August 19, 2017
Progressive Youth Organization (STL) was founded in January of 2016 as Progressive Students Organization. The purpose of PYO-STL was to develop revolutionary consciousness among the youth of the Saint Louis Metropolitan area, to carry out the mass line method of leadership, and generally secure university and high school campuses in our metropolitan area as trenches of struggle and combat for students of working class origin and outlook. In the formation of PYO, we took inspiration mainly from the now defunct RSCC (Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, a mass organization of the now defunct NCP-LC, or Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party) and PYO-KC (Progressive Youth Organization – KC). Serve the People – Saint Louis was founded in January of this year, with the purpose being the organization of non-student masses for concrete and militant struggle against gentrification, police brutality, drug abuse, and other ills caused by capitalism, and the provision of material support.
Our main error, we believe, was looking outside of our city for guidance (which was, more often than not, wrong and given after little to no investigation into our concrete situation and the mechanics at play here), orienting towards small organizations in other cities of relatively little importance locally and who have alienated themselves from the mass movements in their own cities through ultra-left incompetence and dogmatism, and using other organizations’ names in the first place, especially those who have offered little or erroneous support or guidance in the year and a half long process of our development. We also allowed ourselves to get bogged down in petty debates and back and forths over naming, many of them taking place on Facebook. This was an example of being dragged down to the level of political amateurs verging the worst type of liberalism and anarchism. Saint Louis organizations with Saint Louis people need to have Saint Louis names, and reflect Saint Louis style struggle. Progressive Youth Organization, for example, was first used in an entirely different context, namely, Afghanistan in the 1960s and ‘70s. Our development got stronger and on a more correct basis when we simply stopped listening to dogmatists outside of our city and listening instead to the people and to comradely organizations in other cities such as Philly Socialists and Austin Socialist Collective, both of which have attracted the ire of the tiny “Maoist-led” organizations in those two cities which display various forms of political amateurishness and ultra-left sectarianism and have subsequently isolated themselves from the masses and their movement. An example of this foolishness: Our efforts to assist/work with the homeless through STP-STL were characterized by STP organizations in Austin, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles as “orientation towards the lumpen”, as if lumpenization (constant unemployment or turning of people into so-called criminals through desperation) is not a process that is caused by neoliberal economic policies (capitalism-imperialism) at the local, state and federal levels, furthermore, as if “lumpen” and “proletarian” are categories that individuals, particularly among oppressed nations, can just be neatly divided into, furthermore, as if black and brown people have not been subject to large percentages of their population being lumpenized throughout history, requiring a nuanced and dialectical approach to this issue. Homeless people, oftentimes, have jobs. A job does not guarantee housing. This is, simply put, common sense, but unfortunately, common sense seems to be quite uncommon, as do actual ties and experience among the New Afrikan working class. The working class, of course, is the revolutionary class, but as the experience and theory of the Black Panther Party inspired by Frantz Fanon teaches us, there are different strata of the working class, some being revolutionary, some not so-revolutionary, and the so-called lumpenproletariat/semi-lumpenproletariat is not to be ignored or dismissed, particularly since this category will be growing in the future and the high prevalence of lumpen or semi-lumpen elements among the New Afrikan oppressed nation. They should, however, be transformed from the more destructive aspects of lumpen style thinking (resolution of non-antagonistic contradictions with violence, etc.) to proletarian style thinking. Yet, we all remember that the Ferguson uprising took place mainly because of the efforts of lumpen/semi-lumpen black youth, and anyone that comes here and who has been active in struggle in this city will tell you this. We don’t ignore or watch our people suffer or refuse to organize them/assist in the provision of their material needs at the behest of and the subjective ramblings of dogmatists several hundred miles away proffering their prejudices and biases as theory, who probably didn’t even know where STL was until the events in our city in 2014 reinvigorated the revolutionary struggle countrywide and gave rise/assisted in the development of such organizations in the first place.
In short, by merging PYO-STL and STP-STL, we show in practice that Saint Louis is not like any other city, our revolutionary development here is according to the concrete conditions, needs and demands of the masses of our city. Revolutionary Action – STL is a mass organization of the type that Saint Louis and cities like our own require for the tasks at hand, particularly the escalating fascist and pig (not necessarily exclusive) attacks on our communities as displayed a week ago in Charlottesville. In short, fun and games are over. Revolution is not the simple act of writing graffiti on a statue, running off fascists, or handing out free food and clothes (we do all three, of course), but we don’t think it’s all we can do or that it’s the be-all, end-all. Revolution is a thing that requires millions of people, a correct application of revolutionary theory to concrete conditions in your city, state, and country, and continuous criticism/self criticism and summation of our work to do better and serve the people. Revolution requires teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, etc. all united in appropriate organizations and conducting their work on behalf of the revolutionary movement and the armed struggle for a better world. It is not found at a ballot box, it is found in our streets, our communities, and our homes. Step by step, we will strengthen and develop the revolutionary movement in Saint Louis, and nationwide. Uniting into Revolutionary Action, continuing to learn from principled comrades who are conducting real mass work across the country, uniting with other organizations in our city, and continuing to bring more and more comrades into RA and other organizations of this type that may come about in the future will help us accomplish our revolutionary tasks better, develop our work, and advance the revolutionary struggle in Saint Louis as a model to learn from. We advise comrades around the country to join us and contact us about setting up chapters of Revolutionary Action in their own towns. We’ll help. Let’s do it.
Revolutionary Action – Saint Louis Points of Unity
- We are an anti-imperialist organization. Imperialism, the exploitation of the world’s peoples, the division of the world’s lands and resources among the very few ultra-wealthy elite individuals, corporations, and countries, the extraction of resources from the third world to feed the first, and the enslavement of oppressed and colonized nations both in the United States and overseas is the primary contradiction, or problem, in the world today. More specifically, American imperialism is the number one enemy of the world’s people. We who live in the belly of the beast seek to assist our comrades overseas by working tirelessly to damage and destroy American imperialism.
- We are a self-sufficient organization. We are not funded by any nonprofit, governmental agency, or private foundation. African revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara taught us that “the one who feeds you, controls you”. Our support, material or otherwise, comes from our membership and comradely organizations. We do not ask for or seek anything from the masses of people. On the contrary, we conduct programs such as setting up Little Red Gardens and distribution of essentials such as school supplies, food, and other essentials to not only help our communities but lay the foundations for growing people’s power in our city.
- We are a working class organization. The proletariat, or the class that owns nothing but its labor and is forced to sell our time for a wage, is the class that is destined to overthrow capitalism-imperialism. Why? Because it is the class that has nothing to lose, and it is the progressive class, or the class under whose control humanity as a species will advance to the next highest level. The capitalist class is a dying class, and the proletariat is who will kill it. The proletariat must take the guiding role in the revolution that we are building for, and without the proletariat running things in our organization, we will not be making revolution the way that we should. We welcome and organize students on college campuses as well, but the main thing for students is to be proletarianized, or to be among the proletariat, accept its leadership, and work in proletarian neighborhoods to have their outlook and view on life changed. The student movement is limited because students aren’t a class, and we are a class struggle organization.
- We put our theory into practice. Without revolutionary theory and ideology, there can be no revolutionary movement. But without revolutionary practice, there can be no revolutionary theory! We don’t just sit around and debate theory. We study theory and conduct political education classes so that we can apply these theories in our day to day lives and serve the people better. Furthermore, by analyzing our actions and programs over the long term, and summarizing them, we can produce new theory.
- We uphold and seek to develop self-defense for our communities. We don’t call cops. We don’t trust cops to defend us. The example set by the Black Panther Party, Brown Berets, Young Lords, and other groups that came about as vanguards for oppressed nationality and working class white people teach us where political power comes from and who we can rely on. Ourselves, armed and trained in the use of arms. We don’t need pigs in our community. We don’t want pigs in our community. We encourage and unite with all elements in our communities to build up people’s self defense power and take full advantage of the limited rights extended to us by the pig order to protect ourselves. We also seek to build an apparatus to develop reliable solidarity networks for victims of domestic abuse, drug abuse, and other ills that capitalism, white supremacy, and male chauvinism/patriarchy have brought upon us.
- We are an anti-capitalist organization. Capitalism-imperialism is the root cause of our oppression and the societal ills within our communities. We seek the fundamental overthrow of the capitalist-imperialist system that destroys our communities both at home and abroad.
- We are a revolutionary, working class feminist organization. There can be no liberation of the working class without liberation of women. There can be no liberation of women without the liberation of the working class. Working class women, especially black and brown women, hold up more than half the sky, and in the revolutionary movement, this is more so. We oppose, expose, combat, and fight all manifestations of male chauvinism and patriarchy within the movement and within society.
- We are a revolutionary anti-fascist and anti-white supremacy organization. We recognize that the US is an imperialist prisonhouse that has enslaved New Afrikan (Black), Chicano, Puerto Rican, Hawaiian, indigenous, and countless other oppressed nationalities and whose crimes all over the world, particularly in Asia and Latin America, have driven countless immigrants whose homelands have been destroyed by Yankee imperialism, to this country where the working classes of these populations are ruthlessly and mercilessly exploited not only by the US imperialist system but by capitalists of their own national origin. We also recognize that fascism is a growing and real threat, has a base within the police and armed forces of the US, and must be combated on all sides through a vibrant and active mass movement, mass self-defense training, and within schools, workplaces, homes and neighborhoods on the national, state, local and neighborhood level. Fascism can only be defeated through a militant and revolutionary mass movement.
- We are a revolutionary organization in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Gender binary, along with its norms, expectations, and roles is a construction of a capitalist society, and has been used to oppress countless members of the proletariat. Attempts to control or belittle people based on their appearance, sexual preference, or aberration from the preconceived norms of a heterosexual male-female gender binary is bigotry and violence, and will not be tolerated. There can be no liberation of the working class without the liberation of its members’ identities and personal lifestyles. We fully assert the people’s right to self-identify in terms of their gender and sexual orientation, as well as the right to revise those identities as they see fit. We seek to create an inclusive society in which all are comfortable in their bodies, personal expression, and choice of partners.
- We are a working class internationalist organization. We stand in solidarity with the people of the Philippines, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, and countless other places around the world that are suffering under the boot of American imperialism. Furthermore, we struggle against our own country’s imperialism to provide relief and support to our comrades overseas.