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Many wonder why I have moved so far left. They wonder why I have embraced the terms “socialist” and “communist.”
Now, many tell me that the word “communism” is still too stigmatizing and off putting to people who have not yet been radicalized. This maybe true, to paraphrase Nelson Madela “the oppressor inevitably has control over the tone of the dialogue.”
If this is true, and assuming that it is, then one of the roads to liberation is taking control of the dialogue, and this can only be done by embracing the terms Marxist, Socialist, and Communist, without watering them down through other terms like “liberal” or “progressive.” It should be noted that when we are not talking about Stalinism when we are using the word socialism but the association between the terms Stalinist and Communist is an annoyingly nearsighted one that is not worth addressing.
We should not shy away from the truth of our goal as leftists, which is the abolition of the capitalist state and the creation of cooperative world, free from the toxic nationalism that comes with borders and the racist, colonialist, ableist, patriarchy, which upholds capitalism.
However, there is another reason why we should not shy away from the words communism and socialism, and that is the matter of our planet’s sustainability.
It can no longer be denied that the existence of the humanity and society is dependant on us creating a ecologically sustainable economy and lifestyle. This can only happen through cooperation.
The liberal notion that laws and reforms from the top down can salvage the planet are laughable. (Side note, I am in favor of the Green New Deal, do not mistake this for sectarianism) What I mean is that simple band-aid acts such as carbon taxes or emissions limits passed by bourgeoise politicians will do nothing to alter the course of our impending demise. We have approximately one decade to salvage ourselves from a climate crisis and we cannot afford mere reformism to be our savior.
These are moments when I often think about Rosa Luxemburg’s famous line, “Our choices are socialism or barbarism.” Well, the ecological disaster in our midst is barbarism. Socialism or barbarism is not merely a call to action, but a warning. A warning that a top down, non cooperative economy and social structure will inevitably doom our species and the only alternative to that is a democratic cooperative economy. IE, socialism, communism.
The importance of a sustainable, cooperative ecological economy also ties into all issues that are important to the left. Heavy polluting factories are always put in the poorest neighborhoods. Polluted water is raising the infant mortality rate, leaving working class mothers to watch their children die. Pipelines cut through rivers and tribal lands, perpetuating the imperialist colonialism that founded the U.S.
The only way to counter how capitalism pollutes our world is with its antithesis, and the antithesis is socialism.
So when people tell me, “Communism is too dangerous of a term,” or say, “Don’t call it socialism, it’s too off putting!” I say unto them that the destruction of our species at the hands of an economy controlled by the greedy few and not the hungry masses is far more off putting than a few simple words. Words which mean cooperation and liberation I might add!
When people say that leftist language is too dangerous, I say to them what Rosa said, “Our choices are socialism or barbarism.” The barbarism is about to kill us, it is time for socialism!
I am a strong Sanders supporter, and I am more than willing to concede that Bernie needs to do better regarding certain issues. Sex work is definitely one of them.
We in the pro-Sanders camp need to acknowledge that his votes in favor of FOFSTA and SESTA hurt sexworkers and we must acknowledge that Bernie needs to be pushed more on the issue of sex work.
Not only did Bernie vote for both of these harmful bills but when talking about media coverage of Stormy Daniels, Bernie has maintained a tone that writes off sexwork in a way that is damaging to his progressive image.
While at SXSW last year, he remarked that while the Stormy Daniels story is “legitimate news… the media is too obsessed with it,” which is actually a valid point. However, his reasoning was grossly flawed.
“In this country, we have a lot of people who are in pain — single mothers, people who can’t afford college — they want to see something that reflects their reality.” And obviously, a president suing an adult film star isn’t that.”
This reasoning ignores some very important realities, one being that porn performers and sex workers often are single mothers or parents. It also forsakes the reality that many turn to sex work because of the economic oppressions that he mentioned. In other words, it reflects the idea that porn stars and the issues effecting them are not to be taken seriously because porn stars themselves are not to be taken seriously as people.
This has been a difficult dance for me. I strongly support sex workers and want our culture to abandon the negative cultural constructs that we have attached to sex and sexuality. I also need the strong social welfare and environmental programs that Bernie Sanders is running on to come to fruition, we all do, or we are all going to die. So, as a Sanders supporter I think it is our job to hold him to scrutiny when he falls short.
Here is what I make of the whole Bernie Fofsta/Sesta/Sexwork situation: Bernie does not hate sexworkers, however because he is a product of his time and place he has preconceived notions about sex and sexuality that are the by products of our sex negative cultural constructs. Bernie and his sexwork policies are a good reflection of how even if you lean hard to the left, you will still have ingrained notions and prejudices if you are raised in an oppressive society, and inevitably some of that will lead to a perpetuation of the same oppressions we as leftists desire to overthrow.
All is not lost though, the key to overcoming ingrained prejudices and cultural constructs is to recognize them, and then take active steps to correct them. If Bernie has proven one thing about himself it is that when the public cries fowl on him, he listens and takes the steps to do better. The good news is that Bernie has already expressed a willingness to decriminalize sex work! However, more still needs to be done. We, his supporters, need to raise our voices and elevate sexworkers who are organizing. If enough of us do this, then Bernie, as well as all of the politicians in power, will have to take notice.
So, how do we get Bernie to be better about sexwork?
1. Elevate Sex Worker’s Voices, Support Sex Worker Unions
First and foremost, to stand in true solidarity with sexworkers we must avoid the savior complex.
As long as strippers, escorts, and porn performers are generating wealth with their labor then we must acknowledge that sex work is work.
We also must recognize that there are already those in the sex industry that are working to organize their own, such as Antonia Crane, Siousixie Q, Sex Worker Outreach Project, and the “soldiers of pole” stripper union. We don’t need to invade the spaces where sex workers are trying to organize, what we must do is elevate those who are already organizing and fighting and stand behind them in solidarity when they step up to lead. Sex workers do not need saving, they need solidarity.
It should also be remembered that these workers do not need our’s nor Bernie’s validation, they do not need to beg for Bernie’s approval or his audience, what they need from him and all of us is our solidarity. The more that we support the efforts of people like strippers to unionize, the more Bernie’s hand will be forced to recognize that sexwork is indeed a form of labor. For better or worse, Bernie listens when unions are involved.
2. Fight Our Sex Negative Cultural Constructs
It is okay to talk about sex. You would think that we’d have accepted that as a culture because sex is shoved into our faces in almost every form of advertisement or entertainment. Yet the fact that we are only now having this conversation about sexwork, the fact that our government’s response to the human trafficking problem has been to go after the sex work industry as a whole, and the fact that people still have not grasped the nuances of trans rights or gender fluidity, all demonstrate how far we have to go when it comes to sex as a culture. We can’t accept the idea that sex work is work if we can’t accept our own ideas about sex. If we want to make Bernie better about the issue of sex work, then we ourselves need make ourselves better and more enlightened on the topic of sexuality.
3. Make It Clear That Sex Workers Benefit From Social Welfare Programs
The benefits that sexworkers would receive from Bernie’s social welfare programs needs to be made more explicit and central to the left’s platform. We should make it clear that Medicare for all covers sexual wellness such as fertility and STD testing.
Not only that but both Medicare for all and college for all reduce the need for people to resort to sex work out of desperation. While many resort to sexwork willingly (even enthusiastically) some in the industry get into it because they cannot find other work. Also, more often than not you will find that several sex workers are trapped under crippling student loan debt or medical debt like the rest of us.
Bernie’s programs would also benefit those who engage in sexwork willingly because if we free our minds from sex negative thinking while we also free ourselves from these financial restraints, then those who have been sexually repressed will be free to explore the aspects of their sexuality like never before. They will be free perform and indulge without judgement, as they should have the freedom to do.
4. Decriminalize all sexwork
This is probably the most important thing to push for. Those who do sex work consensually should have the freedom to do so without fear. Because we live in a punitive system, the laws that police claim will protect trafficked sex workers usually leads to them being prosecuted more than rescued. Prostitutes are also statistically more likely to get arrested than pimps or traffickers. All socialists and leftists must explicitly support the decriminalization of sex work, period.
Now that Bernie has expressed a willingness to decriminalize sex work, it is on us as his supporters to assure that sex work decriminalization becomes a part of his platform.
If enough of a movement is started, especially among his core base of supporters, then Bernie will have to take notice of how he has misstepped on the issue of sex work in the past. While it is fantastic news that he has said he is willing to decriminalize sex work, we cannot ignore where he has fallen short on this issue. His FOFSTA and SESTA votes are a glaring black mark on his progressive resume. I assure you, I say this as someone who loves Bernie Sanders, I want to see him win.
Bernie needs to be better about sexwork, and it looks like he is on the right track. But we, the public, need to be attentive and see to it that sex workers receive the attention and solidarity they need.
Leon sat on the porch as the sun set behind the red silhouetted hills off in the horizon. As it went down the sun turned the sky into a deep purple with streaks of orange drizzled throughout. The sun itself had shifted into a deep red hue, a red that reminded Leon of the flags he once raised over vanquished enemies. Even though the shadows of the mountains had swallowed the whole front of the compound, Leon could still see the shadows of his bodyguards patrolling the entrance, their rifles almost making it look like they were carrying crucifixes on their backs.
It had been years since Leon was forced to flee his homeland, and though he was gracious to his hosts and happy to be alive, he just never could get used to the climate. The desserts of Mexico were vastly different from the muddy winters and bright springs of home. Leon was glad to have found refuge in Mexico, but he always missed home.
Leon did find the sunsets in Mexico more beautiful though. They gave him something beautiful to look up at when he wanted to take a break from his notebooks and studies. Leon was a man of the pen, a day he did not write a letter, an article, or a chapter in his next book was always a bad day.
Today was shaping up to be a bad day, nothing could get him to work on his book, not even the strong coffee that his local comrades had gifted to him. Leon was not able to write anything that day, until he came out to the porch to watch the sunset. For some reason, the deep red sun shading the sky had inspired him, and he took advantage of the withering daylight to fill his notebook as much as possible.
After the last bit of sunlight had been swallowed into darkness, Leon grabbed his books and notes and moved inside into his study. He sat at his desk and tried to continue with his writing, but he was drained out. For some reason now that he was away from the sunset he could not think about his text, he could only think of the sunsets back home.
He was lost in his pondering when he was then jolted by a knock on the door. Leon got up to answer it an on the other end of the door was one of Leon’s guards and a young comrade, Franc. Franc was young and Leon admired the energy of young comrades like him. He had been to the compound several times before with articles for Leon to read and had earned a degree of respect for his candor from Leon’s other comrades.
“Mr. Franc calling on you, comrade.” Said the guard.
“Send him in send him in.” Said Leon, gesturing for the young man to come in, closing the door and leaving his guard in the hall to stand watch as he did every night.
“No doubt you have an article for me to look at Comrade Jacson?” Said Leon as he returned to his desk.
“Yes Comrade.” Franc said pulling a stack of papers from out of a whicker brief case. “I wrote about the syndicalists, and contextualize what happened to them in the wake of this new world war.”
“Ah yes, so many of our enemies are all at war at once and all with each other!” Leon gave a chuckle looking at the papers handed to him as he sat down.
Leon shuffled through the pages to count them quickly before he began to read.
Suddenly Leon felt like a thousand nails had been driven into his forehead. He felt the crack of his skull and the surge of torture that came flowing through his entire body from the corner of his shattered temple.
Leon looked up from the papers to see that Franc had struck him. He struck him with something both sharp and blunt at the same time somehow. As Leon screamed in pain Franc delivered another blow, adding a stabbing pain to the torturous throbbing and shattered bone that was now torturing Leon.
Franc raised his weapon for a third blow, but was stopped as Leon sprang up and grabbed France by his arm and laying a firm grasp on his weapon.
Leon screamed, “You traitor! You scum! Murderer! Help! Help!” The two danced around the room, their shoes scuffing the wood of the floors as each one dug their heals in to try and over power the other. Leon might have been older than Franc, but one does not run an entire army without learning hand to hand combat, “And be damned this Stalinist traitor!” Thought Leon as he struggled to overpower Franc, “I will not bow down to anyone without a fight!”
Leon continued to scream for help as blood from his wound pooled over his eye and lips and dripped into his long beard. The guard from outside burst in, they grabbed Franc and pulled him back, forcing him to drop his weapon. The guard blew his whistle and with in seconds the room was flooded with Leons guards, others went to handle Franc while two sought medical attention for Leon who had collapsed into a guards arms after Franc had been subdued.
The guards beat Franc senseless until he was a pile of mush on the floor, but they did beat him just short of beating him to death. They wanted the man alive for his trial.
Leon was rushed to the hospital. Blood dribbling from the top of his head and through his hands as he tried to use what little strength he had left to put pressure on the wound. Some of the blood on in his beard was beginning to dry and congeal.
By the time the doctors got to him Leon was a weak husk of himself. They managed to bandage the wound but the doctors saw little else that could be done.
At the hospital Leon lingered in and out of consciousness. He’d awake from the pain, then he would collapse into unconsciousness from the pain. The blood had been cleaned from his eye and beard, but Leon could feel more of it seep into his bandages as he lied in bed. All time was lost to the pain, Leon did not know if he had been their for hours or for days.
After what felt like days of torture Leo woke once more, he could see that the sun was setting through a nearby window, just before he closed his eyes for the last time.
Andrew Ferguson wrote a piece for the Atlantic titled, “Tyranny of the 70 Somethings,” in which he not only equates Bernie Sanders to Joe Biden, but acts as if both are equally complicit in holding the Democratic party back. His logic? Because they are both old.
Ferguson calls the Democratic party a “gerontocracy” and goes so far as to equate Bernie Sanders with some kind of a cliche version of a creepy old man.
Sanders and Biden have made themselves the equivalent of the old dude cruising the pool at Club Med in his sagging Speedo, capped teeth gleaming, knobby shoulders and fallen pecs bronzed and shiny with tanning oil, gold chains twinkling through the chest hair
We will put aside how lazy of a simile this is, and I am not even going to go into Ferguson’s blatant use of body shaming, (it’s 2019 why are jokes about people’s body types still considered funny!?) Instead let us address the biggest oversight of the article, that the only thing Bernie and Biden have in common is that they are both old. That is literally it.
Ferguson claims that Bernie and Biden are holding the party back from the agenda that would benefit young people because they are not elevating younger candidates in the presidential primary. Ferguson is ignoring the fact that Bernie is the most popular candidate with young voters because of one thing, his policies, not his age.
The “younger candidates” (keep in mind Warren and Biden are very close to the same age by the way and Harris is over 50) are not polling as well as Bernie because the younger generation has seen how identity politics fail to yield any actual results if the candidates policies suck. I may be young, but I am old enough to remember how Obama failed us.
In Ferguson’s, who is over 60 year old, mind identity politics are still the way to win elections and fix the larger social issues we face as a nation. Apparently Ferguson is one of the many people in this country who slept through the entire Obama administration or suffers from the pre Trump amnesia that causes people to forget that poverty, sexism, and racism have always been problems in the U.S.
Obama’s tenure as president proves one thing, that it doesn’t matter if the president is an old white man or a young black man, what matters is will your policies benefit the most people? We elected a black president in 2008 who also supported drone bombs and neoliberalism, did it solve the countries woes? Did it end racism? Did it liberate women?
No. The U.S. war machine is now stronger than it has ever been. White supremacy is still rampant. The wealth gap has grown between the poorest and the richest and continues to grow. A woman is still not in total control of her own body. All of this is enough proof to demonstrate that electing someone to the presidency based on identity lines instead of policies does nothing to fix our greater societal issues.
However, the most glaring oversight of the article is that Ferguson completely ignores how Bernie Sanders has been CONSISTENT with his integrity and policies for his entire political career, whereas Biden is the complete opposite.
Until a few weeks ago, Biden supported the Hyde Amendment. Bernie Sanders was marching for abortion rights in 1972.
Bernie got himself arrested to demand an end to segregated student housing at the University of Chicago.
Biden negotiated with segregationists in order to defeat integration and school bussng bills.
Biden supported invading Iraq.
Biden publicly attacked Anita Hill, Bernie did not.
The list of policy differences between Biden and Bernie is staggering, but to Ferguson that means nothing. In his mind Bernie and Biden are both the same, you know, because they are both 70. -\_(“/)_/-
If anyone is holding the party back it is Biden. We don’t need Biden in the race not because he is old, but because his record is atrocious and his policies are just more of the same watered down, capitalist garbage we were given under Obama.
Ferguson would do well to take his own advice, step back and let the younger people lead, this way nothing will stand in the way of us electing Bernie Sanders and we won’t have to endure hack takes from lazy, nearsighted “writers.”
The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) is an embarrassment. It shows no respect for the actual people who make up the working class. Their party chair, Bob Avakian, is less interested in the needs of the working class and more interested in creating a personality cult around himself. The RCP’s cultish behavior has been well documented since Avakian became the party chair in 1979, but what is most repulsive about this group is their invasive and disrespectful behavior which humiliates the left and risks turning socialism into a marginalized idea once again.
What is the RCP?
The Revolutionary Communist Party can trace it’s roots to the split of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1969. Multiple activists from California created a group called Bay Area Revolutionary Union (BARU). This was a collective of SDS members from Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley who were posing as challengers to the non Maoist wing of the SDS at their convention.
Once the SDS collapsed many members found themselves joining BARU, leading to the organization’s development of a national structure outside of the bay area. BARU officially became the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1975, and by 1979 one of their pluckiest and loudest members became the party chair. That member’s name was Bob Avakian.
Bob Avakian was one of many alumni of the New Left movement along with people like Noam Chomsky or Angela Davis. Unlike Davis or Chomsky, instead of dedicating his life to the development of theories and programs that would answer the material needs of the working class, Avakian became dedicated to developing a cult of personality around himself.
The requirements for party membership all revolve around his theories and accepting his leadership without question. Everything on the RCP website that is about their platform revolves around his name, his work, and his identity as the party leader.
On their About Us page they make their dedication to Avakian quite clear;
There is an actual plan for a radically different—and radically better—society, on the road to wiping out all exploitation and oppression, and emancipating humanity. There is a strategy to draw forward the millions and millions needed to make that happen. There is the leadership, in Bob Avakian (BA), the architect of the new communism and the leader of the revolution.
Immediately they make it clear that they are not interested in hearing the working class’ current material needs but rather are more interested in selling a doctrine, more specifically they are selling the doctrine of Bob Avakian. The purpose of socialism is democracy, and democracy is about allowing the working class to choose its leaders, it’s priorities, and it’s platform. Because the RCP has it set in stone that Avakian is their “chosen” leader, they have no avenue to allow growth for a mass movement, so they must invade spaces to tell the working class why Avakian should be their leader.
Avakian argues for what he calls “New Communism,” and the entire RCP program can be summarized in one statement, that capitalism and the US government, “must be overthrown, not voted out.” However, “New Communism” is nothing more than a regurgitation of Maoist Marxist Leninism. According to the RCP, post Stalin Russia and Post Mao China were the ends of socialist states in the world. There is virtually no difference in the jargon or rhetoric of Avakian’s work and that of the most hardline Stalinists, “New Communism” is nothing more than “Old Stalinism.”
All the information I gathered on the RCP I gathered from personal experience and from researching their website. A webpage is the most forward facing instrument of any organization in the 21st century and it should be presentable and useful to both an organization’s members and to the public. The RCP webpage, revcom.us, is unnavigable and literally painful to read because of it’s poor layout. The text is often too small to read and the layout of the pages are just plain sloppy. Articles, text, and graphics are almost always off center and the website overall just looks plain cheap. It looks like a self made website from the late 90s or early 2000s, and in all likelihood no one has probably bothered to develop their website since that time. After all, the RCP is less interested in meeting the working class where they are at and is more interested in demanding members adhere to the party line with Avakian as their leader.
Webpages are the primary source of information people use when researching what organizations to join and if you are not showing an interest in making your own webpage presentable and navigable, you are clearly not interested in meeting the masses where they are at in order to build them into a mass movement.
Unlike most other socialist organizations, the RCP is one that is lucky enough to have their own book stores, with two locations! They have one in New York another in Berkeley, and the Revolution Book Stores are a confusing piece of the RCP puzzle.
Store front rental in Berkeley and New York is by no means cheap, so I am wondering where the profit from their stores go. Their shoddy and impossible to look at website makes it pretty evident that funds are not being directed towards developing the organizational infrastructure. These funds are definitely not going toward mutual aid projects either. The RCP explicitly rejects anything it considers charity, including the “anarchistic” idea of mutual aid.
According to their atrocious website they are currently raising funds for their ongoing “Revolution Tour” claiming they will be using the money to send their “Revolution Club” around the country to participate in direct actions. None of the actual actions they will participate in are listed on the website and at no point is their any detail on how the money raised will be actually be used. They do not even mention what they hope to accomplish by sending their members on this so-called “tour.” Based on the behavior that I have witnessed, they will probably just be invading other peoples events. ( I will explain this later in the article.)
What is even more appalling is that the RCP is clearly aware of the criticisms against them. This is an actual quote from their FAQ page:
Who are you to say what the masses of people need?
Answer: We are people who represent, on a scientific basis, the fundamental interests of the masses of humanity, the great majority of the 7 billion people on this planet; who understand what the problem and the solution is to the situation that faces the masses of humanity; and who have taken on the responsibility of leading people to fight to bring about, through revolution, the solution that is urgently needed.
This is just gibberish. It means nothing. It is by no means an explanation for their top down behavior nor does it explain anything about their actual program. It is all flighty words with no substance and it in no way answers the actual question. The worst part is that they actually go out of their way to justify their cultish method of operating.
This all manifests in a technique of agitation that embarrasses the left, it leads to them invading and co-opting the events of other organizations, even if that event is about honoring a victim of the police state.
What does the RCP do?
RCP members like to invade and co-opt other organizations events, including trade unions, anti police organizations, and even Black Lives Matter.
The behavior of the RCP at events hosted by other organizations demonstrates their lack of respect and integrity, and further demonstrates that the organization is in no way interested in actually helping the working class. The fraud that is the RCP can be summed up with a single sentence, “Revolution is not an end, it is a means to an end.”
Every event or march that the RCP shows up for they scream the same thing, “This government cannot be voted out, it must be overthrown!” It is all well and good to call for an end to the American imperialist state, but one cannot act like revolution by itself is a pallet cleanser. So many leftists are quick to scream, “REVOLUTION NOW!” with no actual ideas in hand for a program that would come after the fact. This usually leads to them copping out and settling on an older, outdated doctrine, such as Stalinism or Maoism. This is the case with the RCP.
Socialists have the obligation to not only work towards overthrowing capitalism but to build alternatives at the same time. The RCP never bothers to do this but instead uses newer language to regurgitate old talking points. They like to think they are offering alternatives however there is nothing in Avakian’s work that cannot be found in the works of Stalin or Mao. There is nothing original about Avakian or his so called theories.
In 2010 Bob Avakian released the “Constitution for a New Republic in North America” which is not so much a constitution for a socialist republic but is a regurgitation of tired, over used, ultra left talking points. The Preamble of this so called constitution alone is nothing more than a run on sentence of gibberish that has leftist buzzwords sprinkled throughout.
The New Socialist Republic in North America could only have been brought into being as a result of heroic, self-sacrificing struggle carried out by millions and millions of people who had been forced to live under a system of exploitation and oppression in the former United States of America; who could no longer tolerate the continual outrages and injustices perpetrated by the system of capitalism-imperialism and the structures and institutions of power and repression which enforced all this with violence and brutality as well as lies and deception; who refused to any longer accept that…
The opening sentence goes on like that for 5 more lines and the rest of the preamble is 7 pages long. The RCP think that revolution apparently can be achieved with long winded, inaccessible babbling.
What is even more disgusting is that the RCP will bring this garbage platform everywhere without ever being invited to do so. They have invaded multiple events organized by multiple other groups including Anti Police Terror Project and Black Lives Matter chapters. They have even gone out of their way to disrupt an event organized by the surviving relatives of Stephon Clark.
At an event marking the anniversary of Clark’s death, his family co-hosted and invited Al Sharpton to come and speak. The RCP made haste to travel from the bay area to Sacramento (there is no RCP chapter in Sacramento) and disrupt the event with cries of “Don’t believe Sharpton!” And “Electoral bourgeois bullshit!” showing no respect for the wishes of the Clark family.
Say whatever you want about Al Sharpton, it will not change the fact that he was the invited guest of the Clark family and since they are the victims who have to live with what happened to Stephon, their wishes should always be honored and respected first and foremost! Disrupting their event because you do not like their speaker of choice is the exact opposite of respecting the wishes of the family.
The RCP’s tendency to invade and co-opt other people’s events is an insult to the working class and embarrasses the name of socialism. Their approach makes the left look invasive, hostile, and inconsiderate, and it is even more so when they behave like this at explicitly anti racist events.
In Sacramento 2018, back when Jeff Sessions was still the Attorney General, an event was organized outside of the Sawyer Hotel in order to disrupt his visit. The event was organized by multiple unions and immigrant rights groups. In attendance was the immigrant solidarity collective known as Nor Cal Resist and immigrant SEUI members, as well as the Democratic Socialists of America, Answer Coalition, and liberal groups such as Save DACA and Indivisible.
Without any invitation, or hesitation, the RCP showed up with a series of banners, loud speakers, and chants, as well as multiple members ready to take the stage and speak on their megaphone about the need to overthrow the government. Despite the intimidating police presence defending Jeff Sessions, at no point did anyone in RCP take time to consider that using such inflammatory rhetoric could be putting the lives of undocumented or black attendees of the event at risk. When police presence is so large, as it was at this event, attendees must take into consideration what will happen if the situation escalates. Who will the cops take out their aggression on? More likely than not it is going to be any black or brown person they can get their hands on. To ignore that reality is to ignore the reality that non-white members of the working class face an extra degree of oppression and risk. To ignore that is to ignore the status of the 21st century working class.
The RCP has already been warned about this behavior. Bay area chapters of the Anti Police Terror Project have already banned the RCP from attending their events for constantly attempting to co-opt them as they did at the Jeff Session’s direct action in Sacramento and at Clark family’s event.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento have also had to deal with the insistent brattiness of RCP members. On the one year anniversary of Stephon Clark’s death, just hours after they had insulted the Clark family, they attempted to co-opt an event that had been organized by BLM Sacramento.
They showed up marching and yelling, banners and all, even with someone banging on the drums as if the eight of them present were about to march into battle. They were screaming about overthrowing the presidency. It took at least five of the organizers from BLM Sacramento to talk the RCP down and make them realize that this was about honoring and respecting Stephon Clark, and that making it about anything else would be a direct insult to a murdered man and his family.
But their deescalation was all for not because that did not stop the RCP from continuing to chant and scream. They even attempted to chant over the members of BLM who were leading the march, screaming about revolution nonstop instead of screaming the name of Stephon Clark. Clearly they were not there to honor the 22 year old who had been murdered by the Sacramento Police Department. They were only there to advance their own agenda, even if it meant disrespecting the members of BLM Sacramento and the Clark family.
To scream revolution without listening to the working class is to insult the working class. All the RCP does is scream “revolution” like a baby begging for its bottle without any consideration for the status and needs of the working class as they are now.
Why are they so invasive?
The RCP is so disrespectful and invasive for one simple reason, they are incapable of rallying people on their own. The RCP is dependent on using front organizations in order to make them more palatable to people who are hesitant to trust self identified Marxist-Leninists and Maoists outright.
The RCP also operates front organizations in order to maintain a larger public relations presence and to ease recruitment. The current and most notable of their front organizations is Refuse Fascism. Refuse Fascism is the front organization for their anti Trump platform. While it sells itself as a “coalition” the majority of it’s leaders and members are simply senior RCP members.
The RCP has no chance to gain legitimate attention without operating a front organization like Refuse Fascism. Their doctrine and program is unappealing to the modern working class and lacks in nuance because it is an outdated rehashing of state socialist theories from the previous century. This is why they resort to invasive tactics. They will not get attention unless they steal attention for themselves, and the RCP has demonstrated they will do so even if it means insulting people like the family of Stephon Clark or the immigrants who face the risk of deportation and state violence.
The more one looks into the alleged doctrine of the RCP on their hideous website, one can see that their is no way they can gain public attention without being invasive. What their doctrine also represents is their adamant hypocrisy.
Their website features the guiding principles of their chapters, what they call “Revolution Clubs.” The first principle of their chapters is clearly an attempt to exonerate themselves of accusations of personality cultism. “We base ourselves on and strive to represent the highest interests of humanity: revolution and communism. We do not tolerate using the revolution for personal gain.”
This completely counters their statement that self proclaims Avakian as the leader of their movement while also intentionally ignoring the self serving rhetoric of his doctrine and the actual actions of RCP members. If they do not believe in using revolution for “personal gain” why do they invade and disrupt other organizations events?
Another blatant lie can be seen in principle number five of the Revolution clubs. “We search for and fight for the truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to and learn from the observations, insights and criticisms of others.” This is just 100% false. According to one of the past organizers of Black Lives Matter Sacramento, when one of them approached an RCP member asking them to refrain from their behavior and honor the name of Stephon Clark, the RCP member responded by saying “You guys are just as bad as Trump and the rest of the fascists.”
If we allow organizations like this to exist unchallenged then the name of socialism is at risk of becoming a marginalized voice once again. Socialism has gained momentum in the last decade, we are gaining attention at a speed not seen since the turn of the 20th Century. Membership in socialist organizations such as the DSA has exploded and socialists are infiltrating elected offices on both the local and federal levels. In short, we are winning, and if we want to continue to win we cannot let intentionally sectarian organizations like the RCP to exist unchallenged. There is a time and place to agitate and insist on revolution, and the RCP has demonstrated that they have no concept of when and where that is actually appropriate. They have shown that they are not interested in developing an applicable socialist program for the contemporary working class. When you wave the red flag you have a duty to represent socialism in the best of ways, to forsake that is to forsake the cause of the working class.
While we must stay attentive, I think it is safe to say that the recent coup attempts in Venezuela have been spectacular failures. For the first time in a generation, people in the United States are saying no to neoliberalism.
The difficulty that Guiado and the neoliberal opposition are facing as they try to depose Maduro and the Bolivarian government is demonstrative of the fact that neoliberalism is in its death throws. It is symbolic of a shift in our political dialogue.
Since the coups in Chile in 1972, Neoliberalism has functioned on a very simple plan of action. As Naomi Klein explains in “The Shock Doctrine” the introduction of neoliberalism into a nation’s market is dependent on one factor, crisis. In short, a national crisis “shocks” a nation’s market to its core, creating a need for that market to be refounded and rebuilt. This is where capitalists and privatizers are obligated to swoop in and “fill the void,” leading to a shift from public services to a privatized market.
Such was the case in places like Chile in 1972 or Honduras in 2012, and such was supposed to be the case in Venezuela in 2019.
No matter what your opinion is of Maduro or the Venezuelan government, it cannot be denied that U.S. intervention in Latin America has always lead to disaster, and it has always been the goal to sew crisis to allow capitalist extortion to run rampant. Ever since the success of the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile, the United States has been able to interfere and introduce neoliberalism with ease.
Usually the United States government has been able to interfere because of a lack of attention from those who oppose intervention. This has been the case in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras and too many other nations. The fact that United States citizens are starting to resist this intervention represents a shift in the status quo for Neoliberal politics.
The failure of the coup in Venezuela is a blow to Neoliberalism itself, it is the first time in a generation that U.S. intervention has successfully been stonewalled by its own citizens, at least for now. Not since Vietnam and the fall of Saigon has free market capitalism been so humiliated.
We are by no means out of the woods, the Venezuelan embassy to the United States has been successfully evicted and Guiado is still the recognized president of Venezuela by the U.S. and several other nation’s governments, including Canada and the U.K.
However the fact that the U.S. is being challenged and is being challenged so openly by its own citizens is a blow to neoliberalism, which in my opinion is a victory for socialism. The status quo has shifted, and the chance for socialists to strike is fast approaching.
A wise man once said “It’s wrong when it stops being fun.”
Well, I have to ask myself, has it?
Has pining over the right word and cadence lost its spark?
What, except the dark cloud that seeps its invisible cloak on my psyche,
Keeps me from putting all for the gods and earthly kind to see,
to learn the truth.
Poetry is not supposed to be work,
or is that too bourgeois?
I say poetry like anything can be rebranded for the worst,
but poetry is thought, the one thing that cannot be erased.
Poetry, is something to make all our own.
So, has it stopped being fun?
Not by a long shot.