There is an old African proverb; “when you boil dirty water, the scum always rises to the top!” One thing this virus pandemic has certainly done is completely expose the contradictions within the capitalist system. Its done so in a way that even a 12 year old can see the obvious inconsistencies. The only people who cannot see them are the ones who have chosen a set of selfish and reactionary values that prevents them from admitting what is clearly evident.
The capitalist economic system, despite its constant practice of beating its chest and claiming its immortal superiority, has proven to be unable to sustain itself after just over a month of inactivity. Just over a month of not being able to benefit from its operational model of depending upon the exploitation of low paid workers for its profits. Here in the U.S., the heartbeat of international capitalism, the giant clothes retailer J. Crew – who’s clothes Michelle Obama wore – just filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy at the time this piece is being written. And, if things continue, its doubtful they will be the only large retailer to be forced to take this action. They have been in business for over 70 years with 450 retail outlets nationwide. It only took 30 days for them to come to the place where their accounting and legal representatives concluded that they need and qualify for bankruptcy protection. What the J. Crew example should demonstrate for you is it clearly wasn’t just the last 30 days that forced them into the position they are in. Without question, the capitalist model of large corporations depending upon their ability to exploit labor while relying on public subsidies and not paying taxes is a model that isn’t sustainable. Yet, you will see absolutely no public outcry about the fact these corporations will receive welfare subsidies and protections that you will never see.
The Iowa Tyson meat packing plant, ordered to stay open as essential business, has reported hundreds of employees testing positive for covid 19. And, these are the people who have handled the pork that is headed to your supermarket. What collective response is there to this obvious travesty? Nothing, besides people flocking to markets to buy this more than likely tainted meat. One thing is for sure, like the above example, there will be no outcry about the injustices surrounding this clearly avoidable situation.
Meanwhile, there is overwhelming evidence that U.S. politicians gained illegal insider information about the adverse impact the coronavirus would have on the economy. They used this illegal information to leverage manipulating the buying and selling of stocks they held in companies. This news story lasted for a few days and now most people have forgotten it. Along with that one, there is also significant evidence to demonstrate that the empire president has financial stock in the company that produces the hydroxychloroquine drug. That’s the drug that he anxiously encouraged people to consider as a vaccine against covid 19, despite the collective outcries against this by medical and science professionals. Again, this story ran for about a day or two before people have largely stopped talking about it.
These examples are daily indicators of how corrupt the capitalist system is as policy. Despite the fact millions of people in the U.S. choose to ignore these dangerous facts, they are examples that those 12 year olds can dissect with the greatest of ease. Still, some of the most striking contradictions in this society that are being exposed right now are in relationship to the role guns play here. Unlike any other society in the history of human civilization, guns are an inseparable element in the fabric of this empire. We will be hosting a very dynamic discussion on “Guns in the U.S. – Used for Justice instead of Terror” this coming Sunday (4pm to 5pm PST facebook.com/ahjamu.umi). This is such a fascinating topic because of the glaring contradictions. The regular sight these days of Europeans holding tactical weapons at state houses is interesting for reasons beyond what the mainstream capitalist media is ascribing to it. Despite the claims by capitalist media, those of us who struggle to gain an understanding of the workings of the capitalist system, and who have gained an understanding of gun usage, are not frightened by the sight of Europeans with guns. The very foundation of this country is one of Europeans with guns. Guns, terrorism, white supremacy, all of these things are as “American” as apple pie (which unfortunately somewhere along the way became associated with U.S. capitalism in some symbolic sense). What’s interesting is since its no secret that these contradictions are never seriously considered inside of capitalist media circles, how is it that so many people who regard themselves as social justice warriors are so easily taken in by capitalist narratives around this issue? Its not hard to understand why the people on the right act as they do. Although they claim they are “standing up” for freedom and some imaginary fight against “tyranny” we are able to see straight through their dysfunction. At the core of their actions is their fear of losing their real, imagined, or hoped for place within the capitalist system. In their minds, steeled by years of white supremacist indoctrination, they believe that they should naturally occupy higher positions of status within the system then the African, Indigenous masses, etc. As a result, occurrences like the Black Lives Matter movement, immigrant rights, and the shutdowns from covid appeal to these people’s most intimate fears. Their overwhelming terror that they will not be able to hold us off. They won’t be able to maintain a separation in their quality of life and ours. This is true because for them, any type of equality with the rest of us equals failure. As a result, they desperately seek to avoid that from happening. How else do you explain the guns? Who are they going to shoot? And, why are they going to shoot them? The answer is these people have clearly demonstrated through their actions that despite their cries of “bluelivesmatter” or “alllivesmatter”, their disrespectful treatment of police at these rallies, and their callus disregard for their own safety from covid 19, shows all of us that no lives matter to these deranged people. In other words, they are convinced that maintaining capitalist operations is the only way to maintain their position. Their identities. Therefore, their commitment this objective is a principle of them. One they are apparently willing to die for.
These are all the problems of the European warriors for justice who have the historic responsibility to figure out how to craft an effective message to these dysfunctional people. We wish them well in this endeavor, but as was mentioned, our interest is mostly how people who believe themselves to be decent people who desire justice react, or don’t react, to these contradictions? How there is no organized outcry to any of these things from the masses of people who consider themselves just people? And, the contradictions about how guns are perceived, accepted, and discussed is yet another example. There is this prevailing logic within left organizing circles that the left talking about guns in anything short of condemnation at their very existence is contradictory to the goals and objectives of all social justice movements. This logic is rooted in the false belief that the civil rights movement was always a non-violent movement. Meaning, if physically attacked, the role and responsibility of the social justice warrior is to accept that attack without retaliation. Not even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the poster child of non-violent disobedience in this country, held such a dysfunctional position.
The point here is that the capitalist system has implemented an extremely clever strategy of propaganda designed to convince the left that there are particular issues that we betray the principles of the movements just by mentioning. The idea of the left including weapons – not just for self defense – but for the purpose of revolutionary struggle, is betrayal to everything decent is an example. The idea that any criticism of the Zionist state of Israel, anything that it does, even a legitimate critique of an individual person who identifies as Jewish, is anti-semitic as a rule, is an example. And, without question, the idea of African people on the left having arms as a part of any movement we are promoting is considered equal to resurrecting the devil. This is why the Black Panther Party going to the California state house with guns is considered a terrorist act while white supremacist militias showing up at the Michigan state house is seen as people exercising their constitutional right to bear arms. The two groups showed up at those state houses for completely different practical and moral reasons. The Panthers did it because they wanted to challenge the racist concept of eliminating open carry as a tactic designed to prevent the Panthers of carrying weapons during their community patrols against police terrorism. The patrols were happening in 1967 because of the brutal reality of police terrorism that continues with enough consistency to have generated an entirely new movement against it today. On the other hand, these white supremacist militias are showing up with guns when the objectives of the protests they are participating in have absolutely nothing to do with any attacks against any community. The protests are to push governments to open up economies. This is a political question. In no way should or can guns be a part of this type of political question, unless the people holding them in this situation are desperate. In complete fear of losing their standing and position in this capitalist white supremacist system. And, their guns symbolize their willingness to kill and/or be killed before they will ever accept anything short of a recognition of their entitlement and privileged position in this society.
Despite ill refutable logic to separate the two examples, the Panthers are still seen as the thugs and the white supremacists as “very good people.” This is only possible because of the lack of political education within this society. By political education we do not just mean reading books and we certainly don’t mean people individually devouring books. Reading in any form is good, but when we say political education its important that we clarify exactly what we mean. We are talking about a process that starts with the collective study of comprehensive reading materials. By collective we mean a consistent group that engages in studying the same concepts, together. A collective group where there are consistent meetings to engage this study. Where facilitation of these meetings is rotated to ensure the collective development of facilitation skills for all participants. Where the materials are studied and not just read. What’s the difference? Just reading means you glide through the material. No questions to ponder and research. No process to engage the elements of the reading you may not have understood. With study, there are always collective questions that the group engages together. There is always study where terms and concepts are broken down and discussed to ensure clear understanding on behalf of all who participate. This is what collective political education actually looks like. And, once those pieces are in place, the process of collective criticism/self criticism must be included. A process where our shortcomings are discussed, openly, and those who issue criticism have an understanding and responsibility to help those they are criticizing address correction of the contradictions. Just reading through this section it should be quite clear to you that participation in that type of political education will bring anyone involved great skills in the areas of comprehension, articulation, and practice of the principles being studied.
Since nothing anyone who has only participated in U.S. organized “education”, whether public or private, comes close to that type of comprehensive political education, people here have nothing to help them combat the contradictions that place their lives in danger. This is why people who are serious about protecting people and building capacity for people to fight back effectively, have to start talking about the need for organized political education. These forces have to start implementing this component into their organizations immediately. People on the left have to stop pretending that placing all of our faith in single candidates is going provide us the strength we need. Even if a candidate is filled with nothing except the most noble of principles, the fact the masses of people are as politically immature as this piece provides examples to demonstrate, the sincerity of individuals is useless when placed in opposition to this well organized, well organized system. People on the left have to release this fantasy that spontaneous eruptions are going to morph on their own into disciplined and consistent struggles to build new and better societies without any organized process to facilitate that happening. These people who believe and continue to flaunt that theory have absolutely no examples to illustrate its success and they are not even in the streets during these uprisings practicing what they claim they believe in. This is a fairytale that is dangerous and unproductive.
If the concern is organized political education is so much harder than the bourgeoisie political model, or the spontaneous model, you get no argument here. It is much harder, but if we truly want a solution we cannot be searching for easy work around. Clearly, the only solution is to confront this problem of lack of political education head on. We again ask everyone reading this far to ask yourself if you are in an organization? If not, how do you expect to solve these problems on your own? At least, at this point you have to acknowledge your lack of seriousness about addressing these problems in any mature type of way. For those in organizations, you have to ask yourself do you have an organized political education program? If not, what steps do you need to take to build such a program? We have offered, numerous, countless times, to offer to help you develop such a program in your organization and thus far, only a handful of people have responded with serious inquiries about this. If you have a better solution that will work better, we are certainly more than happy to hear it. On that last one, we again will hear crickets. Again, and again, for those who are serious, we encourage you to engage this work, starting with the building of organized political education within your organizations. Everyone is depending on us getting this right.