RCP, BLM: Can’t we all just get along?
By Dougie “The Abolitionist” Hanson
I was really disappointed to read the Atlanta Progressive News article disrespecting my good friends with the Atlanta RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party).
I’m a Democratic Socialist, but I know many of them personally. I developed great respect for them because they were fighting back against Police Brutality & Mass Incarceration when no other organizations were even discussing it. That was six or seven years ago. I moved here from the Pacific Northwest & it was refreshing to be around some leftists.
I was asked by Carl Dix to help organize several events over the past few years for “Stop Mass Incarceration Network,” which was started by him and Dr. Cornel West. Dr. West and I think along the same lines, I consider myself a Revolutionary Christian. I agreed with their vision of building a grassroots Network across the Country to resist police murder & mass incarceration.
I’m a Socialist & I love working in Solidarity with other organizations, I love building bridges across racial, class and generational lines. I put much faith in the need to work in Coalitions.
That article really sets back the work that we’ve contributed to building Unity. It further drives a wedge between some of the newer activists within the BLM (Black Lives Matter( Movement, some still developing their ideas on how the system and world works.
I’ve always put my ego aside and tried my hardest to bring folks together. That’s the only way to build the Movement of Millions that Mumia talks about.
You know the stats: Over 800 people killed by Police so far this year, 80,000 in Solitary Confinement, 2.5 Million in cages, 70 to 100 million now living with Criminal Records, rampant racial profiling, unemployment, Billions cut from Public Education.
We could fight against these from our own camps or we can set aside our ideologies and work together to Resist and Stop it.
I would much rather celebrate the things that unite us than read an article that tears down what many people took years to build. Many of us activists are working-class folks who work hard all week to survive and take care of our families.
We dedicate what little bit of extra time we have to make sometimes a small difference in our lives and the lives of others around us. We all want a better life for those inside and outside our communities.
All of us join or affiliate with groups that come closest to our hearts. I appreciate the Revolutionary spirit of my Communist friends, I appreciate the spirit of my Black Nationalist Friends, all of us bring something that’s needed in the development of a Movement.
A movement is not one organization’s view over another but relies on the Unity and Cooperation of us all. The 56,000 people in cages in Georgia couldn’t care less about the ideology of the people fighting for them. They want us to get them out and to prevent more of our young people from ending up in there.
That article doesn’t help those locked away. It doesn’t help those dying from IntraCommunal violence, those killed by Cops. It sets us back at time when we need to come together. The families of those suffering could care less about a sensational article, they want their pain to go away and appreciate the support of the community.
Amen. And the fact is, there really IS a lot of unity out there amongst people of all different ideologies and political affiliations, probably moreso than in the years before Ferguson, as people are really waking up to the fact of what we’re all facing. I have noticed that there’s a certain “script” that’s followed whenever there’s an article questioning (or even attacking) communists’ role in this movement, and I think that script needs to be acknowledged, questioned, and ultimately rejected. The script has three main elements: one, communists are defined as outsiders, no matter how long they’ve been around or how much work they’ve put in, or how good that work is; two, communists are treated as the only ones having an “agenda,” instead of recognizing that everyone has an agenda, or outlook, and these are things that can be compared, contrasted, and struggled through in a spirit of unity; and three, whenever someone raises questions about, or attacks, communists’ role in the movement, these articles accept the charges on face value, and require the communists to answer to them, but never question the person’s motives who is making the charges (i.e., questions their “agenda”). Thus, we saw way too many people reposting articles from utterly reactionary right-wing blogs and so-called news sites attacking the RCP and others as “outsiders with an outside agenda” in Ferguson and elsewhere, and the content and vanilla anticommunist spirit of these articles were uncritically spouted by people who really ought to know better, without questioning the reactionary and often outright racist, white supremacist agenda being promoted by the writers of those articles.
Principled political struggle is a good thing. It helps to clarify people’s positions and thoughts on all sides, and helps those involved chart a path forward. And ultimately it will help clarify that the real “outside agenda” is promoting disinformation and disunity.