Letters, Vol 9, No 4


Dalits and non-Dalits Can Unite for Communism

I was asked to write a letter regarding furious Dalit-led Bharat Bandh demonstrations in India. (See article here) In fact, I was a participant. To the readers unfamiliar, I want to start by saying that there is a phenomenal increase in the violence against the Dalits since BJP came to power. There is the famous case of the four Dalit youths tied to an SUV and flogged mercilessly in the home state of fascist Modi. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Anger and frustration have been simmering with numerous such assaults. Dalit youth in urban cities face a bleak future without jobs. Many must rely on their parents who have faced a life time of discrimination. The situation of the Dalits in villages is even more grim.

I am a 31-year-old educated Dalit youth. I have gone all around the country looking for a job to support my family and parents. I only get contract work that does not last more than three or four months. Then I have to look for another job. This is the story of millions. But there is a difference in the numbers. The millions include many Dalits but there are Muslims and Hindus as well.

This festering anger and frustration exploded like a volcano as the masses poured into the streets. What triggered absolute hatred was when the chief justice of the Supreme Court ruled that the Dalits were taking advantage of the law that makes it possible for them to accuse atrocities meted against them. According to the Supreme Court, now the Dalits will have to have a prior approval of the police to lodge a complaint. Police are the ones who ransack the houses of Dalits, beat them up, rape them and now the Dalits have to get their approval to file a case!

After this verdict, the Supreme Court judge got a protection of over 1500 security personnel. This includes elite commandos who monitor his security details around the clock with all the high-tech gadgets monitored by satellites and advanced secure communication. When the country was burning, the government panicked and filed an emergency motion to the Supreme Court to review their decision. The well protected judge refused saying the Dalits have legal protection according to the constitution.

I have no doubt that we need a communist revolution as explained and advocated by ICWP. I have spoken to many of my friends before, during and after Bharat Bandh about the need to fight for communist society. As we fight for this society, we will make sure that people like the Supreme Court judge are annihilated by the masses. I firmly believe that Dalits and non-Dalits can unite as I saw last week. We have to unite as a class. The old barbaric tradition stands today only because capitalism needs it. The end of capitalism will usher us into a new era that we all are dreaming about. Let us continue our relentless struggle. Nothing can stop us.

—Comrade in India

“Black Panther” Movie Racist Against Black US Youth 

Small groups of comrades and friends had various discussions after they saw “Black Panther” here in the northwest US and Canada. The reviews in Red Flag were useful. One additional point that came up was just how racist the movie is – against US black people

Listen to the accents! Accents are very important in this movie. The white villain (Klaue) has a white South African accent. The CIA hero Ross has a white northern American accent. Most black people have black African accents.

But not quite all the black people have African accents. When the film opens, N’Jobu is discussing what appears to a planned hold-up with his sidekick. N’Jobu is talking with a typical black Detroit accent, what we might call an inner-city accent. Then King T’Chaka shows up and N’Jobu switches to an African accent, as does his sidekick, Zuri, who turns out to be a spy for King T’Chaka. N’Jobu’s young son Erik is meanwhile playing basketball outside.

N’Jobu, clearly a bad guy, is killed. T’Chaka and Zuri fly off to Wakanda, abandoning Erik. Erik returns years later and successfully challenges T’Challa (T’Chaka’s son) and becomes king of Wakanda. Erik, having grown up in inner-city Detroit, speaks with an American black inner-city accent (and has the mannerisms that go with it).

The trouble is that Erik is the only one who does so, and at the same time is the real villain of the movie. He’s portrayed as a thug, a ruthless killer. This taps into (and reinforces) the racist stereotype of black American – inner-city resident – thug – killer etc. And he’s young, which completes the stereotype. This stereotyping begins with the first lines of the movie.

And why is Erik such a thug? The implication is that it’s because he grew up in inner-city Detroit, not Wakanda.

Black Panther is as racist as any stock stereotypical Hollywood movie that portrays young American black men as dangerous criminals.

—Critical Comrades

Who’s the “Illegal?”

I recently had a discussion with an industrial worker who said that a racist supervisor told him, “Nobody likes people going illegally into their backyard.” He was talking about US President Trump’s immigration policy. This company employs many immigrant workers and, as always, it uses a lot of racism against them. Even though my friend is one of those most affected by this racist policy, at the beginning he agreed with Trump, thinking of his “private” home back in his country of origin.

I told him, “If the US bosses respected this idea, they would never have come to the backyard of the Native Americans. They didn’t just come to interfere, but to steal their lands and to murder them massively. This was one of the bases on which this capitalist empire was founded.”

The same thing happened in Latin America where the Spanish bosses came to loot, kill, and keep everything for themselves.

My friend said, “That’s right. I hadn’t thought of it like that.” This led us to a discussion about a communist world without borders and without exploitation. Here another contradiction surfaced, because he hopes to open a small factory in his place of origin if he is deported.

He said, “What I want is to have enough to live comfortably with my family.” I told him that to achieve that we need to organize ourselves and fight for a communist world.

There is a constant struggle with this friend for him to participate in our meetings and activities. Each time he is more open to talking about communism. I invited him to the dinner to commemorate the Paris Commune and to prepare for the May Day March.

—Comrade in Los Angeles, USA

Mobilizing the Masses in South Africa

On our first day of mobilization of the masses, we distributed Red Flag to the masses. It was very successful. The second day of our mobilization, we went through each issue collectively and discussed each and every issue with the masses. There was a question about what difference our revolution is going to bring to the society.

That was explained by telling them about our mission to abolish the capitalist system and the bosses, where everyone will be sharing whatever we might have. Our explanation was well welcomed by the masses.

The third day of the mobilization we went through the Mobilize the Masses for Communism that we have distributed and we discussed it again after we viewed the DVDs of the Unknown Wars and the epic battle of the Russian front in WWII. After that we also brought to their attention that this is what should be happening against the capitalist bosses’ system and our revolution to free society in order to win against the bosses’ capitalist system.

They showed more interest and asked us for more reading material in the future. What makes me happy is that a number of young female clubs were formed. My phone ran out of data but we got some numbers of those who wanted to join the movement and I am talking to them.

We even explained the dialectics to them and I showed them the video of people singing “Bella Ciao.”

—A Comrade in South Africa

Internal Contradictions: Optimism Versus Pessimism

The last article on dialectics (“Fighting the Flu”) does a good job explaining why internal contradictions, rather than external conditions, are the decisive factor in change. Also, it’s optimistic: it shows that by grasping our own internal contradictions, we communists can make progress.

But the last section, (“Let’s Grasp …”) is about the current state of capitalism, not our internal contradictions. The current state of capitalism is for us an external condition, which can be influential, but not decisive.

This last section is pessimistic. It lists bad things that are happening — drug overdoses, police murders, school massacres, fascism. No mention of regular demonstrations of millions worldwide.

It says that knowledge of these horrors will “motivate” us to mobilize the masses for communism. How? How would you explain this in terms of our own internal contradictions?

It’s the playing out of internal contradictions that determines whether we can mobilize the masses for communism — our own and the masses. An important contradiction is that between pessimism and optimism. On the whole, the masses like the idea of communisms but are pessimistic about achieving it. Similarly, we like the idea of mobilizing them but are pessimistic about being able to do it.

For example, a Boeing shop steward made a special trip to our comrade to praise Red Flag’s article on communist workforce development.

“It identified the problem [the company’s sham development program]” she said. “It came up with a solution [communist development in communist factories]. It told us how to get there.”

The comrade discussed this response with a close friend of the party, who also became excited about this positive response. Self-critically, we failed to immediately develop a plan to get the shop steward active in mobilizing for the communist solution she likes. We’ll rectify our mistake next week.

We communists can learn from centuries of experience in the fight for communism, including the four great revolutions starting with the Paris Commune. We have the increasing militancy of the masses and their increasing disillusionment with capitalism and its democracy. And finally, we have the science of dialectics, which will allow us to take advantage of these conditions. Our optimism is based on reality.

—Seattle comrades

Front page of this issue