Photo above was taken in Russia
The crisis the U.S. empire has created in Ukraine represents a crucial juncture within the American communist movement. It’s brought about a moment where Marxists in the core of the empire have needed to choose: do you want to become connected with the most historically impactful currents of the global anti-imperialist struggle at this moment, or do you want to isolate yourself from these currents? The majority of what we call the “left” in today’s America has chosen the opportunistic latter option, but that was always to be expected; a real American communist movement hasn’t even been relevant in this country for decades, so of course opportunism is this prevalent. The important thing is that nevertheless, an element exists within this country which backs Russia’s anti-fascist war.
That such an element does exist has shown there’s hope for communism in the empire’s heart; because amid all the propaganda and coercive forces arrayed against anybody who acts in solidarity with the Donbass peoples, there’s still a movement here which is consistently aligned with this struggle.
This represents such hope not just because these pro-Russian communists have fully embraced the international struggle, which is instrumental for winning workers victory; but because the dialectical understanding that’s led these communists to back Russia’s military operation provides them with the ideological tools to be able to properly navigate their domestic conditions. This framework of understanding they’ve embraced is one which allows you to recognize that the workers movement can’t win if it’s insular; that we can’t build socialism if we reject solidarity with the forces that are crucial for allowing us to gain victory.
This idea of embracing those who can objectively help you in the fight against colonialism, imperialism, and class exploitation is apparent from looking at the way the African People’s Socialist Party’s members have been acting since the Ukraine escalation. After Russia decided to fully defy the empire by intervening in Ukraine, the empire’s internal policing apparatus began intensifying its repression of the USA’s anti-imperialist movement. The FBI raided the APSP’s offices, an assault upon freedom of expression and assembly that was followed this year by a DOJ indictment of the org’s members. This has created a heightened urgency for orgs like APSP (also called Uhuru) to establish relationships with all who are willing to assist them in their time of siege.
All preexisting feelings within the party that coalition-building is instrumental for the org’s survival were reaffirmed, and Uhuru solidified its bonds with Caleb Maupin’s Center for Political Innovation. This went against the prevailing view within our “left” social media spaces that Maupin should be treated as untouchable; but such sentiments are meaningless when put up against an overwhelming practical reality. Uhuru was not going to go along with the campaign by the bad actors within the left to keep the American communist movement divided, and those who speak for Uhuru most certainly have responses ready for any leftists who may ever challenge them on this decision.
“The history of the African People’s Socialist Party is to unite with any forces that unite with the anti-colonial struggle,” Eritha ‘Akile’ Cainion, the APSP’s Director of Agitation and Propaganda, said in a press conference last year that was prompted by the indictments. “And we feel that is a just struggle. This is a propaganda campaign against Russia. We can have relationships with whoever we want…whoever we see fit for making this revolution possible, we will have a relationship with them.”
“It sounds like you’re not denying working with the Russian government,” said one of the reporters.
“They are raiding our properties as we speak,” replied Cainion. “Whatever you want to know, they will let you know what we have and what we have not done. But I will say this: that we unite with any force that is willing to unite with our anti-colonial struggle. And that part is clear. We will not refuse to engage with others around the world who want to see this system go, we will not refuse that.”
“If you are working with the Russian government, are you not concerned at all that—“
“The U.S. is working with every colonial government in the world, and no one is saying a damn thing!”
If Cainion and the other members of her cause can so easily remain adamant amid these attempts by NATO-informed journalists to discredit them, the commentary of unprincipled leftists isn’t going to dissuade them either. They’ve considered their stances and practices far too well for their policies to be influenced by philistines and scandal-mongers, as Stalin called those whose goal is to undermine the work of principled Marxists. If you’ve investigated the conditions, and have found what’s best for navigating those conditions, you can’t let anyone make you embrace a false path.
If Cainion were susceptible to imperialism-compatible ideas, like AOC is, she long ago would have embraced the same path that AOC has; that path being to reject Marxism, and be a servant for the Democratic Party. Such opportunistic actions require having a kind of character which no serious member of the class struggle could ever have; the character of a principled freedom fighter is too strong for someone who has it to abandon the cause, especially when staying loyal to the cause is about to bring retaliation upon you.
“Did it ever cross your mind that this was a bad idea?” said a reporter during the press conference. “That this could happen. When you’re talking to Russia—”
“I think you really gotta know history,” said Cainion, “because when you see the Black power movement of the 1960s, and what happened to the Panthers, and Africans who were organizing at that time, they got gunned down, they got imprisoned, all these kinds of things happened to our struggle. And I joined this struggle voluntarily, recognizing that this is the history of what this government does to people who struggle for its freedom, and for true democracy. This is what it does to the people. So I did not enter this work being afraid, or thinking that this was a bad decision. I follow the leadership of Chairman Omali Yeshitela and African internationalism, and it does not steer me wrong.”
“So there was never a concern that, again, working with an—”
“It doesn’t matter what we do.”
The only thing one has to gain from being successfully pressured into refusing solidarity with forces that are objectively advancing our cause; from disavowing whoever the liberals and their “leftist” tailists want us to disavow; is a hollow future where the only support you can get is from people who don’t even care about the class struggle. The only kinds of supporters you’ll get from doing this are insularly focused activists, and the only kinds of organizing relationships you’ll get are ones with Democratic Party front groups. I had to go through a learning process to be able to recognize this, and now that I’ve embraced such a solidarity mindset, I have a sense of optimism which I never truly had prior.
The prevailing mindset of modern activist spaces is pessimism; is lack of belief in the ability of the majority to participate in a revolutionary project, and therefore lack of confidence in one’s own ability to have a positive impact. We have so much more of a capacity to nurture the anti-imperialist impulses of the workers, and to rally the people towards overthrowing the state, than you’ll be led to believe if you embrace the anti-popular mindset. The members of Uhuru aren’t hindered by this self-imposed block; they’re carrying on the popular spirit of the Panthers. This spirit is what’s driven them both to have solidarity with the effort of the Russian people to defeat U.S.-backed Banderism; and to take help from all who hold goodwill towards them. That’s the spirit which we need to let guide us as we fight the next stages of this struggle.
By Rainer Shea
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