”Our point of departure is to serve the people wholeheartedly and never for a moment divorce ourselves from the masses, to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from one’s own self-interest or from the interests of a small group, and to identify our own responsibility to the leading organs of the party.” Mao Tse-tung


There are some members of the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP) who’ve forgotten the purpose, role and duties of our Party. They have strayed from or resisted the Party’s mass leadership style and its commitment to serve and remain accountable to the masses. They have defied the collective leadership of the Party, placed their personal interests above the people’s, and while paying lip service to the revolutionary principles we uphold, have practiced the exact opposite.

These are serious problems that reflect individualism and opportunism. They are corrosives within our Party that, if not struggled against and rectified, will corrode our organization, betraying its role and duties to the people.

We must, therefore, initiate a campaign to identify and rectify opportunism and individualism.


Why is there a need for a Panther vanguard Party? The essential role of a revolutionary party is to raise the consciousness of the working class and the broad masses of oppressed people, to unite and organize them to seize political power and to replace capitalist imperialism with a socialist economy.

In this era of neoliberalism, enhanced automation has replaced and pushed vast numbers of workers into perpetual unemployment and peasants off their land into marginalized urban areas. As a result, there is a growing mass of chronically unemployed people who are forced to survive by desperate often ”criminal” and predatory means. These people desperately need social and political education and power, and immediate access to and control of basic survival necessities.

With few exceptions, traditional revolutionary parties have looked askance at these desperate layers of the people as destructive, politically unstable and unreliable, and also because they do not exist at the point of production, they have been dismissed as having little revolutionary purpose. These parties have therefore focused their work almost exclusively on active workers and peasants as the main social force of revolutionary struggle

The original Black Panther Party (OBPP) changed this trend. Huey P. Newton, the OBPP’s leading theoretician, recognised that changing global conditions under the U.S. dominated, imperialist system was fueling the unprecedented rise of permanently unemployed people. He predicted that they would soon outnumber the regularly employed people. He also recognized that if these marginalized masses were not reached and organized by revolutionaries, they would be used as a force of violent reaction against the traditional revolutionary movement by the establishment.

Huey also saw that the masses of predominantly urban Black people in Amerika also largely fell into this category of desperate, chronically unemployed, lumpen people. He, in turn , confronted the challenge of creating a party and strategy that could serve the needs of, give leadership to, and organize these marginalized people into a revolutionary mass force. This was the OBPP.

Huey’s predictions about the unprecedented growth of permanently unemployable people and the lumpen, and the need to create revolutionary leadership to serve them, have come to pass on a global scale. An Intercommunal Panther vanguard party is needed today more than ever. This is the need, purpose, and role of the RIBPP.


The RIBPP must adhere to the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist style of leadership, which recognizes that everything relies on and is determined by the consciousness and voluntary action of the people. Without this, our efforts are in vain and will accomplish nothing. Our work, therefore, entails as a first step, raising people’s consciousness.

But we do not compel the people to accept our ideas. Instead , we begin with, and move from their own existing levels of understanding and mind state. A dialectical process that Mao summed up as, ”from the masses to the masses,” a back and forth process between the revolutionary vanguard and the people which he described as:

”…summing up (i.e., coordinating and systematizing after careful study) the views of the masses (i.e., views scattered and unsystematic), then taking the resulting ideas back to the masses, explaining and popularizing them until the masses embrace them as their own, stand up for them, and translate them into action by way of testing their correctness. Then it is necessary once more to sum up the views of the masses once again, take the resulting ideas back to the masses so that the masses give them their wholehearted support…and so on, over and over again, so that each time these ideas emerge with greater correctness and become more vital and more meaningful.”

So, we learn from the masses what their needs and concerns are, elevate and concentrate their understanding of their needs, the causes of those unmet needs and how to go about solving them and then work alongside them in implementing solutions. We do not command or dictate to the people. Instead, as Mao explained:

”Every comrade…should help the masses to organize themselves step by step and on a voluntary basis to unfold gradually struggles that are necessary and permissible under the external and internal conditions obtaining at a particular time and place. Whatever we do, authoritarianism is always erroneous because as a result of our impetuosity, it makes us go beyond the degree of the masses awakening and violates the principle of voluntary action on the part of the masses.”


What is the problem of individualism? Individualism, or pursuing one’s own personal agendas, instead of the interests of the masses, is a poisonous weed within a mass-based revolutionary party. It betrays the very purpose of the party and the struggle against the oppressive social order it seeks to lead which must be a mass struggle to succeed.

Human societies are composed of many people existing in a system of complex interrelationships, at the core of which is the struggle for production, or in other words, the struggle to survive against the environment and to meet basic needs. The struggle for production in every society brings many individuals together in collective labor to extract and work up natural resources into consumable products. In primitive societies where communal relations dominated and wealth was collectively owned, individualism was frowned upon and usually resulted in the practitioner being expelled from the society, which was worse than dying.

In class-divided societies, the ruling classes govern and profit through controlling and hoarding the wealth produced by the laborers. At all levels, they seek to alienate and divide (individualize) the laborers against each other and thereby keep them unconscious of their role and collective power as the backbone of society and source of all power and wealth that is produced; that it is in fact, the workers that collectively ‘make the world go ’round.’ ”

The masses’ consciousness must be raised so that they realize their power in numbers when united and to overcome the divisive indoctrination of individualism. Furthermore, it is not mere individuals but the vast majority of humanity that faces urgent problems, such as environmental devastation, racism, sexism, and the pervasive threat of nuclear annihilation, economic insecurity, inequality, increased poverty, police state repression, endless wars, and so on. These are not problems that can be solved or even confronted in a serious manner by one or a few individuals pursuing their own agendas. Those who think otherwise are actually a major obstacle to recognizing the problems and achieving the needed solutions.

It is in fact, through individualist indoctrination that the masses are demoralized and induced to see these problems as insurmountable and feel hopeless to change them. Seeing things individually they in turn seek individualist respite, distraction, and self consolation in escapism, hedonism, blame-shifting, self-medication through substance abuse, metaphysics, etc. Awakening the people’s collective consciousness is essential to helping them come to terms scientifically with the gravity of social problems and their collective power to change them, and that those in power are the very cause of this system of horrors which they are unwilling and unable to eliminate.

This system and its underlying culture which reflects the values of the greedy ruling class have programmed individualism (”me first”) into its every institution of influence. This is why individualism is a cancerous sore that must be uprooted in society at large and our Party in particular. Our Party must uphold collective unity and not individual unity. Like society and the workplace, there is no such thing as a party of one. This is why individualists resort to tribalist, commandist, and small group methods of leadership that cannot effectively lead a mass movement and end up factionalizing in small groups, surrounding themselves with ”loyalists,” seeking to create cults of personality and celebrity around themselves, engage in jealous competitions against other Comrades, and avoid and resist public and collective accountability and criticism. Ultimately, they become alienated, isolated, and individualized from any genuine mass movement.

Furthermore, the very survival of our revolutionary leadership and struggle compels organizing as a mass style Party. At each stage of history the genuine struggles of Blacks against oppressive conditions in Amerika have been led by only one or a few advanced individuals. These struggles have been neutralized each time by the enemy state’s isolating and destroying this leader and leaving the movement headless. Only a mass based party applying the mass line could counter and survive this enemy strategy, by creating a leadership of many Comrades who, applying democratic centralism (DC), think and move as one and presents a leadership body that continuously grows and regenerates any lost members. It also unites the leaders with the masses they lead, making the leadership impossible to isolate and destroy by picking off one person or a few individuals.


Why must we practice criticism and self-criticism? The only way to remain accountable to the masses and discover and correct errors, a revolutionary party and its members must practice and accept criticism and self-criticism. Those who fear or do not sincerely practice this, obviously do not align their interests with those of the people or collective organizational leadership. Mao spoke repeatedly of the importance and our need to open ourselves up to the criticism of the people and party Comrades, and to practice sincere self-criticism as an essential component of genuine democracy, and to oppose this practice is a fundamental evil. As he expressed:

”There are some comrades who are afraid of the masses initiating discussions and putting forward ideas which differ from those of the leaders and leading organizations. As soon as problems are discussed they suppress the activism of the masses and do not allow them to speak out. This attitude is very evil. There are some comrades who cannot bear to listen to ideas contrary to their own and cannot bear to be criticized. This is very wrong.”

As our past cadre have pointed out:

”The democratic method is to allow people to speak their minds, but this is a two-way street. Others have the right to disagree and criticize you as well. The collective interest will be best served when people are above board and honest and say what they think, at the risk that it will be picked apart, rejected by others and even ridiculed as rubbish by the majority. No one is obligated to tell you that your brain farts smell lovely. On the other hand, your opinion might find favor and change everyone’s views for the better. That is the risk of free expression. New ideas always start with someone who thinks for themselves and may not at first be popular or accepted.”

Mao spoke to those who think they are above criticism and they can intimidate people from speaking out. He explained that people will still talk:

”Those of you who…do not allow people to speak, who think you are tigers, and that no one will dare touch your arse, whoever has this attitude, ten out of ten of you will fail. People will talk anyway. You think that no one will really dare touch the arse of tigers like you? They damn well will!”

He emphasized that we must actively engage in criticism and self-criticism, even when the critiques are wrong.

”If we are to promote democracy, we must encourage others to criticize us and listen to their criticisms. To be able to withstand criticism we must first take measures to carry out self-criticism. We must examine whatever needs examining for an hour or at most two hours. If everything is to be brought out in the open, it will take as long as that. If others consider we have not done enough, then let them say so. If what they say is right, we will accept their opinion. When we allow others to speak out, should we be active or passive in our attitude? Of course, it is better to be active. What can we do if we are forced onto the defensive? In the past we were undemocratic and so we find ourselves on the defensive. No matter. Let everybody criticize us. As for me, I will not go out during the day; I will not go to the theater at night. Please come and criticize me day and night (laughter from audience). Then I will sit down and think about it carefully, not sleep for two or three nights, think about it until I understand it and then write a sincere self explanation. Isn’t that the way to deal with it? In short, let other people speak out. The heavens will not fall, and you will not be thrown out. If you do not let others speak out, then the day will surely come when you are thrown out.”

If we are scientific in our work, then we have to be open to truth, which only comes through the critical battle of ideas, then putting our theories into practice and having them confirmed or contradicted. When they prove wrong we must accept having our mistakes revealed to us. Otherwise, we’re placing our individual egos that fear being contradicted and wrong before the interests of the masses. That which is scientific doesn’t fear truth.

As Joseph Stalin noted, ”It is generally recognized that no science can develop and flourish without a battle of opinions, without freedom of criticism.”

Because RIBPP seeks objectivity and searches out errors in our work, we practice internal criticism and self-criticism as a rule. We do not practice it however to vent personal spite between Comrades or to demonize or undermine them, nor do we assail minor errors, as some have done, sometimes to divert valid criticisms from themselves. Comrades must understand that:

”The main task of [inner-party] criticism is to point out political and organizational mistakes, there is no need to be overcritical of the comrades or they will be at a loss what to do. Moreover, once such criticisms develops, there is the great danger that within the party attention will be concentrated exclusively on minor faults, and everyone will become timid and overcautious and forget the party’s political tasks.” – Mao

Then there’s the problem of those who become prideful and not only avoid criticism but seek only praise for their roles in successful work. Often they seek to work independently so as to draw praise to themselves. Mao described these individualist tendencies best:

”Those who assert this kind of ‘independence’ are usually wedded to the doctrine of ‘me first’ and are generally wrong on the question of the relationship between the individual and the party. Although in words they profess respect for the party, in practice they put themselves first and the party second. What are these people after? They are after fame and position and want to be in the limelight. Whenever they are put in charge of a branch of the work, they assert their ‘independence.’ With this aim they draw some people in, push others out and resort to boasting, flattering, and touting among the comrades, thus imparting the vulgar style of the bourgeois political parties into the Communist party.”

We have seen this tendency within the RIBPP – Comrades who persist in working ‘independently’ while looking down on others’ work, prideful and boastful of their own contributions, seeking praise, recognition and to create a personal legacy for themselves. They become demoralized when they are not lauded. These people are not motivated by any sense of duty to or unity with the oppressed and the Party. Theirs is an individualist agenda prompted by ”me first.”


How do we protect our ranks against individualism? A revolutionary party precludes individualism by sincerely practicing and remaining committed to the mass line and method of leadership and applying DC.

We’ve addressed at length and in numerous places, the appropriate method of DC as a collective decision-making method, and how deviating from it by prior groups led to commandism and a widespread general misunderstanding of DC (see, for example, ”On the Vanguard Party Once Again,” ”On the Roles and Characteristics of the Panther Vanguard and Mass Organizations,” and ”The 3-Ps” all available in my book PANTHER VISION and online at

Despite the extensive attention we’ve given to addressing DC and the pitfalls of deviating from its practice, some members of our Party have nonetheless openly defied DC practice, even openly rebelled against the DC decisions made by leading bodies of the Party, including the CC. In fact, some members have not only demonstrated outright that they will not obey CC decisions and appointed tasks and positions (note the recent resignation of Garlic from the Party in part because he was not elected by the CC to positions he wanted). Some have refused to attend committee meetings or to communicate with CC members, especially those on the inside, to avoid having their actions and ‘independence’ scrutinized, criticized, countered or challenged by committees applying DC. They have also connived to concentrate power over key functions of the Party in their own hands, which they’ve proven incapable of coordinating. These practices have not only impaired the effectiveness of the Party, but have put Comrades and those depending on our help in harms way, sabotaged Party-led programs, and left people abandoned who’ve looked to us for guidance and serious help including our own cadre.

Such behaviors and attitudes have no place in the Party. They are outright betrayals of the people and are the most extreme manifestations of placing individual interests and agendas before the masses and the Party. As V.I. Lenin noted in ”One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”:

”Refusal to accept the direction of central bodies is tantamount to refusing to remain in the party, it is tantamount to disrupting the party; it is a method of destroying not convincing. And their efforts to destroy instead of convincing show their lack of consistent principles, lack of faith in their own ideas.”

As pointed out, in some cases Comrades have persistently disrupted and prevented committees, including the CC, from operating. There has been attempts to influence and factionalize with leading cadre against other members based upon cultivating intimate relationships. These elements exhibit a particular bent for conniving, guile and sneakiness.

These tendencies reflect not just enemy class values but a lack of basic integrity, which is why their practitioners seek to avoid exposure and criticism and often aspire to cultivate special relationships with influential Comrades. Mao continued, ”It is their dishonesty that causes them to come to grief. I believe we should do things honestly, for, without an honest attitude, it is impossible to accomplish anything in this world.”

These are pitfalls of the bourgeois outlook of individualism that seeks special recognition and praise often to the end of avoiding criticism.


In the RIBPP we must lead by example through involvement in all mass organizations applying the voluntary leadership style, educating others daily and hourly, and proving ourselves to be more devoted, selfless and more principled than ordinary people. We must set the highest example of principled character and love for the people which they will admire and emulate. These are the standards to which Party members must adhere, through which the masses will voluntarily accept our leadership, and any efforts to exert leadership by compulsion, coercion, craft or deceit or any other opportunistic and individualistic means runs counter to the mass line and mass leadership method.

This is hard-won leadership, gained by earned respect, not commandism. It is the ”iron discipline” that allows for proletarian unity, which is directly democratic, popular discipline that combines self-control, respectfulness, efficiency, creativity and self-initiative, and does not allow for arrogance, self-serving, slothful, big-headed, self aggrandizing or wasteful tendencies.

This is difficult work and not easily achieved. This is why Party members must have cultivated and demonstrated a selfless temperament and character, and we must rectify practices of members who don’t adhere to these principles.

Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!

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