On January 17, 2017, outgoing United States President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera. Rivera was among eleven members of the Marxist-Leninist FALN organization arrested in 1977 while trying to rob an armored truck. Some members were released in 1999 by Bill Clinton after they agreed to a clemency offer which imposed political restrictions. Among the restrictions were the renouncing of violence and an agreement not to join any organization advocating violence. Rivera declined to accept the terms and remained in prison.
Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña (FALN) listed among its philosophies to direct armed and political struggle in accordance with Marxist-Leninist principles. FALN was involved in more than 100 bombings in New York, Chicago, and other cities, and one bombing killed four people in Manhattan at the Fraunces Tavern in 1975. While the commutation of the sentence is of an old washed up Communist, Rivera’s release is a symbolic gesture from the most powerful man in the world to revolutionaries everywhere.
The past months have been contentious ones in New Orleans, Louisiana as the city removed four Confederate monuments. Last week one of the most iconic monuments of General Lee was removed from Lee’s Circle.
New Orleans Mayor, Mitch Landrieu, has claimed that the Civil War monuments have caused a “great migration” of New Orleanians to places around the nation.
“I will say this for the people that are interested in the costs,” said Landrieu. “The cultural, economic, and spiritual loss to the city for having those statues up that have run people out of the city. The great migration that sent some of our best and brightest to place across the country that we don’t have the benefit of has been incredible.”
Nowhere has Landrieu mentioned that the homicide rate in New Orleans is worse than that of Chicago.
"There's a reason why in 1960, New Orleans had 680,000 people, and now Houston and Atlanta dwarf us...they are more inclusive and progressive cities," Landrieu said.
Struggle between Marxist- Leninists, and Progressives
Landrieu alluded to New Orleans becoming a Progressive city as he pandered to the left-wing with the efforts to remove New Orleans' history as a purely symbolic gesture of “progress.” While moderate left-wing Democrats may be pleased by the removal of the statues as a sign of true progress, the more radical activists and community organizing groups see this as the beginning of radical revolutionary change, not the end.
In this video, Gregory William, from The New Orleans Workers Group, explains that Landrieu’s efforts are not enough and there has to be a continual class struggle in order to bring about true progress for New Orleans. The New Orleans Workers Group is among many Marxist-Leninist groups littered throughout the nation which inject their revolutionary communist propaganda into local issues to “community organize” around a broader movement and engage in communist class struggle.
Greg mentioned that a New York City leader of the Workers World Party, Larry Holmes, invited him.
These individuals represent the revolutionary communist faction of the left who are wishing to use the momentum of the “Take Em Down” / Black Lives Matters-Like activism to move the anti-Confederacy sentiment to an anti-capitalist sentiment. In a recent communist publication of World Socialist Web Site, Tom Hall writes about how the fight is directed incorrectly.
“There is a great deal of historical revisionism behind the campaign to remove the monuments, aimed at excising the class content of slavery and Jim Crow and presenting American society as being fundamentally divided by race. A programmatic statement by the Take ’Em Down NOLA Coalition, a pseudo-left organization that acts as a pressure group on the local Democratic Party, declares that ‘white supremacist ideas, represented by these symbols … permeate USA society.’ The statement argues that this, rather than the capitalist system, is responsible for mass unemployment and police violence. It criticizes Landrieu and the Democratic-controlled City Council only for having ‘belatedly decided to join this progressive trend.’
The basic dividing line in American society is social class, not race. The promotion of racism is a class policy whose aim has always been the prevention of a mass social movement uniting workers of all races against capitalist exploitation. Jim Crow segregation, in particular, was enacted after the emergence of the Populist movement in the rural south and labor struggles in Southern cities that threatened to accomplish just such a unification of the working class and oppressed farmers.”
This is important to note because revolutionary communists will work to further divide New Orleans beyond racial lines and into other class struggles more focused on wealth.
Gregory William mentioned on his Facebook page that oil refineries around the New Orleans area which employ thousands of people with diverse backgrounds represent the new slave plantation.
“The plantations along the Mississippi River disintegrated into history, or else took on a new life in the 20th century of tourist attractions, bizarre markers of a past and a present. These are relics in the most Catholic sense of the word. But these refineries took their place as economic engines. One waves goodbye to cotton and says hello to oil.”
William criticized Landrieu for using threats of violence to remove the Confederate monuments under the “cloak of darkness” rather than allow the event to be celebrated by the public. William’s desire to use celebration is not unique. Celebration is a crucial aspect of the Marxian dialectic. Saul Alinsky prescribed this as part of his method to organize what he saw as oppressed communities. As outlined in rule number 6 in his book Rules for Radicals, Alinsky notes
"A good tactic is one your people enjoy." They'll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They're doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
Communism is not a progressive system. It is a regressive and primitive system which provides a blurry ideological lens that forces its subscribers to ignore anything but the material manifestations of what Marx coined as “capitalism.” Communism ignores human nature and how humans truly progress. There is no progress under the tyranny of the proletariat. Humans progress while pursuing happiness. That happiness does not come from the material world but rather from the fruits of the pursuit.
Radicals, like Gregory William, Larry Holmes, Gavrielle Gemma, and Quest Riggs are working to dismantle current societal norms that they see as oppressive to members of some fabricated subset of society. They see an illusion of some “systemic racism” within our institutions including New Orleans’ very own industry. They deride “capitalism” while using the products of its virtue-- YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and many other blessings from our free enterprise system which never would have been made possible by a culture similar to that of North Korea or Cuba which are the delivery systems for their propaganda.
The future that people like these individuals desire is a “workers’ paradise” as Marx saw. It would be a utopia where there would be no employers to lord over us. There would be no government that controls us. There will be no class structure. Automation would not serve the merchant class or the bourgeoisie rich but rather the collective. It would be a true place of wonder if all men were angelic in their pursuits, or if the lords over that system were angelic. Communists naively believe that their doctrine and dogma is the remedy for the inherently sinful nature of man. That is why there has been so much death under the reign of the sick religion that is communism. The only way to eliminate the self-desire within the heart of man is to extinguish all of mankind.
The reality of what they would receive is sobering. The outcome is the same that all communist regimes received – mass murder and massive suppression by a dictator. Ironically communists desire the elimination of imperialism and fascism while communism yields leaders that pursue imperialist and fascistic means to facilitate heaven on Earth. Communism is the lie that Fascists employ to redistribute power from the producers to the political class.
Communism doesn’t eliminate classes. It destroys the middle class and creates a Vanguard upper class to rule over the Proletariat. Cuba and North Korea have been independent in their pursuit of the “workers’ paradise,” and they still operate with the innovation of their pre-Communist days. Their lack of progress is evident of communism’s failures. Apologists for Marxist-Leninism blame the imperialist nations like the United States for their lack of progress.
Now is the time rob these intellectual thieves of their ability to perpetuate the lie that is Communism by simply telling the truth.
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