The Freedom of LGBT+ People Lies in the Victory of the Communist Struggle!

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Since the very beginning of class society, LGBT+ people have endured much. Social scorn, verbal abuse, physical abuse, economic exploitation, and even executions or lynchings have befallen LGBT+ people for centuries, but it is this very history of oppression that provides the catalyst for a radical movement for LGBT+ liberation. Regarding the lesbian and gay members of the LGBT+ community, Huey P. Newton once said:

“Nothing gives us the right to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And no doubt it is only because of prejudice that I say: even a homosexual can be a revolutionary. On the contrary. it is more likely that a homosexual will be among the most revolutionary of revolutionaries.”

This statement could not be more correct. Lesbian and gay people, as well as bisexual people, trans people, and all other marginalized peoples belonging to the LGBT+ community have an exceptional amount of revolutionary potential which is the direct result of the persecution they have historically faced. All Marxist-Leninist(-Maoists), whether members of the LGBT+ community or not, should understand this, and by extension, understand that the fight against the persecution of LGBT+ people is a significant and integral part of the struggle for communism, a society free from oppression.

In light of the recent attempts at the legal erasure of trans people, intersex people, and other non cis people by the capitalist state, it has become especially important to clarify the nature of the relationship between the communist struggle and the struggle for LGBT+ freedom through an explanation of the historical unity of both struggles, the consequences of disunity between both struggles, and the practical ways communists today are fighting to ensure the complete liberation of LGBT+ people.

The Historical Unity Between the Struggle for Communism and the Struggle for LGBT+ Freedomrainbowflag

Communists have always spearheaded the struggle for LGBT+ liberation. This is a fact that should be recognized both by Marxist-Leninist(-Maoists) that don’t understand the relationship between the battle against the oppression of LGBT+ people and the battle for communism, and a fact that should be recognized by those who fight for LGBT+ freedom but also lack an understanding of the aforementioned relationship.

Soviet law prior to 1934 represented an early example of the efforts made by communists to make the end of the oppression of LGBT+ people a reality. In his book, The Sexual Revolution , Wilhelm Reich writes the following about the legalization of homosexuality in the Soviet Union:

“It was necessary, it was said, to take down the walls that separated homosexuals from the rest of society. This achievement of the Soviet government gave the sex-political movement in Western Europe and America a great impetus.”

Although this was solely a stride towards the liberation of lesbian and gay people, and one that was reversed at that, it is still an example of an early victory for LGBT+ people won through socialist revolution. The special significance of this achievement becomes more easily visible when one considers that almost sixty years after the October Revolution, there was still direct legal persecution of LGBT+ people in capitalist countries such as France, which is explained by French philosopher Guy Hocquenghem in this quote from his book, Homosexual Desire :

“We generally believe that there is simply no legal repression of homosexuality, that the private life of each individual is his own responsibility. But legal repression exists, and on a vast scale. For instance, the following figures were issued by the Paris prefecture of the police for the first quarter of 1972: ‘With regard to homosexuals, 492 were apprehended in the Bois de Boulogne and 18 in the Bois de Vincennes… The inspection of 39 public bars enabled us to apprehend 49 transvestites.’ No one should ignore the fact that homosexual clubs in Paris are subjected, in many cases several times a week, to police raids on various pretexts.”

While the Soviet Union was one of the first countries in Europe to end the legal repression of LGBT+ people, this radical and progressive advance was soon followed by a betrayal of the LGBT+ movement by a large section of communists, following the manifestation of the prejudiced ideology of the reactionary elements of Soviet society in Soviet law. Despite this great setback, it should be noted that some socialist states under heavy Soviet influence eventually rejected the anti-LGBT+ positions held by the Soviet Communist Party and began to engage in the struggle for LGBT+ liberation. An example of this occurred in East Germany as reflected in the following musings of one pro LGBT+ writer on German Reunification:

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The aforementioned philosopher Guy Hocquenghem faced one of the consequences of the previously described regression in the communist movement when he was kicked out of the Communist Party of France for being gay, because the CPF had adopted homophobic attitudes like those that had become dominant in the USSR. However, Guy Hocquenghem’s experience is in fact additional proof of the claim that communists have always spearheaded the struggle for LGBT+ freedom. After being kicked out of the French Communist Party, he formed the Front homosexuel d’action révolutionnaire, an organization that engaged in a radical struggle for the freedom of LGBT+ people as well as a struggle against the anti-LGBT+ sentiments present within the rest of the communist movement. Guy Hocquenghem became most well known for being the inventor of queer theory after he published his book Homosexual Desire in which he described a clear connection between the fight for LGBT+ liberation and the class struggle central to communism as evidenced by this quote (among many others) from the book:

“Capitalist society manufactures homosexuals just as it produces proletarians, constantly defining its own limits: homosexuality is a manufactured product of the normal world.”

Thanks to radicals like Guy Hocquenghem, the unity of the LGBT+ struggle and the communist one survived the infection of many communist parties with chauvinistic ideology. One of the more recent great leaps forward in the struggle for LGBT+ liberation was the conceptualization of identity politics in the Combahee River Collective Statement which put forward political positions explained in this quote from the Statement:

“The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking.”

Similar positions to the ones described above are now put forward by communist parties worldwide which indicates a return of pro-LGBT+ politics to their position of prominence in the communist movement. The prominence of identity politics in the movement for LGBT+ liberation and the origin of such politics in communist thought suggests that the claim that the fight for LGBT+ freedom is lead by communists remains true to this day.

The Consequences of Disunity Between the Two Struggles

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Guy Hocquenghem’s Front Homosexuel Action Revolutionnaire

The aforementioned infection of many communist parties worldwide with anti-LGBT+ chauvinism must be revisited here for the primary purpose of revealing the extreme consequences of the rejection by a large section of the communist movement of the significance of the fight against the persecution of LGBT+ people. First, a further explanation of the origin of such reactionary sentiments is in order.

One can understand Wilhelm Reich’s explanation for the reversal of progress toward the freedom of LGBT+ people in the Soviet Union through this quote from The Sexual Revolution: 

“… conservative people, as everywhere, were still under the influence of ascetic ideologies and medieval prejudices. This class also had its representatives in the middle and higher strata of the party, so that its influence made itself gradually felt among the workers also. Gradually, two concepts of homosexuality crystallized themselves more and more:

  1. Homosexuality is a ‘sign of a barbaric lack of culture,’ an indecency of half-primitive Eastern peoples;
  2. Homosexuality is a ‘sign of a degenerate culture of the perverse bourgeoisie.’

The anti-LGBT Soviet law that appeared as a result of the aforementioned reactionary prejudices Soviet socialism failed to effectively combat, ultimately became the catalyst for the spread of anti-LGBT sentiments in communist parties around the globe. This was an unfortunate result of the domination of the Soviet Union over the majority of the global communist movement, and while (as previously explained) this did not completely destroy the bond between the LGBT+ movement and the communist one, this regression certainly had severe consequences which must be examined.

The same tyrannical model of the family based on the union between two cis partners of opposite sexes that serves as the primary tool for the oppression of LGBT+ people, simultaneously serves as a tool for maintaining capitalist authoritarianism. This is explained by Wilhelm Reich in this quote, in which he describes the function of the cisheteronormative nuclear family:

“Its cardinal function, that for which it is mostly supported and defended by conservative science and law, is that of serving as a factory for authoritarian ideologies and conservative structures. It forms the educational apparatus through which practically every individual of our society, from the moment of drawing his first breath, has to pass.”

This understanding of the relationship between the cisheteronormative nuclear family and authoritarianism is key to understanding how the regression to a policy of reinforcing such a familial standard in the USSR, a regression that was in no small part characterized by the repression of LGBT+ people, was indicative of, and perhaps a catalyst for, the authoritarian turn of the Soviet approach to building socialism. Guy Hocquenghem explains how such a conclusion can be drawn from Reich’s work in this quote:

“Wilhelm Reich described how the restoration of the law on homosexuality in the USSR corresponded with the rise of stalinism:

‘In March 1934 there appeared a law which prohibits and punishes sexual intercourse between men…. This law designated sexual intercourse between men as a social crime to be punished, in lighter cases, with imprisonment of from three to five years… Thus homosexuality was again put in the same category as other social crimes: sabotage, banditism, espionage, etc.'”

Therefore, just as Guy Hocquenghem concluded, the repression of LGBT+ people can at the very least be seen as a precursor to the errors of Soviet socialism during the leadership of Stalin. Judging from Wilhelm Reich’s assertion that the cisheteronormative family is a factory for capitalist authoritarian ideology, it seems  likely that the repression of LGBT+ people in the USSR could have been one of the causes of authoritarian error in the USSR. From this understanding of events, communists must conclude that during the class struggle in the period of socialism, the liberation of LGBT+ people must be secured, and the vestige of capitalism that is the cisheteronormative family crushed, as prerequisites to a successful transition to communism.

The Communist Struggle for LGBT+ Liberation Today

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Lesbian comrades kiss at their wedding ceremony in the Philippine’s Maoist strongholds

As previously asserted in this essay, the fight for LGBT+ liberation has made its way back to prominence in the agendas of the communist parties and organizations worldwide. But the question remains: What does a communist struggle against the oppression of the LGBT+ community look like?

The struggle for LGBT+ liberation first manifests in the theory and/or program of communist revolutionaries. An example of this is the communist and Black nationalist Sanyika Shakur’s Marxist analysis based, theoretical explanation for his call for the intensification of the struggle for LGBT+ liberation by revolutionaries in prison, which appears in this quote from his written work, The Pathology of Patriarchy:

“In men’s prison- where as prisoners, the only women are transwomen- the concentration of the patriarchy pathology is on steroids. Even in those prisons without transwomen, as patriarchy is also homophobia and heterosexism, it finds expression in this way. Whether thru predation or hate outright, ill vibrations play out against gays or trans prisoners as, invariably, they are referred to as ‘punk,’ ‘faggots,’ ‘bitches,’ etc. The hierarchical structure of prison groups preclude any form of socialization or respect with, or towards, gay prisoners. They are treated as ‘abnormals’- as less than human. They are usually ‘neutralized with violence and ostracized.’ Groups forbid their members from aiding any such person. And even though the prisoners are placed with nationals from oppressed and colonized nations, oppression and prejudice against gays and trans prisoners goes on uninterrupted as patriarchal ‘morals’ are imitated and replicated across the board.

The pre-revolutionary period of the communist struggles is in part characterized by analysis of the oppression of LGBT+ people put forward in attempt to galvanize a radical opposition to cisheteronormativity, which was what Sanyika Shakur was attempting to do with the above statement.

One can understand what the communist struggle for LGBT+ liberation looks like in the revolutionary period from the experience of the ongoing communist revolution in the Philippines. In the communist controlled liberated areas of the Philippines, the Communist Party has strictly enforced the legal rights and tolerance of LGBT+ people. This is in accordance with the parties deceleration of an intent to fight fiercely against the persecution of LGBT+ people made in the document, On the Proletarian Relationship Between the Sexes. Perhaps one of the most moving examples of how this policy has caused progressive advancements toward the liberation of Filipino LGBT+ people, is the story found in the article Love is Love in the Communist Movement of a wedding between two lesbian guerrillas in the Maoist New People’s Army. A quote from this article reads:

“‘My parents knew about my wedding, but no one came except for some of my cousins who are in the NPA,’ she said.

Diane stroked her long curly hair as she narrated that she had been open about the LGBT community since she was in high school.

‘I was not yet sure that time about my preference, but I was very close to members of the LGBT,’ Diane said.

Everything, she said, was a process.

‘I had a same-sex relationship only inside the communist movement. And it is a process of opening up and acceptance,’ she said.”

 

The fight for LGBT+ liberation is a long and complex one, and like all aspects of the class struggle, it does not cease with the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In fact, because of the previously explained capitalist and authoritarian nature of cisheteronormativity, and the danger it poses to the transition to communism as a whole, the struggle for LGBT+ freedom is especially important in the period of socialism.

The characteristics of the struggle for the freedom of LGBT+ people in the period of socialism can be observed in socialist Cuba, a nation in which that struggle is currently underway. The article titled, Looking at Cuba’s LGBTQ Revolution Through an Objective Lens, explains that after Cuba defied Soviet influence and took up the fight for the freedom of LGBT+ people in 1979, Cuban socialism has generated significant advancements in the LGBT+ struggle. Two of such advancements are described in this quote from the article:

“In 2008, the Cuban government began offering free gender-reassignment surgery to transgender Cubans. Every May an annual “March against Homophobia” is held in Havana and LGBTQ activists visit rural areas to promote diversity.”

It must be understood that socialism is a process, a period of change in which capitalism is dismantled, and communism develops. All of the aspects of the class struggle are ongoing under socialism, including the struggle for LGBT+ liberation. The socialist revolution in Cuba reflects this fact by facilitating deeper and deeper attacks on cisheteronormativity not just on an economic level, but also on an ideological one, with both parts of the struggle constituting parts of a long term, protracted war against the oppression of the LGBT+ community. An example of such an attack is the battle that is being fought by the socialist state against transphobia and homophobia in Cuban schools, as one can observe in this quote from the article: Cuba Says ‘No’ to Transphobia and Homophobia:

“The 10th edition of the Cuban Assembly Against Homophobia and Transphobia event began Wednesday, Cuba Debate reported.

The event, which will continue until May 20, began with a presentation of an educational campaign titled ‘Me Included.’ This year’s theme focuses on homophobic and/or transphobic bullying at schools.

‘Why did we choose the school? Precisely because it is one of the most important institutions in society,’ explained Mariela Castro Espín, director of the National Center for Sexual Education, CENESEX.”

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A pride march in Cuba

Conclusion

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The fight against the oppression of LGBT+ people and the struggle for communism are the same. LGBT+ people will never be completely free until capitalism is dismantled, and communism will never be achieved until the oppression of LGBT+ people has been dismantled. Therefore the war against cisheteronormativity must be waged by communists on all fronts. It must be waged against the mistreatment of transwomen in prison, against the verbal abuse of gay people in schools, against the infringement upon the rights of LGBT+ people in the law, against the high prices preventing trans people from getting the surgeries they need, against the murder and imprisonment of LGBT+ people, and on all other fronts in which cisheteronormativity creates an atmosphere of hatred, intolerance, and violence towards the LGBT+ community. LGBT+ people have suffered under class society long enough. Now in the era of the fight for a classless society that is free from cisheteronormative, anti-LGBT+ prejudice, LGBT+ people, indignant and red, must stand up, fight back, and ultimately:

SMASH ANTI-LGBT+ CHAUVINISM WITH THE HAMMER OF COMMUNISM

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BLACK POETRY | When Nat Turner Beheld the Eclipse

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On that day, the White angry sun

Was overcome for a short time

And all its glory came undone

As the black moon snuffed out its shine

 

And because heavenly affairs

Are congruent with Earthly ones

Black men on field dropped all other cares

And like the moon conquered white sons

 

Their leader was brighter than stars

In his right hand he clutched a gun

Despite its cover’s tears and scars

He held God’s Word with his left one

 

Emanating from the just Lord

The eclipse sparked a judgment day

Thus in the night, as bullets soared

Through arms, free men now had their say

 

Beads of sweat formed on brown hued skin

As rebels drank struggle’s sweet wine

They traveled to each plantation,

The Angel of Death close behind

 

The black ascetic-warriors,

Wounded, disadvantaged, untrained

Saw freedom locked behind white doors

And lost all fear of being hanged

 

So when they ran out of bullets

They thanked God for liberation

No longer cattle, or man-pets

Men had won emancipation

 

Head in noose, the leader divined

That fighting was the true freedom

Though victory was hard to find

He got to beat on freedom’s drum

 

Although the Sun escaped the moon

That short triumph was just as sweet

The leader smiled. His end, soon

The fearless corpse, his foes defeat

Wakanda vs. Grenada: How The Black Panther Paints a VERY Incorrect Picture of U.S. Involvement in the Black Third World

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Yes, like most black people in the United States as of late, I have seen the newest Marvel movie, The Black Panther. This movie, for those who (somehow) do not know, is a very Afrocentric superhero film with an almost entirely black cast that for the most part takes place in a fictional African country called Wakanda that unlike most depictions of black countries in modern media, is NOT portrayed as a (as the U.S. president might call it) “shit hole”. The Black Panther himself was one of the first black superheroes, and shares his name with the famous  black radical political party, The Black Panther Party. Needless to say, the film became the center of a spectacular cultural phenomenon among black people in the United States, and droves of us, often wearing dashiki, lined up with our entire families to see the film became a common sight in theaters across the country. When I walked out of the movie theater (with my whole family) two major feelings about the movie dominated my mind. I thought that the movie looked really visually impressive, and I thought that the film had the most horrible political message I have ever seen directed towards a predominately black audience. I wondered: Why did one of the only white characters in the film, Everett K. Ross, a CIA agent that admitted that the CIA developed various techniques to destabilize Third World countries in the film itself, play a central role in helping the Black Panther defeat the main antagonist of the film. I wondered, of all the things this movie could have been about, why was the whole plot of the film centered around the quite literally CIA assisted overthrow of the terrible caricature of a black revolutionary that was the main antagonist? This movie is not a triumph for black people at all! This movie is simply a reflection of Hollywood’s racism, and by comparing the films imaginary ‘Wakanda narrative’ on U.S. involvement in black nations in the Third World, and the very real ‘Grenada’ narrative on U.S. involvement in some nations, I hope to help dispel the myth promoted by the film with actual facts.

The U.S. and Grenada

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Maurice Bishop (Man on the Left) during a discussion

Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of the revolutionary victory of the Grenadian people over the pro U.S. dictator, Eric Gairy’s, oppressive regime. Grenada’s revolution was lead by Maurice Bishop, an example of an actual black revolutionary, who, unlike the caricature that was Killmonger, did not want to ‘kill white people and their children’ or establish black supremacy throughout the world or anything crazy like that, but instead sought to satisfy the basic needs of the people in his country as reflected in this statement of his:

“People of Grenada, this revolution is for work, for food, for decent housing and health services, and for a bright future for our children and great grand-children.

The Grenadian revolution was noticeably non-violent, bloodless even, because Bishop’s New Jewel Movement ( New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and Liberation) was able to come to power without conflict, due to the overwhelming support it enjoyed, and the absence of the country’s dictator who was, you guessed it, in the United States at the time. The New Jewel Movement set up worker’s and farmer’s councils to represent the country’s people, built miles of roads, sponsored education reform, and distributed necessities like milk for free! A crowning achievement of the revolution was the construction of an international airport (with the help of Cuba) which is now called the Maurice Bishop airport in honor of the revolution’s leader.

Unfortunately, all of the aforementioned change came to an abrupt end when Maurice Bishop was killed in a coup which was immediately followed by a United States invasion that destroyed the government of the country, and resulted in the installation of a pro U.S. regime. This is how interactions between black countries that wish to do well for themselves and the United States which only seeks to benefit itself really go.

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Image from the U.S. invasion of Grenada

The U.S. and Wakanda

While The Black Panther was visually appealing, the rise in popularity of this film is a tragedy. It is a tragedy that an agent of the CIA acting in a sovereign foreign country was depicted as some sort of hero. It is a tragedy that the man calling for the rising of black people around the world against imperialism was depicted as a villain. It is a tragedy that a hero that shares the same name as the revered black anti-imperialist Black Panthers, insists that it is important that black countries “break down barriers” with exploitative meddlers in their affairs. The most tragic part of this movie, however, is that it has somehow become a source of pride among black people in the United States.

What can we learn from this film and the experience of Grenada? It is that a revolutionary and anti-imperialist political program is a positive thing, but the United States (and by extension much of Hollywood) still follow an anti-revolutionary and pro-imperialist political program. Black people as a whole must be forward thinking, and instead of exalting backwards and racist media, hold in our hearts, as Maurice Bishop once did, the maxim:

Forward Ever, Backwards Never!

For further reading on the revolution in Grenada check out this article that inspired this post!

Reminding Black People in the U.S. to OPPOSE War in the DPRK

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For a good while now the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been preforming missile tests in which they launch powerful rockets into the ocean, usually near Japan. Recently however, the American media has been in hysterics over the DPRK’s launching of a missile over Japan instead of nearby it. This act by the DPRK is likely part of the escalation of tensions between the DPRK and the United States along with it’s East Asian allies (Japan included), after the DPRK successfully developed nuclear weaponry which sparked back and forth threats between the tiny country and the fully developed long time nuclear power that is the United States. One of the highlights of this conflict was Trump’s ridiculous, jingoistic “Fire and Fury” comment that made literally no effort to disguise his chauvinistic, imperialist attitude.  If one compares this to the DPRK’s cautious, ultra specific, and ultimately defensive “threats”, one can already clearly see the inherent imbalance in the potential conflict. It should already be clear that one tiny anti-imperialist country is not going to be able to fend off the world’s only superpower, and therefore the best case scenario for the Korean people of the North is to not get invaded by the United States in the first place. This is why I call on the whole of black activists in the United States to take a stand AGAINST war in the DPRK, and hold an attitude of solidarity towards our fellow people of color in the Global South. I will now proceed to address the specific reasons why this attitude is necessary.

1. The DPRK provided a great deal of support for the Black Liberation struggle in the U.S.

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The struggle against imperialism and for socialism is a worldwide struggle that can not be won just with nationalism. Only a complete solidarity with the struggles of oppressed people worldwide can overcome the global imperialist system, and this was a belief that the Worker’s Party of Korea had in mind when it made close connections with the Black Panther Party. The DPRK considered the struggle for freedom fought by Black people in the United States to be analogous to its own struggle against U.S. imperialism, and therefore formed a tight knit relationship with the BPP, a leading black liberation organization at the time. In their book Black Against Empire, writers Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr. describe one trip of the Panthers to the DPRK like so:

“The group arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 14, 1970, and was greeted at the airport by Kang Ryang Uk, vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, and other dignitaries. The delegation traveled the country meeting with local officials to discuss ways that anti-imperialist movements in North Korea and the United States could help each other,” (319).

The Worker’s Party of Korea would also release statements declaring their firm allegiance with the Black Panther Party, the black liberation struggle, and the entire of the American anti-imperialist community. One such statement concluded with this declaration of solidarity:

“The Korean people send firm militant solidarity to the Black Panther Party of the U.S.A. and the American Negroes that have been shedding blood in their arduous but just struggle in the teeth of the brutal repression by the U.S. imperialists, the chieftain of world imperialism, the ring leader of world reaction and the common enemy of the world people, and they will give them active support and encouragement in the future too. The Black Panther Party of the U.S.A and the Negroes that are commanding the support and encouragement of the progressive American people and the revolutionary people of the whole world are bound to be crowned with a final victory in their just struggle.”

In addition to diplomatic support, the developments in national liberation related political theory made by the leading theoretician of the Korean revolution, Kim Il Sung were also very appealing to the Black Panthers. Eldridge Cleaver (before he transformed completely into a reactionary), had an especially huge affinity for Kim Il Sung’s theory known as Juche, liking it so much in fact, that he even wrote the preface to a collection of Kim Il Sung’s works! In his study about the relationship between the DPRK and the Black Panthers, Benjamin Young, a writer for the Asia-Pacific Journal, provides further details on Eldridge Cleaver’s attraction to Kim Il Sung’s thought.

“Eldridge Cleaver was particularly drawn to the North Korean leadership’s adaptation of Marxism-Leninism in the form of the Juche ideology (generally defined as self-reliance), the country’s economic success in the 1960s, and its opposition to U.S. imperialism around the world, a position honed in the Korean War.”

Often times, Black revolutionaries in the United States would prefer to read the works of third world Marxist-Leninist theorists of color (Kim Il Sung being a prominent thinker among this group), rather than European Marxists, because they could relate more to what these author’s had to say. In her Autobiography, Assata Shakur expresses such sentiment when she mentions Kim Il Sung among her preferred theoreticians.

“I preferred Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung, Che or Fidel, but i ended up having to get into Marx and Lenin just to understand a lot of the speeches and stuff Huey Newton was putting out” (221).

As one can clearly see from what has been written here, there has been a very close connection between the struggle of the DPRK against imperialism across the ocean, and the black liberation struggle here at home. Because the DPRK was willing to offer help to us, we should return the favor.

2. Understanding the DPRK’s approach to socialism is key to understanding the nation’s great successes in battling imperialism and building an equitable society.

juche

 

The economy of the DPRK is not actually anywhere as bad as many assume.  Reports from South Korea’s central bank assert that the DPRK experienced rapid economic growth last year. The countries method of organization of production reflects socialist principles, and industry is democratically managed by representatives elected from various sections of the proletariat.

The DPRK’s state structure is also very democratic in nature. As one can easily see in the country’s constitution: democratically elected members of the various People’s Assemblies form the core of North Korea’s government .

So yes, the DPRK is a democratic, socialist, and prosperous society that deserves support from not only Black people who wish to build a society of our own like this, but for all who call themselves anti-imperialists right here in the “Belly of the Beast”.

 

3. U.S. Military invasion or change from the inside?

 

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Pablo Picasso’s Massacre in Korea, inspired by U.S. war crimes during the Korean War

This article has already went on for a very long time, so without rushing, I will attempt to  be brief in this segment. It is imperative for those who have previously supported the idea of war between the U.S. and the DPRK to recognize the fact that U.S. has already went to war with the DPRK before, and to look at the impact of the previous war on the North Korean people in order to get somewhat of an idea of what a second war would mean for them.

There are too many horrible atrocities committed by U.S. forces during the Korean war for all of them to be addressed here, so I will focus on what I found to be one of the most disturbing of them all. In his anti Korean War book, This Monstrous War, Wilfred G. Burchett describes the U.S. tactic of dropping insects on Korean villages:

“Chuk Dong is a village of two tiny hamlets, separated by a
hump-backed hill. At about 11 a.m. on March 9, a group of Volunteers
had seen a plane flying so low they thought it must have been
hit by anti-aircraft fire. It disappeared behind the hump-backed hill.
A patrol was sent to the other hamlet and found along a strip of land
about 200 yards long and 20 wide, in a direction corresponding to
the flight of the plane, hundreds of clumps of flies and mosquitoes,
swirling around on the ground in such a density that ‘if you put
your foot down,’ as the patrol leader expressed it, ‘you would kill a
hundred'” (239).

Why insects? Because the insects were infected beforehand with deadly diseases that could cause outbreaks of disease among the North Korean people. Burchett received confirmation of this from a captured U.S. Lieutenant who was able to describe America’s plan in detail.

“Other captured airmen helped fill in details. Lt. Floyd O’Neal’s
testimony was particularly interesting because having been trained
as a scientist, he absorbed much more of the preparatory germ warfare
lectures than the others. He was able to present a vivid and horrifying
picture of American scientists poring over their microscopes
and test-tubes, turning back the record of medical science to the
Middle Ages when the Black Death and cholera ravaged the populations
of Europe. He described in detail how these perverted men
worked to develop more virulent types of bacteria than those naturally
spread, of how they were developing bacteria – and insects to
carry them – which would flourish in cold, sub-zero climates where
diseases were formerly unknown” (243).

That’s right, the United States dropped insects on Korean villages as a way of utilizing biological warfare against the “communist threat”. For those who wonder why the DPRK harbors such hatred for the United States, that is one of the reasons why.

So obviously in the event of a war between the biggest empire in the world, and a small third world country, even if the DPRK somehow managed to win the war like Vietnam, or stave off the U.S. once more, the costs of the war for regular people in North Korea would be massive.

Once again, I call on the black activists of the United States to take a stand against U.S. invasion of the DPRK in a true display of anti-imperialism, just as the DPRK took a stand against the racist onslaughts that threatened us. We can, no we must answer Donald Trump’s war cries with a resounding:

HANDS OFF THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA!

 

Black Liberation Cinematic Study Guide

La Chinoise on theater and by extension, film. 

To start this off, I wish to clarify the title. No I am not suggesting that the Black Liberation Struggle can be understood just by watching a bunch of films. Obviously only constant study and investigation can bring one to really understand what is like for my people, after all, as Mao said, (and I am of course paraphrasing here) correct ideas do not fall from the sky, but instead come from social practice. That said, if one wishes to deepen their understanding about various aspects of the Black Liberation Struggle in their free time, (and have fun doing it too because these are not by any means boring films), then this Study Guide is a good list of movies to both enjoy and learn from.

It is important to note that this list is composed only of movies I, myself have seen. Because of this, there are sure to be fantastic films out there that are relevant to the subject of black liberation that I have not seen, and therefore have not made it onto this list. It is important for readers of this list to also do their own search for other movies that may be of interest and can be learned from.

With all that out of the way, on with the list.

Part 1: Slavery, The Middle Passage, and Slave Rebellion. 

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Preface: Slavery is a phenomena that, (obviously) occurred in the United States a long time ago. This fact is the reason behind the ability of the Settler-Colonial mainstream social discourse to ignore and attempt to forget the pure barbarity and horrors of the genocidal crimes committed against black people by our oppressors. These movies help both to illustrate the severity of these crimes, but also depict some of the creative ways that black people resisted slavery, this resistance being an embryonic form of a black liberation struggle that continues to this day.

  1. Amistad

Why is it important?: Amistad is a movie that features the horrors of the transport of kidnapped african slaves across the Atlantic. In this film, which is based on a true story, both the genocidal nature of the trans-atlantic slave trade and struggle against slavery through both legal (the court case), and illegal means (the initial revolt), are depicted. One could say that Cinque, the protagonist of this film, was part of the very beginning of the Black liberation struggle, as the slave revolt he led, which is depicted in this film, was one of the early examples of black people rising up in struggle against oppression.

2.  12 Years a Slave

Why is it important?: This film also depicts the brutality of slavery very well, but the most important aspect of the film is its focus on the unfairness of the Fugitive Slave Laws, which ultimately served only as a method by which more black people could be roped into the hardships of slavery. In many ways, this film shows that laws in bourgeois capitalist society do not exist to protect anyone, but are in fact in place only to satisfy the twisted desires of the exploiter class.

3. Roots (2016)

Why is it important?: Roots is a very important miniseries to watch if one wants to understand slavery in full. Roots may just be the most important of these three films. Like Amistad and 12 Years a Slave, Roots depicts the horrors of the middle passage, resistance to slavery, and the brutality of slavery itself, but it also manages to add certain elements that make it unique. Because Roots depicts the life of Kunta Kente up until his capture by white slavers, it illustrates the complex culture of the Africans prior to their transfer to the United States. This proves the fallacious nature of the racist belief held by most Americans today that Africa is a barbarian continent without “history”. Roots also depicts aspects of reconstruction, and shows how white terrorism paved the way for the restoration of legally sanctioned white supremacy after the end of the Civil War.

Part 2: Civil Rights, Socialism, Black Power, and the rise of Black Nationalism.

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Preface: The rise of black nationalist leaders and the black power movement was a significant leap forward in the movement for black liberation. One of the most important aspects of this new revolutionary sentiment, is the fact that many of the organizations that played a significant part within the movement adopted Marxist-Leninist worldviews that allowed black revolutionaries to understand racism, national, and economic oppression in a scientific manner, and showed them that only socialism could guarantee the freedom of the black masses from the shackles of white supremacist capitalism-imperialism. In the curriculum related to the black power movement taught in American schools today, the fact that many of these black radicals were empowered by communist theory is largely ignored. This is part of the white supremacist bourgeoisie’s attempts to co-opt the legacies of iconic black leaders and render them toothless by erasing their dangerous (to the ruling class of course) views from history.  In this way, Lenin’s quote about such revolutionary heroes rings true:

“During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say…”

1.  Malcolm X 

Why is it important?: This biopic depicts the life of one of the greatest influences on the black nationalist movement there ever was. Malcolm X. The white supremacist mainstream discourse often tries to paint Malcolm as a “reverse-racist” who called for “senseless violence”, but this movie allows the viewers to understand his ideology in a more realistic light, and shows the legitimacy of his calls for self-defense and black separatism. This movie also implies that the United States government may have been involved in Malcolm’s assassination, something that evidence suggests may very well be true.

2. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

Why is it important?: In this collection of footage from the period written in the movie’s title, the views and aims of various black revolutionaries are depicted clearly and in their own words. This collection is a fantastic representation of the entirety of that period, featuring all sorts of black revolutionaries including Stokely Carmichael, George Jackson and Angela Davis.

3. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Why is it important?: The Black Panthers, like Malcolm X are often erroneously equated to white supremacists. They are often labeled  “the Black Ku Klux Klan” or “violent terrorists” by those who wish to perpetuate the white supremacist bourgeois narrative regarding the BPP. This movie shows the real Black Panther party, and honestly depicts their Serve the People programs, and internationalist, anti-imperialist ties, ultimately proving that the Black Panther Party was actually a Marxist Leninist Party that fought for the liberation of black people and against all forms of racism. This film also explains the various methods employed by the white supremacist United States government to destroy and discredit the Panthers, because they threatened the racist, capitalist, and imperialist status quo.

Part 3: Black poverty, crime, and life in “The Ghetto”.

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Preface: It is easy for racism to persist when people outside of impoverished, predominantly black areas look inside. All such people see is violence and death, which to them, confirms their racist view that blacks are inherently barbaric, which was the same view that justified our kidnapping from Africa and subsequent enslavement. The reality of the situation is very different from the warped viewpoint of white supremacists however. The need for basic resources for survival forces black people into a vicious cycle of crime, imprisonment and poverty. Gangs keep people alive in the hellhole that is the “ghettos”. All such areas represent are the inefficiencies of capitalism, and the cruelty of national oppression, not the so called “barbarity of black people”.

1. Boyz N The Hood  

Why is it important?: This movie has several very important aspects. For the sake of brevity, I will only describe two here:  The first one is the character named Furious Styles, who is the father of the protagonist of the film. Styles makes a multiplicity of illuminating comments on gentrification and the necessity of instilling national consciousness in modern black youth which are all in line with his Malcolm X style black nationalist views. The second important aspect of the film is the emphasis on the apparent ignorance of the rest of the American populace of the horrible conditions that exist in the hood. The now famous quote by Ice Cube: “Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood,” originates from this film.

2.  Snow on Tha Bluff 

Why is it important?: This movie is a very realistic depiction of modern life in the ghetto. The unique style of the film allows it to essentially depict the tragedy and violence of the hood through the eyes of one of its denizens, which makes it a must see for anyone who wishes to understand what life is like for the millions of black people fighting to survive in such horrid environments.

3.  Crips and Bloods: Made in America 

Why is it important?: This movie draws a direct connection between the decline of the black revolutionary movement due to the destructive efforts of the U.S. government and the rise of gang culture and violence in predominantly black communities. Much like the other films on this list, this film explores the nature of gang conflict, showing both its horrors and the reasons why many have no choice but to participate in it.

4. Straight Outta Compton

Why is it important?: A common belief held by racists and crypto-racists is that the “violent rap music” that black people often listen to is a degenerate aspect of our culture that causes crime and violence. This film shows that in reality the opposite is true. The crime and violence present in the hood is actually due to poverty, and the NWA, which is the rap group that this film is about, were one of the first groups to start the trend of depicting the reality of hood life in rap music. In Boyz n the Hood, Ice Cube suggested that it was possible that white America did not know about the goings on in the hood. As part of the NWA Ice Cube was among the first black men to use rap to make them know.

Part 4: Mass incarceration and police violence.

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Preface: Mass incarceration and police violence are the two largest manifestations of the national oppression of black people in the United States today. Because of this, these two phenomena are the most discussed in mainstream political discourse, and the films below help illustrate just why that is. The most important take away from these films is that neither the police or the prison system exist to help black people. Instead they exist to oppress, injure, and re-enslave black people in order to prevent us from ever achieving true liberation.

1. 13th

Why is it important?: The main point of this documentary is the assertion that the prison system has replaced the enslavement of black people because the titular 13th amendment completely allows for the virtual enslavement of prisoners. This movie does a fantastic job depicting capitalism’s role in promoting the imprisonment and psuedo-enslavement of black people by explaining various corporations’ roles in ensuring that mass incarceration persists.

2. Fruitvale Station 

Why is it important?: Fruitvale Station is simply the story of a black man who, while going about his normal life and doing normal things, has his life ended quickly and unexpectedly by the police. This film is a stellar depiction of the following harsh reality faced by black people in the United States: We can be executed by any police officer at any time for no reason other than the fact that we are black.

3. 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story 

Why is it important?: This documentary explains the cruelty of the U.S. judicial system when dealing with black youth who commit crime. There is no sympathy for black youth in the prison system, and this film shows that through its depiction of the story of a 15 year old black boy sentenced to life in prison simply for a robbery.

Part 5: The Black LGBTQ+ movement.

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Preface: Among white people, the LGBTQ+ movement has made great progress by leaps and bounds, but even among many “progressive” black people LGBTQ+ people are pariahs. This is what makes it so important for LGBTQ+ black people to have our stories illustrated in a way that will make our struggle understandable. The movies below attempt to do just that.

1.  Moonlight

Why is it important?: The central conflict in this movie is the contradiction between the main character, who is a gay individual, and the masculine gender roles to which black males are expected to conform. The inner turmoil experienced by the protagonist due to this internal struggle is beautifully illustrated by this film.

2.  Pariah

Why is it important?: The Christian church plays a large stabilizing role in the black community, which is beneficial to us, but it also forces repressive mores and restrictions stemming from biblical dogma onto black individuals, which hurts our communities. This film provides a look into the dark side of the role of the Christian church in the black community, as it depicts the conflict between a religious black family and their lesbian child and the painful emotional strife it generates in the girl.

3. Naaz & Maalik

Why is it important?: Despite the fact that many black people turn to Islam as an alternative to Christianity, (which such people perceive as the “white man’s religion”) for LGBTQ+ youth the effects of the religiosity of the family remain virtually the same. That said, contrary to the main character of Pariah, Naaz and Maalik are both still very religious, which goes to show that religion is not necessarily the enemy of black LGBTQ+ people.

 

And that’s the end of this cinema study guide! Feel free to comment and tell me what you’ve learned!