It is well known that the black nation in the United States, as the most oppressed segment, is exploited on several fronts. Black people were the first capital in this country, the original proletariat, or working class. The entire economic foundation of this country, its standing as the richest in the world, was laid by the forced labor of African people on this land stolen from indigenous people, who were then subject to merciless genocide. There could have been no Industrial Revolution without the value beaten out of Africans by force. It is essential for all who desire to make a revolution in this country to firmly unite with the masses of Black people, particularly in Saint Louis, which can accurately be described as a black city. Without the active leadership and participation of the masses of Black people, there can be no question of revolution in this country. Places such as Atlanta, Dallas, Baltimore Memphis, New Orleans, Washington DC, and Birmingham with large numbers of black lumpen/proletarians will be the cradles of revolution in the USA. All who downplay the importance of the black masses and their leadership will be swept into history’s trash can.
Through mass work, interviews, and investigation conducted in our city’s Baden neighborhood over the past couple weeks, we have discovered that a business located at 8304 N. Broadway, “Vinh Chop Suey” and an adjoining convenience store, have established a negative reputation among the working class Black people who reside in this community. Dangerous substances are sold, drug dealing activity is tolerated, and alcohol and tobacco products are sold to minors. Everyone knows that liquor and tobacco products are targeted to black youths by capitalists and the police come when it is time to gentrify using these “public order” crimes (minor in possession, etc.) to justify sweeping people off the streets. This is a trap. Furthermore, the owners of this and similar businesses all over the North Saint Louis area are not Black, and do not live in the communities that they destroy and exploit. The working class, Black character of the Baden neighborhood must be maintained and kept free from poisons such as k2, Heroin, crack cocaine, and alcohol. If a business is operated in a particular community, it must be run by those who live there or who have ties there, it must not sell dangerous poisons and drugs, and it must truly serve the community and contribute to mass initiatives and programs to help the people that live there. There are no Black owned businesses in Mexican barrios or Asian neighborhoods. Why should there be Asian and Arab owned businesses in Black neighborhoods that contributed nothing whatsoever to the communities there? Are Black people simple dogs to be exploited by white and nonwhite/nonblack alike? NO! The Black Panther Party, which was the most advanced revolutionary organization in American history, showed how to handle businesses that tolerated drug peddling and refused to contribute to the community. These businesses were warned that if they did not reform their behavior and do as the masses told them, they would be put out of business by any means necessary. Pickets, boycotts, and escalating levels of activity made this a reality. Action must follow statement. To this end, we unite firmly with and take up the call for a general boycott of all businesses that have a negative impact on the community by their presence. We will not patronize and firmly encourage RA-STL supporters and the broad masses to avoid patronizing businesses such as “Vinh Chop Suey” and the Phillips 66 station where a black man was murdered by a store clerk over a dollar’s worth of candy. No more sweeping under the rug. We will furthermore participate in pickets of such businesses and propaganda activities to broaden the boycott campaign. We encourage the patronage of black owned businesses that have a good reputation among the masses of people and who contribute to the community.
Furthermore, it has come to our attention that white man John Costello of Mokabe’s, a local coffeehouse that is seen as a sort of “headquarters” for the activist community after the Ferguson uprising, is a serial abuser and exploiter of Black women. We recognize that Mokabe’s is widely known as a safe space for queer and other activist activities and has a good reputation well earned. We would like it to remain so. If it wants to remain such and not have its reputation destroyed by its association with a known serial abuser of black women, it will not mishandle this out of liberalism. A firm line of demarcation must be drawn. One white man, or the masses of black women who have been his victims. If Mokabe’s is no longer a safe space for people of color, there will inevitably be a new space that will come about. Nothing is immortal. Mao Zedong said:
“To let things slide for the sake of peace and friendship when a person has clearly gone wrong, and refrain from principled argument because he is an old acquaintance, a fellow townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one, an old colleague or old subordinate. Or to touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The result is that both the organization and the individual are harmed. This is one type of liberalism…To see someone harming the interests of the masses and yet not feel indignant, or dissuade or stop him or reason with him, but to allow him to continue. This is an eighth type.”
It is well known that white cishet men insinuate themselves into revolutionary spaces and movements to enable them to practice their sexual opportunism. This is also known as “macktivism”. This behavior is 100 percent intolerable. It is also well known that they use personal connections, money, and access to resources to intimidate, bribe or frighten people. We are revolutionaries. We are neither intimidated, nor frightened of or by anybody or anything. We will not sell out our principles or dedication to defending the interests of the masses for money. There have been several documented incidents of his behavior that have been confirmed by several witnesses. We commend the non-male employees of color who are struggling against this misogynistic and racist behavior. As of now, our official position is that John Costello is a bad element, and will actively work to remove him from spaces, demonstrations, and activities that RA-STL members attend, especially when nonwhite women are present. He is unsafe. We are guided by proletarian feminism in theory and practice, which is the fruit of the struggle of nonwhite women in places such as India and the Philippines. To allow an unrectified and unapologetic abuser among us, in our spaces, is a mockery of the millions of black women who have died at the hands of white men. Until such time as the victims of Costello and the masses of women activists of color are satisfied, this is our line. We encourage other organizations to unite with this principled stand against white misogyny, sexual abuse, and racist exploitation in the Saint Louis movement, if their principles are firm and their dedication to the people is true.