A new storm against imperialism

Statement by Comrade Mao Tse-tung, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, in support of the Afro-American struggle against violent repression

Martin Luther KingMao Tse-tungApril 16, 1968 – Some days ago, Martin Luther King, the Afro-American clergyman, was suddenly assassinated by the U.S. imperialists. Martin Luther King was an exponent of nonviolence. Nevertheless, the U.S. imperialists did not on that account show any tolerance toward him, but used counter-revolutionary violence and killed him in cold blood.

This has taught the broad masses of the Black people in the United States a profound lesson. It has touched off a new storm in their struggle against violent repression sweeping well over a hundred cities in the United States, a storm such as has never taken place before in the history of that country. It shows that an extremely powerful revolutionary force is latent in the more than 20 million Black Americans.

As Mao wrote this statement, days after Dr. King’s assassination, rebellions had broken out all over the country. This is Memphis. Forty years later, after another Black man was murdered in cold blood, the same scene was re-enacted in Oakland. – Photo: APThe storm of Afro-American struggle taking place within the United States is a striking manifestation of the comprehensive political and economic crisis now gripping U.S. imperialism. It is dealing a telling blow to U.S. imperialism, which is beset with difficulties at home and abroad.

An extremely powerful revolutionary force is latent in the more than 20 million (now 33 million) Black Americans.

The Afro-American struggle is not only a struggle waged by the exploited and oppressed Black people for freedom and emancipation, it is also a new clarion call to all the exploited and oppressed people of the United States to fight against the barbarous rule of the monopoly capitalist class. It is a tremendous aid and inspiration to the struggle of the people throughout the world against U.S. imperialism and to the struggle of the Vietnamese people against U.S. imperialism.

On behalf of the Chinese people, I hereby express resolute support for the just struggle of the Black people in the United States.

The assassination of Dr. King set the U.S. on fire. One of the 100 cities Mao mentions that were consumed by the firestorm was Washington, D.C., shown here April 5, 1968, the day after Dr. King died. In four days of rebellion, 1,200 buildings were burned and 12 people lost their lives. – Photo: APRacial discrimination in the United States is a product of the colonialist and imperialist system. The contradiction between the Black masses in the United States and the U.S. ruling circles is a class contradiction. Only by overthrowing the reactionary rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and destroying the colonialist and imperialist system can the Black people in the United States win complete emancipation.

The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progressives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.

In 1963, in the “Statement Supporting the Afro-Americans in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism,” I said that the “the evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the Black people.” I still maintain this view.

At present, the world revolution has entered a great new era. The struggle of the Black people in the United States for emancipation is a component part of the general struggle of all the people of the world against U.S. imperialism, a component part of the contemporary world revolution.

I call on the workers, peasants and revolutionary intellectuals of all countries and all who are willing to fight against U.S. imperialism to take action and extend strong support to the struggle of the Black people in the United States!

People of the whole world, unite still more closely and launch a sustained and vigorous offensive against our common enemy, U.S. imperialism and its accomplices! It can be said with certainty that the complete collapse of colonialism, imperialism and all systems of exploitation and the complete emancipation of all the oppressed peoples and nations of the world are not far off.

This statement was issued April 16, 1968, and published in the Peking Review April 19, 1968, on Pages 5-6.