A Summation of May Day 2018 and a look to 2019
A flyer passed from worker to worker, calling for militant action in the U.S. on May 1, 1886, read: “one day of revolt – not rest! A day not ordained by the bragging spokesmen of institutions holding the world of labor in bondage. A day on which labor makes its own laws and has the power to execute them!” The workers who walked out of their factories that day faced hails of police gunfire. Their organizers were publicly executed. Outraged, an international gathering of revolutionary workers declared that May First would become a worldwide day of resistance and revolution.
This year’s May Day demo in Pittsburgh provides a glimpse at the difference between the politics of revolution and of our red and black forebears before us, and that of the bootleg May Day of the rose-“red” Democratic Party careerists and revisionists who help organize the yearly opportunist parade — always escorted by a heavy gang of pigs. Urgently and more than ever May Day 2018 showed there needs to be a coalition of revolutionaries, anti-imperialists and anti-fascists that will lay the basis for a Red May Day 2019.
Here we are now, dealing with the waterlogged monotony of the politics-as-usual, NGO tailing legal left, with their May Day ™, organized by legalists who spend a whole day luring oppressed people into being surrounded on all sides by a battalion of police squad cars and motor bikes.
May Day in Pittsburgh 2018
Rather than participate in the phony march, Red Guards Pittsburgh (RG-PGH) hit perpetrators and symbols of gentrification. Slowly and steadily, RG-PGH is approaching the first year of its foundation with cadre fusing into the real mass movement. We are combining our membership with the masses where we haven’t yet combined, we are deepening social investigation, and we are organizing combative struggles where we live, with the knowledge of all participants and co-partisans through mass organizations separate from RG-PGH.
In line with the above, the mass movement grows around tenant struggles and for de-gentrification through revolution – you can read more about these struggles in the mass organization Serve the People’s “A Hammer To Crush the Enemy”. This is how decisive action has been taken and will be taken to slowly create areas where every day is May Day. More than ever one can see in every neighborhood and street corner there is need for a festive and rebellious May First that blooms like a gift of lilies, not this farce that lies dead like damp leaves suffocating the sprouts of rebelliousness of the people.
Over the last few decades, Pittsburgh has been rebuilt to be nothing more than a sluice for circulating capital through housing and financial institutions. One of the last cities to undergo downtown demolition and gentrification in the last decades of the 20th century, Pittsburgh has slowly but consciously been redesigned to facilitate the movement of enormous amounts of money cashed through real estate, insurance, and tech on top of the ruin of what used to be the number one steel producer on the planet, while a falsely cultivated, ‘hip’ impression of it having robotics laboratories and being the most “livable city” with extensive bike lanes is being relentlessly advertised to urban petty bourgeois professionals in San Francisco and elsewhere. Following the Iraq War protests in 2003 and the G20 protests in 2009, this so-called ‘redevelopment’ combines itself with street protest suppression and the greater repression of the working class and particularly people of oppressed nations.
The battlegrounds are laid. Police and surveillance apparatuses garrison more and more neighborhoods, and the state gears itself towards the ruthless clearance of “undesirable” populations. When one moves from Downtown and Oakland the scale of this can be seen in the amount of storage companies that have been propped up to store the belongings of rapidly displaced people.
And when one gets to Penn and Highland one sees the future they want: quirky box stores that sell rock salt which are topped with condos for the wealthy and with offices for white collar management and tech programmers. The fight for an Anti-Capitalist May Day 2019 should proceed from this juncture in the struggle – there must be May Day marches which are militant and filled with the urgent knowledge that we fight for our very future. Stale customs cannot sate this need.
The opportunists who tail the “main” event lead organizations which ask “who is organizing this” over “what is being organized,” a cowardly method of analysis. And yet, “who is organizing this” is not necessarily a bad question — are the leading organizers of this event proven fighters? Are they proven collaborators? Are they principled or opportunist, dedicated or inconsistent, etc.? Identity opportunists do not ask “Who is organizing this?” simply with an eye toward figuring out identities – if they did this they would be incorrect but at least honest to their propaganda, they would be identitarians over revolutionary communists but they would not necessarily be opportunists in the strict sense of the word.
Opportunists are confused on many questions, but they all stand firmly in completely denouncing revolutionary communism, paying no mind to the fact that this is the path being taken (the path being cleared, in fact) by leading black, Chicano, woman, trans and gender non-conforming comrades (not to mention the role played by communists in leading the day’s most ardent national liberation struggles across the globe). All of this is to say: They do ask “who is organizing this?”, but they do not ask to find out the nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or class position of the people involved – they use this camouflage to ask if an event is being organized by people who agree with their political stand, and when people don’t, regardless of how the organizers are oppressed by this patriarchal, colonial capitalist society, they are labelled “anti-black”, “anti-immigrant”, and so on.
So our communist kind of internationalism has become in Pittsburgh a love that dare not speak its name. We’ve arrived at a point where many are anxious to express communist internationalism without offending the worldview that proceeds narrowly from localist identity-opportunism.
We cannot continue to allow NGO “radicals” to reduce every demonstration of militancy to one of privilege, especially those “radicals” who are paid minions of the nonprofit industrial complex. Across the country these cowards doxx revolutionary activists at a time when fascists are hunting them, and they also use red-baiting to attempt their ousting from mass organizations.
The opportunist crowd builds its tiny bubble of prestige atop the frustration they inspire in almost everybody else; the seeds of tomorrow’s hardened and militant May Day formation are cultivated not only by the militarized state of imperialist US capital, but at the same time by the toothless but loud social capital hucksters who lay claim to the hallowed space of loyal opposition. Luckily, that is not the kind of space which revolutionaries have their eyes set on.
For A Revolutionary May Day 2019!
One can quickly notice that very little news coverage was given May Day ™. In a city with frequent mass actions that are carefully planned and contained by the Democratic Party and its entourage of progressive NGOs and unions, peaceful protest does little more than get a little bit of coverage on local media. Mass public rallies and marches of this nature have never helped form a core of future organizing, never helped to advance the militancy of working class people, and they certainly do not draw progressively more people out onto the street. As for raising awareness, this is based on the assumption that people are stupid about how fucked things are and need bulleted points on signs read to them. Reality proves otherwise, because we all know things are fucked, though we may not know how to overcome this reality. Any such “message” that is directed to the ruling class as a question, as a request, is inherently sterilized.
We must send an entirely different kind of message to the ruling class – we re-affirm what Chairman Gonzalo said in the El Diario Interview of 1988: “Agreements signed at the table only reflect what has already been established on the battlefield, because no one is going to give up what they have not obviously lost. That is understood.” We do not need to ask the state to voluntarily lose its class character; we need to destroy the old power and on these ruins build the new.
A revolutionary May Day 2019 is already in the works. The deeds of the enemy as they exist at every level–whether in the city, in Google, or in NGO spaces–will not keep revolution buried. Red flags will soon rise as sparks, shining like bright worlds wrought in the darkness.
This task necessarily poses certain internal problems, the problems of an organizational approach which allows communists to play their required role in being principled, revolutionary fighters. Though principles are often confused as sectarianism, the latter error mustn’t be made by RG-PGH and mass organizations it has supporters within, and this is to be ensured by a) working in coalition with organizations without attempting “poaching,” aka encouraging other members to leave their current organizations or using process to liquidate others into its ranks, b) maintaining that the correctness of our ideology is proved through class struggle and not through name calling or gossiping, which means abiding by decisions made within this alliance as long as they respect group autonomy, and c) working with those who see the need to stop organizing under the banner of extreme opportunists who endorse capitalist parties and elections and that collaborate with police.
Most of all, the masses need to be brought out on May Day 2019: it is theirs! They are our support and our co-fighters, they are not bonded to the system which binds them. We must recapture and, indeed, grow beyond the militancy of May Days’ past. This militancy complements the continued and sustained growth and support for de-gentrification. Revolution relies on and sprouts from the mass activity of those in the neighborhoods we live. It is the masses who make history; they can move the stars in the sky while the opportunists muck around in the swamp.
We call on all revolutionaries, anti-imperialists, and anti-fascists in Pittsburgh to join us in building for a red and revolutionary May Day 2019. Leave opportunism in the swamp which it calls home, and let go of the hands of all those who reach out to drag us into the swamp alongside them.
Internationalism and Repression
The Red Guards ranks which form the basis of a future Maoist Communist Party has advanced this year, moving closer towards democratic centralism. Our deepest solidarity and support goes to Red Guards Austin, Red Guards Los Angeles, Red Guards Kansas City, Red Guards Charlotte, as well as Revolutionary Association of Houston and Red Path – St. Louis. We feel little need to rave about the successes of this year and invite readers to look at Red Guards Austin’s May 1, 2018 for a look into the U.S. Maoist movement.
A militant movement attracts state repression. Charlotte and Kansas City both had comrades who were arrested at their May Day events. We ask readers to give even small amounts of money if at all possible, for the important work they are doing can not be abated with incarceration.
Overseas we extend solidarity to those Maoist communists struggling in the imperialist centers, including the Maoist Communist Party of France, the Maoist Communist Party of Italy, Committee for the Construction of the Communist Party (Maoist) of Galicia, Committees for the Founding of the (Maoist) Communist Party of Austria, Committee Red Flag (Germany), Jugendwiderstand (Germany), Tjen Folket (Norway), and the Revolutionary Communist Party (Canada).
We extend our support to Red Sun (Mexico) which was fired upon by police in their Oaxaca demonstrations, to the Communist Party of Brazil (Red Faction), Communist Party of Ecuador Red Sun, to the Red Faction of the Communist Party of Chile, the Revolutionary Front of the People of Bolivia MLM, and the Maoist Organization for the Reorganization of the Communist Party of Columbia.
Long live the people’s wars of India, the Philippines, Peru, and Turkey!
People’s War Until Communism!
-Red Guards Pittsburgh