#1

Pictured (center-right foreground): me IRL.

A BRAWL IN THE UNION HALL; OR, A CASE STUDY IN FLIGHTISM

The more I think about the KCDSA action, the less I think of it. There are about three main levels to pick apart: the political, the ideological, and the military. This was a failure on all levels, and perhaps archetypal of the Maoists' national and strategic failures overall. Given my direct experience and participation in the action, it's very easy to imagine the same mistakes repeated, over and over, in all the Maoists' areas of work.

Let's be clear about one thing: the immediate political objective of the action was to disrupt the KCDSA meeting by any means necessary. There was a plan in place to disrupt in a purely nonviolent capacity -- to bar anyone from entry, give our little speeches, confiscate their print materials, and leave. All violence would be contingent, purely self-defensive and consciously legal. However, the very obvious thing was that our leads on the action were eager to provoke a physical confrontation. I knew that if the KCDSA put up any resistance, the situation would escalate quickly into a free-for-all. No one else seemed to be really prepared for that. As I was in the prep stage of launching a line struggle, everything would've fallen into place for me if the action was a total bust. So I neglected to say anything.

I figured if they were at all serious about doing this, they would send two or three people inside to scare the hell out of the social democrats, trash the place, and leave. To me, the action was just a rote application of Communist thuggery and it felt very pretentious to think of it as anything else. Irrespective of whether it was a good tactic or not, I thought the best way to approach it was by reducing the chances of resistance, causing the maximum amount of damage and a minimum of harm, then leaving quickly and safely. If you held a gun to my head and forced me to plan and follow through with the action, that's what I would've told you -- but I neither planned the action nor am I really a Principally Maoist.

It must also be said that the action followed in the wake of a long series of tactical failures and disappointments. The Maoists in KC haven't managed to get their mass organizations in working order, so they tend to retreat into "strategic" or "ideological" imperatives simply to assert their presence. In doing so, they continually overestimate the competence and commitment of their membership. Basically, this consists of quickly planning aggressive PR stunts, throwing as many "bodies" they can into the mix, and rediscovering that since those members have no real experience doing anything, they aren't quite cut out for these "propaganda actions." Or rather, they frame it through hackneyed CSC-session lingo as a series of individual "errors" that prevents them from discovering the general problem of inexperience. Like many Marxist groups this relegates their mode of thought and activity to propaganda alone.

Of course this all contributes to the motivation behind manufacturing spectacular confrontations with "ideological rivals" -- the impotence, the erectile anxieties. The Maoists seem to have the expectation, or current delusion, that they must be, or are, the vanguard of the proletariat even with just one, two, three years of experience -- not to say development. Any and all reality checks to this belief are anathema to their existence. Just ontologically crippling.

The Maoists spent some months preparing to confront the KCDSA this way, trying to muster the forces, strike at an opportune moment, etc.. That they would end up disrupting a DSA event was a foregone conclusion from the moment I became involved and I was conscious of this. However, what did the Maoists intend to achieve outside of some vague and charitable notion of "conquering hegemony" from a political standpoint? I didn't really know this myself until after the action. In fact, the principal objective was to publicly assert an "ideological break" with the DSA. In a general sense, this meant that the action wasn't really political and couldn't be assessed as political activity.

The action's relation to recent events in which the DSA had directly fucked over my mass organization, Revolutionary Workers Movement, was totally coincidental. This wasn't a reprisal or a tactic -- only propaganda, only ideological in essence. In fact, if it was a cut-and-dry reprisal I would at least support it from a tactical viewpoint, even if it was a horrendously bad tactic. Nope. The Maoists will never see it that way. They think and act only in propaganda pieces.

I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself but I think through the account on Incendiary one can get a broadly accurate summary of how it all went down logistically. I won't dwell too long on it. The main omission and lie in that account only have to do with one bystander from the neighborhood who followed us in, then left after the main speech (presumably with more questions than answers), and the fabrication about the confiscation of the projector. I cannot emphasize enough that we never even touched their projector. The projector was instrumental to the event and if we had taken or destroyed it we would've actually succeeded at the task at hand. We didn't, the event went on, and we failed. Actually, I was the person who trashed their laptop, who immediately self-criticized for not taking out the projector instead, who pointed out that if there was any one thing that would've sealed the deal on their event -- it would've been the fucking projector. And it's not like no one noticed this, since so many Maoists feel the need to lie about that element in particular.

And the military aspect? Military, what. Militarily, we presided over a brawl that was far less graceful than the average bar fight. Many Maoists were taken aback by the sudden turn of the confrontation. They were somewhat frightened and very unsure of themselves or what to do. Some shouted in dismay and confusion, others jumped into the fight immediately, my liaison and I held firm and waited for orders. Besides myself, I can't say for certain how many were truly unsurprised when Carl took the first swing, or at least managed a controlled response to the melee's outbreak. I should also note that two other DSA members took potshots at the Maoists in the middle of it all, managing to snatch or rip three masks clean off in the process.

One might accuse the Maoists of loving violence. This would be inaccurate. To me, love implies a far more complex and mature relationship. The Maoists are simply infatuated with violence. They're receiving their first sloppy handjob from violence, and political violence at that. They don't, and can't, know where it leads, how awkward or embarrassing it looks, they don't care about context or consequences -- all they know and care about is how good it feels.

When Carl was baited into swinging, our leads on the action jumped at the chance to redeem the failures, mistakes, and inadequacies of their recent past. One was, himself, properly amped up for the occasion after getting pissed at the bystander on the street for following us and asking questions before we masked up. Later, after we regrouped, he said something to the effect of: if Carl died from his wounds, we would've scored a historic victory against social fascism and "the movement" would see us through. Dude, shut the fuck up, I thought. You're overcompensating because you just realized this is the first time you've gotten your rocks off doing this shit. And you so desperately want it to be the coolest thing you've ever done.

At the same time, Carl, a macho man of the same measure and caliber, got everything that was coming to him. The macho mentality permeates the organized "Left," and there's really no escape from this. For many people, machismo is hardcoded into the way they think about violence or broadly speaking competition as a whole. This can be controlled but never disciplined, so the problem consists of marking out a clear distinction between casual beatings and military actions. The Maoists constantly conflate the two and this played a large role in the unmitigated failure of the action. Its violence wasn't coordinated, organized, nor disciplined; it was emotional and erratic. Its catalyst was ultimately a square-up to see who was the "bigger man."

A week later, my hopes of launching a line struggle and a strategic reassessment were dashed completely at our debrief. For my part, I received "commendations" for destroying the laptop in spite of my objections. This was standard self-congratulatory bullshit, all told. What was revealed, however, was that the Maoists -- even the hardcore -- weren't involved in the study of military matters, they had no drills, they didn't spar, and they certainly didn't attempt anything to give substance to their pretension of militarization. This finally destroyed my last shred of hope or respect for any one of them or their activities.

Following my involvement in a previous failed action, I then criticized leadership's expectations that a group of underdeveloped political workers would be able to mobilize and agitate effectively in an action that was announced and planned with less than two days' notice. I related to my liaison that the Royal Shakespeare Theatre has rigorous rehearsals before opening night, even if the actors know the play by heart, and it was unreasonable to expect his comrades to simply fall in line with operations with little to no preparation. "No," he replied. "There's no excuse. They've been doing this for a year and they should be prepared." Well, shithead, how do you prepare without consistent preparations or militarize without militarization? The answer is you fucking don't -- you just assume an action is gonna go down some type of way and then try to salvage all the pieces afterwards with no fucking regard for accuracy or practicality. This is precisely what the Maoists do.

Any Maoist action, in its exclusive role and function as propaganda, requires an attendant propaganda apparatus to pick up all the awkward little pieces in its wake and use them to construct a favorable narrative. That the Maoists seemed capable of media spin was slightly impressive to me at one point, since it suggested a healthy amount of cynicism in their political outlook. Today I can say that this is no longer impressive because none of them are conscious of this cynicism.

The Maoists eagerly believe their own bullshit, they type it all up, then disseminate and gleefully consume their own propaganda daily and weekly. This crude, adolescent art of the spin relies on spontaneous (and to some extent self-acting) mobilization of apologists and the sanctimonious moralism of the organized "Left," working together to produce a spectacle with the sole aim of making the Maoists look controversial if not good. Dysfunctional actions, or politics, must be painstakingly reframed by much smarter people, narrated in much more graceful terms, in order to mold the image of a "dangerous and cutting-edge movement." The truth is, on the streets and in our meetings, the lights are on but nobody's home.

Maoist politics, and especially these actions, aren't guided by any sort of intelligence or maturity; they're guided by the reckless presumptions of the dilettantes leading their cadre formations. Any action is simply "correct" because the Maoists agreed with themselves that it was better for the ideological task of "consolidation" to take precedence over any other activity. Any activity that serves "ideological consolidation," no matter how bad it looks or its political effects, are absolute and "strategic" goods. While the idea of maintaining brute supremacy over Communist ideology holds over all else, any loss incurred in the process will be perceived and acted on as if it was a concrete gain. The task of the propagandist -- the Incendiary guy -- is to cover their asses in the process, clean up their messes, and smooth over the flagrant incoherence of their thinking and activity.

Sanctimonious leftists, quick to outrage and keen to add color to their moral lives, play a special and initial role in enlarging the Maoist myth. The recent Cosmonaut editorial branding the Maoists as out-and-out fascists who "must be stopped" provides a key example of this. To legitimize the Maoists as a threat to all progressive organizations is to be provoked, to essentially agitate and propagandize for them. On the ground -- let me tell you -- this not only inspires the Maoists more to fall into their idiotic and juvenile brutality but enables their delusions of grandeur. Same thing for macho "champions of the people," like Carl, who are further inspired in their self-serving aims and actions. In the end, no one really benefits but the Maoists, who at least take away whatever political capital they can get from this controversy.

The other function that the anti-Maoists embrace is far more critical and useful, in deriding and mocking these actions as the pathetic stunts that they are. This does far more to liquidate the Maoists' gains in the long run because it flattens their cliche "any PR is good PR" line. Ultimately, the organized "Left" vacillates between these two approaches, opportunistically and frivolously, which leaves them at a loss to comprehend or counter the Maoists from a political standpoint.

Many have called them pigs. This is categorically incorrect. Some have compared them to the LaRouchites. This is closer to the truth but still very inaccurate. I have the very dubious privilege of informing you that after three years of careful observation and six months of direct experience, I've finally discovered that the Maoists are tragically misguided and incompetent. Over the next two sections, I'll try my utmost to elaborate exactly how and why.

Edited by red_dread ()

#2
Thanks for the write up, is this post about this event?

https://incendiarynews.com/2019/10/18/kansas-city-anti-revisionist-confrontation-of-dsa-event-ends-in-bloodshed/

Have you broken with the organization or are you still a member?
#3

pogfan1996 posted:

Thanks for the write up, is this post about this event?

https://incendiarynews.com/2019/10/18/kansas-city-anti-revisionist-confrontation-of-dsa-event-ends-in-bloodshed/

Have you broken with the organization or are you still a member?


the very same and a total split. a final fuck-off speech and everything, about a month ago.

#4
nice piece, looking forward to the next two

how did KCDSA fuck over your org?

#5

filler posted:

nice piece, looking forward to the next two

how did KCDSA fuck over your org?


they spread rumors that had my mass org banned from the union hall we later trashed and from the UAW picket line. i'll definitely elaborate more in the next section. (edit: last section!!)

Edited by red_dread ()

#6
Love reading your posts, look forward to your followup, and deeply appreciate the effort you have put in trying to wring blood from a stone.
With that out of the way,
#7

red_dread posted:

I have the very dubious privilege of informing you that after three years of careful observation and six months of direct experience, I've finally discovered that the Maoists are tragically misguided and incompetent.



I have the very dubious privilege of informing you that those three years could have been just three minutes.

#8
you know how we like to say on this forum that stalin was just trying his best? well, i'm starting to get the impression that these american maoists aren't doing that
#9
I noticed the essays on the PSL were removed from your blog https://bmsportinggoodsco.wordpress.com/ I was curious if they´d be returning or why they were removed or if this set of essays will be added. It just makes sharing easier for me but ig i can also share rhizzone posts but idk feels odd. Or if you´d prefer these not be shared. Not like on twitter or with by bffs in the fbi but just with people i know.
#10

BOFAnshen posted:

I noticed the essays on the PSL were removed from your blog https://bmsportinggoodsco.wordpress.com/ I was curious if they´d be returning or why they were removed or if this set of essays will be added. It just makes sharing easier for me but ig i can also share rhizzone posts but idk feels odd. Or if you´d prefer these not be shared. Not like on twitter or with by bffs in the fbi but just with people i know.


after i put it up i got more than a few glowing responses from people who were actually traumatized by their experiences with the PSL and WWP. after that i had higher expectations for what i'd written than just a longform shitpost. i wish i'd actually approached it in a more mature way, and i wanted to revise it significantly, which i've been trying to do on and off this year.

(this one is definitely more of a longform shitpost tho. idk it can be paired with the old stuff i guess. i gotta do it partly to organize my thoughts and experiences for something way more technical and constructive tbh.)

anyway i can just send the pdf of my writings from back then if anybody dms me about it.

#11

From Incendiary News Service: Attendee splits Trotsky in half with a mighty swing.

THE CULT OF THE PROLETARIAT

PYO-KC and by extension the KC Maoists have always held a special place in my heart. Without the foundation of the Progressive Youth Organization in late 2015, I might not have found the courage to organize on my own. Its existence in my hometown seemed to prove that it was possible for a militant Communist group to emerge anywhere, at any time, in spite of a stagnant political environment, and potentially thrive in it. (In practice, this later proved only partly true.) At the time, I had no clue of its relationship to the Kansas City Revolutionary Collective and it took me nearly a year to figure out their connection. When I finally figured out that the PYO-KC was, in fact, the KCRC’s first mass organization, my respect for PYO didn’t diminish; instead, my regard for the KCRC increased immensely. This was how, beyond the then-recent split of the NCP-OC/LC, I came to follow the Maoist collectives in their development and respect them as a whole.

During the 2016 election, PYO quickly asserted themselves as the militant contingent of the local anti-Trump demos. They led groups of their members, sympathizers, and stragglers in radical chants, attempted skirmishes on police lines, and openly exposed liberals as “collaborators and enemies.” In two short demonstrations, they had established themselves as willing and capable of putting up resistance to both the stagnant liberal contingents and the police columns. One incident from their contingent sparked a brief and quite stupid controversy after one of their members had allegedly punched a police horse in the face, Mungo-style. In reality, as she later informed me, she had only slammed and pushed against the horse in a desperate act to keep the mounted division, which was in the process of trampling her comrades, away from the frontline skirmish.

In any case, PYO presented a cogent and militant alternative to pervasive stagnation and passivity on the local organized “Left,” for a long time represented by the IWW and -- god help us -- the Green Party. At that point, I was closely familiar with the disappointments of the “Left” in KC, so the immediate appeal and reason of such an organization was profoundly clear to me, even as I was nearly 300 miles away in another state. In thought and in the streets, the PYO-KC was like a revelation to many local radicals. As a result, the organization absorbed 45-50 new members almost overnight, retaining them for some months afterwards. On a political level, they reached the apex of their activity when at the anti-Muslim Ban demo they broke through the liberal contingents and cops, then stormed the KCI airport with some 60 people.

Whether it was a conscious policy or just plain circumstance, the PYO-KC subsequently settled into the nearby UMKC campus as their main organizational hub. This, of course, gave rise to a dependence on students as their sole reserve of recruits and activists, necessarily shifting their political focus to campus issues for the most part, if not exclusively. They organized rapidfire campaigns, of which there were a handful, against notable abusers in the student body and the reactionary policies of the administration. The two main tactics they employed were office occupations and private/public harassment of their campaigns’ subjects -- students, faculty, administrators. I can’t say how successful they were but the impression I got from their public summations and personal anecdotes was that these actions were all conducted deliberately, with a certain practical clarity and a basic adherence to discipline. The main problems they faced during this period were the rashness and indiscipline of the students and, broadly speaking, what essentially amounted to an encirclement campaign by the administration to ban them from campus and dissuade students from joining them. Throughout all this, they made consistent attempts to reach out to the broader student population and integrate political education into their activities among them.

Month by month, as they studied documents from the MLM movement (especially the Revolutionary Union’s Red Papers), their numbers dwindled down towards the 30-35 range and they maintained this kinda standard until their demise roughly two years later. Conflicts inevitably erupted between the anarchists, Maoists, and left-liberal stragglers in the group. The KCRC found it prudent to take the reins at that point, to bind the PYO closer to its ideological line. Members split off into “committees” (or rather, fractions) under Maoist leadership with their own areas of work, such as the Proletarian Feminist Committee (which organized regular self-defense courses). To absorb and develop new recruits, the KCRC formed the STP-KC in emulation of the examples in Austin and LA. STP-KC’s formation was also an attempt to redirect energies towards mass work and propaganda. This process and its logic were elaborated in -- surprisingly -- stark clarity in “The New Political Line of the Red Guards KC,” following the KCRC’s rebrand.

In practice, this process proved much clumsier than anticipated. The KCRC’s basic program was to take in new recruits from PYO and rapidly cadreify them through STP. This required a kind of “buffer zone” between the two organizations, in which cadres and recruits could operate with some freedom, which would weed out the incompetents and put everyone who was willing through the political wringer. This took the form of volunteer work in a community center which was only possible to access through a coalition with a few other political organizations and NGOs. The work in the community center was promoted as a form of “proletarianization” for the bulk of their petty-bourgeois recruits. The coalition which served as the gateway, as far as the KCRC was concerned, was simply an unpleasant side effect of acquiring access to volunteering. They tried to limit the coalition’s political significance as much as possible, regardless of the possibility that it might be (and later did) comprise the determining factor in that political juncture.

On the other hand, STP-KC went about organizing marginal charity events and searching for leads on tenant struggles, utilizing the same tactics and methods of work employed in PYO. They were limited significantly by their reliance and engagement of only one tenant and one landlord at a time, then launching attacks with little to no support but amongst themselves. It was around this time that they, for some reason, had the ill-advised idea to “develop” their contacts “ideologically,” trying to hold study sessions with them one-on-one, isolated from any of the groups or their activities. Ultimately, the tenants they tried to “develop” didn’t really give a shit about their ideology, which frustrated the KCRC. One by one, here and there, they lost every contact because, in every case, they had appointed just one person to keep in touch with tenants. If the member charged with communications fucked up or just dropped out, boom, that was the end of the “struggle.”

It was at this time that I finally met them all, face-to-face. Mainly, I remember having a fairly candid discussion on political experience with the comrade who was later appointed my first liaison with the Red Guards KC. I observed and studied their manner of work, their outlooks, and their approach to organizing. I was genuinely struck by their sincerity and compassion. I came away from the exchange conscious of their shortcomings but very eager to adapt and impart their positive qualities to my work in our organization down south. Overall, I was optimistic about their development and future.

However, contradictions soon flared violently between the Maoists and the IWW in the coalition. The KCRC was also at odds with the NGO that owned and operated the community center, which in their eyes was undermining their political work by overwhelming them with “chores.” This all appeared as the foremost threat to their political development; their authority was imminent, not pending, and their leadership was nigh if not already established. The plainly opportunistic maneuvering of the IWW and their frustratingly “apolitical” relationship to the NGO wasn’t perceived as a general political problem to be solved; to the Maoists, it was a blow towards sabotage, an enemy action, they would have to avoid or deflect. In reality, the Maoists weren’t politically isolated or alienated from this area of work: they willingly and consciously divorced themselves from it in order to elevate their status elsewhere. They chose retreat over the conquest of the conditions of political leadership from within. Their later engagement with the ILPS followed similar lines, a frustrating experience where they acquired a sharp disdain for the Communist Party of the Philippines and Joma Sison in particular.

(One particular Maoist jumped down my fucking throat about this line of argument, in reference to my own experiences, at an otherwise pleasant dinner. I felt like this “insight” was really just United Front Tactics 101. Funnily enough, it turns out the Filipino comrades had espoused an eerily similar line when the Red Guards KC attempted to join ILPS. The Maoists were incensed that they had to share a coalition with a bunch of revisionists and opportunists, which they harshly criticized the ILPS for enabling. Then they abandoned the ILPS conference harboring a lot of resentment against the Filipino Communist Party as a whole. This was how I found out about the whole debacle, in full, in the first place.)

At this juncture, and due to many other internal/external factors, the KCRC forged a much closer working relationship with the increasingly popular and polarizing Red Guards Austin. I couldn’t tell you the extent of RGA’s direct or indirect influence on the leadership of the KCRC, but at this point they had definitely fallen into a kind of ideological mold and political position that was exceptionally suited to Austin’s strategic/tactical orientation. The RGA had a perspective and tactical schema that could capitalize on the whole “Paper Maoist” stereotype, specifically the paranoid mindset and thoroughgoing isolation that comes with it. All this is to say that I’m fairly certain that their relationship and KCRC’s later embrace of the Red Guards came about organically rather than, say, as a product of crude intrigues, as was the case with the notorious Portland Maoist Group.

The most common critiques of the Red Guards schema are pretty self-evident: the constant confusion of non-antagonistic and antagonistic contradictions, the ultra-left “hypermilitarism” -- but as accurate as they are, they only scratch the surface. These two critical failures are, in fact, subordinate to three broader and deeper issues: the ultra-left commandism, the flightism, and the wholesale distortion of dialectics into backwards thinking. The primary objects of critique, now firmly embedded in the image and myth of the Maoist, only comprise a kind of superstructure emerging from all the internal and external shit -- all the contradictions -- that form the base of real Maoist thought and activity.

Foremost is the distortion of dialectics. Dialectical thinking, taking an example from Grampa Mao, might be conceived as something like this: “How can a bad thing be a good thing?” This isn’t some rote statement or assertion but rather a question, a problem, that supposes the development of a process beholden to the qualities or characteristics of Bad Thing and Good Thing, as well as whatever subjective qualities we have on hand to scrutinize and mold them. To make the bad into the good requires a calculation and an interrogation of both aspects and our ability to perceive and ultimately affect the thing’s transformation. Within this process, it’s never a certainty that this bad thing will really transform even with our interventions. However, through careful thought and continuous efforts to apprehend the object and act on it, to see the reverse and obverse and work on this process from all angles, a bad thing may turn into a good thing. The supposition has far more to do with the rigor and tactility of the process than the bluntness of its aims; dialectical thinking provides only a method, not a solution.

For the Maoists, the unity of opposites is only the identification of the one with the other. By a combination of mysticism and poor reading comprehension, they’ve come to believe that bad things are simply born “good things.” In fact, there is zero distinction between the good and the bad, there’s no fundamental process that transforms them. “Bad Thing may have happened but I know it’s actually Good Thing,” they might say, without so much as explaining how or why to anyone, ever. Their basic supposition is that since there seems to be a direct correlation between the good and the bad in their unity, there’s basically no necessity for a transformative process in thought or, especially, action. The bad will kind of just flip over to the good, the good will inevitably flip to the bad, and “in the long term,” nothing bad -- no matter how significant -- will ever fail to be a good thing. This is the essence of their “revolutionary optimism.” When shit hits the fan, Maoists must also rely on “the long term” to indefinitely suspend the resolution of any tricky contradiction or problem that requires some diligence or circumspection. In “the long term,” their arrested development will just work itself out. Also in “the long term,” entropy will provide all lifeforms with the ultimate solution to the problem of mortality.

Their logic operates on a basic dissonance between themselves and any given political situation. Take, for example, their problems with the community center and the coalition. There was a clear window of opportunity for them to secure their immediate objectives and aims with minimal losses, even if it would’ve required some diplomacy and restraint in the process. Instead, they signalled a retreat from political struggle and the separation of themselves from a key position that enabled them to acquire experience in mass work that could’ve potentially equipped them to lead. To them what was fundamental was that they retained ideological hegemony in, and leadership over, a much smaller circle with far fewer ties to the working classes. This appeared as the most revolutionary of all possible political actions because it was the most ideologically potent. From that point on, all subsequent “political” actions were increasingly characterized by a collective flight from engaging with real situations and people into the hollow comforts of insular propaganda circles in which ideological consolidation, and concentration, became the sole determining factor of one’s “political development.”

Throughout my stint with the Maoists, their anecdotes were littered with casual references to “comrades,” even instrumental ones, who “dropped off” for reasons none of them could adequately explain. It wasn’t that they could frame it in terms of “friends or enemies” either; there was simply an absence. The Maoism of days past was populated by this handful of faceless members and the unknowable compulsion that drove them to abandon the heads of these organizations. I imagine that “solid core,” a narrowing circle, the remnants undaunted and unaware, resolutely muttering to themselves: “Fewer but better fewer.”

These particular variables contribute to an internal and external policy of what my Maoist comrade calls “ultra-left commandism.” Their dogmatic strictures, increasing insularity, and separation from the vicissitudes of political life leads directly into absurd strategic reasoning and tactical incoherence on the political level. Above all, it enables an echo chamber to see good reason, of which there’s very little or none, in orchestrating sequences of weak “propaganda actions” against their supposed rivals with mounting audacity. The decisions of the leading cadre formations are never questioned nor are they explained. They may be criticized but never changed. These actions simply happen and the continued goodwill of leadership depends on their happening, on the presumption of their necessity. This is avidly combined with their pretensions of “militarization” to produce something like a very shitty and nerdy street gang.

In subsequent months, the newly-rebranded Red Guards KC faced a major fiasco when they arrived at an anti-fascist demo fully and openly armed, where they were quickly encircled by cops and told to disarm themselves. They had been in violation of a city ordinance that forbade the open-carrying of chambered rifles. Receiving the orders from the pigs to dischamber their rifles, many discovered they had no idea how to do this. The police were more than willing to help them and amiably instructed the Maoists on the how-to of it all. This also preceded a squabble with local anarchists and the IWW which, for its part, was pretty much rhetorical in essence.

Later that year, 2018, the PYO-KC announced their first public event in months after almost a year of quiet, in which they had planned to disrupt a Trump rally at a local convention center. Within a week, many members were contacted by the FBI and the KC Counterterror Task Force. The feds singled out 2 members in particular and hung misdemeanor charges over their heads, stemming from a UMKC campaign earlier that year, in an obvious ploy to knock them out of the activist game for good. These members folded and stonewalled the PYO from that point on. What little I know about the incident was that no one was truly prepared for any of these pressures, as minimal as they were, and many flaked almost immediately, fearing exposure. As far as I know, no one was ever busted, only intimidated. As the PYO-KC called out “state repression,” they were in fact being destroyed by a lovetap. The organization officially dissolved shortly after, with only half a dozen of its remaining members having integrated into STP-KC.

This was the juncture in which I finally became involved with the Maoists. In the aftermath of the PYO-KC’s implosion and the RGKC’s embarrassments, they were in the midst of restructuring and adapting to their losses. Ultimately, they were attempting to rebound and trying to seek out new areas and methods of work, even while maintaining the same strict adherence to fundamentally batshit trains of thought. In my final section, I’ll try to elaborate precisely what I did, thought, and felt in my work with them; why they failed and my own role in their collective failure; and what I think the future might hold for them, as well as the broader political movement.

Edited by red_dread ()

#12

red_dread posted:

In subsequent months, the newly-rebranded Red Guards KC faced a major fiasco when they arrived at an anti-fascist demo fully and openly armed, where they were quickly encircled by cops and told to disarm themselves. They had been in violation of a city ordinance that forbade the open-carrying of chambered rifles. Receiving the orders from the pigs to dischamber their rifles, many discovered they had no idea how to do this. The police were more than willing to help them and amiably instructed the Maoists on the how-to of it all.



#13

red_dread posted:

The bad will kind of just flip over to the good, the good will inevitably flip to the bad, and “in the long term,” nothing bad -- no matter how significant -- will ever fail to be a good thing.


#14

lo posted:

you know how we like to say on this forum that stalin was just trying his best? well, i'm starting to get the impression that these american maoists aren't doing that



it sounds like they are amateur revolutionaries

"The amateurishness that has plagued all revolutionaries in the U.S. Empire was shown in the political defeat of the Revolutionary Armed Task Force. We mean no put-down by the use of the word “amateur”, it is a scientific description of revolutionaries who have not succeeded in reaching a professional revolutionary level. Communists define professional revolutionaries by one measure -- ability to combat the political police. RATF was totally out-planned and out-maneuvered by the State security forces, despite the courage and fighting ability of individual RATF fighters. The FBI had a superior grasp of strategic political-military factors, and was playing a deeper political game. Which was how they could not only wipe RATF out militarily, but inflict a stinging political defeat."

i am not even an amateur revolutionary by this measure so i can't judge, just wait for red_dread to help teach us about these defeats. that won't stop me from commenting! it seems like to transition, from amateur revolutionaries, to professional revolutionaries, they need to reverse one or more trends. they can stop bleeding cadre, so that the sum of experiences is greater. they can hit the books, to figure out how to leverage their arms into political victories, which could eventually defeat the local parasite classes, and invite a direct war from the empire-come-home to your red zone. i think they could really just dream bigger! all we've known is defeat in the US! 400 years of fat, propertied parasites going unchallenged. we were born into a 10,000 year old war between classes, and specifically, in the center of defeat, after 4 genocidal centuries of defeat. i used to work in KC, i know even in the 90s there were white gangs who'd go make lynch riots in the black neighborhoods (it's still very segregated). KC is where all the world's bee-killing pesticide is made, eating FOOD from angiosperms is more important than the DSA? who gives a shit about a micro-party like the DSA. sorry red_dread for your defeats but your writing is inspirational.

Edited by toyot ()

#15
"400 years of fat, propertied parasites going unchallenged" is IMO not the best way to characterize e.g. the Black Panthers or even things like the assassination of Henry Clay Frick. it's more that those in the U.S. could always stand to learn from how those challenges proceeded and why they failed. The terms of debate should not be dictated by capitalist ideology or by mournful defeatism.
#16
aka fail aids
#17

cars posted:

"400 years of fat, propertied parasites going unchallenged" is IMO not the best way to characterize e.g. the Black Panthers or even things like the assassination of Henry Clay Frick. it's more that those in the U.S. could always stand to learn from how those challenges proceeded and why they failed. The terms of debate should not be dictated by capitalist ideology or by mournful defeatism.



thanks cars, you're right, workers here briefly communized st. louis 150 years ago. amerika has of course been challenged by its colonized nations, panther power and cubans re-patriating united fruit plantation and standing rock and the list goes on. red_dread + comrades weren't making national struggle for land and independence, respectfully- conflating panther struggle here mixes up class struggle and national struggle. i hope red_dread's action rings out, you all can be overwhelmed by political success, accumulate local intellectuals disaffecteds and a small army which could overturn the rotten racist society!

Edited by toyot ()

#18
does the KCRC have a 401k match? i feel that'd drive up recruitment
#19
Red Guards Match Dot Com
#20
this literally confirms the suspicion neo-maoism is a farcical repeat of the 60s lol
#21

marlax78 posted:

this literally confirms the suspicion neo-maoism is a farcical repeat of the 60s lol


#22
i know you have some more posts lined up dunking on the maoist larp group but whats next for you? what is the best way to organize considering some of the problems with the left that exist today
#23

pogfan1996 posted:

i know you have some more posts lined up dunking on the maoist larp group but whats next for you? what is the best way to organize considering some of the problems with the left that exist today


well. glad you asked.

because i honestly have no fucking clue.

#24
ive developed stendhal syndrome from that red guard kansas city self own
#25
r_d is obligated to publish a memoir one day just so that anecdote can be immortalised
#26
i've been trying to think of something to add to this in an analytically useful way, but i agree r_d is a good writer and, frequently, quite funny and should write a book. i also went back and read the series on the ameriKKKan marxist parties and their problems which makes for a good companion.

the theme i'm detecting is how these micro-parties function as like cults, but that isn't to use the word in same sense as the RCP or heaven's gate but more like cult fandom surrounding the communist brand, with communism being like an identity and its dead leaders serving as like celebrities that must be "upheld," and the problem for different groups of fans is other fans not enjoying it in the right way. with this group, the practice also seems to have been wrapped up in generating clickbait for the website. i went back and scanned the article on incendiary about the kansas city hoedown and they go on and on about "revolutionaries" striking a blow against the enemies of "genuine socialism," like the DSA is standing in the way of a socialist revolution in the united $nakkke$ or something, which is just delusional but i'm sure some of the people involved were really enraged about that group of do-gooders canvassing for bernie. you see in the article in the linky where the ex-red guard almost sounds like the platypus society talking about left being "fucking DEAD" and needing to DIE and joining the red guards as a means to further that end, the big difference being that platypus tries to kill the left by hijacking your projector to give an extremely smug lecture about counter-pedagogic, postmodern neo-kautskyian deviationists. in conclusion, this has more in common with youtube videos with titles like "how star wars fans KILLED star wars," and none of these people are revolutionaries but it's not like i am either.

to use a comparison to star trek, a lot of these little groups are like the voyager of communism. they're trying to make something new where they're lost in the delta quadrant, and the concept is that everything is gritty and they don't have access to resources like they would back home, but somehow the ship is cleaned up at the beginning of every episode like nothing happened and another shuttlecraft pops out of the back, like it hadn't been eaten by a giant space beaver in the previous show. then some klingons show up (they fell through another wormhole) because the show is running on sheer inertia and repeating tired tropes. so, the solution is that you need sisko to show up and tell picard (20th century communist leader) that he's kind of a prick and fucked some things up and killed his wife. still in star fleet though.

#27
i'm actually really interested in a followup about how they're not LaRouchian, because LaRouche dysfunction is one of my pet focus areas and this sounds remarkably similar, as far as I can see from what's been written. a particularly American kind of political incontinence.
#28
sorry about leaving everyone in suspense or whatever. i've been recovering from a really shitty work injury for the past couple weeks and i've been trying to work to get my focus back this week. plus juggling like 3 other drafts.

sorry about that!

also some ex-DSAers recently gave me the impression that the action hit the DSA as a whole harder than cville. which is spurring a super malevolent strain of macho horseshit that's been waiting for an opportunity to bust out. the RGs are burning themselves out and the DSA is going to make themselves look like fucking idiots the same way we did. everything is so fucking silly.

(oh yeah and of course this is all going to be framed as righteous ideological warfare on both sides.)

EDIT: also that medium post was me lol. "none of these people are revolutionaries but it's not like i am either" is a pretty good summary of how i feel about things in general.

Edited by red_dread ()

#29

shriekingviolet posted:

i'm actually really interested in a followup about how they're not LaRouchian, because LaRouche dysfunction is one of my pet focus areas and this sounds remarkably similar, as far as I can see from what's been written. a particularly American kind of political incontinence.


imo operation mop up was a distinctly political act that attempted to consolidate hegemony around larouche. i think this is only a secondary aspect with regard to the RGs, who primarily want to front themselves and their anti-revisionist actions more in terms of manufacturing an image of something like the KPD's red front valiantly fighting the SPD's iron front, which i suppose might be successful given what i've heard. but this time it's with zero relation to like a historically rooted, organized working class movement with its own (mostly) independent political and cultural life. First As, Then As...

anyway, i guess i'll flesh that out more as i work on this last section. just anxious to give my thoughts.

Edited by red_dread ()

#30
well your actions & writing are inspirational, at least in 1 case... i got a bad habit of abandoning essays 1/4 thru, except lately i've been just writing and writing, & working on another thing in the neighborhood. got your stuff in the back of my mind, if real class struggle can happen here it can happen anywhere.

that's interesting about the DSA... cuz DSA, and these upstart fascist groups in cville, they have in common that their armies, in their political conceptions, are both the same, the united states military. and ours is the red army, so if it spooked them more. but i'm sure there's more to it than that.

Edited by toyot ()

#31

toyot posted:

i got a bad habit of abandoning essays 1/4 thru,


*tugs collar*

#32

toyot posted:

hat's interesting about the DSA... cuz DSA, and these upstart fascist groups in cville, they have in common that their armies, in their political conceptions, are both the same, the united states military. and ours is the red army, so if it spooked them more. but i'm sure there's more to it than that.




hmm. i don't know if the neofascist groupuscles would stand much to gain here.

rambly post: neofascist violence / terror / flexing has a dual function of serving as an extra-legal arm of the state. a liberal regulatory framework for dealing with "threats to the social order" is deemed incapable (by the fascists... and/or by the state or elements within) of fulfilling that mission. so the flex challenges, and reinforces, the objective structural violence of the liberal state, simultaneously. fascists can also only "see" themselves in the faces of their victims. this might be best left for a separate thread but i think fascism is a highly aestheticized political commodity, and a personal identity, and an extreme form of petit-bourgeois status anxiety. the commodity is the cell form of bourgeois society and we consume commodities to signal our belonging to certain social classes, but a stressed petite bourgeoisie which is being radicalized can find a substitute in fascism. the fear of "falling behind" and the need to "keep up with the joneses" is displaced onto competition and struggle of race and nation. and the spectacle and the aesthetic of fascism doesn't really exist independently of the reaction provoked by it, it'll just whither without it, which is why fascists are driven to hurt and kill people.

all this is to say that practically speaking in our digital psyop mindfuck age, if neofascists were to attack a DSA meeting it'd probably take one of two forms: (a) a lone gunman with a camera strapped to his head livestreaming the footage to the internet as he kills everyone in the room. (b) a group of men, probably masked and wearing uniforms, bursting into the room and shouting fascist slogans at the top of their lungs before leaving as fast as they arrived and with one guy filming the reactions of the people in the room. in either case they need their followers and potential recruits to see the terrified faces of their targets.

the problem for fascists with (a) is that it's just utterly insane and unmoored from any real political strategy. option (b) on the other hand does have a strategy which is to create a lose/lose situation for their victims. if they sit there and look frightened, then that is a win for the fascists, but if they launch themselves at the invaders then the fascists will stomp them -- also on camera -- while spinning it as having been aggressed on, which is even worse. what DSA should probably do in a situation like that is just not take the bait, because the DSA's credibility is not moored in flexing like a street gang, and like you said their military is the U.S. military. it'd be like terrorizing the shriners or something resulting in the fascists looking like a bunch of whackjobs. they might still do it, but i think they'd be making a mistake, or getting the wires crossed somewhere.

i've seen a neofascist groupuscle IRL flex on anarchists (who didn't take the bait), which probably has to do with the fact that the anarchists' political conceptions are not the same as DSA. that makes them a target of opportunity, really. but even if you don't take the bait, the impulse to engage in said macho horseshit to redeem the "humiliation" of having been flexed on like that is still strong, which is why fascists aim to provoke it. but if that is just going to lead down the path of more petty-bourgeois adventurist violence then that seems like a trap. (the strategy of tension was effective.) and maybe... even if you just got flexed on by nazis (talking to my hypothetical DSA friend here), you might still not be objectively in the same position as a colonized person who is put down by white power. like you might have just gotten a taste of what those people deal with from the cops all the time, and you can walk away and not have to deal with that ever again if you wanted to. so maybe you retaliating out of rage isn't very smart. "(petty-bourgeois rage) can be utilized, and it can become revolutionary, but only if its participants come to a consciousness that understands these contradictions, and moves accordingly."

--

pdf



#33
I'll say it once and I'll say again until you stop booing me, the motor bandits of the thirties were the most "successful" revolutionaries the snakes ever had.
#34

Petrol posted:

toyot posted:

i got a bad habit of abandoning essays 1/4 thru,

*tugs collar*

wherez the zizek essay

#35
http://www.revaim.org/statements/2019/12/10/farewell/

Anybody know about this?
#36

babyhueypnewton posted:

http://www.revaim.org/statements/2019/12/10/farewell/Anybody know about this?



Yeah one of the members started working night shift and you can’t really play D&D with only one DM and one player

#37

babyhueypnewton posted:

http://www.revaim.org/statements/2019/12/10/farewell/Anybody know about this?



https://www.reddit.com/r/mao_internationalist/comments/e8wmjv/announcement_the_revolutionary_antiimperialist/
There's more info in the comments of this thread, and there should be more summations and stuff soon.

#38

pogfan1996 posted:

you can’t really play D&D with only one DM and one player



this is staggering disinfo following a known CIA pattern of deception, see the HHQ "challenge" line from TSR if doubts even remain. User probated until they cry Sloppy Jalopy.

#39

BOFAnshen posted:

babyhueypnewton posted:

http://www.revaim.org/statements/2019/12/10/farewell/Anybody know about this?

https://www.reddit.com/r/mao_internationalist/comments/e8wmjv/announcement_the_revolutionary_antiimperialist/
There's more info in the comments of this thread, and there should be more summations and stuff soon.



Thanks, this is interesting and clearheaded, though it's always easier to criticize what went wrong than actually extract lasting lessons.

#40

BOFAnshen posted:

babyhueypnewton posted:


http://www.revaim.org/statements/2019/12/10/farewell/Anybody know about this?



https://www.reddit.com/r/mao_internationalist/comments/e8wmjv/announcement_the_revolutionary_antiimperialist/
There's more info in the comments of this thread, and there should be more summations and stuff soon.


why is there a 'mao_internationalist' subreddit? what the sam hill do these clowns think they're doing