We are excited to announce the formation of a new Marxist-Leninist-Maoist collective on the 50th anniversary of the founding of what would become and be recognized both at home and abroad, for a time, as the vanguard in the United States, the recognized advanced formation in the United States, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. We, working class and revolutionary working class students in the city of Saint Louis and the Metro East, form this collective on this important anniversary to pay homage to their revolutionary tradition, learn from their examples, develop beyond their shortcomings, and continue the path of struggle laid out by these comrades. and declare our intent to continue in their best revolutionary tradition. Reformists, revisionists, phony communists, cultural nationalists and liberals, all roundly and sharply criticized by the BPP when they manifested themselves back then, love to play with the Panther legacy, invoking them as some sort of distant dead gods, fetishizing the fact that they carried weapons, dragging out former BPP members turned into reformists and reactionaries,and paying petty homage while wrenching out and discarding all revolutionary Communist theory and practices used, laid out and developed by BPP cadre such as George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, and countless others. This is historical and political revisionism, whitewashing, and dangerous reformism of the highest degree, and we declare our Maoist collective on this day to show true homage to and express our firm dedication to upholding the actual legacy, that of class struggle, that of the struggle for Communism, that of Serve the People, that of Seize the Time, that of Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, of this group that was inspired by and took guidance from, in major part, the revolutionary struggle of Mao Zedong and the Chinese people. We revolutionary Communists, we Maoists, we nationally oppressed and working class revolutionaries are the true inheritors of the legacy and struggle of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, not reformists, reactionary cultural nationalist formations, and revisionists. We share Huey’s Newton’s dream, we long for revolution, we prepare for revolution, we build up our collective, we build up our mass organizations, we serve and love the people, because we are of the people, not separate. We know that the red flag will one day fly over the Mississippi River, and the Red Sun will rise over the Midwest. This is a fact that is independent of our will or the will of the oppressor. From our small beginnings, we will revolutionize, educate, mobilize, unite, and build for revolution in this city. The foundation of this Maoist collective now means that we have two MLM collectives in the State of Missouri alone.
Saint Louis has seen sharpening contradictions and bitter struggle since August 2014, when Mike Brown was murdered by Pig Darren Wilson in Ferguson Missouri. Many people, including members of this collective, were politicized and spurred to begin organizing for revolution in the heat of this struggle. This is a de-industrialized city, a victim of neoliberalism, where people of color have a near majority, this is a city that is segregated, with poor/working class black people residing north of Delmar Avenue. It is possible to stand on Delmar and see opulent mansions on one side and housing unfit for the lowest of animals on the other, into which the masses of poor black people are crammed and charged ridiculous rent. Washington Avenue is a gentrified playground for the city’s rich parasites, one from which the houseless masses are shooed and driven away. Our people beg on the corners while the city’s parasites eat $50 and $60 meals just 10 feet away. All throughout the metropolitan area, constantly, working class people, black people, brown people, are constantly driven away, exploited at work and at home, beaten, arrested, shot and killed, and generally driven further and further to the breaking point by this abominable and decadent system. This is a metropolitan area where residents of the Metro East inhale toxic chemicals from the myriad of chemical plants and factories in their area. Many see a hopeless hellhole, we Communists see revolution, we see fellow Communists and revolutionary partisans in the making. Yet, many liberals still do not understand, or willingly confuse and hide, the reasons why Ferguson exploded in 2014! They do not go among the masses, they despise and loathe the masses. They see the rage, but seek to channel it into something else. If they call themselves Marxists, their Marxism is a dead thing, a thing to be studied and discussed in private, something to be kept on the shelf and not propagated and popularized among the masses. These are sham Marxists. Saint Louis has, until today, had no speakable Communist movement. There are several reformist groups, activist cliques, NGOs, and other groups that parachuted into the city to pick the corpse of Mike Brown, of course, but they are fleeting, confused, tossed here and there and constantly looking for dues, people to register to vote, rage to channel back into the oppressive system, elections to run in, candidates to hawk, and people to follow them on Twitter. The masses are not the makers of history to them, they’re warm bodies for demonstrations, signatures on pieces of paper, or things to mobilize for their own ends. Let them do what they please, they will bash their heads against brick walls for a few more years, the masses will tire of and reject them, and they will peter out, chase the next riot, or split. We, on the other hand, seek to form a rival dual power, people’s power, in our city, to do our part and our duty to overthrow the system of capitalism and imperialism that drives so many of our brothers and sisters to death, prison, or drugs. We refuse to sit idly by and hawk reforms and voting while we die! To build this dual power, we will continue to build and participate in mass struggle, and will develop mass organizations that unite as many of the masses as possible for higher forms of struggle, raise political consciousness, and provide revolutionary alternatives to the existing bourgeois apparatus. We will not beg, we will not grovel, we will not register people to vote, we will not engage in, organize, or promote toothless, worthless acts that are objectively counterrevolutionary and promote the continued legitimacy of the bourgeois order of things. We seek to build the tools with which the revolutionary tasks of the proletariat will be accomplished. Without power, all is illusion.
The Saint Louis Revolutionary Collective is Founded on the Following Basis:
I.) We are Marxist-Leninist-Maoists.
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the highest, to date, development of Marxism, and thus is the guiding force that informs all of the practice and theory of the Saint Louis Revolutionary Collective. We don’t embrace theories that have not been picked up successfully by the masses of people and their parties to successfully make revolution and win liberation. We hold that revolution, the overthrow of the exploiting class by force and the institution of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the socialist order, requires the formation of a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Communist Party and none other. This party, comprised of the most advanced elements of the working class, will lead this class in the protracted task of overthrowing the capitalist-imperialist system in the United States. We are Maoists because Maoism is the synthesis of 150 years of revolutionary theory and practice/activity, with the key points being the experiences and periods known as the Paris Commune (1871), the Russian Revolution that gave the world proletariat the Soviet Union and the subsequent socialist period (1917-1956), the Chinese Revolution (1927-1949), and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is a revolutionary ideology for the 21st Century that can be divided into three basic realms/spheres: Political Economy, Philosophy, and Scientific Socialism.
Our country at present practises a commodity system, the wage system is unequal, too, as in the eight-grade wage scale, and so forth. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat such things can only be restricted. Therefore, if people like Lin Piao come to power, it will be quite easy for them to rig up the capitalist system. That is why we should do more reading of Marxist-Leninist works. Lenin said that “small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale.” They are also engendered among a part of the working class and of the Party membership. Both within the ranks of the proletariat and among the personnel of state and other organs there are people who take to the bourgeois style of life.
- Political Economy: Proletarian politics and correct revolutionary line must always remain in command. Maoism teaches us that during the struggle for and after the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, politics must be in command in all spheres, and proletarian line must be consistently upheld and developed, otherwise, revisionism will take hold and the socialist state will transform into its opposite, the capitalist order of things will be restored and we will repeat the path taken by China and the Soviet Union. Seizure of the Communist Party, the “commanding heights”, by bourgeois individuals with bourgeois lines masquerading as proletarian ones will lay the foundations for the rigging up of the capitalist system and the replacement of the socialist system with the capitalist system. This is why revisionist groups are so dangerous, and Maoists attack revisionism without mercy, because their lines pose a direct threat to the struggle towards communism. The socialist transitional period, with the continued existence of the wage system, the law of value (although not to the extent as in capitalist society), and other things of this nature is rife with contradictions and class struggle, and neglect of class struggle/allowance of the rise of revisionist lines such as the metaphysical, undialectical, one-sided economic determinist “theory of productive forces” we know will lay the foundations for new Deng Xiaopings and Nikita Khrushchevs to subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat. Under socialism, the necessity is to exercise full and all around dictatorship over the bourgeoisie. The revolutionary today realizes the necessity of the continuance of the class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Maoists realize that development of the socialist economy in a firm way comes through the unleashing of the creative abilities and capabilities of the masses, not through bureaucratic commandism from above.
- Maoist Scientific Socialism: The theory of class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat and recognition of its central role in the construction of socialism, the Cultural Revolution, proletarian military strategy and tactics (protracted people’s war led by the Maoist Communist Party), proletarian feminism, the national question, and the mass line method of leadership are the main hallmarks of Maoist scientific socialism.
- Philosophy: Maoist philosophy is marked by the recognition and stress on the law of contradiction, which holds that the principal law in nature and society is the unity and struggle of opposites, with unity being temporary and fleeting and struggle being absolute and eternal. This means that there are radical, revolutionary, and necessary leaps, breaks, and ruptures in struggles and lead to higher developments in the course of these struggles. Essentially, “one divides into two”. Revisionists and reactionaries uphold the line of “two combines into one”, which leads to horrible errors and counterrevolutionary conclusions. Our philosophy isn’t the province of stuffy academic philosophers wearing tweed in rooms full of books, our philosophy is a razor sharp weapon that is directly aimed at the exploiter.
The ultimate test of whether or not a line or theory is correct is social practice. All correct ideas and knowledge come from practice, there can be no theory that is successful without being rooted in actual social practice and struggle. This is why we reject such things as Left Communism, “democratic socialism”, Trotskyism, and other petit-bourgeois trinket theories that have developed in classrooms or have not had the slightest whit of success in actual revolutionary practice. This is the basis of Maoist philosophy and revolutionary leadership, rooted in actual practice and involvement in struggle using the mass line method of leadership in which ideas are gathered from the masses, processed, studied and analyzed, and then returned to the masses in the form of a systematic and concentrated line until they accept them as their own and transform them into a material force. If a line is incorrect and wrong, it will be rejected by the masses, rightfully, and those that continue to propagate it after this rejection will be isolated.
II.) We are Proletarian Internationalists
Class struggle is something that occurs all over the world, not just in the United States. Capitalism-imperialism is an international system of oppression, and it will take actually existing and tangible solidarity both in word and deed with our class comrades across the world in the midst of their struggle. International fraternal bonds of solidarity are required. It warmed our hearts to see our oppressed comrades in Palestine showing solidarity with the masses of Ferguson in 2014, teaching us how to successfully deflect and block the effects of tear gas. It warms our hearts to see Kurdish comrades showing solidarity with our struggle from the battlefield, and Mexican comrades from Ayotzinapa coming to see us. The fact is that a loss in Palestine is a loss in Ferguson, a win in the red areas of India is a win in Kinloch, a win in the Philippines is a win north of Delmar. We firmly stand by the side of the masses waging revolutionary struggles in India, the Philippines, Nepal, Turkey, Palestine, South Africa, Ethiopia, Brazil, and wherever the masses in their dozens, hundreds, thousands and millions are making revolution.
III.) We are Proletarian Feminists
Since bourgeois/postmodern feminism developed by and for middle class women is the standard “feminism” in the United States, and working class/oppressed nationality women are generally excluded from this “feminism”, and bourgeois feminism seeks to unite women based on their gender rather than holding class interests as the material basis for unity, it can be said that there really is no actual feminist movement in the United States today, at least as far as working class women are concerned. The majority of so-called feminists in the United States today care more for Hillary Clinton and Kim Kardashian than working class women who live in prisons or tumbledown hovels in our nation’s ghettos and barrios. Proletarian feminism, revolutionary Communist feminism as it stands today, teaches us that it is necessarily to realize how fluid gender is, and the necessity of struggling for inclusiveness of queer, transwomen, and all non-men in our proletarian feminist line, and orients around their issues and their organization, from a class perspective, for anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggles in their communities and as part of the general anti-imperialist/anti-capitalist program. Women hold up all of the sky, this is not just an empty slogan, it is material reality.
In the realm of the struggle against imperialism and national oppression we recognize that the national oppression aspect coalesces with and makes much worse the oppression faced by Black, Latinx, and Indigenous women/nonmen in comparison to white women, particularly in terms of sexual abuse and exploitation, capitalist exploitation and abuse, and violence. A proletarian feminist line and program is distinct from a bourgeois feminist or class reductionist line on this question in that it does not paper over or reduce away this very real triple oppression of working class, nationally oppressed women/nonmen. To refuse to recognize material reality and develop accordingly is un-Marxist.
It is no accident or mistake that the industries that pay less are heavily feminized. It’s no accident or mistake that there is a wage gap between working men and working women, nor is it an accident that capitalists and their politician helpers enact violence against and drive working class women, single mothers, into the deepest depths of despair, denying them access to free childcare, not allowing maternity leave, cutting social programs, etc. The pig Reagan attacked black and latinx women as “welfare queens” all throughout the 1980s and the pig Clinton continued this war throughout the 1990s. This is something that we acknowledge as being a critical aspect in the oppression of women and nonmen under capitalism. Replacing male exploiters with women exploiters like Hillary Clinton is nothing to be proud of, like bourgeois feminists would have us believe. Women’s exploitation and oppression under the capitalist, patriarchal, imperialist system can only be ended by the overthrow of the capitalist system, not by a tweak or an addition of more women to posts at the helm or in the wings of the Empire. Women are being killed at an astonishing rate in the city of Saint Louis, and the election of Hillary Clinton will not stop this. Women are being raped every day in Saint Louis, the installation of a Mayor that isn’t a man will not end this. Only the masses of women organized for their own liberation and led by Communists can end this for good.
IV.) We are for LGBTQI* liberation
Queer people played a major role in the development and struggle towards the founding of this collective. We recognize that we are oppressed by capitalism as working class queer people, and that our liberation can ultimately come from the destruction of the capitalist-imperialist system that drives our brothers and sisters to the street, to drugs, to prison, to alcohol abuse, and in many cases, into their graves. We have no relation to and do not identify with wealthy white queer people who gentrify, who express hatred against other queer people or against nationally oppressed people, and who have arrogated for themselves and have been assigned the public face of what it means to be “queer”. A key aspect of any revolutionary Maoist collective’s practice is upholding, promoting/accepting leadership from, and affirming queer comrades. We would greatly like to see the formation of a RATPAC (Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism) branch here in Saint Louis, a city that is rife with homophobia, transphobia, and other backwards attitudes that have been transformed into life-ending violence, homelessness, or severe privation for too many of our queer comrades. It will not stop until we ourselves stop it.
Requirements for Orientation to Maoist Collectives:
We seek to unite with all that can be united with in the process of struggling towards the formation of a Maoist Communist Party in the United States, capable of leading the revolutionary struggle through to victory, and the continuance of the struggle after said victory through all ebbs and flows and highs and lows until we achieve the Communist order. But, this does not entail seeking and promoting liberalism, the “left unity” line, which really means unprincipled, unequal unity for unity’s sake.
1.) We do not orient ourselves towards individual Maoists. Individuals are not accountable to the masses or to an existing collective in their city, we orient towards collectives and mass organizations who hold them accountable for their behavior, who have a verifiable record of mass work and involvement in mass struggles in their communities, and who have organized according to the climate and conditions of their city or locale.
2.) We orient towards collectives who recognize the necessity of proletarian leadership. The proletariat is the revolutionary class, the class that has nothing to lose and everything to gain through revolution, and thus is the class that leadership objectively must be developed from. We are not averse to struggling for unity with collectives that have developed out of student struggles or other petit-bourgeois in class orientation, particularly if they are led by revolutionaries of oppressed nationality, but these must constantly struggle against and provide summations of their struggles against petit-bourgeois tendencies, lines, and behaviors, especially liberalism, both within their collective, in relations with other organizations and in the working class/revolutionary movement in their city as a whole, along with their efforts to encourage, develop, and yield to proletarian leadership. Most importantly, these collectives must be actively involved in struggle and engaged in provable mass work, whether it be in anti-gentrification, student struggles, anti-police, tenant organizing, etc.
3.) We struggle for unity with Maoist collectives who show willingness to engage in principled two-line struggle, in a non-chauvinistic and good faith way, on ideological questions of importance to the Maoist movement in this country and in the world as a whole, and the struggle to build a Maoist Communist Party in the United States that can lead the masses in making revolution. Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom! Line struggle is to be welcomed, not avoided. We also encourage collective study of questions of political economy, philosophy and scientific socialism between and within collectives as frequently as possible.
4.) We struggle for unity with collectives that take proletarian feminism seriously, and struggle for development and sharpening of proletarian feminist theory and practice, and promote/accept leadership from/encourage the development of non-men leadership. We will not unite with and will not encourage others to unite with collectives that tolerate the presence of sexual or emotional abusers or tolerate the presence of those who maintain social or political relations with known abusers. We will sharply criticize any organization or collective that tolerates or harbors those who abuse, and will constantly check up on those who have declared an intention to rectify bad gender practice to ensure consistent maintenance of proletarian feminist line in command and accountability before the masses.
5.) We will not struggle for unity with collectives that take a chauvinistic stance towards other collectives in other regions of the country. Each collective is autonomous. Criticism is indeed a gift, but no collective has the right to attempt to direct others’ mass work or struggle in cities to which they have no ties and in which they have not done any deep-going investigation, nor should criticisms be issued in bad faith or with the intention of controlling/issuing orders to autonomous collectives. There is no “Maoist center” in the United States, there is no Party yet, and there is no room for arrogant “independent kingdoms” that seek to dominate over others or run others’ business through bureaucratic and underhanded means. We struggle for unity with collectives that respect other collectives’ autonomy and right to conduct mass work and struggle in a fashion appropriate to the situation and contradictions of their own locale.
6.) We struggle for unity with collectives that recognize the utmost importance of developing leadership from oppressed nations communities. The proletariat of oppressed nations communities are the vanguard, the moving force of struggle in the United States, and leadership must be developed from these groups. Any collective that does not encourage or accept leadership from ON proletariat, engages in white chauvinistic practices/pushes white chauvinist lines, or tolerates those who do will not enjoy comradely relations with us until they show proof of their willingness to rectify and actually begin and carry out this protracted process. The national question and the question of self-determination must be taken seriously, and any Maoist collective who does not recognize the fact that after the revolution, there will not be a United States as we know it (a settler colonial prisonhouse of nations), pushes an American exceptionalist/chauvinistic line, or otherwise does not put themselves in direct contradiction to the United States Empire is no comrade of ours, and is not Maoist.
7.) Any collective or organization calling itself Maoist who upholds the line that there is “Actually Existing Socialism” or base areas in the world today that we are bound to accept leadership and guidance from from is a revisionist clique posing as a MLM collective, and will be exposed and sharply/ruthlessly criticized until they cease calling themselves Maoists or transform themselves into actual Maoists. We are in a period of retreat of revolution on a global scale, and this fact requires serious reckoning with. Our duty is to make revolution in the United States, and support and learn from current people’s wars and uphold the legacy of previous people’s wars across the world, learning from both their successes and their failures. We are willing to carry out and promote active and vigorous two-line struggle on questions regarding the way in which revolution is to be carried out in the United States, but do not orient towards vested revisionist “parties” or formations.
LONG LIVE THE SAINT LOUIS REVOLUTIONARY COLLECTIVE!
LONG LIVE MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM!
BUILD REVOLUTIONARY COLLECTIVES OVER THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES! HELP BUILD THE PARTY AND BRING DOWN THE EMPIRE!