Statement of Unity of PYO-STL and STP-STL into Revolutionary Action, STL (RevAct – STL)

RASTL

 

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

 

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Summary of STL Struggle: 3/31/17

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Mao.

Reactionary, fascist Klansman Jeff Sessions announced plans to visit our city two days ago, to talk to the local police here and offer them better strategies to destroy our people. To this end, Progressive Youth Organization and other democratically minded/progressive elements, including Socialist Alternative, a local anti-fascist group (GSTL-161), RESIST-STL, and various unaffiliated individuals from our city’s queer, Muslim, African, and other oppressed communities made plans for an emergency demonstration at the federal courthouse downtown, to demonstrate the facts that we are not afraid of or intimidated by reactionaries, that we are not afraid to struggle and will win, and that we are able to form and present a United Front against fascism, xenophobia, queerphobia, racism, misogyny, and capitalism. Naturally, liberal vultures and opportunists, nearly white, also saw an opportunity to come and spew their ridiculous conspiracy theories about Russians controlling the United States government, and dared to try to organize a response. We are clear: we reject the Democratic Party and their ceaseless merry-go-round of kick the can down the road, swallow movements, lie to and swindle the people. They are not the resistance, we and our comrades are. We oppose Sessions and Trump because they are fascists, they are racists, they are enemies. Not because they aren’t Democrats. To hell with both parties and their partisans.

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Fuck the System, Fuck the State, America was Never Great!

The action at the courthouse today was in conjunction with an action by comrades from Soul Much Water and SoulFire Caravan at the West Lake Landfill. West Lake Landfill is a dump site in Bridgeton that contains Manhattan Project era radioactive waste, and a garbage fire. This fire, if it comes into contact with this waste, will cause serious illnesses and force thousands of people to leave their homes. Already, hundreds of people who live in Bridgeton are at risk for or have contracted several kinds of cancers and other rare and deadly diseases because of this waste. The negligence of the local, state and federal government in dealing with these things is due to this being a poor, working class and heavily oppressed area. This is a class issue, this is a race issue, this is an environmental issue. To this end, the comrades chained themselves to 50 pound buckets of concrete, blocked both entrances to the site, and as of 5:30 PM, are still there, tying up the pigs’ time and resources. The foolish pigs, the ones that Sessions came here to speak with, took hours to crack even one container of concrete. They also placed a trans man in the incorrect area of the transport, and a comrade on the ground there says that the assistant police chief refused to engage when criticized on this point. This is yet more proof that pigs are enemies of trans people and all other oppressed people, and will happily murder or expose to harm. The spirit of “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win” was clear and apparent at the landfill today, and we salute these comrades for their daring stand for the environment and the welfare of the people of Bridgeton. At the courthouse, a comrade of Socialist Alternative was snatched by the pigs for simply standing on the steps, “taxpayer funded” property, mind you, that the pigs tell us “belongs to us”, and refusing to move when the pig ordered him to. This was an intimidation tactic, snatch one, scare a couple dozen. Pigs that can’t even find the dozens of missing black girls in this city snatched a comrade for daring to look at them. Cowards. Didn’t work. He was snatched inside the courthouse and threatened with federal charges. This was followed by struggle between the militant bloc and the liberal, Democratic contingent that disgraces every demonstration with their presence. The Democrats surrendered, called one of our comrades an “asshole” who “ruins everything”, and scattered back to their gentrified lofts on Washington Avenue and McMansions in Chesterfield. What a loss! The militant line won out, and we took the steps. Revolutionary chants instead of tired old “This is what Democracy Looks Like”. Calls to release the comrade. Calls for community. Calls against fascism. People speaking bitterness and refusing to leave. Comrades insulting the pigs. Motorists honking their horns in support. This is what we had. This is what we need. This is what we will continue to have. Reporters from the reactionary Saint Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper were stonewalled, the people still remember their reactionary role in Ferguson and the recent LGBTQI* march, when they released names of arrested comrades and put them in harms’ way. The comrade has been released. Sessions was smuggled in and out through a back door, like the cowardly Klansman he is. The sharply dressed, monied pigs scattering in and out the doors of the courthouse received a big surprise, though.

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Pigs getting a workout at the landfill.

Sessions came here to discuss the drug problem. The crime problem. The problems in our communities are there, sure. But Sessions and the pigs cannot solve them. Only we can. The Black Panther Party realized this, and went out to solve their own problems, in their own communities, themselves. The police have nothing to offer us but death and destruction. We don’t talk to them. We don’t engage with them. We don’t like them. They are an occupying force, and they need to be disarmed, defunded, and disbanded. We can solve our problems in our own communities, we don’t need you. Get out, and stay out. If you come back in the summertime, we’ll have a larger welcoming committee and it probably won’t be as…nice as it was today. Might want to ask your boss about his visit here in March of last year.

 

CORRECTION: The arrested comrade was not black, but white. We apologize for this error and appreciate the comrade’s clarification.

People’s Power beats Pig Power! Statement Delivered at February 17th Mobilization against Fascism

img_6096img_6097img_6101We’re here today because we recognize the growing threat of fascism and continuing threat of capitalism-imperialism, that threatens to, and will, if left unchecked, wipe out the entire human species and community. More than recognizing it, we’re here to solidify and strengthen our efforts to fight it in a big way. This is no game. This is reality. It was reality before Trump was even born, it will be reality after he is long gone, if we do not begin to think seriously about and take serious, militant, revolutionary action against this bankrupt order of things. People are dying. At Standing Rock, the masses of indigenous people who have waged a militant and beautiful struggle against imperialist plots to undermine their territorial sovereignty and independence are surrounded by pig forces, under blockade. In our own city, people are left to starve and die in the streets. At West Lake Landfill, a fire is burning that threatens to ignite nuclear waste and poison untold millions of people. Many people see Trump, isolate him and his clique, and fight solely against him, as a person. They make fun of the size of his hands, laugh at his press conferences and tweets, attend liberal demonstrations, push the “Love Trumps Hate Line”, share memes on Facebook. This does nothing constructive, it builds nothing.

 

Neither does trying to engage with mainstream political parties, or this system in general. That includes, especially the Democratic Party. Let us not forget that it was a Democratic administration that arrested an entire minority population and threw them into concentration camps during WWII. Let us not forget that it was Democrats who began and promoted the mass incarceration of Black and Chicano people. Let us not forget that it was under Barack Obama that we marched under a “Black Lives Matter” slogan. Let us not forget that it was under Barack Obama that we were maced, tear gassed, beaten, tortured, for daring to assert our humanity. Let us not forget that it was Barack Obama that prosecuted wars in the Middle East that have killed untold thousands of civilians. Let us not forget that it was Barack Obama that deported more immigrants than any other president. Let us not forget that it was Barack Obama and Jay Nixon, Democrats both, that filled up our streets with pig soldiers. Let us not forget that this city has been run by Democrats for 50 years. In practice, where it matters, the Democrats are no better than Republicans. These fundamental issues, the issues of land, rights, sovereignty, wages, freedom, democratic and civil rights, ending imperialism, ending exploitation and abuse of women and oppressed people, the working class, can only be settled through revolutionary war, through militant and unceasing struggle to the finish. There is no reform, no election, no handout from above that can solve the fundamental issues we face. We are here today to fight Trump, to fight fascism, to defend the rights of all of our people. People’s power beats pig power. People’s war beats pig war. The pigs are organized, and will kill us if we let them. They will not stop until we stop them. History bears this out. The Chinese people in 1949 and 1966 showed us how to deal with pigs. The Black Panther Party showed us how to deal with pigs. The Russian people in 1917 showed us how to deal with pigs. The Peruvian people showed us how to deal with pigs in the 1980s. War to the finish, war to the very end, ceaseless and tireless and merciless struggle. No peace treaty, no negotiations, no sitting down at tables with cops to decide which members of our communities will be eaten.

 

Progressive Youth Organization, Saint Louis is a revolutionary mass organization of a new type for our city, a break with tired old slogans, elections, offices, and business as usual. We are a revolutionary organization composed of the masses of working class youth and students of this city, united in our desire to fundamentally transform society, to replace capitalism-imperialism with the socialist system, where the working class has overthrown the pigs and capitalists and are the masters of their own fate. I’m here today to say that if any fascist, pig, reactionary, ICE agent, or other scum of the Earth dares want to lay a hand on my Chicano comrades, on any of my Muslim comrades, on any of my trans comrades, or anybody else in this pisshole of a country, they will have to pass through me. If you want to touch the brown, you have to pass through the black, and I am not afraid of prison, nor death, in opposition to this pig system. It dragged my ancestors here as slaves, exploited us, and as we speak wreaks havoc in our communities. America was never great. There has never been any justice, fairness, or equality, in this settler colonial empire. To this end, it must be destroyed, and rebuilt anew, to the people’s liking. We can scale the heights, history has shown us how it is done. Let’s get it. Join PYO. Join Serve the People, Saint Louis, a working class organization formed to provide material support to fellow members of our class, and develop leadership from our communities. Study revolution, make revolution!

Fuck Trump! Fuck Pence! Reign of Terror on the Rich!
Dump Trump On His Ass, For his Crimes and For His Class!
The People United Will Never Be Defeated!
Long Live the Resistance! Long Live the People!

Unite and Build A United Front Against Fascism! Off the Pig!

PYO-STL Reportback/Summation of J20

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Down with settler-colonialism, capitalism and imperialism!

 

J20 (January 20th, Presidential Inauguration Day for the pigs and fascists of the world, Inauguration Day of Revolution for the people of the world) was marked by militant and advanced demonstrations in several major cities, including the belly of the beast itself, Washington DC. Trump’s inauguration crowd was dwarfed by protesters, of whom many were ready and prepared for deep and heavy struggle. Comrades embracing all sides of the left ideological spectrum, but mostly anarchists and communists, blockaded checkpoints, engaged in physical struggle with the police, and made traffic unmanageable. Several dozen comrades were mass arrested and charged with felony rioting, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In Seattle, a comrade protesting the presence of the fascist Milo Yiannopoulos at a local university was shot in the stomach by a fascist, and we have reached out in solidarity to the IWW of which he was part, expressing our outrage and unity with them at this atrocious act of fascist violence. In Kansas City, comrades from PYO-KC and other revolutionary organizations led a successful, large mass demonstration on the steps of city hall. We stand with and support all comrades who have been arrested, attacked, or brutalized as a result of their daring to struggle.

 

It is the duty of mass organizations that take militant, revolutionary anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-police, anti-misogynist, anti-queerphobic, and anti-racist theory and practice as our guides to maintain a concise and correct political line, and practice the mass-line method of leadership. January 20th, 2017, in Saint Louis divided into two. On one hand, there were advanced actions and interventions, led by PYO-STL members, anarchists, and advanced segments of the masses. The first was a demonstration outside the Old Courthouse, chosen because of its significance and visibility. The Old Courthouse was where the landmark Scott v. Emerson case, in which an enslaved Black person named Dred Scott sued for his freedom, was brought in 1847. The initial plan was to burn a large American flag outside the Courthouse, however, we committed an error in that we did not adequately mobilize the broad masses for this demonstration, and this led to us being outnumbered by the police at least two to one, who saw fit to continue to try to intimidate and hound us by citing burning ordinances and threaten us with arrest. Non-men members of our bloc correctly pointed out the lack of legal support if we had went on with our plan to burn the flag anyways, and we did not do so. Saint Louis is a city where nonmen routinely turn up dead (murdered) in jails, particularly if they are known as political activists or democratic elements, and we agreed that we were not willing to put our comrades into the clutches of the pig-police to be disappeared. We did desecrate the symbol of white-supremacy, genocide, and capitalism-imperialism by stepping on it, and burned several smaller flags that comrades had brought along. This was met with support from working class people of all races who saw us and saw fit to join us for a brief time, and harsh opposition from petit bourgeois/bourgeois/backwards white people who were on their way to work in their high rise office buildings, to drink, or to lunch. Some stopped to attempt to threaten, fight with, or intimidate us, along with the police, but we stood our ground, prepared to defend ourselves and our comrades, and did not run away or hide from the pigs in or out of uniform. None of our contingent was arrested or harmed. As Trump was sworn in, we were rebelling. The second part of our J20 action took place at Saint Louis University, which many of our members attend or have attended in the past. There was a liberal “Love Trumps Hate” demonstration called by liberal organizers on the campus. We had a megaphone, and we still had our large flag, which we used to intervene and inject some struggling spirit into the lazy, take “selfies”, “see and be seen” atmosphere of college “activism”. An aldermanic candidate was invited, and put forth some pathetic “change by voting” line. We are not “activists”, we are militant mass organizers and revolutionaries. One of our members approached the clocktower, stood on the flag, and began criticizing the liberal nature of the demo, particularly the “love trumps hate” line. He also criticized the acceptance of American imperialism under the Obama regime. This was met with visceral rejection from many of the liberals in the audience, who could not handle such tough facts and objected to the desecration of the American flag. Many told him to shut up, and several older white women approached him and began attacking him with ridiculous slogans such as “love trumps hate”, mentioned the white womens’ rights movements of the 1900s which excluded black women, accused us of hijacking the protest, appealed to how many times they’d protested in Ferguson, and even were so bold as to shout “Black People Matter” at a black revolutionary. The comrade didn’t move, and treated this farcical display of white chauvinism with all the attention it demanded. A woman of Indonesian descent who, so she claimed, had “protested dictator Ho Chi Minh”, approached the comrade and demanded to speak. The comrade allowed her to do so, where she proceeded to praise America. Speaker after speaker used our megaphone to put forth their own incorrect views, we weren’t outraged or upset, however. We had changed the character of the demonstration, what was at first a display of defanged liberalism and weakness, sitting around holding signs and talking quietly to each other, became a mass space and an area where all were free to criticize, air their views, and discuss freely. Several people came up to us afterwards looking to discuss revolutionary theory and practice, and expressed interest in our organization and our work. Debate and struggle were encouraged, and we shut none down. At the end, we were once again prevented from burning the flag by the presence of at least 15 police officers who moved in and were ready to attack us, once again, and the liberals were ready to assist them. We did succeed in cutting up the flag with a pair of bandage shears that a comrade of ours had brought. Our most critical error that day was insufficient mobilization of the masses in popular neighborhoods for our demonstration, one that we have learned from and will rectify in practice for future mobilizations. Later that evening, there was another advanced demonstration downtown, led by individuals who had become politically active during the Ferguson uprising and local anarchists, whose willingness to sacrifice and lay down their bodies for struggle is commendable and admirable.

 

The second aspect of the J-20 activity in Saint Louis was that led by the so-called “legal left”, represented by the Socialist Alternative organization, a Trotskyist organization with a presence mainly on college campuses here, particularly Washington University, Webster University, and UMSL (University of Missouri – Saint Louis). They had made a call for a “student walkout” and instructed people to gather at a certain location for a march. This organization claims to be “socialist” (intentional vagueness), doesn’t much care for conducting political education and raising political level, and is a sort of “catchall” group, generating large numbers for its demonstrations not by adherence to revolutionary line and revolutionary practice or by uniting with the demands of the broadest segments of the people, but by embracing the widest swath of liberals and social democrats, calling anyone who criticizes this watered down, milquetoast, “safe” strategy “sectarian”. It claims to be a cadre organization (led by people who have a commitment to revolutionary theory and practice), but functions as a mass organization for the intermediate. We didn’t attempt to intervene in their parade, but we’re familiar with their formula, gather two hundred or so people for what is essentially a parade around the Central West End or the Delmar Loop with liberal slogans such as “Not My President”, maybe a few Bernie Sanders signs and tired appeals to form a “mass party of labor” and for “democratic socialism” of Scandinavian type, free shit but no people’s power. No militancy, same tired legal-left formula, same results. Consistent misleading of the masses down reformist, electoral dead ends. SAlt, during the election, was pulled and tossed here and there, first endorsing Bernie Sanders, then tailing the Green Party and Jill Stein, while also boosting their shining star, City Council member Kshama Sawant of Seattle. Essentially, nothing radically different from what the legal-left has been doing all along. It’s boring, and the illusion of revolutionary struggle that they have entails electing some shiny candidate, claiming credit for others’ work, and trying to isolate actual revolutionaries as being “crazy Maoists” or “sectarians”, this is par for the course for organizations like SALT and the ISO, and we repudiate them. PYO-STL is not an explicitly Marxist-Leninist-Maoist organization, we have members who are Maoists and we admire and study MLM theory and make use of MLM practice to organize our communities, but we welcome members from all backgrounds, as long as they unite with the Principles of Unity laid out by our organization and accept our organization’s discipline. Our focus is on mass work and application of the mass line, which means going among the most oppressed segments of the population and working to help them solve their problems, using their ideas and desires to build actual people’s grassroots political power in the community, through mass organizations such as PYO-STL and Serve the People, STL. Elections and toothless marches behind police escorts can not help us.

 

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Farce.

 

January 21st marked the “Women’s March on Saint Louis”, along with Women’s Marches in other cities across the country that put over 4,000,000 people in the street. The people that marched were of course, of all backgrounds, but what struck us was the overall whiteness of the demonstration and its organizers. Particularly in Saint Louis, the organizers and those that supported the march showed an all too familiar willingness to silence voices of criticism and descent from Black and Brown women, this was unacceptable to us and we did not engage with this march after hearing that a black woman student was shouted down at an organizational meeting for daring to criticize the white organizers. The issues of trans people were swept under the rug and ignored wholesale in many instances, and our duty as a revolutionary mass organization is to listen to oppressed gender comrades and repudiate cissexist line and practice wholeheartedly. We also repudiate and criticize the fact that the organizers of the march were willing to work with and take marching orders from the police and treat them as friends, instead of enemies that kill, r*pe, and abuse black women every day in this country. When we see a movement, we must ask “for whom”, and it was obvious that this movement did not adequately center the needs and demands of oppressed nationality women, working class women, trans people, and sex workers. In short, it does not address and was not led by the most oppressed groups of women, and read more as a “reaction” instead of a revolutionary movement. While we acknowledge that this event may have politicized people and helped in the beginning of their transition to better politics, we couldn’t in all good conscience endorse it wholeheartedly as an organization. Political line is key, and we will not compromise our principles because something is large or a lot of people are involved in it.

 

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Comrades in NYC oppose Trump’s war on immigrants.

 

What are we to do now? There are repeated attacks on vulnerable communities ranging from oppressed nations people to oppressed gender people to working class people to Muslims and Jews. Our task as a revolutionary anti-capitalist mass organization is to continue to develop and deepen links within these communities to enable us to develop a fighting people’s movement in our city that can not only resist or get people out for a march, but build power and bases from which we can actually defend our communities. Our schools, our neighborhoods, our community centers must and will be no-go zones for fascists, police, and all who would seek to destroy us. We are building a United Front against Fascism and a Coalition to Defend Immigrants in Saint Louis, and call all organizations and groups from within our communities targeted by Trump to join us in this endeavor. As Trump sharpens his claws, we must as well. All out for a mass demonstration led by PYO-STL and STL-RC (Saint Louis Revolutionary Collective) on February 17, 2016 to oppose fascism, capitalism, imperialism and xenophobia!

 

LONG LIVE THE RESISTANCE! BUILD THE REVOLUTION! DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!

How can Red Political Power Exist in Saint Louis in 2017?

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2016 was a radically transformative year for Saint Louis, the State of Missouri, the United States, and the world. Locally, we saw deepening of contradictions across the board. We saw the continued police war on the masses of working class people of this city, particularly Black people. In the depths of winter, the police and the city government continue to attack our houseless comrades, ordering the closing of the last remaining shelter in the Downtown area to satisfy gentrifiers, individuals who make vast sums of money and desire to whiten the area, opening and patronizing businesses that black people are harassed at, using apps like NextDoor to slander and harass the masses of working people, and summoning the police to kill, arrest, fine, and torment. Several times this year, the city Streets Department, under the watchful eye of the police who arrested everybody that attempted to intervene, seized and destroyed property belonging to houseless comrades in the area around the New Life Evangelistic Center which is struggling to remain open in the face of the order to close. The city doesn’t care where these comrades go, they can go to the Mississippi River and jump in for all Slay and the philistines running to take his place care. All that matters to these filthy pigs is that they disappear from the streets, to the white elites with money that control this city. Ferguson and North County remains as it was before 2014, plagued by an almost all white government that lives at the people’s expense, with an occupying police force, fining and taxing and killing like mad. East Saint Louis is still a city in ruins, left to rot by neoliberalism which snatched jobs away to exploit people in foreign countries. Monsanto and other companies that make dangerous chemicals still are located in extremely close vicinity to this area, belching toxic poison into the air that black children breathe. The fire at West Lake still burns, threatening to poison entire communities. The election of the fascist Trump, and the capture of the state government by Eric Greitens and his clique (replacing the Democrat Nixon’s group which filled our streets up with soldiers, ready to kill, in 2014) makes all of these contradictions much more deep, although a Clinton regime wouldn’t have been any better. Fascists roam our streets and our schools, leaving their disgusting propaganda and threatening the lives of our comrades. This makes the work of Progressive Youth Organization, STL, much more important, and means that we must sharpen, deepen, and expand our efforts to further build and protect a revolutionary mass base in Saint Louis and the surrounding area, to serve the people, and to build organized people’s dual power to wage protracted combat and capture terrain against and from organized pig power and reaction.

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They can do all the propaganda and smile all they want, it still doesn’t change their function or their enemy relation to the masses of people. Whoever works with the police or encourages them to come to our communities is an enemy.

The overarching, major issue for the masses of working people in Saint Louis and Missouri, especially Black and Brown people, is the fact that the ruling system and the class it serves is, by design, oppressing and exploiting them. Democrats run this city, what have they done? Contrary to the pathetic and disgusting tailist screeds of our local Socialist Alternative revisionists and reformists, which, during the election season, first supported Bernie Sanders, even going so far as to lead a “March for Bernie”, then the Jill Stein campaign, pathetically and opportunistically tacking themselves on to every pseudo-left social democrat that came around while refusing to actually participate in mass work, because they can’t, or the worthless work of the local Communist Party, USA chapter, which wasted time registering people in working poor neighborhoods to vote, PYOSTL boycotted the elections, because we know that shit won’t change by electing one or another “new” candidate, “Superman” or no Superman. Change comes through our own hands, our own organization, and our own struggle. To engage with this system and its elections in any way, shape or form is to lead the masses down dead ends and channel their hankering for struggle and power into worthless and meaningless acts, a protest every month. Protests are fine, but we see them as shows of force and threats, things that upset the apple cart and make reactionaries feel uncomfortable in their gut, not things that you invite politicians and other representatives of the ruling class to. Whether they be students, workers, or unemployed, people suffer at the hands of the police that shoot and arrest them, the rest of the city and state governing apparatus that peel and pare us for every last dime, exploiting petit-bourgeois business owners that own the only stores in our hoods and charge outrageous prices for expired and inferior food, and slave-driving, parasitic bosses that suck their blood and bones. Particularly, in majority Black, working class areas of North County and North City, there are several areas that have been determined to be food deserts, where the masses of working people have to pay exorbitant prices to get basic foods and other items from small convenience stores. One of our members saw a two day expired loaf of white bread for sale in a Spanish Lake store for $4.

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Stores like the one Mike Brown visited before his murder exploit and cheat the people.

This is shameless, brazen, and unacceptable exploitation. To make things worse, the Trump era will herald a wave of cuts to already pathetically funded social services programs such as SNAP, SSI, and other things that many people rely on to survive. Furthermore, gentrification is beginning to sink its claws into several areas, particularly with the development of the imperialist NGA spy site in North Saint Louis (at the expense of several poor Black families). To this end, our primary and most pressing task for the New Year is to launch a weekly “Serve the People” program under the auspices of PYO, which, of course, will gather and distribute food, clothes, and other necessities, but we are not launching a mere charity program, to do so would make us no different than the Baptist churches that see our people suffering and continue to preach pie in the sky, or Food Not Bombs. The ultimate purpose of a Serve the People program is to help in the process of building a revolutionary dual power in a working class area, and put ourselves among the people, where we can easily listen to and gather their correct ideas and hear their stories of bitterness, accept criticism of our work from them, and develop and sharpen struggle in the area in an all around way, while also raising the political level of the people and having our own raised as well. This program will initially be launched in a working class neighborhood, because the working class is the revolutionary class, and we are working class partisans and revolutionaries. Furthermore, the students who are members in PYO must constantly be removed from their stuffy atmosphere of books and petit-bourgeois ideas/theories, and be amongst the people constantly to shake these ideas, tendencies, and traits. A day of social practice and work with the masses is worth more than 20 books. While the program will be carried out in one working class neighborhood initially, as we grow and develop our capabilities and abilities, we will expand and hopefully have a presence in several working class districts by this time next year. It is imperative that we begin collecting resources for this immediately, particularly durable food items, toiletries, and clothing. Please contact us if you are interested in offering space, have items to donate, or would like to volunteer for this weekly program. Our city calls for this important instrument of struggle and people’s power, showing that we do not need to rely on the pig system to feed and clothe our own people, and we intend to deliver. We also plan to launch a “Voice of the People – Saint Louis” YouTube program, a mass propaganda and journalism organ that will enable us to cover news of mass interest, highlight important issues and struggles that are taking place in our city, name and shame reactionary politicians, police, fascists, business owners, and bosses that abuse the people, collect mass perspectives, highlight our work, and present the revolutionary situation in Saint Louis and, especially, the work of PYO-STL for the review and criticism of comrades across the country and world. We encourage other mass organizations to consider beginning a similar program.

The reactionary pig Missouri legislature recently passed legislation which has an extremely ominous impact for Black and Brown youth in the Saint Louis area. Under this legislation, “fights” at school can now bear criminal charges, specifically, Class E felony charges. To quote a Saint Louis Post Dispatch article:

“Starting Jan. 1, third-degree assault and some cases of harassment will become class E felonies. Harassment will be a felony, rather than a misdemeanor, if the victim suffers “emotional distress” from an act committed with that purpose. The state considers harassment to be a form of school bullying, and harassment is among the offenses school districts are technically required to report to local law enforcement.

Also under the new law, a person who “knowingly causes physical injury to another person” will have committed the felony of third-degree assault.

At least two area school districts, Hazelwood and Ferguson-Florissant, have already interpreted that definition to mean that any student, no matter their age, who gets in a fight can be charged with a felony.”

As we all know, the goal of this system is to introduce as many black and brown youth to the criminal justice system as possible, ruining chances for college and employment, and forcing them to become criminals or work exploitative and dangerous jobs to maintain themselves, effectively throwing them into a revolving door. These efforts stepped up after the revolt in Ferguson. Essentially, the government is trying to punish us for daring to rebel. We refuse to go to prison and jail, and we will fight like hell to ensure that this reactionary legislation is fought lock, stock and barrel. To this end, we will begin efforts to expand our organization into high schools and middle schools, building up an apparatus and conducting educational sessions and studies with high school students to teach them about great revolutionaries and revolutionary movements, build solidarity among working class students from different national origins and backgrounds, and, most importantly, build power in the secondary schools, especially in North Saint Louis City and North Saint Louis County, to develop all around and deep struggle among the city’s youth. The schools must be liberated, snatched from under the noses of the reactionaries, and become trenches of combat. With the VICC (voluntary interdistrict busing program, begun in the early 1980s) ending, effectively, in 2024, this is extremely important work, because students that formerly would have been bused will begin to be concentrated in their own, working class neighborhoods and beginning this organizing in the secondary schools now will solidify and ensure a solid apparatus for struggle in these communities by that time. Any student, teacher, or parent that would like to help facilitate a PYO study group and possibly help develop a branch at a local school, please email us or leave us a Facebook message.

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Our city’s response to Trump in March. It will take more than rallies and protests to struggle against the forces that have coalesced around his moment.

Fascists have been emboldened by the victory of Donald Trump, who has courted them, and welcomed them into his White House. Alt-right is an insufficient cover for what they really are, Hitlerites and pogromists who would arrest and kill every single one of us who do not conform to their wicked way of thought, share their ethnic background, or fit into their mold. Already, we have seen a spike in hate crimes since his election. Trump continues to slander and attack our Latinx and Muslim comrades, on top of state level attempts to deny them access to universities (HB2003, see the Partnership for the Advancement of Immigrant Students Facebook Page to gain knowledge on the efforts of comrades in KC on this issue and the threat that immigrant students face). We seek to develop a similar apparatus to help protect immigrant students here in STL, and welcome any organization interested in forming a coalition with us on this to contact us. We ourselves have a fascist problem in our city, several have slithered out of their holes to paper the city with “Identity Evropa” flyers and antagonize a black student at Webster University with hundreds of racist flyers dumped outside of his dorm room. Obviously, there simply is not enough room for both the people and the pigs without badges in this city, and our third major task for 2017 is to expand the struggle against fascism. The fascists feel comfortable around university campuses, most of the flyers we have seen and removed have appeared around these areas. To this end, we will begin an anonymous reporting system for hate crimes and anti-people incidents, businesses, and institutions, and develop a network to ensure rapid response to these incidents, mass mobilization, and material, physical and emotional support for targeted individuals or families. Also, we would like to point out, the state of Missouri has some of the laxest firearms laws in the United States. Lawful owners of firearms can conceal and carry them anywhere in the state, although local jurisdictions can still institute restrictions (no carry without permit), and stand your ground restrictions now do not require people to back away from a threat in public if there is a fear of bodily harm. To quote an article in the Columbia Missourian:

“Missouri became the latest state to allow residents to carry a concealed weapon without a permit when lawmakers supported the change Wednesday.

Starting Jan. 1, gun owners will be able to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. The remaining provisions in the bill, including the expansion of “stand your ground,” will take effect in 30 days.”

Instead of being afraid like liberals, we welcome this change, are taking advantage of it, and encourage other people of non-white origin, from minority religions, queer people, or who otherwise are threatened with death in this Empire to exercise their right to own and train with a firearm, and take steps to secure their meetings, demonstrations, and events from fascist attack. Guns are not primary, and we are not a “gun club”,  but there is no making revolution while dead, and anybody with the capability to do so should arm themselves without hesitation or delay. Anyone who is interested in joining or assisting in our antifascist work and joining a Saint Louis Coalition Against Fascism, please contact us.

2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, when the workers and peasants of what was soon to become the Russian Revolution dared to storm the gates and overthrow the degenerate and bankrupt government, delivering us the first socialist state. In their memory, and in the memory of all who have advanced our course towards a better and more just world, we will build for revolution in a real way in our city in 2017.

DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!

DEEPEN AND EXPAND PEOPLE’S POWER IN SAINT LOUIS!

STL: Dump Trump On His Ass, For His Crimes and For His Class!

The United States and the world woke up last Wednesday to a major political upset. The fascist, Donald Trump, he who united all sorts of white nationalist, racist, sexist, anti-people elements behind his candidacy, was elected President of the United States. What does this mean, actually, for real people living their lives day to day in our city? It means benefit cuts to feed the rich. It means hate crimes, by the dozen, hundred and thousand. It means more police brutality, more suppression and oppression of our undocumented comrades, it means an emboldened reactionary presence on our streets. Trump’s election and impending inauguration as President of the United States requires us, progressive and revolutionary minded people in this city and across the country, to face hard facts, to cast away all illusions of possible peace under Trump or any other American president, and prepare for militant and hard struggle.

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Illusions. They’re dangerous at this stage. Illusions in our movement, even more so. People who risk being beaten, shot, deported, or arrested in Trump’s America have no time for and can not afford “Peace Trumps Love” rallies, or to shake hands with the police, or to march endlessly in circles at “peaceful protests”. History shows us that any reactionary system, nevermind fascism, capitalism, and imperialism, falls only when people hit it, and hit it hard. To hit hard, we must be prepared and organized. Pushing peace and love at this critical and dangerous point are not revolutionary. Pushing electoral involvement is not revolutionary. What is revolutionary is to organize our workplaces, schools, and communities against fascism, to look out for, serve, and protect our neighbors, colleagues, peers and families in an organized fashion. In Saint Louis, our houseless and working poor comrades face oppression in a rapidly gentrifying downtown, and the Delmar Divide is going to sharpen and grow worse. Pig Chief Sam Dotson has declared war on the houseless, saying that people should not offer them tangible material assistance, and two key links in serving our city’s houseless or housing insecure population, the Bridge STL and New Life Evangelistic Center, have closed their doors. Drug overdoses in this area are spiking. Comrades who have attempted to work with the masses downtown have faced harassment and repression from the city’s police force. At UMSL, half of all students are food insecure, because of a food monopoly on campus and the fact that use of EBT cards is not allowed. The police continue to kill and attack our people, in Maryland Heights a couple weeks ago a black person was beaten mercilessly for nothing whatsoever. Gentrifiers continue to feel comfortable and safe on Washington Avenue downtown. All of these situations require organized, militant responses and militant action, not just to respond, but to build mass power against organized pig power. Across the country, and here as well, militant actions and demonstrations against this deadly order of things have taken place, and will continue to do so. Students are coming out of school, workers are coming out of work to rebel and take the streets. There has been a General Strike called for January 20th, country wide, and there is also a movement to declare campuses sanctuary areas for undocumented students. As fascism bares its claws and puffs itself up, we must as well. PYO-STL is preparing to deal with these issues directly and in a tangible way. To refuse to recognize the need for militant mass organizations, capable of posing a direct material threat to those who would dare to raise a hand to any of our friends and comrades, to deal with and handle the escalating levels of struggle in this country and world, is to commit a grave and dangerous error. Protests, demonstrations, and actions are not just to demonstrate and march around in circles patrolled by peace police and clergy, with a police escort. A protest is a shutdown, a protest costs the enemy money, a protest is a show of force and a threat. Those who take it upon themselves to organize protests and demonstrations and then call/work with the police to restrain the masses’ anger and wrath or to interfere with militant segments of the masses are, in practice, no better than the police themselves. We must reject, shame, and expose them wherever they appear. Comrades in Austin have been struggling with fascism

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We call all progressive elements in Saint Louis to assemble at 2:00 PM at Shaw Park on Friday, November 25th. Black Friday stands to make Donald Trump a lot of money. We’re not going to allow this to happen. We are going to rebel, and continue to do so for the next four years and until all who dare to raise the filthy hands to the growing people’s power are knocked out.

Dump Trump On His Ass, For His Crimes and For His Class!

It Is Right to Rebel!

 

 

 

ILPS-USA 2016 Conference – Right to Resist, Right to Exist: Fight Police Terror, Racism, & Political Repression: PYO-STL Report Back

“Movements don’t ask. Movements demand! Justice isn’t something you can beg and borrow. Justice is something you have to TAKE. You don’t negotiate justice.”  -Frank Chapman

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ILPS Conference. Photo Credit: ILPS-USA

 

PYO-STL was honored to have been invited to send a delegate to Chicago, Illinois, to participate in the 2016 Conference of the International League of People’s Struggle, USA, with the slogan “Right to Resist, Right to Exist”. The conference marked the first anniversary of the police murder of LaQuan McDonald by Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot him 16 times as he walked away. Van Dyke was on the scene for only 30 seconds before he opened fire on McDonald. The International League of People’s Struggle is the largest and most widespread formation of anti-imperialist organizations on Earth today, all members striving and struggling to realize the unity, cooperation and coordination of anti-imperialist and democratic struggles around the world. Attending this conference offered us the opportunity to learn directly from comrades with decades of experience and practice in anti-imperialist and democratic struggle, learn about how strong mass organizations function through witnessing the strength and power of organizations led by Filipino comrades who have been making revolution and waging a powerful and millions strong anti-imperialist struggle for decades, and also learn from comrades in Chicago who have been taking an active role in mass movements and conducting powerful mass work for decades. We were also able to link up with, learn from, and enjoy the company of both old and new comrades from across the country, coming from places as diverse as Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City, the Bay Area, and New York City, belonging to a variety of organizations, ranging from the Filipino women’s mass organization Gabriela to Anakbayan to Students for Justice in Palestine to our own sister branch, Progressive Youth Organization, Kansas City. All of us were united in our burning desire to learn from and assume our role in building a strong, powerful, and sharp anti-imperialist movement in the United States, the belly of the beast.

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ILPS Conference, 2016. Photo Credit: Anakbayan Chicago.

 

The conference opened with a song performance from two Black women comrades, KOStar, expressing the anger and rage of the masses at the continued genocide against the Black oppressed nation in the United States, a message from Palestinian national liberation hero Leila Khaled, and a reading of an address from ILPS Coordinating Committee Chairperson Professor Jose Maria Sison, titled “The People Have the Right to Resist Monopoly Capitalist Exploitation, State Repression and Racism”. Professor Sison expressed solidarity with the masses of the United States who suffer under state repression and set the tone of the conference as one where we, serious revolutionaries and mass organizers, would exchange strategies and advice regarding, as we say, “how to get free”. There were then addresses from Frank Chapman, a veteran Black mass organizer who was railroaded into prison at the age of 19 for robbery and first degree murder, beaten and tortured by the police until he was forced to issue a false confession. He now organizes as educational director and field organizer with the Chicago Alliance against Racist and Political Repression. His address was extremely well received. He linked up the oppression that the masses across the world face and the ramifications both at home and abroad, and taught about the struggle of the masses of Chicago, led by the Chicago Alliance against Racist and Political Repression, for CPAC, or Civilian Police Accountability Council, which is a democratic, popular, and mass demand that would place handcuffs on police in the City of Chicago, and curb the notoriously crooked city executive’s control over the police, placing more power over the police in the hands of the community. The experience of the CAARPR and the CPAC struggle against the police is a good example of effective organization of the masses. Organizers that are integrated into and residing in neighborhoods impacted by police brutality go among the people, investigate their concerns, and organize, mobilize, and struggle around these demands. This struggle is of the masses of Chicago, for the masses of Chicago, by the masses of Chicago. Chapman also expressed gratitude for the Filipino mass organizations taking part in the National Democratic Movement for joining the struggle in the United States against racist police oppression in a big, systematic, wilful, and organized way. This shows the power of internationalism and the ultimate necessity of seeing the struggles of our worker, student, national minority and peasant comrades overseas or from different groups at home as our own, and joining with them in their victories, standing beside them in their struggles, and mourning their martyrs alongside them.

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Frank Chapman. Photo Credit: Anakbayan Chicago

The spirit of internationalism was present all throughout our time in Chicago, with Palestinian, African-American, Indian, Latin American, and comrades from all across the world joining together in the spirit of righteous outrage and anger at our common enemy and determination to struggle against and build a firm and solid movement against the continued oppression and exploitation of our peoples at home and abroad. We also heard from a representative speaking on behalf of Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian freedom fighter and victim of political repression who was kidnapped, incarcerated, and subjected to merciless torture by agents of the fascist state that calls itself Israel. She came to the United States, only to face political repression and be threatened with revocation of her citizenship, prison time, and deportation to Jordan for supposedly lying on immigration documents. Odeh’s case is still being struggled out in court, and it is essential that we mobilize to not only defend the democratic rights of this veteran people’s fighter and hero, but also continue to participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that the Palestinian masses have demanded of us in the West and also continue the struggle against American support of Israel and oppression of those who organize in solidarity with the Palestinian people, on and off college campuses. We also received an address from Sarah Chambers of the Chicago Teachers’ Union, one of the most advanced, militant, integrated with the masses, and powerful unions in the country, and learned of their vicious and long struggle against the crooked Chicago mayor (and former Obama Chief of Staff) and “schoolyard bully” Rahm Emanuel and his administration. The CTU and others brought not only teachers, but black and brown parents and students into the struggle against the racist, neoliberal school system, organizing mobilizations against racist standardized tests and school closures. The struggle for CPAC, the struggle for Justice for Rasmea Odeh, and the struggle in the Chicago schools all have one thing in common: they are mass struggles, they are struggles not only for a petty interest of a certain few, or for trifling demands, these are direct confrontations and class struggles that involve thousands of people. In Saint Louis, the oppression is just as sharp, the struggle against racist administrators, cops, gentrifiers, and all that which would seek to destroy us requires just as much mass organization and leadership. We have a duty as revolutionary youth. Our duty, as laid out by our comrades at home and abroad, is to build the organized, militant and powerful movement against capital-imperialism, against police terror, against all that causes hunger, war, and want, right here in this city. These addresses were followed by a panel session in which all were welcome to ask questions directly to these veteran organizers, and the responses had the same tune: build struggle, oppose imperialism, always remain linked to the masses and orient to them to grow the anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, popular revolutionary mass movement in your city. Do not just mobilize, organize and build the mass movement, the mass organization, and raise political consciousness to prepare for higher forms of struggle. Do not just organize for reforms in a sporadic fashion, take every opportunity to point out and tie in these problems to the greater system of capitalism-imperialism that loots, kills and robs our comrades in the Philippines, Mexico, India, Nepal, and all over the world, and constantly struggle to practice working class internationalism of the oppressed and exploited. Following this, there was a second panel and addresses from Abayomi Azikiwe of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, Lyn Meza of the ILPS International Coordinating Group, and Paul Quintos, ILPS Research Director, on the importance and methods of building a strong anti-imperialist solidarity movement in the United States.

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Mass organizations from across the country representing at CPAC mobilization. Photo credit: Bob Simpson

We then separated into breakout groups, where we struggled with the questions: “How can we link and raise our issues towards building anti-imperialist solidarity in the US?” and “What suggestions do you have for the ILPS CC in strengthening ILPS US?” On the first, our group agreed that we must develop forums and educational activities that are lively and mass based, build coalitions of mass based groups and organizations are necessary to involve the broadest segments of the masses in our campaigns at all levels, link our individual and local struggles to capitalism-imperialism in a palatable and tangible way, struggle to bridge the “generation gap”, and avoid heavy-handed, dogmatic, and inaccessible language in our dealings with the masses of our people. All of these must be used to truly organize the masses, not just appeal to those who are already activists, because we know that a small clique of activists can never hope to accomplish much. It is the masses that make history. The coalitions and campaigns in Chicago involve churches, community groups, student organizations, and other groups that are integral parts of the lives of the masses of people. On the second question, we agreed that ILPS must have materials in different languages and ensure that the materials are digestible by the broad masses of people. ILPS organizations must also work among and build struggle the masses of youth, not just students but all youth. Our group’s findings were then summed up and presented before the conference.

Our delegate volunteered for security duty at the 600 person strong community mobilization for CPAC later that evening. This provided more practical experience in our arsenal in regards to effectively planning and handling large demonstrations, mobilizations and protests, and preventing our comrades from being injured or arrested because of negligence or slipshod organizing/poor planning. We had what we had already known regarding the necessity of maintaining open lines of communication, maintaining contact, knowing the location of the nearest hospitals to the protest route, the location of police precincts, and assigning roles and duties to ensure the mobilization goes well to comrades who have experience or skills that would ensure that situations do not get out of hand and comrades have a strong as steel support network in place should anything happen. We also learned the importance of developing a strict protocol of discipline for organizers and security detail in regards to avoiding or de-escalating potentially dangerous situations.

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Mobilization for the anniversary of the murder of LaQuan McDonald. Photo Credit: Bob Simpson.

Chicago is a city of struggle, as is Saint Louis. Both cities have long and proud histories of liberation struggle, both cities have masses of disenfranchised, nationally oppressed, poor people who are, daily, driven deeper and deeper into poverty and new forms of hellish exploitation. Our involvement in the ILPS conference and our linking up with our comrades from across the country gifted us with several valuable practical experiences, lessons, and stories that have sharpened our ability to do our duty to the masses of the whole world, which is to build an organized, disciplined, and anti-imperialist mass movement here in the Saint Louis Metropolitan Area.

Long Live International Solidarity!