“No matter what color you are, there are only two classes.” – Fred Hampton
Racism is not complicated. It is a social construct of capitalism to divide the masses and justify the oppression and super-exploitation of Blacks and other people of color for the benefit of the monopoly-capitalist ruling class. People were not always racist, nor will they always be racist. Racism, like nationalism, belongs to a specific historical period that is coming to an end. Capitalist-Imperialism is the final stage of the Epoch of Exploitation that began long ago when society divided into classes. After millennia of gradual development under the Epoch of Primitive Communalism, human society came to a stage where human labor was producing a surplus of wealth. The expropriation of community-produced wealth and its conversion to private property, and the division of society into exploiting and exploited classes led to the beginning of the long Epoch of Exploitation.
People were made into property and exploited for their labor power as slaves. This was the so-called “Dawn of Civilization,” and beginning with Patriarchy, is the root of all the major “World Religions.” Each of the great civilizations of antiquity was built on the backs of slave labor. Between the period of ancient slave-based civilizations and the modern era of capitalism, there was a transitional period of feudalism – at least in Europe. After the fall of the Roman Empire, came the era known as the “Dark Ages,” or “Middle Ages,” when the infrastructure of the Empire collapsed and slavery was replaced by serfdom. Serfs were peasants under bondage to the land holdings or fiefs of their “Lords.”
The “Nobility” were a militaristic class on whom the kings depended for soldiers and taxes. Feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs. Feudal society was divided into three Estates; the nobility, the clergy and the peasantry. Christendom was one big theocracy divided into kingdoms, duchies and so forth, bordered to the south by the theocracy of Islam and to the east and north by pagan barbarian cultures. When the kings and nobles were not fighting these, they were fighting each other.
Around the 11th Century, rapid urbanization began to occur and another “Estate,” that of the burgers – town-based merchants and craftsmen emerged. The Communist Manifesto explains: “From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.” Some of these grew to be very wealthy and influential, obtaining trade monopolies from their kings. It was this rising class that benefited most by the “Discovery of the New World,” colonialism and the growth of world trade – in particular, the slave trade. As Mao expressed, “The evil system of colonialism and imperialism grew on along with the enslavement of the Negroes and the trade in Negroes…” This made the bourgeoisie rich enough and powerful enough to overthrow the old feudal order and remake society in its own image and interests.
Capitalism also brought forth another class – the modern proletariat – the class of wage slaves — who must survive by selling their labor power to the capitalists for less than its value. Between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is an intermediate strata known as the petty-bourgeoisie (literally “petite” or “little capitalists”). They are not a true class but a catch-all of people with various relations to the means of production.
The new epoch – Communism – is a global, stateless, borderless, classless society based upon the dictum of “…to each according to their needs.” Between the era of Capitalist-Imperialism and Communism is a transitional stage of Socialism or the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Each of the periods in the Epoch of Exploitation is characterized as a class dictatorship, but Socialism is a dictatorship of the exploited class for the purpose of ending its own exploitation are remaking society on the basis of equality and social justice for all. The period of Capitalism purports to be an era of Liberal-Democracy, but behind the scenes, it is a class dictatorship which can take the form of an open state dictatorship or Fascism.
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels explained that: “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered forms, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation, distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones.” The era of Capitalism is characterized by constant revolutionizing of the means of production in the quest to achieve and maintain the highest rate of profit, but this has reached the point where it makes private ownership of the means of production socially counter-productive. As Mao put it, “Tools cry out for liberation!” Instead of the standard of living of the masses continuing to go up, it starts to go down. Automation of production and corporatization of agriculture displaces growing masses of workers and peasants. The surplus of labor power drives down wages to where they become unsustainable to the worker and the middle strata is forced down into the proletariat and masses of marginalized poor.
On a global scale, more than half the people are struggling to get by on less than $2.75 per day (some a lot less), and the overwhelming majority suffer with inadequate income to meet their basic needs. In contrast, the big bourgeoisie enjoy fabulously opulent lifestyles. And even the upper petty-bourgeoisie live in the lap of luxury compared to the working masses – to say nothing of the masses of marginalized poor. We have the technology and productive capacity to ensue everyone on the planet a decent standard of living, a good healthy diet, quality health care, decent housing and free higher education, but the private ownership of the means of production and the system of capitalism blocks the way.
KICK OUT THE JAMS!
The 100 richest Amerikans control about as much wealth as all of the 42 million Black people in the U.S. combined. Of the richest people in the World; you could fit on a double-decker tour bus those whose wealth equals that of the poorest half of the World’s population. In the Third World countries of Asia, Afrika and Latin America, the majority of people are being urbanized because they are being forced off the land by foreign and domestic speculators and wealth extracting corporations, but manufacturing (sweatshops) cannot absorb the influx of cheap labor power, and they are forced to survive by any means necessary, living in shanty town slums lacking proper sanitation and potable drinking water. Where once people had fought for national liberation and struggled to build socialism, neo-liberalism and right-wing cultural nationalism now holds sway.
“Dollar diplomacy” and “corporate hit men” call the tune in the global dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and to consolidate their global hegemony, they are unleashing anarchy and chaos on a grand scale – including the threat of another world war. Created by capitalist-imperialism, crises build upon crises which can only be resolved by World Proletarian Socialist Revolution.
Huey P. Newton’s “Theory of Revolutionary Intercommunalism” predicted all this in 1970 and illuminated the path forward to building a Worldwide United Front Against Capitalist-Imperialism and laying the foundation to create a worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat. We must, as he pointed out, defeat both capitalism and racism and put a stop to police state repression and state-sponsored terrorism.
The U.S. is no longer a nation but the center of a global monopoly-capitalist empire – like Rome was the center of the slavery-based Roman Empire. Unlike the period of rising capitalism, national economies are integrated into and subordinated to the World economy, and national capital has been either destroyed or subordinated to trans-national capital under the hegemony of Empire. History does not go backwards (for long), and revolution is the main trend in history. In overthrowing capitalist-imperialism, we are not going backwards to independent nations and national economies. We are going to move forward to global socialism and worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat as a transitional step to world communism.
As Marx explained: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” Reality rules, and what is on history’s agenda is removing the obstacles to continued human social evolution. Anarchists and other idealists can prattle all day long about how they would like the new society to be, but at the end of the day the masses will act to ensure their own survival and empowerment. Things cannot be changed overnight nor without fierce class struggle over a protracted period of time.
Marx explained that: “In a higher phase of communist [socialist] society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!”
TOTAL ASSAULT ON CULTURE!
Under the leadership of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC), the Brown Panther Organizing Committee (BPOC) and the White Panther Organization (WPO), the United Panther Movement (UPM) is being built to launch a total assault on the culture of white supremacy, male chauvinism, militarism, homophobia, bigotry, crass consumerism and selfish individualism. As Mao pointed out, “Everything reactionary is the same, if you don’t hit it, it won’t fall!” We’ve got to hit this culture hard and consistently until it does come crashing down.
In contradiction to the bourgeois culture of fear and hate mongering, we must promote and demonstrate Panther Love and Courage. In contrast to the reactionary dumbing down of the masses, we must promote a scientific and mass revolutionary culture. In opposition to metaphysical idealism and superstition, we must teach Historical and Dialectical Materialism and build revolutionary proletarian class consciousness. We need to utilize every medium and style of art and music, create revolutionary theater and agit-prop skits, puppet shows and guerrilla street theater. We need to “red up” the oppressed communities with revolutionary murals, posters and graffiti. We need to raise the Red Flag of Revolution in opposition to the flag of empire and reactionary and reformist symbolism.
WPO has a special responsibility to put in work among the white masses and poor white communities. White people are not a separate race. There is only one race – the human race. All the people on the planet are related. We all share a common origin in the homeland of Mother Afrika. Each of us is unique, but all of us are the same in our hopes and desire to live free and to be treated with respect. We all want a better world for our children and our posterity.
Amerika is a colonial-setter society founded upon genocide and slavery. It didn’t happen all at once but generationally over centuries. The institution of “Negro Slavery” lasted from the late 17th Century to the late 19th Century. Since the beginning, the U.S. has been based on white nationalism and capitalism. Colonization was begun by chartered corporations looking for big returns on their investments. Many poor whites were simply transported to the colonies as convict labor or debtors, or simply for being Irish. We need to teach the true history of Amerika’s poor whites and about the invention of the “white race.”
As White Panthers, we need to teach and popularize this history and that there is a history of white resistance and class struggle and about the heroes and heroines of this struggle; men like Tom Paine, John Brown, “Big Bill” Haywood and Bill Blizzard (the commander of the Redneck Army at the Battle of Blair Mountain), and women like Mother Jones, Elizabeth Gurly Flynn, and Marilyn Buck. We need to expose that it is the exploiting ruling class that are the creators and perpetuators of racism. As Mao explained: “Racial discrimination in the United States is a product of the colonialist and imperialist system. The contradiction between the Black masses in the United States and the U.S. ruling circles is a class contradiction. Only by overthrowing the reactionary rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and destroying the colonialist and imperialist system can the Black people in the United States win complete emancipation. The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progressives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.”
SERVE THE PEOPLE!
As the reactionary political establishment continues to shred the social safety net and roll back the concessions of “New Deal” and “Cold War” liberalism, an increasing number of people are in need of basic survival assistance like food, clothing and shelter. The original BPP recognized that the Party needed to get down with the people to address these issues while conducting revolutionary agitation, education and political organizing. Ameika’s “Top Cop,” FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, publically labeled the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast for Children Program, “the greatest internal threat to U.S. national security.”
Poor whites are being hit hard by cutbacks in government programs like welfare, food stamps, and so on, along with poor Black and Brown people. Many have been made homeless and suffer police repression and brutality on the mean streets of Amerika. Many are pissed off but don’t know what they can do about it or who to look to for answers. White Panthers should be working alongside Black and Brown Panthers to build “Serve the People” survival programs in the oppressed communities and particularly where poor whites are concentrated. Revolution is about problem solving, and through community self-reliance and cooperation, we build community-based peoples power. We build the consciousness of the people about the value of class solidarity and socialist cooperation. And we link the vanguard with the masses of oppressed people to build the united front.
TRANSFORM THE PRISONS INTO “SCHOOLS OF LIBERATION!”
Prisons have always been “schools of the oppressed,” that is people came out of prison more knowledgeable in the ways of crime than when they went in. But some people have used their prison time in more constructive ways; like Malcolm X and George Jackson; Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Shaka S. Zulu, and Hasan Shakur, the founders of NABPP-PC. They became proletarian intellectuals and revolutionary leaders.
WPO was founded in the prisons under the inspiration and leadership of the NABPP-PC. Prison guards and administrators love to play the “race game” to divide and rule over the prisoners. They incite and facilitate racial violence – and even bet on the outcomes. But NABPP-PC refused to play this game and welcomed Brown and White prisoners to study with them and get to the bottom of what the “race game” was built upon. Comrade Rashid explained: “White racism caused many whites, (especially of the lower class), to become so consumed and intoxicated with the myth of their racial superiority, their right to repress and contain Blacks and others’ ambitions, and the idea that their own poverty and lack of power was somehow the fault of Blacks, that they’ve resorted to confused, fundamentalist reactionary violence to subvert every effort of Blacks to improve or challenge their own conditions. Thus, Black political and economic struggles and gains have frequently been followed by reactionary white violence, or the rise of far right-wing white terrorist groups, like the Ku Klux Klan and Knights of White Camellia for example, the white mobs that attacked Blacks in Massachusetts (1850) and Philadelphia, Boston, and Cincinnati (1830′s) to repress the Black vote; the frequent lynchings during Reconstruction (1865-77), white riots against Blacks communities when Blacks moved in large numbers to Northern and Western cities to fill industrial jobs in the early 1900′s, mob attacks and violence to repress civil rights struggles in the south during the 1950′s and 60′s, etc. This reactionary fanatical racial violence and conflict occurs always upon incitement of the ruling elite, to divert and neutralize the danger of revolt of any sector of the working class against their class exploitation and political impotence.”
Comrade Spider, the original spokesman of WPO, agreed and stated: “’White Power’ not only fails to empower poor white people, it is a psychological trap that masses of people fall into that renders us politically impotent. We become unwitting tools of our own oppression. It blocks our only avenue of advancement which is through class consciousness and unity. It makes us the unwitting tools of oppression of not only non-white people but ourselves as well.” At first, WPO members were attacked and had to defend themselves against racist prison gangs, but this didn’t last. The idea of building unity across racial lines has spread and been nurtured by things like the California Prisoners’ Hunger Strike and other mass struggles in the prisons where racial hostilities were overcome with solidarity.
Most prisoners are due to return to the outside. Those who become conscious and disciplined revolutionaries in prison will be valuable assets to their communities when they come home. As Ho Chi-minh stated: “When the prison doors are opened, the real dragons will come out!”
Prison organizers need help from the outside, to publish and distribute zines, to obtain books for study circles and to facilitate communication, among other things. Recently, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has launched the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). Comrade Rashid was among the first to join stating: “The IWOC founding is right on time!” At one time, the turn of the last century, IWW was a mass revolutionary organization that inscribed on its banner “Abolish Wage Slavery!” It included Socialists and Anarchists as well as militant industrial unionists, and was led by “Big Bill” Haywood, who later became the chairman of Amerika’s first Communist Party, before the government deported him to the Soviet Union (even though he was born in a Colorado mining camp). When he died, he was honored by being buried in the Kremlin Wall alongside his comrade John Reed, who wrote “Ten Days That Shook the World.”
ROCK THE WORLD!
We need to build the United Panther Movement all over the World! And we need to build WPO wherever there are concentrations of poor and working class whites. In places like Manchester, Glasgow and Ulster, among the poor whites in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, in Germany and Eastern Europe, we need to go toe to toe with white racists and fascists and stand shoulder to shoulder with our Black, Brown and Asian comrades and fellow proletarians. Sometimes our weapons will be guitars and drums and sometimes Molotov cocktails and guns.
Comrade Kwame Nkrumah explained that a “racist social structure…is inseparable from capitalist economic development. For race is inextricably linked with class exploitation; in a racist-capitalist power structure, capitalist exploitation and race oppression are complementary; the removal of one ensures the removal of the other.” As White Panthers, we have a special opportunity and responsibility to counter the influence of racist ideology and organizing within the working class and poor white communities by being the “boots on the ground” wherever fascism raises its ugly head.
DARE TO STRUGGLE DARE TO WIN… ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!