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.
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.
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 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 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
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