Political Line of RYA, 2018

We, the Secretariat of the Revolutionary Youth Alliance (RYA), have developed a new political line that is a synthesis of our past experiences from 2017, the year we were founded. We will begin physical and ideological training by means of self-defense classes, study groups, and antifascist work. We will focus our work to heighten antagonisms for the primary and fundamental contradictions in order to recruit and develop people into communists, as well as popularizing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. In the long-term once we build enough capacity, we will begin conducting mass work at Washtenaw Community College and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsi.

Popularizing MLM

RYA is guided by Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (MLM) principles, and we need to show that these principles and the tactics that come from them work. MLM offers strategies for organizing that have been tested through application—it’s an effective way of “doing communism.” We will make it a priority to popularize MLM through our work through education and action, and we will struggle against dominant politics, which won’t lead to the change the people need. Working class students are relatively few and scattered at U-M, where we started our organization. The temporary residence of the student body (many who will only be in Ann Arbor for four years or so), compounds this issue. While conditions right now for doing mass work are quite poor, the inclination toward activism is strong. Propagating MLM will manifest in all of our work going forward, which will help us create new comrades and train together to do better work wherever we go.

Liberal practices are overwhelming popular in U-M’s political organizing, and they lead to ineffective and unsustainable tactics. It leads activists to be closed to criticism, to fight each other for social status, to focus excessively on individual identity over collective struggle, to act as shepherds of the masses rather than fully engaging them, and cooperate with bourgeois elements like elected officials and business owners. Liberalism will kill any progressive movement before it can get off the ground because it forces it to work within the existing system rather than taking a truly radical course of action. For example, ceding power to the university administration. The admin is not sympathetic to marginalized students—it is in fact antagonistic to their needs. Instead of orienting toward the admins, we can find real solutions among the people themselves. They have the answers, not some rich suits in a conference room.

U-M’s organizing also suffers from rampant postmodernism. Postmodernism is antithetical to materialism, as it relies on a subjective understanding of the world rather than one based on a clear understanding of the material conditions that drive events and a scientific method of fighting for change. For example, the use of “diversity of tactics” is dangerously short-sighted. Revolutionary politics is all about the process. Growing a movement, building up people power, heightening contradictions between the oppressed and their oppressors—these can’t be done with an “anything goes” attitude.

The fundamental contradiction at universities is between proletarian students and the bourgeois university administration. The class interests of working class students (and students taking a proletarian class stand) are directly opposed to what the bourgeoisie wants, and the working class as a whole has an interest in taking control over education and using it for its own needs. This is a class struggle that takes place in many ways—one of which is through a struggle over ideas. Bourgeois politics and philosophy are disseminated directly through the University but they are further reinforced by the postmodernist “radical” politics rampant on college campuses. We see this struggle against liberal and reactionary politics, hegemonic postmodernism, and revisionism as our main trench of struggle due to our weak subjective conditions.

Physical Development

Currently, we are experiencing the start of a rising fascist movement. Fascists unapologetically advocate for violence, and the only way to combat this is by building a broad movement that is capable of responding equally with violence. With this in mind, we must place great emphasis on the importance of training ourselves physically and involving all those who face violence from reactionary elements of society. Physical education is not greatly understood amongst large sectors of the community, and so we see our task as developing our knowledge in physical education and educating the broad masses that have an interest in it. To this extent, we plan on starting self-defense classes and other activities geared towards physical improvement and self-defense.

We acknowledge the necessity of revolutionary violence in order to overcome the reactionary classes that defend capitalism. Peaceful and non-threatening actions will not challenge the bourgeoisie, and the only way to bring the revolutionary class of the proletariat to power is through violent revolution. These are positions that have been developed and verified in their validity throughout history. We are the continuators of history, and we will advance the struggle of the proletariat based on the necessity of their development, as opposed to a false, subjective analysis of conditions that is so often promoted on college campuses. Through revolutionary training for self-defense, we hope to take the first step in this direction.

Ideological Advancement

Ideological study is a critical aspect of training aspiring revolutionaries. By studying revolutionary theory, we learn from the past struggles of the proletariat to move past capitalism, learning the most advanced methods of struggling for revolution and overcoming past errors. Our main method of ideological training takes the form of group study and discussion. Group study makes ideological learning into a communal activity, forging unity and accountability between comrades and allowing us to help each other overcome our weaknesses. Discussion within study groups allows everyone to air their opinions freely and struggle for what they believe is correct. Group study therefore serves to bring the struggle between proletarian and bourgeois politics into the open and draws a line of demarcation between ourselves and organizations with politics we think are incorrect. Our group study informs every decision we make and determines the success of every action taken by the organization.

The struggle for a correct political line embodies the struggle between a proletarian world outlook and a bourgeois one. Within the University of Michigan, ideological study is one of many forms of struggle against ineffective or outright reactionary politics. The bourgeois class character of the University makes it a breeding ground not for only fascism but also for faux “radical” politics that provide empty solutions and sugar-coated bullets to our class, ultimately strengthening the rising fascist trends in the US. Ideological study exposes the liberalism of post-modernist politics and reveals the weaknesses of reactionaries.

Mass Work

Mass work is the primary means of politicizing the workers and engaging them directly in class struggle against the oppressing class. It is the method of reaching out to the oppressed masses of people, learning of their problems and struggles in their daily lives, and working with them to come up with revolutionary solutions and solve their problems. This serves the long-term interests of building a revolutionary movement by showing the correctness of MLM–not just in theory, but also in practice. We refute any claim of being “armchair activists” as we struggle for the necessity of combining theory and practice, not ignoring one side for the other as is common in “radical” organizations on campus. Chairman Gonzalo from the Communist Party of Peru holds that “no one must ever doubt the masses, fighting those who are blind and deaf to the voice of the masses, listening to their faintest rumor and attending to their daily, concrete problems.” We strongly uphold this position, and we will put this into action by conducting mass work and attending to the needs of the oppressed people.

One major roadblock stands in our way for carrying out mass work–the fact that masses are not present on our campus. Based on our experiences organizing at UM–as well as statistical data about the students who attend UM (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/university-of-michigan-ann-arbor)–we concluded that there is not a significant amount of masses present to organize. However, in the neighboring colleges in Ypsilanti–specifically, Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College–there is a substantially larger proletarian population. Although neither of these locations are key places for the proletariat given that they are colleges and inherently geared towards the upper classes, they are still significantly better for conducting such work. Since conducting mass work is essential to communist organizing, and since we are a student organization, our work must be concentrated on college campuses that have proletarian populations. This way we can organize where the people are, not where those with reactionary interests are.

Because of the importance of mass work, we would like to begin as soon as possible. However, given our conditions and limitations, we are forced to wait until we build a larger base, as we currently lack the capacity of conducting mass work at either of these locations. Many of our organization’s members don’t have cars or available schedules, and so we are forced to wait to conduct mass work until we develop such a capacity. So, in order to conduct mass work, we need more available members. Because of this, we plan on conducting mass work in the future, when our capacity permits such work.

In the words of Chairman Mao, “The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.” Mass work must be conducted to properly lead the masses against the oppressing class by furthering class war under the banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, strengthening their condition and revolutionary potential to overcome the oppressors and seize power.

Revolutionary Youth Alliance A2/Ypsi, Secretariat
​​​​​​​01-03-2018


Glossary:

bourgeoisie: also known as capitalists, the class that owns the means of production
political line: a position or understanding of something that informs political decisions
postmodernism: a philosophy built around the idea that everything is subjective and a
mere matter of interpretation
fundamental contradiction: the main conflict that drives the development of a process (e.g., the struggle between the proletariat and bourgeoisie drives the development of capitalism)
proletariat: the social class whose only means of survival is to sell their labor
power(their capacity to do work) for wage or salary

Jerusalem is the Capital of PALESTINE!

 

palestine flag

Text from an RYA pamphlet passed out at a protest on December 11

JERUSALEM IS THE CAPITAL OF PALESTINE!

President Trump’s despicable move to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is an attempt to solidify even further the US’s support for the Israeli occupation and to erase the existence of Palestine. RYA stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle against the Israeli apartheid state and its horrendous oppressive violence.

AGAINST ZIONISM

Zionism is a colonial project, rooted in the belief that anti-Semitism in the West cannot not be overcome and that there must be a Jewish ethnic and religious state settled somewhere in the world. The founders of the Zionist project were not really particular about where—they had considered settling in various parts of Africa that were occupied by the British Empire.

Zionism is the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homeland in order to make room for settlers. The ultimate goal is the complete ownership of all Palestinian lands. It is certainly not about co-existence. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, more and more land has been taken, and more repressive measures have been put in place to create what is now an apartheid state that heavily polices Palestinians.

Palestinian-loss-of-land-1946-2010

U.S. SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL

The United States has been giving Israel $3.15 billion per year in military aid since 2013. Last year, the Netanyahu and Obama administrations made a deal in which the US will give Israel’s military $38 billion over ten years. The US and Israel are very close allies, and that support is bipartisan. Trump may have taken a big leap by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but Republicans and Democrats support Israel (and other imperialist ventures) in equal measure. Even the darling of the so-called “progressives,” Bernie Sanders, supports Israel and Zionism.

IMPERIALISM & SETTLER COLONIALISM

Imperialism is a term we use a lot, but what does it really refer to? It comes directly out of capitalism, and the two are inseparable. As monopolies inevitably form, the largest, wealthiest, most powerful capitalist nations must divide up the world in order to preserve and grow their finance capital. Industrial capitalism cannot keep going and making profits while limiting itself to its own borders, so it extends elsewhere. The scramble for global influence, control, and supremacy ensues, bringing along with it exploitation and violence.

On the part of Israel, what we see is settler colonialism. Settlers came into Israel and displaced the indigenous population in order to establish their own state. Settlers are not immigrants. They’re invaders. And the Israeli settler colonial state serves capitalism. Israel is a client state of the US, helping protect American interests in the region. Not only that, but there is money to be made off the Israeli apartheid. Security companies like G4S and military hardware makers like Lockheed Martin and HP profit directly from it.

Imperialism leads to other forms of oppression like systemic racism. It’s much easier to convince people it’s okay to exploit another country if they don’t value the lives of the people living there. Our struggles against racism, imperialism, and capitalism are bound up in each other. We must tackle all of these problems together to make a better, more just world. The self-determination of Palestine exemplifies this struggle. That is why we resolutely, unashamedly declare our support for Palestine and denounce the Israeli settler state.

palestinian protests

REMEMBERING THE FIRST INTIFADA

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the First Intifada. Intifada refers to a mass Palestinian uprising and resistance. The First Intifada lasted from 1987 to 1993 and was in response to Israeli encroachments on Gaza and the West Bank. It was marked by a brutal backlash by the Israeli authorities, including violence against Palestinian children. This grass roots, popular movement included protests, strikes, and boycotts, and eventually armed resistance. 1204 Palestinians were killed, compared to 179 Israelis. The First and Second Intifadas represent the power of the Palestinian people, who, fighting together, have faced their oppressors head-on. Revolutions do not just exist in the vague future. They are happening right now. They may be slow processes, but the power of the people is immense.

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

Revolutionary Youth Alliance A2/Ypsi
Interested in joining? Send us an email at revyoutha2ypsi@protonmail.com

osisignage

“Support Our Troops”

This Veterans Day, we remember those who have fought against imperialism and capitalism, rather than those who have perpetuated it. We salute these heroes who sacrificed so much in their struggles against occupation, settler colonialism, racism, poverty, and genocide.

troops 3

Veterans are always used by American patriotism to drum up unconditional support for the US military and its imperialist projects. It’s a celebration of military strength and global supremacy, and it’s sickening. The US military carried out genocidal campaigns against Native peoples. It dropped the only atomic bombs ever used in world history on Hiroshima and Nagaski, Japan as a show of force against the Soviet Union. It demolished every city in North Korea, killing millions. It used extensive chemical defoliants, napalm, and bombs on Viet Nam. It supported the vile Taliban in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union until 9/11 then settled in for a long occupation of that country. It participated in the bombing of Yugoslavia that has caused widespread cancers in the civilian population. It invaded Iraq once it could no longer control Saddam Hussein. It has carried out drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, and Algeria, and possibly others, many times choosing to kill innocent people at funerals and birthday parties in order to hit their targets. “Fighting for our freedom?” Of course not! But they’ll tell us to at least support the veterans themselves, even though this holiday, with its parades and flyovers and barbecues and mattress sales, makes them irrelevant. It’s just another way to normalize imperialism and pretend it’s apolitical and righteous.

Instead, let’s celebrate the militaries and organizations that have actually fought for a better world, or because they had to defend their countries and peoples against imperialist aggression. This Veterans Day, if you’re on the U-M campus, we hope you’ll see these posters with just a few examples of the world’s great resistors and revolutionaries and feel hopeful and proud.

No war but people’s war!
Revolutionary Youth Alliance, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti

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Fuck the Bicentennial: Take Back the Universites for the People!

RYA Bicentennial Poster

This year, the University of Michigan celebrates its bicentennial. U-M repeats its usual narrative of tradition and achievement. Missing from this narrative is how U-M has oppressed people of color, women, the working class, the disabled, and virtually anyone else who weren’t like its wealthy, white, men who founded and lead it. One might think U-M’s colors weren’t supposed to be maize and blue, but instead lily-white and spoon-silver. True, U-M did look into some of its worst moments last year with a series of art installations, but these were framed as “stumbling blocks,” as if these were isolated mistakes and not related to the oppressions integral to universities place in the capitalist system. It’s well past time to take an honest look at U-M’s 200-year history of oppression.

Let’s start at the beginning: the so-called Native land “gift” in Detroit, the University’s original location, which was later sold to fund the Ann Arbor campus’ endowment. The university was founded on land granted through treaty between the US government and Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi peoples. U-M would love to have us think this was an act of friendly cooperation, but treaties from the early 1800s were anything but. They were coercive, and they came with the threat of violence. And, the whole reason these treaties were made was to force Native people out of the Great Lakes region, the infamous policy of “Indian removal.” The treaty mentions the tribes’ wish to have their children educated at the public university on the land, but no indigenous students were admitted for one hundred thirty more years. The land gift is a lie.
For more info: https://mystudentvoices.com/rethinking-the-native-american-land-gift-to-the-university-of-michigan-64e0a972e2b8

Moving right along, we have U-M’s storied history of involvement in eugenics. Three buildings on campus are actually named for eugenicists: Victor Vaughan, John Harvey Kellogg, and, of course, C. C. Little (president of the deeply racist and ableist American Eugenics Society). For decades, Michigan passed laws facilitating forced sterilizations of the mentally ill and disabled and others labeled with the dehumanizing catch-all “degenerate.” This truly evil practice was used as a tool of white supremacy, with Black people and other people of color—and overwhelmingly women—were highly targeted. These sterilizations happened right here in Ann Arbor, at the U-M hospital, for decades.
For more info: https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/MI/MI.html

Even now, U-M is engaged in oppression. Its regents include real estate moguls participating in the gentrification of Detroit, plus a Trump campaign donor (Ron Weiser). Last year, the Central Student Government voted down a divestment proposal seeking to stop the University from continuing its investments in companies involved in Israeli occupation. Palestinian students should not have to have their tuition money go toward oppression of their families and their homeland. On top of that, the divestment movement was openly painted as anti-Semitic and somehow related to the rise in neo-Nazi visibility in the wake of President Trump’s election. Then, after real violence was committed against Muslim students, U-M President Mark Schlissel took it upon himself to condemn both the racist attacks and white students having their racist views challenged, as if these are at all equivalent.

Again, these are not mere incidents, mistakes, or “stumbling blocks.” We need to ask ourselves, how does the university function, and primarily for whose benefit? Capitalism has to actively maintain itself. Much more than the actions of individual actors, we have class interest to blame for the way things are. One of the ways that higher education—and for that matter, all schooling—operates within capitalism is to allow elites to create the next generation in their own image.

When the university talks about “opportunity,” this is an invitation into the system. To become the next round of bankers, politicians, businesspeople, etc. who will keep capitalism going. Who will exploit the labor of workers domestically and abroad for profit. Who will wage imperialist wars against countries under false pretenses to affect global markets in the US’s favor. Who will report and analyze the news through only the lens the ruling class taught them to use. This opportunity is definitely not available to all—top-tier universities’ admissions skew extremely in favor of students from wealthy families. U-M is among the worst for its class diversity. The median family income here is $154,000. Here we see how working-class high school students tend to be funneled into vocational training, lower-tier colleges and universities, or directly into wage labor. That isn’t to say trades and so-called “unskilled labor” aren’t good. Quite the opposite is true—a janitor does a lot more benefit to society than a stock broker. It’s just that Capitalism views this kind of work as inferior, and the education system is rigged against the working class to stay in their position while the rich get richer off their exploitation.
For more info on U-M’s economic diversity: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/university-of-michigan-ann-arbor?mcubz=0

What can we do about it?

Revolutionary Youth Alliance is a mass organization that seeks to unite the broadest section of working class students and youth to overthrow capitalism. We are a revolutionary organization first and foremost—we have no illusions that capitalism can be overcome through reforms alone. As a youth organization our primary trenches of struggle are schools, colleges and universities where the ruling class seeks to mold us in its own image. But the spirit of youth is one of rebellion and revolt, we don’t want to be assimilated into the University of Michigan’s centuries-long tradition of oppression and poison, we want to destroy it.

Revolution has two aspects: constructive and destructive. When we declare that the University of Michigan is a site of struggle for us, we mean that we want to break down its ivory walls that separate it from our communities and take it back into the hands of the people. We need to build our own systems of support and community and start constructing the new society within the shell of the old, and defend it from the pigs and ruling class lackeys that want to keep us obedient and exploited. Our task is to replace the University as it currently exists with educational institutions in service of the people and our class, the proletariat. We want to arm the people with knowledge and skills that will allow them to bring class society to an end and reach its historical conclusion: a new world without oppression, exploitation, and class distinctions.

This practice of building new institutions is a concept known as dual power and it’s happened in every successful revolution throughout history. A revolution is impossible without a base of support for it. We build this dual power based on a method of work called the mass line, where we take the people’s correct ideas from their struggles against capitalist violence and oppression and use them to guide our work, acting on the ideas of the people, strengthening the masses’ power, learning to fight alongside them, and creating these new systems to meet the needs of the people. If the people care deeply about a reform that needs to be won, we should not ignore their struggle but join and fight alongside them, seeing the reform as part of a broader revolutionary process. When the masses come into conflict with their oppressors the violent nature of capitalist society is brought into the open and we gain a sharper idea of how we can bring it down.

Though the University of Michigan has been a driving force of class rule for 200 years, what we’ve listed here is only the tip of the iceberg. The world is plagued by needless abject poverty, homelessness, starvation, and imperialist war; the rapidly changing climate threatens to destroy human civilization; we have seen fascism on the rise domestically as the United States’ grip on the world has weakened as well as increased violence against immigrants, women and non-men, and oppressed nations at home, and cities like Detroit gutted by capital flight. As we approach another financial crisis the conditions are only going to get more and more severe; we have no choice but to fight. As the Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh once said, “Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist so long as the… toiling masses and the natural resources are being exploited by a handful of parasites.”

It is right to rebel! Join us and fight!

Lessons Learned From a Year of Our Political Work and Notes on the Way Forward

In order to learn from our organizing efforts, rectify our errors and come up with our plans for the future, members of Revolutionary Youth Alliance drafted a summation of our political work over the last school year. We voted not to publish the full summation publicly to ensure the security of our members and avoid reactionary interference in our work. Instead we’re putting forward these general conclusions so that others can learn from our mistakes and have a better idea of what we’re planning to do in the future.

j20posters
Young revolutionaries in the belly of the beast

Main Problems

Most of our problems stemmed from not understanding and utilizing the mass line. We did not immerse ourselves among the masses. Our mass outreach put us in contact with some revolutionary students, but it was limited to the largely petit-bourgeois student body. We did not perform a thorough class analysis of Ann Arbor, so we didn’t know where exactly working-class community members work, live, and spend time. Instead, we relied largely on protests put on by other organizations to meet people. This error goes hand-in-hand with our failure to identify a fixed site of struggle. We tried to organize the whole school at once instead of identifying and reaching out to proletarian students or university workers. Because we did not conduct mass line work, we were also unable to create concrete long-term goals. For example, the Protection Not Police campaign had vague ideas about community self-defense, but we did not have contacts within the communities affected by state violence and fascist terror, and, importantly, we did not know what they wanted and needed. In order to stand in solidarity with the masses and elevate their power, we must be embedded with them and know them and their struggles. We did not do this, which is why our campaigns could not get off the ground.

RYA made internal errors as well. To a degree, we suffered from commandism. Decision-making largely fell to a core leadership group, contrary to the principles of RYA and of communist organizing. Not enough emphasis was made on democratic centralism, which would require all members to vote on actions, and if an action were approved, all members would be required to carry it out for a period of time, and afterward, the whole membership would assess and critique it. This issue was caused by a lack of formal structure to our meetings. A clear structure could encourage all members to consider key questions and provide their understandings.

The root of RYA’s problems this first year is simply a lack of experience. Through criticism, we are able to carefully consider exactly what we’ve been doing wrong, and then we must find specific solutions to address our errors so we can improve as an organization.

Future Goals, Plans, and Direction

Since most of our problems stemmed from not putting enough emphasis on the mass line, we have a number of ways we want to try reaching out to proletarian students around U-M and dramatically increase the amount of contact we have with them. Our goal is to locate (or create) as many avenues as we can for working-class students to gather and share their concerns collectively. In order not to spread ourselves too thin, we will work on a class analysis of our conditions in order to locate a fixed site of struggle that we can focus our energy on. To carry out the mass line effectively it’s important that contacts be created and that we establish ourselves in the community.

It is also important that general members of the organization receive training in order to carry out mass work. Before doing social investigation members should be educated on the general political line of the organization (including points of unity, platform, constitution, and some further details on the theory) and educated on the PEPSI (Personal, Economic, Political, Social/Cultural) method of social investigation. That way all members will be able to answer questions about RYA and explain our org confidently and they know what the right questions to ask are.

Last year we did not put enough emphasis on developing a revolutionary culture. We are trying to build a whole new world, which means we need a new way of thinking and interacting to go along with that. We want to foster an atmosphere of discipline and accountability, but also solidarity, cooperation, mutual aid, selflessness, and humility—the opposite of the capitalist culture we’re leaving behind. We will start holding social events weekly or every two weeks for members to bond in such an environment and help new people feel secure coming into the organization. It’s also important for students to get out of the stuffy petty-bourgeois atmosphere of the University and engage more with the community. Internally, we will put more of an emphasis on criticism and self-criticism and integrate this into our regular meeting structure.

To deal with the problems of commandism and a lack of democratic centralism it is important that we keep stack during the meetings and set goals for when we meet. It may be helpful in some cases to have people take turns speaking during a meeting to make sure everyone has a chance to speak and and feels comfortable so they can participate meaningfully in decision-making. We will also send out points to consider before the meetings for people to think about. To properly exercise democratic centralism, we’ll create a time frame for a decision to be carried out once we’ve voted on it so we can see what its effects were, then reconvene, criticize the decision, and vote again. That way we can study our actions scientifically.

Antifascism statement: On the “March Against Sharia”

Last week, fascists across the nation took to the streets to protest against Islam under the guise of “anti-Sharia.” This was clearly an attempt to draw in “moderate” conservatives and right-center liberals who used the facade as a justification for their white supremacist violence, as it is much more socially acceptable to be “anti-Sharia” than anti-Islam. Of course, those who attended these events had no idea what Sharia actually is. It was truly ironic to witness neo-Nazis waving American flags and complaining about alleged anti-semitism, slavery, and lack of women’s rights in Islam, as if their entire ideology wasn’t embedded in them.

Fascism marks the decay of capitalism and the mirage of “individual liberty” and “freedom” that comes with bourgeois democracy. Under fascism, the forces of the state are turned inwards onto its own population to violently suppress and exploit the most vulnerable segments of the population as scapegoats, as part of the hypernationalism and xenophobia that goes along with it. Fascism builds off the structures formed by capitalism, such as the centralized state, patriarchy, racism, colonialism, etc.

Of course, the only sustainable way to fight against fascism is through organized revolutionary action. Fascism can only be (and has only ever been) defeated through revolutionary violence. It is useful to remember that 80% of all Nazi soldier deaths during WWII were inflicted by the revolutionary Red Army. This comes in opposition to the normalized liberal narrative of bringing change through electoral politics and voting. Revolutionaries and anyone who considers themselves a “leftist” must cast aside all illusions that simply voting for a new candidate in 2020 is going to stop fascism, as voting is likely the least meaningful political action one can take. Hillary was just as much of a white supremacist as Trump, and the entire foundation and status quo of the US is rooted in white supremacism. Electing certain officials to office doesn’t change the structure of the system, and ultimately classes rule—not individuals. The u.s. is standing on over 200 years of slavery, genocide, and war, and electing just another face or another platform cannot realistically change this, regardless of how much a certain candidate may want to. Thus, we must move past the myth of electoral politics bringing about concrete change, and confront our problems with the power of the people—not the power of the bourgeois system.

The fight against fascism is a fight for self-defense and the protection of the people.

 

On the demonstration in Lansing

Fascists brought their racist rally to Lansing this Saturday and some members of Revolutionary Youth Alliance participated in shutting them down and screwing up their plans. This march brought a number of problems to our attention that we felt needed to be addressed.

Firstly, security is something of critical importance for antifascists in the modern world, where smartphones are omnipresent and the internet is a greater part of public life. Facial recognition technology has gotten a lot better and people have been identified through this software and arrested before. Doxxing (putting people’s personal informatoin on a public internet forum) is a real threat to antifascists who are willing to engage in militant demonstrations. Comrades have been harassed before by pigs and fascists alike because they did not pay enough attention to security. As a general principle in RYA, we think think that any time you go out in public for a revolutionary action where you might be drawing the attention of pigs or reactionaries, you should always wear a mask. Keep yourself and your comrades safe! But we also need to use the fascists’ tactics against them. They’ll try to dox us, so in response we need to dox them right back.

It’s important not to underestimate the enemy or take chances with them. We’re not here to debate with them, we’re here to shut them down and deny them a platform. Trying to debate with fascism is liberalism, like thinking that you can solve the world’s problems through discussion and intellectual arguments. We have nothing in common with people who think genocide is a good idea.

Though we outnumbered the fascists and reactionaries, we were still unfortunately outgunned. There was a fear of escalation as a result among the side of the antifascists that seriously needs to be dealt with. Our tactics should always be “10 against 1,” we should never have to take chances if we can help it. That is not to say that it was wrong in this instance to fight back, of course it was the right thing to do, but mass mobilization and showing up are absolutely critical.

A more militant perspective needs to be taken at rallies like this. The left needs to get serious about self-defense and keep pace with (and eventually overtake) the fascists. Liberal chants aren’t going to be enough, it’s important to mobilize as much of the community as possible under proletarian leadership and politics to defeat fascism.


Guest post

To go along with this statement we are publishing a guest post on our website from a supporter of our organization who was able to show up to confront fascism with us in Lansing, titled “Counterdemonstration in Nazi Land.”

Guest Post: “Counterdemonstration in Nazi Land”

This post was written by a supporter of Revolutionary Youth Alliance and as such does not officially reflect the political line of our organization. Still, we think the perspective the author provides is valuable and we’re hosting it for others to enjoy. This is the first of hopefully many more guest posts to come.

 

Saturday, June 10th, Lansing, Michigan

 

“Is that police?”

“What?”

“There. The ones with the guns.”

“Those are the fascists,” Comrade Thomas said. “That’s the Michigan Militia.”

I blinked. “Oh.” Well then.

I didn’t recognize the fascist crowd when we were upon it because there were so few of them. I did notice the people with automatic rifles, though, because they were facing us, standing still, and wearing camo uniforms. They seemed very self-righteous and proud of themselves.

The police did not tell the fascists to leave, nor did they seem interested in photographing, profiling, or arresting them. What they did do was create a 1.5-ish meter gap between us, achieved by propping up orange and white folding signs and stringing two lines of police tape in front of each crowd. On the folding signs were the words “PUBLIC SERVICE” across the top, which I thought was ironic.

While we chanted We love our Muslim neighbors and glowered at the fascists, I wondered how many of them were actual genocidal maniacs (the self-aware Nazis) versus how many were just local racists that felt like doing something on a Saturday (the not so self-aware Nazis.) I searched the small but growing crowd across the rift to look for them. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but assumed I would know it when I saw it. Swastikas? Pepe pins, maybe? Let’s check it out. A detail that stuck out to me was the recurrence of the American flag, which I thought was interesting. I remembered the call-and-response chant we did on the way there about racists belonging in “Nazi Land,” and Thomas sarcastically employing a curious tone of voice, saying, “What’s Nazi Land?” (America, I guess.) I spotted a narrow post with a celtic cross printed at the top, propped up by a white man with a fuzzy brown beard and gas station sunglasses. Ah. There’s one, I thought.

I implicitly decided to buddy with comrade Sam (read: follow them around.) Sam intimidated me because I was acutely aware of how much smarter they were than me. However, they were also the person I had spoken to the most by far out of everyone I knew in RYA, which I felt gave me permission to be clingy for a couple hours. They didn’t seem to mind; antifascists, in my experience, don’t tend to mind it when people need help or support–or, in my case, somebody to cling to at their first counter-demonstration.

When we migrated to the front–an exciting place to be–to our immediate left, a comrade was in the middle of yelling at the fascists and not caring about her slow steps forward. Her waist tugged the yellow police tape taut. That made me a little nervous. I imagined her breaking that tape, followed by images of red spray, diabolical machinery noise, and screaming. I poked her bare shoulder with my index finger, wanting to beckon her back a little, but she didn’t notice. Only then two chauvinist pigs on the other side of the gap started yelling at her about female hysteria, and I didn’t want to invalidate her anger like how they were doing. Okay, know what? Fine, I thought. Let whatever’s going to happen happen.

“I’m taking away your seven. You’re a six,” one of them said, spitting his words out like he was punishing her. His friend, holding an American flag on a pole, gave a throaty laugh. The sound was vaguely reminiscent of a stalling engine. “There was a bitch with a mask on handing out fliers and taking pictures over there. She was an easy two.”

I remembered hearing high school boys rate the high school girls on a scale of 1-10 similarly, carelessly, and I remembered all of the violence at the hands of men that some of my female-identifying comrades and friends have told me about. Violence from misogyny, from entitlement, from dehumanization. I stared at the men across the line and thought violent thoughts.

It wasn’t just this one comrade; there was a lot of shouting all across the gap in front. It wasn’t unbearably loud, since the fascists had maybe 30-40 people and we had upwards of 60, but the raised voices less than two meters in front of my face made it a lot to absorb at once. My takeaway was that the fascists are very full of misunderstandings about the city of Dearborn, Sharia law, the Quran, the gays, and clitorises, and are very very emotional (rabidly angry) about all of it. At one point, I saw a Nazi with a yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” flag point at a comrade holding a sign that read “HALAL” on it in English letters: “Is that ‘halal’?!” He screamed, “Is that fucking ‘halal’?!” At this, a stranger with a violet bandana came up next to me and started shouting back at him. “Shut the fuck up, you Nazi piece of shit! Fuck you, you fucking Nazi!” I turned my head and looked up at him. Standing profile to him, I could see his eyes behind his sunglasses; they were the color of unforgivingly cold weather. I saw fury. I wondered who he was thinking of at home.

When I started acclimating to the commotion, I thought about the people they were talking so much shit about–Muslims, mostly. That was the point of their demonstration; to come together and have an Islamophobic ass-wiping party. My mind went back home, to the people who make home; Muslim friends, queer-trans friends, immigrant co-workers, and my immigrant family, and I looked across at the crowd and thought of violence again.

At around 1:00, we marched away from the fascists and went back the way we came. Most of us left, but maybe 15-20 comrades stayed behind. I was somewhat worried for their safety, but told myself that the Michigan Militia wouldn’t fire at unarmed antifascists because that would make for bad press. While we walked, I reconvened with Elizabeth, a comrade I met at the May Day festival the previous month. Elizabeth reminded me of my (very nice) old kindergarten teacher, so naturally, I puked up all of my thoughts on her on the way back. I talked about how caring for the people has to be the same thing as hating some people sometimes, and how I was stupid for not really getting that before today. She occasionally validated me with a breathy-voiced “yeahhh…” and a sympathetic nod. I noted dependence on others as a motif for the day.

On the walk back, I remembered how I tried to distinguish the blatant fascists from the moderate fascists. I realized that the fascist that “felt like doing something on a Saturday” is the same fascist that was holding up a Celtic cross, who is the same fascist that was rating our female comrades on 1-10 scales, who is the same fascist that started screaming after reading the word halal.  As we came to the parking lot where we’d started from, I looked at the people giving each other water and sharing food. I looked around at all of us and felt safe. For placebo confidence, I threw my head back like I was drinking a shot, inhaled the atmosphere, and I looked up.