Our ideology, Maoism, was borne out of the struggle against revisionism. Anti-revisionism recognizes fundamentally that enemies can crop up within the revolutionary movement. If we negate this, or fail to uphold it, we cease to be Communists. The Collectives even when small must be sharply opposed to revisionism, and the trend of antirevisionism should only continue and deepen with the development of the Party, which we will accomplish. We are grateful for the comrades who have supported our work and made sacrifices for it. We cannot do it without supporters. We also have to draw lines of demarcation and not be so desperate for support that we allow anything and everything, including bad trends like postmodernism, to go unchecked.
These things cannot all be disconnected; they must be connected. The embodiment of confrontation is not unrelated to the history of the Maoists in Charlotte and their development. It is connected to the fight against postmodernism.
Following the Marxist theory of knowledge, we must use our knowledge to put things into practice, and then from that practice accumulate more knowledge, which we will put back into practice again. When a contradiction reaches antagonism, we must express that antagonism through violence. If we fail to recognize antagonistic contradictions as antagonistic, we have become revisionists.
As we theorized months ago, postmodernism negates power for the proletariat, and this is the principal problem with it. Postmodernism is obsessed with hating power. It is a perfect weapon today against Maoism, so it is completely opposed to the interests of the proletariat and the whole people. It is preoccupied with continuing capitalism indefinitely. It expresses itself in the revolutionary movement as not accepting discipline of the collective. The postmodernists yell and scream about accountability nonstop but what they really mean is accountability to them. By asking that we not have leadership, they ask that we not become a threat and materially what they are asking is that they be able to lead us—to nowhere.
Even after our founding, RGC still had postmodernism to uproot. It caused us to be indecisive, and it materially caused us to not develop strong enough consolidation and leadership, and therefore not to take enough action. It was even winning over some of our strongest supporters, because it is that ominous. To set healthy boundaries we have to take responsibility for our part in this, but also, we cannot take full responsibility for everyone around us, especially those who are in “spaces” we share but do not even support our work. We cannot take full responsibility for the actions of all individuals because when we do so we allow them not to grow.
Our collective unity was borne and consolidated out of the struggle against postmodernism, particularly against Charlotte Uprising. This is how Maoism first manifested in practice in Charlotte—the struggle against the enemies of our ideology should not cease. We have not ceased that struggle, and we have won supporters to our line on this. These supporters started with other activists who were part of the Charlotte Uprising crew with us and noticed the same problems we noticed, then the supporters of this line grew and poured over to Serve the People- Charlotte when CU tried to disrupt their serving. Now, the anti-identity opportunism line has grown outward to influence groups we’re not as close with—such as Customer 49. There are other supporters of this line further out even than this. Without our leadership there would be no fight against Charlotte Uprising, and therefore no fight against identity opportunism, in Charlotte.
We identified this postmodernist problem, starting with ourselves. We made necessary changes such as developing our line around gender, rejecting our own separation of women and LGBT struggles instead realizing that women’s and LGBT struggles both stem from patriarchy, embodied this understanding of proletarian feminism by kicking out abusers, encouraging action against those abusers, supporting women when threatened, and deepening our own understanding of postmodernism by studying it thoroughly. We defend these decisions.
For example, we made both the isolations of Winter and Manuel issues of proletarian feminism (totalizing issues) because they are the underlying reasons behind both these abusers, and things that we have to fight structurally. We did this by taking hard lines against both these people when they refused discipline–leadership was part of both these proletarian feminist committees and lead both of these struggles. They determinedly opposed the soft “restorative justice” (which frame contradictions principally as individual, interpersonal conflicts instead of principally political) argument that was pushed by the group of postmodernists in both these committees. And people within both those committees were won over to our line of isolating abusers materially, which is correct. We will defend these decisions with action. We have had to be the ones to answer to these decisions and back them up. Organizations we lead and have influence in were the ones to officially release their isolation and back it up.
With Manuel we had made a tailist mistake of survivor self determination because we knew about their first sexual assault, and didn’t deal with it. We did this because the victim originally didn’t want us to and then didn’t respond to our requests that they work with us to. We take full responsibility for this mistake—and the root of the mistake of survivor self determination was actually a problem of us not taking enough leadership. Fear was also connected to this, in that we were fearful of how Manuel would react, and to correct that fear we are now taking courage. In attacking postmodernism materially we took leadership, and seized courage, correcting both these problems.
The decision to isolate Winter was made by Serve the People CLT, which leadership of that organization followed up with by holding members to that line when they refused to participate in their isolation. Leadership was willing to, even after spending hours explaining the reasons for Winter’s isolation including sexual assault, still sit down with those members in front of the whole organization and have a line struggle meeting to win them over. Instead of this, and even after giving them time to change their mind after confronting them, they ran and hid from the meeting and the confrontation altogether. Their running from confrontation is another example of postmodernism and the fact that it has won over people in Charlotte way too much. Running from confrontation is the reflection of a petty-bourgeois attitude. The bourgeoisie ultimately benefits from the working class taking a soft attitude towards confrontation. This is expressed in personal relationships within the revolutionary movement.
Without our leadership, D28 would not have happened. It was a victory that D28 started as something the Anti-Comm fascist group called an action for, and that we instead turned it into its opposite. We got experience using tactics never before used in Charlotte–certain tactics that we encourage others to take on for themselves without fear. We also learned lessons like not to chant nonstop because it stifles our energy, to oppose electoral politicians when they try to speak at these events, and so forth. If we had taken the postmodernist, in this case the “anti-confrontation” line, we would not have had this action at all. D28 was not a “perfect” action but it was, even with its mistakes, an overall success and we will defend it. No action is perfect because we are not idealists. In that situation there were two lines: one set whether or not we should do the action as dependent on whether or not the fascists would be there (which is tailing the fascists). The opposing line, pushed by our leadership and followed through to the end, said we should have the action regardless because Charlotte is our turf and we cannot allow the fascists to organize, or even threaten to organize here, that we should take control of the situation ourselves and build power against the fascists pre-emptively. The postmodernist’s line in that situation would be forgivable if they had uprooted the bad thinking that lead them to push this line, but they have not.
May Day was another action that we encouraged, uphold, and defend. Some activists were invited to plan as soon as the planning began. They declined saying they had more important things to do but would be part of the planning closer to the day of. Fine. So, we followed up with their commitment. They weren’t willing to use certain militant tactics, then they weren’t willing to even commit to certain tasks which involved no militancy, then they weren’t even willing to be part of the action AT ALL, all because leadership was asking why they were not willing to take risks.
Leadership must lead by example, because the collective is more important than the individual. Leadership is not inherently individualist and this is such a mechanical argument. This argument has been used against us by some activists, who said, “you are not leadership you are an individual and everything you touch turns to shit”. By saying this they are attacking the decisions we made against the enemies we have made along the way, when instead we uphold and defend these decisions. This argument has been used against all the great leaders we uphold—Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and also Presidente Gonzalo. Of course, we have not earned the leadership they did, but we follow in their footsteps and we have to start somewhere. Materially gains cannot be made when there is no leadership—this is true for the short term and the long term. In order to ask the group to uphold something, leadership must first uphold it themselves. That’s why we must encourage physical confrontation.
The reasons leadership is needed are used in certain examples. For example, a comrade, Comrade A, has said that we have to become more disciplined and must require each other to be on time. In a recent meeting, Comrade B was late. To correct this, Comrade C followed up with what leadership had suggested, which was that when the comrade is late, we directly confront the issue, and ask them why they are late. The late comrade’s answer was that she forgot things, etc. Comrade D followed up by criticizing her saying that was not a good excuse and she should plan better, and he was correct. This is an example of the mass line. One comrade pointed out the recurring issue. She gave a correct suggestion that we plan to be there early, and it was united with, and in addition, followed up with by leadership by adding a plan for how we enforce discipline, which is to ask why, and criticize if the excuse is bad. It worked. So here we see an example of why we need to have leadership follow up with things to correct the issue. Honestly, leadership should have instilled and followed up with this rule earlier, but that also means that people have to actually take the discipline and follow the rules which means they have to be won over to the idea of collective rules and discipline in the first place. At a certain point, postmodernists will reject even the tiniest bit of this, which we cannot tolerate.
Part of the line of us more effectively managing our time means setting healthy limits to how long our meetings go on. This also means that we need to be able to delegate without a constant barrage of postmodernist arguments and unwillingness to take action.
When a fight breaks out it is not principally a personal problem between the two individuals involved—it is principally rooted in the contradictions in class society in general, which is expressed through these two people in particular. The general is tied up with the particular and the political is tied up with the personal. The line that postmodernists push, which is that it’s between the two individuals primarily, is a postmodernist line. It confines situations to the interpersonal principally and therefore never allows us to take action against structural and totalizing issues. We acknowledge that personal issues exist. As communists, that is never the limit of the action we take.
Leadership is allowed to set a healthy boundary on behalf of the collective as a culmination of the experiences of the group up to this point with over a year of experience. We set healthy boundaries, such as concrete standards we hold that people must live up to in order to be a part of groups we are involved in, so that people understand we are serious about our time. Postmodernists in response to this have a lot of smart ass fucking remarks and cannot stand being “held accountable” without running and hiding from the action.
Some activists really do not support our work because we cannot delegate anything to them. Why can’t we delegate anything to them? Because they don’t like “authority”, just like all postmodernists. Authority is not the source of the problem–it’s who has authority within our society. In capitalist society the bourgeoisie has authority. What we are building in Charlotte is the cell of the body that will make revolution and give the proletariat authority over their oppressors. Even while small, our group has to be able to stand up on its own and we are not so desperate for supporters that we will let people talk to us in any type of disrespectful way that completely opposes our principles. And the root of the problem isn’t the disrespectful way some activists have responded to our leadership, it’s been the practice they don’t back it up with. We should not be expected to unite with attacks against us. If we’re not allowed to fight for our principles and for our ideology then we are fighting for nothing.
From our founding over a year ago to today, postmodernism has really had a hold on the groups we have influence in. Therefore, we have seized the opportunity to put into practice something we’ve been talking about for a while—upholding power and violence. For months and months these arguments have been going on, and at some point the time for talking ceases and the time for confrontation has arrived. Postmodernists speak a different language than us but violence is a universal language understood by all. We do not support all violence uncritically, but we do support justified violence. It matters not that it’s violence in and of itself, it’s what class is behind the violence. We are fighting for the interests of our class, for the proletariat. Even in a relatively small coalition, it clearly takes leadership to actually make the things needed to happen, happen. Without dedicated leadership the group will fall apart and flounder because people’s lives are busy.
There are comrades who must be won away from postmodernism, and we have “patiently” tried to do this, but it does reach a point where it becomes antagonistic. A power is growing and a postmodernist force is doing everything they can to stop that power from even budding.
As Maoists, we follow that the development of any revolutionary organization is marked by two-line struggle. There are two lines regarding leadership here. One line says we need leadership, and yes leadership must be accountable to the group, but the development of the organization will cease without leadership. And then the opposing line, which some activists are still towing, says that following the interests of the group negates the need for leadership. They say this because leadership is expressed in one person. The line upholding leadership is correct.
There are also two lines regarding boundaries. We should not mechanically negate boundaries at all; we need them to organize. However, as with everything else, we are more concerned with the collective than the individual overall. Using dialectical materialism, there is a contradiction between the collective and the individual. With any contradiction, we have to give one aspect more importance. In line with communism, the collective interests are more important than the individual interests. This is expressed in certain situations such as, if a comrade is late and does not have a serious excuse, their individual reasons for being late contradict the interests of the group, and they therefore admit this is wrong. Therefore the group which they have chosen to be part of is holding them to rectify something they also agreed is a problem. This is just one example of many.
We must be expected to follow up with the decisions we make to carry out solutions to problems. Some activists, who negate the need for leadership at all, have a problem with us following up in practice with what we believe in theory. Physically confronting someone who has for months tried to humiliate us for carrying out our lines, whether it came to our line on revolutionary sobriety, being too “serious”, who has run from even the smallest asks in practice, is justified. Destroying the property of someone who sabotages the revolution is correct. They were not going to take it seriously any other way. They were going to keep mouthing off at even the smallest requests. They would do this to any leadership that emerged in Charlotte, and this has been expressed in our collective. We say this with humility and without vanity, but standing up for ourselves. They want us to be so “humble” to the point that we let them control us. No.
The mass organizations we have influence in have also exhibited a lack of action and a lack of a fighting spirit. This is because in the past, we have chosen fear of confrontation instead of courage. What happened recently shows we are growing– we are not scared of confrontation, even within the revolutionary movement.
The Marxist theory of knowledge, leadership, revolutionary violence—all these things are connected. Winning people over away from postmodernism has been challenging. We are grateful for this challenge, as it has forced us to become better. We are grateful that we have had to face our fears, encourage people to burn the American flag publicly, confront the police, confront abusers, protect women when they are threatened for speaking out about their rape, and we are grateful that physical confrontation happens when it represents the culmination of the antagonistic contradiction between postmodernism and Maoism.
We seized the initiative by not waiting for postmodernism to attack us, instead attacking it first. We are not humiliated or ashamed for this, and instead stand by the decision. We put our principles into practice. We follow up with solutions to the problems in our group. We must be the change that we wish to see in the world, and we must be the change that we wish to see in the group.
Reject postmodernism in theory and in practice!
Build up the revolutionary movement and do not be silenced!
Stand by revolutionary violence!
-Red Guards Charlotte, May 2018