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!

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We Are Not Amused by Your Phony Debate, We Are Not Registered to Vote, We Will Not Participate in Your Murderous Spectacle!

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Today is October 9, 2016. Tomorrow marks the commemorative holiday of the pig Columbus’s expedition to the Americas, a voyage that spelled genocide or slavery for millions of the indigenous people of these lands, the eventual kidnap and forced slavery of millions of Black people from Africa, and the eventual setting up of the settler nightmare, the plague that calls itself “America”. Tonight, two of the phoniest, blood-soaked, criminal, hypocritical pieces of garbage in the country, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, will descend upon our city for yet another phony song and dance that calls itself a debate. Not just descend on our city, but visit the richest institution of higher learning in the city, Washington University, one that is for all intents and purposes closed to the masses of people. They will yell at each other, run their mouths, act like they hate each other, and then call each other up when they get on the plane to go to their next campaign stops and laugh and pat each other on the back. Trump and Clinton are class comrades, they attend each others weddings, their kids go to the same schools, they move in the same social circles. Trump is a loudmouthed, boastful, racist, fascist braggart, while Clinton is a sneaky war criminal and racist that represents a party that has governed this city for years and has done absolutely nothing whatsoever for the masses of poor black people here. Chief Sam Dotson is a Democrat, yet under him we find it against the law to provide material aid and assistance to the houseless, police brutality run amok, and his department playing a role in aiding and abetting gentrification. Now, it seems, he appears to be ready to run for mayor. He’ll fit right in with people like Slay and others. We don’t have time for it. We’re dying out here. No time to vote. No reason to do so. Whoever wins, there will be struggle. Remember, Ferguson, Baltimore, Milwaukee, and countless other cities went up in flames under the watch of our dear President Obama, who was seen by many in 2008 as the ultimate realization of all black people’s hopes and dreams and the end of racism. See what we have now? Where is our power? Where can we make a difference? In the streets, in the communities, not at the polls.

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Mexican comrades show what to do with ballots.

Voting has nothing to offer us. This is not our system, it never has been, it never will be until we hold power. The rich make the decisions, the working class takes them. Without power, all is illusion. Liberal activist groups posing as revolutionaries, groups such as Socialist Alternative and the so-called “Communist Party, USA”, by discarding and refusing a firm rooting in political theory and the lessons of the past, by refusing to orient towards the lowest and deepest groups of people, by abandoning class struggle and choosing instead to take an approach where they hop from demonstration to demonstration, hawking one meaningless third party candidate or “outsider” like Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders (who gave up the ghost to Clinton without the slightest struggle or delay) after another, registering people to vote, and bending over backwards, chasing meaningless reform after meaningless reform, are rightfully rejected by the masses of people who long for and desire revolution. They talk about Fred Hampton, they talk about the Black Panther Party, and then go right on and channel the righteous anger of the people right back into the system. They holler about a “party of the 99%”, while acting like the left wing of the Democrats. Is this the act of a comrade, or is this the act of an enemy? Who waters down their language, acting as if capitalism is not something that is literally killing us every single day? Call a spade a spade, call a duck a duck. It’s not “the billionaire class”, it’s the capitalists and the imperialists, not all of whom are billionaires. We don’t need a “political revolution” at the polls, where some savior comes down from heaven and delivers us to the Promised Land, we need a revolution like that which the Black Panther Party called for. The power is in our hands, we can solve our own problems, we can deliver ourselves, if we dare to organize, dare to  struggle and dare to win. It is the height of arrogance to call yourself a revolutionary and act as if the polls in an American election are a revolutionary center, and push people there to vote for your worthless candidate.

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Flyers from comrades in Austin. Expect these to be going up on a telephone pole or streetlight near you very soon.

What is PYO-STL’s line on the elections? What is the revolutionary line on elections in general? Which candidate do we endorse? Jill Stein? Bernie or Bust? Mimi Soltysik? No. We have no rationale or reason to continue to feed and legitimize this election and this fake democracy for the rich and the exceptional. We are revolutionary working class youth, we are revolutionary students. We see the power in our hands, and in the hands of the masses. We don’t vote. Anyone that asks us to register will get an earful, especially if they call themselves a revolutionary. We boycott elections, and prepare to build something new, in the streets, in the hoods, among the people. This is a spectacle that we have no part of, we do not endorse the harassment of our Latino and Muslim comrades, we do not endorse the drone bombing of our comrades overseas, we do not support the system that incarcerates hundreds of thousands of our friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters every year. Fuck Clinton. Fuck Trump. Don’t vote. Don’t let yourself be shamed into voting. Do we want Trump to win? Black and brown working class people might as well have lived under Trump for 400 years, if we study history. We struggle regardless. We show out regardless. We make revolution regardless. DON’T VOTE! REVOLT!

 

 

 

 

Saint Louis, Chicago, and KC: The Masses Unite Against Trump!

“The masses are the real heroes, while we ourselves are often childish and ignorant, and without this understanding, it is impossible to acquire even the most rudimentary knowledge.” – Mao Zedong

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All people are welcome in Saint Louis, except fascists and racists.

March 11th and 12th were days of immense, sharp struggle in three important Midwest cities. The fascist around whom reactionary forces ranging from Ku Klux Klan leaders to Neo-Nazis on Stormfront to black “conservative” compradors such as Charles Evers and Ben Carson have united, Donald Trump, scheduled rallies in our cities. Saint Louis and Chicago were scheduled for the 11th, Kansas City was scheduled for the 12th. In response, the masses immediately began organizing to combat this reactionary, racist, sexist, Islamophobic, fascistic demagogue and financier parasite. These three cities are heavily populated by working class people, people of Islamic faith (Saint Louis is home to the largest Bosnian Muslim community in the world, outside of Bosnia), Latin@ people, LGBTQI* and Black people, all of whom have a history of struggle against people like Trump and the ideas/practices that he represents and seeks to implement in our communities. All who are enemies of Trump and the forces united around him. Trump should not have expected a warm welcome in any of our cities, especially Saint Louis. Progressive Students Organization – Saint Louis (PSOSTL) started a Facebook page titled “Trump Out of STL” to help organize and unite forces that wished to come out in opposition to Trump. There were also other organizing pages that sprang up, and conversations/plan-making that took place in schools and homes to combat this plague in various forms. The levels of support for anti-Trump action on this page and others ensured that there would be no warm welcome for this unwelcome movement and man. Comrades from Progressive Youth Organization and other groups in Kansas City also prepared an unwarm welcome, with PYOKC organizing a Facebook page which drew massive levels of engagement.

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The masses of Saint Louis won’t stand for fascism.

The morning of the 11th saw lines stretching almost a mile outside of the Peabody Opera House, where the event was scheduled to be held. Individuals from the crowd of Trump supporters waiting for admission were seen on the local news giving interviews regarding how they believe Trump will “bring back America” and how he says what is “on his mind”. They also dared to criticize the struggle waged in Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement, as if they had any right to speak on such issues at all from their position. There were also people selling various pins, hats, and other things, many of which contained various messages of hatred. Anti-Trump forces that had mobilized also arrived early in the morning, protesting outside or standing in line to conduct action inside. Members of PSOSTL and other groups who were in line for admission to the rally to disrupt heard firsthand all sorts of racist epithets, xenophobic comments, and all sorts of ignorant rhetoric from the crowd of actual supporters.  There was struggle outside even before the rally began, as a comrade was righteously stepping on the American flag. Trumpites in line saw this, and immediately began demanding he pick up the flag, and berating him. This didn’t faze him in the slightest. Members of Latinos en Axión and progressive Islamic groups were out in force, along with seasoned veterans of Ferguson and regular people, out to declare their opposition to fascism in their city.

PHOTO BY DANIEL HILL

Fuck a flag.

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Junior exploiters and parasites.

The rally began and doors were closed shortly before 12:30 PM. The PSO group, along with comrades from the local Socialist Party chapter, were turned away at the very front of the line, with the police saying that there was a capacity crowd and there was no standing room. To that end, we began chanting anti-fascist, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist slogans, proclaiming the right to rebel, and joined the masses who had assembled directly in front of the opera house. The speech was allowed to be heard outside through the sound system, which sharpened the struggle immensely. The pig, Trump, said his usual demagogic spiel, speaking about “building a wall”,”taking back America”, attacking other candidates, boasting about his imaginary successes, and generally showing how totally devoid of any actual substance or virtue he is. Outside, the masses loudly booed at almost every foolish “point” that he thought he was making, while cheering comrades who had disrupted inside and were being escorted out by the police. This enraged Trump supporters who were also outside, denied entry and intermingled with the masses outside. The excessive numbers of police who were also outside were obviously biased against anti-Trump protesters, which is keeping in their role as anti-people servants of capitalism and racism. We saw several members of oppressed nationalities, women, and progressive segments getting pushed, shoved, verbally abused, and physically attacked by the reactionaries, yet the police did nothing. We didn’t expect them to.

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Anti-Trump comrade tackled by the police.

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Protester tackled and handcuffed by the police despite being the one attacked.

The struggle inside was escalating as well, and came to a head when comrades from the Artivists and Anti-Racist Collective conducted the major planned demonstration, dropping two banners reading “Caution: Racism Lives Here” and “Stop the Hate” from the balcony, while others below tore off their overshirts showing their real attire, which was covered with anti-Trump and anti-fascist slogans. They chanted the quote from black revolutionary Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom, it is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” These actions shut down the rally for ten minutes.

A fallen sign on the opera house floor. - PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI

Amerikkka has fallen.

32 comrades were placed under arrest and abused roughly by the police for this action, pulled apart after they had linked arms and gone limp, and charged with general peace offenses, despite the real disturbers of the people’s peace, Trump and his supporters, being allowed to do whatever they so pleased. Only one Trump supporter was arrested for throwing a glass bottle, and wasn’t put in the same vehicle as the protesters. The white Trump supporter that we saw push a working class black woman was not arrested. The white Trump supporter that hit our comrade outside, bloodying his face, was not arrested. The Trump supporters who made all sorts of obscene gestures and shouted racist slurs at us as they left the auditorium were not arrested. This is par for the course, the police serve the class and the system that produced and elevated people like Donald Trump. As the Trump supporters left the auditorium, the masses berated them, chanting “Daddy’s Money”, “It is Right to Rebel”, and “Fuck Trump”, along with criticizing and denouncing with one voice individual Trump supporters who dared to approach. They all ran away, climbing into their SUVs and riding back to the suburbs from which they came.

Trump dragged himself to Chicago the night of the 11th, where he also met firm, organized, and resolute struggle from thousands of people. Organized anti-Trump forces took over the auditorium where he was scheduled to speak, leading to the rally being “indefinitely postponed” and leading to a celebratory atmosphere outside and inside. People hugged each other and began singing Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” in beautiful scenes that come only from the people daring to struggle and daring to win. On the 12th, the masses of Kansas City took and held the streets in the hundreds, approaching the thousands, to show that they also will not allow fascism to come and spread unchecked in their city. The repressive police of that city used giant cans of pepper spray (indiscriminately) and horses as weapons, spraying comrades en masse on several occasions. This did not dismay or detract from the determination of the masses of Kansas City to combat fascism and racism. They took and held the streets, tore down barricades, struggled with Trump supporters and reactionaries such as the Westboro Baptist Church.

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Kansas City comrades form a human chain against the police.

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Latin@ comrades out against Trump in KC.

The masses of Chicago, Kansas City, and Saint Louis showed that there is no free platform for fascism in our cities, that we are strong, we are powerful, that we struggle, and we are makers of history. When we unite all that can be united to combat and beat back our real enemies, those who would see us all in internment camps, deported, dead, or in prison, we can win. We can shut it down, and we will hold it down until we win. To do so, protesting Trump when he physically comes to town isn’t enough. The forces that have gathered around him remain after he is long gone, and go back to being judges, police, landlords, and bosses. To beat these, we must have mass organizations to unite workers, students, women, queers, residents and tenants, and we must use living revolutionary science and practice derived from the struggles of the past and incorporating lessons learned in the present to actively secure a better future, beat back and overthrow the system that produces Trumps. We call for revolutionary minded students and youth in Saint Louis to unite with Progressive Student Organization – Saint Louis and for the foundation of similar mass organizations all across the country to wage struggle and win!

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Rejoicing after the rally was cancelled in Chicago

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE MASSES OF SAINT LOUIS, CHICAGO, AND KANSAS CITY!

DOWN WITH FASCISM AND ISLAMOPHOBIA!

IT IS RIGHT TO REBEL!

SHUT IT DOWN!