CLR James: the struggle for Socialism

Opinion, Revolutionary, Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

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“… the class in society to whom we must look for a solution of war and economic ills are the workers, and particularly the most miserable, the most oppressed…the most exploited…it is which makes the Negroes…of such importance in the struggle for Socialism”

CLR James

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Quotations on Self-Determination, National Liberation and Imperialism

Categories, Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

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“The bourgeoisie, which naturally assumes the leadership at the start of every national movement, says that support for all national aspirations is practical. However, the proletariat’s policy in the national question (as in all others) supports the bourgeoisie only in a certain direction, but it never coincides with the bourgeoisie’s policy. The working class supports the bourgeoisie only in order to secure national peace (which the bourgeoisie cannot bring about completely and which can be achieved only with complete democracy), in order to secure equal rights and to create the best conditions for the class struggle. Therefore, it is in opposition to the practicality of the bourgeoisie that the proletarians advance their principles in the national question; they always give the bourgeoisie only conditional support.”

–Vladimir Lenin, “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination” (1914)

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MN Roy, 1929

“Evidently imperialism has not failed to notice the radicalisation of the Nationalist Movement, and to focus its attention on the force causing this radicalisation. Imperialism recognises its most dangerous and determined enemy in the working class. Its tactics in the present situation, as hinted by the Viceroy, are to point out to the Nationalist bourgeoisie the dangerousness of the situation, and ask their co-operation in meeting the common danger.”

-MN Roy, “The Indian Bourgeoisie and the National Revolution” (1929)

MaoReit

“I call upon the workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals, enlightened elements of the bourgeoisie, and other enlightened personages of all colours in the world, white, black, yellow, brown, etc., to unite to oppose the racial discrimination enacted  by U.S. imperialism and to support the American Negroes in their struggle against racial discrimination. In the final analysis, a national struggle is a question of class struggle…at present, it is the handful of imperialists, headed by the United States, and their supporters, the reactionaries in different countries, who are carrying out oppression, aggression and intimidation against the overwhelming majority of the nations and peoples of the world. They are the minority, and we are the majority. “

–Mao Tse-Tung, “Oppose Racial Discrimination by U.S Imperialism” (1963)

Kwame-Nkrumah

“The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside…Neo-colonialism is also the worst form of imperialism. For those who practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress…Neo-colonialism, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. The temporary success of this policy can be seen in the ever widening gap between the richer and the poorer nations of the world.”

–Kwame Nkrumah, “Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism” (1965)

I want to sincerely apologize for the lack of gender diversity, I did this post a bit rushed and I went straight off the top of my head and I am a guy–so that patriarchy came out swinging. Once again, I will be sure not to make another post that is so hyper-masculine, again. 

A Brief History of US Imperialism

Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

By

[Reposted from http://screechingkettle.blogspot.com/2011/10/putting-todays-wars-in-perspective.html.

The original article is from 2011, from systemiccapital.com via Jeffery Dean]

“We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth.” — Sydney Schanberg
imperialism: the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly: the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence
For some, the Iraq invasion in 2003 seems unprecedented, as if nothing of the sort had ever happened before; and then, nearly a decade later, it happened again with Libya in 2011. In both cases, Americans were told there was an imminent threat, and military action must be taken to stop it; in both cases, the ‘threat’ was nothing more than fabrication (Iraq) andexaggeration (Libya).These events are often analyzed separately, associated with the individual administrations in charge at the time. One might see the Iraq War as belonging to the “Bush administration”, and the Libya War as belonging to the “Obama administration”. Yet if one examines all of the US interventions as a whole, it becomes clear that the problem is not one of certain administrations or individuals, but a manipulative system which has dominated American foreign policy for decades.
4,000 US troops occupy Corpus Christi, Texas; 18461846, Mexico: US President Polk leads a national sentiment of “manifest destiny“, designed to expand federal rule from the east to west coast, including territory already occupied by natives.He offers to buy land from Mexico, but Mexico refuses. Texas, owned by Mexico, seeks US residents to “settle” there and “help grow the population”. However, these “settlers” eventually grow dissatisfied with Mexican rule and form a rebellion, thus beginning the Mexican-American War.As a result, the US  gains control of Colorado, Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico.
1853, Japan: Commodore Matthew Perry of the US Navy sails into Tokyo Harbor aboard the frigate “Susquehanna”, forcing Japan to sign a treaty permitting trade, and the opening of Japanese ports to US merchant ships.
1893, Hawaii: Hawaii has a large population of American sugar cane planters, whalers, and missionaries. In 1887, a US base at Pearl Harbor is constructed. When King David Kalakaua dies in 1891, his sister Lydia Paki Kamekeha Liliuokalani takes the throne and tries to restore Hawaii’s monarchy to absolute power. However, Hawaii Supreme Court justice Sanford Dole stages a bloodless coup backed by the US military on January 19, 1893 and dethrones the Queen, forcing her to plead with US President Grover Cleveland for reinstatement. By 1895, she abdicates the throne. President William McKinley’s administration then moves for Hawaii’s annexation, giving the US control over coaling stations in the Pacific. 
1898, Cuba: The US blames Spain for destroying the USS Maine, despite evidence that the explosion which caused the sinking came from an internal – not external – source. As a result of the war, Cuba assumes independence, Puerto Rico becomes an American possession, and from Spain, the US acquires Guam and the Philippines. 
1899, Philippines: Through the Treaty of Paris (1898), Spain gives control of the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. The Filipino-American War begins shortly after.
Known in US history books as the “Philippine Insurrection”, it was America’s first true overseas war, lasting from 1898 to 1902.
In those 3 years, as many as 70,000 Americans die, along with close to 2 million Filipinos. 
1899, Somoa: Rivalries between French, British, German, and American forces – all of which valued Pago Pago Harbor as a refueling station for coal-fired shipping and whaling – leads to the partitioning of Somoa. The last chief of Somoa before US rule, the Tui Manu’a Elisala, is forced to sign a deed of cession following a series of US naval trials. 
1903, Panama: Seeking a canal through Panama – a province of Colombia – the US  attempts negotiations and payments, all of which fail. President Roosevelt is outraged, stating that “we may have to give a lesson to these jack rabbits”. Stockholders of the New Panama Canal Company arrange a “revolution” in Panama and fund the rebels, assisted by the US Navy. Shortly after, Panama declares its independence from Colombia. 
1906, Cuba: The United States assumes temporary military control of Cuba under the Platt Amendment, following the reelection of an American puppet government which caused a nationalist uprising. Two years later, the US builds a naval base at Guantanamo Bay and claims rights to it in perpetuity. 
1910, Nicaragua: The US seeks to establish a canal through Nicaragua, but instead chooses Panama. When Nicaraguan President José Santos Zelaya solicits funds to build a second inter-oceanic canal for Germany and Japan, Washington turns against him. After Zelaya’s government executes two Americans for aiding anti-government rebels, Washington breaks diplomatic relations, threatens naval intervention, and forces Zelaya into exile. 
1914, Mexico: Mexican officials detain several drunken US Marines from the USS Dolphin, which is docked in the port of Tampico, Mexico, after they accidentally enter a restricted area. The Mexican government quickly releases them and issues an apology.
Regardless of the regret expressed by Mexican President Victor Huerta, US Admiral Henry T. Mayo demands that Mexican troops salute an American flag as a sign of contrition. President Huerta refuses the salute; three days later, President Wilson orders American warships to Tampico Bay.
Wilson insists that his anger is not directed at the Mexican people, but at Huerta, “and those who adhere to him” because he refused to salute the American flag as an official apology.
By the end of 1914, US Marines had seized Tampico, forced an apology from Huerta, and demanded his resignation from power.
Tampico, Mexico was considered the world’s largest oil port in 1901. Some of the richest oil fields were discovered within a 100-mile radius of the port between 1914-1918.
1914, Europe: The United States claims to be neutral as Germany, France, and Britain engage in conflict; however, US banks and weapons manufacturers continue selling to France and Britain, leading to the German sinking of the ship, Lusitania, and eventual US entry to World War 1.
1917, Russia: Woodrow Wilson funds the “White” side of the Russian civil war. In the summer of 1918, he authorizes a naval blockade of the Soviet Union to help stop the Russian Revolution. American forces penetrate westward from Vladivostok to Lake Baikal, supporting Czech and White Russian forces.
The White Russian forces disintegrate by 1920, and this intervention helps fuel anti-western sentiments throughout Russia during the Cold War years. 
1924, Honduras: Civil war breaks out after liberal president Rafael Lopez Gutierrez establishes a dictatorship. The US lands Marines in the country to “protect its interests”. Gutierrez is killed in March, and the revolution ends in May.
1925, Mexico: The US and Mexico narrowly avoid war after Mexico threatens US oil contracts.
Concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, “air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.” 
1950, Korea: Without the approval of Congress, President Harry Truman sends troops to fight in Korea, asserting an inherent right to do so as Commander-in-Chief.
The Korean War ends three years later, leaving behind 33,600 American casualties, 16,000 UN-allied, 415,000 South Korean, 520,000 North Korean, and an estimated 900,000 Chinese.
1953, Iran: British intelligence agencies join with the CIA to overthrow the Iranian government out of fears it will nationalize oil production.
1954, Guatemala: Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, the democratically-elected President of Guatemala, issues land reforms which threaten the interests of US-based United Fruit Company. CIA Director Allen Dules, along with his brother, both have stakes in the company. It heavily lobbies the US government to take action. Shortly after, the CIA begins training rebels, and sets up a radio station across the border led by fake rebels to instigate a revolution. Eventually, the Guatemalan President is sent into exile. 
1961, Cuba: US mercenaries depart Nicaragua and invade Playa Girón, Cuba. They suffer a historical defeat known as the “Bay of Pigs.”
 
1961, Iraq: Abdel Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq, threatens western oil interests, causing the US and Britain to begin arming Kurdish rebels in the country. In 1963, Kassem is forced out of power, put on trial, and eventually shot to death. By 1968, Saddam Hussein takes power in the country, backed by the CIA.
1964, Vietnam: The USS Maddox is gathering intelligence off the coast of North Vietnam when a group of North Vietnamese torpedo boats approach the ship. The Maddox opens fire, the North Vietnamese respond with torpedoes, but they are eventually driven away. The exchange prompts the US government and news media to report that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an “unprovoked attack” against the Maddox while it was on a “routine patrol”.
Two days later, Captain John J. Herrick of the USS Maddox sees two “mysterious dots” on his radar screen, determines they are torpedo boats, and sends an emergency cable to headquarters in Honolulu reporting that the ship is under attack.
Shortly after, Herrick sends another cable: “Freak weather effects on radar and over eager sonar men … No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken.”
Less than an hour later, Herrick sends a third cable, saying he is now uncertain of what had happened; however, by this time, President Johnson is already announcing a major military escalation in Vietnam.
By the end of the Vietnam War, millions of Vietnamese civilians perish, along with more than 50,000 US soldiers.
1970, Cambodia: President Richard Nixon announces that US troops are invading Cambodia, the country west of Vietnam through which the North Vietnamese are allegedly supplying their troops. For more than a year prior to the announcement, the US had been conducting bombing raids in the country. 
1982, Iraq: US backs Iraq against Iran, supplying Saddam Hussein with intelligence, diplomatic aid, and chemical weapons (which would later be used to massacre innocent people).
1985, Nicaragua: . Congress authorizes $38 million over two years in “non-military” aid to Nicaragua’s Contras. 
1986, Libya: Islamic militants bomb a Berlin discotheque, killing two American soldiers. The White House uses this opportunity to retaliate, and President Reagan authorizes the bombing of Libya without the authorization of Congress. At least 100 civilians are killed.
One year prior, the National Security Council had discussed a plan to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi using exiles in a coup, although the idea was eventually abandoned. 
Muammar-Gaddafi-Libyan-le-007[1]
1990, Iraq: In August, US fighter jets, aircraft carriers, battleships, and half a million American troops are deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend against a possible attack from Iraq. Between its own oil fields, and those of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, western governments allegedly fear Iraq could gain control over the majority of the world’s oil reserves. Dick Cheney secures the US-Saudi occupation agreement, ensuring there will be no set withdrawal date from Saudi Arabia, thereby allowing US forces to remain.
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein eventually annexes Kuwait, triggering the first Iraq War.
Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman Empire province of Basra, and included much of modern-day Iraq. Up until that point, Iraq had not recognized Kuwait’s sovereignty, and the border between Iraq and Kuwait had never been clearly defined.
The US. ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, claims that when she gave Iraq indications that the US would not oppose an invasion of Kuwait, she did not expect Iraq to take “all of Kuwait“.
1999, Yugoslavia: US-NATO bombs drop over the country allegedly to prevent a “massacre”, though this claim is challenged. More than 2,000 civilians are killed.
There are indications that basic infrastructure is deliberately targeted during this campaign. For example, a statement by Lt. Gen. Michael Short, US Air Force, quoted in the Washington Post, May 1999, reads: “If you wake up in the morning and you have no power to your house and no gas to your stove and the bridge you take to work is down and will be lying in the Danube for the next 20 years, I think you begin to ask, ‘Hey, Slobo, what’s this all about? How much more of this do we have to withstand?’ And at some point, you make the transition from applauding Serb machismo against the world to thinking what your country is going to look like if this continues.”
2001, Afghanistan: Over the summer, negotiations between western oil companies and the Afghan Taliban to build a pipeline across the country fall through. Niaz Naikm (former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan) reveals that senior American officials told him during this time that military action to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan is planned to occur “before the snows [starts] falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest”. After 9/11, this objective is realized.
2003, Iraq: Following western propaganda about Iraq’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction” program, President George W. Bush launches an invasion of the country. This comes after years of western-backed “no-fly zones” and crippling economic sanctions.
By 2011, most US forces leave the country; however, a noteworthy presence remains, including a $700 million dollar embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, the largest US embassy in the world, and a 46-aircraft air service for over 15,000 diplomats working for the State Department. 
2009, Yemen: US aidmissiles – and eventually, aerial Predator drones – are deployed to the country to fight “al-Qaeda” affiliates. From a strategic perspective, Yemen is important because it allows access to a vital world-wide oil shipping chokepoint.
2010, Pakistan: US Predator drones begin attacking targets along the Afghan-Pakistan border, killing dozens of civilians in the process.
2010, South Korea: On the evening of March 26, 2010, the Cheonan, a South Korean ship, is conducting a routine naval patrol when an explosion unexpectedly tears into it, splitting the vessel in half and killing 46 sailors. Shortly after, western powers blame North Korea for the attack, though North Korea denies responsibility. The attack gives the United States an opportunity to prolong its control over South Korean forces until 2015, and also extend its stay at nearby Japanese military bases.
2011, Libya: The US claims Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is ‘massacring’ demonstrators protesting his regime; however, these accusations are drastically overblown. Regardless, a US-backed, NATO-imposed “no-fly zone” is enabled, responsible for murdering hundreds of Libyan civilians.
Many of the NATO attacks target Gaddafi, with one such strike taking the lives of his three grandchildren – two toddlers, one infant. Gaddafi himself is eventually captured and killed.
Two years prior, Gaddafi planned to nationalize Libya’s oil reserves, the largest in Africa. August 2012: Obama authorizes the CIA to fund al-Qaeda-linked Syrian “rebels” in an effort to overthrow the Syrian government.

—It is perhaps too easy to look at US foreign policy by the standards of the post-9/11 world, forgetting all that happened before. Without an accurate understanding of the past, we’ll always be doomed to repeat it in the future.… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … 

See also:

Six propagandistic terms used by the media that every American needs to know about – Our wars? “Humanitarian”. Our enemies? “Militants” and “Terrorists”. Our news? Sourced by anonymous “Officials”. The American media is Orwell’s worst nightmare

A brief history of George W. Obama  –  Has the same US President been in office for the last 11+ years? The following timeline covers key events between 2001-2012

Eight bullshit misconceptions about the renewed US invasion of Iraq – The odds are high that you believe at least one of the lies mentioned here peddled as truth by US news networks

Blaming the rise of ISIS on religion neglects the major role of US imperialism – When an American is beheaded, we blame it all on freedom-envious religious zealots instead of our blowback-inducing foreign policy

US foreign policy is laying the groundwork for WWIII, and only Americans can stop the process – The odds are stacked against Americans seeking to free their country from asylum escapees, but the fight is worth it

The problem wasn’t Bush and the Republicans, and it isn’t Obama and the Democrats – Far too much attention is spent attacking figureheads who will one day be out of office instead of the actual system and the system’s ideology

The “crisis” in Ukraine coincidentally serves the interests of US corporations – Conveniently, the US-backed “crisis” in Ukraine has also served as an excuse to push European NATO members into boosting their defense budgets

The United States of Predator Drones – From Afghanistan to Yemen, from Yemen to Mexico, from Mexico to your back yard, drone use has drastically expanded and shows no signs of slowing downAmerica’s Global Neocon War – Bush-era neocons are still very much directing foreign policy in the United States, ultimately aiming for conflict with Russia and ChinaWhy the War on Terror guarantees more terrorism and perpetual warfare – This self-perpetuating War on Terror — War OF Terror — may outlive all those reading these words today

Democrats merge with GOP, form War Party – Bush helped Republicans justify needless war, Obama has helped Democrats; now, there is no mainstream anti-war party

The Bush administration laid the foundation for the Obama administration’s crimes – Republicans and Democrats are working in harmony to create a truly horrifying and pervasive monster – one that grows bigger and more brutal with each passing election

The Sinking of the Cheonan – South Korea blames the North for sinking a warship in 2010, giving the US a reason to extend its military presence in the region

A boy named Adam – Largely thanks to a complicit corporate-state news media, the story of a US teenager executed without trial by the government has largely gone under the radar

Rethinking the “non-aggression principle” – Do non-human animals lose the “right” to experience life merely on the basis of their species?

A counterrevolutionary story for a revolutionary life: Leila Khaled

Opinion, Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

 

A ‘capitulation of power’, ‘weak’, ‘towards…revolution’ and ‘end the occupation’ “NOW!” Wholly encompasses the self-proclaimed “dialectic materialist”, and her worldview (more on that later), Leila Khaled.

Employing both brevity and breadth, Khaled, has become the icon for Palestinian liberation–and an unabashed Marxist. Claiming that “Palestine for me is Paradise. Religions talk about paradise. For me, Palestine is paradise. It deserves our sacrifices” displaying upfront, her words and actions as a visceral embodiment of the same “dialectics” she espouses. Moreover, going back to her words in the beginning, she describes the entirety of negotiations between Israel and Palestine as “weak” and that Palestine is negotiating from a position of powerlessness instead–calling for revolution to end the occupation, as a showing of “dialectics”, because of her contradictory positions, in that, most would see negotiations as progress but not Khaled. Generally her positions, and her being, are seen as revolutionary but dangerous, groundbreaking but problematic, as a symbol of liberation but also as a “terrorist” but all too characteristic of herself–Khaled is solely committed to Palestinian emancipation, a true sign of a revolutionary.

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Born in Haifa, a large northern Israeli city, forcibly joining 6 million other Palestinians in a diaspora of biblical proportions, 4 years after her birth. Settling in Lebanon, ending up in Amman, Jordan today, her family joins the Arab National Movement, where in 1967 the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is born. Khaled’s indignation, pre-1967, could not be contained, persuading a Marxist-Leninist group to train her in revolutionary warfare which will–end up as her ‘theory’ and ‘praxis’ for liberation.

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Still she was among thousands of refugees who held contempt for the settler-colonial regime, Israel. However in 1969, her name goes down in heroic infamy.

First, in 1969, she along with a comrade of hers hijacked a plane flying to Tel Aviv, forcing it to fly into Damascus, as tactic to free 2 prisoners held by Israel–TWA flight 840 was stolen for the two Israelis on-board as an exchange for the jailed Palestinians. Then again, in 1970, before the brutal crackdown on Palestinian fighters, known as “Black September”, Khaled hijacked another plane but this time it was flying out of EI AI (a well-guarded Israeli airport). Regarded, mildly, as a “success” it led to the freeing of many Palestinian prisoners in Europe but like before, Khaled, was captured by the authorities and her partner, Patrick Arguello, was killed by Israeli guards.

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These two events, marred in infamy, lead to the proliferation of the name: Leila Khaled, as the poster-child for resistance.

After 1970, her name no longer appeared daily on news reels, newspaper headlines but her legend had cemented, still apart of the PFLP she has become the voice for revolutionary warfare, socialist revolution and anti-imperialism, in the Middle East. A solid revolutionary by any standards.

Midst the perpetual demonization, Khaled, has posited various ‘controversial’ standpoints, including: her relegation of women’s oppression to the bottom of the symbolic ladder of oppression, as well as, not being an over-zealous advocate for Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) and, most well-known, for her adamant stance on armed struggle as necessary for liberation.

Mao

“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

Mao Zedong (Nov. 1938, “Problems of War and Strategy”)

Revolutionaries see her either: as a mere nationalist provocateur of violence or a true Marxist (Maoist) revolutionary. The latter being most accurate, her life-long commitment to Palestinian liberation, even superseding its importance over other oppression(s) (i.e. the woman question, etc), risking her life on multiple occasions and her contempt with the process of negotiating for “peace” (an example of “combating liberalism”), are simple criterion for a great revolutionary.

Leila Khaled, consistently defamed, labeled a “terrorist”, as “violent” and oft overshadowed, is the among greatest embodiment of the Palestinian struggle. A sound “dialectic materialist”, opposed to Pan-Arabism, always advocating for a one-state solution–the creation (read: return) of a democratic Palestine for all Arabs–regardless of religious affiliation or familial lineage.

Her life, her image and, in essence, her being is one of bravery, tenacity and revolution, therefore solidarity with Leila Khaled is absolutely unquestionable.

Although, in 2014, Palestinians are still not free; the inspiration that Khaled’s words, action and history provide gives me incredible optimism that our fighters will be free–one day, soon.

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Further reading/Sources:

Interview with Leila Khaled, ‘BDS’ is effective but it doesn’t liberate land 

Leila Khaled: Hijacker (English subtitles)

Bio shows why Leila Khaled remains an icon of resistance

“Injustice every day”: An interview with Leila Khaled

‘For me, Palestine is paradise’: An interview with Leila Khaled

**Leon Trotsky: Why Marxists Oppose Individual Terrorism 

THEIRstory: histories of revolutionaries

Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

History, studied near and far–from academics to “proletarian buffs”, yet it is still widely under used and misunderstood. However, that is not the purpose of this post. As a revolutionary understanding history well is just as, if not, more important than both theory and praxis because it is the umbrella guiding the development of both. In order to develop our theory and praxis to its highest stage–a firm grasp of history is a prerequisite.

History is about development, contradiction and, controversially for me, about people. For the next week I will be writing about certain revolutionary people throughout history. If we are truly committing ourselves to global revolution then it is important to understand the people who have paved the way for us to think, work and organize within the framework today. This is controversial because many people see the focus on people as diluting movement history in favor of “Great Man” worship. I however believe that people are genius and questionable, brave and cowardly, leaders and followers, people are the greatest example of dialectics and so incredibly important to the understanding of accurate historical accounts.

So for people/groups/organizations to make this list I have some criteria that must be followed, diligently.

Criteria

  1. Beginning with an overall understanding that history and these people/groups are NOT absolute–nothing is and pending what research I do, or what others may do as well, we can and will come to different conclusions because of our intents, biases and etc.
  2. To qualify for the list they must be committed to life-long, systemic, change
  3. As well as, actively fighting for said changes; through writing, organizing, etc.
  4. NOT REQUIRED; preference will be given to revolutionaries belonging to oppressed nations (relative to their own standards, of course) and still fighting an oppressive system
  5. List will emphasize people/groups that are Non-Western (U.S.A or Western Europe), as well as, uplifting the voices and movements of people of color, women, LGBTQIA and non-binary/gender nonconforming revolutionaries; not required but highly recommended

Will include people such as:

  • Ella Baker
  • Antonio Gramsci
  • Kwame Ture
  • Amilcar Cabral
  • Thomas Sankara
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Lakshmi Sehgal
  • Blanca Canales
  • Ana Maria
  • Michael Collins
  • Leila Khaled
  • Among (hopefully) many more!

And with groups/organizations such as:

  • the Naxalites
  • Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
  • Khmer Rouge
  • New People’s Army
  • Kurdistan Workers’ Party
  • Weather Underground
  • Young Lords
  • Zapatistas National Liberation Army

Stay posted y’all, the first post will be up by tomorrow! Please keep sharing and have a great night!

On Police Murder, Violence and Revolution

Categories, Revolutionary Perspectives

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Two officers, murdered in cold blood, the assailant takes his own life and shot his ex-partner–as well. According to these sources, Ismaaiyl Brinsely, was seeking revenge for the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. His Instagram was loaded with violent, anti-cop rhetoric. It is a tragedy to see these two cops killed but more light needs to be shed on the murder of this man’s girlfriend, she was innocent–the police are not.

Let me clarify, these two police officers, may have been innocent–individually–but as a force, system and organization, they are far from it. Police historically have been utilized as slave catchers, strike breakers and “status quo” defenders. Since slavery was a system that built the United States, today, those who enforce its continuation are inherently protecting a system created for profit and racism. Passing down this lineage to today, the police protect contemporaneous white supremacy and ruling-class power. As revolutionaries, we have two lines we can follow, one that sees cops as an enemy to oppressed nations and the working class or as belonging to those classes in turn must be organized. It is the latter, donning a badge and the blue uniform, civilians go from people with working class tendencies–to becoming servants for oppression and protecting the Empire–from within.

A revolutionary stance on the pig-power structure has to call for complete abolition, not for reforms or accountability.

Before continuing, going back to the police that were murdered in New York, how should these murders be viewed? As tragic midst the pinnacle of a burgeoning movement, it is horrible these men lost their lives and we should grieve for them and their family but their lives are not more important than the hundreds of Black/Latin@ people murdered by the police every year. That is not negotiable. This individual violence is abhorrent and needs to be checked, but do not associate this with any movements against police violence.

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Violence is erroneous–when done individually and unstrategically–but it is even more erroneous to believe that revolution is going to occur without a struggle, a people’s war. Nonviolence is a tactic, much like rallies, protests, speak-outs, etc, but they cannot be expected to bring an end to our current system. This requires seizing all means of production (a post for another day), that will effectively bring an end to the rule of the white-supremacist, sexist, homo/Trans*phobic capitalist class.

A revolution, accompanied by revolutionary warfare, is struggling against a system not individuals. There are people who are complicit, intertwined and protecting said system, but individually seeking them out is harmful to revolutionary movements. It prepares, the military, the police and all those invested in maintaining the posterity of the United States for war–that we are not ready for, yet. It takes time, building, education and training before we can holistically fight the system.

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We lost two cops, it is not anymore sad than any one else who lost their lives to violence, they serve a system and died, we fight a system and die as well. It is the parallelism embedded in all movement for liberation. A call for violent revolution must be critically analyzed but understood that there is no mourning the loss of one of our soldiers by a system that cares so little for us, therefore–deserves no respect.

It is our duty to not let this movement die, we must radicalize more people, encourage militancy and begin preparation for the revolution because that is our only hope for a new system–for the people, it will take just as much love, compassion and empathy as it will building for the organized, militant revolutionary overhaul of this system.

Review: “2014 Forest Hills Drive” J. Cole

Opinion

J. Cole, a rapper and songwriter, from Fayetteville, North Carolina.  On December 9th he released his 3rd LP, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, much to the surprise of many when he announced it. Although, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, is only his 3rd major release–he is a veteran–of the rap game. With an array of mix-tapes, and a semi-unprolific underground career, he broke out in 2010 with the release of his highly anticipated mix-tape–Friday Night Lights. Well-known among the mix-tape circuit, with features on many notable tracks including: “A Star is Born”, “Beautiful Bliss”, and “All I want is you”, by Jay-Z, Wale and Miguel–respectively. In 2011, after much anticipation and hard work, Cole World: Sideline Story is released to mixed reviews, sparking the burgeoning career of the–blunt, transplanted Southern MC with an insatiable appetite. After 2 more LPs’ and many other mix-tapes we arrive at this current album–2014 Forest Hills Drive. 

 

J Cole

J. Cole in 13-tracks shows the emotional rawness, and maturity, after almost 6 ‘significant’ years in the game. He begins the album with the “Intro”, a song he released a video before the album came out, which typical of a J. Cole album, lays out the theme of the entire album to come; in this case being love, happiness and freedom. Delving straight into “January 28th” a lyrically verbose track, flexing his muscles and inevitably claiming his throne at the top of the rap game.

2013 -- J. Cole

Next we have “Wet Dreamz”, the pinnacle of Cole’s refined storytelling, poignancy and conceptual framework within this album, following Cole’s earlier years–his ‘virgin years’–and his sojourn to link up with this cutie in his class. He eloquently shows his bravado and false sense of confidence positing “I wrote back and said “[O]f course I had sex before // Knowing I was frontin’ I said // I was like a pro baby // Knowing I was stuntin”–resonating heavily. Without spoiling the end, this story does not cease to disappoint.

J. Cole -- 2014

Moreover, following his prototype since days of the Come Up, he opens his album with an evocative, pathos laced, introduction setting the stage for his fieriest lyrics, “January 28th”, “Wet Dreamz”, “03′ Adolescence” and “Fire Squad”, in essence, leaving the middle filled with ’empty’ content and ending with the revival of his introductory themes. This was most evident in his past LP, Born Sinner. However his instrumentals were definitely a step in the right direction, albeit many tracks were tinged with borderline “over-experimentation”–leaving them undesired. Most prevalent on “G.O.M.D”, on the contrary, beats that were spectacular included: “Fire Squad” and “No Role Modelz”, especially for their move away from the over-saturation of ‘boom-bap’ beats and the diversity of sonic appeals. In sum, I wish that J. Cole used more than his, notoriously well-done, piano led beats, I know he shines well on less-aggressive sounds, laced with strings, keys and horns, but it would have been nice to hear him on more sounds like, “Mr. Nice Watch”, or “Chaining Day”, or (a real throwback) “Split You Up.”

J-Cole

His best LP to this day, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, does not disappoint, in comparison. However, as a stand-alone album, I have a few suggestions. First, this CD was clearly his most politically charged in light of–the tragedy continuing in Ferguson, MO–and his public outcry, but why was he so subversive in his lyrically content in regards to that issue? Clearly the themes he outlines from the beginning, love, happiness and freedom, have a alternate meaning but his album was very covert about these references (I am not advocating for ‘more’ or ‘less’ political references, just urging Cole to be more explicit). Second, the abundance of singing was too much for me. He is not a bad singer, but he isn’t that good either, this was his best effort rapping, in terms of lyrics, flow and sincerity, why not continue it? Lastly, as many have stated this was his most personal and powerful album to-date but the layout and flow of the entire album was exactly the same as all his other LPs’, come on Cole I know you can do better than that.

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Overall though the ‘pros’ far out weighing the ‘cons’, making for a highly replayable album, far from a classic but clearly showing the artistic and emotional growth of Jermaine Cole.


 

Overall Rating: 8/10

Beats: 7.5/10

Lyrics: 8.5/10

Originality: 7/10

Replay Value: 8/10

What else I have been listening to: Welcome to Fazoland by G Herbo aka Lil’ Herb; 6 God by Drake; and anticipating the Bobby Schmurda release.