Suppose we are all “good niggers” and have never done anything wrong. What can we expect?
1. A large number of us out of jobs for a long period of time. Last hired, first fired, if we ever did
get a job. Young people especially locked out.
2. Pay the lowest. Type of work the meanest and hardest. Hours the longest at the worst time of the day, or at night. Jobs insecure, unhealthy, unsafe.
3. Housing the worst, in slums and ghettos. No room to sleep, to rest. Lots of noise, garbage, inhuman brutality all around us.
4. Early death from disease and poverty, from beatings and murder.
5. Young people especially to be disciplined and “tamed.” Draft them in the army. Kill them in wars. Put them through prison. Re-arrest them again and again. Make them stool pigeons for the police to rat on others. Build them up in gangs and let them loose on other workers until they get arrested again.
These are the main facts. When we take a good look we see that it doesn’t pay to be a “good nigger” does it?
How can we get out of this death trap? Can we rely on social love, charity, humanity and such phrases? Not when everything is run for profit and only money counts. There is only one way for Afro-Americans to get out of the trap until this dirty system is overthrown and that is to make it too costly for “white” charley in the U.S.A. to support a system of profit, a system of hate, discrimination, degradation, torture and death for the former slaves, now the propertyless Afro-Americans! No support for a racist white society!
No support for a boss class that with force and fraud controls the government, controls the church, controls the schools, controls the press, television and radio, controls the police, the courts, and the armed forces—controls everything!
How can we lick this “white” boss system? The Afro-Americans in the U.S. are 30 million strong; with the Latin Americans and American Indians the total is at most 40 million-out of a population of 200 million. It looks as though we are a minority. How can the minority get out of the hole while against us (to keep us repressed and exploited) there is a great powerful organized force consisting of city, county and state police, federal and state armed forces, armies of private guards, private and special police, watchmen, bailiffs in courts, wardens in prisons and in other institutions, and a host of organized unofficial helpers of all sorts. These alone total many millions of people. The tasks seem hopeless.
But let’s take a closer look at this “majority". This “majority” in fact is run by a small minority, a minority much smaller than the Afro-Americans in number.
1. Only a small number of big corporations, monopolies, and trusts, run the business of the country. They run the arms industry. They order the wars and they get the war orders. These corporations are run by a tiny fraction of the population. Who gives them their power?
The workers who work for them produce the goods for them and see that they make the profits. So long as the workers have jobs, these wage-slaves will continue to see that the bosses get all the profits while they get only enough to live on.
But suppose that business is not good, that these workers are thrown out of work or that they do not have enough to live on? Then these workers too will ask: What good is it to be a good Charley? So the big bosses are really only powerful for the moment. If the workers get tough, bosses better look out!
In order to get more markets and keep the workers employed, the bosses may have to engage in wars, one after the other. Charley may become so brain-washed that he is willing to have his son die in the army for the bosses—of course only if they take twice as many “niggers” and kill them off first.
2. Only a small number of officers run the army. They are the ones carefully selected to be in the general staff and to run the Pentagon and the military academies. These officers, besides their big salaries, are closely tied up with the big corporations. These big corporations through their puppets, the President of the U.S., the Secretary of Defense and such, carefully select and control them.
But what about the ordinary soldiers ground action in Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Europe and in other places, who have been drafted and trained as killers? These soldiers trained at Mylai massacres, doped and drugged with heroin and other poisons, discharged into the ghettos without money or jobs, will they take it lying down? No, the officer group is powerful temporarily! Watch out when the returned soldier and veteran begins to move!
3. Only a small minority run the brain-washing system of the colleges, universities and such that furnish the research systems backing up U.S. corporations and militarism. When the great mass of students and graduates can’t get jobs as engineers, teachers, professional men, and technicians, then this brain-washing ruling group also becomes less powerful!
But why go on? We see that the so called “white majority” is not really a solid majority at all. That its controls are all shaky and temporary. That it is a “majority” manipulated by a small minority that has brain-washed the majority it controls. In fact, then, the brain-washed “majority” consists of a number of large groups that can be moved away from support of this “white majority".
Let us repeat who can be moved away. First there is the great mass of workers who are unemployed. Then there are those whose jobs are insecure and who don’t know when they will be fired. Many of them are now on part time, or on temporary and seasonal jobs.
Second, there is the great mass of people on federal aid of one kind or another. Those on welfare, those on food stamps, those dependent on charity.
Third, there is the great mass of aged people on social security whose lives are becoming more and more insecure with rising prices and impossibly low incomes. We can also mention the millions in all sorts of institutions.
Count them all up and now see who is the “majority” and who is the “minority". If the Afro-American could link up his fight with the fight of all the poor workers, all the unemployed workers, all the militant students and professionals, and with all those on relief and public aid, the house of cards structure of the present rulers and exploiters would soon come to an end!
But for that a real fighting party of the people, led by the Afro-Americans and workers would be needed and no such party has yet been formed.
Now let us look at the Afro-American “minority".
First of all, the Afro-American “minority” now occupies the center of the biggest cities. Cities where the banks are. Cities where industries are. Cities where the power lies: New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Newark, Gary, etc. etc. Paralyze these cities and you paralyze the entire nation. This “minority” can paralyze the “majority".
Second, Afro-Americans are strong in the government (post office), in city transportation (busses, taxies, etc.) in freight movements: loading, unloading, warehousing, in the electronic industries, in steel, in coal, in chemicals, in auto’s, in meat packing, in the garment trades, in laundries and in many other industries. Tie these industries up and you tie up the entire country. Again the “minority” can paralyze the “majority".
Third, Afro-Americans have African majorities in many countries and strong blood intermixtures in many other countries, such as, Cuba, Santo Domingo, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Curacao, Aruba, and in other Carribean islands, Costa Rica, Panama, British, Dutch and French Guiana, Brazil, the bulk of Africa, a part of Asia. And we can get sympathetic help from many Asian countries: especially the countries belonging to the Chinese bloc and the Soviet bloc. So Afro-Americans are not alone. Throughout the world, it is the “white” majority that is the “minority"!
One more word on “majority” and “minority". When three gangster kids hold up a “white” person in a “white” neighborhood, rob him and shoot him to death, who is the “majority"? The 30,000 white residents cringing in their homes, or the three kids with the gun? “Majority” and “minority” depend on time and place and situation. Here the three kids at that moment and at that place were the majority. It shows that a minority “in general” can at any moment be the “majority".
When a couple of Negro veterans assassinate a notorious son-of-a-bitch policeman who has just clubbed a Negro girl to death, who is the “majority”, the couple of veterans or the 10,000 policemen of the city? That’s how a guerilla movement can survive. Although a minority, it survives because at any given place when it chooses to fight, it is at that moment the majority and can win.
What is guerilla warfare? It is irregular war waged by minority bodies. People fighting violently against the regular armed forces of the state and their supporters. Such were the fighters in France, Norway, Holland, Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece against the German conquerors in the last world war. Such were the Algerians against the French, the Mau Mau in Africa against the British, the Chinese and Vietnamese against the Japanese. The Japanese against the Dutch, etc. Right now guerilla warfare is going on in the Middle East, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America - all over the world. “White” Charley is in a bad hole, he’ll never get out of it.
Guerilla warfare can be conducted in the country or in the city. When it gets bigger it becomes a true civil war. Although it may be just the attack of bands, ordinarily. (It is a war of the oppressed who have no other way out.) It is carried out only because the people cover it, protect it, support it.
Now how have we, as Afro-Americans, been fighting? Up to now we have been fighting without any real organization to guide us. We have been fighting in effect a guerilla war without much planning, without priorities, or purpose, policies, or principles. In the main the fighting has been led by slum kids, gangsters, who mug, rape, steal, rob, kill, burn, blackmail indiscriminately both in the ghettos and outside of them. These gangs have created a veritable reign of terror in the ghettos and a state of siege elsewhere. These gangs are concerned only with the loot they can get and the power they can enjoy, not at all with the welfare of the people to whom they belong.
The violent attacks of the gangs have been more and more extended in scope and increased in intensity. Few non-Afro-Americans care to enter the ghetto during the day, none at night. There is little visiting. Fewer and fewer merchants. Everywhere windows barred, shops abandoned. Services gone. Doctors won’t come see the sick. Taxis won’t come to get or deliver passengers. Communication reduced to a minimum.
Elsewhere, generally in the cities it is dangerous to go out at night. Dangerous to use public transportation at any time. Dangerous to go to a meeting, to go to a show, to see your friends. There is murder at the least provocation. There is rape and robbery everywhere.
There is no neighborhood in any large city in the country where the people are not in a state of siege and the “guerilla” fighters have not left the rest crouching in fear and trembling. In this way the Afro-Americans are carrying out war against the “white majority” and are making it as costly as possible to maintain the separate ghettos and discrimination. Within the past 10-15 years the number of policemen, guards, state troopers, county and state police, national guardsmen, etc, etc, and their budgets have tremendously increased. To this number we must add the ever increasing social police—social workers, state workers, psychology workers, medical workers and others who talk about “helping” the Afro-Americans and the poor but whose chief job is to control and rat on them.
Under cover of this guerilla movement in fact the Afro-American is no longer on the defensive. He has been able to stage large-scale mass demonstrations on housing, rents, ghettos, medical care, public aid, food stamps, unemployment, child care, day centers, school segregation, job discrimination, poverty, political corruption, union discrimination, Negro history, Negro education, etc, etc. No field of life is now free from the show of force and power of the Afro-American communities.
The surge upward on the part of the Afro-American has induced a great surge upward for the mass of poor and insecure people. Only after the Afro-American mass movement have grown do we see a popular woman’s liberation movement, a youth movement, roles for the young, a student movement, better relief care, medical care, etc, etc.
Just as no trade unions could have been formed throughout the country without the stamping out of Negro slavery, so no great social movements could have developed without serious Afro-American militancy. Let poor “whitey” remember this.
This move from gangsterism to mass demonstrations on the part of the Afro-American has made no longer tolerable the gangster attacks on the people of the ghettos as before. The deprived slum kids having no aim but loot, having no cause but their own selfish personal advancement, must give way to a more conscious and serious form of guerilla warfare. That led by the returned veteran, the unemployed mature prisoner, the politically developed adult rebel. The gangster kids must be told to stop their attacks on the woman of their neighborhood, the workers and such. If they don’t listen one bomb planted in their headquarters and the extermination of a hundred or so with their leaders, will quickly enough bring them to their senses. And with the ghetto liberated from these gangsters the whole Afro-American population can move forward.
The formation of trained veterans into new Afro-American guerilla fighters is a serious business. It means a disciplined mature organization which knows how to deploy its forces, use good tactics, and have a strategy of action.
What are the targets for the new guerilla fighters attacks? These no doubt would be carefully considered. First comes not the looting of banks or the bombing of corporations but of assassinations.
In city A the police captain orders a group of three policemen to seize a Negro youth and to beat him to death with their clubs. The Afro-American community protests this outrage but nothing is done. Now if the captain and those three policemen who wantonly clubbed the innocent Negro youth to death were themselves seized silently, clubbed to death and left in the street for the dogs, would not the ghetto whoop for joy? Would this police terror continue?
In city B a peaceful Afro-American demonstration is ordered shot at by a General in charge of the National Guard. What happens when this General and his family are found shot at home?
In city C the rabid Ku Klux Klan still operates in fact and the heads of these vigilantes show themselves to be a gasoline operator and general store owner. Suppose now these people are given the same treatment they like to give to the “blacks"? Is that good or bad?
In city D a restaurant owner beats Negro customers with axe handles because they dare to come in to eat. And he now becomes Governor of the State! If such a dog were assassinated would this now be a biblical lesson for others to learn?
Besides carefully selected targets for the assassination of specially notorious Negro killers and murderers, priorities would be given to outstanding corporations, banks and other places symbolizing the worst hatred and discrimination against Afro-Americans.
In city E a big corporation refuses to hire any Afro-American workers in a deliberate racist policy. If its airplanes are blown up would this be justice?
In city F a large and powerful building trades union leadership refuses to take in Negro workers or to see they are trained for jobs. The union office is destroyed together with its leadership and personnel. How long would such policies continue?
However, there are very great dangers attached to such policies of action. One can see that such guerilla action can be taken only by serious dedicated men who have the support and protection of the entire Afro-American community behind them. Such a guerilla movement can not operate without political principles, programs and policies. It can function well only as the guerilla arm of a well developed political party. And such a party has not yet been formed.
Who can form such a party? It is not the well meaning southern minister or the gangster racketeering big city (but from North Carolina) preacher, both of whom, in one form or another, in fact acting as controls for the “white” bosses. It is not the greasy politician tied up to the big city political machine or with the new “black bourgeoisie” who want to use the movement for themselves. Nor is it the backward agricultural sharecropper, deprived victim of slave days.
No, it must be those having the following qualifications:
1. The person who has had some experience in factories, unions, strikes, demonstrations;
2. The person who has had some experience in war, in fighting, in killing;
3. The person who has been out of work and has little chance of work;
4. The person who has gone abroad and seen how others live, fight, and die against oppression;
5. The person who has some kind of education and knows how the State, the bosses, and their supporters rose to power to oppress and exploit all others;
6. The person who has suffered hunger for self and children and knows the hopelessness of any other way.
Such are the types who will most likely be the best fitted for the new guerilla warfare.
The guerilla arm of the Afro-American people does not have to wait to build up a mature political party but may itself help become the starting point for such a party. Such a party will not hesitate to get all the help it can from the workers of all lands and all shades of complexion who want to help. Such a party will be national in scope, will have international connections, will be a revolutionary party, with a mature revolutionary program entitled to the respect of people all over the world. Such a program will soon enough be given to the world.
The Present Situation in the Afro-American Movement U.S.A.
The present situation is marked by two new developments in the Negro movement. The first is the proposed candidacy of Shirley Chisholm for President of the United States on the Democratic Party ticket. The second is the transformation of the so-called Black Panther Party into a regular party taking part in elections. Both bear out the predicted development given in our Afro-American Manifesto. Both mark the beginning in a new direction.
1. The Chisholm Candidacy:
The deepening economic depression of the United States and its steady political deterioration has favored a great upsurge of militancy on the part of the Negro masses. This upsurge has taken both mass physical forms as well as electoral ones.
On the electoral front, a considerable number of Afro-Americans have successfully reached the office of U.S. Senator, Congressmen, large city mayors, high posts in State and Federal government and many local positions. Taking advantage of these results are a considerable number of Negro adventurers trying to develop a black Capitalism and to blackmail the ruling structure for their own individual benefit.
Once elected, these Negro politicians have now decided to push the older Negro leaders, the Baptist ministers, out of control and to take over themselves. Hence the formation of a Black Caucus, the formation of PUSH, the organization of a Black National Convention and the candidacy of the Negro women, Shirley Chisholm for President of the United States.
These elements do not want to form an independent mass political party for Afro-Americans. They are wheelers and dealers who wish to force the Democratic Party leaders to make room for them at the top as they deliver the Negro masses, lock, stock, and barrel, into firmer establishment control.
While they were vacillating among themselves as to who would present himself as a favorite son for the Vice-Presidency at the coming National Convention of the Democratic Party, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm beat them all to the punch and decided to run herself as a candidate for the presidency. The others completely outmaneuvered, have found themselves practically forced to support her in order to try to control her for their own profit.
Chisholm is now running without having any detailed program except (a) as a Negro, she is for Negro Civil liberties; (b) as a woman, she is for woman’s rights. She openly declares she wants power in order to bargain with the clique in charge of the Democratic Party so that her own clique can benefit. There is loot for all, why shouldn’t she get her share? The masses are merely pawns to be cynically manipulated. She and her fellow politicians are very ready to sell out, if the price is right?
In spite of herself and her blackmailer friends, however, Chisholm objectively has advanced the position of the Negro (and women) masses considerably. She has dared to run for President of the United States and rally all Afro-Americans, as a special group, against all “white” candidates. She has dared to articulate openly the demands of women’s liberation and to end their inferiority status. No matter what sort of tricks she may pull, she has objectively let loose a force that cannot be stopped. In spite of herself she has helped set the Afro-American on the road to an independent Afro-American Party.
The task of the advanced workers is to enter this grouping and to expose the-tricky leaders, to urge forward the advanced Negro workingmen and women to take the leadership of such a party, pushing the political connivers aside, and to give that party a militant program of action.
2. The Black Panther Party Degeneration:
The Black Panther Party as a militant activist organization has been smashed completely. “Black Panthers” have been put out of combat by “white tigers” in the jungle world of our society.
These ultra-leftist copyists of other parties boasting that a small handful of them could overthrow the U.S. government, have now become changed into their opposites, ridiculous opportunists calling for the formation of a party that makes a big point of free children’s breakfasts and cyckel cell research, petty beggars in the worst sense of the word.
When the Black Panthers were active fighters, the Negro masses could respect them, no matter how reckless and immature they behaved; but as opportunist “politicians” can they be any more than a joke? They have learned nothing from the mistakes of the Socialists, Communists, or Anarchists of the past. True they have moved from the slogan “Black is beautiful” to “All power to the people” but how the people can reach power through the antics of such amateurs is still a mystery.
Despite all criticism, however, as in the case of the Chisholm Democratic Party caucus, the task of the advanced worker is to join this party and to work to make it a party really worthy of militant working people of all nationalities and backgrounds. The members of that party have in the past been dedicated fighters who have tried to develop and did win some prestige. We offer the following broad general program of action for such a party:
For a National Independent, Afro-American People’s Party.
Four long years have gone by since the first Black National Convention was called together in Gary Indiana to consider the question of the independent political action of the Afro-Americans in the United States. Now the question of the actual formation of such a party is on the order of the day. It is no longer the question should such a party be formed, but rather what kind of a party.
A. IT MUST BE A NATIONAL PARTY WITH A BROAD NATIONAL SCOPE,
EMBRACING ALL THE INTERESTS OF THE BLACK NATIONAL MINORITY IN SUCH A
WAY THAT THE BASIC INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE OF THE ENTIRE COUNTRY ARE
EXPRESSED AND CARRIED OUT.
1. The question of nuclear war is the basic question of our times for all the people of the world, of whatever degree of brown or yellow in their complexions. The convention must set up a commission to bring in a full set of recommended policies on our anti-war position.
2. The questions of economic depression, of inflation, of unemployment, of the general maldistribution of wealth, of poverty, as well as the complete economic control exercised over the life of the country by the great corporations, monopolies and trusts, must be met head-on in a full set of decisions guiding the party.
3. The question of racism in all its forms must become the first priority of such a national party such as ours.
B. IT MUST BE AN INDEPENDENT PARTY HAVING AN INDEPENDENT MEMBERSHIP MARCHING UNDER ITS OWN BANNERS, WITH ITS OWN LEADERS AND ORGANIZATION. THE CLEARER OUR INDEPENDENCE THE MORE WE WILL WIN THE PLAIN PEOPLE TO OUR SIDE.
C. IT MUST BE AN AFRO-AMERICAN PARTY. The main base of our party must be the former slave, the Afro-American, tortured, humiliated, and exploited for centuries by the Euro-American. It is from these people that the leaders of our -party must come. Naturally, our fight is also the fight of all the poor, the downtrodden, the exploited in this country and throughout the world, but it is clear that only as the Afro-American secures control over his life can such a goal be achieved for all.
D. IT MUST BE A PEOPLE’S PARTY WORKING FOR THE INTERESTS OF ALL THE PEOPLE, NOT MERELY AMONG POLITICIANS BUT ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN STRUGGLE IN EVERY STREET, IN EVERY GHETTO, IN EVERY PHASE OF LIFE AND ENDEAVOR INCLUDING EMPLOYED AND UNEMPLOYED MEN AND WOMEN YOUTH AND THE ELDERLY, SCHOOL CHILDREN, HOUSEWIVES, SOLDIERS, TENANTS, CONSUMERS, AGRICULTURAL TOILERS, DEBTORS, AND DESTITUTE.
E. OUR PARTY MUST BE A DEMOCRATIC PARTY ALLOWING MEMBERS TO VOTE AND TO DECIDE ON ALL POLICIES AND TO ELECT LEADERS OF THEIR OWN CHOICE WITHOUT TRICKS OR CORRUPTION BUT FREELY AND HONESTLY.
F. FINALLY, OUR PARTY MUST BE A PARTY, THAT IS, AN ORGANIZATION SERIOUSLY DETERMINED TO TAKE STATE POWER. A People’s party is a radical party, striking at the roots of our troubles. A People’s party is a militant activist party, not a party of mere politicians.