As If We Won’t Burn this Shit Down?
International Working Women’s Day
March 8, 2018
Organizing Committee for a Maoist Communist Party
On the occasion of International Working Women’s Day 2018, we channel the spirit of the woman comrade who expressed her rage last year in the face of pigs outside a bourgeois hotel in downtown Saint Louis, the type of place where black working class women from North Saint Louis can generally only enter as housekeepers. This was in the days leading up to the post-Stockley verdict rebellion. When demonstrators were told by sellout black pigs to move off the private property (they were afraid that there was going to be a violation of their masters’ sanctity), this proletarian fighter asked them why they were defending the property of white capitalists as if the masses of this black city wouldn’t come back and burn it, and the entirety of downtown Saint Louis, to the ground later, if we had to. This is the spirit of a working class fighter and the expression of 400 year of class antagonism. This is the spirit of the proletarian revolution that we are patiently building for.
One divides into two. When one speaks of feminism, there must be a differentiation. Hillary Clinton calls herself a feminist, but what is her feminism? The feminism that enslaves black women in Haiti for dime an hour wages. The feminism that incarcerates entire communities as super-predators. The feminism that attacks a Somali woman for criticizing her role in destroying the Middle East and Africa. Bourgeois white feminism. We also have radical feminism, the feminism that seeks to unpack, pack up, pack in, and discuss over brown bag lunches while millions starve and die outside the ivory tower. You mention Communism to these few, many of whom would even admit to dallying with Marx and maybe even Mao in the past, they shudder and denounce “authoritarianism” and other such things, despite Marxist-Leninist-Maoist revolutions currently underway being the only vehicles through which millions of women are in the process of liberating themselves in countries in which women are exploited mercilessly to feed the demands of the First World, places like India and the Philippines. Take your brown bag lunch to the slums of Mumbai or the forests in which Adivasi (indigenous) women are resolutely struggling to liberate themselves from the grasps of both abusive men and mining companies and see how they respond. Waltz into a base area on Luzon with your talk of unpacking and radical feminism with no practice, and get corrected.
The only objective path for women’s liberation is proletarian revolution, the act of transforming reality through waging protracted people’s war and cultural revolution, the act of destroying the old world and creating a new. Patriarchy has a material basis, a material root. It is not simply the fact that men abuse nonmen, it is the fact that patriarchy has a material foundation going all the way back to slave society, when women became the property of men. This order of things carried through feudalism, capitalism, and now is in its dying throes in the era of imperialism, and in the third world and oppressed nations in the First, in the era of neo-colonialism. Nowadays, women in the third world are, in practice, crushed between the mountain of domestic patriarchy, manifest in acid attacks, arranged/forced marriages while they are still children, and rape, the mountain of comparator capitalism, manifest in the apathy with which corrupt police treat their complaints, labor racketeers that routinely entice them to foreign countries to work as domestic slave labor or prostitutes, and the mountain of imperialism, manifest in the sweatshops where the make the clothes that the first world wears, the farms where they and their children work as slaves to produce food that they can not eat, and the forced migrations such as those from Central America to the United States where they are crammed into barracks and forced to work all across the Southwest.
Women in oppressed nationality communities in the United States are crushed by the mountains of race, class, and gender. Oprah suffers from oppression as a black woman, but also has power to oppress as a member of the bourgeoisie. Kiwi Herring, a black trans woman in Saint Louis murdered by police in front of her children, benefited from none of the fallback that Oprah can. If Oprah’s family member is murdered by the police, there are many paths of recourse that she can take to extract some semblance of justice. What can a working class or lumpenproletarian black woman do if her son or daughter is killed? She’s lucky if she can even afford burial. Maybe there will be a riot and the opportunists will come pick the body clean for their own self-aggrandizement, but there is no justice. Can radical feminism or bourgeois feminism remove these mountains? No. Only proletarian feminism, their own feminism, can. Only a militarized Party organized along Marxist-Leninist-Maoist principles, with a People’s Army and United Front guided by this party, can liberate the masses of working women. This is what historical experience has taught us through painful experience and the blood of countless martyrs from the Soviet Union, to China, to Vietnam, to Guinea-Bissau, to South Africa, to the Philippines, to Nepal, to Angola, to Peru, to Turkey, to India, to Kurdistan, to Nicaragua, to El Salvador.
Wherever there has not been a Party making use of the three weapons that Maoists uphold as universal, wherever revisionism has held sway, the liberation of women has not been complete and whatever gains have been made have been erased. We see Chinese women working in sweatshops, while their grandmothers stormed heaven and earth as Red Guards. It is extremely important to grasp firm hold to principles and never release them, lest our revolution be derailed and sidetracked down reformist, revisionist ends before it has begun. We must never forget that even as our own concrete conditions lead us to enter into united fronts with non-Communist and non-Maoist elements, that we are first and foremost Maoists and that we must never, under any circumstances, fail to at all times promote Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, sharpen our command of theory, and with this theory, sharpen our practice. Never forget politics in command. Never forget our martyrs who purchased lessons for us with their precious blood.
What is proletarian feminism? The feminism of the most exploited and oppressed women, those who are crushed between these mountains and who are historically and materially bound to remove them. Who developed proletarian feminism? Those who were in the very trenches of class struggle. Avanti (Anuradha Ghandy) laid out a merciless critique of various types of bourgeois and radical feminism from the hills of India in the heat of people’s war. Philosophical Trends in the Feminist Movement is a seminal piece of the proletarian feminist theoretical canon and should be read, applied and studied. Postmodernist ideas, thankfully, have less prestige among working class women than various opportunists who see everything that doesn’t put whiteness on a pedestal claim, but it is hegemonic among various university socialist circles that OC comrades oftentimes find themselves. This is a critical work in refuting, debating, and winning over those who have come under the influence of these circles and guiding them towards actual practice. Furthermore, as Maoists working in the belly of the beast, we see proletarian feminism in the works and deeds of comrades such as Nanny of the Maroons, who waged successful guerilla war against the British slavers on the island of Jamaica, Sojourner Truth, who criticized the racist machinations and political lines of opportunist suffragette, Harriet Tubman, who liberated thousands of enslaved Africans with a pistol on her side with which she threatened those who stood in the way of liberation: Claudia Jones, Assata Shakur, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Angela Davis, Ericka Huggins, Ella Baker, Betty Shabazz, Yuri Kochiyama, Ericka Garner, and countless others. Any proletarian woman who wages struggle and contributes to the revolutionary process, develops new theory, or goes to jail for the struggle is a proletarian feminist.
The task for the Maoist in the United States is to study the theory and practice of those who went before us, sum up and criticize their lessons, take the good, discard the bad, study, propagandize, and advance towards the foundation of our Party capable of turning the world upside down. This cannot be done unless we develop crystal clear lines of demarcation between good and bad, right and wrong, useful and useless. This can only be done in the crucible of practice. Our target is the American imperialist state. Our matches and gasoline are the weapons of theory left by our predecessors and the masses of proletarian women, principally of oppressed nationalities. What is the task? To practice the mass line, to organize better and better by relying firmly on the masses in a real way, not in a phony way or a halfhearted way, to reject dogmatism, sectarianism, and commandism, to build firm united fronts on a neighborhood, local, state and national level, and to make thousands of new communists through practice.
On the occasion of this International Working Women’s Day, 2018, we affirm our commitment to these tasks, pay homage to our martyrs, and firmly resolve to honor their memory through the carrying through of the party-building tasks that are demanded of us, even if it demands our lives. We affirm our dedication to struggling against the enemy within; meaning revisionist, reformist, white chauvinist, white opportunist, patriarchal, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and various other ills that have derailed and degenerated many communists in the past. We affirm our dedication to building united fronts, developing more cadres, expanding mass work programs in all cities where OC cadres are working, and isolating the various formations of wreckers and small-group sectarians in both theoretical and practical fields. Two line struggle is class struggle. We combat petit-bourgeois adventurism and sectarianism that is en vogue in the United States currently with proletarian methods and styles of work, methods which can best be summed up by the formula “unity-struggle-unity” and “unity-criticism-struggle-transformation-unity”.
To unite with the masses of working women, particularly of oppressed nationalities, it is necessary to first unite around issues of importance, apply the mass line to the American terrain, struggle for leadership in all things and all fields, develop cadre from among the masses in the heat of mass struggle, and isolate and reject sectarians and sectarian styles of work. We cannot afford to allow bad tendencies, even among the masses in which we work, to go unchallenged. We struggle against patriarchal tendencies among the masses because these are hindrances to unity, abusive to comrades, and benefit the enemy. These are signs of bourgeois, anti-proletarian tendencies among the masses, we must recognize them and patiently struggle against them. We do not take the postmodern, identitarian approach of attacking wildly or putting erroneous ideas on a pedestal/allowing them to remain unchecked simply because those who are spreading them are of a certain identity. However, we also do not take the right opportunist approach of silencing comrades from oppressed identities and thus centering whiteness for the sake of appealing to the “masses”. This is, in practice, far worse than postmodernism because it reinforces reactionary, white supremacist ideas and practices.
When we struggle, we do not treat comrades as the enemy, but as friends who have made mistakes. There is no-one who does not err or make mistakes, the difference between the Maoist and the liberal is that we work for transformation, not for isolation of comrades unless they have proven incorrigible through repeated offenses, nor do we allow personal dislikes and grievances to inform our practices. As Mao said in “Dialectical Approach to Inner-Party Unity”:
Everyone needs support. An able fellow needs the help of three other people, a fence needs the support of three stakes. With all its beauty the lotus needs the green of its leaves to set it off. These are Chinese proverbs. Still another Chinese proverb says three cobblers with their wits combined equal Chukeh Liang the mastermind. Chukeh Liang by himself can never be perfect, he has his limitations. Look at this declaration of our twelve countries. We have gone through a first, second, third and fourth draft and have not yet finished polishing it. I think it would be presumptuous for anyone to claim God-like omniscience and omnipotence. So what attitude should we adopt towards a comrade who has made mistakes? We should be analytical and adopt a dialectical, rather than a metaphysical, approach. Our Party once got bogged down in metaphysics, in dogmatism, which totally destroyed anyone not to its liking. Later, we repudiated dogmatism and came to learn a little more dialectics. The unity of opposites is the fundamental concept of dialectics. In accordance with this concept, what should we do with a comrade who has made mistakes? We should first wage a struggle to rid him of his wrong ideas. Second, we should also help him. Point one, struggle, and point two, help. We should proceed from good intentions to help him correct his mistakes so that he will have a way out.
It is essential, when discussing affairs pertaining to developing our mass base among proletarian women, that we apply the mass line well and not only seek to bring them “into” mass organizations and the Maoist movement simply in a token fashion, but unite with the most advanced in a given area in command, analyze them through the lens of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory, continually check up and consult our mass contacts, accept criticism and rectify based on this good-faith criticism, avoid sectarian/dogmatist interpretations, and generally ensure that the mass movement develops well along lines determined by the most oppressed. Unite and seek to bring material benefits through struggle alongside the masses of working women.
At this stage, only through the struggle around issues of great concern for the masses, struggles around things such as healthcare, wages, tenants’ rights, migrant rights, police brutality, and various other issues that are constantly on the minds and lips of the masses can Communists be made. Running into inner city neighborhoods when riots happen and then attempting to give leadership without having previously done preparatory work in them is white opportunism. Smashing a window hoping that people will rally to your banner is not class struggle, nor is carrying around a weapon and engaging in left phrase-mongering. This is a manifestation of left-adventurism and an expression of the purely military viewpoint and any manifestation of this style of work should be identified, criticized, and rectified immediately. If you are not willing to do the “grunt work” of investigation, interview, summation, development of plans, and analysis, you are not qualified to engage in tasks of that nature. The test of the cadre is the ability to handle tasks both small and large. Furthermore, failure to give guidance and distinguish oneself through the practical experience of the class struggle, the struggle around day-to-day concerns of the masses, is to effectively abdicate and give over leadership to a myriad of opportunists, yellow unions, revisionists, and various other bad political elements who will only use and discard the masses to develop their own careers. Instead of complaining, Maoists must go low and deep and struggle for leadership and hegemony in all movements of the working class, particularly those of the oppressed nationalities.
In closing, the Organizing Committee for a Maoist Communist Party resolves to honor the memory of our thousands of martyrs on this International Women’s Day by deepening our dedication to the party building task that can only be completed well by relying firmly on the masses of women, particularly oppressed nationality women. To ensure the final defeat of the American empire requires a party developed in coalition with all who can be united to defeat the few. We commend the struggle of the brave students, led by queer, oppressed nationality young women, of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who have captured national attention in the aftermath of a fascist massacre at their school. We also ask where the sympathy has been for the countless women in oppressed nationality communities who have been torn by reactionary, fratricidal violence long before the Parkland shooting. We commend the Black Women’s Defense League, formed after a split in the Huey P. Newton Gun Club after a founding member was abused and beaten by a cadre in this organization. The more guns in the hands of politicized black women, the better, and we reject calls from radical and bourgeois sectors for “gun control”. These are fascist laws that disproportionately bring black and brown people into prison for slave labor. We recognize that gun violence disproportionately impacts Black women in particular and can not simply be attributed to the presence of guns, but the fact that patriarchal relations oftentimes lead to violent behavior on the part of ON men, this can only be struggled against through the arming of ON women, education and training of ON men under the leadership of women, and the development of a culture centered around criticism-self criticism. In closing, we have much work to be done, and with a firm and principled dedication to turning all of our cities red, we will complete it and make substantial leaps in the development of our party building work over the next year.
With Revolutionary Dedication and Tenacity,