Clarifying Positions on the MRP Declaration Statement
10 February 2020
Since the Declaration Statement of the MRP has been released, there have been several questions directed at us from well-meaning and curious spectators, including among supporters of other revolutionary organizations, concerning some positions of the statement which were either too vague or not given enough attention. Some of these questions have been discussed and debated within our organization, and we are ready to present a few clear points on where exactly we stand. Below, we will attempt to rephrase some of the questions we’ve received according to what we feel is their essence and provide our answers to them.
• Is the MRP declaring a fully constituted Party?
The Declaration Statement was meant to declare our intent to constitute a Maoist Party. It is not fully constituted. Several positions which we believe carry great weight are still being hotly debated within our ranks. Additionally, the Party’s program of mass work (which will be released publicly soon) is only in the opening stages of its implementation. We wish to obtain greater experience through practice to formulate a more correct theoretical line. Therefore, internally we refer to ourselves as the ‘Constitution Committee.’
We disapprove of the length of time that many organizations spend in the ‘pre-Party formation’ stage in the Party-building process. We understand the need to politically consolidate, develop a correct line, and lay the foundation for People’s War in a practical sense. However, we believe the Party is the best tool for moving these processes forward, and in waiting for a more ideal time or for ideal conditions to be met, the task of making revolution is stunted and prevented from exercising full initiative. The Party must be built through the practice of using it. We are reminded that many of the most successful People’s Wars across the world started with a Party of only a dozen or so members. In China, the Communists learned through implementing a program. They developed a correct line by weighing their ideas against the needs and ideas of the masses, which were determined through the correct application of the mass line. They built the People’s Army through a clumsy process of failures and analyses of their errors, which eventually led to their correct application, and to their triumph. Waiting for a more perfect time to declare a Party is not a luxury we feel we have. We would rather be mistaken on some things, but strong in our practice, and willing to learn through struggle than to seek out an abstract readiness that may never arise. We believe the situation of present-day Amerika is urgent.
We are rapidly approaching a situation of severe crisis. The masses of poor and exploited people need revolutionary leadership during this time which can forge a correct line only through correct practice. Here we place emphasis on practice, and in particular, the practice of constructing a Party and using it as a tool of revolution. There are three magic weapons of making revolution; the Party, the People’s Army, and the United Front. Without the Party, the Army and the United Front can’t exist. Without a Party, there is no revolution. Our Party may start off weak, underdeveloped, and simply in error on many things- but our conviction is that we will learn only by doing. Our line will become sharper only through the course of revolutionary struggle.
We acknowledge that there are still many things which need to be decided and formulated before we are ready to declare the Party as fully constituted.
However, in our mass work, we only explain our status as a ‘Constitution Committee’ in deeper discussions about the Party. We are acting like a Party, and we are carrying out our propaganda and mass revolutionary work as if we were a Party. This distinction may seem trivial to some, but we uphold it.
• Why did the MRP split from the Maoist Communist Party — Organizing Committee (MCPOC) and chart its own course?
We do not wish to engage in open antagonism with the MCP-OC presently. In the final analysis, both organizations are considered enemies of the imperialists. The enemy is watching the development of both organizations and will most likely attempt to take advantage of this split to disrupt both of them. That is why we refrain from speaking openly about the MCP-OC. Here we will make one exception just to provide context and background.
The differences between our organizations are great and are what caused the rupture. We feel that the split was necessary in order to carry out advanced revolutionary work and finally constitute a Maoist Party. We do not feel that the MCP-OC was serious in this endeavor. We observed the lack of democratic centralism being practiced in the organization, leading to a consolidation of power by one individual. Additionally, we reject the MCP-OC’s claim that the principal contradiction in Amerika is between what they call the “settler nation” and the “oppressed nations.” Or, more plainly, that the principal contradiction is between white people as a whole and black and brown people as a whole. This claim negates class struggle and substitutes it for a type of national struggle that does not exist. It blurs the line between bourgeoisie and proletariat. We refer the MCP-OC to Rashid Johnson’s “Answering a Revisionist Line on the Labor Aristocracy.” We also believe Struggle Sessions’ “Race, Class, and Stratification” essay offers insight into this question.
We criticize a lack of program, strategy, and implementation in the MCP-OC. When it does practice, it commits and promotes economism with little revolutionary content. It became clear to us that this organization suffered from a strong petite-bourgeois influence and based too much focus on social media to recruit and “organize”. With the consolidation of power by one, it became impossible to rectify these issues internally.
We do not wish to quarrel or fight with them. A time for principled criticism and struggle will come at a later date.
• What is the nature of the relationship between the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP) and the MRP?
The MRP and the NABPP co-operate in a United Front together. Within this United Front, we recognize the NABPP’s leadership role among great sections of the black proletariat in Newark, NJ and among the prison population. Therefore, we promote their ideas and mass work. Our long-term goal is to form one multi-national Party with a single program.
Our white members are tasked with joining the mass organization ‘Marilyn Buck Brigade’ to help expand the revolutionary movement to white communities, combat reactionary ideas, and build multi-racial unity among the proletariat. We believe this is an effective way of combatting white chauvinism, as it places them under direct leadership of the NABPP and forces them to bring revolutionary practice into their communities (which are often neglected sites of potential struggle by the Left).
The MRP conducts principled two-line struggle with the NABPP on questions of theory and practice, with our goal to eventually exist under the same ideological line. This process will take time and will require more practice to determine what is correct and what isn’t.
The NABPP will occasionally ask for material support and assistance from the MRP. In these instances, we follow their directives and carry out tasks set by them. These instances are rare and usually revolve around fundraising for their mass work or supporting comrade Rashid. The NABPP wants the MRP to take initiative and carry out its own program.
Finally, we study the ideology of the NABPP and investigate its merits as well as shortcomings, adopting what we believe to be true, and struggling against what we believe to be erroneous. However, any contradictions that exist are secondary. In particular, we are investigating and adopting aspects of their line around the coming obsolescence of nations in the era of finance monopoly capital and the systematic lumpenization of greater masses of proletarians. Position papers on these questions are forthcoming.
We provide material support, follow directives when they’re given, conduct two-line struggle, investigate their ideology, and learn from their example. We support their goals of transforming the prison system into schools of revolution and forging Newark, NJ into a base area of revolution. This is how we accept their ideological and political leadership. We do not exist under their democratic centralism, but rather have a relationship of co-operation and struggle with the goal of merging into one Party. In this relationship, the MRP accepts the advanced role the NABPP is playing in black proletarian communities and inside the prison system, and so promotes its mass organizations, provides material support, and grows alongside it. However, the MRP is not simply a support group for the NABPP. We pursue our own program and formulate our own positions.
• Why aren’t the NABPP and the MRP ready to merge?
One of the most common objections that has been expressed regarding our relationship with the New Afrikan Black Panther Party is that it makes more sense for us to merge into one Party right now. We disagree. The subjective conditions are not at the right stage for a merging at this time. As the NABPP transitions from the prison system to the streets, it updates its practice and formulates new ideas. It is in a learning stage. Its primary strategic goal is to build a network of mass organizations modeled on the ‘Rainbow Coalition’ idea spearheaded by the Chicago branch of the original Black Panther Party. It accomplishes this goal through the creation of the United Panther Movement, the Brown Panther Organizing Committee, the White Panther Organization, and the Marilyn Buck Brigade. It wishes to build a broad United Front of mass organizations eroding the barriers of race through revolutionary struggle and uniting the proletariat in Amerika.
We understand the merits of the NABPP’s Rainbow Coalition strategy and support its implementation. Our way of supporting its implementation is through actively supporting and joining its mass organizations created for this purpose. The MRP supports this goal and strategy of the NABPP but wishes to focus its energies primarily on the creation of ‘People’s Councils’ and ‘Mass Fighting Organizations’ in proletarian neighborhoods. Each organization prioritizes its own strategy accordingly.
The NABPP also fulfills a specific role for black proletarian communities in that it is the direct ideological continuation of the original Black Panther Party which continued to exist in the prison system for decades. The NABPP has taken the original practice and ideas of the Black Panther Party and updated it through the lens of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and today’s objective conditions. Therefore, the NABPP acts as a historic revolutionary force among black people and has the potential to redirect the tendency of black nationalism to scientific socialism and international proletarian revolution. The MRP respects this historic development and chooses to support the NABPP in fulfilling this role.
Additionally, there are a few minor points of struggle between the ideology of the NABPP and the MRP which will be resolved over time.
Therefore, we’re simply not ready to merge. This relationship is new and exciting, but we should continue perfecting our organization’s practice and sharpening our line before seriously undertaking a merger. Both organizations are happy with the current relationship and understand the long-term implications of it.
• Why is the MRP asking its white members and supporters to join the Marilyn Buck Brigade?
The MRP is a multi-racial, multi-national Party. Our white members and supporters are being asked to join and support the Marilyn Buck Brigade because it is a mass organization directly led by the NABPP meant to expand the revolution into poor white proletarian communities and appropriate resources from white middle-income communities for the revolution.
The Marilyn Buck Brigade recognizes that white chauvinism is the principal barrier which prevents unity between the white and black proletariat. This chauvinism is actively promoted by the imperialists and reactionary sections of the petite-bourgeoisie to more cheaply exploit labor and ensure bourgeois rule. The common saying, “divide and conquer” applies. Poor white people are not inherently racist. They have backward ideas that can be struggled against, but due to the existence of white chauvinism, this process of struggle will require the initial efforts of white Communists. Simply, white people are more likely to listen to white people on questions of race. White proletarians can be educated and trained through mass struggle and shown their points of unity with black proletarians. This is the primary function of the Marilyn Buck Brigade.
The secondary function is to secure resources, skills, and volunteers from middle-income or petite-bourgeois white communities. These communities have an implicit unity with imperialism because their high standard of life is a direct result of imperialist super-exploitation of the Third World. They have access to income and skills that are badly needed by revolutionary organizations. Therefore, sections of them must be won over to support the revolutionary cause. Appropriating this wealth and knowledge from them, when combined with education, is the best way to break their implicit unity with imperialism.
We believe the social basis of fascism lies among the petite-bourgeoisie. While the lumpenproletariat can be easily persuaded to act as foot-soldiers of counter-revolution, it is the petitebourgeoisie who has the interest of promoting class harmony between the bourgeoisie and themselves. This desire for class harmony is caused by their fear of becoming proletarianized or lumpenized and losing their small amounts of property, capital, and income. The petitebourgeoisie are the leaders of counter-revolution on a local scale. Without them, the imperialists wouldn’t be able to mobilize anyone for counter-revolution. Therefore, during the offensive stage of fascism, they are the biggest ally of the bourgeoisie.
Weakening this implicit unity with imperialism and fascism in white middle-income communities means weakening counter-revolution and imperialism, because it loses its social base. It impairs the recruitment ability of the fascist-imperialists.
The Marilyn Buck Brigade can win over sections of the white labor aristocracy, petitebourgeoisie, and middle strata of the proletariat.
• How does the MRP define a “Militarized Communist Party,” and why is it necessary?
When we talk about revolution, we should not hide the fact that we are talking about waging an all-out revolutionary war against the fascist-imperialist system. The fascist-imperialist Amerikan government, allied with international finance monopoly capital, is already waging war against the world’s people. Atrocities are committed every day. Human rights are violated every day. The masses of poor, exploited, and oppressed people are poor, exploited, and oppressed precisely because of the war being waged against them by the imperialists. All imperialist countries are guilty of these crimes, to varying degrees of aggression and in different ways. Millions of human beings die every year from hunger and malnutrition. Millions of people die every year from infectious diseases, the majority of which could be prevented or cured. Millions die every year during work-related incidents. Finance monopoly capitalism has been responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths every decade. The imperialists uphold this system of death by dealing out more death and brutality in the form of bombs, batons, and guns.
Therefore, there is no war being declared. The war already exists. The strategic objective of any Communist Party is to turn the passive activity of the masses into active resistance. What we are fighting is a war of resistance and any revolutionary movement should be viewed from that perspective. A long legal struggle will not suffice. There has been a legal struggle in this country for 150 years, and it has done nothing but prolong the suffering of the masses. It has given concessions to the people in this country at the expense of everyone else. We reject the strategy of engaging with bourgeois elections as a method for gaining power. We also reject engaging in long legal struggles that are not complimentary to extra-legal revolutionary struggle. There will be no human rights under a fascist-imperialist system. The imperialists will kill and deprive the masses of everything until there is nothing left. They will even destroy the earth in the process, leaving us with nothing.
There is a sense of urgency which must be undertaken by the revolutionary movement. We cannot afford to sit idly by while the world plunges into deeper crisis. The crisis has persisted for so long that many have become desensitized to it, and it will take an even greater disaster for them to feel anything at all. By then, it may be too late. The MRP understands the necessity of getting the masses organized for armed struggle and the conquest of political power for the proletariat now. The imperialists are only able to maintain and increase the destruction of the earth and the oppression of the people with armies and cops. Mao correctly stated that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” For the proletariat to have power, the proletariat must be organized into a disciplined fighting force. They must be transformed from an army of subjected labor into an army of revolution capable of waging a war of resistance until the final defeat of the bourgeoisie.
Because we’re talking about fighting a revolutionary war of resistance and speaking of revolution from the military standpoint, then we must also recognize the need for a Communist Party capable of leading the masses to victory in this war. A Party that has not been sufficiently militarized cannot lead this revolutionary struggle. A revolutionary must be a student, a productive worker, and a soldier. Communist cadre must not only be willing to fight a war, but able to. They must be trained in the art of war through practice. They must put their revolutionary ideals to the test. How can a Party initiate, wage, and lead a war if they don’t understand how a war is fought, or if they haven’t subjected themselves to a new kind of revolutionary discipline? Here, we are careful to point out that the Party must lead the Army, not the other way around. However, the Party itself must be capable of leading the Army, which can only happen if it is a Party of soldiers. Even if Party cadre aren’t actively fighting, they must know how.
Additionally, mass work should be viewed as a means to develop and train the People’s Army. When the People’s Army is finally developed sufficiently, it can lead the expansion and consolidation of revolutionary base areas. It can lead mass work. Until then, clandestine units inside any Party must work within mass projects to militarize the masses being engaged and give basic military training to Party cadre. This can develop a military outlook sorely needed in the revolutionary movement, as well as expand and embrace the militant consciousness of the masses.
• What is the MRP’s current strategy for mass work?
Learning from prior experience with the ‘For the People’ (FTP) organization inside the MCP-OC, the MRP has developed a strategy for its new mass project, called ‘Unite and Fight!’ (U&F). We reject the economism and strategic bankruptcy of FTP and instead have developed a program which, if implemented correctly, can result in laying the groundwork for the construction of revolutionary base areas.
U&F is a mass project with a six-point plan and three components of organized membership. It is not a mass organization, an intermediate organization, or a front organization. It is a mass project directly led by the MRP. It can, therefore, be understood as a general call to carry out the six-point plan and build the three components for mass organization.
The strategy of U&F follows six points which each share a dialectical relationship with one another. It is not always possible or necessary to follow each point in the order they appear, so that order is only a guideline to assist in the development of the three components. They are:
1. Serve the People
Providing for the material needs of the masses. Serving food, distributing clothing, providing basic medical care, making repairs on homes, cleaning the streets, growing vegetables on reclaimed land, and becoming advocates are all ways that a revolutionary organization can serve the people. By showing the masses that we care and that we can deliver by answering some of their needs, we can show them the power of organization in practice. We can win their trust and confidence. We can win their moral support. They are more likely to listen to what we have to say and become interested in participation.
2. Teach How to Organize and Lead
By engaging with the masses through our Serve the People programs, we can find interested volunteers to help run the events of these programs. We can teach them how to become leaders by giving them positions of responsibility and leadership in the project within their community. More importantly, we can teach them the skills of organization by making them a part of the process of organizing the collection of the resources we’re providing to the people. We can show them how to fight for their community by canvassing, holding tabling events, and giving speaking engagements.
3. Provide Political Education
Alongside teaching the people how to organize and lead, we must explain to them the causes of their struggles and the struggles of their community. We must show them how the capitalist system makes them poor and keeps them poor. They must learn the methods and ideas of dialectical materialism, so they can use it to analyze their own conditions. They must learn the history of revolutionary struggle, so they can become inspired and motivated to change their conditions. They must not only know the root cause of the problems they face, but also the solution!
4. Build the People’s Council
The People’s Council is perhaps the most important aspect. It is the basis from which the proletariat will learn how to govern their own communities and cities. It is a council comprised of the most politically advanced and active masses from each community. It will work together with the MRP to conduct social investigation and determine the most immediate needs of the masses, and if it’s possible to answer those needs. The MRP will guide its development and its action. It will collect its ideas and systematize them in the form of a plan of action. The People’s Council is a goal- initially, there must be various ‘Neighborhood Committees’ from smaller blocks and housing projects. These Neighborhood Committees will eventually be linked up to form a People’s Council which covers a larger area. This will advance the revolutionary consciousness of the masses. The slogan we have erected, “Only the People know their problems — Only the People know how to solve them!” expresses our understanding of how political development and mass revolutionary action is developed. The contradictions of capitalism are made far more apparent when the masses of people participate in the governing of their communities and begin to understand the necessity of proletarian dictatorship.
5. Mobilize the Masses into Open Conflict with the Capitalist-Imperialist System
The MRP will work with the Neighborhood Committees to determine the most pressing and urgent contradiction the masses face. The MRP will devise a list of demands against the institutional power, capitalist, or antagonistic element most responsible for that contradiction, and present it to the Neighborhood Committees. Upon their approval and acceptance, through a process of struggle, a call to action will be issued centered around the demands. The MRP and the Neighborhood Committee representatives will go door-to-door, speak up at Serve the People events, conduct various methods of outreach, distribute propaganda, and mobilize the masses in direct action against the enemy to win those demands. These methods can include picketing, rallies, marches, strikes, or obstruction. By winning demands, the masses begin to understand how power is won, and what is required. The people are moved from passive activity to active resistance, and the necessity of organized militant resistance is further made apparent.
6. Form the Mass Fighting Organizations
Eventually, the enemy will not wish to concede or accept demands being made by the masses. This stage can come at any time, and so preparations for it must be made immediately. If the enemy refuses to concede, then, further escalation must be carried out. The Mass Fighting Organization (MFO) must be formed to carry out more direct and antagonistic actions against the enemy. Everything from material to personnel damage should be considered, but simply presenting a show of armed and organized force at a rally or obstruction event might be enough to win a demand. The MFO will lay the groundwork for People’s Militias. They must be organized around the defense of their communities. Their functions include seizing property or empty land for production or storage, conducting community patrols to resolve internal disputes, intervening in police action to prevent the cops from attacking the people, providing security at events, and carrying out military actions in support of demands being made by the masses. The MFO must recruit only from the masses in proletarian neighborhoods. They must be physically fit, proficient in self-defense and the use of arms, given basic military training, subjected to military discipline, and brought into the Party.
Through this mass project, the Party can take root among the masses of poor and oppressed people. The MRP intends to focus on consolidation over expansion. A few blocks could potentially become the nucleus of a strong base area in a city. The U&F program is intended for cities experiencing the contradiction of police occupation and severe economic underdevelopment. It is imperative that these objective conditions be met in order to launch a U&F project in any city. Other mass projects and mass organizations will be developed for other areas of interest.
The three components of membership mentioned earlier are the People’s Council, the Mass Fighting Organization, and the Volunteer Corps. The Volunteer Corps is a means for getting people- both inside and outside the area of operations- involved in supporting the six-point plan. For those outside the community with resources and skills, they can support the project
by volunteering and donating. They can be given political education and persuaded to understand the necessity of revolution. For those in the community, they can feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves, doing good things for the neighborhood, which can give a sense of purpose and allow for revolutionary consciousness to develop through struggle and practice.
Throughout this whole process, Party Militants (rank-and-file) should be recruited at every opportunity. The development of cadre must take hold on every block. With one cadre on each street in an area of operations, the Party can firmly plant itself among the people, growing with a ferocious intensity.
We believe that we should take advantage of the fact that being a Communist is not illegal. Therefore, we are comfortable openly promoting the Party through the course of our mass work. We should take advantage of this legality to recruit and build. The masses should be aware of who we are and why we’re doing what we do. We shouldn’t be afraid of them, but should explain to them and demonstrate our reasoning in practice. It’s for this reason that U&F is a project, not an organization. We feel that too many “Communist” organizations have front organizations which are only filled with the ranks of their cadre and nobody else. We desire a truly mass method of organization around the goals of conquering political power and developing revolutionary consciousness.
We hope this document has provided some answers and cleared up some misconceptions regarding the MRP’s strategy, its relationship with the NABPP, and its analysis of the urgent necessity for a militarized Communist Party. We ask that any further questions be sent to MaoistRevolutionaryParty@protonmail.com. We are willing to engage and struggle with any genuine Communist organization who wishes to achieve a unified Maoist movement in the US and beyond.