Category Archives: Youth

Movie Review: Machete and The Baader Meinhof Complex

Movie Review: Machete and The Baader Meinhof Complex

http://www.raimd.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revolutionary Violence

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

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

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

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

The Network

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

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

Again on Violence

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

Report Back on Anti-Police Demo

Report Back on Anti-Police Demo

(raimd.wordpress.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

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Filed under Actions and Events, Anti-Racism, Black Nation, Black-ops, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing, Police Brutality, Videos, Ward Churchill, White Amerika, Youth

Killer of Oscar Grant Gets Off: No Justice in Amerikkka

Killer of Oscar Grant Gets Off: No Justice in Amerikkka

(raimd.wordpress.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Anti-Racism, Barack Obama, Black Nation, Fuck The Troops, News and Analysis, Organizing, Police Brutality, White Amerika, Youth

UC-Irvine moves to suspend Muslim Student Union

UC-Irvine moves to suspend Muslim Student Union

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victory to Palestine!
Death to imperialism!

Sources:

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

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Filed under Israel, News and Analysis, Organizing, Palestine, Youth

May Day 2010 Denver

May Day 2010 Denver

(raimd.wordpress.com)

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

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

photo by Shareef

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

photo by Resistencia Mexicana

photo by Resistencia Mexicana

photo by Shareef

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Other Rally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Actions and Events, Anti-Racism, Barack Obama, Black Nation, First Nations, Images, Imperialism, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing, Police Brutality, White Amerika, Youth

RAIM Protests Teaklanners and Amerikkka

RAIM Protests Teaklanners and Amerikkka

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another view from the Tea Cracker side.

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

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

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

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

Heated exchanges between racist crackers and anti-racists.

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

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

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

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Update 1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update 2:

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

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Filed under Actions and Events, Anti-Racism, First Nations, Imperialism, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing, White Amerika, Youth

Steve Struggle discusses Black liberation history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In part 7, Steve offers advice to young revolutionaries.

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Filed under Actions and Events, Barack Obama, Black Nation, Organizing, Videos, White Amerika, Youth