The criticisms of this tactical approach is often that it isn't "revolutionary" enough to those issuing the criticism. They claim that May Day must be a day where people hit the streets and challenge the established state structures e.g. police. They will accept nothing short of militant confrontation. Not only do they reject the notion of organization, but they consider the suggestion treason. They conflate revolution with spontaneous rebellion. Without even getting into the ideological shortcomings of their approach, the practical implications of where they stand are full of contradictions. First, for those of us who come from the African liberation movement and the inner city communities known as ghettos, along with committed activists with similar experiences, we have no romantic attachment to this emotional need to confront police. We don't possess this desire because we are forced to confront police on a daily basis. We are forced to interact, confront, challenge, fight, and survive capitalist state institutions as a way of life. It was and is our people and communities who have been and continue to be the primacy targets of state repression. Why? Because unlike practically every other community, the masses of African people have never succumbed to allying ourselves with U.S. imperialism. After 9/11 there were no multitude of U.S. flags hanging our communities. That isn't the reality for our people because we know this system is not in our interests. That's why we continue to burn this country from plantations to cities. Many of us have lived through urban rebellions so we have seen all of the broken windows, adrenaline rushes, arrests, murders, funerals, raising of bail money, and trauma that we need to see to understand that although there is certainly value in these rebellions, they by themselves will not get us the true liberation we need and deserve. We have seen the tanks come rolling into our communities. We have stared down the barrels of weapons from National guards people. And our exposure to this hasn't just been limited to urban rebellions. Even Africans attempting to get their families to safe spaces after Hurricane Katrina, and other disasters, including even just the electricity going out, routinely face these same circumstances. So, we get no adrenaline rushes from all of that and many of us have grown past the patriarchal fueled machismo push to define progress for our society based on individual adventurism.
Instead, we rebounded from the effects of state repression e.g. COINTELPRO, by heeding the words of our elders who suffered through that period. Kwame Ture, Assata Shakur, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Ture, Malcolm X, etc., they told us. Organize, study, agitate, build capacity, create community that can sustain a fight against the enemy because this fight will be a protracted fight. They told us that we need to build up the human and material resources to fight for a long time so that we can win. So, we know that calling for people to join organizations isn't the testosterone filled rush that many of our White brethern and sistern desire, but it is the strategy that will help us build that capacity to bury capitalism. How? Why? Because we cannot get the masses of people to understand the contradictions of the capitalist society we live in without them engaging the system beyond just existing within it. The best way to engage the system is to organize against it because by doing so, you have to work with others to overcome the pitfalls that the capitalist system places in your way every single day. You have to learn how to work with others to resolve the problems together because you learn quickly that you cannot resolve them by yourself. You learn to see this because by doing the work you know you can't stop police terrorism without capacity. You can't stop poverty without capacity. You can't stop systematic oppression like white supremacy and patriarchy without capacity and you certainly won't last very long trying to fight capitalism without it. The only proven way for people to learn how to engage the system and figure out ways to fight against it is by getting people involved in organizations fighting for justice. When people do this, they learn how to work together with people with different ideas and different ways of seeing the world. They learn how to overcome obstacles. You see, the individualistic European cultural approach of the Pacific Northwest isn't interested in the most part in learning how to build capacity because its much easier for them to just call for rebellion because that's an easy way out. It makes them feel strong against the powerful and highly organized system. It allows them to tell themselves that they are making a contribution when in truth, they are just appealing to their egos so that they can sleep, with with the oppressive system in tact. Its much harder to work with people, even your own confused families, to convince them to get interested in organizing for a better future then it is to break windows or even cast a vote. That's why more people are talking about breaking windows and voting than they are organizing. I would bet that whichever place we are talking about, most of these people function with this same set of flawed values in other areas of their lives such as personal relationships, work, raising children, etc. Better (easier) to sabotage it then deal with it, work it out, and turn a dysfunctional situation into a productive one.
Yes, our ask today is to join any organization. Not because that's the solution. Only because its a tactical approach to moving closer to the solution. For us, the solution is Pan-Africanism leading to worldwide communism, but the question is always how will we get there? Since communism by definition is a system where people's level of consciousness has evolved to the point where they understand their responsibility to society so completely that the need for state institutions is no longer needed. Again, the question is how will we get people to this heightened consciousness? The answer is by getting people engaged because if they join an organization, even one we don't agree with, we can now work with them and push to do the real work of building institutions of resistance in our communities. If the organization they actually join isn't up to the task, and they are serious enough to become dedicated to doing this work, then they will figure out on their own that the organization they are in is not the answer. That's why Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam and started the Organization of Afro American Unity. That's why Kwame Ture left the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and then the Black Panther Party, the join the All African People's Revolutionary Party. If you know anything about Malcolm, you know that had Malcolm never joined the Nation of Islam he certainly would never have come to the revolutionary Pan-African consciousness that caused him to be assassinated by U.S. imperialism. The young Stokely Carmichael without SNCC and voter registration work would never have grown into Kwame Ture the revolutionary Pan-Africanist. If people don't join organizations, any organization, they are left with only a bourgeois perspective of how change takes place, how the ideological transformation occurs, because they will not have any practical experience with it. This is the problem with people in this region, primarily the so-called white left. Talk about the dominance of bourgeois ideology? Many of them really believe they will effect change by being individual social media soldiers. Or, maybe they don't believe that. Maybe they are just really satisfied with the ego release that macho posturing provides them.
May Day today in Portland was a success. The organizations present talked to dozens of people and signed up many potential recruits. For us as revolutionaries, the real work isn't the May Day rally, its the work that takes place now going forward. How can we get more people engaged and involved. If there is power in numbers, and you believe that statement, then by now our strategy should be pretty apparent to you. So, don't waste your time with your baseless criticisms of our work. We aren't listening to you because why should we? Up to this point you haven't demonstrated much besides your ability to bump your gums. And while you are doing that, our quite effective strategy will continue to be building capacity to fight our enemies. So, rest assured that we'll be right here. Building, building, building, and hopefully many of you will join us. For those who won't we look forward to you continuing to critique our work because were it not for that, you really wouldn't have much else to talk about would you?