Erasing the line: The organic link between the struggles of the working class, Amerika’s prison population and Black Amerika

by Jason Renard Walker, NABPP-PC Deputy Minister of Labor

One of the most important ways that a tiny 0.01 percent of the population controls all of society is through its police, military and prisons. These are some of the fascist institutions within capitalism that, through its control of mass media, can shape and mold how the contradictions between the capitalist class and working class are viewed.

“Capitalism” – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 158039, FSP, P.O. Box 800, Raiford FL 32083

These views never expose the truth about how capitalism is a predatory system that has to be destroyed entirely if the working class is to prevail. With this 0.01 percent consisting of nothing but profiteers – those who exclusively prey on the labor and earnings of the working class and have gotten super rich because of it – the antagonism between these classes has intensified to the point that the working class have begun to lash out and challenge this system.

This intensification has also exposed the link between the liberation of prisoners being handled as commodities through low wage and unpaid slave labor and the struggle of the working class.

Given that prisons are being used as sweatshops, with some paying as little as 10 cents an hour and states like Georgia, Arkansas, Texas and Alabama working prisoners for free, a supervening rise of national prisoner resistance, which is relatively on par with the resistance of the working class, is growing stronger.

The latter is continuing to build on the momentum of marches, rallies, work strikes etc. while the former is doing the same through hunger strikes, work strikes and the like.

Both forms of resisters seek separate but distinct kinds of relief, but most importantly their struggles are a product of the consequences of capitalism, which makes them interconnected and in many ways interchangeable.

The politically conscious and revolutionary minded prisoners and their working class counterparts are aware of this and are joining forces more than ever in efforts to tear down the prison industrial complex, free the slaves and strengthen the power base of the working class and the fight to overthrow capitalism.

This is one reason why organizations like the IWW have created the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). It recognizes that if the struggle in prison isn’t unified with the struggle of the working class, capitalism wins. In response, it was a key factor in the national prison work stoppage Sept. 9, 2016.

This intensification has exposed the link between the liberation of prisoners being handled as commodities through low wage and unpaid slave labor and the struggle of the working class.

On Aug. 19, 2017, there was a Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C., San Jose, Calif., and several other cities across the nation. This event called for deleting the enslavement clause in the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution – which legalized slavery in Amerika – and a Congressional hearing on recognizing the 13th Amendment’s legal slavery clause as in violation of international law and its direct link to the exploitation of prison labor by private companies, among many other repressive acts.

During the march, many people of all races could be seen wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts, which says a lot about the direction we as people and racial unity are headed in – which is towards building an all-race united front against monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

It is now broadly being recognized that in order for the working class to prevail anywhere, capitalism has to be destroyed everywhere, including the division of people based on race and skin color.

In order to defeat imperialism, every colonized and neo-colonized nation that it leeches off of has to be liberated. Imperialism is nothing more than an advanced stage of capitalism that has diffused its power and control globally.

Not only does it oppress and profit off of the workers residing in the non-industrialized nations and oppresses nationalities throughout the world, but it does the same to the industrially advanced capitalist countries like here in Amerika.

By the entire working class of all races, nationalities, ethnicities etc. joining together in a united struggle, capitalism can and will be defeated. This united front against imperialism gives the working class the power base to ultimately overthrow the capitalist political economy and its ruling class power, privilege and domination over social labor and wealth.

It is now broadly being recognized that in order for the working class to prevail anywhere, capitalism has to be destroyed everywhere, including the division of people based on race and skin color.

Capitalism is able to exist because it has a repressed ruling class that it can exploit. Other than that, it cannot exist. This is why the working class must deny the capitalists its labor power. In order to exist, we must resist.

Since we Blacks/New Afrikans were in fact removed from our homeland and stripped of our natural heritage and have no national territory, our fight should be using this advantage to the cause of building a socialist Amerika that is multi-ethnic and multi-racial; this ultimately pushes us into playing a vanguard role in leading the masses and working class in upending the capitalist-imperialist system. We already have their love and support, we just need to get our shit together and get on the same page.

The existence of a multi-racial socialist bloc here in Amerika is hard for some to grasp and promote but it’s the only true way towards emancipating the working class. This issue was reflected in the article by Kwame “Beans” Shakur, co-founder and chairman of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective, “Kwame Shakur indicts legalized slavery,” which appeared in the September 2017 San Francisco Bay View.

In this piece Kwame suggests that if Blacks “separate from the capitalist class structure and culture in Amerika” liberation is there for the taking since, in his own words, “The United States empire was funded and built on slavery and oppression, so once we were so called ‘freed,’ or emancipated, in 1865, their empire would have crumbled without the capital from slavery or if Afrikan people were allowed to become a truly free and independent nation, economically self-sufficient.”

In retrospect, this very same tactic was exposed by the BPP as being impractical because the New Afrikan nation can’t effectively separate from or integrate into a racist country built on capitalism. This is because separating will cause neo-colonialism and integrating will keep one racially oppressed.

Even Malcolm X, who once promoted Black separatism, soon realized that capitalism and imperialism were the enemy in Amerika. Thus he became a promoter of revolutionary change, which is reflected in a speech he gave in Harlem on April 6, 1964: “We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separatism. We are fighting for recognition … for the right to live as free humans in this society.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who at one point supported integration and capitalism, also came to realize that the real enemy of the poor was capitalism and imperialism. In words, he rejected integration while concealing his interest in socialism from the public out of fear that the government would assassinate him.

Though his newly found philosophy was promoted only in his inside circle, he was still labeled a threat by the imperialist ruling class since he did publicly oppose U.S. wars, support the workers’ strikes and championed the rights of the poor etc.

“End Global Capitalism” – Art: Peter Kamau Mukuria (Comrade Pitt), 1197165, Red Onion Prison, P.O. Box 1900, Pound VA 24279

In a November 1967 statement, King made his views on capitalism clear: “Something is wrong with capitalism as it stands here in the U.S. We are not interested in being integrated into this value structure.”

Before Malcolm X and King’s revolutionary leap in consciousness, the government allowed them to play with and even promoted solutions and philosophies that were empty, both ideally and practically. It wasn’t until this awareness that they were both killed.

History and practice have shown that every national liberation struggle in the 20th century found self-determination and national sovereignty unattainable. In every attempt the capitalist-imperialists have slipped in and appealed to charismatic native and petty bourgeois elements embedded in the oppressed national groups and used them to derail and sidetrack their own people’s liberation struggles.

Since these growing socialist and non-aligned Third World movements had neo-colonial designs, they were undermined and overthrown, giving the U.S. government the ability to bring their natural resources and productive forces under U.S. imperialist domination, with other imperialist powers getting a piece of the pie.

In today’s age of U.S. imperialist hegemony, Black socialism, the back to Afrika and colonize movements, and anything comprising the Black Belt Thesis (BBT) will be dismantled likewise.

This BBT, which was developed by U.S. “Black Bolshevik” Harry Haywood in his 1928 and 1930 “Comintern Resolution on the Negro Question” and was adopted by the Comintern and the U.S. Communist Party, with support from V. L. Lenin, didn’t make it past first base.

It delves into the notion that Blacks/New Afrikans in Amerika constitute a nation within the territorial U.S. in which we should operate control and have our own sovereign national territory in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi – the Black Belt.

These states were chosen because we slaved there, struggled there and eventually evolved as a national group and internal colony where the majority of the population were Black. The BBT’s existence was in favor of the economic and demographic conditions of the 1920s, which don’t exist today.

The only struggle that the imperialist powers fear is the struggle towards and deployment of a socialist revolution. It just isn’t moved by separatism or integration and understands it can flourish around it without posing the slightest threat to imperial domination.

Even if we did figure out a way to redeem a national territory in the Black Belt, we would only suffer the same fate as other imperialist dominated Third World nations, in the very same domain as the world’s superpower – U.S. imperialism.

The only struggle that the imperialist powers fear is the struggle towards and deployment of a socialist revolution.

In any event, the U.S. imperialists have already been using neocolonialism, a new phase of imperialism devised after World War II that replaced the old colonial system. It poses as a granter of independence and aid to the occupied countries while, to some degree, instigating national liberation movements and allowing imperialism to manufacture and liberate Third World bourgeois and up and coming petit bourgeois forces.

In turn these puppets would serve as imperialist agents and front men, who would counter and stunt the growth of world socialism, while creating global U.S. imperialist hegemony. This was exposed by Amilcar Cabral in his paper “The politics of struggle” (1964):

“This is where we think there is something wrong with the simple interpretation of the national liberation movement as a revolutionary trend.

“The objective of the imperialist countries was to prevent the enlargement of the socialist camp, to liberate the reactionary forces in our countries which were stifled by colonialism, and to enable these forces to ally themselves with the international bourgeoisie. The fundamental objective was to create a bourgeoisie where one did not exist, in order specifically to strengthen the imperialist and the capitalist camp.”

Cabral too recognized that the struggle for national independence had to be joined with the struggle of the international proletariat, which he summed up after witnessing the failed promises of national liberation.

After Vice President Richard Nixon returned from a 1957 tour of Afrika, he elaborated on the effectiveness of using neocolonialism as a liberation staller: “American interests in the future are so great as to justify us in not hesitating even to assist the departure of the colonial powers from Africa. If we can win native opinion in this process, the future of America in Africa will be assured” (see “Dirty Works 2: The CIA in Africa,” edited by Ellen Ray, et al. [Secaucus, NJ: Lyle Stuart, 1969], p. 58).

The U.S. National Security Council gave Nixon’s statement context in a similar report during a Jan. 14, 1960, meeting: “We must recognize, although we cannot say it publicly, that we need the strong men of Africa on our side. It is important to understand that most of Africa will soon be independent … Since we must have the strong men of Africa on our side, perhaps we should in some cases develop military strong men as an offset to Communist development of the labor unions.”

This exposed the U.S. government’s agenda of supporting the Afrikan national liberation movement only to further its own interests of pushing its European rivals and their colonial governments out of Afrika, all the while backing or coaxing native stool pigeons into the lead role of their anti-colonial movements.

Despite New Afrikans making up a small percentage of the U.S. population, we make up a large part of the U.S. prison population. To this end, a large part of our political thought and agitation will come from behind enemy lines as we are concentrated in one place and have plenty of time to read, write, soul search and congregate. This is where George Jackson and Malcolm X both became politicized.

This commitment has ultimately led to the working class supporting us to support them in liberating us all. The link between the former and latter was predicted by Mao long before it took root: “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.”

Despite New Afrikans making up a small percentage of the U.S. population, we make up a large part of the U.S. prison population. To this end, a large part of our political thought and agitation will come from behind enemy lines as we are concentrated in one place and have plenty of time to read, write, soul search and congregate.

There is no way that the connection will bring forth any liberation if we assist the working class in destroying the prison industrial complex, which affects all races, but then racially confine ourselves to our own part of the U.S. under the notion that the redistribution of a certain amount of wealth and limited ownership among the New Afrikan states will set us free.

In fact, this isolation strips us of access to emergency assistance during floods and natural disasters; limits the access to medicine, technological equipment etc.; and, most importantly, leaves us prone to attack by the U.S. imperialists, their allies or any white supremacy armies that may become superimposed on this flawed practice.

The education and practice of self-determination and Black unity is needed at this point in time but it can’t be promoted as being the highest level one needs to attain for emancipation. In actuality is a helpful tool that can be used to organize among ourselves in preparation of uniting with the masses of all races and leading everyone to victory, with these very same teachings being utilized to restart a new economy and the weaning off of the capitalist system.

Being conscious is a lot deeper than recognizing that the current establishment isn’t serving our needs. It is the art of doing this while making the necessary adjustments required to come up with a practical theory that serves the interest of society.

The best revolutionary is one who isn’t afraid to abandon incorrect ideas and struggle internally to come up with new ones or adopt those already proven correct, both in theory and practice.

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! All Power to the People!

Send our brother some love and light: Jason Renard Walker, 1532092, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo, TX 79107. Jason is deputy minister of labor for the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter.