Theses on Counterinsurgency Tactics Within the New Afrikan Revolutionary Movement
The strategy of counter-insurgency is a necessary one for the continued existence of the current order of things. New Afrikan revolutionaries, who can be defined broadly as those who share the goals of the destruction of the capitalist-imperialist United States, extraction of this country’s blood debt owed us through force, and the unity of will and action with other colonized revolutionaries, should be aware of these strategies of class and national peace and struggle against them when they appear. Throughout the country, we see the same trends taking different forms according to the concrete conditions of the uprising as manifested in each city. Many new activists are easily frightened by those with “clout”, defined as prestige within small insular circles of other liberal activists, oftentimes internet based or firmly rooted in the petit-bourgeois protest aristocracy, but we must always be aware of the fact that correctness is determined by the masses of people and firmly root ourselves in revolutionary theory. We must consistently and consciously struggle to conquer leadership and win the masses away from opportunist, revisionist and reformist leadership. This only comes from rooting ourselves physically among them and being regular fixtures in the community. Without this, they obviously will not be inclined to listen to anything we have to say, correct or otherwise.
First, what is counter-insurgency? What is insurgency? Insurgency is defined as an “active revolt, or uprising”. Counter-insurgency is thus defined as an active attempt to slow down, prevent, or end an uprising. The US military has written much on counter-insurgency, and it highlights the necessity to sap the mass base from Maoist insurgencies. We New Afrikan Maoists realize that the people are our best security. Without them, we have and are nothing. Revolutionary military and political theorist Assata Shakur said: “No movement can survive unless it is constantly growing and changing with the times. If it isn’t growing, if it’s stagnant, and without the support of the people, no movement for liberation can exist, no matter how correct its analysis of the situation is. That’s why political work and organizing are so important. Unless you are addressing the issues people are concerned about and contributing positive direction, they’ll never support you. The first thing the enemy tries to do is isolate revolutionaries from the masses of people, making us horrible and hideous monsters so that our people will hate us.” Now, connect this to the behavior of our liberals, opportunists, and revisionists within the movement. Oftentimes, they will even give lip-service to the right to rebel. Comrades in Boston can attest to the fact that an organizer from a to be unnamed revisionist party sought to lead the masses at a combative demonstration out of the streets and back onto the sidewalk while wearing a t-shirt with this same Mao quote.We have also seen liberals, opportunists and revisionists falling hand in hand with the fascist Trump administration in labeling revolutionaries and the combative masses as “outside agitators” and agents provocateur. While agents provocateur are a constant threat, it is a conscious counter-insurgency strategy to label all militants agents provocateur. The most extreme and disgusting example of this is a video of liberal protest police in Washington, DC. handing over a militant directly to the police, literally picking them up bodily and carrying them over to the police line. This reprehensible behavior should be immediately, physically challenged by everyone present and the peace police should be expelled from all protests at which militants are present. This is line struggle in the streets, which is class struggle. Any active, planned engagement with the police, whether it be meeting with them, having them offer escorts to demonstrations, is counter-insurgency and militants must mercilessly repudiate those who promote this engagement. A New Afrikan anarchist comrade in Rockford, writing for IGD, correctly points out: “The counter-revolutionary tendencies within the black community are strong. Many of these so-called organizations for black empowerment or anti-racism are clearly linked to the racist city government. Groups like 100Strong, the NAACP and others came out the next day with white city leaders to “condemn the looting.” Some of these groups even helped to clean and fix up the police station the day after the rebellion. These groups do not represent black power, they represent deference to the white power structure. They utilize language and aesthetics of black power such as the clenched fist but they are clearly very much tied to a politics of respectability. They must be opposed at every moment. Revolutionaries must not have any respect for organizations or individuals who sell Black Lives Matters t-shirts or Black Panther hats while in the same moment host cookouts and take photos with the pigs.” This contradiction, that of aesthetically and rhetorically praising the BPP and the uprisings while walking hand in hand with the police, offers excellent opportunities for exposing the petit-bourgeois theoretical roots of opportunism within the New Afrikan revolutionary movement.
The second and most prevalent form of counter-insurgency is attempting to mobilize the people for voting and continued engagement with the ruling class order of things. Revolutionary Communist theoretician George Jackson said, correctly: “When any election is held it will fortify rather than destroy the credibility of the power brokers. When we participate in this election to win, instead of disrupt, we’re lending to its credibility”. This goes for so-called “Left” campaigns such as those of Howie Hawkins. Regardless of your justification, you applauding ballot access for such people, sharing their platforms, etc. is engaging in open counter-insurgency efforts trying to drag the lowest and deepest masses who overwhelmingly do not engage with the electoral farce to the polls. The most insidious is the defection of Angela Davis to the camp of Biden-Harris, despite centering much of her theoretical work around prisons and gaining credibility among the masses in the 1960s and ’70s for her just struggle in support of the Black Panther Party and the Soledad Brothers, and the state repression these stands brought. We have also seen such former movement stalwarts as Bobby Seale and Bobby Rush, who co-founded the Black Panther Party branch in Chicago with Fred Hampton, capitulate to the lowest forms of electoral cretinism, with Rush himself being a US Congressman and repudiating his Black Panther Party record. This is lying to the masses, seeking to fool them. It also builds a culture of impotence and weakness among the Left which I have consistently critiqued in my written pieces — we must build real, concrete power. Power was defined by Dr. Huey P. Newton as “the ability to define a phenomenon and make it act in the desired manner”. For example, if we have an abusive landlord in the community, the correct course of action would not be to appeal to the alderman (who, chances are, is also a landlord and thus an enemy of the people), or to the State (which is bribed and bought out by Chambers of Commerce and other bourgeois interest groups). Rather, the correct, powerful thing would be to organize tenants of said landlords for a direct confrontation, whether it be at the complex or at their offices. This is what builds power and confidence of the people. The organized, disciplined, conscious activity of the people under the leadership of the most advanced, the vanguard, is what builds power. Without this understanding all talk of Revolution is empty rhetoric. Anyone who is still engaging with the electoral system in any way, for any reason, is either engaging in willful deception of themselves and of the People, or needs to root themselves more firmly in the masses to realize the futility of their mission.
Thirdly, we have concessions to and active promotion of Black capitalism as a revolutionary solution. This trend is most notoriously represented by the Jay-Zs and Beyoncés and those who accept them as ideological leaders of our people and consequently smuggle bourgeois ideology into the movement. The “LLC twitter” cliques who see Black business ownership as a revolutionary thing are also promoters of this ideology among the masses. In my piece on the lumpen I highlighted how this trend is particularly prominent among the semi-proletariat and certain strata of the New Afrikan proletariat. I said: “Most of these youth aspire to either get a good job, become a skilled tradesperson through attending technical school, or own a small business, such as a barber shop. Even after being arrested, completing a prison term, and being released, the aspiration to become “independent” through small business ownership still remains, and I personally know several individuals who have been successful in this aspiration. Even if they become petit bourgeois, the character of these individuals is still more often than not progressive, as they are still nationally oppressed and their businesses are subject to a myriad of petty rules and regulations that oftentimes drive them into bankruptcy and failure, thrusting them back into the lumpenproletariat.” The Black capitalism strategy has its roots historically in the Booker T. Washington model of development, whereby Black people in the South were expected to engage in endeavors such as buying farms and setting themselves up in skilled trades and avoid politics or what could be interpreted as striving for “social equality”. This approach was carried further by the Richard Nixon administration as a direct and open counterinsurgency strategy in the late 1960s to combat the rise of the Black Panther Party, RAM, and other revolutionary organizations. This line is insidious because, for one, it doesn’t work as I explained in my lumpen piece, and for two, it promotes class peace and glosses over class struggle within the New Afrikan nation. The line “we all Black” has correct elements, as the national oppression of the New Afrikan people is a constant regardless of class, but we must never forsake class struggle within the nation because the upper and middle classes of the New Afrikan people have material class interests that align themselves with capitalism-imperialism. Akon owns mines in Africa, and Beyoncé’s clothing line profits off the exploited labor of nonmale people in Bangladesh, Haiti and India. Yet they diverge. As these comrades explain: The essential difference between the Black middle class and the white middle class is strategic: the Black middle class uses Black proletarian struggles to advance its own cause. Since it is not strong enough to advance its cause on its own, it leverages the fear of riots and street protests to push its own agenda. The Black middle class cannot completely dissociate itself from the militant phase of the rebellion because it needs to wield riots and violence as a potential threat over the rest of society. At the same time, the Black middle class cannot identify itself with the riot, because to do so would contradict its own desire to be integrated into the capitalist state, whose laws and order secure the existence of private property.
While we should not openly oppose Black economic self-determination efforts, we should encourage the development of cooperative economics and people’s mutual aid under the guidance of revolutionary elders and experienced, progressive community members. This is not about getting a bag but ensuring that our people survive capitalism-imperialism while step by step increasing their revolutionary preparation. This was the guiding motive behind the Black Panther Party’s service to the people programs. Our slogan and watchword should be “we take care of us”. These programs are also useful because they help demonstrate how little the government cares about the New Afrikan working class, and also offer perfect opportunities for our social investigation and class analysis process. We should see these as just one aspect of a broader proletarian revolutionary strategy with the goal of liberating our communities through force, but this can only be done through the building first of a solid mass base. In certain circumstances, small business owners may prove themselves allies of the movement, offering space and donations for our work. As our work grows, we should be prepared for them to vacillate and swing partly or fully over to the side of the enemy. Regardless, we must be prepared at all times to patiently explain, discuss, struggle through, and take advantage of contradictions. We must become capable of exerting power and making phenomena act according to our will, which is the will of the broadest, lowest and deepest masses.
Let’s close with how counterinsurgency manifests itself in the movement. The “movement”, as we interact with it often, is full of liberals in the Maoist sense who operate on a petit-bourgeois friendship politics basis. It’s not how correct your line is to these types, it’s who you know and who you are cool with. So, if a comrade offers a criticism to someone who moves like this, in a counter-insurgent fashion, they can quickly expect to find themselves “called out” and “cancelled” for “splitting the movement” or some horseshit. Liberals are afraid of struggle, and promote false peace. False peace with the police, false peace within the movement, false peace with the capitalists. We need to be aware of this and root ourselves not in the “activist” with blue checks on Twitter, but in the people, the “rank and file” who turn out at protests and more often than not have the same critiques that we have. We want the people that throw the bricks and fight the enemy. Not those that seek to drag them to the polls or put them in prison. We want to recruit them, learn from and teach them, and depend on them, the real masses. Activist gossip only circulates among the circles of “organizers”, the masses oftentimes are not in these internet circles and thus are, as Mao said, blank, meaning not loyal to either side in activist civil wars and firmly opposed to the counter-insurgency behavior. When people stop going to protests, they are expressing their dissatisfaction at the petit-bourgeois factionalism and cliquishness and their desire for a movement in which they feel comfortable being themselves and building community. It is our task to build such a movement. A second counter-insurgency strategy is to pose as friends and, in private, express support for revolutionary goals. We should ask ourselves why they are afraid to speak openly? Who do they serve? Who is paying them? If they are real Communists or revolutionaries, why do they not heed Marx’s call from the Manifesto? Always investigate and, as Lenin said, look for the interest of a class. Thirdly, be aware and ready to defend against redbaiting, which commonly gets activists in the Philippines shot and killed. Labeling every revolutionary and militant activist an “outside anarchist” or in cities with a Maoist movement, a “Maoist”, is a direct invitation to state repression. Ultimately, we will struggle against these tendencies with a strong foundation in theory and an even stronger basis in the people.