.

(1) http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats
(2) http://www.usaid.gov/locations/asia/countries/india/
(3) http://www.pacinst.org/reports/water_related_deaths/water_related_deaths_report.pdf
(4) http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y7352e/y7352e03.htm#P1_34
(5) http://www.pacinst.org/reports/water_related_deaths/water_related_deaths_report.pdf
(6) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weekinreview/18martin.html?partner=rssnyt
(7) http://www.fypower.org/res/tools/products_results.html?id=100139

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May Day Report

May Day Report

May 5th, 2009

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Around 700 people demonstrated for an end to attacks on migrant workers on Saturday, May 2, 2009 in Greeley, Colorado. The event was sponsored by a  Greeley-based community group, Al Frente de Lucha, which has long been involved in the Mexicano/Chicano community there.  Greeley has been a focal point in immigration battles, with ICE raids continuing to affect the local community.

Caravans and groups of individuals from throughout the state converged in the late morning and remained mobilized throughout the afternoon. The march was diverse, comprised mostly of Latino families but also included activists and radicals from around the state and students from the University of Northern Colorado.

Along the parade route, people came out of their homes to photograph, wave, stare or join the march. Almost all of the chants were in Spanish. This was itself a minor victory of the march: vocally opposing Colorado’s nationally-oppressive English-only culture. Singers, speakers, and organizers shared words with the crowd prior to and after the march.

RAIM-Denver was one of the only groups directly agitating amongst the crowd. We passed out around 50 new issues of RAIM-D Global Digest, copies of the J Sakai interview Stolen at Gunpoint, well over a hundred copies of our statement of support for Mexican national liberation and gave away dozens of Deporten a los Pinches Gringos patches as well a few t-shirts.  Many people came up to us asking for our literature.  The Deporten a los Pinches Gringos image was a big hit, especially with the numerous Mexican kids but also with their parents.  Also, we got to bring out our new “Revolucion Sin Fronteras” banner, made with the cooperation of the Mexican National Liberation Movement, which also was popular among the crowd.

A verbal confrontation between RAIM-Denver and the racist, anti-migrant group The Minutemen did occur. RAIMsters and other anti-racists taunted the feeble-looking anti-immigrant racists, who numbered around ten. Ironically, the Minutemen were standing right in front of a Mexican restaurant the whole time.

May Day has re-emerged as a day of marches and rallies within the USA. This important development is spurred forward by the increase in US government attacks on “undocumented” Mexican workers in their occupied homeland, as well as others. In many cities, there were small and not-so-small rallies demanding reforms for the Third World workers in the U.S. This most recent development in the history of May Day is positive and should be supported. However, only through revolutionary struggles for liberation and justice on the part of exploited people can the problems of the Third World, and by extension those of Third World workers within U.S. borders, be resolved.

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Filed under Actions and Events, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing

RAIM-Denver May Day Program: Fuck the Border, Support Mexican National Liberation

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Fuck the Border. Support Mexican National Liberation.

Amerika’s borders are militarily imposed. They were established as part of a genocidal expansion onto the North American continent. Amerika and its borders are illegitimate.

Amerika’s borders are currently a means to imprison the masses of the ‘Global South’ in abject poverty. RAIM-Denver supports their free movement into the United States. Those who oppose the free movement of oppressed peoples into the U.S. are enemies of the oppressed.

Mexicans are not “immigrants.” Amerika stole nearly half of Mexico. As is often the case, Mexican “immigrants” are returning to the “Southwest”: Occupied Mexico. There is nothing “alien” about Mexicans either. Mexicans have far more in common with the people of North and South America; they are far more representative of the world’s people. Amerikans are the real illegal aliens.

RAIM-Denver supports the revolutionary struggles of oppressed people. While this struggle is primarily one of people directly overthrowing imperialist exploitation in the Third World, it is clear that this struggle must also strike at the heart of imperialism. This fact, Amerika’s history and other factors, all necessitate the dismantling of the United States as a sovereign entity.

RAIM-Denver supports the creation of a Mexican state in the “Southwest” and its reunification with a revolutionized Mexico. As part of the complete overthrow of imperialism, RAIM-Denver supports dividing Amerika into different territories administered by oppressed peoples in alliance with the revolutionary Third World masses. Amerika has stolen much and its debt grows larger by the second. With the division and the ultimate destruction of Amerika, oppressed peoples around the world find common cause.

We are the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement- Denver. We promote the revolutionary transformation of society through the global struggle of the oppressed. Find out more at https://raimd.wordpress.com

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Nick Brown: Anti-Imperialism, Organization and Expansion

Nick Brown: Anti-Imperialism, Organization and Expansion

An Interview with Monkey Smashes Heaven

[Nick from RAIM-Denver was recently interviewed by the Maoist-Third Worldist online journal, Monkey Smashes Heaven. This is a slightly edited version of the interview.]

Nick Brown Against Empire: Monkey Smashes Heaven interviews Nick Brown from RAIM-Denver (monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com)

MSH: I understand that you’re familiar with Monkey Smashes Heaven and the work we’ve done. Thus far, what have you found most interesting about Monkey Smashes Heaven?

NICK BROWN: On a personal level, I have found the analysis of the Cultural Revolution to be quite interesting. I have read about the Cultural Revolution and China before in a general way. MSH is innovative in two regards. First, it is highly sympathetic towards the then-called “ultra-left” as well as overtly anti-amerikan elements. Second, it does this while taking a critical look at the role of Mao himself. Smashing dogma coming from both the ‘left’ and right, MSH is completely unique in its analysis on the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In many ways creating a new paradigm for understanding China in its revolutionary phase, MSH has set a new standard for future work to live up to. An example of this is Lin Biao. RAIM-Denver has long distributed Lin Biao’s Long Live the Victory of Peoples War! as a historical revolutionary anti-imperialist text. However, recent studies produced by MSH have cast new light on Lin Biao’s role in the Cultural Revolution. This has made Lin Biao much more favorable in my eyes.

In terms of RAIM-Denver, what we like the most about MSH is its similar analysis of imperialism. Like RAIM-Denver, Monkey Smashes Heaven is one of the few leftist or revolutionary formations that accurately describes Amerikans as exploiters of the Third World. In this fundamental aspect, RAIM-Denver and Monkey Smashes Heaven has a clear common cause. MSH has explored various approaches to calculating exploitation and parasitism. The works of Prairie Fire, Serve the People, End Imperialism and Shubel Morgan have further illuminated global class analysis. We hope that MSH publishes more political economy in the future.

MSH: Such a view is part of Maoism Third Worldism, an emerging revolutionary trend. Where does RAIM-Denver diverge from Monkey Smashes Heaven and Maoism Third Worldism.

NICK BROWN: RAIM-Denver isn’t a Maoist-Third Worldist organization. Generally we operate around a basic points of unity of 1. seeing Amerikans principally as class enemies of the world’s exploited majority and 2. support for national liberation and resistance to imperialism. Beyond this RAIMers are free to adopt whatever ideological or philosophical line they like. That’s not to say that there aren’t some RAIMers who subscribe to Maoism-Third Worldism. But RAIM-Denver itself has a broader approach and points of unity.

MSH: How successful has RAIM been in the Denver area?

NICK BROWN: That’s a trick question. It depends on what you mean by success. Is there a growing revolutionary anti-imperialist social movement just below the surface in Denver? Absolutely not. But I really think thats a bad way of going about defining success in our context.

On a realistic level, I actually think RAIM-Denver has been quite successful. We are arguably the largest nominally leftist group in Denver area with the possible exception of a couple of non-profits with paid staff. We are probably the most active group in Denver. Also, we are active in more fields than other groups. Basically, no other group in Denver has the capacity to show up to as many protests, write as many articles, put out as many original images, distribute as many fliers, etc etc. All of this is especially astonishing because we are not the typical ‘leftist’ grouping.

MSH: To what do you attribute this success.

NICK BROWN: A few things. First, we’re all very dedicated. RAIM-Denver is not a bunch of coffee shop revolutionaries. Whether its showing up for cold February demonstrations, engaging in self-education or distributing anti-imperialist materials at high schools, RAIM-Denver does shit.

Second, we are really unorthodox in terms of the way we’ve organized ourselves. On one hand, we’re not a loose collection individuals who’ve come together for a special event such as a protest. On the other, we are not a party or even a formal organization. We are more a network organized around an ongoing project and ideology: RAIM-Denver and revolutionary anti-imperialism. This has given us a lot of flexibility in terms of working styles and the activities we engage in. One person may want to do something. Perhaps everyone else in RAIM-D is busy with other specific projects or otherwise too tied up. If the idea doesn’t raise major objections, then the person can do it as RAIM-Denver. This leads to a lot of simultaneous types of work being done, fosters personal initiative and cultivates collective leadership of RAIM-Denver. That’s not to say that this type of organizing doesn’t have its limitations. It does. But overall our non-dogmatic organizing approach has been an asset, made us more fluid and freed us from being bogged down in traditional organizational restraints.

Lastly, believe it or not, our unique worldview has contributed to our success. Most of the ‘left’ sounds the same. It all boils down to some sort of program for higher living standards for Amerikans. This leaves “communists,” “anarchists” and the Democratic Party vying for the same audience while spewing fundamentally the same message. RAIM-Denver on the other hand comes out and says that Amerikans’ living standards are based on exploitation and ecological destruction. We’re not toned down in other areas either. Thus, not only are we easily distinguishable from the ‘left’ milieu but we are the only ones who are intellectually honest.

MSH: What are some of RAIM-Denver’s goals?

NICK BROWN: At this time one of our major goals is to see a larger country-wide anti-imperialist movement. We’d like to see independent, though not necessarily isolated, RAIM-like groups form in other cities and regions. Based on my experience there is limited potential for such growth.

MSH: Limited potential?

NICK BROWN: I don’t think you’re going to have groups comparable to RAIM-Denver sprouting up in many cities overnight. I would be pretty suspicious if it worked out that way. More probable is that two or three, maybe more, comrades hooks up in a city or two and begin working together. That’s how things start. Who knows where it could go from there.

MSH: What has RAIM-Denver been doing to to help facilitate such an expansion?

NICK BROWN: The first thing we did was start RAIM-Denver with this goal on the backburner. We wanted to organize in a way that could be roughly reproducible given similar conditions. Given our success thus far, I think that the founding of RAIM-Denver was an important first step in the creation of a loose, multi-celled revolutionary anti-imperialist network. Currently, we are beginning work on standardized versions of our more popular material. We want to make it as streamlined as possible for people to print out our material, makes copies and and distribute them. Keep your eye out for nicer looking, printer ready PDF versions of RAIM-Denver originals. Also, we are going to be expanding our web presence, adding an archive as a central place of find printer-ready materials and a kind-of general RAIM web portal to highlight the work of various emerging RAIM-like cells and proto-cells. Some of this stuff is still tentative, but keep your eye out for it. The idea behind a lot of this is that RAIM-Denver and its material can be used as a central reference point to build for other RAIM-like groups elsewhere. We get comments and emails from all over the country from people who say that they wish there was something like RAIM in their city. Chances area, if you are reading this and live in a large city then there is someone else in your city who is equally fascinated with revolutionary anti-imperialism. The popularization of the anti-imperialist internet sources and the distribution of their materials around the country can be used as a basis to draw more people into organized revolutionary anti-imperialist efforts. Ultimately though, its up to other people to make it happen. RAIM-Denver only do so much before the responsibility to build such a country-wide movement rests on others. We’ll see what happens.

MSH: For those who have followed your work and want to get involved, what is the first step?

NICK BROWN: Assuming that one has read RAIM-Denver’s work and has a satisfactory understanding, I would tell that person to start doing anonymous agitation work. Writing and distributing articles is an excellent place to start, or one could print up RAIM-Denver materials and start distributing them at schools and universities, coffee shops, activist events, etc. Whatever you do, do something. For myself, revolution is a moral cause worth a lifetime. However, we are asking for you to put forth a minimal level of time and dedication now. RAIM-Denver has in many ways taken the first steps. Now all that is left is for people to pick up the torch to run with it.

MSH: Last question. What happened between you and Alex Jones?

NICK BROWN: It’s a long story, but I’ll try to keep it short. The confrontation stemmed from our work with Recreate ‘68 (R68), the main coalition that organized the anti-DNC protests in Denver. RAIM-Denver was one on the main groups working with Recreate ‘68, though much of our involvement was behind the scenes. Needless to say, RAIM-Denver’s local contributions R68’s efforts were considerable. Early on, Recreate ‘68 came under attacks in incidents ranging from anonymous threats, probable infiltration and not so covert agent provocateurs, as well as a media smear campaign to go along with it. Additionally, the were divisions within Recreate ‘68. A lot of it came down to rhetoric and the right to self defense.

In walks Jonathan Elinoff. Jonathan Elinoff at first glance seems like a hopelessly devoted “Truther.” He pretentiously came to a single R68 meeting, demanded an extravagant amount of publicity during the protests for his viewpoints and was unanimously rejected. During the course of the night he talked to a RAIMer and got ahold of a Troublemaker DVD. From this, he wrote an article claiming that we told him we were stockpiling blood and urine to throw at the pigs. He also claimed that Recreate was a front group for RAIM-Denver. The wild accusations spread from there. Unfortunately, the “stockpiling blood and urine” story stuck and was circulated word to mouth and through the internet. It even spread to mainstream national media. Using the non-violence issue as pretext, groups such as Colorado Communities for Peace and Justice, Tent State, the Colorado Green Party, Code Pink, and the International Socialist Organization split from Recreate ‘68. Unable to unite around the principle of letting the pigs kick your ass, they formed a coalition called The Alliance for Real Democracy, whose main activity was wrecking the real work being done against the DNC. They were de facto Democratic Party operatives. They ended up going to far as to host as Convention watching party and a friendly delegate meet-and-greet, among other things.

But it didn’t stop there. Alex Jones, nationally syndicated crackpot and white supremacist, invited Jonathan Elinoff, whom others in the 9-11 Truth Movement have told us is shady, on his radio show. There Jonathan embellished his claims even further, saying that we were planning violent acts and claiming that he had a tape of us telling him or someone else about it. Of course no such tape exists. Jonathan couldn’t keep his lies straight. Alex Jones however went ahead repeating Elinoff’s fabrications and instructed people to watch out for us and even video tape us. A situation was being put into place were RAIM-Denver could have been taken out before the DNC began. A similar situation was used against Anarchists prior to the RNC. More humorously, the “blood and urine” story made it to the Denver City Council. An ordinance was passed barring the possession of blood and urine with the intent to throw it at a pig. We thought it was funny at least.

During the Freedom March for Political Prisoners during the DNC, someone told me that Alex Jones was at the back of the crowd. He was hard to miss. Even before I got there he was yelling and flailing his arms around. I grabbed a bullhorn and got into a confrontation with him. I exposed his white supremacist and amerika-first world view and how his view implicitly supports the police state. A few reporters were on hand and it was noted in mainstream media outlets. Because of their lies, Jones and Elinoff are, for the most part, both looked at with hostility in the Denver activist scene. They never took responsibility for their pig behavior and they have never since mentioned RAIM-Denver.

MSH: Thank you for your time. Revolutionary salute!

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Filed under Actions and Events, Alex Jones, DNC 2008, Organizing

Debriefing on the Obama Presidential Victory –

Debriefing on the Obama Presidential Victory

RAIM Called It

On Tuesday, November 4th 2008, Barack Obama won the presidential race in a landslide victory
over John McCain. Last August, before the Democratic National Convention, in
a short analysis article entitled Obama, “Black” Messiah for White Amerika, RAIM
predicted his victory in non-absolute terms (1). Nevertheless, such a prediction was
months ahead of the both the Amerika ‘left” and the mainstream media.

In the article, we foresaw the social forces behind Obama coming from two main
directions. One was the so-called grassroots element. This consisted of people who
“love Amerika,… are always trying to save it, to reform it, to make it realize its
so-called historic potential,” and for whom “an Obama presidency represents evidence
that …Amerika is still becoming a better, more perfect democracy.”

This prediction came to pass. All across Amerika, people gathered to watch the
election results as they came in. Many gatherings were fervently pro-Obama and
similarly pro-Amerikan. People lit fireworks and honked car horns in celebration.
At one such event attended by a RAIMer, everyone from Democrats to self-described
Anarchists and eclectic “revolutionaries” cheered throughout the evening as it
became clearer the Obama would indeed be the next president. Red, white and blue
color-motifs present throughout; “progressive” pro-amerikanism was clearly on
display. The fact that all of these “revolutionary” elements lined up in support for Obama
indicates a lack of fundamental distinction between them. On a visceral level, it
was quite disgusting. No doubt this scene played out around the country.

As for the second social pillar of support for Obama, we said, “Within much of the
imperialist camp, a popular Obama presidency is seen as more conducive to their own
long term interests. Obama is seen as a figure who can recover what power Amerika
has lost over the last 8 years.” This too came to pass. In the last few weeks of the
campaign, high profile figures such as Colin Powell and Warren Buffet publically
endorsed Obama.

If anything, where we got it wrong was by coming out too softly that Obama would
win. In virtually every other aspect we were correct.

RAIM-Denver’s Election Campaign

When asking ourselves what we should do regarding this election, one glaring fact
stood out: RAIM-Denver is a small group incapable of meaningfully intervening in the
election in any way. Regardless if we would have publically supported John McCain or
Barack Obama for strategic reasons or whether we would have urged people to not vote, it
simply would not have made a difference. Social forces are preeminent, not the
direction RAIM takes. Thus we came up with a reasonably successful “RAIM for
President” campaign.

Instead of taking the election seriously in the regard that we might affect the
outcome, we used it as an extra-normal opportunity to agitate for and promote
anti-imperialism and anti-amerikanism. Intentionally conducted in a more satirical,
slapstick manner, not only was carrying out this campaign unusually fun, but it gave
us an opportunity to widely agitate for anti-imperialism in a creative and unique
manner and allowed us to further develop our skills in practical areas such as media
production.

We ran on an overtly anti-amerikan platform. This platform was in the main presented
in the flier Dismantle, Disillusion, Destroy: RAIM ’08 and included four main
issues: further ruining the decadent Amerikan exploiter-economy, expanding health care to the
Third World, support for Third World resistance movements, and deporting the white oppressors
from occupied North America (2). We also raised the slogan, “Voting for the better of two
imperialists will only make Amerika a better exploiter.”

During our mock campaign for the presidency, we distributed hundreds of RAIM ’08
fliers at high schools and colleges, cafes and coffee shops, on street posts and at
special events. We also distributed our two previous articles on Obama, a spiffy
poster by Shubel Morgan and general RAIM-Denver materials. Needless to say, we’ve
gotten a lot of traction from this most recent election-oriented agitation effort.

So What Now

So here we are a few days after an Obama presidential victory. Having basically
predicting and described the forced behind Obama’s win, we fell compelled to analyze
how this will most affect us.

Most immediately is that the bottom has fallen out on the anti-war movement. The
anti-war movement has basically been in decline soon thereafter the invasion of Iraq
in 2003. For virtually all of its history, the anti-war movement was dominated by
liberals and pro-amerikanism. Nevertheless, RAIM almost always shows up to these
things, getting out info, looking for the one person who is looking for our type of
stuff.

Now however, the liberal element has left the anti-war movement for the Obama
movement, leaving the former in shambles. Since RAIM fuctions in a largers scope
than protests, we will survive. Large protest coalitions like ANSWER or World Can’t
Wait likely won’t.

Prior to the Democratic National Convention, RAIM-Denver had internally discussed
this immediate decline of the anti-war movement. The DNC protests, which were small,
were an early affirmation of this prediction. Overall, the war will be ended due to the
resistance of the Iraqi people, making the war too costly in lives and treasure for Amerika.
The overall growing opposition to the war is based on this, not any newfound
anti-imperialist sentiment among the majority that benefits from imperialism.
Obama will present a kinder face of imperialism for Amerikans and the world.

Corresponding to this crash in the anti-war movement is the coalescing of a
pro-system, pro-amerikan “left”. With less and less apparent differences between
self-described “revolutionary” and “radical” trends, and with the success of the
Obama campaign, it makes sense the former will simply continue to be integrated into
a more eclectic, pro-amerika “leftism.” Needless to say, during the next 4 years
there will be more letter writing and fewer protests.

An Obama presidency will accelerate integration of the Black nation possibly to the
point where they’ve become socially and ideologically sealed to Amerika. Many
supposedly “nationalist” organizations such as the Nation of Islam publically backed
Obama for the expressed purpose of “getting a Black man elected to president.” Other oppressed
nations within Amerika will be swept up in this false hope that their concerns will finally be
listened to with Obama. This sentiment is that the Obama presidency will likely have a
continuing negative effect of
all national liberation struggles within the U.S.

Summing it up

In a nutshell, the majority of what would have five years ago been considered
“radical” and “revolutionary” is now wrapped up in Obama. While this could
definitely be seen as a negative development, it is also a natural one.
Nevertheless, RAIM-Denver has not only proven itself to be innovative and flexible,
but it is left with a situation where less people and groups are trafficking
themselves as “radical” and “revolutionary” to promote their fundamentally
pro-Amerikan sentimentalities. At the same time, many who still call themselves
by such labels have thoroughly exposed their pro-amerika, non-revolutionary
character. This greater distinction between RAIM and the rest of the “left” has
given RAIM a very decisive advantage. We will continue to push forward, using
creativity and dedication to further expand revolutionary anti-imperialism as a
powerful emerging force.

In the coming months we will be looking closer into the Obama phenomenon. This new time gives many
opportunities to further our line of unconditional opposition to imperialism and for the liberation
of the Third World.

Notes:

(1) Obama, Black Messiah for White Amerika. https://raimd.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/obama-%e2%80%9cblack%e2%80%9d-messiah-for-white-amerika/

(2) RAIM for President. https://raimd.wordpress.com/2008/10/12/destroy-dismantle-disillusion-raim-08/

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Filed under Barack Obama, News and Analysis, Organizing

Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, A Pratical Outline

Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, A Practical Outline

Forward:

We are excited to announce the release of our new document, Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, A Practical Outline.

Members of RAIM-Denver first came together less than two years ago with the intention of disseminating revolutionary anti-imperialist thought and action. Though we have certainly evolved since then, what has resulted is a type of political organizing unlike any other.

Locally, we have circumvented to norms of “left” activism, establishing ourselves as a relatively sizable group in the Denver activist scene. We have gained notoriety for both our unorthodox politics and our sometimes confrontational manner. We are an organized revolutionary anti-imperialist center for which a broader network of anti-imperialist supporters gravitate around. In Denver, in under two years, we have raised the bar for what passes for ‘radical‘ politics.

More important however is the larger effect we have. Our goal isn’t necessarily to make RAIM into a bigger organization. It is for revolutionary anti-imperialism to grow into a larger organized force. Based on what has happened in Denver, as well as what we have seen at larger events such as the Democratic National Convention, we know that there is potential for such national growth.

In this spirit, we have prepared Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, A Practical Outline. In this document, we give a brief overview of the anti-imperialist outlook, as well as sum up our experiences and offer general lessons on anti-imperialist organizing. It is our hope that the experience we’ve gained will make a meaningful contribution towards a broader movement for revolutionary anti-imperialism. Serving to provide inspiration and practical advice to those considering anti-imperialist organizing, Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, A Practical Outline is an important preliminary document in regards to building such a movement. .

Questions, comments and correspondence are encouraged and can either be posted on our blog at raimd.wordpress.com or sent to us by email at raim-d@hush.com.

The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement- Denver

10/2/08

We want a better world. We want a world based on equality and mutuality. We envision a future in which the full potential of humanity is realized: one without unequal power relations and one of ecological harmony. Creating such a world is our common cause.

In finding direction on how to create this world, we must look at where we are now. What does the current, unsatisfactory world consist of? In regards to its totality, how do power structures operate today? We must look at the material implication: how do various groups relate to each other through existing power structures. Which social forces are undermining the current system, and which invariably act to maintain it? Lastly, we must take a realistic look as to where we fit in and how we can build a new world.

-All forms of oppression are not equal. Nor do they form some sort of swirling indecipherable mess. Instead, in each historical period for a given society, one form of oppression stands above all while others operate alongside. Today, in the globalized world, imperialism supersedes existing forms of oppression while forming the main basis of modern power structure.

Imperialism is a historically formed system and today it is everywhere. It is a system whereby a handful of First World nations exploit a majority Third World. Implied in this are massive value transfers from one part of the world to the other: immense amounts of wealth flowing from the Third World into the First. Not only is this system global, but it is deeply entrenched. There isn’t a place or people in the world which isn’t primarily affected in one way or the other by imperialism.

Whereas the majority of the world, the Third World masses, are deeply impoverished by imperialist theft, a minority living in countries such as Amerika material benefit. By in large, those within the First World have living standards made possible only through Third World exploitation. Amerikans and other First Worlders are beneficiaries of and are greatly dependent on existing relations of global power.

Imperialism simply cannot exist in the world we want. That much is clear. However, being that it is the main crux of existing social hierarchies, it is also the capital target for those wanting to create long-term, ever-evolving, positive change. Through the struggle against and victory over imperialism, new social forces will arise, making it possible to continue further into the world we wish to create.

In looking at what social forces are today most inclined towards overturning imperialism, we naturally look at the Third World. Being causatively tied to the imperialist power centers, the Third World periphery can deal the most direct blows. Its betterment comes directly at the expense of the First World. Living in induced poverty, the masses of the Third World have a material interest in overthrowing the existing imperialist power structure.

The First World has a material interest in maintaining imperialism. Not only do Amerikans routinely and conveniently go along with various international acts of aggression, but what passes for ‘left’ in this country more plainly resembles advocacy for a more equitable distribution of wealth extracted from the Third World. Through their wanton consumerism, Amerikans themselves are inextricably and directly wrapped up in an exploitative relationship with the Third World. In all, this leads to the undeniable conclusion that First Worlders, and in our particular case Amerikans, stand in the way of any sort of long-term revolutionary structural changes.

-We, on the other hand are revolutionaries in Amerika. Despite our benefiting from existing power structures, we strive to create a world void of all unequal power relationships. This itself opens up profound questions. Namely, how do we relate to existing social forces? How can we meaningfully intervene on the side of the oppressed? What can I do, starting today, that contributes to the creation of a better world?

These are all burning questions. Unfortunately, there are no concrete answers. Though the overall situation within Amerika is disfavorable to anti-imperialism generally, the summing up of past and present efforts does offer some general direction.

First, we shouldn’t hold back for the sake of appealing to the broad public. Rather, many situations warrant being ‘out-there’ with our social-political vision. While there is plenty of room for tone, style, mode and medium, downplaying fundamental understanding such a global class structure is beyond ineffective. Watering down our message for the sake of “mass appeal” makes us sound like the rest of the Amerikan ‘left.’ It also leads to demoralization when the “masses” don’t respond. Our honest revolutionary outlook, and expressions of such, gives us not only our distinctiveness but our basic unity. Our far-reaching, radical social-political vision is an asset.

On the opposite side, but equally capable of rendering us ineffective, is becoming an eclectic cheerleading section for various individual Third World movements. Supporting movements resisting imperialism is part of our program. However, we do not stop there. Doing so would be to commit the same error as above: brushing over any fundamental understanding of global power relations. Such an error also causes us to lose our far-sighted independent vision. We are an independent force in alliance with the Third World masses for the cause of overturning existing power relations and paving the way into a new, better world.

We must have a definite streak of intellectualism. Critical thinking is key to our movement. The intellectually honest, though highly unorthodox, orientation of our politics is an attribute solely our own. Being able to clearly articulate our outlook and vision is a critical part of our movement. Self-study of history, social sciences, global economics and radical philosophy, as well acquiring practical experience dealing with and analyzing real world phenomenon and evolutions, is part of the early political work we should all do.

We mustn’t hesitate to be active. Being active is the only way to accomplish anything. Even if you are the lone revolutionary in your city or campus, representing anti-imperialism is a great idea. Posting or distributing agitational and educational flyers and other materials, attending relevant lectures and asking piercing questions, attending solidarity demonstrations for Third World struggles are all great starting points. This is also a great way to connect with other revolutionary minded individuals in your area.

Be sociable. Much of representing anti-imperialism happens on an informal basis. Open up conversations about imperialism and global structure to people you meet and those in political settings. Make acquaintances with other ‘radicals,’ even if they are not on the same page. Such relationships can lead to many different benefits, as well as result in meeting other anti-imperialists. Likewise, any potential organized revolutionary effort happens on a level of social interaction. Keep this in mind.

Take basic security measures. We have to consider our situation here. We are amongst an oppressor population for which we advocate a revolution against. Security is a serious matter. Not taking basic precautions opens yourself up to potential violence from white supremacists, exposure from right-wing wing-nuts, ‘leftists’ who act more like cops and the few crazies within the movement. Except for some individual cases, it is highly recommended that you use an alias when representing anti-imperialism. Adopting a fake name is not as hard as it seems. Simply pick a name that you would like to use for political situations and start using it to introducing yourself. After a while, it becomes second nature. Follow up by using a separate email account for public anti-imperialist activity. Use common sense but don’t let an exagerated security practice get in the way of effective anti-imperialist organizing.

As part of being of Amerikan background we have, or potentially have, vast resources at our disposal. We should use this condition to our advantage. Leisure time, access to technology, formal educational opportunities, purchasing power, even things like pop-culture and civil liberties: when use effectively, can expand our influence beyond what our small numbers would normally yield. We should look for innovative ways to utilize First World conditions. Moreover, we should refine our abilities to exploit our given condition, thus making ourselves more effective.

-Part of being a First World revolutionary is that there are no successful revolutionary models. We essentially have no history, no direct experience by which to guide our work. Questions pertaining to organizing methods and group structure are up in the air. Likewise with the style of expressing revolutionary ideas. The same can be said in regards to the focus and direction of practical work. These questions are too large to be answered concretely by any one group or person. Their simply hasn’t been enough experience accumulated.

The best structures, styles and direction of work will be answered only through experimentation: dedicated efforts on the part of many diverse groups and individuals towards revolutionary organizing. In accumulating such experience, we must learn from whatever mistakes and mishaps take place. Refining our efforts through determined, varied efforts, as well as learning from such experiences, is the only means by which we can soundly the determine what works and what doesn‘t. Experimentation is the only way by which we can determine the best means by which to contribute to the struggle for revolutionary change.

Obviously one of our main goals is growth. Here and now, expanding our numbers is a means by which we can achieve a more optimal level of experimentation and innovation. Simply for this reason, now more than ever is it necessary for anti-imperialists to seriously engage themselves in the struggle. Likewise, now more than ever is it necessary for a new generation of anti-imperialists to become active. On the short-term, expansion and diffusion of revolutionary anti-imperialism towards the end of greater experimentation and accumulation of experience is a primary task.

The modern imperialist dynamic of First World – Third World will die. It is dying. At present, this death is taking place at a protracted pace, such that there is ample room for it to be supplanted by a worse version of itself. Thus, the general task of the modern international revolutionary movement is to first accelerate the death of imperialism and second to lead the way into the radical reorganization of society. We see ourselves as part of this revolutionary movement.

The global situation is always in a state of change. As we speak, new cracks are beginning to open in the system and old ones growing wider. In the period of change, the opportunities for a global revolutionary tide are growing. On one hand, the disparity between the First World and Third World continues to increase. As the weight of capitalist-imperialism continues to be felt by the peoples of the world, more and more have they began to resist. Likewise, the peoples of the world resisting imperialism, as diverse as they are, are more and more coming to understand the commonality of their struggle. At the same time, subtle divisions are forming within the imperialist camp between a U.S.-pole and an emergent one headed by Russia and China. Increasingly we are seeing the possibility, and need, of a broad global anti-imperialist revolutionary movement.

We are coming to a crossroads. One historical chapter will soon be closing and another one opening. However, the future has yet to be decided. What we do today- whether we struggle against imperialism or not- will have an impact on the future. The coming years and decades are too valuable to lose by doing nothing. In this time of great change, not only must we fight imperialism, but we must do so with sound determination and dedication. We must act now, seize the time, and fight to usher in a new world! Long Live Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism!

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R68, anti-DNC Day 1 and 2 quick reports

RAIM was a participant in the Recreate 68 Alliance formed to organize protests against the DNC. RAIM participated the R68 meetings going back over 6 months, aided with security at the events, and-as usual- did our own thing. Despite differences in politics with the many individuals and groups, and some internal antagonisms within the organizing efforts, people came together as a coalition to create space for events this week. Here is our reporting of the days events.

Anti-DNC Day 1, Sunday

This was the day before the Convention, with the theme End the Wars and Occupations. Several groups had tables at the Festival of Democracy. The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement and the Mexican National Liberation Movement (MLNM) shared a table all day. Many other groups were present. Along with local activists, national groups like Workers World/Troops Out Now/F.I.S.T., World Cant Wait/R.C.P.-U.S.A., were there. We also ran into or saw members from United States Marxist-Leninist Organization, the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, and Olympia Students for a Democratic Society. Unconventional Denver coordinated various direct actions. Generally, many groups were pro-Amerikan, ultimately wanting to save Amerika rather than eliminate it. RAIM was the obvious exception.

Speakers included: Ward Churchill, Kathleen Cleaver, Cynthia McKinny, Cindy Sheehan, Larry Hales, Mark Cohen, Glen Spagnuolo, Fred Hampton Jr., and others. David Rovics performed to start off the rally. M1 and Stic.man of Dead Prez performed just before the march started. The march proceeded to the Pepsi Center, where the Democrats are scheduled for. Lots of police everywhere, making their presence felt. Despite fear-mongering by politicians, media, and liberals, no incidents happened at this march.

RAIM distributed new literature: An anthology of RAIM articles, works by Ward Churchill, J. Sakai’s Settlers and a set of interviews, Lin Biao’s Long Live the Victory of People’s War!, Mexican National Liberation literature, etc. RAIM distributed a collection of Troublemaker videos, many by Shubel Morgan. Monkey Smashes Heaven materials were also distributed. Sticking to RAIM’s usual policy, RAIM distributed a wide range of anti-Amerikan, anti-White Nation, anti-First World, pro-Third World, pro-revolutionary materials. These range from anarchist to indigenous to revolutionary nationalist to Maoist-Third Worldist literature. People were big fans of RAIM’s t-shirts designs: Great Satan, Deporten a los Pinches Gringos, and Trash Amerika.

There were many tourists who looked on to our table with curiosity, to say the least. Some looked shocked, as they never seen anything like our stuff. Lots of right wing bloggers and tourists photographed booth. Our Fuck the Troops pamphlet was as usual very popular. So was our new banner:

Thanks right wing blogger lookingattheleft.com for our free publicity.

In the after noon, there was a reclaim the streets action. A group of trouble makers fooled the pigs with a diversionary move, causing the pigs to typically overreact and form lines on the west side of Lincoln park. When the pigs had formed their lines, the trouble makers changed directions taking the street on the east side, catching the pigs off guard. Before the pigs could encircle them on the east side, the trouble makers ran down 16th Street Mall, taking several hundred people with them. RAIMD went along, giving some chants including “Hey Hey USA, For Oppression You Will Pay,” and “Dis, Dis, Disarm Amerika.” More on this at dncdisruption08.org.

Anti-DNC Day 2, Monday

At Civic Center park, RAIM was tabling all day with our comrades, the Mexican National Liberation Movement. Our literature was appreciated. RAIM appreciated Food Not Bombs delivering to our booth. RAIM also appreciated the music.

Here are some tidbits at the Civic Center festival: The Democrats tried to send in teams throughout the day. RAIM, working with security, had to kick them out a couple times, for Recreate 68 had the permit for the park. Throughout the day, RAIM witnessed undercover police coming out of police cars. They were dressed like protesters or other civilians. Snatch squads would every once in awhile grab protesters at random. In addition, RAIM witnessed predator drones and helicopters flying above the city.

This Day was in solidarity for U.$. political prisoners. There was a Freedom March and rally for political prisoners from 11am to 2pm at the Federal Courthouse. Ricardo Romero of the Mexican National Liberation Movement (MLNM) spoke. Other speakers included Pam Afrika, Kathleen Cleaver, Fred Hampton Jr., Natsu Saito, and some speakers from the American Indian Movement. A letter from Leonard Peltier was read. A recording from Mumia Abu Jamal specifically for this event was played (available here: http://www.prisonradio.org/audio/mumia/2008MAJ/Aug08/DNC8-20-08.mp3).

At one point, RAIM got into an argument with Alex “bumblefuck” Jones and his tagalong, Jonathan “Blistershits” Elinoff. Alex “bumblefuck” Jones has been lying about RAIM on his radio show for weeks now. Alex “bumblefuck” Jones was exposed as a White populist. Alex Jones complained about RAIM putting the megaphone in his face, but RAIM pointed out how this is his style.

(from denverpost.com)

As Jones has a bigger budget for bullhorning than RAIM, he held out, even admitting he supports Lakota liberation efforts so he’s not a racist. But he blew up at the end before leaving. Expect some whining from Jones on this on his blogs. Were sure we’ll run into him the next few days.

From 3pm to 5pm, RAIM led a confrontation with the Minutemen who gathered at Congress Park. RAIM and others had a sizable contingent in militantly disrupting their rally. The anti-imperialist contingent contained people from across the country. Special props go out to Olympia and Seattle. Slogans included: “John Brown! John Brown! Let’s drive the settlers out of town!”, “Don’t like Mexico, get the fuck out. Down with Amerika, that’s what we’re about.”, and the usual, “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, racist Minutemen have got to go!” One person was offering white sheets and Klan hoods in case any of the minutemen forgot their own. No takers, though. Others told the minutemen that they should go colonize Mars, which began the chant, “Send the master race to outer space.” RAIM comrade Antonio told the minutemen “while you’re all sitting on your lawn chairs here, some Mexicans are stealing your jobs; get off your asses and take them back.” None did. With the megaphone we sent messages about their contradictory stances on migration, like pointing out how the oranges they were eating weren’t picked by white people. In the ultimate of irony, some city workers who were of Latin American descent were servicing the park for the Minutemen rally. They were appreciative of our work.

Despite some provocation by the more trashy of the white nationalist Minutemen, no incidents took place. Overall, we simply make the racists feel like the scum that they are. It was a great action.

From 6:30pm to 9pm, there was an “anti-capitalist” march with a black bloc taking to the streets. The police came down hard, surrounding the whole march, and dividing it into three sections and refusing to let them leave. RAIM comrades were stuck in one of the zones for over an hour. Eventually, after pepper spraying many in the crowd, some of the march was released. Initial reports indicate that there were 100 arrests from this single action.

(photo from cocktailhour.wordpress.com)

Check our blog for future news and events. If you’re in Denver, there’s three more days of action, so come downtown.

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A lil’ bit of organizational theory from Jo Freeman (aka Joreen)

‘The Tyranny of Structurelessness’

by Jo Freeman (1970)


During the years in which the women’s liberation movement has been taking shape, a great emphasis has been placed on what are called leaderless, structureless groups as the main form of the movement. The source of this idea was a natural reaction against the overstructured society in which most of us found ourselves, the inevitable control this gave others over our lives, and the continual elitism of the Left and similar groups among those who were supposedly fighting this over-structuredness.The idea of ‘structurelessness’, however, has moved from a healthy counter to these tendencies to becoming a goddess in its own right. The idea is as little examined as the term is much used, but it has become an intrinsic and unquestioned part of women’s liberation ideology. For the early development of the movement this did not much matter. It early defined its main method as consciousness-raising, and the ‘structureless rap group’ was an excellent means to this end. Its looseness and informality encouraged participation in discussion and the often supportive atmosphere elicited personal insight. If nothing more concrete than personal insight ever resulted from these groups, that did not much matter, because their purpose did not really extend beyond this.

The basic problems didn’t appear until individual rap groups exhausted the virtues of consciousness-raising and decided they wanted to do some- thing more specific. At this point they usually floundered because most groups were unwilling to change their structure when they changed their task. Women had thoroughly accepted the idea of ‘structurelessness’ without realising the limitations of its uses. People would try to use the ‘structureless’ group and the informal conference for purposes for which they were unsuitable out of a blind belief that no other means could possibly be anything but oppressive.

If the movement is to move beyond these elementary stages of development, it will have to disabuse itself of some of its prejudices about organisation and structure. There is nothing inherently bad about either of these. They can be and often are misused, but to reject them out of hand because they are misused is to deny ourselves the necessary tools to further development. We need to understand why ‘structurelessness’ does not work.

Formal and Informal Structures

Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a ‘structureless’ group. Any group of people of whatever nature coming together for any length of time, for any purpose, will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible, it may vary over time, it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed regardless of the abilities, personalities and intentions of the people involved. The very fact that we are individuals with different talents, predisposition’s and backgrounds makes this inevitable. Only if we refused to relate or interact on any basis whatsoever could we approximate ‘structurelessness’ and that is not the nature of a human group.

This means that to strive for a ‘structureless’ group is as useful and as deceptive, as to aim at an ‘objective’ news story, ‘value-free’ social science or a ‘free’ economy. A ‘laissez-faire’ group is about as realistic as a ‘laissez-faire’ society; the idea becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others. This hegemony can easily be established because the idea of ‘structurelessness’ does not prevent the formation of informal structures, but only formal ones. Similarly, ‘laissez-faire’ philosophy did not prevent the economically powerful from establishing control over wages, prices and distribution of goods; it only prevented the government from doing so. Thus ‘structurelessness’ becomes a way of masking power, and within the women’s movement it is usually most strongly advocated by those who are the most powerful (whether they are conscious of their power or not). The rules of how decisions are made are known only to a few and awareness of power is curtailed by those who know the rules, as long as the structure of the group is informal. Those who do not know the rules and are not chosen for initiation must remain in confusion, or suffer from paranoid delusions that something is happening of which they are not quite aware.

For everyone to have the opportunity to be involved in a given group and to participate in its activities the structure must be explicit, not implicit. The rules of decision-making must be open and available to everyone, and this can only happen if they are formalised. This is not to say that normalisation of a group structure will destroy the informal structure. It usually doesn’t. But it does hinder the informal structure from having predominant control and makes available some means of attacking it. ‘Structurelessness’ is organisationally impossible. We cannot decide whether to have a structured or structureless group; only whether or not to have a formally structured one. Therefore, the word will not be used any longer except to refer to the idea which it represents. Unstructured will refer to those groups which have not been deliberately structured in a particular manner. Structured will refer to those which have. A structured group always has a formal structure, and may also have an informal one. An unstructured group always has an informal , or covert, structure. It is this informal structure, particularly in unstructured groups, which forms the basis for elites.

The Nature of Elitism

‘Elitist’ is probably the most abused word in the women’s liberation movement. It is used as frequently, and for the same reasons, as ‘pinko’ was in the ’50s. It is never used correctly…

Read on

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National Liberation and Anti-Imperialism

By Nick Brown

The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement- Denver is a movement for global equality. We stand for the end of the imperialist system: the system whereby a handful of powerful nations exploit the peoples of the world. We see the termination of imperialism as a necessary first step to a world of lasting peace and real equality.

Anti-imperialism is foremost a fight for national liberation. Most broadly construed, national liberation is the struggle to not be exploited by outside oppressors, but to exist as a self-determining, free nation.

National liberation struggles happen throughout the world on a variety of levels. Venezuela is an example where a progressive section of the ruling class is now leading a campaign for national salvation; providing much needed reforms for the masses while challenging U.S. supremacy on a regional level. There are the numerous armed groups in Mexico, numbering in the mid-teens (not just the Zapatistas), who are fighting a comprador government. Hezbollah, the patriotic Islamic party in Lebanon, has challenged Western influence in the country, provided social welfare for the people and aligned with various Lebanese parties [including Christian ones] in their struggle against Amerikan/Zionist aggression. And we cannot forget the heroic Iraqi resistance.

These forces, taken together, form a worldwide movement against Western imperialism. These diverse individual movements, insofar as they are challenging imperialism, should be supported by freedom and peace loving peoples everywhere.

If Third World anti-imperialist struggles are capable of cutting vital lifelines [of wealth and resources] to imperialism, national liberation struggles internal to the U.S. are capable of delivering blows from within. In the grand scheme of things, within the worldwide movement towards anti-imperialism, these national liberation movements represent a mighty ally, behind enemy lines, within what is geographically called the United States. Because of this, and because these struggles are so close to home, national liberation for internally oppressed nations hold a special significance for us.

While national liberation is not currently the dominant trend amongst oppressed nations within Amerika, national struggles themselves are part of the dialect of everyday life. These struggles manifest in a variety of ways but carry common themes.

For Mexicanos, Indigenous Peoples and Blacks, theirs is the struggle not to be criminalized and disproportionately held captive in White-Amerika’s prison system. It is the struggle to not have their cultures mocked, repressed, co-opted and whitewashed. It is the struggle to not have the lowest life expectancies within the United States. It is a struggle to practice one’s national culture with pride; to be treated as equal members of society; to exist free from the oppression leveled on them by Amerika.

Typically, national struggles take one of two routes: one, the route of liberation as a nation, and the other, integration into the imperialistic, Amerikan oppressor society.

The latter, integration into the Amerikan oppressor society, is the main trend today. This is the path favored by poverty pimps, white chauvinists and the state. The integration route was made widely available through the widening and deepening of exploitation abroad while given impetus by the explosive successes of national liberation struggles during the 1960s and 70s. The reformist integrationist route, while also a national struggle, is antithetical to revolutionary national liberation. Ending oppression through integration means being absorbed into Amerika’s “multi-cultural” oppressor society. It is the democratization of imperialist privilege and the diversification of the labor aristocracy. Integrationism is not revolutionary and is not in the least bit anti-imperialist.

For oppressed nations inside Amerika, the struggle for national liberation is mainly tied to the struggle for a territory on which a free nation can exist. Without such a land, oppressed nations are doomed to live within White-Amerika–forced to suffer oppression while at the same time being lured by trickle-down imperialist privilege. While the goal of national liberation struggles is the creation of sovereign national territories, the planting of seeds for such political power is a necessary first step.

While full-blown national power will not develop quickly or easily, national liberation movements themselves are of utmost importance today. The strengthening of national liberation movements, the expansion of networks and the creation of independent spaces from which these networks and broader movements can operate is a task for which the outcome will weigh heavily on the future.

As success for peoples of the Third World build up, national liberation struggles inside the U.S. can become a destabilizing force within the heart of imperialism. This will make the prospects of revolution greater. At the same time, national liberation struggles will be a focal point of revolutionary gravity within the First World. In the long term, successes made today in creating the basis for independent national power [for oppressed nations within the U.S.] will translate into much wider successes for all people oppressed by U.S. imperialism further down the road.

It is with these considerations in mind that we champion national liberation struggles within United States. We do so not to advance ourselves or to look edgy. We do so from our general anti-imperialist perspective. For us, any single movement for national liberation here is part of the broader international revolutionary struggle to end oppression once and for all.

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Pre-TCD 2 for 1

Before the Transform Columbus Day protests there will be a very special pre-event. On August 30th the University of Denver will be will be hosting an awards dinner featuring not one, but two, modern day perpetrators of genocide.

Wayne Murdy, the CEO of Newmont Mining, is being given an award by the University of Denver. Newmont Mining is the second largest gold stealer in the world. It operates mines all over the globe. In the process it plunders the wealth of nations, devastates natural environs and poisons local, often indigenous, populations. Wayne Murdy, Newmont Mining and companies like it are waging systematic economic and ecological warfare against poor peoples of the world in what amounts to a protracted genocide.

But that’s not all. The key-note speaker for this award ceremony will be Madeleine Albright. Madeleine Albright is a psychotic terrorist who during the Clinton presidency was Secretary of State. She implemented a policy of sanctions against Iraq which led to the death of over 500,000 children. When asked about the murderous implications of such a policy she said, on national TV, that the deaths were “worth it”.

What: Protest Newmont Mining for the economic and ecological destruction it’s caused and the deaths that have resulted; Protest Madeleine Albright for being a mass murdering lunatic hiding behind the ‘legitimacy’ of the United Snakes.

Where: The Denver Marriot (17th and California)

When: August 30th at 5:00 PM

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LET IT BURN. Interview with Robert F. Williams, 1968

This is a pretty long interview. It’s so long that we wouldn’t have posted it had we not thought that it was worth watching through the end. Here are a few good quotes from the interview.

[Williams explains his reasons for leaving Cuba as-] If I wanted to carry on my struggle for the liberation of the black people in Amerika.. if I could live true to what I believed, I had to leave Cuba -but I wasn’t forced out of Cuba. I had a choice to remain in there. I could have remained in Cuba as a socialist Uncle Tom. But I didn’t see any difference in being a socialist Uncle Tom and in being an Uncle Tom in capitivist and racist Amerika. And I’m not cut out to be an Uncle Tom no matter who it’s for.

[Here Williams explains why he doesn’t pay any mind to how white amerika perceives him or his cause] Look, I am a refugee. I am a victim of all kinds of racial [national-ed.] oppression and tyranny and terrorism in the United States. So why should I be concerned with what they think about or what they call me. My first concern is liberation. My first concern is justice and freedom. And it makes no difference what they call me and it makes no difference with what they think, because in the final analysis they are going to have to face reality. And the reality is that Amerika is not god, Amerika is not the end of the earth and it doesn’t matter what the Amerikans think.

[Referring to Black troops fighting in the Vietnam War] I’m not asking them to commit treason. I’m asking them to stop betraying humynity I’m asking them not to commit treason against humynity. Man’s first duty is to his brother [sic]. Man’s first duty is to humynity, not to governments- not to brutal savage governments and oppressors.

[Referring the recently killed Dr. Martin Luther King] Because here is a pacifist, one of the great followers of Ghandi, and here is a man who advocated love and non-violence who has been shot down in the streets of racist amerikkka and killed like a common street dog. Now- and then I’m supposed to be moderate in my outlook? I’m supposed to be merciful? This is asking more of me, as a victim, than has been asked of the oppressor.

The German people allowed Hitler to lead them down the drain. They allowed Hitler to rage and act like a maniac. And they didn’t take any position. They supported Germany, they supported their government. And as a result of this we can see what happened. Now the Amerikan people can’t hide behind the excuse that they are not doing it, that they are not committing these crimes.

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When Race Burns Class: Interview with J. Sakai

WHEN RACE BURNS CLASS

“Settlers” Revisited

An Interview With J. Sakai

EC: In the early eighties you wrote Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat, a book which had a major impact on many North American anti-imperialists. How did this book come about, and what was so new about its way of looking at things?

JS: Settlers completely came about by accident, not design. And what was so “new” about it was that it wasn’t “inspiring” propaganda, but took up the experience of colonial workers to question how class really worked. It wasn’t about race, but about class. Although people still have a hard time getting used to that–it isn’t race or sex that’s the taboo subject in this culture, but class. Like many radicals who struggle as organizers, i had wondered why our very logical “class unity” theories always seemed to get smashed up around the exit ramp of race? At the time i’d quit my fairly isolated job on the night shift as a mechanic on the railroad, and was running a cut-off lathe in an auto parts plant. The young white guys in our department were pretty good. In fact, rebellious counter-culture dope smoking Nam vets. After months of hanging & talking, one night one of them came up to me and said that all the guys were driving down to the Kentucky Derby together, to spend the weekend getting drunk and partying. They were inviting me, an Asian, as a way of my joining the crew. Only, he said, “You got to stop talking to those Blacks. You got to choose. White or Black.” Every lunch hour i dropped in on a scene on the loading dock, where a dozen brothers munched sandwiches and had an on-going discussion. About everything from the latest sex scandal to whether it was good or not for Third World nations to be getting A-bombs (some said it was good ending the white monopoly on nuclear weapons, while others said not at the price of endangering our asses!). Plus the guy from the League of Black Revolutionary Workers in our plant area had recruited me to help out, since he was facing heavy going from the older, more established Black political tendencies ( various nationalists, the CPUSA–who had great veterans, good shop floor militants –etc). And, why would i go along with some apartheid agenda anyway? Needless to say, the white young guys cut me dead after that (though they later came out for me as shop steward, which shows you how much b.s. they thought the union was). That kind of stuff, familiar to us all, kept piling up in my mind and got me started trying to figure out how this had come about in the u.s. working class. So for years after this i read labor history and asked older trade union radicals questions whenever i could. Finally, an anarchist veteran of the autoworkers’ historic 1937 Flint Sit-Down strike told me that the strike had been Jim Crow, that one of the unpublicized demands had been to keep Black workers down as only janitors….or out of the plants altogether. This blew my mind. That’s when it hit me that the wonderful working class history that the movement had taught us was a lie. So i decided to write an article (famous writer’s delusion) on how this white supremacy started in the u.s. working class. i didn’t know–maybe it was in the 1920s?, i thought. So Settlers was researched backwards. i knew what the conclusion was in the mid-1970s, that white supremacy ruled the white working class except in the self delusions of the Left. “No politician can ever be too racist to be popular in white amerikkka”, is an amazingly true saying. Settlers was researched going back in time, trying to find that event, that turning point when working class unity by whites had dissolved into racial supremacy. 1930s, 1920s, pre-World War I, Black Reconstruction, Civil War, 1700s, 1600s, i kept going back and back, treading water, trying to touch non-white supremacist ground. Only, there wasn’t any! Continue reading

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