Monday, July 31, 2006

Explaining the new ML blog header

Left Spot suggested I explain the content of the new header graphic here on this blog, because maybe some of it is pretty obscure, or unfamiliar to some readers. So I'll do that briefly here, then folks can comment and I'll clarify if need be. I hope that maybe this will spark some good discussion. I tried to stylize and symbolize a balanced depiction of Marxism-Leninism and national liberation, both in the United States, where I live and work, and around the world. I would just want to add that the presense of any of this material does indicate my support and solidarity, it should not, however, be considered a total ideological endorsement.

Going clockwise from the left, the Little Red Book (Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong) is first. This book was the textbook for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, and serves as an excellent manual on how to conduct a revolutionary struggle (here is a neat site about the red book). It is a symbol of Mao Zedong Thought.

Next is Paul Robeson, one of the greatest mass leaders in American history. He was an actor, a singer, and an athlete, awarded the Stalin Peace Prize (the Soviet version of the Nobel Peace Prize) in 1952 for his leading role in the formative years of the Civil Rights Movement and his devotion to the defense of peace and opposition to imperialism throughout the world.

Beneath and to the right of Robeson is Frantz Fanon's great book, The Wretched of the Earth. This book, written by a Black psychologist, trained in France and heavily influenced by Marxism, not to mention an active participant in the Algerian Revolution, is essential for understanding the relationship between oppressor and oppressed and structures of colonial dominance and resistance. This is a book that a lot of influence upon me in my formative period when I was first studying the theory and practice of the Black Panther Party, who were heavily influenced by this book (along with the works of Kwame Nkrumah and Maoism) because of its insistanc that the lumpenproletariat should be the leading force in national liberation struggles. (See the wikipedia article on Fanon's major book.)

Next is Harry Haywood, the great African American Communist. He was a leading theorist in the CPUSA regarding the national question in the United States. His most important contribution is the development of the theory of an African American national territory in the Black Belt South based on the understanding of the Marxist line on the national question developed by Lenin and Stalin (see the section on Haywood in my article on the National Question for more this). He wrote several important theoretical works, the most important of which is Negro Liberation. His autobiography, Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist is a very important critical and self-critical look at the CPUSA from its foundations to beyond WWII. He is also important as a founding figure of the antirevisionist movement in the United States as he struggled against rising revisionist currents in the CPUSA, with whom he eventually broke to join with the young Maoist groups of the New Communist Movement (see also the wikipedia article on Harry Haywood).

Following the picture of Haywood is a painting of Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese Revolution and the most important Marxist-Leninist theorist following Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. He is particularly important for developing the theory and practice of national-democratic revolution as a step toward socialist revolution, for developing the Marxist theory of People's War, and for developing and leading the struggle against modern revisionism. He enriched the Leninist theory of proletarian revolution in his formulations of the mass line, the united front, and the continuation of class struggle under socialism. His philosophical contributions, namely his work on dialectical materialism, are an incredible weapon in the hands of Marxist-Leninist organizations struggling to build a revolutionary movement to fight for socialism. He continues to be a great inspiration for poor and oppressed people all over the world.

After Mao, we see someone inspired by Maoism to fight people's war - a female People's Liberation Army soldier in Nepal, where today the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is leading the New Democratic revolution. I always thought that was such a beautiful and inspiring picture, the way the traditional blanket she is wrapped in to protect her from the early morning cold as she keeps watch contrasts to the sleek, black M-16 that has been liberated from the enemy. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) are one of the most important and challenging forces in the Communist Movement today.

Che Guevara is next. Che, in my opinion, embodied the proletarian internationalist spirit. Born in Argentina, Che met the remarkable revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in Mexico and set out with him and handful of others to fight a victorious guerrilla war on U.S. imperialism's doorstep. After serving for a time as chief economist for Socialist Cuba, he set out to the Congo and then Bolivia to help other countries kick imperialism off of their soil. He was summarily executed by a FBI agent when he was captured while fighting with guerrillas in Bolivia. He continues to inspire the revolutionary and radical youth all over the world (check out the Che Guevara Archive).

Next we see a map of the Southern United States, highlighting the Black Belt. Not only is this where I live and where I grew up, but this is also the historically constituted territory of the African American Nation in the U.S., forged through the lengthy process of slavery, the betrayl of the national-democratic revolution of Reconstruction, and frozen in place by the rise of monopoly capitalism. It is the area of the greatest concentration of African American's in the U.S. The demand for self-determination for African Americans in the Black Belt is perhaps the most important demand for the proletarian revolution in the United States, as it is the source of genuine equality for African Americans, which in turn is the basis for real Black/white working class unity. Read the Comintern resolutions of 1928 and 1930 on the Black Belt Nation.

Next is the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the strongest Marxist-Leninist group in the Middle East, Ahmed Sadaat. Long a prisoner under the supervision of British and U.S. guards in a Jericho prison, he was recently kidnapped in an Israeli raid on the prison after his election to the Palestinian parliament. Here is a great interview with Sadaat just before his kidnapping by Israel.
Next up is Huey P. Newton, co-founder and ideological leader of the Black Panther Party. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded in 1966 in the wake of the Watts Riots, which revealed that many of the victories won in the Civil Rights Act were, in fact, formal rights, but rights with little meaning for poor African Americans living in the ghettos. Heavily influenced both by Marxism-Leninism and Maoist Thought, as well as by the national liberation struggles forging ahead throughout the underdeveloped world, the BPP took up arms against the police and put forward a 10 point program for the self-defense and self-determination of the Black community. Despite their problems and errors, their impact in develping a militant, anti-imperialist alternative pole to the bankruptcy of the reformism of the national bourgeoisie cannot be overlooked. Huey Newton should always be understood to have been a tremendous guiding light during an important formative period for Communist revolution in the United States.

We see, following Huey, a book - Stalin's Marxism and the National and Colonial Question, which is the most important collection of texts on the national question by the leading theorist of the national question within the Marxist-Leninist movement. This book, along with his study with the Comintern and five years in the Soviet Union as a member of the CPSU, had a great influence on African American Communist, Harry Haywood. Here is a link to the central text in that book, Marxism and the National Question. I think understanding this is essential to understanding Marxism-Leninism.

Next is a picture of your's truly, Comrade Zero, at an anti-NED (National Endowment for Democracy) demo in Washington D.C following the conference that founded the Venezuela Solidarity Network. The sign I'm holding reads, "Self-determination: endow this".

Below the anti-NED picture is a picture of William Z. Foster. Foster was a leader of the CPUSA who struggled for a correct line in the Party until his retirement. As a powerful trade-unionist, Foster probably did more for our class than anyone else in the history of this country. He also wrote two very important books, History of the Three Internationals, and History of the Communist Party of the United States.

To Foster's left we see a photo of Malcolm X holding a M-1 carbine - he was, like me, not a pacifist, and believed in getting freedom "by any means necessary". Arguably the most important figure in the Black Nationalist movement in the U.S., Malcolm was a leader in the Nation of Islam, until his pilgramage to Mecca. Then he broke with the NOI's founder, Elija Muhammed, over what he saw as the NOI's racism and bourgeois seperatism. He remained a firm Black Nationalist and a militant pole in the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties. He was outspoken in his demands for revolution, armed resistance, self-determination, and, in his later years, socialism. You can listen to his important speech, "Message to the Grassroots", here. His autobiography was a tremendous inspiration for me when I was in high school and just beginning to develp a little class consciousness.

On the other side of the Nepalese Maoist woman (discussed above), we see Vladamir Illych Lenin. And why is Lenin here? Though I would think that would be self-explanatory, I'll just give this little quote from his great pupil, Stalin:

Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. To be more exact, Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution in general, the theory and tactics of the dictatorship of the proletariat in particular (Foundations of Leninism).

To be a Marxist today is to be a Leninist.

Next to Lenin, we see another female Guerrilla fighter. This time a member of Colombia's largest Marxist-Leninist group, the FARC-EP. The FARC, in the face of the most brutal dictatorship (which just so happens to be a recipient of tremendous amounts of U.S. military aid under the auspices of Plan Colombia), and the paramilitaries linked to it, is in the vanguard of the struggle for national liberation and socialism in Latin America, and they have been fighting a protracted guerrilla war since the late 60s. She is marching with her comrades in a military drill. They are all carrying AK-47s.

After the FARC, there is the famous photo of a Red Army soldier raising the red flag over the Reichstag in Berlin at the close of WWII. The Soviet Union, under the leadership of Stalin and with the heroic effort of the people of the USSR, was the leading force in the united front that defeated Hitlerite Fascism. The victory of the people of the world over fascism was one of the great moments of the 2oth century and has a tremendous impact on where we are today.

Last, but certainly not least, is a picture of members of the heroic Iraqi Resistance carrying Automatic Kaloshnikov assault rifles. The Iraqi Resistance is currently leading the national liberation struggle of the Arab people against U.S. imperialism and is on the leading edge of the struggle in the region. I believe Iraq will the Stalingrad of U.S. Imperialism.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

My favorite quote from Lenin

It is not difficult to be a revolutionary when revolution has already broken out and is at its height, when everybody is joining the revolution just because they are carried away, because it is the fashion, and sometimes even out of careerist motives. After its victory, the proletariat has to make most strenuous efforts, to suffer the pains of martyrdom, one might say, to "liberate" itself from such pseudo revolutionaries. It is far more difficult - and of far greater value - to be a revolutionary when the conditions for direct, open, really mass and really revolutionary struggle do not yet exist, to be able to champion the interests of the revolution (by propaganda, agitation and organization) in non-revolutionary bodies and often in downright reactionary bodies, in a non-revolutionary situation among masses who are incapable of immediately appreciating the need for revolutionary methods of action. To be able to find, to probe for, to correctly determine the specific path or the particular turn of events that will lead the masses to the real, last, decisive, and great revolutionary struggle - such is the task of Communists in Western Europe and America today

("Left-Wing" Communism, an Infantile Disorder. 1920)

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Statement by Palestinian Marxist-Leninist group PFLP on the Escalation of Zionist Aggression against the Territory of Lebanon and Palestine

Epic Resistance in the Land of Palestine and Lebanon

Statement issued by the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on the Escalation of Zionist Aggression against the Territory of Lebanon and Palestine.

Epic steadfastness and resistance -- the epic of Ghazza and al-Karama -- continue in the land of Palestine and Lebanon. The Lebanese and Palestinian peoples are writing a page of glory in the history of the Arab Nation and Islamic world community and in the history of all humanity. At a time of impotence, collusion, and submission by official Arab regimes, as evidenced by the results of the meetings of Arab foreign ministers, the knights of Hizballah and the knights of Palestine continue their heroic defiance of the Israeli terrorist war machine in defense not only of Palestine and Lebanon, but in defense of the entire Arab Nation, its future generations and children.

In the shadow of this genocidal war that is being waged by the Zionist entity against Lebanese and Palestinian lands and peoples, the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine declares as follows:
First. The fighting people of Lebanon, their vital forces and heroic resistance under the leadership of militant Hizballah, with his excellency Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, the image of pride and honor and defiance, at their head, are today writing an epic that will go down in history and have the most profound effect on the present and future of the whole region. This epic marks the beginning of the foundation, formation, and construction of a new stage in the history of the Arab Zionist conflict.

The heroic hands that fired the missiles of resistance at the cities of Haifa, Akka, Safad, Tabariya, and Nahariya inflicted dozens of killed and wounded in the ranks of the Zionist forces. Those hands are reasserting respect for the idea of struggle against this rapacious entity with which there can be no coexistence after it has become clear to everyone how false and useless are calls for peace and negotiations with gangs of murderers and criminals who understand nothing but the language of weapons and resistance.

The strikes at Palestinian cities by missiles fired by the heroic Lebanese resistance created and will continue to create a new balance of terror that will have the most profound effect on the Zionist enemy, psychologically, politically, economically, militarily, and in their morale. Those who occupy the land of Palestine will realize that the continuation of their occupation will come at an enormous cost.

The escalation of the strikes at the land of Palestine by the Palestinian and Lebanese Resistance has great historical meaning and will have the most profound effects on and ramifications for the future of the criminal Zionist entity.

Second. The contemptible results of the meeting of Arab foreign ministers amounted to a stab at the resistance in Palestine and Lebanon and showed once again to what depths of decay, collusion, and submission some Arab rulers have sunk in compliance with the dictates of the American administration, pursuing policies that are in total contradiction with the interests of their peoples and the supreme interests of the Arab Nation. The inability of the Arab foreign ministers to take a clear stance in support of the resistance and to take practical measures to stop the Zionist aggression against Lebanon and Palestine demonstrate to what an extent the official Arab regimes have fallen into ruin and collapse.

Third. The Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine calls on the Arab masses and their vital popular forces, it calls on the trade unions and federations, to shoulder their responsibility and duty in defending Lebanon and Palestine and in going out in demonstrations and all forms of popular activity to pressure the Arab governments and to give all forms of support and assistance to the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples and their heroic resistance movements in defiance of the American-Zionist plan for the region.

Fourth. The blows of the heroic resistance in Lebanon and Palestine have placed the Zionist entity in a deep dilemma and have created new equations. Therefore, Israel is trying to export its crisis by attempting to flee forward and make Syria and the Islamic Republic of Iran responsible for what is going on, even though everyone near and far is well aware that what is going on is an American-Israeli plan aimed at subjugating the region, an attempt to put it under their complete control. This is what explains the intensification and escalation of pressure on steadfast Syria and Iran, which constitute a mighty barrier in the face of such hostile plans.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine offers its salute and expresses its admiration for the fighters of resistant Hizballah and the steadfast people of Lebanon. It declares that it stands beside them will all its energy in the confrontation with the brutal, barbaric enemy, and it reaffirms its pledge to continue the struggle and resistance until all the goals for which legions of martyrs have sacrificed themselves have been achieved.

Greetings to the people of Lebanon and their heroic resistance!

Greetings to the people of Palestine and their legendary steadfastness!

Freedom for the prisoners and detainees in the dungeons of the occupation!

Glory to the martyrs! Victory belongs to the peoples in battle for freedom!

17 July 2006

From MR Zine: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/pflp180706.html

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Maoist Film from the Cultural Revolution: Breaking With Old Ideas

Breaking With Old Ideas is a Chinese film from 1975 about revolutionizing education in the countryside and trasforming in a fundamental way the way people relate to nature, to society as a whole, and to each other. This revolutionary film is now available for free viewing at You Tube. What you can see here is only part 1, the other 14 parts are linked below:

Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 2
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 3
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 4
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 5
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 6
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 7
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 8
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 9
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 10
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 11
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 12
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 13
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 14
Breaking With Old Ideas - Part 15

For studying Marxist-Leninist theory, this would be a wonderful film to watch along with such readings as Mao Zedong's essays, "On Practice", "Reform Our Study", "Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership", and "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People".

There is a lot of stuff in this movie to talk about. This movie was made so as to make such things as the Marxist theory of knowledge, the Mass Line, the concept of "red and expert", the concept of two-line struggle and continuing the revolution under socialism accessable to the broad masses of the people taking part in the revolution. We see in this film how contradictions sharpen under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and how class struggle not only continues, but deepens, under socialism. Breaking With Old Ideas is a movie about teaching and it is a movie for teaching. It is a film that interestingly and boldly tries to demonstrate and explain a Maoist pedagogy, and it does this very much in the style of the late period of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) when it was made. This film also shows a lot of the dynamic historical context that can sometimes be overlooked, giving one a small glimpse of what socialist construction can look like. It is also interesting to see the relationship between the Great Leap Forward (depicted in the film) and the GPCR during which the film was made.

A question that we should ask ourselves, and that we should keep in mind when watching this movie, would be what can we, as workers, as Communists, and as revolutionaries, learn from a film like this?

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